The country is so large it has developed to cater to every interest. 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 and thrilling adventures. Each region has attributes that make it unique and special. To help you orientate yourself, here is a map of Australia.
Queensland is nicknamed Australia’s “Sunshine State,” and it’s easy to see why. Lined with sun-kissed beaches on its southeastern coast and tropical towns in the north, this state sees the most days of sunshine throughout the year. Its warm, balmy year-round weather and natural beauty make it one of the best vacation spots in Australia.
Great Barrier Reef. Image Credit: Tourism Australia
Cairns houses two “Natural Wonders of the World,” the Daintree Rainforest and Great Barrier Reef, making it one of the world-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.
Snorkeling the reef, exploring the rainforest and learning about the unique Aboriginal culture of this region are just a few of the best things to do in Cairns.
Brisbane Story Bridge. Image Credit: Tourism & Events Queensland
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 both leisurely and exciting river cruises and tours, in addition to thrilling theme parks, national parks, world-renowned zoos and koala sanctuaries, and seasonal whale watching tours.
Gold Coast. Image Credit: Destination Gold Coast
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.
Home to one of Australia’s most popular destinations, New South Wales is the state where you’ll find Sydney. Apart from this iconic, international city, New South Wales boasts sublime coastal towns, the oldest wine region in Australia, and incredible national parks.
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.
If you love wine, you’ll love Hunter Valley. As the oldest wine region in Australia, Hunter Valley is famous for its historic wineries, fantastic views, indulgent food experiences, and full-bodied red wines.
Luxury accommodations in Hunter Valley offer a secluded retreat so you can enjoy some of the best food and wine in Australia without worrying about heading back to the city.
Only about a two-hour drive from Sydney, Hunter Valley is a no-brainer vacation destination in Australia to wine and dine.
Blue Mountains National Park. Image Credit: Tourism Australia
The Blue Mountains region of New South Wales is a popular day trip destination from Sydney, only two hours outside the city. It’s one of the best vacation spots for nature lovers who want a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Forest-clad mountains and rugged cliffs covered in eucalyptus trees make up the natural beauty of the Blue Mountains. This region gets its name from the blue haze that emanates from the eucalyptus oil from the trees, creating a soft blue hue.
Well-marked walking trails through streams, waterfalls and valleys are the perfect escape for nature lovers. Guided tours explore the region’s highlights, including scenic lookouts and sacred rock formations. The Jenolan Caves, among the oldest cave systems in the world, are also a must-see in the Blue Mountains.
As Australia’s most southeastern mainland state, Victoria is known for its scenic coasts, boutique rural towns and Australia’s music, art and sports capital – Melbourne.
Melbourne, a close second to Sydney in population size, has an enormous amount of culture that begs to be explored.
Dozens of world-renowned museums and art galleries, along with music venues, restaurants and cafes offer something for every taste. The heart of the city is adorned with historic, Victorian-style architecture and hidden passageways lined with boutique shops, noodle houses, bars, and coffee shops serving some of the world’s best coffee.
The best way to explore Melbourne is on a walking tour of the city, where a knowledgeable local shows you the hidden gems of the city most often missed by tourists.
Great Ocean Road
The Twelve Apostles
The Great Ocean Road is one of the best road trips in the world. Passing through Victoria’s dramatic coastlines and beach towns, this destination is all about the journey.
Along the Great Ocean Road you’ll find the Twelve Apostles, a must-see Australian icon. Other breathtaking rock formations along the trip include Lord Ard Gorge and Gibson Steps. The small coastal towns along the drive also offer fantastic beaches and comfortable accommodations for an extended road trip.
Northern Territory is the spiritual heart of Australia. Encompassing the glowing, red desert landscapes and Aboriginal cultures of the outback, a visit to Northern Territory will transform you.
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 are best experienced in a hot air balloon or helicopter.
South Australia is a unique blend of wildlife, outback, wine and beaches. This state combines all the best of Australia’s top destinations and is a favorite vacation spot for travelers in search of authentic local experiences.
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide. Image Credit: South Australia Tourism Commission
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.
Kangaroo Island. Image Credit: Tourism Australia
If 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 kangaroos 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.
Ready for Your Trip to Australia?
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 vacation 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.
Posted on: November 22nd, 2018 by Melissa Maxwell No Comments
Image by: Roderick Eime
Australia is on almost every traveler’s bucket list but the long-haul flight can seem like a daunting journey, causing some people to put off the trip. We promise it’s totally worth it and really not as bad as you might think. Here’s what it’s like to fly to Australia from the US with a few tips to make your journey as stress free as possible!
Avoid the headaches!
Unless you found an amazing deal on airfare, we highly recommend taking a direct flight to Australia. Likely, you’ll be flying directly to Australia from Dallas, Los Angeles or San Francisco, so your first step would be to get to one of these main hubs on a US domestic flight. Your best bet here is to make sure you book your US domestic flights with your international flights, so that you can check your luggage all the way through to your destination. Otherwise you will have to get off the plane in Dallas (LA or SF), pick up your bags, check into your international flight, drop off your bags, go through security again and then get on your international flight. We like our clients to be able to do a simple transfer from one plane to the other, knowing their bags will be transferred behind the scenes. Less lines means less stress!
Traveler’s Tip: All of your flights within the US and Australia should be booked on the same ticket as your international flight- your About Australia Destination Specialist will do this whenever possible. Not only will this lessen the stress on your way to Australia, but it also increases your luggage allowance throughout your entire journey! Usually, you’ll get two free checked bags when you book in this manner. Even if you only plan on checking one bag, the ability to check an additional bag comes in handy when you come across a flight in Australia that limits carry-on luggage to 7K (15.4 pounds). Rather than pay $50 to check your overweight carry-on, you can simply check it for free because you booked your international ticket with your Australian Domestic flights. See, it pays to book your travel with a Destination Specialist!
Your flight will most likely take off late in the evening and arrive in Australia two days later early in the morning. No, you’re not on the plane for two days, but you will cross the international dateline causing you to lose one day. So if you leave Dallas at 10:30pm on November 20th, you would arrive in Sydney at 6am on November 22nd. You’ll make up this day on the way back, arriving in the US just a few hours after you leave Australia. It’s like time travel!
So you’ve avoided the stress of the dreaded international transfer. Now it’s time to board your new home for the next 12-17 hours. If you are flying First Class, Business Class or Premium Economy, great for you! The service and food are much better and you will be much more comfortable then the folks in Economy. But these options are quite expensive, so we’ll stick to Coach in this description since that’s how most people will get to Australia.
Traveler’s Tip: Your Destination Specialist will send you information on how you can purchase advanced seat selection. If you want to sit in an exit row (for extra leg room) or sit with your travel companion, you’ll want to spend the extra cash to select your seat ahead of time.
You’ll board your flight and take your seat. Airlines like Qantas, Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand will offer in-flight entertainment from the get-go. They have a ton of options with new and classic movies, TV series, music, games and audiobooks. Get comfortable and start picking out a movie or TV show to watch. These flights also offer USB ports that will keep your mobile device charged throughout the flight. Don’t expect Wi-Fi, though. Most international flights currently don’t offer it, but that is slowly changing.
These larger long-haul planes are much more comfortable then most US domestic planes. You’ll likely have a winged headrest that folds in to catch your weary head and your seat will slide forward when laying back to give you a little bit more recline. The Qantas Airbus A380 even offers little footrest nets for added comfort (but these are not available in the exit rows or bulkhead seats).
The plane will take off and after it gets to the correct altitude, flight attendants will offer bottles of water and perhaps a lemon drink. You’ll receive a menu that tells you all that is on offer. We can’t speak for all airlines, but on Qantas, Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand, everything on this menu is included in the price of your flight – including the alcoholic beverages. Just don’t get carried away.
Here’s what we recommend you do:
Watch a movie and enjoy dinner with a tasty dessert. Then maybe watch a TV show or read for about 45 minutes. Three to four hours into your flight, when they turn down the lights, get out of your seat to stretch your legs. Maybe do a lap around the plane. If you are on the Qantas Airbus A380, you can head to the back and walk up and down the flight of stairs a few times. Then go to the restroom to get ready for bed.
It might help if you bring along a change of clothes and your toothbrush (if you forget this, ask for one). Performing your nightly ritual may help you sleep more soundly. Cuddle up with your airline provided blanket and pillow and try to get a full night’s rest. Most airlines will also have sleep masks available should you need them. Snacks and water are available throughout the night.
Traveler’s Tip: Get lots of sleep and drink a lot of water! It may be tempting to watch all three Lord of the Ring movies while you enjoy glasses of Australian wine, but you’ll hate yourself the next day.
In the morning, the lights will come on about 3 hours before you arrive at your destination and the crew will serve breakfast. Wake up, go for a little walk to stretch your legs, eat and fill out your customs card. You might find yourself asking, “Should I declare…..?”. The answer is yes. Just declare anything that remotely matches the description on the card. It will save you trouble in the long run. Now you’ll have time to watch a short movie or catch a few more Zzzzzs before landing in Australia.
You’ve arrived in Australia!
When you land, you will disembark the plane and make your way through customs. You’ll stand in a few lines, show your passport a few times and they’ll ask you what you are bringing into the country. Then you will collect your bags and a cute dog might come along to sniff your bag to make sure you are not smuggling illegal fruit and whatnot. It’s not the best experience, but it’s not the worst. And again it’s totally worth it because, yeah, you’re in Australia!
Now you have to find your way to your hotel. If you booked with us, you’ll have a transfer waiting for you. The shuttle bus will take you to your hotel where you can try to check in. It’s going to be pretty early in the morning, between 7 and 8 am, so unless you’ve arranged for early check in, they likely won’t have a room ready and waiting for you. This is really a blessing in disguise.
If you had a room ready, you might be tempted to take a nap at this point. This is not a good idea. You have to power through your first day in Australia. Stay awake until at least 9pm. Otherwise, the jet lag will be much worse throughout your vacation. Most hotels will store your bags for you and bring them up to your room when it is ready. Your job is to get out into the city and explore.
Traveler’s Tip: Resist the urge to take a nap on day one!
If you’re in Melbourne, maybe do a city tour to explore the hidden laneways and arcades or hop on the City Circle Tram. This free mode of transportation stops at many places of interest like Federation Square, Melbourne Aquarium and Parliament House. There is also a free tourism shuttle bus with on-board commentary. Look for red signs that indicate the bus stops. It runs every 30 minutes between 9:30am and 4:30pm.
If you follow these suggestions you can avoid serious jet lag and start enjoying your Australian vacation straight away.
Are you ready to start planning your trip to Australia? Talk to one of our Destination Specialists today. We’ll make sure you have an easy and enjoyable vacation!
Phone us Toll Free on 1-888-359-2877 (CT USA, M-F 8.30am – 5pm).
About Australia Reviews
Rating of Average of 4.86 on a total of 186 Ratings
Thank you Katie for being so easy to work with for our Australian adventure. Your communication and planning in a timely manner helped our travel anxiety as seniors.
It was a wonderful trip and we highly recommend About Australia!
Koda did a great job proposing and organizing our itinerary. She kept us informed of any changes, gave us excellent advice, and reminded us of important things we need to do. We had a wonderful, memorable and very smooth trip. Hope to do business with you again in the future.
Everything was great!
We had a great time and we were so grateful that About Australia had taken care of all the details. Eventhough we kept making changes to our plans (dates, cities, activities, etc) even during the trip, the staff was super patient and accommodating.
A couple of suggestions: the hotel in Queenstown was not the best (very dated) and it didn’t have air conditioning. We were also surprised whe(...)
Awesome trip, can’t wait to do another!
I saw the word "Aussie" in Koda's itinerary and thought it was somebody's else reservation. She told me the meaning. I think it was funny.
Koda was an excellent adviser and planner to my trip to Australia. She was always very professional, patient, informative and was careful to the minimum detail. I will recommend her with friends and family.
Steve and Peggy
This is the 1st Australia trip, we already thinking going back!
This is the 1st Australia trip, we already thinking going back!
It was an amazing family vacation almost everything was pre-paid and booked we just had to show up and have fun!! Ana was very patient with me and she was able to accommodate all my requeats and answer all my questions.
Lawrence & Wendy McKee
We wish to thank Chris & all at Aboutaustralia.com who enabled our recent trip to Australia & New Zealand. We had 36 vouchers, and in each case had no problem when checking in. We had one minor issue at the hotel in Napier, and Chris responded right away despite time difference, and it was due to a new hotel clerk not finding our existing booking, and was quickly resolved. Also, Chris respo(...)
An excellent orchestration of 13 flights and 31 vouchers
3 countries, 13 flights, 31 vouchers, 0 problems.
This was a well orchestrated trip by Ana at AboutAustralia of Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
Once in a Lifetime Trip
They helped me plan a amazing anniversary trip that I will never forget. We had minor hicks up but it was taken care of. I just wanted to share how much I enjoy dealing with About Australia. You have great people working to make business travel as painless as possible. I have worked a lot with Chris Reech – he is brilliant.
He is customer focused, cheerful and always willing to help you f(...)
Nick and Marcia Anton
We loved the trip!
Melbourne: accommodations were clean and well-located, and the desk staff gave helpful recommendations - it's a walking and foodie city (excellent tour by Monique) - great tour to the animal farm and little blue penguins
Uluru: beautiful accommodations - good dining options - sunrise and sunset tours to Uluru and Kata Juta were amazing - again, informative guides
Cairns: (would have liked (...)
Fantastic trip and awesome customer service
This is my second time booking with About Australia. It was a blessing and pleasure to work with Koda! She was patient, efficient, and did her utmost to meet all my travel requests. I had a customized itinerary with many changes in between. Koda, without any hesitation, helped to meet my requests. Koda delivered friendly and professional services without any trace of Being annoyed or bother(...)
This was a fun trip that ran very smoothly.
Traveling to 3 Australian cities, I was surprised how effortless the whole trip was. The hotels were very nice, the pickups and transfers from airports were efficient, the included tours were fun, and it was an all around enjoyable and worthwhile experience.
If people go and don't wanna stay they're crazy
Herman and Betty Pump With Leo and Regina Carbanara
Incredible trip great hotels
Can not describe how wonderful this trip was. Every flight perfect with pickups always on schedule. Each hotel was better than described. The excursions where a highlight of every city and where very fairly priced. We added some additional tours and Chris Reeh our agent from "About Australia" handled these additions with ease.
We enjoyed every day and night . Pickup for tours always on time(...)
We had a wonderful time in Australia and loved the convenience and quality product offered by About Australia. The food tour in Melbourne was great and our apartment was modern and lovely. We were very satisfied overall and thank Koda for helping us with our arrangements.
About Australia was amazing to work with making this a vacation of a lifetime! I would highly recommend their services to anyone wanting to travel to Australia. The itinerary was great. The hotels we stayed in were not only wonderful, but were located in super convenient in relation to exploring the cities we were in. Any questions or concerns i had were immediately addressed. Customer servic(...)
Mindi van Gemeren
Best trip ever
My daughter and I had an amazing time Down Under thanks to About Australia. Our hotels were wonderful and located perfectly in order to explore more of the cities we were visiting. All of the recommendations before we left were extremely helpful. It made a last minute trip into a relaxing vacation.
Australia was amazing!
Marissa really helped us plan the perfect vacation. She was always available by phone or email, even sometimes after hours. I had a lot of questions and made some changes, and she was very accommodating. We were visiting our son who is attending the University of Newcastle for a semester. We stayed in Sydney and Newcastle during our trip. Some of our favorite things were the sunset cruis(...)
Trip to Aussie Land
Our 10 day trip to Eastern Australia was extremely enjoyable, and a valuable learning experience. Surfers Paradise was reminiscent of our days on the Jersey shores, only better. The area was very clean, there were many good restaurants and plenty of sites to see. We did sign up for a 1/2 day tour of the waterfalls and rainforest. We could have avoided this since the waterfalls and rainforests(...)
We had an amazing trip. We would change a couple of things about our time in Sydney. We were right in Chinatown- maybe 5 Aussies in that area the whole time we were there. No Australian food or the English language anywhere. We did not pay all of this money to stay in Asia. We have Chinatown in the states. The hotel was nice. We took public transportation to see the other parts of Syd(...)
Such a well rounded first class adventure
Virgin Australia made the lengthy flight enjoyable.The hotel, Breakfree, was in the heart of town, spacious clean comfortable room and front desk staff bent over backwards to assist us with all kinds of requests. The tours were informative and fun. We had time to do a few things on our own, like having dinner at the top of Sydney tower our last night. On the Blue Mountain tour, we even had an(...)
We had a wonderful time. We enjoyed all of the excursions that were included with our package. We would, however, preferred better hotels. The first one, in Melbourne, was located about 2 blocks from the office where we were dropped off by the shuttle. We had to drag our luggage to the building. We found the apartment to be well appointed, but we had to report to the management that the (...)
Great job Chris!
Good enjoyable trip.
Accommodation: clean, good location, easy transportation
City Food Walking Tour: OK
Philip Island Trip: Good
Ocean Drive: Good
Accommodation: clean, good location
Aboriginal: Duplicated day and trip events. Should have taken one, not both: the same thing, same casts.
Accommodation: OK, good location, easy transporttio(...)
It was an awesome vacation except for the 24 hours of traveling(LOL).
The hotels were great but made you pay for WIFI, the US does not make you pay for it.
I would definitely recommend to everyone.
Australia is amazing!
I was very please with our trip to Australia. Although we had a bit of a rocky start, (lack of communication from About Australia), in the end, they delivered everything they said. I was very happy that we purchased the Tours and Transfers add on. It was well worth it. We did not have to worry about getting to and from the airport, finding hotel etc. The vouchers required you to call and (...)
Best travel agency for Australia
Our trip to Australia would never have been as successful as it was without the help of Koda from About Australia. Using an area specialist made all the difference. She set us up with amazing excursions I doubt we would have found it n our own. She suggested the Phillips Island trip to see the tiny penguin parade when I didn’t even know there were penguins in Australia—and trip included (...)
