Mar
30
2017

Lap of luxury in Mornington Peninsula with Jackalope

By Australia / Melbourne / Victoria /

A brand new luxury hotel called Jackalope in the heart of the wine country on the Mornington Peninsula is one of five great reasons to jump in a Melbourne car rental and head south for just over an hour.

Jackalope Hotel

A reimagination of luxury and a new voice in high-end Australian accommodation has arrived with the opening of Jackalope Hotel on the Mornington Peninsula. The hotel is a personal project of 29-year-old Melbourne-based entrepreneur, Louis Li, who moved to Melbourne in 2006 to study filmmaking.

Rather than tell stories through film, hotel design is now the creative platform. In addition to luxury accommodation and idyllic vineyard views, Jackalope invites guests on a sensory journey—a delicate interplay between the ideal and the surreal—by reimagining the role of art, design, dining and storytelling in the hotel space.

Jackalope’s 46 rooms introduce guests to a reverie of relaxation. 38 sqm ‘Terrace’ or ‘Vineyard View’ categories range through to 85 sqm ‘Lairs’. Floor-to-ceiling windows and private terraces connect guests to the rural surrounds while, inside, bathroom features include deep-soak, black Japanese tubs, rain showers and double vanities.

The spa-like setting is complete with bath luxuries developed exclusively by Melbourne’s Hunter Lab, including a pinot grape skin and seed bath soak and body scrub, made using grapes from the hotel’s vineyard. A dining destination in its own right, two restaurants take their place on the site under the culinary direction of Executive Chef, Guy Stanaway. Refined dining, Doot Doot Doot, presents the region’s finest produce in a series of tasting menus intrinsically linked to the land; while winery restaurant, Rare Hare, designed by Projects of Imagination, celebrates the surrounding Willow Creek vineyard through immersive casual dining and wine experiences.

The hotel’s bar, Flaggerdoot, delights in the alchemic process of distillation. An experimental spirit stirs a daring cocktail menu of both classic and in-house creations. The space itself is an infusion of forms; herringbone floors and open fires warm the room, while commissions and installations from the likes of Peninsula local, Andrew Hazewinkel, and international icon, Rick Owens, create a sense of curated cool.
Outside, a black 30-metre infinity pool laps up to the surrounding vineyard, while a poolside pavilion offers sun lounge service and is also available for massage treatments or private dining. A seven-metre-tall namesake Jackalope sculpted by Melbourne artist, Emily Floyd, has taken tenancy at the entrance to the hotel.

Rates start at $650 per night and include a la carte breakfast, in-room mini bar, wine on arrival and WiFi. More www.jackalopehotels.com

 

Bass and Flinders Distillery

While on the subject of food and wine, Bass and Flinders Distillery is set in the heart of Red Hill country and is dubbed the “only bespoke distillery and cellar door” that gives you a chance to experience a journey from the stills to glass. Get insights into how they make their fine products including a range of gins, Australia’s first grape based vodka, limoncello and aged spirits. Tours of the barrel room and distillery are offered every weekend and you can score a tasting at the tasting bar. The most unique gin masterclasses in Australia are held here, too, where guests have an opportunity to create their very own bespoke gin. More bassandflindersdistillery.com

Red Hill Community Market

Rise and shine, peeps, and get your stack of cash ready for a smorgasbord of goodies at Red Hill Community Market. Since 1975 the iconic Red Hill Community Market is the place to be on the first Saturday of the month from September to May. Original Jewellery designs make a perfect gift ready to wrap. Manchester of various textures and colours to suit a wide range of tastes and homes. A whole range of exciting foods and beverages are represented, all fresh and tempting. Expect seasonal injections of local fruits and benches full of home grown vegetables. A huge selection of unique culinary delights make a mouth watering taste feast. There’s loads more. Check it out at craftmarkets.com.au/markets/red-hill.aspx

Cape Schanck – Mornington Peninsula National Park

Fantastic beaches and fabulous wines of the Mornington Peninsula are things everyone already knows, but the state and national parks really are the region’s best kept secrets. But the best thing is, they’re easily accessible and stunning. Just like Cape Schanck Mornington Peninsula National Park, for example, at the most southern tip of the Mornington Peninsula at the meeting of Bass Strait and Western Port. It has been protected since the 1800s and was made a national park in 1988 and offers spectacular scenery.
There are walks around the area with spectacular views along the rugged ocean beaches of Bass Strait towards Sorrento and Point Nepean.

