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Are you packing for Bali ? Get the best packing tips ever!

Travel light - Packing for a trip to Bali

Packing for a trip to Bali in Indonesia?

Are you traveling to Bali and not sure what to take with you?  Here are the best ever packing tips to ensure you have an amazing holiday.

I’ve prepared a quick list that will ensure you’ve got something for every occasion.

Get the right Visa

Get the right visaVisa requirements for Indonesia have become less complicated in recent times.  Depending on your passport and citizenship, there are a number of options to choose when coming into Indonesia depending on your purpose of travel.   For the finer details, visit VisaBali.com

Be Money Smart

It’s preferable to carry US or AU Dollars and Indonesian Rupiah when you arrive in Bali.  In my experience ATMs in Bali are safe … but as always, be sure to cover your PIN entry when transacting.  Remember to let your bank know where you’re travelling before you leave so they don’t assume identity theft and lock down your card.  If you are using a money changer, watch them carefully and don’t get distracted.  It’s easy to fall for the ‘count back’ scam and end up short a few rupiah – it’s happened to us!   We prefer to take cash in $50’s and change no more than $200 at a time.

Understand the Conversion Rate

Rupiah usually roughly converts: $1AU = 10,000 IDR.  Bargaining in Bali … it’s expected!  Know the value of your money.  Shop owners expect you to challenge their price setting.  There are a few exceptions such as McDonald’s or the big Department stores, but in the smaller shops it is an expected practice.

Travel Light

The thing about Bali is that it’s very hot all year around, which means you don’t have to cater for changing weather situations. Even if it rains, it’s still hot!  You won’t need suitcases of clothes!  Often airlines have super cheap airfares which don’t include checked baggage, but the reality is you can survive a week or two in Indonesia traveling with just a backpack.

Comfortable Clothing

Bali is very casual.  Pack things like comfortable, loose-fitting shorts, singlet-tops, shift-dresses, board shorts, T-shirts and other items you would wear during summer at home.  Be sure to choose lightweight cotton or breathable fabrics.  I always make sure I have a sarong in my bag incase I want to go into a shrine and need to cover up.  The weather in Bali is always hot and sticky, so choose comfort first.

Shoes

You absolutely won’t need high heels!  Most people get around in their thongs (jandles or flip-flops) or lightweight flat sandals.  If you’re planning to trek into the jungle you will need to pack appropriate closed-in walking shoes.

Beachwear

Pack two swimsuits so one can be drying out while you’re wearing the other one, and don’t forget to take a cover-up or sarong just incase you want to go for a walk.  Bali is a modest culture so it’s important to be respectful.  Most hotels supply towels, so there’s no need to bring one with you.

pack light - family time

Beach Bag

Pack a light tote you can put your beach essentials in, this will make it easier to pack up your towel, hat, sunglasses, book, camera and sunscreen when you head down to the water or go for a walk around town.

Slip Slop & Slap!

Protect yourself from sunburn … bring a hat and sunscreen with high sun protection factor (SPF).  Wear a hat.  Remember, the sun is treacherous … re-apply often to ensure you don’t get burned.  Cover up if you feel yourself burning and don’t think that you won’t burn if there is cloud cover.  UV rays are often most powerful on a cloudy day.

Moisturise Moisturise Moisturise!

Bring your favourite moisturiser with you and treat yourself to a facial and body massage during your stay.   You won’t need make up during the day and if you were to wear it, you’d find it would drip right off!  I sometimes wear a little mascara and a light dash of face powder if we’re going out somewhere special at night but for the rest of the time, it’s au naturale!

Medical Precautions

Risks of coming into contact with contaminated food and water are significantly higher in Asia so be cautious and be prepared.  Check the requirements of your destination and visit a doctor before you leave to take some pre cautionary medicine with you.  Consider carrying some gastro-stop, electrolites and a general dose of antibiotics incase you contract a dose of ‘Bali Belly’.  Ask your doctor if you need to take anti-malarial medication with you and be sure to take a mini first aid kit … just in case.

Insect Repellant

Buy a bottle of good quality insect repellant and use it regularly. This is especially important if you’re visiting places like Lombok and Sumbawa where Malaria is a bigger threat.  Vitamin B12 is a natural mossie repellant, so my advice is to get into some vitamins as a precaution before you travel.

Recharge your Technology

In Bali, you’ll need a power converter to  recharge your camera, phone and other electronics … the one you need has two round prongs. I always carry a battery pack as well so that I can charge my devices on the run.  If you forget to pack your charger you can buy one there.

I use a small toiletries bag to keep all my cables and power connectors so they’re all together in one place.

Plastic bags

Take a couple of large plastic grocery bags and small sandwich bags in your luggage.  They’re handy to store wet or dirty shoes, wet clothes or swimwear or soap or a tube of toothpaste!

Good quality Luggage

Suitcases tend to get thrown around in transit so it’s worth investing in good quality luggage that can withstand some rough treatment and be locked securely when traveling.

If you’ve been lucky enough to visit Bali before and have some tips to add to this list, please share them in the comments below.  What’s your best tip for traveling?

What makes a good hotel great?

the finer touches

The important things that make a good hotel, great

What really makes a good hotel great and what are the things you look for in a stay away … what is the one thing you can’t do without?

Over the years I’ve become somewhat of a minor expert on hotels and accommodation.  I do love my ‘creature comforts’ so this post is about the basic appointments I look for when staying away from home.

Whether you’re traveling for business, a special occasion or a family holiday, it is important that hotels cater for connected travelers.

These are a few things we think makes a good hotel great

Great Service

This is essential!  The first impression sets the tone for the entire visit and we really do expect exceptional service. A good hotel will not just have a friendly staff, but they will do everything they can to make your stay more enjoyable.  We need to feel the love!

Our absolute best customer service experience was at the Alaya Resort in Ubud.  We definitely felt the love!

A Central Location

We generally choose a hotel that’s close to the city highlights.  We try to stay within walking distance of theatres, museums, galleries and other attractions and near quality restaurants, bars and cafe’s.

The Mazarin Hotel in New Orleans was a fabulous hotel in the midst of the french quarter and an easy walk to everywhere!

New Orleans French Quarter

The View

An important part of our hotel experience often comes down to having a room with a view. Nothing is more exhilarating than walking into a beautiful hotel room with a huge picture window and a birds-eye view of the city you’re visiting.

Not surprisingly, one of our best vantage room views was overlooking Niagara Falls.  We declared this hotel as having the most stunning views ever!

Niagara Falls

Bar & Restaurant

Having a restaurant, cafe or bar in the hotel complex or close-by to get a bite to eat or to enjoy a quiet drink is our preferred option.  We love a no-fuss on-site restaurant, cafe and bar and think it’s vital for any great hotel to have simple options for guests to enjoy their surroundings.

