Archive Tag:australia

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!

Top 5 Rooftop Bars in Melbourne

Summer is here (although fellow Melburnians might dispute this!) and one of my favourite things to do is relax with a nice glass of wine at a rooftop bar. There are plenty of great bars at ground level, but why settle for that when you can have a tipple with a view?

Madame Brussels

Level 3/59-63 Bourke St, Melbourne
www.madamebrussels.com

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Perhaps it’s my English background or my love for all things cute and pink, but Madame Brussels is my first choice when looking for a place to enjoy the sunshine with friends. From neatly cut sandwiches and jugs of Pimms to dashing waiters in Fred Perry tennis whites, this hard-to-find bar is like an English garden party in the sky.

It gets very busy over the summer, so be prepared to fight for a seat!

Siglo

2/161 Spring Street, Melbourne

siglo001
When you mention rooftop bars, Siglo is usually top of mind for most locals. It’s the place you go if you want to impress a date or just have a classy night out with friends. There is a distinctly European feel to it – I can’t quite pinpoint a specific country but a nice blend of Spanish, Italian and French.

The view is what really makes it – you have a fantastic backdrop of Parliament House and the spectacular St Patrick’s Cathedral. You’re also in the heart of the theatre district, so it’s perfect for a pre- or post-show drink.

Rooftop Bar & Cinema

6/252 Swanston St, Melbourne
www.rooftopcinema.com.au

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Whenever I have people come to visit me, I always take them to the Rooftop Cinema. A first-date paradise, the rooftop bar and cinema combines two of my (and most people’s!) favourite pastimes – movies and drinks. It sure beats sitting in a dark cinema with a box of overpriced popcorn!

The views of the city skyline are unbeatable, and you can enjoy them with a drink in hand, relaxing in your own deck chair. You don’t need to watch a movie either – you can just hang at the bar!

The Carlton

193 Bourke St, Melbourne
www.thecarlton.com.au

carlton-club-05
The Carlton is one of few bars/restaurants that really does cater for every type of event and person. The decor is eclectic – to put it lightly – and the crowd even more so. But that’s what makes it so great – you never know who you might strike up a conversation with!

The drinks menu is good and the restaurant serves up some mean pub-style (albeit gourmet pub-style) food. There are two rooftop bars, complete with a Hawaiian beach-hut style vibe.

Warning: it is very easy to head there for a quiet drink and not make it home until the following day!

Captain Baxter, St Kilda

10/10-18 Jacka Blvd, St Kilda
www.captainbaxter.com.au

CaptainBaxterDeck2
City skylines are amazing at night-time, but if you’re after a mid-afternoon drink (we won’t judge you!), there’s nothing better than a relaxed beach-front atmosphere.

Overlooking Melbourne’s iconic St Kilda Beach is Captain Baxter – a chilled out bar with a fantastic outdoor deck. If you’re like me and love the idea of the beach but hate finding sand in your clothes for the next three weeks, here’s a way you can enjoy it from afar.

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

How to Explore Australia Free of Charge

Australia is a haven for all who visit; the beautiful beaches, terrific architecture and magnificent wildlife. So who fancies seeing this for free? It’s now possible and readily available. One-way car rental is a system by which you act as the shipper for rental companies rather than them spending extortionate amounts of money on transferring vehicles between their branches.

It will be seen by many as a very strange form of volunteer work but this is certainly not the right way to view this unique opportunity. It is travelling in an extremely cost-effective and rather fun way. See why travelling around Australia in this way will be a truly memorable (and cheap) experience.

Cost Cutting

Fundamentally, the greatest benefit of this method of travel is the saving on cost. You can travel from Darwin to Sydney, from Sydney to Melbourne and so on for simply the cost of your food and drink. All you have to do is drop the car off at the main airports and then you are free to explore at your own leisure.

Insurance, petrol and the car itself is provided; all you need to do is sit back, relax (if you aren’t driving) and let the Australian air caress your face as you investigate its abundant beauty. For non-Australian back packers lets say, this is the ideal way to make the cost of the flight back.

Hitch a tent wherever you please and use the services that companies such as Transfercar have on the table. It is truly a brilliant scheme and one all budding travelers should give considerable thought to.

Be different

Everybody these days is travelling or wants to travel. Inter-railing is becoming the new Ibiza and a gap year working in Africa is so frequent it’s the becoming the norm. Spruce it up a bit people, for the same cost of a 2 week inter railing pass (if you book far enough in advance) you can backpack around Australia! There are a million things to do and you get to experience them first hand as you are physically in the driving seat.

It is a brilliant opportunity and extremely cheap if you plan it coherent and correctly. Remember it is a win, win situation for both yourself, the organizer and the rental company – so make the most of it!

