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: June 4th, 2018 by Lizandra Santillan No Comments
Rich in history, incredible food, creative locals and smooth whiskies to warm you from the chill of mountain air – this is Hobart.
It’s the capital of Tasmania, Australia’s island state, located about one hour’s flight away from Melbourne.
Its blend of strong heritage and waterfront charm make it popular for travelers looking for a laid-back destination that has it all.
From one-of-a-kind museums to great hikes, native wildlife and haunting historic sites, Hobart has something for everyone.
Here’s our list of 9 amazing things to do in Hobart for the best vacation in Tasmania.
Stroll Through Salamanca Market
Get ready for a reawakened passion for food. At Salamanca Market, a simple stroll is impossible without the urge to taste your way through its stalls.
You’ll find wallaby burritos, salmon sausage and fresh scallop pies among other gourmet artisan food. Sample local honey, sip on locally distilled gin or whisky, and admire leather goods – every stall boasts finely made products with an emphasis on local.
Another favorite stop is at the wood work stalls, where you’ll find an array of impressive crafts made from Tasmanian timber. Along with the bustle of local musicians lending their talents to the crowd, the inviting atmosphere alone makes Salamanca Market worth it.
Located near at historic Salamanca Place next to the Hobart waterfront, the market is only open on Saturdays from 8:30am to 3pm.
Get Your Culture Fill at the Museum of Old and New Art
Some liken MONA to Vegemite – you’ll either love it or you’ll hate it. But one thing is for sure about this controversial museum – you’ll never forget it.
The museum itself is considered an interactive piece. With artful architecture and winding staircases jutting out in every direction, the setting is perfect to lose yourself in a world of conceptual art and ideas.
Here, owner David Walsh displays his extensive private collection of modern art and antiquities. You’ll find pieces ranging from a waterfall installation cascading words to confronting exhibits on human anatomy.
MONA invites you to form your own opinion with its ‘O’ device. Provided to all visitors, the O offers artist interviews, self-proclaimed ramblings from David Walsh, and information on each exhibit as they are encountered.
On the ‘O’ you’ll see an option to either “Love” or “Hate” each piece, letting you know how many other people agree with you after submitting your answer. At MONA, there are no wrong opinions.
Many warn that this museum is not for the faint of heart, but all you really need is an open mind.
Indeed, that’s often the source of the most rewarding experiences.
No, that’s not a typo – the official name of Mount Wellington incorporates its Palawa kani name from the languages of Aboriginal Tasmanians, using no capital letters.
As part of Wellington Park, the many walking tracks, mountain biking trails and even rock climbing easily make for a whole day exploring the mountain.
Climb to the summit and take a break from the wind in the Pinnacle observation shelter. With tall glass walls overlooking Hobart, the expansive view will leave you breathless.
Get an even closer look on the Pinnacle boardwalk observation deck and take in the inspiring view with the breeze of cool, mountain air.
Make a stop at the Lost Freight Cafe on the way down. This charming cafe fitted out of a shipping container serves up some of the best coffee in all of Hobart, along with a savory rosemary lamb pie and other hearty treats.
See Her Story at Cascades Female Factory
As Australia’s second oldest capital city after Sydney, Hobart is full of historic sites with turbulent pasts. One of the city’s most significant sites is Cascades Female Factory, lying in the shadow of kunanyi / Mount Wellington.
This historic purpose-built institution incarcerated thousands of children and female convicts of yesteryear.
Plaques detailing the history of this site hang along the walls of the restored ruins. Tours are also available, led by knowledgeable and passionate guides.
A must-do experience, however, is the “Her Story” dramatization of the Female Factory’s past. You’ll relive the history as you follow the story of one woman’s experience in the institute, complete with transparent depictions of the harsh treatment endured by these women.
Taste Pure Tasmanian Beer at Cascade Brewery
Crafted with pure Tasmanian water sourced straight from kunanyi / Mount Wellington and Tasmanian-grown hops, Cascade Brewery does beer best.
Established in 1824 and still in regular operation to this day, this is Australia’s oldest working brewery.
Not even a fire can bring this Tasmanian icon down – after a great bushfire devastated southern Tasmania and Cascade in 1967, the people of Hobart joined together to rebuild the brewery. The result is not only a flagship of rich Tasmanian beer but also a testament to the resilience of Tasmania’s people.
Get a taste of the Cascade Pale Ale, the oldest continuously brewed beer in the country. The smooth and rich Cascade Stout is sure to hit the spot for stout drinkers. Or try a brew available only in Tasmania – the Cascade Lager.
The ornate gothic facade of the brewery and its splendid gardens are inviting enough to spend a day out on the grounds. Grab lunch at the onsite restaurant with a generous menu featuring locally sourced produce.
Opt for a tour of the brewery for a timeline of Cascade’s history along with a look behind the scenes of the brewing process. Just be sure to wear pants and closed-toe shoes!
Visit Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary
Bonorong prides itself as a small business with a huge heart. As a 24/7 wildlife rescue service, we’re inclined to agree.
The sanctuary’s aim is to nurse animals back to health and into the wild. Run by volunteers and housing species extinct everywhere in the world but Tasmania, Bonorong is truly special.
Here you’ll meet native wildlife such as kangaroos, koalas and wombats along with the Tassie favorite – Tasmanian devils.
From feeding frenzies to personal encounters, the wildlife experiences are intimate, fun and unforgettable.
Get up close with Tassie devils and have a “tug of war” with them for their dinner. Hand-feed adorable Eastern quolls, tawny frogmouth owls and sugar gliders.
Want to see it all? Join a sanctuary tour, where you’ll receive a bag of kangaroo food to hand-feed the kangaroos roaming freely on the grounds.
Located just about half an hour from Hobart’s city center, Bonorong makes for a great day trip.
Though not large, you’ll easily find yourself lost within the rich stories and history behind the exhibits.
Marvel at ancient Tasmanian artifacts and early settlement relics. Learn about the poignant Black War of the 1820s and Aboriginal culture with dedicated galleries. You’ll also find a fabulous coin collection and fine Australian paintings.
Crowd favorites include the Tasmanian devil exhibit with an extensive history of the animal. You’ll even learn how it came to feature as a character on the Bugs Bunny cartoon!
The museum star, however, is its thylacine exhibit, showcasing this infamously extinct animal. Not one to shy from Tasmania’s turbulent history, the objective portrayals this museum employs is truly a refreshing experience.
Tour through the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens
Established in 1818, these are Australia’s second-oldest gardens – another historic landmark for Hobart.
Stroll through cheerful fruit and vegetable patches, charming succulents and other interesting native plants.
Explore the secretive nooks and crannies, enshrouded in flowering plants and blooms.
Make your way to the Japanese Garden for true serenity, complete with a tranquil brook under a bright red bridge.
Stop by the Sub Antarctic Plant House for one of the gardens’ most exciting and unusual collections. Here you’ll find plants from Sub Antarctic islands in a climate-controlled complex complete with chilly fogs and mists.
A popular day trip from Hobart, Bruny Island lies less than two hours away from the city. That’s a small journey for some of Tasmania’s most delectable treats.
