Australia Travel Guides for Backpackers

Cairns: top 10 adventure activities for backpackers

Cairns is the perfect place to stay if you’re keen on exploring everything North Tropical Queensland has to offer: the Daintree Rainforest with its waterfalls and tree canopies, the Great Barrier Reef with its lagoons and amazing sea life, the tropical beaches with their palm trees and white sand. There are plenty of adventurous things to do for backpackers around Cairns, here are my top 10: Dive in the Great Barrier Reef The most popular way to see the legendary Great Barrier Reef is to go on a boat trip (Ocean Freedom, Passion of Paradise or Divers Den) but make sure it’s Advanced Eco-certified! The one-hour cruise to the reef can be really rough so I recommend bringing sea-sickness tablets. Once you get to the outer reef, you can dive into the crystal-clear water and discover the magical submarine life: coral, colourful fish, sea turtles, reef sharks and barracudas. Snorkelling is amazing there, but scuba diving will take you to a whole new level! If you’re keen on becoming a qualified diver, you can take a 4-day course to get a PADI Open Water certificate. Go chase waterfalls in the lush tropical rainforest Rent a car or join a tour (Waterfall wanderers or Uncle Brian’s) and head to the Atherton Tablelands area. Go for a dip in the cold waters of Babinda Boulders and visit the Devil’s Pool, slide down the rocks of Josephine Falls and take a hair flick picture at the Millaa Millaa Falls. Then, get ready to run into cassowaries or tree kangaroos while visiting Mount Hypipame and see the impressive Curtain Fig Tree (watch out for leeches when walking in the grass). Try to spot platypuses at Yungaburra and swim in Lake Eacham: a lake formed in a volcanic crater (despite the harmless freshwater crocodile living there). Extreme rafting on the Tully River Book a full day tour (Raging Thunder) and pick the extreme one, if not it’s not worth going! After a 2-hour ride, you’ll get to Australia’s premier rafting location to spend the day white-water rafting with an experienced instructor. You’ll also experience swimming in grade 3&4 rapids and jumping from the rocks. The spectacular scenery as you go down the Tully through the World Heritage Rainforest will blow your mind. Once you get to the downstream part of the river, you’ll start seeing crocodile warning signs but don’t worry, that’s when the tour stops! Cable car above the Daintree Rainforest Get on a cable car from Smithfield (Rainforest Skyrail) and relax while enjoying the endless view over the pristine canopy forest from a unique perspective! You’ll hop off at the Red Peak Station to explore the forest floor where a ranger will show you around and at Barron Falls Station to check out the impressive Barron Gorge National Park. Once you get to Kuranda, you can hop on the 2 pm train for a scenic journey back to Cairns. Bungee jump from the only bungee tower of Australia Choose from one of the […]

3 Road Trips From Adelaide

Adelaide is a beautiful city to visit in South Australia, home to cosmopolitan vibes and bordered by the natural beauty of wildlife and trees. It is the world’s only city within a park, set against the banks of the River Torrens and home to lovingly maintained historic buildings. Adelaide is fantastic to explore in its own right but from the city, there are a number of exciting road trips to enjoy too. Don’t miss these top three road trips from Adelaide during your visit to South Australia. Barossa Valley Just an hour from Adelaide, the easiest road trip to embark upon is one to the famous wine region, Barossa Valley. Full of multiple vineyards offering wine tasting, lunches and winery tours, the Barossa is a wonderful day out from the city or a longer break in its own right. Take advantage of nearby accommodation and make a weekend of it; that way, you can enjoy your fill of wine without needing to drive afterward. Alternatively, stock up on the options that come recommended and enjoy your drinks back in the city of Adelaide. Alice Springs Adelaide is a fantastic starting point for a road trip into Australia’s Red Centre. If you have the time, this drive is not for the faint-hearted. Travel over 1500km of deserted road through the vast expanse that is most of South Australia and part of the Northern Territory. A road trip from Adelaide to Alice Springs will take you around 16 hours. You definitely need to plan this journey, including where you will stop for the night and how many hours you plan to cover each day. Roads are sealed and you do not need a 4WD if you stay on the main highway. In the Red Centre, you can enjoy the sights and sounds of Uluru, Kata Tjuta and more. The roads are often empty, the temperatures soar in the day and arriving at your final destination will feel like a huge personal accomplishment. Great Ocean Road The Great Ocean Road actually begins further southeast than Adelaide, near Warrnambool. But if you are planning to drive the whole section, you will probably start your journey, or end it, in Adelaide. Adelaide to Melbourne (the other end of the Great Ocean Road) takes 8 hours to drive directly but you really must go indirectly, using the coastal road Australia is super famous for if you are journeying between these cities. We recommend you allow between 2-4 days to drive the Great Ocean Road and at least 4 days from your starting point in Adelaide. There are other beautiful coastal locations to enjoy from Adelaide and peaceful inward forests too, all ideal for camping and overnight stops, or lunch breaks along the road between your destinations. There are a variety of excellent road trips from Adelaide to enjoy. Positioned in the south of Australia, it is a great point of entry or departure for anyone planning a road trip. Whether you fancy trips along iconic coastal […]

A Ten Day Tasmanian Road Trip

Tasmania is the most amazing little island off the south coast of Australia. Often overlooked, it’s a must-see. Earlier in the year, I rented a camper van with two of my friends and we completed a once in a lifetime road trip around this amazing place for 10 days. And I think it’s safe to say, it’s the best way to explore the island.  It was a great experience and I want to share the route we took with anyone thinking of planning a Tasmanian road trip. The route we drove includes all the must see places on the island.   Day 1 Melbourne ? Hobart ? Port Arthur Our flight from Melbourne to Hobart left at 6am and by 9 o’clock in the morning we were at the Wicked Camper HQ to pick up our van. We loaded up our stuff and headed on the road. We drove to Salamanca Square and had the most amazing breakfast in the sun. There’s plenty of independent cafes and restaurants where you can get a massive feast and a delicious coffee whilst soaking in the atmosphere.   With Salamanca Square ticked off the list, we paid a visit to Kmart and Coles to stock up on supplies for the road trip. We bought all the essentials:  Blankets (Tasmania gets a LOT chillier than mainland Australia) Pillows  Air freshener (3 people in 1 small van needs a little help staying fresh)  A few crates of beer (most important) Lots of snacks and food (think pot noddles, cans of soup, crisps and cereal bars – anything you can keep that doesn’t need to go in a fridge!) Luckily for us, the van we rented came with a small gas stove, a sink, cool box and some camping chairs so we didn’t need to buy any of these things ourselves. With a boot full of supplies, we drove straight to the Tasman National Park view-point to see the Blowhole, Devils Arches and Devils Kitchen before driving to a campsite at Port Arthur.  We dined at the Fox and Hound pub, which is an adorable country pub in the heart of Port Arthur and does some amazing heart-warming dishes.  Day 2 Port Arthur ? Coles Bay We woke up bright and early and cooked up a quick breakfast at the campsite kitchen. We tried to stay in campsites that had proper kitchen areas as much as possible – trying to cook scrambled eggs and cups of tea for 3 people on a tiny gas cooker can take a very long time!  After breakfast, we drove to the Remarkable Cave where you can climb down to the water and enjoy the view of the ocean, and the amazing, natural cave formations. We then had a coffee at the Lavender Farm – it wasn’t the best time of year to visit the beautiful lavender fields of Tasmania (winter was coming) but it was still a great little stop to break up the drive.  For lunch, we pulled up at Orford Beach […]

