Category Archives:Oceania

9 Places every Aussie Must Visit Before they Die

Us Aussies love our home, but how many of us have really seen the true Australia? 

I have been living in Australia for 10 years now and I have been lucky enough to visit almost everywhere on this list. What surprises me, though, is how few Australians get out into their own backyard and explore. So if you have been snubbing some of the ‘touristy’ sites as being well, too touristy, you may be missing out on some of the best that our country has on offer.

Check out my top ten places to visit before you die.

Surf Wave Rock

wave rock wa

Yes, it may be just a rock – but it’s a really cool one! This natural rock formation resembling a large wave is located in the small town of Hyden in the far-south of Western Australia.

While you may or may not be interested in its fascinating geological history – it still makes for a great photo. Say cheese!

Go Down Under in Coober Pedy

coober pedy australia

Situated in the heart of South Australia, about 846 km north of Adelaide, Coober Pedy is one of the most unusual towns in Australia – and perhaps the world.

To avoid the harsh Australian sun, residents of Coober Pedy built their entire town underground – mostly in refurbished mine shafts. Enjoy a cold beverage in an underground bar or go shopping for opals – Coober Pedy is the ‘Opal Capital of the World’ after all.

(I recently spent a week in Coober Pedy — so keep an eye out for my guide! It was truly amazing.)

Bring out your Inner-Tarzan in Daintree Rainforest

Daintree rainforest

Daintree Rainforest – just north of Cairns – is the world’s oldest and most diverse rainforest. As well as being home to over 30% of Australia’s native animal species, Daintree offers spectacular scenery, relaxing walks and breathtaking waterfalls.

The rainforest also seamlessly joins onto the spectacular Great Barrier Reef as it reaches the coast.

Cruise the Kimberley

kimberley cruise

The Kimberley Region is one of the most magnificent sights to be seen in Australia. With dramatic scenery, sky-high waterfalls, secluded beaches and dazzling sunsets – the Kimberley is the perfect place to relax and explore.

Cruises are the best way to see the Kimberley – taking you deep within the soaring gorges and up-close-and-personal with the powerful waterfalls.

Enjoy a Glass in the Barossa

Jacob's Creek Winery, Barossa Valley
Jacob’s Creek Winery, Barossa Valley

If you like to sit back and relax with a glass of rose, merlot or sav blanc, then there’s no better place to do it than in the Barossa Valley. Look for Australian flights into Adelaide – then the Barossa is just a short drive away.

A must-see destination for all wine connoisseurs, the Barossa Valley offers an eclectic mix of South Australian charm, world-class wines and fine foods. Cheers!

Relax on Whitehaven Beach

Whitehaven Beach, QLD

Possibly the most photographed and recognisable beach in the world – Whitehaven Beach really is as good as it looks on the postcard! 

Just a short boat-ride away from the coastal town of Airlie Beach (or I took a boat tour from nearby Daydream Island), make your friends jealous with photos of you soaking up the Australian sun on pristine white beaches with the crystal clear Coral Sea lapping at your feet. It truly is paradise!

Drive the Great Ocean Road

The Twelve Apostles
The Twelve Apostles

What were once the famous ‘Twelve Apostles’ jutting out of the water in South Australia has sadly become just eight due to erosion. With erosion constantly threatening the remaining rocks it is certainly a destination that needs to be visited before it’s too late.

These remarkable rock formations can be seen while driving along the Great Ocean Road, along which you will see all sorts of other spectacular scenery. Great excuse for a road trip!

The Biggest…

The Big Merino
The Big Merino

Australia is home to some of the biggest (albeit strangest) things – so make a point to visit them all! Did you know that Goulburn is home to the Big Merino (it’s a surprisingly fun place to visit!)? What about the Big Cow just north of Nambour, Queensland? I’m sure you wouldn’t want to miss out on the Big Prawn in Ballina – right? And we can’t forget the world’s biggest rock – Uluru – right in the heart of Australia.

Ride a Camel in Broome

camels on cable beach
Camel rides along Cable Beach, Broome

It’s not every day you get to ride a camel across the beach – not in Australia anyway. Take a camel ride along Cable Beach in the late afternoon for a unique way to see the spectacular red sunsets of the northern Western Australian coast. It is certainly one of the more unique Australian holidays!

