Australia Travel Blog Archive - page 2

Behind the Scenes – Western Australia

Posted on: February 16th, 2019 by Lizandra Santillan No Comments

How do the experts of About Australia know so much about this vast country?

They see it for themselves!

Our Product and Sales Manager, Melanie, recently returned from a whirlwind adventure in Western Australia as part of her trip to the annual Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) in Perth.

ATE allows travel agents and tourism companies like About Australia to meet directly with Australia’s finest tourism businesses, hotel managers and tour operators.

But there’s no better way to ensure the experiences we include in our vacation packages are the best than by testing them out!

Check out Melanie’s incredible adventures in Western Australia. Perhaps you’ll find something new to add to your Australia bucket list!

Perth, the Capital of Western Australia

Elizabeth Quay Perth credit Tourism Australia

Elizabeth Quay, Perth. Photo: Tourism Australia

Perth is rapidly becoming a must-see destination for foodie, art, and beach lovers.

One of the best ways to experience Perth is through its local food and drink scene. For one week in April, the annual Perth Noodle Markets awaken the city nights with sizzling stalls of signature Asian and noodle dishes.

For a breath of fresh air, Kings Park and Botanic Garden is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. With over 988 acres of tranquil parklands, Kings Park is one of the biggest parks in the world – bigger than Central Park in New York City!

Kings Park Perth

Melanie explored the many walking tracks strewn across the park, including the formidable Jacob’s Ladder. This twisting staircase is popular with locals and tourists alike, running up and down its 242 spiraling steps.

Making New Friends in Rottnest Island

Rottnest Island Quokka Selfie

Perth is also the perfect base for many of Western Australia’s coastal adventures. Rottnest Island, a haven of white sand beaches and amazing wildlife, is just an hour and a half away by ferry.

With no paved roads to disrupt its natural beauty, the island is a popular destination for sunny beach days. The best way to explore its beaches, lakes, snorkeling sites and lighthouses is by bike.

But perhaps the best way to experience the island is by meeting the locals! Rottnest Island is famous for its quokkas, absolutely adorable creatures that roam the island. Their curious smiles have earned them the title of “The Happiest Animal on Earth.” Quokkas are only found on Rottnest Island, drawing visitors from around the world on a quest to capture the iconic “Quokka selfie.”

Melanie befriended a curious quokka on her Rottnest Island adventure – even posed with her for a couple of photos!

Glamping at Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef Safari Camp

Sal Salis Resort

There’s nothing better than surrounding yourself in extraordinary landscapes, and Sal Salis does exactly that. This incredible eco-resort puts you right on the beachfront of Western Australia’s gorgeous white sand beaches in Cape Range National Park.

This luxury camping experience allows you to totally disconnect from the world and unwind in a magical setting. The open bar and exquisite three-course meals set against uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean also help!

Guided wilderness activities such as snorkeling on Ningaloo Reef, kayaking and walks among the red terrain of Cape Range National Park are also included. During her stay, Melanie’s group walked through a secluded gorge to spot elusive black-footed wallabies, and even saw a few dingoes.

Waking up to the sounds of wallaroos thumping by and the gentle waves of the beach were some of Melanie’s highlights during her stay.

Swimming with Whale Sharks at Exmouth

Swim with Whales Sharks in Western Australia

Another highlight destination in Western Australia is Exmouth. This port town is known as the gateway to Ningaloo Reef, with natural beauty rivaling the Great Barrier Reef.

It’s also famous for swimming with whale sharks! Despite their name, whale sharks are actually fish – the world’s biggest fish, in fact. As filter feeders, whale sharks pose no threat to humans. The best time to swim with whale sharks is between April and July.

Melanie joined a whale shark swimming and snorkeling expedition out on Ningaloo Reef, and even saw sea turtles and a hammerhead shark! Check out her video of swimming with whale sharks.

Swimming with Whale Sharks

Sailing Ningaloo Reef and Coral Bay

Undeniably, the best way to explore Ningaloo Reef and the sparkling coasts of Western Australia is by catamaran.

Sailing tours allow you to see and explore hidden gems no one else can see. Melanie enjoyed a luxury sailing expedition across the turquoise waters of Ningaloo Reef, complete with fine Western Australian wines and dishes featuring local produce.

Sailing Ningaloo Reef

On her sailing expedition, Melanie soaked up the sun at the best Western Australia beaches of Coral Bay, named due to the breathtaking coral gardens beneath its waters. The group also witnessed a ‘shark cleaning station’ where dozens of gray reef sharks swam below them.

This sailing expedition also offers liveaboard trips for those who want a unique experience staying overnight on a luxury catamaran. Ask an About Australia Destination Specialist about adding this experience to your trip!

Coral Bay Western Australia

Want to See Western Australia?

U.S. travelers are just now beginning to discover all Western Australia has to offer.

White sand beaches with crystal clear waters and no international crowds? Check. Unique wildlife experiences both on land and under the sea? You bet.

And if you want to explore world-class cities or get lost in untouched bush wilderness, Western Australia is the perfect destination.

Let your wanderlust take you to Western Australia – we’ll guide you with the must-see’s and do’s along the way.

Let’s Plan My Trip to Australia!

7 Free Things to do in Cairns, Australia

Posted on: February 13th, 2019 by Lizandra Santillan No Comments

Free Things to do in Cairns

Cairns is all about tropical vibes. Suits and ties are exchanged for shorts and sunglasses. Days feel like the carefree, relaxed summers of your childhood and nights instantly put you into holiday mode.

As gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics – the oldest rainforest system in the world – your visit to Cairns will no doubt be a busy one.

But if you’re looking for other things to do in Cairns, we’ve gathered a list of local must-see gems. Here’s our list of 7 favorite free things to do in Cairns.

7 Free Things to Do in Cairns

1. Spend a Day at the Cairns Esplanade

Cairns Esplanade is one of the best free things to do in Cairns

Credit: Tourism & Events Queensland

Some people prefer the beach, others prefer the pool.

At the Cairns Esplanade, you get the best of both worlds.

This local landmark combines a large man-made lagoon with a small sandy shore, so you get the feel of a beach at the pool. The crystal clear waters offer a fresh respite from the tropical heat, along with shaded areas to help keep you cool. Lifeguards patrol the lagoon during the day.

A lush, green park surrounds the lagoon, with soft grass perfect for laying out and sunbathing or enjoying a picnic lunch. The park also features picnic benches and BBQ grills free to use, but be sure to get in early to snag a bench!

If you’re in Cairns during the weekend, you can enjoy live bands play in the park from 2pm – 5pm. Feeling a bit more active? Take to the wide boardwalk surrounding the lagoon, equipped with free fitness equipment and a playground for the kids. Continue on to Muddy’s Playground, a small splash park perfect for younger children.

The Esplanade also offers free fitness classes throughout the week, ranging from aqua aerobics in the lagoon to yoga and pilates.

Swimming, grilling, workouts and music – there’s something for everyone at the Esplanade. The best part is it’s all free!

2. Browse the Markets

Rusty's Market credit Tourism and Events Queensland Andrew Watson

Rusty’s Market. Image: Tourism and Events Queensland / Andrew Watson

Cairns is famous for its local markets, with Rusty’s Market as the main attraction.

Rusty’s Market is known to draw in visitors from out of town for the freshest produce in Queensland. Early risers are rewarded, too – open only from Friday to Sunday, Rusty’s begins from 5am to 6pm. Fruits and vegetables are freshly gathered in the morning then carted off to the market, making it all truly farm-to-table.

You’ll find everything from mangoes, durians and leafy greens to tropical nuts, lychees and pineapples. Many local vendors also sell their wares at Rusty’s, such as turmeric products, hand made natural soaps and lotions, pastries, and knits.

In the evening you’ll want to hit up the Cairns Night Markets, a mecca of creative sweet treats and Australian souvenirs. Open from 5pm to 11pm every day of the week, browsing the night markets is a great way to spend your free evenings.

With an incredible array of souvenirs, here is where you should do your souvenir shopping. You’ll find staples such as T-shirts, fridge magnets and key chains along with more unique items such as indigenous Australian art, koala dream catchers, and even a stall where you can get a fish pedicure!

If you’re craving something sweet, choose from fish-shaped cream puffs, waffle desserts on a stick, churros served with ice cream or crepes. That doesn’t even touch the full list of sweet treats you’ll find at the Night Markets’ food court, where you’ll also find an array of Asian cuisine sure to get your mouth watering.

3. Explore the Cairns Botanic Gardens

Cairns Botanic Gardens Rainforest Boardwalk credit CBG

Rainforest Boardwalk, Cairns Botanic Gardens

Get a taste of the rainforest at the Cairns Botanic Gardens. Located near the center of the city, the gardens and its walking paths offer a tranquil escape from the bustling city.

