Tag Archive for "Victoria"

Australia Must-Do: Phillip Island

Posted on: September 21st, 2018 by Lizandra Santillan No Comments

Things to Do on Phillip Island

Phillip Island Coast credit 3B's on Flickr

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

Phillip Island Coastline credit Visit Victoria

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

Seal Rocks credit Visit Victoria

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

Cape Woolamai Phillip Island Victoria credit Visit Victoria

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

Visitor and koala at Koala Conservation Centre credit Visit Victoria

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

Kangaroos at Phillip Island Wildlife Park credit Unbound Outbound

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 Heritage Farm Wagon Rides credit Visit Victoria

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

Phillip Island Penguins credit Visit Victoria

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?

Add Phillip Island to My Trip

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


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10 Must-Do Adventures In Ballarat, Australia

Posted on: August 21st, 2018 by Lizandra Santillan No Comments

Amazing Australia Road Trips Part 3

Australia’s Gold Rush: Halls Gap to Melbourne

Empty your pockets. When traveling through Ballarat, you’ll need the extra space for gold.

In our Amazing Australia Road Trips Pt. 2, we went over 13 great adventures in the Grampians. Now we’ll head back to Melbourne after an epic Great Ocean Road adventure, but there’s still many treasures to discover on this leg of the trip.

You might even find actual gold!

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

Breakfast at Harvest Halls Gap

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

Town Hall Ballarat

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

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

Meigas Spanish Tapas Ballarat

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

Hop Temple Ballarat

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

Art Gallery of Ballarat

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

Gold Nugget in Gold Museum Ballarat

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

Sovereign Hill Ballarat

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

Feeding kangaroos in Ballarat Wildlife Park

An Aussie road trip isn’t complete without at least a few wildlife encounters.

Ballarat makes it easy to get up close to iconic Australian animals at the Ballarat Wildlife Park.

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

Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa

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!


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


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9 Incredible Things to Do on Australia’s East Coast

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

Scuba diving at Agincourt Reef Tropical North Queensland credit Tourism and Events Queensland

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

Couple on bow bareboating credit Tourism and Events Queensland

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

Couple looking out over Hill Inlet at Whitehaven Beach credit Tourism and Events Queensland

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

Whale Watching credit Tourism and Events Queensland

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

Girl standing in clear waters of Lake McKenzie credit Jules Ingall

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

Koala in tree in Noosa National Park credit Tourism and Events Queensland

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

ape Byron Lighthouse at Byron Bay credit Destination NSW

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.

Image courtesy of Destination NSW

Take in Ocean Views on the Bondi to Coogee Walk

Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi NSW credit Tourism Australia

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

Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road

The first thing you need to know about the Great Ocean Road is that it’s so named for its magnificent beauty – but also for its length.

Stretching 151 miles long along the southeastern coast, you’ll need to plan at least two days for the trip to truly enjoy the incredible sights along the road.

This makes the trip perfect for self-drivers in Australia.

The road itself begins in Torquay, a seaside town about one hour away from Melbourne and ends at Warrnambool.

Popular stops include Bells Beach for impressive swells from the ocean crashing against towering cliffs and Split Point Lighthouse on Aireys Inlet for gorgeous coastal views.

But an absolute must-see on the Great Ocean Road is the Twelve Apostles, gigantic limestone formations jutting out from the ocean.

Looking for More Things to Do on Australia’s East Coast?

Stretching over 1600 miles, a vacation along Australia’s east coast is no easy feat – but its one of the world’s most rewarding travel routes.

Need more ideas on planning your trip to Australia? Our Australia travel experts make it easy to plan the vacation of a lifetime. Let’s start planning your dream trip!

I Want to See Australia’s East Coast!


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19 Free Things to Do in Melbourne

Posted on: February 26th, 2018 by Lizandra Santillan No Comments

Free Things to do in Melbourne

As Australia’s second largest city and capital for all things food, music and fun, the list of things to do in Melbourne is endless.

From its vibrant local music and arts scene to diverse food and incredible coffee culture, ticking off the essential Melbourne experiences in just a few days may seem impossible.

That’s why we’ve made it easy for you.

Here are 19 free things to do in Melbourne.

See the Main Sights on the City Circle Tram

Free Melbourne City Circle Tram

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!

