Australia Travel Blog Archive

9 Things to Do in Hobart for an Amazing Tasmania Vacation

Posted on: June 4th, 2018 by Lizandra Santillan No Comments

Local Hobart Musician credit Samuel Shelley

Rich in history, incredible food, creative locals and smooth whiskies to warm you from the chill of mountain air – this is Hobart.

It’s the capital of Tasmania, Australia’s island state, located about one hour’s flight away from Melbourne.

Its blend of strong heritage and waterfront charm make it popular for travelers looking for a laid-back destination that has it all.

From one-of-a-kind museums to great hikes, native wildlife and haunting historic sites, Hobart has something for everyone.

Here’s our list of 9 amazing things to do in Hobart for the best vacation in Tasmania.

Stroll Through Salamanca Market

Get ready for a reawakened passion for food. At Salamanca Market, a simple stroll is impossible without the urge to taste your way through its stalls.

You’ll find wallaby burritos, salmon sausage and fresh scallop pies among other gourmet artisan food. Sample local honey, sip on locally distilled gin or whisky, and admire leather goods – every stall boasts finely made products with an emphasis on local.

Another favorite stop is at the wood work stalls, where you’ll find an array of impressive crafts made from Tasmanian timber. Along with the bustle of local musicians lending their talents to the crowd, the inviting atmosphere alone makes Salamanca Market worth it.

Located near at historic Salamanca Place next to the Hobart waterfront, the market is only open on Saturdays from 8:30am to 3pm.

Get Your Culture Fill at the Museum of Old and New Art

Things to do in Hobart at Museum of Old and New Art MONA credit Joe McNally Tourism Australia

Known as Hobart’s eccentric child, the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) sets out to challenge perceptions of art.

Some liken MONA to Vegemite – you’ll either love it or you’ll hate it. But one thing is for sure about this controversial museum – you’ll never forget it.

The museum itself is considered an interactive piece. With artful architecture and winding staircases jutting out in every direction, the setting is perfect to lose yourself in a world of conceptual art and ideas.

Here, owner David Walsh displays his extensive private collection of modern art and antiquities. You’ll find pieces ranging from a waterfall installation cascading words to confronting exhibits on human anatomy.

MONA invites you to form your own opinion with its ‘O’ device. Provided to all visitors, the O offers artist interviews, self-proclaimed ramblings from David Walsh, and information on each exhibit as they are encountered.

On the ‘O’ you’ll see an option to either “Love” or “Hate” each piece, letting you know how many other people agree with you after submitting your answer. At MONA, there are no wrong opinions.

Many warn that this museum is not for the faint of heart, but all you really need is an open mind.

Indeed, that’s often the source of the most rewarding experiences.

Climb kunanyi / Mount Wellington

Mount Wellington Hobart Tasmania credit Tourism Australia

Slip into a sweater and head to kunanyi / Mount Wellington for the best views over Hobart.

No, that’s not a typo – the official name of Mount Wellington incorporates its Palawa kani name from the languages of Aboriginal Tasmanians, using no capital letters. 

As part of Wellington Park, the many walking tracks, mountain biking trails and even rock climbing easily make for a whole day exploring the mountain.

Climb to the summit and take a break from the wind in the Pinnacle observation shelter. With tall glass walls overlooking Hobart, the expansive view will leave you breathless.

Get an even closer look on the Pinnacle boardwalk observation deck and take in the inspiring view with the breeze of cool, mountain air.

Make a stop at the Lost Freight Cafe on the way down. This charming cafe fitted out of a shipping container serves up some of the best coffee in all of Hobart, along with a savory rosemary lamb pie and other hearty treats.

See Her Story at Cascades Female Factory

Cascades Female Factory credit Tourism Tasmania Jonathan Wherrett

As Australia’s second oldest capital city after Sydney, Hobart is full of historic sites with turbulent pasts. One of the city’s most significant sites is Cascades Female Factory, lying in the shadow of kunanyi / Mount Wellington.

This historic purpose-built institution incarcerated thousands of children and female convicts of yesteryear.

Plaques detailing the history of this site hang along the walls of the restored ruins. Tours are also available, led by knowledgeable and passionate guides.

A must-do experience, however, is the “Her Story” dramatization of the Female Factory’s past. You’ll relive the history as you follow the story of one woman’s experience in the institute, complete with transparent depictions of the harsh treatment endured by these women.

Taste Pure Tasmanian Beer at Cascade Brewery

Cascade Brewery in Hobart, Tasmania

Crafted with pure Tasmanian water sourced straight from kunanyi / Mount Wellington and Tasmanian-grown hops, Cascade Brewery does beer best.

Established in 1824 and still in regular operation to this day, this is Australia’s oldest working brewery.

Not even a fire can bring this Tasmanian icon down – after a great bushfire devastated southern Tasmania and Cascade in 1967, the people of Hobart joined together to rebuild the brewery. The result is not only a flagship of rich Tasmanian beer but also a testament to the resilience of Tasmania’s people.

Get a taste of the Cascade Pale Ale, the oldest continuously brewed beer in the country. The smooth and rich Cascade Stout is sure to hit the spot for stout drinkers. Or try a brew available only in Tasmania – the Cascade Lager.

The ornate gothic facade of the brewery and its splendid gardens are inviting enough to spend a day out on the grounds. Grab lunch at the onsite restaurant with a generous menu featuring locally sourced produce.

Opt for a tour of the brewery for a timeline of Cascade’s history along with a look behind the scenes of the brewing process. Just be sure to wear pants and closed-toe shoes!

Visit Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary

Tasmanian devil at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary credit Tourism Tasmania Graham Freeman

Bonorong prides itself as a small business with a huge heart. As a 24/7 wildlife rescue service, we’re inclined to agree.

The sanctuary’s aim is to nurse animals back to health and into the wild. Run by volunteers and housing species extinct everywhere in the world but Tasmania, Bonorong is truly special.

Here you’ll meet native wildlife such as kangaroos, koalas and wombats along with the Tassie favorite – Tasmanian devils.

From feeding frenzies to personal encounters, the wildlife experiences are intimate, fun and unforgettable.

Get up close with Tassie devils and have a “tug of war” with them for their dinner. Hand-feed adorable Eastern quolls, tawny frogmouth owls and sugar gliders.

Want to see it all? Join a sanctuary tour, where you’ll receive a bag of kangaroo food to hand-feed the kangaroos roaming freely on the grounds.

Located just about half an hour from Hobart’s city center, Bonorong makes for a great day trip.

Explore the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery

Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery credit Tourism Tasmania Simon Cuthbert

There’s no better place to immerse yourself in Tasmania’s history than at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.

Though not large, you’ll easily find yourself lost within the rich stories and history behind the exhibits.

Marvel at ancient Tasmanian artifacts and early settlement relics. Learn about the poignant Black War of the 1820s and Aboriginal culture with dedicated galleries. You’ll also find a fabulous coin collection and fine Australian paintings.

Crowd favorites include the Tasmanian devil exhibit with an extensive history of the animal. You’ll even learn how it came to feature as a character on the Bugs Bunny cartoon!

The museum star, however, is its thylacine exhibit, showcasing this infamously extinct animal. Not one to shy from Tasmania’s turbulent history, the objective portrayals this museum employs is truly a refreshing experience.

Tour through the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens

Conservatory in Royal Tasmania Botanical Gardens credit Tourism Tasmania Michelle Lang

Escape into tranquility at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, showcasing flora from Australia, New Zealand and even Sub Antarctic species.

Established in 1818, these are Australia’s second-oldest gardens – another historic landmark for Hobart.

Stroll through cheerful fruit and vegetable patches, charming succulents and other interesting native plants.

Explore the secretive nooks and crannies, enshrouded in flowering plants and blooms.

Make your way to the Japanese Garden for true serenity, complete with a tranquil brook under a bright red bridge.

Stop by the Sub Antarctic Plant House for one of the gardens’ most exciting and unusual collections. Here you’ll find plants from Sub Antarctic islands in a climate-controlled complex complete with chilly fogs and mists.

Our favorite way to visit the Gardens is on a small group city tour of Hobart highlights.

Go on a Bruny Island Foodie Adventure

Neck Beach Bruny Island Tasmania credit Tourism Tasmania Andrew Wilson

Delight your senses on a Bruny Island Traveler tour for a taste of Tasmania’s gourmet food and goods.

A popular day trip from Hobart, Bruny Island lies less than two hours away from the city. That’s a small journey for some of Tasmania’s most delectable treats.

Every stop on your journey is a course on your menu for the day. You’ll taste savory artisan cheeses from Bruny Island Cheese Company, freshly caught oysters at Get Shucked Oysters, hand-crafted spirits at Bruny Island House of Whisky and much more.

More of a sweet tooth? You’ll also get a taste of sweet berry treats, premium chocolate and honey throughout your journey.

Our tip is to skip dinner the night before the tour!

Looking for More Things to Do in Hobart?

Hobart appears a tranquil refuge at distance, but a closer look reveals a city rich in history, culture and experiences.

As experts in Australia travel, we’ll give you the best tips and sightseeing recommendations for your stay in Hobart.

Want to include Hobart on your next Australia vacation? Let’s start planning your journey today!


Phone us Toll Free on 1-888-359-2877 (CT USA, M-F 8.30am – 5pm).


You May Also Like

Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart Tasmania

Tasmania Must-See: Museum of Old and New Art

Amazing Things to See in Tasmania

10 Amazing Things to See in Tasmania

Using GPS for free when traveling

Using GPS for Free When Traveling


7 Breathtaking Regions of Australia’s Outback

Posted on: May 15th, 2018 by Shayla Story No Comments

Australia’s outback is located in the heart of the Northern Territory. This mystical region draws visitors from around the world to its inspiring and otherworldly desert landscape.

The red expanse of Uluru, the natural and cultural wonders of Kakadu National Park and the tropical backdrop of Darwin are just a few of the captivating sights in the outback.

We’ve rounded up seven amazing stops in this vast territory filled with natural beauty and activities for adventure seekers & leisure travelers alike.

Uluru & Surrounds

Ayers Rock Australia's Outback Image by jeaneeem on flickr

Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is a world-renowned destination for getting swept up in the majesty of Australia’s outback.

Located a few hours away from Alice Springs, this natural wonder tantalizes visitors with its powerful presence and subtly changing hues.

There’s no better way to start your day off than on a morning hike around the base of Uluru, catching the glow of the sunrise brighten the reds and oranges of the rock.

Then board a coach to Kuniya Piti where you’ll learn about the rich, sacred culture of the local Anangu people. See incredible aboriginal rock art in the caves throughout the area.

A scenic helicopter tour gives tourists a bird’s eye view of the magnificent desert. Witness the breathtaking views found only in the Red Centre, including the amazing domes of Kata Tjuta and the Mutijulu waterhole.

Spend your night under the stars and witness the desert illuminate on a Field of Light tour. Internationally-acclaimed artist Bruce Munro’s Field of Light art installation has become a global phenomenon with over 50,000 solar-powered stems crowned with frosted-glass spheres, lighting up as night falls.