One of our favourite on-site bars was at the Park Lane Hotel in New York City.  Harry’s New York Bar was the quintessential NYC bar experience.  Great cocktails, superb wine list, friendly service and a great place for a couple of Aussies to pop into after a busy day touristing!

It’s the little things that make the difference 

We love the little stuff when it comes to staying in a hotel.  It really does make the difference.  Pleasing decor, somewhere to unpack if i’m staying longer than a few days. Big, fluffy, fresh, white, hotel towels, luxurious bath products and we especially love an evening turn-down service.

On a recent trip to the States the Westin Copley in Boston was the hotel that hit all the checkboxes!

the little things that make a good hotel great

Real Furniture

Please give me a dedicated writing space and a couch to stretch out and relax on.  I like my hotel room to be a little more than a bedroom.  It’s lovely to have somewhere to sit other than the bed without having to relocate to a nearby cafe or bar to write up my notes or read a magazine.

Comfortable Bed & Pillow Choice

A comfortable bed is absolutely essential for my stay away.  A big, soft, cloud-like bed with high-thread-count bed linen, and a fluffy feather mattress topper will have me swooning at the sleeping arrangements.  Another favourite is a pillow-menu.  I like to have options to find the right pillow – not too hard, not too soft – just right!

Well-appointed Bathrooms

Non of this obscure mood-lighting please. Brighter options should be available.  We girls need good lighting so we can put mascara on without poking our eyes out!  One of my pet hates in a hotel is shower/bath combo’s.  If there’s not enough space for a shower and a both.  Choose one don’t cram them both together!

Good, Free WiFi  

People have the need to remain connected and WiFi should be a standard inclusion in every hotel – and it should be FREE.   Connection needs to be of a high-speed with adequate band-width so that all guests have service at the same time.

Easy Access Power Outlets 

With so many telephones, tablets, laptops, cameras and other technology that needs charging, it’s important that hotels provide a variety of charging options so that our essential devices can be replenished quickly and easily as required.  My advice for hoteliers – have plenty of outlets, and position them off the floor.

An Opportunity to Indulge Yourself

One of my favourite indulgences when traveling away is to treat myself to a day-spa treatment.  Better still if the day-spa is in the hotel complex!  It’s so relaxing to indulge in a massage, have a facial or even just a mani or pedicure.  Take the opportunity to revitalise and rejuvenate and feel the luxury of a little pampering.

indulge yourself

A few of my thoughts on what makes a good hotel great, what are yours? What’s the best hotel experience you have ever had? I’d love to hear about your experiences, so share in the comments below.

Why we bought a Timeshare – Could Timeshares be your holiday solution?

Timeshare resort

Are you considering buying a timeshare?

There are a range of reasons that people buy timeshares.  Could they be the perfect holiday solution for you?

Relax, time to unwind, an opportunity to de-stress, laze around the swimming pool, a change in your day to day environment, time and energy to do something different each day – these are all reasons we love to holiday.

It’s no surprise that we want to remain in that holiday-trance as long as we can.  Purchasing a timeshare is a way to buy into a holiday resort at a minimal cost. It can be an emotional or impulsive decision but sometimes it’s something you’ve been considering for a number of years.

The fact is:  Most timeshares are bought whilst people are on holidays.

We relax and unwind when we’re on holidays, relaxation decreases stress levels, reduces tensions and increases our general well-being.

We often fall in love the destination, we slip into a calm state of mind while we’re on holidays and not surprisingly, want to return to revisit that feeling.   There are those of us who love that they can be an owner in a resort for a nominal cost … even better if it’s a beach-side resort.Bali resort

There are 2 main types of Timeshares

If you’re considering buying a timeshare, it pays to understand the different options.

Fixed Week:  The buyer usually owns the rights to a specific unit in the same week, year in and year out, for as long as the contract stipulates (check if the property is owned or leased and how long the remaining lease is).

There is the predictability factor in this option: great for those who may want to take a holiday every school holidays or if their business closes over the Christmas break.

With a fixed-rate timeshare, the owner can rent out his block of time or trade with owners of other properties. This type of arrangement works best if you have a highly desirable location.

Floating week: The buyer can reserve his own block of time during any period of the year. This option has more freedom than the fixed week version, but getting the exact time you want may be difficult when other shareholders snap up many of the prime periods.

There’s an option to book at last minute, or months ahead so that you can utilise your week at a time that suits you.

Consider buying into a resort linked to an Interchange Club

Access to an Inter-change Club: This is similar to the floating timeshare, but buyers can inter-change to stay at various locations (even in other countries). There is often a minor cost involved to swap to another property but it’s a good way to go somewhere different, and often at a reduced cost.

Peninsula BeachThe Timeshare Advantage

  • Unlike a holiday home which may be vacant part of the year, you only pay the time that you use and the maintenance costs are built into your annual fee.
  • If you like predictability, you can take a guaranteed vacation destination which makes planning ahead for an annual holiday, easy.
  • Owning a timeshare is an investment in your holidays, not necessarily a financial investment but it is true that most timeshares are able to be included in your will and passed to others in the event of your demise.
  • If you use your timeshare regularly, you can definitely save money on holidays over the long term.

Our Timeshare experience

Both of us work in high-paced corporate roles and are terrible at taking holidays.  Our holidays are often long weekends with an extra day here and there, often visiting family and friends but it’s rare that we take time to sit, relax and do absolutely nothing.

Checking into a resort, lazing around the pool, reading a book or taking a morning yoga class was always on our wish list – but somehow we never made time to do it.

With Darwin just a short 2 hour flight from Bali, most people we know take advantage of Bali as super-quick a holiday destination.  Question to self: Why weren’t we doing that too?

We had talked about buying a timeshare for many years, so when visiting Bali for a friend’s ‘big’ birthday party, we took the time to attend a presentation.

The reality was, it made perfect sense to us, and today we wonder why we didn’t do it sooner … so in 2013 we bought a timeshare in Bali.

Relaxing in Bali

Doing the Maths!

The buy in price for a studio apartment in a brand spanking new resort in Nusa Dua was affordable and the ongoing maintenance costs were reasonably low.  The resort had all the facilities we needed which gave us options to take a lazy holiday without it being a major travel event.

Doing the maths was about the initial buy in costs + annual maintenance fee.

Buying in Bali made total sense, the maintenance fee was locked in at the local Balinese currency which meant that outgoings were able to be kept at a minimum.  An important consideration for us!

We also had an option to bank our weeks and we could pool them which we thought was a great option.  Furthermore, we could buy additional weeks at a very low price, if and when we wanted to.  A no-brainer really!