Get Cultured at the National Gallery of Victoria

National Gallery of Victoria

Consistently rated as one of the top free things to do in Melbourne, the National Gallery of Victoria will impress even the non-art buffs.

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

Hosier Lane

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.

Visit the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art

Although the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art is small, the true modern art lover will feel right at home.

The building itself is an architectural artwork hinting at the eclectic collection within.

The constantly rotating exhibitions, workshops and films will challenge your perceptions and leave you with new perspectives.

Explore the Evolution of Animation at the Australian Centre for the Moving Arts

Australian Centre for the Moving Image

Let your inner obsession with television and video games run wild at the Australian Centre for the Moving Arts.

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?

Check out Swanson Street’s Rooftop Bar & Cinema or Lui Bar in Collins Street for unbeatable views and an outstanding range of drinks.

Listen to Live Music

As if Melbourne isn’t already cool enough, it’s also slated as Australia’s music capital. The city’s more than 400 venues have hosted major international bands acts as well as diverse local talent.

You’ll find disco nights, classical music concerts, jazz gigs, metal rock bands, hip hop acts – whatever your taste in music, Melbourne’s got it.

Live music is also easily found almost everywhere you turn in the CBD. Wander down AC/DC Lane and hit up Cherry Bar, infamous as a rock venue with a mix of free and paid shows.

On Mondays the Northcote Social Club hosts Monday Night Mass, a free event showcasing some of the local music scene’s underground talent.

The Gasometer Hotel is also a popular favorite in the local music scene, frequently hosting free shows on Sundays.

Browse the State Library of Victoria

State Library of Victoria

The State Library of Victoria is a bookworm’s paradise – and a must even for those not into reading.

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!

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.

FItzroy Gardens

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.

Shrine of Remembrance Melbourne

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

Brighton Bathing 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

White Night Melbourne Festival

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.

From Hispanic-Latin American culture of Johnston Street Festival to its Scandinavian Christmas Bazaar, there’s a festival for every culture in Melbourne. Catch the Chinese New Year Festival in February or the Diwali Indian Festival in October.

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.

Comedy fans will want to catch the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, one of the top three comedy festivals in the world.

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.

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Melbourne Must-See: Things to Do in Federation Square

Posted on: June 1st, 2017 by About Australia Staff No Comments
Things to Do in Federation Square Melbourne Australia

Photo: Rob Blackburn

There is perhaps nothing more divisive to Melbournians than Federation Square. When the site was opened in 2002, some Aussies derided it as an architectural nightmare. They said that it was one of “the ugliest eyesores I’ve ever had the misfortune of seeing”. That “everything about this abomination speaks volumes of the ineptitude and inabilities of the architectural team that put this world class laughing stock failure onto our streets”.

Harsh words!


But sometimes things just need a chance to grow on you. These days, Federation Square is visited by more than 10 million people per year. And it’s tied with Queen Victoria Market for the top tourist destination in the city.

Not bad for a building that was once named one of the ten ugliest in the world!

While some Aussies look through rose-tinted glasses about a pre-Federation Square Melbourne, others have learned to embrace and even love the public gathering space.

We’ll show you how this once ugly-duckling has flourished in to the must-see beautiful swan it is today as we show you the best things to do in Federation Square.

Australian Center for the Moving Image (ACMI)

Old-fashioned museums a bit too stuffy for you? Sick of seeing yet another exhibit of 17th century Victorian silverware? (It used to be made of real silver!) Then head on over to ACMI, an interactive museum of digital culture where video games are revered as high art.

Things to Do in Federation Square Melbourne Australia

Photo: Rob Blackburn

ACMI is the only national museum of its kind in Australia. Here, you can attend screenings of contemporary and experimental art films in one of several screening rooms. Stop by the production studios for hands-on workshops for film and digital video. Multiple screen galleries exhibit video art, sound installations, interactive film and more in a unique, underground space.

See rotating exhibitions dedicated to video games, the history of the moving image and more. Most exhibitions are free.

Alfresco Dining at Its Finest

Things to Do in Federation Square Melbourne Australia

Photo: Rob Blackburn

More than 20 bars and restaurants pack in to Federation Square. The large, open outdoor space is perfect for grabbing a bite to go and posting up right in the square. You can eat great food and watch the bustle of the city center.