Every stop on your journey is a course on your menu for the day. You’ll taste savory artisan cheeses from Bruny Island Cheese Company, freshly caught oysters at Get Shucked Oysters, hand-crafted spirits at Bruny Island House of Whisky and much more.
More of a sweet tooth? You’ll also get a taste of sweet berry treats, premium chocolate and honey throughout your journey.
Our tip is to skip dinner the night before the tour!
Looking for More Things to Do in Hobart?
Hobart appears a tranquil refuge at distance, but a closer look reveals a city rich in history, culture and experiences.
As experts in Australia travel, we’ll give you the best tips and sightseeing recommendations for your stay in Hobart.
Want to include Hobart on your next Australia vacation? Let’s start planning your journey today!
Posted on: April 10th, 2018 by Lizandra Santillan No Comments
Why You Should Visit the Gold Coast
Sun-kissed skin, sunny beach days, stunning rainforests and iconic Australian moments are what the Gold Coast is all about.
Whether the beach calls your name or you’re after adventure, the Gold Coast awaits.
Get a peek into the good times that never end – even after the sun sets. Here are our 8 reasons why you should visit the Gold Coast right now.
Boundless Beach Days
The Gold Coast boasts a fabulous collection of Australia’s best beaches. Their crystal blue waters, incredible surf breaks and breathtaking high-rise backdrops make Gold Coast beaches irresistible to any kind of beach goer.
Venture to Surfers Paradise Beach, the famous beach hotspot of the Gold Coast, and roll out a towel for a lazy sun-kissed day.
The new foreshore at Surfers Paradise is bustling throughout the day with walkers, cyclists and skateboarders taking advantage of this beachfront boulevard vista overlooking the surf and sand.
Like the Surfers Paradise of yesteryear, beachside shopping, dining, bars and clubs continually offer the complete holiday experience all in one compact destination package.
Broadbeach, south of Surfers Paradise is a precinct full of cafes, restaurants, retailers and is a friendly beachfront. Just a little further down the coast is Burleigh Heads, acclaimed for its beachside village vibe and array of excellent cafes.
Visitors flock to the Southern Gold Coast for its change of pace. From here, you can look back towards the Surfers Paradise skyline in the distance and really feel you’ve slowed down.
The surf is spectacular and the southern suburbs exude old-school beachside charm combined with world-class oceanfront hotels, restaurants and an array of retro festivals.
Live Like a Local
If you are looking for the quintessential “Aussie lifestyle” then head to the Gold Coast with its miles of sandy beaches, urban sophistication and incredible natural environment.
The city’s growth and continuing popularity as Australia’s number one holiday destination is a testament to the relaxed vibes and welcoming atmosphere that the city exudes.
The Gold Coast offers a variety of opportunities to scratch beneath the surface and live like a local.
Drop into one of it’s seriously cool micro-breweries that offer live music and food trucks, or browse its vibrant street food markets. Join the “clubbies” at the local volunteer Surf Life Saving club for a drink and world class views.
Or just take some food down to the beach, fire up one of the free BBQ’s, grab a spot among the locals and take it all in.
Conquer Your Fear of Heights on the SkyPoint Q1 Climb
Sure, the Q1 Resort tower is the highest point in all of Gold Coast, but don’t let that scare you!
The SkyPoint Climb at Q1 is Gold Coast’s answer to Sydney’s Bridge Climb, and an absolute must-do for the best views over Gold Coast.
Starting on level 77 of SkyPoint Observation Deck, you’ll shimmy into a full body suit and strap on a harness before a safety training by a professional and friendly guide.
Harnessed to a purpose-built safety rail system, you’ll find the guided climb up to to the summit unbelievably easy. As the best way to see the true beauty of the Gold Coast, the 360 degree views make the climb truly worth it. The swells of the ocean against the coast, the lush hinterland and even views from Brisbane to Byron Bay are all yours to take in.
Rise with the sun on a morning climb or watch the city lights illuminate the evening with a night climb. You can even include a dining option with your climb – the night climb boasts a delicious shrimp tagliatelle!
As one of the best photo ops in Gold Coast, your guide will snap photos of you and your group with the backdrop of the gorgeous city skyline in the distance. By then you’ll have forgotten all about any fear of heights!
Taste the Incredible Food Scene
The Gold Coast’s food scene has evolved so much in the last few years, it’s a full-time job just keeping up with the latest openings.
From hatted restaurants (the Australian equivalent to Michelin stars), quirky cafes and food trucks to wine bars and craft beer taphouses, there’s something for every palate.
Relish elegant beachfront hotel dining in Surfers Paradise or sample delectable seafood on rooftop restaurants in Burleigh Heads. Get your Asian fusion mix in Broadbeach, where you’ll find creative dishes to delight your taste buds.
The locals swear by street eats such as ramen from Muso and Double Zero’s Neapolitan style pizza.
Chill out at al fresco eateries such as Sandbar with its brunch seaside menu, or see why the good tunes and pizza of Justin’s Rooftop make it a popular favorite with the locals.
Get Up Close with Wildlife at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is the unsung attraction of the Gold Coast, home to one of the world’s largest collections of native Australian wildlife.
Catch the mini train circling around the sanctuary for easy access to the various exhibits and encounters.
Here you can pet the curious kangaroos and feed the rainbow lorikeets perched on your shoulder.
Watch an exciting crocodile feeding or catch the Dingo Walk, where you’ll get to feel the stunning white coat of Marrok, a pure white alpine dingo. Don’t miss your chance for that iconic Australia photo shoot while holding a koala!
For a unique experience, visit the hospital where you can witness the conservation team operate on sick and injured animals. The vets warmly welcome visitors and explain every aspect of their process. Now THAT’S getting up close and personal!
Head for the Hills in the Gold Coast Hinterland
Hidden beneath the Gold Coast’s bold first impression is a serene hinterland filled with thriving rainforests, stunning waterfalls and fantastic walking trails. The best part is it’s all within just an hour’s drive from the hustle and bustle of Gold Coast.
Venture into the ancient, world heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforests and explore its gorgeous national parks. Lamington National Park offers plenty of walking trails for all fitness levels, decorated by cascading waterfalls along the way. Walk among the shady tree canopies on the Tree Top Walkway near O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat.
Take a break from the sand and find your zen in the swimming holes throughout the forest, such as the Currumbin Rock Pools.
Springbrook National Park is full of hidden gems such as caves, spectacular waterfalls and a natural bridge arch. Wherever you’re wandering throughout the rainforest, keep an eye out for kangaroos and wallabies peeking out from their bush retreats!
Catch these unique pockets of the rainforest you might’ve otherwise missed on a small group tour, our favorite way to explore the Gold Coast Hinterland.
Shop ‘Til You Dop
You won’t find a love for local markets and high-end shops alike greater than the at the Gold Coast.
Feel the bohemian vibes of the Village Markets at Burleigh Heads, where you’ll find boutique stalls of fashionable and locally designed clothes along with delicious street eats.
Luxury shopping gets no better than at Pacific Fair’s offer of high-end designer digs and glamorous department stores.