Do we use our Timeshare?

For the couple of years we banked our weeks with the intention to save a couple of weeks to take a longer holiday in Bali when we had more time but, the reality was we didn’t make the time.

It was a ‘head slapping moment’ – make the time!

Recently we’ve made a point to take our break every year and love the opportunity to spend the week lazing away our days by the pool – our original purpose! We’ve also gifted weeks to family members as wedding presents or birthday and Christmas gifts or ‘just because’, and we love that we are able to share our holiday home.

The real benefit for us is that Bali is a 2 hour flight away, so with a couple of weeks notice we can hop on a plane and wake up next morning in our gorgeous resort room by the beach! There are plenty of resort options if we want to make use of them – dining, yoga classes and access to canoes & surf skis – or nothing at all!

We usually sign up for the resort breakfast package when we arrive which gives us fabulous breakfast options without having to lift a finger and we get straight into the holiday-zone.

Some days we’ll take a day-trip, but I’ve become accustomed to spending my day lounging by the pool, writing my next blog post, reading a book or snoozing in the warmth of the day and calling for a cool lemon spritzer every now and then – just because I can!

For us, buying a timeshare in Bali has been money well spent!

Uluwatu temple

Our advice

Like all opportunities, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is!   Be astute!   Do the maths and don’t let yourself be pressured when considering a purchase and be sure to read your contract carefully.

Have you ever considered buying a timeshare?  Do you have one, and do you use it regularly?  Share your experience with us, below.

An Aussie Road Trip – Darwin to Alice Springs

Devils Marbles Australia

A Darwin to Alice Springs road trip is the ultimate travel experience!

The road from Darwin to Adelaide is arguably the greatest Aussie road trip you will ever do.

Courtesy of World Solar Challenge

Each town along the Stuart Highway boasts it’s own originality so it’s worth taking a little more time on the drive to see everything possible.

I love this drive!

Vast long straight roads, wide expenses of nothingness in between sparsely scattered fuel stops and small towns.

Road trains chugging along at a competitive pace.  Retired grey nomads towing caravans on their long awaited ‘trip of a lifetime’ heading north to escape the cold weather of the south during the winter months.

The Stuart Highway is just over 3000 kilometres (each way) with some extraordinary scenery along the way, this is certainly the trip for your scrapbook and quite possibly one of the most memorable road trips you will make in your lifetime.

You will see world heritage listed sites, unique Australian wildlife and meet some great Aussie characters along the way!

The World Solar Challenge holds their friendly eco-friendly competition Darwin to Adelaide road trip each year in October. (thanks for the use of the map)

Road trips have rules

  • Rule 1:  Take plenty of music!  The driver chooses the music!
  • Rule 2: Never contemplate a road trip with children unless there is a window for each child.
  • Rule 3: Take snacks (snakes, jelly babies, packets of chips) and plenty of water.

Northern Territory road conditions are generally very good with a top speed limit of 130 kilometres an hour on the open highway, however the best advice is always “Drive at a speed you are comfortable with” and at all times, drive safely.  (Check out these 10 tips to stay safe on our roads)Roadtrip

Plan ahead & enjoy the journey

It’s a good idea to leave Darwin with a plan involving rest stops along the way.  Between Darwin and Katherine there are several opportunities to take a rest stop and enjoy a break from the drive.

  • Hayes Creek has great selection of snacks and fuel available – be sure to check out the Jack Daniels fuel pump!
  • Emerald Springs is one of my favourite places to stop for breakfast!  Bacon & Eggs to die for!

Looking for lunch?   Stop for a break at Adelaide River.  The pub serves the best ‘buffalo burgers’ in the Territory and is well worth the visit.  It’s an opportunity to pay homage to ‘Charlie the buffalo’ the co-star in the infamous movie “Crocodile Dundee” with Paul Hogan.  Charlie is stuffed and the main attraction at the Adelaide River bar.

While you’re at Adelaide River, pay a visit to the only War Cemetery in Australia (others are war memorials).  This well kept cemetery is a sobering reminder of just how many Australian soldiers and civilians were tragically killed in times of war.

Further south, the historical gold mining town of Pine Creek is a great little town to visit. Small gold finds are still found in the area which makes it a popular stop for weekend fossickers.  Stop in and check out the historical museum or stay a little longer and learn about the Pine Creek’s gold rush days.

Katherine is a beautiful place to stop for a couple of days to explore Nitmiluk Gorge (also known as Katherine Gorge).  Spectacular bush walks that offer amazing views down the Katherine valley.

Hire a canoe and paddle through the imposing ochre coloured cliffs or take one of the cruises up into the gorge away from the bustle of everyday life.  Don’t forget to stop in at Nitmiluk Visitors Centre as it’s a great source of history and information about the Katherine region.

If you never never go, you’ll never never know!

About 100 kilometres south of Katherine is Mataranka Hot Springs.  Refreshing natural hot springs are a popular rest stop for tired weary travelers.

Agile WallabyMataranka is the land of the ‘Never Never’ made famous by Elsie Gunn who endured ongoing hardship by settling this untamed country.  Watch the “We of the Never Never” You Tube movie trailer to understand this strong woman and her new life as she settled into the Northern Territory.   It’s an incredible story of personal endurance based on a true story.

Further south, the Daly Waters pub is one of the best experiences on this long long road. It’s a unique place stay, great steaks, cold beer, clean accommodation and good old fashioned friendly service with just a little touch of Territory quirkiness!  Daly Waters is one of those places everyone should visit at some time in their life!

Daly WatersA number of roadhouses dot the highway south, but Renner Springs is one of my favourites.  Fresh home baked bread is not what you expect at this very remote little roadhouse!  Fuel, great food and accommodation is available if you wish to take a break.

Tennant Creek is sleepy town and a good place to overnight, grab a bite to eat and refresh ready for the next leg to Alice Springs (only approximately 5 more hours driving)!  A town settled in the Territory gold rush days, Tennant Creek is a close knit community and the easterly crossroads to Queensland.

Passing the Devils Marbles is always a surprise for me.  The Marbles appear with almost no warning and if you’re traveling early morning, the golden glow of the morning sun on the rocks is striking making it impossible not to turn left off the highway to take a walk through these amazing piles of granite rocks seemingly tossed together randomly.

A significant sacred Aboriginal site in the Northern Territory, the Karlu Karlu will take your breath away!   On the southern edge of the National Park is the Devils Marbles Hotel – another great fuel food and accommodation stop.

No road trip is complete without Aliens

Wycliffe Well claims to be the ‘alien’ capital of the Northern Territory.  A truly weird place!  Good for a fuel, food and a camping ground!  As for Barrow Creek, the scenery is stark but it comes with it’s own unresolved mysteries.

