Figuring out the best places to visit in New Zealand can be a tough decision - the land of the long white cloud is packed full of incredible destinations, so fitting them all into your itinerary can be a squeeze! But these 10 stops should definitely feature in your Kiwi adventure - from epic beach spots to adrenaline filled towns... 10 Of The Best Places To Visit In New Zealand North Island Cape Reinga Lets kick things off with a trip to the most Northern part of New Zealand - Cape Reinga. Not only is the trip up a beautiful drive, with lots of awesome pit stops en-route, but Cape Reinga itself is filled with stunning natural beauty. And of course you'll need to get that perfect selfie in front of the lighthouse overlooking the Cape before driving down the beach highway! Raglan If you're looking for beach vibes and more importantly surfing, then Raglan is going to be high up on your list of best places to visit in New Zealand. About 3 hours drive South of Auckland, Raglan is a small, sleepy surfing town - but the waves here have a big reputation. Score pumping Manu Bay and it'll be some of the best waves of your life! Wellington The capital of New Zealand is also known as the windy city - but there's plenty going on in Wellington besides the gusty breezes! Take a cable car up to the scenic view points, get involved in the bustling nightlife or visit the famous Te Papa Museum. Tongariro National Park New Zealand is famed for its natural beauty and Tongariro National Park is up the amongst the best places to visit in New Zealand to soak it up. Make sure you have your hiking gear at the ready and
Figuring out the best places to visit in New Zealand can be a tough decision – the land of the long white cloud is packed full of incredible destinations, so fitting them all into your itinerary can be a squeeze!
But these 10 stops should definitely feature in your Kiwi adventure – from epic beach spots to adrenaline filled towns…
10 Of The Best Places To Visit In New Zealand
Lets kick things off with a trip to the most Northern part of New Zealand – Cape Reinga. Not only is the trip up a beautiful drive, with lots of awesome pit stops en-route, but Cape Reinga itself is filled with stunning natural beauty.
And of course you’ll need to get that perfect selfie in front of the lighthouse overlooking the Cape before driving down the beach highway!
If you’re looking for beach vibes and more importantly surfing, then Raglan is going to be high up on your list of best places to visit in New Zealand.
About 3 hours drive South of Auckland, Raglan is a small, sleepy surfing town – but the waves here have a big reputation. Score pumping Manu Bay and it’ll be some of the best waves of your life!
The capital of New Zealand is also known as the windy city – but there’s plenty going on in Wellington besides the gusty breezes!
Take a cable car up to the scenic view points, get involved in the bustling nightlife or visit the famous Te Papa Museum.
Tongariro National Park
New Zealand is famed for its natural beauty and Tongariro National Park is up the amongst the best places to visit in New Zealand to soak it up.
Make sure you have your hiking gear at the ready and do one of New Zealands most popular day hikes across the Tongariro Alpine Crossing – which is well worth the early start.
Get your spade at the ready for a trip to Hahei and the famous Hot Water Beach! At low tide you can head down onto the sand and dig your own natural hot tub – as the holes on the beach fill up with water heated by the arwas geo-thermal activitity.
Careful though – it can get pretty toasty, so get ready for a dip in the ocean to cool down.
A greta overnight stop, Hahei is also a great base for a Cathedral Cove kayaking tour – the perfect way to take in this epic coastline and visit one of New Zealand many famous movie locations.
Now when it comes to the title of the best places to visit in New Zealand, we’re going to say that Queenstown is one of the front runners for the title! Not only does Queenstown have some gorgeous alpine backdrops and the expansive beauty of the Queenstown Lake – but it’s also the adrenaline capital of NZ.
Bungy jumping, gorge swings, skydiving, skiing and white water rafting are all on offer in Queenstown and it’s certainly one of the stops you’ll want an extended stay in!
Hands up who loves dolphins! Well if you do (and seriously who doesn’t?!) then a stop in Kaikoura is a must. This town is famous for dolphin and whale watching tours – well you can easily find yourself surrounded by a super pod of over 300 dolphins!
If you’re super lucky sperm whales and orcas also frequent the area too – so keep your eyes peeled.
For the best experience the dolphin swim tour is well worth bracing the cold waters – so have your GoPro ready to capture it all.
As well as being one fo the best places to visit in New Zealand, a day trip to Milford Sound or even and overnight adventure always sits amongst the list of best tours to do in New Zealand too.
Home to cascading waterfalls, wild seals and some of the most breathtaking natural beauty has to offer – this is another stop that everyone will love.
One of the best ways to appreciate the snow capped beauty of New Zealand is to get right in amongst it – and Franz Josef is the spot to head for that. The Glacier Hiking tours here are one of the top things to do in New Zealand and combined with a helicopter flight up to the icy landscape it’s two bucket list items in one!
Squeeze through awe inspiring ice caves and tunnels before heading back down to the towns geo-thermal pools to warm up.
Just across the mountain range from Queenstown, Wanaka is a place to kick back and relax. The sprawling lake that forms the centre of the town has it’s own world famous Insta spot too – in the form of “that Wanaka Tree”.
But when you’re not hashtaging the towns attractions, take a relaxing hike or use it as a base for an epic ski trip during the winter season.
Which stop is top of your best places to visit in New Zealand?
This popular town in Northern Queensland is best known as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, but there’s heaps of other epic things to see and do in the area too – so make sure you pencil in plenty of time to tick all of these off your bucket list…
8 Of The Best Things To Do In Cairns
1. Snorkel or Dive The Great Barrier Reef
Without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Cairns has to be spending a day on the Great Barrier Reef – it’s one of the most visited natural wonders in the world and should be high up on everyones Australia bucket list!
Cairns has the biggest choice for Barrier Reef tours too – so whether you’re looking for a relaxing family day out, a bit more fun and party with a backpacker crew or want to go all out with an overnight dive boat there’s plenty to choose from.
You’ll have an epic experience whether your snorkel or scuba dive – but if you’ve never tried diving before then it’s also a great opportunity to do an Intro dive and go find Nemo!
With the epic Atherton Tablelands behind the city and the reef in front – a scenic flight is one of the best ways to take in all the natural beauty of Cairns and beyond.
From a taster 15 minute scenic flight right through to an hour long that takes in the coastline up to Cape Tribulation and over the reef there’s an option for every budget.
You can also combine it with your day trip to the reef too – with the popular Snorkel & Helicopter package combining a helicopter flight out to the reef and day of snorkelling!
4. Bungy Jump
Time to get your adrenaline on the go now with Australias only bungjy jump! Run by the inventors of the bungy – AJ Hackett – the Cairns bungy jump is over water, s you can choose a refreshing head dip on your way down!
If it fits into your schedule their legendary Sunday Sessions combine discounted bungy jumps with pumping tunes and happy hour drinks – an epic day out for sure!
5. Do The Cairns Waterfall Loop
Behind Cairns is the stunning Atherton Tablelands, which is also home to the Cairns Waterfall loop. An epic drive that packs in heaps of amazing landscapes and waterfalls too.
You’ll even get to recreate the famous Loreal hair flick advert – which is also the waterfall that Peter Andre filmed his “Mysterious Girl” music video at too!
Choose to self drive with a small group or jump on one of our Cairns Waterfall tours for heaps of fun with travellers from all over the world.
6. Relax on the Kuranda Scenic Railway
Fancy something a bit more chilled? Well the Kuranda Scenic Railway is one of the best things to do in Cairns.
You’ll wind through the valleys, deep into the rainforest, learning heaps about the history of the building of the railway, before spending a relaxing afternoon in the town of Kuranda. You can even combine it with the Skyrail too – giving you spectacular views across the rainforest canopy.
7. Party The Night Away!
When it comes to travelling the East Coast of Australia, Cairns is generally either the start or finish point for most peoples Australia adventures – which means the nightlife in Cairns is pumping!
Dance the night away at the famous Gilligans backpacker bar and club (which also has a hostel if you want to be in amongst it!) or get up on the tables at the equally famous Woolshed…or explore heaps of other late night spots around town!
8. Bounce Up To Cape Tribulation
Okay, so admittedly this isn’t in Cairn itself – but if you’re short on time a day trip from Cairns to Cape Tribulation is an easy way to fit Cape Trib into your itinerary.
The only place on the planet where two world heritage sites meet – the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef – it’s one of the most stunning places in the whole of Australia.
Packed with waterfalls, wildlife and rainforest a trip up to Cape Tribulation (and quick stop en route in Port Douglas) is well worth fitting into your Cairns portion of the trip
From free options to campgrounds with all the latest facilities – here’s everything you need to know about heading to Rainbow Beach…
The Rainbow Beach Camping Guide
Best time to visit Rainbow Beach
Rainbow Beach is located in Queensland, Australia, and you can visit any time of the year and experience decent weather all year round.
The summer months between December and February will bring you temperatures between 21C and 35C (70F-102F), and the winter months between June and August produce temperatures between 10C and 22C (50F-72F). When you visit may depend on if you enjoy cooler or warmer temperatures.
Whether you are camping, exploring, or hanging out on the beach, visiting Rainbow Beach in the summer months is an excellent choice. While the temperature is hot, the bush and coastal climate, not to mention the beautiful ocean, can provide welcome shade and areas to cool off.
Top things to do in Rainbow Beach
The adventures you can have in Rainbow Beach are plentiful. Whether you enjoy adventures on land or water, there are many activities to choose from.
On the water
Kayaking with dolphins: Take a kayak tour in the ocean waters that are home to hundreds of dolphins, turtles, and other sea creatures.
Surf lessons: While anyone can bring their board and ride the amazing waves of the Queensland coast, you don’t have to know how to surf to enjoy your time on the water. If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to surf, this is your chance to have a wonderful experience.
Paddle boarding: If surfing and kayaking aren’t your thing, you can still enjoy some time in the water with stand up paddle boarding. Rent a paddle board for as long as you want, and enjoy the sun, water, sea life, and beautiful scenery.
4WD tours: Off-roading can be an exciting adventure that you can do yourself or with your friends and family. There are multiple 4WD tours that take you along the beach and across the sand dunes.
Hiking and walking: The scenery in and around Rainbow Beach is phenomenal, and you can walk the beach, dunes, bush, or over hills and mountains to catch the views of the Queensland coast. If you are up early enough or take an evening stroll, you can catch the sunrise or sunset.
Skydiving: For those who love a thrill, skydiving is here to cater to your needs. For some, a walk on the beach or swim in the water just isn’t enough. Take the plunge over the coast and witness the spectacular views of the colorful sands of Rainbow Beach and its surrounding magnificence.
Horse riding: Whether you are a horse-riding pro or have yet to see a horse this close before, you can take a sunset horse-riding tour and take a calming walk along Rainbow Beach. This horse riding tour is beginner friendly, and the horses are friendly as well.
Fraser Island From Rainbow Beach
And of course one of the main reasons people head off on a Rainbow Beach camping trip is to hit up one of the best tours on the East Coast – Fraser Island!
The worlds largest sand island is an epic place to explore and there are plenty of Fraser Island tours departing from Rainbow Beach.
If you are considering setting up a day camp or camping overnight, here are some free camping spots in and around Rainbow Beach.
Tiaro Memorial Park
Tiaro Memorial Park is a great choice for a free Rainbow Beach camping area, but make sure you get there early in the day if you are visiting during a popular time.
There are about 20 spots on the site, and there are BBQ areas, toilets, drinking water, and convenient lighting around the campgrounds. Kids can play at the nearby park, and pets are allowed, so you can bring your furry friend with you. And if you didn’t bring enough food with you or want to get away from camp for a while, there is a café and other shops nearby.
Petrie Park is another free Rainbow Beach camping choice that offers campsites near the water and other convenient amenities.
There are a limited number of spots on the site, so like other free campgrounds, you should arrive early enough to claim your spot for the day or overnight. The grounds include toilets, BBQ areas, and are child and pet friendly.
A nice amenity to this campground is being near the water. You can fish from the shore, or you can use the supplied boat ramp to take out your small boat or kayak to enjoy the water or fish with family and friends.
Best Rainbow Beach camp sites
Inskip Peninsula Rainbow Beach Camping
The Inskip Peninsula is a great stretch of land that provides four campgrounds to choose from. Each campground offers a variety of amenities and facilities that are tailored to different types of campers.
MV Beagle Camping Area
Price per night: Camping permit ($6.65 per person per night or $26.60 per family per night – two adults and up to six children)
Top facilities: Sheltered camping area near the beach, marine park, recreation area, fishing, campfires. Sandy surfaces, tent camping only, generators allowed, non-flush toilets, bins, open area without defined sites.
MV Natone Camping Area
Price per night: Camping permit ($6.65 per person per night or $26.60 per family per night – two adults and up to six children)
Top facilities: Secluded camping with shady sheltered areas, non-flush toilets on site, tent camping only, campfires allowed, generators allowed, pets allowed on leash. Fish from the beaches or bring a kayak and explore the area by foot or 4WD vehicle.
MV Sarawak Camping Area
Price per night: Camping permit ($6.65 per person per night or $26.60 per family per night – two adults and up to six children)
Top facilities: Largest Inskip camping area with tents, caravans, campervans, and camper trailer camping allowed. Non-flush toilets on site, campfires allowed, generators allowed, and pets allowed on leash. Fish from the beach or relax in the shaded areas of Moreton Bay ash.
SS Dorrigo Camping Area
Price per night: Camping permit ($6.65 per person per night or $26.60 per family per night – two adults and up to six children)
Top facilities: Many amenities at this location, with all kinds of camping allowed, including tents, caravans, campervans, camper trailers, and motorhomes. Non-flush toilets on site, campfires allowed, generators allowed, and pets allowed on leash. Choose a camp site with an ocean view or a sheltered area more inland. Fish, walk, and drive to the recreation area and marine park.
Price per night: Camping permit ($6.65 per person per night or $26.60 per family per night – two adults and up to six children)
Top facilities: There are 60 sites to choose from at this campground, but you cannot book a specific site – first come, first served. Lots of shade, toilets and hot showers, far enough away from the beach to avoid strong winds, shaded and secluded campsites. Use the recreational day-use area and be one with nature in this popular bush camping area. Tens and camper trailers allowed.
Price per night: Camping permit ($6.65 per person per night or $26.60 per family per night – two adults and up to six children) as well as a vehicle access permit (about $30-$35 per week)
Top facilities: You can camp on the beach at this popular campground, and you can enjoy an open area without separately defined sites. Camp in a tent next to your vehicle or in the open, or bring your off-road caravan or camper trailer. Camp on sand or grass. No nearby toilets (bring your own), open fires permitted, low-decibel generators allowed, beach access by 4WD vehicles only.
Harry’s Hut Camping
Price per night: Camping permit ($6.65 per person per night or $26.60 per family per night – two adults and up to six children)
Top facilities: This campground is located in the bush and gives you a woodsy feel. You can reach the camping area by walking, 4WD vehicle, or canoe/kayak/small boat. You can camp in a tent or a camper trailer and camp on sand or grass. There is untreated water, toilets, picnic shelter with tables, day-use area, and canoe landing access points. No open fires or generators allowed, and advance books are required, especially for holiday periods.
Where to eat in Rainbow Beach
There are plenty of choices of restaurants and other food places in Rainbow Beach. Here are some favorites among locals and visitors.
Arcobaleno on the Beach: Classic Italian food restaurant with a cozy and casual atmosphere and many choices of pizza and pasta.
Rainbow Beach Pizza: Casual pizzeria with other top-quality Italian favorites, with outdoor seating and a casual dining style with great service.
Brent’s Burgers: Casual burger joint that is very child-friendly and great for larger groups of people. Lots of choices on the menu besides burgers, and some terrific sweet potato chips, onion rings, and other fried goodies.
Café Jilarty at Rainbow: Many styles of food at this café and fancier dishes without a higher price. You can find Greek food, Italian food, breakfast lunch and dinner, coffee, smoothies, chips and salad, and at times you can enjoy free live music.
The Deck: Tapas bar and grill with burgers and fries, and other cooked meals. Very casual and friendly place to eat. Catch a football game on the big screen television and enjoy the beer garden with a view.
Busy planning your Australia trip? Not sure what to take with you? Here's what should be top of your Australia packing list - and what to leave behind!
If you haven’t travelled long term before, packing can be a bit of a nightmare, especially if you’re heading down under for a whole year to work and travel and putting together your Australia packing list.
What do I take?
What do I leave behind?
I don’t have enough space for this!
will I need that!
I have no doubt all of these thoughts will be running through your head at one point or another during the packing process!
So to help you nail your Australia packing list here are the things I recommend you take to the land down under…
Australia Packing List – What You Need & What You Don’t
What You Think You Need – Half It!
In my experience less is more when it comes to travelling.
A well-used saying about packing is to lay out all your clothes and money on the bed – then take away half the clothes and double the money!
And it’s pretty true!
When I first went to Australia I took a 60+20L rucksack.
It was totally rammed and a nightmare to repack, let alone fit new stuff into! I barely used half the stuff in it, and by the time I’d left Australia 12 months later I’d given heaps of it away or donated it to charity shops.
So here’s what I’d suggest for your Australia packing list, or for any long term travels, really.
The stuff on the list might not seem like enough, but remember: if you REALLY need those extra few t-shirts, dresses or shoes you can always pick up some new stuff in Australia, and by then you’ll be more aware of how much spare space you have in your bag!
Clothing is obviously the biggest item when it comes to your Australia packing list and will be what takes up the most amount of space too.
Keep it streamline, remember you don’t need pack for every occasion and you can always pick up items along the way too – especially as the seasons change…
7 x t-shirts
2 x boardies
2 x shorts
2 x flannel shirts
1 x jumper
7 x underwear
2 x socks
1 x flipflops (aka thongs!)
1 x closed shoes
1 x trousers
Yup, clothing wise I’ve packed pretty light, but remember it’s easier to do washing more often than it is to lug a huge backpack full of stuff around! From a guy’s — and many girls’ — perspective, this should be enough to tick over.
If you do want to pack extras, keep them aside and figure out if you have enough space after your preliminary pack.
Like it or not technology is now part of the travelling adventure and I’ve no doubt you’ll all be taking some gadgets along for the ride. Again streamline it and if you’re buying new travel gear investing in tech that’s lightweight and compact is the way forward…
Phone + charger
Laptop + charger
Camera + charger
External hard drive
Travel plug adaptor
Not everyone is going to have a laptop in tow, but I’d suggest taking a hard drive anyway so you can backup your photos along the way and also copy some movies and photos from your travel buddies!
These should be pretty simple…
Paracetamol/ibuprofen/your painkiller of choice
Bodywash (travel size)
Towel (travel towels are a good start but you’ll probably buy a proper one
…things like shampoo, conditioner and suncream can be bought easily at any supermarket in Australia, so there’s no point dragging it halfway across the world.
Of course, girls, you might have some extras in your makeup bag and what not, but these are the bare minimum essentials I’d recommend everyone pack.
If you find you have some spare space these are some other useful items I’d suggest packing. You could also buy them once you’re out in Oz.
Snorkel and mask
Multi-plug socket (so you only need one travel plug for multiple devices!)
Basic first aid kit
I’ve tested out a heap of backpacks over the last few years and there are a lot of great brands to choose from.
Currently though I’m using the Osprey Farpoint 40+10L and it’s the perfect balance of size, comfort and build.
Admittedly it’s not the cheapest option on the market, but if you’re looking to travel light and with a solid bag it’s a great investment for your travels.
Again the key point with your Australia packing list here is not to fill all the space simply because you have it!
Give yourself some extra empty space for picking things up along the way too – there’s nothing worse than realising you can’t buy that awesome keepsake because you simply dont have enough room!
Trying to figure out the best things to do in Yamba and whether it's worth a visit? Well it deinfitely is and these 11 things should be on your to do list!
One of our favourite, off the beaten track spots along the East Coast of Australia has to be Yamba – and there are plenty of things to see and do in Yamba to convince you it’s worth adding into your trip!
From world class waves to dolphins and coastal walks, it’s time to wind down with some chilled out Yamba vibes…
Awesome Things To Do In Yamba
Learn To Surf
With Yamba life revolving around the beach one of the most popular things to do in Yamba is to learn to surf! The rolling, sandy bottom beach breaks are one some of the best spots to learn to surf in Australia.
Turners Beach is a favourite, with its sheltered conditions and is the favourite spot of Surf Camp Down Under – who we highly recommend!
alongside learning to surf, Yamba is a hot spot for experienced surfers too. So if you’re looking for some of the best and most uncrowded spots in Australia you’re in luck!
The breakwater at Turners, open A frames at Pippies or of course the famed point break at Angourie are just 3 of the many spots around town.
All the surf spots in Yamba can handle a solid swell, so be prepared for some pumping surf if the conditions allow!
Enjoy A Sunset Sailing Trip
With incredible sunsets, what better spot to enjoy them from than on the water? There are plenty of options for hiring boats in Yamba (the marina is a popular leisure sailing spot) and also a whole array of local, organised tours you can jump on too.
Kick back with a cold beer and keep and eye out for the local dolphins too!
Hit The Coastal Walks
If you fancy a stroll then Yamba has some incredible coastal walks you can take advantage of. Whether you want a quick loop from town up to the lighthouse or a full blown day trip out to the point at Angourie, make sure you pack plenty of water, sunscreen and of course you camera too!