Journey in Australia from Brisbane to Cairns in 7 days

Have you ever, in your daydream ponderings, thought of creating a bucket list of places you want to visit and things you want to do? There is a myriad of them you might put on that list, I’m sure. What if I told you that there is a place where you can cross out a number of them in just one week? Whether you are in search of breathtaking sites, stunning natural wonders or ravishing beaches, or perhaps, you might be an adventure seeker, a passionate cosmopolitan city dweller, a flora and fauna lover or just a person that identifies the journey with diverse options and experiences, this one offers them all. I introduce to you the smallest continent and yet the biggest gem radiating more colors than your usual state-of-art smartphone, her highness – Australia. Australia’s wildlife and outback may leave you speechless, but you will always have a lot to say about a sunny disposition of locals, delicious food and gripping art, and you just might mention, when you share the stories of the amazing time you had here with your friends, how Australia is more than just a piece of paradise, it is a paradise in its entirety. How to travel? Let’s get this straight. With all said above, one week sounds like just scratching the surface, I know, but if you organize your time well and stick to the itinerary which I will provide in this article, you might be the next one to feel the urge to write about Australia and its marvels on your way back home. First and foremost, Australia is just the right place for road trips, so, on top of having total flexibility and perhaps even taking some offbeat tracks, having a car might give you a great taste of Australia’s scenery overall. On the other hand, if you want to save up some money and fuel, choosing a coach charter service (such as Transport Network Australia, for instance) may be a good solution for you. Just remember, journey, especially in Australia, is what counts, not only destinations. Australia 7-day journey Having this humongous country to cover and not that much time, I would recommend one of the itineraries I personally had and preferred as the first-time explorer and a beach and wildlife buff, which, by the way, made me come back and explore further. It’s a trip from Brisbane to Cairns, which basically translates as the Queensland Coral Sea coast, covering around 2000 km of road permeated with dazzling waterfalls, heavenly beaches, and awe-inspiring reefs. These are some amazing spots on the way that you just might fit in your seven-days schedule: Day 1: Noosa National Park, Hinterland, Everglades & more If you happen to be a fan of surfing, horse trail riding, kayaking or just beautiful sunsets, once you start advancing north after leaving Brisbane, you will come across a place called Noosa, with its refreshing Noosa National Park, welcoming Hinterland, adventurous Everglades, and Main or Sunshine Beach in […]

Top 3 Road Trips From Sydney

Sydney is arguably the most popular Australian port with heaps of visitors choosing Sydney as their first point of call Down Under. Whether you’re living in Sydney or visiting, there are some incredible things to do both in the city and just outside. If you fancy seeing more of the surrounding areas, we highly recommend these top three road trips from Sydney. Enjoy everything from local wildlife and insanely cool beaches to vast and impressive national parks. You have to try at least one of these road trips from Sydney. 1. Blue Mountains National Park Easily enjoyed in a weekend, Blue Mountains National Park is the ideal road trip from Sydney. Enjoy well-maintained roads, clear signage and the thrill of being outside the city on your own mini adventure. The Blue Mountains National Park is ideal for camping with visits to the Three Sisters and Scenic World being mandatory. Enjoy ancient aboriginal stories and the thrill of modern rides like the steepest railway in the world! 2. Jervis Bay Ideal for a few days away from the city, this beautiful Australian beach has magical white sand whilst being much lesser known than its popular east coast competitors. Jervis Bay in Booderee National Park is romantic, scenic and super quiet. Avoid the crowds, enjoy sunrise beach walks and get a taste for rural camping with the sound of the ocean lulling you to sleep at night. Plus, the journey from Sydney to Jervis Bay can include scenic coastal roads south of Sydney that you might not otherwise get to see. 3. East Coast Road Trip An east coast road trip from Sydney can be as long or as brief as you have time for. Reach Brisbane in 10 hours or adventure all the way to Cairns in 26 hours. It might sound alarming but spread over 2-4 weeks of relaxing beach days, hiking in national parks and roadside evening sunsets, you’re sure to have the time of your life. Follow the ocean north from Sydney and pick out the stops that interest you most. Our top recommendations include Byron Bay, Australia’s easternmost point and the beautiful Whitsundays off the coast of Airlie Beach. Enjoying Road Trips From Sydney There are many more exciting road trips to enjoy from Sydney but don’t miss these three classics. Pack up the car or hire a campervan and hit the open road. Grab your best friends, your partner or go it alone for some real downtime. Driving in Australia is easy and enjoyable, with wide open roads, well maintained rest areas and excellent driving conditions. Choose from a variety of accommodation depending on your budget, from luxury resorts and hotels to welcoming campsites and hostels. An Australia road trip provides variety and freedom in a way no other type of travel can. Discover new and exciting places, whether you have a weekend, a week or an exciting month of freedom! A road trip from Sydney is a great way to see more of New South […]

Australia, The Twelve Apostles: A spectacular coastal journey

[Read time approximately 6 minutes] Here’s something you should have heard before… Australia. The Great Ocean Road. The Twelve Apostles. Does it ring a bell? If it didn’t, here it is for you. Ding, ding. Most people who come to Australia or who dream of coming to Australia should have heard of the journey down the Great Ocean Road to the Twelve Apostles before. If not, now is the time you might want to add it to that extensive bucket list of yours. The Great Ocean Road is renowned for its spectacular views, windy roads, forest walks and not to forget the star attraction, The Twelve Apostles (this year, in 2019, you can probably call them The Eight Apostles). On a local and global scale, both Australian citizens and tourists make this journey each and every day. Some days the sun is shining, other days it might be raining, after all the state of Victoria is known for its four seasons per day. Rug up, strip down. Whichever way the weather goes, be prepared and don’t say I didn’t warn you. The journey itself begins in Melbourne for most. If you don’t have a car you can hire one, if you don’t want to hire one you can advertise to share the journey with new friends (but only if you’re game) or you can take the bus. To drive from Melbourne to The Twelve Apostles direct (skipping the scenic tour of the Great Ocean Road and ALL of the fun), you’re looking at travelling approximately 227.5km which should take you around 3 hours providing there are no road works. However, as I said, you’re skipping all the fun! Haven’t you heard, it’s about the journey, not the destination… but, in this case, it is about both. Bells Beach, Torquay, Australia Melbourne to Torquay: 104.5km, 1hr 20min Get in your car and set the first destination to Torquay. You won’t regret it. Torquay is a beautiful happening coastal town which sports some great surf beaches and the beginning of the Great Ocean Road. If you’re hungry you may wish to stop here for a bite to eat. It should take you about an hour and twenty minutes from Melbourne (104.5km). But leave early so you miss the traffic and arrive in time to see a stunning sunrise from the world-famous Bells Beach. Erskine Falls, Lorne, Australia Torquay to Lorne: 46km, 50 min The next part of your journey takes you through the most spectacular windy roads you’ll ever drive down and you’ll want to stop at the Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch. Although, if you get car sick, I strongly recommend taking your tablets before you go. The Memorial Arch was built to signify the servicemen who built GOR and today although it is not the original arch, it is one of the most photographed spots along GOR since opening in 1922. For your Instagram worthy photograph, you’ll have the GOR sign and the some of the most beautiful Australian beaches in […]

