Best City to Visit in Australia is the Best City in the World to Live | Melbourne, Australia

Posted on: March 7th, 2017 by Brad Fulton No Comments
Melbourne Intro Banner

Photos: Tourism Australia, Peter Dunphy and Ewen Bell

For the sixth consecutive year, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia has been named the world’s number one most livable city. This is according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), who each year compile a list of 140 cities and rank them in terms of livability. Not only that, Melbourne has taken a spot in at least the top 3 since the list began in 2002. So what makes a city “most livable” and what has given Melbourne an edge above in its six-year reign at the top of the list? It turns out that the answer may also make Melbourne the best city to visit in Australia.

Downtown Melbourne Cyclist and Tram

Photo: Josie Withers Photography

No coincidence or luck of the draw, Melbourne’s spot at the top is based on real numbers and data. The EIU combine together metrics like culture and environment, education, infrastructure, stability, and healthcare to get a specific picture  of what life is like for the average Melbourne citizen. Despite Melbourne’s perfect scores in things like education and healthcare effecting locals more directly, there is an overall benefit to the city in terms of tourism as well, making it one of the most visited cities in Australia.

Melbourne is the capital of the Australian state of Victoria and is the second most populated city in the country. Though it may not have the immediate name recognition of Aussie staples like Sydney, with its eponymous Opera House, Melbourne has consistently been recognized as a true global city. With a unique, rich cultural environment and renowned infrastructure and parks, Melbourne is not only a great place to live for locals, but the best city to visit in Australia for your next travel destination.

Culture – Sights and Sounds

Melbourne received a perfect 100 in the EIU’s “culture and environment” score, securing its place as a culturally rich destination. Melbourne is also recognized as the “cultural and sporting capital” of Australia – and for several years was named as the “World’s Ultimate Sports City”. Lending to this distinction is a diverse array of cultural institutions and a large number of museums, sporting facilities, festivals, street art and music venues. In fact, with a larger number of music venues per capita, Melbourne has actually surpassed Austin, TX, current reigning “live music capital of the world”. Nearly 500 venues dot the landscape of Melbourne, making live music a more than $1 billion industry.

Melbourne Australia Concert Music Venue

Photo: Paul Philipson

The value of such a large focus on the music industry encompasses more than just the huge number of jobs and money injected in to the city. It also means that Melbourne is committed to making itself a destination city for arts and entertainment. Local hotels, bars, cafes, and restaurants are all trying to cater to Melbourne tourists. In Melbourne, so much activity happening means you don’t have to wait until the weekend for a night on the town. Even on a Monday, you can catch dinner and a show.

Whether it’s an intimate 50 person affair at The Old Bar in Fitzroy or a 5,000 person packed concert at the Festival Hall, Melbourne’s music scene is a must-see cultural institution. With such a large variety of venues, even a short stay in Melbourne can be enough to intimate yourself with the locals. A live concert allows you to view first-hand the type of cultural experience that makes Melbourne not only the best place to live in the world, but also the best city to visit in Australia.

Foodie Heaven

A sort of unsung hero in the foodie world, Melbourne is home to more than 5,000 cafes and restaurants. In fact, it has one of the highest numbers of restaurants and cafes per capita of any city in the world, more than even New York City. A large multi-cultural population, with residents from more than 140 nations, Melbourne’s food scene represents an eclectic and diverse smorgasbord of cuisine. Melbourne has hosted its own annual Food and Wine Festival since 1993. Each year, a growing number of attendees and chef-celebrities make their way to the city, solidifying its place as the food and wine capital of Australia.

First time visitors to Melbourne may in fact be overwhelmed by the array of options at their disposable. Full on foodies and the food-curious alike will find Melbourne to be the best city to visit in Australia, with no shortage of unique culinary experiences. Famed chefs and up and comers in the fine dining scene alike have found a place in Melbourne among a food landscape brimming with talent and options.

Melbourne Australia Cofee Shop

Photo: Josie Withers Photography

For those seeking a slightly more casual approach to dining in Melbourne, Melbourne’s café and coffee culture is also renowned the world over. Australia’s current coffee culture originated in the early 1950’s with an influx of European immigrants from places like Italy, France, and Turkey. Even though coffee has been available since the early 1800’s, it wasn’t until then that Australia and Melbourne in particular found its focus in high quality espresso drinks that were previously largely unavailable. A focus on unique, independent cafes and coffee shops over chains and franchises give each Melbourne café a unique impression of its surrounding neighborhood, giving visitors a proper feel of the local culture of the city.

The Garden City in the Garden State

Melbourne is known as “the garden city” within Victoria, which itself is “the garden state” of Australia. More than 1300 acres of green space are located in the city of Melbourne, nearly 15% of its total land area according to a study done by 202020 Vision. Public parks and gardens, some dating all the way back to 1862, account for a large percentage of green space in the city.  Attention to green spaces is a quality of life metric that tends to be an important indicator of satisfaction to residents of cities around the world and Melbourne excels at providing them.

Melbourne Australia Green Spaces and Gardens

Photo: Josie Withers Photography

Melbourne Australia Green Spaces and Gardens

Photo: Josie Withers Photography


The internationally renowned Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne is a nearly 100 acre group of gardens on the bank to the south of the Yarra River that runs through center Melbourne. Attracting more than 1,000,000 local and non-local visitors every year, the Botanic Gardens contain over 10,000 species of plant, both native and non-native. Outdoor sculpture gardens that mix green space with art also dot the landscape of Melbourne both within and outside of the Royal Botanic Gardens.


Melbourne has a dense city center, along with an extensive network of public transportation, making its infrastructure some of the best in the world, with a perfect 100 EIU score. Progressive infrastructure and ongoing infrastructure improvements are a big reason Melbourne tops the list year after year. Visitors and locals alike largely prioritize a dense, connected public transit system. Featuring the largest tram network in the world, and an extensive network of regional and metro rail, Melbourne is the best city to visit in Australia especially for car-free touring.

Downtown Melbourne Cyclist

Photo: Mark Chew

Melbourne Tram

Photo: AAT Kings

The EIU also takes in to account more than 700 km of bike lanes and routes that were added in the past few years, with hopes to increase safety for those riding downtown or commuting by bike. While many of Melbourne’s outer suburbs are still car dependent, the city center is easily navigated and commuted by bicycle due to the lane upgrades implemented by the city. On top of the car-side bicycle lanes, there are a large number of cycling trails that go through many of the city’s parks, edging past laneways and hidden cafes.

These bike lane improvements make getting around the city easy for first time visitors, or those who return to Melbourne time and time again. One of the best ways to get around any city is by bicycle, and Melbourne is no exception. With the autonomy of a self-driven stay, the ease of not having to park and drive in an unfamiliar city, and the hop-on, hop-off convenience of a bus tour, both visitors and locals alike can enjoy this positive livability benefit. Melbourne may also just be the best city to visit in Australia by bike.

Best City to Live, Best City to Visit in Australia

It’s clear that Melbourne’s distinction as “most livable city” doesn’t just benefit people who live there already. The city’s diverse culture, progressive infrastructure, and focus on nature and green spaces prove to be important indicators of satisfaction to tourists as well. The best city to visit in Australia is one that combines cultural experiences with progressive transportation convenient for those traveling, and Melbourne has proven consistent at providing it all and more.

Make Melbourne a must-visit destination when you’re planning your next trip. It takes some of the best aspects of other Aussie cities and packages them in to a sort of condensed, greatest hits of Australia. Chances are you don’t have infinite time to spend on your next vacation and Melbourne is a great way to make the most use of the time you do have.

Start creating your memories of Melbourne now by letting us plan a trip for you.

Let’s Plan a Trip

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

Discover Lion filming locations in pristine Tasmania

Posted on: January 17th, 2017 by Melissa Maxwell No Comments

The movie Lion was filmed in many locations.  Much of Lion was filmed in India, but a large was filmed in pristine Tasmania. The Oscar nominated film, Lion is based on Saroo Brierley’s bestselling memoir, A Long Way Home, a story of survival and determination. The movie highlights his journey as a lost child in India finding a new home and family in Tasmania, Australia and then searching for his biological family as an adult.

