Tag Archive for "best beaches"

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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10 Best Beaches in Australia

Posted on: August 29th, 2018 by Lizandra Santillan No Comments

You haven’t gone Down Under until you’ve stepped foot on one of the best beaches in Australia.

With stunning coasts lined in white sand beaches and unbelievably clear waters, Australia boasts some of the best beaches in the world.

But with over 10,000 beaches, choosing the best Australian beaches may seem almost impossible.

Though all its beaches are undeniably beautiful, there is something truly special about our picks for the 10 best beaches in Australia.

Surrendering to the laid-back Aussie beach culture is easy once you set eyes on these coastal gems.

Burleigh Heads Beach

Burleigh Heads Beach, Gold Coast credit Tourism & Events Queensland

The Gold Coast is famed for its long stretches of sun-kissed beaches with boundless waves and endless sunshine.

But as one of Australia’s most popular beach destinations, the increasing crowds and overwhelmingly touristy atmosphere can sometimes take away from the charm of its beaches.

Burleigh Heads Beach is the one exception.

Widely considered by locals as the gem of the Gold Coast, Burleigh Heads combines pristine beach with untouched bush wilderness. The views out toward the Gold Coast skyline add to the stunning panorama.

Its surprisingly clean beach is carefully tended to by locals, remaining relatively unpolluted though situated alongside a major highway.

Host to annual surfing competitions, this is the perfect beach to pick up a surf board and catch fantastic waves.

Vigilant lifeguards patrol several swimming sections and a large parkland area complete with a playground make it a wonderful family destination.

Walking tracks and the fringing Burleigh Heads National Park provide a nice break to the salty waves.

You’ll want to keep an eye out for native wildlife on both land and sea, including brush turkeys, sea eagles, pods of dolphins and even whales.

Main Beach, Noosa

Noosa Main Beach credit Tourism and Events Queensland

With gentle waves, golden sands and clear waters, Noosa Main Beach is one of the crown jewels of the Sunshine Coast.

Located in Noosa, an idyllic beach resort town about two hours away from Brisbane, Main Beach promises something for everyone.

As one of Australia’s few north-facing beaches, this sun-kissed beach is blessed with endless warmth throughout the whole year.

Its calm and year-round patrolled waters make it perfect for swimming and family beach days.

Take a walk on the boardwalk, shaded with palm trees, and browse the numerous restaurants and cafes lining the beach. Fantastic waterfront dining with incredible views are is just a few steps away.

Main Beach is also perhaps one of the best places in all Australia for beginners to learn how to surf. As one of Australia’s top surfing destination, Noosa boasts many high quality surfing schools headed by professional surfers.

No better way to learn how to surf than with one of the pros!

Further up along the beach at the Noosa Park headland you’ll find long peeling waves with perfect barrels, a surfers’ dream. This is the site of the Noosa Festival of Surfing, a world-class event drawing surfers from around the world to compete in divisions such as long boarding, standup paddle surfing and even dog surfing!

Turquoise Bay

Couple sitting on the sands of Turquoise Bay, Ningaloo Marine Park credit Tourism Western Australia

Western Australia, though largely skipped by North American travelers, is home to some of Australia’s most gorgeous beaches.

Known for white sands, turquoise waters and abundant marine life, these gems are slowly gaining popularity for their stunning beauty.

Turquoise Bay encapsulates all the best of Western Australia beaches perfectly, with waters as blue as its name.

Located in Cape Range National Park near the town of Exmouth, this unspoiled beach is an aquatic playground. Crystal clear turquoise waters gently lap at the white sandy shores, teasing at the tantalizing marine life hidden beneath the surface.

Turquoise Bay is perhaps one of the best beaches in Australia for snorkeling. With the fringing Ningaloo Reef less than 200 feet away from the shore, you could almost walk to the reef.

Don on a wetsuit, some flippers and a snorkeling mask and explore the underwater wonderland below.

Confident swimmers can take on the Drift Snorkel, floating along with a current running parallel to the beach and drifting over the colorful reef fish, starfish, sea slugs and even sea turtles below.

As a snorkeler’s paradise, it’ll feel like swimming in a large natural aquarium.

Main Beach, Byron Bay

Main Beach, Byron Bay credit Tourism Australia

Grab a classic fish and chip takeaway from one of the many beachside eateries and settle onto the golden sands of Byron Bay’s Main Beach.

You’ll want to stay after dark for the fire dancers.

Known for its roots as an alternative hippy town, Byron Bay has seen tremendous growth over the last few years as artists, musicians and dreamers of all sorts chase the laid back beach life.

As more urban sprawl and development take over Byron Bay, its beaches still retain their natural beauty.

Main Beach, with its long stretch of surprisingly uncrowded and stunning coastline, adds to Byron Bay’s popularity.

Its north-facing curve lends to its fantastic surf break and outstanding sunsets. With the iconic Byron Bay Lighthouse overlooking from a distance, the scene appears straight out of a film.

As you spend more time in Byron Bay, you’ll find its picture-perfect scenery stretches beyond Main Beach.

Cable Beach

Camels walking past a couple on Cable Beach, Broome credit Tourism Western Australia

As you sit high astride a camel, walking in rhythm with the camel train along turquoise waters edged by red ochre cliffs, you’ll feel like you’re in a completely different world.

The purple and red sky burning to a fiery yellow glow during sunset only adds to the magical atmosphere of Cable Beach.

Located in Broome in Australia’s northwest, Cable Beach and the surrounding region possesses a rich history.

Walk to the southern end of the beach to Gantheaume Point, where red cliffs edged by bright turquoise waters create a stunning contrast breathtaking to behold. At the bottom of the cliffs are real dinosaur footprints over 130 million years old, preserved in reef rock visible at low tide.

Here you’ll also find Gantheaume Point Lighthouse, where you can see dolphins and migrating whales in season.

With soft white sands, aqua blue waters and gentle waves, Cable Beach is perfect for a lazy day and shallow swimming at the beach.

Add in umbrellas, beach chairs, paddle boards and even beach toys for hire and you’ve got a perfect day at Cable Beach.

Opt for an iconic camel ride and stay after dark for an unforgettable end to your Cable Beach day with a spectacular Indian Ocean sunset.

Wineglass Bay

Woman looking out to Wineglass Bay, Freycinet National Park, Tasmania

Many great hikes are about the journey as much as the destination, but no hike can beat that first magical glimpse of Wineglass Bay.

Its turquoise waters perfectly curving into a white sandy shore, framed by bush-clad mountains, are an iconic Australian feature.

Part of Freycinet National Park in Tasmania, this is easily makes the list of the best things to do in Tasmania.

Take the 45-minute uphill trek through the native bush to the lookout, rewarding you with stunning views over the beach and surrounding scenery.

For a truly rewarding experience, take the 20 minute hike down from the lookout to set foot on the beach. As you walk through the bush and come upon the clearing onto the white sands of Wineglass Bay, you’ll know all the work is worth it.

If you’re not keen on stretching your legs, eco cruises, yacht charters and water taxis departing from Coles Bay in Freycinet National Park offer a scenic way to reach Wineglass Bay.