Open every day from 7:30am to 5:30pm, you can enjoy a quiet stroll through its unique gardens, each vastly different from the next. The Watkins Munroe Martin Conservatory houses some of the gardens’ most valuable and rarest plants along with a collection of local butterflies. Step inside and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped right into a bubble of rainforest.

Take to the Rainforest Boardwalk, winding through an ecosystem of tropical palm trees towering over a floor of green ferns. Discover the tropical fruit trees and vegetables of the grounds surrounding the Saltwater Lake, or look out for native birds while you enjoy a picnic by the gardens’ Freshwater Lake.

The Gondwana Heritage Garden displays Australia’s unique flora tracing back from the beginning stages of evolution of its native plants. You’ll find species of plants that were among the first flowering plants in the world.

You can also explore a collection of local plants used by the indigenous people of the region for over 40,000 years at the Aboriginal Plant Use Garden. See a Chinese-style garden at the Zhanjiang Friendship Garden, a perfect spot to stop and take in the tranquility of the gardens.

Join a free guided tour every day beginning at 10am for deeper insight into the gardens, or simply spend a quite afternoon.

4. Visit the Cairns Art Gallery

Cairns Art Gallery credit Cairns Art Gallery

Cairns Art Gallery

Once you get past the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics – the undisputed stars of Cairns – you’ll get to see the hidden gems the city has to offer.

The Cairns Art Gallery, just a block away from the Cairns Esplanade, is a small but elegant gallery showcasing local, contemporary and indigenous art.

The gallery is comprised of three levels in a heritage building, beautifully styled in classical-inspired architecture. Each level is dedicated to carefully curated pieces and rotating exhibitions featuring everything from photo collections, installations, thought-provoking modern art and Aboriginal artifacts.

After exploring the gallery, pop in to Perrotta’s, the on-site cafe serving up delicious coffee, tasty breakfast options and zesty lunch and dinner menus. Outside seating underneath a shaded verandah creates the perfect ambience for al fresco dining.

The gallery shop offers a great range of specialty gifts, jewelry, books and toys inspired by the in-house exhibitions and collections. You’ll also see pieces from local artists on sale, a perfect memento of your visit to the gallery.

5. Relax at the Northern Beaches

Palm Cove credit Tropical North Queensland

Palm Cove, Tropical North Queensland

Nothing beats a day at the beach, especially in the sun-kissed beaches of Australia.

However, Cairns has no beaches. At least, not within the city itself.

Travel 20 minutes north of Cairns and you’ll come across what are known as the Northern Beaches. The closest and a consistent favorite beach is Trinity Beach, where gentle waves, soft golden sand and its relaxed ambience make it perfect for rolling out a towel and soaking up the sun. Lifeguards patrol the beach during the summer season, and a net keeps out jellyfish during stinger season so you can enjoy a swim.

Palm Cove is another favorite only 30 minutes away. This is the sort of beach you see on the covers of travel magazines, with its serene, blue waters, soft sand and splendid sunsets framed by relaxed palms. A pier juts out into the sea, offering a boarded walk above the sea foam and spray of the fresh ocean breeze.

Yorkey’s Knob is for the adventurers, popular for water sports such as jet skiing, kite surfing and wind surfing. Only 20 minutes away from Cairns, this is the place for an adventurous beach day trying your hand at extreme water sports. If you’re interested in giving kite surfing a go, an onsite kite center offers rental gear and introduction courses.

6. Discover Local Waterfalls and Swimming Holes

Swimming at Crystal Cascades credit Tourism and Events Queensland Andrew Watson

Swimming at Crystal Cascades. Image: Tourism & Events Queensland / Andrew Watson

There’s a local secret to staying cool during the hot Cairns summer – swimming holes and waterfalls.

In fact, many locals completely skip the beach and head straight to these hidden gems for a cool, refreshing swim. Surrounded by lush, shady rainforest, these natural rock pools and waterfalls are hidden tropical oases only minutes from Cairns.

The Crystal Cascades is a popular spot due to its close proximity to Cairns (only 15 – 20 minutes away) and its several different rock pool. Water cascades down a mountain rising out of the rainforest, creating many spectacular waterfalls splashing into the refreshing pools. Small streams running over collections of smoothed rock create natural water slides, just be careful to watch out for people before you slide down! This spot is easily accessible from a carpark, with barbecue and toilet facilities available.

Stoney Creek Falls, located 20 minutes from Cairns, is hidden beneath the pristine wilderness of Barron Gorge National Park. This sparkling waterfall cascades down into a refreshing swimming hole, surrounded in crystal clear rock pools and streams. There’s a walking path running along the creek that takes you to an old weir, a popular spot for relaxing and taking in the tranquility of the untouched rainforest around you.

Freshwater Creek, just 10 – 15 minutes from the city center, is a continuation of Crystal Cascades. This clear stream runs under towering, verdant trees and through smooth stones, offering a shady, cool respite. Picnic benches and barbecues are available throughout different spots along the creek.

7. Climb Walsh’s Pyramid

Walsh's Pyramid credit Tropical North Queensland

This adventure is not for the faint-hearted.

But if you’re an experienced hiker looking for the best walks in Cairns, Walsh’s Pyramid is the perfect challenge.

Located about 30 minutes south of Cairns, Walsh’s Pyramid is the highest freestanding natural pyramid in the world. Ascending over 3000 feet, this amazing natural formation rewards climbers with truly incredible views out to Cairns.

The whole walk takes about 4 – 7 hours to complete, best started early in the morning to avoid the heat of the day. The marked trail to the summit is rocky and steep, so you’ll need to use your hands for many parts of the hike. Take as much water as you can, and when you think you’ve packed enough, pack even more. You’ll also want to pack snacks to keep you energized throughout the walk. Dab on a good layer of sunscreen.

You’ll likely see many runners summiting the pyramid, training for the annual “Pyramid Race” that takes place every August. They’ll make climbing the pyramid look easy, but don’t feel pressured to keep up. You’ll want to be able to say you’ve climbed the highest natural pyramid in the world!

Try These Free Things to Do in Cairns

As home to the Great Barrier Reef and the spectacular Wet Tropics, your visit to Cairns is sure to hold once in a lifetime experiences. For the free moments you may have in between, these free things to do in Cairns offer a true local’s Cairns experience.

Happy travels from your mates at About Australia!

Swimming with Minke Whales in Australia: Everything You Need to Know

Posted on: December 17th, 2018 by Melissa Maxwell No Comments

Visit the Great Barrier Reef Between June & July to Swim with Minke Whales


First recognized by scientists less than 30 years ago, the dwarf minke whale is both elusive and super friendly.

There is so much we don’t know about these whales despite their proclivity to search out human company.

Scientists don’t understand why, but these whales are extremely curious and will often spend hours swimming around snorkelers and divers, giving quite a show! They are known to follow a boat around for hours, stopping for a look at each new dive site.

When to Swim with Minke Whales

Diver and minke whale credit deep sea divers den Jemma Craig Imagery

Minke whales are the most common of the great whale species, found in abundance throughout the world’s oceans. They are mostly found in the North Atlantic, North Pacific and Antarctic Oceans.

They are found off the coasts of Australia and New Zealand between March and December, but the best time to see minke whales is in June and July.

Despite their wide reach, swimming with minke whales only happens in The Great Barrier Ribbon Reefs in Tropical North Queenland, Australia. The great thing about this is that minke whales in the Great Barrier Reef are very social and communicative. Expeditions out to the reef regularly report seeing multiple whales in one day!

These multi-day Liveaboard expeditions depart from Cairns, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. These expeditions visit unique reef sites each day, offering more opportunities to swim with these gentle creatures.

This is one of the only animal encounters in the world that is entirely on the animal’s own terms. When a pod is spotted, a rope is tossed into the water. Groups of up to 10 swimmers hold on to the rope and the whales can approach or leave as they like. The whales are very generous with their time and once a pod is spotted, its rare if someone on the boat misses out on the experience while waiting their turn.

Things to Know Before Swimming with Minke Whales

Divers with minke whale credit Deep Sea Divers Den Jemma Craig Imagery

Being in the water with these majestic creatures is described as a life-changing experience. It’s common for people to emerge from the water crying, screaming or just plain speechless.

If you want to add this encounter to your Australia bucket list, here are a few things you should know!


1. Every Australian winter, the minke whales make their annual migration from Antarctica to the Great Barrier Reef from May to August. Plan your trip between June to mid-July for the best odds of seeing a pod. Peak season is in early July.

2. This special experience might take a bit of effort and luck! Only a handful of tour operators have permits to swim with minke whales and you’re never guaranteed an encounter. Increase your odds of swimming with the genial giants by taking a 3-7 night Liveaboard Excursion. In June and July, you’ll have a 98% chance of encountering the whales. It is recommend that you pre-book your excursion.