No Limits

This method of travel really does allow you to explore the depths of Australia. While you have an end destination (The Airport) what you do after that is completely up to you. The sense of freedom when driving a car is unparalleled, especially in a country so rich with wonderful sights.

Whether you are on a soul finding mission alone or on a world tour with your soul mate, exploration of this nature is an incredible option. Moreover if you love Sydney (lets say) that much you can always return (free of charge) for another week if you so wish. The beauty is in the flexibility and if you are a keen traveler then flexibility is a godsend.

A Trip Back in Time – Broken Hill & Silverton, NSW, Australia

I’ve always been enticed by the seductive and mystical quality of wide open spaces and the rich earthy tones that only a desert can provide. Big skies, majestic views, and fortune welcome all those who heed the call. People have been drawn to this area for hundreds of years, seeking a better future in many different avenues. First it was mineral deposits that lured people out this way. Nowadays it’s the scenery, the isolation, the escape from society and the freedom that comes with that. It’s the chance to look back into the remnants of days gone by while absorbing the present moment, which draws tourists out to Broken Hill and its ghost town neighbour, Silverton.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Silverton used to be a bustling mining town, until a larger mine was built in Broken Hill. Most of the residents and even some of the buildings were moved to Broken Hill, leaving the bare bones of a town behind. A handful of abandoned buildings are still scattered around in Silverton. There are about 60 people who call Silverton home today and their tenacity and charm will quickly win you over. Broken Hill and Silverton have an unbreakable historical bond that carries on to this very day, as both towns have become a well-known backdrop for a slew of popular movies  such as “Razorback”, “Mad Max II”, “Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”, “Dirty Deeds” and the list goes on.

A true-blue mining town, Broken Hill is full of historic frontier architecture, and a majority of the roads are named after various minerals. On Chloride Street, you’ll find the Silver City Mint. This fascinating art gallery boasts a wide variety of beautiful silver jewellery created by local artists, a selection of gourmet snacks, and ‘The Big Picture’ by local painter, Ando – a magical painting that captures the essence of the outback of NSW on a canvas that is almost 100 meters long!

Silver City Mint

66 Chloride Street,

Broken Hill NSW 2880

(08) 8088 6166

http://www.silvercitymint.com.au/

Just 12km out of town you will find the Living Desert State park; home to 12 intricately carved sandstone sculptures, brought to you by artists from all over the world, which stand tall atop a peak overlooking Broken Hill.  The area is quiet and meditative, mesmerizing and inspiring, with the perfect surroundings to reflect that groovy feeling. A fantastic place for hiking, having an afternoon BBQ, and the bird watching here is top notch. You can easily organise tours of the park from Broken Hill, or drive there on your own. Opening hours: between 9am -5pm (Mar-Nov) and 6am 2pm (Dec-Feb).

Broken Hill has heaps of accommodation options available to suit every need and budget range. I spent a weekend at the West Darling Hotel and loved every minute of it. Perfect for travellers who are looking for something unusual that has heart and character (definitely not for those seeking luxury). The cracked, faded, and peeling paint on the walls, the warped floorboards, the haunted feel of the long corridors, the wrap around balcony where you can almost see the 1800’s come alive, all added something special to the whole adventure!

West Darling Hotel

Argent St (Corner of Oxide Street),

Broken Hill NSW 2880

(08) 8087 2691

To find out more about attractions and accommodation in Broken Hill, follow the link below:

www.visitbrokenhill.com.au

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATo get to Silverton; there are a few busses and tour companies that will take you out to Silverton for the day. You can easily book this from Broken Hill however the freedom of renting a car will do you a number of favours, as there is too much to see in Silverton for just a day trip! On your way to, or from, Silverton make sure you allow time to take a camel ride at Barrier Ranges Camel Safaris. The camels here are actually related to the ones that you saw in the Mad Max movies! There are a few different options ranging from half hour jaunts to half day trips and even longer trips can be arranged as well. They also offer nightime moonlight rides, which I’ll make sure to indulge in the next time I’m out that way. The tours are very affordable, informative and fun, and surprisingly the camels are very easy to ride. You’ll instantly fall in love with these beautiful docile creatures that are perfectly suited for the desert. And don’t worry – these camels have been trained not to spit… I asked!  The owner even makes his own handcrafted saddles ensuring a comfortable ride, and I must say I found it to be much more comfortable than riding a horse! Located 25km from Broken Hill on the Silverton Road, just before the town of Silverton.