Ti Tree is the last opportunity for a break before Alice Springs.   Fuel and food are available and it’s a chance to stretch your legs before you drive this last leg.  Stop for an icecream! Only two hours to go!

Alice Springs always reminds me of an oasis in the middle of the desert.  It’s far more ‘green’ and lush than I ever imagined.  Complete with caravan parks, hotels, restaurants and even a casino affectionately tagged ‘the white house’.

Alice SpringsThe infamous Todd River flows right through the middle of town and for most of the year it is a dry riverbed.  When it does rain though, it turns into a major attraction for locals to ‘watch the Todd come down’.  It is rumored that those who see the Todd flow 3 times will never leave.

I have heard many Alice Springs locals tell tales of how they came for a 2 week holiday and are still here some 30 + years later.  It’s true of so many of us who live in the Territory … Trevor was one of those!

Watch this blog for the next part of this fabulous road tripAlice Springs to Adelaide!

Have you done this road trip?  Did you stop at Materanka or Bitter Springs on your way through?  Was it the trip of your lifetime?

Showcasing Darwin’s Street Art Festival

Darwin Street Art Festival

Street-art is something that captures the imagination of those of us who pass by.

Darwin’s Street-Art Festival is a happening thing!  It’s breathed life into Darwin City and people are talking about the vibe that it brings.

Darwin Street Art FestivalOther towns are talking about bringing similar opportunities into their towns too – we’ve set the bar high!

From 19th to the 29th
of October this year,
Darwin city streets were getting a make-over!

The greatest compliment for an artist is the look on the faces of the people passing by.  Their eyes focused upward, faces featuring a broad smile and their hand extended pointing and drawing attention to the art work.

This is what was happening around Darwin recently as people watch these magnificent art installations change our landscape!  Step out and visit the city, wander through the streets and laneways to see what these clever streetscapers have achieved in just a few short weeks!

National and local artists are working together to create large scale works on some of Darwin’s most well-known buildings.

Showcasing the early days of the festival as the artists began their works, with many works yet to be completed.  Follow us for updates as we keep you up to date with the art as they come to life.

Check out our latest photos

For more information go to Darwin Street Art Festival.

It’s a spectacular project for Darwin, so very exciting and is totally re-facing the city!  Have you taken the street walk yet?  Tell us what you think!

Cairns – the best bucket list destination in Far North Queensland

Holiday in Cairns

Cairns has always been one of my favourite places to visit in sunny Far North Queensland.

With so much to see and do in Far North Queensland, Cairns is truly one of the best bucket list destinations ever!  A relaxed and casual place to visit, not surprisingly Cairns offers exactly what the travel brochures promise.

When you arrive, don’t be surprised to see some of the most spectacular scenery in Australia.

Tropical ButterfliesThere’s a ton of great things to do in and around the city.  You’ll find amazing cafés, great restaurants, busy markets, clear fresh-water rivers and swimming holes close to the city.  Of course, there’s always the beautiful northern beaches.

Must See

  • Visit Kuranda – take the Skyrail or Kuranda Scenic Railway
  • Go snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef
  • Visit the Daintree, the most ancient rainforest in the world

There’s so much to do in Cairns

You’ll never tire of this scenery!

You have choices!  A short boat ride to the Great Barrier Reef so you can snorkel on the reef or around the islands, or choose a short drive north to be amidst the ancient Daintree rainforest with its rare plants, exotic birds and animals.

Want to do something different?  Take a short drive up the mountain to the Atherton Tablelands with its crater lakes, quaint mountain villages and spectacular countryside or take an adventure on Kuranda’s Scenic Railway to see the magnificent Barron Falls and views down the Barron Gorge.

Rainforest

Get your Foodie Fix

With coffee and tea plantations closeby, it’s no surprise that Cairns has a thriving café scene.  It won’t take you long to discover some of the best the best tea & coffee hangouts in town!

Take advantage of Cairns’ balmy weather and dine alfresco on The Esplanade, with ocean fresh seafood from Barnacle Bills which has been on the Esplanade as long as I can remember, or try some Asian fusion style menu from The Raw Prawn.  A trip up the to the northern beaches will offer some great restaurants along the way!

Perhaps a visit to Rusty’s Markets for an opportunity to taste some of the locally grown exotic fruits and lots more.  Step out and mingle with the locals at Rusty’s Markets.

Step into the Ancient Tropical Rainforest

CassowaryThe World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest is about two hours drive north of Cairns.

The Daintree is home to some of the most diverse range of plants, birds and unique animals on earth, including the rare tree-dwelling kangaroo and the endangered cassowary.

Visit the Daintree Discovery Centre where you can walk along the Aerial Walkway amidst the rainforest or take a cruise down the Daintree River to spot wildlife in its natural habitat, including saltwater crocodiles.  Choose to do a day trip from the city or opt to stay overnight in one of the wilderness lodges.

The Great Barrier Reef

You simply can’t visit Cairns without visiting the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system. It’s made up of 3000 coral reefs and over 900 beautiful islands and coral cays. Take a day cruise with Quicksilver Cruises to snorkel in the stunning coral gardens and see the beautifully coloured fish to fully experience this remarkable treasure.

Beaches in Cairns

Discover the Islands

A short high-speed ferry ride will take you to beautiful Fitzroy Island. Explore the walking tracks through the natural rainforest, snorkel around Welcome Bay and Nudey Beach or see the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef by sea kayak.

Take day tour to Green Island, and explore this beautiful coral cay surrounded by sandy white beaches and sapphire blue waters, just a short hop off the Cairns shore.

Learn about Aboriginal culture

North Queensland is rich in history and is home of the world’s oldest living culture which dates back more than 40,000 years at the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park.

The cultural centre gives guests the opportunity to experience authentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture through theatre, guided bush walks and didgeridoo shows.  It’s an experience that will stay with you forever!

Visit Kuranda’s Village in the Rainforest

The mountain village of Kuranda is nestled within the tropical rainforest, and known for its vibrant arts community.  Local markets are open daily, selling a range of jewellery, leather goods and Aboriginal art, while cafes, galleries and boutiques line the village streets.

The journey up to Kuranda is half the experience!  The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway takes you above the rainforest canopy and provides extraordinary views over the city, the beaches and the pristine rainforest.  Take the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway when returning to Cairns. This old world train journey travels through the dense rainforest, winding down the mountain, past cascading waterfalls and the stunning Barron Gorge.

Looking for an adrenaline rush?

There’s lots to do to give you a little ‘extreme’ adventure!

Some of the best whitewater rafting rapids in Australia are on the nearby Tully and Barron rivers or take a half day of tubing on the Mulgrave River. It’s the place to go for extreme memories.