An experience unto itself is Harbour Town, Australia’s largest outlet shopping center featuring premium Australian and international brands. In other words, a shopaholic’s dream.
Stay Up Late
When the sun goes down, the adults play.
By night, the Gold Coast’s vibrant nightlife welcomes the party-loving night owls, cocktails in hand, at laid-back music venues and rooftop bars.
Energetic, enthusiastic, electric, eclectic! These are just some of the words that sum up the social scene that Surfers Paradise was built on. Surfers Paradise comfortably maintains its position as the good-times hub of the Gold Coast.
For a generous flow of craft beer, stop by Balter Brewery for a nice, cold pint and hang out with its down-to-earth crowd.
Indulge in exuberant luxury at The Star’s 24-hour casino or mingle with the locals at a true Gold Coast rooftop icon – The Island.
Experience a taste of international street food and nightlife at Miami Marketta, a small venue housing 25 food vendors and fantastic live music.
Whether you’re looking for a wild night out in the city or a more relaxed end to your day, the Gold Coast’s extensive nightlife has something for all night-owls.
Ready to Go to the Gold Coast?
Incredible beaches, lush hinterland, theme parks – there’s no end to the reasons to visit the Gold Coast.
This iconic tourist destination is a must for a glimpse into the quintessential “Aussie lifestyle.”
Feeling the call of the Gold Coast? Let’s start planning your trip today! As experts in Australian travel, we’ll help plan your vacation to include a stay in the Gold Coast. We know it’ll be a highlight of your trip!
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: October 19th, 2017 by Lizandra Santillan No Comments
Whale Watching Season in Australia
Whale watching in Australia has grown tremendously over the last decade. The long whale season in Australia – between May and November – no doubt contributes to its growing popularity.
But whale watching season differs throughout the country and so do the kinds of whales you’ll see.
In May, whale groups including humpbacks and southern right whales migrate from the waters of the Antarctic to the tropical waters of Australia for mating season. Minke whales and even the rare blue whale also make a stop in Australia’s waters throughout their migration.
The warm waters provide a safe habitat for delivering and nursing their calves, contributing to the growing whale population in Australia. With nearly 60 per cent of the world’s whales found in Australia’s waters, it’s no wonder this is a top whale watching destination.
Make your stop along the coasts of Australia – the best place to see whales – for an incredible opportunity to see these iconic gentle giants on your Australia vacation. Read our guide below to discover the best times to see whales during whale watching season in Australia.
Whale Watching in Victoria and South Australia
Every year along the southern coast of Australia you’ll see southern right whales migrate to the bays of Victoria and South Australia to give birth.
Whale watching season for southern rights in this region is between June and October, when they swim closest to the shores. In Warnambool, Victoria, blue whales are occasionally seen in May.
Cross off two breathtaking experiences at once and journey along the Great Ocean Road on the southeastern coast of Australia. Cruise one of the world’s most scenic drives and stop at popular lookout points to stretch your eyes across the waters below your to spot whales frolicking and breaching. Southern rights are the most commonly spotted whale from different points along the Great Ocean Road, including at Cape Nelson, Portland Bay, and Warnambool.
These curious whales tend to venture close to humans, often swimming close to boats and ultimately lending to an incredible experience with these gentle giants of the sea.
Whale Watching on the East Coast of Australia
Whale Watching in Sydney
The east coast of Australia offers excellent opportunities for whale watching, especially along the coasts of New South Wales and Queensland.
The best time to see whales in popular destinations throughout the east coast ranges between May through July and September through November.
In Sydney, you’ll typically spot humpback whales close to shore making their journey toward Queensland. Humpback whales, like southern rights, are friendly and curious about boats and divers. Their inviting nature has given them the reputation of the most popular whales among whale watchers.
These whale watching cruises typically combine whale watching with sightseeing and information on Sydney’s history. Cruise vessels provide an intimate experience by carrying only up to 11 passengers. You’ll enjoy a private, small group tour along the Sydney Harbor with personalized and knowledgeable commentary about the city and whales throughout your journey.
Soon you’ll be an expert on Sydney and whale behavior patterns.
If you like to cruise in style, Sydney offers luxury whale watching cruises complete with a gourmet luncheon served on-board and drinks to purchase. Comfortable indoor seating allows you to sip on a cocktail while watching the giants of the sea. Or you may take in the blue expanse of the ocean out on spacious viewing decks.
Take a cruise to the reef and not only will you experience the world’s largest living organism – the reef itself – but you may also see whales, the world’s largest animals.
Whale season attracts humpback and dwarf minke whales between May and September to the warm waters of the Great Barrier Reef. The best time for whale watching in this region, however, is between July and September.
Whale Watching on the Gold Coast
If you’d rather keep your feet on the ground but still yearn for the special experience of seeing a whale, Australia’s east coast is the best place to spot whales from the beach.
The Gold Coast is rapidly becoming the premier whale watching site in Australia, with whales venturing as close as one or two kilometers from beach shores. Whales may be spotted all throughout the regular whale watching season in the Gold Coast, peaking in August.
Numerous lookout points along the Gold Coast provide great ocean views where you’ll spot humpback whales breaching and shooting big spouts of mist into the air. Point Danger, a headland on the southern end of the Gold Coast, is renowned as a premier spot for whale watching on land. Other great vantage points include Burleigh Hill and Miami Hill.
Whale Watching in Hervey Bay
Humpback whales make a stop on their return migration to enjoy the waters of Hervey Bay. The clear waters allow you to easily see humpbacks as they frolic and breach, basking in the sheltered waters of Fraser Island with their young. The best time to see humpbacks in Hervey Bay is between July through October, right before they head south again for feeding.
You will typically begin spotting humpbacks twenty minutes into a cruise out on the waters of Hervey Bay – perfect for the eager whale watching enthusiast. Sometimes the whales venture close to the boats, a delightful treat for lucky passengers.
An even better treat is getting to swim with the whales.
Swimming with Whales
Swim with Whale Sharks
The once in a lifetime opportunity to swim with whales awaits at Ningaloo Coast. This World Heritage Site is located in the north-west coast of Western Australia. Here, whale watching adventures can combine a snorkel on the Ningaloo reef with whale watching and swimming on a full day tour.
Take a cruise between March and September for the chance to get up close and personal with these friendly giants.
And the giant you’re most likely to meet on a whale swim is the whale shark. Don’t worry though – classified as the world’s largest fish, these animals are more like whales in their behavior than sharks. These docile creatures are accustomed to swimming alongside humans, with a diet consisting of only micro-organisms such as plankton and krill. So there’s nothing stopping you from taking the plunge and swimming with whale sharks!
Meeting a new friend means first gaining their trust. The same holds true even for these enormous creatures.
You’ll enter the waters with an expert guide in a small group of up to 5 swimmers, so as not to scare off the whale shark. Gaining the animal’s trust may take up to half an hour, but that’s a small price to pay for such a grand experience.
To ensure this exhilarating experience goes as smoothly as possible, a spotter plane flies overhead and alerts the crew on board when a whale is spotted. A photographer joins the swim to capture unforgettable underwater moments you can look back on.
Swimming with Dwarf Minke Whales
Other friendly and inquisitive whales that you are likely to meet on a whale swim are dwarf minkes.
