Travel Blog

Sailing the turquoise waters of the Whitsunday Islands

There are few places on Earth that are more beautiful than Australia’s Whitsunday Islands. If your idea of paradise is glistening turquoise waters, unspoiled beaches and vivid blue skies, you won’t be disappointed. If you’re looking to take a break from adventure travel and recharge those batteries, this stunning archipelago is the ideal base for a few days of rest and relaxation.

 

Sailing the Whitsunday Islands

 

The Whitsundays are a sailor’s dream. You can glide from one to the next, choosing when to stop and splash around in the impossibly clear waters. If you’re planning to visit this beautiful destination, here are some ideas for your itinerary. When you’re choosing a tour, you can plan a day trip or charter a boat for a longer period of time. There are many islands that are well worth visiting, so if you have time, you won’t regret hanging around. You can choose to stay on board or book hotels on terra firma.

 

Places to go

 

Whitehaven Beach is the jewel in the crown of the Whitsundays. Stretching for 7km, this idyllic beach on Whitsunday Islands is an incredibly popular stop-off for tourists seeking solace in the sunshine. The silica sand is pristine white, and it feels soft and powdery on your toes. The gentle azure waters are incredibly inviting.

 

From Whitehaven Beach, head to Hamilton Island where you’ll find luxury hotels and some of the best snorkelling reefs around. The water is crystal clear, so you get an amazing view of the colourful fish darting around.

 

Daydream Island is every bit as beautiful as it sounds. As you’d expect, this is a tranquil island retreat, which offers you the perfect spot to soak up the rays, chill out, and appreciate the panoramic vistas around you.

 

If you’re a fan of travelling or photography, you may have come across the Heart Reef. This heart-shaped reef is one of the standout features in the Whitsundays, and tourists flock from far and wide to catch a glimpse of this unique natural wonder. The best way to see the Heart Reef is from the air. Scenic flights will also give you a bird’s eye view of this staggeringly beautiful region of Australia as a whole.

 

When you’ve finished touring the enchanting islands, head back to the mainland and spend a day or two in Airlie Beach. This is a hive of activity, with all kinds of restaurants, bars and clubs on offer.

 

An adrenaline junkie’s guide to the Aussie coastline

When you think of visiting Australia, your mind turns to beaches, wild animals and the chance to enjoy some of the best adventure travel experiences in the world. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, this is the place for you! If you’re heading to the Aussie coastline, here are some places to visit and some adrenaline-pumping activities to try.

 

Where to go and what to do

If you’re heading down under in search of action and adventure, the East Coast is a great place to start your travels. Fraser Island, the Whitsundays and Byron Bay are all lively backpacker spots where you can try a host of activities that will get your pulse racing. If you’re a fan of off-roading, Fraser Island is an ideal base. Here, you can take in the views and get your heart rate going on a wild and wonderful 4WD adventure across the sand dunes. You can also try and land the catch of the day, go scuba diving and try parasailing.

 

Brisbane often attracts those looking for urban adventures and a bit of sightseeing, but you’ll also find one of the country’s finest bungee jumping spots here. You can freefall from 40 metres at Kingston Park Raceway. If you can bear to open your eyes, you’ll enjoy unrivalled views of the city and the sprawling coastline.

 

No trip to Oz is complete without at least one attempt at surfing. You may not get to the stage where you’re cruising through the waves with style and finesse, but you’ll have loads of fun trying. There are countless surf spots along the East Coast. Notable sites include Kirra and Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast and Granite Bay and Old Woman Island on the Sunshine Coast. Noosa is a thriving town that is always worth a visit after a day at sea.

 

Australia is not just a great place to try surfing. You’ll find a dazzling array of water sports on offer. You can go jet skiing, water-skiing or wind-surfing at most of the busier beach resorts.

 

Australia is one of the most intriguing and exhilarating destinations for those who thrive on an adrenaline rush. If you’re a self-confessed thrill-seeker, you’ll be spoiled for choice whether you choose to stay on land or brave the water. Book a surf lesson, go bungee jumping or see if you can master the art of water-skiing. There’s something to suit every adventure lover.

 

Pink Lake: Western Australia’s mind-blowing destination

It’s a striking contrast—deep blue ebbing next to bubble gum pink. Lake Hillier, known as the Pink Lake, is on Australia’s Middle Island. Part of the Recherche Archipelago off the western coast, a thin strip of lush greenery is all that separates the lake from the Southern Ocean. A sight that is sure to make you rub your eyes in disbelief, Lake Hillier offers a view like no other.