Everything and more
About Australia and About New Zealand planned our honeymoon amazingly! From listening to the activities we desired to do while there, to ensuring those happened, and arranging all our flights and accommodations, About Australia was great to work with. Our visas were secured and all our travel documentation was provided, which made traveling a breeze! And we had a lot of traveling to do in the(...)
Our first trip to AUSTRALIA did not disappoint! Our Itinarary was perfect for us Alaskan adventurers! A well rounded trip from Sydney to Cairns and so much in between. We hiked in the Blue Mountains and swam at Lake Eacham walked amongst the kangaroo s and Cockatoo s and held the precious Koala bears. We romped in the rain forest and stayed at Rose Gums enjoyed the 3 bedroom treehouse with (...)
Ana did such an amazing job! She was super kind and patient through out the process and helped answer any and every question I had. She did a wonderful job of getting a grasp on what I was interested in and everything I needed to support completing the entire trip. We had fantastic tours, hotels, and transportation the whole. It really took the stress out of the traveling and allowed us to ju(...)
David and Susan Waller
Great advice and a great trip, perfectly put together
About Australia put together a perfect trip for us to Australia. Their suggestion that we fly Premium Coach on Virgin Australia worked out great, we slept well both ways and literally experienced no jet lag either direction. We were pleased with all of our accommodations and excursions, and when one of our flights inside Australia was cancelled, the owner was immediately on top of the situa(...)
We have traveled all over the world. Never have we had a trip so well planned. By the third day, we were checking our itinerary and asking ourselves, “what’s the next adventure?” Everything went like clockwork. Hotels, flights, transfers, tours, all were on time and more than we expected. Our only disappointment was having to come home when it was over. Thank you, About Australia, for plannin(...)
Amy (and Brad) Russell
Australia is a big country!! We are so glad we used "About Australia" tour and self-guided services!!!
Sydney was a beautiful city!! clean and lots of action at Darling Harbor ... Our accommodations were two blocks from Darling Harbor ... Easy walking distance to everything: Sydney Opera House, Harbors, Fish Market, and boat taxis to Manly...
The first half of the trip we used three(...)
Very impressive, and well organized.
The whole trip was very well organized . Starting with planning the trip consulting Darin Hendry, he made us feel very comfortable and assured us that we would be well taken care of. He told us what to expect at every cities we stopped. The instructions at each airports when we arrived were so detailed. We felt so at ease in unfamiliar places. The whole trip was very relaxed because we travel(...)
Australia is Awesome!
Fantastic trip, and so affordable! Great flight, outstanding accommodations with wonderful views--39th floor in Melbourne!--Great Barrier Reef and Penguin Island were excellent experiences! Monique and Yasmine were such entertaining guides. This trip with my daughter was one of the very best in this traveler's memory!
Excellent vacation, amazing service!
Thank you for putting together such a great vacation for us, very professional service. We had a blast in Australia!
It was everything you promised and more!!
Koda was great and kept in contact with us from the intial point and until our return and beyond. All of the events we booked were fantastic. Even though we were fresh off the cyclone the snorkeling of the Great Barrier Reef is a once in a lifetime experience. The tip about getting something for the flight crew paid off as all the flight crew treated us as though we were VIP's and other peopl(...)
It was amazing
Really wonderful trip. Everything was arranged ahead of time. All hotels were great. The tours were lovely, including the optional daintree dreaming tour. Well, well worth the money
Being "Down Under" was a top experience!
Ana did a great job! In less than 3 weeks we saw the top spots ob Australia's south, middle and north. Everything was well organized, just showing the voucher and we could pass.
Great way to see Australia
Everything was well planned out and taken care of before we flew to Sydney. Plans went smoothly. We had a few changes to make during the planning and Koda was very helpful.
Overall we had a great time.
We had a wonderful time, except for a glitch at the Melbourne airport enroute to Cairns. After spending a couple great days in Melbourne going too the Penguin Parade on Phillips Island and the Mooonlit wildlife Conservation park.We got to the airport, we had a voucher for a nonstop flight to Cairns, which after standing in a long line, we were told that that flight had been cancelled days ago(...)
Amazing all-around experience!
The trip that Ana put together for us was nothing short of spectacular and exceeded our expectations which were high. As we traveled from Sydney to Hamilton Island to Byron Bay and back to Sydney we were able to enjoy all the sites and activities we planned and then some! We were privy to some “insider tips” which added so much to our trip. We highly recommend AboutAustralia and plan on using(...)
Bucket List Trip #5 accomplished
I had a nice time in Australia. Had the opportunity to meet 4 other women on a similar adventure from various parts of the US. Their package very similar to mine so we spent time doing activities together and having meals together.
I would recommend that you ask more questions about the activities if you are going to book them through the travel agency. There was very limited information g(...)
Well designed and good value trip, would recommend to friends
Great trip! Everything went according to plan, seamless!
Absolutely no complaints! Great accommodation! Everyone was on time to pick us up! Really enjoyed Australia!
Ron & Nancy Sturdevant
Trip of a lifetime
This was a terrifically planned trip. The detail of the planning by About Australia was amazing. Our trip was 7 weeks long and offered us a great opportunity to see & do as much as possible. When weather changed a planned route, our travel consultant, Ana, was quick to rearrange our travel. She was there to answer my many questions by quickly responding to my emails. I am totally impres(...)
Enjoyed the trip!
We really enjoyed our Australia vacation, especially our visits to Sydney, Melbourne, and Port Douglas. Everything went smoothly - no problems with travel arrangements, and the accommodations were comfortable and spacious. Our snorkel/scuba trip to the Great Barrier Reef was wonderful. Thanks to About Australia for helping us plan the trip of a lifetime!
Best Vacation EVER! I'm not one to write reviews - but our trip to Australia was perfect in every way. From the flights, to the transfers, accommodations, & excursions - everything went without any hitches. Accommodations were comfortable, and the people so very nice. We have NO complaints.
Ana, our rep with About Australia, put a trip of a life-time together for us. Thank you (...)
This was one of my bucket list vacations and Anna Musgray and About Australia did not disappoint. I cannot
believe everything went smoothly without a single hitch. I expected at least one thing to not go as planned,
but was most pleasantly surprised that each and every detail was spelled out for me and completely followed
through. I'm so glad I made this trip because it was wonderful in(...)
Fabulous, fabulous, and fabulous!
My trip to Australia was amazing! The hotels were impeccable, outings to the Great Barrier Reef and Walkabout to see kangaroos and koalas will last a lifetime. No fusing with transport to and from the airport as it was arranged.Thank you Ana for putting together a fabulous adventure!
Great trip. Loved every moment of it. Just what I wanted and more.
An amazing trip!
We truly enjoyed the trip you planned for us. Everything went smoothly, and the activities you chose for us were amazing.
We loved Australia!
Thank you so much Koda for all the recommendations and the itinerary tips! The stay in Melbourne was centered right in the middle - loved the people, lots to eat, lots to do and see. We loved our stay - our balcony was so beautiful - we loved our view so much! Cairns - loved our hotel and everything was in walk-able distance, we had an ocean view, sunrise was magical - wished we extended o(...)
This trip was amazing!!!
Tyler planned an amazing trip to Australia and New Zealand! Everything went smooth from the time we left Newark until we landed back home in Newark. The flights were great, the transfers went smooth, the accommodations were lovely and the excursions were awesome!! Any issues we had were out of everyone’s control and handled appropriately
I would recommend About Australia to anyone who (...)
Michael Ian Bevan
It was a wonderful trip. well organized. Hotels and people I had to deal with were excellent. I would highly recommend
this outfit to anyone who wants to go to Australia.
Troy & Kessy Heinzle
Darin hit it out of the ballpark planning our trip to Australia for us. He made it very easy for us to get from one place to another. Everything went as planned!! He suggested Hamilton Island to us and It was one of our favorite places to go! Absolutely beautiful! Everyone was so friendly and they take such good care of their Island- very clean! We were able to see and do so much and all do(...)
Thanks to About Australia, our tour was a great success.
Daren and his colleagues did a wonderful job in getting us set up for our first tour of Australia. We will return to the Land Down Under again and will be certain to engage their assistance in putting the next visit as well.
F. Brent Betenson
We loved diving the Great Barrier Reef!
Koda, We just returned from our Australian adventure and wanted to thank you for the great job you did in planning and making all the arrangements. We had such a good time and no glitches of any consequence. That is really something when you are dealing with people our age. All of the vendors (i.e. bus drivers, tour operators, accommodation staff, etc) were great and we would readily reco(...)
It was an amazing trip.
Koda was very helpful in assisting us in planning our first trip to Australia. The apartments in Melbourne and Sydney was Amazing. It is walking distance to major attractions and we felt very safe. We will definitely recommend about Australia to our friends. Thank you.
The trip overall was AMAZING!
The only feedback I would like to offer pertains to the Penguin Parade excursion. We had no idea how the day would unfold. Turns out, no one was dressed appropriately seeing that Phillips Island is quite breezy and the temps drop as the sun goes down! If you could suggest that long pants, or even a jacket and blanket are brought, would have helped keep everyone more comfortable as we wai(...)
Loved the locations we visited and the planned excursions. The Mantra hotels were ok but not great. About Australia needs to work on their response times since we didn’t always get answers without feeling like we were nagging. And the day of our departure was very stressful with a changed flight ( no fault of About Australia) and a shuttle driver who arrived 50 minutes late and was lost betw(...)
Carolyn & Jeff Green
Trip Down Under
We couldn't be happier with our trip to Australia that we booked through "About Australia" Travel Agency. Our agent Ana, helped us customize our trip & figure out 3 cities to visit & an excursion in each city to do. The accommodations were convenient & comfy. The excursions got us out & about the city so we could figure out more places we wanted to visit. Ana walked us through getting all o(...)
Everything went exactly as planned. There were 5 of us and every hotel room every activity and every shuttle was on time and perfect! Our trip could not have gone better!
I wrote as soon as we got back, but the email did not go through. You did a superb job of booking everything! The trip was perfectly smooth. Both Australia and New Zealand are beautiful and the people are kind. We snorkeled, zip lined, walked, went on planes, trains, gondolas, boats and ferries. We attempted to do every activity and site available and I think we succeeded! Thank you. (...)
Don’t ever let Koda go!!!!!
Koda was absolutely amazing. Truly the best trip of our lifetime. We cannot thank you all enough for this. We will always use Koda for future trips. 100% satisfied. About Australia will be referred by us to everyone.
Stellar services customized for us! Many thanks
Great travel services covering customized locations and activities. Transfers were seamless and
Accommodations were perfectly located with access to in apt.laundry needs at just the right intervals
for our three week trip. Couldn’t have asked for a better team in getting us flight changes mid-trip and
tracking our needs throughout. All for reasonable prices! Best of the best!
Thank you for making this amazing trip happen!
This was a trip that gave us memories for a lifetime.
I was referred by a friend to About Australia to help put together my "bucket list" trip to Australia and New Zealand. Overall, it was a great success. I saw and did all the things I really wanted to do. High points were the Sydney Bridge Climb, diving the Great Barrier Reef, the Penguin Parade on Phillip Island, driving the Great Ocean Road, hiking in Freycinet National Park, and the feeding(...)
2 weeks in Australia
Our trip was amazing! Sydney, Fraser Island, and Airlie beach are places we cannot wait to go back to!!! So grateful for the recommendations and trip planning/organization.
VERY APPRECIATIVE OF THE SERVICE. QANTAS WERE EXCELLENT IN SERVICE AND FOODS OFFERED.
THANKS GUYS FOR THE SERVICE. HAVE NO PHOTOS TO ATTACH UNFORTUNATELY
Our first trip to australia is awesome . Quantas airlines staffs are attentive , helpful to meet my needs & assistance .hotels & apartments provided are awesome , clean , spacious & most of all matrtra on kent , very close proximity at darling harbour in sydney. Tours best is penguin , barrier reef .the only minor complaint i have is to remember to call transfers 24 hours prior . . Australia (...)
Sydney opera house
Every thing was above our expectations. If we knew better, we would have spent more time in New Zealand. All hotels were great except our hotel in Sydney which did not have the best location for our needs. Thank you so much!
Services were great !!
I reviewed properties with the travel agency which had some issues, and these comments are said to be considered for future clients. I'm awaiting resolution of an airline baggage charge with which the agency is assisting.
I'll try to post photos after I'm back from catchup mode; having been away a month.
Thank you Ana, for your great service!
Australia is beautiful. Our trip was well planned and very organized. Daily vouchers were easy to understand and all travel documents were very organized. Darin was extremely helpful and readily available for questions and concerns. I would definitely recommend About Australia for your travel needs.
The trip to Australia was amazing. The tours were well planned and interesting. A great value for the money.
WONDERFUL AND AMAZINGLY WELL COORDINATED BY ANA and ABOUT AU
TO BE FILED UNDER... WHO NEEDS A TRAVEL AGENT ... UNTIL YOU DO!
We traveled to NZ and AU in March and April this year. After a great deal of discussion with friends and colleagues about where to go and how much time to spend, we headed off.
NZ was first, not only was it one of the most spectacular Venues i have ever been lucky enough to visit, but the driving on the "Other side of the(...)
Awesome trip with plenty of variety. Closing out our trip in Fiji is the best idea ever.
Enjoying the majestic waterfalls of Doubtful Sound.
We enjoyed a great time in New Zealand. We particularly enjoyed the scenic South Island, and Hobbiton on the North Island.
I’m extremely happy with the trip that we had About plan for us. I told them what cities we wanted to go, what attractions we wanted to visit and that we were nature lovers. They planned the best tours for us and nailed it! I was also very happy with the smoothness of all the connecting flights and the shuttles to and from the airports/ train stations.
THIS TRIP WAS AMAZING WAS ABLE TO SEE DIFFERENT LOCATIONS THROUHGOUT AUSTRALIA, EVERYTHING FROM THE FOOD TO THE PEOPLE WAS AWESOME. ALL OF OUR ACCOMODATIONS WERE FANTASTIC. ABOUT AUSTRALIA IS THE ONLY WAY TO GO IF TRAVELING ABROAD TO AUSTRALIA.
Ana did a great job of putting my itinerary together. She has great ideas for tours, the accommodations were fantastic, and it was nice to have transportation arranged to and from the airport.
HESTER K JACOBS
Overall, our trip was wonderful. Unfortunately, they had to change agents in the middle of planning so we lost some continuity. Majority of accommodations were great. Tours selected wonderful. My only recommendation for those using About Australia, thoroughly check and read all final documents including seat assignments on airlines.
would do again with only a few minor changes
Australian people are incredibly hospitable and fun to talk with. One story: When we disembarked our train early in the morning in Cooroy, there was no station, just a platform on a country road and no taxi stand. But there was a group of guys meeting up to go kayaking. One offered to drive us free the 30 minutes to our destination ---- the attendant in a filling station was able to call (...)
I first asked for a quote, only to find out (while on a short trip) that the trip had been booked. All I wanted to know what the "and up" cost would be for the advertised one. However, it was an excellent price, so I booked it. It seemed too short for the time spent in the airplanes, but we enjoyed the opportunity to see things out of the cities, we added a Dainforest Trip out of Caines, a(...)
Our trip was absolutely amazing! I usually like planning my own trips, but this time around we were in the midst of planning our wedding as well. In addition, we felt like we did not know enough about the South Pacific to know where wanted to go. Our trip was put together beautifully, and honestly we wouldn’t change a thing. Every single flight and shuttle from the airport was on time, ever(...)
Down under was above expectations!
Thanks, Darin, for the wonderful trip you designed for us in Australia. We had a blast! The hotels were right in the middle of things, the tours were amazing and first class, and if I needed advice you were right there for me. I would not have been able to plan this trip without you because you had been to Australia and you knew just where to send me, and in the style I wanted.
Darin Hendry nailed it!
The trip you helped me put together for my clients was absolutely perfect!
Thank you so much!!
Had a fantastic time in Fiji thanks to About Australia. They were knowledgeable about the location and the resorts they chose for us were spectacular. Thanks for all of your help.
So nice to have it all done for us!
We did 24 days in Australia/Tasmania in March/April and loved it! About Australia made all the custom arrangements and things went so smoothly. We had two small issues which were quickly corrected...thank you! Accomodations were great, flights were easy, and the tours were very nice. Loved Kangaroo Island and Tasmania! Would do it all again :-) Thanks to all the agents who helped us!
So glad About Australia and Koda could make my dream come true. Such an incredible trip. Managed to accomplish so many things: Great Barrier Reef, Tjapuka dinner show, whitewater rafting, Wildlife Dome (picture holding koala bear), shopping, Blue Mountain tour (feeding and petting kangaroos), seeing 3 Sisters, using 2 day Harbour Pass to visit most stops, walking the Harbour Bridge and Ro(...)
MICHAEL J STRAIN SR.
AWESOME TRIP! WISHED I WOULD HAVE ADD A TRIP OVER TO NEW ZEALAND OR FIIJI
my number one bucket list location to travel too.
About Australia was a great company to work with, did a fantastic job in all the planning. thank you
The koala hug was worth the trip!
I was particularly pleased with how smoothly all the transportation and tour arrangements went. We never had a problem or question about shuttles and everyone was expecting us when we arrived. The trip was fantastic and I wish it could have been longer.
Ana Musgray helped me plan my dream trip to Australia and New Zealand. Everything was so well organized all the transfers,or coach buses were right on time and ran seamless. This county is absolutely beautiful and the people on my tour were so much fun! I had the time of my life and will never forget my amazing holiday! I hope to return one day and will definitely contact Ana again.
John and Lorraine Estey
Waiheke - just a short ferry ride from Auckland
This trip was AWESOME and exceeded my expectations!
Going to Australia and snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef has been #1 on my "Bucket List" since I can remember! All the stars fell in line this year, so we decided, "This is it...we're going!"
About Australia came highly recommended to us by some friends who LOVE Australia (and are going again with them next year for the 5th time!!), so we contacted them to check them out and get the bal(...)
