Tag Archive for "Cairns"

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

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

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


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

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

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

When to Swim with Minke Whales

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

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

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

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

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

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

Things to Know Before Swimming with Minke Whales

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Add Swimming with Minke Whales to My Trip

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


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Things People Say After Seeing the Great Barrier Reef

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

Things People Say After Seeing the Great Barrier Reef

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

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

But what is seeing the reef really like?

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

Is the reef still quite a sight to see?

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

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

Great Barrier Reef from above photo credit Sheri Hardin

Photo by: Sheri Hardin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sheri Hardin snuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef

Sheri Hardin snuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Barbara McHuron on a helmet dive at the Great Barrier Reef

Barbara McHuron on a helmet dive at the Great Barrier Reef

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who knew fish could be so social?

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland/Fabrice Jaine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nicholas Culhane posing with a sea turtle.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ready to See the Great Barrier Reef?

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

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

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

I Want to See the Great Barrier Reef!


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Best Time for Whale Watching in Australia

Posted on: October 19th, 2017 by Lizandra Santillan No Comments

Whale Watching Season in Australia

Whale Calf Breaching

Whale watching in Australia has grown tremendously over the last decade. The long whale season in Australia – between May and November – no doubt contributes to its growing popularity.

But whale watching season differs throughout the country and so do the kinds of whales you’ll see.

In May, whale groups including humpbacks and southern right whales migrate from the waters of the Antarctic to the tropical waters of Australia for mating season. Minke whales and even the rare blue whale also make a stop in Australia’s waters throughout their migration.

The warm waters provide a safe habitat for delivering and nursing their calves, contributing to the growing whale population in Australia. With nearly 60 per cent of the world’s whales found in Australia’s waters, it’s no wonder this is a top whale watching destination.

Make your stop along the coasts of Australia – the best place to see whales – for an incredible opportunity to see these iconic gentle giants on your Australia vacation. Read our guide below to discover the best times to see whales during whale watching season in Australia.

Whale Watching in Victoria and South Australia

Southern Right Whales in Australia

Every year along the southern coast of Australia you’ll see southern right whales migrate to the bays of Victoria and South Australia to give birth.

Whale watching season for southern rights in this region is between June and October, when they swim closest to the shores. In Warnambool, Victoria, blue whales are occasionally seen in May.

Cross off two breathtaking experiences at once and journey along the Great Ocean Road on the southeastern coast of Australia. Cruise one of the world’s most scenic drives and stop at popular lookout points to stretch your eyes across the waters below your to spot whales frolicking and breaching. Southern rights are the most commonly spotted whale from different points along the Great Ocean Road, including at Cape Nelson, Portland Bay, and Warnambool.

These curious whales tend to venture close to humans, often swimming close to boats and ultimately lending to an incredible experience with these gentle giants of the sea.

Whale Watching on the East Coast of Australia

Whale Watching in Sydney

The east coast of Australia offers excellent opportunities for whale watching, especially along the coasts of New South Wales and Queensland.

The best time to see whales in popular destinations throughout the east coast ranges between May through July and September through November.

In Sydney, you’ll typically spot humpback whales close to shore making their journey toward Queensland. Humpback whales, like southern rights, are friendly and curious about boats and divers. Their inviting nature has given them the reputation of the most popular whales among whale watchers.

Venture out to the ocean and get a glimpse of humpbacks in their natural habitat with a whale watching cruise in Sydney.

These whale watching cruises typically combine whale watching with sightseeing and information on Sydney’s history. Cruise vessels provide an intimate experience by carrying only up to 11 passengers. You’ll enjoy a private, small group tour along the Sydney Harbor with personalized and knowledgeable commentary about the city and whales throughout your journey.

Luxury Whale Watching in Sydney

Soon you’ll be an expert on Sydney and whale behavior patterns.

If you like to cruise in style, Sydney offers luxury whale watching cruises complete with a gourmet luncheon served on-board and drinks to purchase. Comfortable indoor seating allows you to sip on a cocktail while watching the giants of the sea. Or you may take in the blue expanse of the ocean out on spacious viewing decks.

Whale watching has never been so luxurious.

Spot Whales on a Great Barrier Reef Cruise

From snorkeling to diving, glass bottom boat cruises to helicopter tours, there’s no end to the ways you can experience the truly breathtaking wonder of the Great Barrier Reef.

Take a cruise to the reef and not only will you experience the world’s largest living organism – the reef itself – but you may also see whales, the world’s largest animals.

Whale season attracts humpback and dwarf minke whales between May and September to the warm waters of the Great Barrier Reef. The best time for whale watching in this region, however, is between July and September.