The Best Of Gold Coast

One of my favourite places in Australia is the 6th biggest city in the country – the Gold Coast. It is a perfect town for living and vacation. The city reminds me a lot of the American city of Miami. The main beach area is also divided by water from the mainland and it has a long and wide beach line with all big hotels around that makes me feel like I am in Miami. But Gold Coast is even better because it is calmer and with more amazing parks around. You can reach the town with a direct flight, because it has own airport or with a short 1-hour drive in South of Brisbane – the main city of Queensland state in Australia.   Beaches Gold Coast has amazingly beautiful and long around 60 km beach line with nice golden sands where you can enjoy your perfect vacation on the sea. The sun is also there more than 280 days per year, which makes the town a paradise destination. The locals like sports, so you can see many of them, no matter the age to run on the boardwalk early in the morning. On different places on the beach, you can play beach volleyball, soccer or rugby. If you love surfing, the Gold Coast is a great place for it. You can enjoy 3 different world surf championships on Rainbow Bay where is also the famous Snapper Rocks danger point, a surfing school and wonderful clubs you can relax. The waves there are the best for a surf. Amusement parks Gold Coast is famous with many themes and amusement park which are around 30. If you have kids or you love adventures, it is a great destination for having fun. Some of the best amusement parks I would recommend are the largest theme park Dreamworld, Australian Sea World, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and Australia’s largest TreeTop Adventure Park at Tamborine Mountains. There is so much fun and wild Australian experience to explore rainforests, to feed kangaroos, lorikeets and koalas and try high adrenaline zip lines. Also, there are few water parks for kids where they can enjoy the hot sunny days. Playgrounds and green parks in the town One of the things you can do in the Gold Coast and not spend so much money is to explore and relax in the green park zones in the town. There are many parks next to the boardwalk and the beach and they are fantastic places to meet with friends for a beer or just to see how the locals are enjoying their time there, having parties, barbeques or even children’s parties. I saw some of them and it was amazing. People are playing different groups sports or just relaxing on the grass and watching the hundreds of colourful parrots flying above them. The Council made special BBQ places there, which every morning a special team is cleaning and always there are restrooms for all the visitors in the park. It makes […]

Flinders Ranges: Ancient earth and fascinating wildlife

Yellow-footed rock wallaby Flinders Ranges As an Australian outback destination, we decided on the Flinders Ranges which start approximately 500ks north of Adelaide. The Flinders Ranges began emerging around 800 million years ago. ‘Humanity Seat Formation’ -evidence of undersea rock, Barraranna Gorge A sea formed covering the area for about 300 million years. This deposited sediment over the area and in the Ediacaran Hills, some of the oldest fossil evidence of animal life was discovered by Reg Sprigg, geologist, oceanographer and conservationist. Rocky crater of Wilpena Pound Having read about the area’s vulnerable and protected ‘yellow-footed rock-wallabies’, my husband and I then fixed our sights on the destination of remote Arkaroola in the Northern Flinders Ranges. Barraranna Gorge   Echo Camp Kookaburra Creek Retreat Leaving Adelaide, we drove through the wine growing regions of the Barossa and Clare Valleys before stopping to stay for an amazing few nights at ‘Kookaburra Creek Retreat’ near Melrose. Marketed as ‘A Unique Australian Bush Experience’, set in 80 acres of privately owned bushland in the Southern Flinders Ranges, it lived up to its promise. Our accommodation in the lovely stone cottage was truly restful. Fresh organic eggs and homemade bread were supplied for our breakfast.  Check out the map Email: [email protected] Contact Melita: +61 4 39 618 378 Stone Hut Kookaburra Creek Retreat Melrose Kookaburra Creek Retreat near Melrose Exploring Kookaburra Creek Retreat near Melrose Alligator Gorge We explored the retreat’s beautiful land and nearby Mt Remarkable National Park. Here we walked through the jagged rock formations of ‘Alligator Gorge’ created over millions of years as Alligator Creek cut into the rock. Exploring at Alligator Gorge We saw big grey kangaroos, native birds and colourful wildflowers as we meandered slowly along so as not to miss the opportunity to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the Australian outback. Kangaroo and wildflowers near Alligator gorge Wildflowers in Alligator Gorge Kangaroos at Alligator gorge Driving to Arkaroola Heading north again, we diagonally crossed to the western side of ‘Wilpena Pound’ marvelling at the colours on the rocky landscape and high ridges. We crossed through dry river beds and stands of eucalypt on this off-highway minor road, recommended by friends back home. We were not disappointed with the ‘wow factor’ as we encountered the outback, families of emus crossing the road, kangaroos, and sparse bush farmland. Below the Wilpena Pound rim as we diagonally crossed beneath Stopping for lunch at the Prairie Hotel, Parachilna, we felt that the real outback was now firmly in our grasp. At Copley, we left the main road and drove through the expansive wilderness between the North and South Flinders Ranges. Prairie Hotel Parachilna We passed by the ‘Iga Warta’ where you can experience the local Adnyamathanha culture, people, and the land. Enjoy camping outdoors where you will be guided by a local Aboriginal who shares the stories of the land, paintings, bush medicine, the local fauna and flora and ‘bush tucker’ (local food). Email: [email protected] Phone: +61 8 86483737   Emu’s […]

The Best of Vegan Sydney

Sydney is a popular Australian city to visit at the beginning or end of a trip, as well as being a great place to enjoy for longer as a working holidaymaker. As a modern and bustling Australian city, Sydney offers visitors a variety of interesting vegan options. Travelling vegan in Australia is easy and enjoyable, and this is particularly present in this waterside city. You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to vegan restaurants, cafes and pop-ups. On your visit to Sydney, don’t miss these top 3 vegan Sydney spots. 1. Bodhi Vegan Restaurant Bodhi is great for outdoor eating in the heart of the city and tapas that’s fantastic for sharing with those who are keen to try vegan food. Visit in the evening after work or on the weekends when there is more time to relax and take your time with new found friends. Bodhi’s beautiful outdoor seating area is adorned with large trees, twinkling fairy lights and a mixture of seating options from relaxed sofas to more structured dining tables. Introduce non-vegans to some exciting meals or connect with vegan friends in an idyllic setting. 2. Lentil as Anything In Newtown, this not-for-profit restaurant is an excellent example of community spirit and showcases what is possible when people pull together. A meal here doesn’t come with a price tag, instead, you are encouraged to pay what you feel the meal is worth, or what you can afford. With a few mains options, fresh fruit juice and a vegan dessert, the food is heart-warming, both in nutritional value and because the money you choose to pay for it is going to such a fantastic cause. We can’t think of a better idea for a restaurant than this one. Lentil as anything helps the long term unemployed, asylum seekers and the homeless. If you can’t pay for your meal, you can donate your time instead. If you’re travelling to Sydney as a vegan, get involved by supporting this fantastic community project. 3. Orchard Street Walking distance to Centennial Park, this small cafe and takeaway shop is a herb and tea paradise. The freshly prepared juices and teas all come with a label declaring its desired health benefit so that you can choose the best treatment for your body without needing to know the nutritional value of each ingredient. This smartly decorated, intimate space can be enjoyed whilst eating-in, but we highly recommend grabbing take away drinks and enjoying them in nearby Centennial Park. This beautiful green space is typical Sydney; a little slice of natural paradise surrounded by modern conveniences and the buzz of the city beyond the trees. Ideal for vegan travellers who love the outdoors and plant-based food and drinks. Whilst staying in the city of Sydney, make time for these three very different vegan food places. From a local community project that connects travellers and locals alike to more sophisticated and hip vegan gems that offer the latest most innovative vegan cuisine. Enjoy vegan Sydney […]