It was above my expectation
We only have one time in Cairns where the shuttle missed picking us up because the flight was delayed and we have to wait for one and a half hour for the next shuttle
Otherwise, everything else was great! I will recommend it to all my travel buddies.
Just love Koalas
Our Aussie trip could not have been planned better. The accommodations were all located centrally within short walking distances to restaurants and shopping, not to mention each one was ever so clean and the staff so friendly. The tours scheduled were just what we wanted to see and the tour guides quite knowledgeable. We got to see all the Koalas, kangaroos and wombats that we could possibly(...)
Very Pleased and Satisfied
About Australia Travel Agency and Christopher R (agent), did a great job in organizing, communicating and providing me and my husband with top notch accommodations and exhilarating excursions. Even though we had a few glitches due to acts of God, everything else went as planned. I give them an 'A' for a job well done.
The trip was worth the money. However, VERY disappointed with location of hotel in Sydney. Although BREAKFREE ON GEORGE was a very nice hotel/apartment I did not appreciate being in the middle of Chinatown.
About Australia really knows Australia and excellently shared their experience with us.
We had a fantastic and wonderful experience. All our connections went smoothly and the Mantra hotels were very clean and in great locations. The three excursions that were booked for us were exceptional. We would definitely recommend your company to our friends.
Thank you for excellent service
This was my first time using About Australia and I was extremely happy with their services. They did an excellent job. Everything was just perfect. The transportation, the hotels, the locations was all spot on. My sisters and I were very pleased. I highly recommend anyone visiting Australia and New Zealand to use About Australia. Thank you so much Marissa for everything you did to make our va(...)
Wonderful trip!! Just two issues.
In cairns our pickup to airport for trip to sydney was not organized well. The driver picked us up too late and had 6 additional stops! Claudia and I ran to checkin and there was a long line. So she went to priority and I went to service desk. The service desk checked us in. We were lucky to make the flight due to our quick thinking. Also, we were not that pleased with the location of (...)
Absolutely wonderful trip through New Zealand and Australia
Just wanted to share we had an amazing trip through New Zealand and Australia, thank you for coordinating the trip. The voucher process worked perfectly and we liked the location of the accommodations. Wish you did Asia, I would love to use your services again.
It was amazing,
It was amazing, the experience was well worth the cost.
Had a fantastic time. Great flight arrangements, great cities (Melbourne, Cairns, Sydney), great tours, great food! Our accommodations were very nice, but the location of one was a bit inconvenient (better if had a couple of upgrade options in larger cities). For the most part, we had excellent weather; it rained on two touring days but we were still able to appreciate the sites with the exc(...)
Amazing Aussie Experience, Mate!
We loved our time in Australia! The diversity between Melbourne, Cairns, and Sydney was great. We did several tours including the Phillip Island Penguins, the snorkeling/diving in Cairns (would like to do that one about 10 more times!), the Kuranda Rainforeststation, and the Hop on/Hop off tour in Sydney. We also did some extra exploring at those places and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We hi(...)
Ann G Holmes
Amazing down under experiences
After the initial scare of missing our connection in Dallas, because our Denver to Dallas plane was running late, we were rebooked by American Airlines via Los Angeles. After that, every connection, shuttle, hotel, tour was perfectly coordinated. Our trip was a great taste of life in Australia without all the hassle of attempting to book all arrangements ourselves.
Vacation of a Lifetime
This was the most hassle-free vacation I've ever been on. We didn't communicate with the About Australia group very much before the trip simply because we didn't have to. They had all of our travel documents completely organized and squared away. To be honest, I was a little nervous checking into our first hotel in Melbourne simply because I never confirmed that we had a reservation. We d(...)
We used About Australia for our 2 week honeymoon. They were very easy to work with and helped us create the perfect itinerary. I loved how customizable everything was and it was very reassuring knowing everything was taken care of. We only had one issue the whole time and that was with our pickup from the airport when we first arrived in Sydney. It wasn’t the way we wanted to start our honey(...)
Outstanding trip—and so affordable!
Great flights on Qantas, excellent room accommodations (awesome view from Short Stay apartment in Melbourne), loved being up-close with koalas, kangaroos, wallabies , and adorable fairy penguins. Our guides, Monique and Yasmin, were lovely, and snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef, was amazing! Australia should be on everyone’s bucket list!
Fern & Nick Leier
All the details were handled for us
Thank you, Darin for planning our trip of a life time to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. The whole trip ran smoothly because you had everything set up for us. All the tours were top-notch and beyond enjoyable. The fact that we didn't have to go through the hassle of buying tickets for our tours was super, definitely made our trip so much easier! We seen and experienced so much that we never(...)
The accommodations were wonderful and the excursions were amazing and informative. Thank you for some amazing memories
Australia is a MUST Country to VISIT!!!
Great planning, awesome communication, and perfect itinerary setup by Kelsey!! Perfect hotel locations to access the wonders of each city within walking distance!!! Australia was amazing, adventurous, and relaxing!! Great job About Australia!!
Edward & Davina Webber
Thoroughly enjoyed our vacation
Thoroughly enjoyed our vacation - Princess cruise New Zealand was great. Hotels in Sydney, Gold Coast were excellent, our hotel in Cairns the room itself was lovely, unfortunately the view from the room was a steel roof and brick wall - again the room itself and the staff were very nice.
Overall, everything was good
Accommadations were excellent except at the Short Stay Apartments where we were required to walk to another of ther properties— The Australis—which was quite difficult for us to get to with all our luggage. I think it was the one at Kangaroo Island that also wasn’t a good experience because of having to climb 2 flights of stairs to get to the room. The trip to the Great Barrier Reef on the Qu(...)
Koda Boulton was the one who helped me and she's was amazing even with all my questions and my unfortunate criminal background. Still got in with no problems and had a great itinerary set up. Couldn't have seen Australia in a better way than that. Strongly recommend About Australia. Good price too! Flexible.
Crissy & Mike
VIP Honeymoon of a lifetime
This is our first big trip out of the country and using a travel agent. I was extremely hesitant because I am so used to planning everything. As soon as I spoke on the phone with Koda i was so excited and all hesitation went away. We went to Australia for our honeymoon 2 weeks after we got married. We were extremely exhausted so it was nice knowing everything was handled. We felt like we got (...)
Loved New Zealand and Australia
We loved our bucket list trip to New Zealand and Australia. However, we felt there should have been an encouragement from Koda to consider adding a day or two at each destination. We didn't realize that in almost all cases of 2 night stays, an entire day was spend traveling. This left us with little time to explore upon arrival. An example was Melbourne. We arrived in the early evening. The e(...)
Absolutely Fabulous! Highly Recommend!
The entire experience was amazing! From booking in the short time we had, to the surprise of such a great value and then when we were there, we could not believe how wonderful everything was...from the hotels, to the excursions to the flight and transfers. Absolutely flawless, best value and would highly recommend Marissa and About Australia again! Thank you so much for a wonderful experience!
Keith & Sandra Holleman
Heading for the dive into the Great Barrier Reef
About Australia and Christopher set up the most amazing vacation for us. If there was a rating above 5 stars, we would place these travel experts into that category.
Traveling to New Zealand and Australia had been on our wish list for awhile and putting trust in Christopher with our travel plan destinations was the best decision we could have made.
Thank you for the memories.
Cindy Guillett Beytin
Wow, we booked this trip through About Australia knowing it would probably be our only time to go there. They chose the BEST highlights, arranged EVERYTHING, and it was fantastic! I don't think it could have been better. In Melbourne (Melbin) we did an excellent 3 hour foodie walking tour, rode the free tram everywhere, loved the Market, stayed a an apartment, visited an animal park AND ex(...)
Very well organized
My husband and I went to Australia September 2019. From the beginning of our planning process Melanie was great. Initially we planned to go on vacation in June but we had some conflicts so requested to move our vacation to September. Since Melanie was out of the office, Melissa helped us get everything organized. Melissa was so great and attentive as well. As our vacation got closer Melanie c(...)
Wonderful trip from bingging to ending
We had a wonderful trip. Koda's help in planning all aspects of the trip was wonderful. Having never travelled abroad before, we relied heavily on her to help us with planning our travels while in Australia. All bookings were perfect for our likes. We only had one hiccup on a planned tour which was cancelled (no fault of Koda), but didn't bother our trip in the least
Robert & Jo-An Ferris
About Australia (Joanne) did a great job working with us and customizing our trip. It was what we wanted. We certainly saw the bush and outback several times. We found animals in the wild besides at sanctuaries and Steve Irwins Zoo. We believe we saw the real Australia and not just cities. The train trips were what we expected and then some. When they stopped and let us off it was very (...)
best bargan ever
I went with confidence in About Australia, and ended with confidence with About Australia. Our travel Agent Daren did everything possible to make this a unforgettable trip, and he succeeded. He even went out of his way to change our plans at almost the very last minute. this is very special from a very special person. I certainly have and will recommend them to anyone wanting a trip of a li(...)
David & Judy Dunn
Celebrating a two decade anniversary in Australia
We engaged with About Australia (Darin Hendry) nine months ago for a recommendation on an itinerary for a first time visit and 20th anniversary trip to Australia.
From the beginning the guidance, interaction and ultimate proposal was spot on.
The 2-week journey offered an exceptional variety of terrain, climate and experiences. First stop the Tablelands, rainforest, then beach town, the(...)
Fantastic Honeymoon! About Australia took care of everything, all we had to do was have fun!
We really enjoyed the tours that we were scheduled for. The guides on all the tours were excellent, they were all knowledgeable, a lot of fun, we enjoyed chatting with everybody.
Everything was as good or better than we expected. Sydney was great. Melbourne was very good. The events all worked out well and were better then expected.The return flight was terrible, since it was badly planned by you or Qantas, who ever planned the connection. There was no way for anyone to make the connection to Phoenix. But other then that, it was a great trip. Lou
ROGER P SEARS
An enjoyable well-planned trip
Everything went smoothly. The accommodations were conveniently located. The transfers were on time. The Short-Stay property in Melbourne was above average. Cairns was an interesting experience.
All the planning and the vouchers worked out just fine. No glitches. Well done.
Overall we were very happy with About Australia and our coordinator Koda.
All the booking and execution of travel, transfers, hotels, etc went smoothly. The location of and quality of the accommodations in Melbourne and Caines were great, and we really enjoyed the tours we did in those cities.
We especially enjoyed the foodie tour we did in Melbourne. Monique, who ran the tour, wa(...)
Great Knowledge and Execution Made for a Great trip
My husband and I heartily recommend About Australia. Although I had done a great deal of research myself, it was wonderful to have these pros take over the details of day trips, accommodations, flights, transfers, and car rental. They put us in hotels that were wonderfully located but met our budget requirements. All three weeks of our Aussie adventure came off without a hitch.
Chris & Angie England
It was am amazing trip that covered a lot of the country. Only regret was we were running out of time and would have liked to spent more time in each location. Do your study before you go, the instructions in the voucher help but the little things you can miss make it important to study and plan.
Fantastic trip and awesome services......
This is my 2nd time booking with About Australia. It was a blessing to work with Koda this time around! She provided outstanding services all around from the time I phoned in to during the trip and the end of the trip!
Koda was very patient, efficient, and tried her utmost to meet all my travel requests.
I had a customized itinerary and Koda diligently and patiently worked with me on (...)
Great value and nicely planned!
Everything went well from transfers to tours. We had a 4 hour hiccup with the first flight, but United and Qantas redirected us. We had an extra flight but missed only a few hours of our time on Gold Coast. Tours were a nice addition to the base tour. Wished we had more time in Sydney, but we plan to go back.
BEST TRIP EVER!
Awesome,fantastic,wonderful not enough words to describe this experience. It was the best! Everything went smoothly not one glitch in the entire 3 weeks. All the tours, transfers were as described. Couldn’t have been a better experience.
Linda and David Cole
We had a fantastic experience. Knowing it may be our one and only chance to see down under, we squeezed in as much as possible in 2 weeks. We went to Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland (Tasmania) and New Zealand. The flights, tours and all airport/hotel connections all went off without a hitch. We scheduled many tours but our favorites were the Feeding Frenzy at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary in Tasman(...)
Best Vacation Ever
Everything was perfect for our trip. Everything I wanted to see and the package Chris put together was perfect. It was action packed but got to see everything we wanted to see. Working with About Australia was smooth and an easy process. Chris spend a lot of time putting the package together and we couldn't be more pleased. All the hotels were in great locations for us to visit the sites. C(...)
Sunset Camel ride
Making dreams come true. My trip to Australia was amazing and worry free
knowing About Australia had made all the arrangements for an adventure of a lifetime
Thanks a million
The trip was very nice overall.
The trip was very nice overall. Very good communication process with About Australia in planning and setting up trip. Agents were pleasant, professional and helpful. The hotels, excursions and shuttles were very good except with a bad shuttle experience in Sydney with RedyToGo both to and from Airport and Hotel. The side excursions and tours booked were very good and well run, especially t(...)
Amazing vacation! Bucket list trip!
Chris was great at helping me plan my trip to visit my daughter in Australia while she was studying abroad. We had 2 weeks and a tight budget! He was great at accommodating me. We decided on Cairns, Sydney and Melbourne. The only hiccup was the transfer from Melbourne airport to hotel. The company called con-x-ion (I think that’s how it’s spelled) had the smelliest van I have ever been in. Th(...)
A trip of a lifetime!
What an amazing experience. The accommodations and extra excursions we did were wonderful. The only thing I would have changed was I wished we had a little more time in Sydney (it was more like a very long layover rather than a visit to the city). Ana was wonderful and helped us plan a trip I will always treasure!
We had a great first time trip to Australia. Darin and About Australia were great to work with. The sites we visited were fantastic. The hotels were excellent. The day trips and operators were first tier. Everything about the trip went smooth and was above expectations. Well Done!
John & Dina Weber
Took care of all the things that might make a trip to Australia difficult.
Airline schedule, visas, hotel accommodations, tours were all excellent. The hotels chosen in Sydney, Melbourne, and Port Douglas were excellent both in terms of the venue and the locations in each city. In Sydney, Potts Point was relaxing but close enough to everything to provide a great experience. Melbourne felt busy, but Melbourne Short Stay Apartments were outstanding. And in Port Dougla(...)
John & Jeanne Koch
Beautiful country and wonderful people
Jeanne and I highly recommend a trip to Australia and to use About Australia for your arrangements! Everything they recommended we tried to fit into our schedule and it was well worth it. We especially loved Cairns and snorkeling on the Barrier Reef and hope to go back again at some point to spend more time there. One day on the water was not enough!
All of our flight arrangements made by Ab(...)
This was the best trip of my life hands down. I was afraid that since I was saving so much money I would be getting a lesser quality trip, but I was pleasantly surprised!
About Australia made it easy to plan our trip to Australia and included everything we needed, ensuring we did not miss any of the most popular attractions. We absolutely loved our trip and are already talking about going back.
Great trip. Everything was perfect. Thanks Darin for all your help. You did a great job.
Overall A Positive Experience
Booking through About Australia made the trip very easy. It was nice not to worry about finding accommodations and flights and they provided good recommendations for each location. I would use the service again. I did feel that we spent too much time in some places and not enough in others, but that likely kept flight costs down.
My only concerns were that two of the accommodations didn't (...)
Absolutely NO glitches! FABULOUS!!!!
We got such a great deal, it made me wonder “what’s the catch?” No catch, just a wonderful adventure!
Ana Musgray hit the nail on the head!
Fabulous trip to Australia and New Zealand. We asked for photography opportunities-- landscape and wildlife and that's just what we got at a reasonable price. Ana was with us every step of the way to include during the trip, when a hotel owner thought we had unintentionally left things in a room. Amazing service-- friendly, efficient and spot on. Thank you to Ana and to the owner, Paul, too, (...)
I have decided to use a travel agent to plan for my family’s trip to Australia, after trying to do it myself for months. I am glad I did. My agent was Ana. I requested her to plan a trip for us with the most affordable way to fly from San Francisco, to have city experience, to see the Great Barrier Reef, to be able to visit my good friend in Brisbane, and have wildlife experience. She came o(...)
My husband and his brother had a very nice time in Australia. Thank you for your help in coordinating this adventure.
Karen S. Anders
Six weeks; No hassle; Greatest experience ever
My boyfriend and I (both 72 years of age) have just returned from a six-week, custom-tailored, independent trip to Australia and New Zealand.
We started talking about this trip over a year prior to our departure date. After my initial 2.5 hour telephone conversation with Christopher at About Australia, I knew we had found the perfect "partner" on whom we could depend to help us with all(...)
Michelle T Wahl
For the most knowledgeable, practical and personalize trip
Hassle free if you would like to tackle all three: Northern New Zealand, Southern New Zealand and gold coast of New South Wales, Australia.
Hassle free comes when about Australia was able to arrange shuttles to and from the airport, rental car, airline tickets. Ours were nine flights!. You get the most for your money. Koda did it with such ease and efficiency. About Australia knows what hot(...)
Great experience. Already planning our return. Would like to single out Monique on our foodie tour. Note. Some of our contact numbers at the beginning of the trip connected but hung up after being put on hold
IT WAS AMAZING, BEAUTIFUL EXPERIENCE
My travel agent Darin, did a spectacular job with my tour itinerary, everything was beyond my expectation. all the hotels and their staff, were cordial, helpful and full of important information. the location of the hotels was fantastic, everywhere I wanted to see or visit was at walking distance, it was safe which was one of my main concerns, Darin assured me that everywhere I was staying wa(...)
Picture taken at Sydney Harbor
We had a very well planned trip by about Australia, the activities were fun. The rooms were fantastic. Only complaint it wasn’t long enough. I’d definitely use them again and recommend them to friends.
Down Under was Amazing!
We really enjoyed our trip to Australia. The accommodations exceeded our expectations, especially the apartment in Melbourne. Our first trip to Australia was unforgettable!
Amazing time in Australia
It was an amazing trip. The tours were excellent.
Experienced help made our trip smooth and memorable.