3. If you’re not keen on spending nights at sea, you can take a day-trip out of Port Douglas. These day-trips have an encounter rate of about 18%. This decreases your odds quite a bit, but if you do encounter them, you will feel as though you won the lottery! Either way it’s an amazing day out on the Great Barrier Reef. These day-trips often give discounts for multiple days out on the boat and they usually end up at different dive sites each day. So, you could stay a few nights in lovely Port Douglas and increase your odds by taking multiple trips out to the reef without feeling like you’re doing the same thing every day.

4. If you go in July, you might even have a chance to see and/or swim with Humpback whales too!

5. You can contribute directly to ongoing research including photo-identification, behavior research and conservation efforts from your minke whale encounter.

6. Dwarf minke whales are the smallest of the baleen whales. Like Humpback whales, they have no teeth, but a series of baleen plates that they use to trap and filter the food krill.

7. There is still much to be learned about these whales. For example, they have never been seen feeding on the Great Barrier Reef so it is assumed that they feed in Open Ocean while in the tropics, but no one really knows!

Diver with two minke whales credit Deep Sea Divers Den Jemma Craig Imagery

8. They are one of the fastest whales. They can travel at speeds greater than 20 knots or about 23 miles per hour.

9. Minke whales seem to prefer snorkelers to divers. They tend to get closer to and hang around longer when humans are not wearing large air tanks.

Want a chance to cross this amazing experience off your Bucket List?  Visit Australia with the help of a Destination Specialist at About Australia.  We can make your once in a lifetime trip Down Under fun and easy!

Add Swimming with Minke Whales to My Trip

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


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What Australian Animal Are You?

Posted on: November 28th, 2018 by Lizandra Santillan No Comments

Whether you dream of petting a kangaroo or holding a koala, getting up close and personal with Australia’s wildlife is priceless.

When you plan your trip with About Australia, we’ll lead you to the right places!

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

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

Posted on: November 22nd, 2018 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!

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


About Australia Reviews

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Read more About Australia Reviews

 


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Eat Like an Australian: 24 Australian Food Items You Have to Try

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

Ever wondered what Australians eat Down Under?

Though Australian cuisine is blended with many Asian and Mediterranean dishes, truly traditional Australian food lies in bush tucker, fresh seafood and something to soak up the ale.

Not to mention the delectable pastries and sweets you’ll wish you knew about your whole life!

Here are 24 Australian foods you have to try to eat like an Australian.

1. Vegemite

Vegemite on toast is an australian food

You were probably expecting to see Vegemite listed 24 times in this article, but there’s more to Australian food than this controversial spread.

But what exactly is Vegemite? It’s a dark brown spread made from vegetables, spices and yeast extract, making it more savory rather than sweet.

The most popular way to eat Vegemite is on toast. It tastes extremely salty – just small amount will do. Even less than what you’re thinking. But who knows – you might be one of the lucky ones to fall in love with Vegemite the moment it graces your tongue.

2. Lamingtons

Lamingtons are an Australian food

There’s probably nothing more heavenly than the sweet lamington. This small, rectangular sponge cake is lighter than a feather and more airy than a fluffy cloud. It really is a dream wrapped in a perfect cube of chocolate covered cake and rolled in coconut.

This Australian dessert is a favorite with coffee or tea, and the pride of any baker.

3. Meat Pies

Meat pie is Australian food credit David McLeish

Photo: David McLeish

Pair a meat pie with a beer, at a sporting event or in the morning after a night out. This Australian favorite is made up of flaky pastry filled with minced meat and gravy, sometimes mixed with a variety of vegetables. It’s basically the Australian food equivalent of a chicken pot pie.

This filling snack is perfect on the go or at a pub, and is quintessentially Australian.

4. Tim Tams

Tim Tams

These sweet biscuits (the Australian way to say cookies) have become a favorite on our side of the pond for their chocolatey goodness.

Never had one before? A Tim Tam is basically two chocolate-malted cookies with a layer of creamy chocolate filling sandwiched in between, all coated in melted chocolate.

Walk into any Coles or Woolworths (supermarkets) and you’ll find huge displays of Tim Tams in a variety of flavors. Overwhelmed with options like mint chocolate, iced coffee, white chocolate, chewy caramel and more, you might have a hard time  choosing. The most popular choice is the original, but you might like to play the Tim Tam challenge and try them all!

Biting into one of these is like entering a chocolatey heaven. But for a truly transcendental experience, you’ve got to try the Tim Tam Slam. Bite the corners of the diagonal corners off the cookie and use it as a straw to sip on coffee or hot chocolate.

5. Moreton Bay Bug

Moreton Bay Bug credit Tourism and Events Queensland

Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland

Don’t worry – this isn’t an actual bug. Moreton Bay Bugs are more like lobster, and are often said to taste even better.

You’ll find Moreton Bay Bugs featured in seafood dishes all over Australia. They are usually cut in half, drizzled in butter, oil, lemon or other seasonings and often grilled or barbecued.

After one bite of these “bugs,” lobster won’t compare ever again.

6. Witchetty Grub

Witchetty Grub

Do worry – this IS an actual bug. 

This small, white larva is found in the deserts of the Outback and has featured in traditional Aboriginal bush tucker for thousands of years.

If you’re brave enough to give it a try, you’ll find it tastes like chicken. It also packs a powerful amount of protein – more than an entire steak. Witchetty Grubs are traditionally eaten raw, but they are also served barbecued as an appetizer.

7. Kangaroo

Kangaroo Steak credit Maksym Kozlenko

Photo: Maksym Kozlenko

People like to joke and ask if you can eat kangaroo, and the truth is yes, you can totally eat kangaroo. In fact, it’s quite normal. Kangaroos are essentially like deer in the U.S. – they turn up on quiet plots of land, they like to jump out in front of your car, and they are quite tasty.

Kangaroo meat is low in fat, often grilled on a barbecue to a rare to medium finish. Eat it on its own or in a burger – it’s not often you can say you’ve tried kangaroo!

8. Pavlova

Pavlova

You could almost start a war between Australia and New Zealand over who first invented the Pavlova.

It is said the desert was created in honor of Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova during her tour of Australia and New Zealand in the 1920’s, with both countries laying claim to its creation.

This meringue based cake has a delicate, crispy outer shell and a fluffy, marshmallow-y center, topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit such as kiwi, strawberries and blueberries.

9. Fairy Bread

Fairy Bread

This simple treat is a nostalgic favorite from Australian kids’ birthday parties. It’s simply slices of white bread cut into triangles, spread with butter and covered in hundreds and thousands (the Australian term for sprinkles).

You likely won’t find fairy bread in stores or bakeries, probably because it’s so easy to make.

10. Dim Sim

Fried Dim Sim

This is the Australian food equivalent of dim sum, differing mostly in its tendency to come fried rather than steamed.

These large dumplings are generally half the size of a fist and filled with minced meat and vegetables. Perfect as a bite-sized snack on the go. 

11. Chiko Roll

Chiko Roll

Chiko rolls are Australia’s take on egg rolls. They’re more doughy than the flaky egg roll, deep-fried and filled with beef and a variety of vegetables.

These are often eaten as snacks on the go, found in local fish ‘n chip shops or by snack vendors at popular venues.

12. Fish ‘N Chips

Fish and chips

Fresh fish lightly fried to crispy goodness paired with thick-cut chips (french fries to us on this side of the pond) is a must for those sunny Australian beach days.

Wrapped in paper and seasoned with a bit of salt and lemon adds an undeniably satisfying touch to this classic Australian food.

You’ll find fish ‘n chips in just about any pub or in a waterfront shop by the beach.

13. Damper

Damper bread

This traditional soda bread was an Australian food staple of working class Aussies in the past.

Its simple recipe lends itself to a quick preparation almost anywhere. It’s made up of wheat flour, water and salt, sometimes with baking soda, baked in the ashes of a campfire.

14. Vanilla Slice

Mille-feuille vanilla slice credit George Seguin

Photo: George Seguin

This pastry is said to originate in France, but its exact origin is unknown. In French it’s called the mille-feuille, translating to “thousand sheets.” In English it’s known as the vanilla slice, a delicate dessert with layers of puff pastry and pastry cream or custard, glazed with powdered sugar or icing.

Variations of the vanilla slice are found all over the world, but Australians lay claim to this sweet pastry. With an annual competition for the best vanilla slice baker held in the state of Victoria, the Australians’ passion for the vanilla slice definitely deserves them its ownership.

15. Prawns

Prawns

Ready to slip some shrimp on the barbie?

Well first off, Australians don’t call it shrimp – it’s prawns, mate. And whether you get them at a restaurant or grilled up at a barbecue, you can’t go wrong with prawns. With the freshest seafood found along Australia’s shores, you’re sure to get tasty prawns no matter where you try them.

16. Emu

Emu

Emu meat is lean, low in cholesterol and high in iron and vitamin C. It’s a meat-lover’s dream, yet many people can’t get past the thought of eating this flightless bird.

It’s commonly featured in Australian food, usually in burgers, meat pies and even as a pizza topping.