This particular piece, named Tili Wiru Tjuta Nyakutjaku or ‘looking at lots of beautiful lights’ in local Pitjantjatjara language, creates a glittering field of blue, violet and ochre hues as far as the eye can see.

Enjoy this splendid setting with wine and canapes, or start your morning with a sunrise viewing.

Alice Springs

Feeding Kangaroos Australia's OutbackImage by Aldan Jones on flickr

Alice Springs is the perfect base for an outback adventure. This remote town is the gateway to major natural wonders of the outback.

Just a few minutes away are the MacDonnell Ranges, a popular destination for adventure seekers. Natural beauty awaits in this magnificent scenery, housing famous landmarks including the Ochre Pits and Ormiston Gorge.

Enjoy a day trip with a guided tour through the West MacDonnell ranges or stay overnight at one of the many camping spots available.

Alice Springs is also home to the adorable and famous Kangaroo Sanctuary (get ready for cuteness overload on their Instagram). Take a bus to the sanctuary where you’ll meet owner Brolga and hear the story and the passion behind keeping these beautiful animals thriving.

You can also experience the outback from a bird’s eye view on an early morning hot air balloon ride. See local wildlife such as kangaroos and wallabies below you as you silently glide over the outback.

For those seeking more thrills, go on a 4WD cattle station tour below the MacDonell Ranges. Escape to the oldest working cattle station in the Northern Territory as you ride across the ranch through bush tracks and local landscape on an ATV quad bike. You and no more than 9 other riders get to see mountain ranges and wildlife up close. No riding experience required!

Darwin

Swimmer in Courageous Cove wiht a Crocodile inDarwin

As the vibrant capital of Northern Territory, Darwin offers a cool blend of laid-back tropics and exciting outback wetlands.

Tune in to the chilled out vibes at one of many al fresco restaurants or splash into the wave pool in the Waterfront Precinct. Stay out for the famous Darwin sunsets, casting lingering oranges and reds across a deep blue sky.

Just a short one hour’s trip away from Darwin you’ll find Litchfield National Park, home to some of the most breathtaking waterfalls in the Northern Territory.

These spring fed falls attract native wildlife including wallabies, kangaroos, flying foxes and dingoes. Stay dry and enjoy the nature that surrounds you on guided tours to crystal clear waterholes beneath its falls or explore the sandstone relics of the Lost City on a 4WD.

With several waterfalls and rock pools, all you need is a picnic lunch and your swim suit for a perfect day out.

The natural beauty and tantalizing water clarity is irresistible. Swim out to the cascading Wangi Falls or dive into the clear flowing water of the tiered rock pools at Buley Rockhole.

It wouldn’t be an Australian experience without a few crocodiles!  A saltwater crocodile cruise on the Adelaide River lets you see these creatures up close as your guide entices the crocs to jump out of the water.

Feeling adventurous? Why not take a dive in Crocosaurus Cove which submerges you in the water alongside the crocodiles! This gem in the heart of Darwin boasts an impressive collection of reptiles with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to swim with crocodiles in the Cage of Death.

If you’re looking for a more laid back nature experience, stop by Mary River National Park. Trek through the wetlands where you can see wildlife in its natural habitat. Lush landscape provides a perfect escape on your way to Kakadu.

Kakadu National Park

Gunlom Falls upper pool credit Sam Earp

Kakadu, Australia’s largest national park, is home to rugged escarpments, lush rainforest, ancient rock art galleries and stunning waterfalls.

Set out to Jim Jim Falls and Twin Falls on a 4WD or on a small group tour and dive into their deep plunge pools framed by magnificent cliffs. Relax on the white sand and dip into the cool water of Jim Jim Falls or take a scenic flight above Twin Falls, cascading down sheer rock cliffs.

Explore other swimming holes such as the Gunlom Falls plunge pool or the clear emerald waters of Maguk (Barramundie Gorge) where you can hike to the top of the falls and relax in the top pools.

With Aboriginal rock art dating back 20,000 years, a stop at Ubirr and Noulangie art sites is a must. See a striking depiction of the extinct Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, as well as paintings of fish, turtles, goanna and other important food animals. Marvel at the depictions of creation ancestors on the rock walls of Burrungkuy (Nourlangie), including Namarrgon, the Lightning Man.

Keep an eye out for native wildlife on a Yellow Water Billabong Cruise. As Kakadu boasts Australia’s most diverse bird population, this is a great way for twitchers looking to tick a few birds off their list and even see a crocodile or two!

Katherine & Surrounds

Home to thirteen stunning gorges and cascading waterfalls, Katherine Gorge & Notmiluk National Park calls out to many who want to experience the tropical setting of Australia. Glide along the deep blue water, as your tour guide describes the lush lands in the comfort of a relaxing boat ride.

Love to kayak or canoe? Grab your equipment and push yourself out in the river bank to immerse yourself in the natural beauty that surrounds you. Get an up close view of Katherine’s stunning landscape that is sure to make you fall in love with the Northern Territory.

For nature lovers, Daly River provides a promising destination for camping and fishing. Take a dip in the swimming holes, experience the breathtaking gorges, go fishing for the plentiful barramundi and enjoy your catch over a fire as you camp alongside the wildlife.

Tennant Creek & Barkly Region

Devil's Marbles in Tennat Creek Outback AustraliaImage by Werner Bayer on flickr

Tennant Creek offers visitors a cultural escape to the real outback. Experience the gold rush era of Australia on an underground tour of Battery Hill Mining Centre. You can even try your hand at fossicking to take home your own gold!

Love hearing about local history? Immerse yourself in Aboriginal culture as you listen to stories of ‘Nyinkka’, the spiky tailed Goanna that is responsible for shaping Tennant Creek and the ancient myth that surrounds Karlu Karlu/Devils Marbles, the mysterious rock formations in the area.

The rugged beauty of Barkly Region is home to some of Australia oldest cattle stations. Plan your trip in June and experience a bush race and rodeo event at Brunette Downs Races.

Arnhem Land

Gunbalanya in Arnhem Land Australia's OutbackImage by Mark Roy on flickr

With its white sandy beaches and clear Arafura Sea, the paradise setting of East Arnhmen land is a gorgeous escape into the wilderness. After a stroll on the gorgeous beach, visit art and craft centers to learn from the locals.

West Arnhem houses Gunbalanya, a large Aboriginal town surrounded by spectacular rock formations. See native artists work and purchase artwork and crafts at the Injalak Art and Craft Centre. Experience how the indigenous people live and take a piece of history home with you.

Ready for an Outback Adventure?

Whether it’s your first trip or your 5th, there’s never been a better time to plan a trip to Australia. The awe-inspiring Northern Territory, one of the best places to visit in Australia, is calling out to you!

Give our destination experts a call 1-888-359-2877 (Mon-Fri 8:30am -5:00pm Central US) and experience Australia’s Outback for yourself.

Plan your custom trip


You May Also Like

Outback Journey on the Ghan

7 Reasons You’ll Love an Outback Journey on the Ghan

Things to do in Uluru

Things To Do in Uluru National Park

Photos of Kakadu National Park

Photos from Kakadu National Park


What’s It Like to Fly on Qantas Premium Economy to Australia?

Posted on: May 1st, 2018 by Lizandra Santillan No Comments

Qantas Dreamliner Monkey

Traveling to Australia from the U.S. seems like a distant, wanderlust dream.

Visions of gorgeous beaches and the inspiring Outback are quickly shattered by the daunting long-haul flight.

But with the growing premium economy class of service, flying to Australia is easier and more comfortable than ever before.

With perks such as extra seat width, more legroom and a private cabin with dedicated flight attendants, premium economy carves itself between economy and business class.

On the Qantas Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, such perks are just the beginning of its premium economy service.

Indulge in multi-course meals designed by a renowned Australian chef, premier Australian wines and service with a friendly Aussie smile.

Whether it’s your first time flying to Australia or a repeat visit, you’ll experience the best of Australia before you even land when you fly premium economy on Qantas.

What’s It Like to Premium Economy to Australia on Qantas?

Checking In is a Dream

The headaches tend to begin at check-in counters, but you’ll avoid them altogether when you book premium economy on Qantas.

Priority check-in at dedicated counters for passengers flying premium economy make the whole process a breeze. This means you’ll have less waiting in lines to deal with – always a plus!

For a truly seamless experience, be sure to check in at least two hours before your flight departure. You may also check-in online between 24 and 2 hours before your flight departs.

Checking in has never been easier.

The Seats are Incredibly Comfortable

Gone are the days of sleepless international flights. On Qantas premium economy, you’ll rest easily on wide seats with generous recline, sensational legroom, and adjustable footrests.

Enjoy 38 inches of pitch between each row (the measurement from your headrest to the same place on the seat in front of you). Or pop your feet up on the adjustable, fold-out footrest and recline back up to 9.5 inches, allowing you to truly kick back and relax.

Easily store your belongings in 5 individual storage areas. No more constantly reaching to the overhead cabins!

With seats in regular economy reaching up to 17.2 inches in width, premium economy seats on the Dreamliner reach up to 22.8 inches in width.

That’s comparable to seats on first class U.S. domestic airlines – averaging at about 20 inches wide!

This extra seat width makes catching some well-needed rest on your flight much easier. A sleep study conducted by Airbus and The London Sleep Center found that even just one additional inch of seat width allows passengers to sleep an average 53% longer during a long haul flight.

Just rest your head against the unique attachable pillow on your headrest, cover yourself in a complimentary blanket and let sleep take over.

You’ll be surprised at how easily it comes!

The Service is Impeccable

Enjoy an exclusive cabin when you fly premium economy on Qantas. Featuring between 28 and 35 seats with dedicated cabin crew, you’ll receive personalized and warm service on your flight to Australia.

It’s not uncommon for the cabin manager to personally greet every passenger in the cabin. You’ll be addressed by name with a smile.

A friendly face goes a long way on a long-haul flight, especially when pre-takeoff drinks are offered.

Travelers often compare this level of service and exclusivity to business class in domestic flights. Whether you’re in need of a snack, a drink or a pillow, nothing is too much trouble for your attendants.

Such little touches make quite the difference on a long-haul flight.

The Food is Divine

Qantas Premium Economy Dining

You’ll receive a menu detailing all that is on offer. From multi-course meals, snacks, spirits and wine – everything is included in the price of your flight.

Quell your appetite with a delicious multi-course meal designed by Australian celebrity chef Neil Perry. Served on glass dishes with a white table cloth napkin, the dining experience and quality of food is on par with that of business class.

Dishes include barramundi, chipotle pulled pork, bean and apple salad with coriander and lime dressing and traditional lamb moussaka with broccoli and sugar snaps.

Throughout your flight, there are a variety of snacks available at a self-service bar including fresh fruit, ice cream or local chocolates. The friendly cabin crew will also serve hot food and delicious baked goods between meal times.

After catching a few hours of sleep wake up to the smell of breakfast.

Choose a hot breakfast with dishes such as scrambled eggs with bacon, sausages, potatoes, roasted tomatoes and mushrooms. Or gently wake your senses with a continental breakfast of a refreshing seasonal fruit platter.

