See the coast in a campervan
Taking my holiday on the road with friends was one of the best ideas I ever had. With just a rented camper and the coastal road, we made the most of a great situation. This is our story, and I hope it gives you inspiration to take your own road trip. Seeing the country in this way can’t be beat, but it pays to have a bit of an idea about the items that will make your journey easier and the sites you absolutely must not miss on your way from Sydney to Melbourne. Make your own Great Australian Road Trip a success.
Get up close to Aussie animals in the city!
Whether you’re visiting Brisbane from overseas or looking for somewhere to take the family on a weekend, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is an absolute must-do experience. Lone Pine is the world’s largest koala sanctuary, and it’s the perfect way to get up close and personal with a range of Australian wildlife including kangaroos, snakes & reptiles, dingoes, birds, Tasmanian devils, a platypus and even farmyard animals (not just koalas)!
A Hot Destination For Active Travellers
Adelaide, a beautiful and charming Australian city, is famous for its 19th century architecture, wide parkland areas, and the ultimate sense of openness. The wonderful city hosts an extensive array of events, exhibitions and festivals throughout the year, and it is a hub for culture and art in Australia.
Recently, Adelaide was named as a ‘top city to visit in 2014’ by Lonely Planet; it is the only Australian city that could make it through in the world’s top holiday destinations 2014 list declared by Lonely Planet.
2,600km north-west of Perth
I was awoken by a faint scratching sound. Scratch, scratch, scratch. At first I thought it was part of my dream, but the noise came again. Scratch, scratch, scratch. I opened my eyes and realised where I was.
Journey from Torquay to Warrnambool
Taking a road trip is one of the great Australian past times, and one of the best ways to explore this massive country. By far the most famous Australian road trip is the Great Ocean Road (many rank it as one of the world’s best).
15 minutes east of Bundaberg
Forget Nemo, he was found safe and sound. I want to divert your focus to Squirt, and well, turtles in general and just how amazing these ancient mariners are.
Music of every variety around Australia
Exciting world-class music festivals fill calendars at major cities across Australia every year, offering big-name performers, cultural extravaganzas, touring Broadway musicals and stadium rock concerts. Whether you’re looking for some legendary jazz, avant-garde rock or indie stars, you’ll find it Down Under. Get your tickets for live music ahead of time and have the music and party experience of your life at Australia’s amazing musical events.
Best Events in Melbourne
Melbourne is widely regarded as Australia’s cultural capital and it’s often hard to keep track of everything happening in Australia’s second most populated city. Aside from the festivals and events happening in the Summer, there’s the sumptuous international cuisine on offer, the picturesque bike ride routes (a great way to see the city), internationally acclaimed theatre and opera, as well as fantastic comedy going on. It’s often easy to forget that you’re in Australia, and not a major European city. Melbourne, throughout the year, is host to a range of international festivals. Here are our top picks and what not to miss in Melbourne.
Experience nature from a different angle
If you’re looking for a way to get back to nature and explore somewhere new, make your way to one of the Adventure Forests in Tasmania. ”What’s an adventure forest?” I hear you ask. Well, there are four of these forests set up around the state, with each offering different “adventure” activities to enable you to experience nature from a different angle.
Things to do in Sydney free or cheap
I have always been very keen on visiting Sydney, Australia for one very specific reason – I always saw a lot of the place on Animal Planet and as a child who was fascinated by animals, I could not wait till the day I would visit the city. That is how it started off for me. But once I was actually in Sydney, I discovered so much more. I went there in the month of January, when it is summer in Australia, and that is easily one of the best times to visit this vibrant city.
As a student, I had obvious budget constraints when I was in Sydney, but I was determined to see and do as much with the modest amount of money that I did have. My friends and I did a whole lot of research on our first night in the city and we figured out the different things that we could do there for free. And since making that list worked for us, I have decided to share that with everyone else too.