With so much epic coastline there’s plenty of scope for an epic day of fishing in Yamba too. Again hire a boat and head out on the open water or enjoy some beach or cliff fishing all around town.
There are a few bait shops and fishing shops as you come into Yamba so stock up for the day and cast out.
Relax On Some Empty Beaches
Australia is famous for its beaches, but you might find many of them (such as Bondi or Byron Bay) are actually pretty busy. Yamba on the other hadn’t serves up plenty of slices of sand you can enjoy with hardly a sole in sight – especially if you have a car or campervan to explore the local area.
Watch The Dolphins
Yamba has a pretty big local dolphin population so make sure you keep an eye out for them whenever you’re near the ocean – especially in the surf! On elf the best places to spot them is around sunset on the breakwater by Turners Beach as they follow the fishing boats!
The Best Pub Balcony In Australia?!
If you fancy a cold beer, wine or even a cheeky pub meal then make sure you head up to the Pacific Hotel – which has probably the best pub balcony we’ve ever chilled out on!
With epic views cliff views across Main Beach and the surrounding coastline you’ll be hard pushed for a better afternoon drinking spot!
Tackle Shanes Legendary Tour
For backpackers heading to Yamba we’d highly recommend a stay with Shane and Justin at Yamba YHA – who will instantly make you feel like family! And as part of your stay make sure you sign up to Shanes Legendary Tour, we wont divulge much more than that…just trust us!
Take A Dip In The Blue and Green Pools
Fancy cooling off? Well the Blue Pools are an awesome spot to head for some freshwater swimming. Both also offer some cliff jumping – but we’d recommend sticking to the small ones at the Green Pools as they’re much safer!
Get Some Pics Of The Lighthouse
Although not as impressive as spots like Cape Byron Lighthouse or some on the Great Ocean Road, Yamba Lighthouse is still worth a visit and a good spot to stop when you’re heading along the coast trails too!
Got any other things to do in Yamba you’d recommend?
Has Corona Virus affected your current or up coming travel plans with us? Well rest assured we're here to help...
Looking for our current terms & conditions including updated cancellation policies, date changes and travel credit? Find our full terms and conditions here. The Covid-19 updates are at the bottom!
UPDATE 1st June 2020:
Internal travel restrictions within Australia (especially within the state you’re currently located) are now relaxing, and many of our suppliers are starting to reopen slowly from 1st June – contact us if you’d like to book any trips or chat about what’s on offer!
The Corona Virus pandemic is sweeping across the world at a rapid pace and all over the world peoples travel plans are being affected. So if you’re currently on the road or have an upcoming trip with us we wanted to give you a little bit of advice and assure that our team is on hand to help you out!
Can You Still Travel To Australia?
At the moment, in theory yes – Australia is still open for business, however there is now a mandatory isolation period for all arrivals (including Australians) of 14 days. So if you do decide to travel to Australia, you’ll need to be prepared for that.
UPDATE 19TH MARCH 2020:
Australia has now stopped entry for all international travellers (Australian and New Zealand residents not included) from 9pm on 20th March.
What About Elsewhere?
At the moment, there are travel restrictions in place for pretty much all destinations, with New Zealand having a mandatory 14 day self-isolation period, Sri Lanka suspending all incoming flights, and Indonesia no longer issuing visas on arrival without health certificates.
The situation is changing daily and even hourly, so always check before you travel and stay up to date with the situation
UPDATE: Many countries are no longer accepting international arrivals (including Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and beyond)
What if you’re already in Australia?
If you’re already in Australia, pretty much all our suppliers are operating as usual, however they’re taking extra measures to help with safety and many are now running smaller groups as part of this.
As always please call 24 hours before your tours to reconfirm them as things are changing on a daily basis.
UPDATE 1: At the moment all trips and tours are on hold, please contact us to change your dates FOC or to arrange a refund. Hopefully things will clear up soon!
UPDATE 2: Internal travel restrictions within Australia (especially within the state you’re currently located) are now relaxing, and many of our suppliers are starting to reopen slowly from 1st June – contact us if you’d like to book any trips or chat about what’s on offer!
What If You Need To Cancel?
We understand that many of our customers who are planning on travelling or who are already travelling (both in Australia, New Zealand, and beyond) are affected by travel restrictions or may want to return home due to the COVID-19/Corona Virus pandemic.
Our team are working hard to make sure that we help you out as much as possible – so if you need to cancel or have any questions, you can email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp on +44 740 182 7447 and we’ll be happy to help.
As you can imagine though, we’re getting quite a few requests at the moment so please be patient and we’ll be there for you ASAP!
In the mean time guys, please be safe, look after each other, and take precautions to keep yourselves healthy.
From Chris and the RTW Backpackers team
Last updated: 19th March 2020
Please note things are changing on an hourly basis so check with your government for the latest travel restrictions before/if you decide to travel
On the hunt for the best Great Barrier Reef Tours and not sure what options are out there or how to pick? We're not surprised - the Barrier Reef is one of the top bucket list ticks for any Australia trip and there are heaps of options to choose from. Day trips, dive boats, dive courses, scenic flights...a combination of them...it's all on offer! So to help you decide which Great Barrier Reef tour is best for you here's a run down of the options and our personal favourites... The Best Great Barrier Reef Tours - Which Should You Pick? Great Barrier Reef Snorkelling From $140 Great Barrier Reef snorkelling tours are by far the most popular ways to see the Barrier Reef - which run out of Cairns daily (weather permitting!) and these are the best choice for those on a limited time frame but also those looking for a budget friendly way to check out the barrier reef too. Our personal favourite for is a Great Barrier Reef day trip with the Deep Sea Divers Den - with their snorkel package coming in at $140AUD, which is great value for money. You’ll kick back on their beautiful and spacious boat, enjoy unlimited snorkelling at a variety of dive sites and feast on their lunchtime buffet. If you’re looking for something even more memorable and have a bit of extra budget to play with then the “Get High & Dive Package” is the way to go. This epic day trip includes unlimited snorkelling, an introductory scuba dive and even a scenic helicopter flight back to Cairns - it doesn't get much more action packed than that! Diving The Great Barrier Reef - Day Trips From $210 For anyone interested in scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef holds
We’re not surprised – the Barrier Reef is one of the top bucket list ticks for any Australia trip and there are heaps of options to choose from. Day trips, dive boats, dive courses, scenic flights…a combination of them…it’s all on offer!
So to help you decide which Great Barrier Reef tour is best for you here’s a run down of the options and our personal favourites…
The Best Great Barrier Reef Tours – Which Should You Pick?
Great Barrier Reef Snorkelling
Great Barrier Reef snorkelling tours are by far the most popular ways to see the Barrier Reef – which run out of Cairns daily (weather permitting!) and these are the best choice for those on a limited time frame but also those looking for a budget friendly way to check out the barrier reef too.
For anyone interested in scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef holds heaps of appeal. For experienced divers it’s a huge bucket list tick and it’s also the ideal place to try scuba diving for the first time with an introductory scuba dive.
Again our pick of the bunch is with Deep Sea Divers Den who have a great range of dive moorings to choose from, a friendly crew and even an underwater photographer who’ll help snap your next Facebook profile picture next to Nemo!
Their dive trips include all gear, however we strongly recommend paying the extra for a dive guide – you’ll get even more out of your time underwater.
For those looking for an introductory scuba dive their crew of experienced and certified instructors will teach you all the basics needed to be safe under the ocean and guide you around. With a max depth of 12m it’s the perfect way to test out if scuba diving is for you and discover some of the amazing marine life that calls this part of Australia home.
Learn To Scuba Dive On The Great Barrier Reef & Cairns
Either way you’ll work your way through the theory lessons, written exam and pool skills before putting your knowledge into practice with the open water modules.
On successful completion you’ll be a fully certified open water scuba diver with a world recognised certification!
Diving The Great Barrier Reef – Liveaboards
For those already certified scuba divers and wanting to make the most of their time in Cairns a Great Barrier Reef Dive Liveaboard is the ultimate option – allowing you to squeeze in even more dives and even some night diving too.
Trust us, jumping into the water with a torch and surrounded by reef sharks is something you’ll never forget for all the right reasons!
Sure it’s not the most budget friendly of all the Great Barrier Reef tours on offer, but it’s certainly the way to go if you want to pack in heaps of diving!
If you’re really serious about diving and have the budget then a longer trip out to the Cod Hole and Ribbon Reefs is well worth the splash (pun intended!) where you’ll discover pristine dive sites, less crowds and a whole array of incredible marine life – including the famous Giant Potato Cod.
Scenic Flight Over The Great Barrier Reef
Don’t fancy getting wet or looking for some alternative Great Barrier Reef tours that check out this natural wonder from a different perspective? Well a scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef will pack your camera full of incredible photos and give you a whole new appreciation of the vast size of this natural wonder.
From a quick scenic helicopter flight to a a longer scenic aeroplane flight there are a number of options for all time frames and budgets.
Keep your eyes peeled for manta rays cruising along the currents, turtles chilling on the reefs and of course the annual whale migration too.
Skydive Over The Great Barrier Reef
If you like your day trips with a bit more adrenaline then why not take in views across the reef from a skydive at Mission Beach?
Available as a day trip from Cairns or of course from Mission Beach itself, it’s the most popular jump zone in Australia for a reason!
With a guaranteed beach landing and stunning views across the coastline, ocean and reef this is certainly one of our favourite bucket list items that the East Coast has to offer!
So you've booked your flights, you've got your visa all sorted and you're super stoked to be visiting Australia for the first time! You could just land and wing it from there, but trust me when I say that after a long haul flight covering more than a handful of time zones you'll be in no mood to lug your backpack around whatever city you land in trying to find a place to stay. So take my advice and prepare a little! There are a few things that you can sort before you land that will make your arrival heaps smoother and stress free. You want to start your Australian adventure on the right foot and enjoy the first days of your trip. Visiting Australia For The First Time? 5 Helpful Things You'll Need To Know! Airport Pickup The first thing you're going to need to deal with when you arrive in Oz is the airport, or more specifically how the hell you're going to leave it! Some destinations, such as Cairns and Melbourne, have great shuttle bus options that are the cheapest and easiest way to get into the city. Many can drop you at some central accommodation. Check out the following sites for some more info: Cairns - Cairns Airport Shuttle Brisbane - Con-X-ion Byron Bay - Byron Easy Bus Sydney - Airport Connect Melbourne - Sky Bus Sydney, on the other hand, has a great train service that runs direct from the airport into the centre of the city and it's super easy and convenient, especially if you're staying at Wakeup or Sydney Central YHA, which are right opposite! There's no need to book in advance and it'll set you back around $17AUD one way. Accommodation Let's face it: you're going to be pretty overwhelmed,
So you’ve booked your flights, you’ve got your visa all sorted and you’re super stoked to be visiting Australia for the first time!
You could just land and wing it from there, but trust me when I say that after a long haul flight covering more than a handful of time zones you’ll be in no mood to lug your backpack around whatever city you land in trying to find a place to stay.
So take my advice and prepare a little!
There are a few things that you can sort before you land that will make your arrival heaps smoother and stress free. You want to start your Australian adventure on the right foot and enjoy the first days of your trip.
Visiting Australia For The First Time? 5 Helpful Things You’ll Need To Know!
The first thing you’re going to need to deal with when you arrive in Oz is the airport, or more specifically how the hell you’re going to leave it! Some destinations, such as Cairns and Melbourne, have great shuttle bus options that are the cheapest and easiest way to get into the city. Many can drop you at some central accommodation.
Byron Bay – Byron Easy Bus Sydney – Airport Connect Melbourne – Sky Bus
Sydney, on the other hand, has a great train service that runs direct from the airport into the centre of the city and it’s super easy and convenient, especially if you’re staying at Wakeup or Sydney Central YHA, which are right opposite!
There’s no need to book in advance and it’ll set you back around $17AUD one way.
Let’s face it: you’re going to be pretty overwhelmed, tired and not functioning at top speed when you land, so you’ll be wanting have a bed lined up pretty fast!
With that in mind it pays to pre-book your accommodation before you land. You’ll get the best rates and hopefully it’ll mean getting your hostel of choice.
But don’t just book one night (unless you have solid plans to bounce the next day).
Book two or more.
There’s no worse feeling than getting woken up on your first full day in Australia at 10am by hostel staff telling your sad jet lagged self it’s time to check out!
We can book a huge range of hostels all across Australia so chat to our travel experts to find the right fit for you – whether that’s partying at Nomads or enjoying a more chilled vibe at YHA.
If you’re landing in Australia I’m going to assume that you already kind of know where you want to head, or you’re reading this blog to help you figure that out. In which case, good times!
If you figure out your plan of attack before landing you can also get your travel options sorted before you land too, which knocks one thing to worry about off the list and gives you more time to enjoy the Aussie sunshine!
Those opting for the likes of Greyhound Australia, Oz Experience or Stray Australia can book your pass open-dated way before arriving.
If you’re hiring a car or campervan via the likes of Jucy, Travellers Autobarn or Britz, securing your dates before you arrive will mean you get your car/van of choice.
Pre-booking usually saves you a heap of dollar too!
If you’re going to be in Australia for a while it can be well worth grabbing a local SIM card if your phone is unlocked. The main phone networks in Australia are Optus, Vodafone, Virgin and Telstra.
I went with Optus, as they gave the best plan on mobile data for my iPhone. I went for the $2 daily bundle, which offered unlimited calls and text within Oz and 500MB of data per day, with the option of an auto bump to 1GB of data for an extra $2.
There are heaps of different pay as you go plans with all the networks, so shop around a bit and find the one that works best for you.
If You’re On A Working Holiday Visa
If you’re visiting Australia on a working holiday visa there are a few essentials that you’ll need to sort to kickstart your year working in Oz – some of which can be done before you even touch down, or simply sort them once you’re in Australia.
Bank Account (personally I’d recommend Commonwealth for this)
Tax file number
SIM Card (see above for my advice on using Optus)
A polished CV
Of course if you don’t fancy booking all this stuff individually, there are a number of companies that offer Australia Arrival Packages, which bundle together everything you’ll need to get started.
Planning a trip to Sydney soon? Our Sydney Backpacker Guide covers everything from where to stay, to what to do - so you can make the most of your time!
Heading to Australia soon? Well Sydney has to be on your to do list, and our Sydney Backpacker Guide is quick and easy way to discover the best places to stay and what to do in Sydney!
Often mistaken as the capital of Australia (that’s Canberra if you didn’t already know!) Sydney is easily the most famous city in Oz and to be honest I don’t think I really need to sell you on visiting it!
Sydney is also many travellers first tastes of Australia as it’s busy international airport caters for flights worldwide and as a result it’s full of fresh travellers beginning their East Coast Adventure, so it’s the perfect place to meet heaps of new backpacker buddies to explore with.
It’s home to some of the countries most iconic sights too – with the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge topping the list, you can’t travel to Australia and not get a selfie in front of them!
But you knew that already hey?!
Sydney is much more than just those two structures though, as you’d expect from Australias biggest city there are plenty of things to keep you busy.
Whether you’re mingling with Wildlife at Toronga Zoo or Sydney Wildlife Park (the latter is my personal choice between the two) chilling over at Manly or taking a day trip to the gorgeous Blue Mountains as far as cities go Sydney isn’t half bad!
The Sydney Backpacker Guide – Where To Stay & What To Do
State = New South Wales
2638km from Cairns
Recommended Stay – At Least 4 nights
Xmas And New Year In Sydney
And of course it’s also a hugely popular destination for travellers putting together their xmas and new year plans too – with a beach BBQ on Bondi for xmas day and the world famous Sydney Harbour firework display on new years eve.
Just keep in mind if you are descending on Sydney for this period of the year it totally pays to book early, with many hostels booking out up to 6 months in advance – so don’t leave it too late!
Also if you’re heading up the coast after new year be aware that a flood of travellers will be doing the same so bus departures and the next couple of stops up the coast (most notably Byron Bay) tend to book out quickly too as a result, so plan ahead!
Best Things To Do In Sydney
Grab a photo of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge
New Year at the world famous Harbour firework display
Chill on Bondi Beach (bonus points for a xmas BBQ here!)
Complete the Coogee to Bondi coastal walk
Meet the locals at Sydney Wildlife Park
Or head across the water to Toronga Zoo
Grab a sunset and amazing views at the Sydney Sky Tower
Learn more about this iconic city on the Sydney Hop on, Hop Off Tour Bus
The easiest way you can help out with the Australia bushfire is to donate to some of the incredible organisations helping on the ground, including wildlife rescue services, the Red Cross and of course the true heroes of it all – the Rural Fire Service.
And if you cant afford to donate give this post a share on Facebook or your social media and help spread the word! Actually do that if you donate too!
Australia Bushfire – How Can You Help? Main Donation Links
Whether you want to help the people, the wildlife or both – here are some of the best official donation links for Australia bushfire appeals so you can make a difference no matter where you are in the world.
I know it’s a pain finding links on Instagram and stuff as the captions aren’t clickable but here are some of the best organisations you can donate to right now.
And of course if you know of any other awesome organisations who are on the ground helping and raising funds add them into the comments!
Australia carries a bit of a stigma as being that place where everything wants to kill you. 'Everything' in this case being the weather, the landscape and especially the wildlife! On some levels it's a justified concern, but mostly it's something that you don't really have to worry about — it calls for being sensible, not locking yourself indoors or avoiding the country altogether! Is Australia Dangerous? Wildlife The Aussie wildlife is probably the number one thing people worry about. Admittedly, yes, Australia is populated by some pretty deadly creatures. The good news is that your chances of finding yourself in a life-or-death situation with them are pretty slim if you're paying attention and not doing anything stupid. Here's a round-up of the top creepy, crawly, furry concerns. Sharks This is probably the category I'm most worried about, but mainly because I spend so much time in the ocean surfing and scuba diving! They're all over the news too, which never helps to settle people's fears. Have I seen a great white? I'm not going to lie, I have seen one whilst I was surfing, but it was early in the morning and it didn't attack me or even act like it was going to. The fact I've only ever seen one in all my time in Australia is a testament to how small the risk really is. I surf on a near-daily basis. Am I worried? Yes, a little bit. But I'd be stupid not to be. Realistically, I'm entering their domain — their territory — and that comes with a small amount of risk. Does it stop me surfing? Nope! I'm statistically more likely to be killed on the way to the beach than in the water. The only other time I've seen sharks in Australia is when
Australia carries a bit of a stigma as being that place where everything wants to kill you. ‘Everything’ in this case being the weather, the landscape and especially the wildlife!
On some levels it’s a justified concern, but mostly it’s something that you don’t really have to worry about — it calls for being sensible, not locking yourself indoors or avoiding the country altogether!
Is Australia Dangerous?
The Aussie wildlife is probably the number one thing people worry about. Admittedly, yes, Australia is populated by some pretty deadly creatures.
The good news is that your chances of finding yourself in a life-or-death situation with them are pretty slim if you’re paying attention and not doing anything stupid.
Here’s a round-up of the top creepy, crawly, furry concerns.
This is probably the category I’m most worried about, but mainly because I spend so much time in the ocean surfing and scuba diving! They’re all over the news too, which never helps to settle people’s fears.
Have I seen a great white? I’m not going to lie, I have seen one whilst I was surfing, but it was early in the morning and it didn’t attack me or even act like it was going to.
The fact I’ve only ever seen one in all my time in Australia is a testament to how small the risk really is. I surf on a near-daily basis.
Am I worried? Yes, a little bit. But I’d be stupid not to be. Realistically, I’m entering their domain — their territory — and that comes with a small amount of risk.
Does it stop me surfing? Nope! I’m statistically more likely to be killed on the way to the beach than in the water.
The only other time I’ve seen sharks in Australia is when I actively went looking for them on a scuba dive at Julian Rocks, in search of some near- harmless grey nurse sharks, which are awesome to swim with!
These little buggers are probably the most under rated risk in Aussie waters and species like box jellyfish and blue bottle aren’t super pleasant to encounter.
But they are pretty seasonal and even if you’re snorkelling spots like the Great Barrier Reef most tour providers provide a stinger suit so you’re safe!
…and if beaches have a blue bottle problem (usually due to storms or currents) most times they’re flagged up or have warning boards. If in doubt, ask a lifeguard!
Australia is home to some of the most deadly snakes in the world. Luckily, run-ins with super poisonous snakes are few and far between, and any snakes you might come across are going to do their best to avoid you at all costs!
I’ve actually only seen 3 snakes in my time in Australia, none of which were being aggressive or a threat. They were simply sunbathing and minding their own business.
Of course, if you go hiking in the bush or moving things around in the garden snakes are something you should definitely be aware of, so be slightly cautious and keep an eye out.
Whether it’s scales, fangs, or fins that have you shivering, I can assure you that the risk is pretty low, and not worth putting off that bushwalk for a second! As long as you respect these creatures’ personal space, they’ll most likely respect yours!
There’s one thing you should be worried about though. Dropbears. those things are just pure evil!
When you head up into places like northern Queensland and the Northern Territory, crocodiles and salt water crocodiles (aka ‘salties’) might be on your mind, and rightly so.