You’ll Taste Beverages from Around the World

Tempt your taste buds with the generous drink menu offering a selection of Australian wines and spirits from different parts of the world.

Enjoy a glass of Australian sparkling wine, Scottish whisky or Puerto Rican rum, or delight in familiar favorites such as a Bloody Mary or gin and tonic.

Sip a cup of Dilmah tea from Sri Lanka or Vittoria Chocochino Italian-style hot chocolate to keep you from getting too carried away.

Selections of juices, soft drinks and mineral water are also available to keep you hydrated – always important on a long-haul flight.

Though you may be tempted to sample different wines and spirits, we recommend you keep this to a minimum. The more hydration your body receives, the better!

You’re Taken Care Of, Day or Night

Qantas Premium Economy service

The Dreamliner is designed to maximize passenger comfort with larger windows, better air quality to reduce jetlag and other innovations exclusive to Qantas.

With your complimentary comfort kit you can complete your nightly rituals to help you fall asleep easier. If you’re having trouble sleeping due to the light outside, your complimentary eye mask will do the trick.

Need to catch up on some work? Connect or charge your devices with USB ports in your seat and power plugs between armrests.

For a little downtime, put on a set of noise-canceling headsets and enjoy over 1500 on-demand entertainment options.

Adjust your 13 inch personal touch screen (located behind the seat in front of you) and choose from the latest movies, TV shows, music albums, video games and more.

Catch up on recent releases you might’ve missed or watch your flight journey on a moving map right on your screen.

Spend your time however you like during your flight – you can do it all on the Dreamliner.

Ready to Plan Your Trip to Australia?

Qantas’ solid premium economy service is a perfect way to begin your journey to Australia. With more than 40 direct flights to Australia each week and as Australia’s largest domestic network, Qantas makes traveling to and around Australia a breeze.

Connect with our Destination Specialists to start planning your journey. We’ll share tips such as what it’s like to fly to Australia from the U.S. and the best vacation spots in Australia – everything you need for an easy and unforgettable trip.

Let’s Start Planning Your Australia Vacation!

Phone us Toll Free on 1-888-359-2877 (CT USA, M-F 8.30am – 5pm).


You May Also Like:

How to Use GPS for Free When Traveling

Using GPS for Free When Traveling Abroad

Reasons to Visit the Gold Coast

8 Reasons Why You Should Visit the Gold Coast Right Now

Flying to Australia

What is it Like to Fly to Australia From the U.S.?


7 Reasons You’ll Love an Outback Journey on The Ghan

Posted on: April 23rd, 2018 by Melissa Maxwell No Comments

7 Reasons you'll love train travel on The Ghan Australian Outback

The Ghan train in Australia is one of the world’s great rail journeys, traversing the vastness of the Outback through Flinders Ranges and into the heart of the Red Centre from Adelaide to Darwin. It’s an elegant train with comfortable interiors and modern suites.

For first time train travelers, we usually recommend enjoying one leg of the journey by traveling from Alice Springs to Darwin or vice versa. It’s an easy way to experience the wonder without committing a bulk of your vacation to something you are unsure of. 

However, once you get on the train and start your journey, you might end up wishing you’d spent more time on The Ghan and here’s why…

The Ghan Amazing Train Adventure

The Ghan Is Comfortable

Gold Service on The GhanWhether you’re socializing in the Outback Explorer Lounge, relaxing in your Gold Service suite or dining in the Queen Adelaide Restaurant, you are going to be comfortable.

The seats are wide, you have generous leg room and you can move from car to car with ease.

The attentive and professional staff will tend to your every need with a warm smile and friendly demeanor.

By night your cabin is prepared with comfortable bunks that will feel like you are sleeping on air.

With Gold Service, luxurious bathrooms and showers help prepare you for a restful night of sleep as you journey through the outback.

The Journey Is Relaxing On The Ghan

Relaxing on the Ghan Outback Adventure When you’re on The Ghan the only thing you need to do is sit back and enjoy the scenic ride. 

There is no traffic to deal with and no worry that you’ll get lost in the Outback.

On The Ghan you get to see the countryside without the responsibility of navigating the journey.

Instead, you’ll spend your time reading, sleeping, writing, eating and enjoying choice beverages all while taking in the views. 

Pass the time with fellow passengers as you trade travel stories and learn about each others’ home countries over a glass of wine and a plate of nibbles.

The Australian Outback Is Breathtaking

The View from The GhanSure, The Ghan delivers much more than an extended train ride when it comes to comfort and service, but the one thing that will leave you feeling truly inspired is the fantastic scenery. 

You’ll likely find yourself staring out the window for long stretches of time. 

But it’ll be difficult to tear your eyes away.

You’ll be transported from the lush green hills surrounding Adelaide into the rusty hues of the Red Centre, then on to the tropical splendor of Australia’s Top End.

Be on the lookout for wildlife hidden within the bush – you’re sure to spot kangaroos taking in the fresh, cool air at dusk!

Time to Explore Authentic Outback Destinations

Katherine Gorge Outback in AustraliaThe Ghan offers whistle stops where you can choose to catch a tour or explore on your own for a few hours. This gives you the opportunity to see and experience places off the beaten path. 

Going Northbound, you’ll first stop in the pioneer town of Alice Springs.

Alice Springs is a great place to immerse yourself in Aboriginal history. You can visit a working camel farm, see the region’s birds and wildlife or opt for the Spirit of Mt. Gillen Helicopter Flight, a scenic flight that takes you over Simpon’s Gap and the Larapinta Trail.  

Your next stop will be in Katherine. You can cruise down Katherine Gorge, hike in Nitmiluk National Park or maybe kayak down the Katherine River. You may just want to wander around town and explore the local attractions.

Travel Southbound and you’ll find yourself in Coober Pedy, the the opal mining capital of the world where more than half of the residents live underground!

It’s All-Inclusive!

All-Inclusive Luxury Train RideBook the Gold Service or above and you can put your credit card away while you’re aboard The Ghan.  

Enjoy three gourmet meals per day and have your fill of Australian wines, beers, base spirits and other non-alcoholic beverages. 

Your fare also includes various off train excursions and whistle stop tours! 

You can bring up to 110 pounds of luggage per person and you’ll receive complimentary shuttle service in Darwin.

Enjoy Some Privacy

Relax on the Ghan during your Australian VacationDuring a busy vacation, sometimes all you want to do is find a place where you can be alone, decompress, and take a breath. 

On The Ghan Gold Service, passengers can retire to their private sleepers, either a two-berth for traveling companions or singles-berth if you are traveling solo.

The sleepers are comfortable with freshly made-up beds in the evening and seats during the day.

Lay down and relax as the soothing sounds of those big steel wheels rolling down the track lull to you sleep.

The Food Is To. Die. For.

Amazing Food on the Ghan by Gary BembridgeThe Ghan serves fresh, regionally sourced Australian food, complemented by a range of all-inclusive wines, beer and non-alcoholic beverages.

You’ll taste everything from Top End barramundi, Margaret River cheeses, and native Australian fare including kangaroo, saltbush and wild rosella flower.

There’s no doubt many Aussie travelers rate the food in and of itself as a huge draw to experience The Ghan.

Journey Aboard The Ghan

The Ghan is one of the best ways you can experience the Red Centre in all its glory. It’s also a great way to travel to Uluru (Ayers Rock). Once you’re in Alice Springs, take a coach over to Uluru and experience the magic of this inspiring outback landscape.

Are you ready to plan your trip to Australia? Whether you want to include a journey on the Ghan in your Australia vacation or want to know more before you book, our travel experts will take care of all your arrangements.

We’ll make this once-in-a-lifetime rail journey happen.

Help Me Plan My Trip


You May Also Like

Uluru Ayers Rock

Things to Do in Uluru National Park

Kakadu National Park

7 Breathtaking Regions of Australia’s Outback

Swimming hole in Kakadu National Park

Photos from Kakadu National Park


Phone us Toll Free on 1-888-359-2877 (CT USA, M-F 8.30am – 5pm).

 

8 Reasons Why You Should Visit the Gold Coast Right Now

Posted on: April 10th, 2018 by Lizandra Santillan No Comments

Broadwater Marina Mirage Aerial

Why You Should Visit the Gold Coast

Sun-kissed skin, sunny beach days, stunning rainforests and iconic Australian moments are what the Gold Coast is all about.

Whether the beach calls your name or you’re after adventure, the Gold Coast awaits.

Get a peek into the good times that never end – even after the sun sets. Here are our 8 reasons why you should visit the Gold Coast right now.

Boundless Beach Days

Girl walking along beach with paddleboard at sunrise

The Gold Coast boasts a fabulous collection of Australia’s best beaches. Their crystal blue waters, incredible surf breaks and breathtaking high-rise backdrops make Gold Coast beaches irresistible to any kind of beach goer.

Venture to Surfers Paradise Beach, the famous beach hotspot of the Gold Coast, and roll out a towel for a lazy sun-kissed day.

The new foreshore at Surfers Paradise is bustling throughout the day with walkers, cyclists and skateboarders taking advantage of this beachfront boulevard vista overlooking the surf and sand.

Like the Surfers Paradise of yesteryear, beachside shopping, dining, bars and clubs continually offer the complete holiday experience all in one compact destination package.

Broadbeach, south of Surfers Paradise is a precinct full of cafes, restaurants, retailers and is a friendly beachfront. Just a little further down the coast is Burleigh Heads, acclaimed for its beachside village vibe and array of excellent cafes.

Visitors flock to the Southern Gold Coast for its change of pace. From here, you can look back towards the Surfers Paradise skyline in the distance and really feel you’ve slowed down.

The surf is spectacular and the southern suburbs exude old-school beachside charm combined with world-class oceanfront hotels, restaurants and an array of retro festivals.

Live Like a Local

People sitting in a cafe overlooking the beach Destination Gold Coast

If you are looking for the quintessential “Aussie lifestyle” then head to the Gold Coast with its miles of sandy beaches, urban sophistication and incredible natural environment.

The city’s growth and continuing popularity as Australia’s number one holiday destination is a testament to the relaxed vibes and welcoming atmosphere that the city exudes.

The Gold Coast offers a variety of opportunities to scratch beneath the surface and live like a local.

Drop into one of it’s seriously cool micro-breweries that offer live music and food trucks, or browse its vibrant street food markets. Join the “clubbies” at the local volunteer Surf Life Saving club for a drink and world class views.

Or just take some food down to the beach, fire up one of the free BBQ’s, grab a spot among the locals and take it all in.

Conquer Your Fear of Heights on the SkyPoint Q1 Climb

Q1 SkyPoint Climb, Gold Coast

Sure, the Q1 Resort tower is the highest point in all of Gold Coast, but don’t let that scare you!

The SkyPoint Climb at Q1 is Gold Coast’s answer to Sydney’s Bridge Climb, and an absolute must-do for the best views over Gold Coast.

Starting on level 77 of SkyPoint Observation Deck, you’ll shimmy into a full body suit and strap on a harness before a safety training by a professional and friendly guide.