See some of Australia's highlights
The south east corner of Australia holds many the best natural wonders, sprawling cities and rolling coastline that this magnificent country has to offer. Planning a road trip from the Gold Coast to Melbourne will take you through some of the highlights, spanning a journey that covers 1,700km and taking approximately four or five days, depending on how long you wish to stop off for along the way.
Explore Australia's convict past
If you’re a history nerd (like me) then you’ve probably heard of Port Arthur. The Port Arthur Historic Site is a fantastic look into Australia’s convict past; it was a place where repeat offenders from the colonies were sent for punishment, using the same model as Pentonville prison in England. This was a place for hardened criminals and was intended to discipline, punish and ultimately reform such men.
Be one of the few to explore this untouched place
If you asked people where the top 10 beaches in the world are, most of them would probably list tropical locations like the Whitsundays or Bahamas. But you might be surprised to know that one of the beaches that regularly makes an appearance in “Top 10 Beaches in the World” lists is almost as close to Antarctica as it is to the tropics. That beach is at Wineglass Bay in Tasmania.
The most fun 3 hours you'll ever have
I recently spent a week in Tasmania, speeding from one side of the island state to the other, trying every adventure available. And the Bruny Island Cruise was by far the most heart racing, squeal inducing and educational (yes, adventure AND education!) attraction I came across. It’s the kind of adventure that you could do again and again and it would take your breath away every time.
Experience convict history through a live performance
I’m actually embarrassed to admit my lack of historical knowledge about this magnificent country. My generation tend to forget there was a time before mobile phones, the internet and online shopping. We all know to some degree that Australia was built on the back of convict settlement, but it wasn’t until my most recent trip to the breathtaking state of Tasmania, that my eyes were opened and my ignorance to our past was highlighted.
2.5 hour drive from Brisbane
When I was at school, I was a cellist in the Bundaberg Youth Orchestra. Every second year we would go on a tour of the Great South East, entertaining rural country towns with rather talented albeit small orchestra.
In 2009, whilst on tour, we visited the Jondaryan Woolshed. Actually, we were lucky enough to be able to perform for the farm staff and local townspeople inside the woolshed. It was truly magical to play amongst the wooden beams and hay bales. Since then, I have been back as a day visitor as well as an overnight camper. And let me tell you, the damper improves each and every time.
A fun day out for the whole family
To anyone that grew up in Brisbane, the word “Ekka” conjures up memories of dagwood dogs, fairy floss, nausea-inducing rides, animals, showbags and fireworks. For me it brings back memories of shovelling cow poo and watching the precision driving team (though not at the same time). You see, my family is full of dairy farmers, and every year they would bring their best show cows to Brisbane to enter them in the dairy judging at the Ekka.
Explore Margaret River in Western Australia
Margaret River is located in Western Australia and it’s a fantastic place to visit while you are on vacation. If you want to have an enjoyable time with your family, it’s recommended that you visit some of the 7 places that you will find below. All 7 of these attractions can be done in a single day! If you are short on time or you simply want to pack your day with as much excitement as possible, this is a list made perfectly for you. Margaret River is a place where you can relax with your family and have an enjoyable time with your loved ones. If you are ready to make the most out of your vacation, continue reading and explore some of the 7 things below.
Fun for the whole family
Finding things to keep kids busy during the school holidays can be a challenge, especially if the weather is not cooperating. But, don’t stress! We’ve gathered together some of the best things to do around Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast. You’ll find some classics in there (like the museum) but we’ve been on the hunt for some more interesting ideas, too. Many of these activities would make great birthday party ideas. Maps are included for some listings to help you find the closest venue, and Queensland school holiday dates are at the bottom. As always, if you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments below!