Things to do for free in Melbourne, Australia

Growing up in a town or city you have a very different sense of what it can offer you. The city knows you. It saw you fall on the pavement and skin your knee outside your childhood house, it knows the place where you had your first kiss and it watched on as you had your heart broken soon after. So why do we never backpack our own cities? Do we think that we know everything already? Or does it just not have the allure of a fresh new place that we so desire when we travel? I’m here to write about my hometown; Melbourne, Australia. Melbourne has been voted the most livable city seven years in a row now (2011 – 2017) and I believe it’s because of its diversity and the unique clash of cultures that leaves you always entertained. However, Melbourne is an expensive city to be in when you’re not working. And even if you are, it can sometimes be a bit tricky. So here’s a guide on how to explore with only the spare change you find on the tram seat. (By the way, trams are free in the CBD area) Things to do during the day for free Must see beaches near Melbourne Many people travelling to Australia want to see our beaches, and beaches are the best free activity to do as a traveller. Load up on sunscreen though as the Australian sun is known for its brutality. Grab some snacks at Aldi or IGA (the cheaper supermarkets than Coles or Woolworths) and take yourself and a frisbee to Brighton beach. If you felt like a bit more of an adventure, take the train down to Frankston, or even further down the coast by car or bus, all the way to the Mornington Peninsula. Sorrento ocean beach is the best and most beautiful spot with many rockpools for exploring to maybe see some of Australia’s sea life. Royal Botanical Gardens and Edinborough Gardens If you’d like to stay further inbound but still explore outdoors, then head to the Royal Botanical Gardens. It’s open every day from dawn til dusk so you can have a long wander around the beautiful gardens to your heart’s desire. There’s a huge pond in the centre to see ducks, swans, and eels, and once the sun starts to set you can lay back and enjoy the thousands of bats flying across the sky; more wildlife for free. No zoo admission needed. Another beautiful space to explore is in the north at Edinborough gardens in Fitzroy. This park is known for having so many different things going on. Most Sundays there are free acro yoga groups, circus groups and many, many dogs running around. Grabs some mates and a few beers (this is one park in Melbourne where drinking is allowed in a public space, but double check the hours on their website) and sit back to enjoy the people watching and great vibes. There are also free basketball […]

Fremantle: Bountiful, bohemian with beautiful beaches

Fremantle: to be explored Looking for a fresh destination? Fremantle, Western Australia, affectionately known as ‘Freo’ by locals and travellers alike; this lovely coastal city South of Perth has a unique culture just begging to be explored. Manfred and myself at South Beach   The swimming pontoon at South Beach Beaches and bounty Australia is known for its beach culture, and the clear salty water of South Beach was cooling after the hot sun. The famous daytime breeze ensured we turned our attention towards wandering the streets of the city centre and local suburbs.  Google map of Fremantle Strolling along South Beach Fremantle History of the settlers Freo sits on the mouth of the Swan River, where Sir Charles Fremantle landed before the swell of people arrived to step upon Australia’s shores for the first time. Freo is famous for its 1800s gold rush and maritime history. Exploring the old port area provides one with an atmosphere of relaxation and adventure. The ferry to nearby Rottnest Island (19km/30 minute journey) leaves from Victoria wharf. An easy stroll from Fremantle train station, one can experience the hustle and bustle of a busy working port. Enjoy the fully licenced cafe, ‘The Express Lane’, whilst awaiting your ferry.  Link to Rottnest Island Ferry Bookings   Panoramic South beach Freo’s famous prison Freo houses Western Australia’s only world heritage building, the largest convict-built prison in Australia which is now a national museum. ‘Welcoming visitors since 1850’, it houses a treasure trove of stories of the convicts ‘transported’ to Australia. Contact: 1 The Terrace, Fremantle Phone (08) 93369200 email: [email protected]   Aboriginal Art Treasures Exploring the local art scene, one of the most engaging was the ‘Japingka Aboriginal Art Gallery’. This gallery is spacious, over two levels. Not all pieces are on display and the avid art enthusiast is encouraged to forage and look deeper into the collection. You will find a treasure amongst the paintings; the aboriginal homelands, the seasons, the cycles of the land, the night sky and the cosmos provide a visual extravaganza of the heritage lived in this vast and ancient country. Contact: 47 High Street Fremantle Phone: (08) 93358265 email: [email protected] Japinjka Art Gallery Art at Japingka Gallery: Janet Golder Kngwarreye; Bush Yarn (Jap 015904) The ‘Artitja’ gallery on South Terrace was displaying the work of Marina Strocchi’s ‘Coastal Theme’ along with the work of ‘Desert Women’ and their ‘Cultural Expression’ exhibitions. Contact: Phone: 0418900954 email: [email protected] Artitja Art Gallery Flyer (Left) ‘My work is an intuitive response to nature. I work organically activating the essence of what it feels like to be in the landscape’ Marina Strocchi. (Right) An interpretation of environment by artists from Ninuku Arts in the APY lands and Warlukurlangu in the western desert. Freo Art Gallery explored The ‘Fremantle Art Gallery’ displays exhibitions, has a nice gift shop and a cafe where we ate lunch in a sheltered leafy courtyard. Contact: 1 Finnerty Street Fremantle Phone: +61 8 9432 9555 Email: [email protected] Beauty in the Art Center […]

The hidden gem of Australia-Hamilton Island

  The endless science lectures in college drove me to a much needed and one of the most fulfilling trips of my life. A trip to Australia. A close friend of mine stayed in Queensland and so we decided to explore some of the major tourist cities in the country. We visited Melbourne, Sydney, Queensland but the place that took my absolute breath away will have to be the Hamilton island. From the very moment our flight floated on the blue waters of the Whitsunday islands, I knew this will be a place to remember. The crisp, cool air along with the sunny weather made the perfect outdoorsy weather in the month of July.   Accommodation While there’s a limited number of accommodation options in Hamilton Island, given that it’s a small island, all hotels seem very professional and willing to serve you with the most comfortable stay. We decided to stay at the Reef View Hotel. This hotel has several types of rooms but majorly two facings; garden view and sea facing. The sea facing rooms are a bit costlier, around $100 more than the garden view but they are definitely worth it. For there is nothing more peaceful to be waking up to the beautiful sea with other islands on distance in sight and sleeping to the sound of thrashing waves. The rooms are well equipped with furniture and are very spacious. And you get a visit from Cockatoos and parrots every morning!  The hotel is family and couple friendly, however, peak months may set you back from getting the best room, so book and confirm your room well in advance. For families traveling with kids Reef view hotel, Palm Bungalows and holiday homes are all great options as they provide complimentary food and stay for the kids along with access to childcare. For couples, Qualia and Beach Club are good options to consider.   Eateries With a number of restaurants to pick from, let me help you choose. Bommie restaurant For a fine dining experience do not forget to visit the Bommie restaurant. Beautiful interiors and a view of the Whitsunday islands, this place will leave you spellbound. Also, all of their food produce comes locally. Beach club restaurant Set up on the beachfront, grab your lunch here and enjoy the sunny beach views. The place is serene and child-free. Perfect for a brunch date with bae! Coca Chu Asian food? Yes, please! Get your fix of South-East Asian flavors here. Manta Ray Out on a walk feeling the breeze? Feel like having a pizza, maybe? Hop in. Sit on their dock by the sea and enjoy and hearty, pocket-friendly meal. Popeye’s Takeaway Not your typical restaurant but worth a mention. This is a takeaway parlor. You can collect your food and sit right outside this shop as there are seatings available. They serve amazing, fresh seafood. Do not forget to try their calamari rings with a wedge of lime! Things to do Water Sports If you’re […]