Harnessed to a purpose-built safety rail system, you’ll find the guided climb up to to the summit unbelievably easy. As the best way to see the true beauty of the Gold Coast, the 360 degree views make the climb truly worth it. The swells of the ocean against the coast, the lush hinterland and even views from Brisbane to Byron Bay are all yours to take in.

Rise with the sun on a morning climb or watch the city lights illuminate the evening with a night climb. You can even include a dining option with your climb – the night climb boasts a delicious shrimp tagliatelle!

As one of the best photo ops in Gold Coast, your guide will snap photos of you and your group with the backdrop of the gorgeous city skyline in the distance. By then you’ll have forgotten all about any fear of heights!

Taste the Incredible Food Scene

People in a busy bar Etsu at night

The Gold Coast’s food scene has evolved so much in the last few years, it’s a full-time job just keeping up with the latest openings.

From hatted restaurants (the Australian equivalent to Michelin stars), quirky cafes and food trucks to wine bars and craft beer taphouses, there’s something for every palate.

Relish elegant beachfront hotel dining in Surfers Paradise or sample delectable seafood on rooftop restaurants in Burleigh Heads. Get your Asian fusion mix in Broadbeach, where you’ll find creative dishes to delight your taste buds.

The locals swear by street eats such as ramen from Muso and Double Zero’s Neapolitan style pizza.

Chill out at al fresco eateries such as Sandbar with its brunch seaside menu, or see why the good tunes and pizza of Justin’s Rooftop make it a popular favorite with the locals.

Get Up Close with Wildlife at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

Close-up of a koala looking at the camera

The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is the unsung attraction of the Gold Coast, home to one of the world’s largest collections of native Australian wildlife.

Catch the mini train circling around the sanctuary for easy access to the various exhibits and encounters.

Here you can pet the curious kangaroos and feed the rainbow lorikeets perched on your shoulder.

Watch an exciting crocodile feeding or catch the Dingo Walk, where you’ll get to feel the stunning white coat of Marrok, a pure white alpine dingo. Don’t miss your chance for that iconic Australia photo shoot while holding a koala!

For a unique experience, visit the hospital where you can witness the conservation team operate on sick and injured animals. The vets warmly welcome visitors and explain every aspect of their process. Now THAT’S getting up close and personal!

Head for the Hills in the Gold Coast Hinterland

Mount Tamborine women laughing at falls and walking Witches Fall Bush Walk

Hidden beneath the Gold Coast’s bold first impression is a serene hinterland filled with thriving rainforests, stunning waterfalls and fantastic walking trails. The best part is it’s all within just an hour’s drive from the hustle and bustle of Gold Coast.

Venture into the ancient, world heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforests and explore its gorgeous national parks. Lamington National Park offers plenty of walking trails for all fitness levels, decorated by cascading waterfalls along the way. Walk among the shady tree canopies on the Tree Top Walkway near O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat.

Take a break from the sand and find your zen in the swimming holes throughout the forest, such as the Currumbin Rock Pools.

Springbrook National Park is full of hidden gems such as caves, spectacular waterfalls and a natural bridge arch. Wherever you’re wandering throughout the rainforest, keep an eye out for kangaroos and wallabies peeking out from their bush retreats!

Catch these unique pockets of the rainforest you might’ve otherwise missed on a small group tour, our favorite way to explore the Gold Coast Hinterland.

Shop ‘Til You Dop

The Village Markets Burlegih Heads Destination Gold Coast

You won’t find a love for local markets and high-end shops alike greater than the at the Gold Coast.

Browse the stalls of handmade items and uniquely Australian products at the Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets.

Feel the bohemian vibes of the Village Markets at Burleigh Heads, where you’ll find boutique stalls of fashionable and locally designed clothes along with delicious street eats.

Luxury shopping gets no better than at Pacific Fair’s offer of high-end designer digs and glamorous department stores.

An experience unto itself is Harbour Town, Australia’s largest outlet shopping center featuring premium Australian and international brands. In other words, a shopaholic’s dream.

Stay Up Late

Busy crowd outside cocktail bar Miami Marketta

When the sun goes down, the adults play.

By night, the Gold Coast’s vibrant nightlife welcomes the party-loving night owls, cocktails in hand, at laid-back music venues and rooftop bars.

Energetic, enthusiastic, electric, eclectic! These are just some of the words that sum up the social scene that Surfers Paradise was built on. Surfers Paradise comfortably maintains its position as the good-times hub of the Gold Coast.

For a generous flow of craft beer, stop by Balter Brewery for a nice, cold pint and hang out with its down-to-earth crowd.

Indulge in exuberant luxury at The Star’s 24-hour casino or mingle with the locals at a true Gold Coast rooftop icon – The Island.

Experience a taste of international street food and nightlife at Miami Marketta, a small venue housing 25 food vendors and fantastic live music.

Whether you’re looking for a wild night out in the city or a more relaxed end to your day, the Gold Coast’s extensive nightlife has something for all night-owls.

Ready to Go to the Gold Coast?

Incredible beaches, lush hinterland, theme parks – there’s no end to the reasons to visit the Gold Coast.

This iconic tourist destination is a must for a glimpse into the quintessential “Aussie lifestyle.”

Feeling the call of the Gold Coast? Let’s start planning your trip today! As experts in Australian travel, we’ll help plan your vacation to include a stay in the Gold Coast. We know it’ll be a highlight of your trip!

I Want to Go to the Gold Coast!


You May Also Like:

Scuba diver posing with a sea turtle at the Great Barrier Reef

Things People Say After Seeing the Great Barrier Reef

12 Apostles along the east coast of Australia

9 Incredible Things to Do on Australia’s East Coast

Best places to eat in Australia

23 Ways to Wine & Dine In Australia: Coast to Coast


Things People Say After Seeing the Great Barrier Reef

Posted on: April 4th, 2018 by Lizandra Santillan No Comments

Things People Say After Seeing the Great Barrier Reef

Forever a huge draw to Australia, seeing the Great Barrier Reef never fails to inspire a huge rush of emotions.

As one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the reef is on the bucket list for nature-lovers and travelers alike.

But what is seeing the reef really like?

Are the colors and marine life as vibrant as you see in the postcards?

Is the reef still quite a sight to see?

Our clients weigh in on their Great Barrier Reef experience – and some unexpected surprises.

“We loved the helicopter ride at the reef because it gave us a feel for how large the reef is.”

Great Barrier Reef from above photo credit Sheri Hardin

Photo by: Sheri Hardin

With a scenic helicopter ride over the reef, Sheri Hardin was able to take in the immense size of the reef from a different perspective.

When you’re snorkeling up close to intricate coral gardens and gazing at the colors around you, it’s easy to forget the enormous size of the reef.

Made up of over 900 islands stretching over 1,600 miles along the coast of Queensland, the reef is approximately the same area size as Japan – and visible from outer space!

This means no two spots of the reef are the same – the marine and reef life in the northern part of the reef is different to that in the south.

But the reef takes on an entirely different look when gazed at from above.

The tantalizing blue waters of the reef blend into almost luminescent shades of turquoise – truly breathtaking to behold.

“I did not know snuba was available but was happy it was. It’s like scuba diving but you pull your tank above you.”

Sheri Hardin snuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef

Sheri Hardin snuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns

Fascinated with the reef by air, Sheri wanted to go beyond snorkeling to get as up close to the reef as possible.

From glass bottom boats to semi-submersibles, she could easily see the reef without even dipping a toe in the water.

But Sheri felt a little courageous. Though scuba diving seemed daunting, she found the perfect balance with snuba.

With the help of marine biologists, tourism operators are always coming up with new, safe ways to see the reef.

One of these new ways rapidly gaining popularity is snuba, a perfect combination of snorkeling and scuba diving.

After strapping on her snorkeling gear, a snuba harness and light weight belt,  Sheri was ready to go.

Breathing from a scuba mouthpiece through a long air line attached to a floating air tank, she explored the reef with ultimate freedom.

No need to come up for air, no heavy equipment weighing her down. No diving experience necessary and easier than snorkeling.

The best part was seeing those hidden sea creatures easily missed by snorkelers!

“The Barrier Reef was great…We were thrilled!”

Barbara McHuron on a helmet dive at the Great Barrier Reef

Barbara McHuron on a helmet dive at the Great Barrier Reef

Although Barbara McHuron is terrified of the water, she was determined to see the reef in its full glory.

Glass bottom boats and semi-submersibles wouldn’t cut it.

After taking swimming lessons just for this trip to the reef, she was ready for a helmet dive.

Another fantastic way for non-swimmers to see the reef, helmet dives allow you to breath normally while walking among the fish and corals.

Once the crew secured the diving helmet on her, Barbara walked down the ramp steps to an underwater reef platform.

She was immediately greeted by curious fish as fascinated with her helmet as she was by them.

“Our favorite moment was when the crew did a fish feeding and the bigger fish came up to the barge.”

Snorkelers swimming with a Maori wrasse fish at the Great Barrier Reef credit Tourism and Events Queensland

On her Great Barrier Reef excursion, Haley Olson and her husband were given stinger suits for protection.

Stinger season was approaching, and it’s much better to be safe than sorry.

This turned out to be a good call after all, as they caught glimpses of jellyfish floating by.

But with the impenetrable protection of their stinger suits and the abundance of marine life in the water below, they quickly forgot about these stingers.

With colorful tropical fish of different sizes and incredible coral formations, it’s easy to get lost in the underwater wonderland of the reef.

Even more amazing is when a gigantic blue fish swims up to you and refuses to leave until you pet him.

Who knew fish could be so social?

On the Great Eight list of the Great Barrier Reef, the curious Humphead or Maori Wrasse fish is known to swim right up to snorkelers and divers.

This large blue fish grows up to 6 feet in length and weighs up to 400 pounds – quite the friendly giant!

Excursions out to the reef often include a fish feeding. Among the hungry frequenters is a Maori wrasse, charming Haley with its friendliness and dazzling shades of blue and green.

“I immediately came back up from the water and cried!”

Snorkeler swimming alongside manta ray above coral reefs credit Tourism and Events Queensland

Photo Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland/Fabrice Jaine

After donning on her fins and snorkel mask, Gretchen Ibarra carefully lowered herself into the water from the reef pontoon. She couldn’t see any coral at first, as there was something blocking her view.

A giant, curious manta ray had made its way close to Gretchen for a quick ‘hello!’

Gazing at the manta ray for a few moments, she rushed back to the water’s surface, eyes filling with tears.

The crew immediately congratulated her – this was a moment many people only dream about.

Also slated as one of the Great Eight of the Great Barrier Reef, these majestic and harmless creatures are big bucket list items for snorkelers and divers. As shy creatures that keep mostly to themselves, manta rays remain a bit of a mystery.

With a wingspan of up to 22 feet, seeing these creatures up close is an incredible experience you just have to see to believe. It’s like seeing a small car just glide past you underwater!

You’ll find manta rays hanging out in the waters of Lady Elliot Island, Osprey Reef, Heron Island and Lady Musgrove Island. The best time to see them is during the Australian winter months in May and June.