Merricks House Art Gallery

Merricks House Art Gallery is a quick walk through the garden from Merricks General Wine Store and the gallery showcases talent from both the Mornington Peninsula region as well as artists from throughout Australia. The 1920 building has been beautifully restored from many years of dereliction. Polished floor boards and open plan design provide a space ideally suited to a gallery. It has become a renowned Peninsula art destination with high profile exhibitions. More mgwinestore.com.au/art-gallery

Hit the road for a scenic drive

Country roads, galleries, wineries and ocean views. You can’t get much better than going for a cruise along the Port Phillip Bay coastline from Frankston to Portsea, stopping at seaside villages and taking the detour up to Arthurs Seat for some fantastic views of the Peninsula. Also explore the peace and calm of the hinterland roads, wild Cape Schanck and historic Flinders before heading up the Western Port Bay coast.

SCOTT PODMORE

Mar
29
2017

Looking for the best Gold Coast restaurants? Read on

By Australia / Gold Coast /

The Gold Coast is most famous for its sunshine, sandy beaches and busy nightlife. But you may not know that Gold Coast restaurants are some of the best going around.

There are so many places where you can grab a scrumptious bite to eat, a quick coffee or sit down for some fine dining.

Here are five of the best Gold Coast restaurants for the hit-list. Make sure you grab a hire car from Surfers Paradise then head to these amazing eateries.

Hellenika Restaurant (pictured)

Hellenika is one of the best Gold Coast restaurants. Treat yourself to “simple authentic home-style food, designed to be placed in the middle of the table to share.” This philosophy is at the heart of everything Hellinika serves up. Treat yourself to traditional Greek dishes, such as smoky meats and seafoods. The salads are also divine and presented beautifully.

Etsu Izakaya

This gorgeous Japanese bar/restaurant is a great place to spend an afternoon with friends. Red paper lanterns, traditional tatami booths and trees that are “growing” from the tables are some of the unique features of this eatery. Those who dine here enjoy the busy, fun and loud environment. Silken tofu, tsukune dunked in egg yolk and wagyu beef are some of the incredible dishes to choose from.

Justin Lane

This popular pizzeria and pasta bar is a loud and lively place to spend the evening. There’s also the added option of rooftop dining, which sets a relaxing vibe at sunset or night. Admire views of Burleigh Beach and the iconic high rise buildings as you enjoy an antipasto place with company. Rustic pasta dishes and crusty wood-fired pizza are some of the most popular dishes on the menu.

Elk Espresso

Elk Espresso has a fantastic reputation among the locals. It’s always buzzing with excitement, no matter what time of day you visit. Fantastic coffee draws diners in, but the scrumptious Australian food keeps them coming back for more. For breakfast, indulge in some pork belly and corn with chilli. Or perhaps the Persian feta and poached eggs on sourdough is more to your liking. There’s plenty of healthy salads and burgers to choose from during the day.

The Fish House

This beachside dining room is elegant and charming. Feel at ease when you’re handed the menu, only to spot the day’s date, which proves just how fresh the produce here really is. Not to mention the fine wines that accompany the dishes. The restaurant is inspired by Southern Europe cuisine. Managers also proudly declare it “the finest Seafood Restaurant on the Gold Coast”.

BRIANNA PIAZZA

Mar
27
2017

Dunedin: Hit the road and find the best eats

By South Island /

Dunedin is one of the southern hemisphere’s best preserved cities. It features Edwardian and Victorian architecture from the 1800’s Gold Rush. It’s also New Zealand’s oldest university city, which earned it the reputation as the country’s centre of learning.

Is charming scenery and architecture enough to convince you to stop by Dunedin for a trip? If not, then perhaps its superb restaurants and cafes will. It has a wide variety of dining options. You can have a taste of Asia, Europe and even contemporary New Zealand tastes.

Find yourself a cheap car hire deal at Dunedin Airport and hit the road to find these best eateries.

Miga Korean BBQ and Japanese Restaurant

Miga’s philosophy is proudly all about balance. This idea rules all of the cuisine that graces the table, with the chef making sure the different flavours and textures compliment each other perfectly. You’ll have plenty of delicious Korean and Japanese dishes to choose from. The Korean BBQ is sensational with marinated meats to suit every taste bud. Your waiter brings the BBQ right to your table and grills it in front of you, or you can choose to grill it yourself to your liking.

