Australia’s outback is located in the heart of the Northern Territory. This mystical region draws visitors from around the world to its inspiring and otherworldly desert landscape.
The red expanse of Uluru, the natural and cultural wonders of Kakadu National Park and the tropical backdrop of Darwin are just a few of the captivating sights in the outback.
We’ve rounded up seven amazing stops in this vast territory filled with natural beauty and activities for adventure seekers & leisure travelers alike.
Uluru & Surrounds
Image by jeaneeem on flickr
Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is a world-renowned destination for getting swept up in the majesty of Australia’s outback.
Located a few hours away from Alice Springs, this natural wonder tantalizes visitors with its powerful presence and subtly changing hues.
There’s no better way to start your day off than on a morning hike around the base of Uluru, catching the glow of the sunrise brighten the reds and oranges of the rock.
Then board a coach to Kuniya Piti where you’ll learn about the rich, sacred culture of the local Anangu people. See incredible aboriginal rock art in the caves throughout the area.
A scenic helicopter tour gives tourists a bird’s eye view of the magnificent desert. Witness the breathtaking views found only in the Red Centre, including the amazing domes of Kata Tjuta and the Mutijulu waterhole.
Spend your night under the stars and witness the desert illuminate on a Field of Light tour. Internationally-acclaimed artist Bruce Munro’s Field of Light art installation has become a global phenomenon with over 50,000 solar-powered stems crowned with frosted-glass spheres, lighting up as night falls.
This particular piece, named Tili Wiru Tjuta Nyakutjaku or ‘looking at lots of beautiful lights’ in local Pitjantjatjara language, creates a glittering field of blue, violet and ochre hues as far as the eye can see.
Enjoy this splendid setting with wine and canapes, or start your morning with a sunrise viewing.
Image by Aldan Jones on flickr
Alice Springs is the perfect base for an outback adventure. This remote town is the gateway to major natural wonders of the outback.
Just a few minutes away are the MacDonnell Ranges, a popular destination for adventure seekers. Natural beauty awaits in this magnificent scenery, housing famous landmarks including the Ochre Pits and Ormiston Gorge.
Enjoy a day trip with a guided tour through the West MacDonnell ranges or stay overnight at one of the many camping spots available.
Alice Springs is also home to the adorable and famous Kangaroo Sanctuary (get ready for cuteness overload on their Instagram). Take a bus to the sanctuary where you’ll meet owner Brolga and hear the story and the passion behind keeping these beautiful animals thriving.
You can also experience the outback from a bird’s eye view on an early morning hot air balloon ride. See local wildlife such as kangaroos and wallabies below you as you silently glide over the outback.
For those seeking more thrills, go on a 4WD cattle station tour below the MacDonell Ranges. Escape to the oldest working cattle station in the Northern Territory as you ride across the ranch through bush tracks and local landscape on an ATV quad bike. You and no more than 9 other riders get to see mountain ranges and wildlife up close. No riding experience required!
As the vibrant capital of Northern Territory, Darwin offers a cool blend of laid-back tropics and exciting outback wetlands.
Tune in to the chilled out vibes at one of many al fresco restaurants or splash into the wave pool in the Waterfront Precinct. Stay out for the famous Darwin sunsets, casting lingering oranges and reds across a deep blue sky.
Just a short one hour’s trip away from Darwin you’ll find Litchfield National Park, home to some of the most breathtaking waterfalls in the Northern Territory.
These spring fed falls attract native wildlife including wallabies, kangaroos, flying foxes and dingoes. Stay dry and enjoy the nature that surrounds you on guided tours to crystal clear waterholes beneath its falls or explore the sandstone relics of the Lost City on a 4WD.
With several waterfalls and rock pools, all you need is a picnic lunch and your swim suit for a perfect day out.
The natural beauty and tantalizing water clarity is irresistible. Swim out to the cascading Wangi Falls or dive into the clear flowing water of the tiered rock pools at Buley Rockhole.
It wouldn’t be an Australian experience without a few crocodiles! A saltwater crocodile cruise on the Adelaide River lets you see these creatures up close as your guide entices the crocs to jump out of the water.
Feeling adventurous? Why not take a dive in Crocosaurus Cove which submerges you in the water alongside the crocodiles! This gem in the heart of Darwin boasts an impressive collection of reptiles with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to swim with crocodiles in the Cage of Death.
If you’re looking for a more laid back nature experience, stop by Mary River National Park. Trek through the wetlands where you can see wildlife in its natural habitat. Lush landscape provides a perfect escape on your way to Kakadu.
Kakadu National Park
Kakadu, Australia’s largest national park, is home to rugged escarpments, lush rainforest, ancient rock art galleries and stunning waterfalls.
Set out to Jim Jim Falls and Twin Falls on a 4WD or on a small group tour and dive into their deep plunge pools framed by magnificent cliffs. Relax on the white sand and dip into the cool water of Jim Jim Falls or take a scenic flight above Twin Falls, cascading down sheer rock cliffs.
Explore other swimming holes such as the Gunlom Falls plunge pool or the clear emerald waters of Maguk (Barramundie Gorge) where you can hike to the top of the falls and relax in the top pools.
With Aboriginal rock art dating back 20,000 years, a stop at Ubirr and Noulangie art sites is a must. See a striking depiction of the extinct Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, as well as paintings of fish, turtles, goanna and other important food animals. Marvel at the depictions of creation ancestors on the rock walls of Burrungkuy (Nourlangie), including Namarrgon, the Lightning Man.
Keep an eye out for native wildlife on a Yellow Water Billabong Cruise. As Kakadu boasts Australia’s most diverse bird population, this is a great way for twitchers looking to tick a few birds off their list and even see a crocodile or two!
Katherine & Surrounds
Home to thirteen stunning gorges and cascading waterfalls, Katherine Gorge & Notmiluk National Park calls out to many who want to experience the tropical setting of Australia. Glide along the deep blue water, as your tour guide describes the lush lands in the comfort of a relaxing boat ride.
Love to kayak or canoe? Grab your equipment and push yourself out in the river bank to immerse yourself in the natural beauty that surrounds you. Get an up close view of Katherine’s stunning landscape that is sure to make you fall in love with the Northern Territory.
For nature lovers, Daly River provides a promising destination for camping and fishing. Take a dip in the swimming holes, experience the breathtaking gorges, go fishing for the plentiful barramundi and enjoy your catch over a fire as you camp alongside the wildlife.
Tennant Creek & Barkly Region
Image by Werner Bayer on flickr
Tennant Creek offers visitors a cultural escape to the real outback. Experience the gold rush era of Australia on an underground tour of Battery Hill Mining Centre. You can even try your hand at fossicking to take home your own gold!
Love hearing about local history? Immerse yourself in Aboriginal culture as you listen to stories of ‘Nyinkka’, the spiky tailed Goanna that is responsible for shaping Tennant Creek and the ancient myth that surrounds Karlu Karlu/Devils Marbles, the mysterious rock formations in the area.
The rugged beauty of Barkly Region is home to some of Australia oldest cattle stations. Plan your trip in June and experience a bush race and rodeo event at Brunette Downs Races.
Image by Mark Roy on flickr
With its white sandy beaches and clear Arafura Sea, the paradise setting of East Arnhmen land is a gorgeous escape into the wilderness. After a stroll on the gorgeous beach, visit art and craft centers to learn from the locals.
West Arnhem houses Gunbalanya, a large Aboriginal town surrounded by spectacular rock formations. See native artists work and purchase artwork and crafts at the Injalak Art and Craft Centre. Experience how the indigenous people live and take a piece of history home with you.
Ready for an Outback Adventure?
Whether it’s your first trip or your 5th, there’s never been a better time to plan a trip to Australia. The awe-inspiring Northern Territory, one of the best places to visit in Australia, is calling out to you!