Sea planes and helicopter flights deliver that incredible iconic view over the beach.

Camping grounds on nearby Coles Bay allow beach lovers to overnight at Wineglass Bay. Nothing can beat lying on the soft sand, gazing up at the endless expanse of the Milky Way spread across the night sky.

Remote, peaceful and unbelievably gorgeous, Wineglass Bay is easily one of the best beaches in Australia.

Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach, Sydney credit Tourism Australia

Undisputed as Australia’s most iconic beach, Bondi Beach is like a self-contained world set along one splendid shore.

As the closest beach to the Sydney CDB, Bondi is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.

Its curling waves create a tantalizing rhythm drawing you into its unbelievably blue waters. Even in winter you’re bound to see surfers in full body wet suits, unable to resist the tempting waters.

From fine dining to coastal walks, surfing schools to markets, you could easily spend days exploring all Bondi has to offer.

Taste exquisite regional Italian cuisine at Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, where unbeatable views over Bondi are accented by a glass of exceptional Aussie wine.

Browse the best fresh produce and artisan eats at the Sunday Bondi Markets, where you can grab a snack and chill on the grass knolls looking out to the beach.

Take on the scenic Bondi to Coogee walk, a clifftop coastal walk winding between some of Sydney’s most beautiful beaches.

Behind the beach lies Gould Street, a boutique shopping strip boasting high-end designers and unique finds.

Head to Bondi early in the morning to claim a patch of sand and catch the sunrise over Sydney.

The Basin

The Basin, Rottnest Island credit Rottnest Island Authority

Glimmering emerald waters pooled into a shallow bay, locked into seclusion by smooth reef- this is the Basin.

Located on Rottnest Island off the coast of Perth, this lovely little spot is one of Western Australia’s greatest treasures.

Its shallow waters, soft white sands and excellent snorkeling close to shore make it popular with families.

Buffalo bream fish and other reef fish swim around your ankles, visible from above the water’s surface.

At the western end of the Basin is a big limestone hill with extraordinary views across the beach and Bathurst Point Lighthouse in the distance.

Summer mornings are the best time to beat the crowds and set up your umbrella and chair.

With the sun shining through the crystal clear waters revealing an aqua glow, a dip is simply irresistible.

Whitehaven Beach

Whitehaven Beach credit Tourism Whitsundays

Whitehaven Beach is the sort of place you’d probably see in heaven. Its endless gradients of crystal blue waters blended with swirls of pure white sands create an almost celestial scene.

It’s something you truly have to see to believe.

The powdery white sand is 98 percent silica, a substance found in a high-purity form of sand. With extremely fine grains soft to the touch that never retain heat, a walk down Whitehaven Beach is like walking on velvet. No gingerly hopping across the sand, burning your feet to get to the water!

Framed by untouched tropical rainforest and surrounding reef, this pristine beach is nothing short of immaculate. Strict regulations help the beach retain its heavenly state, which not even the occasional Queensland downpour can mar.

Tucked away on Whitsunday Island of the coast of Queensland, this slice of Aussie paradise can only be reached by boat or air. This means little to no crowds even during peak season.

A high speed catamaran takes about half an hour to reach Whitehaven Beach from Airlie Beach. Most other cruises sail at a more leisurely pace, reaching Whitehaven Beach in about two hours.

For a truly spectacular experience, take a scenic helicopter flight to Whitehaven Beach, departing from Airlie Beach or Hamilton Island. The aerial views of the pure white sands fused with the stunning blue waters create a breathtaking scene you’ll never forget.

Get a glimpse of the same incredible view on Hill Inlet. The best lookout point is at Tongue Point, just a ten minute uphill walk through the tropical bush of the island. At low tide, when the vivid blue waters are at their most shallow and blend with the snowy-white sands, the scene is almost impossible to behold.

But such impossible beauty is what makes Whitehaven Beach one of the best beaches in Australia.

Hyams Beach

Hyams Beach credit Jonas Smith on Flickr

You’ve seen us mention a lot of pure white sand beaches, but only one can lay claim to having the whitest sand in the world.

And it’s only three hours south of Sydney.

Hyams Beach is famous for having the whitest sand in the world, as backed by the Guinness Book of World Records.

Located in the Jervis Bay region, this beach is part of the White Sands Walk, a trail connecting a series of gorgeous white sand beaches.

Framed by crystal clear turquoise waters, the pristine white sands of Hyams Beach are positively radiant and incredibly soft.

Surrounded by the Booderee National Park and native forests, you’re likely to spot wildlife such as kangaroos, parrots and cormorants.

The clear, shallow waters are irresistible, perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Dolphins often swim close to shore, curious and friendly. 

The best part is you’ll always find a stretch of beach to lay your towel on. Hyams Beach is a small beachside town with a population of under 300, and you might find yourself parking among the residential areas of the town.

Though its growing popularity continues to attract larger crowds each year, you might easily have the entire beach to yourself, if only for the morning at least.

But a morning in paradise is better than nothing.

Want to See the Best Beaches in Australia?

These beaches are just a the tip of the iceberg of the best beaches in Australia.

With unique features that make them truly stand out from the rest, you’ll want to add these stunning beaches to your list when traveling Down Under.

Our Destination Specialists are ready to help you plan your ultimate beach holiday in Australia.


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


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8 Reasons Why You Should Visit the Gold Coast Right Now


8 Reasons Why You Should Visit the Gold Coast Right Now

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

Broadwater Marina Mirage Aerial

Why You Should Visit the Gold Coast

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

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

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

Boundless Beach Days

Girl walking along beach with paddleboard at sunrise

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Live Like a Local

People sitting in a cafe overlooking the beach Destination Gold Coast

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

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

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

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

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

Conquer Your Fear of Heights on the SkyPoint Q1 Climb

Q1 SkyPoint Climb, Gold Coast

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

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

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

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

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

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

Taste the Incredible Food Scene

People in a busy bar Etsu at night

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

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

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

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

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

Get Up Close with Wildlife at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

Close-up of a koala looking at the camera

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

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

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

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

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

Head for the Hills in the Gold Coast Hinterland

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shop ‘Til You Dop

The Village Markets Burlegih Heads Destination Gold Coast

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

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

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

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

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

Stay Up Late

Busy crowd outside cocktail bar Miami Marketta

When the sun goes down, the adults play.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ready to Go to the Gold Coast?

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

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

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

I Want to Go to the Gold Coast!


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9 Amazing Things to Do in Noosa and Sunshine Coast

Posted on: November 27th, 2017 by Lizandra Santillan No Comments

If you’re looking for things to do in Noosa and Sunshine Coast you might get overwhelmed. The list of ways to explore this playground of relaxing beaches and lush rainforest hinterland is endless.

So we’ve made it easy.

Here’s our list of 9 top things you’ve got to do while in Noosa and Sunshine Coast. You’ll be spending your vacation like a local in Australia’s most laid-back beach culture.

1. Soak in the Sun on the Beach

Sunshine Coast is the top destination Aussies choose for a relaxing beach holiday. Many locals are transplants from all over Australia. Once you step foot on one of many golden beaches it’s easy to see why. Here are some of the top beaches in the Sunshine Coast.