Telling your friends you’ve tried emu is probably more bewildering than trying kangaroo, so don’t miss out on this tasty bird when you’re visiting Australia!

17. Barramundi

Barramundi

This native Australian white fish is desirable for its delicate taste, succulent flesh, moderate fat content and rich nutrients. It even has less calories than salmon yet still packed with healthy fatty acids.

The rest of the world is slowly catching on to this holy grail fish, but for now you’ll mostly find it served in restaurants across Australia.

18. Chicken Parmigiana

Chicken parmigiana

Simply referred to as a “parma,” this staple is a favorite on the pub specials menu. A parma is basically a schnitzel, or chicken fried in breadcrumbs, topped with tomato sauce and melted cheese.

The best way to eat a parma is at a pub parma night, where you can grab a parma and beer for a decent price.

19. Beetroot

Beetroot

Aussies love to add beetroot to their burgers, sandwiches and salads. You’ll definitely find this vegetable featured throughout many menus across Australia.

Its nutty, earthy taste pairs well with sweet and strong flavors, adding a flair of creativity to any dish. Be sure to try a beetroot burger after trying kangaroo and emu burgers!

20. Bush Dust

Bush Dust credit Tasmanian Gourmet Online

Tasmanian Gourmet Online

Get a taste of Australian herbs and spices with bush dust.

This mixture of Tasmanian native pepper, macadamia nuts, bush tomatoes, herbs and spices is perfect for bread dipped in olive oil or simply as a seasoning. Its deep red color is deceiving – this blend of spices has a mild, nutty taste, rather than hot or spicy.

Try it on fish, chicken, potatoes or vegetables. Really it pairs well with almost any dish.

21. Weet-Bix

Weet-Bix

Weet-Bix is similar to a granola bar made up of whole-grain wheat. High in fiber and low in sugar, it’s a favorite breakfast item so iconic it’s garnered a catchphrase in two countries: “Aussie Kids are Weet-Bix kids,” and “Kiwi Kids are Weet-Bix kids.”

22. Anzac Biscuits

ANZAC biscuit

These cookies have a history rooted in WWI. They were once made by the wives of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) and delivered to their men at war.

Now these cookies are made in commemoration of ANZAC Day, April 25th, honoring those who gave their lives to the war.

The delicious cookies are essentially oatmeal cookies made with golden syrup and desiccated coconut.

23. Violet Crumble

Violet Crumble

This is arguably Australia’s greatest contribution to cuisine. At least, anybody with a sweet tooth will think so.

Violet Crumble is one Australia’s most popular chocolate bars, with a crumbly honeycomb toffee center coated in chocolate.

The texture of the honeycomb toffee is similar to malt candy, though much softer and delicate. It almost has a cotton-candy consistency once you bite into it.

You’ll find Violet Crumble at just about any supermarket. Try it in ice cream to send your taste buds to heaven.

24. Flat White

Flat white coffee

Alright, so this isn’t food per se, but Australians are passionate about their coffee and are strong contenders for the best coffee in the world.

One sip of their coffee and you’ll never be able to go back to Folgers.

Even taking a barista course is an unspoken requirement before getting a coffee gig in Australia.

Locals will proudly say you can’t find a better flat white anywhere else in the world, and they might be right. Stop into a local coffee shop (you’ll find dozens of local coffee shops in any city – locals tend to avoid Starbucks like the plague) and grab yourself a flat white.

Australian Foods You Have to Try

One of the highlights of experiencing a foreign land is trying its culinary delights.

From snack foods to strange meats, give Australian food a try on your next trip to Australia.

Need help planning your trip? That’s our full time job. Contact our Destination Specialists to begin your journey today. Ask us about our favorite Australian food!

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


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12 Stunning Islands in Australia

Posted on: November 2nd, 2018 by Lizandra Santillan No Comments

12 Islands in Australia header

There’s no better way to recharge than on an island getaway.

But maybe your idea of recharging isn’t all beaches and sun. Maybe it’s discovering wildlife, hiking through lush rainforests or sampling local delicacies.

With over 8,222 islands in Australia, you’re guaranteed to find your own personal island paradise. Each island boasts its own unique qualities that are part of what makes Australia unlike anywhere else in the world.

We’ve gathered a list of the top 12 stunning islands in Australia that will have you dreaming of your next island getaway.

1. Kangaroo Island

Remarkable Rocks Kanagroo Island Australia Must See

Image: Alan & Flora Botting on flikr.com

See wildlife the way it was meant to be seen – out in the wild. No place does a zoo without fences better than Kangaroo Island, located off the coast near Adelaide.

Its separation from mainland Australia has allowed for the wildlife to thrive among untouched wilderness. So yes, you’ll see tons of wild kangaroos, but if you want to get close to them head to Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park.

Though the wildlife is the main star of this island, it’s hard not to be mesmerized by the dazzling landscapes. Long stretches of beaches, turquoise waters and spectacular rock formations – no zoo could even touch this.

Head to Seal Bay to walk among sea lions, swim with wild dolphins off the north coast of the island or spot koalas hanging out on eucalyptus trees at Flinders Chase National Park. Don’t miss the stunning Remarkable Rocks, Kangaroo Island’s signature landmark, looking like something straight out of a Georgia O’Keeffe painting.

2. Phillip Island

Phillip Island Penguins credit Tourism Australia

Image: Tourism Australia

See the tiniest penguins in the world at Phillip Island, just about two hours away from Melbourne.

Phillip Island is famous for its tiny penguins, but its coastal scenery is just as spectacular in its own right. Gorgeous green landscapes crumble into rugged coasts and pink granite cliffs, stretching out into surf beaches with perfectly barreling waves.

Meet the local wildlife at the Phillip Island Wildlife Park or see koalas in the wild at the Koala Conservation Centre. Stop into one of the local restaurants for a classic fish and chips lunch and visit the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit for a race on Australia’s largest four-lane GP slot car track.

As the sun sets, settle into Summerland Beach for a spot to catch the nightly Penguin Parade.

3. Fraser Island

Girl standing in Lake McKenzie Fraser Island credit Jules Ingall

Image: Jules Ingall

For an island holiday with a more adventurous vibe, head to Fraser Island, just off the coast of southern Queensland. This unique island is the only place in the world where the beach never ends. Its ancient, cool rainforest towers over white sand, interrupted only by freshwater creeks and the clearest lakes you’ve ever seen.

Pack your swimmers and head to Lake McKenzie, a pure crystal blue lake ringed by soft white sand and verdant rainforest. Honestly, this lake beats out any chemically-treated pool in clarity. And it’s all untouched, pure rainwater!

One of the best ways to explore the island is on a 4WD. Drive down 75 Mile Beach and discover the SS Maheno Shipwreck or find a spot along the beach to try your hand at saltwater fishing. You might spot wild dingoes along the way, but only admire from afar!

4. Rottnest Island

The Basin Rottnest Island in Australia credit Tourism Australia

Image: Tourism Australia

One of Australia’s favorite holiday island destinations is Rottnest Island. Located off the coast from Perth in Western Australia, many locals like to reach the island by their own boat. Ferries are also available through three ferry operators along Perth.

Though Western Australia is not often on many traveler’s lists, Rottnest Island alone is enough to add it to your bucket list. Impossibly white sand beaches with crystal turquoise waters offer fantastic swimming and snorkeling. Biking is the best way to explore the island, allowing you to beach and bay-hop across its sublime coasts to find your perfect swimming spot. The best part – no roads!

You’ll also meet Rottnest Island’s famous locals – the quokka. This unique Australian animal is found only in Rottnest Island, and has become popular for its photogenic smile.

5. Bruny Island

Neck Beach, Bruny Island Tasmania credit Tourism Tasmania

Image: Tourism Tasmania

Foodies rejoice! Culinary delights are the star at Bruny Island, perfectly paired with otherworldly landscapes.

About two hours away from Hobart in Tasmania, Bruny Island is well beyond the typical tourist trail. But once you step foot on the island you’ll see why it’s a true hidden gem.

Our favorite Bruny Island tour takes you to local artisanal shops showcasing some of Australia’s finest cheesemaking, chocolatiering and whisky distilling. You’ll also try some freshly shucked oysters, locally grown berries and premium wine. Every course on the menu is a stop on your journey!

Make the small journey to The Neck Lookout and see the isthmus connecting the northern and southern parts of the island. The view from the top is absolutely unbeatable.

6. Moreton Island

Dolphin Feeding Tangalooma Resort credit Tourism & Events Queensland Islands in Australia

Want to get up close with dolphins? Moreton Island is your best bet. Just across Moreton Bay from Brisbane, Moreton Island is a must for dolphin-feeding, kayaking, shipwreck snorkeling and sandboarding.

Yes, sandboarding – it’s exactly like snowboarding except with sand! Riding down the large slopes of sand is a lot more fun than you might realize. You might find yourself climbing the slopes again and again, then simply wash off the sand with a dip at the beach.