These whales hang around the Ribbon Reefs of the Great Barrier Reef between May and September, peaking in early July. This region is the only place in the world where humans can interact with these whales. With a limited number of tours permitted to offer swimming with minke whales, you don’t want to miss out on this special experience! Day trips and even 3-7 night excursions onto the sea are available for enjoying minke whale watching and swimming.
If you are unsure about swimming with whales, minke whales are just gentle enough to try out the experience. They often seek out human company, swimming around snorkelers and divers and approaching boats just within a few yards. Just another reason why Australia is the best place to see whales – you’re able to experience whales in their natural habitat.
Whale Watching in Australia
All along Australia’s coastline are fantastic spots to see whales. Whether you’re a swimmer and ready for the once in a lifetime experience of swimming with whales, or if you’d rather keep your feet on the ground and see whales frolic in the ocean from the beach or a cruise, there’s a spot in Australia perfect for your style of whale watching.
Want to include whale watching in your trip to Australia? Contact one of our expert Destination Specialists. We’ll set up the perfect whale watching experience for you to see these majestic giants of the sea.
Phone us Toll Free on 1-888-359-2877(CT USA, M-F 8.30am – 5pm).
About Australia Reviews
Rating of Average of 4.86 on a total of 186 Ratings
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!
My husband and his brother had a very nice time in Australia. Thank you for your help in coordinating this adventure.
Excellent vacation, amazing service!
Thank you for putting together such a great vacation for us, very professional service. We had a blast in Australia!
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.
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!
Such a well rounded first class adventure
Virgin Australia made the lengthy flight enjoyable.The hotel, Breakfree, was in the heart of town, spacious clean comfortable room and front desk staff bent over backwards to assist us with all kinds of requests. The tours were informative and fun. We had time to do a few things on our own, like having dinner at the top of Sydney tower our last night. On the Blue Mountain tour, we even had an(...)
It was 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.
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.
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(...)
Well designed and good value trip, would recommend to friends
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(...)
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 .
Great trip. Everything was perfect. Thanks Darin for all your help. You did a great job.
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(...)
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.
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(...)
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.
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.
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(...)
Great job Chris!
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!
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.
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(...)
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(...)
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.
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!
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 (...)
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.
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(...)
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.
Great trip. Loved every moment of it. Just what I wanted and more.
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. (...)
If people go and don't wanna stay they're crazy
John and Lorraine Estey
Waiheke - just a short ferry ride from Auckland
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.
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(...)
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.
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(...)
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(...)
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.
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.
The accommodations were wonderful and the excursions were amazing and informative. Thank you for some amazing memories
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(...)
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 (...)
VERY APPRECIATIVE OF THE SERVICE. QANTAS WERE EXCELLENT IN SERVICE AND FOODS OFFERED.
THANKS GUYS FOR THE SERVICE. HAVE NO PHOTOS TO ATTACH UNFORTUNATELY
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(...)
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(...)
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(...)
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(...)
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.
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.
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.
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(...)
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(...)
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(...)
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!
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
All the planning and the vouchers worked out just fine. No glitches. Well done.
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.
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!
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 (...)
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(...)
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(...)
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(...)
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.
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(...)
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(...)
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 (...)
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 (...)
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.
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(...)
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.
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(...)
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.
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(...)
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!
Fantastic Honeymoon! About Australia took care of everything, all we had to do was have fun!
We really enjoyed the tours that we were scheduled for. The guides on all the tours were excellent, they were all knowledgeable, a lot of fun, we enjoyed chatting with everybody.
Mindi van Gemeren
Best trip ever
My daughter and I had an amazing time Down Under thanks to About Australia. Our hotels were wonderful and located perfectly in order to explore more of the cities we were visiting. All of the recommendations before we left were extremely helpful. It made a last minute trip into a relaxing vacation.
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(...)
Awesome trip with plenty of variety. Closing out our trip in Fiji is the best idea ever.
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.
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!
MICHAEL J STRAIN SR.
AWESOME TRIP! WISHED I WOULD HAVE ADD A TRIP OVER TO NEW ZEALAND OR FIIJI
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 (...)
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(...)
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!
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(...)
An amazing trip!
We truly enjoyed the trip you planned for us. Everything went smoothly, and the activities you chose for us were amazing.
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!
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(...)
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(...)
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(...)
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, (...)
The trip to Australia was amazing. The tours were well planned and interesting. A great value for the money.
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(...)
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(...)
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!
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.
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
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
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(...)
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(...)
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(...)
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 (...)
Thank you for making this amazing trip happen!
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(...)
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.
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(...)
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.
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.
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(...)
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!
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.
It was amazing,
It was amazing, the experience was well worth the cost.
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!!
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
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 (...)
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.
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(...)
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.
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 (...)
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 (...)
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(...)
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!
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 (...)
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.
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 (...)
Great trip! Everything went according to plan, seamless!
Absolutely no complaints! Great accommodation! Everyone was on time to pick us up! Really enjoyed Australia!
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(...)
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.
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(...)
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(...)
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.
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 (...)
Thank you for excellent service
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!
It was an amazing trip. The tours were excellent.
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(...)
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(...)
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.
Mark Williams by
Thoroughly enjoyed the trip.
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(...)
Amazing time in Australia
Darin Hendry nailed it!
The trip you helped me put together for my clients was absolutely perfect!
Thank you so much!!
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(...)
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.
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(...)
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(...)
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(...)
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.
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
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(...)
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 (...)
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!
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.
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.
Awesome trip, can’t wait to do another!
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(...)
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!
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(...)
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(...)
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
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(...)
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(...)
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.
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(...)
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(...)
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(...)
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.
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(...)
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(...)
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 (...)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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(...)
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(...)
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(...)
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(...)
Absolutely NO glitches! FABULOUS!!!!
We got such a great deal, it made me wonder “what’s the catch?” No catch, just a wonderful adventure!
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.
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.
Posted on: August 10th, 2017 by About Australia Staff No Comments
Australia has a bit of a reputation as one of the beer-drinkingest capitals of the world. There are few things that go better with warm weather, contact sports and barbecues than an ice-cold brew and Australia has all of the above in spades. With year-round warm weather in the tropical north, to Aussie Rules football, cricket, rugby and the occasional soccer match, there are plenty of occasions to imbibe Downunder.
However, Australia’s world-class wine industry is quietly preceding it’s love for lager and the Hunter Valley wine region, bottling world-class wines since the early-19th century, has a lot to do with it.
Hunter Valley’s beautiful vineyards and cellar doors are no doubt the destination of choice on a drive out to the wine region. But in the Valley, the journey plays just as big a role in a trip to wine country. As you depart Sydney, your scenic drives takes you north, passing Yengo National Park. This World Heritage-listed wilderness area is a dense, green forest of native Aussie trees and plants. The Park is also home to ancient Aboriginal Australian cultural sites dating back thousands of years.
You could also spot plenty of native Aussie animal species like kangaroos, wallabies, gliding possums, wombats and more, in the wild.