Main Beach, Noosa

Main Beach, Noosa

Main Beach in Noosa is a local favorite for its gentle waves ideal for surfing, kayaking or just for a swim. Rent a kayak, paddle board or boogie board and enjoy the warm waters that constantly hover around mid-70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ever wanted to learn how to surf? Main Beach is one of the best places to take a surf lesson. World-class surfing coaches give lessons right on the beach and will have you standing on your board by the end of your first lesson.

Visit Main Beach in March for the annual Noosa Festival of Surfing. This 8-day festival draws surfers from around the world to gather and celebrate their love of surfing.

Have you ever seen a dog surf? Catch the Surfing Dog Spectacular during the festival and watch as dogs and their owners take on the waves.

Things to do in Noosa and Sunshine Coast

Sunshine Beach, Noosa

Once known as Golden Beach, this laid-back spot draws repeat visitors with its soft golden sand, secluded surfing and amazing dining along its elegant main street.

The irresistibly cool waters will draw you in with their unbelievable clarity. Boasting larger waves and little crowds, here you’ll find some of the best surfing in all of Sunshine Coast.

After a day at the beach catch a bite to eat at the award-winning Sunshine Beach Surf Club for a taste of fresh, locally-sourced dining.

Sunshine Beach

Coolum Beach

If you haven’t already noticed, surfing is kind of a big deal in Sunshine Coast. It’s no surprise when there’s no shortage of gorgeous beaches with amazing waves.

Coolum Beach is no exception.

With its carefree holiday feel and consistent rolling waves, it’s a spot locals escape to for uncrowded and patrolled surfing.

Here you’ll find one of the best beach boardwalks in all of Sunshine Coast. Take a leisurely stroll on the boardwalk and see breathtaking views of beach. Reach Point Perry Lookout for one of the best whale watching vantage points in Sunshine Coast. You might also spot turtles or dolphins frolicking in the glimmering blue sea below you.

Sunshine Beach

2. Discover National Parks and Hinterland

Need a break from the beach? One of the great things about Sunshine Coast is the unique blend of coastal beaches and charming hinterland.

There’s dozens of national parks, lush rainforests and towering mountain vistas to explore. The problem is choosing which sites of many to discover.

Here are the top things to do in Noosa and Sunshine Coast hinterland.

Noosa National Park

This popular park is a perfect mix of rainforest, mountains, wildlife and beaches, making it a quintessential Sunshine Coast destination.

Here you can hike through some of the region’s most picturesque scenery of lofty trees, rocky coasts and glorious clifftops. Spot wildlife as you wander through one of five tracks along the heath and woodlands. If you’re lucky you might spot a koala napping on the branches!

Noosa National Park

Fairy Pools

Imagine swimming in your own private rock pool with crystal clear water right on the doorstep of the ocean.

Sounds amazing, right? It’s no wonder the locals like to keep the Fairy Pools a secret.

The Fairy Pools are two pools of water in the rocks along the coast of the park. The high tide fills the pools, creating a magical scene of clear water rock pools surrounded by the ocean.

Look for these hidden gems early in the morning for the best chance to take a private dip in the Fairy Pools.

Fairy Pools

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve

One of the Sunshine Coast’s shining examples of hinterland rainforest is found in Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve.

Located about an hour away from Noosa, this stunning rainforest preserve makes for a great day of educational fun. Its Rainforest Discovery Center offers interactive information about its diverse plant and wild life.

A remnant of rainforests that once covered Blackall mountain range, this subtropical rainforest boasts stunning views of the Glass House Mountains.

Take a tranquil stroll on the long timber boardwalk winding through the reserve and explore the lush scenery.

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve

Glass House Mountains National Park

Easily one of the essential things to do in the Sunshine Coast is visiting the Glass House Mountains. The towering mountains are a distinct landmark of the Sunshine Coast hinterland, drawing eyes to their jutting peaks.

This group of thirteen hills were formed as molten lava cooled in the cores of volcanoes around 26 million years ago. Now the peaks hold cultural significance to the traditional owners, the Gubbi Gubbi people.

The mountains are a popular destination for bushwalking and climbing. Challenge yourself on one of the tracks winding around the mountains. You’ll be rewarded with sweeping views of the rainforest hinterland below.

Glass House Mountains

3. Explore the Noosa Everglades

This is one of Australia’s best kept secrets. For an escape into an entirely different world of untouched wilderness, there’s no place better than the Noosa Everglades.

There are only two everglades systems in the world. One is in Florida and the other is in Noosa. The everglades is home to over 44 percent of Australia’s bird species along with over 700 native animals, so be sure to take your camera to snap photos of any wildlife you may see!

As the Noosa River winds through the everglades it becomes known as the “River of Mirrors.” You’ll see pristine reflections of the ancient tropical landscape around you, interrupted only by the gentle glide of canoes serenely paddling by.

Explore the river and Lake Cootharaba in the everglades with guided kayak tours. Or rent a kayak and take on the waterways on your own. Linger a little longer and camp lakeside at Boreen Point Campground or Cooloola Recreation Area. Permits to camp at these sites are easily obtainable with the Queensland National Park Booking Service.

One of our favorite tours takes you on a cruise through the Noosa River in the everglades. You’ll stop at Harry’s Hut, a historic quarters for forest workers and now a popular camping site. Here you’ll feast your senses with a delicious Aussie BBQ prepared by your tour guide in the tranquil wilderness of the Noosa Everglades.

Kayaking Noosa Everglades

4. Wind down on the Noosa River

The sparkling waters of the Noosa River are perfect for a relaxing day of kayaking or stand up paddle boarding. Several businesses along the river provide kayaks and boards for you to hire and enjoy the river at your own pace. Glide down the river and pass the mysterious Makepeace Island, a small heart-shaped island resort.

Experience the fun of owning a boat for a day and rent a boat or pontoon – even without a license! Explore great fishing spots and cast your line in the river for a chance to catch Australian Bass, Tailor, Trevally and more.

The sunsets in Noosa are a glorious blend of pinks, purples and oranges, best seen on a romantic Gondola cruise on the river. One of our favorite Noosa River cruises is in a beautiful Venetian inspired Gondola. This Gondola holds six people, perfect for an intimate journey with your loved one or a small group of friends.

Noosa River

5. Get your shopping on at Hastings Street

In need of a little retail therapy? Noosa’s got the perfect place. The city’s cosmopolitan cafe and boutique society lies in Hastings Street, a bustling mecca of alfresco dining and world-class shopping. Explore one of Australia’s most elegant shopping and gourmet dining strips, drawing in locals and visitors from all over Australia alike.

Pop into Massimo’s Gelateria for a taste of some of the best gelato and ice cream in Noosa. Warm up with a delicious coffee from one of many cafes – Clandestino Roasters are king in the Noosa coffee scene.

Discover hand-picked and stylish treasures from France, Italy and Belgium in Eliza’s Boutique. Browse through the beautiful custom boards in Noosa Longboards. No matter what your taste, you’ll find something just for you in Hastings Street.