Bacchus Wine Bar and Restaurant

Bacchus is sit in one of the city’s oldest and most historical buildings, the Hectagon. It dates back to the 1880s and its high ceilings and ornate cornices makes Bacchus well worth a visit. It’s the perfect setting as you feast upon some of the finest dishes. Come to Bacchus if you want some fine wine and a delicious grill. For 15 years it has been awarded the ‘NZ Beef and Lamb Hallmark of Excellence’. Hopefully that makes it easier for you to choose what to order!

Etrusco at the Savoy

Etrusco at the Savoy is one of Dunedin’s best Italian restaurants. It’s been running for more than 20 years, earning a reputation as an authentic Italian dining jewel. The family-run pizzeria also offers all of your favourite pastas, breads, antipasto and salads. Of course, there’s gluten free and vegetarian options for people with special requirements. Match any of these traditional dishes with some fine Italian wine and you’ll have yourself a night to remember.

1908 Café Restaurant

Set in the heart of the beautiful Otago Peninsula is the 1908 cafe. Stunning scenery makes dining here such a pleasant experience. Not to mention it’s only a half hour drive from Dunedin. You’ll be able to choose from a wide range of scrumptious, home-cooked meals. 1908 uses seasonal ingredients from across New Zealand and its cooks create every part of your meal from scratch. Denver leg venison and maple syrup lamb shanks are just some of the tempting delights.

No. 7 Balmac

You know the food is good when you see locals filling up every spare chair at a venue. The same can be said about No. 7 Balmac. This neighbourhood restaurant attracts lovers of fresh herbs and veggies, thanks to its chefs hand-picking ingredients from its very own garden. Breakfast treats you to buttermilk pancake with berries, or traditional eggs benedict. You can pick up some delicious wood-grilled meats and burgers in the evenings. The deserts are even more mouth-watering.

BRIANNA PIAZZA

Mar
20
2017

Top Things to do in the Sunshine Coast this Easter Break

By Australia / Brisbane /

It’s almost here! Four whole days off to indulge in some Easter fun. And, there is no better place to head for the break than the Sunshine Coast. With plenty of family fun to be had this Easter break it seems it’ll be a busy one. Therefore, you should get your car rental at Brisbane airport  booked sharpish.

From food festivals to animal fun at Australia Zoo, here are the top things to do in the Sunshine Coast this Easter break.

Kenilworth Cheese, Wine & Food Fest, 31st March

The region will play host to the Kenilworth Cheese, Wine & Food Fest on Easter Saturday (31st March).  An enjoyable free event which kicks off with a cheese rolling competition, as well as the great Cheester Egg Hunt for children. And, some gourmet cooking demonstrations showcasing produce from the Mary Valley for the adults.

Ocean Street World Festival, 1st April

It’s not only cheese and wine that will be on the menu over the Easter break. On Easter Sunday (1 April), Maroochydore will be transformed into a celebration of diversity at the Ocean Street World Festival. A free event featuring artists across four stages with acts from around the globe. Expect Salsa dancing, Bollywood workshops, choirs, djembe workshops and more.

Australia Zoo, 30th – 2nd April

Australia Zoo will be another hive of activity during the Easter break with an epic egg-pedition treasure hunt, pony trails, plus, meet their Easter Bilby and get a free chocolate egg. From the 30th – 2nd April, the Irwin family will be feeding the crocs (pictured) in the 12pm Wildlife Warrior show in the world-famous Crocoseum.

Pa and Ma Bendall Memorial Surfing Contest, 30th – 1st April

Surfers will be attracted by one of Australia’s oldest surfing competitions: the Pa and Ma Bendall Memorial Surfing Contest, held over the Easter break  (30-1 April) at Caloundra’s Moffat Beach. The surfing contest began in 1974 and has attracted some big names over the years including Wayne (Rabbit) Bartholomew, Simon Anderson and Hawaiian legend Gerry Lopez.

Original Eumundi Markets, 14th March – 9th April

Children can enjoy the annual Easter egg treasure hunt at the Original Eumundi Markets on Easter Saturday (31st March).  This will be another fun and free Easter break activity that includes a hunt with clues through the market with a chocolate surprise at the completion of the journey.

