Apr
30
2015

Difference between Car Sharing and renting a car

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What is Car Sharing?

Car Sharing only started to become popular in recent years in the United States and Europe. Now, it’s growing in Australia. It’s a similar concept to renting a car, but there are differences. Car Sharing can occur through casual sharing via a website, but there are also professional Car Sharing companies, which organise everything for you.

How does Car Sharing work?

Car Sharing is charged by the hour, including insurance and fuel. Free mileage is capped, with per kilometre charges for extra travel. Share cars are also distributed around cities, close to where people live and work, which isn’t always the case with rental cars. Instead of filling out lengthy paperwork before each trip, Car Sharing just requires customers to register. This is usually done through an online registration form. You’ll also have to present your details such as your drivers’ license and credit card.

Some organisations are free while others may charge a joining fee. You’ll then be able to use a mobile phone app or website to book a car, with either your Car Sharing card issued by the company or a smart phone app giving you access to the vehicle. So in short: you don’t have to drive to a car hire shop and meet somebody to pick up the keys. It’s quicker and simpler.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Car Sharing?

Car Sharing is ideal for people who need a car right away and for a shorter period of time. It’s also great for people who don’t drive everyday and live in densely populated cities. In inner city areas, owning a vehicle can be inconvenient due to additional costs and a lack of places to park.

Car Sharing is a flexible solution, which allows you to pick up and drop off the car in designated zones, but without having to hand over a key or have somebody come and inspect the vehicle. However, keep in mind that there are limited options for one-way rentals between city zones.

Apr
29
2015

Swimming with whales sharks and dolphins in Western Australia

By Australia / Perth / Western Australia /

Western Australia is an Aussie holiday destination with thousands of great outdoor activities to explore, including two fantastic ocean adventures.

Swimming with whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef

Where: Off the coast of Exmouth, roughly 1200km north of Perth, WA

Ningaloo Reef is home to an abundance of fascinating sea life and colourful coral, with plenty of snorkel and dive tours to choose from. Between April and July thousands of whale sharks descend upon these tropical waters, enabling visitors to come face to face with these fascinating creatures. They are the world’s largest living fish with mouths are up to one metres wide and lined with up to 350 rows of teeth but don’t let that scare you – these gentle ocean giants feed mainly on plankton, not snorkelers. Ningaloo Reef is one of the few unique spots in the world where large numbers of whale sharks regular appear. It’s also the only place in Australia where it’s possible to swim with these fascinating creatures – all the more reason to add this experience of a lifetime to your must-do list.

Visit www.whalesharkdive.com

Swimming with wild dolphins

Where: Shoalwater Islands Marine Park, 48km south of Perth

IT is often said there’s a deep connection between humans and dolphins. These self aware, compassionate creatures have even been known to defend people from shark attacks. Multi-award winning marine wildlife cruise company, Rockingham Wild Encounters, allows visitors the incredible and unique experience of swimming within a metre of wild dolphins in a natural environment. You simply link up with everybody in your tour group and jump straight into the water and dolphins emerge from the distance to join in for a play and a splash. For between 75 to 90 minutes you can witness dolphins catching their dinner, mothers nursing their calves or even showing off right in front of your eyes in what is said to be “the ultimate wildlife encounter”. Founder Terry Howson says this fascinating wildlife encounter is open to anybody. “It’s an unforgettable type of experience. The youngest I’ve put in the water is about 3 and the oldest was a 91-year-old Japanese lady.”

Visit dolphins.com.au

SCOTT PODMORE

Apr
27
2015

Four great experiences in Australia for road-trippers

By Australia / Australian Capital Territory / Canberra / Melbourne / Port Douglas / Queensland / Victoria /

Learn to water ski with a world champ

Where: Echuca Moama, 215km north of Melbourne

IF anyone tells you Brett Sands can walk on water, you had better believe it. This triple world champion and two-time world record holder, who has lived on the mighty Murray most of his life, first put on water skiis when he was just three years old so you’ll be learning from the best. Brett Sands Watersports in Echuca-Moama offers lessons in waterskiing, wakeboarding, barefooting and kneeboarding. Take part in anything from hourly lessons to multiple day packages on the calm waters of the Murray. Family beginner packages offered. Having spent thousands of hours on the water and instructed and coached throughout the world you are in for a lot of FUN and stories about celebrities. The school, located on 26 acres of beautiful, waterfront property, has had clients returning time and time again since opening in 1986. Whether you’ve never hit the water before or you’re looking to take your waterskiing skills to the next level, this adrenaline-filled experience is perfect for anybody willing to take the plunge. If you really want to get into the spirit, every February Echuca Moama hosts the world’s biggest water ski race – the ‘Southern 80’ Ski Race. Suggested stays: Murray River Holiday Park or Echuca Holiday Park