Whale Watching in Australia on a Great Barrier Reef Cruise

Whale Watching on the Gold Coast

If you’d rather keep your feet on the ground but still yearn for the special experience of seeing a whale, Australia’s east coast is the best place to spot whales from the beach.

The Gold Coast is rapidly becoming the premier whale watching site in Australia, with whales venturing as close as one or two kilometers from beach shores. Whales may be spotted all throughout the regular whale watching season in the Gold Coast, peaking in August.

Numerous lookout points along the Gold Coast provide great ocean views where you’ll spot humpback whales breaching and shooting big spouts of mist into the air. Point Danger, a headland on the southern end of the Gold Coast, is renowned as a premier spot for whale watching on land. Other great vantage points include Burleigh Hill and Miami Hill.

Whale Watching on Point Danger

Whale Watching in Hervey Bay

Humpback whales make a stop on their return migration to enjoy the waters of Hervey Bay. The clear waters allow you to easily see humpbacks as they frolic and breach, basking in the sheltered waters of Fraser Island with their young. The best time to see humpbacks in Hervey Bay is between July through October, right before they head south again for feeding.

Whales in Hervey Bay

You will typically begin spotting humpbacks twenty minutes into a cruise out on the waters of Hervey Bay – perfect for the eager whale watching enthusiast. Sometimes the whales venture close to the boats, a delightful treat for lucky passengers.

An even better treat is getting to swim with the whales.

Swimming with Whales

Swim with Whale Sharks

Swimming with Whale Sharks in Ningaloo Reef Exmouth photo credit Tourism Australia

The once in a lifetime opportunity to swim with whales awaits at Ningaloo Coast. This World Heritage Site is located in the north-west coast of Western Australia. Here, whale watching adventures can combine a snorkel on the Ningaloo reef with whale watching and swimming on a full day tour.

Take a cruise between March and September for the chance to get up close and personal with these friendly giants.

And the giant you’re most likely to meet on a whale swim is the whale shark. Don’t worry though – classified as the world’s largest fish, these animals are more like whales in their behavior than sharks. These docile creatures are accustomed to swimming alongside humans, with a diet consisting of only micro-organisms such as plankton and krill. So there’s nothing stopping you from taking the plunge and swimming with whale sharks!

Meeting a new friend means first gaining their trust. The same holds true even for these enormous creatures.

You’ll enter the waters with an expert guide in a small group of up to 5 swimmers, so as not to scare off the whale shark. Gaining the animal’s trust may take up to half an hour, but that’s a small price to pay for such a grand experience.

To ensure this exhilarating experience goes as smoothly as possible, a spotter plane flies overhead and alerts the crew on board when a whale is spotted. A photographer joins the swim to capture unforgettable underwater moments you can look back on.

Swimming with Dwarf Minke Whales

Swimming with Minke Whales

Other friendly and inquisitive whales that you are likely to meet on a whale swim are dwarf minkes.

These whales hang around the Ribbon Reefs of the Great Barrier Reef between May and September, peaking in early July. This region is the only place in the world where humans can interact with these whales. With a limited number of tours permitted to offer swimming with minke whales, you don’t want to miss out on this special experience! Day trips and even 3-7 night excursions onto the sea are available for enjoying minke whale watching and swimming.

If you are unsure about swimming with whales, minke whales are just gentle enough to try out the experience. They often seek out human company, swimming around snorkelers and divers and approaching boats just within a few yards. Just another reason why Australia is the best place to see whales – you’re able to experience whales in their natural habitat.

Whale Watching in Australia

All along Australia’s coastline are fantastic spots to see whales. Whether you’re a swimmer and ready for the once in a lifetime experience of swimming with whales, or if you’d rather keep your feet on the ground and see whales frolic in the ocean from the beach or a cruise, there’s a spot in Australia perfect for your style of whale watching.

Want to include whale watching in your trip to Australia? Contact one of our expert Destination Specialists. We’ll set up the perfect whale watching experience for you to see these majestic giants of the sea.


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


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

Posted on: March 15th, 2017 by Melissa Maxwell No Comments

The Great Barrier Reef is a mind blowing natural wonder. It’s truly one of the best places to visit in Australia. It spans over 1,200 miles and harbors one of the richest ecosystems on the planet with over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands scattered along its expanse. If you’re traveling all the way to Australia, you’ll want to visit the Great Barrier Reef in all its glory. This amazing video produced by David Attenborough gives you an idea of what it’s like to explore the reef, but nothing can really do it justice. It’s one of those things you have to see for yourself.