“A lot of people say the Reef is dead, but that’s not true. The locals say it is on a slow recovery right now and is still quite the sight to see!”

Nicholas Culhane posing with a sea turtle while diving at the Great Barrier Reef

Nicholas Culhane posing with a sea turtle.

Any fears Nicholas Culhane felt on his first diving trip were quelled by the extremely knowledgeable and outgoing crew onboard. His comfort was their utmost priority.

And as often happens – after his first dive, Nicholas couldn’t get enough.

But nothing could prepare him for the exhilarating rush when a sea turtle and 5-foot long reef shark joined him on a swim!

From parrotfish to clownfish to giant clams and reef sharks, the marine life he saw on the outer reef was plentiful and thriving.

More than 1,500 species of fish, over 300 species of molluscs, 30 species of whales and six of the world’s seven species of marine turtles call this reef their home.

Despite recent coral bleaching events affecting coral systems around the globe, the reef remains one of the healthiest and most protected reefs in the world.

Standard excursions out to the reef are joined by marine biologists who provide a wealth of information regarding the health of the reef and marine life.

In fact, tourism operators play an important role in managing its recovery and helping visitors learn about the reef.

Ready to See the Great Barrier Reef?

Arguably Australia’s most precious natural asset, the Great Barrier Reef is a must for any traveler visiting from around the world.

No matter the kind of person you are – whether you’re terrified of the water or can’t get enough – there’s a way to see the reef perfect just for you.

Glorious and packing unexpected surprises, the unparalleled diversity and natural beauty of the reef awaits.

I Want to See the Great Barrier Reef!


You May Also Like:

16 photos will make you want to go to australia

16 Photos That Will Make You Want to Go to Australia Right Now

Guide to the Great Barrier Reef

Places to Visit in Australia – A Guide to the Great Barrier Reef

Best Underwater Experiences in Australia

11 Best Underwater Experiences in Australia


9 Incredible Things to Do on Australia’s East Coast

Posted on: March 20th, 2018 by Lizandra Santillan No Comments

One of Australia’s many unique qualities is its dynamic coastline.

You’ve got warm tropical waters and the Great Barrier Reef in the north, Australia’s best collection of beaches along the central east coast and towering cliffs in the south.

One of the most popular and dream travel itineraries in Australia is traveling along its east coast.

You’ll find travelers from around the world making their way from Cairns in the tropical north all the way to Melbourne in the south.

But we’ll show you the best destinations you must visit while traveling along Australia’s east coast.

See the Great Barrier Reef

Scuba diving at Agincourt Reef Tropical North Queensland credit Tourism and Events Queensland

Whether you’re in Cairns or Port Douglas, you can’t pass up seeing the Great Barrier Reef.

This must-do in Australia is so insanely popular for good reason. It’s the largest living organism in the world yet looks entirely otherworldly.

Nothing beats those underwater views of this colorful reef wonderland, filled with tropical fish flitting in and out of sight.

The great thing about the reef is the numerous ways to see it. From glass bottom boats to semi-submersibles and underwater viewing observatories, you can see the reef without getting wet!

To see the ultimate splendor and beauty of the reef, you’ll need to take a trip to the outer reef. Check out our Great Barrier Reef guide for more details on seeing the reef in your own style.

Sail the Whitsunday Islands

Couple on bow bareboating credit Tourism and Events Queensland

Not many international travelers know about this hidden part of Australia. Situated between Cairns and the Sunshine Coast, this region sits on the heart of the Great Barrier Reef.

Surrounded by 74 idyllic islands and protected by the reef, the calm waters make this a paradise for sailing and bareboating.

And the 74 Whitsunday Islands are your playground of pristine wilderness.

Mostly covered in uninhabited national parks and secluded beaches, the Whitsundays are just waiting to be explored by the adventurous.

Be the first to walk on untouched beaches each morning. Discover cascading waterfalls and dry rainforest walking trails hidden on the islands. Or even camp overnight at designated camping grounds.

The best part is no license is required for bareboating!

See the Tantalizing Swirls of Whitehaven Beach from Hill Inlet

Couple looking out over Hill Inlet at Whitehaven Beach credit Tourism and Events Queensland

Let’s face it – there ‘s no end to the list of gorgeous beaches in Australia. You’ll find fantastic beaches all along the coast.

But there’s only a few that rank among the best in the entire world, and Whitehaven Beach is always counted in that number.

With sparkling, white sand so fine it squeaks beneath your feet and waters so clear and blue like something out of Photoshop, this beach is a gem of the Whitsundays.

Located on Whitsunday Island, you’ll need to take a boat tour to get to Whitehaven Beach.

Once you arrive, you’ll want to take the short trek to Hill Inlet, where swirls of white sand and turquoise water blend in stunning shades.

The sight alone is worth a trip to the Whitsundays.

Spot Whales in Hervey Bay

Whale Watching credit Tourism and Events Queensland

If you’re in Australia with the hopes of spotting a whale, you should make a stop in Hervey Bay. This coastal city near Fraser Island is one of Australia’s best spots for whale watching.

Between July and October you’ll spot humpback whales swimming by Hervey Bay – sheltered by Fraser Island, the calm and clear waters are perfect for resting their young.

Setting out on a whale watching cruise sometimes entails an amazing perk – the whales often like to venture close to the boats, showing off with spectacular breaches!

Go for a Dip in Lake McKenzie on Fraser Island

Girl standing in clear waters of Lake McKenzie credit Jules Ingall

As the world’s largest sand island and only site where rainforest grows on sand, Fraser Island is out to impress.

And with pristine freshwater lakes, creeks framed in greenery and long stretches of beaches prime for 4wd adventure, this island will become your next ‘happy place.’

Though the beaches at Fraser Island are not quite swimmer-friendly, Lake McKenzie more than makes up for it.

With soft white sand and unbelievably crystal blue water, Lake McKenzie is considered the crown jewel of Fraser Island. After one day on the lake here, no other lake will measure up.

Discover Hidden Gems in the Noosa National Park

Koala in tree in Noosa National Park credit Tourism and Events Queensland

For the perfect mix of coastal scenery, native wildlife and refreshing rainforest, spend a day at the Noosa National Park.

You’ll spot something new and breathtaking every way you turn. Koalas napping among eucalyptus trees, spectacular hidden bays and beaches, even wild dolphins and whales – this enviable national park has it all.

Boasting five walking tracks, the most popular is the Coastal Walk, winding through lush shady trees, rocky coasts and clifftops.

Stop for a refreshing dip at the beach in Tea Tree Bay and spot dolphins from Dolphin Point or Hell’s Gate.

Becoming increasingly popular with travelers, this hidden secret is a must on the Australian east coast.

Walk to the Byron Bay Lighthouse at Cape Byron

ape Byron Lighthouse at Byron Bay credit Destination NSW

Byron Bay sees the sunrise first in all of Australia. That alone sets the tone of this coastal town – the atmosphere is like a perpetual bohemian festival.

Everyone is super relaxed, smiles are found at every turn and the surrounding natural beauty and sunshine cures all ailments.

This easy-going town is a favorite with Aussies – you’ll find that most visitors are in fact from within Australia.

And locals agree that an absolute must-do is the coastal walk up to the Cape Byron Lighthouse. Follow the boardwalk on Lighthouse Road, winding around irresistible beaches and surf breaks.

You’ll then ascend up the headland for sea cliff views over Byron Bay and climb up the track to the lighthouse. Your reward is the unbelievable view over Cape Byron – pristine blue water set against green coastal bush, all from the most easterly point of the Australian mainland.

Image courtesy of Destination NSW

Take in Ocean Views on the Bondi to Coogee Walk

Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi NSW credit Tourism Australia

For breathtaking views along the coast in Sydney, you could do no better than the Bondi to Coogee Walk. This clifftop coastal walk stretches out almost four miles long, winding on the edge of some of Sydney’s most popular beaches.

This track is best enjoyed at a leisurely, and is often broken up into sections: Bondi Beach to Bronte Beach and Bronte to Coogee Beach. With many rest stops, beaches and rock pools along the way, you’ll find yourself stopping throughout the track just basking in the beauty of it all.

Make a day of it and start with a morning swim and beachside breakfast at Bondi, rest at Bronte and spend the afternoon at Coogee.

Or do it all in one go and complete a jog along the track – with stunning ocean views at your side, you’ll enjoy this incredible coastal walk either way.

Road Trip Down the Great Ocean Road

Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road

The first thing you need to know about the Great Ocean Road is that it’s so named for its magnificent beauty – but also for its length.

Stretching 151 miles long along the southeastern coast, you’ll need to plan at least two days for the trip to truly enjoy the incredible sights along the road.

This makes the trip perfect for self-drivers in Australia.

The road itself begins in Torquay, a seaside town about one hour away from Melbourne and ends at Warrnambool.

Popular stops include Bells Beach for impressive swells from the ocean crashing against towering cliffs and Split Point Lighthouse on Aireys Inlet for gorgeous coastal views.

But an absolute must-see on the Great Ocean Road is the Twelve Apostles, gigantic limestone formations jutting out from the ocean.

Looking for More Things to Do on Australia’s East Coast?

Stretching over 1600 miles, a vacation along Australia’s east coast is no easy feat – but its one of the world’s most rewarding travel routes.

Need more ideas on planning your trip to Australia? Our Australia travel experts make it easy to plan the vacation of a lifetime. Let’s start planning your dream trip!

I Want to See Australia’s East Coast!


You May Also Like:

16 photos will make you want to go to australia

16 Photos That Will Make You Want to Go to Australia Right Now

Guide to the Great Barrier Reef

Places to Visit in Australia – A Guide to the Great Barrier Reef

Couple walking on Whitehaven Beach

Places to Visit in Australia – A Guide to the Whitsundays


19 Free Things to Do in Melbourne

Posted on: February 26th, 2018 by Lizandra Santillan No Comments

Free Things to do in Melbourne

As Australia’s second largest city and capital for all things food, music and fun, the list of things to do in Melbourne is endless.

From its vibrant local music and arts scene to diverse food and incredible coffee culture, ticking off the essential Melbourne experiences in just a few days may seem impossible.

That’s why we’ve made it easy for you.

Here are 19 free things to do in Melbourne that showcase the best of the city.

See the Main Sights on the City Circle Tram

Free Melbourne City Circle Tram

What better way to see the city sights than for free? How about surrounded in the charm of a vintage cable car? And the best part – you can hop off and explore on your own, whenever you like.

Running through the city’s central business district (CBD), the City Circle Tram is undoubtedly one of the best ways to see Melbourne’s main landmarks and attractions.

You’ll catch sight of the Melbourne Museum, Federation Square, Melbourne Aquarium and much more. The accompanying commentary will give you a rundown of each landmark and its history.

Stroll the Queen Victoria Market

Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market is worth exploring just for the sights alone. The range of fresh produce and handmade products include everything from fruits and vegetables to hand-made pasta and top grade Wagyu beef.