As you watch the film, you can’t help but be amazed at the rugged splendor provided by Tasmania’s landscape, especially in the opening credits.  If you’re like us, this film makes you want to visit Tasmania and get to know her a little better.    Even the cast and crew of Lion was taken in by Tasmania’s charm.  Producer Angie Fielder told The Mercury: “Our cast absolutely love it. Rooney Mara, in fact has been saying repeatedly how beautiful it is. She can’t believe it.

“We’ve all been really enjoying the night life in the evenings – the restaurants, the delicious food, the fantastic wine. Everyone is ordering lots of oysters.

“Nicole (Kidman) has been here before, but she really thinks it’s great,

“Dev Patel [Slumdog Millionaire and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel] and Rooney Mara [The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo] are here for the first time and they’re blown away.”

Here are a few of Tasmania’s notable Lion scenes and how you can include them in your next vacation:

Lion Filming Locations

kunanyi/Mt Wellington

Lion Filming Locations Mt Wellington

Courtesy of The Weinstein Company LLC. All rights reserved.

In the movie, Dev Patel & Rooney Mara take a jog up a mountain and sit atop a mighty peak, overlooking Hobart city.   This scene was filmed at Mt Wellington.  It’s a favorite among locals and tourists alike.  Only 25 minutes from the city center, it’s a great place to watch the sun set, hike, and take a picnic. But you don’t have to jog up there. Many tours stop at the lookout.  One of our favorites includes stops at Mt Field, Russell Falls and the Bonorong Wildlife Park.

Mt Wellington Lion filming location

Courtesy of Tourism Australia & Graham Freeman

The Candlestick & Cape Hauy

The Candlestick & Cape Hauy Lion Filming Locations

Courtesy of The Weinstein Company LLC. All rights reserved.

When watching the film, you can’t miss this shot with the towering spire and accompanying cape. This amazing coastal scenery is part of the Tasman Peninsula, just 90 minutes from Hobart.  The scenes where young Saroo, Nicole Kidman and David Wenham are sailing and playing cricket also take place on the Tasman Peninsula. There are a few ways you can take in this jaw-dropping view while you search for your own private beach. Cruise around the peninsula looking for fur seals, dolphins and sperm whales in a custom boat with an award winning tour company. You can experience the Tasman Sea intimately on a sea kayaking tour or take a four-day trek along the Three Capes Track.

Three Capes Track - Cape Hauy Lion Filming Locations

Courtesy of Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service

 The Bruny Island Neck

Bruny Island Lion Movie Lion Filming Locations

Courtesy of The Weinstein Company LLC. All rights reserved.

Another great shot in Lion is of a narrow strip of land with turquoise sea on each side. This isthmus is known as the Bruny Island Neck and it joins open and airy North Bruny to the rainforested South Bruny. There’s a reason why this shot is showcased right before the family meets for a nice meal out. Bruny Island has some AMAZING food and dining experiences! Only a ferry away, the island is easily visited on a day trip from Hobart.

Seafood Cruise Tasmania Lion Filming Locations

Courtesy of Matt Glastonbury

Foodies will love a full day tasting journey across the island as they nibble on local cheese, slurp fresh oysters and indulge in other gourmet vittles. This tour includes a climb up the 200+ steps for an unforgettable 360 view of the isthmus.  Those who love seafood would enjoy the Tasmanian Seafood Seduction where you’ll cruise around Bruny Island catching fresh seafood for a fabulous gourmet lunch. For those more interested in the wildlife around the island, there is an award-winning half-day Eco cruise where they can meet the Bruny Island seals, dolphins, whales, albatross, eagles, gannet, shearwater and petrel who live in this delicate ecosystem. You could also treat yourselves to something special with a scenic flight over the Neck to get this exact view.

Of course, Tasmania has much more to offer.  In recent years, Tasmania has been named by Travel + Leisure as the one of the world’s top ten islands and Lonely Planet recently ranked Tasmania as one of the top ten honeymoon islands.  Tasmania has some of the world’s best whisky, food & wine and the cleanest air on the planet.  You’ll love exploring Tasmania’s lovely terrain and learning about the island’s sorted past.


Are you ready to start planning your trip to Australia? Talk to one of our Destination Specialists today. We’ll make sure you have an ‘no worries, mate’ vacation!

Help Me Plan My Trip >>

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




A Unique Australian Destination for People Who Love Adventure – Photos from Kakadu National Park

Posted on: December 8th, 2016 by Melissa Maxwell No Comments

Kakadu National Park, located in the Top End of Northern Territory, Australia isn’t for everyone. But if you have adventure in your heart, love nature and enjoy learning about ancient cultures, it’s one of the best places in the world!  It’s one of those unique Australian destinations that is genuinely described as a very spiritual travel experience. With nearly 8,000 square miles of diverse wildness, this park holds a scared place with the Bininj/Mungguy people. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore this diverse natural wonderland and Aboriginal culture on your visit to Kakadu.

Here are a few things you might like to add to your bucket list and some tips for travel along the way!

Swimming Holes & Waterfalls!

Kakadu PoolsImage by: NeilsPhotography
Kakadu is a tropical area with two distinct seasons, Wet & Hot (October – April) and Dry & Cool (May – September). But even in the middle of the dry season swimming holes can be found. While you may be tempted to take a dip in any old pool, it’s best to stick to the popular and monitored swimming holes. Kakadu, after all is known for its crocodiles! Always observe the warning signs.

Gunlom – A Pool with a View

Gunlom a Pool with a View
Hidden at the top of a waterfall that can only be found after a steep hike, is an amazing little swimming hole with a view that can’t be beat!

Wangi Falls!

we can’t always see what’s to come but we can trust that faith will light the path

A photo posted by Kim Christine (@kimchristines) on

One of the most popular tourism attractions in the Top End, monitored by rangers, Wangi Falls is a great swimming hole with a charming waterfall and beautiful surrounds.  This guided tour takes you to Wangi Falls and other popular attractions in Kakadu within the Litchfield National Park.

Jim Jim Falls

Jim Jim Falls, Kakadu National Park A highlight for most travelers to the region, Jim Jim Falls (and Twin Falls) is not to be missed! It’s a bumpy ride and a pretty rocky walk to get to the falls, but most people find the sight to be worth the effort!  This is especially true right at the beginning of the dry season when the roads are open and the falls are still flowing heavily. They can pull back to a trickle pretty quickly after the rains stop.

Jim Jim Falls in the Wet Season – Epic!

Jim Jim Falls in the Dry Season – Still pretty great!


Ubirr - Kakadu National ParkImage by: Michael Whitehead

Ubirr is one of Kakadu’s unforgettable rocks. Located in the east region of the park, this ancient outcropping of rocks is known for its rock art and panoramic views. Inside several natural shelters you’ll find a collection of Aboriginal rock paintings, dated as far back as thousands of years!  Check out this Australian Outback itinerary which includes a guided tour of the area.

Ubirr sunsets are amazing!

Ubirr Rock Art – also amazing!

Kakadu - Ubirr Rock Paintings Image by: Robert Nyman

Yellow Water Wetlands!

Part of South Alligator River floodplain, the Yellow Water provides the ultimate wildlife experience. Cruise the Yellow Water in a canopied boat to see crocodiles, jabirus, sea eagles, whistling kites and more!  This Outback wilderness itinerary includes a spectacular cruise on the Yellow Water Billabong.

Yellow Water Sunset

Yellow Water Billabong SunsetImage by: Muireann Ní Cheallacháin

Yellow Water Calm

Yellow Water Calm Kakadu NP Image by: Alberto Otero García

Forrest Kingfisher

Look for crocs in the lilies

Don’t (totally do) go chasin crocodiles A photo posted by C O U R T N E Y (@cpm.jpg) on

Bird Watching – White Bellied Sea Eagle

A White Bellied Sea Eagle keeps watch over his domain in Kakadu National Park. #NTAustralia #SeeAustralia

A photo posted by Sam Loxton (@sloxton) on

Epic Ariel Shots!