 

The fascination with this unique island dates back to 1802, when explorer Matthew Flinders first happened across the rosy lake, and it remained a mysterious destination for centuries. No one knew the cause of the magical bright pink colour, but scientists recently deemed salt-loving microbes to be the culprit. The lake is extremely salty, comparable to the Dead Sea, and the microbes that thrive in these environment produce a pink pigment.

 

Because the lake is located on an island, it is not easily accessible on your own, but cruises and helicopter tours are two ways to enjoy the unbelievable views. Helicopter rides are highly recommended because of the unreal aerial view. Tourists love the juxtaposition of the soft pink lake alongside the sandy shore and turquoise waters. Esperance Helitours take you for a scenic journey throughout the Recherche Archipelago, flying over numerous islands, including Middle Island. Unfortunately, tourists can’t land on the island since it’s a National Reserve, but there’s no better view than from above. Cruises are also an option, the only downside being the distance from the shore. However, it’s worth it for a chance to sail the aquamarine sea and discover diverse marine life—be sure to keep an eye out for a pod of dolphins!

 

Lake Hillier isn’t the only pink lake in the world, but it is one of the most beautiful. While similar lakes become clear with only a slight pink tint when viewed up close, Lake Hillier remains a cotton-candy colour. Its hue is so strong that it’d be like swimming in a pink milkshake. Another distinct feature is the fact that the lake is permanently pink, rather than only during certain times of the year. Fluctuating from blush to watermelon, the lake is always a sight to behold. Take a journey down under to the Western Australian coast for your next adventure. With plenty to do in Esperance, from lounging on the white sand beaches to snorkelling in the brilliant blue waters, it’s the perfect location for a relaxing stay and incredible helicopter tour over Lake Hillier.

 

Race for Sydney and Melbourne megacity

Hyperloop One, an innovative high-speed transportation company, believes it can connect Sydney and Melbourne by railway in just under an hour, essentially creating one global megacity. The company met with a federal parliamentary committee for the first time this week, to open discussions with the government and appeal for support.

 

Based on Elon Musk’s hyperloop concept, the high speed railway would run along a magnetic track, reaching speeds of more than 1000km/h. While high speed railways have been a hot topic in Australia for years, Hyperloop One Vice President, Alan James, believes the company has the power to make it a reality due to its technological advances and overall faster speed.

 

“We’ll make Sydney and Melbourne really connected to each other… If you connect two cities with Hyperloop, you get, effectively, a sort of global city punching above its weight in a global economy, which is a really competitive advantage. You get that sort of conglomeration, you get more productive jobs and companies, really big macroeconomic impact,” said James.

 

The project has faced a fair share of scepticism, especially after prominent engineer and blogger Alan Levy claimed a trip from Melbourne to Sydney would equate to an hour-long roller coaster ride. But US-based levitation engineer, Casey Handmer, argues this simply isn’t true, and the engineering team is constantly working on new technology to improve the experience.

 

“The job of engineers is to hide all that so you just feel natural. We’re going to try and make it incredibly quick, but in terms of the ride experience, it’s probably as boring as riding a lift or an escalator.”

 

Hyperloop One doesn’t just face critics, but competition too. Australian company CLARA is also proposing a high speed railway along Australia’s east coast, but Hyperloop One is confident. For now, the race is on.

 

Lonely Planet names South Australia in the Top 5 Regions in the World

Lonely Planet has released its annual ‘Best in Travel’ list for 2017, ranking South Australia as the fifth best region to visit globally. Known as ‘Australia in a nutshell,’ the region has caught the eye of the distinguished travel journal for its wide array of offerings and easy accessibility.

 

Lonely Planet lauds South Australia’s diversity, with big cities, beautiful beaches, a scenic wine country and the famous Australian Outback all available for tourists to explore. As many major airline companies fly directly to Adelaide, visitors don’t need to worry about hours of excessive travel to reach their final destination either.

 

For those seeking adventure, recently opened Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail is a 66-kilometre walking trail along the coast. The trail offers breathtaking views from the bushland to the ocean and was listed on Lonely Planet’s ‘Best New Openings’ list.

 

Over the past few years, South Australia tourism has worked hard to showcase the region’s charm and boost the local economy. As a result, tourism jobs have grown 14% in the past two years and the region has seen major success with a record cruise ship season, Qatar and China Southern airlines beginning direct flights and being chosen to host World Routes 2019, the world’s largest aviation trade event.

 

Tourism Minister Leon Bignell is thrilled that South Australia has been named on the prestigious list, and he’s excited that the opportunities the region presents are coming to light.

 

“We know that South Australia is a great place to live and home of some of the nation’s best events, and this major accolade will help thousands more people from interstate to overseas discover what our state has to offer,” said Bignell.