With no roads on the island, this unspoiled paradise is perfect for relaxing walks and simply taking in the beauty of untouched nature. Be sure to stay after sunset for the chance to hand-feed wild dolphins at Tangalooma Resort.

7. Magnetic Island

Koala in tree credit Tourism Queensland

Image: Tourism Queensland

A popular stop along the east coast of Australia is Magnetic Island. Located just 20 minutes off the coast of Townsville in Queensland, Magnetic Island promises extremely laid-back island vibes.

Time seems to be at a standstill on Magnetic Island, or “Maggie,” as affectionately called by locals. It’s easy to lose track of time here and just let the world go by.

Go for a dip in one of many sublime beaches or zip around the island on a hired mini moke, a small convertible perfect for island exploration.

Take the Forts Walk through historic WWII landmarks ending with incredible views across the ocean. Be sure to keep an eye out for koalas hanging around the trees. As home to Australia’s largest population of wild koalas, you’re almost guaranteed to spot one of these furry creatures.

8. Frankland Islands

Frankland Islands credit Frankland Islands Reef Cruises

Image: Frankland Islands Reef Cruises

One of Australia’s truest hidden gems is the Frankland Islands. Located off the northern coast of Queensland near Cairns, these islands are an untouched slice of paradise.

Only one tour operator is licensed to go to Frankland Islands, and their close proximity to the Great Barrier Reef make for perfect small-group snorkeling excursions. The main island, Normanby Island, boasts white sand beaches and clear waters ideal for snorkeling.

The marine biologist on the Frankland Islands tour crew offers guided walks around the island, exploring rock pools rife with exotic marine life.

Complete with an included lunch as you cruise back to Cairns, the Frankland Islands are a fantastic way to experience the Great Barrier Reef without the crowds. Ask our About Australia Destination Specialists about this special tour!

9. Whitsunday Islands

Whitehaven Beach from Hill Inlet credit Tourism Australia

Image: Tourism Australia

Looking for a tropical island paradise? The Whitsunday Islands offer your pick out of 74 impeccable islands.

These islands off the coast of Queensland sit within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and are just as stunning above the water as below the surface.

With only 8 inhabited islands, the rest are natural sanctuaries of secluded beaches and rainforest bushwalks, making for perfect campsites. The fringing reef protects the waters surrounding the islands, making for calm bays perfect for sailing across the islands. And you don’t even need a license to rent a private yacht for bareboat sailing!

One of our favorite Whitsunday Islands is the main, titular island, the largest of all 74. Here is where you’ll find the unparalleled Whitehaven Beach, often listed in the top 10 beaches in the world.

10. Hamilton Island

Catseye Beach, Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island is the definition of picture perfect paradise. There’s absolutely no bad angle – everywhere you turn is a postcard-ready scene, just waiting to be captured on camera.

As one of the 8 inhabited Whitsunday Islands, Hamilton Island is an Australian favorite for a luxury getaway. Take in incredible views of the ocean from high-end resort infinity pools, tropical cocktail in hand. Explore the roadless island by golf buggy and indulge in world-class dining at one of many renowned restaurants.

It doesn’t get more luxurious at Hamilton Island than in qualia, a 5-star resort embracing its magnificent surrounds in ultimate, couples-only seclusion. More budget friendly options on Hamilton Island include renting holiday homes. With a buggy included in your rental, you’re free to explore the beautiful palm-fringed, white sand beaches on this idyllic island.

11. Lizard Island

Lizard Island Resort Pavilion

Imagine stepping onto a white sand beach right out your door and seeing one of the world’s greatest natural wonders at your feet.

The best way to experience the Great Barrier Reef is being surrounded by it. Situated right on the reef, no island does this better than Lizard Island.

This small island is home to Lizard Island Resort, an all-inclusive luxury getaway up there with some of the highest-end resorts in the world.

You can snorkel some of the reef’s most pristine and young corals right from the beach, or take a scuba diving trip out to spectacular dive sites such as Cod Hole.

See the reef right from your own private infinity pool, explore the local waters on a private dinghy or walk the lush bushland on nature walks and tracks.

Indulge in gourmet meals, taste local and international wines and enjoy a private beach picnic, all included in your stay.

Lizard Island Resort provides the ultimate luxury deserving of the Great Barrier Reef right at its steps, and will be a getaway you’ll never forget.

12. Lord Howe

Couple at lookout on Lord Howe Island

Lord Howe Island is like stepping into a Planet Earth documentary. The only hues on this island seem to be endless gradients of blues and greens, hiding an abundance of wildlife.

Located over 300 miles off the eastern coast of Australia, the only way to get to Lord Howe Island is on a two hour flight from Sydney or Brisbane.

Its pristine beaches lend to some of the world’s cleanest and clearest waters perfect for snorkeling. It’s just like swimming in an aquarium!

The island is strewn with easy strolls through lush palms and forests, but for a one-of-a-kind adventure the Mt Gower climb is a must. Rated as one of the best day-treks in the world, this challenging journey takes you on a guided cliff-face mountain climb for a truly rewarding experience.

See Australia’s Breathtaking Islands

Dreaming of an island getaway on your trip to Australia? Whether you’re looking for a quiet retreat surrounded by stunning beaches or an adventure unlike anywhere else, Australia’s got an island to suit you perfectly.

Our Destination Specialists are experts in all things Australia. We’ll help you pick the best island for your Australia vacation.

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


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14 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Traveling to Australia

Posted on: October 22nd, 2018 by Lizandra Santillan No Comments

Mistakes to Avoid with Australia Travel

Many first time travelers feel a mixture of all sorts of emotions right before setting off to Australia.

Excitement, anxiety, fear. You’re either scouring the internet for every single tip on traveling in Australia, or your plan is just to wing it.

Your best bet is to embrace a little bit of both attitudes. Australia is such a dynamic country full of incredible sights. We promise there’s very little you should fear, and so much you should be excited about.

To make your planning a little easier, here’s our list of 14 common mistakes to avoid when traveling to Australia.

1. Underestimating the Size of Australia

For some reason people have this idea that Australia is a rather small island.

People think they can hop in a car and drive around the whole country in about a week.

The problem is, Australia is about the same size as the U.S. Hitting the major hotspots such as Sydney, Cairns and Melbourne is like traveling from Miami to New York then Houston. Definitely not a road trip you want to blast through in just a week.

2. Not Being Familiar with the Seasons

Australia’s seasons are opposite to ours in the U.S.

Their summer is our winter. The weather also varies throughout different parts of Australia. Up north in Cairns and the tropics the summer season is marked by frequent rains while winters are mild and dry. Down in the southern states of New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, the winters get a little colder.

If you’re planning to hit up the beaches in Sydney in June, you might be in for a surprise!

Check out our guide on the weather in Australia for a detailed look of the average weather throughout different regions of the country.

3. Not Planning in Advance

One of the joys of traveling to some place new is discovering its local delights on spontaneous adventures.

While this holds true for many parts of Australia, you’ll want to pre-book your bucket list items or you’ll risk missing out. Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, visiting Sydney during New Year’s, riding The Ghan and other famous Australian rail journeys – these are things you absolutely need to book in advance before your trip. You’re traveling all the way to the other side of the world for some of these spectacular experiences. The last thing you want is to be disappointed on what should be the trip of a lifetime.

Not sure if your must-do adventure should be pre-booked? Talk with your About Australia Destination Specialist.

Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef on Australia Travel

Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Photo: Tourism Australia

4. Having No Down Time

It’s hard to resist the urge to cram a ton of things to do every day while traveling.

We totally get it – you want to see as much as you can with the amount of time you’ve got in Australia.

But some down time is so important to pace your journey and take it all in. You don’t want to stretch yourself thin by being on the go all the time with no breaks in between. You’ll get easily stressed by trying to keep track of everything you have to do.

It’s great to make sure you get to meeting points on time and not miss any departures. But you don’t want your head to be completely filled with logistics when you should be enjoying the moment.

5. Not Budgeting for Australian Prices

There’s no way around it – Australia is expensive.

People tend to get sticker shock when they see the prices throughout Australia. Keep in mind, Australia is home to several cities that are consistently rated as the most liveable cities in the world. Prices will reflect that demand. You’ll want to save up a fair bit of money to use while traveling, as well as carry extra cash.

Eating out ranges on average around $30 per meal, not including drinks. On the upside, tipping is not generally customary in Australia. The minimum wage starts at about $18.29 an hour and service workers don’t tend to expect tips.

Definitely splurge here and there and let yourself have fun, but you’ll want to be careful about your spending while in Australia. For more about the currency and using credit cards in Australia, check out our guide on Australian currency.

6. Skipping Out on Travel Insurance

This is something you absolutely do not want to skip out on for any trip, not just Australia.

Travel insurance covers a range of unforeseen events such as medical emergencies, travel delays, bad weather, lost luggage and much more.