There are a multitude of ways you can launch your reef adventure. Take the traditional route and dive or snorkel the reef, or stay dry on a glass bottom boat, scenic flight or adventurous sail. Maybe even find a more unique way to explore the reef on your own terms. Read more for your guide on exploring the Great Barrier Reef.

Snorkeling and diving

Don your mask and fins and get up close to the dazzling kaleidoscope of corals, sea turtles, rays, sharks and tropical fish of every color. Snorkeling is the cheapest and most popular way to have an aquatic adventure you’ll remember for the rest of your life.

A Day Trip on a Reef Cruise

Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef on a Day Cruise

One of the best ways to dive or snorkel the reef is to hop aboard a boat excursion. These are great because they take you out to 2 or 3 exclusive dive sites along the outer reef. All boats offer snorkeling, most offer diving for certified divers and a few even offer introductory dives for those who want to try out diving for the first time on the reef. Our favorite operators depart from Cairns and Port Douglas. If you want to make it out to famous dive sites like the Ribbon Reefs on a day-trip, you have to depart from Port Douglas. It’s a great town to stay in, but only a short transfer if you’re staying Cairns. These full day excursions tend to include lunch, snacks, snorkel gear, lycra suits and a guided snorkel tour with a dive master. Scuba diving and gear brings additional costs. Different boats offer different experiences. Some take you out to a single location with hundreds of other people, some offer a more exclusive experience and others go farther out into more remote locations to cater to the more experienced. Talk to an About Australia Destination Specialist to select the right one for you.

Liveaboard

Dive the Great Barrier Reef on your Australian Vacation

The best diving sites are located further from the mainland. Famous dive sites like The Ribbon Reefs with Cod Hole are best encountered on a 3 day Liveaboard. If you want to dive both the Ribbon Reefs and the remote and amazing North Horn at Osprey Reef, you’ll need to take a Liveaboard for at least a week. For the ultimate Great Barrier Reef experience, embark on a 14-Day expedition. During these trips, you can swim with Minke whales (June-July), see Humpbacks (August – October), dive during a shark feed (totally safe, we swear!) and visit some of the most immaculate coral reefs in the world.

Liveaboards generally only offer diving to certified divers, but snorkelers are often welcomed at a discounted rate. Snorkelers on Liveabaords are normally accompanying their diving partners. We wouldn’t recommend it otherwise. There are usually only a few dive sites that will work well for a snorkeler on a 3-7 day liveaboard trip.

Island-based Diving

For astonishing diving or snorkeling, consider staying on a Great Barrier Reef island. Our favorites are Heron Island, Lizard Island, Elliot Island, Fraser Island, Hamilton Island, and Orpheus Island. Famous diver and documentarian, David Attenborough, has named Heron Island and Elliot Island as a few of his favorite dive sites. So, you’ll be in good company! A stay at most of these islands offer the added bonus of enjoying an all-inclusive resort. Most offer free use of snorkeling gear and motorized dinghies. From these islands, a diver easily take a short boat ride with a small group to a number of amazing dive sites. Snorkelers can see the reef right off the beach or venture further on their own reef bound boat. Your About Australia Destination Specialist can find you the best deal possible.

Luxury Snorkeling Experiences

Visit Whitehaven Beach on your trip to Australia

If you really want to treat yourself, try out a day-cruise or luxury catamaran tour in the Whitsundays. These small group tours offer exclusivity and comfort all while sailing around some of the most beautiful islands in the world. The ship will drop anchor and you’ll jump into the turquoise water to snorkel among the big sea turtles, anemone and schools of colorful fish. Most excursions around the Whitsunday Islands include a visit to the famous Whitehaven Beach. This long white-sanded beach stretches over four miles along the coast of Whitsunday Island. Unlike most beaches, Whitehaven is made up of 98% pure silica which gives it a bright snow-like complexion. The sand is a fine grain with a soft velvety feel. It also doesn’t retain heat very well, so you won’t burn your bare feet on bright sunny days. It’s the most photographed beach in Australia. You can clearly see why.

See the Reef without Getting Wet

If swimming isn’t your thing, you can still see the Great Barrier Reef without submerging into the depths of the South Pacific.

Glass Bottom Boats

Glass bottom boat tours are a great way to admire the underwater beauty of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Most boats are designed to accommodate as many people as possible while still allowing everyone a clear view of the tropical life thriving below them. Some boats come with tour guides who provide detailed descriptions of the different type of coral and marine life. If you have the opportunity, take a night tour to see the coral really come to life after dark. There are great glass bottom boat tours operating out of Airlie Beach, Cairns and Port Douglas. Some also offer scuba diving and snorkeling excursions which makes them a perfect option for mixed company.