Your Guide to Summer Theatre in Melbourne

It’s no secret that Melbourne is Australia’s entertainment capital. The energy of an exciting new show is contagious with all the big billboards, advertisements and word quickly spreads around the city. With summer on the way, here are our top three picks for different types of theatre that will have something for everyone.

The play: A Murder is Announced

miss-marple1

In an English village, the locals peer over an advertisement in the gazette that states ‘a murder is announced and will take place on Friday 13th October, at Little Paddocks at 6.30pm.’ Unable to resist scoping out the situation, a crowd forms at this time. The lights go out, ‘a gun is fired and a body falls…’

Can you guess ‘whodunnit?’

Agatha Christie’s classic crime novel has thrilled readers with all the twists, turns and witty one liners since 1950.  Following the enormous success of ‘The Mousetrap’ last year, the same producers are bringing ‘A Murder is Announced’ to the Comedy Theatre for the first time in Australia. Based on the lovable detective Miss Marple, the amazing cast will have viewers on the edge of their seats as they follow her journey. In this all Australian production, audiences will be guaranteed to be guessing and in suspense until the final big revelation.  No one does a good murder mystery quite like Agatha Christie.

The comedy: Wogboys Live on Stage

wogboys-600x400Fans of the hit movie will be delighted at Nick Giannopoulos and Vince Colosimo reuniting for the first time on stage in fifteen years.  Both of the talented actors have moved on to star in other ventures, but they still get quoted lines from the movie to this day. This record breaking and critically acclaimed show will have the audience in hysterical as they poke fun of stereotypes through wicked humour. To add to the show’s star power, they will be joined by veteran Australian actors Alex Dimitriades and Frank Lotito.  Written, created and produced by the man with the longest surname in show business (Giannopoulos), Wogboys brings a unique, hilarious and heartfelt take on their everyday lives in the 90’s. This goes for a strictly limited season in January 2014 at the Princess Theatre. The original Wogboys are back with a vengeance.

The musical: Grease

Everyone knows all the words to the songs by heart. They are truly unforgettable.  Sandy and Danny are one of the most iconic couples in movie history as we all grew up with this hit movie. The best thing about this extravaganza is that the story means something to so many people and will remain a classic for the rest of time. Grease will be back with a bang in Australia with this dazzling multi-million dollar production. It is lead by an all-star cast including Bert Newton, Rob Mills, Todd McKenney and Anthony Callea. This energetic all-singing, all-dancing cast will have the audience on their feet at Her Majesty’s Theatre.

Sydney Opera House recreates historic opening concert

There’s no doubting the importance of the Sydney Opera House for Australia’s tourism industry. In fact, it’s hard to imagine an Australia without it!

This year, the iconic landmark is celebrating its 40 year history by recreating the original concert that cemented Australia’s place on the global tourism map.

Sydney Opera House CEO, Louise Herron AM, said: ‘The Opera House is a masterpiece of creative genius that belongs to all Australians. Its heart has always been the art performed on its stages. I am thrilled that the 40th Anniversary Concert will celebrate our resident companies and bring the Opera House’s rich artistic heritage, of which they have been such an important part, to life for the people of Sydney and Australia for one night.’

The 40th Anniversary concert on Sunday 27 October 2013 will feature a variety of performances that will showcase the Opera House’s exciting history, culminating in Beethoven’s Ode to Joy – the piece that was played during the venue’s opening ceremony in 1973. The concert will be the big finale after a month of celebrations.

Details:
Tickets on sale to the general public Thursday 8 August
www.sydneyoperahouse.com/40
02 9250 7777
Who: The Opera House 40th Anniversary Concert

When: Sunday, 27 October 2013

Where: Sydney Opera House Forecourt

Tickets: from $39

Meet Stanley: The Latest Resident of Outback NSW

While the Japanese are always making things smaller, here in Australia it’s the bigger the better! Whether it’s the Big Banana, the 9 meter long Big Prawn or the Great Barrier Reef, Australia is the home of larger-than-life attractions.

stanley2Now, the inland New South Wales town of Lightning Ridge has joined in on fun with the launch of its 18-metre tall emu named Stanley.

The environmentally-friendly sculpture, designed by local artist John Murray, was created using scrap metal sourced from three Volkswagen bodies, a pair of satellite dishes and even materials from the old Dubbo police station.

The construction was a community effort, with all of the work, labour and materials donated from locals.