Give our destination experts a call 1-888-359-2877 (Mon-Fri 8:30am -5:00pm Central US) and experience Australia’s Outback for yourself.
Posted on: October 19th, 2017 by Lizandra Santillan No Comments
Whale Watching Season in Australia
Whale watching in Australia has grown tremendously over the last decade. The long whale season in Australia – between May and November – no doubt contributes to its growing popularity.
But whale watching season differs throughout the country and so do the kinds of whales you’ll see.
In May, whale groups including humpbacks and southern right whales migrate from the waters of the Antarctic to the tropical waters of Australia for mating season. Minke whales and even the rare blue whale also make a stop in Australia’s waters throughout their migration.
The warm waters provide a safe habitat for delivering and nursing their calves, contributing to the growing whale population in Australia. With nearly 60 per cent of the world’s whales found in Australia’s waters, it’s no wonder this is a top whale watching destination.
Make your stop along the coasts of Australia – the best place to see whales – for an incredible opportunity to see these iconic gentle giants on your Australia vacation. Read our guide below to discover the best times to see whales during whale watching season in Australia.
Whale Watching in Victoria and South Australia
Every year along the southern coast of Australia you’ll see southern right whales migrate to the bays of Victoria and South Australia to give birth.
Whale watching season for southern rights in this region is between June and October, when they swim closest to the shores. In Warnambool, Victoria, blue whales are occasionally seen in May.
Cross off two breathtaking experiences at once and journey along the Great Ocean Road on the southeastern coast of Australia. Cruise one of the world’s most scenic drives and stop at popular lookout points to stretch your eyes across the waters below your to spot whales frolicking and breaching. Southern rights are the most commonly spotted whale from different points along the Great Ocean Road, including at Cape Nelson, Portland Bay, and Warnambool.
These curious whales tend to venture close to humans, often swimming close to boats and ultimately lending to an incredible experience with these gentle giants of the sea.
Whale Watching on the East Coast of Australia
Whale Watching in Sydney
The east coast of Australia offers excellent opportunities for whale watching, especially along the coasts of New South Wales and Queensland.
The best time to see whales in popular destinations throughout the east coast ranges between May through July and September through November.
In Sydney, you’ll typically spot humpback whales close to shore making their journey toward Queensland. Humpback whales, like southern rights, are friendly and curious about boats and divers. Their inviting nature has given them the reputation of the most popular whales among whale watchers.
These whale watching cruises typically combine whale watching with sightseeing and information on Sydney’s history. Cruise vessels provide an intimate experience by carrying only up to 11 passengers. You’ll enjoy a private, small group tour along the Sydney Harbor with personalized and knowledgeable commentary about the city and whales throughout your journey.
Soon you’ll be an expert on Sydney and whale behavior patterns.
If you like to cruise in style, Sydney offers luxury whale watching cruises complete with a gourmet luncheon served on-board and drinks to purchase. Comfortable indoor seating allows you to sip on a cocktail while watching the giants of the sea. Or you may take in the blue expanse of the ocean out on spacious viewing decks.
Take a cruise to the reef and not only will you experience the world’s largest living organism – the reef itself – but you may also see whales, the world’s largest animals.
Whale season attracts humpback and dwarf minke whales between May and September to the warm waters of the Great Barrier Reef. The best time for whale watching in this region, however, is between July and September.
Whale Watching on the Gold Coast
If you’d rather keep your feet on the ground but still yearn for the special experience of seeing a whale, Australia’s east coast is the best place to spot whales from the beach.
The Gold Coast is rapidly becoming the premier whale watching site in Australia, with whales venturing as close as one or two kilometers from beach shores. Whales may be spotted all throughout the regular whale watching season in the Gold Coast, peaking in August.
Numerous lookout points along the Gold Coast provide great ocean views where you’ll spot humpback whales breaching and shooting big spouts of mist into the air. Point Danger, a headland on the southern end of the Gold Coast, is renowned as a premier spot for whale watching on land. Other great vantage points include Burleigh Hill and Miami Hill.
Whale Watching in Hervey Bay
Humpback whales make a stop on their return migration to enjoy the waters of Hervey Bay. The clear waters allow you to easily see humpbacks as they frolic and breach, basking in the sheltered waters of Fraser Island with their young. The best time to see humpbacks in Hervey Bay is between July through October, right before they head south again for feeding.
You will typically begin spotting humpbacks twenty minutes into a cruise out on the waters of Hervey Bay – perfect for the eager whale watching enthusiast. Sometimes the whales venture close to the boats, a delightful treat for lucky passengers.
An even better treat is getting to swim with the whales.
Swimming with Whales
Swim with Whale Sharks
The once in a lifetime opportunity to swim with whales awaits at Ningaloo Coast. This World Heritage Site is located in the north-west coast of Western Australia. Here, whale watching adventures can combine a snorkel on the Ningaloo reef with whale watching and swimming on a full day tour.
Take a cruise between March and September for the chance to get up close and personal with these friendly giants.
And the giant you’re most likely to meet on a whale swim is the whale shark. Don’t worry though – classified as the world’s largest fish, these animals are more like whales in their behavior than sharks. These docile creatures are accustomed to swimming alongside humans, with a diet consisting of only micro-organisms such as plankton and krill. So there’s nothing stopping you from taking the plunge and swimming with whale sharks!
Meeting a new friend means first gaining their trust. The same holds true even for these enormous creatures.
You’ll enter the waters with an expert guide in a small group of up to 5 swimmers, so as not to scare off the whale shark. Gaining the animal’s trust may take up to half an hour, but that’s a small price to pay for such a grand experience.
To ensure this exhilarating experience goes as smoothly as possible, a spotter plane flies overhead and alerts the crew on board when a whale is spotted. A photographer joins the swim to capture unforgettable underwater moments you can look back on.
Swimming with Dwarf Minke Whales
Other friendly and inquisitive whales that you are likely to meet on a whale swim are dwarf minkes.
These whales hang around the Ribbon Reefs of the Great Barrier Reef between May and September, peaking in early July. This region is the only place in the world where humans can interact with these whales. With a limited number of tours permitted to offer swimming with minke whales, you don’t want to miss out on this special experience! Day trips and even 3-7 night excursions onto the sea are available for enjoying minke whale watching and swimming.
If you are unsure about swimming with whales, minke whales are just gentle enough to try out the experience. They often seek out human company, swimming around snorkelers and divers and approaching boats just within a few yards. Just another reason why Australia is the best place to see whales – you’re able to experience whales in their natural habitat.
Whale Watching in Australia
All along Australia’s coastline are fantastic spots to see whales. Whether you’re a swimmer and ready for the once in a lifetime experience of swimming with whales, or if you’d rather keep your feet on the ground and see whales frolic in the ocean from the beach or a cruise, there’s a spot in Australia perfect for your style of whale watching.
Want to include whale watching in your trip to Australia? Contact one of our expert Destination Specialists. We’ll set up the perfect whale watching experience for you to see these majestic giants of the sea.
Phone us Toll Free on 1-888-359-2877(CT USA, M-F 8.30am – 5pm).
About Australia Reviews
Rating of Average of 4.92 on a total of 48 Ratings
This trip was AWESOME and exceeded my expectations!
Going to Australia and snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef has been #1 on my "Bucket List" since I can remember! All the stars fell in line this year, so we decided, "This is it...we're going!"
About Australia came highly recommended to us by some friends who LOVE Australia (and are going again with them next year for the 5th time!!), so we contacted them to check them out and get the bal(...)
Absolutely Fabulous! Highly Recommend!
The entire experience was amazing! From booking in the short time we had, to the surprise of such a great value and then when we were there, we could not believe how wonderful everything was...from the hotels, to the excursions to the flight and transfers. Absolutely flawless, best value and would highly recommend Marissa and About Australia again! Thank you so much for a wonderful experience!