No matter how carefully you may plan your trip, sometimes things happen that are completely out of our control. Your trip is an investment – you don’t want to incur a complete loss should something happen.

Couple hike past 12 Apostles on Australia Travel

12 Apostles, Melbourne

7. Not Allowing Enough Time for Each Destination

Imagine giving yourself one day to visit New York, then traveling to Chicago the next day, then San Francisco the next.

You’d barely see anything!

Australia’s major cities – even its small towns – have so much to offer, and you could easily spend days just exploring one city.

You’ll also want to extend your stays to act as a base for exploring nearby regions. Sydney has the stunning Blue Mountains outside of the city and the Hunter Valley Wine Region a short road trip away. Explore the Great Barrier Reef one day in Cairns, then Daintree Rainforest – the oldest rainforest in the world – the next day.

Think about allowing yourself a free day as well to explore each destination on your own.

8. Leaving the Big Adventures at the End

A good rule of thumb is to schedule big ticket tours at the beginning of your stay in Australia rather than later.

This is mainly due to the weather, especially important for weather-related excursions. If you’ve booked a Great Barrier Reef cruise at the beginning of your stay in Cairns but the weather causes a cancellation, you’ve at least got the rest of your stay available to reschedule the cruise.

Many tour operators are flexible in rescheduling your booking due to inclement weather, so it’s good to schedule these tours at the start of your stay just in case. Leaving these tours until the end of your stay poses the risk of missing out should anything happen.

9. Over Packing

If you’ve ever fallen victim to over packing, hopefully you remember the utter unpleasantness that comes along with it.

Lugging extra bags everywhere you go, forcing all your weight down on your suitcase and praying you can zip it at least most of the way. Not to mention having no extra room for any souvenirs!

But another pit fall of over packing is going over the airline luggage restrictions and risk having to shell out extra cash for your bags. We recommend booking all your flights within the U.S. and Australia on the same ticket which increases your luggage allowance to two checked bags. Australian domestic flights have strict carry-on limits, so an extra checked bag for free comes in handy. Your About Australia Destination Specialist will do this for you whenever possible.

Also, many hotels throughout Australia are apartment-style and include laundry units within their rooms. This way you can pack light and still have clean clothes throughout your journey. Check out our guide on what to pack for Australia to help you figure out what to bring and what to leave behind.

10. Being Scared of the Wildlife

People hear “Australia” and think they’ll be coiled to death by snakes and eaten by spiders.

But you’re more likely to get injured by a horse than all Australia’s venomous critters combined. Even then, the only places you might actually come across these dangerous creatures are in carefully maintained wildlife parks and zoos.

You definitely won’t see any snakes or large spiders in the cities, or any kangaroos and koalas in the wild, either. There’s a chance you might spot some native wildlife in more open areas outside of city limits and in national parks. As with any wild animal, as long as you leave them alone they won’t bother you.

It’s important to only interact with wildlife in the presence of a professional wildlife handler. That’s how you’ll get those special opportunities to hand-feed kangaroos or take a picture with a koala. And no, drop bears are not real!

Kangaroos at Taronga Zoo on Australia Travel, Sydney credit Tourism Australia

Taronga Zoo, Sydney. Photo: Tourism Australia

11. Not Applying Enough Sunscreen

It’s way better to overdo the sunscreen in Australia than to under-do it. It’ll save you a world of pain.

Australia receives extraordinarily high levels of ultraviolet radiation due to its close proximity to the hole in the ozone layer over the Antarctic. This lack of extra atmospheric sun protection makes sunscreen application essential. You’ll want to make sure you use a broad spectrum sunscreen protecting against both UVA and UVB rays.

If you’re heading to the reef, you’ll also want to be sure your sunscreen is reef safe.

Tip: When out on the reef, don’t forget to apply sunscreen to the back of your knees!

12. Not Getting to Know the Locals

Aussies are some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet.

Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation and let yourself open up. You’ll get the best tips on local secrets such as the best places to grab some food or drinks, as well as extra advice on any places to avoid.

Besides, a new Aussie friend is a great reason to plan a return trip!

Australia travel at Opera Bar, Sydney credit Anson Smart Tourism Australia

Opera Bar, Sydney. Photo: Anson Smart

13. Thinking You Can Catch a Train or Bus to New Zealand

There are no roads, bridges or tunnels connecting Australia to New Zealand.

The only way to get there is on a flight, just about 4 hours long.

New Zealand is an incredible country on its own and deserves at least a two week trip to see the highlights. If you have enough time to see both countries, combing the two makes for a fantastic vacation.

But New Zealand is vastly different from its neighbor, and we recommend planning a separate trip if you only have a limited amount of time for your vacation.

14. Sweating the Small Stuff

Planning a trip is stressful enough, and sometimes the anxiety of traveling in a foreign country makes it easy to let the small stuff get to you.

But you’re in one of the world’s top bucket list destinations – don’t let minor setbacks ruin your vacation.

If you plan your trip with About Australia all the small details will be taken care of, and if you’ve got travel insurance, all the big stuff will be covered.

Avoid These Common Mistakes When Traveling to Australia

Planning your Australia travel may seem daunting at first, but it’s rather easy to avoid these common mistakes

As long as you keep these Australia travel tips in mind, it’s actually quite difficult to ruin your trip. It’s all a matter of researching your destinations and getting in touch with an About Australia Destination Specialist for extra insider knowledge. Once you’re ready to plan your trip, we’ll make sure the process is a breeze.

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


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Sydney Harbour

Things to Do Around Sydney Harbour


Things to Do Around Sydney Harbour

Posted on: October 3rd, 2018 by Lizandra Santillan No Comments

Sydney Harbour credit Destination NSW

If it’s your first time traveling to Australia, you’re probably landing in Sydney.

The moment you step off that plane – right at sunrise – you’re going to want to make a beeline for your hotel and fall face first into your bed.

But that’s a terrible idea.

Not only will most hotels not have check in until at least 2pm, but you’ll want to stay up to avoid jet lag.

Luckily, Sydney is filled with countless things to do right as you step off the plane.

And there’s nothing better than diving headfirst into this beautiful harbour city in all its splendor by exploring its dynamic harbourfront.

We’ve made it easy for you with these things to do around Sydney Harbour.

Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens

things to do near Sydney Harbour

With extensive grounds of beautifully manicured lawns and gardens, the Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens are a tranquil escape right in the heart of the city.

Its many trails are perfect for getting your bearings and taking a leisurely stroll with fantastic views of the harbour.

Walk through the Mrs. Macquaries Road footpath to Mrs. Macquaries Point, a picturesque headland jutting out into the harbour.

Take a seat on the famous Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair for one of the best views directly across the Sydney Opera House.

Continue along the waterfront for more fantastic scenery. With the white Opera House sails set against the Sydney Harbour Bridge across the harbour, you’ll no doubt be stopping for pictures every step of the way.

The gardens are home to an array of stunning native trees, plants and flowers with lawns dedicated to each.

Grab a snack or pack a picnic lunch and rest on the Flower Bed Lawn, a clearing of verdant green grass dappled with towering trees and exotic plants. Stop by the Main Pond for a chance to see the resident eels (don’t worry, they’re harmless!). Head toward the Rose Garden Beds for a charming pavilion lined with roses, complete with a statue of Cupid to accentuate its loveliness.

You’re bound to see locals getting in their morning jog and other groups simply enjoying the resplendent grounds. Learn more about the garden by joining a free tour, hopping on the garden’s Choo Choo Express or take a guided tour led by an Aboriginal leader and taste Aboriginal bush food found in the gardens!

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House Sails credit Tourism Australia

From the Botanic Gardens you can easily reach the Sydney Opera House.

As you take your first steps toward the towering sails, you’ll feel the draw of this undeniably mesmerizing icon.

This is the face of Sydney, its main feature recognized around the whole world. Seeing it for the first time is an experience in and of itself.

So, bask it all in. You definitely won’t be the only one. This architectural wonder draws millions of visitors each year – and as such a unique structure set against one of the most picturesque harbours in the world, it’s no mystery why.

Join a tour to get an inside look at the Opera House with an expert guide detailing the history of the building. You’ll get an exclusive look at the interior of the concert halls – perhaps you’ll want to catch a show here later! 

Circular Quay

Right down the Sydney Opera House is Circular Quay, the hub of Sydney’s harbourfront action and gateway to iconic attractions.

This is where many cruises, ferries and water taxis depart, connecting visitors to the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and the historic Rocks District.

Here buskers tickle out tunes and impress crowds with unique performances. Pop-up restaurants and one-of-a-kind events set up shop along the Quay. Not too long ago, Jeff Goldblum set up his Chef Goldblum’s food truck serving up free hot dogs in the Quay!

Dining with a View

Lining Circular Quay is a progression of fantastic waterfront restaurants promising an essential Sydney experience – excellent food paired with unbeatable views.