Alongside the unveiling of Stanley, Walgett Shire Council has launched the ‘Sculptures by the Highway’ competition, inviting submissions from budding artists for the opportunity to build up to five large sculptures on the side of Castlereagh Highway.

The winner, to be announced in October, will receive a cash prize of $10,000.

What’s the biggest manmade thing you’ve ever seen?

Melbourne Airport Hotel Among World’s Best

When you’re flying into a new and exciting destination the last thing you want to do is sleep at the airport. Most airports are surrounded by freeways, drive-thrus and vast expanses of deserted land, which isn’t really the experience you travelled there for.

However, sometimes you have no choice but to stay at an airport hotel (other than to try catch a few winks in the departure lounge). And if it has to be done, you might as well do it right!

Melbourne’s Park Royal Hotel, situated at the Tullamarine Airport, was named Best Airport Hotel Australia/Pacific for the second year running at the 2013 World Airport Awards.

The best airport hotel award, based on nominations by 1.35 million airport hotel guests worldwide, evaluates 16 key performance indicators including comfort and cleanliness, food and beverages, and ease of transfer.

The overall winner of Best Airport came as no surprise. Singapore’s city-in-itself Changi Airport took out the top prize, followed by Incheon International Airport (last year’s winner).

For more awards visit www.worldairportawards.com – the perfect tool to help you decide where to make a stopover on your next trip!

What’s the best airport hotel you’ve ever stayed at?

Barbie’s Dreamhouse search heads down under

As if her Malibu beach house wasn’t enough, the world’s most famous doll is heading down to Australia in search for a new home.

Barbie will arrive in Sydney via private jet today to take front row at CAMILLA AND MARC’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week show.

Leaving Ken behind to look after things in California, Barbie will be accompanied by model/tv presenter Rachel Finch as she spends four days touring the country.BRIDGECLIMB copy

Barbie’s personal realtor, Josh Altman (Foxtel’s Million Dollar Listing), has prepared a shortlist of new Dreamhouses in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

You can can get involved in the fun by photobombing your pics with a Barbie doll and posting it online with the hashtags #BarbieisMoving and #Australia. You can also follow Barbie’s adventures by following Tourism Australia’s social media channels.

Mattel® Marketing Director for Australia, Amanda Allegos, said: ‘Barbie has a very hectic schedule – so for her to visit Australia is fantastic and a great reward for all the Aussie fans. We are very excited about her arrival and showing her some Aussie hospitality.’

 

Would you share your travel secrets?

Well, hundreds of Australians shared theirs with Australian Traveller magazine who have compiled a list of Australia’s 100 Best Travel Secrets.

And unlike most ‘secret’ lists, there really are lots of surprises in this one that will inspire you to stay in Australia for your holiday this year.

As well as over 1,000 nominations from the magazine’s readers, a panel of 11 travel experts, including Dr Chris Brown, Kate Ritchie and Sonya Kruger, helped decide the final list.

Among the surprises on the list were Wilpena Pond in South Australia — a near perfect oval that is large enough to fit six Ulurus, and the ‘ultimate secret treehouse’, which has been revealed in the Blue Mountains.

 The full list is available in a special collector’s edition of Australian Traveller on sale April 3, but here are the top 10 to whet your appetite:

Top 10 Best Secrets in Australia

1. White’s Beach, Byron Bay, NSW

2. Wilpena Pound, Flinders Ranges, SA

3. Swimming with Minke Whales, QLD

4. Baird Bay Eco Experience, SA

5. Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa, NSW

6. Cape Range National Park, WA

7. Shelly Beach near Manly, NSW

8. Karijini National Park, WA

9. Paperbark Camp, NSW

10. Secret Bush Camps of Arnhemland, NT

How many have you been to?

Record Breaking Year for Vanuatu Tourism

There’s no doubting that Vanuatu has long been one of the South Pacific’s best-kept secrets – but judging by this latest news, it looks like the secret’s out.

Vanuatu saw a 15% increase in visitors in 2012 – an increase of more than 7,000 visitors since 2011. Arriving in Vanuatu via cruise ship seems to be the hip thing to do – as there were 41% more arrivals by cruiseliners in 2012 compared to 2011. And let’s be honest – what better way to arrive on this tropical nation?!

The majority of visitors to Vanuatu come from one of its closest neighbours – Australia – but it is growing in popularity with visitors from all around the world.

Look out for a collection of in-depth Vanuatu travel guides coming to TravelGoss soon!