Kakadu National Park Arieal Image by: Alberto Otero García

The remote beauty and diversity of Kakadu demands heli rides! If you’re going to take a scenic flight once in your life, Kakadu is a great place to do it. Just look at these amazing shots!

Twin Falls

#kakadu #darwin #australia #obsessedwithwaterfalls #latergram A photo posted by heathermcm1 (@heathermcm1) on

Sandstone Cliffs

Helicopter Flight over Kakadu National Par


Helicopter Flight over Kakadu National Park

Alligator River

Termite mounds!

Termite mound, Kakadu National Park, Australia Image by: Paul Mannix

Maybe seeing termite mounds doesn’t sounds like a great time to you. Well, you haven’t seen these termite mounds. You’ll surely be impressed and amazed at the architectural feats created by these tiny little bugs.

You’ll be dwarfed in comparison to the massive termite mounds of #Kakadu. Photo: @dgctravel via #NTaustralia A photo posted by Northern Territory – Australia (@ausoutbacknt) on

The Stars!

Consider an overnight stay in Kakadu to witness the amazing site of the night sky over Kakadu’s rough edges. Hotels and ‘glamping’ are both available!  Try this epic Australia Adventure with 2 nights in Kakadu.

A photo posted by Jetstar Asia (@jetstarasia) on


Crocodile jumping for meat in KakaduImage By: Robert Nyman

Kakadu is not for the faint of heart. ‘Salties’ (Saltwater Crocs) as well as their more docile cousins, freshwater crocodiles, are found in the waters of Kakadu in extraordinary numbers. Saltwater Crocodiles are the world’s largest living reptiles. On average the crocs in Kakadu are about 16 feet, but they can grow to 20 feet and weight over a ton! You can see the salties jump on this Jumping Croc & Nature Adventure tour out of Darwin. Stay safe in Kakadu while you enjoy the awe inspiriting site of salties in the wild!

Bathing Crocodile

Bathing crocodile Kakadu National Park Image by: Paul Mannix

Saltie Spotting

Are you ready to start planning your trip to Australia? Talk to one of our Destination Specialists today. We’ll make sure you have an ‘no worries, mate’ vacation!

Help Me Plan My Trip >>

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


Can’t get enough jumping crocs?  Push play to see salties jump out of the water in slow-motion!

What is it like to fly to Australia from the US?

Posted on: November 22nd, 2016 by Melissa Maxwell No Comments

Fly to Australia from USAImage by: Roderick Eime

Australia is on almost every traveler’s bucket list but the long-haul flight can seem like a daunting journey, causing some people to put off the trip. We promise it’s totally worth it and really not as bad as you might think. Here’s what it’s like to fly to Australia from the US with a few tips to make your journey as stress free as possible!

Avoid the headaches!

Unless you found an amazing deal on airfare, we highly recommend taking a direct flight to Australia. Likely, you’ll be flying directly to Australia from Dallas, Los Angeles or San Francisco, so your first step would be to get to one of these main hubs on a US domestic flight. Your best bet here is to make sure you book your US domestic flights with your international flights, so that you can check your luggage all the way through to your destination. Otherwise you will have to get off the plane in Dallas (LA or SF), pick up your bags, check into your international flight, drop off your bags, go through security again and then get on your international flight. We like our clients to be able to do a simple transfer from one plane to the other, knowing their bags will be transferred behind the scenes. Less lines means less stress!

Traveler’s Tip: All of your flights within the US and Australia should be booked on the same ticket as your international flight- your About Australia Destination Specialist will do this whenever possible. Not only will this lessen the stress on your way to Australia, but it also increases your luggage allowance throughout your entire journey! Usually, you’ll get two free checked bags when you book in this manner. Even if you only plan on checking one bag, the ability to check an additional bag comes in handy when you come across a flight in Australia that limits carry-on luggage to 7K (15.4 pounds). Rather than pay $50 to check your overweight carry-on, you can simply check it for free because you booked your international ticket with your Australian Domestic flights. See, it pays to book your travel with a Destination Specialist!

Your flight will most likely take off late in the evening and arrive in Australia two days later early in the morning. No, you’re not on the plane for two days, but you will cross the international dateline causing you to lose one day. So if you leave Dallas at 10:30pm on November 20th, you would arrive in Sydney at 6am on November 22nd. You’ll make up this day on the way back, arriving in the US just a few hours after you leave Australia. It’s like time travel!

Flight Timeline

So you’ve avoided the stress of the dreaded international transfer. Now it’s time to board your new home for the next 12-17 hours. If you are flying First Class, Business Class or Premium Economy, great for you! The service and food are much better and you will be much more comfortable then the folks in Economy. But these options are quite expensive, so we’ll stick to Coach in this description since that’s how most people will get to Australia.

Traveler’s Tip: Your Destination Specialist will send you information on how you can purchase advanced seat selection. If you want to sit in an exit row (for extra leg room) or sit with your travel companion, you’ll want to spend the extra cash to select your seat ahead of time.

You’ll board your flight and take your seat. Airlines like Qantas, Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand will offer in-flight entertainment from the get-go. They have a ton of options with new and classic movies, TV series, music, games and audiobooks. Get comfortable and start picking out a movie or TV show to watch. These flights also offer USB ports that will keep your mobile device charged throughout the flight. Don’t expect Wi-Fi, though. Most international flights currently don’t offer it, but that is slowly changing.

Fly to Australia SeatsThese larger long-haul planes are much more comfortable then most US domestic planes. You’ll likely have a winged headrest that folds in to catch your weary head and your seat will slide forward when laying back to give you a little bit more recline. The Qantas Airbus A380 even offers little footrest nets for added comfort (but these are not available in the exit rows or bulkhead seats).

The plane will take off and after it gets to the correct altitude, flight attendants will offer bottles of water and perhaps a lemon drink. You’ll receive a menu that tells you all that is on offer. We can’t speak for all airlines, but on Qantas, Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand, everything on this menu is included in the price of your flight – including the alcoholic beverages. Just don’t get carried away.

Here’s what we recommend you do:

Watch a movie and enjoy dinner with a tasty dessert. Then maybe watch a TV show or read for about 45 minutes. Three to four hours into your flight, when they turn down the lights, get out of your seat to stretch your legs. Maybe do a lap around the plane. If you are on the Qantas Airbus A380, you can head to the back and walk up and down the flight of stairs a few times. Then go to the restroom to get ready for bed.

It might help if you bring along a change of clothes and your toothbrush (if you forget this, ask for one). Performing your nightly ritual may help you sleep more soundly. Cuddle up with your airline provided blanket and pillow and try to get a full night’s rest. Most airlines will also have sleep masks available should you need them. Snacks and water are available throughout the night.

Traveler’s Tip: Get lots of sleep and drink a lot of water! It may be tempting to watch all three Lord of the Ring movies while you enjoy glasses of Australian wine, but you’ll hate yourself the next day.

In the morning, the lights will come on about 3 hours before you arrive at your destination and the crew will serve breakfast. Wake up, go for a little walk to stretch your legs, eat and fill out your customs card. You might find yourself asking, “Should I declare…..?”. The answer is yes. Just declare anything that remotely matches the description on the card. It will save you trouble in the long run. Now you’ll have time to watch a short movie or catch a few more Zzzzzs before landing in Australia.

You’ve arrived in Australia!

When you land, you will disembark the plane and make your way through customs. You’ll stand in a few lines, show your passport a few times and they’ll ask you what you are bringing into the country.  Then you will collect your bags and a cute dog might come along to sniff your bag to make sure you are not smuggling illegal fruit and whatnot. It’s not the best experience, but it’s not the worst.  And again it’s totally worth it because, yeah, you’re in Australia!

