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Visit Cairns Australia – Cairns is one of Australia’s biggest adventure sports capitals, and there is a long list of things to do to get your adrenaline pumping and tick off more than just a few bucket list experiences.
Here are 5 reasons why you should visit Cairns next time you’re in Australia…
5 Reasons To Visit Cairns Australia
Cairns Australia Ballooning
If you’ve attempted Ballooning before but had to cancel due to bad weather, your next try should be Cairns.
It has some of the best weather for ballooning in the world, trips are rarely canceled and you can do it year-round.
Seeing the landscape of the region from above is definitely a unique experience, and it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to do it.
Hot air balloon rides in Cairns are the cheapest in the whole southern hemisphere.
Cairns Australia Tropical Wines
North Queensland is one of many wine regions in Australia, but what sets them apart is that you won’t find your standard Chardonnay or Shiraz there, because the winemakers are instead looking towards the use of tropical fruits to create their wine.
Rather than vineyards, you will find fruit orchards with mangos, bananas, passion fruit and pineapples.
Cairns is known as the world’s first tropical fruit wine region, and it’s well worth a visit to try their unique wines and liqueurs.
Cairns Australia Great Barrier Reef
Cairns is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and many choose to base themselves in the city and take trips and tours from there.
Even those who don’t base themselves there and arrange Cairns holiday packages, still often go to Cairns first as the tour operators often offer tours to the Great Barrier Reef that are cheaper than elsewhere in the country.
Tip: Whether you’re going snorkeling or diving, the smaller dive boats provide the best experiences.
Sure, the larger ones often have better food, more activities and faster boats, but the actual underwater experience is not as good as the areas these large boats visit are heavily overused and ruined.
Cairns Australia White Water Rafting
When going white water rafting in North Queensland you get to ride through the world’s oldest continuously growing tropical rain forests on rivers that still run totally wild.
There are different routes in different levels, you can choose from half-day rafting or full-day rafting and some routes like the Barron River tour only takes 20 mins to reach from Cairns.
Cairns Australia Whale Watching
Once you have swam among the small colorful fish in the Great Barrier Reef, it might be time to see some big fish.
From may to September (with the peak season running from July to September) it’s possible to go whale watching.
The Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area is an important breeding sanctuary for approximately 30 species of cetaceans (whales and dolphins), which is around 35% of the world’s total living cetacean species.
The Humpback Whales, Dwarf Minke Whales and Bottle nose Dolphins are the most commonly spotted on whale watching tours.
Traveling the East Coast of Australia
If you are traveling down under it is hard to know which travel route to take, as there are so many!
But one itinerary that is a stand-out for many, is traveling up the East Coast of Australia.
Here are some tips on key stops when driving along the east coast …
Traveling the East Coast of Australia Sydney
Sydney is Australia’s most famous city due to its iconic bridge and Opera House that sit near each other in the Sydney Harbor.
Sydney has a great range of activities for all ages: climb the Harbor Bridge for an incredible view of the city, attend performances at the Opera House, explore the history of colonial times around The Rocks and Darling Harbor or even head to the famous Bondi Beach for some fun by the sea.
Once you’re done with the vibrant sights of Sydney, hire a car, van or jump on one of the many tours onto the Pacific Highway and up the coast.
Along the way you’ll drive through many towns with their own charm and character, as well as some of the most beautiful pristine beaches in the world.
Essential stops include Port Macquarie, Nambucca Heads and the idyllic Port Stephens, which is about a two and a half hour drive from Sydney – most of its beaches are untouched and it is a great place to go dolphin watching – in fact, it has been coined the dolphin capital of Australia.
Heading up further north in the state of New South Wales, you’ll find the relaxed town of Byron Bay – it is located just off the Pacific Highway around 800 kms from Sydney.
Most travelers love this spot due to its great surf conditions, friendly locals and hippie vibes – there are plenty of activities; you can explore the arts and crafts stores, attend the local markets for fresh produce, visit the Cape Byron Lighthouse or explore the lush national parks.
After visiting the fun town of Byron Bay you’ll head back onto the highway and travel north into the state of Queensland – on your journey you’ll pass many small towns and beaches and depending on your time limit, you could spend weeks and even months exploring them all.
You’ll pass Surfers Paradise, Brisbane, Noosa, and then find yourself at Hervey Bay.
Hervey Bay is about 290 km north of the city of Brisbane.
While Port Stephens may be the dolphin watching capital of Australia, Hervey Bay is definitely the whale watching capital down under.