Enjoyed the trip!
We really enjoyed our Australia vacation, especially our visits to Sydney, Melbourne, and Port Douglas. Everything went smoothly - no problems with travel arrangements, and the accommodations were comfortable and spacious. Our snorkel/scuba trip to the Great Barrier Reef was wonderful. Thanks to About Australia for helping us plan the trip of a lifetime!
We have traveled all over the world. Never have we had a trip so well planned. By the third day, we were checking our itinerary and asking ourselves, “what’s the next adventure?” Everything went like clockwork. Hotels, flights, transfers, tours, all were on time and more than we expected. Our only disappointment was having to come home when it was over. Thank you, About Australia, for plannin(...)
Overall A Positive Experience
Booking through About Australia made the trip very easy. It was nice not to worry about finding accommodations and flights and they provided good recommendations for each location. I would use the service again. I did feel that we spent too much time in some places and not enough in others, but that likely kept flight costs down.
My only concerns were that two of the accommodations didn't (...)
Chris & Angie England
It was am amazing trip that covered a lot of the country. Only regret was we were running out of time and would have liked to spent more time in each location. Do your study before you go, the instructions in the voucher help but the little things you can miss make it important to study and plan.
Linda and David Cole
We had a fantastic experience. Knowing it may be our one and only chance to see down under, we squeezed in as much as possible in 2 weeks. We went to Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland (Tasmania) and New Zealand. The flights, tours and all airport/hotel connections all went off without a hitch. We scheduled many tours but our favorites were the Feeding Frenzy at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary in Tasman(...)
About Australia made it easy to plan our trip to Australia and included everything we needed, ensuring we did not miss any of the most popular attractions. We absolutely loved our trip and are already talking about going back.
It was amazing
Really wonderful trip. Everything was arranged ahead of time. All hotels were great. The tours were lovely, including the optional daintree dreaming tour. Well, well worth the money
Mark Williams by
Thoroughly enjoyed the trip.
Great Knowledge and Execution Made for a Great trip
My husband and I heartily recommend About Australia. Although I had done a great deal of research myself, it was wonderful to have these pros take over the details of day trips, accommodations, flights, transfers, and car rental. They put us in hotels that were wonderfully located but met our budget requirements. All three weeks of our Aussie adventure came off without a hitch.
Being "Down Under" was a top experience!
Ana did a great job! In less than 3 weeks we saw the top spots ob Australia's south, middle and north. Everything was well organized, just showing the voucher and we could pass.
We had a great first time trip to Australia. Darin and About Australia were great to work with. The sites we visited were fantastic. The hotels were excellent. The day trips and operators were first tier. Everything about the trip went smooth and was above expectations. Well Done!
Such a well rounded first class adventure
Virgin Australia made the lengthy flight enjoyable.The hotel, Breakfree, was in the heart of town, spacious clean comfortable room and front desk staff bent over backwards to assist us with all kinds of requests. The tours were informative and fun. We had time to do a few things on our own, like having dinner at the top of Sydney tower our last night. On the Blue Mountain tour, we even had an(...)
It was amazing,
It was amazing, the experience was well worth the cost.
Everything and more
About Australia and About New Zealand planned our honeymoon amazingly! From listening to the activities we desired to do while there, to ensuring those happened, and arranging all our flights and accommodations, About Australia was great to work with. Our visas were secured and all our travel documentation was provided, which made traveling a breeze! And we had a lot of traveling to do in the(...)
Koda Boulton was the one who helped me and she's was amazing even with all my questions and my unfortunate criminal background. Still got in with no problems and had a great itinerary set up. Couldn't have seen Australia in a better way than that. Strongly recommend About Australia. Good price too! Flexible.
This was the best trip of my life hands down. I was afraid that since I was saving so much money I would be getting a lesser quality trip, but I was pleasantly surprised!
Keith & Sandra Holleman
Heading for the dive into the Great Barrier Reef
About Australia and Christopher Reeh set up the most amazing vacation for us. If there was a rating above 5 stars, we would place these travel experts into that category.
Traveling to New Zealand and Australia had been on our wish list for awhile and putting trust in Christopher with our travel plan destinations was the best decision we could have made.
Thank you for the memories.
The accommodations were wonderful and the excursions were amazing and informative. Thank you for some amazing memories
Steve and Peggy
This is the 1st Australia trip, we already thinking going back!
This is the 1st Australia trip, we already thinking going back!
Sunset Camel ride
Making dreams come true. My trip to Australia was amazing and worry free
knowing About Australia had made all the arrangements for an adventure of a lifetime
Thanks a million
Overall, everything was good
Accommadations were excellent except at the Short Stay Apartments where we were required to walk to another of ther properties— The Australis—which was quite difficult for us to get to with all our luggage. I think it was the one at Kangaroo Island that also wasn’t a good experience because of having to climb 2 flights of stairs to get to the room. The trip to the Great Barrier Reef on the Qu(...)
Had a great time. Perfectly Scheduled, not great Hotels. Glad we didn't stay in Cairns 4 nights.
We had a great time, everything happened as planned. No issues there.
The hotel in BroadBeach was great. Hotel in Cairns was old but do able. The hotel in Sydney was not good.
Luckily we changed the plan to stay 3 nights in Cairns and 3 nights in Sydney instead of 4 nights in Cairns. That would have been a big mistake. 2 nights in Cairns would have been enough.
We added a Blue Mou(...)
A trip of a lifetime!
What an amazing experience. The accommodations and extra excursions we did were wonderful. The only thing I would have changed was I wished we had a little more time in Sydney (it was more like a very long layover rather than a visit to the city). Ana was wonderful and helped us plan a trip I will always treasure!
About Australia was amazing to work with making this a vacation of a lifetime! I would highly recommend their services to anyone wanting to travel to Australia. The itinerary was great. The hotels we stayed in were not only wonderful, but were located in super convenient in relation to exploring the cities we were in. Any questions or concerns i had were immediately addressed. Customer servic(...)
Australia was amazing!
Marissa really helped us plan the perfect vacation. She was always available by phone or email, even sometimes after hours. I had a lot of questions and made some changes, and she was very accommodating. We were visiting our son who is attending the University of Newcastle for a semester. We stayed in Sydney and Newcastle during our trip. Some of our favorite things were the sunset cruis(...)
Wonderful trip!! Just two issues.
In cairns our pickup to airport for trip to sydney was not organized well. The driver picked us up too late and had 6 additional stops! Claudia and I ran to checkin and there was a long line. So she went to priority and I went to service desk. The service desk checked us in. We were lucky to make the flight due to our quick thinking. Also, we were not that pleased with the location of (...)
Amazing vacation! Bucket list trip!
Chris was great at helping me plan my trip to visit my daughter in Australia while she was studying abroad. We had 2 weeks and a tight budget! He was great at accommodating me. We decided on Cairns, Sydney and Melbourne. The only hiccup was the transfer from Melbourne airport to hotel. The company called con-x-ion (I think that’s how it’s spelled) had the smelliest van I have ever been in. Th(...)
Too Much Continent and Too Little Time
The trip was incredible. People were unbelievably friendly. Enjoyed the peaceful serenity of Port Douglas. Am very glad we opted for Douglas instead of Cairns. Meridian Hotel was great. Four Mile beach is a must see (sunrise is fantastic) and be sure to climb Flagstaff Hill. Great Barrier Reef trip was ok, but opting not to go into the water was a mistake. Be sure you can tread water or(...)
It was an awesome vacation except for the 24 hours of traveling(LOL).
The hotels were great but made you pay for WIFI, the US does not make you pay for it.
I would definitely recommend to everyone.
Best Vacation Ever
Everything was perfect for our trip. Everything I wanted to see and the package Chris put together was perfect. It was action packed but got to see everything we wanted to see. Working with About Australia was smooth and an easy process. Chris spend a lot of time putting the package together and we couldn't be more pleased. All the hotels were in great locations for us to visit the sites. C(...)