We managed to see many of the highlights of several locations in Australia without feeling too rushed. Also received good advice how to plan for the excessive heat, which was quite a change from the snow we left here, and some inside information on hot spots and recommended activities. I especially appreciated Ana's patience as we made some last minute changes in plans. Having the transport(...)
Great Ocean Road
A most excellent vacation as a result of working with Marissa Stroud! Perfect accommodations, wonderful tours, and accommodating flights with Virgin Australia.
Edward J Heffernan
I wasn't totally convinced that this would work out. But, it did. Darin Hendry did a fabulous job of making our trip perfect. I was worried- I didn't have to- he's a 5 star pro. We loved it all.
About Australia did a fantastic job planning our trip. We enjoyed the flexibility of designing it based on our preferences. I highly recommend this service!
Through the entire trip I kept saying to Betty that I could not believe how smoothly everything was going. It was an amazing, stress free (due to your efforts) trip. The hotels in Cairns and Sydney could not have been more accommodating. The whole trip from beginning to end was just really stress free. Taxi’s to/from airports, airport personnel, etc. were just wonderful. You did an amazing jo(...)
Andy & Arlene Houk
Australia and New Zealand - Outstanding in every way!
We recently returned from an amazing 3 week holiday to Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns and Queenstown (NZ) organized by Ana with About Australia. We could not be more satisfied with our trip due to Ana's attention to detail and organization. We are experienced travelers (58 countries and 6 continents so far) and like to balance "do our own thing" with occasional organized activities. Ana guided (...)
Recent Australian trip was an excellent adventure!
The trip of a lifetime for us. All the arrangements worked out beautifully. The accommodations were excellent. All the transportation arrangements happened as expected and we were extremely pleased. Loved all the included tours and those that we chose to do on our own. One day at the Great Barrier Reef, the next at the Rainforest. We especially loved the city of Cairns. Truly one of the best(...)
Too Much Continent and Too Little Time
The trip was incredible. People were unbelievably friendly. Enjoyed the peaceful serenity of Port Douglas. Am very glad we opted for Douglas instead of Cairns. Meridian Hotel was great. Four Mile beach is a must see (sunrise is fantastic) and be sure to climb Flagstaff Hill. Great Barrier Reef trip was ok, but opting not to go into the water was a mistake. Be sure you can tread water or(...)
Had a great time. Perfectly Scheduled, not great Hotels. Glad we didn't stay in Cairns 4 nights.
We had a great time, everything happened as planned. No issues there.
The hotel in BroadBeach was great. Hotel in Cairns was old but do able. The hotel in Sydney was not good.
Luckily we changed the plan to stay 3 nights in Cairns and 3 nights in Sydney instead of 4 nights in Cairns. That would have been a big mistake. 2 nights in Cairns would have been enough.
We added a Blue Mou(...)
Ana & the About Australia/New Zealand team totally exceeded all our expectations!!
We had the best time and I highly recommend Ana & the "About Aus/NZ" team. I looked into a lot of different agencies prior to planning our honeymoon to Australia and New Zealand. Truth be told, I originally planned to complete all aspects of our trip myself. When finding the "About" team, I loved that they specialize in only a few different places. I also liked how they gave us the ability to(...)
Great value for the price
The paper work including what to do pre trip was great, Australia is a long way so Ana extended my return an extra 10 days so I could have more time with son and visit Tasmania. For my return next year I plan on using their services .
All our vacation to Austria was planed by the agency and we were very happy to follow the schedule for each locations we visited. The schedules were easy to follow and it gave us a good opportunities to see all about Australia and histories.
My fastastic vacation in Australia met my dreams of meeting Australian animals
I asked for a trip to Australia focused on Australian animals and I enjoyed it immensely. I petted koalas at the Australia Zoo and at several wildlife refuges, and photographed them out in the wild. I fed and petted kangaroos and wallabies at the Australia Zoo and at several wildlife refuges, and photographed them out in the wild. While snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef, I photographed mul(...)
A Big and Diverse Trip to Australia Made Easy
We usually do our own vacation planning. Grab a Lonely Planet guide book, hop on the internet and get started. I quickly realized that Australia may be different. First, its very large, 95% of the size of continental USA. Second, there is so much to do and see. Third, an itinerary can get very complicated very quickly; multiple destinations, multiple flights, rental cars, and a myriad of(...)
All we booked was easy to do on this fantastic trip!
We booked flights, hotels, shuttles, and activities with Ana at About Australia.
The range of geographical areas and activities was exceptional
I highly recommend About Australia to anyone planning to travel there.
Acela Guerra and Ricardo Guerra
Thank you Ana ,you are the best and very professional.
Amazing trip to Australia !!!!!!
Very soon will be back with our son Richard.
Wow! An Unforgettable Trip
Koda and her company were a dream to work with. Everything was easy to understand and tailored to meet our needs. This was our first time using a tour type package and agent and I was glad we did. Our trip was planned out beautifully for us. Everything was streamlined, easy, fun and friendly with top notch impeccable services, tours and hotels. We had a great balance of scheduled tours and ti(...)
WE LOVED our trip
Our trip was so smooth and so affordable we could not believe it! Accommodations were wonderful - clean and right in the middle of the action in all 3 areas we travelled. Flights were wonderful and transfers reliable and on time. I cannot think of a way it could have been better!
Mark Williams by
Thoroughly enjoyed the trip.
Joseph & Nancy Froelich
A good trip
Our flight to LAX was delayed due to weather connections (our booking), and therefore missed our flight to Melbourne. However, Virgin Australia was wonderful & put us on a flight to Sydney just a few hours later with a connecting flight to Melbourne to arrive only 5 hours late [THANKS VIRGIN!]. All accommodations were great [Rose Gums the favorite despite heat]. Also John & Sue in Port Dougl(...)
Posted on: September 21st, 2018 by Lizandra Santillan No Comments
Things to Do on Phillip Island
Photo: 3B’s on Flickr
There’s a little slice of Australian paradise less than two hours away from Melbourne.
Think pristine beaches perfect for surfing, incredible wildlife in their natural habitat and untouched, breathtaking coasts.
One of the world’s largest colonies of fur seals and little penguins call this island home. The world-famous nightly Penguin Parade and Seal Rocks are premier attractions – you could almost say its the local wildlife that call the shots.
Combining the best features of Australia’s natural beauty with its own unique charms, Phillip Island is best explored at ease. Here’s our guide on things to do at Phillip Island.
Take in the Coastal Scenery
The sheer beauty of Phillip Island’s coasts will take you breath away – you’ll need something to grab on to.
Fortunately, the island features many coastal walks and trails, some complete with railed boardwalks.
Wander along Woolamai Surf Beach to the Cape Woolamai Trail for truly dramatic views of the Pinnacles. This two hour walk rewards you with sublime scenery – rolling green landscapes crumbling into jagged rocks known as the Pinnacles, jutting up from azure waters. You might spot some wildlife along the way, including echidnas, wallabies and dolphins. During whale watching season you might spot a migrating humpback!
Head to the westernmost point of the island past the Phillip Island Nature Parks toward Nobbies Centre. Stroll on the winding Nobbies Boardwalk stretching along the rugged southern coast. Turquoise waters crash against the green-clad rocks before you in a breathtaking display of coastal splendor.
From the boardwalk you can see Seal Rocks, home to Australia’s largest fur seal colony.
Cruise to Seal Rocks
Home to over 25,000 fur seals, Seal Rocks is a natural haven where seals sunbathe, frolic and play in the cool water.
Get a closer look at these friendly animals with a wilderness cruise out to Seal Rocks.
The boat drifts within yards to the seal colony. Younger seals will often swim up to the boat to get a closer look at you, peering up as you peer down.
Surrounded by hundreds of seals in the water, this close encounter with Australian wildlife is part of what makes Phillip Island so special.
Catch Some Salty Waves
Phillip Island’s dynamic coastline features spectacular beaches and rugged shores.
Calm, sheltered bays line the northern coast while wild surf breaks are found on the southern stretch of the island.
As you first cross into the island you’ll spot the curve of Cape Woolamai, a sweep of golden beach set against ancient pink granite cliffs. Woolamai Surf Beach is one of the state of Victoria’s most popular surfing beaches, with large curling waves attracting keen surfers. If you’re not one to pick up a surf board, the barreling waves are mesmerizing enough to simply gaze at from a soft spot of sand.
Get a dose of surfing and wildlife all in one at Summerland Beach. Home to the famous Phillip Island little penguins, this beach is also hugely popular with the surfing crowd for its consistent year-round waves. Wildlife and waves – it doesn’t get more Australian than that.
For swimming, you can’t go wrong with the seaside holiday vibe and shallow high tide of Cowes Beach. With changing rooms, showers and a picturesque jetty flanked by charming coastal eateries, Cowes Beach has everything set for the perfect beach day.
Stroll Through the Koala Conservation Centre
As a small haven of native Australian wildlife, no trip to Phillip Island is complete without visiting the Koala Conservation Centre.
This not-for-profit organization focuses on koala conservation and preserving their natural habitat. With knowledgeable rangers and educational information on display at the visitor center, the dedication and expertise of the Koala Conservation Centre will impress you.
Here you’ll come face to face with koalas in their natural habitat. Wander through Australian bushland on tree top boardwalks at branch-level with sinewy Eucalyptus trees. The koalas are blessed with over 14 acres of pristine wilderness to call home – not something you’ll see in most wildlife parks. You’ll spot them hanging high among the trees, munching on leaves or dozing the day away.
Take the Tree Top Koala Boardwalk for superb koala viewing. If they’re feeling active, they might climb down to lower branches only an arm’s length away from you. Many visitors report seeing up to 12 koalas in one visit!
Below the boardwalks you might also spot other native wildlife, including wallabies, echidnas, rainbow lorikeets and other exotic birds.
Explore Phillip Island Wildlife Park
Photo: Unbound Outbound
For more personal encounters with a larger array of Australia wildlife, head to the Phillip Island Wildlife Park. Here you can hand-feed free-roaming kangaroos, spot echidnas shuffling through grass and Tasmanian devils lazing about in the sun.
As home to some of Australia’s most unique wildlife, some of these animals you might’ve never known existed! With over 60 acres of diverse terrain, every creature has a perfect slice of land to call their own. Other animals you’ll find here include reptiles, wombats, dingoes, emus, cassowaries and quolls.
Pack a picnic lunch or enjoy some park snacks after meeting the furry locals. Don’t forget to stop by the gift shop to pick up a cute souvenir!
Visit Churchill Island
Churchill Island might just be the closest thing to traveling back in time.
Horse-drawn wagons roll past historic cottages set among tranquil gardens and orchards. Verdant green pastures are dotted with cows and sheep wandering from a restored 1850’s homestead.
Sleepy mornings on this sublime island give way to lively afternoons filled with hands-on farming demonstrations. Watch an authentic sheep shearing, learn how to crack a whip and how to milk a cow. Catch the working farm dogs herd the cheeky sheep back to the farm.
Grab a bite to eat at the Churchill Island Cafe, where country charm combined with local produce and breathtaking views of the sea create the loveliest dining experience.
Or browse over 40 stalls of fresh, local produce at the monthly Churchill Island Farmers Market. Pick up a treat to enjoy while you take in the panoramic views across the island.
Rustic splendor by the sea – Churchill Island is a quiet slice of paradise you never knew you needed.
See the Famous Penguin Parade
As the sun begins to set, the sands of Summerland Beach become a stretch of red carpet.
Crowds gather to catch a glimpse of the Phillip Island famous.
Out of the rolling curls of waves come forth hundreds of tiny tuxedoed penguins, waddling back home to their burrows in the beach.
The miniature size of these little penguins is cuteness overload. They grow to an average of 13 inches, though some may seem as small as the palm of your hand.
Phillip Island Nature Park oversees this nightly Penguin Parade, with the best seats in all the island on a custom-built viewing platform. You can get a closer look at the penguins in an underground viewing platform, where you’ll see them marching right past your eyes.
You won’t catch any paparazzi at this show. No photography is permitted to protect the penguins, as bright flashes might scare or blind them.
After all, the most remarkable wildlife interactions are best experienced as close to nature as possible.
Make the Trip to Phillip Island from Melbourne
Phillip Island makes for a perfect break a whole world away from the hustle and bustle of Melbourne. Get back to nature with native wildlife and unforgettable scenery.
Plus, how many people do you know that have seen a Penguin Parade?
Between Halls Gap and Melbourne is a region rich in Australia’s gold rush history, including the goldfields of Ballarat.
From a spectacular local food and art scene rivaling Melbourne’s and a splendid heritage backdrop, Ballarat is the perfect stop to enjoy the finer things in life.
Here are 10 adventures in Ballarat and surrounds to end your Australia road trip with a bang.
Hang Around Halls Gap for Breakfast
After downing a few cups of Joe throughout your travels in Australia, you’ll know there’s something special about Aussie coffee.
Fuel up for the day at Harvest, where the coffee maintains the Aussie standard of excellence. Fresh ingredients create a stellar breakfast menu highlighting the amazing local produce of the Grampians.
Favorites include the Bubble & Squeak (poached eggs and ham off the bone on a bed of potato and vegetable hash) and zesty corn fritters.
Harvest is a warm and inviting spot. Almost as good as a Melbourne cafe with much lovelier staff. Good food and would recommend the aptly named Bubble n Squeak.Janelle Galea
I’m a serious coffee snob, long black, hot n strong no sugar. So to my shock the coffee at Harvest was simply superb. I highly recommend this beautiful quaint little cafe on the edge of Halls Gap… the staff are amazing and ready to share their knowledge of the area from walks to wineries and more. The food was great and I’ll miss this little cafe. It would be awesome if it were to become your local. Check it out soon.Tony Meehan
See the Gold Rush Opulence of Ballarat on a Heritage Walk
After driving about two hours on the Western Highway from Halls Gap you’ll cross paths with Ballarat.
The Australian gold boom of the 1850’s completely transformed this small sheep station to a major town, now the third largest inland city in Australia.
As you travel closer to the heart of the city, the legacy of Ballarat’s gold rush becomes evident in the magnificent Victorian and Edwardian buildings lining the streets.
Stretch your legs after your drive and take on the heritage walking trails winding through the central heritage precinct.
You’ll find some of Australia’s most beautifully preserved colonial architecture such as the impressive Town Hall and Craig’s Royal Hotel in in Lydiard Street and historic monuments and statues along Sturt Street.
It was my great experience to see inside the Ballarat town hall during a heritage week. Loved all the decorations and all furniture back in gold era. I hope the council will keep the Victorian vibe in the hall and won’t put too much urbanism into our old town hall.Jolt Media
Explore the Ballarat Botanical Gardens
Step into the serenity of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens, where rows of red, yellow and pink begonias decorate verdant lawns dotted with classical statues.
Towering trees providing ample shade along paved trails lead to the Robert Clark Conservatory. Here you’ll find the setting out of something in a wedding planner magazine.
Hydrangeas, fuchsias and pelargoniums bloom into a spectacle of purple, pink and red hues in the summer, while autumn boasts a gorgeous begonia display.
Walk down Prime Ministers Avenue past bronze busts honoring Australia’s past prime ministers, adding a unique historical touch to the gardens.
Wander through the carefully landscaped lawns and find Victorian marble statues from Italy placed throughout the gardens.
A highlight is the Sensory Garden, an interactive space where you can touch and smell different plants.
Best place to hang out or enjoy a morning walk. Green house is warm for having a break after run or exercise. This historical garden will give you about Ballarat in the past and so many kinds of plants. Marble Statues are amazingly beautiful. Just come to see something green. On weekend you can enjoy a farmer market along the lake, too.Hugo Krystal
Taste Your Way Through Ballarat’s Growing Food Scene
From authentic Spanish tapas to cozy cafes with exciting menus, Ballarat’s food scene will delight any foodie.
There’s no end to the delicious eateries featuring local produce – an unspoken requirement you’ll find throughout its restaurants.
Grab a slice of some of the region’s best pizza at The Forge Pizzeria. This local favorite delights in crafting unique pizzas. Think slow roasted pork, gorgonzola dolce and green apple slaw on your pie, or woodfired roast pumpkin, goats cheese and pine nuts. Definitely a must for any adventurous eater.
Relish in the colorful Spanish atmosphere at Meigas, where the tapas pack incredible flavors in every bite.
Never have I expect to find food this good outside of Melbourne. Yes if you look at the menu, it look kinda expensive but the serving size is very generous and it is worth every cents. The octopus was tender and seasoned just right with the paprika. The Lamb skewers, the meat is tender, slightly pink in the inside, the sauce to dip with is wonderful. Oh that beef cheek, you don’t need a knife to cut it. It is soft. The sauce and the mash underneath complement it perfectly. Overall all the food are perfect. Beside the food, the atmosphere, the deco and the service are excellent. Even we were sitting by the window, the waiter and waitress came by pretty often, making sure we are okay. Oh lastly for the drink, they have this one with the gin, citrus and cinnamon, you have to try it if you like gin. It is that good!Jenny Kwong
Sip on Locally Brewed Craft Beers
Craft beer enthusiasts may want to hold off on lunch and explore Ballarat’s growing craft beer scene. In a city where food and drink are an experience-based culture, beer lovers are sure to find their slice of heaven in Ballarat.
Get up close to the brewing process at Athletic Club Brewery, boasting an eclectic range of beer styles sure to pique your interest. Settle into one of the couches facing the beer vats behind a glass wall and sip on a choice draft brewed on site.
Head over to Hop Temple, slated as the city’s craft beer mecca. Unique decor, live music and friendly staff are just the beginning of Hop Temple’s highlights. With more beers than you can count on tap and a delicious menu that stands out on its own, this gem has something for everyone.
What is there not to love about this place? The walk through the alley to get to the entrance was a thrill, and when I opened the door, my mouth dropped open at the space aesthetics. My husband and I shared some scrumptious hot sides and a beer paddle as our afternoon tea. It was so relaxing sitting there in the cozy corner near the stairs, enjoying our food and beverages. Wished we stayed for dinner, but had prearranged to go elsewhere… hopefully we will be back soon.Helen Man
Visit Sensational Art Galleries
Ballarat’s mix of major galleries and smaller studios are home to spectacular masterpieces to impress any art buff.