It is the perfect place to hop aboard one of the many chartered boats with your camera, and take beautiful pictures of whales breaching.
When passing Noosa we highly recommend you stop over for a night, the town has an awesome vibe, the beaches are beautiful and perfect for beginner surfers.
Whitsunday Islands and Cairns
The last stop (if you choose) on your East Coast of Australia itinerary is the 74 beautiful islands of the Whitsundays.
The islands are located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Site and are the ideal location to snorkel and dive due to the abundance of marine life and underwater delights, such as tropical fish and incredible coral formations.
You can also visit the nearby island resorts and the city of Cairns which is a great spot for bungee jumping or hiring a 4×4 to explore the nearby rain forests.
Once you have finished your adventure along the East Coast of Australia you’ll feel relaxed, invigorated and ready for more.
Indeed, Australia is the idyllic location for any beach going adventurer.
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Things To Do In Brisbane, Australia
Brisbane is for many people the perfect place to live and they say it offers the best lifestyle.
When we were there, we found it a really lively place, big enough to have the nightlife, shopping, awesome restaurants and markets, but still small enough to be intimate and down-to-earth & you can also find so many great flights to Australia.
Another plus is of course that it’s only 1.5 hours away from Queensland’s awesome beaches, and never far away from the adventurous stuff.
So before you head off on your diving and sailing adventures in Queensland, make a stop over in Brisbane – it’ll be worth it.
Here are some things to do in Brisbane that we recommend:
Check Out The Brisbane Landmarks
There are quite a few “landmarks” in Brisbane that for one reason or another that really sum-up Brisbane.
Take a photo, join the events or learn the history.
Pick and choose from these:
From the right angle (south-east or north-west) the State Law Building looks just like the Batman building in Gotham city, take a photo!
Watch cricket at its best at Brisbane’s international cricket ground.
One of Brisbane’s 3 Bridges
The bridges of Brisbane are very famous landmarks, and you can enjoy them in different ways; walk, climb or photograph.
However, the best time for photos is at the annual River fire event, in the beginning of the River festival in September, when the bridges light up in big fireworks for half an hour.
Jan Powers Farmer Market
This market is a mouth-drooling event.
120 stalls selling local, seasonal, home made and organic food: wine, cheese, berries, fruit, veggies, fish, meats, jam… you name it.
This is the perfect market to stock up on some food for the picnic basket, though not the cheapest food, you pay for the quality.
Roma Street Parkland
If you’re staying at a hotel near Roma Street Parkland you will find this park a perfect place to go in the morning for morning work out or afternoon walks (free entry).
16 hectares of green gardens and parks, this is the world’s largest subtropical park in a city.
It’s a pretty new park opened in 2001 and has been very well looked after.
You will find a large lake and a few waterfalls in the park, and if you like guided tours there is a free one every day between 10 am an 2 pm.
There are cafes in the park, but you can also bring your own food and have a picnic or have a Barbecue at the BBQ area.
West End Markets
If you’re staying in any Brisbane hotel close to West End, you cannot miss a visit to the West End markets – Every Saturday from 6 am to 2 pm you’ll find the West End Markets at Davies Park on Montague Road.
The West End is one of Brisbane’s most interesting and diverse suburbs.
It used to be one of the poorer working class areas where migrants and artists lived, but today it’s a popular place to come, especially for cafe and restaurant visits, as there are so many to choose from, in all kinds of cuisine.
Enjoy FREE entertainment at Brisbane Powerhouse
Every Sunday night Brisbane Powerhouse shows free entertainment like music concerts and stand-up comedy shows.
There are often free events on during the weekdays as well, so if you won’t be there on a Sunday you can always check out their website to see if there is some free entertainment scheduled.
This will keep you busy during your trip, hope you have a great time and find a good hotel in Brisbane close to the activities you want to do.
Melbourne Cup – Things To Know and to Stay
It’s the race that stops a nation.
The Melbourne Cup is one of the most highly anticipated sporting events of the year in Australia and 2010 marks the 150th running of this iconic race – so if you’re a racing fan or just a fan of the races – it’s the perfect time to head to Flemington and take part in the historic moment.
How to pick your Melbourne Cup winner
Office pools on the Melbourne Cup are common and many individuals take part in placing a bet in the spirit of the race.
We all have our particulars on how to pick a winner, from the color of the jockey’s uniform to the sound of the animal’s name.