This was my first time using About Australia and I was extremely happy with their services. They did an excellent job. Everything was just perfect. The transportation, the hotels, the locations was all spot on. My sisters and I were very pleased. I highly recommend anyone visiting Australia and New Zealand to use About Australia. Thank you so much Marissa for everything you did to make our va(...)
Great trip. Loved every moment of it. Just what I wanted and more.
Karen S. Anders
Six weeks; No hassle; Greatest experience ever
My boyfriend and I (both 72 years of age) have just returned from a six-week, custom-tailored, independent trip to Australia and New Zealand.
We started talking about this trip over a year prior to our departure date. After my initial 2.5 hour telephone conversation with Christopher at About Australia, I knew we had found the perfect "partner" on whom we could depend to help us with all(...)
Recent Australian trip was an excellent adventure!
The trip of a lifetime for us. All the arrangements worked out beautifully. The accommodations were excellent. All the transportation arrangements happened as expected and we were extremely pleased. Loved all the included tours and those that we chose to do on our own. One day at the Great Barrier Reef, the next at the Rainforest. We especially loved the city of Cairns. Truly one of the best(...)
Everything went exactly as planned. There were 5 of us and every hotel room every activity and every shuttle was on time and perfect! Our trip could not have gone better!
I wrote as soon as we got back, but the email did not go through. You did a superb job of booking everything! The trip was perfectly smooth. Both Australia and New Zealand are beautiful and the people are kind. We snorkeled, zip lined, walked, went on planes, trains, gondolas, boats and ferries. We attempted to do every activity and site available and I think we succeeded! Thank you. (...)
Amazing all-around experience!
The trip that Ana put together for us was nothing short of spectacular and exceeded our expectations which were high. As we traveled from Sydney to Hamilton Island to Byron Bay and back to Sydney we were able to enjoy all the sites and activities we planned and then some! We were privy to some “insider tips” which added so much to our trip. We highly recommend AboutAustralia and plan on using(...)
Awesome trip, can’t wait to do another!
David & Judy Dunn
Celebrating a two decade anniversary in Australia
We engaged with About Australia (Darin Hendry) nine months ago for a recommendation on an itinerary for a first time visit and 20th anniversary trip to Australia.
From the beginning the guidance, interaction and ultimate proposal was spot on.
The 2-week journey offered an exceptional variety of terrain, climate and experiences. First stop the Tablelands, rainforest, then beach town, the(...)
Fantastic Honeymoon! About Australia took care of everything, all we had to do was have fun!
We really enjoyed the tours that we were scheduled for. The guides on all the tours were excellent, they were all knowledgeable, a lot of fun, we enjoyed chatting with everybody.
Mindi van Gemeren
Best trip ever
My daughter and I had an amazing time Down Under thanks to About Australia. Our hotels were wonderful and located perfectly in order to explore more of the cities we were visiting. All of the recommendations before we left were extremely helpful. It made a last minute trip into a relaxing vacation.
This trip was amazing!!!
Tyler planned an amazing trip to Australia and New Zealand! Everything went smooth from the time we left Newark until we landed back home in Newark. The flights were great, the transfers went smooth, the accommodations were lovely and the excursions were awesome!! Any issues we had were out of everyone’s control and handled appropriately
I would recommend About Australia to anyone who (...)
Great trip. Everything was perfect. Thanks Darin for all your help. You did a great job.
The koala hug was worth the trip!
I was particularly pleased with how smoothly all the transportation and tour arrangements went. We never had a problem or question about shuttles and everyone was expecting us when we arrived. The trip was fantastic and I wish it could have been longer.
Robert & Jo-An Ferris
About Australia (Joanne) did a great job working with us and customizing our trip. It was what we wanted. We certainly saw the bush and outback several times. We found animals in the wild besides at sanctuaries and Steve Irwins Zoo. We believe we saw the real Australia and not just cities. The train trips were what we expected and then some. When they stopped and let us off it was very (...)
Great Ocean Road
A most excellent vacation as a result of working with Marissa Stroud! Perfect accommodations, wonderful tours, and accommodating flights with Virgin Australia.
Darin Hendry nailed it!
The trip you helped me put together for my clients was absolutely perfect!
Thank you so much!!
Posted on: June 8th, 2017 by Melissa Maxwell No Comments
Image Credit: Daniel Boud; Destination NSW
For the best shopping in Sydney visit the Queen Victoria Building or QVB, a beautiful landmark in the heart of Sydney. It’s rare to find a destination that fulfills the desires of shopaholics, architectural enthusiasts and history-buffs, but QVB gets it done!
The architecturally splendid building, constructed in the 1890’s, takes up an entire city block. It can be accessed by George, Market, York and Druitt Streets. It’s also easily accessed by train via underground walkway from the Town Hall Station.
A Rich History
The Queen Victoria Building was first constructed as a Municipal Market with a concert hall and warehouses for local artisans and service providers of the time. The building’s function changed throughout the years to accommodate the needs of the city, including a stint as a city library and offices for the city counsel. Sadly, this amazing building was left to fall into disrepair and it was nearly demolished in the 1950s.
Luckily for us, the 1980s brought restoration to the Queen Victoria Building and it became a mainstay in Sydney’s shopping culture. Recently, the building underwent another $48 million Australian dollar 6-year restoration that reflects its original design by faithfully restoring its arches, pillars, intricately titled floors, grand central dome and sculptures, while modernizing services for savvy shoppers.
Image Credit: Daniel Boud; Destination NSW
Don’t miss these historical sights:
The “Royal Clock” is located on the upper level of the southern half of the building. It’s very fun to watch as it activates on the hour with a trumpeting procession, revealing animated dioramas of English royal history through windows on both sides of the clock. Get a spot on the upper level to view the dioramas.
The “Great Australian Clock” which includes 33 scenes from Australian history as an Aboriginal hunter circles the exterior of the clock continuously, representing the never-ending passage of time.
The fully operational vintage lift (aka elevator) – beautiful and functional!
The Queen’s letter is located on the top level near the main dome. In 1986, Queen Elizabeth II wrote a letter to the future Lord Mayor of Sydney. The sealed letter is to be opened and read aloud to the people of Sydney in 2085.
A display replica of Queen Victoria and her jewels.
The Tea Room on the top level offers traditional high tea in the original Grand Ballroom.
Look up to catch all the glorious stained glass windows and splendid architecture of the building’s 21 domes.
Look down to see the intricate tile work restored in 2009 on the lower levels.
You can explore the fascinating history of the QBV on a guided tour, running at 11:30 am on Tuesdays, Thursday and Sundays from the QVB Concierge desk on the first floor.
Amazing Shopping in Sydney
With 6 levels of shops, cafes and restaurants spanning over a city block, you’re bound to find something you want at the QVB. In the bottom level, you’ll find Victoria’s Basement, a bargain discount store along with many food and convenience stores. As you make your way up to the top of the building, the stores get classier and more expensive. Find art, antiques, jewelry, fashion and fine gifts in the boutique shops on the upper levels.
Posted on: January 17th, 2017 by Melissa Maxwell No Comments
The movie Lion was filmed in many locations. Much of Lion was filmed in India, but a large was filmed in pristine Tasmania. The Oscar nominated film, Lion is based on Saroo Brierley’s bestselling memoir, A Long Way Home, a story of survival and determination. The movie highlights his journey as a lost child in India finding a new home and family in Tasmania, Australia and then searching for his biological family as an adult.
As you watch the film, you can’t help but be amazed at the rugged splendor provided by Tasmania’s landscape, especially in the opening credits. If you’re like us, this film makes you want to visit Tasmania and get to know her a little better. Even the cast and crew of Lion was taken in by Tasmania’s charm. Producer Angie Fielder told The Mercury: “Our cast absolutely love it. Rooney Mara, in fact has been saying repeatedly how beautiful it is. She can’t believe it.
