Feb
28
2017

Four cool ideas for Melbourne adventures with the kids

By Australia / Melbourne / Victoria /

Sea creatures, a giant eye in the sky, African wildlife and a mighty festival in the CBD make up four great suggestions for family adventure in Melbourne. Grab a Melbourne car rental and strap yourself in for these must-do activities.

Melbourne Star Observation Wheel

See Melbourne from up high with a birds-eye view on the three-year-old Melbourne Star Observation Wheel, which celebrated its birthday in style on Sunday. Catriona Rowntree hosted the “sparkle party” which included the one millionth guest and all sorts of carnival activities in the Melbourne Star’s Piazza followed by 30-minute flights in panoramic cabins for guests that serve up 360-degree views of Melbourne, the city, Port Phillip Bay and beyond. The Star offers up two very different experience either during the daytime or at night when the city (and the wheel) lights up.

Moomba is back!

Moomba Festival is Australia’s largest community festival which attracts crowds of all ages to Birrarung Marr and Alexandra Gardens on the banks of the Yarra River for a family-friendly program of free entertainment, events and activities at the five festival precincts – Main Arena, Kids Zone, Skate Park, River and The Green. Check out local performers, the Moomba Masters’ world-class water sports, skate and BMX comps, flamboyant floats for the Moomba Parade, as well as the wild and wacky Birdman Rally.

Wild slumber party

Go wild with an overnight experience with a Slumber Safari at Werribee Open Range Zoo, the perfect getaway for the whole family in an Out of Africa escape, just 30 minutes from the heart of Melbourne. Slumber Safari dishes up a very special kind of accommodation with a fully hosted experience including  close-up animal encounters, drinks and dips at sunset, a scrummy dinner, as well as night-time activities including a night walk and toasting marshmallows around the evening campfire then a delicious supper of scones, jam and cream. In the morning watch the animals on the African savannah awaken and enjoy a buffet breakfast served in the Safari Dining Hut.

kid at aquarium

Photo by Jeswin Thomas from Pexels

Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium, located on the Yarra waterfront opposite the Crown Casino gives visiting families interactive animal encounters, iconic state-of-the-art displays and animal feeds. SEA LIFE Melbourne is renowned for being educational and completely entertaining. Check out the new Ice Age 4D cinema, Conservation Cove and Bay of Rays, or dive into the Glass Bottom Boat Tour, Penguin Passport or Shark Dive Xtreme.

SCOTT PODMORE

Feb
27
2017

Fun Things To Do in Auckland This Easter 2018

By Auckland /

Auckland is definitely worth a decent stopover on your New Zealand adventure this Easter 2018. You’ll soon come to realise the city is unique. Not only is it a world-class city with all the facilities you’d expect in a capital, but it also has natural wonders right on its doorstep.

In a single day you could be climbing the city’s highest tower, exploring wineries and hiking through pristine rainforest.

This alone makes it a great city to base yourself as you explore Auckland’s attractions. All you need to do is find a great hire car deal from Auckland Airport with DriveNow and you’re all set.

Visit Sky tower in Auckland (pictured)

At 328 metres tall, the Sky Tower is an icon of Auckland’s sky line. Tourists who stop in Auckland even for just one day tend to make sure the Sky Tower is at the top of their list. Admire the panoramic 360 degree views of the city and its natural surrounds. You can also enjoy a superb lunch or dinner at the top so you have longer to take in the views. Daredevils can take up the offer to go bungee jumping off the tower. Sky Tower has something for everybody!

Explore wineries at Waiheke Island

All it takes is a 35 minute ferry ride to get from Auckland to Waiheke Island. Travel to this island and you’ll be amazed at the beautiful vineyards and beaches that await. The island is home to more than a dozen high class vineyards. Sample the region’s finest drops as you take in breathtaking views in every direction.

Laze the data away at the West Coast beaches

Auckland’s west is as wild as it is marvellous. You’ll discover remote, untouched beaches that soothe the soul. Piha Beach is popular with surfers and swimmers. Karekare is a great, isolated spot for travellers who are looking for natural beauty. Make sure you take the time to see Karekare Falls while you’re in the area. People also flock to Muriwai for its impressive coastline.