Reef HQ Aquarium

Reef HQ houses the largest living coral reef aquarium. The building itself is quite small when compared to other aquariums, but the live ecosystem sets it apart from other aquariums you’ve seen. It’s a great introduction to the reef as friendly guides explain about the reef in an educational and entertaining manner. Be sure to stop by the turtle hospital.

Fly Over the Reef

Fly over the Great Barrier Reef on Your Australian Vacation

Behold the sheer magnitude of the Great Barrier Reef by taking to the sky and seeing the reef from above. You’ll find plenty of opportunities to fly over the reef while on your Australia vacation. From the Whitsunday Islands, you can take a flight out to Hardy Reef to snorkel, hang out in a semi-submersible, check out the underwater observatory or chill on the deck and get a massage. After, take the scenic view and fly over Heart Reef. Or skip Hardy Reef and soar over the heart of the Great Barrier Reef from any one of the Whitsunday Island resorts. Helicopter rides and scenic flights are also available from Cairns and Port Douglas. Stay at a resort like Lizard Island or Orpheus Island and a low-level flight over the reef is par for the course. You’ll be awed by the stunning beauty of the maze of reefs weaved together to form this natural wonder.

Reef Fishing

If you fancy yourself an angler, fishing on the reef is a must. Cairns and the Ribbon Reefs are probably best known for trophy black marlin fishing. About 30-50 miles off the coast lies a very special stretch of ocean called “Marlin Mecca” where more “granders” (100lbs or more) are taken than all the other combined fishing water in the world. Billfishing aficionados can try their hand at catching the big one every year late September through December. Lizard Island is the only land-based operation that offers access to “Marlin Mecca”.

There is also great light tackle fishing on select areas of the reef. Take a charter from Cairns or stay on a Great Barrier Reef Island for access to nearly every species of Pacific game inhabiting the ocean just adjacent to the reef and the continental shelf. It’s a great experience for fishing enthusiasts, offering some of the fastest game-fishing in the world.

Unique Reef Experiences

Looking for something a little more “out-of-the-box”? Maybe you aren’t a very good swimmer but you really want to explore the reef. Try one of these awesome tours.

Seawalking/ Helmet Diving

See the Great Barrier Reef without getting your hair wet. | Helmet Dive | AboutAustralia.com

A helmet dive is a perfect way for non-swimmers to explore the reef like pro divers. It’s quick and easy too. You start with a quick briefing. Then, you’ll don a large space-suit type helmet and you’re ready to go. A guide will take down about 6 people at a time. Jump into the water and hold on to metal tubing as your guide takes you around the ocean floor. You’ll be completely surrounded by colorful fish and coral and you won’t even get your hair wet. Children as young as 12 can participate, so it’s great for families. You can embark on this unique diving experience from Cairns or Port Douglas.

Submarines

Great Barrier Reef Submarines

Another great option for people who don’t want to scuba dive the reef is a tiny 3-person submarine. Two people, guided by an experienced pilot can explore the underwater world of the beautiful coral and exotic marine creatures without traditional scuba gear or training. Tours depart from Fitzroy Island, just a 45 minute boat ride from Cairns. There is always a safety diver trailing the sub while your experienced diver and submarine pilot doubles as a tour guide, providing vivid descriptions of the surrounding sea life and corals. This is a really fun and super safe way to see the Great Barrier Reef!

Are you ready to start planning your visit to the Great Barrier Reef? Check out some of our Great Barrier Reef Deals below, request a custom vacation quote or phone us toll free on 1-888-359-2877 (CT USA, M-F 8.30am – 5pm).

 

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

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

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

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

Things to Do in Australia Sydney Vacation

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

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

USA compared to Australia

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

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

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

Must-See and Do in Australia - Kangaroo

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

Family on Beach Great Barrier Reef Taking the Family to Australia

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

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

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

7 Highlights of Australia

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

A word of advice:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11 Best Underwater Experiences in Australia

Posted on: September 21st, 2015 by Melissa Maxwell No Comments

Add these to your SCUBA Diving Bucket List

From the Great Barrier Reef in the east to the majestic whale sharks in the west, this list of the best underwater experiences in Australia will have you itching to get down under for an amazing dive adventure. Lucky for you, there’s never been a better time book a trip to Australia.

 

Dive the Great Barrier Reef

Dive the Great Barrier Reef in Australia Dive the Great Barrier Reef

There’s no way around it. If you’re a diver, the Great Barrier Reef needs to be on your bucket list. It’s the biggest reef system in the world with over 2,900 reefs and 900 islands stretching 1,429 miles. That’s massive! It’s filled with nonstop underwater action and is perfect for divers of all levels. It’s overflowing with all manner of aquatic life; 380 species of coral, over 2,000 species of fish, 4,000 species of mollusks, 500 species of seaweed and 6 of the 7 kinds of sea turtles.