Hastings Street

6. Indulge in fresh seafood and gourmet cuisine

The only problem with grabbing a bite to eat in the Sunshine Coast is choosing where to go. Foodies will be in heaven in with the myriad of restaurants, cafes and pop up restaurants to choose from. In Sunshine Coast the food is as fresh as the sea air, the cocktails flow with ease, and the flavors will delight your taste buds. Here are some of the top food experiences in Noosa and the Sunshine Coast.

Cafe Le Monde

One of the oldest restaurants in Noosa, Cafe Le Monde is a Hastings Street staple. Try their crab omelette for a hearty breakfast or enjoy a burger grilled to perfection after a day at the beach. Head to their special oyster bar on Thursday nights for $1 oysters from 5pm to 6pm.

Cafe Le Monde Noosa

Noosa Boathouse Bistro and Bar

Get a taste of Noosa’s fantastic seafood at Noosa Boathouse Bistro and Bar, floating right on the river. Dine on perfectly cooked New Zealand Salmon or try their crowd favorite – a 3 tiered seafood tower – while enjoying the gorgeous waterfront views.

Noosa Boathouse

Cooking Schools

One thing you should know about the Sunshine Coast is that it’s teeming with cooking schools. For a great hands-on experience cooking dishes bursting with flavor, take a cooking class while in Sunshine Coast. The Cooking School Noosa offers classes covering regional, French and modern South East Asian cuisines suitable for all skill levels. Love Asian cuisine? Spirit House in Yandina will have you creating tasty dim sums, tasty curries and seafood delights. One of the best things about a cooking class is getting to taste your fine work afterwards!

The Cooking School Noosa, Things to do in Noosa and Sunshine Coast

7. Get up close with wildlife at the Australia Zoo

After filling up with amazing food, treat yourself to a day out at the Australia Zoo.

There’s probably no zoo in Australia more iconic than this, famed as Home of the Crocodile Hunter. The late Steve Irwin along with his family set out to conserve Australian wildlife through attentive rehabilitation and educational exhibits. Now the zoo is recognized world-wide for its conservation efforts along with its informative and interactive wildlife encounters.

See expert handling of enormous crocodiles, giant snakes and swooping birds in the Crocoseum. Here you’ll see the Wildlife Warriors put on a show that will have you at the edge of your seat. You’ll feel the radiating passion and excitement the handlers have for caring after wildlife.

Wander through the zoo and spot Tasmanian devils, dingoes and mysterious binturongs as you make your rounds. Visit the Kids Zoo to pet goats, pigs and sheep, or even better – pat a koala on the koala walk-through. Spot Red Pandas climbing tree branches, and meet some of the most playful wombats in Australia.

Don’t worry if you need to take a whole day to explore the zoo – you’ll discover something new at every turn!

Australia Zoo

8. Discover the beauty of Fraser Island

For a more natural look into Australian wildlife and natural beauty take a day trip out to Fraser Island. This World Heritage listed island boasts towering rainforests, over 100 freshwater lakes and long, uninterrupted beaches. This unique island is the only place in the world where rainforest grows on sand, lending to its image of an island paradise.

Here you can enjoy beach fishing, four wheel driving, camping and spotting wildlife out in the wild. The adventures never end in Fraser Island  – here are some of the things you must experience while there.

75 Mile Beach

Fishing on 75 Mile Beach

This impressive stretch of beach is on the east coast of the island. Though its waters are too dangerous to swim in due to strong currents, its perfect for a four wheel drive tour.

One of our favorite tours takes you on a journey across the sands of 75 Mile Beach and off road into the island’s core. You’ll explore the rainforests and enjoy lunch at one of the island’s gorgeous lakes.

You don’t need to scuba dive to see a shipwreck. Driving down 75 Mile Beach you’ll discover the Maheno Shipwreck, truly a wondrous sight to behold. Learn the history of this ship through informative signs and snap a photo with the wreck.

Lake McKenzie

Lake McKenzie

There are many beautiful lakes in Fraser Island to enjoy a refreshing swim, but the silky white sands and crystal clear waters of Lake McKenzie make it one of the top lakes in the island.

The sparkling blues and greens of the lake will mesmerize you and draw you in for a swim. The lake is pure rainwater and the sand below prevents it from draining away. This is just one of many gems that showcase the stunning beauty of Fraser Island.

Champagne Pools

Another great spot for a swim in Fraser Island is in the Champagne Pools. These natural pools were formed by volcanic rock and are now a popular swimming spot.

Waves from the sea crash into the pools and settle with a fizzing foam, hence its name. This makes for an exciting yet relaxing swim in one of the top attractions of Fraser Island.

Champagne Pools

9. Browse through Markets

No trip is complete without purchasing some souvenirs to remember your unforgettable adventures. Or perhaps you’d like one last taste of fresh, local produce. You’ll be sure to find delightful treasures in one of  many markets in Noosa and Sunshine Coast. Here are some of our favorites:

Noosa Farmers Market

Noosa Farmers Market

Held every Sunday in what was once a sports carpark, this market is a must while in Noosa. You’ll find fresh and organic produce, local seafood, artisan cheeses, handcrafted art, skincare products and so much more. Grab breakfast in one of the stalls to fill up before a day full of browsing through the aisles.

Eumundi Markets

Eumundi Markets

This hotspot is where you’ll find the thing you never knew you absolutely needed until you laid eyes on it. Precious gemstones, yummy street food and gourmet meals, local art, designer clothing…the list could honestly go on forever. There’s even massage spots to help take the edge off the endless market browsing. Stop by on Wednesdays and Saturdays for this popular Sunshine Coast marketplace.

Yandina Country Markets

These markets are dubbed “The country markets locals love,” and once you stroll through it’s easy to see why. You’ll find freshly harvested produce, vintage finds and collectables, plants and herbs and even car parts. Held every Saturday morning, the sights and smells of these colorful markets are sure to leave a spring in your step.

Yandina Country Markets

Things to do in Noosa and Sunshine Coast

You could spend a whole vacation just exploring Sunshine Coast. And as the heart and soul of Sunshine Coast, you’ll find many of its quintessential experiences in Noosa.

Is the Sunshine Coast beckoning towards you? Want a few more recommendations? Contact one of our Destination Specialists for more information on this special region. We’ll even give you free quote on a vacation in the Sunshine Coast!

I Want to visit Noosa and Sunshine Coast!

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


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Places to Visit in Australia | A Guide to the Whitsundays

Posted on: November 16th, 2017 by Lizandra Santillan No Comments

Top Things to Do in the Whitsundays

The Whitsunday Islands off the coast of Queensland are known as Australia’s slice of tropical paradise. This idyllic chain of 74 island wonders stun visitors from around the world with their green-clad beauty and secluded white-sand beaches.

Relaxing on Whitehaven Beach

With people as warm as the year-round weather and a holiday feel as relaxed as its calm, crystal clear waters, it’s no wonder the Whitsundays are the premier destination for a tropical escape in Australia.

You’ve seen the mesmerizing pictures of Whitehaven Beach and its pure white sand. You’ve pondered seeing the underwater wonderland of the Great Barrier Reef.

How about experiencing these spectacular icons all in one trip?