Mount Eden hike

Auckland is home to nearly 50 volcanoes. Many of these have spectacular walking tracks to the top and panoramic views. One of the best short hikes is Mount Eden. At 196 metres high, it’s the city’s highest natural point. Gorgeous views of the city and harbour await.

BRIANNA PIAZZA

Feb
21
2017

New Zealand for adventure: 5 unmissable things to do in Picton

By Picton / South Island /

Picton is one of New Zealand’s prettiest port towns. People come here for the picturesque scenery and outdoor activities. It’s the perfect place to base yourself before catching the ferry across to the North Island.

Pick up a cheap car hire deal with DriveNow and add these attractions to your to-do list at Picton.

Dolphin viewing tour from Picton

Marlborough Sounds is just as beautiful as the creatures that live there. Majestic dolphins cruise through the area, delighting tourists with every sighting. You can get up close and personal with the dolphins. Five different species are regularly seen at Marlborough Sounds – the Bottlenose, Common, Dusky, Orca and also the rare Hector’s dolphins.

Take a winery tour

Most people love a trip to a good winery. It’s definitely something you want to do during your stay in Picton. If your driver is a wine lover then it’s easy to join a tour. A guide takes you to one winery after another, explaining the history of the Wairau Valley and the delicious drops that are created here. You can also admire the stunning scenery along the way.

Mountain bike the Queen Charlotte Track

The Queen Charlotte Track is known as one of New Zealand’s best walks. The 70km track has also earned its reputation as a classic mountain bike track. It’s New Zealand’s longest continual single track. Most riders need two days to complete the track comfortably. Some sections are tough and steep, but the gorgeous scenes are well worth the challenge. The track is recommended for intermediate and advanced riders.

Whale Station Experience

The only thing more impressive than witnessing pods of dolphins swimming through pristine waters is whales doing the same thing! Behind your experience at the National Whaling Centre, where you learn about the history of whaling. You then cruise to the Perano Whaling Station, and you may be lucky enough to see these amazing animals along the way. Perano is the only restored station in the country where you can learn about machinery used in the whaling era.

Go kayaking at Marlborough Sound

There’s 1500km of coastline at Marlborough Sound, making it a peaceful wonderland for kayakers. Deep greens and turquoise colours ought ho the water, while there is a stubby backdrop of green forests and sandy beaches. Travel through the area and it won’t be difficult to find a spot all to yourself. That’s what makes this experience extra special.

BRIANNA PIAZZA

Feb
17
2017

4 must-see events at the Adelaide Festival 2017

By Adelaide / Australia /

The Adelaide Festival runs from 3-19 March. Fascinating opera, theatre, music, dance, film and visual arts awaits. This festival features some of the world’s best.

The Adelaide Festival is in its 32nd year. The 2017 line-up includes opera from England and drama from Germany. There’s also dance from Israel and a tribute to the late Judy Garland.

Grab a cheap car hire deal from Adelaide and make sure you see these top four performances at the 2017 Adelaide Festival.

Saul (pictured)

George Frideric Handel’s Saul is the headline act for 2017. Directed by Barrie Kosky, this opera masterpiece treats you to dramatic and heart-breaking music. It tells the story of a Lear-like mad king and his family’s struggles. Critics across the world have praised the show after a performance at the Glyndebourne Festival two years ago. Now it comes exclusively to Adelaide for Australian opera lovers.

Portraits in Motion

Have you ever wanted to see the world through an artist’s eyes? “Intrepid traveller” Volker Gerling has walked more than 3,500km throughout Germany. Over the years he has documented the people he met and their stories. He has created flipbook portraits, which he presents to his audience. He explains the story behind each picture and points out the fragile moments that he so beautifully captures.

Rufus Wainwright: Rufus does Judy

Canadian singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright is a delightful performer. He comes to the Adelaide Festival in 2017 to perform two of the works that are closest to his heart. He puts on a show with a concert version of Prima Donna, which was his first undertaking in the world of opera. In this one-night show he also teams with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra to re-create Judy Garland’s 1961 Carnegie Hall concert in a touching tribute.