The key with these places is to be sensible and avoid heading into the ocean or lakes without asking locals first. Most croc hotspots have big fat warning signs, so you should be adequately warned, but if in doubt always ask!
Yup, Oz has some pretty epic spiders crawling around, from the deadly redback to the massive hairy huntsman.
Have I been bitten? Nope. Do I know anyone who’s been bitten? Nope.
Have I seen any? Yes. I’ve seen a total of 1 redback and 4 huntsman spiders in all the times I’ve visited Australia.
Am I worried about them? Yeah they look kinda scary but they’re easily avoided!
The weather is also something you need to be a bit aware of in Australia. It’s not a huge issue, but there are certain places and certain times of year that are worth looking into.
Bushfires are probably the biggest concern — especially during the dry summer time — so keep an eye open for the signs and don’t start any campfires or anything like that. It only takes one ember to spark something incredibly destructive and out of control.
Cyclones and Thunderstorms
Cyclones and huge tropical storms are particularly prominent in northern Queensland and the Northern Territory during the wet season, and are something you should keep an eye on the news/papers about. These are probably the most likely to disrupt your travel plans too, as the resulting flooding can cut off roads and leave you stuck for a bit.
If you’re heading into cyclone season, check out what the locals have to say, and have a backup plan in place in case you need to shuffle your travel plans around to avoid them.
The dangers of the landscape are pretty straightforward, but that doesn’t make them less dangerous!
Here’s an obvious one: the outback is super hot. Make sure your car is well fuelled and you have plenty of water. Also, you should always let people know where you’re heading and when you expect to arrive, just in case.
The bush and the rainforest areas are home to all sorts of bitey things, so wear the appropriate clothing and keep an eye on where you’re stepping.
Reefs contain poisonous fish and urchins, so just avoid touching anything underwater…it’s good conservation in general, anyway!
Again, just be sensible!
In fact, the three things you should probably be most worried about in Australia are sunburn, sunstroke and dehydration. Make sure you slap on heaps of suncream, seek shade during the hottest parts of the day and drink lots of water!
The bottom line is: yes, Australia can be dangerous, but most of the dangers are easily managed with a bit of common sense and foresight. Just be prepared.
Don’t let it put you off exploring this beautiful country!
From water slides to goon filled drinking games here are our favourite Whitsundays party boats so you can crack a cold one in paradise and enjoy the chaos!
The Best Whitsunday Tour Party Boats!
1. Atlantic Clipper
The infamous Atlantic Clipper is THE whitsunday party boat and has been providing heaps of fun for backpackers for years and is one of the most popular Whitsunday tours out there.
At 34 metres long the Atlantic Clipper boats an on board spa, spacious lounge and bar area and even a water slide – it’s safe to say it has everything you need for an epic Whitsundays party boat experience!
It has a max capacity of 53 across 21 cabins and is frequently fully booked out, so if you fancy jumping on the Clipper we’d suggest getting it locked kin early to avoid missing out.
And of course if you want a break from partying you can soak up the beautiful surroundings, explore the coral reef and there’s even scuba diving available on board too.
The sister ship of the Atlantic Clipper, New Horizon is another one of our most popular Whitsunday tours and is most definitely a party boat!
With up to 32 backpackers on board she’s one of the only party boats to boats A/C cabins – which on a hangover in the Aussie heat is certainly welcome!
Complete with SUPs and even. diving board (greta fun for making your friends walk the plank in true pirate style!) New Horizon packs in heaps of fun whilst still ticking off the Whitsundays must do destinations.
If you want a super stylish Whitsunday tour then joining the party boat Avatar is what you need to do!
The only tour offering trimaran in the Whitsundays, Avatar offer plenty of space on the netting to kick back with some cold beers with your newly found backpacker buddies.
With up to 26 guests on board you’ll sail around the Whitsundays in style as it’s also one of the fastest vessels in the Whitsundays too – allowing you to hit up spots other overnight tours can’t reach.
Well why not jump on a Whitsundays catamaran trip?
As well as looking sleek and stylish catamarans offer amazing stability (great for those who haven’t got their sea legs yet!) as well as heaps of deck space to relax, unwind and enjoy the epic views!
Our team have picked out of favourite 4 catamaran Whitsundays sailing adventures for you to choose from – from party vibes and hot tubs to small group luxury….
The Best Catamaran Whitsundays Sailing Adventures
A firm favourite with our team and one of the most popular Whitsundays trips we offer – a Whitsundays sailing adventure with Tongarra is packed full of epic vibes and good times.
This 2 day, 2 night trip packs in all the highlights – Whitehaven Beach, Hill Inlet lookout and plenty of snorkel time and your awesome crew (seriously they’re epic!) also have a few extras up their sleeve….who said banana boats?!
One of the biggest draws of Tongarra is sleeping under the stars on the deck with their custom awning tent. True adventure style!
If you’re after a more luxurious Whitsundays Sailing Adventure then you can’t go wrong with a trip on board Powerplay.
Sure this catamaran option is a little pricier than Wings or Tongarra – but the trade is a much smaller group size (max 16) and those little touches of luxury that really make this the perfect options for couples and flashpackers.
Indulge in a sunset beer on the on deck spa or grab one of the included SUPs or inflatable kayaks to explore even more.
As with all our catamaran Whitsundays trips expect to take in all the highlights from Whitehaven Beahc, Hill Inlet Lookout and plenty of amazing snorkel spots.
Another awesome option for those looking for a smaller group trip – with a max capacity of 12 guests, including 3 double cabins – this is another great option for those looking to splash a bit or go as a couple.
Again boasting an on board spa and itinerary taking in both Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet – a trip on Whitsundays Adventurer fits in everything you want from this iconic part of East Coast Australia.
Trip duration; 2 day/2 night
Departs; Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Price from; $535
Max group; 12
CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO & TO BOOK
We’re Here To Help!
There you have it – 4 of our favourite catamaran Whitsundays sailing adventures with something to suit all styles and budgets!
And if you’re not entirely convinced by a Whitsundays catamaran trip we have a huge range of options – from tall ship sailing to full on party boats!
Just chat to our awesome travel experts and they’d be happy to answer your questions and help find your perfect tripod even pair it up with a Fraser Island tour for one of our epic discounted package deals!
The worlds largest sand island is one of the best adventures between Sydney and Cairns – where you can visit dense rainforest, hike along sprawling sand dunes, swim in crystal clear lakes and of course drive along the beach!
So if you’re busy planning your Fraser Island tour here’s 7 handy things to know, before you go…
7 Things You Need To Know Before Your Fraser Island Tour
You Can Drive A 4×4
One of our favourite experiences about Fraser Island is the opportunity to drive a 4×4 during your Fraser Island tour!
Admittedly not every trip offer this – all our favourite like Pippies, Dingos and Nomads Fraser do -but if you’re over 21, with a valid international license you’ll get the opportunity to cruise along beach highways and through more challenging rainforest tracks during your trip which is heaps of fun.
But Not On The Day Trips
Unfortunately though if you only have the time or budget for a day trip you wont get this chance – as these are done with 4×4 tour buses.
The Local Name For The Island Is K’Gari
Fraser Island has long been home to Aboriginals who have lived off the land and natural resources for thousands of years.
And because of that there’s heaps of incredible history, culture and dreamtime stories to learn during your trip.
If you really want to discover more about the real K’Gari we highly recommend checking out the Dropbear Adventures Tour where you’re knowledgable guides will teach you more about this side of the island.
Camping Is The Most Fun Option
Seriously, if you’re looking of the most fun Fraser Island tour then the camping options are our teams favourite option!
I mean how many times do you have the opportunity to camp on the worlds largest sand island and gaze at the stars from the door of your tent!
Embrace the adventure and check out Pippies, Dingos or Dropbear for some camping goodness
…But You Can Do A Dorm If You Prefer!
If you want a more comfortable nights sleep there are also dorm options too – with Nomads Fraser Island being the most popular as it still offers the opportunity to drive the 4×4.
In fact Nomads offer both a dorm and camping option on the same trip so you wont miss out on any of the fun!
You Can Leave Your Luggage At The Start Destination
Pretty much all hostels in Rainbow Beach, Noosa or Hervey Bay offer luggage lock up facilities for those heading out to Fraser Island.
This means you can slim your stuff down to a small weekend bag and not have to lug it all around the island!
Just take the essentials (inc a jumper for the evening in the winter months) and embrace the island vibes!
Most Tours Are BYO
Most Fraser Island tours are BYO – which is ideal for backpackers looking to save some money on bar tabs whilst still having heaps of fun!
The overnight camping trips are great for an awesome fireside party, so bring along some cold beers or a couple of boxed of goon to get things started!
…or have a few in the back of the 4×4 if you’re not driving that day!
The main exception to this rule is the Nomads Fraser Island tour, which has a licensed bar on site.
Not sure whether to travel Sydney to Cairns or Cairns to Sydney? We run through how to decide which way to travel East Coast Australia is best for you!
Not sure whether to travel Sydney to Cairns or Cairns to Sydney? It can be a tough call trying to decide which way to travel East Coast Australia is best for you!
No worries though – we run through the main factors you’ll need to keep in mind to decide which Australia plan will be the best option…
Sydney to Cairns or Carins To Sydney? The Best Way To Travel East Coast Australia
Best Spots to Visit On The East Coast
First off lets put everything into perspective. The Sydney to Cairns route is over 2,900km so you’ve got a lot of distance to cover! If you want to tick off the main stops these are our personal favourites;
…and if you want to do the whole thing Melbourne is a great addition too!
The Time Of Year
The time of year you’re heading to Australia is something you should definitely something you should keep in mind when travelling to Australia – as believe it or not Australia does actually have a winter season!
And weather in Sydney and Melbourne can vary A LOT during the winter – yes, Australia can get cold and rainy! In fact winter weather in Melbourne can be as low as 6 degrees with frosty night times!
Summer = December to February
Autumn = March to May
Winter = June to August
Spring = September and November
November to April also marks the monsoon season in Queensland (with the northern part of it being the most affected) so also take this into account when planning your route too. Chances are you’re going to hit some rainy season up towards Cairns – but perhaps start there and move south towards the better weather, or spend more time between Sydney and Rainbow Beach.
Another starting point for planning your trip are any key events you want to hit up on the way – such as Xmas and New Year in Sydney, Bluesfest in Byron Bay or the Australian Open in Melbourne.
As we’ve said before, Australia is HUGE place and unless you’re looking at getting internal flights these events could dictate where you’ll need to start!
For example if you land in Australia 10th December and want to do Sydney for xmas you wont want to be starting in Cairns, you simply wont have enough time to travel down the coast without rushing through it heaps!
I know we’re trying to help you figure out Australia right now, but it’s also worth keeping in mind your onwards travel plans too!
If you’re flying internationally sometimes finishing in Sydney works out better for flight routes and prices, or for stops like New Zealand flying out of Cairns is really easy to do.
It’s not a huge deciding factor but certainly something to keep in mind.
Again – you can use internal flights to connect the dots in your travel plans, but make sure you price everything up as well so you know all your options!
The Best Way To Travel
Along with everything else you also need to keep in mind how you’re going to be travelling too! Greyhound Passes are the most popular, but you’ll need to know which way around you’re going for the point to point passes (so don’t change your mind!) whereas the WHIMit Passes dont have any restriction on route (only length of time) so you can mix things up with those!
Campervans are also fixed with the route once you’ve reserved one and the prices do vary on length of time but also the route as well – so you may find out it’s much cheaper to go with a different starting point – and this may well have a huge impact on your decision.
Which Way Does Everyone Else Travel?
So do most people travel Cairns to Sydney or Sydney to Cairns?
Yes we deal with a lot of travellers plans and yes people do both routes.
We have to say though most people do tend to opt for the Sydney to Cairns option – which is usually because there are better flights into Australia via Sydney or even Melbourne.
However, dont let this put you off doing it the other way – you’ll still meet heaps of people and it may well work out the best option for you.
Again – the internal flight option is there if you price it all up and realise you need to start in Cairns, but flights into Sydney are heaps lower.
So What’s Best For YOU?
So there you have it – the main things that will help you decide whether to travel Sydney to Cairns or Cairns to Sydney during your Australia trip.
Ultimately though it’s totally down to you – and if you keep the above points in mind you’re not going to go wrong with either direction!
And if you’re still super stuck just chat to our Aussie experts and we’d be happy to help you plan your perfect trip.
Bali is one of our teams favourite places in South East Asia - the mixture of budget friendly living, variety of things to do and awesome culture makes Bali an awesome stop on any trip through Asia! But with so much to see and do it can be tough to figure our the best places to visit in Bali - so we've picked the brains of our Bai experts to see which destinations in Bali make the top of their lists. Time to start planning your perfect Bali adventure... 5 Of Our Favourite Places To Visit In Bali, Indonesia Canggu If you're planning your first trip to Bali then Canggu should be the spot you head to to kick things off and is easily one of the best places to visit in Bali. This hipster paradise is THE place to be in Bali - with a huge range of hotels, guesthouses, hostels and there are also plenty of Canggu Surf Camps as well if you want to hit the waves. And the beach is the focus of everything here too, with a variety of surf spots to choose from (for all levels of surfer) or simply kick back and enjoy a sunset Bintang on the beach! For the foodies out there Canggu is the best place to visit in Bali for food too - with more cafes, restaurants and warungs (local restaurants) than you can imagine. From smoothie bowls and vegan delights to burgers and of course Nasi Goreng. Canggu is also the start point for most of our Bali Tours too - so check those out if you want to hit up a few spots! Ubud Stray away from the beach and head inland to the popular spot of Ubud - another favourite place to visit in
Bali is one of our teams favourite places in South East Asia – the mixture of budget friendly living, variety of things to do and awesome culture makes Bali an awesome stop on any trip through Asia!
But with so much to see and do it can be tough to figure our the best places to visit in Bali – so we’ve picked the brains of our Bai experts to see which destinations in Bali make the top of their lists.
5 Of Our Favourite Places To Visit In Bali, Indonesia
If you’re planning your first trip to Bali then Canggu should be the spot you head to to kick things off and is easily one of the best places to visit in Bali.
This hipster paradise is THE place to be in Bali – with a huge range of hotels, guesthouses, hostels and there are also plenty of Canggu Surf Camps as well if you want to hit the waves.
And the beach is the focus of everything here too, with a variety of surf spots to choose from (for all levels of surfer) or simply kick back and enjoy a sunset Bintang on the beach!
For the foodies out there Canggu is the best place to visit in Bali for food too – with more cafes, restaurants and warungs (local restaurants) than you can imagine. From smoothie bowls and vegan delights to burgers and of course Nasi Goreng.
Canggu is also the start point for most of our Bali Tours too – so check those out if you want to hit up a few spots!
Stray away from the beach and head inland to the popular spot of Ubud – another favourite place to visit in Bali. Discover the amazing rice terraces (get up early and head there for sunrise if you can!), brave the Monkey Forest and fill your backpack up with souvenirs from the bustling local markets.
It’s the yoga capital of Bali too, so if you’re keen to get your “om” on then there are plenty go yoga classes and studios that cater for all styles.
If you surf this has to be top of your list of places to visit in Bali – the world class waves at Uluwatu offer up some incredible barrel rides and it’s a bucket list destination for sure.
If you don’t surf no worries – grab a cocktail and sit back and enjoy the show.
The Sunday sessions at Single Fin are legendary too and one of the bets nights out in Bali – so if you can fit that into your trip it comes highly recommended!
For those looking for a bit more culture on their Bali trip the Uluwatu Temple is a great spot to spend an hour or so wandering around, with the sunset Kecak show being a highlight.
Ok ok we know that technically this isn’t part of Bali – but Gili Trawangan (aka Gili T) should certainly be somewhere you try to fit in if you find yourself exploring Bali!
A 4 hour ferry from the mainland this is the spot to head if you’re on the hunt for island vibes, beaches and clear waters.
Famous for the abundance of turtles a morning high tide is the perfect opportunity to swim alongside this chilled creatures and is something you won’t forget in a hurry.
When the sun goes down on Gili T (and this island offers up some truly epic sunsets!) the beach parties kick off and you can dance on the sand until the early hours of the morning.
Again, we know it’s not technically Bali, but Nusa Lembongan it’s another epic spot you just can’t miss out on!
Much more chilled vibes here than Gili T, this island sits a much shorter 30 minute speedboat trip off of mainland Bali so is perfect for a quick getaway or last minute place to visit in Bali.
Again there are some incredible world class waves (and it’s a favourite stop for people jumping on our Bali Island Hopper Surf Adventure) so whether you paddle out or just enjoy watching make sure you take the time to do so.
The big draw with Nusa Lembongan though is the manta rays – so if you head this way jump into the ocean scuba diving or snorkelling and meet these gentle giants face to face!
Well here’s 8 reasons Fraser Island should be on your bucket list…
8 Reasons Fraser Island Should Be On Your Bucket List
1. Lake Mackenzie
This is easily our favourite reason to visit Fraser Island – this rainfall fed, freshwater lake is surrounded by lush rainforest and even the drive to get here is stunning!
It’s the perfect place to cool off in the Aussie heat and the sand here is silicon rich – making it great for exfoliating your skin or even polishing up your jewellery!
2. Eli Creek
Kick back, relax and enjoy a slower pace of life floating down Eli Creek. This shallow, fresh water stream winds its way through the vegetation and spills out onto the beach. Grab an inflatable, maybe a cold beer and enjoy.
3. Beach Driving
If there’s one stand out reason that you should visit Fraser Island it’s to cruise along the beach highways! If you’re jumping on a Fraser Island 4×4 tag along tour you’ll get the chance to drive on the beach and through the rainforest – with your guide taking care of things like tidal times so you can just enjoy the ride.
4. Maheno Shipwreck
The iconic Maheno Shipwreck ran aground on Fraser Island in 1935 and the remains of it are still embedded in the sand today. It’s a great spot to explore, grab some pics and learn more about the history of this famous wreck.
Fraser Island is home to the most pure population of Dingos in the world and they can be found all over the island, so keep an eye out for them. If you’re camping make sure you keep all your food locked up and in your t4ruck to avoid unwanted attention and if you do encounter them on foot stay calm!
With little in the way of light pollution on the island make sure you head outside at night and look up – you’ll be rewarded with some of the bets stars capes you’ll see anywhere in Australia, just remember to make a wish if you see a shooting star!
7. Champagne Pools
Another amazing place to cool off and escape the Queensland heat the famous Champagne Pools get their name from the bubbles created as waves crash over the rocks at high tide. Great for some GoPro selfies and the perfect spot to up your tan.
8. Indian Head Lookout
Take in the epic views across the coast of Fraser Island from Indian Head lookout. It’s only a short, easy stroll to the top so make sure you take the time to check it out. When the sea is calm keep an eye out for turtles, manta rays and sharks cruising below the cliffs.
Trying to find the best surf camp Australia has to offer? Here are our favourite spots to hit the waves and learn to surf in Australia!
Thinking of heading to a surf camp in Australia? Good choice! Crystal clear water, epic waves, and the chance to share them with dolphins, are just a few reasons why we love surfing here.
But with so many spots around the country, where should you base yourself?
Here, we recommend three of the best surf camp locations, plus a couple of extra options if you don’t have the time, or budget, for a full camp.
Surf Camp Australia – Where to Hit the Waves Down Under!
The surf camp advantage
It’s no secret that Australia is up there as one of the best places on earth to surf. But that’s the problem; it’s no secret. The masses of surfers upon surfers fighting for waves at the country’s most popular spots, take the word crowded to a whole new level.
You should definitely get in amongst it at least once on your trip (gotta tick surfing Bondi or Snapper Rocks off the bucket list, right?). But whether you’re heading to Australia to learn to surf, or to catch the best waves of your life, having a bit of local knowledge goes a lonnnng way.
That’s where surf camps come into their own; they eliminate the stress of wondering where to surf, or wasted time heading to the wrong places. You get the benefit of local knowledge from experienced surf coaches who will search out the best spots on the day based on crowds and surf conditions. Plus the added bonus that everything else is taken care of for you; just relax and throw yourself into surf life. Sweet!
Most camps will provide all meals and accommodation, as well as transport to and from the waves. Equipment can also be provided so you don’t have to worry about travelling with a board.
It doesn’t matter what level you’re at either. Whether you’re a total beginner or you’ve been shredding your whole life, a camp will make sure you get something to suit you, and give you the coaching that will push your surfing to the next level.
3 of the best surf camp locations in Australia
There are thousands of surf spots around the country, so where should you hit the waves? To help you narrow it down, here are three of our favourite surf camp locations, and the reasons why we love them:
It’s been hailed as one of the best places on earth to live and surf. Famed for its stunning beaches, warm water, consistent waves, and buzzing nightlife, what really makes Bryon special for us, is its laid back vibe and epic choice of surf breaks.
Main Beach and Clarkes Beach are perfect for beginners, while more advanced surfers will love The Pass, one of the best surf spots in Australia, and nearby Lennox Point; the world famous point break.
Check out Mojosurf who offer a range of options starting from 2 days all inclusive, right through to multi-location camps where you can hit up several areas on the same trip.
Set off the beaten track between Sydney and Byron Bay in one of the country’s most beautiful national marine parks, Spot X is dedicated to the surfer lifestyle. Its secluded location means that days in the sun and nights by the camp fire are the ultimate way to immerse yourself in the surf lifestyle.