Make Airlie Beach on the Whitsunday Coast the base of your next holiday, and you’ll be on the doorstep of these beautiful destinations. As gateway to the Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef, Airlie Beach is the ideal threshold into the island holiday of your dreams.

Whitehaven Beach

Australia is teeming with gorgeous beaches. There’s iconic Bondi Beach in Sydney, the golden beaches of the Sunshine Coast, and a beach so perfect to catch waves it’s named Surfer’s Paradise.

But your idea of tropical paradise is probably a bit more secluded.

At Whitehaven Beach every spot is perfect to relax on its pure white sand, and the only crowds you’ll see are a mere handful of people. This world-famous beach is the crown jewel of the Whitsundays, constantly rated as the best beach in Australia.

The powdery white sand is 98 percent silica, meaning the sand never gets hot no matter how hard the sun glares. And with shallow, crystal clear waters always hovering at 77 degrees Fahrenheit, Whitehaven Beach is like something out of a dream.

Walking on Whitehaven Beach

How to Get There

Whitehaven Beach is on Whitsunday Island, the largest island of the Whitsundays. Whitsunday Island is a pristine paradise, with no hotels or resorts in sight, and the only way to reach it is by sea or air. The numerous islands and surrounding reef protect the waters, making them calm and perfect for sailing or cruising to Whitehaven Beach from Abell Point Marina at Airlie Beach.

With waters so still and an ambience so relaxed, you might be aching for a little adventure. Embark on an exhilarating ocean rafting ride and jet through the Whitsundays to Whitehaven Beach. Feel the adrenaline pulse through you as the wind plays through your hair and the water splashes around you.

Once you arrive at Whitsunday Island be sure to take the fifteen minute walk to Hill Inlet for those unbelievable views so iconic to Whitehaven Beach.

Whitehaven Beach Hill Inlet, Places to Visit in Australia

The heavenly swirls of white sands and aqua waters will be an unforgettable image ingrained forever into your memory.

Though Hill Inlet provides a commanding view over Whitehaven Beach, the best way to see the otherworldly swirls are by seaplane or helicopter.

The soft shades of blue gently blended with white sand glimmer below as you fly overhead. Land on the beach for a dramatic entrance – for a beach as breathtaking as Whitehaven, such a grand entrance is only appropriate.

Whitehaven Beach is not the only gem you can see while flying over the Whitsundays.

You’ll find the heart of the ocean lies in the Great Barrier Reef of the Whitsundays.

Heart Reef

Heart Reef by Plane

White sand beaches, vibrant green islands and clear turquoise water – the Whitsundays are a picture of utter tropical romance. But the picture isn’t complete without Heart Reef, out to steal yours.

This stunning natural composition of coral is in the perfect shape of a heart. Located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, this icon has been the site of many proposals and declarations of love as couples fly overhead by helicopter or seaplane. Heart Reef photo credit Jason Hill

The spectacular view appears just as it does in photos on post cards – untouched and brightly colored.

A deluxe scenic flight through the Whitsundays can include a trip over Whitehaven Beach and Heart Reef – two jewels of the Whitsundays. You’ll be reeling from a romance high once you land back on ground.

A more cost effective way to see Heart Reef by air is in conjunction with a visit to the Great Barrier Reef. You’ll depart from the Great Barrier Reef platoon and fly over this romantic natural beauty.

Great Barrier Reef

There’s no way you visit Australia without experiencing the Great Barrier Reef. This mind blowing natural wonder is a definitive Australia destination.

At the Whitsundays, you’re located near the central section of the Great Barrier Reef, making the region ideal for exploring the reef. Airlie Beach and a few of the island resorts of the Whitsundays provide ample ways to experience the reef  so you can enjoy this icon in your own style.

Our favorite day cruise departing Airlie Beach out to the reef combines interactive adventures of snorkeling, diving, semi-submersibles and underwater viewing observatories allowing you to see the reef no matter your skill level, or lack thereof.

The reef in the Whitsundays boasts some of the most colorful fish and coral formations anywhere in the Great Barrier Reef. The shallow, warm waters of the Whitsundays provide excellent opportunities for snorkeling.

Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef at the Whitsundays

If diving is your passion, you’ll be in heaven at the Whitsundays, where tens of thousands of fish and other marine life including turtles and dolphins call home.

Want to see the reef without getting wet? Glass bottom boats, semi-submersibles and cruise ships with underwater viewing observatories allow you to marvel at the underwater wonderland of the reef without dipping a single toe in the water.

Underwater Observatory of the Great Barrier Reef

Sailing

From sunny day trips to the Great Barrier Reef to leisurely charters around the Whitsundays, sailing is perhaps the best way to explore this chain of islands.

The Whitsundays offers some of the world’s best sailing, and what better way to fall in love with this island paradise than out at sea, enveloped in the glory of a gorgeous tropical sunset?

Sailing the Whitsundays

Airlie Beach offers numerous sail tours departing the marina for half day, full day, and even overnight sailing. One of our favorite luxury yacht tours includes gourmet meals, visits to snorkel sites and Whitehaven Beach – the ultimate all-in-one Whitsundays experience.

Or you may prefer to keep it simple and sail around the bays of Airlie Beach for fantastic views of the sea on a sunset cruise.

You may even hire a private yacht for bareboat sailing without a license or experience, and set course to the Whitsundays for your own island adventure.

Pioneer Bay Sunset

Airlie Beach

As the base for all this tropical island fun, Airlie Beach is the heart and soul of the Whitsundays. The vibrant and social atmosphere in Airlie Beach is infectious and its holiday daze will soon take over, ensuring you’ll never want to leave.

And many people who planned to only visit for a few weeks end up staying forever!

Airlie Beach Shore

With the Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef at its doorstep along with its laid-back main street lined with boutiques, cafes and markets, it’s not difficult to see how the tropical charm of Airlie Beach seduces visitors from around the world to its shores.

You can sunbathe at the edge of renowned Airlie Lagoon, located in the heart of the town.

Airlie Beach Lagoon

And indulge in the freshest seafood and gourmet dining in one of many thriving cafes, restaurants and bars. Tip: Head to Fish D’Vine, an Airlie Beach institution, for locally-sourced seafood and a choice of 450 types of rum.

Whitsunday Coast & Hinterland

Just minutes from Airlie Beach is the lush green rainforest of the Whitsunday Coast. Discover quiet coves, waterfalls and scenic outlooks on one of many walking trails through the hinterland.

Take a break from the beach side and explore the tropical rainforest surrounds.

Cedar Creek Falls

Cedar Creek Falls

This hidden gem is a local favorite as a day trip into the Whitsunday hinterland. Best to see during the wet season, fresh water runs off the surrounding rocks into a crisp, emerald green lagoon.

Enjoy the dappled shade of the rainforest canopy above you as you swim in the refreshing waters of the rock lagoon, and take a lunch break with a picnic in these gorgeous surrounds. Only 30 minutes away from Airlie Beach, you won’t want to miss this hidden tropical oasis of the Whitsunday Coast hinterland.