The large outdoor patio of Time Out Café + Bar is perfect for enjoying Melbourne’s beautiful sunny weather as you dine. For a drink with a view, head to Transit Rooftop Bar where you’ll be treated to crafted cocktails and craft beer with picture-perfect panoramas of downtown Melbourne.

 

Ian Potter Centre

Things to Do in Federation Square Ian Potter Centre

Photo: Rob Blackburn

All Australian art. All the time. The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) opened the Ian Potter Center to highlight Australia’s best artists and works. From Aboriginal Australian dot paintings to contemporary, experimental sculpture, the gallery covers a huge swath of Australian art. More than 25,000 paintings, textiles, sculpture, photographs and more pack the Ian Potter Centre.

You’ll also find the building itself to be a work of art in its own right. The metal, glass and concrete patchwork is an amazing site inside and out.

Cruise the Yarra River

Things to Do in Federation Square Yarra River Cruise

Photo: Josie Withers

Federation Square was built to be a prime access point to the Yarra River. So what better way to utilize this entryway than by taking a river cruise. Walk straight over from federation square and jump on one of the riverboats. You’ll float the river seeing Melbourne’s beautiful cityscapes and gardens. Learn about this amazing city from the comfort of a river cruise liner.

Melbourne has a beautiful, urban skyline. As the most populous city in Australia, Melbourne has a cosmopolitan feel while retaining that distinct Aussie charm. From the city to the Outback, Melbourne perfectly illustrates the multi-faceted character of Australia.

 Free Public Events

True to its purpose, if there is a convention or event worth attending, chances are it is held in Federation Square. Here’s the short list of happenings throughout the year so you can find something to do no matter when you make it to Melbourne.

  • Multicultural Festivals Nearly 25 diverse cultures are represented in festivals throughout the year – from the Asian Food Festival to a Diwali celebration and more.
  • VIC100 Festival of Wine – The top 100 wines produced in Victoria make their way to Federation Square for public tastings and more.
  • Outdoor CinemaScreening current films and seasonal favorites (check out the Christmas movie marathon in December!)

Federation Square has flourished in to the destination it was always meant to be. It’s become a popular meeting spot for locals and perhaps the number one visited site in Melbourne – despite some early derision from skeptical locals! Plan a stop at Federation Square and see for yourself why the “little square that could” might top your list of great memories in Melbourne.

Add Federation Square to My Trip

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Melbourne Must-See: Queen Victoria Market

Posted on: May 18th, 2017 by About Australia Staff No Comments


There’s simply no better way to spend a relaxing morning than a farmer’s market. Interacting with local farmers and artisans. Letting your culinary creativity run wild as you browse fresh, local, inspiring produce. Or just spending some time searching for the perfect, unique gift to take back home.

Queen Victoria Market Melbourne

Photo: Queen Victoria Market

For that perfect farmer’s market experience in Melbourne, look no further than Queen Victoria Market. Since the 19th century, this market has been Melbourne’s go to street market for produce, meat, home goods, gifts and more.

So grab a cup of coffee from a local cart, dive in to some amazing street food and walk with us as we peruse Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne.

Queen Victoria Market spans nearly 20 acres. This makes it the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere, a record you probably didn’t even know existed. Victoria Market is huge, on par with other great markets in the world like the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, the Fish Market in Tokyo and Pike Place Market in Seattle.

Organic Produce Queen Victoria Market Melbourne

Photo: Queen Victoria Market

Organic Produce Queen Victoria Market Melbourne

Photo: Roberto Seba / Tourism Australia

 

With over 600 vendors selling their wares five days a week, this is not your average farmer’s market.

Queen Victoria Market is divided in to sections called “precincts”. Looking for great produce and natural products? Start things off in the “Organics Precinct”. There you’ll find local farmers and co-ops selling organic produce and meat. You’ll also find healthy, sustainable products created by health-conscious artisans. The largest and most diverse array of organic produce in the entire city is found right at this market.

Craving a bite to eat? Head to the Market Place Food Court. World-class chefs and family run establishments alike compete for your taste buds at the food court. For a real round-the-world lunch, grab a few small plates from different vendors for a sample of Melbourne’s eclectic cuisine.