The Art Gallery of Ballarat, considered one of the best regional galleries in all Australia, draws visitors even from Melbourne. Housed in the heritage precinct of Ballarat, you’ll find an incredible range of exhibits throughout the spacious gallery.
This is by far the best regional art gallery I have ever been too. Wonderfully set out, has a great selection of art and lots of different exhibits and themes. From classic to modern, sculptures to painting’s and photos plus some Comic art. Was blown away with how amazing it was and the staff were excellent too. The best thing of all was it’s free, I was so surprised that something so awesome could be free. Please make sure you make a donation though as this place deserves it. Definately recommended for all.Steve Pickwell
We were totally surprised at the quality of this art gallery. It is brilliant! The art collection is amazing. We certainly did not expect to see such a large variety of beautiful works of art by both well-known and less-known artists in a regional gallery. It was certainly worth spending time here!Anna Palmer
See Nuggets of Gold at the Gold Museum
Everything that glitters is indeed gold at the Gold Museum. This informative museum is the perfect introduction to Ballarat’s gold rush history, displaying an impressive collection of gold nuggets, gold artifacts and gold coins.
Discover the chronological history of the gold rush as it swept over this region of Australia, lending to the prosperity of Ballarat. Gaze over historic photos and carefully preserved articles of clothing from the era.
Very interesting and well set out, you get to see real pieces of history from mining to clothing and jewellery plus real nuggets! Something for everyone. I was told not to miss it and I’m glad I visited.Oxley Vic
A great place to learn about the history of the Ballarat gold fields and interesting details. The replica gold nuggets found are eye popping. If you have any interest in history this place is well worthwhile. Fascinating facts and information well presented and well worth a quick visit.C_and_J_Lewis
Pan for Gold at Sovereign Hill
So far we’ve only skimmed the surface of Ballarat’s heritage. It’s time to feel the rush of the gold mining excitement for yourself and travel back in time at Sovereign Hill.
This open air museum is a living, breathing replica of Ballarat in the 1850’s. Walk through Main Street, lined with shops and factories showcasing rare 19th century trades practiced by skilled artisan using original machinery of the times.
Learn to make your own candy, watch the processing and pouring of a spectacular gold ingot or buy a post card and send it off at the working post office.
Catch a show at the Victoria Theatre or hitch a ride on a horse-drawn coach. Try your hand at firing a musket or dress up in Victorian costumes and snap a photo as a unique souvenir. With staff always in character and even a large number of actors in costume roaming the streets, Sovereign Hill feels like the closest thing to a time machine.
But the one thing you absolutely must do is try your hand at panning for gold.
If you’re lucky, you might get to keep what you find!
Absolutely wonderful place to spend the day! There are delicious bakery’s, gold panning (I found quite a bit of it) candle making (you can colour your own candles!) you can have your name be on a ‘WANTED’ poster, you can make your own bath salt jar they sell amazing boiled sweets they take you on a self guided tour underground in the mines and they run a show were you get to watch someone pour gold (gold pouring) and that is only some of what you get to experience at Sovereign Hill I definitely recommend it I’d like to thank the guy at the gold panning for teaching us how to pan and even giving us a few specks of it! Thanks to all the staff for making our day wonderful!Bella Hales
Meet the Animals at Ballarat Wildlife Park
An Aussie road trip isn’t complete without at least a few wildlife encounters.
Situated on natural bush land, you’ll find a fantastic range of animals in the park, including some you may not have encountered in the wild just yet. Hand feed the kangaroos roaming around the grounds, spot exotic cassowaries, meet the cute spotted-tail quolls and get to know the resident wombats.
And of course – take a picture with a koala!
Hands down my favorite experience in Australia to date. The park is smallish, which gives it a cozy atmosphere and allows you plenty of time to explore each exhibit. The animals all appear happy and well taken care of – honestly if I could be one of the kangaroos in another life, I wouldn’t hesitate. Plus, the staff were all lovely (not something I necessarily expect from bigger zoos). We paid extra for the wombat encounter and it was definitely worth the money. Plus, feeding and cuddling with the kangaroos was such a great time. Can’t recommend highly enough!Brittany Lloyd
Soak in the Mineral Baths at Hepburn Springs
Unwind with an invigorating mineral soak in the baths of Hepburn Springs.
Just a slight detour northeast of Ballarat, Hepburn Springs is home to Australia’s largest concentration of mineral springs.
This lends to the many spas dotting the area, all fulfilling their promise to end your day on the highest note of relaxation.
Step into the healing warmth of mineral water with a night bath at The Mineral Spa. Intimate, adults-only and with breathtaking views into the countryside, this destination spa is one of the most acclaimed in all Australia.
My partner and I went on a Sunday. We did the early bird spa and the Radiance facial together. It was great as we were the only people in the spa so we were comfortably trying out all the different saunas and spas, and the facials were amazing. I can’t commend the massage therapists enough, they did an amazing job, so much so, that I fell asleep a couple of times. The refreshments throughout and at the end were a nice finishing touch. Would highly recommend and are definetely looking at planning another trip soon!Ms Blossom
End Your Australian Road Trip in Melbourne
Our epic Australian road trip has come to an end.
With countless things to see and do in regional Australia, this journey promises fantastic experiences and memories to last a lifetime.
Now one of Australia’s most iconic cities awaits. With its unique heritage and a growing food and art scene, Ballarat is the perfect precursor to the stylish city of Melbourne.
Want to Visit Ballarat, Australia?
Ballarat holds a fascinating history and treasures extending far beyond gold for the curious traveler.
Only a short distance away from Melbourne and an essential stop on an Aussie road trip, our Destination Specialists can make the visit happen!
Along this route you’ll find amazing ocean lookouts, food, wine culture, Australian wildlife, and the rugged outback. Adventure awaits on your road trip through the Grampians, Australia.
Get a great night’s sleep at your Port Campbell hotel and wake up early to drive to Halls Gap. Here are a few great adventures you can have along the way!
See the Sunrise at London Arch
Formally known as “London Bridge”, the London Arch hasn’t looked like its namesake since first arch collapsed in 1990. Arrive early to catch the sunrise as you watch the ocean crash against the shore. Take in the cliffs, clear water the the sense of power that slowly eroded these granite stacks into what they are today.
The bridge itself is gone, collapsed awhile ago. However the awesomeness of nature remains. Get there for first light, watch the sun come up. It will make you feel insignificant in the scale of time when you think how long it has taken to create this location. Weng C
Great view, like most other sights along the Great ocean road. But unlike the other sights, the bridge is more than just a rock in the water in my opinion. We came at dawn on the way to the Grampians after a night at portside motel in Port Campbell, so there wasn’t many people. This place would’ve been crowded during sunset I reckon. The sunrise was great even thought it came up from inland, and didn’t impede with photographing the bridge.Gordon L.
One of my favourites on the Great Ocean Road. Worth heading down to the beach to get a good idea of just how big these things areCavan Jordan
Explore The Grotto
The Grotto is a enchanting rock formation along the Great Ocean road. It is a naturally carved out cave standing about halfway up a cliff. You’ll find a paved path that leads to a staircase descending into a viewing area.
Beautiful spot with an easy walk to the viewing platform. Try getting there early or late in the day when there are less people and the sun is setting or rising, this will make for a more picturesque view and photo! The walk down is not suitable for disabled or prams as it is down a set of stairs.Oliver Bersani
Dont stop at the lookout, walk down the stops for the amazing photo through the grotto out into the ocean.Alex Voerman
Maybe my favourite stop on the Great Ocean Road – a small grotto where saltwater is left at high tide, it’s colourful, scenic, and much less crowded than Gibson Steps or the 12 Apostles (not that those aren’t great, either). Stop in, you won’t be disappointed.Aidan Leach
Spot Whales at Logan’s Beach
Find a spot at the viewing platform and be the first to catch a glimpse of a fluking southern right whale. Every year between June and October the whales return to their nursery along this coastline where they give birth and raise their calves. During peak season, June through September, they can often be seen just meters off the shore. Make sure you bring your binoculars!
Great views of the coastline from the wooden platform. Lots of room for visitors whale watching. A good sized carpark but it gets very busy during July-September & can be hard to get a park. A great spot for surfers & a nice beach for a walk along, the beach is un patrolled by Life guards. We were lucky to see quite a few whales frolicking around. A great spot for this between July-September. Bring your binoculars as well as a coat as it can be quite windy. sm05060
We have seen Southern Right Whales before but from a boat. But this was amazing to be lucky enough to see adults and calves so close in to the shore is incredible. We had traveled over 16,800 kilometres to see them and were not disappointed. This is a fantastic experience. Just remember that you will be outside and the weather will not necessarily be clement ! We experienced a cold, south westerly squall with rain and hail but that seemed fine to us to be privileged enough to see these beautiful creatures so close. The site has good car parking very close to the purpose built viewing platforms. Good information and interpretation boards. Also we found it to be a good social activity for the humans as we found people actually speaking to each other !!! We visited twice at different times on the same day and saw whales both times in mid September.John A.
Grab Breakfast in Warrnambool
After waking early to catch the sunrise and a little over an hour on the road, you are probably ready for a nice relaxing breakfast. Head The Pavilion in Warrnambool for great food with a view.
While in Warrnambool, you may want to stop at the Pronto Fine Food Merchants to pick up some gourmet food stuffs for a road-side picnic lunch and snacks.
Brilliant food, good quick service. Coffee is good. Not amazing. Best views in town though. Can get busy on weekends after 9 so worth calling ahead and booking a table.Julien Marr
My favourite chill out spot when I visit Warrnambool. If you’re lucky, you might see a seal and some stingraysKaren Luu Karen Luu
Meet Koalas, Emus and Kangaroos in Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve
Koalas, emus, kangaroos, and waterbirds roam freely here inside an extinct volcano. As Victoria’s first National Park, Tower Hill is the ideal pace to experience the Australian bush, enjoy magnificent scenery and landscapes while getting up close and personal with some of Australia’s most iconic wildlife. You’ll also find amazing wildflowers in the spring time (late September to early December).
Loved this place. Take the time to look around when you first drive in – the rock formations are spectacular. Make sure to follow the posted speed limits- wildlife is all over the road. 😊 The walking trails are well signposted and give an indication of the length and difficulty involved with each walk. The peak walk is the ‘toughest’ but is worth it for the view. Keep your eyes open for different animals as you walk. We were lucky enough to visit on a misty afternoon and kangaroos, wallabies and parrots were in abundance.Dianne Hamilton
Interesting extinct volcano area. A variety of good walks, most rated as Easy. We did the Peak wall which is very steep on a properly formed concrete path /steps, great view from the top – however, not for those with breathing or heart problems! Also did the Lava walk and saw black wallabies and 2 koalas. Also enjoyed a very friendly Emu in the carpark, as well as others in the park. Visitor Centre is very informative.Denis Green
Step Back in Time in Port Fairy
If you have some time and enjoy learning the history of interesting places, continue on the Great Ocean Road to Port Fairy. If this is not of interest to you, head north towards Halls Gap to spend more time in the Grampians.
Port Fairy is a charming fishing village at the end of the Great Ocean Road and the last destination on Victoria’s famed Shipwreck Coast. There are over 7000 buildings of historical significance around Port Fairy. Two walking trails take you on historic adventures.
There is also an amazing array of fashion, art, craft, old books and all sorts of collectibles along Sackville Street in the center of Port Fairy.
Griffiths Island Lighthouse is also a popular stop.
Beautiful! One of the best places in Victoria to spend time with your family. It is a best place for people who love walking.Anil K.
Charming and idyllic tree lined streets, nestled in a location surrounded by the natural beauty of the great ocean rd and the grampians. Port Fairy has so much to offer people seeking peace, quiet and good choice of food and hospitalityDavid Y.
Enjoy the Finer Things in Hamilton
For those looking to get in a little culture on their Australian road trip, a detour to Hamilton is a must! Head to the Hamilton Gallery to immerse yourself in the vast range of international and Australian decorative art.
One of the best galleries I’ve ever been to. Fantastic mix of exhibits and artists. Absolutely lovely environment. Really high quality for the size of the town its attached to!Hayley Simons
Make a stop a Pierrepoint Vineyard, a family owned and operated vineyard, cellar door and B&B. The vineyard is managed with traditional care, and without the use of chemicals – you’ll see geese, ducks and chickens roaming free, controlling pests naturally.
Lovely small winery with great wine tasting and food platters on offer. Relaxing outdoor area with chickens and ducks to keep you companyEvan Groves
Hike Mt Sturgeon (Wurgarri)
Avid hikers might want to set aside a chunk of time to hike to the top of Mt. Sturgeon. After over an hour drive through the Victorian Outback, a 3 hour hike might be just what you need. The trail head can be found as you enter the Grampians National Park; about 5 minutes from Dunkeld. This hike is only suitable for fit and energetic walkers.
Depending on the conditions, it can involve water crossings, slippery surfaces and rock hopping. The summit offers panoramic views of the surrounding ranges and volcanic plains.
Nice walk up to the top and the views are amazing.Tim Sproule
Southern most tip of the Grampians and just outside the township of Dunkeld. Great place to visit either as a starting point to the Grampians, or on your way to the next destination.Lucas Pardo
Take a Picture at The Piccaninny
The view from the summit of the Piccaninny walk provides great views of Mt Abrupt and Dunkeld with its unique landscape. This .7 mile hike takes some people a half hour and others an hour and a half. The gradually climbing trail makes its way through open forest that provides stunning wildflower displays in the spring. It’s an easy walk until you get to the last 400 yards, which is fairly steep.
Learn About the Grampains Aboriginal Culture, Flora and Fauna at Brambuk
Brambuk – The National Park and Cultural Centre is a special place. Its multi award winning architecture interprets the traditional stories of the local Aboriginal people. Discover the culture of the Aboriginal communities of Western Victoria through multimedia shows, art exhibitions, artifact displays, cultural talks and lots of great activities such as didgeridoo music, traditional dance, basket weaving, boomerang throwing and painting.
You’ll often find kangaroos hanging around as well!
Great way to learn about the cultural history of Geriwald and the dreaming. Painting our own boomerangs and a lesson on how to throw them was a highlight. Enjoyed the tasting platter and wattleseed damper.Johanna de Kort
Very interesting information about the culture of the local aborigenee peoples, their lifestyle, their cultivating techniques and their moving history. Don’t forget to try the native flavoured ice-cream at the Cafe!Andreas Hurter
Wine in Great Western
Wine lovers will want to make the drive out to Great Western to visit two historic Victorian Wineries – Grampians Estate & Seppelt Cellar Door.
A James Halliday ‘Five Red Star’ winery, Grampians Estate has collected some 49 trophies with their elegant cool-climate shiraz and sparkling shiraz leading the way.
The cellar door offers wine tastings, wine tutorials, cheese platters, muffins and espresso coffee in a warm and friendly environment. Experienced staff will ensure your visit is a rewarding one.
Loved this place! We had a lovely wine tasting experience with Mich, who was funny, friendly, and knowledgeable. She shared the history of the area and the winery and walked us through each one of the wines. They had a wide range of sparkling, reds, whites, and dessert wines, so there’s likely everyone can find something they like. We liked most of their wines and we thought they were reasonable priced, plus they had a discount if you bought 6+ bottles. And they had a selection of very yummy snacks, in case you needed a quick bite. This is a great place and would highly recommend stopping by when heading up to the Grampians or on your way back to Melbourne.Alexandra Smith
Seppelt Cellar Door is famous for their heritage listed labyrinth of underground cellars known as “The Drives”. The Drives are the largest underground cellars in the Southern Hemisphere. Guided tours provide a fascinating glimpse into Victorian wine pioneering history. Tours take place every hour from 11am to 3pm. Night tours with dinner are also available.
The most amazing winery I’ve ever visited. The tour is mind blowing and the wines are some of Australia’s best ! It’s a must do ! Revisited recently and they have launched the 2018 Luxury collection – the 2016 Pinot Meunier is simply amazing and the 2018 Drumborg Riesling is going to wine awards!!! Kristy Daniel
Chase Waterfalls in Grampians National Park
You’ll find quite a few amazing waterfalls in Grampians National Park. Here are a few from which you can choose.
The serene Splitters Falls are just a short walk from Halls Gap in the Grampians. From the center of town, follow the path along Stony Creek to Venus Baths, a series of rock pools popular for toe-dipping on warm days. From here, take the stairs to the tranquil setting of Splitters Falls. Alternatively, take the short walk from Wonderland car park.
Beautiful waterfall, particularly after rain. Go in the spring and walk amongst the wildflowers!Rachael Warncke
A 1.2 mile hike along a steep trail ends in the spectacular view of water cascading over huge cliffs into a deep pool. Sit on a rock in the river and enjoy the view. These waterfalls flow all year round.
Alternatively, a viewing platform at the Bluff offers great views of MacKenzie Falls after a short, easy-access walk up a gentle grade.
Best waterfalls we have ever been to hands down. Spectacular!! Would love to come every year just to bath in the crystal clear cool waters. The Grampians is wonderful. Halls gap a lovely little town. Busy is peak seasons. The walk is all steps, bring water for the trip back up. You will need slight rests and moderately fit. Kids loved it!!!Linda Vaccaro
Just upstream from MacKenzie Falls, you’ll find Broken Falls. You don’t even have to leave the MacKezie Falls parking lot! Just follow the short path through open stringybark forest to the outlook on the edge of the gorge to catch sweeping views of the river tumbling over the wide dissipated waterfall.
The Broken Falls were not as impressive as the MacKenzie Falls. However the view was still quite nice as it has its own style of flowing water through a series of layers of rocks. Or I may say it is somewhat “softer” than the MacKenzie Falls. It is very close to the MacKenzie Falls, so it is worthwhile to have a look.Sin Yin LO
Hear Nothing in Silent Street, See Everything at the Pinnacle
Head to the Wonderland Car Park for a great 1.3 mile hike. Keep an eye out for native wildlife along the way, including koalas and kangaroos. Bring sturdy walking shoes as you may be doing some rock hopping along the way. You’ll ascend into the Grampians’ version of the Grand Canyon with its unique Australian rock formations.