Barrier Ranges Camel Safaris

Ph#: (08) 8088 5316

Mobile# 0418406377

http://www.silvertoncamels.net/Barrier_Range_Camel_Safaris.html

When you arrive in Silverton you’ll certainly be hungry. Take a load off and grab a bite to eat at the famous Silverton Hotel. A real hot spot for filmmakers, many movies and countless commercials have used the Silverton Hotel as their stage. My favourite band INXS stopped in here in 1992 and there are a few pictures of the band visiting the hotel on the wall, along with hundreds of rare behind-the-scenes photos of various movies shot in the area. Enjoy the simple Australian fare, great service and atmosphere while admiring the unforgettable surroundings. And if you time it right, there is a one-of-a-kind stage in the back courtyard that hosts live music fairly regularly, giving you a chance to let your hair down with the locals – an experience not to be missed! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A must-see for all visitors to Silverton is the Mad Max Museum. For anyone who’s seen Mad Max II, this attraction will absolutely blow you away! A true celebration of an important facet of Aussie culture, the museum is great for fans and lookie-loos alike. I recently had a chance to chat with prominent Silverton figure, and owner of the Mad Max Museum, Adrian Bennett.  He’s hands-down one of the most inspiring individuals I’ve ever met in all my travels. Truth be told; I’d never even seen Mad Max II before I visited the Museum! However, I heard the story of a man who moved his whole family here from England with the intent of opening a museum dedicated to Mad Max II in the area where the movie was filmed. The story struck a chord with me immediately and I knew I had to see it with my own eyes. For a person to follow their dreams so unabashedly and have the courage to fly in the face of convention against all odds is a rare and beautiful thing. I consider myself fortunate that I was able to take part in such an exceptional place. Here, Adrian shares with the TravelGoss community some of his favourite things about the area and a few of his most memorable moments at the museum:

“Owning and running the museum has been a joy since the doors opened in 2010. We have met some incredible people and make new friends on a daily basis. We have had some great shows filmed at the museum and meeting famous people from TV has been a real honour for us. Many of the original cast and crew from Mad Max 2 have visited the museum with still many others I’ve met, promising to call and see us. One of the biggest highlights for the museum was in September 2012 when Mad Max 2 villain Vernon Wells visited the museum over a 2 day period. This was such an incredible experience and a real honour for me as Vernon was my hero from the film and to think that 31 years after I first watched the movie not only would I build a museum where the movie was made but also have one of the stars of the film come and visit is sometimes still hard to comprehend!”

“When ordinary people end up in an extra-ordinary situation it sometimes makes you wonder why, and since I arrived in Australia there were certain coincidences that happened in my ‘journey’ to the outback that made me wonder if certain things were just meant to be! All of these coincidences came together, to bring me to one of the most beautiful and unique places in Australia. Of course you could say I was biased purely because I was drawn to Broken Hill and more-so Silverton because of my fascination with Mad Max 2 which was filmed in the area but, it goes way beyond that for me now.”

“One of the most incredible things to witness is the sun setting at the beautiful Mundi Mundi Lookout just 5 kms past Silverton where the curvature of the earth can clearly be seen!  Even the walking trails are incredible and not knowing what wildlife is going to pop up and greet you is also an added bonus for that photo opportunity. The area is rich with history and full of great characters with stories to tell. It’s also a must for stargazers, something I do often due to the perfectly clear night sky out here in Silverton. Just being surrounded by the great Australian outback and bushland in every direction gives you a sense of freedom that everyone should experience.”OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“I think the area has a magical magnetic pull on people, it’s why artists and musicians and movie makers come here. For film makers it has the perfect backdrop, clear light and just an all-around great looking place which has everything to offer them for those perfect shots. Artists are spoiled by the incredible landscape and peaceful surroundings in which to work and the great history and people of the area supply enough stories for the lyrics of any song. It’s sometimes hard to explain why a place is so special, you really have to experience it for yourself and see why so many people fall in love with this stunningly beautiful place.” – (Adrian Bennett)

Mad Max II Museum

Sterling Street

Silverton, NSW 2880

Mon – Sun: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mad-Max-Museum/113085982075455?fref=ts

On the edge of town, you’ll find the Silverton Cemetery. Take a glimpse at the hard truths and harsh realities the local mining families would’ve faced out here in the 1800’s; things like Typhoid epidemics, mining disasters, unsafe, overheated and cramped working conditions, fibrosis and emphysema due to poor air circulation in the mines, all this took a toll on the residents of Silverton. It’s a place full of powerful stories. I found that visiting this small cemetery gave me a perspective on what life out here would have been like and made me appreciate just how much easier our modern life is. It’s an eye opening experience to spend a moment to realize what it actually takes to dig these minerals out of the earth that so many of us have taken for granted for generations.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If you’re looking for a place to stay in Silverton, I recommend Penrose Park. The site was built in the early 20th century for miners and their families to have a place to relax and escape the hardships of the times. Fully equipped with powered caravan sites, campsites, and dorm style cabins, Penrose Park is a wonderful place to spend the weekend with the family and friends. The park is absolutely teeming with wildlife, the air is clean and the owners are very friendly and helpful. The perfect spot for a picnic, a BBQ, or even a game of tennis!