Contemporary Dance

L-E-V will perform two fantastic works at this year’s festival. Killer Pig is a oroud mix of folkdance and classical gestures. While organisers liken it to “a tribal ceremony from an alien culture” and it’s bound to keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the entire performance. Then there’s OCB Love, which explores lovers who always seem out of touch with each in today’s modern world. It’s contemporary dance with more edge to it than more.

BRIANNA PIAZZA

Feb
15
2017

Adelaide revs up for the hottest event in town, the Clipsal 500

By Adelaide / Australia / South Australia /

PETROL heads, lovers of fast cars, those with a need for speed, and anyone in general heading to South Australia’s capital early in March, it’s time to rev up and start your engines as the Adelaide Clipsal 500 hits town over the weekend of March 2 to 5. So where does your loyalty lie? Ford or Holden?

The streets of Adelaide will come alive with the growls, roars and screeches of some of the fastest vehicles in the world. Whether you’re car crazy or just looking for an awesome day out, you’d be mad to miss it, the team from Southaustralia.com tell us. Here are all the reasons to look forward to a few days in the “city of churches” when motorsport diehards worship their heroes behind the steering wheel.

Virgin Australia Supercars Championship

See iconic Australian Supercars unleash their adrenalin around the Adelaide street circuit in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship. Simona de Silvestro will join the grid as the first full-time female supercar driver, while changes in the race format will keep drivers on their toes. Nick Percat took out the Clipsal 500 Adelaide trophy in 2016; who will accelerate to victory in 2017?

CAMS Australian GT Championship
In a showcase of breathtaking manufacturing and design, the CAMS Australian GT Championship brings a spectacular field of cars worth millions of dollars to Adelaide. The event will see cars from the world’s leading automotive manufacturers including a Lamborghini Huracan, BMW M6, Ferrari 488 and Audi R8 GTS.

Touring Car Masters spin their wheels
Muscling their way around around the track, Touring Car Masters are by far the loudest and beefiest in the Clipsal 500. See legends of motor sport line up on the grid, including John Bowe, Glenn Seton, Steven Johnson and Jim Richards.

Super Trucks going nuts!

Bridging the gap between on-track and air displays, 650 horsepower Stadium Super Trucks launch themselves over special ramps around the Clipsal 500 Adelaide circuit at speeds reaching 240 kilometres per hour.

Rocking and rapping it up with the best in music

On Friday and Saturday night, the stage will come to life with awesome live music. Hilltop Hoods will tear up the stage on Friday night accompanied by Seth Sentry, The Funkoars and Aradhna.  Rock out on Saturday with Baby Animals, Battlehounds and The Byzantines.

Supercars Paddock to meet your heroes

Let loose on the Clipsal 500 Supercars Paddock and get up-close and personal with your favourite drivers, crews and cars. It’s your opportunity to see the big race rigs, get an autograph, take a photo and spot the motor sport world’s hottest celebs.

Jaguar 60th le Mans Victory Celebration Display
Don’t miss this spectacular tribute to Jaguar featuring over 50 rare and exciting vehicles from the early 1930s to current models. This epic showcase includes a stunning array of beautifully maintained and replica vehicles.

Don’t miss out on the action! Get your tickets from the Clipsal 500 website to secure your place at Australia’s biggest and best motor sport event! General track side entry is $45, concert tickets start at $70, pit entry starts from $99 and platform tickets start from $85. Adelaide car rentals from Drivenow.com.au

SCOTT PODMORE (with southaustralia.com)

Feb
15
2017

Festivals in WA that you can’t miss

By Australia / Western Australia /

Have you ever considered travelling to Western Australia for festivals? Well, if you haven’t then now is the time to do it.

Different music, art and other cultural festivals run year-round, thanks to Western Australia’s generally sunny weather.

Hire a campervan from Perth Airport with DriveNow and make your way to any of these great events for your next holiday.

Perth International Arts Festival

10 February – 5 March 2017
You won’t have to travel far to be part of one of the state’s most popular events. PIAF is the longest running event of its kind and it has been going every year since 1953. Half a million people attend every year to admire new works and connect with artists from across the world.