Top Wineries in McLaren Vale

McLaren Vale is one of the most exciting and enticing places to visit within South Australia. Despite the popular belief of many a tourist, McLaren Vale is not part of the Barossa Valley. The Barossa Valley is a region North of Adelaide, whereas, McLaren Vale is part of the Fleurieu Peninsula and is 45 minutes South of the city. Why you should visit McLaren Vale McLaren Vale is known for its spectacular beaches, and it’s booming food and wine culture. Within the regions 30 kilometres there are over 80 unique cellar doors, filled with many exciting varieties including Mediterranean styles. They say that the best way to get to know a place is to go where the locals go, and I don’t know many South Australians who don’t love going to McLaren Vale. I have visited McLaren Vale on multiple occasions to go wine tasting and have experienced how overwhelming and confusing it can be to be presented merely with a map (which you can collect at the visitors’ centre or some of the local cafes) and a list of all the wineries that exist with McLaren Vale. The best way to handle this is to know which wineries are worth visiting beforehand so that you can plan your trip without a lot of stress on the day. I would recommend trying up to three wineries in a day, this way you’ll have plenty of time to taste and explore the ground, and hopefully won’t start to feel ill. It’s also worth doing a quick Google search before you leave, just to find out if there are any events on while you’ll be there. Having this information will also help you choose which wineries to visit as you may want to avoid the busier areas, or you may want to take part in some of the fun events that happen in McLaren Vale. Battle of Bosworth and Spring Seed Wines You may need to keep a close eye on the map when finding Battle of Bosworth and Spring Seed Wines (I got a little bit lost the first time I tried to find it) This is one of the quaintest wineries I have come across. The cellar door is a tiny cottage, so I doubt there would be many large tour buses around. The Bosworth family have been growing grapes around the region since the 1840s, and you can feel that historic charm as you explore the cellar doors and the grounds. Battle of Bosworth grows organic grapes and has some vegan options which set them apart from many other wineries. They are a fantastic place to go wine tasting if you are a fan of Cabernet Sauvignon, Rose or Meditteranean Reds. Chapel Hill Winery, Tasting Room, and Gallery There aren’t a lot of cellar door interiors that capture my attention; usually, there is more of a focus on the exterior to entice you when you’re driving past. Chapel Hill Winery does have a lovely exterior, but it’s particularly impressive […]

Melbourne, Australia: From Beaches to Food to Things to do

Moving to Melbourne was one of the best experiences of my life. You get off the airplane and think to yourself “Yes! I have finally arrived after 18 hours of flying. Do I even remember how to walk?” You hop in your Uber and head into the city, check into your Air BnB, and put your feet up. Except you realize YOU’RE IN MELBOURNE! You put your shoes back on and head out the door. What to do first. See the sights, find a good restaurant with some drinks, hit up the beach, go shopping. The possibilities are endless. How to get around: Myki card. This is your ticket in and out of the city. You can purchase this at almost every main train station or 7 Eleven. Main train stations are Flinders Street Station and Southern Cross station. Anywhere you want to go outside of the city; these trains will take you. There’s also your trams and buses. Trams are free in certain parts of the city center so make sure to take advantage of that. What to do: Royal Botanical Gardens Feel like you’re outside of the city when really, you’re still in the city Nature filled adventures Many different walking paths Lay by the pond and catch some rays and read a book Get lost in the “wild” Have a picnic Shrine of Remembrance National War Memorial of Victoria Displays of uniforms, weapons, photos, findings and everything in between Walk to the top of the Shrine and enjoy views of the city all the way over to St Kilda See the men and women who served their country in the war Albert Park Man-made lake just outside the city Beautiful views of the skyline and an amazing walking path around the lake Great for a morning walk/run or a sunset stroll Attempt to walk back to the city…it’s about a 4km walk (YOU CAN DO IT!) State Library Victoria Located in the heart of Melbourne CBD Established in 1854, is Australia’s oldest public library The architecture of this place is breathtaking On those random rainy days in the winter, come here to get lost in a book and stay warm Food and Drinks: Restaurants Newmarket Hotel –Located at 34 Inkerman St, St Kilda My favorite all you can drink place. If you are looking for a feel-good vibe, want to be with your girlfriends and have drinks, go here. They have partial outdoor seating to make you feel like you are in a secluded forest. The inside has a classy feel but you won’t feel out of place if you are wearing jeans and a cute top. (The typical go-to outfit). Best part, you pay $49-$54 (taxes included because in Australia that’s how it works) and you get to drink as much as you want for 2 hours. Bottomless espresso martinis, mimosas, bellinis, and selected beers & wines. Food is also included and there is a generous menu for meat eaters, vegetarians, and vegans. Hopscotch – Located […]

Airlie Beach: What to do in this sleepy seaside town

Are you exhausted from 2019 already or do you need something to look forward to later in the year? Airlie Beach is the answer! With enough to keep you occupied for a week or a few highlights to fill a weekend, it has it all. Located in North Queensland and surrounded by tropical islands and the Great Barrier Reef, it is safe to say that water activities are a must here! You’ll get to spend time on it, beside it or in it! Read on for what to do. What to do in and on the water With so many options available to see so many different parts of the Whitsundays it can be hard to pick just one thing to do… I like to pick the icons to start; the Great Barrier Reef and Whitehaven Beach. Cruise Whitsundays, based out of Airlie Beach, does both. Book on for a day at the outer Great Barrier Reef on their permanently moored pontoon snorkelling, diving* and taking a joy flight* over heart reef. The next day, head out to Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet on the big purple catamaran, Camira. Sit back and relax as the entertaining crew take you on an adventure through the Whitsundays and guide you to the best place to take the world-famous, swirling sands photo. All inclusive of beverages (beer, wine, soft drinks), morning tea, afternoon tea and lunch this is the best value experience in the Whitsundays! Tip: the sand on Whitehaven Beach is 98% pure silica, excellent for jewellery polishing; just don’t take it off you as if it gets lost in the sand, there’s no finding it! Hill Inlet, Whitsunday Island What to do on the land If you’re not keen on boats, it’s ok! There’s plenty to do in Airlie Beach that involves the water. Take in the scenery Take a casual stroll along the coastline on the bicentennial boardwalk. Follow the coast for 5km and discover some of the best-hidden beaches on the mainland. Make sure you stop between the Marina Shores apartments and the boat ramp to look for turtles, there are often a couple around the rocks there that will pop up and say hi. You’ll end the walk at Cannonvale Beach, a well-known local hangout where people go to have a BBQ with friends, walk the dogs or run/walk the boardwalk for daily exercise.  If you’re not too concerned about the calories there is a café across the road, Fat Frog, with the most delicious range of meals and cakes in town! Make sure you’re there before 2 pm though, as the team start and finish early! Kick back and relax After a nice long walk and a bit to eat it’s time to hit the lagoon, you may remember walking past it on your walk along the boardwalk. Built on the edge of the water on the northern end of town, the family-friendly lagoon is a favourite of the locals and visitors alike. With beach entries both […]