HOW TO GET THERE

International flights arrive at Cairns Airport, a 10 to 15 minute drive from the city centre or fly into one of the capital cities such as Melbourne, Brisbane or Sydney and catch a connecting domestic link.

There’s always an opportunity to take a road-trip up the Queensland coast and enjoy the changing landscape along the way.  (Allow a good 3 – 4 weeks to see as much as you can)

Queenslanders often are heard to say “Beautiful one day, Perfect the next!”  It’s true!

Have you been to Cairns yet?   It’s the holiday to take to really explore Australia. Consider booking your flight now!  

10 reasons why Holidays are the key to a Healthy Lifestyle

holiday

Have you ever wanted to take a holiday but thought, I have too much to do?

Holidays are not a luxury.  They are the key to a well-balanced and healthy lifestyle.  Taking a break is good for mental and physical health, and the real benefit is that you can return revitalised and re-energised.

Here’s 10 reasons to make holidays a priority in your life:

  1. Wake up happier:  Don’t you just love waking up when you’re on holidays?  People who take regular holidays reported feeling extremely happy and experienced an overall feeling of ‘well-being’ compared to those who didn’t take holidays.  Many reported these effects lasting well beyond their time away.
  2. Holidays relieve stress:  Stress triggers a surge of adrenaline and cortisol hormones to help you stay focused, energetic, and alert.  However when we’re under too much stress we may feel tense, nervous, or on edge.  Getting away for regular holidays and taking a break from every-day stresses provides relief from the constant high levels of these hormones and a chance to repair some of the damage.
  3. Enormous health benefits:  You will feel better, sleep well and your mood will lighten. Levels of stress and anxiety will lower.  Your heart function and blood pressure will begin to return to normal.  Stress can impact your immune system increasing your chance of getting colds and flu as well as more serious conditions.  Taking time out on holiday provides an opportunity reduce stress and give your body a chance to recuperate and re-energise.
  4. Sleep better:  Restless nights and disrupted sleep are common complaints and often indicate that we simply have too much going on in our minds. This affects our sleep.  Lack of sleep leads to less focus, less alertness, impaired memory, an increased likelihood of accidents as well as a decreased quality of life.  Taking a break can help interrupt the habits that disrupt sleep.  Take time off and learn to reset your sleep pattern.
  5. Improve your sex life: There really is such a thing as healthy holiday sex!  Studies have shown that high cortisol levels associated with stress create a negative feedback loop in the brain contributing to lower levels of sex hormones like testosterone, leading to a loss of libido.  People who holiday regularly reported feeling sexier, and experienced more romance in their relationships leading to better sex.
  6. loveBetter relationships:  Holidaying with your family or loved ones help forge closer bonds. Studies have found women who take holidays with their partners report feeling more satisfied with their marriage.  Family holidays create more memories than any other activity in our lives. People place a higher value on the shared experiences they have on holidays together over material goods they acquire during their lifetime.
  7. Maintain focus:  Taking time off keeps you balanced. Continuous work with no holidays can make people feel swamped and distracted, making concentration difficult. Surveys demonstrate that three-quarters of people who holiday regularly feel energized and revitalised.  Most are refreshed and ready to tackle new challenges when they return.
  8. Productivity in the workplace:  Researchers have found that employees who take holidays experience lower levels of workplace stress and are less likely to experience burn-out.  Holidays have been proven to increase employee productivity, and has been found to decrease the number of ‘sickies’ taken.  When you’re more productive, you’re happier, and when you’re happier, you excel at what you do.
  9. Holidays can help you lose weight:   Many of us admit to eating as a response to stress and stressful situations. Stress hormones such as cortisol are linked to increased belly fat and weight gain, which has been linked to heart disease. Studies have shown that despite indulging a little more during their holidays, people who regularly take a holiday break feel more energized and are often physically more active whilst away. They were also found to have improved glucose levels and experienced weight loss.
  10. Meet new people:  Do some networking, meet new people and generally relax and enjoy new conversations and activities.  Let it happen naturally!  Some of my favourite holidays have been where I unexpectedly made new friends.

familySo don’t feel guilty about taking the time off you’re entitled to. Holidays are important for a healthier you, a happier office and a more productive workplace.  Do yourself a big favor! Make yourself a priority and take some time off.

Stay happy, stay healthy and make sure you take that holiday!

What have you noticed about yourself when returning from a holiday?  Are you revitalised or re-energised?  Refreshed?  Perhaps you’re inspired?   Share with us below how holidays impact on you.

Australia’s Gold Coast – the best place to take timeout to relax

Surfers Paradise

Golden beaches, sunny days and beautiful people, the Gold Coast has been the destination of choice as long as I can remember!  

The beach, the surf, the weather, the lifestyle, the locals, the vibe.  The Gold Coast is laid-back and easy-going but the most important thing you can do is – take time to relax!

The most popular attraction of the Gold Coast is its golden surf beaches but it doesn’t stop there! As one of Australia’s most popular tourist destinations, the Gold Coast offers something for everyone.

Fabulous shopping, exciting theme parks for the thrill-seekers, award-winning restaurants and quality entertainment options as well as many natural attractions.

The great thing about the Gold Coast is that it offers a range of free and low cost activities.  Be sure to check out the ‘Events Calendar‘ to make sure you don’t miss anything!

Let me give you the ‘heads up’ of how to make the most of your visit to the Gold Coast.

Don’t Miss

  • Take an early morning walk along the golden beaches
  • Swim and surf the Gold Coast beaches
  • Shop at the best boutiques and markets

Fun things to do on the Gold Coast

Enjoy the Coast

Surfers Paradise

Swim the Gold Coast beaches:  There’s over 57 kilometres of beautiful golden beaches.  Choose one – any one!  Main Beach, Surfers Paradise, Mermaid Beach, Miami Beach, Burleigh Heads and I could keep going!   Stay safe when out in the sun – Don’t forget to slip, slop, slap!

Go surfing:  Catch a wave at the surf beaches of Burleigh Heads or Main Beach or swim in the sheltered coves at Coolangatta or Currumbin Beaches.  Visit Queensland’s only surfing museum, Surf World for Australia’s largest collection of surfboards, great photography and surfing memorabilia and artworks on show.

Take surfing lessons:   Have you ever wanted to learn how to surf?  Hire a body board and try body surfing in the shallows or book surf lessons with Get Wet Surf School at ‘the Spit’, Surfers Paradise.

Beachfront markets:  Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets are the place to go Wednesday, Friday and Sunday nights.  With more than 120 market stalls and live entertainers these markets are great  to pick up a handmade memento to take home.