Last year, former PM Kevin Rudd correctly picked Shocking to win – we’ll have to see how Julia Gillard fairs this year.
There’s no sure way to pick a winner – but here are some ways that the experienced punters make their choices:
Melbourne Cup History
When making any decision, research counts.
The people behind the horse can often matter just as much if not more than the condition of the animal itself.
Consider the jockeys – usually the best jockeys will only ride the top horses.
Check out the Melbourne Cup horse
Being at the track is a great way to get a better read on the animal.
Inspecting the horse at the paddock gives you more insight into the mannerisms of the animal and its mood for that specific day.
A helpful hint – horses express their moods through their ears.
Ears flattened to the back of the head are a sign of an agitated animal.
Develop an eye for movement
Watch how the horse moves as it does its walk around right before the race.
A smooth easy stride and good muscle definition behind the rib cage are good signs.
If you have the chance to wait to the last moment before you lay down your final bet, try and observe the animal’s canter to the post – it should be moving with confidence and ease.
Heading to Melbourne for the Melbourne Cup
With this being the 150th running of the race, you can bet on the fact that there’ll be plenty going on in the lead up to the event.
For starters, the Melbourne Cup Carnival, which includes the Emirates Melbourne Cup Day, actually hosts 4 separate race days including the Victoria Day Derby (30 Oct), Crown Oaks Day (4 Nov) and Emirates Stakes Day (6 Nov).
So there’s plenty of Flemington action through the week. Meanwhile, the city will be transformed into the pinnacle of high style for the events – there are numerous many fashion competitions attracting almost as much attention as the races.
Entry to the Melbourne Cup is fully ticketed and must be pre-ordered.
Meanwhile, you’ll need to act fast to secure your cheap accommodation – Melbourne hotels will be selling out fast!
With over 100,000 plus attendees expected – you’ll be hard pressed to find last minute accommodation so if you plan on going, make sure you book soon.
Top 5 Hostels in Melbourne
We’ve found the most eclectic mix of hostels in Melbourne – there really is something for everyone in this top five list…
It may sound like a weird name for a hostel, but the Space Hotel is forging new frontiers in the backpackers industry.
Take the in-house cinema for example, or the fact that there are private communal bathrooms that act as a personal en-suite, but without the extra cost usually associated with not having to shower in the company of strangers.
The Swim Spa is also a unique feature and the private reading lights and power points are a nice touch.
Bev and Mick’s at the Turf Club
The Turf Club is the perfect place to meet people as it’s the after-class pub for students at the University of Melbourne.
The fact that it’s just downstairs at this Bev and Mick’s location is a huge bonus, although it’s worth staying here even if pubs aren’t really your thing.
If you’re more of a homebody, head to the pool competitions and DVD nights or just relax at one of the many free BBQs and get to know your new friends.
Located in hipster central, Fitzroy, The Nunnery is unlike any other hostel you’ve ever seen.
The name isn’t just for show – this actually was a nunnery and it’s now been converted into a hostel for travelers looking to get away from the usual boisterousness of backpacker accommodation.
There’s a tram right outside the door and it’s a stone’s throw from Carlton Gardens and the IMAX Theatre so if you want to experience some old world charm, this is the backpackers for you.
Base Backpackers St Kilda
Voted the No.1 best hostel in Australia by Hostelworld.com in October 2012, Base Backpackers St Kilda is in a brilliant location close to the beach.
The onsite Red Eye Bar has a full book of activities for travelers, so make sure you have a grandmother nap in the afternoon so you can head out every night.
On Mondays, grab your free hot dog before sitting down for Boozy Bingo.
Keep aside $5 on Tuesday for a Base Burger from 6pm and then see how well you hold your liquor in the Beer Pong Tournament from 7pm.
And this is just the beginning – the rest of the week is equally jam packed with events.
Melbourne Central YHA
Situated in the city, just down the road from Federation Square, Melbourne Central YHA is perfect for those on a budget who need the wallet friendly option of walking everywhere.
Head up to the roof top courtyard for a few quiet ones or head to the wide screen TVs after a hectic night out to recover.
Southern Cross Station is just at your door for trips to the suburbs or further afield and you won’t have time to be bored with so many of Melbourne’s unique lane ways at your doorstep.
If you need help with working out funds for your backpacking adventures, head toand they’ll be sure to help you out.
Maree is a student fresh out of university and has decided to travel the world.
She has been travelling for the past 8 months and in her spare time writes all the tips and tricks she can think of to share with other beginner travelers.