Cycle with Michael Milton

Where: Canberra

“I like to do things that I think are fun and instead of setting up a little bike-riding tour around Lake Burley Griffin, I decided to do one in the dark,” inspirational six-time Paralympian Michael Milton says of his Bigfoot Adventures option known as the Canberra All Lit Up Tour. Not only can you spin wheels and shoot the breeze with an elite athlete and top bloke after the sun goes down, it’s a chance to develop some mountain biking skills while enjoying “lit up” views of national monuments around Canberra. Australia’s bike-friendly capital city appeals to thousands of cyclists with its city bike tracks and mountain bike riding paths. Bike lamps light the way on this two-and-a-half hour ride, which takes you to the Parliament House exercise track, around Capitol Hill and the wetlands. Best of all, you don’t have to be a national sporting champion like Michael to do the tour – it’s an easy, enjoyable ride. Suggested stay: Capital Country Holiday Village

Townsville segway

Where: Far North Queensland

See the hidden wonders of the sunny, coastal city of Townsville in an environmentally-friendly way. Ride through the city’s beautiful parks and gardens on your own Segway – a two-wheeled, self-balancing electric vehicle. The guided tours run in small groups and take you through training before embarking on a two-hour journey, covering 8.5 kilometres of track. Suggested stays: Coral Coast Tourist Park and BIG4 Walkabout Palms, Townsville.

Chauffer drive in the Mornington Peninsula  

Where: Mornington Peninsula, 75km south east of Melbourne

Have you ever dreamed of living the life of a royal? You definitely can for a day with your very own chauffer on the Mornington Peninsula. Travel in style as you look at the peninsula’s magnificent green hills and sandy beaches from behind the glass windows of your very own Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow. While listening to the music of your choice, visit the peninsula’s finest galleries and dine at the most exquisite wineries. Some of the popular things you might like to do during your private tour includes a tour of a cheese factory, stopping at stunning lookout points along the coast, lunch at Arthurs Seat Maze or a visit to art and craft exhibitions. Silver Health Chauffer Services suggests it’s best to pick five tastings and venues a day, to ensure you aren’t too rushed. But if you simply want to sit back, relax and let someone else make the decisions, your chauffer is at your service! Suggested stays: Kangerong Holiday Park or Marina View Van Village.

SCOTT PODMORE

 

 

Apr
23
2015
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Three ways to enjoy adventure travel in Australia

By Australia / Gold Coast / Melbourne / New South Wales / Queensland / Sydney / Victoria /

Skydive in the best ‘drop zones’

Where: Toogoolawah, 120km north west of Brisbane

THE blue skies in Toogoolawah aren’t just “famous for fun”, but are also skydiving central. People travel to this small town from all corners of the globe to take a leap of faith up to 14,000 feet in the air. There are about 5000 people taking their first tandem jump with Ramblers (pictured, courtesy of www.ramblers.com.au) each year. “People have been known to come for a day and stay for months, or years … some have never left since 15 years ago,” sky dive instructor Susie McEvoy says. The company offers adrenalin-pumping jumps for everyone from beginners to those more experienced. Night jumps are also held staged every month around the full moon, treating thrill-seekers to spectacular views of the city lights spanning Toowoomba, the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane.  Susie says the most unique experience is the Skydive Safari 4 Jump Day Trip around southeast Queensland. “People tandem jump like rock stars into each of Ramblers’ drop zones throughout the course of the day, taking off from one location in their private plane and jumping into the next location. It’s the most incredible day ever and there are no other day trips like this in the world.”