Gold Coast   Offering 360 degree views from the coast to the hinterland, SkyPoint Observation Deck points out all the available attractions. The observation deck transforms into a chic, high altitude lounge bar to meet up with friends on the weekends.

Go Shopping:  With over 400 stores, Pacific Fair offers superb shopping choices.  Harbour Town is Australia’s largest Outlet Shopping Centre with over 240 stores, alfresco dining and entertainment options. Great options for a holiday shopping spree!

Follow the locals for the Best Places to eat:   Specialty coffee shops to boutique breweries and a choice of sophisticated restaurants to rival the best dining in Sydney and Melbourne. Check out the Gold Coast Restaurant Guide for some of the best recommendations.

Burleigh Brewing Company:  For a world-class local beer you must visit Burleigh Brewing and Tap House.  To enjoy a freshly poured, cold brew and a night to remember, check their opening hours!

Take a Walk

There’s no better way to enjoy the fresh sea air and the sun peeking over the horizon than an early early morning walk with the locals.  It’s the Gold Coast ritual to walk along the beaches so get those walking shoes on, grab your camera and enjoy your morning stroll.

Kitesurfer Gold Coast

Walk along the Southport Spit:  Located just north of Main Beach, The Spit, extends into the seaway and is a popular location for fishing, boating and relaxing away from the crowds.  Federation Walk is a 3.5 km walking track through the natural bushland alongside the beach.

Gold Coast Oceanway:  A 36 kilometre network of pathways connecting The Spit at the top end of Main Beach to Coolangatta in the south.  The Gold Coast Oceanway is popular

with walkers and cyclists. Look out for birds, dolphins, fish and whales along this award-winning oceanway!

Oceanview Walk:   Scenic Oceanview Walk is 2.6 km return through Burleigh Headland National Park and the place to go for gorgeous views.  Don’t be surprised if you spot whales between April to September.

Get your Adrenaline Rush

Go snorkeling and diving:   Explore the coral reefs off Wave Break Island by booking an underwater Scuba Diving tour.  Wave Break Island lies just off Main Beach Surfers Paradise and offers fantastic snorkeling and diving.

Theme Parks:  One of the draw cards to the Gold Coast is its world-class theme parks.  Buy individual entry passes or if you plan to visit a few – buy a Mega Pass.

  • Head to Wet ‘n’ Wild to experience its extreme waterslides such as Kamikaze and the Tornado.
  • Warner Bros Movie World has plenty of family-friendly attractions and the chance to meet Marilyn Monroe and Batman.
  • Dreamworld caters to adventure seekers with the Big 9 Thrill Rides, including The Giant Drop, Tower of Terror and Buzz Saw.
  • Sea World is an oceanarium and theme park located on the ‘Spit’.  A great place to see unique Australian ocean life.

Take a Jet Boat Ride:  Not your standard sightseeing cruise and definitely a more adventurous way of exploring the Gold Coast waters while indulging in the ultimate adrenaline fix.  Jet Boat Gold Coast runs these jet boat rides taking in the city skyline and nearby islands and marinas while performing some extreme water-based stunts.

Do the SkyPoint Climb:  SkyPoint Climb is a must-do Gold Coast adventure.  An open-air climbing adventure on one of Queensland’s most recognised land marks – the iconic Q1 Resort Building.  Rising 270m into the air, SkyPoint Climb is Australia’s highest external building climb and provides unparalleled 360′ views of the Gold Coast and beyond.

Fancy a Game of Golf?   Choose a resort course such as Palmer Gold Coast, carved out of native woodlands, or visit the RACV Royal Pines Resort, home to the Australian PGA Championships, or visit Intercontinental Sanctuary Cove, to access to The Palms and The Pines courses.

Wildlife Parks

Rainbow Lorikeet Gold Coast

David Fleay’s Wildlife Park:  David Fleay Wildlife Park is home to many Australian native animals, birds and plants. Visitors to the park enjoy birds, including eagles, brolgas, jabiru, owls and cassowaries, as well as crocodiles, kangaroos, koalas, tree kangaroos, snakes, lizards, gliders and butterflies.  Well worth the visit!

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary:  Feed a kangaroo, get up close to a crocodile or cuddle a koala at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.  Voted one of the Gold Coast’s most popular tourist destinations, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is dedicated to conserving our nation’s Indigenous, natural and historic heritage and culture.  It’s a ‘must visit’ adventure for the entire family.

Go Whale Watching:  One of Australia’s best whale watching destinations during May to early November.  See humpback whales, as they travel up the east coast of Australia searching for warmer waters.

Explore the Hinterlands

Explore the beautiful Gold Coast hinterland, with its unspoiled national park and charming mountain villages.

Tamborine Mountain:  Located only 30kms from the Gold Coast, Tamborine Mountain is a quaint village with spectacular views, native wildlife, ancient rainforest and clean mountain air.  A great place for local arts and crafts, award-winning wineries and top-class restaurants.

Lamington National Park:  Rugged mountain scenery, waterfalls, caves, rainforest, wildflower heaths, tall open forests, creeks, varied wildlife and some of the best bushwalking trails in Queensland are in Lamington National Park.

O’Reilly’s Tree Top Walkway:  Visit O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat and walk through the rainforest canopy 15 metres above ground.  O’Reilly’s Tree Top Walkway is free of charge.  Its a great opportunity to take the cycling trail through the wineries and boutique breweries of Mount Tamborine.

Take an Eco Safari:  Book a 4WD Eco Hinterland Day Tour to tour World Heritage listed rainforests. Walk through these lush, sub-tropical rainforests to the stunning lookouts over the gorgeous  valleys and Gold Coast. Walk under waterfalls and swim in a rock pool in Springbrook National Park. Drive deeper into the ancient forests through the enchanting Numinbah Valley to the famous Natural Bridge – an amazing rock and waterfall formation.

Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk:  Perfect for avid bushwalkers, this three-day Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk passes an ancient volcano and meanders through World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforest.

HOW TO GET THERE

International flights fly directly into Brisbane airport and catch a shuttle bus to the Gold Coast. From within Australia, direct flights arrive at Gold Coast Airport in Coolangatta.

There’s nothing like choice!

Explore a different beach every single day and then head into the subtropical hinterland for rainforest walks and waterfalls.

Gold CoastThe Gold Coast is the perfect location for the perfect holiday.  Swim, surf or catch a tan on one of these magnificent beaches.  This definitely is the place to visit!  Have you ever wanted to learn how to surf?  Want to laze away your days on the beach or perhaps you are looking for an action packed adventure?

Have we missed anything?  What are you looking for in your next holiday?  Add your favourite Gold Coast ‘things to do’ to the comments below.

Hobart showcases Tasmania’s unique convict heritage

Hobart Tasmania

Hobart is a contrasting blend of heritage, beautiful scenery and culture.