Explore Far North Queensland

Far North Queensland is well known as the home of some of Australia’s most spectacular landscapes, tropical beaches, roaring waterfalls, colourful coral reefs, and lush rainforests. Discovering all of the hidden treasures this area has to offer would take a lifetime. To help you discover the abundance of natural wonders and plan your next trip here’s five attractions ready for you to explore in Far North Queensland. Cape Hillsborough Driving into Cape Hillsborough the scenery begins to give off tantalizing hints of a rugged and scenic beachside wonderland. The trees become denser and the beautiful headline of volcanic rock comes into view. This little gem is a mere 50km north-west of Mackay.  The scenic park is comprised of rainforests, beaches, rocky headlands, and stunning rock formations. In the early hours of the morning as the sun is rising over the beach, visitors are treated with a friendly visit from the local wallabies. These creatures have become the main attraction at Cape Hillsborough and are very used to large crowds of people taking their photo and interacting with h. After spending the morning hanging out with the wallabies it’s time to explore the rest of what Cape Hillsborough has to offer travellers. Andrews Point trail is a 5.2km track that winds up the hill and crosses five stunning lookouts. Up here you can see views of the coastline and even catch glimpses of the Whitsunday Islands. The trail winds through the eucalypt forest and volcanic rock outcrops which overhang the ocean. At low tide, you can walk back to the campgrounds and picnic area along the scenic beach. At low tide Wedge Island also becomes accessible. Located just off land from Cape Hillsborough this little island is home to a small beach, lots of rock pools, and scenic viewpoints. Make sure you give yourself 2 hours on either side of the tide to get across and back to Cape Hillsborough from Wedge Island, as once the tide rises over the causeway there’s no alternative track over. This is one place not to miss exploring on a visit to Cape Hillsborough. Waterfall Circuit Tropical North Queensland is known for its wild wet season. All of this rain that falls throughout the season runs into the rivers and creeks and produces some of the most spectacular waterfalls in Australia.  The waterfalls circuit in the Atherton Tablelands is a great day trip not to be missed if you love swimming in waterholes surrounded by magical rainforests. The star of this trio of waterfalls is Millaa Millaa Falls. This is the single most photographed waterfall in Australia and it’s not hard to understand why. The plunging waterfall is surrounded by native ferns and other greenery and has an inviting swimming hole at the base. This is the most popular waterfall in the Atherton Tablelands so expect crowds. A short drive along the circuit, the next stop is Zillie Falls. Once you find the carpark it’s a short walk to this roaring waterfall which creates a […]

Exploring Australia: Best Places to Visit in Tasmania

While Australia is admired for its natural wonders and unique wildlife, one of the country’s most beautiful places doesn’t catch much international attention. Often overshadowed by the hustle and bustle of Sydney, the arts and culture of Melbourne and the summer weather of Queensland, Tasmania was the second-last choice for international visitors in 2017. However, this Australian state harbours some of the most diverse natural landscapes in the world and is a great place for a road trip for backpackers, travellers and outdoor adventurers alike. Here are seven destinations that were the highlights of my visit and are must-see destinations for your trip. Image Credits: Cataract Gorge, Launceston | Mavette Sanut 7. Launceston From its humble beginnings as a British settlement to now being the second largest city in Tasmania, there is plenty to see and do in Launceston. With renowned wineries and celebrated restaurants being an integral part of its charm, Launceston still holds a small-town aesthetic while staying true to Tasmania's natural roots. Near the centre of  Launceston is Cataract Gorge, a great place for a perfect day out. The reserve's sloping hills provide a great spot for an outdoor lunch and there are plenty of attractions to keep everyone entertained. The gorge has an outdoor swimming pool, a chairlift, walking paths and scenic lookouts so you can take in all the natural beauty Tasmania has to offer. Image Credits: Wineglass Bay, Freycinet National Park | Mavette Sanut 6. Freycinet National Park No matter how long you spend in Tasmania there is no way you can explore all of Freycinet National Park. This park, located on Tasmania’s eastern coast, is the perfect place for campers and those looking to truly immerse themselves in the natural world. While it’s very busy during the summer holidays and on weekends with nice weather, it doesn’t mean that you should pass this national park by. From a short day-trip to Wineglass Bay or a two day walk down to Cooks Beach, there is something for people of all camping and hiking experience. While we only visited during the day, I highly recommend that you stay a night or two to truly experience the most of Freycinet National Park, as it is one of the closest places you can get to a world untouched by man. Image Credits: Port Arthur, Tasmania | Pixabay 5. Port Arthur The remains of this convict settlement provide an extensive history about British colonisation in Australia. This UNESCO World Heritage site is south-east of Hobart and provides many activities to truly immerse you in the history of the area. Entry onto the site includes a guided tour and harbour cruise to share stories of the inmates’ escape attempts and the lives of the guards and residents connected to Port Arthur’s history. For those feeling adventurous, the museum also runs ghost tours once night falls. Regarding its recent history, the grounds of Port Arthur is where one of the worst mass shootings in modern day Australia occurred with the site still […]

10 Best Things to Do in Sydney

I migrated to Australia last 2018 with my husband and since then we started searching for interesting local and touristy places to visit within the vicinity. Australia’s a very big, isolated chunk of land down under, so if you live here, you ought to figure out how to explore its hidden jewels. After several months, we decided to settle down in Sydney mainly for work reasons. Fortunately, we found an apartment near the city so a lot of the places are within arm’s reach. Whether you’re here as a new migrant, local, or traveller, you need to do these top 10 best activities. Rest assured that all are tried, tested, and ‘Instagrammed’. 1. Enjoy the beauty of Sydney’s Great Coastal Walk: Bondi to Coogee This is one of the most scenic walks for travellers – starting from Bondi beach and ending in Coogee. Spanning a total of 6km, this easygoing trail is perfect for locals and tourists alike. It will take you roughly 2-3 hours to finish the whole trail with photo stops included. The good thing is that it is very accessible to the city. Just take the train-bus route to Bondi beach and start walking to your right along the coast. You will pass by the famous spots such as Bondi beach, Mackenzie’s point, Tamarama and Bronte beach, Waverley cemetery, and Coogee Bay. Astounding view of Bronte beach via the great coastal walk path 2. Get mesmerized with the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge Of course, a trip to Australia is not complete without seeing it’s two iconic structures- the Sydney Opera house and Harbour Bridge. If you want a great photo with both of it, then head over to the Sydney Botanical Garden. The easy entrance is just right behind the Opera house, walk straight and you’ll see the entrance gate. Make sure to visit twice- in the morning and night time and have a drink in the famous hangout nearby- the Opera bar. Harbour Bridge, Opera house, and lovely Spring flowers 3. Take the ferry to Manly Beach One of the must things to do when you travel to Sydney is to take the 30-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay to the small beach town of Manly. A round trip fare will barely cost you 20 bucks. You can get stunning views of Sydney’s waters along with the iconic structures around it. Be prepared as well for a bumpy ride! once you arrive in Manly, you can either swim at the beach or enjoy good food as there are tons of restaurants to choose from. Our personal favourite is to eat takeaway order of Fish and Chips along the beach front (while being careful of the sneaky seagulls ready to grab our food anytime.) The Manly ferry starts from Circular Quay 4. Explore the hipster culture in Newtown Newtown is a 10-minute train ride away from the CBD. Once you step outside the station, you’ll immediately feel the hipster aura in the town. Live music, […]