Explore these world class coffee spots
Maria Paoli is an international coffee judge, trainer, consultant and coffee connoisseur with over 15 years experience. Maria runs coffee tours of Melbourne, and has been gracious enough to share her top Melbourne coffee spots below. You can find more information at her website, www.evolvingsuccess.com.au
Various locations across Australia
The Australian wine industry is booming–forget the typical vino tipples of Southern France–the Australian produce is up there in terms of quality and taste. Australia is now the world’s fourth largest exporter of wine with approximately 750 million litres a year to the international market.
Explore nature in this famous literary setting
“Picnic at Hanging Rock”, the moody and mystery-laden 1975 film based on a novel by Joan Lindsay and directed by Peter Weir, inspired and set the tone for my pilgrimage to the gorgeous, awe-inspiring location of its setting: the Hanging Rock Recreation Reserve in Woodend, Victoria.
90 minutes north of Sydney
When I tell people I live on the Central Coast, I’m often met with blank looks. It doesn’t seem like a real name, more of a direction – the central coast of where, some ask. The fact is, the Central Coast is often overlooked by travellers despite its proximity to Sydney and its myriad natural attractions.
The capital of the Sunshine State
As the capital of the state of Queensland and one of the most vibrant, exciting cities in the whole of Australia, Brisbane has an awful lot going for it. Its reputation as a great city, as well as the sprawling parkland and clear freshwater lakes that can be found a short distance away, make it a brilliant city to visit, whether you’re just passing through or aiming to spend a lot of time there.
A great attraction for the whole family
The Perth Mint was originally established in 1899 to create Australian dollars. It’s an elegant late-19th century building located close to Perth’s CBD. It’s the only gold refinery in Australia and one of the largest in the world, although the Australian coins of today are made in Canberra.
Drive a V8 Supercar in Sydney
Marco, my bombastic and rather pretentious client-friend told me that driving a V8 Race Car is about as close as one can come to driving a V8 Supercar. I kind of disagreed – I have a thing for the real V8 supercar. Still, he went ahead and got me a gift voucher for a V8 Race Car driving experience in Sydney.
50 minute ferry from River Heads
Fraser Island is located in Queensland, Australia approximately 190 miles north of Brisbane. It is the largest sand island in the world. This island is extremely beautiful with its long uninterrupted white beaches and its coloured sand cliffs add beauty to the island. There are over 100 tranquil lakes, all having white sandy beaches. It is a very popular destination for backpackers as well as the locals for multi-day camping activities and 4×4 drives. Now, you might be wondering what would be the cost of the stay if you are visiting this island. Costs are the biggest concern especially when you are on a tour.
Fly into Brisbane or Cairns Airport
North Queensland is a colossal portion of northern Australia that’s off the beaten track. Uninfluenced by modern history, untouched by the fast pace of urban life, and undeveloped, North Queensland is a haven for tourists and busy professionals alike, who long to unwind. This is the place to put your feet up and let your hair down!
A single visit to North Queensland is sure to leave you so spellbound, that you’ll want to return to this retreat again and again. North Queensland is a treasure trove of all things natural. From the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef to rainforests and pristine beaches, North Queensland has a plethora of things to offer tourists.
Take a leisurely drive down the NSW coast
Sydney is Australia’s largest city, and there are plenty of things to do both in the city and further abroad. The best way to make your way around is by renting a car from one of the major car rental companies in Sydney and choosing your own adventure! If you are on a holiday or just spending a weekend stopover in Sydney, here is an idea of where the road might take you.
Surf beaches in Australia
Australia is surely one of the best countries on the planet to visit if you’re a surfer. No matter which coast you visit there is an abundance of fantastic surfing spots to explore. Here’s a list of some of the best, including the home beaches of many famous Australian surfers!
2 hour flight north of Brisbane
Though it may be best known for its natural beauty, Cairns offers vacationers plenty of activities to keep them busy during their stay. Whether you’re looking for peace and relaxation, adventure, or something in between, Cairns and the surrounding region have more than enough to offer.
With so many things to do in Cairns, it’s really no wonder Cairns is the fourth most popular destination for tourists in Australia. When on vacation, it’s not so much finding something to do, but deciding what shouldn’t be missed.