Other toddler activities on sunshine coast include: Magic with Nickleby at the Ginger Factory, mini medieval Olympics at Sunshine Castle or learn how to make robots dance, talk and move at Sunshine Coast Libraries.

Mar
19
2017

The A-Z of booking a Self-Drive Campervan Rental in Australia

By

What to Hire, from Who and How?

Introduction:

The first thing to say about self-drive holidays in Australia is that you have a wealth of choice to select from as well as a vast country to explore. Given that Australia is roughly the same size as continental USA with a population less than Texas there is plenty of empty space and a country widely diverse in climate and terrain to discover.

Australia is fortunate to be home to some of the World’s leading Campervan rental companies offering a wide range of vehicles from adventurous four wheel drives to luxurious Motorhomes.

Long gone are the days when a Campervan holiday involved cramped beds, awkward bathroom facilities, limited cooking options and generally a step away from home comforts. Today’s vehicles have evolved to offer European styled kitchens, spacious air-conditioned living areas with audio-visual equipment, large double beds and well-equipped bathrooms. What’s more they are surprisingly easy to drive with no special licensing requirements other than holding a full driving license and over the age of 21 (with some exceptions).

Power steering, automatic transmissions and modern design have taken the hard work out of travelling in a vehicle larger than most of us regularly drive.

Campervan at night

Photo by Eugene Quek on Unsplash

Finding & Booking … How?

Most of the leading rental firms have online booking facilities and in some instances reservations can be made through your local travel agent. However as alternative option, we would suggest visiting drivenow.com.au, a website dedicated to pulling information together on the top Australian (and New Zealand) rental suppliers. In addition to being able to compare rates and vehicles from competing rental companies the website also offers:

  • Latest Discounted Rate Comparisons
  • Early Bird and Long Term Rental Discounting
  • Vehicle Rental Company profiles
  • Rental branch locations and services provided
  • Detailed Vehicle descriptions and specifications
  • Fleet comparisons
  • Insurance detail options
  • Travel information

DriveNow is focused on doing all the leg work for prospective road travellers in Australia and New Zealand to ensure that you have all the information required to compare and select the vehicle that most suits your travelling needs.

Rental Companies … Who to use?

There are many high quality rental companies in Australia, some are highly specialised and offer services in particular states or cities whilst others are national and operate across all states and territories. The top 5 in terms of size, range of fleet, widest choice of branch locations and quality of service are:

Vehicle Definitions … What’s in a Name?

The term Campervan, Motorhome, RV (Recreational Vehicle) and even 4 WD Campervans are all often inter-used to describe the same vehicle. Whilst there are exceptions a set of rule-of-thumb definitions could include:

  • Motorhome
    Generally top end luxury vehicles on a long-wheel base and provide the most generous living space and facilities.
    These range from 2 to 6 berth vehicles and come equipped with European styled kitchen appliances, comprehensive bathroom facilities, full reverse cycle air-conditioning, LCD televisions, DVD players and in some instances even Playstations.
  • Campervans
    Campervans cover largely 2, 2.5 (2 adults & 1 child) and 3 berth vehicles. Today many of these are equipped with bathroom and complete kitchen facilities and often TVs & DVD players. Most have air-conditioning and heating in the Driving and Living cabins.
  • Recreational Vehicles (RVs)
    North American term to describe both the above sets of vehicles, although in the US the size of RVs can far exceed Australian models.
  • 4WD Campervans
    4 Wheel Drive Campervans are designed on their namesakes, the most popular of which is the Toyota Land-Cruiser. Whilst limited in internal features (generally bedding for two) these often provide additional external sleeping through tent extensions and some can accommodate up to 5 travellers. Vehicles are all Diesel with manual transmissions and generally long-range fuel tanks.

Campervan Classes … What’s the difference?