Grab a spot at Opera Bar, often lauded as the best beer garden in the world. Perhaps the sweeping panoramic views across the harbour steer the scales in its favor. Peer over from the ledge of the Opera House’s promenade and you’ll spot vine-laden umbrellas perched over tables and bar stools. Order a cocktail or a glass of fine Australian wine and settle into the seats curving along the water’s edge .

For a special occasion, reserve a spot at Aria, only minutes away from the Opera House. Enjoy a delectable four course menu and extensive wine list, both highlighted by sublime views out from the glass walls.

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia credit Tourism Australia

This Sydney staple houses Australian and international contemporary art along with touring exhibitions. Get a glimpse of modern artworks produced around the world today and let your inner artist get lost in the thought-provoking collections you’ll encounter here.

See breathtaking exhibitions by Aboriginal artists, brimming with color and spirituality. Take in puzzling artworks, bemusing at first, but always with something to take away.

The Museum of Contemporary Art will at once welcome and challenge your notions of art and stimulate your imagination. If you’ve never given contemporary art a chance, this is the perfect place to give it a go.

The Rocks District

The Rocks Sydney credit Tourism Australia for Things to do Sydney Harbour

Cobbled laneways cut through some of Sydney’s oldest pubs and historic buildings. Structures gleam with their original eighteenth century colonial architecture, standing proud with their gabled roofs.

This is The Rocks, site of Sydney’s first settlement in 1788.

Brimming with a colorful history of convicts, soldiers and sailors, this is the perfect place to learn about the history of Sydney.

Many walking tours detailing the history of the area are available, some with a focus on Aboriginal history, convict stories or even pub walks. Who wouldn’t want to grab a pint in some of Sydney’s first bars?

Amble over to The Rocks Markets for enticing street food and boutique local shops, celebrating authentic local foodie experiences. The markets recreate a feel reminiscent of the bustling commons that once thrived in eighteenth century Sydney. Discover locally crafted clothes, jewelry and homewares along with gourmet food, artisan meats, cheeses and sweet treats mingling their delicious scents within the air.

Learn more about The Rocks before European settlement at The Rocks Discovery Museum. Housed in a restored 1850’s sandstone warehouse, here you’ll find unique exhibitions showcasing images and artifacts found in The Rocks – some of which you can even hold. The best part – it’s free!

Cruise on the Harbour

You can’t go to one of the world’s most gorgeous harbour cities and not go on a cruise. In fact, it’s a Sydney rite of passage.

Lunch cruises, dinner cruises, ferries and water taxis – the options are almost unlimited.

Get the glamorous harbour cruise experience with a dining cruise. With breakfast, lunch and dinner cruises available, enjoy a spectacular meal any time of the day with million dollar harbour views.

Explore more of Sydney and the sparkling harbour aboard a sightseeing ferry. We like to recommend our clients to get their hands on a Hop On Hop Off 2-day ferry pass for an easy cruise across the harbour highway to 10 famous Sydney stop overs, including Circular Quay, Darling Harbour, Taronga Zoo, Luna Park, Barangaroo and others.

Darling Harbour

Harbourside Shopping Center credit HSC

This lively precinct is home to fun tourist attractions, trendy waterfront dining experiences as well as premier Sydney shopping.

Meet incredible aquatic species at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, one of the largest aquariums in the world. Discover dugongs, sharks, penguins and tropical fish in the aquarium’s differently themed zones. Touch sea stars, shark eggs and coral at the Discovery Rockpool, and get a look into the prehistoric marine life from the dark depths of the ocean at Jurassic Seas.

Stroll down along Darling Harbour to the Harbourside Shopping Center, where the exciting buzz of Darling Harbour emanates from its waterfront dining and boutique shops.

Here you’ll find anything from familiar places to grab a quick bite to eat to waterfront steakhouses. Grab some grub then browse the shops for a new Australian-made outfit or souvenir.

Further along the harbour you’ll come across the Australian National Maritime Museum, where a wealth of seafaring and naval exhibitions provide a look into Australia’s coastal culture.

Climb aboard a replica of Captain Cook’s Endeavor vessel, the tall ship in which he first landed on Australia in 1770. Learn stories about the passengers – settlers and convicts from the 18th century – and their voyages to a new life in Australia. With knowledgeable guides possessing an impressive passion for Australian maritime history, you’re sure to dive deeper into the history of Australia – so closely intertwined with the ocean.

Taronga Zoo

Koala at Taronga Zoo, Sydney credit Tourism Australia

A popular stop on a harbour cruise is Taronga Zoo. With native Australian wildlife, rare exotic animals and breathtaking views of the cityscape across the harbour, Taronga Zoo might just be one of the most gorgeous zoos in the world.

Start with a gondola cable car ride lifting you above the zoo, gliding over trees and bush with views across the harbour.

Meet cuddly koalas, friendly kangaroos and their elusive tree-dwelling cousins, tree kangaroos.

Get up close to the graceful Sumatran Tiger on the Tiger Trek, or see the magnificent Asian elephants. Visit the towering giraffes, who have arguably to best view across the harbour in the whole zoo. Home to over 340 species, you’re bound to find your favorite animal.

Luna Park

Luna Park, Milsons Point credit Steve Back and Destination NSW

Find a true boardwalk amusement park experience at Luna Park, another favorite stop on the sightseeing ferry. Situated across the harbour right along the water, that ferris wheel is guaranteed to have incredible views.

Vibrant with colors and exciting rides for the kids, this is an essential harbour stop for families with little ones. But there’s an undeniable thrill that will strike your very core as you feel like you’re about to be flung into the harbour as you ride the Wild Mouse rollercoaster!

Slide down steep slopes on the Devil’s Drop or spin into a frenzy on the Rotor. Wind down on the Carousel – an amusement park staple – or get lost in the dizzying Mirror Maze.

Luna Park lets your inner kid go wild and immerse yourself in the nostalgia of the perfect carnival day.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Harbour Bridge credit Tourism Australia

Past Darling Harbour is the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, an architectural feat to match the likes of the Opera House.

Its famous steel arch has earned it the nickname “The Coathanger.” Luckily, it’s much more supportive than that. In fact, the bridge has eight traffic lanes and two railway lines with a pedestrian walkway on the eastern side of the bridge and a cycling track on the western side.

Haven’t had enough of those gorgeous harbour views? Get a totally different perspective of Sydney Harbour at the very top of the Harbour Bridge arch on a BridgeClimb!

An essential Sydney must-do, this exciting journey combines fascinating history detailing the making of the bridge with a thrilling climb over the arch. You’ll get fitted with a climbing suit, briefed in safe practices and set off in a group led by a bridge climbing pro.

With morning, afternoon and evening climbs available, you can wake your senses with this invigorating climb or see the sunset glow cast over the harbour and Opera House sails. 

Besides, it’s not everybody who can say they’ve climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge!

Barangaroo

Baragaroo Reserve, Barangaroo credit Destination NSW

Barangaroo is the new kid on the block. Or harbour, you could say.

Once a site used for dumping shipping containers, this wasteland has transformed into a spectacular waterfront precinct. Quite the ugly duckling turned into swan story.

The precinct is named after Barangaroo, an indigenous Cammeraygal clan leader from the Eora Nation living around the north harbour at the time of European colonization. She was revered as a free-spirited and strong-willed Aboriginal woman. Several accounts tell about her refusal to wear European clothing to a formal dinner with settlers and turned up painted in white clay with a bone through her nose.

Just as Barangaroo held tightly to her indigenous roots, so does the idyllic parkland known as Barangaroo Reserve. This project is a testament to the achievable beauty of a congenial blend between urban renewal and nature.

Barangaroo Reserve is a 14-acre natural sanctuary created with a mission to restore the endemic trees, plants and shrubs of the area. Join a walking tour through the picturesque reserve and learn about the different plants and their uses, led by a knowledgeable Aboriginal guide.

Barangaroo Waterfront Dining

Head down past Nawi Cove for exceptional Barangaroo dining. The strip directly facing the waterfront features ten unique, carefully selected restaurants showcasing some of Sydney’s best local cuisine.

Indulge in Turkish share plates bursting with fresh flavors at Anason, and top it off with an authentic Baklava pastry. Treat your tastebuds to a feast of eclectic Australian flavors with an eight course tasting menu at Bea Restaurant, housed in the unique Barangaroo House. Pair your delectable dishes such as seared swordfish with bone marrow and wild barramundi with apple and brown butter with premium Australian wines. Order the Rocky Road for dessert for a chocolate experience out of this world!

Explore Sydney Harbour

Sydney is a world-class city with a harbour unparalleled in adventures to thrill history buffs, foodies and daredevils alike. The number of things to do around Sydney Harbour are countless and promise incredible experiences uniquely Australian.

The best part about exploring the harbour is that many of these sightseeing stop are some of the best free things to do in Sydney!

Want more recommendations on things to see around Sydney Harbour? Connect with our Destination Specialists to plan your perfect Sydney visit on your trip to Australia.