“We’ve all been really enjoying the night life in the evenings – the restaurants, the delicious food, the fantastic wine. Everyone is ordering lots of oysters.
“Nicole (Kidman) has been here before, but she really thinks it’s great,
“Dev Patel [Slumdog Millionaire and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel] and Rooney Mara [The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo] are here for the first time and they’re blown away.”
Here are a few of Tasmania’s notable Lion scenes and how you can include them in your next vacation:
Lion Filming Locations
Courtesy of The Weinstein Company LLC. All rights reserved.
In the movie, Dev Patel & Rooney Mara take a jog up a mountain and sit atop a mighty peak, overlooking Hobart city. This scene was filmed at Mt Wellington. It’s a favorite among locals and tourists alike. Only 25 minutes from the city center, it’s a great place to watch the sun set, hike, and take a picnic. But you don’t have to jog up there. Many tours stop at the lookout. One of our favorites includes stops at Mt Field, Russell Falls and the Bonorong Wildlife Park.
Courtesy of Tourism Australia & Graham Freeman
The Candlestick & Cape Hauy
Courtesy of The Weinstein Company LLC. All rights reserved.
When watching the film, you can’t miss this shot with the towering spire and accompanying cape. This amazing coastal scenery is part of the Tasman Peninsula, just 90 minutes from Hobart. The scenes where young Saroo, Nicole Kidman and David Wenham are sailing and playing cricket also take place on the Tasman Peninsula. There are a few ways you can take in this jaw-dropping view while you search for your own private beach. Cruise around the peninsula looking for fur seals, dolphins and sperm whales in a custom boat with an award winning tour company. You can experience the Tasman Sea intimately on a sea kayaking tour or take a four-day trek along the Three Capes Track.
Courtesy of Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service
The Bruny Island Neck
Courtesy of The Weinstein Company LLC. All rights reserved.
Another great shot in Lion is of a narrow strip of land with turquoise sea on each side. This isthmus is known as the Bruny Island Neck and it joins open and airy North Bruny to the rainforested South Bruny. There’s a reason why this shot is showcased right before the family meets for a nice meal out. Bruny Island has some AMAZING food and dining experiences! Only a ferry away, the island is easily visited on a day trip from Hobart.
Courtesy of Matt Glastonbury
Foodies will love a full day tasting journey across the island as they nibble on local cheese, slurp fresh oysters and indulge in other gourmet vittles. This tour includes a climb up the 200+ steps for an unforgettable 360 view of the isthmus. Those who love seafood would enjoy the Tasmanian Seafood Seduction where you’ll cruise around Bruny Island catching fresh seafood for a fabulous gourmet lunch. For those more interested in the wildlife around the island, there is an award-winning half-day Eco cruise where they can meet the Bruny Island seals, dolphins, whales, albatross, eagles, gannet, shearwater and petrel who live in this delicate ecosystem. You could also treat yourselves to something special with a scenic flight over the Neck to get this exact view.
Of course, Tasmania has much more to offer. In recent years, Tasmania has been named by Travel + Leisure as the one of the world’s top ten islands and Lonely Planet recently ranked Tasmania as one of the top ten honeymoon islands. Tasmania has some of the world’s best whisky, food & wine and the cleanest air on the planet. You’ll love exploring Tasmania’s lovely terrain and learning about the island’s sorted past.
Are you ready to start planning your trip to Australia? Talk to one of our Destination Specialists today. We’ll make sure you have an ‘no worries, mate’ vacation!
Posted on: July 15th, 2016 by Melissa Maxwell No Comments
How to see the best of Australia on a short vacation to Adelaide.
Today we continue our Things to Do in Australia blog series. In this series we outline how you can see all the major Australia Highlights in a short vacation, staying in just one or two Australian cities. We’ve shown how you can see Beaches & Aquatic Life, Wildlife, Rainforest, Outback, Food & Wine, Modern City Culture & Art and Indigenous Culture in the cities of Sydney and Melbourne. Today we take a look a the little capital city with a big heart in South Australia, Adelaide.
Adelaide is a safe, clean, compact and well planned city with a vibrant food and art scene. Outside of Adelaide, you’ll find the best Australian wine region and a most amazing wildlife sanctuary – Kangaroo Island.
Here are things you can do in Adelaide to see all the major Australian highlights.
Beaches & Aquatic Life
Situated on Gulf St. Vincent, Adelaide provides access to a number of excellent swimming beaches.
Glenelg is a short (free) tram ride from the city’s center.
Adelaide wins the wildlife category in this series. Adelaide is your gateway to Kangaroo Island, one the world’s great nature-based destinations with sea lions basking on unsoiled white beaches, koalas dozing in lofty trees, pelicans gliding across shimmering lagoons and kangaroos wandering on rolling hill. It’s a zoo without fences that any nature lover will enjoy. Stay on the island or take a day trip.
South Australia is one of the few Australian states without natural rainforest. If you are really keen on exploring the rainforest, be sure to couple a South Australian vacation with a visit to Tropical North Queensland or Tasmania. For an amazing and educational rainforest experience, visit the Rainforest Conservatory in Adelaide Botanic Garden. It’s FREE!
The Outback of South Australia, just outside of Adelaide is amazing! Drive out to Flinders Ranges for a glorious outback experience. . Kangaroos, emus and wedge-tail eagles and more abound in this unexpected landscape. Aboriginal Dreamings tell the story of serpents and giants that shaped the lands. You’ll be left in awe as you explore the largest mountain range in South Australia.
Coober Pedy This amazing outback town is the world’s opal capital. When you visit you will descend through the earth into a maze of underground houses, churches and restaurants. You’ll even stay underground if you choose to spend the night.
Foodies and Wine Lovers rejoice in South Australia. Just take a look at any list of Australia’s best restaurants and you’ll notice that many are in Adelaide, a city deeply passionate about all things culinary. Just outside of Adelaide you’ll fine 18 distinct wine regions. South Australia is home to some of the world’s most famous wine labels. In Adelaide find wonderful restaurants, food trucks and wine bars.
Visit the Adelaide Central Market to get a little taste of everything! Since 1869, the Central Market has been the jewel in the crown of South Australian experiences, a haven of premium food and wine products, and 2nd home to chefs and food lovers. Take a tour to get the most well-rounded experience.
Adelaide is a small city, rich in culture. You’ll find historic buildings, amazing churches, small bars catering to just about every type of urban subculture, museums, street art and tons of festivals and events.
South Australia is home to a number of Aboriginal groups such as the Kaurna (Adelaide Plains), Adnyamathanha (Flinders Ranges) and Ngarrindjeri (Lower Lakes of the Murray River) people. You can find quite a few ways to experience aboriginal culture in and just outside of Adelaide.
The South Australian Museum (free) is home to the world’s finest collections of indigenous artifacts.
A photo posted by South Australian Museum (@southaustralianmuseum) on
Tandanya National Cultural Aboriginal Institute is an art, performance and meeting space in Adelaide. Meet Aboriginal people, enjoy cultural performances of the didjeridu and shop for authentic art and craft.
Things to do in Australia | A Brisbane Vacation with All the Australian Highlights
Things to do in Australia | A Cairns Vacation with All The Australian Highlights
Things to do in Australia | A Perth Vacation with All the Australian Highlights.
Posted on: June 9th, 2016 by Melissa Maxwell No Comments
How to see the best of Australia on a short vacation to Melbourne.
We are working on our Things to Do in Australia blog series where we outline how you can see all the major Australia Highlights in a short vacation, staying in just one or two Australian cities.
We’ve shown how you can see Beaches & Aquatic Life, Wildlife, Rainforest, Outback, Food & Wine, Modern City Culture & Art and Indigenous Culture in the city of Sydney. Today we look towards the world’s most livable city, Melbourne.