Conway National Park

Conway National Park Tourism and Events Queensland

Another popular escape into the rainforest landscape of the Whitsunday Coast is at Conway National Park. The diverse beauty of its green-clad hills, secluded beaches and panoramic outlooks over the Whitsundays is enough to lure in travelers from Airlie Beach.

Walk on a wide range of bushwalking trails winding through the park and catch sight of the many butterflies in different shades of blue, yellow and orange flutter about you in the forest. Take in the views of the Whitsundays from Mount Rooper Lookout. Discover the quiet seclusion of Coral Beach and watch as hundreds of tiny crabs run across the sand.

Best Places to Visit in Australia for Tropical Paradise

Whitsundays Secluded Beach

Not too many people know about the Whitsundays region in Queensland. When people think of a trip to Australia it’s usually to the typical destinations – the Sydney Opera House, Ayers Rock in the Outback, and the Great Barrier Reef as accessed from Cairns.

Sure, those are fantastic places to visit in Australia, but for that tropical island getaway of your dreams there’s no other place as perfect as the Whitsundays.

Whether it’s solitude and rejuvenation, fast-paced action or relaxation, you’ll find it all in the Whitsundays.

Ready to make your escape to the Whitsundays? Contact our Destination Specialists to start planning your idyllic island vacation.

I Want to Go to the Whitsundays!

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


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Why You Should Spend 5 Nights in Sydney

Posted on: August 10th, 2017 by About Australia Staff No Comments

Why You Should Spend 5 Nights in Sydney

Most people tend to spread themselves too thin when they travel abroad. But the depth of your trip, meaning the quality of time you have experiencing the culture and sights of a given destination, is just as important as the quantity of things you see and experience, if not more.

When we plan vacation itineraries, we are very careful to include the minimum amount of time it takes to thoroughly enjoy a city. This usually means spending 3 – 4 nights. That varies, of course, with what our clients want to see and how much time they have to see it. In a perfect world, we would want everyone to spend at least 5 nights in Sydney.

Sydney is Australia’s largest and most cosmopolitan city. It boasts some of the world’s most iconic landmarks and authentic Aussie experiences. The city itself has a plethora of things to do and see, while the greater surrounds hold enchantments for lovers of nature, wine and beaches.

From world famous sites like the Sydney Opera House to world class beaches to wildlife you only find in Australia, Sydney has everything you need for a quintessential Aussie experience.

And with plenty of time to have a quality experience, your vacation in Sydney will have the depth to keep you sated when you return to the ‘real world’.

Here are just a few things you can fill your time with while you stay in Sydney for 5 nights.

City Sights and Opera House

5 nights in sydneyGet your bearings and feel out the lay of the land in Sydney with a city tour. By taking a city tour early in your trip, you’ll be able to figure out how to get around and eye a few spots you may want to return to for a closer look later in the week.

Sydney is a huge, diverse city and deserves exploring. However, many strapped-for-time tourists make a mad dash for the Opera House and miss everything else Sydney has to offer.

5 nights in sydneyLuckily, with a week in Sydney you won’t be strapped for time.

Of course, the Opera House and Harbour are a must visit. Start off with an insider walking tour of the world famous venue. You’ll hear the behind the scenes scoop and controversy surrounding the building’s construction.

Whether you take a organized tour or make your own way around the city, here are some sights you won’t want to miss!

Darling Harbour

This bustling marina precinct is just adjacent to Sydney CBD makes for a great stop along a city tour of Sydney. Take advantage of Sydney’s excellent public transportation and take a ferry from the Opera House to this beautiful, waterside location. You’ll have near limitless options for dining, shopping and other activities

Queen Victoria Building

Shop like the locals do at this beautiful, Victorian-era building right in Sydney CBD. This architectural masterpiece was built back in 1890 and has since undergone a complete restoration to its original beauty. Take in the airy windows, stained glass and a fully operational, vintage lift all restored to their 19th century glory. There is plenty to see at QVB and the building is worth a tour even if you’re not up to shopping ’til you drop. Want to learn more? We’ve written a guide to the Queen Victoria Building‘s rich history as a shopping staple in Sydney.

Royal Botanic Gardens

This impeccably manicured mecca of native plants and pristine greenery is perfect for a pre or post Opera House walk. Go for a walk through the beautiful garden grounds, spot local Aussie wildlife like sulfur-crested cockatoos and flying foxes and find prime photo-ops overlooking the Harbour. The Royal Botanic Gardens are saturated in color, from the 2,000+ bloom rose garden, to the lush-green Glasshouse, ferny and native succulent gardens.

Check out our guide to the Royal Botanic Gardens for more reasons to visit.

The Rocks District

Step back in time to the earliest days of Sydney settlement. Just a quick walk from Circular Quay, The Rocks district was the home of the first European settlement in Australia and features some of Sydney’s oldest buildings, shops and pubs. These days, The Rocks serves as a pedestrian friendly district with great views of the Harbour, Bridge and historical buildings.

Museums

You could spend an entire afternoon touring the museum district within walking distance of the Harbour Bridge. For modern works, you’ll want to stop at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. A hip, diverse collection of cutting-edge art is housed in this building whose architecture is a work of art in and of itself. Then, check out The Rocks Discovery Museum for a historical look at The Rocks district through the years. Adjacent to Circular Quay is the Museum of Sydney, with informative and diverse collections and exhibits of Sydney history.

Tip: If you want to see more of Sydney outside of the CBD, but still want the option to walk at your own pace, get a spot on a hop-on, hop-off bus. You can ride the bus route around Sydney, including the beautiful suburbs outside the CBD, and hop-off wherever you’d like to walk around and see the sights up close.

Barangaroo

Dip your toes in the Harbour at Sydney’s newest waterfront destination. Adjacent to The Rocks, this mixed use district has green spaces, restaurants, shopping and the chance to see Sydneysiders at work and play.

Sunny Beaches

With Sydney’s excellent infrastructure and public transportation, getting to some of Australia’s most popular beaches is easy. Hop on a city bus or train, take a ferry or go for a quick drive to Bondi Beach. This sunny spot is the perfect destination for casual beach goers, hardcore surfers, locals and tourists alike.

This horseshoe shaped section of coastline features golden sands and brilliant, turquoise waters. The surrounding esplanade is home to a dining precinct featuring some of the best beach side restaurants and cuisine.

5 nights in sydney

Photo: Tourism Australia / Andrew Wallace

Spend some time on the beach soaking up the sun or learning how to surf. Bondi Beach is famous for its surf schools, teaching all skill-levels how to ride the waves of the sunny Aussie coast.

If waves aren’t your thing take a dip at the Cliff-side Bondi Icebergs pool (or ‘baths’) where you get a front row seat to watch the surfers without getting sand in your shorts!

Then grab a bite to eat from relaxed al fresco cafes before spending the rest of the afternoon walking from Bondi to Coogee Beach.

The scenic, clifftop coastal path along sheer cliffs connects Sydney’s most well-known beaches along a pedestrian boardwalk. Soak up the sun all along the way as you beach-hop Sydney’s coast. Each beach has it’s own feel and quirks and whether you’re catching waves at each one or digging your toes in the sand, this is one of the best ways to see Sydney’s beaches.