Top 5 things to do in Mosman, Sydney

Mosman is one of Sydney’s 658 suburbs. It is located north of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, set between the bridge and the well-known suburb of Manly. If this is your first time visiting Sydney, you might’ve never heard of it before, or you might know of it only because it is home to the famous Taronga Zoo. But don’t be quick to discard it from your travel plans, Mosman has a surprisingly natural beauty that should make it part of your A-list of things to do in Sydney, Australia. In this guide, I will walk you through the suburb from South to North, pointing out the best beaches, parks and local recommendations. The Scenic Sirius Cove Reserve to Taronga Zoo Walk Although Mosman is often perceived by its cultural devoidness, it remains naturally stunning and diverse. The main attraction in the area is the zoo. If you are planning on spending the day there, I advise you to get in through the South Mosman Wharf, from where you can walk on to the zoo entrance. By taking this ferry, instead of the one going to Taronga Zoo Wharf directly, you will have the chance to do a scenic nature route before reaching the entrance. Start this walk at Sirius Cove Reserve (only a 15 min, walk from South Mosman Wharf). Here you will find a small beach surrounded by beautiful houses. This is mostly a boat beach, so you don’t want to get in as there will be much better beaches further on. Once you are there, take the Foreshore Track, and follow it along the coastline until you reach Little Sirius Point. This is the first real stop of your walk. From this view point you will be able to see the Sydney Harbour Bridge and both the north and south part of the city. It gives you a glance of the privileged views Mosman enjoys. After having this first stop, keep on going on the same walk on to Whiting Beach. Here you can enjoy a swim away from all the tourists of Bondi Beach. Following, you will find out that the entrance to the zoo rests only a few minutes away. This is a short walk (overall only 20 minutes), but it will allow you to enjoy privileged views, nature and silence like a local would. The Amazing Taronga Zoo   The Taronga Zoo is one of Sydney’s most visited attractions. It is set on hills next to the water, providing it with spectacular views and landscapes all throughout the park. Some of the highlights of the zoo include the nocturnal platypus habitat and the Asian elephant display. Visit the zoo to enjoy a family friendly day with koalas, kangaroos and many other imported animals. Inside you will find various restaurants and cafes as well as twilight concerts during the summer. This is a must in a Sydney trip. The Fun Clifton Gardens The next stop going north after you’ve been to the zoo are the Clifton […]

Trip to Australia: Land of Kangaroos

Beaches and oceans everywhere. Australia, known for its sportiveness and wilderness, is brimming with a lot of activities for tourists and locals to do. Syndey is the capital of NSW(New South Wales) and one of the largest cities in Australia which houses the world-famous harbor-front Opera house. Various kinds of beaches, dainty forests, cultural mixture, world heritage centers, towering skyscrapers, water sports; you name it, Sydney’s got it! When I landed at the International Sydney airport, around 10 pm, it was relatively colder. After a 16-hour flight journey from Bengaluru, India to Sydney, Australia – my battery was pretty low. However, a dream was about to come true! the long-awaited trip to the land of Kangaroos was about to begin. I had read and heard a lot about the fun sporting activities to do and long, scenic walks to take in Australia and it was about to unwind during my 15-day trip. 1. Cozy living quarters: My plan was to live with my sister Amy, in her 1 bedroom apartment, the quintessential home in Sydney, which was surrounded by beautiful trees and flowers. I had a to-do list prepared with landmarks, activities and long walks. I wanted to try the local cuisine, converse with a stranger and imbibe their lovely accent. Every change in Sydney was new and welcome for me; although drinking tap water from the bathroom was a no-no. I settled to drink water from the kitchen tap. There was no bucket in the bathroom but only a shower for bathing purpose. Somebody was practicing piano in the neighborhood. Coming from Bangalore, I was not very used to long walks. In Sydney though, there is a lot of walking involved. To reach any place, mostly everyone preferred the metro. Opal cards were used for metros, buses and many ferries. Walking to and from the Metro to home and back was a daily affair. It took a couple of days to get used to walking and matching pace with Amy, my sister. We boarded the train and I saw a plethora of people from different nationalities. Being Indian and a chatty girl, it took every ounce of energy to keep my mouth shut and maintain silence in the train compartment. During our commute, as we exchanged pleasantries with passers-by and other locals, we realized that it was difficult for them to grab our names. My sister Amrutha explained this to me and we shortened our names to Amy and Ana. 2. Must see in Sydney: Harbour Bridge The Metro journey from Hornsby to Wynyard was delightful. I came across various suburbs like Gordon, Pymble, Waitara etc. These names were mostly influenced by the English or had the aboriginal background. We reached Milson’s point, which is one stop before Wynyard. As we embarked on a journey of walking across the most famous Harbour Bridge, Sydney, I felt jittery. This is famously known as the Bridge walk. No tourist will land at Sydney and never walk the Bridge Walk. My mouth fell […]

How to spend a weekend in Ballarat

Ballarat is the heart of the Goldfields in Victoria due to the lingering history of the gold rush in the 1850s. Walking into this thriving city is an experience in itself with the heritage listed buildings maintaining the architectural style of the gold rush era. Whether you want to dive into the history of the gold rush at Sovereign Hill, eat delicious freshly made food or explore the beauty of Australian flora and fauna Ballarat has something for everyone. How to get to Ballarat Ballarat is located just one and a half hours from Melbourne in the western suburbs of Victoria. It is an easy drive following the West Gate Freeway and Western Freeway though it can get extremely busy around peak hour travel so it’s best to plan accordingly. Things to do in Ballarat Sovereign Hill Sovereign Hill is the heart and soul of the Ballarat tourist industry. This attraction takes you back in time to the goldfield era allowing visitors to pan for gold, explore mines and eat the sweet treats made on-site from scratch! The food here is so incredible, having won many awards, that the owners have started allowing visitors to come in on a food pass so make sure you grab some goodies for your snacks for the remainder of your weekend.   Lake Wendouree A favourite of locals, Lake Wendouree is filled with beautiful scenery and wildlife. For kids there are a variety of playgrounds around the perimeter of the lake that will always leave them with something new to do or there are always a variety of ducks and swans to feed. The lake also plays host to many events in Ballarat including festivals, rowing competitions and markets so be sure to look out for local events before planning your trip! Ballarat Botanical Gardens Located just across the road from Lake Wendouree, the Botanical Gardens are a lovely site for a quiet stroll through the beauty of local and international flora. If you’re looking for a more romantic setting head on over to the foundations, for a bit of cultural immersion walk through the busts of the former prime ministers of Australia (you’ll notice there are quite a few) or to experience the beauty of some of the more exotic plant life walk into the greenhouse to wonder at the wide variety of colours that greet you. Ballarat Wildlife Park To meet the wonders of Australian wildlife look no further than the Ballarat Wildlife Park. This absolute gem of a wildlife center is home to an abundance of Australia’s exclusive fauna including wombats, koalas, kangaroos, emus, Tasmanian devils, crocodiles and platypuses. Not only will you get to witness these incredible creatures in person and up close, there are a wide variety of shows with extremely knowledgeable staff and, the best part of all, you can feed the animals! That’s right, get up even closer to these amazing animals with the opportunity to hand feed the kangaroos and emus in the open range area […]