Here are things you can do in Melbourne to see major Australia highlights.
Beaches & Aquatic Life
Hang out on the coast of Port Phillip Bay with the peninsula’s iconic rainbow-colored bathing boxes providing a colorful backdrop.
A short tram ride from the heart of Melbourne, you’ll find St. Kilda Beach. It’s not only a great place for a swim, but a wonderful seaside community where you’ll find great bars, restaurants, shops and even some little penguins in the rocks.
Take a day trip out to Ninety Mile Beach, one of the most natural and unspoiled beaches in the world. It is ideal for a variety of activities, from beach fishing and swimming to walking, whale and dolphin-spotting or just relaxing in the sun…
Head to Healesville Sanctuary, a world-renowned spot to see Australian wildlife in their natural habitat. Located in the heart of the Yarra Valley, Healesville centers on local conservation and indigenous culture.
Just 45 minutes outside of Melbourne, see the wildlife in the wild. The national parks near Melbourne have a surprising diversity of wildlife: Kangaroos, Koalas, Emus, Swamp Wallabies, Cockatoos, Parrots, Galahs and more!
While Victoria isn’t the #1 destination for rainforest tourism, you can find rainforest just an hour outside Melbourne in the Yarra State Forest. Walk through myrtle beech rainforest to the Ada Tree, a giant mountain ash that is one of Victoria’s largest trees and also one of the largest known flowering trees in the world on the Ada Tree Rainforest Walk.
With a stay in Melbourne, you’ve hit the jackpot in amazing food & wine! Melbourne’s eclectic dining scene offers a wide array of the world’s great cuisines. Enjoy a wonderful dinner on the water with the Spirit of Melbourne.
Speaking of Federation Square… this famous spot hosts over 2000 events each year! It buzzes with cultural festivals, exhibitions, event launches, performances, forums, films, concerts and fashion shows. There’s sure to be something hopping at Fed Square whenever you visit.
Things to do in Australia | A Brisbane Vacation with All the Australian Highlights
Things to do in Australia | A Adelaide Vacation with All the Australian Highlights
Things to do in Australia | A Cairns Vacation with All The Australian Highlights
Things to do in Australia | A Perth Vacation with All the Australian Highlights.
Posted on: May 19th, 2016 by Melissa Maxwell No Comments
Our favorite ways to see all of the Australia Highlights on a short vacation
Last week we talked about how you can get the most out of a short vacation to Sydney. This got us thinking…What if you only had time to visit one or two Australian cities? What can you do and see in order to create the perfect been-there-done-that Australian vacation? So we’re putting together a blog series that takes all the main reasons people visit Australia and compresses them into an epic vacation comprising of just 1 or 2 destinations.
Here at About Australia, we work with hundreds of clients every week. Most Americans are aware that Australia is an amazing country with a vast diversity of beautiful sights, experiences and wildlife. They want to see the beaches, explore the Great Barrier Reef, experience Australian City life, see kangaroos and koalas, learn about the rich Aboriginal culture, check out the local food and wine and explore the Outback. Australia is on almost every traveler’s bucketlist.
What many people don’t realize is that Australia is a huge country – about the size of the United States to be exact. Once they wrap their heads around that fact, their next question is, “Do I have to travel all over Australia to see all the iconic sights?”
The answer to that question is both yes and no. It all depends on which iconic sights you want to see.
Sydney Harbour and access to the Great Barrier Reef are at least 1,000 miles apart. That’s a 2 -3 hour plane ride or over 20 hours by car. Then, if you have your heart dead-set on seeing Uluru (Ayers Rock), you’ll have to fly over 1,700 miles to the center of the country for a spiritual outback adventure. A similar trip in the US would take you from Orlando to NCY to Denver. So yes, if you want to see the Sydney Opera House, the reef and the Red Centre, you will have to do quite a bit of Australian Domestic Travel. And honestly, that’s ok! As they say in Australia, “No worries, mate!”
This type of trip is amazing! All of the once-in-a-life time experiences and amazing sights more than make up for the additional travel. But this type of trip takes time, a larger budget and quite a bit of patience, especially if you are traveling with young children.
But, you say, “I don’t have a lot of vacation time. Can I still travel to Australia and see the highlights without spending a ton of time and money?” Yes! With a smaller travel budget and just 5-7 days downunder, you can still get a great overview of Australia’s highlights just by visiting one or two select cities.
Or maybe you’re thinking, “I want to take my kids on an Australian adventure. But after that long plane ride to the other side of the world, I don’t want the stress of packing up the kids every few days and flying across the country just so they can get the full Australian experience.” You don’t have to!
Plan your trip to just one or two strategic locations and your kids will have an experience that is both educational and fun – one they will remember long after returning home to the rigmarole of everyday life. It’s one thing to spend your family vacation on the beach with playgrounds, kids programs and free child care. It’s quite another to live in an Australian city for a week visiting beaches, learning about ancient culture and cuddling kolas. I’d argue that the latter is much more engaging and educational.
The 7 major highlights of Australia are Beaches & Aquatic Life, Modern Culture & Art, Wildlife, the Outback, the Rainforest, Food & Wine and Indigenous Culture. A piece of these can be found in all major metro areas. You just have to know where to look…
…And thus the blog series has begun! Every week we’ll show you how you can see all 7 highlights in one city (or the surrounds). Browse through the series to help you pick a few cities which are best for you and your short vacation to Australia.
A word of advice:
Make sure you carefully plan every aspect of your trip. Know exactly what will be on your itinerary each day and book in advance. A lot of people believe they can book the flights and hotels then figure out the rest on the fly. This is a bad idea. The logistics alone can be quite daunting and after investing a lot of time and money into something, you want it to go well. We, of course, are proponents of you contacting us so we can use our expertise to help you plan the perfect trip. Sure, may be able to do it yourself, but you can avoid a lot of stress and worry if you let us do it for you! Get-A-Trip-Quoteor Phone us Toll Free on 1-888-359-2877 (CT USA, M-F 8.30am – 5pm).
Posted on: January 18th, 2016 by Melissa Maxwell No Comments
South Australia’s Natural Wonderland
Kangaroo Island is truly an amazing experience for anyone who enjoys wildlife and nature. The island is just half an hour from Adelaide by air or a scenic three hour drive and ferry ride. Once you arrive on the island you’ll be surrounded by a lush unspoiled natural haven inhabited by friendly people and large populations of unique Australian wildlife. The island is roughly 96 miles in length. As you travel, you’ll find it to be surprisingly diverse. From soaring cliffs to dense national parks, to huge sand dunes, wetlands, and of course, untouched white sand beaches.
There are so many amazing things to do on Kangaroo Island, that it was pretty hard to narrow down the list to just fourteen of our favorites. Be sure to ask your Destination Specialist about their favorite so you don’t miss out on something you might love!
The Journey- Getting there is half the fun!
Kangaroo Island is an incredible road trip! There are many great tours that will take you to the island and provide insightful and interesting commentary, but Kangaroo Island is also a great place to explore on your own. We often recommend that you rent a car in Adelaide, drive down to the island and take your time discovering it on your own. As you drive along this friendly coast, embrace the locals’ welcoming spirit by partaking in the ‘Kangaroo Island Wave’ – a friend gesture, produced by lifting your index finger to acknowledge passing cars.
One of Australia’s Top National Parks, Flinders Chase National Park is located on the western end of Kangaroo Island. Flinders Chase is a must see for any KI visit. Here you’ll find the world renowned Remarkable Rocks- wild-sculpted rock formations that sit atop a smooth granite dome, Admiral’s Arch- a perfect sweep of rock along the coast where long-nosed fur seals play, West Bay- an amazing beach and great hiking trails such as the Snake Lagoon Walk.