1 hour south of Brisbane
There are times in life where you do something that you think will be ok and it turns out to be just a little bit of magic that stays with you forever. That’s what it’s like when you go whale watching. These magnificent creatures are a sight to behold in their natural habitat.
1 hour south of Brisbane
The Gold Coast is an amazing place to visit, whether you live in Australia or on a tour. The place is buzzing with life and is a heaven for tourists. However, it is known to be expensive, which deters many tourists who want to explore but are on a budget. Being such a person myself, I can convince you that you can actually enjoy a Gold coast holiday, without running out of money.
1.5 hour flight from Brisbane
In my honest opinion, the Mackay Whitsunday region offers some of the best fishing in Queensland and should be high on anyone’s bucket list of idyllic fishing destinations. The diversity of fishing locations and vast array of iconic Australian sports-fish that inhabit the region is simply mind-blowing.
Things to do in Brisbane
I’m a Brisbane local through and through. I was born here, grew up here, and though I’ve traveled the world, I think I’ll always call Brisbane “home”. Brisbane has just about everything that you could want; the convenience and variety of a big city, friendly locals and easy access to great beaches, rainforest and country scenery. There are so many things to do in Brisbane, but if you’ve only got limited time (i.e. a weekend stopover), here are some of the best things I’d recommend. Rather than a set itinerary, I’ve listed lots of things that you can pick and choose from to create your own adventure to suit your taste, budget and weather!
The best eats in the capital!
There are so many things to do and see when you go to Australia and especially to Canberra. There are zoos, museums, amazing clubs, beautiful buildings and so much more. Whatever you decide to do, one group of attractions will always have to be on your list – restaurants. As with everything in Australia, the food is influenced by Asian flavours, European techniques, American styles and much more. There is a great restaurant for every budget and taste.
Australia's "Cultural Capital"
Melbourne’s vigor and verve are addictive. The city’s throbbing charm resonates a rapture that is difficult to resist. Referred to as the ‘Cultural Capital of Victoria’, Melbourne provides one with an array of activities during vacation. From just sightseeing to being part of the culture, this great city offers a little something to all its enthusiasts. With the bustling markets, fantastic architecture, the sprawling green gardens and sophisticated sport facilities, one wouldn’t know what to choose. If you are planning to visit this city for a holiday or a business trip, here are some of the best things to do in Melbourne.
Adventure activities on the Brisbane River
Adventure on Riverlife Adventure Centre
Looking for fun ways to spend the day with kids in Brisbane? There is hardly a lack of options, but few days out can be quite as exciting as a trip to the Riverlife Adventure Centre. Whether you want your kids to enjoy a fun and cultural experience, or to simply try out some new activities, it is the perfect way to spend a day. So what exactly can you do at the centre? Here’s a quick guide to a fantastic family day out.
Festival of music, lights and ideas
Vivid Sydney is an annual festival of light, music and ideas and features an amazing light show projected onto the Opera House called “Lighting the Sails”. The Vivid festival is usually on around May/June, and even though I don’t live in Sydney I’ve been lucky enough to experience it a couple of times.
4.5 hours north of Perth
When part of our country’s history is felt on a personal level we become more passionate about who we are, where we came from and why we are here. The more we explore this history the more we want to share it. This is just one story. A story, a place that has great significance to our family.
2.5 hours south of Canberra
3 hours west of Bundaberg
No matter where in the world you come from, when you think about Australia, Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef and drop bears probably come to mind. These are undoubtedly some of the most spectacular attractions in Australia, if not the world. There is, however, a hidden, mostly unknown gem within Queensland that I believe represents Australia perfectly. Let me introduce you to Cania Gorge.
Carolyn and Richard Green have been exploring the Australian wilderness in their helicopter for the past 20 years. Carolyn has written the following story about a recent trip they made to Forrest, in the Nullarbor region of Western Australia. You can see more of Richard’s photography at his website.