My favorite part of the Wonderland Loop, the canyon type formation with the erosion and rock layers this was really interesting…And the path designed to allow hikers to climb through this area was just great. A must seeTony Meehan
Then you’ll continue through Silent Street.
Its a narrow 100m passage between 2 huge walls of rock. Pretty amazing. The moment you enter, it goes completely silent all around, not even the sound of wind! From here u are just 7-10 mins fr the Pinnacle. Might be a queue to get through bcos certain parts could be rather too narrow for 2 way traffic. You will only encounter this if u take the Wonderland trail.RS
Once you reach the Pinnacle lookout, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of Halls Gap and the Grampians’ main peaks. For an easier route, walk from Sundial carpark via Devil’s Gap. You’ll miss the Grand Canyon and Silent Street, but you’ll still get the amazing view from the Pinnacle lookout.
Spectacular scenery during the walk is topped by the magical views from the peak. The grand canyon diversion is well worth the additional effort. The return trip from Wonderland Carpark took 1.5 hours (for a fit bloke walking at solid pace) which included 15 minutes rest at the top and brief photo stops along the way.Ben M
Overnight in Halls Gap
With so many things to do near Halls Gap, you may want to spend a few nights in this small township nestled between the soaring rocky mountain peaks of the Wonderland and Mount William Ranges. You’ll find a number of cafes and tourist shops facing the grassy areas by Stony Creek.
Your Australian Road Trip Continues!
In our next blog post, we’ll conclude with the journey from Halls Gap returning to the stylish city of Melbourne. You’ll travel through the Ballarat Goldfields to discover the fascinating history, opulence and excitement of the region.
Want to Visit the Grampians in Victoria, Australia?
If seeing the amazing Australian Outback and the Grampians is a bucket list item for you, let one of our Destination Specialist plan your perfect Australian road trip!
Posted on: July 19th, 2018 by Melissa Maxwell No Comments
Amazing Australia Road Trips Part 1
The Great Ocean Road: Melbourne to Port Campbell
There are so many amazing things to do on the Great Ocean Road. Road trips always include great tunes, laughing, singing and conversations. Long days on the road often make for the best stories and fondest memories. Just you, your loved ones, the open road and endless possibilities.
It’s a chance to be spontaneous, resourceful and find joy in the journey. The unexpected moments, surprise encounters and freedom makes for a very special experience. You really get the chance to appreciate the small things and understand what makes a place special.
Take a road trip in Australia along the Great Ocean Road and not only will you reap the benefits of a good old-fashion road trip, but you’ll be driving along one of the most majestic stretches of road in the world. In this article we’ll show you the most amazing things to do on the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne to Port Campbell. Plus a few great places to eat too!
Looking for a unique surfing experience where you won’t get wet? Visit the Australian National Surfing Museum featuring the Australian Surfing Hall Of Fame, a theater that screens some of the world’s best surf films, informative themes exhibitions, dozens of stunning photographs and an unrivaled collection of surfboards. The Museum is recognized by the International Surfing Association as one of “the most significant centers of world surfing heritage”.
Don’t pass a chance up to go in here – we nearly did thinking it was “just another museum”. Not so. We wandered around the interior of the Tourist Info Centre in Torquay and bought some gifts and then as it started to rain, thought we would pay the few dollars to have a look around, not thinking it would take long.
The building is huge, there is so much information about surf festivals and competitions, surfers themselves, champions and early pioneers of the surf movement, the evolution of surf boards and many boards belong to past champions.
There is an awesome tv exhibition of the waves and how to ride them and that is on for a while so be prepared to sit and watch. There are interactive green screen surf spots where you can take your own picture on the waves and email it back to yourselves.
One of the highlights was a set of surfboards which had been written all over as if from a teenager to his parents, absolutely hilarious, I forget what it was called but well worth the read.
In all – a great visit and one I am really glad we did not miss. Annette Laurie
Visit Anglesea Beach
Credit: Robert Blackburn, Visit Victoria
Just ten minutes from Torquay, you’ll find a quaint surf town with towering cliffs, sprawling white beaches and abundant wildlife. Take a walk on Anglesea’s main beach, a wide sandy expanse next to the Anglesea River. Relax, take a swim or ask your Destination Specialist about booking a 2 hour surf lesson. Anglesea is also a great stop for breakfast. One of our favorite places is Captain Moonlite, a cute restaurant with European fare and amazing ocean views.
Incredible creative and tasty. Fairly large portions. And an amazing view. An incredible place you have to visit.George Popescu
Amazing Lookouts at Split Point Lighthouse and Sunnymeade Beach
Credit: Visit Victoria
Drive or walk up to Split Point Lighthouse where you will enjoy ocean views over Eagle and Table rocks. Tours are available if you have the time. There is another lookout at the end of Boundary Road, off the Great Ocean Road by Sunnymeade Beach.
Highly recommend this scenic spot. Beautiful views along the coastlines. The light is quite beautiful, but the view is to die for.Jonathon Gillard
See the Memorial Arch
The Great Ocean Road is a permanent memorial to those who died while fighting in World War I. Built by returned servicemen, it winds around the rugged southern coast and was a huge engineering feat ending decades of isolation for Lorne and other coastal communities.
During the early years, travelers paid a toll at the gates of the Memorial Arch at Eastern View. Now you can just take a quick stop at the official entrance to learn a little about the history of the road.
You’ll most probably stop by here if you’re out to look at every historical detail of the Great Ocean Road. You can find all the details as shown here online but it is still nice to see the things here with your own eyes. People don’t spend very long here. There is a pathway to the beach too. Minimal parking especially for long vehicles like buses, so do take note. It would be easy to wait around for one though.Wendy Ong
Credit: Visit Victoria
Teddy’s Lookout is one of the best along the Great Ocean Road. It provides stunning views from its platform high above the coast where St. George River empties into a small cove. Access off the Great Ocean Road at the end of George Street, then take a short walk through the bush.
Photos don’t do it justice! Not physically demanding but rocky and uneven on the track so footwear with good grip recommended. This is part of a loop walk.Alan King
Mount Defiance Lookout
credit: Robert Blackburn, Visit Victoria
A short drive further south west from Cumberland River is the spectacular ocean lookout at Mount Defiance. The Great Ocean Road here hugs the cliffs and provides a magnificent balance for the sweep of the ocean. There are always people stopped here with cameras running hot.
Get a change in scenery by heading into the Great Otway National Park. Choose between a Tree Top Walk or Zip Line Tour. The tree top walk is about a 1/3 of a mile long. Explore the towers and suspended arms jutting into the forest. Allow about 1.5 hours to take the walk and check out the shop and bistro.
The Zip Line Tour is a series of flying foxes, moving from tower to tower. Visitors can zip through the leafy treetops of the magnificent Otway Ranges from one ‘Cloud Station’ to another, suspended up to 98 feet above the forest floor. Specialist guides will provide training and unique rainforest insights. This adventure will take about 2.5 hours.
Pre-book your rainforest adventure with your About Australia Specialist.
We had the best afternoon flying through the treetops. Our instructors were amazing- funny, knowledgeable & made our whole group feel comfortable & at ease. If you are considering doing this then don’t hesitate, you really will have an unforgettable experience.Leanne Coxall
Cape Otway Lightstation
credit: Visit Victoria
If you don’t want to go into the rainforest, stay on the Great Ocean Road and head to Cape Otway Lightstation. You might enjoy some lunch at Chris’s Beacon Point Restaurant.
Cape Otway Lightstation is Australia’s most important lighthouse. The lighthouse established in 1848 is perched on towering sea cliffs 295 feet above where Bass Straight and Southern Ocean collide.
Experience the thrill of stepping out onto the Lighthouse Balcony for awesome views, and hear the amazing history of tragic shipwrecks on this isolated and rugged coastline from the passionate guides.
Explore the historic telegraph station built in 1859 and discover Australia’s extraordinary secret war history from World War II. Appreciate and understand local indigenous culture at the Aboriginal meeting hut, with storytelling and bush tucker sessions from local guides.
If you’re lucky, you may even spot whales at play in the ocean below or wild koalas in the the surrounding wooded areas.
This is a great spot to visit and the second most southerly point on the Australian mainland. Make sure to explore the building and save some time for a walk in the surrounding bush as there are some great spot to look out for Koalas. There is a cafe but would recommend packing a picnic lunch for a half day of exploration.Mike A
credit: Mark Watson, Visit Victoria
Be dwarfed by the 230-foot high vertical cliffs and marvel at Gog and Magog, the nicknames given to the giant limestone stacks rising up out of the sea. Weather permitting, make your way down to the beach via the 86 steps that were carved into the face of the cliff by local settler Hugh Gibson, who worked on the route originally used by the Kirrae Whurrong people.
If you have some time, park your car at the 12 Apostles and walk a little over half a mile to the Gibson Steps. The trail starts just behind the kiosk at the Visitor Facility. The path will cross under the Great Ocean Road near the Gibson steps view platform and beach access. Otherwise, you can access the Gibson Steps from its own car park.
Following a long descent down the steps etched into the cliff you arrive to a stunning view of giant rocks in the ocean with pounding surf – it’s nature in your face – it’s well worth the climb down and back up.David Rose
Twelve Apostles Lookout
credit:Robert Blackburn, Visit Victoria
Arguably the most iconic lookout on the Great Ocean Road, the 12 Apostles is a must while on your Great Ocean Road vacation!
“Once upon a time – or up to 20 million years ago – they were connected to the cliffs of the mainland. The waves and wind carved them into caves, then arches, and eventually battered them down into columns that rise up to 45 meters high.” – Australia.com
As the years have come and gone the stacks have withered to the eight that remain strong and triumphant. This destination is one of those “can’t miss” moments because these limestone wonders are literally challenged daily to withstand the high winds and waters that relentlessly beat against them. The most recent stack that fell was in 2005. When visiting The Twelve Apostles, be sure to inquire about the shipwrecks and history that surround these natural wonders.
Ask your About Australia Destination Specialist about taking a Helicopter Tour for a real treat!
This is a spectacular place with stunning views and coastline. You can also look at these from a helicopter which would be even better (if that’s at all possible). I would definitely come back to see this againJane Rose
Loch Ard Gorge
credit: Roberto Seba, Visit Victoria
Located just three minutes west of the mighty Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge is a treasure trove of natural beauty, coastal wilderness and maritime history. Take some time to wander the trails, exploring the blowholes, offshore limestone stacks and towering cliffs. Visit at dusk to watch the short-tailed shearwaters (muttonbirds) fly home. Hear the story of the Loch Ard shipwreck and learn about the rich maritime history of the area at the nearby Port Campbell Visitor Information Centre.
Absolutely amazing place to visit! We walked down to the beach and were able to look down into a cave. The sea crashes through a small gap and looks spectacular as it rushes in. Up higher at the lookout you can see for miles and information boards tell you about parts of the coast including some of the shipwrecks that have occurred on that area and about any of the survivors. Really good place to visit, definitely recommend taking time to see and experience this area.Krystyna Rose
Port Campbell is a colorful and lively seaside village along the Great Ocean Road. It is home to restaurants and cafes with views of the beach, bakeries selling homemade goodies and plenty of vibrant shops and galleries to explore. We love Port Campbell as an overnight stay. Just minutes from Loch Ard Gorge, the faint lights of Port Campbell are a welcoming sight to travelers who have been on the road all day. Explore this lovely town by taking a walk down it’s main street and select a restaurant for dinner. Follow the main street to the jetty to enjoy an ocean view before you call it a night.
Try one of our favorite restaurants. The 12 Rocks Beach Cafe is a family owned, laid-back eatery with water views and outdoor tables. Their dinner menu includes lots of fresh seafood, a kangaroo burger, slow roasted Portuguese chicken and more! Another staff favorite is Sow & Piglets Brewery. Enjoy some great local beer and pizza after a long day on the Great Ocean Road.
More Adventure Awaits!
In our next blog post, well take you on the Great Ocean Road from Port Campbell through Warrnambool and on to the scenic drive through the Grampians to Halls Gap.
Want to Travel the Great Ocean Road?
If seeing the Great Ocean Road is a bucket list item for you, let one of our Destination Specialist plan your perfect Australian road trip!
Posted on: July 10th, 2018 by Lizandra Santillan No Comments
People tend to have two reactions when it comes to Australian animals.
Either their faces light up at the thought of cute kangaroos and koalas, or they actually recoil in horror.
Though several Australian animals are considered dangerous, you’re more likely to get injured from a horse than a snake in Australia.
Over 80% of mammals and reptiles in Australia are found nowhere else on Earth. This makes for some truly fascinating creatures, some famous and others not as well known, to discover in Australia.
Here are 11 unique Australian animals, including some you may not know exist!
No one can resist the cuddly allure of koalas. These iconic Australia animals are marsupials, a kind of mammal that is born undeveloped and is carried in a pouch. Like all marsupials, including kangaroos, wombats and Tasmanian devils, baby koalas are called joeys.
Newborn koalas are called pinkies, born blind and about the size of a jellybean. After birth the pinkie immediately crawls into its mother’s pouch, where it’ll stay for 6 to 7 months. At around 9 to 10 months the joey leaves the pouch for good, ready to munch on a variety of eucalypts. The leaves of these trees are highly toxic and low on nutrition, requiring lots of energy to digest.
This is why koalas spend so much time snoozing so as to preserve energy – often sleeping up to 18-20 hours a day!
What sets the koala apart from other marsupials is that it has no tail. Nonetheless, koalas live high among eucalypts with ease. They mostly hang about in tall eucalypt forests and woodlands of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.
Contrary to popular belief, the koala is not a bear – though it’s certainly as cute as a teddy bear. Their cuddly exterior makes them appear docicle, and though koalas usually keep to themselves, they can attack if they feel threatened. If spotted in the wild, it’s best to keep a distance.
Where to See Koalas
One of the best places to see koalas in the wild is Kangaroo Island, a natural island sanctuary home to many of Australia’s native animals. This island off the coast of South Australia is surrounded in stunning bays, untouched wilderness and free roaming wildlife, including koalas. It’s the ultimate Australia bucket list destination for animal lovers.
In the state of Queensland, sanctuaries and zoos allow you to hold koalas, so if you’re after that once-in-a-lifetime snapshot with a koala, be sure to do it in Queensland! It’s illegal to hold koalas anywhere else.
Tell anyone you’re going to Australia and one of the first things they’ll ask is if you’re going to feed the kangaroos. And you’ll most likely answer “Yes!”
These native Australian animals are marsupials as well as macropods, meaning “big foot.” Red kangaroos, tall and strongly built, are the largest marsupials and the largest Australian mammal, sometimes standing at over 6 feet tall. Other types of kangaroos include the eastern gray and Kangaroo Island kangaroos, both smaller and tamer than red kangaroos. Gray kangaroos live in the forests of Australia and Tasmania while red kangaroos are found in the eucalyptus woodlands of the Northern Territory.
An old legend about the origin of the name “kangaroo” states that when James Cook asked Aboriginals what these creatures were called, they answered “kangaroo” meaning “I don’t understand your question.”
Though this tale has been proven false, who can resist a good origin story?
Recent linguistic studies uncovered the word “gangurru” from the Aboriginal language of Guugu Yimidhirr, referring to a species of kangaroo and is very likely the source of its name.
Male kangaroos can be very aggressive toward each other, fighting over mates, but kangaroos generally keep to themselves and hop away on sight of a human. With powerful hind legs and a strong tail used as a sort of third leg for balancing, these creatures pack incredible kicks. They’re easily nature’s most skilled kick boxers.
Where to See Kangaroos
You’ll find kangaroos in nearly all Australian wildlife sanctuaries and zoos, but seeing them in the wild is a real special treat. You’re very likely to see them roaming throughout forested national parks with beaches, as well as along the side of the road on the outskirts of major cities. The best time to spot kangaroos in the wild is at dusk.
We’ll admit it – it’s kind of hard to tell wallabies and kangaroos apart. But it gets pretty easy once you see them side by side.
Wallabies are almost an exact miniature of kangaroos. Though they can measure up to 6 feet in height from head to tail, wallabies tend to be much smaller than kangaroos, which can reach up to 8 feet in height from head to tail.
Another way to tell wallabies and kangaroos apart is from their hind legs. Wallabies have more compact legs for moving through dense forest areas while kangaroos have knees and feet set wide apart. Though smaller, their legs allow for tremendous kicks when threatened and are also great for hopping at high speeds. They also tend to be more colorful than their larger cousins, with the yellow-footed wallaby boasting yellow-orange features across its coat.
There are roughly 30 different species of wallabies, grouped by their habitat: shrub wallabies, brush wallabies, and rock wallabies. Larger wallabies tend to be social animals, traveling in groups called mobs. As herbivores, wallabies mainly feast on grasses and plants including flowers, ferns and moss.
Wallabies as a whole are not an endangered species, but there are some species of rock wallabies as well as the banded-hare wallaby that are endangered.
Where to See Wallabies
You’re very likely to see wallabies bounding along the roads in the outskirts of major Australia cities. Locals even report wallabies hanging around gardens and backyards. You’re even likely to see them lying between grapevines of vineyards throughout the Hunter Valley in New South Wales. Wildlife parks and zoos are the best spots for seeing wallabies, as these nimble creatures usually dash away at the sight of humans.
When early European settlers posted in Hobart, Tasmania, they came across a strange creature with frightening growls, high-pitched screeches and unearthly screams. Coupled with red ears and disturbingly wide jaws lined with sharp teeth, the settlers decided to call these creatures “devils.” This is how the Tasmanian devil got it’s name, though it may just be the cutest devil ever to grace Australia.
These small creatures almost look like a cross between a small dog and a bear. Their coarse dark fur and round ears give them a baby bear-like appearance, complete with a pudgy build. With a pouch to carry their young, a mother devils can nurse up to four devils at a time.