Discover Historical Heritage Listed Homes in Victoria, Australia

These days, when you first arrive in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia one cannot help but wonder what happened to the city it once was, nicknamed Smellbourne and Bearbrass in the Victorian era. With the mouth of the Yarra River which used to be a tipping haven for the cities rubbish and sewer system, it is now surrounded by shops and casinos and high rise modern glass structures.  With four new residential sky scrapers being built, standing at over 90 stories each, going up in 2019, it is mind boggling to think that the same area was once housed by tents filled with the poorest families this city has ever seen and hundreds of lost children that once roamed the streets like it were Charles Dicken’s London all over again. It is hard to imagine the delightful homes and gardens right around the corner or in the suburbs just a tram or train ride away. But some things never change. The rich will always live right next door to the poor as they have done so for hundreds of years. You really do not need to go far to enjoy a bit of Australian history through some of Australia’s best preserved Heritage listed homes and National Trust Homes and their surrounding gardens. If you look hard enough you can still find some of the most prestigious homes and estates that survived the test of time in the new city of Melbourne, exploding with life. Melbourne is full of hidden treasures from as early as the 1840’s if you know where to look. Whether you have small children or a bus full of elderly tourists, there is something for everyone to see from the largest private residence to places like the tiny museum set in the Fitzroy Gardens in Captain Cooks Cottage just east of the CBD. Government House built 1872-1876 is a Must See Stunning estate and home to our Governor I visited the Government House back almost eighteen years ago but I can tell you it has not changed much since the 1870’s. It is still the home of the Governor of Victoria and in this year it is graced by her Excellency, the Honorable Linda Dessau and her husband Mr. Anthony Howard. To visit you must be invited and have an entrée card and photo I.D. and once a year the house becomes open to visitors so I did just that.  I had once met the footman from the estate and he told me that every day his main job was to lay out the clothing of the Governor, and this was only back in 2000. I am curious if the Governess has the same luxury today. At any rate, the incredible building has some of Melbourne’s largest gardens surrounding it, the Royal Botanical Gardens. And a ballroom said to be bigger than the one in Buckingham Palace.  Shakespeare in the Park and even the White Night Festival can be enjoyed during the summer months in the adjoining gardens to the […]

Fashion Hot Spots Of Melbourne

Known as one of Australia’s prime locations, filled with great food, culture, and architecture, Melbourne is known for so many wonderful things. One thing we cannot forget about this wonderful city is its amazing shopping. Thanks to Melbourne’s fashion-forward designers and fashionistas that live in one of Australia’s much-loved cities, you can’t help fall in love with what it has to offer. When it comes to fashion, ‘Melburnians’ have a sense of style and they definitely don’t hold back on their unique trends and fashion styles.  Along with this city’s love of fashion, Melbourne is immersed in many wonderful fashion events including the Spring Racing Carnival and Melbourne Fashion Festival. Everyone is keeping an eye out on the latest hits and misses and what each season has to offer. With fashion immersed in Melbourne’s culture, everyone can enjoy this fashion-forward city and what it brings to the rest of the world including its amazing shopping districts, laneways, and shopping centers. With so many diverse shopping experiences available, the opportunities of shopping in style are endless. Here are some of the great fashion hot spots that Melbourne and not to mention Australia has to offer. So don’t forget your credit card and happy shopping! Chadstone If you are looking for a one-stop shop filled with a great range of local and international brands, Chadstone Shopping Center is the perfect place to visit. Also known as the ‘Fashion Capital’ Chadstone is home to more than 500 stores. Only 25 minutes from Melbourne City, you can get to the shopping center by car, bus, train or a complimentary shuttle bus from Federation Square and certain CBD hotels. Not only full of fashion brands, but there are also many exquisite places to eat and not to mention relax after a long day of shopping with a movie. Whether you decide to enjoy the precinct for one day or maybe two, this is a global destination that will definitely be a memorable experience.  Bourke Street Mall With the hustle and bustle, Bourke Street Mall is the epitome of Melbourne shopping at its finest. Enjoying the open style mall on Bourke Street you are immersed in wonderful clothing brands for all ages. However, you cannot go past the beautiful architecture of Melbourne’s postal building built in 1864, now home to Swedish fashion brand H&M. Keeping to its beautiful vintage decor, this building oozes opulence and Melbourne heritage that people love to see.  Myer Christmas Windows If you are lucky enough to visit the Bourke Street Mall during the Christmas period, don’t miss out on the Myer Christmas windows. The flagship store tells a story across a number of windows attracting over one million visitors each year. With the tradition over 60 years old, we have seen many wonderful stories displayed including Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty and How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Every year it is a social treat and a lovely moment to allow you to have a break from shopping and soak up all the […]

5 Reasons Canberra is worth visiting

If you want to experience sophisticated urbanised Australia without the traffic of Melbourne or the over-crowded centres of Sydney, Canberra comes as a top contender for such a place. Located in the South-East of the beautiful land of Australia, Canberra is not only the nation’s capital but a vigilantly crafted capital. The Australian Capital Territory does not share the clamour and commotion of its bigger counterparts like Melbourne and Sydney, nor does it have the dullness and mundaneness of a small country town. Enriched with lakes, world-class museums and galleries, hills and mountains, natural scenic beauty and even cluster of skyscrapers, Canberra, in my personal viewpoint is an under-rated tourist destination of Australia. Having lived here and explored much of it over the years, here are the 5 reasons why Canberra is worth visiting. Bike ride along Lake Burley Griffin (and water sports) Lake Burley Griffin Lake Burley Griffin has to be Canberra’s one of the most well-known landmarks. Interestingly, the artificial lake was named after the architect Walter Burley Griffin who designed the city of Canberra. The lake is the centrepiece of the capital and many other famous landmarks including the National Museum, national gallery, national library and the High court were built on its shores. Apart from its splendid beauty and beautiful spring trees on its shores, the most sought-after activity to do at the lake is a bike ride along its border. The bike ride is not only enjoyed by the locals, but even the tourists hire bikes to feel the cool breeze while riding. If you’re not much of a cyclist, a jog or even a walk is favourite among the travellers. Visit Canberra, government’s official tourism organisation also lays out a map for the cyclists to follow. However, this is not it for this centrepiece. The lake also features a variety of water sports for you to indulge in. The water activities include swimming, canoeing, sailing and paddle boating. One can also take a cruise or a double-decker boat, however, sports like jet skiing, wakeboarding and hovercraft are not allowed yet. Flourishing wildlife Canberra is not known as The Bush Capital for no reason. Unlike other major urbanised Australian cities, Canberra has managed to preserve its wildlife and natural bushes and trees. Around the town, it’s very common to see Kangaroos jumping around while you’re driving or taking a walk, which is very cool, given I have literally had to spend dollars to see Kangaroos in Sydney and Melbourne. Possums, wombats, Echidna are also a common sight in and around the city. Exquisite birdlife, ducks and swans call Lake Burley Griffin their home. Apart from that, Canberra Nature Park, Arboretum Canberra, and Australian National Botanic Gardens feature plenty of wetlands, grasslands reserve and also local birds, water dragons and Grey Kangaroos. Beyond the city boundaries, you can find even rich and dense wildlife. About 40 kilometres from Canberra, northern end of the Australian Alps, you can enter the wonderful Namagdi National Park and Tidbinbilla nature reserve. […]
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