What really sets it apart from other surf camp locations, is that the accommodation is right on the beachfront. Wake up to the sound of the ocean, roll out of bed, and hit the waves. Life doesn’t get much better.
Awesome waves and variety of breaks means that Spot X is perfect for both beginners and intermediate to advanced surfers.
Mojosurf include Spot X in their Sydney to Byron surf adventures. Options start from 5 days and are all inclusive.
About an hour and a half south of Byron, you’ll find Yamba; another stunning, super-chilled Aussie beach town with heaps of awesome surf breaks.
What we love about surfing here is that it’s probably one of the least crowded spots on the East Coast. It’s also one of the areas where you’ll have the best chance of scoring a session with dolphins swimming through the lineup.
Surf Camp Down Under offer a 3 night surf and stay package which includes the essentials of accommodation and surf tuition.
Alternatives to a surf camp
Depending on your travel plans, and how your budget is looking, a surf camp may not be the right choice for you. Here are a couple of other options to get you enjoying some perfect Aussie waves, without having to figure it out alone.
Take a full or half day trip with one of the local surf schools and hit the road to find the spot with the best conditions on the day. You’ll benefit from a coached session with an experienced, qualified instructor, plus all the equipment you need. Some even take a photographer along to capture the fun.
Trying to figure what to do in Byron Bay? It's an incredible town - so from whale watching to surfing here are our top things to do in Byron Bay!
Byron Bay is one of the most popular stops on the East Coast trail, and when you get there, you’ll see why. Stunning beaches, laid back people, and the barefoot hippie vibes are just a few of the things about Byron that will make you want to stick around.
There’s also a whole heap of awesome ways to spend your time. So whether you’re staying for a few days or a few months, check out our favourite things to do in Byron Bay, and make the most of your time in this epic little town.
Byron Bay is well known as one of the oldest and best surf towns in the world. Whether you’ve never surfed before, or shred with the best of them, paddling out here is a must-do.
Crystal clear water and perfect waves all year round make the surf spots in Byron a playground for everyone from complete beginners, to pro surfers. If you want to learn to surf in Byron Bay there’s a great choice of surf schools in town where an experienced surf instructor can help you get you up and riding in a day, plus loads more surf shops for board and wetsuit hire if you already know what you’re doing.
You can’t miss that Byron has a cool, hippie vibe going on, but Nimbin takes it to a whole new level. About an hour and 45 minutes outside of Byron, Nimbin is a village full of quirky, colourful shops, funky cafes, and some other plant based activities! Lots of it! It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re into the alternative scene, it’s worth a visit. It’s also a good opportunity to explore the beautiful Byron Bay Hinterland on the drive out and a day trip to Nimbin will include some amazing scenic stop offs.
Cape Byron Marine Park is made up of a selection of reefs, Julian Rocks, and the coastline that runs the eastern side of Byron Bay. Protected from the rough waters of the open ocean, Byron plays host to a rich and diverse selection of marine life, including its own resident pod of dolphins. Getting out on the water in a sea kayak is one of the best ways to get a close up view of these incredible animals. Depending on the time of year, you might also be lucky enough to have close encounters with humpback whales, turtles, and manta rays.
4. Check out the local markets
The perfect way to start a lazy Sunday, grab a coffee and wander around Byron’s Community Market. Take your time to explore the huge collection of artworks, handcrafted goods, and locally-grown produce, while listening to live music and enjoying some of the best food and drink from the Byronshire area. The market is held at Butler Street reserve on the 1st Sunday of every month from 8am.
As well as the monthly market, you can also munch your way around the weekly farmers market in the same location, every Thursday morning from 8am. You’ll find organic and locally grown fruits and vegetables, alongside local specialities like honey, olives, artisan bread, macadamia nuts, and freshly squeezed cane juice. Our advice: go with a full wallet and an empty stomach!
5. Scuba dive (or snorkel) at Julian Rocks
Byron Bay is located where the warm waters of the north, meet the cooler waters of the south, making it home to a vast array of both tropical and cold water marine life. Julian Rocks, five minutes off the coast of Byron, is renowned as one of the top dive sites in Australia and a scuba dive at Julian Rocks is well worth doing.
At different times of year, you’ll find leopard sharks, manta rays, turtles, and the endangered grey nurse shark, as well as an abundance of colourful tropical fish. If you’re not into diving, the site is also incredible for a snorkelling adventure.
6. Hit the town!
For a relatively small town, Byron isn’t short of places to have a drink! Whether you prefer a beer overlooking the ocean, sipping on fancy cocktails, or a night of live music, you’ll find something that hits the spot.
The Railway Hotel (or ‘the Rails’ as it’s affectionately known) is located in Byron’s now defunct train station and has live music most nights of the week.
The Great Northern Hotel (‘the Northern’) is the home of Stone & Wood, Byron’s local brew, and is another great place for live music. They often host some big name bands too so keep an eye on what’s coming up.
The Beach Hotel (‘the Beachie’) has a prime spot right on the seafront and is a great place to grab a sunset beer, plus they also have live music on a Sunday.
If you want to party into the early hours, check out Woody’s Surf Shack for a vintage surf vibe, and Cheeky Monkeys, the home of Byron’s backpacker party scene.
7. Watch the sunrise (or set) from Byron Bay lighthouse
Whether you’re a morning person or not, make sure you get up to Cape Byron Lighthouse to see the sunrise at least once during your trip. Cape Byron is the most easterly point in Australia and sunrise from here is pretty spectacular.
Watch the sun come straight up out of the ocean, as the surrounding landscape gradually catches the light. Between May and November you might even have some humpback whales for company.
8. Get into beach life
It’s hard not to become a beach bum when you’re surrounded by so many beautiful beaches in and around Byron. Main Beach is, unsurprisingly, the main beach in town and is a great place to watch the sunset. In the next bay south is Wategos; smaller but sheltered and a popular hangout for dolphins. Then to the south again is Tallows; a huge, wild expanse of sand and ocean. You definitely aren’t short of spots to lay your beach towel!
For the very best views of Byron, try jumping out of a plane at 15,000 feet. Ok, this one might not be for everyone! But for those who dare, you’ll be rewarded with the spectacular image of lush, green jungle sprawling out to meet Byron’s famous beaches, and the vast turquoise ocean beyond.
You might have gathered by now that Byron Bay is a pretty good location to spot whales. Between the months of May and November, humpback whales can be spotted off the coast of Byron as they make their way north from Antarctica, to their breeding grounds in the subtropics, and then again as they return with their young – making whale watching in Byron Bay one of the best spots in the country.
You can often catch a glimpse of these amazing creatures from the shore, but for a closer encounter, take a whale watching tour. Some boats even have a hydrophone on board so you can listen to the whale song.
What are your favourite Byron Bay activities?
So that’s our top 10, but of course there are heaps more things to do in Byron Bay. Share the love and let us know what your favourites are in the comments below! For more inspiration, check out our Byron Bay Tours and Day Trips and start planning your adventure now.
Loka Travel has now become Stray Australia! Check out their amazing range of hop on, hop off Australia bus passes covering Sydney to Cairns!
We’re stoked to introduce you to Australias newest hop on, hop off bus network – Stray Australia!
If you’ve been doing your research on the best way to travel around Australia we’re sure you’ve heard of Loka Travel by now – their range of flexible, semi guided bus passes covering Sydney to Cairns have been a huge hit and their unique stops make it the perfect option for those looking to explore off the beaten track.
And they’re now getting even bigger and better – merging with Stray Travel (who have a range of epic travel passes in New Zealand and South East Asia) to become Stray Australia!
So here’s the lowdown on what’s going on…
Stray Australia – New Name, Same Epic Australia Travel Passes
For the moment the only major change is the name and as of 1st October 2018 Loka Travel will officially become Stray Australia.
That means all the amazing passes will stay the same – including all their amazing unique stops like Barrington Tops and Great Keppel Island.
Basically they will still have all the amazing things we love about Loka, just with a shiny new logo!
Discover Australia for even less with the Greyhound WHIMit and accommodation packages! Bundle your unlimited travel with up to 28 nights at YHA Australia, Base or Nomads Hostels!
It seems everyone has been super stoked with the Greyhound WHIMit passes (they’re certainly our customers bus pass of choice in Australia now!) so we’re excited to announce that Greyhound have now launched two WHIMit package deals!
These package together the flexible hop on, hop off bus passes (with unlimited travel across the Greyhound network) with up to 28 nights of accommodation at YHA Australia, Base or Nomads hostels – making them incredible value for money!
Introducing the new Greyhound WHIMit and Accomodation package deals!
WHIMit + YHA Australia
With over 70 hostels all across Australia from amazing views over Sydney Opera House or the epic vibes of YHA Yamba to the rugged red dirt of Alice Springs in the out backor Darwin in the Northern Territory – YHA Australia is the perfect option for those who want something a bit more chilled, clean and comfortable.
All the YHA hostels are geared up with kitchens, wifi, common room and some even come with pools to chill out in.
We’d recommend these to anyone who wants something a little more flashpacker and chilled.
If you’re looking for a more social and party orientated hostel experience in Australia then the Base and Nomads hostel packages `re the way to go!
With epic central locations across all the top destinations on the East Coast trail you’ll meet plenty of backpacker buddies from across the globe at these hostels – including the famous Arts Factory in Byron Bay, as seen on the Inbetweens 2 Movie!
The added bonus of the Base and Nomads packages is an uncapped amount of nights at each hostel – so you can use your discounted bed hopper pass to its full potential.
Travelling to Australia and looking for a good place to start? Here's our mini guide to Melbourne - one of the most liveable cities in the world! Discover why it's such a popular spot to start your working holiday visa!
The southern parts of Australia have a temperate climate, so Melbourne weather remains fairly pleasant throughout the year. The hottest it can get is around 70°F (or 21°C) in January, while temperatures drop to 50°F (10°C) in the winter (July).
You might, however, want to avoid the peak seasons, such as Christmas break, as accommodation prices go up and availability goes down. Sporting fans also fill up hotels during the Australian Open Grand Slam every January and the famous Formula 1 Australia Grand Prix in March.
Where’s the best place to stay in Melbourne?
If you’re looking to stay in a hotel, a double room for 2 begins at 120 AUD per night and many offer free breakfast during your stay. In the centre of the city, you’ll find doubles starting at around 200 AUD per night.
With Airbnb, you could find a shared room in a home for around 30 AUD. Whole apartments may cost around 100 AUD, but you’ll get the comfort of space and privacy.
There are also plenty of hostels to choose from in Melbourne. Dorms housing 8-10 people may cost around 25 AUD, which is great if you’re on a budget trip. Here are some of the best hostels in Melbourne:
Base St. Kilda in Melbourne
If you can’t afford it, you can ask to work for your bed. Many hostels allow travellers to pay for their bed by spending a few hours a day cleaning. Keep this in mind should you find yourself in a tight spot.
You could also try Couchsurf, which connects you to more than 57,000 trusted hosts willing to house you for your stay. This would also be a great chance to interact with locals and have them show you around.
How do I get around Melbourne?
From the get-go, you’ll need around 36 AUD to get to and from the airport via Skybus.
If you plan on exploring around the inner-city area or the Central Business District, you can take the free city circle tram, which runs from 10AM to 4PM.
For trains, you’ll need to get a Myki card that costs 6 AUD to get around. A Myki trip costs around 2.70 to 4 AUD and gives you unlimited travel within a particular zone for 2 hours.
And of course, there’s Uber, which is much cheaper than taking a cab.
What’s there to do in Melbourne?
Explore the hidden gems of Melbourne
Melbourne has a multitude of hidden alleyways with antique coffee shops, galleries, arcades and boutiques, all waiting to be explored.
Hosier Lane is a well-loved alleyway famous for its vibrant and colourful graffiti art. If you’re a fan of the 19th century, then head to Degraves Street where you’ll find elegant cafes and arcades.
Along the General Post Office by Elizabeth Street, you’ll also find plenty of talented musicians busking and performing for free.
Grab a coffee
Melbourne is well-known for its obsession with coffee, so be sure to try as many cups of joe as you can while you’re there. They say Degraves Street is where you can find the best coffee in the city.
Get a taste of Melbourne by joining a free walking tour
In just a few hours, you could get years’ worth of knowledge about the essential must-sees of Melbourne for free. How? Join I’m Free Walking Tours’ daily tours around the city.
Their walking tour will take you through Federation Square, State Library of Victoria, the Carlton Gardens, Chinatown and so much more. And should a certain place strike your fancy, you could always return to explore more afterwards.
Indulge the artist in you
You could honestly spend a whole week in Melbourne just visiting their museums and galleries.
Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) – For fans of film and the visual arts
National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) – Australia’s most visited art museum
Ian Potter Centre – Australian history and Aboriginal art
Explore the public markets
Visit the Queen Victoria Market and have fun trying local and international delicacies. You could also visit Chelsea Market which offers everything from fresh produce to handmade products.
Take a nature break at the Royal Botanical Gardens
Escape the urban jungle and find refuge at the Royal Botanical Gardens. This haven within the city is the perfect place to take a stroll and watch the world go by.
Watch the sunset at the beach
Just 20 minutes from the city, St. Kilda is the perfect spot to watch the sunset. You can also take a refreshing dip in the water. And if you’re looking for Melbourne’s nightlife, St. Kilda is definitely where it’s at.
Start your working holiday visa
With so much to see and do it’s now wonder why starting your working holiday visa in Melbourne is so popular! With a range of jobs, plenty of suburbs to live in and flight connection all over Australia and the world it’s a great base to kickstart your Aussie trip. And if you want to get off to the best possible start check out our Melbourne working holiday visa packages!
Eating out in Australia is actually quite expensive, but lucky for you, Melbourne is the best city to find good and cheap food in the country. You can find good take-out food for 8 AUD, while sit-down restaurants will cost you less than 14 AUD.
If you prefer eating at home, a week’s worth of groceries may range from 65 AUD to 100 AUD.
Broadsheet and Timeout have listed down the best cheap eats you can find in the city.
Any must-know information before visiting Australia?
Currency: Australian Dollar (AUD)
Exchange Rate: 1 AUD = 0.74 USD
Electric socket: Type 1 (3 prongs, V-shaped)
Know some Australian slang.
Wear sunblock as Australia’s sun is particularly harsh.
Be careful where you light your cigarette as smoking is banned in most indoor and public spaces.
Internet isn’t available everywhere, so get your own hotspot.
Cars drive on the left side of the road.
Rentals are listed as $ per week not month.
It isn’t customary to tip service workers.
Melbourne isn’t called the ‘world’s most liveable city’ for nothing. With a thriving art scene, wide variety of cuisines, vibrant nightlife, never-ending list of things to do, and of course, its welcoming residents, Melbourne is the kind of city you’ll never want to leave.
Greyhound Bus Passes are the most popular option for travelling around Australia - especially the East Coast of Australia. From the hop on, hop off bus passes covering Sydney to Cairns and other popular routes to the flexible KM passes their comfortable buses (which also include USB charging ports for your phone and wifi) and multiple daily departures the Greyhound bus is the most convenient way to explore Australia. So we’re super stoked to introduce the latest Greyhound bus pass option - the WHIMit bus pass! WHIMit Bus Pass - Unlimited Travel In Australia The Greyhound WHIMit bus passes are designed for travellers who want the ultimate in flexibility for their Australia travel plans - which is why they all included unlimited travel in Australia! Yup, you heard that right - the WHIMit bus passes included UNLIMITED travel across the whole Greyhound Bus network - which includes the East Coast and even the Red Centre! And yes that also includes backtracking too! So if you loved your stay in Byron Bay and have headed north and realised you dont like Brisbane so much you can bounce back to Byron on the same pass no worries. It also means you can fly between destinations and pickup continue your travel overland on the same pass too The only restriction is your time frame - and the passes range from 7 days to a whole year so there’s plenty of options for people hitting tup Australia for a quick trip or a full working holiday visa. WHIMit Bus Passses - The Cost And Options So what are the new options with the Greyhound WHIMit Passes? As you can see there's a good variety of options to choose from and the 45 Day option is actually now the most cost effective
From the hop on, hop off bus passes covering Sydney to Cairns and other popular routes to the flexible KM passes their comfortable buses (which also include USB charging ports for your phone and wifi) and multiple daily departures the Greyhound bus is the most convenient way to explore Australia.
So if you loved your stay in Byron Bay and have headed north and realised you dont like Brisbane so much you can bounce back to Byron on the same pass no worries.
It also means you can fly between destinations and pickup continue your travel overland on the same pass too
The only restriction is your time frame – and the passes range from 7 days to a whole year so there’s plenty of options for people hitting tup Australia for a quick trip or a full working holiday visa.
WHIMit Bus Passses – The Cost And Options
So what are the new options with the Greyhound WHIMit Passes?
As you can see there’s a good variety of options to choose from and the 45 Day option is actually now the most cost effective add on to most of our East Coast Package Deals – just $5 more than the standard hop on, hop off pass but with the added advantage of being able to backtrack, ideal for those on tour only packages.
Want to learn to surf in Australia? Check out our top destinations, surf camps surf schools for all the best waves Australia has to offer!
If you’re spending any time in Australia, learning to surf should definitely be high on your bucket list! Over 30,000 miles of coastline means thousands of surf spots, world class waves, and plenty of beach breaks perfect for beginners to get their first taste of pure stoke.
In this guide, we take a quick look at the different ways to learn, share our favourite Aussie surf spots that are perfect for catching your first waves, and round up our team’s pick of the best learn to surf packages available.
Should you go it alone, book a lesson or stay with a surf camp?
Ah the killer question!
There’s actually more to it than just time and money, so let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of each:
Board hire only
If you’ve surfed before, know what you’re doing, and feel confident in the ocean, renting a board and hitting the waves solo may work well for you. It’s also the cheapest option, happy days!
Book a lesson
If you’ve never surfed before, don’t be tempted to just rent a board and go; surfing is deceptively hard! Spend a few more dollars and get a proper lesson. You’ll have way more fun, be safer, and you’re also much more likely to nail that Instagram shot of you riding your first waves like a pro!
A good surf school will pick out the best spot for the conditions on the day, show you everything you need to know to get you up and riding, plus teach you a little about ocean safety.
A lesson is also perfect if you don’t have long, or want the flexibility of choosing as many or as few days as you need. It’s more expensive than board hire alone, but usually all equipment is included in the price which eases the blow a bit.
Stay at a surf camp
It’s a simple truth that the more you surf, the better you get. If you want to improve beyond getting up on your first white water waves, soak up the surf lifestyle, and make new friends, you can’t beat the experience of a surf camp.
It might be the most expensive option, but you get all the benefits of multiple lessons, plus everything, including meals and accommodation, is taken care of for you. All you need to think about is surfing and chilling!
The best surf spots in Australia for beginners
As a beginner, the best place to learn is at a beach break where you can catch broken waves in waist deep water, with no strong currents. Australia has a mind blowing amount of surf spots and loads that are perfect for beginners. Here are five of our favourites:
Situated in Northern New South Wales, picturesque Yamba is another classic Aussie beach town. Beginners have a couple of options here with Turners Beach and Main Beach both offering gentle waves, as well as breaks for more advanced surfers.
Spot X Surf Camp, New South Wales
Situated off the beaten track in Solitary Marine Park between Sydney and Byron Bay, Spot X Surf Camp is a dream location. You’ll find amazing waves with breaks suitable for absolute beginners right through to intermediate and advanced surfers.
What really sets Spot X apart from other locations though, is that it’s one of the few places where you can stay right on the beach. The perfect place to immerse yourself in Aussie surf life.
If you’re hitting up Perth on the West Coast, you’ll still find plenty of opportunities to get some waves. The beginner breaks close to the city such as Cottesloe Beach, can get super crowded so you may find a little road trip pays off.
Lancelin Back Beach, just over an hour away, is beautiful and is usually uncrowded. For the best waves, try straight in front of the car park.
The best learn to surf packages in Australia
It’s not easy choosing between all the different options out there, so to help, we asked the experts (most of our team are die hard surfers!) for their top picks.
A surf camp with a twist, the beauty of this package is that you can use it to travel from Sydney to Byron (or vice-versa), as well as soaking up the surf life in the epic locations of Spot X and Byron Bay.
Spot X’s secluded location means you’ll eat, sleep, and breathe surf. With accommodation right on the beach, you can enjoy long days in the sun and nights around the camp fire with good company. You’ll also have the opportunity to add other activities, like surf rafting, river kayaking or kangaroo golf.
After Spot X, it’s on to the surfing mecca of Byron Bay for more lessons and after-surf fun with your new buddies.
Each package includes your surf lessons and equipment, transport, accommodation, plus all meals while you’re at the camp.
If a few days stop over in Spot X en route to Byron Bay isn’t enough to get your stoke going then why not take it a step further with the Mojo Surf Academy and spend 4 to 8 weeks enjoying the eat, sleep, surf repeat lifestyle?
You’ll have heaps of time to practice your skills and take your surfing to the next level before heading further up the coast!
Or for those who want to turn the beach into their office the zero to hero Mojo Surf Instructor Course is the way to go. This epic 3 month programme takes you from all the basics of popping and paddling right through to gaining your surf instructor certification – it’s the ideal way to turn your passion into a career even if you don’t have heaps of surf experience!