Image by: Alan & Flora Botting on flikr.com
The Remarkable Rocks are a collection of enormous eroded granite boulders atop a giant dome of lava. They have been shaped by the erosive forces of wind, sea spray and rain for over 500 million years! The golden orange lichen covering some of the rocks and the many different shapes offer plenty of photo opportunities at different times of the day.
The Admiral’s Arch is located at Cape du Couedic. The natural wonder is a remnant of the ancient cave that was broken by ocean waves and transformed into a natural bridge. Stalactites still cling to what’s left of the cave’s roof. You can walk down the boardwalk around the cliff face to a viewing platform to see the arch. In the summer, you can observe a colony of New Zealand fur-seals on the rock platforms under the arch. Be sure to be on the look out for fuzzy seal pups!
Cape du Couedic Light House
While you’re checking out the arch, take a moment to cast your eyes upon the Cape du Couedic Light House. Constructed between 1906 and 1909, it consists of a tower made from 2,000 pieces of local stone. During it’s early years, the lighthouse was inaccessible by land. The materials used to build the lighthouse were brought by boat and hauled up the cliff face by a flying fox winching system powered by horses. This system was later used to haul supplies and the only method of getting keepers and their families on and off the Cape. Today, the lighthouse still warns ships of treacherous waters and an underwater reef off the Cape. There are also accommodations available.
West Bay is a remote beach in Finders Chase National Park. It supplies spectacular seaside views and is never overcrowded! Camping sites can be found nearby.
Snake Lagoon Walk
This scenic walk starts at Snake Lagoon and winds through Sugar Gums and mallee before descending into the Rocky River Valley. The trail crosses Rock River and meanders along its band to the Southern Ocean Coast. You can find the trail head about five and a half miles from Flinders Chase Visitor Center off West Bay Road.
Cape Borda Light-station
Cape Borda is about 1 hour drive from the the Flinders Chase Visitor Centre, but worth the trip for those interested in history, amazing scenery and bush-walking. The light house tour is very informative and interesting. Not only will you learn about the history of the lighthouse, but you’ll be taught some navigation skills and see a real canon fire. Accommodations are also available.
Vivonne Bay- One of Australia’s Best Beaches
Located on Kangaroo Island’s south coast, near Kingscote, Vivonne Bay is no stranger to “Best Beach” Lists. Visit Vivonne Bay and you’ll experience soft white sand, clear seas and few people. If you have snorkeling gear, be sure to bring it along, the water is great! Vivonne Bay is known for it’s surfing and strong currents, so it’s best for experienced swimmers.
Sand-boarding in the Little Sahara
Not far from the lush shores of Vivonne Bay, you’ll find a desert called the Little Sahara. For about fifty dollars you can rent a toboggan and a sand-board so that you can spend the day running up and sliding down giant sand dunes. It’s a great activity for the whole family.
See Sea Lions at Seal Bay
Seal Bay has been home to an Australian sea lion population for thousands of years, and offers one of the most exceptional nature-based experiences in the world. This is the only place in the world where you can see Australian sea lions at close quarters and walk on a beach where pups play, bulls fight for supremacy and resting mothers suckle their young. Take a guided tour to get up close to the action or take your time and observe from afar on the boardwalk. Australian sea lions are unique to South Australia and Western Australia. They are an endangered species – their total population is about 14,700. Seal Bay is the third largest colony of this magnificent, wild creature.
Feed a Roo
While on Kangaroo Island, you’ll likely see plenty of wild Kangaroo Island Kangaroos. But if you want to get really close to the cute little guys, head to the KI Wildlife Park. Here you’ll find friendly kangaroos that have been hand raised since they were orphaned in the wild. There are usually opportunities to feed and pet the kangaroos.
Birds of Prey Presentations
“Raptor Domain” on Kangaroo Island is a very personal up close experience. You have the option to see one to three wild presentations. These presentations are very interactive and very informative. You have the opportunity to hold most of the birds and reptiles featured. There is also an opportunity to purchase a private viewing to interact with the birds one-on-one for about an hour.
The Pelican Man
The Pelican Man provides you with an entertaining and informative talk about pelicans and other sea birds while encouraging their participation with fish treats. It’s quite the photo op!
Swimming with Wild Dolphins
Slip into the clear calm waters off the North Coast of Kangaroo Island and enter the amazing world of KI’s wild dolphins. This very special experience can be a bit unpredictable since the dolphins are not trained or captive. But that’s half the fun! Your tour guides will watch, wait and tell you the best time to jump in so you’ll have the opportunity to get as close as possible to these majestic creatures. You can also opt to stay in the boat and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to spot dolphins jumping and playing in the surf.
Still looking for things to do on Kanagroo Island? Be sure to check back next week for “14 More Reasons Why Kangaroo Island is a ‘Must Do in Australia'”.
Posted on: October 29th, 2015 by Melissa Maxwell No Comments
Look at the tweet below and you’ll understand what it feels like to experience the beauty of Australia.Below are 16 amazing photos to trigger some of that awe inspiring delight right now!Our Destination Experts can help you plan the perfect trip to Australia. Customize your trip and start jumping for joy.
Whale Sharks in the Indian Ocean, Western Australia
Image by Migration Media – Underwater Imaging via Western Australia facebook
The Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia is the only place in Australia where you can swim with the majestic Whale Shark. The Whale Shark is the largest known fish and can grow up to 42 feet long. Unlike most sharks, they are filter feeders with huge toothless mouths.
The Famous Bondi Baths, Sydney, New South Whales
Image by: Andym5855 on flickr
These giant pools have been a landmark of Bondi Beach for over 100 years! There is a large pool for lap swimming and a smaller pool for the kiddos. Its a great way to experience one of Australia’s most beautiful beaches during the winter. The pool is open 6am to 6:30pm, Monday through Friday, 6:30am – 6:30pm on Saturday and Sunday, and is closed for cleaning on Thursdays. It’s only $6.50AUS for adults & $4.50AUS for children.
Sea Turtles on the Great Barrier Reef
When visiting the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, don’t forget to bring an underwater camera. Whether you’re diving or snorkeling, you’re sure to run into many members of the large diverse aquatic life population, like this Green Sea Turtle. Six of the world’s seven marine turtles can be found on the Great Barrier Reef.
Lizard Island, The Great Barrier Reef, Queensland
Sitting right on the Great Barrier Reef, Lizard Island has some amazing views and uniquely diverse diving conditions. Forbes.com recently published an article about the Luxury Resort of Lizard Island, saying it “may be one of the most beautiful place in the world.” The resort, complete with a recent 46-million dollar renovation, is absolutely stunning. With 24 sandy white beaches and 1,013 hectares of National Park, it’s really easy to get away from it all.
Sea Lions off the coast of Port Lincoln, South Australia
Image by: Adventure Bay Charters via australia.com facebook
These friendly “puppies of the sea” can be found in many waters off the coast of Australia. This photo was taken in the crystal clear water of Seal Cove. So adorable!
Byron Bay, New South Wales
Image by: Adrll Slonchak on flickr
Byron Bay is a popular vacation spot among the Aussie population. So you know it’s good! It’s a laid back, new-age utopia kind of town with miles of picture-perfect coastline. Great for families, friends, couples and shutterbugs.
The Penguin Parade on Phillip Island, Victoria
Every night a parade of little penguins marches across Summer Land Beach. Phillip Island in Victoria is home to an estimated 32,000 breeding pairs. As you can imagine, this is a very cute sight to see!
Swimming with Humpbacks off the Sunshine Coast, Queensland
Image by: Migration Media Underwater Imaging, Australia.com Facebook
This amazing photo was taken off the coast of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast during this year’s Humpback migration season (July – October). It’s amazing to see calves swim along side their mums.