Once you make it to Hunter Valley, gaze out your window upon vast stretches of neatly arranged grape vines. Hills and valleys rise and fall and grazing animals dot the green landscape as the winding road snakes its way around the Valley.
This is wine country at its finest.
History in a Glass… Or Two
The Hunter Valley is the oldest wine region in Australia. More than 150 vineyards dot the fertile landscape west of Sydney. Vineyards dating back to the 19th century are still in operation here.
For your first step back in time, drive out to Drayton’s Wines. The Drayton family planted their first vine saplings more than 150 years ago and the winery remains in the hands of the family to this day. Six generations of Drayton vintners shaped this legacy vineyard in to what it is today and you’ll want to stop in for a taste of history along with a taste of their classic Hunter Valley Shiraz.
Next on your list of vintage vineyards, you’ll want to make a stop at Mt. Pleasant Estate. This turn of the century winery has a laundry list of accolades under its belt, but all you need to know is that Mt. Pleasant’s wine and history is pure Hunter Valley.
Then, visit the crown jewel of Hunter Valley wineries at McGuigan’s Winery, located in Pokolbin, the idyllic heart of Hunter Valley wine country. This winery is best known for winning the International Winemakers Award 3-times in its history, an almost unheard of feat among vintners. Explore this cellar door and dig in to their winning varietals like shiraz and chardonnay.
Learning with a Twist
Love wine, but can’t put in to words why? Do you hear the other tasters around you talking about the bouquet but there’s not a single flower in sight?
It sounds like you might need Wine School. Drive out to Hunter Valley Resort, where you can join up with a class of other wine amateur wine connoisseurs and have an expert guide you through a proper tasting.
You’ll learn about the winemaking process from harvest to fermentation to bottle finish. Your guide will walk you through the grounds of the vineyard to see up close how the rows of lush vines are grown and harvested.
Then, class begins in the Resort’s Wine Theatre where the history of wine comes alive. Of course, throughout the class you’ll taste and assess various varietals of whites and reds. Wine School is the perfect primer for the rest of your tasting tour and will give you an appreciation for the layers of complexity in a single glass of wine that you never even knew existed. With 38 wines from 8 local producers, you’ll have plenty of ‘homework’ to do without leave property.
Cleanse Your Palate
Like we said, there are a lot of wineries in the Hunter Valley, but you don’t have to burn yourself out packing in too many at once! Be sure to spend some time experiencing everything this quaint region has to offer.
What goes better with wine than an artisan, craft cheese? Head over to Binnorie Dairy Cheese Factory, where you can try and buy dozens of different cheeses straight from the artisans themselves. You can also stop by the Hunter Valley Cheese Company, one of the oldest dairies in the Valley region.
If you’d like to get a bit adventurous on your trip in wine country and get a true bird’s eye view of your lush surroundings, you can board a hot air balloon for a float over the pristine valley. Or, if you’re really up for an adventure, try skydiving from up high! There’s really nothing like the adrenaline rush of jumping out of a plane several thousand feet in the air!
You can even take a horseback or Segway tour of parts of the Hunter Valley. Trot or roll through pure Aussie bush land where you could even see wild kangaroos or a wombat or two.
There are plenty of other shops like antique stores, cafes, galleries and more, so you’ll always find something new and exciting to try in the Hunter Valley.
And if you’re a fan of hitting the links, the Hunter Valley also hosts some of the most beautiful golf courses in Australia. Relax with a cup of world-class wine on an 18-hole award winning course ranked among the best in Australia.
Detour to Port Stephens
Located just about an hour east of the Hunter Valley, Port Stephens is a charming coastal city that you’ll want to make some time for. Explore the busy esplanade with its quaint shops and cafes. Then, gear up for a bit of adventure if you’d like. Try out sand-boarding on the more than 20 miles of sand dunes at Stockton Beach. If you’ve never heard of sand-boarding, it’s exactly as it sounds: riding a board down the steep side of soft sand dunes. It’s just like surfing in the ocean, but without the whole swimming thing!
And if you didn’t get enough Aussie wildlife in Hunter Valley proper with the wild ‘roos and wombats, hop aboard a local Port Stephens cruise ship for some dolphin spotting. More than 150 bottlenose dolphins call Port Stephens home, making it the dolphin capital of Australia!
Of course, you can always just spend your time relaxing on more than 26 golden-beaches like Box Beach and Zenith Beach. The perfect side-trip for your stay in wine country.
Wind Down in Wine Town with a Hunter Valley Driving Tour
There’s nothing like a relaxing trip to a winery. There’s just something about those rolling, rural hills that’s undeniably pleasant. And when you do it at your own pace by driving yourself from Sydney, you can spend your time the way you like at some of your new favorite places.
Need a few more recommendations? Not sure how to go about booking a car hire halfway around the world? Get in touch with one of our Destination Specialists for a free consultation today. We can show you where to go and tell you how to get there for a worry-free trip to picturesque Hunter Valley.
Posted on: August 10th, 2017 by About Australia Staff No Comments
Why You Should Spend 5 Nights in Sydney
Most people tend to spread themselves too thin when they travel abroad. But the depth of your trip, meaning the quality of time you have experiencing the culture and sights of a given destination, is just as important as the quantity of things you see and experience, if not more.
When we plan vacation itineraries, we are very careful to include the minimum amount of time it takes to thoroughly enjoy a city. This usually means spending 3 – 4 nights. That varies, of course, with what our clients want to see and how much time they have to see it. In a perfect world, we would want everyone to spend at least 5 nights in Sydney.
Sydney is Australia’s largest and most cosmopolitan city. It boasts some of the world’s most iconic landmarks and authentic Aussie experiences. The city itself has a plethora of things to do and see, while the greater surrounds hold enchantments for lovers of nature, wine and beaches.
From world famous sites like the Sydney Opera House to world class beaches to wildlife you only find in Australia, Sydney has everything you need for a quintessential Aussie experience.
And with plenty of time to have a quality experience, your vacation in Sydney will have the depth to keep you sated when you return to the ‘real world’.
Here are just a few things you can fill your time with while you stay in Sydney for 5 nights.
City Sights and Opera House
Get your bearings and feel out the lay of the land in Sydney with a city tour. By taking a city tour early in your trip, you’ll be able to figure out how to get around and eye a few spots you may want to return to for a closer look later in the week.
Sydney is a huge, diverse city and deserves exploring. However, many strapped-for-time tourists make a mad dash for the Opera House and miss everything else Sydney has to offer.
Luckily, with a week in Sydney you won’t be strapped for time.
Of course, the Opera House and Harbour are a must visit. Start off with an insider walking tour of the world famous venue. You’ll hear the behind the scenes scoop and controversy surrounding the building’s construction.
Whether you take a organized tour or make your own way around the city, here are some sights you won’t want to miss!
This bustling marina precinct is just adjacent to Sydney CBD makes for a great stop along a city tour of Sydney. Take advantage of Sydney’s excellent public transportation and take a ferry from the Opera House to this beautiful, waterside location. You’ll have near limitless options for dining, shopping and other activities
Queen Victoria Building
Shop like the locals do at this beautiful, Victorian-era building right in Sydney CBD. This architectural masterpiece was built back in 1890 and has since undergone a complete restoration to its original beauty. Take in the airy windows, stained glass and a fully operational, vintage lift all restored to their 19th century glory. There is plenty to see at QVB and the building is worth a tour even if you’re not up to shopping ’til you drop. Want to learn more? We’ve written a guide to the Queen Victoria Building‘s rich history as a shopping staple in Sydney.