Where else can you sip Chinese tea, snack on Japanese sushi, dine on curry from Sri Lanka and finish it off with Tiramisu from Italy?

Queen Victoria Market Melbourne

Photo: Queen Victoria Market

Tip: Even though you’re all the way over in Australia, stop by the American Doughnut Kitchen. These confection-experts set up shop in a 1950’s travel van where they prepare world-famous “hot jam doughnuts”.

After you’re fueled up on amazing eats, you’ll have the energy to comb the “General Merchandise Sheds”. This precinct is a sort-of flea market meets farmer’s market, with vendors selling an immense variety of goods, gifts and kitsch. From clothing jewelry and handcrafts, to cell phones, electronics and movies. Spend enough time in this precinct of the market and you’ll find anything you could ever need and somethings you probably don’t. You can even buy a stuffed Alpaca made of Alpaca wool. We’ll let you decide whether you need that or not.

The Vic Market’s newest section is String Bean Alley, where vendors set up shop in rows of re-purposed shipping containers. Upscale, handcrafted arts and crafts by local artists are for sale in this boutique section of the market. Photographers, painters and other visual artists also have galleries set up in String Bean Alley offering paintings and prints.

String Bean Alley Queen Victoria Market

Photo: Queen Victoria Market

Queen Victoria Market is open Tuesday and Thursday – Sunday. During certain seasons, the market opens its doors on Wednesdays for the Night Market. Street performers, musicians and other live entertainment join vendors for a great night time destination event. The Night Market is a festive event that attracts thousands for a night out in Melbourne.

Make sure you carve some time out in Melbourne for the Queen Victoria Market. It’s the perfect spot to pick up some local veggies, shop for a unique gift, or simply for a lunch out in downtown Melbourne.

 

Add Queen Victoria Market to My Trip

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Phone us Toll Free on 1-888-359-2877 (CT USA, M-F 8.30am – 5pm) and speak to one of our expert Destination Specialists today.

Australian Open Activites Look Amazing For 2017

Posted on: October 13th, 2016 by Melissa Maxwell No Comments

Australia Open promises to be an amazing time for tennis-lovers, their families and those in search of fun

Fun at the Australian Open 2017 Image By: JoJo on flickr.com

In Melbourne, the Australian Open isn’t only about tennis. Although, that’s a huge part of it. The Australian Open is really about fun and entertainment. This year, Melbourne’s biggest party just got bigger with amazing news for tennis enthusiasts as well as those just looking for a good time!  Experiencing the Australia Open is just one of many reasons to travel to Australia.

 

Tennis elites confirmed for the 2017 Australian Open tournament

According to the Herald Sun, “Grand slam record-holders Roger Federer and Serena Williams and defending champions Angelique Kerber and Novak Djokovic will lead a glittering parade [of tennis elites] from January 16-29.”

Angelique Kerber Australian Open 2016 Winner All of the other top players from 2016 have also confirmed their attendance at the grand slam of the Asia Pacific. There will be plenty of opportunities to see breakout players set their sights on taking out the big guns, like Angelique Kerber did last year.

“Coming back to Melbourne as the Australian Open defending champion will be incredibly exciting, I can’t wait! This is the tournament that set me up for my most successful year and I will never forget those amazing two weeks in Melbourne. It will be an amazing experience to walk out on Rod Laver Arena again, and relive such an exciting time in my life,” said Kerber.

Image via TrollTennis on Facebook.com

Free AO Festival at Birrarung Mar

Australia Open Free Music FestivalImage via Australian Open on Facebook.com
The Australian Open will return with a free two day opening festival, providing entertainment and tennis viewing for the whole family on the upper and lower levels of Birrarung Mar – including access to some of Melbourne’s best food trucks.   Those with ground passes to the Australian Open will also enjoy some of Australia’s biggest bands at “The Open Sessions” on the middle terrace.

Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley said, “We’ve seen that fans flock to the Australian Open not just for the world class tennis but also the fantastic party atmosphere as seen at the AO Festival in 2016. We’re excited by our new look to the site and know that the fans are going to love the carnival atmosphere that goes with it.”

For the first time, the AO Festival will be hosted at Birrarung Mar, a brilliant and well planned outdoor venue on the banks of the Yarra River with 3 levels.   The venue also has many interesting pieces of public art, some celebrating the diversity of Victoria’s Indigenous culture.