Spend a day at the beach like a local by heading to Manly Beach.  This Sydney suburb can be easily reached by ferry from Circular Quay.  It’s a beautiful white sand beach where you’ll see Sydneysiders doing the three S’s – surfing, swimming and snorkeling.  Manly Beach is a great place to get active for the day – bike rental, paddle-board lessons, surf lessons, kayaking, amazing walking trails and much more. And, of course, plenty of pups to wash down an Australian beer if it gets a little hot!

Hop On Hop Off Ferry

Spend a day seeing many of the sites listed above with a Hop On Hop Off Ferry pass. Travel on the harbour highway and skip the maze of commuter timetables as you cruise to 11 famous Sydney Destinations.

  • Circular Quay
  • Darling Harbour
  • Taronga Zoo
  • Fort Denison – A former penal site with an interested history.
  • Manly
  • Watson Bay – A suburb with a great beach, bird life, vibrant green parks and Gap Bluff, South Head, where you might just spot some whales in the winter months.
  • Luna Park – Known for it’s iconic smiling face of the Moon, this amusement park is great for children and the young at heart.
  • Shark Island – A pristine park in the middle of the harbour, perfect for a picnic
  • Garden Island – A military base where The Royal Australian Navy Heritage Centre
  • Barangaroo
  • International Convention Center – Worth a look for the stunning architecture alone!

Food and Dining

Of course, you wouldn’t be in a world-class city without world-class dining options right in the heart of the city. Whether you’re in the mood for a 5-star, fine dining experience or just a quick bite to go from a food truck, Sydney is never short on great food.

You can find everything from Vietnamese to-go carts, upscale Italian dining, Australian gastropubs, eclectic French cuisine and more.

scoysterbarAdjacent to the Opera House, discover some of Sydney’s best seafood restaurants, like Sydney Cove Oyster Bar and GRAZE, sitting in the perfect spot for views over the bay while you dine.

Or head over to Chinatown for your pick of authentic cuisine, noodle bars and dumpling houses like China Town Noodle King, Golden Century Seafood Restaurant and more.

Mountain Walks and Hikes

Not a city person? Tired of the hustle and bustle of the downtown sights? Get into the great outdoors with a day trip to see world-class Aussie natural wonder.

5 Nights in Sydney

Credit: David Ireland / Tourism Australia

Since you’ve got plenty of time in Sydney, take a short drive to Blue Mountains National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is considered the “Grand Canyon of Australia”. Rolling, rugged terrain, deep canyons and blue gum-trees as far as the eye can see cover the expansive vista.

A tour of the Blue Mountains provides unforgettable views from various lookout points in the park where you can spot tall waterfalls, sheer cliffs and famed rock formations like the Three Sisters. An expert guide drives you out to the Blue Mountains region, providing informative commentary and in-depth knowledge along the way.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also choose to participate in the hike portion of the trip. You’ll be dropped off at the trail head and make your way along a well-marked hiking trail. After you’ve worked up an appetite, a well-deserved lunch awaits before heading back to Sydney.

It’s the perfect way to experience the great outdoors and still have time for happy hour drinks at the Opera House.

5 Nights in Sydney

Three Sisters, Blue Mountains

For a closer look at Blue Mountains National Park, check out our list of things to do in the Blue Mountains.

Wineries and Vineyards

Craving a little of those famous Australian wines? How about a taste of Aussie Red and White with a trip to wine country?

Head out to the Hunter Valley wine region, just a short drive from Sydney proper.

5 nights in sydney

Photo: – Tourism Australia / Oliver Strewe

The Hunter Valley region is home to some of Australia’s best wineries. Embark on a tasting tour and experience award-winning wines in beautiful, green vineyards. Landscapes lined with rows of grape vines provide a picture-perfect backdrop to satisfy wine-lovers and fans of the great outdoors alike.

To really do the Hunter Valley justice, spend a couple of nights in wine country. Drive yourself along the rolling hills dotted with wineries, make a few leisurely stops and take your time in this relaxing region outside Sydney.

5 nights in sydney

Photo: Pernod Ricard Winemakers / Ernest Fraczak

If you’d rather let an expert do the driving for you, you can embark on a luxury-coach tour of Hunter Valley. You’ll visit a few of Hunter Valley’s most renowned vineyards and all you have to do is kick back, relax and remember to cleanse your palate between each tasting!

Aussie Wildlife

There’s nothing more iconic to Australia than its kangaroos and wildlife. Luckily, in Sydney you’re never far from experiencing wildlife up close.

Taronga Zoo, located just across the Harbour from the Opera House, is not only the most convenient place to see wildlife in Sydney, but maybe the most fun to get to. You’ll board a ferry from Circular Quay in Sydney CBD and cruise over to Taronga Zoo’s personal dock and wharf. Step right off the boat and into Taronga Zoo where you’ll see more than 300 unique species, including all of your Aussie favorites.

5 nights in sydney

Or, if you opted for the Blue Mountains tour, you’ll already be in a prime spot to visit the Featherdale Wildlife Sanctuary, where you’ll get to meet plenty of Australia’s native wildlife.

Man-made environments and walled enclosures not exactly the nature experience you were imagining?

What if you could see Australian wildlife that’s actually in the wild?

Take a day trip to the Australian Bush, just a short drive outside of central Sydney, and search towering forests for kangaroos, koalas, platypus’ and more.

The Southern Highlands outside of Sydney features thousands of acres of untouched wilderness, where animals run wild and free, just as nature intended.

See the Most of Sydney

To be honest, you could spend weeks seeing all that Sydney has to offer. Don’t shortchange yourself with a few short days. By the time you’ve traveled to the city it seems like it’s already time to leave the city.

Spend 5 nights in Sydney and get to know the city from the inside out. You’ll make some solid, unforgettable memories and a vacation with the depth you deserve.

  I Want to Spend 5 Nights in Sydney


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

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

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

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

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

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

Beaches & Aquatic Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Twelve Apostles,…

…and London Bridge

Wildlife

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.

  #mate #kangaroo #healesvillesanctuary #holdinghands #nature #australia #melbourne #finally #downunder #travel #greatday #awesome   A photo posted by Maurits Leeflang (@m.w.leeflang) on

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

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

Rainforest

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

  Boardwalk pleasures #bush #sundaystroll #ferns #boardwalk   A photo posted by Ben Barter (@bsa_goldie) on

Outback

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

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

Food & Wine

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

Head to Coda for sleek Asian/French cuisine.

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

Dine high in the sky at Vue de Monde.

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

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

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

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

Modern City Culture & Art

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

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

…to public installations.

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

Melbourne’s thriving art scene supports over 100 art galleries – both large and small. Head to Flinders Lane to see private galleries and public street art.

#art A photo posted by (@exceedinglyaverage) on

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

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

Indigenous Culture

You can find some very interesting Indigenous experiences right in the heart of Melbourne. Visit the Koorie Heritage Trust.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on: October 29th, 2015 by Melissa Maxwell No Comments
16 Stunning Photos of Beaches and Aquatic Life in Australia
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

Whale sharks in Western AustraliaImage 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

Bondi Pool Australia TripImage 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

Sea Turtles in Australia

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

Lizard-Island

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.