1 hour north-west of Townsville
Who doesn’t like a good slippery slide. Come on, if you have ever been to a real Australia Day BBQ (that’s a barbie for all you international readers out there) someone, somewhere has pulled out a sheet of black builders plastic, grabbed a bottle of fairy liquid, a garden hose and a camera and some hours later, you all emerge from the suddy, muddy party covered in bruises but with a huge grin on your face.
Right in the heart of Ipswich
“It has to be a dinosaur, it looks like a Plesiosaur. How come we’re the only people to have discovered it? It’s right there.” My excited 6 year old exclaims.
“No, it’s a monster.” Miss 4 retorts.
While the conversation bounces back and forth this Mother smiles as her heart does a little flip. It’s that beautiful little surge of butterflies that you get when your babies are making discoveries, rationalising and believing. Their enthusiasm is overwhelming.
Explore the east coast via some of these "big" attractions
Aussies of a certain generation might fondly remember piling into the back of a Kingswood for the family holiday and cruising down the open road, headed perhaps to a beachside holiday park or aunt and uncle’s house somewhere. In between the games of “I-Spy” and kids constantly nagging “Are we there yet?”, Australia’s “big things” were a welcome sight; an opportunity to stretch the legs and entertain the kids, and maybe sneak in an ice cream.
1.5 hours south of Sydney
Located just over an hour from Sydney, NSW’s largest water theme park is the place for day long thrills and spills. Jam-packed with water rides and attractions there is something at Jamberoo Action Park for all ages.
Not only does Luna Park Sydney provide hours of fun for all ages, it is also a restored 1930s theme park with a magical early 20th century charm about it.
Boat transfer from Gladstone
The sky is beautiful tonight, black except for a quilt of silver stars. They flicker over my head and into the distance, while twinkling reflections bounce off the water. The tide crashes against wet sand, the waves folding onto the beach. It’s gentle, therapeutic, repetitive.
The world's biggest monolith
When you’ve seen an iconic profile in promotional material a gazillion times before, can it when finally seen in the flesh, live up to such hype?
In Uluru’s case – Yes… and more! All those sunset photos you’ve seen are not a scratch on the real thing!
Explore these wonderful Brisbane coffee shops
The Brisbane coffee scene is a treasure chest full of little gems that shine because of what they do, not necessarily because of how they look. If you’re riding coffee’s third wave, then strap on your leg rope and dive into our favourite Brisbane coffee chill spots! We have reviewed over 40 coffee shops in Brisbane, and these are our ‘best of the best’.
Access via ferry from Hamilton Island
A man clad in a Hawaiian shirt, arms full of shell necklaces, greeted us on the dock. “Welcome to Daydream Island!” he said enthusiastically. We happily accepted the necklaces, feeling the relaxing vibe of the island start to sink in instantly.
3.5 hours south of Perth
I’m going to be up front. I hate heights. Planes taking off, roller coasters (especially that ride at Dream World, you know the one that takes you up somewhere in outerspace then drops you unnecessarily fast back down to earth whilst simultaneously making you wet your pants) mountain tops, unnecessarily steep escalators in shopping centres. You get the picture. So when I visited Western Australia a while back with two guys, one of who was Special Forces, the other in infantry, I should have known my greatest fear was going to be challenged.
2.5 hours north-west of Perth
“There’s almost half Australia over there in W.A.,’ John Williamson croons from the radio. We’re on the road again and heading to a picture perfect little spot just north of Jurien Bay, Sandy Cape. We stumbled across this little gem on a weekend wander to Cervantes, but more on that another time.
45 minutes from the Gold Coast
For a long time I thought there was nothing cooler than glow worms. They’re bright, they live in caves, their soft-toy likenesses wear jaunty night-hats. But while researching where I could go to visit these fun little guys, I stumbled upon something which could be even cooler—the Annual Tamborine Mountain Scarecrow Festival.