A Great Time for the Whole Family – Kids Tickets are Just $5

Image via Australian Open on Facebook.com
This year, children are invited to attend the Australian Open for just $5 (apart for Jan 21 & 22). The $5 ground pass, for children 3 – 14 years of age, not only offers access to the sporting event but also provides entry into a mini theme park called “The Ballpark”. For the first time, the Australian Open will offer all-day entertainment to young tennis fans. Kids can look forward to things like:

  • LEGO World
  • NERF Battlezone
  • ANZ Tennis Hot Shots Fan Zone
  • Adventure Park
  • $5 Food Options
  • Free fruit from Woolworths
  • And More!

Kid’s Tennis Day will also return with free entry for children under 15 and access to the Kid’s Tennis Day Rod Laver Arena Spectacular featuring some of the world’s best tennis players.

“We want kids to be able to see their idols in action and inspire them to get involved in tennis. The new kids’ zone, the Ballpark, will have heaps of fun activities, kid-friendly food options, along with the opportunity to actually play tennis, as well as a few surprises. We can’t wait to welcome more kids to Australian Open 2017 and will continue to offer world class entertainment at family-friendly prices,” said Craig Tiley

The Australian Open will be in Melbourne from January 16th – January 29th 2017 with the AO Festival taking place on January 14th & 15th.

Would you like to travel to Australia to experience the Australia Open?   We can help you plan your trip and book your Australian Open tickets.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beaches & Aquatic Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Twelve Apostles,…

…and London Bridge

Wildlife

Head to Healesville Sanctuary, a world-renowned spot to see Australian wildlife in their natural habitat. Located in the heart of the Yarra Valley, Healesville centers on local conservation and indigenous culture.

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

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

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

Rainforest

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

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

Outback

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

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

Food & Wine

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

Head to Coda for sleek Asian/French cuisine.

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

Dine high in the sky at Vue de Monde.

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

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

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

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

Modern City Culture & Art

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

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

…to public installations.

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

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

#art A photo posted by (@exceedinglyaverage) on

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

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

Indigenous Culture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on: October 29th, 2015 by Melissa Maxwell No Comments
16 Stunning Photos of Beaches and Aquatic Life in Australia
Look at the tweet below and you’ll understand what it feels like to experience the beauty of Australia.Below are 16 amazing photos to trigger some of that awe inspiring delight right now!Our Destination Experts can help you plan the perfect trip to Australia. Customize your trip and start jumping for joy.

Whale Sharks in the Indian Ocean, Western Australia

Whale sharks in Western AustraliaImage by Migration Media – Underwater Imaging via Western Australia facebook

The Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia is the only place in Australia where you can swim with the majestic Whale Shark. The Whale Shark is the largest known fish and can grow up to 42 feet long. Unlike most sharks, they are filter feeders with huge toothless mouths.

 

The Famous Bondi Baths, Sydney, New South Whales

Bondi Pool Australia TripImage by: Andym5855 on flickr

These giant pools have been a landmark of Bondi Beach for over 100 years! There is a large pool for lap swimming and a smaller pool for the kiddos. Its a great way to experience one of Australia’s most beautiful beaches during the winter. The pool is open 6am to 6:30pm, Monday through Friday, 6:30am – 6:30pm on Saturday and Sunday, and is closed for cleaning on Thursdays. It’s only $6.50AUS for adults & $4.50AUS for children.

Sea Turtles on the Great Barrier Reef

Sea Turtles in Australia

When visiting the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, don’t forget to bring an underwater camera. Whether you’re diving or snorkeling, you’re sure to run into many members of the large diverse aquatic life population, like this Green Sea Turtle. Six of the world’s seven marine turtles can be found on the Great Barrier Reef.

Lizard Island, The Great Barrier Reef, Queensland

Lizard-Island

Sitting right on the Great Barrier Reef, Lizard Island has some amazing views and uniquely diverse diving conditions. Forbes.com recently published an article about the Luxury Resort of Lizard Island, saying it “may be one of the most beautiful place in the world.” The resort, complete with a recent 46-million dollar renovation, is absolutely stunning. With 24 sandy white beaches and 1,013 hectares of National Park, it’s really easy to get away from it all.