Suggested stays: Esk Caravan Park, Lake Somerset Holiday Park (40mins away) or

The ultimate ‘zoofari’

Where: Dubbo, 400km north west of Sydney

A day surrounded by wildlife in wide, open plains at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo is a magical experience the whole family will never forget. The Zoo is home to more than 700 animals, including the gentle elephants, giraffes, rhinos, cheeky monkeys and the famous big cats. With the birth of cheetah cubs, if you head to the Dubbo Zoo soon you’ll spot them playing together and practicing their wrestling, pouncing and biting. There’s also the magnificent bird shows and fascinating keeper talks which tell you all about these amazing animals. Best of all you get up close and personal with some of the animals! For those looking for the ultimate ‘zoofari’ experience, stay the night at Billabong camp, where you camp in tents around a picturesque billabong. Not only do you stay under the stars, but you’ll have access to special behind-the-scenes tours and get to stick around and hear and see the animals when everybody else has gone home.

Suggested stays: Billabong Camp or Big4 Dubbo Parklands

Family skiing at Falls Creek  

Where: Falls Creek, 100km north east of Melbourne

Winter may be the time of the year where most people prefer to stay indoors, curled up in a blanket in front of a fire, but at Victoria’s alpine resorts it’s a completely different story. From the very first second snowflakes start to fall on the trees at Falls Creek, snowboarders and skiers throw on their gear and come out to play. With 65 kilometres of downhill skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing and free cross-country trails, Falls Creek holds a thrilling adventure for every member of the family that visits during snow season. There’s a wide range of different routes ranging from beginner’s level to experienced, with plenty of twists and turns which are sure to get the adrenaline pumping through your veins before meeting at the bottom of the hill. Group or private lessons also run on the mountain, where you can spend a few days mastering your skiing. Then when the snow season is over, the kids will wait in excitement for the next ski season!

Suggested stays: Big4 Bright Holiday Park or Tawonga Caravan Park

Apr
17
2015

5 dreamy Australian accommodation choices for winter

By Australia /

As the colder weather sets in, who wouldn’t be looking for some dreamy accommodation choices to escape to? After browsing through Beautiful Accommodation, we’ve found 5 winter hideaways perfect for a weekend away.

The Buckland – Luxury Retreat, VIC (pictured)

Tucked away in the beautiful Buckland Valley, The Buckland Luxury Retreat offers romantic 180 degree High Country views, including views across the majestic Mt Buffalo. Only 15 minutes from Bright, this area transforms into a colourful visual of red and orange at the beginning of autumn, and in winter it turns into a bright green, tranquil heaven.

Hillside Bed and Breakfast, TAS

Set on the banks of the Huon River in southern Tasmania, Hillside B&B offers stunning views of the Sleeping Beauty Ranges and the surrounding apple orchards and gardens. The cosy River Room, which faces downstream towards the Hartz Mountains, is perfect for couples looking for an elegant, light-filled space during winter.

Boonooloo Beach House, QLD

This modern beach house, right on the sands of Newell Beach, is picture perfect. With a wet edge pool only 20 paces from the ocean, you’ll truly feel like you’ve found your own little slice of paradise. Swing in a hammock under a palm tree or lounge on the spacious deck to relax. With open rooms, high ceilings and marble bathrooms, it’s the perfect hideaway spot at any time of year.

Smoky Cape Lighthouse B&B, NSW

Step back in time at Smoky Cape Lighthouse, which was completed in 1891. Its dramatic winding staircase and octagonal tower is just as beautiful as the sweeping coastal views. This B&B is perched high on a narrow headland in the gorgeous Hat Head National Park and is surrounded by natural bushland. Go swimming, bush walking or whale watching.

Winemakers Retreat, SA

This magnificent Riverland home is set on a working vineyard and date palm property. Here, you’ll dine on delicious food and wine and there’s a large outdoor terrace where you can relax and admire the parkland gardens, which are a “labour of love” for owners Paul and Debbie Kassebaum. Spring is a beautiful time to watch the flowers bloom at this gorgeous property, but winter is still beautiful… and even more peaceful.

BRIANNA PIAZZA

Apr
14
2015
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5 great things to do while driving around Canberra

By Australia / Australian Capital Territory / Canberra / New South Wales /

People sometimes perceive Canberra as a city with little to do for those who aren’t interested in politics, but reputations can be deceiving. There are plenty of exciting things to do and see in and just outside of Canberra. Discover The Poacher’s Way, your guide to exciting destinations around Canberra.