Accessible by 4WD or helicopter
I’ve been blessed with opportunities to travel around the world. I’ve seen the beaches in the Philippines and lived in quaint towns around Europe, but it still left me wanting for more. During my recent trip to the Gold Coast in Australia, I looked to extend my stay in order to quench my thirst for excitement and adventure. I scoured the web for a holiday that can provide me with a truly unique experience. This led me to discover Purnululu National Park in Western Australia, also known as the Bungle Bungles, a world heritage site that features landscapes and wildlife unrivalled in magnificence and splendour.
Explore the river city by bicycle!
One of my favourite ways to explore a new city is by bike, because I can take as much time as I like, and stop wherever something catches my eye.
I moved to Brisbane from Ohio, looking for interesting people and a bit of adventure. Through mutual friends, I was invited to what would be my first social gathering, something called “Pims in the Park” as was stated on the Facebook invite. I was really looking forward to a nice day in the sun and the August forecast stated the weather would be partly sunny. Not fully converting Celsius to Fahrenheit, I assumed this meant t-shirt and jeans weather.
1.5 hours south of Cairns
I was about 12 when I was first taken to Paronella Park by my parents on a family holiday to North Queensland. It’s one of those mystical, magical places that takes you back in time. Think The Secret Garden mixed with a little Jane Austin (in particular Mr Darcy). It’s a place I will never forget. The magical moss covered stones of this gorgeous park could be mistaken for a medieval castle and grounds. However, whilst the very real love story behind the castle goes hand in hand with turrets and balconies, the structures themselves are relatively new.
A beach right in the heart of the city
There are many places I like to pass time in Australia, but I love to become lost in thought strolling through Brisbane’s South Bank. Meandering like the river at a pace akin to a snail. This could be day or night but mostly around dusk. There’s still the bustle of people making their way home from work, meeting friends, restaurants are filling, lots of lives passing me by oblivious to my observing them in a non judgemental fashion. Groups of friends barbequing, sky scrapers loom above, archways of flowers and bustling bars, the rivers constant flow that’s been there longer than any of these things, winding through without having to remind me it’s her city not ours.
1 hour north of Newcastle, NSW
My partner and I generally have one holiday per year that does not involve setting up a tent and roughing it. This year we decided to spend a week exploring the area around Nelson Bay, about an hour’s drive north of Newcastle.
Magnetic Island, Great Barrier Reef, QLD
My favourite book as a child was Magic Beach by Alison Lester. I dreamed of building sand castles, paddling boats in the bay and finding colourful star fish. It wasn’t until I turned 18 and moved to Townsville that I discovered my dreams were about to come true. Let me introduce you to Magnetic Island.
Beaches, Cities, Nature
Attractions, Cities, Wildlife
Attractions, Beaches, Cities, Events
Beaches, Nature, Parks, Wildlife
Beaches, Nature, Wildlife
Attractions, Nature, Parks, Wildlife
Attractions, Beaches, Cities, Events, Nature, Parks
Beaches, Nature, Wildlife
Attractions, Nature, Wildlife
Attractions, Beaches, Nature, Parks, Wildlife
Cities, Nature, Parks, Wildlife
Nature, Parks, Wildlife
Attractions, Cities, Wildlife
Beaches, Nature, Wildlife
Beaches, Nature, Wildlife
Attractions, Cities, Nature, Wildlife
Attractions, Beaches, Nature
Beaches, Nature, Wildlife
Attractions, Beaches, Cities, Nature, Parks, Wildlife
Attractions, Cities, Nature, Parks, Wildlife
Attractions, Cities, Nature, Parks
Attractions, Cities, Events
Nature, Parks, Wildlife
Nature, Parks, Wildlife
Attractions, Nature, Parks
Beaches, Nature, Wildlife
Attractions, Nature, Parks, Wildlife