  • 6 Berth Motorhome6 Berth Motorhome Rental Comparisons
    Top end luxury vehicles, generally largest in a suppliers fleet with 3 double beds, comprehensive kitchen, onboard shower & Toilet facilities and Air-Conditioning/heating. Large entertainment area and audio visual equipment often includes LCD TV & DVD players. Turbo Diesel engines with manual and auto transmissions depending upon supplier. Examples include the Britz Frontier and Apollo Euro Deluxe Motorhomes.
  • 4 Berth Motorhome 4 Berth Motorhome Rental Comparisons
    Luxury vehicles with 2 double beds comprehensive kitchens, generous entertainment area, Air-Conditioning/heating and onboard shower & Toilet facilities.Often equipped with LCD TV & DVD players. Turbo Diesel engines with manual and auto transmissions depending upon supplier. Examples include KEA Campers 4 berth and Maui Motorhomes Spirit 4.
  • 3 Berth Motorhome3 Berth Motorhome Rental Comparisons
    Luxury 3 berth (1 x double & 1 x single) with comprehensive kitchen, onboard shower & Toilet, Air-Conditioning/heating and audio visual equipped. Turbo Diesel engines with manual transmission. Examples include Apollo’s Cruiser.
  • 3 Berth Campervan3 Berth Motorhome Rental Comparisons
    Accommodation for 2 adults & 1 child, Cooker, Fridge and sink (hand pump), no onboard bathroom facilities, Air-Conditioning/heating in Driver’s cabin. Unleaded Petrol engines with manual transmissions. Examples include Backpacker’s Nomad and Apollo’s Hitop campervan.
  • 2 Berth Motorhome2 Berth Motorhome Rental Comparisons
    Luxury vehicle, 1 double bed, comprehensive kitchen and onboard shower & Toilet facilities, Air-Conditioning/heating and often equipped with LCD TV & DVD players. Turbo Diesel engines with manual transmissions. Examples include KEA’s ST/TV and Maui’s Spirit 2 T/S.
  • 2 Berth Campervan2 Berth Motorhome Rental Comparisons
    Widest choice of vehicles, 1 Double Bed, well equipped kitchen, usually with onboard shower & Toilet facilities. Turbo Diesel and unleaded Petrol engines with manual transmissions depending upon supplier. Examples include BackPacker Wanderer and Britz Elite.
  • 4 Wheel Drive Campervans4 Wheel Drive Campervan Rental Comparisons
    Often equipped with sleeping accommodation onboard for 2, 4WD Campervans also supplement their sleeping quarters with tents. In the case of the Britz Toyota Adventurer this takes the form of the quirky Dome tent that sits atop of the vehicle. Vehicles largely based on the Toyota Land Cruiser short and long wheel base, Turbo diesel engines with manual transmission and often equipped with long-range fuel tanks – 135 litres. Examples include Apollo’s 2 Berth Adventure and the KEA Camper 3 Berth Pop-Top 4WD Campervan.

Selecting a Vehicle … What’s right for me?

In selecting the right vehicle for your holiday there are certain key considerations to make including:

  • Number of Travellers
  • Age of Travellers
  • Travel Itinerary
  • Budget
  • Time of Year
  • Style of Holiday

Obviously the number of passengers is going to dictate the type and size of your vehicle. But it’s also worth checking out the sleeping configuration of each vehicle.  For instance in many instances the 6 berth luxury Motorhomes have 3 x double beds and whilst perfect for 3 couples or young families it would not necessarily work for a group of friends or family with large number of adolescent children.

For those looking to have all the mod-cons whilst on the road then the Motorhome range of vehicles will fit the bill with accommodation starting from 2 berth up to the aforementioned 6 berths. These will provide the most leg-room, fittings, furnishings and bathroom facilities. Remember that many of the electrical appliances (including auxiliary Air-conditioning/hearting) will only operate when the vehicle’s power cable is connected to the mains (most Holiday Parks in Australia will offer this facility).

For those who are happy to live without some onboard facilities then the range of Campervans, of which the most popular and widest choice are the 2 (+1 child) berth will be ideal and easier on the pocket.

If you’re travelling on a budget and require 2 or 3 berths look for the Cheapa Campa from Apollo and Backpacker Campervan Rental options. Though often you will be surprised at the prices and deals available so comparing all your options is highly recommended.

If you plan to take your vehicle off the bitumen then the 4 Wheel Drive is the only option to look at and you must let the rental company know of your plans when you pick up the vehicle. In parts of Outback Australia you are required to have a permit to enter Aboriginal Lands and depending upon the season some areas are closed due to climatic conditions. The 4 Wheel Drive option caters for 2 travellers through to parties of 5 with tents – so very flexible.

Depending upon the time of year and where you wish to travel, it’s worth booking well in advance. In the Southern states in summer, particularly around Christmas, Motorhomes book out fast and well in advance. Conversely in the Winter period – June through August – Northern Queensland and the Top End – Darwin and the Northern Territory become popular.