For something sweet you’ll find fluffy bubble waffle cones loaded with ice cream and Melbourne’s best American-style jam doughnuts. Forgot to pack enough clothes for your trip? Find a new favorite outfit within the racks of threads ranging from fine merino wool knits to neon yellow safety jackets.

You’ll also discover unique treasures such as 1970’s comic books and vintage records – there’s something for every taste!

Get Cultured at the National Gallery of Victoria

National Gallery of Victoria

Consistently rated as one of the top free things to do in Melbourne, the National Gallery of Victoria will impress even the non-art buffs.

Wander among impressionist masterpieces from Monet and antiquities from all parts of the world. Immerse yourself in the vibrant colors and thought-provoking pieces of its contemporary art collection. You could spend your whole day exploring the treasures within – and still feel like it’s not enough time!

Walk Through the Labyrinth of Street Art in Melbourne’s Laneways

Hosier Lane

Melbourne’s inner-city grid lends itself to many hidden laneways that are easy to miss. But exploring these eclectic laneways in the CBD is one of the best things to do in Melbourne. You’ll find cozy coffee shops, warm cafes and bars where the soup of the day is gin. But the true gems will be the vibrant street art decorating the walls of these lanes.

Take a walk down Hosier Lane to see some of the city’s best street art. You’ll see colorful graffiti masterpieces and artists working on new pieces. This iconic laneway is part of the heart and soul of Melbourne’s urban subculture – you’ll feel like one of the cool kids as you walk down the street.

With less foot traffic, AC/DC Lane and Duckboard Place are also popular spots full of highly skilled street art. You’ll find a rock ‘n roll theme throughout AC/DC Lane, with murals of AC/DC band members (how the lane got its name) and other popular rock bands. Duckboard Place has a more gritty, urban aura with some hidden gems worth a look – easier to do with the least amount of crowds compared to other lanes.

Have a Laugh at a Comedy Night

Melbourne loves its stand-up comedy nights. If you’re looking for something a little different on a night out, catch a stand-up comedy night for a round of laughs to go with your drinks.

Spleen Bar on Bourke Street is a local favorite for its free comedy nights on Monday.

Lido Cinemas offers free comedy nights on Tuesdays, featuring some of the best rising stars of Aussie comedy. Perhaps the free popcorn makes the audience a bit more sympathetic as well!

For great vibes, cheap pints and one of the best comedy nights within the CBD, wander into Crab Lab on a Wednesday night. Grab some free popcorn and settle in for a great evening.

George’s Bar – If you’re a fan of Seinfeld, you’ll love this George Costanza-themed bar in the Fitzroy district. You’ll love their free Thursday comedy nights even more.

Learn About Australian Art at the Ian Potter Centre

For the culture vultures lacking a little in the Australian art department, this gallery is a must. Part of the National Gallery of Victoria, the Ian Potter Centre focuses exclusively on Australian and indigenous art.

You’ll see a representation of Australia’s history through artworks from aboriginal cultures as well as noted contemporary artists. Join a free guided tour to enjoy an expert’s insight into the exhibitions on display.

Visit the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art

Although the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art is small, the true modern art lover will feel right at home.

The building itself is an architectural artwork hinting at the eclectic collection within.

The constantly rotating exhibitions, workshops and films will challenge your perceptions and leave you with new perspectives.

Explore the Evolution of Animation at the Australian Centre for the Moving Arts

Australian Centre for the Moving Image

Let your inner obsession with television and video games run wild at the Australian Centre for the Moving Arts.

Their Screen Worlds exhibition is a fabulous collection of interactive displays, history of cinema, video games and more. Here you can create your very own flip book or try your hand at editing film. Unwind with one of many educational yet fun video games and favorites including Mario Kart or immerse yourself in a virtual reality experience.

The nostalgia and wonder will wash over you as your inner kid takes over.

Take in the Gorgeous City Vistas

The Eureka Skydeck is one of the best ways to see Melbourne from incredible heights, however you can catch some amazing views of the city from rooftop bars for free. Though you may be obligated to order a drink, what better way to see the city lights as the sun sets than sipping on your favorite cocktail?

Check out Swanson Street’s Rooftop Bar & Cinema or Lui Bar in Collins Street for unbeatable views and an outstanding range of drinks.

Listen to Live Music

As if Melbourne isn’t already cool enough, it’s also slated as Australia’s music capital. The city’s more than 400 venues have hosted major international bands acts as well as diverse local talent.

You’ll find disco nights, classical music concerts, jazz gigs, metal rock bands, hip hop acts – whatever your taste in music, Melbourne’s got it.

Live music is also easily found almost everywhere you turn in the CBD. Wander down AC/DC Lane and hit up Cherry Bar, infamous as a rock venue with a mix of free and paid shows.

On Mondays the Northcote Social Club hosts Monday Night Mass, a free event showcasing some of the local music scene’s underground talent.

The Gasometer Hotel is also a popular favorite in the local music scene, frequently hosting free shows on Sundays.

Browse the State Library of Victoria

State Library of Victoria

The State Library of Victoria is a bookworm’s paradise – and a must even for those not into reading.

Noted for its regal neoclassical architecture, the library contains six floors with a wonderful dome viewing balcony at the very top.

Levels 4 and 5 are dedicated gallery and exhibition spaces, housing significant collections of Victorian artwork, writings and artifacts. You’ll find rare treasures such as a 4000-year-old Sumerian cuneiform tax receipt and the bullet-dented armor of Ned Kelly, Australia’s own Jesse James.

Take a free tour to discover everything this iconic library has to offer. And enjoy the free WiFi, too – another great perk!

Taste Melbourne’s Famous Coffee

If there’s just one thing to take away from your visit to Melbourne, it’s the city’s incredible coffee scene. You won’t settle for regular drip coffee after a cup of joe from one of Melbourne’s sensational cafes.

The best way to get a taste of Melbourne’s greatest coffee is at Proud Mary, considered as one of the city’s finest coffee establishments. On Saturday mornings they have a free cupping event where all are welcome to meet their crew and taste new and favorite house blends.

Wander Through the Royal Botanic Gardens

Enjoy a tranquil afternoon away from the hustle and bustle of the city at the Royal Botanic Gardens. The gardens sprawl across 94 acres of grassy hills, native and exotic plants, scenic walking trails and a creek, all surrounding a lake in the center.

Free guided tours can help you get started exploring the vast gardens, or simply pack a picnic and relax by the lake. You’re very likely to spot native wildlife roaming around, especially the curious purple swamphen!

Swamphen

Visit the Fitzroy Gardens

Besides the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne is blessed with many more beautiful gardens and parklands. At the top of the list is Fitzroy Gardens, a quiet retreat on the edge of the CBD. The lush trees, flowers and fountains give way to historic gems throughout the gardens.

In the center of the grounds you’ll see a tiny Tudor village, like something out of a fairytale. Right next to it is Fairies’ Tree, a centuries old tree stump embellished with carvings of fairies, pixies, kangaroos and emus.

Another gem is Cook’s Cottage, the historic home of Captain James Cook, the British explorer who first voyaged to Australia and the South Pacific. Though there is a fee to enter the cottage-turned-museum, seeing the cottage alone is undeniably cool.

FItzroy Gardens

See Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance

This historic landmark is a war memorial originally honoring the men and women of the state of Victoria who served in World War I. Now it honors all Australians who have served in war.

A walk up the steps of the Shrine of Remembrance is a moving experience in itself. The shrine is designed in a classical style, inspired by the architecture of Athens’ Parthenon.

What makes this memorial a special architectural gem is the planned, uninterrupted vista of the city from the top deck of the shrine. Its beautifully manicured grounds and outdoor memorials surround the shrine creating an aerial shape of a poppy – the symbolic flower commemorating the fallen of WWI.

Explore the galleries and exhibitions within the shrine, set in a cathedral-like underground chamber. You’ll see photographs, uniforms, artworks and memorabilia of Australia’s military history. Don’t miss the Eternal Flame, a permanent gas flame representing eternal life.

Shrine of Remembrance Melbourne

Learn About the Aboriginal Koorie People at the Koorie Heritage Trust

Escape the hustle and bustle of Federation Square and stop by Koorie Heritage Trust. Located in the Yarra Building in Federation Square, this non-profit center offers Melbourne’s deepest insight into the indigenous Koorie people through immersive galleries and exhibitions. Here you’ll find artifacts, artworks, photos and oral history and video recordings preserving the Koorie cultural heritage of Victoria.

See their temporary exhibits on the ground floor gallery or explore their permanent collections on the top floor. If you’re lucky, you might catch one of their fascinating and educational events, hosted throughout the year.

Watch the St. Kilda Penguins Waddle Back Home

Take a short half hour tram ride from the CBD to St. Kilda, a popular day trip destination for bay side fun.

Noted for its beach and Coney Island-like theme parks, stay until sunset to view the St. Kilda fairy penguins return to their homes on the shore.

The best way to view these tiny penguins is on the St. Kilda Pier, and don’t worry about what time of year to visit – you’ll see them year round.

Snap a Pic of the Brighton Beach Boxes

Brighton Bathing Boxes

Further down the coast from St. Kilda is Brighton Beach, home of the iconic Brighton Beach Boxes. First built over a century ago, these historic bathing boxes remain unchanged. Their bright colors and uniform proportions create an undeniable sense of satisfaction – your eyes are just naturally drawn to them!

Though the ride to Brighton Beach is not free, buying a one-day unlimited explorer pass is more than worth it. You’ll get to spend a sunny afternoon out on the gorgeous beach with discounts to other top Melbourne attractions.

Experience Melbourne’s Countless Festivals

White Night Melbourne Festival

It doesn’t matter what time of the year you visit Melbourne – you’re bound to come across a festival! As Australia’s second largest city, Melbourne loves to celebrate its diversity with celebrations of music, food and culture. Step into Federation Square or the Queen Victoria Markets – where most of Melbourne’s festivals are held – and join in the fun.

From Hispanic-Latin American culture of Johnston Street Festival to its Scandinavian Christmas Bazaar, there’s a festival for every culture in Melbourne. Catch the Chinese New Year Festival in February or the Diwali Indian Festival in October.

See the night come to life in a spectacle of color and light during White Night in February, the most attended event of its kind in Australia. Moomba Festival in March is a flurry of color and spirit centered on the Yarra River with live music, parades, fireworks and carnivals.

Music lovers can plan on dozens of festivals throughout the year. Melbourne Festival is a bucket list item, featuring major international artists. St. Kilda Festival, Australia’s largest free music festival, is also a popular favorite, bringing in some of the country’s top musical talents.

Comedy fans will want to catch the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, one of the top three comedy festivals in the world.

Explore the City with These Free Things to Do in Melbourne

Ready to live it up in the city? Whether you’re looking for a quiet afternoon getting lost in a museum or seeking a fun night out, the best thing about Melbourne is there’s always a way to do it for free. Fill your free days with these fantastic things to do in Melbourne and make your stay an unforgettable one.

Want to add Melbourne to your Australia vacation? Let’s start planning your perfect vacation package – we’ll include time for you to truly get the most out of Melbourne.

I Want to Go to Melbourne!