South West Craft Beer Festival

11 February 2017
Think live music, amazing food and even better craft beer. This year will see the biggest line-up of breweries take part in this unique event. It’s held in the perfect location of Busselton, with the South West becoming one of the fastest growing micro-brewery region. Choose from more than 100 refreshing local brews, including light or dark ales, chilli beer and fruity sensations.

Castaway Festival

12 February, 2017
For one day Rottnest Island turns into the perfect outdoor setting for a party. The stage backdrop is the beautiful, postcard perfect Thompson’s Bay. The latest electronic music pumps all day as partigoers enjoy the beach vibes. This year’s line-up includes Rüfüs, Rüfüs Du Sol, the Kite String Tangle, Yuma X and Pilerats DJs.

Blues at Bridgetown

10-12 November 2017
About 270km south of Perth on the Blackwood River is the pretty country town of Bridgetown. Blues at Bridgetown has become an iconic event in this part of the world, where volunteers keep the event alive. It’s one of the first blues festivals in Australia, and it definitely earns its reputation as one of the best. Bridgetown showcases some amazing international acts as well as up-and-coming local talent.

Perth International Jazz Festival

26-28 May 2017
Perth’s premier jazz event returns for only a weekend every year, but it’s sure to be a weekend unlike any other. The thrilling jazz performances showcase the best local, national and international talent. There’s something for everyone too, with many free community events to promote the amazing world of jazz.

Also try Top Perth Food Experiences

BRIANNA PIAZZA

Feb
10
2017
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Head for the country roads for Victoria events

By

Some of the best festivals aren’t in the big cities – they’re in the country towns. Victoria is no exception. The countryside is full of charming towns with colourful events that they proudly call their own.

Hire a campervan from Melbourne Airport and travel to some of the most scenic parts of the state to enjoy these iconic events.

Horsham Country Music Festival (pictured)

23-26 March, 2017
Horsham’s celebration of all things country began in 2006. Ever since then, the festival has been attracting country music lovers from far and wide. This year, they’ve secured New Zealand’s Jog Adams and Victoria’s Dennis Morgan. Organisers are also proud to give budding country music artists a chance to showcase their talent in front of the Horsham crowd.

High Country Harvest Festival

5-21 May, 2017
Victoria’s annual High Country Harvest is the time to feast! There’s no better place to be in Autumn, as the season brings out some of the most exquisite golden colours of the countryside. Thousands of people come to sample the incredible tastes on offer at one of the high country’s best events. Whether it’s the Italian fine wines, fruits, Myrtleford’s magnificent chestnuts or the superb cheese from Milawa’s famous factory, you won’t be let down.

The Man From Snowy River Bush Festival

30 March – 2 April, 2017
Corryong’s bush festival is world-famous. Every year the charming town surrounded by mountains celebrates everything to do with the iconic Aussie busy life. It’s an incredible display of bush poetry, music, bush skills and horsemanship. There’s also bush markets with local crafts and an exciting street parade. Everything about the festival is based on Banjo Paterson’s poem The Man From Snowy River. The festival highlight is the re-enactment of this epic poem. Don’t miss it!

Yarra Valley Wine and Food Festival

1-2 April, 2017
Rockford Winery’s green lawns set the scene perfectly for this relaxing two-day event. Sample locally produced beer, cider and wines from more than 40 wineries. Plus there’s plenty of fine food to top it all off. There’s also live music and entertainment as you enjoy the flavours from award-winning winemakers. There’s no better way to experience one of Australia’s best food and wine regions than to do it all in one place!

Riverboats Music Festival

17 – 19 February, 2017
The border towns of Echuca-Moama come alive with this unique festival! Visit this place for just a few short hours and you’ll quickly see why it’s one of the much-loved festival. Not only is Riverboats Music Fest incredibly inexpensive, but it’s also laidback. Contemporary music artists out on a show underneath the river red gums right next to the idyllic Murray River, while historic paddle steamers pass by all weekend. There’s only one stage but there’s plenty of space to dance the weekend away. Hoodoo Gurus, James Reyne and Mia Dyson are some of the big names playing this year.

Also see Six Romantic Places In Victoria To Steal A Kiss

BRIANNA PIAZZA