As the world’s largest surviving carnivorous marsupial, they tend to eat carrion more than hunting live prey. Small native animals such as wallabies, wombats and possums are favorites, though they’ll also devour reptiles, birds and even sheep.
Though nocturnal, devils like to lay out and bask in the sun. They’re huge water lovers, wading and splashing about, even just sitting and laying in water to keep cool. Even devils can’t resist a lazy sunbathing day.
Once present in mainland Australia, Tasmanian devils are now only found on the island state of Tasmania. Loss of habitat and more recently Devil Facial Tumor Disease are the leading causes of declining numbers of devils, now listed as endangered. Though there are huge efforts to minimize the impact of this disease, it’s a difficult task, as this disease is highly contagious among devils. For these brash creatures that often fight over mates, a simple touch is all it takes for the disease to take hold.
Where to See Tasmanian Devils
Though it’s rare to see devils in the wild, you’re more likely to come across them in maintained wilderness refuges and wildlife parks. Some of our favorite places to see devils are the Tasmanian Devil Unzoo in northeastern Tasmania and Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary just half an hour outside of Hobart.
These stout marsupials look like miniature bears with chunky cheeks. They grow up to 3 feet long and can weigh between 44 and 77 pounds. Their waddling walk and pudgy appearance make them seem slow and docile, but they can run up to 25 miles per hour. As highly territorial creatures, they attack when defending their territory. These nocturnal animals dwell in burrows dug with their long claws.
Like all marsupials, wombats possess a pouch where their young are nurtured for the first few months of life. Unlike most other marsupials, however, the wombat’s pouch faces backwards toward its rear. This is to prevent soil from getting into the pouch as the wombat burrows.
But this strange feature is nothing compared to its poo. Molded by the horizontal ridges of its large intestine, wombat poo is notorious for its cube shape. In this way, the wombat’s cube-shaped poo allows it to stay in place and mark its territory.
Where to see Wombats
You’re most likely to see wombats roaming Cradle Mountain in Tasmania and the Blue Mountains outside of Sydney, but it’s rare to see them out in the wild as they are nocturnal creatures. You’ll definitely find them in wildlife parks and zoos, with some offering the opportunity to pet and feed them.
As cute as a dog yet severely misunderstood, the dingo is one of Australia’s most controversial animals. The origin of these creatures is much debated, with recent studies suggesting that dingoes originally migrated from central Asia across land bridges over 18,000 years ago.
Intensely intuitive and intelligent, Houdini has nothing on dingoes. With incredible agility, flexible joints, rotating wrists and fantastic jumping, digging and climbing abilities, dingoes are the ultimate escape artists. They can even rotate their necks up to 180 degrees around. Imagine seeing your dog do that!
Though they share many characteristics with dogs, dingoes are decidedly not dogs at all. They are classed as a unique species called Canis dingo.
Highly individualistic and naturally cautious, dingoes are very curious but are more likely to avoid unfamiliar threats and confrontation. They tend to shy away from humans, rarely showing aggression or attacking.
Although rarely kept as pets, it is legal in the states of New South Wales, Northern Territory, Victoria and Western Australia to keep a pet dingo with a license. But doing so is not a light task – dingoes require large amounts of space, lots of bonding, and extensive training.
Where to see Dingoes
Most zoos and wildlife parks house dingoes, but if your heart is set on seeing them in the wild, head to Fraser Island off the coast of Queensland.
With teddy bear ears and tiny doe eyes, look for the happiest animal on Earth at Rottnest Island in Western Australia. This small macropod is in the same family as kangaroos and wallabies, with a Mona Lisa smile to add even more cuteness.
These nocturnal creatures are about as large as a common house cat and look like a tiny, chubby kangaroo. They also have a pouch where the baby joey lives in for six months.
When quokkas aren’t eating grasses, shrubs and leaves, they roam around Rottnest Island with the liberty and confidence of a tourist. With no natural predators or traffic on the island, quokkas have grown accustomed to humans and often make attempts to sneak into restaurants and campsites in search of food.
Though it may be tempting to give a quokka a snack, feeding quokkas human food is greatly discouraged. Attacks are extremely rare, but bites have been reported – usually when people are trying to feed them.
It’s also illegal to touch a quokka – they are wild animals after all – but snapshots and selfies are allowed, even highly sought after. As naturally inquisitive creatures, they have little fear of humans and will often approach people on their own, sporting a huge picture-perfect smile.
Where to see Quokkas
Your best chance to see quokkas in the wild will be in Rottnest Island, a popular holiday destination off the coast of Western Australia. This island boasts lovely white sand beaches, stunning coasts and sparkling bays with clear waters perfect for snorkeling.
You’re also very likely to see quokkas in zoos and wildlife parks throughout Australia.
The tree kangaroo is very much like a shy toddler hiding behind his mother’s leg. Solitary and elusive, there is still so much to learn about this marsupial. There are 12 known species of tree kangaroo, all looking quite different from each other. Some look like a woolly cross between a bear and a kangaroo with golden and red coats. Others have black and dark brown coats with smooth faces. They typically grow up to 3 feet tall and weigh up to 30 lbs depending on the species.
They dwell among the trees in tropical rainforests of the mountains in Queensland, New Guinea and surrounding islands. Though “kangaroo” is in their name, these creatures do much better among the trees than on the ground below. They hop just like kangaroos but rather awkwardly, leaning far forward to balance their long, heavy tail. They are more bold and agile in trees, hopping across branches with the help of their powerful hind legs and tail.
Tree kangaroos eat mostly fruit, leaves, tree bark and other foliage found in their rainforest habitat. Its average lifespan is unknown, but in captivity they can live for more than 20 years.
Where to see Tree Kangaroos
The only places you’re sure to see tree kangaroos are in zoos and wildlife parks throughout the state of Queensland. But if you’re lucky you might see them in the Atherton Tablelands near Cairns. You might also spot tree kangaroos on the Jungle Surfing tour in Daintree Rainforest!
Imagine being the first person to see a playtpus. Good luck trying to convince anyone that this creature is real! It doesn’t help that this elusive animal is hard to spot – its silvery brown fur blends within the glistening surfaces of the streams and rivers in its habitat.
The platypus is monotreme, a kind of mammal that lays eggs instead of giving birth to live young. There are only four other monotremes, the others being different species of echidnas, another animal endemic to Australia. It’s also one of the few species of venomous mammals in the world. Males have a spur on their hind legs capable of delivering a venom severely painful to humans, though nothing life-threatening.
These contrary features make it a wonder that the playtpus isn’t an extinct creature from long ago. In fact, when scientists first observed a preserved body of a platypus they thought it was fake, made of different animals parts sewn together.
Though the platypus is abundant in the wild, numbers are decreasing, bumping the platypus to a “near threatened” status.
Where to See a Platypus
The platypus is generally found in the riverbanks of Australia’s eastern coast as well as Tasmania. There are only a few wildlife sanctuaries in Australia that house platypus, including the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane, Taronga Zoo in Sydney, and Healesville Sanctuary near Melbourne.
A special tank called a platypusary is required for housing a platypus. For this reason there are no playtpus in captivity outside of Australia.
These special tanks allow you to see a platypus up close, where its twists and turns in the water will reveal its playful nature.
With a stocky body and a long tail, these spunky creatures are much like a cross between a Tasmanian Devil and a cat. Its white-spotted dark brown coat and dainty pink nose make it look like the star of a cartoon.
But these carnivorous marsupials mean business. Their sharp teeth delight in munching on birds, reptiles and small mammals such as bandicoots, possums and rabbits. Mainly nocturnal animals, quolls will sometimes bask in the sunshine, much like Tasmanian devils.
Females also grow a pouch where their young live for the first few months of life. Like wombats, their pouch opens toward the rear – only the spotted-tail quoll has a true pouch. Larger quolls live up to four to five years while smaller quolls have a lifespan of about two years.
There are four species of quoll native to Australia: the western quoll, eastern quoll, spotted-tail quoll and the northern quoll.
Listed as endangered, major conservation efforts are underway to help preserve quolls and reintroduce some species in the wild. Recently, conservation efforts have led to the successful birth of rare eastern quolls in the wild for the first time in half a century.
Where to See Quolls
Quolls are native to the eastern coast of Australia while eastern quolls are found only in Tasmania. You’re not very likely to see them in the wild outside of dedicated nature park refuges, so your best bet is to see them in wildlife parks and zoos.
It wouldn’t be surprising at all if lyrebirds are in fact robots in disguise. With incredible abilities to mimic chainsaws, camera shutters and toy guns, lyrebirds are easily one of Australia’s most impressive birds.
Some reports even swear to hearing lyrebirds mimic human speech.
Lyrebirds, found in the rainforests of Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, pick up sounds from their surrounding environment. It’s able to recreate such fantastic sounds through the complex muscles of its syrinx. It takes up to one year for the lyrebird to hone its song, made up of calls from other birds. These vocalizations easily fool other birds, often responding to the lyrebird’s call.
And if such impressive tunes are not enough, male lyrebirds will display their gorgeous lyre-shaped plumes during courtship.
With such charming features, the lyrebird will surely win a mate.
There are two species of lyrebirds: the superb lyrebird and the Albert’s lyrebird, named after Prince Albert. As ground dwelling birds, they rarely take flight. Though the status of lyrebirds is “near threatened,” they are currently not an endangered species.
Where to See Lyrebirds
The lyrebirds at Healesville Sanctuary near Melbourne love to show-off their songs to visitors. Spot wild lyrebirds in the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges, both just an hour away from Melbourne.
Want to See Australia’s Unique Wildlife?
Known for its array of fascinating native wildlife, a trip to Australia isn’t complete without at least petting a koala or kangaroo.
But once you step inside a wildlife park, you’ll discover so many more breathtaking Australian animals you might’ve not known existed.
If seeing Australia’s wildlife is a huge bucket list item for you, we know the best places for unforgettable wildlife experiences.
Posted on: March 20th, 2018 by Lizandra Santillan No Comments
One of Australia’s many unique qualities is its dynamic coastline.
You’ve got warm tropical waters and the Great Barrier Reef in the north, Australia’s best collection of beaches along the central east coast and towering cliffs in the south.
One of the most popular and dream travel itineraries in Australia is traveling along its east coast.
You’ll find travelers from around the world making their way from Cairns in the tropical north all the way to Melbourne in the south.
But we’ll show you the best destinations you must visit while traveling along Australia’s east coast.
See the Great Barrier Reef
Whether you’re in Cairns or Port Douglas, you can’t pass up seeing the Great Barrier Reef.
This must-do in Australia is so insanely popular for good reason. It’s the largest living organism in the world yet looks entirely otherworldly.
Nothing beats those underwater views of this colorful reef wonderland, filled with tropical fish flitting in and out of sight.
The great thing about the reef is the numerous ways to see it. From glass bottom boats to semi-submersibles and underwater viewing observatories, you can see the reef without getting wet!
To see the ultimate splendor and beauty of the reef, you’ll need to take a trip to the outer reef. Check out our Great Barrier Reef guide for more details on seeing the reef in your own style.
Sail the Whitsunday Islands
Not many international travelers know about this hidden part of Australia. Situated between Cairns and the Sunshine Coast, this region sits on the heart of the Great Barrier Reef.
Surrounded by 74 idyllic islands and protected by the reef, the calm waters make this a paradise for sailing and bareboating.
And the 74 Whitsunday Islands are your playground of pristine wilderness.
Mostly covered in uninhabited national parks and secluded beaches, the Whitsundays are just waiting to be explored by the adventurous.
Be the first to walk on untouched beaches each morning. Discover cascading waterfalls and dry rainforest walking trails hidden on the islands. Or even camp overnight at designated camping grounds.
The best part is no license is required for bareboating!
See the Tantalizing Swirls of Whitehaven Beach from Hill Inlet
Let’s face it – there ‘s no end to the list of gorgeous beaches in Australia. You’ll find fantastic beaches all along the coast.
But there’s only a few that rank among the best in the entire world, and Whitehaven Beach is always counted in that number.
With sparkling, white sand so fine it squeaks beneath your feet and waters so clear and blue like something out of Photoshop, this beach is a gem of the Whitsundays.
Located on Whitsunday Island, you’ll need to take a boat tour to get to Whitehaven Beach.
Once you arrive, you’ll want to take the short trek to Hill Inlet, where swirls of white sand and turquoise water blend in stunning shades.
The sight alone is worth a trip to the Whitsundays.
Spot Whales in Hervey Bay
If you’re in Australia with the hopes of spotting a whale, you should make a stop in Hervey Bay. This coastal city near Fraser Island is one of Australia’s best spots for whale watching.
Between July and October you’ll spot humpback whales swimming by Hervey Bay – sheltered by Fraser Island, the calm and clear waters are perfect for resting their young.
Setting out on a whale watching cruise sometimes entails an amazing perk – the whales often like to venture close to the boats, showing off with spectacular breaches!
Go for a Dip in Lake McKenzie on Fraser Island
As the world’s largest sand island and only site where rainforest grows on sand, Fraser Island is out to impress.
And with pristine freshwater lakes, creeks framed in greenery and long stretches of beaches prime for 4wd adventure, this island will become your next ‘happy place.’
Though the beaches at Fraser Island are not quite swimmer-friendly, Lake McKenzie more than makes up for it.
With soft white sand and unbelievably crystal blue water, Lake McKenzie is considered the crown jewel of Fraser Island. After one day on the lake here, no other lake will measure up.
Discover Hidden Gems in the Noosa National Park
For the perfect mix of coastal scenery, native wildlife and refreshing rainforest, spend a day at the Noosa National Park.
You’ll spot something new and breathtaking every way you turn. Koalas napping among eucalyptus trees, spectacular hidden bays and beaches, even wild dolphins and whales – this enviable national park has it all.
Boasting five walking tracks, the most popular is the Coastal Walk, winding through lush shady trees, rocky coasts and clifftops.
Stop for a refreshing dip at the beach in Tea Tree Bay and spot dolphins from Dolphin Point or Hell’s Gate.
Becoming increasingly popular with travelers, this hidden secret is a must on the Australian east coast.
Walk to the Byron Bay Lighthouse at Cape Byron
Byron Bay sees the sunrise first in all of Australia. That alone sets the tone of this coastal town – the atmosphere is like a perpetual bohemian festival.
Everyone is super relaxed, smiles are found at every turn and the surrounding natural beauty and sunshine cures all ailments.
This easy-going town is a favorite with Aussies – you’ll find that most visitors are in fact from within Australia.
And locals agree that an absolute must-do is the coastal walk up to the Cape Byron Lighthouse. Follow the boardwalk on Lighthouse Road, winding around irresistible beaches and surf breaks.
You’ll then ascend up the headland for sea cliff views over Byron Bay and climb up the track to the lighthouse. Your reward is the unbelievable view over Cape Byron – pristine blue water set against green coastal bush, all from the most easterly point of the Australian mainland.
For breathtaking views along the coast in Sydney, you could do no better than the Bondi to Coogee Walk. This clifftop coastal walk stretches out almost four miles long, winding on the edge of some of Sydney’s most popular beaches.
This track is best enjoyed at a leisurely pace, and is often broken up into sections: Bondi Beach to Bronte Beach and Bronte to Coogee Beach. With many rest stops, beaches and rock pools along the way, you’ll find yourself stopping throughout the track just basking in the beauty of it all.
Make a day of it and start with a morning swim and beachside breakfast at Bondi, rest at Bronte and spend the afternoon at Coogee.
Or do it all in one go and complete a jog along the track – with stunning ocean views at your side, you’ll enjoy this incredible coastal walk either way.
Road Trip Down the Great Ocean Road
The first thing you need to know about the Great Ocean Road is that it’s named for its magnificent beauty – but also for its length.
What better way to see the city sights than for free? How about surrounded in the charm of a vintage cable car? And the best part – you can hop off and explore on your own, whenever you like.
Running through the city’s central business district (CBD), the City Circle Tram is undoubtedly one of the best ways to see Melbourne’s main landmarks and attractions.
You’ll catch sight of the Melbourne Museum, Federation Square, Melbourne Aquarium and much more. The accompanying commentary will give you a rundown of each landmark and its history.
Stroll the Queen Victoria Market
Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market is worth exploring just for the sights alone. The range of fresh produce and handmade products include everything from fruits and vegetables to hand-made pasta and top grade Wagyu beef.
For something sweet you’ll find fluffy bubble waffle cones loaded with ice cream and Melbourne’s best American-style jam doughnuts. Forgot to pack enough clothes for your trip? Find a new favorite outfit within the racks of threads ranging from fine merino wool knits to neon yellow safety jackets.
You’ll also discover unique treasures such as 1970’s comic books and vintage records – there’s something for every taste!
Wander among impressionist masterpieces from Monet and antiquities from all parts of the world. Immerse yourself in the vibrant colors and thought-provoking pieces of its contemporary art collection. You could spend your whole day exploring the treasures within – and still feel like it’s not enough time!
Walk Through the Labyrinth of Street Art in Melbourne’s Laneways
Melbourne’s inner-city grid lends itself to many hidden laneways that are easy to miss. But exploring these eclectic laneways in the CBD is one of the best things to do in Melbourne. You’ll find cozy coffee shops, warm cafes and bars where the soup of the day is gin. But the true gems will be the vibrant street art decorating the walls of these lanes.
Take a walk down Hosier Lane to see some of the city’s best street art. You’ll see colorful graffiti masterpieces and artists working on new pieces. This iconic laneway is part of the heart and soul of Melbourne’s urban subculture – you’ll feel like one of the cool kids as you walk down the street.
With less foot traffic, AC/DC Lane and Duckboard Place are also popular spots full of highly skilled street art. You’ll find a rock ‘n roll theme throughout AC/DC Lane, with murals of AC/DC band members (how the lane got its name) and other popular rock bands. Duckboard Place has a more gritty, urban aura with some hidden gems worth a look – easier to do with the least amount of crowds compared to other lanes.