If you have younger children or infants that require booster and/or baby seats check on the DriveNow website as to whether your vehicle of choice accommodates them.

DriveNow allows you to book well in advance so once you have your travel dates locked in it’s highly recommended to lock in your vehicle of choice to avoid disappointment and higher rates that generally come around the closer you get to popular travel times. Another advantage of booking early are the Early Bird rates. Most of DriveNow ‘s Campervan partners offer aaded discounts to rentals that are booked 6+ months in advance.

ChrisC
DriveNow Partner and sometime Blog Contributor

Mar
16
2017

New York dreaming – 5 famous attractions in the Big Apple

By New York /

New York City is one of America’s greatest cities. It’s at the top of nearly every traveller’s list. Whether you’re searching for love in the Big Apple, moving there to follow your dreams or simply stopping by for a quick tour of the city, NYC is an amazing experience for everyone who ventures there.

When you land in New York, hire a car from JFK airport and make your way to these famous attractions.

Times Square

It’s one of New York City’s most iconic attractions (main image, picture: JoeBuglewicz). No trip to the city is complete unless you’ve immersed yourself into the hustle and bustle of Times Square. About 330,000 people walk through Times Square every single day. It’s big, the flashing neon lights are bright and the experience is priceless. Costumed characters and musicians also help bring this area to life during the day and night. You can visit Times Square at any time, although the billboards look best when they’re photographed at night.

Broadway

About 13 million people pay a visit to Broadway to see one of its world class shows. There are 40 Broadway theatres, with most of these located between 41st and 52nd Street and Sixth to Eighth Avenue. See some of the modern takes on the classic theatre productions that have been around for decades. There are plenty of megamusicals with talent from all over the world gracing the stages of Broadway. These curtain raisers are well worth the time and chances are that one production won’t be enough to satisfy you!

Statue of Liberty

Lady Liberty is synonymous with New York. She’s stood proudly with her torch in the city’s harbor since 1886, when the French giften the marvellous 92 metre tall statue to the United States. It forever stands as a symbol of freedom and the Great American dream to migrants who arrived in New York over the years seeking a new beginning. Learn about the statue’s history during a visit to the site. Climb to the top of the statue where  you can also admire panoramic views of the city’s gorgeous skyline.

Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is the city’s tallest skyscraper. The 102-storey building towers above the rest of the city. Admire the Empire State Building’s distinct architecture from a distance but did you know you can also gain entry to the top? The Observation Deck is open to the public every day between 8am right through until 2 o’clock in the morning. The timing makes it convenient for you, whether you want to visit in the early morning, watch the sun set over the city or watch lights take over the city at night.

Central Park

Any big city is bound to be more concrete buildings than green spaces. But one of the most interesting features of the Big Apple is Central Park. Millions of people flock to this beautiful, green space every year. There’s 840 acres to explore, making it perfect for a picnic in summer. You can also spot lots of wildlife in Spring when the animals come out to explore. In the cooler months, the park transforms into a winter wonderland with snowmen and an outdoor ice skating rink.

BRIANNA PIAZZA

Mar
15
2017

Byron Bay highlights in the Autumn months

By Australia / New South Wales /

Byron Bay is only a two hour drive south of Brisbane, which makes it the perfect destination for a short getaway. The coastal town is famous for its beaches and it full of tourists in the summertime. But many find it’s actually better to visit in the cooler months, when the town is less busy and you have some of the stunning attractions all to yourself. 

It’s probably a good idea to start thinking about this trip as autumn approaches! Pick up your cheap car hire deal from DriveNow at Brisbane Airport and let your journey begin.

Do the Byron Bay Lighthouse Walk

Make sure this walk is at the top of your to-do list once you get to Byron Bay. The iconic lighthouse sits on top of sea cliffs. You can reach it from the base of the hill, which is a difficult walk, or by simply driving most of the way and walking the last part. It’s the perfect lookout to admire the easternmost pint of mainland Australia. You’ll be treated to splendid views of the coastline.

Check out the Bangalow Markets

You don’t necessarily need a lot of money to pick up some good buys at the Bangalow Markets. Drive 20 minutes and you’ll come across a world of handcrafted goods, unique jewellery and ceramics. There are 300 stalls and a whole bunch of freshly baked delights to look at. The markets are held on the fourth Sunday of the month. Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s still lovely to browse the stalls and meet the skilled artists, who will no doubt take every opportunity to talk about their creations.