Royal Botanic Gardens
This impeccably manicured mecca of native plants and pristine greenery is perfect for a pre or post Opera House walk. Go for a walk through the beautiful garden grounds, spot local Aussie wildlife like sulfur-crested cockatoos and flying foxes and find prime photo-ops overlooking the Harbour. The Royal Botanic Gardens are saturated in color, from the 2,000+ bloom rose garden, to the lush-green Glasshouse, ferny and native succulent gardens.
Step back in time to the earliest days of Sydney settlement. Just a quick walk from Circular Quay, The Rocks district was the home of the first European settlement in Australia and features some of Sydney’s oldest buildings, shops and pubs. These days, The Rocks serves as a pedestrian friendly district with great views of the Harbour, Bridge and historical buildings.
You could spend an entire afternoon touring the museum district within walking distance of the Harbour Bridge. For modern works, you’ll want to stop at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. A hip, diverse collection of cutting-edge art is housed in this building whose architecture is a work of art in and of itself. Then, check out The Rocks Discovery Museum for a historical look at The Rocks district through the years. Adjacent to Circular Quay is the Museum of Sydney, with informative and diverse collections and exhibits of Sydney history.
Tip: If you want to see more of Sydney outside of the CBD, but still want the option to walk at your own pace, get a spot on a hop-on, hop-off bus. You can ride the bus route around Sydney, including the beautiful suburbs outside the CBD, and hop-off wherever you’d like to walk around and see the sights up close.
Dip your toes in the Harbour at Sydney’s newest waterfront destination. Adjacent to The Rocks, this mixed use district has green spaces, restaurants, shopping and the chance to see Sydneysiders at work and play.
With Sydney’s excellent infrastructure and public transportation, getting to some of Australia’s most popular beaches is easy. Hop on a city bus or train, take a ferry or go for a quick drive to Bondi Beach. This sunny spot is the perfect destination for casual beach goers, hardcore surfers, locals and tourists alike.
This horseshoe shaped section of coastline features golden sands and brilliant, turquoise waters. The surrounding esplanade is home to a dining precinct featuring some of the best beach side restaurants and cuisine.
Photo: Tourism Australia / Andrew Wallace
Spend some time on the beach soaking up the sun or learning how to surf. Bondi Beach is famous for its surf schools, teaching all skill-levels how to ride the waves of the sunny Aussie coast.
If waves aren’t your thing take a dip at the Cliff-side Bondi Icebergs pool (or ‘baths’) where you get a front row seat to watch the surfers without getting sand in your shorts!
The scenic, clifftop coastal path along sheer cliffs connects Sydney’s most well-known beaches along a pedestrian boardwalk. Soak up the sun all along the way as you beach-hop Sydney’s coast. Each beach has it’s own feel and quirks and whether you’re catching waves at each one or digging your toes in the sand, this is one of the best ways to see Sydney’s beaches.
Spend a day at the beach like a local by heading to Manly Beach. This Sydney suburb can be easily reached by ferry from Circular Quay. It’s a beautiful white sand beach where you’ll see Sydneysiders doing the three S’s – surfing, swimming and snorkeling. Manly Beach is a great place to get active for the day – bike rental, paddle-board lessons, surf lessons, kayaking, amazing walking trails and much more. And, of course, plenty of pups to wash down an Australian beer if it gets a little hot!
Hop On Hop Off Ferry
Spend a day seeing many of the sites listed above with a Hop On Hop Off Ferry pass. Travel on the harbour highway and skip the maze of commuter timetables as you cruise to 11 famous Sydney Destinations.
Fort Denison – A former penal site with an interested history.
Watson Bay – A suburb with a great beach, bird life, vibrant green parks and Gap Bluff, South Head, where you might just spot some whales in the winter months.
Luna Park – Known for it’s iconic smiling face of the Moon, this amusement park is great for children and the young at heart.
Shark Island – A pristine park in the middle of the harbour, perfect for a picnic
Garden Island – A military base where The Royal Australian Navy Heritage Centre
International Convention Center – Worth a look for the stunning architecture alone!
Food and Dining
Of course, you wouldn’t be in a world-class city without world-class dining options right in the heart of the city. Whether you’re in the mood for a 5-star, fine dining experience or just a quick bite to go from a food truck, Sydney is never short on great food.
You can find everything from Vietnamese to-go carts, upscale Italian dining, Australian gastropubs, eclectic French cuisine and more.
Adjacent to the Opera House, discover some of Sydney’s best seafood restaurants, like Sydney Cove Oyster Bar and GRAZE, sitting in the perfect spot for views over the bay while you dine.
Or head over to Chinatown for your pick of authentic cuisine, noodle bars and dumpling houses like China Town Noodle King, Golden Century Seafood Restaurant and more.
Mountain Walks and Hikes
Not a city person? Tired of the hustle and bustle of the downtown sights? Get into the great outdoors with a day trip to see world-class Aussie natural wonder.
Credit: David Ireland / Tourism Australia
Since you’ve got plenty of time in Sydney, take a short drive to Blue Mountains National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is considered the “Grand Canyon of Australia”. Rolling, rugged terrain, deep canyons and blue gum-trees as far as the eye can see cover the expansive vista.
A tour of the Blue Mountains provides unforgettable views from various lookout points in the park where you can spot tall waterfalls, sheer cliffs and famed rock formations like the Three Sisters. An expert guide drives you out to the Blue Mountains region, providing informative commentary and in-depth knowledge along the way.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also choose to participate in the hike portion of the trip. You’ll be dropped off at the trail head and make your way along a well-marked hiking trail. After you’ve worked up an appetite, a well-deserved lunch awaits before heading back to Sydney.
It’s the perfect way to experience the great outdoors and still have time for happy hour drinks at the Opera House.
Craving a little of those famous Australian wines? How about a taste of Aussie Red and White with a trip to wine country?
Head out to the Hunter Valley wine region, just a short drive from Sydney proper.
Photo: – Tourism Australia / Oliver Strewe
The Hunter Valley region is home to some of Australia’s best wineries. Embark on a tasting tour and experience award-winning wines in beautiful, green vineyards. Landscapes lined with rows of grape vines provide a picture-perfect backdrop to satisfy wine-lovers and fans of the great outdoors alike.
To really do the Hunter Valley justice, spend a couple of nights in wine country. Drive yourself along the rolling hills dotted with wineries, make a few leisurely stops and take your time in this relaxing region outside Sydney.
Photo: Pernod Ricard Winemakers / Ernest Fraczak
If you’d rather let an expert do the driving for you, you can embark on a luxury-coach tour of Hunter Valley. You’ll visit a few of Hunter Valley’s most renowned vineyards and all you have to do is kick back, relax and remember to cleanse your palate between each tasting!