Phone us Toll Free on 1-888-359-2877 (CT USA, M-F 8.30am – 5pm).


You May Also Like:

Federation Square Melbourne

Things to Do in Federation Square

Queen Victoria Market Melbourne

Melbourne Must-See: Queen Victoria Market

Hidden Laneways Melbourne

Hidden Gems: Melbourne Laneways and Arcades


23 Ways to Wine and Dine In Australia Part 2: Coast to Coast

Posted on: February 21st, 2018 by Lizandra Santillan No Comments

The Best Australia Food and Wine for a Coastal Vacation

The food and wine scene across Australia is constantly setting trends and becoming a bucket list destination for foodies everywhere.

On the east coast you’ll find an abundance of the world’s fresh seafood and waterfront dining with a tropical flair. You’ll also find that Hunter Valley and the Barossa are not Australia’s only premier wine regions. The Margaret River wine region in Western Australia is a must-do for any wine lover.

In Part I of our 23 Ways to Wine and Dine in Australia blog, we showcased the top spots for food and wine in Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart and Adelaide. But exceptional gourmet food and wine experiences are also found in tropical Queensland and Australia’s enchanting west coast.

Stop at these 23 spots for the best wining and dining in Noosa, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Perth and surrounding wine regions.

Noosa

Noosa is a bit of a hidden secret in Australia. With fantastic beaches, lush national parks, world-class dining and shopping, this is the place Aussies go for a beach holiday close to home.

The food and wine scene in Noosa is quickly becoming one of the best in all Australia. You’ll find everything from award-winning waterfront dining along the Noosa River to a motorcycle-themed bar serving craft beer and coffee.

Treat yourself in this beach city gem and indulge in one of our must-do restaurants while in Noosa.

Sails – No local can deny that Sails is a Noosa institution. Framed by the serene views of Noosa Main Beach, vibrant seafood delightfully presented and an extensive wine list – pure tropical bliss.

Wasabi – Some of the best views of the Noosa River are found at Wasabi. A sunset sitting is perhaps the best complement to its traditional Japanese cuisine. Their Omakase degustation menu features a seven or nine course meal highlighting ingredients sourced from their own local farm, Honeysuckle Hill. You’ll find tried and true favorites like sashimi and nigiri along with regional dishes such as Moreton bay oysters and sake steamed spanner crab.

Locale– Wander down to the end of Hastings Street to perhaps the most down-to-earth restaurant in Noosa: Locale. Sleek and sophisticated Italian cuisine meets lush alfresco dining in this local favorite. Their prawns and zucchini flowers are popular starters, but you’ll be dreaming about their squid ink pasta for days. Their wine list is also a dream, ranging from champagne to shiraz and everything in between.

Season Restaurant– Attentive and professional service with a charm as relaxed as its beach setting, Season is another Hastings Street favorite. Book ahead for a beach side table, but don’t fret if you don’t get that coveted seat – the real star of Season is the seafood curry.

Noosa Beach House – If you’re coming to Noosa Beach House, you’re coming for the signature Sri Lankan Snapper curry. Can’t decide from their small menu? Opt for the degustation menu and delight in six courses featuring roasted pork belly, wagyu sirloin, local spanner crab along with an Amuse Bouche. A little bit of everything with a little something extra!

Brisbane

As the capital city of tropical Queensland, Brisbane combines urban city living with beachside relaxation. And as the third largest city in all of Australia, there no doubt Brisbane is becoming a contender for some of the nation’s best food scenes.

Here are the top Brisbane restaurants to stop at for world-class wining and dining.

Sono Restaurant – Looking for the best sushi in Brisbane? Or perhaps the best seafood, period? Look no further than Sono. Boasting Brisbane’s freshest sashimi, exciting teppanyaki and amazing views of the Brisbane River, this Japanese and seafood dining experience is unreal. And with Moreton Bay just a little ways down the river, their Moreton Bay Bugs are a must.

Urbane – If you have an entire afternoon free, that may be just enough time to dine at Urbane. Here, it’s all about dining at your own leisure where friendly and personable attendants will remember your name. The service is definitely one of the top reasons Urbane is listed as the top restaurant in Queensland. Their five and seven course degustation menus featuring Australian and vegetarian cuisine undoubtedly contribute to their well-deserved awards.

Bacchus – This is perhaps the best place for that first dip into Australian fine dining. Extremely knowledgeable and approachable staff will dash away any qualms you have about asking what exactly is on your plate. That’s just a testament to the impressive presentation. And with a menu detailing the exact region where each dish is sourced, you’ll soon become an expert on your own meal. Pair your seven course degustion meal with wine or choose a decadent dish from their a la cart menu. The venison main dish is a popular hit.

Malt– Satisfy any cravings for duck at Malt, where this consistent favorite is cooked to crispy perfection. Add in generous wine pours, a rustic-chic setting and live piano performances for an evening of utter romance.

Gerard’s Bistro– Tantalize your taste buds with Brisbane’s take on Middle Eastern cuisine at Gerard’s Bistro. Get cozy with your dining partner as these dishes are made for sharing. And you’ll want to get a little taste of everything, with tasty dishes such as coal-grilled octopus, suckling pig and fried cauliflower.

Gold Coast

Mount Tamborine and Surrounding Wineries

The vacation never ends when you’re in the Gold Coast. Sunny beaches, wild theme parks and a buzzing nightlife – it’s got everything you need to wind down and get loose.

But for a more quiet retreat, the Gold Coast Hinterland will enchant with its lush national parks, waterfalls and charming towns.

In this region you’ll find Mount Tamborine, known as the “Green Behind the Gold.” And with breathtaking scenery, clean mountain air and award-winning wineries, we feel their gold is well deserved.

O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyard– With a fabulous picnic lunch on offer to complement their gorgeous grounds, this is the winery of your fantasies. That is, if you dream about a gourmet picnic by Canungra Creek, sipping on a glass of wine while looking out to the turtles in the water. If you’re lucky you may spot the elusive resident platypus!

Witches Falls Winery– If you’ve only got time for one winery visit while in the Gold Coast, Witches Falls Winery is the place to go. Passionate and friendly service, local cheeses and six wine tastings for $6 – it’s hard to go wrong here.

Ocean View Estate– For a boutique winery with serious food, Ocean View Estate is a must. It’s difficult to say which is their main draw – their superb wines or their extensive and carefully curated menu. And for the non-wine lovers out there, they do their own craft beer as well!

Albert River Wines– Got a special occasion coming up? Albert River Wines provides the perfect setting for any celebration. High quality dishes such as barramundi and veal provide an impressive dining experience, surrounded in the colonial charm of a historic home. Add in a taste of their sauvignon blanc or their popular red blends for a splendid day in the Gold Coast hinterland.

Perth

Most people only experience Australia’s east coast on their first vacation Down Under.

But Australia’s west coast offers an otherworldly charm that shouldn’t be missed. Repeat visitors from around the world are drawn to Western Australia’s surreal national parks, a burgeoning food scene and fantastic wine regions.

Perth, the nation’s sunniest capital city is the main base for exploring the best of this region’s food and wine. Chic eateries and European-style bars are tucked in its inner city laneways, and fine dining is found within the CBD.

Here are the top spots in Perth worth a stop for a little indulgence.

Wildflower – The tasting menu at Wildflower not only offers exceptional Australian cuisine but also rotates according to the six seasons of the indigenous Noongar calendar. Each dish celebrates local ingredients throughout the changing of the seasons. This is the sort of attention that makes Wildflower a local favorite. The stunning views of the Swan River definitely help.

Petite Mort – Petite Mort is a bit of a hidden secret, where French and Australian cuisine meet in a three or ten course menu. Ingredients full of color and flavor are paired together on elegantly presented dishes. The ten course degustation menu is a favorite for its corned silverside and quail egg dish along with its signature dessert – “Death By Chocolate.”

C Restaurant in the Sky– It’ll be difficult for anything to top the views at C Restaurant. Literally. This upscale restaurant is located in the slowly revolving 33rd floor of St. Martins Tower, lending to incredible 360 degree views of the city. What better way to spend an evening than indulging in fresh seafood or tender pork belly while looking out onto the Swan River and city lights?

Varnish on King– This hidden gem of a whiskey bar is quickly becoming a Perth institute. The Bacon Flight – four generous cuts of bacon matched with whiskey – is a bucket list item for true Perth foodies. And if you’re not into whiskey, they have a Rose and Bacon flight as well!

Margaret River

When looking for things to do in Perth the most common response is a day trip out to Margaret River. With stunning natural beauty, craft breweries and countless wineries, this region provides so much more than one day’s worth of adventure.

Known for its cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay, you’ll find just as delectable white wine varieties throughout the region.

Leeuwin Estate– World-class chardonnay, free tastings and amazing food – this is one of Wilyabrup’s finest wineries. Its sensational vintages also helped put this region on the wine map. Though there’s a fee to taste their Art Series wines, offering perhaps Australia’s best chardonnay, the price is totally worth it.

Cullen Wines– Considered a gem of the region, this family-run winery is 100% biodynamic. The ingredients used in their sophisticated menu are all sourced from their gardens and local surrounds. That’s right – not only will you find exquisite red blends but you’ll also find a divine menu with dishes such as rabbit, duck and barramundi. Come for the wine, stay for the food.

Fraser Gallop– Like a scene out of a movie, the Fraser Gallop Estate grounds are undoubtedly the most beautiful in all of Wilyabrup. And their serious, built-to-last Parterre Cabernet Sauvignon is just as stunning.

Woodlands– Personal and friendly tastings make their elegant cabernet sauvignon all the more pleasurable. Friendly and knowledgeable staff create the cozy and family-feel atmosphere this cellar door is well-known for. An asset to the charm of Wilyabrup Valley.

Voyager Estate– A bucket list item for premier Margaret River wining and dining. Delectable degustation with wine pairings, rose gardens and wine and cheese flights – this is a slice of paradise. If you still aren’t impressed, perhaps their  flagpole – Australia’s second largest flag and flagpole – will do the trick.

Ready for a Little Indulgence in Australia?

Aussies love their food and drink, and love sharing the best places even more. For more recommendations on the best food and wine in Australia, your Destination Specialist can give you insider tips. We’ll make it all the more easier to plan your food and wine trail throughout your vacation Down Under!

I Want to Taste Australia’s Food & Wine!

Phone us Toll Free on 1-888-359-2877 (CT USA, M-F 8.30am – 5pm).


You May Also Like:

Australia Food and Wine

23 Ways to Wine and Dine Through Australia Pt. I

Amazing Sydney Restaurants

15 Amazing Restaurants to Try in Sydney

Things to Do in Noosa and Sunshine Coast

9 Amazing Things to Do in Noosa and Sunshine Coast


23 Ways to Wine and Dine Through Australia: Part I

Posted on: February 12th, 2018 by Lizandra Santillan No Comments

The Best Australia Food and Wine for the Gourmet Traveler

When it comes to Australia food and wine, perhaps what instantly comes to mind is Vegemite…and not much else.