 

Penrose Park

Lot 34 Silverton Rd

Silverton NSW 2880

(08) 8088 5307

http://www.silverton.org.au/penrose.htm

For more info on Silverton visit:

http://www.silverton.org.au/

*How to get there:

Broken Hill is accessible by a limited service of Regional Express flights: http://www.regionalexpress.com.au/

Countrylink offers train service from Sydney to Broken Hill:

http://www.countrylink.info

Vline offers service from Melbourne to Mildura, (then arrange bus to Broken Hill in Mildura):

http://www.vline.com.au/

*There is a shuttle bus, and tour companies that operate between Silverton and Broken Hill.

If you have the time available, and access to a vehicle, this area makes a spectacular destination for a road trip from major cities such as Sydney, Adelaide or Melbourne. The effort it takes to get there adds to the satisfaction of a genuine outback experience! No matter how you choose to get there and away, rest assured that Broken Hill, Silverton and the surrounding area will easily find a way into your heart!

Click here to read more about Tina’s adventures on her blog.

Top 10 Things To Do In Sydney That Locals Recommend

Sydney is a magnet for holidaymakers from all over the world, and after you’ve spent some time in the harbourside city, it’s easy to see why – it’s one of those places where the locals seem to be having just as much fun as the tourists, if not more. While the Opera House and its majestic Bridge are appreciably its most recognisable icons, you don’t have to do much digging to uncover the many hidden gems that make the hub of Australia’s east coast an exciting place all year round. Here are ten of the best.

The Bridge Climb at Sunset

If you’re wanting to take in as much of Sydney as you can in the shortest time, one way is from 130-odd metres above its famous glittering harbour while the sun sets behind the Blue Mountains. After suiting up, your group of intrepid adventurers start the guided trek to the top of Sydney’s most impressive feat of engineering. With adult twilight packages starting at $278 it ain’t the cheapest thrill, but the 360 degree view of the city at dusk is unforgettable.

The Rocks Market on Weekends

On the northern doorstep of the CBD and a short hop from the Opera House, the Rocks Market is a trove of handcrafted jewellery, original artworks, and bags and dresses designed by some very talented stallholders. Open 10am to 5pm Saturday and Sunday, all year round. Catch a bus, train or ferry to Circular Quay.

Day Trip to the Blue Mountains

Many tours head daily to the World Heritage-listed wonderland of mountains, gorges and bushland that starts on the banks of the Nepean River, 50km west of the Sydney CBD. Highlights include the Flat Rock Lookout at Wentworth Falls, the famous Three Sisters at Katoomba, and fine dining and local produce at Leura. Oztrek’s tours start at $59 per person.

Star Casino at Night

For the card shark who likes fine food and entertainment with their high stakes gambling, the Star Casino in Pyrmont, located opposite the CBD across Darling Harbour, has it all. New additions include the Marquee Nightclub with a dance floor accommodating over 700 people, and the 5-Star Darling hotel, with impressive views of the city skyline.

Shows at the Domain

If there’s a show on at the Domain, you owe yourself to make the short trip to Sydney’s ultimate outdoor venue on the eastern fringe of the CBD. The Sydney Festival in January is when the place really comes alive, but there’s still plenty happening year round, including, of course, Carols in the Domain.

Water Taxi to Fort Denison

For history buffs, the former penal colony of Fort Denison features Australia’s only Martello tower and the very last built in the British Empire. If that means anything to you, you’ll definitely want to hop on a water taxi from Circular Quay to the island, which also boasts a well-reviewed restaurant/cafe. H2O Water Taxis start at $80 per person.

Kayaking on the Harbour

Suitable for both beginners and advanced paddlers, the half-day and morning kayak tours offered by Life’s An Adventure are, along with the Bridge climb, the best way to appreciate the Harbour’s natural beauty and landmarks. The day tour breaks for a picnic lunch of smoked salmon, fresh salad and other delectables.

Sculpture by the Sea at Bondi Beach

It’s just wrapped up, but don’t despair – it’ll be back in 2014. This year, Sydney’s premier outdoor art show featured around 70 works by artists from around the world, against the beautiful backdrop of the Pacific Ocean. Definitely one you can bring the kids to.

Taronga Zoo

The Zoo, in Mosman on Sydney’s lower north shore, is a family favourite. Twelve minutes from the city by ferry, it features around 340 species, free shows and grand views of the Harbour. Children under 4 get in free.

Dinner in Centre Point’s 360 Restaurant

Fine Australian cuisine and cocktails are served up with unmatched views of the city skyline from 360 Bar and Dining at the top of Sydney Tower. The revolving restaurant offers red carpet service in gently lit mahogany surrounds. The $30 Mon-Fri lunch special is a favourite with local high fliers.