Now you have to find your way to your hotel. If you booked with us, you’ll have a transfer waiting for you. The shuttle bus will take you to your hotel where you can try to check in. It’s going to be pretty early in the morning, between 7 and 8 am, so unless you’ve arranged for early check in, they likely won’t have a room ready and waiting for you. This is really a blessing in disguise.

If you had a room ready, you might be tempted to take a nap at this point. This is not a good idea. You have to power through your first day in Australia. Stay awake until at least 9pm. Otherwise, the jet lag will be much worse throughout your vacation. Most hotels will store your bags for you and bring them up to your room when it is ready. Your job is to get out into the city and explore.

Traveler’s Tip: Resist the urge to take a nap on day one!

We like to book a short tour on the first day. If you’re in Sydney, go on a hop on, hop off Harbour Cruise and/or take a tour of the Sydney Opera House. Maybe spoil yourself with an extravagant lunch (May we suggest GRAZE in The Rocks? It’s amazing!) and then check out the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia or the Royal Botanical Gardens before heading back to your hotel for the night.

If you’re in Melbourne, maybe do a city tour to explore the hidden laneways and arcades or hop on the City Circle Tram. This free mode of transportation stops at many places of interest like Federation Square, Melbourne Aquarium and Parliament House. There is also a free tourism shuttle bus with on-board commentary. Look for red signs that indicate the bus stops. It runs every 30 minutes between 9:30am and 4:30pm.

If you follow these suggestions you can avoid serious jet lag and start enjoying your Australian vacation straight away.

Are you ready to start planning your trip to Australia? Talk to one of our Destination Specialists today. We’ll make sure you have an easy and enjoyable vacation!

Help Me Plan My Trip >>

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

The #1 Tour in Hobart, Tasmania will Amaze You!

Posted on: November 6th, 2016 by Melissa Maxwell No Comments

A journey to Tasmania isn’t complete without a tour of the dramatic rugged coast, aquatic wildlife & the historic Port Arthur.  This cruise manages to pack it all in and they do it very well!   Not only is this tour listed as the #1 tour in Hobart on TripAdvisor, but the tour’s operator is listed in Tourism Australia’s Hall of fame!  Here’s one you’ll remember for a lifetime!

Travel to Tasmania Deal

Australian Open Activites Look Amazing For 2017

Posted on: October 13th, 2016 by Melissa Maxwell No Comments

Australia Open promises to be an amazing time for tennis-lovers, their families and those in search of fun

Fun at the Australian Open 2017 Image By: JoJo on

In Melbourne, the Australian Open isn’t only about tennis. Although, that’s a huge part of it. The Australian Open is really about fun and entertainment. This year, Melbourne’s biggest party just got bigger with amazing news for tennis enthusiasts as well as those just looking for a good time!  Experiencing the Australia Open is just one of many reasons to travel to Australia.

Australia Open Travel Deals

Tennis elites confirmed for the 2017 Australian Open tournament

According to the Herald Sun, “Grand slam record-holders Roger Federer and Serena Williams and defending champions Angelique Kerber and Novak Djokovic will lead a glittering parade [of tennis elites] from January 16-29.”

Angelique Kerber Australian Open 2016 Winner All of the other top players from 2016 have also confirmed their attendance at the grand slam of the Asia Pacific. There will be plenty of opportunities to see breakout players set their sights on taking out the big guns, like Angelique Kerber did last year.

“Coming back to Melbourne as the Australian Open defending champion will be incredibly exciting, I can’t wait! This is the tournament that set me up for my most successful year and I will never forget those amazing two weeks in Melbourne. It will be an amazing experience to walk out on Rod Laver Arena again, and relive such an exciting time in my life,” said Kerber.

Image via TrollTennis on

Free AO Festival at Birrarung Mar

Australia Open Free Music FestivalImage via Australian Open on
The Australian Open will return with a free two day opening festival, providing entertainment and tennis viewing for the whole family on the upper and lower levels of Birrarung Mar – including access to some of Melbourne’s best food trucks.   Those with ground passes to the Australian Open will also enjoy some of Australia’s biggest bands at “The Open Sessions” on the middle terrace.

Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley said, “We’ve seen that fans flock to the Australian Open not just for the world class tennis but also the fantastic party atmosphere as seen at the AO Festival in 2016. We’re excited by our new look to the site and know that the fans are going to love the carnival atmosphere that goes with it.”

For the first time, the AO Festival will be hosted at Birrarung Mar, a brilliant and well planned outdoor venue on the banks of the Yarra River with 3 levels.   The venue also has many interesting pieces of public art, some celebrating the diversity of Victoria’s Indigenous culture.

A Great Time for the Whole Family – Kids Tickets are Just $5

Image via Australian Open on
This year, children are invited to attend the Australian Open for just $5 (apart for Jan 21 & 22). The $5 ground pass, for children 3 – 14 years of age, not only offers access to the sporting event but also provides entry into a mini theme park called “The Ballpark”. For the first time, the Australian Open will offer all-day entertainment to young tennis fans. Kids can look forward to things like:

  • LEGO World
  • NERF Battlezone
  • ANZ Tennis Hot Shots Fan Zone
  • Adventure Park
  • $5 Food Options
  • Free fruit from Woolworths
  • And More!

Kid’s Tennis Day will also return with free entry for children under 15 and access to the Kid’s Tennis Day Rod Laver Arena Spectacular featuring some of the world’s best tennis players.

“We want kids to be able to see their idols in action and inspire them to get involved in tennis. The new kids’ zone, the Ballpark, will have heaps of fun activities, kid-friendly food options, along with the opportunity to actually play tennis, as well as a few surprises. We can’t wait to welcome more kids to Australian Open 2017 and will continue to offer world class entertainment at family-friendly prices,” said Craig Tiley

The Australian Open will be in Melbourne from January 16th – January 29th 2017 with the AO Festival taking place on January 14th & 15th.

Would you like to travel to Australia to experience the Australia Open?   We can help you plan your trip and book your Australian Open tickets.

Help Me Plan My Trip

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

You may also like: The Australia Open on

Things to do in Australia | A Cairns Vacation with All the Australia Highlights

Posted on: August 12th, 2016 by Melissa Maxwell No Comments

How to see the best of Australia on a short vacation to Cairns

We’re continuing our blog series, Things to Do in Australia, where we outline how you can see all the major Australian Highlights on a short vacation while staying in just one or two cities. So far we’ve talked about how you can see Beaches & Aquatic Life, Wildlife, Rainforest, Outback, Food & Wine, Modern City Culture & Art and Indigenous Culture in the cities of Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide.

Today we look at one of the most famous gateways to the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns (pronounced “cans”). Cairns is a stylish city in Tropical North Queensland. It’s a relaxed city with great food and an laid back atmosphere. Just outside of Cairns you’ll find the only place in the world where two World Heritage Sites meet. You can dive the depths of the Great Barrier Reef or soar above the world’s oldest tropical rainforest.

Here are things you can do in Cairns to hit all the major Australian highlights.

Beaches & Aquatic Life

No visit to Cairns is complete without a trip to the Great Barrier Reef. There are many ways you can experience the Great Barrier Reef.

Go snorkeling.

Scuba scuba snorkel scuuuuuba

A photo posted by Rosie (@rosieee_jane) on

& uncle Franklin A photo posted by Wessel Milan ‘t Hoen (@wesselmilan) on

Go diving.

Our Instructor Raoul having a lot of fun today @greatbarrierreefqld #thisisqueensland in #australia #deepseadiversden

A photo posted by Divers Den (@deepseadiversden) on

G’Day everyone !! #deepseadiversden #greatbarrierreef #thisisqueensland

A photo posted by Fabio Bispo (@fabiozerocal) on

Fly over the Great Barrier Reef in a helicopter.

Austrália – Grande Recife de Corais A photo posted by Mochileiras de Batom (@mochileiras_de_batom) on

Stay dry in a glass bottom boat.