If you’re short on time or funds, a half day adventure with Stoked Surf School could be the answer.
Stoked will take you on a fun road trip to find the least crowded spot with the best conditions on the day. They’ll then run you through some theory on the beach, before (hopefully!) getting you up and riding the waves.
Group sizes are deliberately kept small to make sure you receive enough attention from one of their qualified, experienced instructors, and a photographer comes along on every lesson to capture your best (and worst) moments.
Xmas is fast approaching and if you're loved one is destined for a life on the road soon they can be a nightmare to shop for. Space is at a premium so deciding what they'll love and what they'll leave at home is a tough call! Luckily for you though we've compiled our teams favourite travel gifts - so whatever your traveller loves you'll be able to get them the perfect present. 10 Epic Gift Ideas For Travellers This Xmas Ok admittedly this isn't the cheapest item on the list - but if you really want to go all out for xmas a GoPro is one of the best gifts for travellers! Waterproof, rugged and able to capture some incredible images on the road - it's something they'll be able to capture their entire adventure with! If you want the best of the best the new is the top end, but the is almost as good and will save you a chunk of change too! If you don't have heaps of cash to splash or they simply don't need all the functionality of the high end GoPro range the is still a greta option and nearly half the price! If they already have a GoPro then there are heaps of accessories too - with the and being our top pick for anyone into scuba diving! Travel Insurance Ugghhhhh yeah we know...this one sounds pretty boring hey? But travel insurance is essential these days and is the perfect way to show you care! We personally recommend the guys at World Nomads who all of our team insure themselves with and they cover a huge range of activities. Best of all you can insure them AFTER they've left for their trip too. So if you're panicking that they're currently bungy jumping
Xmas is fast approaching and if you’re loved one is destined for a life on the road soon they can be a nightmare to shop for.
Space is at a premium so deciding what they’ll love and what they’ll leave at home is a tough call!
Luckily for you though we’ve compiled our teams favourite travel gifts – so whatever your traveller loves you’ll be able to get them the perfect present.
Ugghhhhh yeah we know…this one sounds pretty boring hey? But travel insurance is essential these days and is the perfect way to show you care!
We personally recommend the guys at World Nomads who all of our team insure themselves with and they cover a huge range of activities. Best of all you can insure them AFTER they’ve left for their trip too.
So if you’re panicking that they’re currently bungy jumping through New Zealand without insurance you can get them covered!
But seriously what better gift to give some who loves to travel than travel itself? All of the trips on RTW Backpackers can be booked as a gift for someone else and best of all we can do that open dated for you too – meaning they can lock in their travel dates when it suits them.
Looking for some stocking fillers for your traveller? Well you can’t go wrong with the travel essentials!
They might not be the most exciting, but they’re certainly the most useful – with items like Mozzie spray, first aid kits, padlocks, micro fibre towels, suncream and all those little things you ALWAYS forget to pack…there’s so much to choose from!
A Good Set Of Headphones
When it comes to long haul flights, overnight buses and island hopping ferries a good set of headphones definitely help make life on the road a bit easier!
And if you have a bit more cash to splash on your favourite traveller the Sennheiser PXC 550s are pretty incredible – with up to 30 hours of battery life and noise cancellation features they really do upgrade your adventures to first class! Check out a full hands on review of the PXC 550s here if you don’t believe us!
Ok ok, so this is a pretty high end gift – but if you really want to help them capture the adventure a drone is the latest must have travel accessory!
For those really into their filming and photography The DJI Mavic Pro is still the top pick for travel drones, with its’ compact size and boasting some seriously high specs without taking up heaps of space.
Or for those getting their first drone the DJI Spark is super easy to fly and most importantly crazy small! It’s also one of the best value drones on the market right now – half the price of the Mavic!
With all this travel technology you’re going to want to make sure they can keep everything charged on the road – and a solid portable charger is an amazing gift for anyone who is bouncing around the globe.
The Anker Powercore 10,000 is super small and can still juice up your smartphone 3 times off a single charge – perfect for life on the road.
If they’re heading off on their first adventure soon then a backpack is one of the most essential items they’ll be needing.
If it’s just hand luggage they need or the perfect carry on only adventure pack then then Slicks hand luggage backpack is a no brainer. It’s not the cheapest but it’s certainly one of the best and most reliable.
And there you have it – 10 amazing gift ideas for every traveller this xmas! So no matter what they love, where they’re heading or how much you have to spend you can make sure the traveller in your life is smiling this xmas!
So to help you plan your trip to Australia we’ve decided to compare two of the most popular options for travelling the East Coast – Premier Bus Passes and Greyhound Bus Passes – so you can decide which is the best fit for you…
Premier Bus Pass Australia or Greyhound Bus Pass Australia – Which Is Better?
Both Premierand Greyhound offer the popular hop on, hop off bus passes which are the most affordable and flexible ways to travel along the East Coast of Australia – allowing you to plan your trip online, change bus dates if needed and have all your bus travel sorted in one easy pass.
The only thing you need to keep in mind through is these passes is that you can only travel in a single direction (so no backtracking) however Greyhound also offer a KM Pass which is slightly pricier but does allow you to backtrack if needed.
Valid For; 3 months (Hop On, Hop Off Passes) but extendable to 6 months or 12 months for KM Passes
So What’s The Difference Between Premier Bus and Greyhound Bus?
Apart form the price the main difference between Premier and Greyhound is the departures. Premier only offer a single departure per day whereas on most routes the Greyhound Bus Pass will have multiple options to choose from.
For those travelling in low season this wont be a huge deal but in peak season (especially xmas and new year) the multiple options on Greyhound can be a huge lifesaver, especially for those less organised and booking last minute!
Generally speaking the Greyhound Buses are much newer and even boast phone charging points and free wifi (although it’s limited to signal strength and is pretty slow!) – so if you’re looking for comfort then Greyhound often wins out.
The other key things to keep in mind is that Premier only run Sydney to Cairns (or the other way around) whereas Greyhound also runs from/to Melbourne as well. Sure you can also bolt a single Greyhound bus from Sydney to Melbourne onto a Premier Pass, but for convenience it’s something to keep in mind
Which Is Better – Premier Bus Pass or Greyhound Bus Pass?
For Budget – If budget is your main concern then the Premier Bus Pass is the cheapest way to cover the East Coast
For Ease Of Use – both options are easily managed online and you can change your travel dates through this system.
For Flexibility – Greyhound is more flexible, with multiple departure per day and the Greyhound KM Passes also allow you to backtrack and is also well worth checking out if you’re grabbing internal flights too.
RTW Backpackers is now proud to be part of 1% For The Planet - so every time you book an epic travel experience you'll be giving back to some awesome causes
RTW Backpackers are stoked to announce that we’re now part of 1% For The Planet – a global collective of businesses giving back to some amazing charities and non profits all over the world fighting for a variety of causes and goals.
By joining them we’ve pledged to give 1% of our total sales and in RTWs case this is going to the guys at Sea Shepherd – an organisation we always love to support.
We’ve had a few questions about what this all means, so we thought we’d help explain what joining 1% For The Planet means…
What Does It Mean For Me – The Customer?
First off we’re happy to tell you that this doesn’t add anything to the price of any of our awesome travel adventures!
So don’t worry about that!
But it does mean every time you book anything on the site you can have a nice warm feeling inside knowing that as well as having an amazing adventure, you’ll also be helping make the planet a better place
…consider it a good bit of karma!
Who Are Sea Shepherd?
If you haven’t already heard of Sea Shepherd you should certainly check them out!
Set up by the co founder of Greenpeace, Captain Paul Watson wanted to create an organisation that upheld international law on the worlds oceans where governments has failed – even if that meant implementing more direct action into their campaigns.
From the dolphin slaughter in Japan to the whaling vessels in the Antarctic to shark finning in the Galapagos – Sea Shepherd have a huge variety of campaigns to save to the worlds oceans and raise awareness.
All the RTW crew have been long term supporters of Sea Shepherd and the amazing work they do across the globe, so when we joined 1% For The Planet we didn’t hesitate to nominate them for our contribution!
All based on personal experience and our own recommendations we’ve pulled out the best suppliers, the most fun hostels and the most budget friendly options so that you can enjoy everything that Australia has to offer at a discounted price.
Because lets face it – you’re a backpacker and backpackers love to save money, it’s half the fun of the lifestyle!
So here are our best Sydney to Cairns Tour Packages – so you have a bit more cash in your pocket but still a camera packed full of incredible memories…
Our Guide To The Best Sydney To Cairns Tour Packages For All Budgets And Styles
And of course all the below can also be booked in reverse from Cairns to Sydney or extended to include Melbourne too!
The Ultimate Sydney To Cairns Tour Packages
For those who want to make the most of the East Coast on a month long trip and want to include pretty much everything you’d want to do our Ultimate East Coast Package combines all the best hostels, day trips and tours;
By including a day trip to the Whitsundays and Fraser Island instead of overnight tours the overall price is brought right down – giving you more budget towards other activities, food, or of course partying!
And of course you can book it all open dated or add in accommodation as well.
We then recommend opting for the Premier Bus Pass add on if you’re looking for the most budget friendly transport option to pair with it.
If you want to keep your Australia travel plans as flexible as possible then it’s still possible to get al the benefits of a discounted package deal, but without having to lock in your dates.
Booking your main trips and tours open dated and in one package allows you to save heaps, but still allows you to stay fluid with your travel plans.
Whether you choose to just combine the main bucket list items like Fraser Island, The Whitsundays and The Great Barrier Reef of bundle in other extra trips like surf lessons, Cape Tribulation or dolphin kayaking kayaking is up to you – but the more you combine the better the savings will be.
The main thing to keep in mind with open dates tours though is everything is subject to availability – so you’ll want to lock in your dates at least 7-14 days in advance, especially during high season. Fraser Island and the Whitsundays are the most important ones to lock in ASAP.
If you don’t want to go fully open dated and have a rough idea of your plans you could also just pick a few key tours to lock in the dates for. Excluding accommodation then allows you to make changes to your plans, but still use your main dates as a way of structuring out your East Coast travels.
Simply select your travel dates, destinations and the main activities and tours you’d like to include and we’ll do all the hard work piecing it together. And of course if there are any specific hostels, Whitsundays Boats or day trips you’d like to include let us know and we’ll make it happen!
We love our travel blogger buddies – and who better to put together an epic East Coast Package than award winning blogger Chris from Backpacker Banter?
He’s travelled all over Australia, lived in Byron Bay for a few years and knows the East Coast like the back of his hand – so we asked him how he’d spend a perfect month in Oz and this is what he put together;
3 nights at Wake Up Sydney
2 nights at Yamba YHA
Shanes Famous Yamba Tour
3 nights at Aquarius Backpackers in Byron Bay
Half day surf lesson in Byron Bay with Mojo Surf
Dolphin kayaking in Byron Bay
2 nights at Nomads Central in Brisbane
2 nights at Nomads in Noosa
2 nights at Pippies in Rainbow Beach
3 Day/2 Night Fraser Island tag along tour with Pippies on Fraser (All Inclusive)
3 nights at Beaches in Airlie Beach
2 Day/2 Night Whitsundays Sailing Adventure on Tongarra
2 Night Magnetic Island Escape with Base Magnetic Island (inc return ferry transfers)
Found an awesome Sydney to Cairns tour package elsewhere? Seen a special offer which works out cheaper?
Well forward the details and itinerary through to email@example.com and our team will happily beat the price for you!
We want to make sure you have the best time possible on the East Coast of Australia and know how valuable every dollar saved can be (it all goes into the goon fund after all!) so we’ll go out of our way to get the perfect package for you at the bets possible price.
And of course if you guys have any questions about any of our packages, general travel advice or tips get in touch and our travel experts will be happy to help.
Have you travelled the East Coast of Australia?
What would be your recommendations for a Sydney to Cairns tour package?
As an added bonus if you book any Oz Experience Strewth, Bruce Cobber or Skippy package we’ll also bundle in a FREE Great Barrier Reef snorkel trip – once of Australias top bucket list items!
Jumping on board the amazing Evolution Boat you’ll swim in clear, warm waters, check out the stunning coral gardens and even have the opportunity to go and find Nemo – it’s one of the top activities in Australia for a reason!
To score this added upgrade you need to make sure you book before 31st August and use the code OZSEP17.
One of the most under rated stops on the East Coast, Magnetic Island is somewhere that should easily make your East Coast Australia must do list. Situated just off the coast of Townsville this amazing little island is best explored by “Barbie Car or Mote” and it’s only around 30 mins from one side of the island to the other!
Snorkel amazing beaches, take in sunset from epic lookout points, spot wild koalas or even party at the monthly Full Moon Party.
For those on a budget the snorkel trips are the best value for ticking the Barrier Reef off your bucket list – but it’s also the perfect place for an Introductory Scuba dive or you can even complete your full open water dive course in Cairns too!
And of course there are a huge array of dive sites and locations for those more experienced scuba divers as well.
Our two favourite spots for scuba diving have to be Byron Bay and The Great Barrier Reef though – with both locations offers heaps of marine life for all levels of diver.
Kayak with Dolphins
Everyone loves dolphins right?! Well why not hit the water and kayak alongside them in Byron Bay? This is one of the top spots in Australia for dolphin spotting and combined with a picturesque paddle around the stunning beaches of the area and an ocean view of the famous lighthouse this is certainly an East Coast Australia must do – and best of all it wont break your budget either!
Whale Watching (June – October)
If you’re travelling the East Coast of Australia during June to October you’ll be lucky enough to have the chance to witness the annual Humpback whale migration – with these gentle giants giving amazing displays all along the coastline.
Hervey Bay and Byron Bay are the best bets for a memorable day whale watching though – but if you’re lucky you’ll also catch them on the Barrier Reef, Whitsundays and Fraser Island too.
The Great Ocean Road
If you love a good road trip then the Great Ocean Road is certainly and East Coast Australia must do – the stretch of road from Melbourne to Adelaide is one of the best coastal drives in the world!
No trip to Australia would be complete without a visit to the world famous Sydney Opera House and this global icon is selfie heaven!
Wander around Circular Quay for some alternative views or grab the ferry across to Manly Beach and grab some snaps from the water.
Of course if you want to splash out and treat yourself you can also check it out from the Sydney Harbour Bridget Climb too!
Sunsrise Or Sunset At Byron Lighthouse
Byron Bay is the most Easterly Point of Australia and the lighthouse walk is one of the best free actives that the East Coast has to offer.
Wander long the coastal path past famous surf spots like The Pass and Wategos Beach keeping an eye out for dolphins surfing in the waves along the way.
But for the best experience make sure you make it to the Byron Bay lighthouse for sunrise or sunset – it’s well worth the effort!
If you want to really get your adrenaline going there’s not much that can beat jumping out of a perfectly good plane and ticking skydiving off your bucket list!
Australia has some epic skydive locations too – with Mission Beach, Airlie Beach and Byron Bay being the top pics, although skydiving Mission Beach is the most popular with amazing views along the coast and a beach landing.
Chill In The Forest At Cape Tribulation
The only place in the world where two world heritage sites meet – Cape Tribulation is home to the incredible Daintree Rainforest AND the Great Barrier Reef!
Wander through the forests, spot wild crocodiles and laze around on stunning beaches – whether you choose a Cape Tribulation day trip form Cairns or opt to spend a few nights up there exploring a bit more and indulging in activities like kayaking or jungle surfing it’s worth heading that bit further north for.
Swim In A Waterfall
Nothing quite says tropical holiday like a picture swimming in a waterfall does it?!
Well luckily Australia has heaps to choose from and you’ll be spoilt for choice all along the East Coast.
If you want to go all out though a Cairns Waterfall tour through the Atherton Tablelands visits some of the best – including the famous Milla Milla Waterfall which featured in the herbal essences hair flick advert and was even the backdrop for Peter Andres “Mysterious Girl” music video!
Meet The Locals
If you travel Australia and don’t take the time to chill with some of the local wildlife you’re doing something wrong – who doesn’t want to kick back with a kangaroo, come eye to eye with a crocodile, kayak with dolphins or cuddle a koala?
Tick them all off the list with a trip to the famous Australia Zoo, or visit less crowded options like Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary or Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary for an up close and personal experience with some of Australia fluffy or scaly residents!
By far the most popular ways to travel around New Zealand are the Kiwi Experience and Stray NZ buses – both of which offer a variety of hop on, hop off bus passes covering the North Island, South Island or whole country.
Whether you want a short loop around the highlights of Waitomo, Taupo and Rotorua in the North, fancy exploring the famous Queenstown or Milford Sound in the South or want to spend a few months packing in as much NZ goodness as possible there’s something for everyone.
But despite their similarities the Kiwi Experience and Stray NZ boast much different personalities – so which is the best way to travel around New Zealand for you?
Kiwi Experience Or Stray NZ – What’s The Best Way To Travel Around New Zealand?
The Kiwi Experience is arguably the most famous of the two backpacker hop on, hop off bus options in New Zealand and their iconic green buses have helped hundreds of thousands of travellers explore NZ.
With heaps of passes to choose from – including north island only, south island only and whole country passes it’s easy to find one that suits your time frame, start location and budget.
Hitting up all the major destinations including the likes of Queenstown, Rotorua, Taupo and Franz Josef you’ll get to discover the best of what NZ has to offer.
Best of all is the fact you have 12 months to begin your pass from the date of purchase and then 12 month to complete your route from the first day of travel – so whether you’re heading there for a few weeks or a working holiday visa it’s ideal.
Their full country passes also offer unlimited loops – so you can go again!
Kiwi don’t offer any accommodation inclusive passes (which Stray do) but you’ll benefit from heaps of accommodation deals and a guaranteed bed in each spot.
The Kiwi Experience offers some awesome party vibes throughout – so it’s the perfect option if you want to meet heaps of fellow travellers and enjoy the epic New Zealand night life in each destination…so if you’re looking for a more chilled vibe or are slightly older (25+) then maybe Stray is the better option!
In terms of setup Stray NZ is very similar to Kiwi Experience – it’s a hop on, hop off format, the passes are valid for 12 months and there are a variety of passes to choose from.
For those who want a more tour like experience Stray NZ also offer a range of Stray Journey Passes which are set travel times and also include accommodation and tours.
For us though the best thing about Stray NZ is they offer some passes covering some more off the beaten track destinations like Whakahora and Te Kaha – allowing you to discover even more of New Zealand.
They also hit up the amazing surf town of Raglan – which is one of our teams favourite places for some chilled vibes and waves.
And of course you won’t miss out on favourites like Kaikoura, Queenstown, Franz Josef and Wanaka either!
Compared to Kiwi Experience Stray NZ offers a more relaxed vibe (don’t worry there’s a good dose of party thrown in!) but it’s certainly more about exploring and experiencing New Zealand that doing shots.
Onboard tour discounts? Yes
Party centric? No (but you’ll still have heaps of fun!)
Best For: early 20’s + who want a more relaxed experience or those looking to discover more alternative destinations.
Whichever option you choose – both Kiwi Experience and Stray New Zealand have some epic sales from time to time, so keep an eye out on our travel deals section for the latest offers and save even more on your New Zealand adventure!
Have you travelled New Zealand with Kiwi Experience or Stray NZ?
Trying to figure out the distances between top destinations on the East Coast of Australia? Our interactive map makes it quick and simple to plan!
Travelling around Australia can be a huge task to organise – Australia is HUGE!
In fact you can fit the whole of Europe inside of it!
And one things we’ve noticed with helping people plan their East Coast Australia trip is that a lot of people underestimate how big Australia actually is and how long it can take to get from place to place.
And with so many awesome places to visit it can become pretty confusing where they all are and how to get between them!
But don’t worry – we’ve put together a handy map which shows all the top destinations in Australia and we’ve even added in the bus travel times to/from the next/previous stop – making it super simple for you to get your bearings and put together your perfect East Coast adventure!
Travelling Australia – Distances Between Top Destinations
Here’s our East Coast Australia map covering all the most popular stops between Melbourne and Cairns – including the likes of Byron Bay, Sydney, Rainbow Beach (for Fraser Island) and Airlie Beach (for the Whitsundays).
Just click on the pin to bring up the travel info for the next location up and down the coast – easy as!
East Coast Australia Package Deals
If you’re busy planning your backpacking trip to Australia and not sure whee to start check out our East Coast Australia Package Deals for some inspiration and our top travel itineraries!
If you already know where you want to go and what you want to do put all the details in our East Coast Custom Package Creator and our travel experts will put everything together for you and hook you up with some epic discounts!
Looking for the best Whitsunday Island tours? We run through the best boats and tour options so you can find your perfect match!
Finding the best Whitsunday Island tours can be a pretty tough task – there are just so many boats and trips to choose from and plenty of Whitsundays tours to narrow down!
And since sailing on the Whitsundays is such a big Australia bucket list item you’re going to want to make sure you pick the right boat for you – there’s nothing worse than picking the wrong tour and regretting it!
But fear not – our team of awesome travel experts have put together this mini guide of the best Whitsunday Island Tours to help you find your perfect match!