Here are five recommendations from The Poacher’s Way…

Robyn Rowe Chocolates

In the small village of Murrumbateman, only half an hour from Canberra, is Robyn Rowe Chocolates. These award winning chocolates are loved for their smooth, creamy and glossy taste. Chocolates are made on site using traditional European methods. The Canberra region’s fresh produce influences the flavours used in the chocolates, including walnuts, honey and locally-grown Clonakilla muscat.

Old St Lukes Studio

This gallery is located in the historic village of Gundaroo, only a 25-minute drive from Canberra. The historic stone building was constructed in 1848 and it’s now the home for artists Ian Jones and Moraig McKenna to display their wood-fired ceramic masterpieces. The gallery’s nine-metre kiln fires up three times a year, followed by a garden exhibition presenting their new work.

Burnelee Excursions on Horseback

Experience the beautiful countryside and wildlife of Canberra’s outskirts while riding on horseback. Burnelee, about 30 minutes from Canberra, offers horse riding trips through the 3,500 acre property for riders of all skill levels.

Gundaroo Colonial Inn

The Gundaroo Colonial Inn has been operating continuously since it was established during Australia’s gold rush in 1872. It has live entertainment, a restaurant serving delicious country-style food, motel style accommodation and a bar offering local wines, boutique beer and cider. A great family-friendly venue, only 25 minutes from Canberra.

Mount Majuna Vineyard

The ACT’s wineries have a reputation for producing some of Australia’s finest wines, and Mount Majuna Vineyard is no exception. This small vineyard is situated on the eastern slopes of Mount Majura, just 11 kilometres from Canberra’s CBD. The ancient limestone mountain’s red volcanic soils produce unique wines, with the vineyard’s signature wine, Tempranillo, now considered one of Australia’s best.

BRIANNA PIAZZA

Apr
12
2015
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7 legendary farmers markets in Australia

By Australia / Hobart / Noosa / Tasmania / Western Australia /

Farmers markets showcase the best food of each region. By shopping at these markets you’re supporting Australian farmers, who are the lifeline of Australia’s food industry. 

Here are 7 legendary farmers markets in Australia the world must know about.

Golden Plains Farmers Market, VIC

Golden Plains and its surrounds are famous for wine and fresh produce, and you can pick up your own at the Golden Plains Farmers Market. Held on the fist Saturday of the month between 9am and 1pm, Bannockburn’s Golden Plains Farmers’ Market offers wine, seasonal and organic produce and La Madre sourdough. Look for Ross Creek Garlic, and DIY growers will also be pleased with the selection of  potted herb and veggie selection.

Noosa Farmers Market, QLD

In this pretty coastal region, residents rise early to shop for their weekly fix of fresh, tropical fruit and vegetables. Even if juicy mangoes, creamy avocados and fresh coffee beans aren’t on your list, make sure you go out of your way to pick some up. Don’t forget to try cane juice for a taste of the region. The market runs every Sunday 7am to noon.

Eveleigh Farmers Market, NSW

Held in a historic refurbished railway workshop, this Sydney market has more than 70 stalls to satisfy your weekly grocery needs. You can snatch up bargains for seasonal fruit and vegetables, meat and poultry, artisan bread, dairy, olive oil and boutique wine. The market runs every Saturday 8am till 1pm but make sure you arrive early to avoid the crowds.

Farm Gate Market, TAS

The ring of a farm bell at 8.30am sharp every Sunday kicks off the Farm Gate Market in Hobart. The marker showcases some of the best of Tasmania’s produce, and on your to-buy list should be exotic creamed fennel honey and Mount Nelson microgreens. Shop around as you listed to the delightful performances put on by smiling buskers. The market finishes at 1pm.

Albany Farmers Market, WA

Local farmers bring their fresh, seasonal produce to this thriving market every Saturday 8am until noon. It’s also worth shopping around the market for organic beef and lamb, honey, yoghurt, cheese and ice-cream. You’ll also love the different jams, nuts and fresh flowers.

Victor Harbor Farmers Market, SA

The Victor Harbor Farmers’ Market showcases the beautiful Fleurieu Peninsula’s best food. You’ll discover high quality poultry, wild-caught seafood and fresh vegetables. Make sure you bag some cherry juice for something a little different. The market operates every Saturday, 8am until 12.30pm in the Grosvenor Gardens.

Barossa Farmers Market, SA

The magnificent Barossa Valley is famous for its wonderful food and produce, which makes it the perfect place to buy the finest meat, fruit and vegetables. While visiting the market on Saturdays between 7.30 and 11.30am, spoil yourself with some homemade cakes and chocolates.