Add Sydney to My Trip

Australia Packing List: What to Pack for Every Season

Posted on: September 27th, 2018 by Lizandra Santillan No Comments

Australia is one of the world’s most varied destinations. Traveling through Australia is like traveling to completely different worlds. From sun-kissed beaches to the world’s oldest rainforest and vibrant cities to the legendary Outback, Australia’s got it all.

This can make packing for your trip a challenge.

We’ve created a list to help you figure out what essentials to pack and what to wear in Australia.

With this Australia packing list, you’ll be ready to take on the land Down Under in no time.

Download and print our Australia Packing Checklist.

What to Pack for Australia

  • Waterproof Phone Case – This item isn’t something that immediately pops into mind when you’re planning your Australia packing list, but once you’re there you’ll wish you brought one along. A waterproof phone case lets you fully use your phone underwater, perfect for snapshots while snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef! It’s also great protection for snapping photos while enjoying the beach. No more worrying about getting water on your phone!

    Shop for a Waterproof Phone Case

Waterproof Phone Case

  • Australian Power Adapter – Australia uses a different power outlet compared to the rest of the world, so you’ll need a power adapter to keep your electronics charged. A universal power adapter with USB ports is recommended. Realizing that you can’t plug in your electronics to charge for the entirety of your trip is the stuff of nightmares!

    Shop for an Australian Power Adapter

Australian Power Adapter

  • Reef-Safe Sunscreen – Australia is heavily exposed to intense sunshine, and in many places a reef-safe sunscreen is mandatory. But what exactly is reef-safe sunscreen? This type of sunscreen is free of chemicals damaging to coral and marine life when washed away into the ocean. Even if you’re not visiting the Great Barrier Reef, you’re most likely spending a few days at the beach, so it’s important to make sure your sunscreen is reef-safe.

    Shop for Reef-Safe Sunscreen

Reef-safe Sunscreen

  • Camera – Sometimes a phone camera just can’t do a landscape any justice. As you travel throughout Australia, the jaw-dropping scenery will have you snapping photos every ten seconds. Bring a camera if you wish to capture crisp photos of your travels, especially of Australia’s unique wildlife.

    Shop for a Camera

Camera

  • Water Shoes – Whether you’re snorkeling, visiting islands or spending all your days at the beach, you’ll want a good pair of water shoes for water-based adventures. Trust us, just flip-flops won’t do. Many beaches have walking trails you’ll want to explore, such as the Bondi to Coogee walk in Sydney, and water shoes are the perfect versatile footwear for those beach days with a little spontaneous adventure.

    Shop for Water Shoes

Blue Water Shoes

  • Portable Charger – There might be days where you’ll always be on the go, with little time to rest. Keeping a portable charger for days like this is always handy, as you may not know the next time you’ll come across an outlet. This is incredibly useful for long days on the road in tour buses or for day trips. Recharge the portable charger once you get back to your hotel, and now you’re ready to go for tomorrow’s adventures!

    Shop for a Portable Charger

Black Portable Charger

  • Prescriptions and Over the Counter Medicines – If you know you are prone to allergies, headaches or motion sickness, it’s a good idea to bring OTC medicines to ease any discomfort. You might want to bring seasickness tablets if you’re planning on any cruise excursions such as a snorkeling trip to the Great Barrier Reef. We also recommend Kaopectate for traveler’s tummy, found in any pharmacy in Australia. And of course, bring along any prescription medicines you regularly take.

    Shop for Kaopectate Upset Stomach Reliever

Kaopectate Stomach Reliever

  • Insect Repellent – You don’t have to worry about bugs or mosquitoes for most destinations throughout Australia, but if you’re hiking or visiting any rainforest regions, insect repellent is not a bad idea. We do, however, fully recommend insect repellent if you’re heading to the Outback or anywhere in the Northern Territory such as Alice Springs or Uluru.

    Shop for Insect Repellent

Insect Repellent

  • Reusable Water Bottle – Staying hydrated under the heady Australian sun is super important. A reusable water bottle is a great way to always keep water at your side, and refillable wherever you go.

    Shop for a Reusable Water Bottle

Reusable Water Bottle

  • Underwater Camera – If you want underwater shots to look more crisp than with a waterproofed phone camera, invest in an affordable underwater camera. Nothing beats capturing the underwater wonders of Australia’s marine life – except seeing it all for yourself, of course! But this way you can relive those breathtaking moments of snorkeling the reef or spotting colorful tropical fish.

    Shop for an Underwater Camera

Underwater Camera

  • Travel Documents – Always know where your travel documents are and keep photocopies of them should anything happen. One of our favorite tips is to keep online digital copies of travel documents. Emailing yourself copies of your passport, trip vouchers, flight confirmations, etc. ensures you can access these documents online anywhere, even if you lose your phone.

 Download and print this Australia packing checklist.

What to Wear in Australia

Figuring out what to wear in Australia can be a bit tough. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not always scorching hot every day of the year.

Almost the same size as the US, the weather in Australia varies throughout each region.

Here’s what to pack for Australia based on each season.


Summer (December – February): Summer is peak season for Australia. The sun is shining bright, the kids are out of school, and everyone is out enjoying the holidays with balmy temperatures averaging between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

This is Australia’s warmest period, so light, summery clothes, comfortable walking shoes, swimwear and thongs (the Australian word for flip flops!) are a must. Australia is pretty casual, but you may want to pack dressier clothes for an evening out in the city or for special events.

If you’re heading to destinations in Northern Territory such as Alice Springs or Uluru, bring breathable clothes, a sunhat and sunglasses to protect yourself from the scorching sun.

Tropical destinations in the north such as Cairns and Darwin see frequent showers, so a raincoat and umbrella are recommended.

Bring a light jacket for southern destinations such as Adelaide, Melbourne and Tasmania for the cooler evenings.

Bondi Beach Culture credit Anson Smart

Photo: Anson Smart


Fall (March – May): Australia enjoys a mild fall season, with temperatures averaging between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. In general, you’ll want to pack cozy layers and summer clothes for the daytime with a jacket for any drops in temperature.

Beach destinations along the east coast, such as Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Brisbane are still quite warm. You might like to pack your swimsuit and light clothes that can be layered up or down according to the weather.

Bring warmer clothes and a light coat for the larger cities such as Sydney and Adelaide, as the morning and evenings can get quite chilly.

Melbourne is known to have “four seasons in a day.” It’s best to be prepared for all kinds of weather, especially rain and cooler temperatures. A raincoat and warm jacket are ideal.

Even in the Outback you’ll want a jacket as the evenings can get surprisingly chilly.

Rooftop bar in Melbourne


Winter (June – August): Winter in Australia is known to be a bit unpredictable, with temperatures averaging between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Some people may find the weather pleasant enough for the beach in northern destinations such as Port Douglas. Coming from the U.S., you most likely won’t find the weather favorable for a swim, so pack versatile layers for warm days and cold evenings.

Cities along the coast can get rainy and windy, so bring a warm coat if you’re heading to Sydney or Adelaide. Melbourne and Tasmania are colder destinations, so warm layers and a coat are essential. 

Northern destinations in the tropics like Cairns and the Whitsundays have very mild, dry winters. Warm days with cooler nights coupled with low humidity make winter a wonderful time to visit these destinations. A sweater or light cardigan will be enough if you’re prone to get cold.

If the Outback is in your itinerary for winter, be sure to pack warm layers or a coat for the evenings. Winter nights in the Outback reach crisp temperatures of around 42 degrees Fahrenheit, with frosts commonly appearing in the mornings!

Standley Chasm credit Tourism NT

Photo: Tourism NT


Spring (September – November): Spring is rather mild throughout most of Australia, but chilly mornings and evenings are still common. Temperatures average between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

The days are warm enough to wear summer clothes, but you’ll want to bring a light jacket or sweater for the evenings. If you can brave cooler temperatures at the beach, go ahead and pack your swimsuit if you’re heading to Sydney.

Pack a raincoat for Melbourne, as spring is the city’s wettest season. Bring a warm jacket and layers, as the temperatures average on the cooler side (49 – 67 degrees Fahrenheit).

Beach destinations like Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Brisbane see warm days reaching temperatures in the high 70’s. Summer clothes with a light jacket for the cooler, windy evenings are perfect.

Cairns and other tropical destinations near the Great Barrier Reef see balmy days reaching the mid-80’s. Pack summer clothes along with a light cardigan for the very mild evenings.

Destinations in the Outback see the most varied temperatures, averaging between 56 – 87 degrees Fahrenheit. A light jacket is recommended for the evenings, with summer clothes during the day.

Cairns Esplanade credit Tourism and Events Queensland and Andrew Watson

Photo: Andrew Watson / Tourism & Events Queensland


No matter what time of the year you’re visiting Australia, it’s always important to use sunscreen.

Now that you know what to pack for Australia, you’re ready to enjoy the trip of a lifetime!

Safe travels from your mates at About Australia!