(Click here for 11 Day Luxury Lizard Island & Sydney Getaway from $3,995)

Sea Lions off the coast of Port Lincoln, South Australia

Swim with Sea Lions in Port Lincoln in South AustraliaImage 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

Sunset At Byron Bay Travel to AustraliaImage 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

Little Penguins on Phillip Island 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

Swimming with Humpbacks on the Sunshine Coast Experience AustraliaImage 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

Wineglass Bay Tasmania Trip to AustraliaImage 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

Baby turtles on Diamond Beach 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

12 Apostles Melbourne AustraliaImage 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

Augie the Killer Whale 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

Fraser Island Ship Wreck Visit Australia 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

Dolphin feeding Tangalooma island resort Tour Australia

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

Heart Reef Great Barrier Reef Travel to Australia 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

Bremer Island Visit Australia 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?

Help Me Plan My Trip >>

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

Great Barrier Reef, Best Australian Beaches & Dives

Posted on: August 18th, 2015 by Lexie Cargile No Comments

Are you looking to soak up the sun on warm, salty beaches or go “under the sea” for some incredible scuba diving? Australia lends itself to some of the best scuba diving in the world. With over 27,000 beaches and being home to the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef, it’s not surprising it’s a scuba divers and beach lover’s dream destination; the crystal clear waters are magnificently mysterious and provide out-of-this-world experiences. We have compiled a list of top Australia vacation spots, and the most popular and iconic beaches & dive locations; no matter your diving background, there are quintessential locations for everyone to explore.

Travel Tip: The seasons are reversed, making the weather in Australia different than the US.

The northeast region of Queensland yields the most diversity for travelers. Queensland is home to the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns, Heron Island, Lizard Island and Brisbane, making it an ideal region for those looking to combine the best beaches, scuba diving, and a touch of urban culture.

The Great Barrier Reef is the most iconic scuba diving and snorkeling location in the world. The reef is surrounded by 900 islands and spans across 1,400 miles, roughly the size of 70 million football fields. You will come face-to-face with the world’s most unique and vibrant aquatic life.

  • Heron Island, one of the reef’s luxury resorts, allows you to fully experience the tranquility of the reef and all of its wonders. The leisurely island experience focuses on exploring the beauty of nature and leaving the hectic outside world behind.
  • Lizard Island, an exclusive Great Barrier Reef resort, accessible only by plane, is located directly on the reef. It is perfectly secluded from the world with private beaches you can unwind on and escape the “touristy” areas of the reef, as well as indulge in private, luxury spa treatments and 5-Star cuisine
True or False? Great White Sharks can be found on the Great Barrier Reef. FALSE. The reef’s waters are too warm and shallow for Great Whites; the most common shark found on the reef is a reef shark. These smaller sharks are extremely docile due to the warmer waters and the large amount of fish in the area, leaving you with nothing to worry about.

Liveaboard Sciba Diving Trip AustraliaHeron Island Scuba Diving AustraliaAustralia Beach Travel Destination

Cairns, the closest mainland entrance to the reef, is a tourism powerhouse with pristine beaches and an array of activities. PADI also rates Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef as sites for the World’s Best Big Animal Dives. In addition to the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns also has the World Heritage Listed Daintree Rainforest, where you can embark on an award winning Skyrail Cableway tour across the rainforest and national parks for the “world’s most beautiful rainforest experience.” You can choose from over 600 tours a day, including: guided reef walks, scenic helicopter flights, glass-bottom boat & submarine tours, beach adventures, and fishing & sailing.

  • If you’re looking for a really authentic scuba dive experience, Cairns has various liveaboard divetrip operators that venture across the reef’s greatest dive spots for 2-7 days, where you can dive or snorkel between breakfast, lunch, and dinner everyday.

Port Douglas & Cape Tribulation are the perfect mixture of beach and scuba diving. You are still close enough to the Great Barrier Reef to scuba dive at your leisure, but far enough away from everything where you can lay out on white, sandy beaches and relax without the hustle and bustle of an urban city. Cape Tribulation is the only place in the world where two Natural Wonders of the World meet – the Great Barrier Reef and the rainforest.

Brisbane serves as a hub of Australian experiences for those with a short amount of time, and also provides easy access to the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast & Hinterland- breathtaking beaches, adventure theme parks, the Australia Zoo (home of the Crocodile Hunter) and incredible rainforests. While in Brisbane you can explore the South Bank Parklands – a great place to take the kiddos, lay out at Kodak Beach – Australia’s largest man-made inland beach/pool, ride a “River Cat” (ferry) across the rivers, and shop ‘til you drop at the Brisbane Mall.

Sydney, located in New South Wales, is Australia’s number one travel destination. It is worldly famous for the Sydney Harbor, the Sydney Opera House, and some of the highest rated beaches in the world; our two favorites include Manly Beach & Bondi Beach. The critically acclaimed beaches are the perfect sandy getaway with views that stretch as far as the eye can see, and offer world-class surfing, friendly locals, an incredible seafood.

Port Lincoln, also known as the “Sea Food Capitol of Australia,” sits along the shore of the Boston Bay in South Australia and is a thrill-seekers paradise. You will have the opportunity to swim with sea lions & tuna, go game fishing, or take the plunge, if you dare, and cage dive with Great White Sharks. Unwind after all of the excitement with some retail therapy at one of the countless boutiques, or dine in at one of the exquisite restaurants.

Kangaroo on Kangaroo Island AustraliaSea Lion on Kangaroo Island Australia

Kangaroo Island, another South Australian treasure, is home to the extremely unique leafy sea dragon which can ONLY be found in Australia; it is a scuba-divers dream to dive with something so rare and fascinating. In addition to Australia’s favorite land animals – kangaroos, sea lions, and koalas -all these remarkable creatures are what make Kangaroo Island special. You can marvel at these Aussie natives in their natural habitat and explore the wonderment that Kangaroo Island holds, above and below the water.

Ningaloo Reef is located along the coast of Western Australia, and is a World Heritage Listed site. You’re able to dive with whale sharks (seasonal), snorkel through incredible coral lagoons, and watch dolphins, manta rays and humpback whales migrate (seasonal). You can explore several different national parks as well as off-road through sand dunes – another great stop on an adventure travelers bucket-list.

Australia has over 27,000 beaches – that’s a new one to visit everyday for 27 years. We’ve made it easy on you and listed the top 5: White Haven Beach, Turqoise Bay, Cable Beach, Burleigh Heads Beach, and Manly Beach. For a full list of the best beaches in Australia click here.

Similarly, Australia has just as many fantastic dive and snorkel sites, the top 5 include: Cod Hole on the Great Barrier Reef, Flinders Reef, Fish Rock Cave, Lord Howe Island, and Ningaloo Reef.

Annual seasonal events among these locations include: turtle watching, whale watching, festivals & events, and birding which add a little bit of special Australian culture to your adventure. We can accommodate to include any of these seasonal events to personalize your trip even more.

 

or Phone us Toll Free on 1-888-3592877 (CT USA, M-F 8.30am – 5pm).

 


About Australia Reviews

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