BRIANNA PIAZZA

Apr
10
2015

5 of the best Melbourne food tours

By Australia / Melbourne / Victoria /

Melbourne is renowned for its trendy cafes, bars, pubs, restaurants and wineries. There are so many that you’ll never be able to see them all. Here are five of Melbourne’s best food tours to steer you on the right path.

Progressive High Tea Stroll

If you’re a sweet tooth then you’ll love exploring Melbourne’s best afternoon tea spots with a few anecdotes along the way. Dig into delicious chocolate, scones, macarons, and cup cakes, which will be joined with tea, juice and wine. The tour is perfect for a day out with the girls.

Vietnamese Cooking Class

Celebrate the flavours of Vietnam with a cookling class and food tour in Richmond. Chef Ha Nguyen takes you to Victoria Street’s best food outlets, where he’ll fill you in on where to buy the freshest produce, meat and seafood. Then he’ll show you how to cook classic Vietnamese dishes such as chicken in banana leaf or pineapple spring rolls .

Melbourne Art and Food Tour

Experience Melbourne’s best food combined with historic laneways, beautiful architecture and hidden art galleries. This four hour walking tour exposes visitors to the city’s ever-changing art scene, while treating you to tastings along the way. One of the tour’s highlights is gathering at Arc One Gallery on Flinders Lane to enjoy canapés and a glass of wine.

Yarra Valley Wine Tasting Tours

Join a small group personal wine tour to the picturesque Yarra Valley wine region. You and your friends will enjoy wine tastings at four wineries of your choice, which may include Yering Station, Coombe Melba Estate, and Oakridge. Lunch is served at the popular Rochford Winery, before the tour makes its way to the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and the old Farmhouse Cheese Shop.

Lygon St Walking Food Tour

Visit six of Melbourne’s best cafes, restaurants and delicatessens in the popular Lygon Street precinct. Snack on the Italian style meals, sweets and wines that fill the restaurants along Lygon Street. Sample delicious cheeses, dips, bread and other dishes, as you learn about how they’ve been prepared.

BRIANNA PIAZZA

Apr
08
2015

5 reasons you’ll love a holiday in Bunbury

By Australia / Western Australia /

Western Australia’s third largest city, Bunbury, has everything you’d ever want for your dream holiday destination. You’ll arrive for only a few days, but you’ll want to stay forever.

Here are five reasons why you should move to Bunbury.

The wildlife

You’ll find some of Bunbury’s friendliest locals in the waters of Koombana Bay. The Dolphin Discovery Centre lets you stand knee-deep in shallow water as some of the bay’s 100 bottlenose dolphins come up to greet you. You can also sign up for a cruise or a guided swimming with wild dolphins experience. This experience is ranked number one on Tripadvisor’s list of things to do in Bunbury.

Beautiful beaches

Bunbury is surrounded by several gorgeous beaches for swimmers, surfers and children. Dalyellup Beach is known for its beautiful, clean water. Just south of this beach is what’s known at The Hutts, where the locals go diving for crayfish. Go snorkeling on a calm day at Hungry Hollow Beach to explore a small reef. Thrill seekers can surf some good waves at Back Beach. 

Pleasant walks

You’ll discover several scenic walking tracks around Bunbury, including the historic Shipwreck Trail and the Mangrove Boardwalk. Just 25km from the city centre is the Crooked Brook Forest and its four walking trails. The picturesque walks teach you about the forest’s history as you keep an eye out for wildlife and colourful flowers. There are walks suitable for children and people with disabilities.

Amazing wineries and breweries

Bunbury is surrounded by plenty of award-winning wineries and breweries. The Mash Brewery, which is situated on the Marlston Waterfront, overlooks the Indian Ocean and is a popular spot for friends to gather over a few beers or ciders. Then there’s the Capel Vale Winery, just a short drive south of Bunbury. Capel Vale is famous for its boutique wines and delicious food.

Adventure playground

Bunbury is an outdoor lover’s paradise. Those seeking an adrenalin rush can take up extreme sports such as sky diving, white water rafting and water skiing. Other adventurers can set off for some bushwalking and camping. There are also plenty of quiet fishing spots nearby for keen anglers.

BRIANNA PIAZZA