Stand where the reef meets the rainforest

Where the Forest Meets the Reef in Australia Cape Tribulation - Travel to Australia

Ok, so it’s not an underwater experience, but it’s worth a mention! Australia is home to the only place in the world where Two World Heritage Sites meet. The Great Barrier Reef meets up with the Wet Tropics of North Queensland, a group of rainforests with the highest concentration of primitive flowers plant families in the world, at Cape Tribulation and the Daintree rainforest. This majestic site offers a glance into what the world was like when dinosaurs roamed the earth. (Along with really great diving close by!)

Dive Ribbon Reefs

Just outside of Cairns, in the northern reaches of the Great Barrier Reef, you’ll find the Ribbon Reefs. The ten reefs, simply named Ribbon Reef 1 through Ribbon Reef 10, stretch for more than 50 miles along the edge of the continental self and offer legendary diving for all levels of experience. There’s even really great snorkeling!

As you explore the Ribbon Reefs you are also likely to find everything from large Maori wrasse to leopard morays, playing clownfish to large aggregations of batfish, bommie to whitetip reef sharks, and uncountable species of anemonefish.

Dive in June or July and you’re almost guaranteed to swim with a Minke whale.

Some great dive sites include: Challenger Bay, Steve’s Bommie, Acropolis, Cod Hole, Lighthouse Bommie and Snake Pit.

Come Face to Face with a Giant Potato Cod

Cod-Hole Potato-Cod-Great-Barrier-Reef-Dive-Australia

Found in “Cod Hole” (Ribbon Reef #10) these giant grouper are extremely friendly and accustom to being hand fed. Find them off the coast of Cairns, Australia or Lizard Island on the North End of the Great Barrier Reef.

Start planning your Australian dive vacation.

Witness a Shark Feed

Take a Live-aboard out to North Horn, Osprey Reef for an amazing shark frenzy experience. The North Horn of Osprey reef is a unique diving landscape with the reef starting 16 feet below the surface, sloping to 131 feet and then making a vertical drop to around 1,312 feet. It feels like an oasis of life in the middle of a desolate sea and deep sea creatures are known to stop by for a visit. It’s a place where 2 ocean currents converge and a place famous for it’s shark dives.

Silvertips, grey reefs, grey whalers, white tips and even hammerheads come to the site for an easy meal. When the dive operators drop the bucket, the intensity of the free-for-all reaches a fiver pitch. The sharks are accustomed to this feed and ignore the divers as they tear into their meal. You’ll get a nice adrenaline rush, without much actual danger.

Selfie with a Maori Wrasse (Humphead Wrasse)

Selfie-with-a-Maori-Wrasse Humphead Wrasse Great Barrier Reef


This large personable fish can be found on reef slopes and lagoon reefs on The Great Barrier Reef. They are one of the few fish that eat the reef’s toxic arch enemies. With their large lips, comical eyes and friendly personalities they make great selfie buddies!

Swim with Sea Turtles

Swimming with sea turtles is a dream come true for many divers. The Great Barrier Reef is home to 6 of the 7 species of turtles in the world. One of the best places to swim with sea turtles (Green and Loggerhead) is from Heron Island. The reef surrounding Heron Island is also home to around 60% of the 1,500 species of fish and 72% of the coral species found on the Great Barrier Reef.

Visit November – March for turtle breeding season.

Find Nemo

Find Nemo Great Barrier Reef Australia Travel Deals Find Nemo on the Great Barrier Reef. Travel to Australia.


Dive the Great Barrier Reef and you are almost guaranteed to find him.

 

 

Swim with whale sharks, Ningaloo Reef

You don’t even have to be a diver for this one but an Australian aquatic wish list wouldn’t be complete without the majestic whale shark. Don’t worry, whale sharks don’t have teeth. For this amazing experience head to Ningaloo Reef on the Coral Coast in Western Australia between mid-March and the end of July. Not only will you swim with the whale sharks, but you’ll see an abundance of reef life such as manta rays, dolphins and turtles.

Spot a Dugong

Spot a Dugong in Western Australia The Dugong Western Australia


The seawater cousin of the manatee, the Dugong or sea cow can be found on the Coral Coast of Australia. Shark Bay and Ningaloo marine parks supports about 10% of the world’s population.