Fly through the water on a seabob

Go Fishing . Some of the biggest marlins in the world are caught off the coast of Cairns.

Find Nemo.

Meet turtles.

the friendliest sea turtle

A photo posted by Leah Molofsky (@lmo64) on

Swim with dolphins.

Flipper saying hello from the Great Barrier Reef! My first encounter with a wild Dolphin today, diving at Thetford Reef with @tusadive. What an amazing and unexpected experience!************************************************ Canon 5D Mk2, 35mm, ISO 250, 1/160 sec @ f8 in an Aquatica u/w housing. ************************************************ #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia #australiagram #ig_australia #hellobluey #exploreaustralia #exploringaustralia #aussiephotos #greatbarrierreef #dolphin #padi #thebest_capture #natureglobepix #ig_naturelovers #ig_captures #ig_today #allnatureshots #openmyworld #animals_in_world #amazing_pictures #worldbestgram #special_shots #cool_capture_ #ig_great_pics #earth_deluxe #nature_wizards #animalsaddict #animalpanet_fan #exploretnq #andrewwatsonphotography A photo posted by Andrew Watson (@andrewwatsonphoto) on

Go whale watching.

More whales today #greatbarrierreef #thisisqueensland @orpheusisland

A photo posted by Ross Penegar (@rosspenegar) on

Head to the beach. Well, there are no real beaches in the city of Cairns. There is a man-made lagoon by the shore- Cairns Esplanade.

Beautiful day at the Lagoon A photo posted by Dylan van Dijk (@dylanvandijk) on

If you’re craving some time on the beach, head just outside Cairns to get your toes in the sand.

Two hours south of Cairns you’ll find Mission Beach .

Head north towards Port Douglas to visit the famous Four Mile Beach

Closer to Cairns you’ll find Palm Cove.

Who wants to be laying in this hammock .?

A photo posted by Lisa Hill Photography (@lisahill555) on

For an island getaway, take a sail boat out to Low Isles on the Great Barrier Reef.

A trip to #LowIsles is in order this wknd Photo by @vaccas #exploreTNQ A photo posted by #exploreTNQ (@tropicalnorthqueensland) on


Cairns and the surrounding areas provide many opportunities to see and learn about the tropical wildlife of the region.

Get up close and personal some of Australia’s most precious and beautiful birds in their rainforest habitat at Birdworld Kuranda.

Birds!!! #tenorpårejse #australia #Kuranda #fugleneelskermig #eventyr

A photo posted by Mathias Hedegaard (@danishtenor) on

Meet Kanagroos and cuddle a Koala at the Kuranda Koala Gardens

Cause you didn’t go to Australia if you didn’t hold a koala #koala #australia

A photo posted by Nikki Batte’ (@nikkibatte) on

Yes we Kan! #tbt #australia #kangaroo A photo posted by Daniel Cat (@danicatbh) on

Closer to the city, visit the Cairns Wildlife Dome. Located in a glass dome on top of the Reef Hotel Casino, the Cairns Wildlife Dome lets you get close to cute rainforest animals as they roam freely through their enclosures.

A photo posted by 조 영령 (@1996cm92kg) on

A photo posted by cirquedekera (@kerapezzuti) on

Zip line through the trees.

  Zip-line #zoom #cairns #qld #seeaustralia #holiday   A photo posted by Laura Fazekas (@lozza261990) on

Meet a crocodile.

Or trick your friends into thinking you were almost eaten by a crocodile.

  Today I almost got eaten by a crocodile! #closecall   A photo posted by Ashley (@aheisner) on

Just north of Cairns, visit Hartley’s Creek for a huge, multifaceted wildlife experience at Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures, Hartley’s Night Adventures and Zootastic Wildlife Encounters. Here you can… See a famous crocodile feeding show…

Take a selfie with a Kangaroo…

The Kangaroo wanted a selfie A photo posted by Lydia Kate (@lydiadentonn) on

I didnt know that kangourou selfie was a thing . . . #enjoyeachday

A photo posted by Catherine Fleury (@catherinefleury) on

Touch a baby crocodile…

Cuddle a Koala…

Hold a snake…

I can’t believe these kids. #nofear #didntevenhesitate #snakesalive #blackheadedpython A photo posted by Joanna Stevens Kramer (@jstevenskramer) on

And hug a Wombat.

The wombats are real friendly up here! Tonka the wombat getting some midday pats.

A photo posted by Jackie Schapel (@jacschaps) on


Cairns is, hands-down, the best place in Australia to see the rainforest. Just north of Cairns you’ll find Kuranda, a beautiful village hidden in the tropical rainforest.  Here you can experience the rainforest and it’s culture. The best part is the journey to the village. You get to ride on the Skyrail through the rainforest!

On the way, stop at 2 rainforest stations…

Red Peak…

A photo posted by Jasmine Lim (@jasuruuminu) on

And Barron Falls.

In Kuranda, check out the Village Centre, markets, Butterfly Sanctuary and more.

#kuranda #village #beautiful #vacay #love #fun

A photo posted by Rachelle ™ ♔ (@rach_elle89xo) on

Then, head back to Cairns on a scenic railway ride.

not an ordinary train ride A photo posted by Anne Hartung (@anne_lieschen) on

Further north, past Port Douglas, you’ll find the oldest rainforest in the world, Daintree. There are many ways you can explore Daintree.

Take a guided walk through the jungle.

Chippy with the rope assist climbing Mt Sorrow in the Upper Daintree.

A photo posted by (@lewis.mcpherson) on

Stand in the only spot in the world where two World Heritage Sites meet at Cape Tribulation

& A photo posted by natalie rull (@natalierull) on

Go Jungle Surfing.

Cruise through the forest on the river.

Ride a horse.

Just explore the beauty!

Inside a strangular fig tree, #rainforestmagic by @arianacottam A photo posted by Destination Daintree (@destinationdaintree) on


Visit the green jungle one day and head out to the red Outback the next on a day trip to Chillagoe- Mungana Caves Park.

En na een dagje rondrijden in de hitte is een bezoekje aan wat grotten een leuke afkoeling.

A photo posted by Pjoter (@pfvermeulen) on

Food & Wine

Cairns has a fix for every foodie and lover of wine. They also have an established coffee shop scene that not only serves up amazing coffee, but also yummy small plates. Head to Grafton Street and Spence Street for a variety of trendy spots.

For a memorable evening meal, head to The Esplanade. You’ll find a fine selection of eateries along the waterfront. The seafood is especially delicious.

A photo posted by ASG (@alex_chayce) on

For an amazing steak, head to Waterbar & Grill.

DAY NINETEEN AND TWENTY- 14/03-15/03 Renegade Diet. “If a meal has no meat on it, it’s a snack” FOOD- 0430 black coffee 0630 black coffee 1100 Nuzest shake 1400 4 eggs, shaved ham, 15 cashews, 1 cup kale 1600 3 eggs, shaved ham, 1 cup kale 1900 1 x bowl of nacho mince, sour cream, guacamole 2000 1 x Paleo brownie and coconut yoghurt TRAINING- CrossFit Open Workout 14.3 NOTE- Pre Renegade diet I had a full medical with a doctor. Long story short, regardless of my extremely high fat diet I.e all the fat on my meat, lots of ghee, oils, nuts etc both LDL and HDL cholesterol readings were extremely low (doctor says, you must have a really low fat diet?) FML! However my Urea percentage was pinging high (Urea= meat intake) may have something to do with the Ribs addiction #waterbar #bbq #ribs #meat #urea #ldl #hdl #fat #coconut #oil #renegadediet #crossfitopen #14.3 #food #protein

A photo posted by JamieMilneTraining (@jamiemilnetraining) on

For great seafood and a lovely view, head to Salt House.

Sun downers

A photo posted by Mark Griffiths (@markgriffiths2016) on

Modern City Culture & Art

Cairns is a laidback city with a lively nightlife. It has a large creative scene and several festivals that celebrate the culture of the city.

See Cairn’s contemporary art at KickArts. The museum also host workshops where you can make your own art.