In the foothills of Mt Wellington, Hobart blends it’s unique convict heritage with picturesque scenery showcasing Tasmania at it’s best.  This is a city with something for everyone!

It’s no wonder Lonely Planet has named Hobart as one of the top ten spots to visit in the world right now.

Tasmania’s capital city and the second oldest capital in Australia after Sydney, Hobart is located at the entrance to the Derwent River.

Settled as a penal colony in 1804, Hobart is steeped in early convict history, surrounded by rustic sandstone cottages, picturesque waterways, rugged mountains and award-winning restaurants.

Tasmania is known for its’ Australian wildlife such as the rare, forty-spotted pardalote, Tasmanian devils, wombats, kangaroos and wallabies.

Tasmanian Devil

DON’T MISS

  • Explore the Salamanca markets
  • Visit extraordinary MONA 
  • Take a Peppermint Bay Cruise

FUN THINGS TO DO IN HOBART

Mount Wellington Vantage Point:  Take a 30-minute drive for exceptional views overlooking Hobart city and the harbour to the summit of Mount Wellington, almost 1300 metres above the city.

Wander the waterfront:  The Hobart waterfront is a beautiful space.  With the old sandstone warehouses of Salamanca Place nearby, a stroll along the docks will take you past the floating Brooke Street Pier the new transport hub for boats and ferries and an open market space for traders and local businesses.

Constitution Dock:   Constitution Dock is the harbour side of the Hobart docks on the Derwent River.  The dock is normally used by motor pleasure boats, yachts, and fishing boats serving the city’s fish market and restaurants.  Constitution Dock is best known as the party venue for the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.

Hobart Salamanca PlaceSalamanca Place:  Salamanca Place is a popular space for both locals and visitors enjoying bars and eateries located along the strip and nearby wharves.  Georgian warehouses built in the 1930s are today’s’ galleries, theatres, craft shops and restaurants.

Salamanca Markets:  The Salamanca Markets are held each Saturday morning. More than 300 stalls selling arts, crafts and produce fill Salamanca Place and a great opportunity to enjoy the local produce and entertainment of Tasmania’s best outdoor market.

Battery Point:  Take a guided tour, or self-guided walking tour of Battery Point.  Hobart’s most historic suburb, a short walk from Salamanca Place and the waterfront.  Battery Point retains the character of a Cornish fishing village of the last century.  You’ll be surprised by the the country cottage feel and the extraordinary views views over the Derwent River.

Bruny Island:  While in Hobart be sure to take a trip over to Bruny Island.  Home to fur seals, fairy penguins, white wallabies and excellent opportunities for birdwatching – it’s the ultimate Tasmanian wilderness experience.

Museums & Galleries

Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery:  Take a walk along Hobart’s iconic waterfront, explore the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.  It is a combined museum, art gallery and herbarium which safeguards Tasmania’s natural and cultural heritage, and the cultural identity of Tasmanians.

The Maritime Museum:  Hobart is known for its maritime history including whaling, convict ships and the ships of the free settlers. There are extensive displays of model ships and hulks on display with other interesting nautical equipment and old world maps.  Enjoy a visit to this museum, you won’t be disappointed.

The MONA experience:  The Museum of Old and New Art is a must visit for all who come to Hobart. Mona is Australia’s largest private museum and one of the most controversial private collections of modern art and antiquities in the world.  This eclectic collection of works includes everything from ancient Egyptian mummies to some of the world’s most infamous and thought-provoking contemporary art.

Museum of Old and New Art

Mawson’s Hut Replica Museum:  A most interesting part of Australian History. A replica of Australian explorer Douglas Mawson’s hut in Antarctica provided an extraordinary perspective into the conditions endured by Mawson and his team whilst in Antarctica.  Well worth the visit!

Explore the Convict Connections of Hobart

Port Arthur TasmaniaVisit Port Arthur:  Tasmania’s most famous convict penitentiary, Port Arthur, is just 90 minutes drive from Hobart and one Australia’s most important heritage sites.  Located on the scenic Tasman Peninsula in the south east of Tasmania, it offers a unique insight into the harsh convict days and life for our earliest settlers.

Visit Cascades Female Factory:  In South Hobart, near the Cascade Brewery, is the World Heritage-listed Cascades Female Factory where thousands of women were imprisoned.  It is Australia’s most significant historic site associated with female convicts, intended to reform female convicts.  Well worth the visit.

Tench Prisoner barracks:  The Tench, as it was known by its inhabitants, was the convict prisoners’ barracks for Hobart Town. Over 50,000 male convicts passed through the Tench prisoner barracks.  This guided tour provides daytime access through the courts and tunnels to the chapel, cells and gallows of one of Australia’s most significant convict precincts.

Food, Beer, Whiskey and Wine

Hobart Tasmania

Waterfront Restaurants:  Join the locals along the popular dining precinct in historic Salamanca or North Hobart. Positioned inside an old newspaper building, the chic Franklin was selected in Australia’s Top 10 Restaurants awards for 2016.  Along the city’s docks, try South American-inspired Frank, or experience fine dining over the water at Aloft.

Cascade Brewery:  The Cascade Brewery Company was established in 1824 and is located in the foothills of Mount Wellington.  Australia’s oldest operating brewery, Cascade Brewery crafts a range of exceptional beers for Tasmania and ‘the mainland’.  Tours are run daily and well worth the experience.

Whiskey bars and craft beer:  Get a taste of Tasmania’s whisky industry at the cosy Lark Distillery.   Distillery tours are available, and the classy Nant Whisky Bar and Kitchen.  Award-winning Sullivans Cove Whisky is in Cambridge, near Hobart Airport or venture into Shambles Brewery for craft beer at it’s best.  Hobart Brewing Company is another well regarded opportunity to experience home grown Tasmanian beer.

Farm Gate Market:  Every Sunday morning, come hail or shine central Bathurst Street in the heart of Hobart, transforms into a bustling farmers’ market. Farm Gate Market showcases fresh Tasmanian produce and getting to know your farmer.

Peppermint BayPeppermint Bay Cruise: For a fabulous treat book yourself on one of the Peppermint Bay Cruises for an exquisite Tasmanian experience.  High rugged cliffs with striking rock formations carved out by the sea, bird rookeries  A well-developed township with it’s own hotel tourism venture, providing cruises from the waterfront in Hobart including a delicious lunch served with Tasmanian wines.

HOW TO GET THERE

Hobart has direct flights from the cities of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.  It’s a 20 minute drive into the city from Hobart airport.

Hobart is also close to many of southern Tasmania’s best travel experiences.  An unsurpassed natural setting and a glimpse of the early penal colony and settlement history, Tasmania’s capital city pretty much has it all.