Have a Laugh at a Comedy Night
Melbourne loves its stand-up comedy nights. If you’re looking for something a little different on a night out, catch a stand-up comedy night for a round of laughs to go with your drinks.
Spleen Bar on Bourke Street is a local favorite for its free comedy nights on Monday.
Lido Cinemas offers free comedy nights on Tuesdays, featuring some of the best rising stars of Aussie comedy. Perhaps the free popcorn makes the audience a bit more sympathetic as well!
For great vibes, cheap pints and one of the best comedy nights within the CBD, wander into Crab Lab on a Wednesday night. Grab some free popcorn and settle in for a great evening.
George’s Bar – If you’re a fan of Seinfeld, you’ll love this George Costanza-themed bar in the Fitzroy district. You’ll love their free Thursday comedy nights even more.
Learn About Australian Art at the Ian Potter Centre
For the culture vultures lacking a little in the Australian art department, this gallery is a must. Part of the National Gallery of Victoria, the Ian Potter Centre focuses exclusively on Australian and indigenous art.
You’ll see a representation of Australia’s history through artworks from aboriginal cultures as well as noted contemporary artists. Join a free guided tour to enjoy an expert’s insight into the exhibitions on display.
Their Screen Worlds exhibition is a fabulous collection of interactive displays, history of cinema, video games and more. Here you can create your very own flip book or try your hand at editing film. Unwind with one of many educational yet fun video games and favorites including Mario Kart or immerse yourself in a virtual reality experience.
The nostalgia and wonder will wash over you as your inner kid takes over.
Take in the Gorgeous City Vistas
The Eureka Skydeck is one of the best ways to see Melbourne from incredible heights, however you can catch some amazing views of the city from rooftop bars for free. Though you may be obligated to order a drink, what better way to see the city lights as the sun sets than sipping on your favorite cocktail?
Noted for its regal neoclassical architecture, the library contains six floors with a wonderful dome viewing balcony at the very top.
Levels 4 and 5 are dedicated gallery and exhibition spaces, housing significant collections of Victorian artwork, writings and artifacts. You’ll find rare treasures such as a 4000-year-old Sumerian cuneiform tax receipt and the bullet-dented armor of Ned Kelly, Australia’s own Jesse James.
Take a free tour to discover everything this iconic library has to offer. And enjoy the free WiFi, too – another great perk!
Taste Melbourne’s Famous Coffee
If there’s just one thing to take away from your visit to Melbourne, it’s the city’s incredible coffee scene. You won’t settle for regular drip coffee after a cup of joe from one of Melbourne’s sensational cafes.
The best way to get a taste of Melbourne’s greatest coffee is at Proud Mary, considered as one of the city’s finest coffee establishments. On Saturday mornings they have a free cupping event where all are welcome to meet their crew and taste new and favorite house blends.
Wander Through the Royal Botanic Gardens
Enjoy a tranquil afternoon away from the hustle and bustle of the city at the Royal Botanic Gardens. The gardens sprawl across 94 acres of grassy hills, native and exotic plants, scenic walking trails and a creek, all surrounding a lake in the center.
Free guided tours can help you get started exploring the vast gardens, or simply pack a picnic and relax by the lake. You’re very likely to spot native wildlife roaming around, especially the curious purple swamphen!
Visit the Fitzroy Gardens
Besides the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne is blessed with many more beautiful gardens and parklands. At the top of the list is Fitzroy Gardens, a quiet retreat on the edge of the CBD. The lush trees, flowers and fountains give way to historic gems throughout the gardens.
In the center of the grounds you’ll see a tiny Tudor village, like something out of a fairytale. Right next to it is Fairies’ Tree, a centuries old tree stump embellished with carvings of fairies, pixies, kangaroos and emus.
Another gem is Cook’s Cottage, the historic home of Captain James Cook, the British explorer who first voyaged to Australia and the South Pacific. Though there is a fee to enter the cottage-turned-museum, seeing the cottage alone is undeniably cool.
See Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance
This historic landmark is a war memorial originally honoring the men and women of the state of Victoria who served in World War I. Now it honors all Australians who have served in war.
A walk up the steps of the Shrine of Remembrance is a moving experience in itself. The shrine is designed in a classical style, inspired by the architecture of Athens’ Parthenon.
What makes this memorial a special architectural gem is the planned, uninterrupted vista of the city from the top deck of the shrine. Its beautifully manicured grounds and outdoor memorials surround the shrine creating an aerial shape of a poppy – the symbolic flower commemorating the fallen of WWI.
Explore the galleries and exhibitions within the shrine, set in a cathedral-like underground chamber. You’ll see photographs, uniforms, artworks and memorabilia of Australia’s military history. Don’t miss the Eternal Flame, a permanent gas flame representing eternal life.
Learn About the Aboriginal Koorie People at the Koorie Heritage Trust
Escape the hustle and bustle of Federation Square and stop by Koorie Heritage Trust. Located in the Yarra Building in Federation Square, this non-profit center offers Melbourne’s deepest insight into the indigenous Koorie people through immersive galleries and exhibitions. Here you’ll find artifacts, artworks, photos and oral history and video recordings preserving the Koorie cultural heritage of Victoria.
See their temporary exhibits on the ground floor gallery or explore their permanent collections on the top floor. If you’re lucky, you might catch one of their fascinating and educational events, hosted throughout the year.
Watch the St. Kilda Penguins Waddle Back Home
Take a short half hour tram ride from the CBD to St. Kilda, a popular day trip destination for bay side fun.
Noted for its beach and Coney Island-like theme parks, stay until sunset to view the St. Kilda fairy penguins return to their homes on the shore.
The best way to view these tiny penguins is on the St. Kilda Pier, and don’t worry about what time of year to visit – you’ll see them year round.
Snap a Pic of the Brighton Beach Boxes
Further down the coast from St. Kilda is Brighton Beach, home of the iconic Brighton Beach Boxes. First built over a century ago, these historic bathing boxes remain unchanged. Their bright colors and uniform proportions create an undeniable sense of satisfaction – your eyes are just naturally drawn to them!
Though the ride to Brighton Beach is not free, buying a one-day unlimited explorer pass is more than worth it. You’ll get to spend a sunny afternoon out on the gorgeous beach with discounts to other top Melbourne attractions.
Experience Melbourne’s Countless Festivals
It doesn’t matter what time of the year you visit Melbourne – you’re bound to come across a festival! As Australia’s second largest city, Melbourne loves to celebrate its diversity with celebrations of music, food and culture. Step into Federation Square or the Queen Victoria Markets – where most of Melbourne’s festivals are held – and join in the fun.
See the night come to life in a spectacle of color and light during White Night in February, the most attended event of its kind in Australia. Moomba Festival in March is a flurry of color and spirit centered on the Yarra River with live music, parades, fireworks and carnivals.
Music lovers can plan on dozens of festivals throughout the year. Melbourne Festival is a bucket list item, featuring major international artists. St. Kilda Festival, Australia’s largest free music festival, is also a popular favorite, bringing in some of the country’s top musical talents.
Explore the City with These Free Things to Do in Melbourne
Ready to live it up in the city? Whether you’re looking for a quiet afternoon getting lost in a museum or seeking a fun night out, the best thing about Melbourne is there’s always a way to do it for free. Fill your free days with these fantastic things to do in Melbourne and make your stay an unforgettable one.
Want to add Melbourne to your Australia vacation? Let’s start planning your perfect vacation package – we’ll include time for you to truly get the most out of Melbourne.
Posted on: February 12th, 2018 by Lizandra Santillan No Comments
The Best Australia Food and Wine for the Gourmet Traveler
When it comes to Australia food and wine, perhaps what instantly comes to mind is Vegemite…and not much else.
Yet the culinary scene throughout the country features some of the world’s most innovative and trend-setting restaurants. And the wine? Some of the best Chardonnay and Shiraz in the world.
For the true food and wine lovers, these are 23 must-see stops in Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide and surrounding wine regions. No vacation to Australia is complete without a little indulgence.
Sydney’s reputation as Australia’s global city precedes itself. Right on the doorstep of the CBD you’ll find incredibly diverse eateries to satisfy any craving imaginable.
From high-end dining to cozy cafes offering anything from Aussie dishes to Malaysian cuisine, you can’t go wrong with any pick.
But if you’re finding your head swimming from trying to choose the best Sydney restaurants, we’ve made it easy for you. Here’s our list of can’t-miss restaurants in Sydney.
Graze MCA – Located in the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, this is one of those rare restaurants that has it all. Brilliant location with an unbeatable view of the Sydney Opera House, amazing food and fantastic service. Simple and fresh ingredients highlight the generous portions of dishes such as bouillabaisse, poached ocean trout and lamb rump. Their wine list is a carefully curated celebration of Aussie and Kiwi wine regions, perfect for sipping while enjoying the views of the harbor.
Hubert – Step back in time to 1930’s Paris as you enter Hubert, a must for French cuisine. Don’t let the unassuming exterior fool you. Once inside, the unmistakably Parisian flair greets you with an ambience of dark elegance illuminated by dozens of candles. The menu boasts items inspired by cookbooks predating World War I. With live music adding to the splendid atmosphere, dining in Hubert is a divine slice of Paris right in the CBD.
Quay– Often lauded as the best restaurant in Sydney, this multiple award-winning restaurant never fails to live up to the hype. This is one of those essential Australian experiences: excellent views of iconic Sydney sights, dishes reflecting a unique blend of bush and local ingredients and a superb wine list detailing even the grape percentages of its champagnes.
Sake– If you’re inkling for a spot of Japanese, Sake is perhaps one of the best choices in all of Sydney. The simplicity of its sushi bar compliments the decadent main dishes, such as the sweet soy braised pork belly and pan seared barramundi. Your visit isn’t complete until you’ve had the famous dragon egg desert, a dark chocolate shell filled with toasted chocolate crumble, passionfruit curd, mango caramel and other vibrant delicacies.
Just about three hours away from Sydney you’ll find Hunter Valley, one of Australia’s premier wine regions.
Noted for its Shiraz and Semillon, there’s still a wide variety of wines to taste from one of many cellar doors dotting the region. A wine tasting tour is one of our favorite ways to get to know the region. What’s better than sampling a variety of wines without having to worry about the drive back?
If you’re a true wine lover, not much else.
Here are some of the top wineries in Hunter Valley you need to visit while Sydney.
Audrey Wilkinson Vineyard – If there’s one thing you’ll remember about your visit to Hunter Valley, it’ll be without a doubt the views from Audrey Wilkinson. This is where you’ll get that sweeping view of picturesque vineyards you see on the postcards. This historic winery dates back to 1866 and offers an excellent range of Semillons along with selections of sparkling, Chardonnay and Rose. Surround yourself in Audrey Wilkinson’s vintage charm with a picnic amongst the vines or a behind the scenes winery tour.
Piggs Peake – If you like big, fruit-driven red wines and small hidden gems, Piggs Peake is the place for you. Often recommended by other wineries, this small local winery has big personality. Here you’ll find a casual approach to wine (all wine names have a pig theme) with knowledge as professional and personal as any expert sommelier. Consistent favorites include their House of Sticks Shiraz and the House of Straw Merlot.
Mount View Estate – For a classic Hunter Valley experience with a boutique feel, Mt View Estate is a must-see. This estate has produced some of the most awarded wines in the Hunter Valley for 40 years. Mt View boasts a little bit of everything: a wide range of premium wines, gorgeous grounds and friendly and approachable owners.
Many locals fondly regard Melbourne as the Paris of the South – but then, many Melburnians are rather cheeky.
But there’s an unmistakably European feel about its lush Victorian architecture and grid-like city center, and it can’t be denied that Melbourne is considered as Australia’s undisputed cool kid.
The passion emanating from its world-renowned coffee and food scene is infectious, and your standards will rise to a level you’ll be hard pressed to experience anywhere else.
Attica – Foodies visiting Melbourne should have Attica at the top of their list. Rated as one of the world’s best 50 restaurants in 2017 and as the best restaurant in all Australasia, you’ll need to book at least a month in advance. But the month-long wait is well worth it. The menu consists of 17 courses blending Australian flavors in smaller portions so you can enjoy every plate. With dishes such as kangaroo, wattles and waxflower and camel milk ice, this is the perfect introduction to fine Australian cuisine.
Tipo 00 –Wander down Little Bourke Street to find one of Melbourne’s hottest eateries in one of its smallest venues. Tipo 00 is all about carbs, so leave your carb-counting at home. Don’t be fooled by its simple and small menu – the house-made pasta and risotto dishes crafted from bright and fresh ingredients will delight your taste buds with every bite. Their squid ink pasta is a favorite, and their rabbit tagliatelle is a consistent hit.
Brae – For a minimal yet chic experience, you can do no better than Brae. This restaurant has hopped up and up on the World’s Best Restaurants list, jumping from #65 to #44 in 2017. The experience speaks for itself; a visit to Brae is like visiting a friend’s home. Instead of single servings of one course at a time like regular degustation menus, you’ll be served multiple dishes at one time to graze at your own pace. The feel is reminiscent of an upscale holiday feast.
Less than an hour from Melbourne’s CBD is Yarra Valley, the Nappa Valley of Australia. Make a day trip to indulge in some of the finest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay produced from one of many wineries in the region. We also love day touring out to Yarra – winery hopping without the hassle of driving, yes please!
Here are some wineries you need to visit while in Yarra.
TarraWarra Estate – Stunning grounds and Australia’s first significant privately funded public museum make TarraWarra a cultural jewel of the Yarra Valley. Have a glass of their exceptional Pinot Noir or Chardonnay while overlooking the scenic surrounds on a crisp afternoon – paradise for any wine lover.
Yarra Yering – For the serious wine buff, Yarra Yering is a must-see. Reds are the focus here, and if you’re traveling solo you can taste ten wines for $10. An absolute steal considering the selection features their current vintages.
Oakridge Wines – Come for the food and wine, stay for a game of giant chess. What more do you need to draw you in for a visit? Perhaps complimentary wine tasting with no booking necessary? We’re so there. Not to mention the beautiful grounds – you’ll be day dreaming about hosting your wedding here.
A can’t-miss stop for any foodie MUST include a trip to Hobart. Seriously, with the cleanest air and waterways in the world, Tasmania produces some of the finest seafood and distillation around.
A stay in Hobart will be full of feasting on the freshest salmon, oysters, cheeses, whiskey and ciders. Here are our highlights of some of Hobart’s premier dining institutions.
The Source – The Museum of Old and New Art is a Hobart icon – a must for any art lover with the slightest predilection for the controversial. But one of the MONA’s brightest gems is The Source, its in-house restaurant focused on seasonal local produce. Try their own Moorilla wine or delight your taste buds with one of ten thousand bottles from around the world (no, really!).
Mures – Straight from the day’s catch from their own fishing vessel, you’ll be hard pressed to find any seafood fresher than at Mures. The restaurant is split into two decks: Mures Lower Deck provides a more casual dining experience while Upper Deck is more intimate and upscale. Situated on the waterfront, you’ll enjoy superb views of the harbor either way.
The Glass House – A small but insanely popular restaurant where tables are fought over even on Monday nights. But believe the hype: attentive service with smiles, exceptional food and gorgeous views of Derwent River cement The Glass House’s reputation as a Hobart must-do. Highlights are the carefully crafted cocktails and the salmon sashimi.
Willing Brothers – Here you’ll find great eats and an extensive wine list tucked in a cozy venue. Aussie and European labels are proudly displayed on the wall of the bar, and you can even buy a bottle to take home after tasting. Pair your sips with a small but delicious meal from locally-sourced ingredients.
Ettie’s – You won’t find a more rustic chic and stylish restaurant in Hobart than Ettie’s. Its contemporary menu offers a broad range of options from roasted duck ravioli to steak frites. For a lovely leisurely meal, opt for the seven course degustation meal and get your fill of oysters, sardines, mussels and cheese.
Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills
Adelaide in South Australia is noted for its refined elegance and culture. After getting acquainted with its stately art galleries and museums in North Terrace, take a day trip out to one of the surrounding wine regions. Some of our favorites are Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills, where you’ll find 5-star wineries and some of Australia’s best cool-climate wines.
Two Hands –For an journey into what Australian Shiraz is capable of, Two Hands is a must. Their Gnarly Dudes Shiraz is a popular favorite. Here you’ll receive a unique sit-down tasting from the day’s selection and you’ll get to take your tasting glass home with you.
Torbreck – Named one of the world’s top 100 wine estates, Torbreck is a small winery excelling in Shiraz and consistency. Though big on rich reds, their whites, particularly the Roussanne Marsanne, plays rights along side their most popular contenders.
Ochota Barrels –This is truly one of Adelaide Hills hidden gems with a well-deserved cult following. All Ochota Barrels wine names are music references sure to delight any punk rock enthusiast. Grab a seat at Lost in a Forest, their cellar door housed in a 130 year-old stone church, and try their wood fired pizza while sipping on their wines. Set within an idyllic scene of bright, lush trees hanging over picnic blankets on the lawn, you’ll feel yourself delightfully lost in a forest.
Rockford – No frills and serious wine is found in Rockford. Though a smaller winery, you’re sure to receive warm and attentive service even throughout peak times. This is the place to go for a more traditional winery experience, housed in restored buildings reflecting the architecture of Barossa Valley’s early settlements. You’ll feel the warmth of their sparkling Shiraz in your very soul.
Penfolds Magill Estate – If you’re at all familiar with Australian wine, you’ll have definitely heard of Penfolds. When in Barossa, you can’t pass up the opportunity to miss this household name at their cellar door. With a wide range of affordable and high end wines, there’s something for every palate. And only 20 minutes away from Adelaide’s city center, there’s no reason for you not to go!
Want More Recommendations on the Best Australia Food and Wine?
Part 2 will highlight food and wine spots in Australia’s east coast, including Noosa, Brisbane and Gold Coast. Your Destination Specialist is also always on hand to give you the inside scoop on restaurants and cellar doors you must visit while on your trip. Give in to your desires and lets start planning the ultimate food and wine trail for your Australia vacation!