At the Cairns Regional Gallery see the works of art by National and International artists, with a strong focus on local and indigenous works.

Visit The Esplanade for public art.

Public art with presence:- #cairns #northqueensland #cairnswaterfront #philippogson

A photo posted by Philip Pogson (@philippogson) on

Indigenous Culture

Cairns is a wonderful place to learn about Australia’s Indigenous Culture. The local Aboriginal people have lived on the land continuously for over 40,000 years. The area is steeped in storytelling, art and eye-opening cultural experiences.

Take an Indigenous tour of Daintree.  Take a walkabout learn about bush foods and the uses for native plants. Catch your own mud crab for lunch!

Head to Tjapukai to get a deeper understanding of Australia’s diverse Aboriginal heritage. Visit by Day.

Spent a bit of time with this fella today. He’s cool as

A photo posted by Ieuan (@welshboy69) on

Or by Night.

Yes I did help create this fire #imaworimiwoman #tjapukaibynight

A photo posted by tanikaleepearce (@tanikaleepearce) on

Australia was lit

A photo posted by Brianna Beard (@bananambread) on

A trip to Cairns and Tropical North Queensland should defiantly be on your bucket list. Are you ready for your Australian Adventure? Let us help you plane a trip of a lifetime!

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

Also See:

Things to do in Australia | A Sydney Vacation with All the Australian Highlights

Things to do in Australia | A Melbourne Vacation with All the Australian Highlights

Things to do in Australia | An Adelaide Vacation with All The Australian Highlights

Coming Soon:

Things to do in Australia | A Brisbane Vacation with All the Australian Highlights

Things to do in Australia | A Perth Vacation with All the Australian Highlights.

Things to do in Australia | An Adelaide Vacation with All the Australia Highlights

Posted on: July 15th, 2016 by Melissa Maxwell No Comments

How to see the best of Australia on a short vacation to Adelaide.

Today we continue our  Things to Do in Australia blog series.  In this series we outline how you can see all the major Australia Highlights in a short vacation, staying in just one or two Australian cities.  We’ve shown how you can see Beaches & Aquatic Life, Wildlife, Rainforest, Outback, Food & Wine, Modern City Culture & Art and Indigenous Culture in the cities of Sydney and Melbourne. Today we take a look a the little capital city with a big heart in South Australia, Adelaide.

Adelaide is a safe, clean, compact and well planned city with a vibrant food and art scene. Outside of Adelaide, you’ll find the best Australian wine region and a most amazing wildlife sanctuary – Kangaroo Island.

Here are things you can do in Adelaide to see all the major Australian highlights.

Beaches & Aquatic Life

Situated on Gulf St. Vincent, Adelaide provides access to a number of excellent swimming beaches.

Glenelg is a short (free) tram ride from the city’s center.

Dat coastline. #straya #latergram #adelaide #sa #southaustralia #australia #seeaustralia #coast

A photo posted by Melissa (@pulloutmyinsidesagain) on

Still close to the city, but often a bit quieter is Brighton Beach with its old fashioned jetty, cafes and restaurants. Get away from it all for a few hours.

#Australia A photo posted by Arie Partouche (@arie1partouche) on

Henley is another option, close to Adelaide and child friendly.

For a little surfing and/or adventure head to Southport Beach.

SA is alright ☀️ A photo posted by Eden Harper (@edenharper) on

Beach visits offer opportunities to see a variety of aquatic life.

How fantastic to get so close up to this lovely creature off Semaphore jetty. Fab by @cazavi14

A photo posted by Play & Go for Families in SA (@playandgoadelaide) on

Head to Kangaroo Island to see even more! Like this little sea lion pup.

Or these guys…

Or even dolphins!

Visit Port Noarlunga reef aquatic reserve, just 45 minutes from Adelaide.

We love this photo by @dhdarts who spotted this dolphin duo cruising the Christies Beach reef, just off coast of one of Adelaide’s most popular southern beaches. Part of the Port Noarlunga reef aquatic reserve – just a 45 minute drive from the Adelaide CBD – the reef is also home to more than 60 species of fish and is an amazing place to snorkel or scuba dive – especially when you have these beautiful creatures joining you. Closer to the city at Glenelg beach, join a cruise with @temptationsailing and you’ll see even more pods of dolphins just off shore from the popular swimming beach. [Location: Port Noarlunga is a 45 minute drive from #Adelaide in #SouthAustralia. Glenelg is just 25 minutes drive from the CBD ]​

A photo posted by South Australia (@southaustralia) on


Adelaide wins the wildlife category in this series. Adelaide is your gateway to Kangaroo Island, one the world’s great nature-based destinations with sea lions basking on unsoiled white beaches, koalas dozing in lofty trees, pelicans gliding across shimmering lagoons and kangaroos wandering on rolling hill. It’s a zoo without fences that any nature lover will enjoy. Stay on the island or take a day trip.

That’s what we call bright eyed and bushy tailed! . Image courtesy: @rudidownunder . #StokesBay #KangarooIsland #SouthAustralia #Australia #authenticKI A photo posted by Authentic Kangaroo Island (@authentickangarooisland) on

“Yeah. They don’t call it Kangaroo Island for nothing… When we rolled up at Stokes Bay yesterday, a few of the (furry) locals were on hand to tell us all about the epic beach below. I’m not sure what was more gob-smacking… The ridiculously perfect white sand and blue water over the rise, or the sheer volume of of our welcoming committee. Man… what a location!” Image courtesy: @swannysa …………………………. #StokesBay #KangarooIsland #SouthAustralia #Australia #seeAustralia #authenticKI #travel #holiday #vacation #adventure #instatravel #travelgram #wanderlust #igtravel #travelphotography #nature #naturelover #naturephotography #beach #lifesabeach #whereidratherbe #kangaroos #skippy A photo posted by Authentic Kangaroo Island (@authentickangarooisland) on


South Australia is one of the few Australian states without natural rainforest. If you are really keen on exploring the rainforest, be sure to couple a South Australian vacation with a visit to Tropical North Queensland or Tasmania.

For an amazing and educational rainforest experience, visit the Rainforest Conservatory in Adelaide Botanic Garden. It’s FREE!

Bicentennial Conservatory. #rainforest #glasshouse #botanical #garden #architecture

A photo posted by Richard Lee (@richyfancy) on

Rainforest exhibit #mist A photo posted by Michelle Craig (@roxyvinnie) on


The Outback of South Australia, just outside of Adelaide is amazing! Drive out to Flinders Ranges for a glorious outback experience. . Kangaroos, emus and wedge-tail eagles and more abound in this unexpected landscape. Aboriginal Dreamings tell the story of serpents and giants that shaped the lands. You’ll be left in awe as you explore the largest mountain range in South Australia.

#flindersranges #outback #wildflowers #holidays A photo posted by Dianne Golding (@diannemae1955) on

Let’s go.

A photo posted by L✖️K | H✖️H (@krispradw) on

The Gawler Ranges

Coober Pedy

This amazing outback town is the world’s opal capital. When you visit you will descend through the earth into a maze of underground houses, churches and restaurants. You’ll even stay underground if you choose to spend the night.

Take a scenic drive through the outback to Parachilna and enjoy real bush tucker at the Prairie Hotel.

Food & Wine

Foodies and Wine Lovers rejoice in South Australia. Just take a look at any list of Australia’s best restaurants and you’ll notice that many are in Adelaide, a city deeply passionate about all things culinary. Just outside of Adelaide you’ll fine 18 distinct wine regions. South Australia is home to some of the world’s most famous wine labels.

In Adelaide find wonderful restaurants, food trucks and wine bars.