 

Drive the Pacific Coast Touring Route

If you’re heading Down Under for adventure, travel, breathtaking scenery and experiences that will stay with you forever more, there’s no better place to start than the infamous East Coast. Famed for its lively backpacker spots, natural beauty and bustling towns, you’ll find few places in the world that offer such a diverse range of sights, attractions and activities. If you have the time available, the best way to travel is by car or camper. There’s no better road trip in the world than the Pacific Coast Touring Route. If you like the sound of beach parties, wildlife, action and adventure and sleeping under the stars, here are some tips to help you plan the trip of a lifetime.

 

The route

The Pacific Coast Touring Route runs from Cairns in Queensland to Sydney, Australia’s most iconic city. If you chose to drive this stretch, it would take you well over 24 hours; thankfully, there is an abundance of places to stop off and explore on your travels. More than 2,400 kilometres separate these two cities, and you’ll encounter all kinds of experiences before you reach the end of your journey.

 

Highlights

There are so many highlights on this track that it’s tough to know where to begin. Starting in the North, there’s no better way to spend your days than snorkelling or scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef. The Daintree Rainforest is also well worth a visit, and you’ll enjoy warm local hospitality in Cairns centre.

 

Make your way to Fraser Island to let off some steam and enjoy a wild 4×4 adventure. En route, stop off at Townsville, Mackay and Rockhampton. When you’ve had enough of adrenaline-pumping off-roading, get back in the car and make for Brisbane. Here you’ll find galleries, museums and plenty of shops. Take a short bus trip to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary if you’re in need of a cuddle from Oz’s most famous resident.

 

Back on the road, head for Byron Bay, a haven for sun-worshippers and a great place to meet fellow travellers and share travel tales.

 

The final leg will take you to Sydney via the rolling hills of wine-producing region, the Hunter Valley, and the beautiful beaches of Central Coast. When you arrive in Sydney, head for the harbour to see the Opera House and take in the views. If you’ve got a head for heights, climb the Harbour Bridge. Alternatively, you’ll get great views if you take a boat trip to Manly or Watsons Bay. Back on terra firma, check out the bustling artisan markets of The Rocks and enjoy an afternoon at Bondi.

 

In the mood to party in Sydney

Sydney has something to offer everyone as night falls. This vibrant city, with its neon lights and bustling waterfront, provides everything from live gigs and student nights to cosmopolitan bars with views of the harbour. If you’re looking for a break from adventure travel pursuits, and you’re keen to let your hair down, here’s where to party in Sydney.

 

Where to head for a good time in Sydney

There are various hotspots in Sydney, and there are all kinds of options available to cater for people of all ages and interests.

 

Down by the harbour, close to the Opera House, you’ll find a series of chic urban bars offering an array of colourful cocktails and the occasional live DJ set.This is the place to go if you’re celebrating a special occasion, or you’re keen to enjoy a drink with a view. The harbour is stunning by day, but it’s arguably better at night, when the bright city lights twinkle over the rippling water. This area is popular with those who work in the CBD. You’ll find large crowds on Friday and Saturday evenings. Head to The Rocks for al fresco partying and dancing until dawn.

 

King’s Cross

Depending on who you ask, King’s Cross can sometimes have a seedy reputation, but you’ll also find a new breed of trendy bars, which are popular with young professionals and students. People like to make an effort here, so don’t be afraid to dress to impress.

 

CBD

In the heart of the city, you’ll find an extensive collection of bars, hotels, and restaurants, many of which stay open until the early hours. You’ll find an enthusiastic crowd after work on weekdays.

 

Darling Harbour

Darling Harbour is the place to be if you’re up for a big night out. The area boasts one of the city’s largest clubs, housing more than 2,000 people and hosting live DJ sets from high-profile Australian and international DJs. Go for a few drinks in the surrounding bars before making your way to the packed dancefloor.

 

Coogee Bay

If you’re a sports fan, there’s no better place to start your night than the bustling bars of Coogee Bay. You’ll find cheaper prices than in the centre of town, and you’re only a short cab ride away if you fancy a change of scenery later in the day. If the local rugby, Aussie rules or soccer teams are in action, you’re guaranteed a lively start to the night.

Forest adventures in the Yarra Valley

This is the heart of wine country. Spectacular, lush countryside that is a brilliant place to unwind within arm’s reach of nearby Melbourne. This proximity makes it a popular spot to escape to on a weekend getaway, and for getting deep into the heart of the soothing greenery there are few places better.