Wineglass Bay, Tasmania
Image by: aussiejeff on flickr
Wineglass bay, located on the Southern edge of Tasmania, is located in Freycinet National Park. These perfect contours, turquoise water and pure white beaches exist on any normal day while you’re on Wineglass Bay.
Baby Turtles on Diamond Beach, New South Wales
Image by: Judith Conning via australia.com on facebook
Every year thousands of baby turtles make their way to the ocean for the first time. Turtle nesting grounds can be found all over Australia’s coast.
The Twelve Apostles, Port Campbell National Park, Victoria
Image by: Visit Melbourne on facebook
Near the Great Ocean Road in Victoria in Port Campbell National Park, you’ll find a collection of limestone stacks just off the shore. There are only eight apostles now, after the ninth one dramatically collapsed in July of 2005. Interesting fact: There were never 12 stacks, as far as we know.
Augie the Killer Whale on the Coral Coast, Western Australia
Image by Indian Ocean Imagery via Western Australia facebook
Considered an Exmouth local and regular around Ningaloo Reef, Augie the Orca is known for putting on a show. He’s been spotted multiple times performing for crowds on cruises around the reef.
Fraser Island, Queensland
Image by: Greg Schechter
Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island, is a nature lover’s dream. Activities available include 4×4 next to the sandy cliffs, hike through the rainforest, meet native wildlife, whale-watch, comb the beaches, visit shipwrecks, and swim in freshwater lakes ringed with gold. The photo above is of the island’s most famous shipwreck, the SS Maheno. It was one of the first turbine-driven steamers.
Tangalooma Island Resort, near Brisbane
Tangalooma is the only place you’re practically guaranteed the opportunity to feed wild bottlenose dolphins during your stay. Each night at sunset up to 10 wild dolphins visit the shores of Tangalooma and everyone is invited to feed them a treat. The feeding program runs with strict guidelines to ensure the health and safety of the dolphins, but everyone still enjoys this magical experience.
Heart Shaped Reef, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland
Image credit: Kieran Stone via australia.com facebook
You might recognize this scene from TV and movies. The Heart Shaped Reef, in Hardy Reef, is a great place for snorkeling and scuba diving. You can see this lovely sight from a helicopter or plane tour.
Bremer Island, Northern Territory
Image by: Australia’s Outback, Northern Territory on facebook
Bremer Island is at the topmost end of Australia in the Northern Territory. It’s the perfect place for a remote wilderness retreat, world class fishing, learning about the Yolngu culture, and getting away from it all.
There are so many amazing sights to see on and off the coasts of Australia. As they say, pictures just don’t do it justice.
You have to see it for yourself. Are you ready to start planning your tip to Australia?
Posted on: September 21st, 2015 by Melissa Maxwell No Comments
Add these to your SCUBA Diving Bucket List
From the Great Barrier Reef in the east to the majestic whale sharks in the west, this list of the best underwater experiences in Australia will have you itching to get down under for an amazing dive adventure. Lucky for you, there’s never been a better time book a trip to Australia.
Dive the Great Barrier Reef
There’s no way around it. If you’re a diver, the Great Barrier Reef needs to be on your bucket list. It’s the biggest reef system in the world with over 2,900 reefs and 900 islands stretching 1,429 miles. That’s massive! It’s filled with nonstop underwater action and is perfect for divers of all levels. It’s overflowing with all manner of aquatic life; 380 species of coral, over 2,000 species of fish, 4,000 species of mollusks, 500 species of seaweed and 6 of the 7 kinds of sea turtles.
Stand where the reef meets the rainforest
Ok, so it’s not an underwater experience, but it’s worth a mention! Australia is home to the only place in the world where Two World Heritage Sites meet. The Great Barrier Reef meets up with the Wet Tropics of North Queensland, a group of rainforests with the highest concentration of primitive flowers plant families in the world, at Cape Tribulation and the Daintree rainforest. This majestic site offers a glance into what the world was like when dinosaurs roamed the earth. (Along with really great diving close by!)
Dive Ribbon Reefs
Just outside of Cairns, in the northern reaches of the Great Barrier Reef, you’ll find the Ribbon Reefs. The ten reefs, simply named Ribbon Reef 1 through Ribbon Reef 10, stretch for more than 50 miles along the edge of the continental self and offer legendary diving for all levels of experience. There’s even really great snorkeling!
As you explore the Ribbon Reefs you are also likely to find everything from large Maori wrasse to leopard morays, playing clownfish to large aggregations of batfish, bommie to whitetip reef sharks, and uncountable species of anemonefish.
Dive in June or July and you’re almost guaranteed to swim with a Minke whale.
Some great dive sites include: Challenger Bay, Steve’s Bommie, Acropolis, Cod Hole, Lighthouse Bommie and Snake Pit.
Come Face to Face with a Giant Potato Cod
Found in “Cod Hole” (Ribbon Reef #10) these giant grouper are extremely friendly and accustom to being hand fed. Find them off the coast of Cairns, Australia or Lizard Island on the North End of the Great Barrier Reef.
Take a Live-aboard out to North Horn, Osprey Reef for an amazing shark frenzy experience. The North Horn of Osprey reef is a unique diving landscape with the reef starting 16 feet below the surface, sloping to 131 feet and then making a vertical drop to around 1,312 feet. It feels like an oasis of life in the middle of a desolate sea and deep sea creatures are known to stop by for a visit. It’s a place where 2 ocean currents converge and a place famous for it’s shark dives.
Silvertips, grey reefs, grey whalers, white tips and even hammerheads come to the site for an easy meal. When the dive operators drop the bucket, the intensity of the free-for-all reaches a fiver pitch. The sharks are accustomed to this feed and ignore the divers as they tear into their meal. You’ll get a nice adrenaline rush, without much actual danger.
Selfie with a Maori Wrasse (Humphead Wrasse)
This large personable fish can be found on reef slopes and lagoon reefs on The Great Barrier Reef. They are one of the few fish that eat the reef’s toxic arch enemies. With their large lips, comical eyes and friendly personalities they make great selfie buddies!
Swim with Sea Turtles
Swimming with sea turtles is a dream come true for many divers. The Great Barrier Reef is home to 6 of the 7 species of turtles in the world. One of the best places to swim with sea turtles (Green and Loggerhead) is from Heron Island. The reef surrounding Heron Island is also home to around 60% of the 1,500 species of fish and 72% of the coral species found on the Great Barrier Reef.
Visit November – March for turtle breeding season.
Dive the Great Barrier Reef and you are almost guaranteed to find him.
Swim with whale sharks, Ningaloo Reef
You don’t even have to be a diver for this one but an Australian aquatic wish list wouldn’t be complete without the majestic whale shark. Don’t worry, whale sharks don’t have teeth. For this amazing experience head to Ningaloo Reef on the Coral Coast in Western Australia between mid-March and the end of July. Not only will you swim with the whale sharks, but you’ll see an abundance of reef life such as manta rays, dolphins and turtles.
Spot a Dugong
The seawater cousin of the manatee, the Dugong or sea cow can be found on the Coral Coast of Australia. Shark Bay and Ningaloo marine parks supports about 10% of the world’s population.
Cage Dive with Great White Sharks
You won’t find Great Whites on the Great Barrier Reef so the adventurous types should head to Port Lincoln in South Australia to catch a charter and cage dive with the sharks. The pristine waters off Neptune Islands make it one of best places to see sharks in their natural habitat. The cages keep you from becoming dinner.
Scuba with a Leafy Sea Dragon
These interesting creatures can be found hiding in the kelp leaves and seaweed off the coast of southern and eastern Australia. Many divers travel to Australia only to find that the leafy sea creatures are tough to spot. Make sure to ask your destination specialist about the best places and times to see the elusive Leafy Sea Dragon.
Traveling to Australia for a dive trip is on nearly every diver’s Bucket List. Have you had the opportunity to experience it?
Luckily, there’s never been a better time to travel to Australia.