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

Sea Lions off the coast of Port Lincoln, South Australia

Swim with Sea Lions in Port Lincoln in South AustraliaImage by: Adventure Bay Charters via australia.com facebook

These friendly “puppies of the sea” can be found in many waters off the coast of Australia. This photo was taken in the crystal clear water of Seal Cove. So adorable!

Byron Bay, New South Wales

Sunset At Byron Bay Travel to AustraliaImage by: Adrll Slonchak on flickr

Byron Bay is a popular vacation spot among the Aussie population. So you know it’s good! It’s a laid back, new-age utopia kind of town with miles of picture-perfect coastline. Great for families, friends, couples and shutterbugs.

The Penguin Parade on Phillip Island, Victoria

Little Penguins on Phillip Island Every night a parade of little penguins marches across Summer Land Beach. Phillip Island in Victoria is home to an estimated 32,000 breeding pairs. As you can imagine, this is a very cute sight to see!

Swimming with Humpbacks off the Sunshine Coast, Queensland

Swimming with Humpbacks on the Sunshine Coast Experience AustraliaImage by: Migration Media Underwater Imaging, Australia.com Facebook

This amazing photo was taken off the coast of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast during this year’s Humpback migration season (July – October). It’s amazing to see calves swim along side their mums.

Wineglass Bay, Tasmania

Wineglass Bay Tasmania Trip to AustraliaImage by: aussiejeff on flickr

Wineglass bay, located on the Southern edge of Tasmania, is located in Freycinet National Park. These perfect contours, turquoise water and pure white beaches exist on any normal day while you’re on Wineglass Bay.

Baby Turtles on Diamond Beach, New South Wales

Baby turtles on Diamond Beach Image by: Judith Conning via australia.com on facebook

Every year thousands of baby turtles make their way to the ocean for the first time. Turtle nesting grounds can be found all over Australia’s coast.

The Twelve Apostles, Port Campbell National Park, Victoria

12 Apostles Melbourne AustraliaImage by: Visit Melbourne on facebook

Near the Great Ocean Road in Victoria in Port Campbell National Park, you’ll find a collection of limestone stacks just off the shore. There are only eight apostles now, after the ninth one dramatically collapsed in July of 2005. Interesting fact: There were never 12 stacks, as far as we know.

Augie the Killer Whale on the Coral Coast, Western Australia

Augie the Killer Whale Western Australia Image by Indian Ocean Imagery via Western Australia facebook

Considered an Exmouth local and regular around Ningaloo Reef, Augie the Orca is known for putting on a show. He’s been spotted multiple times performing for crowds on cruises around the reef.

Fraser Island, Queensland

Fraser Island Ship Wreck Visit Australia Image by: Greg Schechter

Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island, is a nature lover’s dream. Activities available include 4×4 next to the sandy cliffs, hike through the rainforest, meet native wildlife, whale-watch, comb the beaches, visit shipwrecks, and swim in freshwater lakes ringed with gold. The photo above is of the island’s most famous shipwreck, the SS Maheno. It was one of the first turbine-driven steamers.

Tangalooma Island Resort, near Brisbane

Dolphin feeding Tangalooma island resort Tour Australia

Tangalooma is the only place you’re practically guaranteed the opportunity to feed wild bottlenose dolphins during your stay. Each night at sunset up to 10 wild dolphins visit the shores of Tangalooma and everyone is invited to feed them a treat. The feeding program runs with strict guidelines to ensure the health and safety of the dolphins, but everyone still enjoys this magical experience.

Heart Shaped Reef, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland

Heart Reef Great Barrier Reef Travel to Australia Image credit: Kieran Stone via australia.com facebook

You might recognize this scene from TV and movies. The Heart Shaped Reef, in Hardy Reef, is a great place for snorkeling and scuba diving. You can see this lovely sight from a helicopter or plane tour.

Bremer Island, Northern Territory

Bremer Island Visit Australia Image by: Australia’s Outback, Northern Territory on facebook

Bremer Island is at the topmost end of Australia in the Northern Territory. It’s the perfect place for a remote wilderness retreat, world class fishing, learning about the Yolngu culture, and getting away from it all.

There are so many amazing sights to see on and off the coasts of Australia. As they say, pictures just don’t do it justice.

You have to see it for yourself. Are you ready to start planning your tip to Australia?

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