 

Head into this Carbon-rich forest home to many of Australia’s unique native species including kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, the marvellous platypi and over 120 species of native plants – the most iconic of which is the mountain ash – and find yourself feeling rejuvenated with every step you take into the trees. From woodland walks to strolling among the treetops, the Yarra Ranges National Park is one of Oz’s real hidden treasures that is definitely worth your visit if you are travelling to Melbourne.

 

Here are a selection of the best activities for a couple of days out in the freshness of the local air.

 

Cumberland Walk

Stroll among the tallest flowering trees in the world on this captivating 2km walk through the Yarra Ranges National Park. Rare mountain ash trees are all around you, and the path culminates at a 85-metre tall behemoth charmingly named ‘Big Tree’, as well as taking in two beautiful waterfalls along the way.

 

Eco-adventure tours

The Yarra Valley provides an ideal habitat for a wide range of intriguing creatures and plant life. Bright-coloured parrots, delicate honeyeaters and cute wallabies are all there for spotting all year round on an eco journey through the forest, while winter is prime time for laying your eyes on Superb Lyrebirds, a large Australian-native songbird. Book yourself onto a night tour when darkness falls and you will see a whole new set of species too, including the world’s largest gliding possum, the Greater Glider.

 

Bicentennial National Trail

This is the mothership of all adventures in the Yarra Valley. The world’s longest fully marked trail for non-motorised travelling is 5,330 kilometres long in all, and the Healsville to Narbethong Section of the route is found in the Yarra Valley. You can tackle this trail on horseback, on a mountain bike or on foot, and you will come across some magnificent vistas across Victoria.

 

Rainforest Gallery

Experience the serenity of the ancient treetops on this 350 metre-long walkway high above the forest floor at Donna Buang. You will be surrounded by the ferns, mosses and other greenery that characterise the sweet-smelling rainforest ecosystem here and there are a number of opportune openings on the walkway which give great views of Cement Creek flowing by.

 

Defining Australian film celebrates 30 years

The film that has shaped how tourists view Australia perhaps more than any other in the history of the silver screen is turning 30.

 

Made at a cost of just $7 million, ‘Crocodile Dundee’ hauled in more than $300 million in box office takings, projecting the now iconic image of its star Paul Hogan and the Aussie bush that he called home all around the world.

 

Such was its impact in bringing the people of Australia to life in cinemas that ‘Crocodile Dundee’ made Hogan the symbol of a nation when the film was released in 1986, just as it did for the red-sanded allure of the outback that featured in the iconic shots.

 

Those images were filmed in Kakadu National Park, the site of a former uranium mine in the Northern Territory, which had not previously been exposed to an international audience (or even many Australians themselves) and shot to fame off the back of the film.

 

The film’s assistant director, Craig Bolles, described the reasons behind the location choice for this iconic movie.

 

“I had an open brief to choose anywhere in Australia that I thought suitable. Kakadu was a very different place in the 1980s to what it is today. Only the main road was sealed and there were no hotel facilities at all as far as I can remember,” he said.

 

The film’s release coincided with a rise in accessible air travel to Australia and a surge of American intrigue in what goes on Down Under, and it became a true phenomenon – not only inspiring the American audience that the film set out to target but also sending film fans worldwide into raptures and bringing in huge numbers of tourists to the country.

 

Virgin Australia branching out across two oceans

Virgin Australia has announced plans to spread its wings east across the Pacific Ocean and West across the Indian ocean in a double wave of expansion.

 

From 2017, five new long-haul flights will be operated by the airline direct to LA from Melbourne and three new ones will run to Abu Dhabi from Perth.

 

These new routes come at the expense of the tri-weekly Sydney-Abu Dhabi flights, which will no longer run. The number of flights between Brisbane and LA will also be cut down to 6 rather than 7 per week to accommodate the new schedule.

 

Delta Air Lines will codeshare on the Melbourne-LA flights and Virgin are joining forces with Etihad on the Perth-Abu Dhabi flights

 

John Borghetti, Virgin Australia’s group CEO, talked of the importance of this new set of flights in the airline’s offering.

 

“The United States is a key market for Virgin Australia and this enables us to service Los Angeles from the three biggest gateways in Australia – Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

 

“In partnership with Delta Air Lines, we will soon offer 25 services each week from Australia to Los Angeles and remain the only trans-Pacific alliance to offer business class guests lie flat beds with direct aisle access on all services. Our A330 aircraft will be deployed on a long-haul international route for the first time on flights between Perth and Abu Dhabi, which increases the number of services offered on the route from seven to 10 per week through our alliance with Etihad Airways,” he said.

 

April is the month that the Boeing 777-300ER aircraft will start heading out of Melbourne to LA. The Perth-Abu Dhabi service, meanwhile, will run on an Airbus A330-200 three times a week starting from early June.