Cage Dive with Great White Sharks

Dive with Great White sharks in Australia Cage Dive with Great White Sharks

You won’t find Great Whites on the Great Barrier Reef so the adventurous types should head to Port Lincoln in South Australia to catch a charter and cage dive with the sharks. The pristine waters off Neptune Islands make it one of best places to see sharks in their natural habitat. The cages keep you from becoming dinner.

Scuba with a Leafy Sea Dragon

Travel to Australia Dive with Leafy Dragon Dive with Leafy Sea Dragon South Australia

These interesting creatures can be found hiding in the kelp leaves and seaweed off the coast of southern and eastern Australia. Many divers travel to Australia only to find that the leafy sea creatures are tough to spot. Make sure to ask your destination specialist about the best places and times to see the elusive Leafy Sea Dragon.

Traveling to Australia for a dive trip is on nearly every diver’s Bucket List. Have you had the opportunity to experience it?

Luckily, there’s never been a better time to travel to Australia.

Start crushing your Bucket List!

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

 

Places to Visit in Australia to Experience Aboriginal Culture

Posted on: August 26th, 2015 by Melissa Maxwell No Comments

What places are on your Australian vacation wish list?

The Great Barrier Reef, our iconic Sydney Opera House and surrounding harbor, the breathtaking outback, the beautiful beaches or the luscious rainforests. These places are wonderful to visit and offer endless photo opportunities. But when they get home and return to normal life, most travelers find their most memorable moments not in ‘seeing the sights’, but in experiencing the culture.

The Aboriginal arts and culture are a very unique and interesting component of the Australian identity and one that can be experienced without traveling to remote locations. You can experience the human element of Australia in intimate and authentic ways in every state and not far from where you will likely already want to visit. Save on your trip to Australia with our deals on customized Indigenous vacation packages.

Aboriginal Australia is as diverse as the continent’s landscape; not one nation but many nation states speaking more than 250 languages. Each stop will provide you with a new and unique perspective and ground your tour of the infamous sites to the people of the land. You can also experience the culture by adding a few Aboriginal managed tours to your itinerary. Here are a few of our favorite places to visit in Australia to get a big dose of historic culture.

Places to Visit in Australia – New South Wales

Dreamtime Southern X Tour Sydney Australia

Image by Dreamtime Southern X

The Rocks (Sydney) – Take a 90- minute leisurely urban walkabout with an Aboriginal guide in The Rocks, the historic area of Sydney’s city center. Your Aboriginal guide with show you how the ancient wisdom of Dreamtime is continuously weaved into the modern city to create a unique Australian culture.

Royal Botanic Garden Sydney – The Royal Botanic Garden is a great place to learn how early Aboriginal inhabitants lived as hunters and gatherers. Intimately associated with the environment they made poisonous seeds edible, created fishing line from bark, wove leaves into mats and baskets, and much more in order to survive. During a one hour tour an Aboriginal Education Officer will help you explore the rich Aboriginal heritage of the garden and give you a first-hand perspective of the its significance.

Taronga Zoo (Near Sydney) – Just short drive from the harbor you’ll find the Taronga Zoo. An Aboriginal discovery tour offers a chance to enjoy interactive experiences with unique Australian wildlife and a chance to discover more about Australia’s rich culture. An Aboriginal guide will tell you stories of Australian wildlife, the binding relationships between flora and fauna, and the Dreaming (the creation of various creatures and landscapes). You’ll also get a great photo opportunity with a Koala and ride the Sky Safari cable to discover why Taronga is known as “The Zoo with a view”.

Places to Visit in Australia – Northern Territory

Uluru, Australia’s Red Centre (Ayers Rock) – Visiting the heart of Australia is about more than just seeing a giant red rock, it’s about experiencing the Outback; its majestic beauty, its heritage and its essence. As the traditional owners of Uluru Kata Tjuta and the surrounding land, who better to help you capture the moment than the Anangu? Unlike many of us the Anangu still possess a strong connection to the past and thousands of years of accumulated knowledge, wisdom and law. Their traditions are maintained and passed on through stories, rituals, ceremonies, songs, dances and art. There are many opportunities to experience their culture and learn more during your stay at Uluru. Here are a few Indigenous tours in Uluru. Your Vacation Planning Expert can help you select the best experiences for your trip.

Sounds of Silence Dinner– A unique award-winning gourmet desert dining experience complete with a didgeridoo welcome, a beautiful Outback sunset, Australian delicacies, and a tour of the stars.