What a lunch spread – grab yourself the #MeatLocker and the #BeetrootSalad for starters when sampling the Bar Menu at 2KW. This menu is best eaten shared outside in a kabana & the restaurant menu is much better individually ordered. We shared the NDUJA and Salami pizza, the tartar, haloumi fried (#HaloumiForLife), the Italian meatball subs & oh so delicious French fries. Not a huge fan of French fries over chips but these were perfectly unhealthy, oil soaked & extra salty – delicious! #haloumi #feast #corporate #corporatelunch #work #werk #werkwerkwerk #2KW #adelaide #radelaide #rooftop #yummy #delicious #hangry #adlfb #BuonApetitto #crazyweather #vino #dranks #instagood #igdaily #instafood #food #city #views

A photo posted by Adelaide Food Bloggers (@adelaidefoodbloggers) on

Visit the Adelaide Central Market to get a little taste of everything! Since 1869, the Central Market has been the jewel in the crown of South Australian experiences, a haven of premium food and wine products, and 2nd home to chefs and food lovers. Take a tour to get the most well-rounded experience.

Take a tour or drive yourself out to the many surrounding wine regions.

Barossa Valley

Nice day out in the Barossa Valley #redredwine #scrumptious #nottooshabby A photo posted by C A R L A (@carla.gow) on


Penfolds in Barossa

The food, wine and animal lover might like a trip out to the Fleurieu Peninsula and McLaren Vale.

Green and lush at @fox_creek_wines – winter time beauty in #mclarenvale #repost from @jobrougham

A photo posted by McLaren Vale (@mclaren_vale) on

Somewhere over the rainbow at @hugowines #mclarenvale #fleurieupeninsula #rainbow #wineregion A photo posted by McLaren Vale (@mclaren_vale) on

Spend your Australia Day somewhere on the Fleurieu! #southaustralia #fleurieupeninsula #australiaday #SeeAustralia

A photo posted by Fleurieu Peninsula (@officialfleurieupeninsula) on

Adelaide Hills

Exploring the beautiful Adelaide Hills. Pretty as a picture @artserieshotelgroup #AdelaideHills #SouthAustralia A photo posted by Rachel Bale (@departmentofwandering) on

#autumn #vines

A photo posted by Shelley (@goodenoughs) on

Modern City Culture & Art

Adelaide is a small city, rich in culture. You’ll find historic buildings, amazing churches, small bars catering to just about every type of urban subculture, museums, street art and tons of festivals and events.

Adelaide Festival of Arts (Feb-March)

Adelaide Fringe (March)

Regram from @missemma_jane – Illumunations shine till 1am each night. Swing past and have a look after your show.

A photo posted by Adelaide Fringe (@adlfringe) on

Street Art

#love #streetart #tophammall #adelaide #southaustralia #hiddengemsadl #instagramadl @adelaidewestend @ladyburrabrew A photo posted by Hidden Gems Adelaide (@hiddengemsadelaide) on

Waymouth Street

The State Library of South Australia – Just beautiful!

Found the Harry Potter room!

A photo posted by Jovin Chan (@jovin26) on

Adelaide is also known as the City of Churches for the many beautiful churches throughout the city.

The beautiful St Peter’s Cathedral in North Adelaide Photo by @heyitsbillyjay

A photo posted by Glam Adelaide (@glamadelaide) on

St Francis Xavier Cathedral

#adelaide #australia #church #victoriasq #cathedral #stfrancisxavier

A photo posted by Oliver Cotta (@oliver.cotta) on

Indigenous Culture

South Australia is home to a number of Aboriginal groups such as the Kaurna (Adelaide Plains), Adnyamathanha (Flinders Ranges) and Ngarrindjeri (Lower Lakes of the Murray River) people. You can find quite a few ways to experience aboriginal culture in and just outside of Adelaide.

The South Australian Museum (free) is home to the world’s finest collections of indigenous artifacts.

Tandanya National Cultural Aboriginal Institute is an art, performance and meeting space in Adelaide. Meet Aboriginal people, enjoy cultural performances of the didjeridu and shop for authentic art and craft.

A photo posted by SAChapter (@adlarchigram) on

Are you ready for your Australian Adventure? Let us help you plan a trip of your lifetime!

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

Also See:
Things to do in Australia | A Sydney Vacation with All the Australian Highlights
Things to do in Australia | A Melbourne Vacation with All the Australian Highlights

Coming Soon:
Things to do in Australia | A Brisbane Vacation with All the Australian Highlights
Things to do in Australia | A Cairns Vacation with All The Australian Highlights
Things to do in Australia | A Perth Vacation with All the Australian Highlights.

Things to do in Australia | A Melbourne Vacation with All the Australia Highlights

Posted on: June 9th, 2016 by Melissa Maxwell No Comments

How to see the best of Australia on a short vacation to Melbourne.

We are working on our Things to Do in Australia blog series where we outline how you can see all the major Australia Highlights in a short vacation, staying in just one or two Australian cities.

We’ve shown how you can see Beaches & Aquatic Life, Wildlife, Rainforest, Outback, Food & Wine, Modern City Culture & Art and Indigenous Culture in the city of Sydney.  Today we look towards the world’s most livable city, Melbourne.

Here are things you can do in Melbourne to see major Australia highlights.

Beaches & Aquatic Life

Hang out on the coast of Port Phillip Bay with the peninsula’s iconic rainbow-colored bathing boxes providing a colorful backdrop.

A short tram ride from the heart of Melbourne, you’ll find St. Kilda Beach. It’s not only a great place for a swim, but a wonderful seaside community where you’ll find great bars, restaurants, shops and even some little penguins in the rocks.

Wondering where everyone is? #stkildabeach on a hot day! @captainbaxtersk @republicaplace @encorestkilda #stkildavenues A photo posted by St Kilda Venues (@stkildavenues) on

Take a day trip out to Ninety Mile Beach, one of the most natural and unspoiled beaches in the world.  It is ideal for a variety of activities, from beach fishing and swimming to walking, whale and dolphin-spotting or just relaxing in the sun…

…maybe you’ll even spot one of these little guys.

Head to Phillip Island for a variety of beaches, from family friendly bay beaches at Cowes and Ventnor Beach to break beaches for surfing at Cape Woolamai.

While on Phillip Island don’t miss your chance to see cute little Penguins waddle home to their burrows.

Maybe visit Australia’s largest fur seal population.

Victoria is also known for its sheer cliffs and rocky shores. You don’t want to miss these beautiful rugged shores. Philip Island,…

The Twelve Apostles,…

…and London Bridge


Head to Healesville Sanctuary, a world-renowned spot to see Australian wildlife in their natural habitat. Located in the heart of the Yarra Valley, Healeville centers on local conservation and indigenous culture.

Just 45 minutes outside of Melbourne, see the wildlife in the wild.  The national parks near Melbourne have a surprising diversity of wildlife: Kangaroos, Koalas, Emus, Swamp Wallabies, Cockatoos, Parrots, Galahs and more!

Minki #ballaratwildlifepark #koala #photooftheweek A photo posted by Ballarat Wildlife Park (@ballaratwp) on


While Victoria isn’t the #1 destination for rainforest tourism, you can find rainforest just an hour outside Melbourne in the Yarra State Forest. Walk through myrtle beech rainforest to the Ada Tree, a giant mountain ash that is one of Victoria’s largest trees and also one of the largest known flowering trees in the world on the Ada Tree Rainforest Walk.

Boardwalk pleasures #bush #sundaystroll #ferns #boardwalk

A photo posted by Ben Barter (@bsa_goldie) on


For a little outback adventure near Melbourne, head to the You Yangs, distinctive granite peaks that rise from the flat volcanic plains between Melbourne and Geelong.

Hiking in the Young Yangs to Flinders Peak A photo posted by Phil (@ptravill) on

Food & Wine

With a stay in Melbourne, you’ve hit the jackpot in amazing food & wine! Melbourne’s eclectic dining scene offers a wide array of the world’s great cuisines.

Enjoy a wonderful dinner on the water with the Spirit of Melbourne.

Head to Coda for sleek Asian/French cuisine.

  Hot from the wok – sizzling Pixian prawns with king brown mushroom and lotus root @adamdsylvachef   A photo posted by Coda (@codamelbourne) on

Dine high in the sky at Vue de Monde.