Yet the culinary scene throughout the country features some of the world’s most innovative and trend-setting restaurants. And the wine? Some of the best Chardonnay and Shiraz in the world.

For the true food and wine lovers, these are 23 must-see stops in Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide and surrounding wine regions. No vacation to Australia is complete without a little indulgence.

Sydney

Sydney’s reputation as Australia’s global city precedes itself. Right on the doorstep of the CBD you’ll find incredibly diverse eateries to satisfy any craving imaginable.

From high-end dining to cozy cafes offering anything from Aussie dishes to Malaysian cuisine, you can’t go wrong with any pick.

But if you’re finding your head swimming from trying to choose the best Sydney restaurants, we’ve made it easy for you. Here’s our list of can’t-miss restaurants in Sydney.

Graze MCA – Located in the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, this is one of those rare restaurants that has it all. Brilliant location with an unbeatable view of the Sydney Opera House, amazing food and fantastic service. Simple and fresh ingredients highlight the generous portions of dishes such as bouillabaisse, poached ocean trout and lamb rump. Their wine list is a carefully curated celebration of Aussie and Kiwi wine regions, perfect for sipping while enjoying the views of the harbor.

Hubert – Step back in time to 1930’s Paris as you enter Hubert, a must for French cuisine. Don’t let the unassuming exterior fool you. Once inside, the unmistakably Parisian flair greets you with an ambience of dark elegance illuminated by dozens of candles. The menu boasts items inspired by cookbooks predating World War I.  With live music adding to the splendid atmosphere, dining in Hubert is a divine slice of Paris right in the CBD.

Quay– Often lauded as the best restaurant in Sydney, this multiple award-winning restaurant never fails to live up to the hype. This is one of those essential Australian experiences: excellent views of iconic Sydney sights, dishes reflecting a unique blend of bush and local ingredients and a superb wine list detailing even the grape percentages of its champagnes.

Sake –  If you’re inkling for a spot of Japanese, Sake is perhaps one of the best choices in all of Sydney. The simplicity of its sushi bar compliments the decadent main dishes, such as the sweet soy braised pork belly and pan seared barramundi. Your visit isn’t complete until you’ve had the famous dragon egg desert, a dark chocolate shell  filled with toasted chocolate crumble, passionfruit curd, mango caramel and other vibrant delicacies.

 

Hungry for more? Check out our list of more amazing restaurants in Sydney you need to try.

Hunter Valley

Just about three hours away from Sydney you’ll find Hunter Valley, one of Australia’s premier wine regions.

Noted for its Shiraz and Semillon, there’s still a wide variety of wines to taste from one of many cellar doors dotting the region. A wine tasting tour is one of our favorite ways to get to know the region. What’s better than sampling a variety of wines without having to worry about the drive back?

If you’re a true wine lover, not much else.

Here are some of the top wineries in Hunter Valley you need to visit while Sydney.

Audrey Wilkinson Vineyard – If there’s one thing you’ll remember about your visit to Hunter Valley, it’ll be without a doubt the views from Audrey Wilkinson. This is where you’ll get that sweeping view of picturesque vineyards you see on the postcards. This historic winery dates back to 1866 and offers an excellent range of Semillons along with selections of sparkling, Chardonnay and Rose. Surround yourself in Audrey Wilkinson’s vintage charm with a picnic amongst the vines or a behind the scenes winery tour.

Piggs Peake – If you like big, fruit-driven red wines and small hidden gems, Piggs Peake is the place for you. Often recommended by other wineries, this small local winery has big personality. Here you’ll find a casual approach to wine (all wine names have a pig theme) with knowledge as professional and personal as any expert sommelier. Consistent favorites include their House of Sticks Shiraz and the House of Straw Merlot.

Mount View Estate – For a classic Hunter Valley experience with a boutique feel, Mt View Estate is a must-see. This estate has produced some of the most awarded wines in the Hunter Valley for 40 years. Mt View boasts a little bit of everything: a wide range of premium wines, gorgeous grounds and friendly and approachable owners.

Melbourne

Many locals fondly regard Melbourne as the Paris of the South – but then, many Melburnians are rather cheeky.

But there’s an unmistakably European feel about its lush Victorian architecture and grid-like city center, and it can’t be denied that Melbourne is considered as Australia’s undisputed cool kid.

The passion emanating from its world-renowned coffee and food scene is infectious, and your standards will rise to a level you’ll be hard pressed to experience anywhere else.

AtticaFoodies visiting Melbourne should have Attica at the top of their list. Rated as one of the world’s best 50 restaurants in 2017 and as the best restaurant in all Australasia, you’ll need to book at least a month in advance. But the month-long wait is well worth it. The menu consists of 17 courses blending Australian flavors in smaller portions so you can enjoy every plate. With dishes such as kangaroo, wattles and waxflower and camel milk ice, this is the perfect introduction to fine Australian cuisine.

Tipo 00 Wander down Little Bourke Street to find one of Melbourne’s hottest eateries in one of its smallest venues. Tipo 00 is all about carbs, so leave your carb-counting at home. Don’t be fooled by its simple and small menu – the house-made pasta and risotto dishes crafted from bright and fresh ingredients will delight your taste buds with every bite. Their squid ink pasta is a favorite, and their rabbit tagliatelle is a consistent hit.

Brae – For a minimal yet chic experience, you can do no better than Brae. This restaurant has hopped up and up on the World’s Best Restaurants list, jumping from #65 to #44 in 2017. The experience speaks for itself; a visit to Brae is like visiting a friend’s home. Instead of single servings of one course at a time like regular degustation menus, you’ll be served multiple dishes at one time to graze at your own pace. The feel is reminiscent of an upscale holiday feast.

Yarra Valley

Less than an hour from Melbourne’s CBD is Yarra Valley, the Nappa Valley of Australia. Make a day trip to indulge in some of the finest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay produced from one of many wineries in the region. We also love day touring out to Yarra – winery hopping without the hassle of driving, yes please!

Here are some wineries you need to visit while in Yarra.

TarraWarra Estate Stunning grounds and Australia’s first significant privately funded public museum make TarraWarra a cultural jewel of the Yarra Valley. Have a glass of their exceptional Pinot Noir or Chardonnay while overlooking the scenic surrounds on a crisp afternoon – paradise for any wine lover.

Yarra Yering – For the serious wine buff, Yarra Yering is a must-see. Reds are the focus here, and if you’re traveling solo you can taste ten wines for $10. An absolute steal considering the selection features their current vintages.

Oakridge Wines – Come for the food and wine, stay for a game of giant chess. What more do you need to draw you in for a visit? Perhaps complimentary wine tasting with no booking necessary? We’re so there. Not to mention the beautiful grounds – you’ll be day dreaming about hosting your wedding here.

Hobart

A can’t-miss stop for any foodie MUST include a trip to Hobart. Seriously, with the cleanest air and waterways in the world, Tasmania produces some of the finest seafood and distillation around.

A stay in Hobart will be full of feasting on the freshest salmon, oysters, cheeses, whiskey and ciders. Here are our highlights of some of Hobart’s premier dining institutions.

The Source – The Museum of Old and New Art is a Hobart icon – a must for any art lover with the slightest predilection for the controversial. But one of the MONA’s brightest gems is The Source, its in-house restaurant focused on seasonal local produce. Try their own Moorilla wine or delight your taste buds with one of ten thousand bottles from around the world (no, really!).

Mures Straight from the day’s catch from their own fishing vessel, you’ll be hard pressed to find any seafood fresher than at Mures. The restaurant is split into two decks: Mures Lower Deck provides a more casual dining experience while Upper Deck is more intimate and upscale. Situated on the waterfront, you’ll enjoy superb views of the harbor either way.

The Glass House – A small but insanely popular restaurant where tables are fought over even on Monday nights. But believe the hype: attentive service with smiles, exceptional food and gorgeous views of Derwent River cement The Glass House’s reputation as a Hobart must-do. Highlights are the carefully crafted cocktails and the salmon sashimi.

Willing Brothers – Here you’ll find great eats and an extensive wine list tucked in a cozy venue. Aussie and European labels are proudly displayed on the wall of the bar, and you can even buy a bottle to take home after tasting. Pair your sips with a small but delicious meal from locally-sourced ingredients.

Ettie’sYou won’t find a more rustic chic and stylish restaurant in Hobart than Ettie’s. Its contemporary menu offers a broad range of options from roasted duck ravioli to steak frites. For a lovely leisurely meal, opt for the seven course degustation meal and get your fill of oysters, sardines, mussels and cheese.

Adelaide

Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills

Adelaide in South Australia is noted for its refined elegance and culture. After getting acquainted with its stately art galleries and museums in North Terrace, take a day trip out to one of the surrounding wine regions. Some of our favorites are Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills, where you’ll find 5-star wineries and some of Australia’s best cool-climate wines.

Two HandsFor an journey into what Australian Shiraz is capable of, Two Hands is a must. Their Gnarly Dudes Shiraz is a popular favorite. Here you’ll receive a unique sit-down tasting from the day’s selection and you’ll get to take your tasting glass home with you.

Torbreck – Named one of the world’s top 100 wine estates, Torbreck is a small winery excelling in Shiraz and consistency. Though big on rich reds, their whites, particularly the Roussanne Marsanne, plays rights along side their most popular contenders.

Ochota Barrels This is truly one of Adelaide Hills hidden gems with a well-deserved cult following. All Ochota Barrels wine names are music references sure to delight any punk rock enthusiast. Grab a seat at Lost in a Forest, their cellar door housed in a 130 year-old stone church, and try their wood fired pizza while sipping on their wines. Set within an idyllic scene of bright, lush trees hanging over picnic blankets on the lawn, you’ll feel yourself delightfully lost in a forest.

Rockford – No frills and serious wine is found in Rockford. Though a smaller winery, you’re sure to receive warm and attentive service even throughout peak times. This is the place to go for a more traditional winery experience, housed in restored buildings reflecting the architecture of Barossa Valley’s early settlements. You’ll feel the warmth of their sparkling Shiraz in your very soul.

Penfolds Magill EstateIf you’re at all familiar with Australian wine, you’ll have definitely heard of Penfolds. When in Barossa, you can’t pass up the opportunity to miss this household name at their cellar door. With a wide range of affordable and high end wines, there’s something for every palate. And only 20 minutes away from Adelaide’s city center, there’s no reason for you not to go!

Want More Recommendations on the Best Australia Food and Wine?

Part 2 will highlight food and wine spots in Australia’s east coast, including Noosa, Brisbane and Gold Coast. Your Destination Specialist is also always on hand to give you the inside scoop on restaurants and cellar doors you must visit while on your trip. Give in to your desires and lets start planning the ultimate food and wine trail for your Australia vacation!

I Want to Taste Australia’s Food & Wine!

Phone us Toll Free on 1-888-359-2877 (CT USA, M-F 8.30am – 5pm).


You May Also Like

Queen Victoria Markets

Melbourne Must-See: Queen Victoria Markets

Hunter Valley Wine Sydney

If You Love Wine, You’ll Love Hunter Valley

Amazing Restaurants in Sydney

15 Amazing Restaurants in Sydney