The Best Whitsunday Island Tours
Whitsunday Island Day Trips
If you’re short on time then a day trip to the Whitsunday Islands from Airlie Beach is the way to go. Sure you won’t get the full experience of an overnight sailing experience, but it’s certainly the way to go if time or money are an issue and you’ll still tick off all the must visit spots like Hill Inlet Lookout and Whitehaven Beach.
Our pick of the day trips is the Ocean Rafting option – as you can choose the Northern Exposure for more snorkel time or Southern Lights for more beach time. It’s an amazing day trip.
Whitsunday Island Overnight Trips – Party Boats
If you’re looking to party hard on the Whitsundays then there are some goon filled options that will suit you perfectly!
The most famous (or should we say infamous?!) is the Atlantic Clipper. This huge boat can accommodate up to 70 travellers and comes with waterslides, diving board and lots of chaos!
If that’s too much chaos for you then the New Horizon or Apollo offer some seriously fun party times but without huge crowds!
Whitsunday Island Overnight Trips – Sailing Boats
If you want to sail the Whitsundays and actually get involved with the sailing side of things (although many boats will let you get a little involved!) then Derwent Hunter, Solway Lass and New Horizon offer a full tall ship sailing experience where you can get stuck into the pirate life!
Whitsunday Island Overnight Trips – Chilled Boats
If you want goo vibes on your Whitsundays Sailing Adventure but not crazy amounts of partying then Tongarra is our top pick.
With a medium group size and great itinerary this catamaran style boat is a firm favourite for many travellers – ourselves included!
If that’s not your style or is fully booked (it sells out quickly so secure your place in advance!) then Wings and Waltzing Matilda are also good options.
Whitsunday Island Overnight Trips – Luxury Boats
If you want to go all out an really treat yourself on the Whitsundays then there are a few boats which stand out from the crowd in terms of luxury. – Powerplay, On Ice and Whitsunday Getaway.
For us though Powerplay wins out – with it’s small group dynamic, amazing boat (including a hot tub on the back!) and the fact it won’t smash your budget heaps! Just check out their amazing promo video…
Whitsunday Island Overnight Trips – Island Stays
If you really want to treat yourself then you can always stay on one of the Whitsunday Islands, but be warned this can be a huge budget killer!
If you don’t fancy staying on a boat, but still want a few days exploring some more of the island the Ride To Paradise option is perfect – you’ll two nights on an island resort without smashing your travel budget!
With dorm options or private rooms it’s perfect for those who want a bit more comfort or who don’t like the ideas of sleeping on the ocean!
The Best Whitsunday Island Tours – Our Pick
So which trip do our team like the most? Well after a lot of discussion it’s a toss up between Tongarra and Powerplay!
Tongarra is the more backpacker friendly option, with great vibes and a good size group, where as Powerplay is the pick for those who want a more “flashpacker” style experience and small group dynamic – so it really depends on what your priorities are!
**Plus get $50 off Powerplay or Tongarra with promo code WHIT50**
Trying to figure out whats the best Fraser Island Tour? Here’s our guide to all the options and best companies to use, from day trips to overnight camping
Finding the best Fraser Island tour can be a tough decision – there are so many to choose from with a whole heap of options to suit every style and of course budget!
So to make things a bit easier for you we’ve put together a quick breakdown of the best Fraser Island tours – so you can find the one that’s perfect for you!
What’s The Best Fraser Island Tour?
Fraser Island Camping Tours
One of the most popular ways to see Fraser Island is an overnight camping tour. These tag along 4×4 tours allow you to get behind the wheel and drive around this awesome island, which makes them the best Fraser Island tour for adventure!
After a fun day of exploring everything that Fraser Island has to offer you’ll head to the permanent campsites on the island, kick back around the BBQ, sip a cold beer (or most likely some glasses of goon!) and enjoy the incredible night sky.
If you want the all out Fraser Island camping tour our top pick would be Pippies, with its awesome vibes and great location – however it departs Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri and Sat so you’ll need to make sure that fits into your time schedule.
Dingos on the other hand offers a very similar style tour, but does add the extra flexibility of daily (except December 23rd/25th/30th and 1st Jan). Group sizes are slightly bigger, which is great for availability too.
Both Pippies and Dingos start in Rainbow Beach and you can easily tag on some pre and post trip accommodation at their associated hostels their too.
Nomads Fraser Island offer a bit more flashpacker camping luxury at their legendary tipi campsite within Eurong Beach Resort. More comfortable than the other camping options it also means you have access to all the facilities of the Beach Resort – including the on site bar.
The Nomads trip departs from Noosa, which makes it the perfect option for anyone looking for a short Fraser Island Package (you can fly into Brisbane, get a bus to Noosa and then head back to Brisbane).
Drop Bear Adventures on the other hand is for those who really want to delve more into the nature and local history of Fraser Island – with their passionate and knowledgable guides keen to show you the Aboriginal heritage and importance of the island.
…plus they certainly have the best menu of all the Fraser Island tours!
Grab $40 off all our 3 day Fraser Island tours using the code FRA40 at checkout!
Fraser Island Hostel Tours
If camping isn’t your thing and you want a more comfortable Fraser Island experience then there are a couple of options to choose from too.
Departing from Rainbow Beach or Hervey Bay the overnight Fraser Explorer hostel options are a 2 day/1 night option, however unlike the camping tours these aren’t tag along 4×4 format – instead you’re driven around in an epic all terrain tour bus.
Great if you want to kick back and just enjoy the ride but it does lack the adventure the other options offer.
However with all the day trips you’ll be in a 4×4 tour bus rather than tag along tour format, so you lack some of the adventure.
These day trips are a great back up option if availability is full on the overnight options (especially for peak season or last minute bookings!) departing from Rainbow Beach, Noosa and Hervey Bay everyday.
Best Value Fraser Island Tour
So out of all the options which is the best Fraser Island tour when it comes to value for money?
Obviously if budget is the key thing the day trips are the cheapest at around $185, however if you’re wanting the full adventure experience our pick would be the overnight options, especially if you add in the discounted pre and post tour accommodation packages.
Pippies is the best value and comes in at just $460, or $510 with 1 night pre and post tour accommodation – which includes food, tent, 4×4, guide and pretty much everything you need. However if you aren’t travelling with a sleeping bag it an extra $10 to hire one for the trip.
Hopefully our mini guide will help you choose the best Fraser Island tour for your style and budget – have an awesome time!
Looking for the ultimate adrenaline rush in New Zealand? Here’s a rundown of the top things to do in Queenstown - from bungy jumping to skydiving!
Having the reputation of New Zealand’s favorite visitor destination, Queenstown offers its stunning scenery and wide range of activities. It is a natural playground for all your adrenaline-fueled adventures!
Queenstown is also one of the major stops on the Stray New Zealand and Kiwi Experience bus passes which will make your trip more entertaining. It is a home to a huge choice of blood-pumping activities like skiing which is particularly visited by tourists during snowboard season from June to October. Journey through the Queenstown’s amazing landscapes and cool waters. Push yourself to the limits whether you like it mild or wild!
Here’s the top 10 things can you do in Queenstown that will sure give you an epic adventure.
AJ Hackett Bungy Jumping
Queenstown is the home of bungy jumping which started the worldwide phenomenon since 1988. The AJ Hackett bungy jump – a New Zealand original – is on the top of adrenaline junkies’ travel goals. This extreme Queenstown experience lets you perform numerous styles of bungy jumps in stunning NZ sceneries from a platform situated as high as 400m above the city itself. Those bungy jump styles include standard jumps, spins and flips. The locals will even present you a “Jump Menu” so you can freely choose your own twists and turns.
There is currently three bungy jumping sites offering different outlook, including the famous and all-original site at the bridge above Kawarau River, although the Nevis Bungy is easily the most popular and extreme!
A Tandem skydive in Queenstown provides an inherent rush as you freefall from a plane soaring as high as 15,000 feet. During the drop, you will reach speed of up to 200 kilometer per hour as the stunning panorama of Queenstown unfolds right in front of your eyes. The skydiving operator NZONE definitely knows their stuff so you will surely get your feet back on to solid ground. They also help the first-timer skydivers to feel safe for this thrilling adventure. Prove that you actually jumped with a photo or video package professionally taken to serve as a reminder of your once-or-twice in a lifetime Queenstown experience.
White Water Rafting
This water adventure is another Queenstown original ever since 1974. It is an activity no one should not miss, no matter what your age! Queenstown offers a number of rafting spots with different kinds of rapids that anyone will surely enjoy. Top of the list is the most popular Shotover River boasting with a peaceful waters toward exhilarating rapids. A journey to Skippers Canyon is already an adventure in itself. Kawarau River, on the other hand, is ideal for first-time rafters providing stunning scenery and the longest commercially rafted rapid, the 400m Dog Leg. In fact, Kawarau starred as the River Anduin in the film Lord of the Rings. The best thing about Queenstown white water rafting is that there’s no experience needed! But fret not, New Zealand’s largest rafting operator is internationally recognized for the high level of safety and standards it provides. So first time rafters can still enjoy this thrilling adventure – in fact, 80% of backpackers heading this way have never rafted before.
With Queenstown being New Zealand’s premier ski and winter holiday destination, there is no better place to enjoy it than in this town. There are wide range of off-slope activities which gets more awesome with pristine alpine lake and mountainous environment. Its leading ski fields – the Treble Cone Ski Area which is the largest, Coronet Peak Ski Area which allows night skiing, Remarkables Ski Area with dedicated area for beginners, and Cardrona Alpine Resort which offers something for everyone – also houses world class infrastructures. Queenstown’s vibe and nightlife can replenish your energy even before you plan your next backcountry ski.
Shotover Jet Boat
A trip to New Zealand is not totally complete without a jet boating experience. It is the world’s ultimate jet boat experience delighting millions of visitors since 1965.
The most popular jet boat is the Shotover Jet that will take you deep into the rugged Shotover River Canyons at a speed of 10cm deepwater. Your expert driver will help your adrenaline rush as you ride into this breathtaking drive. You’ll feel the rush as the jet boat whips the rocky ridges and glide around crags and rocks before performing its famous 360 degree spins, sending spray everywhere!
Hiking at Bob’s Peak
Right at the center of Queenstown is Bob’s Peak which has a variety of activities to do while taking in the stunning views. To get up Bob’s Peak, you can either hike through the Tiki Trail (which will take about 45-60 minutes) or the Skyline Gondola (which looks like a cable car). After reaching Bob’s Peak, you will find your typical souvenir shop, a café and restaurant. There is also an observatory deck with binoculars for everyone to get the view of the sunset.
However, you have to make sure that you are early to get a nice viewing spot as the deck gets jam-packed! Aside from epic adventures, the other reason why people go to Queenstown is for its spectacular sceneries. Its breathtaking view will surely leave you awe-inspired.
Queenstown has the Skyline Gondola for you for a quick and comfortable way of getting the best views at the best vantage points. You wouldn’t want to miss the spectacular 220 degree panorama along the way which includes views of Coronet Peak, The Remarkables mountain range, Lake Wakatipu and Cecil and Walter Peaks. The Luge is also a great way to spend an afternoon (especially if you’re travelling with kids) which starts in an area with a chairlift which can take you back from the hill after you’ve reached the bottom.
Heaps of fun for all ages!
Soak up the full beauty of Queenstown with a scenic helicopter flight (they even offer heli-tours!) and hang gliding while others who want to take it to the next level can either sky dive, parapent or do an aerobatic flight! Whatever aerial activities you wish to do, do it definitely from the sky above Queenstown and you’ll enjoy incredible aerial view of its lakes, mountains and towns.
Milford Sound Return Transfers and Cruise
Being one of the World Heritage Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound is undoubtedly known for its pristine beauty and peaceful ambiance (extending from 15 km inland Tasman Sea). It is the only NZ fiord or narrow inlet between cliffs which is accessible thru cars. Penguins, seals and dolphins also come to greet tourists paying a visit. This fiord sports two waterfalls: the Lady Bowen and Stirling Falls. However, after heavy rains, hundreds of temporary waterfalls can be seen.
Although a solid drive from Queenstown this is one of the most popular day trips to do from here.
Get a Fergburger
Fergburger is the only thing in our list that is not even about adventures or destinations but food. It is now New Zealand’s tourist attraction itself (and a part of the city’s tradition) with its hand-made burger with daily fresh produce!
Locally known as Ferg’s, the burger joint is full of customers queing up every opening hour and eagerly wait for around an hour at peak hours for a feed – they are even open 21 hours a day! Recommended Ferg is the Chief Wiggum (pork belly) burger or the vegetarian Bun Laden. Other variant includes Southern Swine (beef, bacon, avocado), Codfather (cod), Holier than Thou (tofu), Little Lamby (Prime New Zealand lamb, mint jelly, lettuce, tomato, red onion, alioli, tomato relish), and Sweet Bambi (Wild Fiordland deer with a Thai plum chutney, lettuce, tomato, red onion, alioli).
With prices ranging from NZ$11-NZ$18 every Fergburger is also definitely Instagram-worthy!
Renowned for its adventure sports and majestic sceneries, Queenstown is one of the tourist destinations all over the world. It may seem like a small town but there is so much vibe and energy in this city.
Queenstown will no doubt be a highlight of your time in New Zealand so pencil in a good few days to make the most of what it has to offer
New Zealand offers a lot of cheap ways for travelers to roam the country. We explore the best ways to travel around New Zealand for every budget and style
New Zealand is the adventure capital of the World. It is a country known for its abundant landscapes, friendly locals, and tender lamb! Each NZ destination is a spectacular place to see.
And choosing how to travel around this beautiful country is as important as choosing where to go – so, check out the 6 best ways to see and experience the land of the long white cloud — New Zealand.
A two-in-one passenger transport and tourism company, Intercity operates New Zealand’s largest bus network and has been going for more than 30 years – connecting more than 600 destinations nationwide with 130 services daily.
Intercity is one of the country’s lowest cost transport network, with bus fares starting from only $1 (plus booking fee) and you can easily book trips online and the earlier you book, the cheaper it is. Buses are all equipped with wi-fi (free of charge), which is an added bonus!
They also offer flexible saver packs including InterCity FlexiPass and InterCity TravelPass for your total freedom to explore the national network at discounted rates.
Best for: Medium budget / alternative routes / bolt on travel
Dubbed as New Zealand’s backpacker network and running for 25 years, the Kiwi Experience bus passes offer flexible, guided travel in a hop on hop off style. You’ll get to travel alongside your fellow backpackers and meet some new travel buddies – especially in the 18-25 age range.
Kiwi Experience has 6 main pass types to choose from with something for every style, time frame and of course budget:
Start anywhere/finish anywhere
Start Auckland, finish Christchurch
Start Christchurch, finish Auckland
North Island only
South Island only
Whole country passes.
The bus drivers are friendly, too! They’ll be chatting about what you can get up to, booking your succeeding trips, and even helping you with your accommodation – with your first night in each stop guranateeed.
Though not the cheapest option, Kiwi Experience bus comes with a lot of discounts and route options. Who knows maybe you can catch a bigger pass on a cheap price when it comes out on sale – so keep an eye on our Kiwi Experience deal page!
Best for: Flexible and longer stays / solo and young-gap backpackers / people wanting to meet new people and discovering new routes / partygoers looking for an enjoyable nightlife
Stray New Zealand
“Take off the beaten path.”
That’s just how Stray New Zealand ethos works, immersing you into few different destinations alongside the major ones.
They have a range of authentic activities to do in NZ like a farm stay experience, a wild stop-over on Stewart Island, and a night in the country’s highest mountain – all of which are exclusive to Stray New Zealand.
Much like the Kiwi Experience their drivers also serves as your local “guidebook” providing their own insights on New Zealand’s history and culture.
Stray’s hop on hop off passes are valid for 12 months and during these months, you can re-travel and revisit your favorite spots in its operated routes – perfect for those who aren’t sure where they want to go but have a good chunk of time to play with.
It also comes in smaller group size of 24 for more intimate setting for you to meet fellow travelers and eventually, life-long friends.
Age wise Stray New Zealand attracts a slightly older age range than Kiwi (think 25 rather than 18!) but it’ll still be packed full of heaps of fun and good vibes!
Best for:Flexible and longer stays / solo, mature backpackers / people wanting to meet new people and discovering new routes
This bus company is the middle ground between backpackers’ network and Intercity. It promises the art of ‘stripping the cost of travel’. They are labeled as the Greyhound of New Zealand.
Naked Bus passes through 320 towns, once or twice daily throughout New Zealand. The only day they don’t operate is during Christmas Day – so no matter when you’re travelling there will be a bus to grab!
Their fares are starting at $1 per journey but they have the “first in, gets the cheapest deal” policy. Cheap seats are sold first so you have to be quite fast to get the best fare available.
The company also offers a travel pass called Nakedpassport which is on a per 5 trip basis and is valid for 12 months – it doesn’t include activities and tours so you have to purchase it as an add-ons. However, they will give you a discount depending on the activity or tour you are going to do.
Naked Bus also introduced Nakedbus Sleeper, the country’s first lie flat bed on a bus. You can get the offer thru Nakedsleep.com which offers beds from $15 per person per night (plus booking fee).
Best for:solo, mature backpackers / people looking for variety of routes / flexible and longer stay / bolt-on travel
There’s no freer and more satisfying feeling than taking off the long road and having all the facilities you need when travelling.
Stopping off where you want and when you want through a campervan gives you a more authentic and fulfilling travel experience. It won’t limit you from the box of planning too much prior to a trip (well, planning your driving itinerary is a different story!) and you’re not tied to the schedule of buses nor tours.
But this freedom comes at a price and is actually can be one of the more expensive options to go with, especially for a longer trip.
Also, take note of the temperatures in New Zealand during winter time. In addition to campervan’s common facilities, you also have to hire heaters from the companies.
And above all, don’t forget to pass on “camperaderie” to others campervanning!
Best for: Medium to high budget / small groups or families / people looking for alternative routes / people looking for a bit more adventure
Renting a car in New Zealand still gives you the flexibility of a campervan but without the added cost. It would give you the freedom of spontaneously stopping off at an interesting place and be able to go to another anytime you want.
However, hiring a car in NZ requires that you are 21 years old and a holder of a valid international driver’s license. You should also understand New Zealand’s road rules – so read up and make sure you stick to the correct side of the road!
Car hire is perfect for going to New Zealand on a budget. It is not expensive and is more common during the months of March to April when most travelers come and go.
Best for: medium to high budget / small groups / people looking for alternative routes and shorter trips
Not sure where to stop off on your East Coast Australia trip? Check out some of the top destinations between Melbourne and Cairns!
The East Coast of Australia is one of the most popular travel routes on the planet – with heaps of backpackers and travellers travelling between Sydney and Cairns…or from Melbourne too!
But what are the must see destinations that you should stop off at along the East Coast route?
Well we’ve put together our East Coast Mini Guide which runs through some of the top spots and why you should pencil them into your travel plans!
This cafe culture city is a hub for big international events – including the Melbourne Cup, Australian Tennis Open and F1 Championship. But when you’re not busy watching on the big screen in Fed Square take the time to explore the amazing street art, tram lines and St Kilda Beach. For those looking for even more to keen themselves busy a day trip to Philip Islands Penguin Parade or a road trip along the Great Ocean Road is a must!
Often confused as the capital of Australia (that’s Canberra incase you didn’t know!) Sydney has some of the most icon destinations in Oz. Wander around Circular Quay and get your snaps of the stunning views over the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, hit the beach at Bondi or escape the city to the Blue Mountains.
Yamba is one of the bets kept travel secrets in Australia and this sleepy little surf town is a great additional stop of you have some more time to play with! Wit pumping surf, amazing beaches and some incredible beach walks it’s the ideal place for some downtime. Make sure you head to Yamba YHA and say hi to Shane to owner…he’s a total legend!
Byron is all about the laid back beach lifestyle, so get ready to kick off your shoes and enjoy everything ocean based! Whale watching, dolphin kayaking, surf lessons and scuba diving are all great ways to spend your days in the Bay or for those who want a bit more adrenaline skydiving over Australias most Easterly Point is incredible!
And of course you can slow the pace down even more with a day trip to Nimbin 😉
The Gold Coast
Often referred to as the Miami of Australia spots like Surfers Paradise on the Goldie are full of all the glitz and glam of city life with skyscraper lining the beach front.If shopping isn’t your thing then the range of theme parks here has something for everyone!
Brissie is a popular spot for those looking to stop off and find some work midway up the East Coast and the capital of Queensland proximity to spots like the Gold Coast, Byron and Noosa make it a great base. If you’re spending some time here make sure you head out and see the ship wrecks on Moreton Island, one of the best snorkelling sites in Australia!
Incredible beaches, more laid back surfer vibes – Noosa is another stop which takes full advantage of the Aussie beach life! Get in amongst nature and explore the Noosa Everglades on a canoe tour and witness some spectacular sunsets over the estuary.
One of the must do bucket list items in Australia, Fraser Island is the worlds largest sand island – so what better way to explore it than cruising around in a 4×4 through the rainforest and beach? Spots like Lake Mackenzie, Champagne Pools, and the Maheno Wreck will pack your camera full of awesome pics!
As the departure point for the Whitsunday Island Airlie Beach boasts and incredible nightlife! If you’re relaxing pre or post sailing adventure a scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef or day kayaking around the bay is the way to go, or just chill out by the free lagoon swimming pool with your travel buddies!