Port Arthur

This city is a ‘must visit’ to experience a very different Australia.  Tasmania is a unique experience when traveling to Australia.  Have you been to Hobart yet?  

Sydney – a guide to Australia’s most vibrant city

Sydney Harbour

Sydney is one of the Australia’s most stunning cities.

Sydney is known as the Harbour City. It’s the largest, oldest and most vibrant city in Australia.

First settled as a penal colony in 1788, today Sydney has grown into a sophisticated city, brimming with it’s colourful history, amid miles of pristine ocean coastline and sandy surf beaches, unique wildlife, world famous fashion houses and award-winning restaurants.

A much sought after travel destination, this city is also home to the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, two of the most iconic and recognisable structures in the world.  There is so much to see and do in Sydney!

DON’T MISS

  • Visit the Sydney Opera House and take a #selfie
  • Swim at famous Bondi Beach
  • Take an ‘Old Sydney Town’ tour through ‘The Rocks’

FUN THINGS TO DO IN SYDNEY

Sydney Opera House:  This is THE Sydney ‘must do’!  The Sydney Opera House is known for it’s unique design, and hosts over 40 performances a week.  Take the opportunity to book tickets to Opera Australia’s latest show or book a Backstage tour to see what really happens off-stage.  Apart from being one of Australia’s most iconic landmarks, the Sydney Opera House offers breathtaking views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Sydney Harbour Bridge:  Affectionately nicknamed ‘The Coathanger’, the Harbour bridge is one of Australia’s greatest engineering feats.  You can walk or cycle across the bridge, but for unbeatable panoramic views you should definitely take a Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb!  There are a number of bridge climbs for every type of fitness level ranging from an afternoon climb, morning climb, dusk climbs and even easier climbs for those just looking for a mini climb.  Climbing the bridge delivers spectacular views of Sydney!

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Explore the Rocks:  The Rocks are a great part of Sydney to explore.  ‘Old Sydney Town’, the Rocks is the original location of the first township.  Buildings of hand-carved sandstone bricks, mortared together with a mix of crushed cockle shells along laneways of roughly laid cobblestone tell the tales of the hardships experienced by the first settlers.  Today it’s a trendy place to visit!  If you’re looking for unique souvenirs, art or creative jewellery – head to the weekend markets at The Rocks.

Go on an Aussie Pub Crawl:   One of the most interesting and fun walking tours I’ve experienced has been Sydney’s ‘The Rocks Pub Walk‘.  Full of history of early convict days this walking tour traces the footsteps of the convicts, larrikin gangs & locals of the past as you visit (and have a beer) in some of Sydney’s oldest pubs.   Through the alleys & cobbled streets of The Rocks this guided tour shares the gossip, shouts and stories of Australia’s first European settlement in Old Sydney Town.

Darling Harbour:  An easy walk from the city centre, Darling Harbour is the perfect place to hang out and relax by the water.  Darling harbour has a variety of pubs, clubs and restaurants with spectacular views over the harbour.  Visit one of the many attractions along the harbour such as Sydney Aquarium, the Powerhouse Museum or the IMAX theatre.

Visit the Blue Mountains:  The Blue Mountains are a beautiful National Park situated about 50 kilometres west of Sydney city.  Famous for its rock formation known as the Three Sisters, the Blue Mountains National Park is just 2 hours drive from Sydney.  Take a trip up to the Mountains on the Katoomba Scenic Railway, and visit the Jenolan Caves and Katoomba Scenic World to experience a walkway over the rainforest canopy and a glass bottom skyway deep into the mountains.

Blue Mountains - Three Sisters

Take a Swim:   Australia’s famous for it’s amazing beaches but the city of Sydney is surrounded by beautiful beaches and most are easy to get to from the city centre. Visit famous Bondi Beach or take a Sydney ferry over to Manly Beach – but wait there’s more!  Catch a bus and laze away the day at often less busy Coogee, Tamarama, Bronte and Maroubra Beaches.  Relax and work on your Aussie tan or take surfing lessons. Remember to Slip Slop & Slap!

Bondi Beach

Cockatoo Island:  This world heritage listed island is in the middle of Sydney Harbour and is a little different from the usual sightseeing spots.  With stunning views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House, Cockatoo Island is the perfect place for a picnic.  Hop on a ferry and explore the island for the day or stay overnight in the campground or holiday houses.

Visit the Zoo:   Taronga Zoo is not just for kids!  Just a 12 minute ferry ride north from Circular Quay will put you amongst over 4,000 animals.  It’s the best place to see Australian koalas, kangaroos, wombats and other native animals in the city centre. Taronga Zoo is also home to gorillas, tigers, leopards, chimpanzees, giraffes and other exotic creatures from around the world. Take a Tarzan perspective by tackling the treetop Wild Ropes course with more than 60 high rope challenges over four courses, including ziplines, rope climbs and suspended bridges.  Want something different?  Book the Roar & Snore experience to take the night safari and stay overnight at the zoo sleeping in luxury safari-style tents.

Wallaby

Take a Walk:  The Bondi to Coogee Coastal Trail is one of Sydney’s most popular walking trails. A six kilometre walk, the Bondi to Coogee walk begins at Bondi Icebergs pool and features stunning views as you walk along the cliff tops.  You’ll see beautiful beaches, sheer cliffs, Aboriginal rock carvings at Marks Park and have can swim in the rock pools along the way.  A medium grade urban walk with some steep gradient paths and several staircases along the track.  It will takes about two hours to complete the Bondi to Coogee Beach section of the walk and another hour and a half if you choose to continue to Maroubra.  Express buses also operate from Bondi and Coogee to the city centre.  Be sure to bring your camera!

Extraordinary Food Experiences:  Sydneysiders take their food seriously!  Award-winning restaurants considered among the best in the world include The Bridge Room and Sepia in the city centre and Quay in The Rocks, on the edge of Sydney Harbour.  A visit to Circular Quay will take you to Aria and Bennelong located inside the Sydney Opera House.  Darling Harbour also has a range of excellent restaurants and cafes.

HOW TO GET THERE

Often the major destination airport when leaving from Europe or from the USA, most international flights fly directly into Sydney Airport.  Sydney is also well connected to all other Australian airports, so it’s a good destination to on-travel internally.  The city centre is an easy 20 minute taxi, uber or train ride.

Sydney is a beautiful place to live and an exciting city to visit.  There’s plenty of things to do and funky pubs, bars and restaurants to visit.  Hunt down a great Rooftop Bar to experience a fabulous sunset over the city and a true Aussie experience.  There really is something for everyone so be sure to get out there and explore!
What did you get up to when visiting Sydney?  Share your adventure below and tell us about your favourite experience!
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