There’s nothing more iconic to Australia than its kangaroos and wildlife. Luckily, in Sydney you’re never far from experiencing wildlife up close.
Taronga Zoo, located just across the Harbour from the Opera House, is not only the most convenient place to see wildlife in Sydney, but maybe the most fun to get to. You’ll board a ferry from Circular Quay in Sydney CBD and cruise over to Taronga Zoo’s personal dock and wharf. Step right off the boat and into Taronga Zoo where you’ll see more than 300 unique species, including all of your Aussie favorites.
Or, if you opted for the Blue Mountains tour, you’ll already be in a prime spot to visit the Featherdale Wildlife Sanctuary, where you’ll get to meet plenty of Australia’s native wildlife.
Man-made environments and walled enclosures not exactly the nature experience you were imagining?
What if you could see Australian wildlife that’s actually in the wild?
Take a day trip to the Australian Bush, just a short drive outside of central Sydney, and search towering forests for kangaroos, koalas, platypus’ and more.
The Southern Highlands outside of Sydney features thousands of acres of untouched wilderness, where animals run wild and free, just as nature intended.
See the Most of Sydney
To be honest, you could spend weeks seeing all that Sydney has to offer. Don’t shortchange yourself with a few short days. By the time you’ve traveled to the city it seems like it’s already time to leave the city.
Spend 5 nights in Sydney and get to know the city from the inside out. You’ll make some solid, unforgettable memories and a vacation with the depth you deserve.
Posted on: August 4th, 2017 by About Australia Staff No Comments
As native-born Aussies, we named our business About Australia because we’re truly all about Australia. We love nothing more than spreading the good word about our home country and all that it has to offer. From its beautiful beaches, unique wildlife, bush land Outback and Great Barrier Reef, we could go on and on about why you shouldn’t miss the land Downunder (and we have – for nearly 20 years!).
But as Aussies, we can’t forget our island-neighbors to the east in New Zealand. Aussies and Kiwis have a close kinship. We’re basically right next to each other, we’ve fought together in the trenches and our flags are a bit similar, to the say the least.
Here are a few reasons why splitting your time with an Australia and New Zealand vacation can make your trip an unforgettable, multi-destination grand tour.
You Can Drive On the Same Side of the Road
So maybe this isn’t one of the first things that comes to mind, but hear us out. If there’s one thing that Americans, Aussies and Kiwis have in common, it’s our shared belief that there’s nothing like the freedom of the open road. Packing the car up and heading out on a self-paced tour of the country is a bond we all share, know and love.
We just happen to do it on opposite sides of the road.
Aussies and Kiwis both adopted left-side driving from the Brits way back when and the tradition continues to this day. The good news for those keen on a self-drive tour is that once you’ve mastered left-side driving in one country, you’ll be an expert in the next.
Get ready to tackle some of the most scenic drives on the planet.
Starting in Australia? You can race along highways that hug rocky coastline, with incredible views of open ocean on the Great Ocean Road – one of the top rated drives in the world.
Then, hop on a plane and take the short flight over to New Zealand. From there, you can pick up another car and continue your road trip, tackling New Zealand’s North Island, South Island or both. You can drive out to Mt. Cook, see famous Lord of the Rings filming locations, or simply take a tour of New Zealand’s amazing beaches.
Take your time and get off-the-beaten-track with an Australia and New Zealand vacation road trip.
You’ll See Perfectly Contrasting Landscapes
Did you know that Australia and New Zealand were once attached at the hip? More than 85 million years ago as the super-continent Godwana broke up, New Zealand slowly drifted away. Maybe that’s why Aussie’s have always felt a fondness for their Kiwi cousins.
It’s a wonder then, how their landscapes could be so unique. Australia and New Zealand are so diverse that you could spend weeks in each and just scrape the surface of what each has to offer. A contrasting trip between the two countries will give you an appreciation of the natural world like never before.
Start off in New Zealand and visit famous volcanoes and geothermal sites. Rotorua is a steaming cauldron of the Earth’s magnitude. The scent of sulfur wafts in the air, a constant reminder of the power of geothermal heating below. You can harness this power in Rotorua with a visit to hot pools and bathe in hot, healing mineral water.
From there head to Queenstown, the birthplace of adventure travel and the most famous bungy-jumping site in the world. There, you’ll take an exhilarating stunt-boat ride through Shotover Canyon.
Then, drive yourself through green rolling vistas to Hobbiton and see how New Zealand’s incredible landscapes inspired movie-magic.
Make your way to Australia where you’ll start off with back-to-back adventures to see the most iconic natural wonders of the world, Uluru (the Red Center), the Great Barrier Reef and the Kuranda Rainforestation Nature Park.
You’ve just seen beautiful rock formations, volcanic activity, a holy site that looks like the surface of Mars, a rain forest and the technicolor of the Great Barrier Reef. And you couldn’t do it anywhere else but Australia and New Zealand.
You’ll Experience Distinct Aboriginal and Maori Native Cultures
Both Australia and New Zealand have a rich, diverse cultural-history that deserves celebration. Australia’s native history dates back more than 60,000 years. Aboriginal Australians are the oldest human civilization in the world and their native culture is survived and celebrated to this day.
Photo: Steve Strike / Tourism Australia
Aboriginal Australians most notable Australian destination is Uluru, or Ayers Rock, located in the Australian outback. Uluru is a red, sandstone monolith that Aboriginal Australians revere as a holy site. The striking rock formation and the surrounding red clay have given Uluru the nickname “the Red Center” – and it could no doubt stand in as an other wordly Martian landscape.
New Zealand has its own unique history in the native Maori culture. In the 12th century, settlers from Polynesia landed and developed their own culture they called Maori.
The culture of Maori people stands side-by-side in New Zealand daily life. Most historical and natural sites and destinations have both an English name and a Maori name, such as Mt. Cook / Aoraki, Milford Sound / Piopiotahi and White Island / Te Puia o Whakaari.
Photo: Te Puia Maori Institute
Go on a country-hopping tour to experience the native culture of each country. You can go on a tour of the Red Center and see Uluru up close (believe it or not, it’s taller than the Eiffel Tower!) and then hop on over to Kiwi country, where you’ll receive an official Maori Hongi (greeting), roam the grounds of Te Puia Geothermal Reserve, view traditional artwork and culture at Maori Institute and enjoy a Hangi (traditional cooking method) feast.
You Can See Each Country’s Unique Wildlife
Australia and wildlife go hand-in-hand. With kangaroos, koalas and of course crocs (made most famous internationally by Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin) – there’s no shortage of iconic Aussie wildlife.
If your trip begins in Australia, make your way to Kangaroo Island just off the coast of Adelaide. The island is a wildlife-wonderland, with all of your Aussie favorites in their natural habitats.
If you’re in Sydney, you’ll have plenty of options for wildlife touring and viewing. Stop by Tonga Zoo right in Sydney CBD, or make a day trip out to Featherdale Wildlife Reserve (this makes a great top over from a Blue Mountains tour) where you’ll have up-close encounters with kangaroos, koalas and more.
Did we mention that Australia also has the distinct honor of being home to the largest organism in the world with the Great Barrier Reef?