Northern Territory Camel Ride Ayrer's Rock Australia

Image by AYQ

Camel Ride to the Sounds of Silence Dinner site (or just around the Outback) – Camel tours of Uluru are always an amazing experience. Friendly local guides teach and tell stories about the flora and fauna, the land, the indigenous people, their own lives and the history of camels in Australia in a fun and enjoyable way. The photo opportunities are always amazing and the camels, with their own unique personalities and cheeky nature, may also provide a bit of entertainment.

Tali Wiru Dinner – Another unique desert dining experience with a taste of Aboriginal heritage. This tour fills up quickly as only 20 people are allowed per night. You are taken to a large dune, well away from anything else. A majestic view of Uluru is in the distance as a local plays the didgeridoo and canapes are served as the sun sets. You will enjoy a three course meal with matching Australian wines, desert with port, and an evening of star gazing and Aboriginal stories.

Desert Awakenings Tour – This tour is a great way to view the landscape and learn about its history and its people. Travelers often describe their experience as powerful and spiritual as they learn the history of the land, take in the rock paintings and learn about the local lore of the Anangu people.

Places to Visit in Australia – Queensland

Queensland Daintree National Park Aboriginal Tour Australia

Image by: Kuku Yalanji Cultural Habitat Tours

World Heritage Listed Daintree National Park (Pick-ups at Cairns, Beaches and Port Douglas) – This intimate tour allows you to not only learn about the Aborginal culture of the rainforest but also experience it. It’s a day full of excitement, learning, and fun. Some highlights include a smoking ceremony, mud crab hunting, a visit to your guide’s home to cook your catch, a lesson in ingenious art, and a swim in The Mossman Gorge.

Mossman Gorge Centre (A quick car ride from Port Douglas) – The Mossman Gorge Centre is managed by Aboriginal natives, Kuku Yalanji, whose natural history makes them perfect guides to the oldest rainforest in the world. Your guide will provide an entertaining narrative of the unique tropical environment while demonstrating traditional plant use, identifying bush food sources, and sharing their special relationship to the land. The Mossman Gorge Centre is a wonderfully pleasant way to enjoy the rainforest as you walk along a broad walk, swim in pristine water and cross the mighty gorge on a suspension bridge.

Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park (About 15 minutes from Cairns Airport) – Enjoy one of the most memorable dinner and shows in the world. This performance and tour truly takes you back in history and goes a long way to bring perspective to the culture’s 40,000 year history. The food is unexpected, abundant, tastefully prepared, and absolutely beautiful. There are plenty of opportunities for photos, fireside chats with the locals and a chance to take the stage and learn a traditional dance.

Places to Visit in Australia – Victoria

Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne Aboriginal Guide Australia

Image by: Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne

Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre (Melbourne) – The word Bunjilaka is a word created from two local Aborginal languages and means “creation place”. It is a place where Victoria’s indigenous communities can express their own history within the Melbourne Museum. It’s also a place where you can understand the aboriginal history of belonging to the land on the Yarra River, populated by the Boonwurrung and Woiwurrung people before the first Europeans arrived.

Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne – The award-winning walk through the Gardens is often described as one of the most interesting walks in the city. A local Aboriginal guide takes you on a journey through the traditional camping and meeting place the for Kulin nation. You’ll experience stories, culture, plant lore, tools and ceremony.

Places to Visit in Australia – Western Australia

Western Australia Tour

Image by: Koomal Dreaming

Ngilgi Cave (About 40 minutes north of Margaret River) – Not many American tourists make it out to Western Australia. If you do, it’s well worth your time to visit Wardandi and Bibbulman Country. You can experience this great landscape and the caves through the eyes of the traditional owners. Take a 3-hour private tour which includes a bush walk, a trip into the Ngilgi Cave where your Aboriginal guide will play the didgeridoo, and a live demonstration of spears and boomerangs. All of this will leave you with authentic insight into the indigenous way of life in historic Western Australia.

 

Australia’s landscape varies from sandy beaches to rocky cliffs, from the desert outback to tropical rainforests and within each landscape is a unique historic culture, whose Dreamtime stories are as varied as the country they inhabit. A trip to Australia isn’t complete without experiencing at least a few of these ancient and mysterious cultures.

View Deals or Phone us Toll Free on 1-888-3592877 (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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Australia Vacation Spots

Posted on: August 7th, 2015 by Lexie Cargile No Comments

Australia is one of the most popular vacation spots in the world; no matter where you are, there is always something to do. The most common questions we hear are: “How big is Australia?” “When is the best time to travel to Australia?” & “What to do in Australia?

Sydney Opera House| Top Australia Vacation SpotWhether you’re planning your first trip, your second trip, or maybe even your eighth trip, there are two things you need to know before you embark on your journey ‘down under’; Australia is roughly the same size as the continental US & the seasons are reversed.