It begins #goodbeerweek #brewvscru A photo posted by Injera Rufus (@injera) on

Grab a bite and some of that famous Melbourne brew at a local café.

Find a hidden gem in Melbourne’s Laneways.  This tour is sure to unveil some local favorites.

Head to Yarra Valley on this amazing tour for Australian wine tasting.

Modern City Culture & Art

Melbourne is well known for its public art. All you have to do is walk through the city streets, laneways and squares to get a good dose of art.

From gorilla street art…

On my travels to that same appointment #hadtostopandtakeapic #onmytravels #Ilovemelbourne #steetart A photo posted by Eve Alexiadis (@missevea) on

…to public installations.

  #melbourne #australia #art #architecture #publicart #sculpture #lips #modern #riverfront #city   A photo posted by stevetatham (@stevetatham) on

Melbourne’s thriving art scene supports over 100 art galleries – both large and small.

Head to Flinders Lane to see private galleries and public street art.

#art A photo posted by (@exceedinglyaverage) on

Visit NGV Australia: The Ian Potter Centre in Federation Square to see the world’s first major public gallery dedicated to Australian Art.

Speaking of Federation Square… this famous spot hosts over 2000 events each year! It buzzes with cultural festivals, exhibitions, event launches, performances, forums, films, concerts and fashion shows. There’s sure to be something hopping at Fed Square whenever you visit.

Wander around Swanston Street & St Kilda Road to find much of Melbourne’s notable architectural sites.

Indigenous Culture

You can find some very interesting Indigenous experiences right in the heart of Melbourne.

Visit the Koorie Heritage Trust.

Stop by the multi-award-winning Bunjilaka at the Melbourne Museum.

  Turtle Country, 1000 Turtles by the Gallery Kaiela artists in Nitet Yapeneyepuk Gather Together   A photo posted by @leulieshraghi on

For a real treat, take an Aboriginal Heritage Walk of the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Flowering Friday this week is a hybrid Waratah, Telopea speciosissima x T. oreades. One of the parent species, T. speciosissima (New South Wales Waratah), is endemic to New South Wales and is also their floral emblem. The common name of ‘Waratah’ is derived from the Aboriginal language of the Eora people, the original inhabitants of the Sydney basin. Most populations of this plant are small due to often being located near urban developments. It is now largely protected within National Parks and conservation reserves in the Sydney region. The other parent species, T. oreades (Gippsland Waratah) is native to the shady wet forests of far eastern Victoria and southern NSW. This hybrid was created to combine the spectacular flowers of the NSW species with the superior shade tolerance of the Gippsland species. The flower heads generally develop over winter and then swell in spring before opening to reveal the inflorescence so this one currently growing at Melbourne Gardens is a rare treat. Try to find it along Oak Lawn! #royalbotanicgardensvic #FloweringFriday #melbourne

A photo posted by Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria (@royalbotanicgardensvic) on

Are you ready to start planning your trip to Australia? Whether you are traveling for 1 week or 3 months, we can help you make your trip worthwhile.

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

Also See:
Things to do in Australia | A Sydney Vacation with All the Australian Highlights

Coming Soon:
Things to do in Australia | A Brisbane Vacation with All the Australian Highlights
Things to do in Australia | A Adelaide Vacation with All the Australian Highlights
Things to do in Australia | A Cairns Vacation with All The Australian Highlights
Things to do in Australia | A Perth Vacation with All the Australian Highlights.

Things to do in Australia | Must-See and Do in Australia

Posted on: May 19th, 2016 by Melissa Maxwell No Comments

Our favorite ways to see all of the Australia Highlights on a short vacation

Last week we talked about how you can get the most out of a short vacation to Sydney.  This got us thinking…What if you only had time to visit one or two Australian cities? What can you do and see in order to create the perfect been-there-done-that Australian vacation? So we’re putting together a blog series that takes all the main reasons people visit Australia and compresses them into an epic vacation comprising of just 1 or 2 destinations.

Things to Do in Australia Sydney Vacation

Here at About Australia, we work with hundreds of clients every week.   Most Americans are aware that Australia is an amazing country with a vast diversity of beautiful sights, experiences and wildlife. They want to see the beaches, explore the Great Barrier Reef, experience Australian City life, see kangaroos and koalas, learn about the rich Aboriginal culture, check out the local food and wine and explore the Outback. Australia is on almost every traveler’s bucketlist.


What many people don’t realize is that Australia is a huge country – about the size of the United States to be exact. Once they wrap their heads around that fact, their next question is, “Do I have to travel all over Australia to see all the iconic sights?”

USA compared to Australia

The answer to that question is both yes and no. It all depends on which iconic sights you want to see.


Sydney Harbour and access to the Great Barrier Reef are at least 1,000 miles apart. That’s a 2 -3 hour plane ride or over 20 hours by car.  Then, if you have your heart dead-set on seeing Uluru (Ayers Rock), you’ll have to fly over 1,700 miles to the center of the country for a spiritual outback adventure.  A similar trip in the US would take you from Orlando to NCY to Denver.  So yes, if you want to see the Sydney Opera House, the reef and the Red Centre, you will have to do quite a bit of Australian Domestic Travel. And honestly, that’s ok!  As they say in Australia, “No worries, mate!”

This type of trip is amazing! All of the once-in-a-life time experiences and amazing sights more than make up for the additional travel. But this type of trip takes time, a larger budget and quite a bit of patience, especially if you are traveling with young children.

Must-See and Do in Australia - Kangaroo

But, you say, “I don’t have a lot of vacation time. Can I still travel to Australia and see the highlights without spending a ton of time and money?”  Yes!  With a smaller travel budget and just 5-7 days downunder, you can still get a great overview of Australia’s highlights just by visiting one or two select cities.

Family on Beach Great Barrier Reef Taking the Family to Australia

Or maybe you’re thinking, “I want to take my kids on an Australian adventure. But after that long plane ride to the other side of the world, I don’t want the stress of packing up the kids every few days and flying across the country just so they can get the full Australian experience.”  You don’t have to!


Plan your trip to just one or two strategic locations and your kids will have an experience that is both educational and fun – one they will remember long after returning home to the rigmarole of everyday life.  It’s one thing to spend your family vacation on the beach with playgrounds, kids programs and free child care. It’s quite another to live in an Australian city for a week visiting beaches, learning about ancient culture and cuddling kolas. I’d argue that the latter is much more engaging and educational.


The 7 major highlights of Australia are Beaches & Aquatic Life, Modern Culture & Art, Wildlife, the Outback, the Rainforest, Food & Wine and Indigenous Culture. A piece of these can be found in all major metro areas. You just have to know where to look…

7 Highlights of Australia

…And thus the blog series has begun!  Every week we’ll show you how you can see all 7 highlights in one city (or the surrounds).  Browse through the series to help you pick a few cities which are best for you and your short vacation to Australia.

A word of advice:

Make sure you carefully plan every aspect of your trip. Know exactly what will be on your itinerary each day and book in advance.  A lot of people believe they can book the flights and hotels then figure out the rest on the fly. This is a bad idea. The logistics alone can be quite daunting and after investing a lot of time and money into something, you want it to go well.  We, of course, are proponents of you contacting us so we can use our expertise to help you plan the perfect trip.   Sure, may be able to do it yourself, but you can avoid a lot of stress and worry if you let us do it for you!
Get-A-Trip-Quote or Phone us Toll Free on 1-888-359-2877 (CT USA, M-F 8.30am – 5pm).


Things to do in Australia | A Sydney Vacation with All the Australia Highlights

Things to do in Australia | A Melbourne Vacation with All the Australia Highlights

Things to do in Australia | A Brisbane Vacation with All the Australia Highlights

Things to do in Australia | An Adelaide Vacation with All the Australia Highlights

Things to do in Australia | A Cairns Vacation with All the Australia Highlights

Things to do in Australia | A Perth Vacation with All the Australia Highlights.