Another one of the big bucket list items in Australia, The Whitsunday Islands are all about finding a tropical paradise! With heaps of sailing adventures to choose from – from party boats to scuba diving – you’ll check out spots like Whitehaven Beach, Hill Inlet Lookout and snorkel some incredible spots on the Southern Great Barrier Reef.
Just off the coast of Townsville is Magnetic Island and with its abundance of wild koalas and friendly rock wallabies it’s a great spot to relax and meet some of the unique wildlife that calls Australia home!
If you’re looking to skydive in Australia then Mission Beach is the perfect place to do it! With views across the Great Barrier Reef and Australis only beach landing it’s not hard to see why! If you’re staying longer take a trip to Dunk Island for some epic snorkelling or hit the Tully River for some White Water Rafting!
As the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef Cairns is one of the biggest dive spots in Australia! So if you’re looking to complete your Open Water Dive Course or and Introductory Dive this is the spot! For those who want some non diving fun get your adrenaline on the go with a bungy jump or head north to explore Cape Tribulation for the day. Or if you’ve had a big night out at the Woolshed or Gilligans maybe just relax by the waterfront lagoon pool and have a BBQ!
No trip to Oz is complete without checking out the Great Barrier Reef – one of the natural wonders of the world! Join a snorkel day trip, give scuba diving a go with an intro dive or go all out with an overnight dive boat in search of Nemo! Get into the big blue and find explore some more of he underwater world.
Just north of Cairns lies Cape Tribulation – unique in the fact it’s where two world heritage sites meet, The Daintree Rainforest and The Great Barrier Reef. Enjoy the waterfalls, join a crocodile river cruise or go for a scenic walk through the rainforest – it’s a stunning part of Australia!
Struggling to pack for your upcoming backpacking trip or long term travels? Well stop the stress with these simple yet effective tips!
Lets face it one of the suckiest things about travelling is the packing. Trying to condense your life possessions into a neat bundle and cram it all into a rucksack is nothing short of stressful!
And within seconds of checking into a hostel you bag has magically exploded across the room and you’ll no doubt find yourself hungover and rushing to shove everything back in before the 10am checkout time or your overnight bus.
So how can you make packing easier? And more importantly what should you be packing?
Well lucky for you we’ve got years of experience on the road…so here’s some handy tips to help make it that little bit less chaotic
Half The Stuff, Twice The Money
It’s a massively over used tip but it’s still the best one in the book! Lay all your stuff out on the bed and half it…simple as! Then find a way to take twice the money!hahaha!
Seriously though on the road you’ll quickly find you barely use a lot of your kit and you’re lugging it around ‘just in case’ – so if it’s a maybe make it into a no!
These things are awesome for keeping stuff organised and not having to rummage through and throw all your clothing onto the floor to find a pair of socks! Take a spare one too to chuck all your dirty clothes into too which will make laundry day heaps easier!
Suitcase Style Bag
Swopping from a top loading rucksack to one that opens flat like a suitcase is a simple yet epic move – suddenly all the contents are easily accessible (even more so if it’s in packing cubes!) and you can see exactly where everything is. No more elbow deep, blind rummaging for your toothbrush!
Go On Bag Size Bigger (or pack less!)
A lot of people make the mistake of packing their bag to the brim…totally forgetting that along the way you’ll probably want to buy some stuff to take home – clothes, trinkets, random stuff….
Grab the next size up and give yourself some extra room to make packing easier and some space to accumulate some stuff along the way!
Roll Don’t Fold!
It might sound stupid but this tip has helped us heaps! Rolling your clothes is waaaaaaaay easier and quicker! Not only that but your stuff will end up less creased too….not that that really matters though, you’re backpacking after all!
Probably the best investment we’ve made on the road! A simple 10 litre dry bag is amazing for day trips to the beach, boats and anything else that involves water, not only that though but you can use it to hold wet stuff too – there’s nothing worse than having wet towel or boardies/bikini to pack just before a flight or journey…whacking them in your dry bag means you can go for that last minute dip no worries!
Sometime people just don’t think when they pack, we’re all guilty of it! Ever wondered where that plug adaptor was and have to spend 20minutes rummaging through everything?! Yeah us too!
So make use of the side pockets on your bag – stuff you need quick access to like your toothbrush, chargers, reservation vouchers – keep them there so they’re quickly to hand when you need them!
Have you got any awesome travel packing tips you’ve discovered?
Trying to figure out where to complete your open water dive course? We'll here's our quick guide to help you figure out where to get under the water!
Learning to scuba dive is an amazing bucket list item to tick off on your travels – the world is over 70% water after all!
So if you’re trying to decide where in the world to complete your open water course or next dive certification we’ve put together this quick guide to help you figure out which location is best for you…
Best For Budget – Koh Tao
Without a doubt Koh Tao in Thailand is the cheapest place to complete your PADI or SSI Open Water Dive Course.
Packages are range from £180-200 depending and often include accommodation too – even more of a bargain!
This famous Thai island is a popular spot with backpackers due to this – with a variety of dive centres to choose from offering a full range of courses up to divemaster and instructor.
When you’re not busy diving there’s a wide range of activities to do – whether you fancy kayaking, island hopping or just kicking back at a beach bar with a cold beer!
Best For Experience – Great Barrier Reef Liveaboard
If you’re looking for our personal recommendation on where and how to complete your open water dive course you can’t get much better than completing it on a Great Barrier Reef Liveaboard!
Based out of Cairns you’ll complete your theory and pool modules on the mainland before heading out to the Great Barrier Reef for a min of 2 days and 1 night to complete your open water dives. So not only will you complete your dive course and become certified but you’ll also get the opportunity to sleep overnight on the Great Barrier Reef – an amazing experience in itself!
It comes with a bit of a higher price tag than just completing it as day trips (around $705AUD all in) but it’s well worth the extra cash and then that also covers your meal and accommodation on the boat too.
For those who want to learn to scuba dive as they head up the East Coast our other favourite is Byron Bay. This amazing beachside town is full of barefoot living and good vibes – and the scuba diving here is incredible too!
You’ll complete your course out at Julian Rocks Marine Reserve and depending on the season you’ll have the opportunity to swim alongside Grey Nurse Sharks, Manta Rays and Leopard sharks along with the array of other awesome marine life that calls this spot home.
The Bryon Bay Dive Courses also allow you to complete your theory work online before arriving, so the whole thing only takes 3 days instead of 4 – ideal for those who want more time to explore Byron (an amazing spot for learning to surf) or who don’t have heaps of time to travel around Australia.
Everything you need to know about working on your working holiday visa in Australia!
So you’ve decided to start your adventure in Australia: amazing! Australia has an abundance of opportunities when it comes to travel, adventure, finding friends, finding yourself and earning some money!
With summer fast approaching, it's finally time to book the holiday you've been dreaming of all winter. Whether it's an exotic beach or a city break that gets you in the mood, it's all about leaving your cares behind and spending a few precious days indulging your every whim. With that in mind, it's worth exploring the different ways you can maximise the spoils and ensure you get the most out of your holiday. Points mean prizes You're probably going to book your holiday via credit card, so this is the ideal time to take advantage of a rewards points system. Most companies operate these, allowing customers to build up points with purchases that can later be converted into benefits. Saving up for air miles and complimentary hotel stays is a good way to make paying for the most expensive parts of your holiday less painful, but even when you're away you could be working towards your next break. By using your credit card instead of cash at the theatre or when dining out, you could earn extra treats, so it's worth researching which places are affiliated with your chosen credit card company. Most credit cards also offer cashback on purchases, which comes in handy when gift shopping for the folks back home. Join the club Instead of spending the weeks before your holiday flicking through gorgeous pictures of your destination and daydreaming, start researching what's going on there to see if you can take advantage any deals. There might be a nightclub offering complimentary champagne for group entry, a new restaurant having an opening night party, or even a resort spa with exclusive early-bird packages. In an industry as competitive as tourism, everyone will want to pamper you - so let them! Knowledge is power When you're visiting a
With summer fast approaching, it’s finally time to book the holiday you’ve been dreaming of all winter. Whether it’s an exotic beach or a city break that gets you in the mood, it’s all about leaving your cares behind and spending a few precious days indulging your every whim. With that in mind, it’s worth exploring the different ways you can maximise the spoils and ensure you get the most out of your holiday.
Points mean prizes
You’re probably going to book your holiday via credit card, so this is the ideal time to take advantage of a rewards points system. Most companies operate these, allowing customers to build up points with purchases that can later be converted into benefits. Saving up for air miles and complimentary hotel stays is a good way to make paying for the most expensive parts of your holiday less painful, but even when you’re away you could be working towards your next break. By using your credit card instead of cash at the theatre or when dining out, you could earn extra treats, so it’s worth researching which places are affiliated with your chosen credit card company. Most credit cards also offer cashback on purchases, which comes in handy when gift shopping for the folks back home.
Join the club
Instead of spending the weeks before your holiday flicking through gorgeous pictures of your destination and daydreaming, start researching what’s going on there to see if you can take advantage any deals. There might be a nightclub offering complimentary champagne for group entry, a new restaurant having an opening night party, or even a resort spa with exclusive early-bird packages. In an industry as competitive as tourism, everyone will want to pamper you – so let them!
Knowledge is power
When you’re visiting a destination for the first time, it can be difficult to find your bearings. Insider information is invaluable when travelling, whether it’s pointing out which restaurants to avoid, letting you in on a hidden gem off the beaten path or even recommending a particular cocktail. The world’s largest travel review website, TripAdvisor, operates an online community where travellers can share information on shops, restaurants and hotels that offer exclusive treats and benefits to specified cardholders. You’ll also get insight into each reviewer’s individual experience, giving you the knowledge you need to plan a perfect holiday.
TripAdvisor has teamed up with credit cards from American Express to offer cardmembers exclusive access to special offers, local hotspots and bespoke reviews of some of the world’s finest destinations. From rooftop bars to underground excursions, you can get expert information on every part of your trip.
Bahamas is an archipelago based on 700 islands known for the magnificent coral reefs and for their sunny beaches. But the real deal in the archipelago is the vivid nightlife, when all the islands are illuminated like stars and people party long into the daylight. Las Vegas style entertainment Cable Beach, located on the New Providence Island, offers two venues which provide fun and safety. Wyndham Nassau Resort has luxurious casinos and a 800 seats theater which offers high quality entertainment, spectacular shows and complete gambling experience which can rival with Las Vegas hotels. The Island way of gambling Crystal Palace Casino is another spot on the beach where real fun begins after dark. Being the largest venue on Cable Beach, it offers a baccarat table, 7 craps tables, 51 blackjack tables and 750 slot machines. The bars and the restaurants on the beach offer a sweet break from gambling. Live music and delicious cocktails are the complementary treatments for those who want to stay away from the games and enjoy a dance session. Natural features of the Bahamas islands Nightlife in the islands offers fun and many entertainment opportunities, but the real beauty of the islands should not be missed either. The natural coral reefs and the crystal clear waters are perfect for divers, while the sunny beaches may offer a silent escape after a noisy gambling experience. The wild side of the archipelago also has an untouched green version, perfect for a long night walk. Online gambling The tourists who don’t want to spend the entire night inside a casino because they are keen on exploring the natural island beauty, can always try their luck online while relaxing on the beach. Learning the rules at fult tilt poker is ideal for people trying gambling for the first time. The beginners
Bahamas is an archipelago based on 700 islands known for the magnificent coral reefs and for their sunny beaches. But the real deal in the archipelago is the vivid nightlife, when all the islands are illuminated like stars and people party long into the daylight.
Las Vegas style entertainment
Cable Beach, located on the New Providence Island, offers two venues which provide fun and safety. Wyndham Nassau Resort has luxurious casinos and a 800 seats theater which offers high quality entertainment, spectacular shows and complete gambling experience which can rival with Las Vegas hotels.
The Island way of gambling
Crystal Palace Casino is another spot on the beach where real fun begins after dark. Being the largest venue on Cable Beach, it offers a baccarat table, 7 craps tables, 51 blackjack tables and 750 slot machines. The bars and the restaurants on the beach offer a sweet break from gambling. Live music and delicious cocktails are the complementary treatments for those who want to stay away from the games and enjoy a dance session.
Natural features of the Bahamas islands
Nightlife in the islands offers fun and many entertainment opportunities, but the real beauty of the islands should not be missed either. The natural coral reefs and the crystal clear waters are perfect for divers, while the sunny beaches may offer a silent escape after a noisy gambling experience. The wild side of the archipelago also has an untouched green version, perfect for a long night walk.
The tourists who don’t want to spend the entire night inside a casino because they are keen on exploring the natural island beauty, can always try their luck online while relaxing on the beach. Learning the rules at fult tilt poker is ideal for people trying gambling for the first time. The beginners can watch helpful tutorials teaching them how to make deposits and how to play. The house offers to double the value of the deposit for free so you can play using these money and win real cash.
Non-gamers have the same fun
Even if Bahamas is a true paradise for gamblers, as there are casinos in every possible corner of the little islands, tourists who don’t gamble are also treated like VIPs. Atlantis Paradise Island Resort and Casino is one of the favorite spots for gamers, but all guests can have nightlife fun at the comedy club or at the extravagantly decorated bar.
Fire eaters and fries
On the Grand Bahama Island tourists can enjoy street shows after dark, enjoying the nightlife in the middle if the Lucaya Marketplace. Artists gather in the night to put on interesting shows of fire-eating, while the Junkanoo street parade catches all the eyes. Drummers and Djs enhance the fun and mesmerize tourists, who can quickly find themselves dancing in the street in a general party. After all this fun, one must enjoy the street cuisine and taste the real island spirit which comes with the famous fish fries.
Scotland's vast natural heritage is a great reason to visit Britain. The country's gardens offer a delightful opportunity to indulge your senses and explore the very best of Britain's natural scenery. Take a look at some of the finest Scottish gardens. Discover more Scottish and English Gardens from VisitBritain This widget can be found at http://perfectukdestination.visitbritain.com/. Drummond Castle Gardens These gardens combine to perfection stunning Renaissance architecture with superb scenery. This Perthshire venue dates from the mid-18th century, and the garden's layout and gorgeous details will surely transport visitors to the stately glamour of a bygone area. Monteviot Gardens Located in Jedburgh, a historic market town south of Edinburgh, the Monteviot Gardens are the ideal place to disconnect from the busy pace of daily life. Here you can stroll around wonderful rose, herb, river, and water gardens, which are connected to each other through lovely ponds and bridges. Don't miss the Monteviot's arboretum and the gardens' top terrace. Rocheid Garden Rocheid is a hidden and relaxing gem in the heart of cosmopolitan Edinburgh. This garden features gorgeous exotic plants and flowers that gather gracefully around a crystal-clear natural pond. The result is a beautiful collage of bright colours that never fail to make an impression on visitors. Brockhole Gardens Although the Lake District is not part of Scotland, a trip to this wonderful part of Cumbria is well worth the detour if only to visit the splendid Brockhole Gardens. Located right next to Windermere Lake, these gardens feature 30 acres of terraced land that has been beautifully landscaped to bring out the best of this stunning area. For the best views of these gardens, go on the exciting tree-top trek at Brockhole. This post has been brought to you by VisitBritain
Scotland’s vast natural heritage is a great reason to visit Britain. The country’s gardens offer a delightful opportunity to indulge your senses and explore the very best of Britain’s natural scenery. Take a look at some of the finest Scottish gardens.
Discover more Scottish and English Gardens from VisitBritain
These gardens combine to perfection stunning Renaissance architecture with superb scenery. This Perthshire venue dates from the mid-18th century, and the garden’s layout and gorgeous details will surely transport visitors to the stately glamour of a bygone area.
Located in Jedburgh, a historic market town south of Edinburgh, the Monteviot Gardens are the ideal place to disconnect from the busy pace of daily life. Here you can stroll around wonderful rose, herb, river, and water gardens, which are connected to each other through lovely ponds and bridges. Don’t miss the Monteviot’s arboretum and the gardens’ top terrace.
Rocheid is a hidden and relaxing gem in the heart of cosmopolitan Edinburgh. This garden features gorgeous exotic plants and flowers that gather gracefully around a crystal-clear natural pond. The result is a beautiful collage of bright colours that never fail to make an impression on visitors.
Although the Lake District is not part of Scotland, a trip to this wonderful part of Cumbria is well worth the detour if only to visit the splendid Brockhole Gardens. Located right next to Windermere Lake, these gardens feature 30 acres of terraced land that has been beautifully landscaped to bring out the best of this stunning area. For the best views of these gardens, go on the exciting tree-top trek at Brockhole.
Ask anyone where to find the best affordable summer beach holidays and it’s likely their answer will be Turkey. The sun kissed country has it all! The sea is crystal clear and ideal for swimming while the winds on the Aegean coast create perfect conditions for surfing and windsurfing. What’s more, Turkey enjoys more than 300 days of sunshine a year, with temperatures often exceeding 30 degrees Celsius in the high season (July-September). To help you make the most of your Turkish summer holiday, we’ve compiled a list of the best beaches in the country, with a good mixture of tourist hotspots and hidden gems for you to explore: Iztuzu, Dalyan There’s nothing quite as magical as watching turtles coming to the shore to lay their eggs - if you’re lucky enough to catch them that is! This 4.5km stretch of beach is abundant with beautiful wildlife and is perfect for a family day out. The seabed shelf means that the waters are serenely calm and great for families with younger children. There are plenty of low cost options for those looking affordable holidays. Take a look at this great range of holidays for 2015 from Cosmos. A flight and three nights accommodation for one adult in a luxury Dalyan resort will set you back around £220 pounds, which is incredibly cheap for the quality of beachside resorts found on the Turkish Coast. Pantara, Xanthos Valley Pantara is without a doubt one of the best Turkish beaches, featuring the longest continuous stretch of sand in the Mediterranean. Its sheer size and beauty makes it a very popular destination but should you seek a more secluded spot, head over to the northwest part of the beach. During the summer, the waves can be pretty intense so it’s not
Ask anyone where to find the best affordable summer beach holidays and it’s likely their answer will be Turkey. The sun kissed country has it all! The sea is crystal clear and ideal for swimming while the winds on the Aegean coast create perfect conditions for surfing and windsurfing. What’s more, Turkey enjoys more than 300 days of sunshine a year, with temperatures often exceeding 30 degrees Celsius in the high season (July-September).
To help you make the most of your Turkish summer holiday, we’ve compiled a list of the best beaches in the country, with a good mixture of tourist hotspots and hidden gems for you to explore:
There’s nothing quite as magical as watching turtles coming to the shore to lay their eggs – if you’re lucky enough to catch them that is! This 4.5km stretch of beach is abundant with beautiful wildlife and is perfect for a family day out. The seabed shelf means that the waters are serenely calm and great for families with younger children. There are plenty of low cost options for those looking affordable holidays. Take a look at this great range of holidays for 2015 from Cosmos. A flight and three nights accommodation for one adult in a luxury Dalyan resort will set you back around £220 pounds, which is incredibly cheap for the quality of beachside resorts found on the Turkish Coast.
Pantara, Xanthos Valley
Pantara is without a doubt one of the best Turkish beaches, featuring the longest continuous stretch of sand in the Mediterranean. Its sheer size and beauty makes it a very popular destination but should you seek a more secluded spot, head over to the northwest part of the beach. During the summer, the waves can be pretty intense so it’s not an ideal place for families with small children.
Cirali, Turquoise Coast
Cirali makes the list not only for its beautiful secluded beach but also for its breath-taking surrounding scenery. A short trek from the beach will take you to the ancient ruins of Olympos, an intensely magical experience that shouldn’t be passed up! The entire area is a protected UNESCO site and features fascinating wildlife not to be missed.
Phaselis, Turqoise Coast
We’ve already included one beach from the Turquoise Coast, but this one couldn’t be left out! The collection of small peaceful bays makes for a wonderfully relaxing day at the beach. Phaselis boasts some of the best swimming in Turkey, with stunning surroundings and calm, crystal clear water.
This 1500m stretch of white sand is a sight to behold. Extremely popular with tourists, it can get pretty busy as far as beaches go. Ayd?nc?k is located in an area popular with migrating flamingos, making it a perfect spot for birdwatchers and holidaymakers alike. Health buffs will also love the black mud found on the shoreline which is renowned for its healing properties.
It’s always worth subscribing to travel website newsletters as they often advertise great last minute deals that could save you even more money!