Spring: September – November
Summer: December – February
Autumn: March – May
Winter: June – August

Understanding those facts is a vital component in planning your dream getaway. The country is so large it has developed to cater to every interest, and we have compiled a list of the best Australia vacation spots to to make your vacation planning that much simpler. These destinations encompass the true spirit of Australia and are filled with incredible sights, riveting wildlife, fascinating cultural experiences & thrilling adventures. Each region has attributes that make it unique and special. To help you orientate yourself, we’ve provided a useful link to a map of Australia.

 

Queensland: North Eastern AustraliaGreat Barrier Reef Australia

Cairns houses two “Natural Wonders of the World” – the Rainforest & Great Barrier Reef – making it one of the worldly famous best places to visit in Australia. Cairns is a great spot for adrenaline junkies, aquatic adventurers & wildlife enthusiasts, offering over 600 tours a day. It is the closest, and most convenient, mainland entrance to the Reef, giving you easy access to explore the ocean’s beauty. The World Heritage Listed Daintree Rainforest is the oldest living rainforest and is home to some of the most authentic aboriginal culture.

Brisbane is commonly known as the “river city” and is one of the fastest growing regions in Australia. With twelve months of sunshine, it is no surprise it is one of the top Australian vacation destinations – the quintessential location for year-round outdoor activities. There is a variety of leisurely or exciting river cruises & tours, in addition to: thrilling theme parks, national parks that are home to the rainforest, world renowned zoo’s & koala sanctuaries, and seasonal whale watching tours.

Gold Coast is Australia’s 5th most visited destination by international travelers, one of the best vacation spots in Australia. It is known as the “surfer’s paradise” due to the consistent waves year-round, with pristine beaches, gorgeous rainforests, and a nice mix of urban culture. The Gold Coast offers energetic theme parks, exquisite dining, and critically-acclaimed retailers with an upbeat nightlife to give you the perfect mix of entertainment & pleasure.

 

New South Wales: South Eastern Australia

Sydney is the most culturally diverse and heavily populated area in Australia. It is most commonly known for the iconic Sydney Opera House and gorgeous Sydney Harbor. In addition, there are a tremendous amount of delicious 5-Star restaurants, magnificent beaches, and attractions that makes travelers drawn to the area. The beauty of Sydney is that you can kick-back on the beach; stroll through contemporary art galleries, aquariums & botanical gardens; cruise the harbor and tour the Opera house, or indulge in some world class retail therapy.

 

Victoria: South Eastern Australia

Melbourne, a close second to Sydney in population size, has an enormous amount of indigenous culture that begs to be explored. The Arts Centre Melbourne displays the most incredible indigenous art, cultural events, and performing arts. After a day of exploring the gorgeous landscapes and eating at authentic cafes, take a drive on the Great Ocean Road along the coast to witness the grandeur of the Twelve Apostles and relax at the stunning beaches.

If you’re looking for a little adventure and a few days of exploration, take a drive from Melbourne to Adelaide foran extended “Great Ocean Road” coastal drive that allows you to fully capture the essence and beauty of the beaches and surrounding towns.

Ayers Rock at Sunset in AustraliaNorthern Territory:

Ayers Rock (Uluru) is another one of Australia’s greatest treasures. The World Heritage Listed national parks, terrain, and aboriginal history is what makes this region a top Australian travel destination. Explore the culture, traditions, and landscapes while on a guided tour by a native Australian Aboriginal. The sunsets are breathtaking and can be best experienced in a hot air balloon or helicopter.

South Australia:

Adelaide, Australia’s food and wine city, is seamlessly vivacious and always has something going on. There are year-round events and festivals making it the perfect place to visit no matter the season. We suggest attending a sporting event or head to the wineries for tours and tastings, followed by an incredible dinner at one of the critically-acclaimed restaurants. There’s never a shortage of things to do.

australia-vacation-spots-kangaroo-islandIf you’re looking for a more “off-the-beaten-path” type experience, we recommend Kangaroo Island for its well-known scenery, wildlife, and adventure. In addition to Kangaroo’s you will also discover Sea Lions and other native critters roaming the gorgeous beaches and national parks. To optimize the adventure, take a hike through a national park, kayak along the coast, or perhaps take a helicopter tour for a birds-eye-view of this wildlife oasis. Whichever you choose, you will certainly be dazzled by the charming nature and adventure on Kangaroo Island.

 

The essence and incredible culture of Australia can never be fully explained, it is something you just have to experience for yourself. Let us plan your personal itinerary today so you’re guaranteed to receive an experience catered to your interests and you don’t miss a minute of what Australia has to offer.