Much like the Aussies, New Zealander’s take their own native wildlife very seriously. They even gave themselves an affectionate nickname, Kiwis, based on the flightless bird that is their national pride and joy (it even adorns their currency’s $1 coin).
Photo: Rob Suisted
Have you ever seen a video of an acrobatic dolphin doing 360-spins in the air, back flips, front flips and more, just for the fun of it? Dusky Dolphins are found in much of Australasia, but concentrated populations are best seen off of the New Zealand coast.
New Zealand is also home to plenty of other native animals like yellow-eyed penguins, glowworms, fur seals, Kea parrots and more.
If you love seeing unique, diverse and super cute animals that you can’t see back home, try an Australia and New Zealand vacation for the perfect opportunity to witness some of the world’s favorites up close.
Australia and New Zealand Vacation Adventures
Australia and New Zealand are two-peas-in-a-pod. Make the most of your trip half-way around the world with a stopover in New Zealand. You’ll feel like you’ve been on two vacations at the same time and have twice as many stories to tell when you get back.
Talk to one of our Destination Specialists and we’ll make sure your multi-country trip goes off without a snag. We can suggest the best routes to take and take complete care of your trip, from A-to-New-Zealand.
Posted on: June 28th, 2017 by About Australia Staff No Comments
Things to See at Flinders Chase National Park
Think of Kangaroo Island as a time capsule of Australian natural history. Its separation from the mainland has allowed endemic species to thrive where they have otherwise been eradicated by invasive species in present day Australia. And if Kangaroo Island is a time capsule, Flinders Chase National Park may be its most important artifact.
Flinders Chase National Park is a look back in time at the Australian outback. See huge swaths of pristine, untouched wilderness perfect for an afternoon hike. Geological wonders ripe for photo opportunities dot the landscape. Nineteenth century architecture provides a look back to the country’s early history.
Take a walk into the past with our guide of things to see at Flinders Chase National Park.
This stunning, natural archway almost looks meticulously sculpted. The multi-layered, rock bridge features gnarled stone and hanging stalactites. Thousands of years of erosion from the water below formed the hollow we see today. Take a walk down to the viewing platform. From there you’ll have the best view of Admiral’s Arch through to the sea beyond. Tip: Sunsets at Admiral’s Arch are breathtaking. From the right point on the viewing platform, you’ll see the sun set over the water centered in the arch. Also be sure to lookout for a colony of New Zealand fur seals that have made their home on the slab of stones directly below the Arch. Those seals scored some of the best real estate in the country!
This signature landmark is almost a rite of passage on your trip to Kangaroo Island. Remarkable Rocks is one of the best photo-ops on the island. The aptly named granite stones look almost unnatural when you look at them. Like they could have been sculpted by humans. But their round-waviness is evidence of the more than 500 million years it took for them to form. Rain and waves from the ocean wore down huge granite boulders to the interesting, pitted rock formations they are today. Orange lichen covers many of the formations found at Remarkable Rocks. Combined with the pink, black and blue granite mix, the rocks take on a multi-colored rainbow hue, especially during sunrises and sunsets. Photographers take note: the “golden hour” here is truly remarkable. No wonder this is one of the most photographed spots on Kangaroo Island.
This Kangaroo Island hike is a beautiful look in to the past. Begin at the Cape de Couedic lighthouse. This 19th century lighthouse is isolated on the tip of Kangaroo Island. In fact, in the lighthouse’s early days the keepers would remain in the keepers’ cottage with their families, only being delivered supplies every 3 months. No wonder lighthouse keepers are said to be reclusive!
Today, the lighthouse is fully automated, eliminating the need for a full-time keeper. The cottages surrounding the lighthouse have been turned in to destination accommodations for those looking to get away from it all.
Weirs Cove Hike
While you’re at the lighthouse, embark on the 2-mile hike down to Weirs Cove. When the lighthouse keepers would receive their once-every-3-month resupply, they would make the same trek down to the cove.
Because of the rough terrain, getting supplies from the cove to the lighthouse required a zipline-winch system pulled by horses. Even after the motor vehicle was invented – horsepower prevailed.
On your hike, you’ll see the remains of this zipline supply system along with sheer cliff faces and stonework more than 100 years old.
Not to mention, the view over the sea from the cove is spectacular!
Platypus Waterholes Walk
“You had me at platypus”.
One of the most sought-after wildlife sightings in Australia is this duck/beaver hybrid creature. The duck-billed platypus is such an odd creature, that the first scientists to examine one thought they were the victims of a prank!
It’s an animal that doesn’t really know if it’s a water creature or a land mammal, or maybe a bird? In any case, the platypus is as cute as it is perplexing.
Enter this walk straight from the Flinders Chase visitors center. The 2.5 mile stroll winds past Aussie bush and watering holes where the platypus’ have been known to make their home.
They can be elusive creatures, so there’s no guarantee you’ll see a platypus immediately. But keep your eyes peeled for this rare animal found only in Australia. Try and time your walk around dawn and dusk to have the best chance at a spotting.
West Bay Beach and Campsite
The perfect way to cool down after a long walk seeing the Flinders Chase sights. This pristine beach is “postcard-ready” with it’s white sand and sapphire-turquoise waters. Though this secluded beach is a favorite among Flinders Chase visitors, it is rare that you’ll find a crowd on this coast. Instead, enjoy the quiet atmosphere and surrounding cove. Swimming and fishing are permitted at West Bay so come to the park prepared for a day at the beach after seeing the sights.
For those looking to rough it a bit on their vacation, nearby West Bay campground is a great spot to stay overnight just steps from the shore. Camping out lets you see the sunrise and set over the coast for an unforgettable experience.
Just remember to pack in all you’ll need for the day and night. The West Bay campground provides a place to pitch a tent and little else. The only creature-comfort you’ll find, luckily, is a toilet – but don’t forget your water and portable stove!
Snake Lagoon Walk
This scenic walk starts at Snake Lagoon and winds through Sugar Gums and mallee before descending into the Rocky River Valley. The trail crosses Rock River and meanders along its band to the Southern Ocean Coast. You can find the trail head about five and a half miles from Flinders Chase Visitor Center off West Bay Road.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Kangaroo Island without the kangaroos! Flinders Chase National Park is a great place for spotting this iconic Aussie creature. You’ll find roos hopping around this protected reserve as nature intended.
Along the walks from the Flinders Chase National Park entrance, keep your eyes peeled for kangaroos that are hopping around and feeding.
Photo: Tourism Australia / Adam Bruzzone
Tip: If you’re driving along the roads that go through Flinders Chase at dusk – be extra careful! Kangaroo are much like deer in that they can cross the roads at the most inopportune times. So take it slow, make sure your head lights are on and be careful for kangaroos!
Visit Flinders Chase National Park
For wildlife spotting, Kangaroo Island can’t be beat. While you’re there, be sure to make your way to Flinders Chase National Park. You’ll get a perfect mix of some of Australia’s best natural sights and outdoor beauty. From the bush and the outback, to the pristine beaches and coast, to the rugged rock formations, Flinders Chase National Park has it all. Plus, how many people do you know that have seen a Platypus in real life?