It is very difficult to choose five beautiful beaches in a country that has more beautiful beaches than I will one day have vintage china tea cups (I have three so far, but I’m working on it). So how do you go about choosing between these tropical paradises? The answer is: with great difficulty. But of all the spectacular beaches in Thailand, the following five certainly leave a lasting impression: 1. Maya bay Located in Koh Phi Phi Ley, this stunning bay became famous for being the destination chosen to make the film ‘The Beach’. Since then, it has attracted huge numbers of visitors. This has the obvious drawback of tourists often packing together like sardines on the beach to look at the landscape but, it has to be said, this landscape is breath-taking. The beach opens out onto an expanse of clear, turquoise water; the bay is encircled by 100-metre limestone cliffs; and the coral filled waters hold plenty of marine life, making this a perfect location for divers. 2. Sunrise Beach Sunrise Beach compromises the perimeter of the east of the island Koh Lipe and, as you may surmise from the name, this beach offers one spectacular view of the sunrise! While Koh Lipe has a number of great beaches to choose from, Sunrise Beach has the advantage of being tranquil as well as gorgeous. At it’s back are tall, luxurious trees that offer shelter; and this beach is made distinctive by a stretch of sand that curves a ring around part of the ocean (a unique and often photographed part of the landscape). 3. Freedom Beach This is one of the least accessible beaches in Phuket, but arguably the best. Tranquil and set against a backdrop of thick jungle, this beach creates the illusion that you have
It is very difficult to choose five beautiful beaches in a country that has more beautiful beaches than I will one day have vintage china tea cups (I have three so far, but I’m working on it). So how do you go about choosing between these tropical paradises? The answer is: with great difficulty. But of all the spectacular beaches in Thailand, the following five certainly leave a lasting impression:
1. Maya bay
Located in Koh Phi Phi Ley, this stunning bay became famous for being the destination chosen to make the film ‘The Beach’. Since then, it has attracted huge numbers of visitors. This has the obvious drawback of tourists often packing together like sardines on the beach to look at the landscape but, it has to be said, this landscape is breath-taking.
The beach opens out onto an expanse of clear, turquoise water; the bay is encircled by 100-metre limestone cliffs; and the coral filled waters hold plenty of marine life, making this a perfect location for divers.
2. Sunrise Beach
Sunrise Beach compromises the perimeter of the east of the island Koh Lipe and, as you may surmise from the name, this beach offers one spectacular view of the sunrise! While Koh Lipe has a number of great beaches to choose from, Sunrise Beach has the advantage of being tranquil as well as gorgeous. At it’s back are tall, luxurious trees that offer shelter; and this beach is made distinctive by a stretch of sand that curves a ring around part of the ocean (a unique and often photographed part of the landscape).
3. Freedom Beach
This is one of the least accessible beaches in Phuket, but arguably the best. Tranquil and set against a backdrop of thick jungle, this beach creates the illusion that you have stumbled into paradise. The crystal clear water holds colourful coral reefs, making it one of the best places for snorkelling in Phuket. The beach is cared for by locals and the ban on motor boats and jet skis (which are seriously annoying when you aren’t riding them) makes this beach a very quiet, relaxing place.
4. Railey Beach
This beach is one of the most popular in Thailand and can be found near the town of Krabi, along a narrow peninsula, in the south-west of Thailand (where it is much less touristy and much more relaxed). This beach looks incredible: the water is crystal clear; the sand is white and fine as powder; and it is surrounded by tall, jagged cliffs, which attracts rock climbers from all over the world.
5. Phang Nga Bay (James Bond Beach)
For better or worse, this location will always be associated, for me, with that scene from ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’ where Christopher Lee and Roger Moore have a pistol duel (who am I kidding, that scene is great).
Although Phang Nga Bay does not share the powdery white sand and flawless turquoise waters of my other choices, the rugged landscape and fascinating rock formation (in particular the tall islet ‘Ko Tapu’) makes it just as breath-taking to behold.
Although there are downsides to all of these gorgeous beaches- whether it be an entrance fee, too many tourists, long boat rides or paranoia that Scaramanga is going to jump out at you holding a golden gun- they are all unique, all breath-taking and all examples of what makes Thailand so wonderful.
The Silk Road is historically fascinating- a network of routes dating back over two thousand years that were central to trade between the West and East. The scenery itself resembles silk; stretches of land that reaches out for miles and miles over mountains and deserts, interspersed with cities that appear to rise as though from dust. My chance to travel there came in the form of the Vodkatrain. It is not, as you might suppose, a sleek glass train where you are served shots of vodka (which would be amazing, by the way) but a series of trains that take you through Russia, down to Mongolia and through to Beijing throughout the course of 21 days. The Beginning My friend and I began our journey in St Petersburg, where we met our group and our first Honcho (a guide assigned to you by Vodkatrain at each destination to answer pretty much any question you can think of). After the meeting we set out together to explore St Petersburg. It was a fabulous start to the journey: a gorgeous city, brimming with some of the most stunning examples of baroque and neo-classical architecture, not to mention St Issac’s Cathedral, which you should look at last because that thing will blind you. From the opulent beauty of St Petersburg we left for the huge, modern Moscow and took in as much of the city as possible before catching our next train. I have to say that, with more money, I could have spent several days in St Petersburg and Moscow, and, with even more money, would have attended several performances at the legendary Mariinsky and Bolshoi Opera Houses (I managed to convince my group to go with me to both buildings before they pulled me away to the nearest bar). But our
The Silk Road is historically fascinating- a network of routes dating back over two thousand years that were central to trade between the West and East. The scenery itself resembles silk; stretches of land that reaches out for miles and miles over mountains and deserts, interspersed with cities that appear to rise as though from dust.
My chance to travel there came in the form of the Vodkatrain. It is not, as you might suppose, a sleek glass train where you are served shots of vodka (which would be amazing, by the way) but a series of trains that take you through Russia, down to Mongolia and through to Beijing throughout the course of 21 days.
My friend and I began our journey in St Petersburg, where we met our group and our first Honcho (a guide assigned to you by Vodkatrain at each destination to answer pretty much any question you can think of). After the meeting we set out together to explore St Petersburg. It was a fabulous start to the journey: a gorgeous city, brimming with some of the most stunning examples of baroque and neo-classical architecture, not to mention St Issac’s Cathedral, which you should look at last because that thing will blind you.
From the opulent beauty of St Petersburg we left for the huge, modern Moscow and took in as much of the city as possible before catching our next train. I have to say that, with more money, I could have spent several days in St Petersburg and Moscow, and, with even more money, would have attended several performances at the legendary Mariinsky and Bolshoi Opera Houses (I managed to convince my group to go with me to both buildings before they pulled me away to the nearest bar).
But our train was waiting and, by the time we boarded, armed with visas and vodka, we were buzzing with excitement and, as it turned out, there were many good times ahead.
I love this method of travel. There is something magical about watching the landscape changing from your window; it really gives you a perspective on the vastness of the land you cover. The trains were comfortable and combined group members with local travellers: we got chatting to really interesting people.
I found the cheapest way to eat on the train was to buy food from people at the various train platforms you will stop at (you can budget around £2.50- £7 per meal).
All the accommodation was arranged by Vodkatrain. My favourite places were: Tatania’s guesthouse, a Siberian wooden chalet at Lake Baikal, where the host cooked us delicious Russian food; and the Ger camp in Mongolio, which was brilliant- definitely the best accommodation we stayed in.
Of course St Petersburg- one of the places that I definitely want to return to- left a lasting impression. The train itself was a lot of fun and the day we all went swimming in Lake Baikal (which was freezing). Each of our destinations were very interesting, made more so by some really great Honchos. By the time we got to Beijing I was sad that it was all coming to an end, but Beijing is a fantastic city and was a hugely enjoyable finish to the tour. We ate some of best food I’ve ever tasted; we found lots of places to shop; and we met some wonderful local people. The city is also home to some magnificent landmarks, including the tranquil Temple of Heaven, the vast Forbidden City, and, of course, the Great Wall of China (which we ended up walking for far too long because no-one wanted to be the person who suggested turning back).
Although we were exhausted by the end of the 21 days, and we were very hungover at points during the 21 days, there is no doubt that this experience- hilarious and beautiful in equal measures- is not one that any of us will forget in a hurry.
There are six ‘small group adventures’ to choose from depending on your interests, time scale and budget (prices range greatly from £2,380 for ‘The Cossack’ and £945 for the ‘Budgeting Bolshevik’). The website will give you a good idea of how much you should be budgeting for food and entrance fees in each city.
James Keogh gives us his top tips for using the London Underground and how to survive it like a local. It is just past noon on an unusually sunny Saturday in Brixton, most pleasant given this otherwise bitterly cold month. As a Brixton local I must say there is no place quite like the melting-pot of Lambeth and I can’t help but smile to myself as I walk to the tube. The tube is a different world to yesterday, the buzz and stuffiness of the working week has given way to more leisurely colonies of tourists and families with young children all eager to take in popular and “hidden” parts of the city and indeed today I shall join them. This more leisurely commute may be more chilled out but why do all the tourists seem unaware of the Tube etiquette? We have many nuances of ‘Great British etiquette’ and the Tube specifically has quite a collection of quirks. Although most of these things can be found signposted around, some are still unwritten rules and either way it is easy to see how tourists or first-timers could get caught out and face the British cold shoulder. So, with this in mind, I have decided to collect all the do’s and dont’s into one place for those who are yet to travel London’s Underground: STAND ON THE RIGHT, WALK ON THE LEFT As discussed you may or may not feel the wrath of your fellow travellers, mostly dependent on whether it’s rush hour, but ending up the wrong side of the tracks will always attract some frosty attention. In general watch out when travelling with large pieces of luggage at peak times for fear of tripping up junior city boys as they dart to-and-fro late for a meeting! “PLEASE LET ALL PASSENGERS OFF THE TRAIN
James Keogh gives us his top tips for using the London Underground and how to survive it like a local.
It is just past noon on an unusually sunny Saturday in Brixton, most pleasant given this otherwise bitterly cold month. As a Brixton local I must say there is no place quite like the melting-pot of Lambeth and I can’t help but smile to myself as I walk to the tube.
The tube is a different world to yesterday, the buzz and stuffiness of the working week has given way to more leisurely colonies of tourists and families with young children all eager to take in popular and “hidden” parts of the city and indeed today I shall join them.
This more leisurely commute may be more chilled out but why do all the tourists seem unaware of the Tube etiquette?
We have many nuances of ‘Great British etiquette’ and the Tube specifically has quite a collection of quirks. Although most of these things can be found signposted around, some are still unwritten rules and either way it is easy to see how tourists or first-timers could get caught out and face the British cold shoulder. So, with this in mind, I have decided to collect all the do’s and dont’s into one place for those who are yet to travel London’s Underground:
STAND ON THE RIGHT, WALK ON THE LEFT
As discussed you may or may not feel the wrath of your fellow travellers, mostly dependent on whether it’s rush hour, but ending up the wrong side of the tracks will always attract some frosty attention. In general watch out when travelling with large pieces of luggage at peak times for fear of tripping up junior city boys as they dart to-and-fro late for a meeting!
“PLEASE LET ALL PASSENGERS OFF THE TRAIN BEFORE BOARDING …”
…. the announcement rings. This is usually played over the loudspeakers on most platforms but once at South Kensington I saw a Scandanavian man physically held back for trying to go against the system! I have heard that many other European countries do not follow the same custom but be damned sure … we Brits take it quite seriously.
GIVING UP YOUR SEAT FOR THOSE IN NEED
This is surely followed globally as just an obvious piece of goodwill and respect but on many occasions in London I have seen other passengers picking on the closest youth to reprimand them for their sloppy manners. However, this particular etiquette can prove quite tricky as some passengers may take offence at being labelled “in need”. For example, I once offered my seat to quite a glamorous and well-spoken elderly lady one evening but she declined and added rather dryly, “My dear, If I was not fit for the underground I would have taken a cab.” Quite funny really and a fair point, nevertheless it took the air out of my good deed and left me feeling a bit deflated.
No observation on British etiquette would be complete without highlighting the importance of queueing. Whether it be for the oyster machines, getting on the carriages or just to get through the barriers you will notice the crowd start aligning as if shuffled up by invisible channels. At this point beware the red light! Whether you haven’t got enough money on your Oyster or have double touched you will experience what it is to interrupt ’the Great Flow’. Check first and get comfortable with The Way of ‘The Queue’.
KEEP ON MOVING …
Especially true during rush hour. It is a common thought shared amongst commuters that those who stop their motion, perhaps to consult the Underground map or read signs either immediately after leaving trains or on route to the platform will inevitably end up with someone treading on their heels proceeded by a flustered and speedy getaway from the perpetrator. The Londoner’s hit-and-run method of most encounters on the tube is perhaps epitomised by this act. The answer is to keep moving, even if it means proceeding slowly one must be in motion at all times.
“COULD YOU MOVE DOWN PLEEEEEEASE?!”
In continuing with the theme of movement it must be made clear that at peak times a failure to move down the platform or especially the carriages will certainly provoke vocal backlash. Remember – all people want to do at 8am or 5pm is get to work or get home and you WILL NOT delay this process for them, even though trains tend to run every minute or so!
Although the point will almost never be raised by fellow passengers it is of agitation to most when other travellers are listening to loud music or having loud conversation. I think this is perhaps to do with the fact that such noises exist in such close confinement and with the inability to escape this the lack of control quickly gathers a repressed tension throughout the carriage. People may look at each other as if to say, “Are you hearing that too?!!” but nobody makes a sound – You can feel the tension being lifted as sed ‘loud’ passenger leaves the carriage. This leads onto another point – there is no spontaneous socialisation on the tube. Or eye contact. Never.
The only time I have ever struck up a conversation on the tube was when I was coming home from giving a ukelele lesson and for the sheer novelty of my instrument I fell into conversation with a lovely American lady and her daughter, it was such a great experience and whats more it was hilarious seeing the look on other people’s faces, it was almost like we were plotting to blow up parliament or something!
Note: interestingly this is not the same when using the trains. I have met many awesome people on journeys overground. Perhaps there is something about travelling underground that makes people particularly anti-social?
Now, I am a musician myself and – although I have never obtained one of the legitimate ‘busking licences’ – I have tried my luck once or twice setting up on the branded pitches and have always managed to hold my spot for an hour or so before someone notices. From this experience it is my whole-hearted conclusion that only tourists and foreigners throw money into the hat. The Londoner when offered a chance to escape giving will always oblige. At this point I would like to thank visitors to London for keeping buskers afloat, please don’t act like a Londoner on this occasion, you will never provoke negative attention and hopefully will encourage others to do the same.
So there you have it, a few pointers for successfully navigating your trip on the underground without causing too much offence. I would like to conclude with a little piece of advice for those of you, like me, who see their journey on the tube as a time to get a bit of reading done. Go for poetry or magazines rather than books or newspapers. Poetry is usually short and you can sink your teeth into a piece even between neighbouring stations and magazines have short articles like newspapers but they don’t open out as far as the Standard, Metro or worse still a Broadsheet. God forbid that you might infringe further on someone’s personal space anymore than your mere existence!
They always say, “Life is about the journey, not the destination,” and I am a believer that adventures on the London Underground breed memorable journeys in one way or another.
I first visited Rome in my final year at university, a birthday present from my wonderful sister. We set off with our friend and all agreed that Rome was going to be an entirely stress-free experience. We were not going to budget; we were going to enjoy every moment.
This cavalier attitude, while wonderful during the three days I stayed in the aptly named ‘eternal city’, seemed somewhat reckless when I spent the remainder of the semester living on cereal and tinned soup. It is at this point you realize that throwing money about as if it were going out of fashion is, in fact, a very ill advised thing to do and that, as much as you would like it to be the case, you are not Princess Ann from Roman Holiday.
On a brighter note, I have returned to Rome since and managed to do so without devastating my bank balance. So here is my advice on how to save money in one of Europe’s most stunning and expensive cities:
It is easy to find a cheap flight to Rome (you can get a return from Stansted, London from only £53); it is also easy to not spend much on travel once you are there. On my first trip we took a taxi from the airport at a fixed price of €30.
For a much cheaper alternative take a bus from Ciampino Airport to the underground station ‘Anagnini’ (€1,20). Then get the metro for €1 to whichever station is closest to where you’re staying.
Once you arrive, you’ll find that Rome really isn’t that big a place, so it’s easy to plan your route each morning and travel around on foot.
On my first trip we stayed in a lovely apartment but this is because my sister is, as previously mentioned, an awesome person.
On my second trip I stayed at Hotel Beautiful Hostel, about a minute away from the Termini station. You can get a room here from €30 to €60 depending on the time of year.
For a cheaper options, it is well worth looking at Airbnb where you can find a room in Rome for as little as €10 a night if you don’t mind sharing!
This was, by far, the biggest expense of my first trip to Rome. We ate out every night and often during the day. We bought coffee and gelato and ordered way too much wine. On the second trip, we went to a grocery shop near Termini station on the first day and ended up saving a lot of money (this obviously didn’t include gelato, which remained as much a feature of my second trip).
If you do want to eat out be sure to check the menu first and never just walk into a café and order over the counter. Prices tend to be astronomical just outside of landmarks, as we discovered when my sister unwittingly ordered a ten euro glass of orange juice outside of the Coliseum.
If you want to eat out, it’s advantageous to ask the locals. We were recommended two great places to eat: Sfizio Pizza near Termini station (around €8 per head); and Picculo Buco, a family run restaurant near the Trevi Fountain (this cost about €10 per head).
Whenever you approach an important landmark you will be bombarded with tour guides. We went on two tours on my first trip to Rome: one of the Vatican City, which was brilliant; one of the Coliseum and the Ancient City, which was not. The latter literally consisted of us paying someone to take us inside and say ‘this is where gladiators used to fight… feel free to go take some photos of yourself posing as gladiators and meet me by the pillar in half an hour’. To top it all off we went to the wrong pillar and lost our guide, who was carrying our tickets to the Ancient City (this was, admittedly, our own fault).
For those on a budget, there is a great organization that offers free walking tours in Rome. These are licensed and expert tour guides who will take you around the city for free (they do rely on tips but this is still a cheaper alternative).
Budget for Rome
So to summarize, here is a rough budget for a trip to Rome:
Flights: £53 plus €6 to and from the airport
Accommodation: €10 to €30 a night
Groceries: They came to roughly €10, which included packed lunches.
Restaurants: If you want to eat out, you can do so for €5- €15 per head. Save money by making a packed lunch during the day and remember there are water fountains to drink from all around the city.
Entry fees: There are plenty of things to see in Rome that don’t cost a cent, but, on both trips, we agreed to allow about €10 per day.
Nights out: Agree on a budget beforehand and stick to it. Avoid tourist bars, which are always very expensive- drink with the locals!
Gelato: No budget.
Do you have any tips for travelling on a budget in Rome? If you do, let us know in the comments below!
The current trend in the travel world is to book your holiday DIY. By that, I mean you book your flight, transfer, and accommodation separately, to create your own bespoke package holiday. This is an easy process, and can be a real money-saver, however if you’ve never done it before, it might be a worrisome thing to embark on. Worry not! I’ll tell you how. Finding a cheap flight can sometimes work out better if you cast your net further afield in terms of where you fly from. You’ll usually find London flights coming up cheaper than anywhere else in the country, and if you can get there, it’s worth trying, as you’ll sometimes find it all works out cheaper including travel, compared to a regional flight. If you’re doing this, remember to book airport parking, such as my regular service of Gatwick Long Stay Parking and you’ll find it often works out cheaper, easier, and more convenient than public transport. Head to ParkBCP to peruse what’s available, and you’ll see that most large UK airports offer a service. Once you’ve opened your search up further, you’ll find a world of flexibility. Head to Skyscanner and put in ‘UK’, and your destination, your dates, or the month as a whole to give you the choice, and then watch and wait. When it gets as low as you think it’s going to go, then book it and don’t look at it again! If you see it lower, because it is a risk, then you’ll feel very sick indeed, however there is the equal risk that it will go up. Flight booked, turn your attention to accommodation, and this is where the fun bit starts! Travel Republic, Sunshine, Alpha Rooms etc, amongst many others, are where you’ll find sales and deals on
The current trend in the travel world is to book your holiday DIY.
By that, I mean you book your flight, transfer, and accommodation separately, to create your own bespoke package holiday. This is an easy process, and can be a real money-saver, however if you’ve never done it before, it might be a worrisome thing to embark on.
Worry not! I’ll tell you how.
Finding a cheap flight can sometimes work out better if you cast your net further afield in terms of where you fly from. You’ll usually find London flights coming up cheaper than anywhere else in the country, and if you can get there, it’s worth trying, as you’ll sometimes find it all works out cheaper including travel, compared to a regional flight.
If you’re doing this, remember to book airport parking, such as my regular service of Gatwick Long Stay Parking and you’ll find it often works out cheaper, easier, and more convenient than public transport. Head to ParkBCP to peruse what’s available, and you’ll see that most large UK airports offer a service.
Once you’ve opened your search up further, you’ll find a world of flexibility. Head to Skyscanner and put in ‘UK’, and your destination, your dates, or the month as a whole to give you the choice, and then watch and wait.
When it gets as low as you think it’s going to go, then book it and don’t look at it again! If you see it lower, because it is a risk, then you’ll feel very sick indeed, however there is the equal risk that it will go up.
Flight booked, turn your attention to accommodation, and this is where the fun bit starts!
Travel Republic, Sunshine, Alpha Rooms etc, amongst many others, are where you’ll find sales and deals on top quality accommodation, with every price range, and you can check out maps, photos and reviews to help you make your decision. You can also book your transfer here too, bringing the whole package together.
All that’s left from that point is to print out all your confirmations, put them in your hand luggage bag, and you’re done!
Booking a DIY holiday isn’t difficult, and it needn’t be a worrying experience. Package holidays can be found at great prices, but the flexibility isn’t there like when you book in this manner.
Creating your own adventure means it can be tailored to your needs and likes, which will overall make your holiday more fulfilling as a result.