Hit the beaches

Byron Bay is most famous for its idyllic beaches. White sandy shores and clear blue waters… what else could you ask for? The beaches may cool down in autumn but that means you’ll also get to escape the crowds. Main Beach is popular with families and it’s also home to many surf schools. If cold water scares you then all you need is a wetsuit and you’ll hardly feel it. If surfing isn’t your thing then pack a hot lunch and enjoy a picnic on the sand.

Head to the Ballina Historic Waterfront Trail

Drive south to discover one of the region’s iconic walking trails. THis one takes you from the gorgeous Fawcett Park to the North Wall, teaching you all about the area’s history. You’ll learn about the Richmond River and the role it played in the region’s early years, along with the arrival of European settlers. There are 19 interpretive plaques along the walkway to fill in the gaps for you. When you learn about an area’s history, it makes you appreciate what you see in town today.

Exlpore the Macadamia Castle

Head to Ballina’s Macadamia Castle for a day full of family fun. The kids tend to bolt straight to the nursery to see the animals. You’ll find native friends plus little rabbits and even a reptile display. You can also take the kids for a game of mini golf or treat yourself to a BBQ lunch. You’ll come across plenty of delicious food including gourmet macadamia products. There’s even a display where you can learn about the local macadamia nut industry.

BRIANNA PIAZZA

Mar
08
2017

Brisbane’s coolest caravan parks for your campervan

By Australia / Brisbane /

Do you want to explore the beautiful city of Brisbane in a caravan? It’s a caravan friendly city with many caravan parks to choose from. 

Hire a caravan from Brisbane Airport and stay at one of these caravan parks.

Brisbane Holiday Village (right)

If location is your main concern, then look no further than Brisbane Holiday Village. The award-winning Brisbane Holiday Village is only 15 minutes from the CBD and 20 minutes from the Gold Coast Theme Parks. It’s one of the most central caravan parks you’ll find in Brisbane which caters to all budgets. It also comes with all the amenities you’d expect, such as BBQs, a tennis court, mini golf course and a restaurant. 

Newmarket Gardens Caravan Park

Once upon a time this property was a Jersey cow stud farm but now it’s a tranquil caravan park for holiday-makers. This caravan park has 100 tourist sites, camping sites, ensuite cabins, to name a few accommodation styles. Newmarket Gardens is conveniently close to attractions such as Suncorp Stadium, the QLD Museum, Southbank and the Convention Centre. It’s also just 4km from the city centre but you’ll feel as if you have your own quiet section of paradise.

Brisbane Gateway Resort

Brisbane Gateway Resort is another venue in a convenient spot, which also offers value for money. You’ll stay in Rochedale on the south side of the city and enjoy the excellent facilities on site. Tourists who stay here praise the resort for its cleanliness and the modern guest facilities. Enjoy the resort-style swimming pool, a day/night tennis court and an adventure playground for the kids. All of the sites have electricity, water and waste water services.

Lake Somerset Holiday Park

If you’re prepared to stay outside Brisbane, then you won’t be disappointed if Lake Somerset Holiday Park is your choice. It’s set on 45 hectares in the Valley of the Lakes. Here, you can stay right near the edge of the water at Lake Somerset. This holiday park is the perfect place to base yourself if you want to explore Brisbane, Toowoomba and the Sunshine Coast. You also have the added bonus of having a watersport playground on your doorstep!

BRIANNA PIAZZA

Mar
06
2017

7 stops on a road trip from Sydney to Coffs Harbour

By Australia / New South Wales /

A road trip from Sydney to Coffs Harbour is one of the most scenic routes in New South Wales. There are many stunning lookouts, beaches and rainforest areas along the way and that’s not to mention the many landmarks along the way.

Grab a cheap hire car deal from Sydney and begin your road trip today!

Surf at Boomerang Beach, Pacific Palms

Begin your road trip with a surfing adventure at Pacific Palms. The area is renowned for its excellent surfing waves. Boomerang Beach is popular with families, especially in the summer months. Boomerang Beach has crystal clear waters and white sand. It also plays host to major surfing competitions every year. Talk about a beach that has everything!

Visit the historic Crowdy Head Lighthouse

The next stopover on your road trip of the mid north coast is the historic Crowdy Head Lighthouse which has been standing since 1879. It’s also one of only five small lighthouses on the NSW coast. The panoramic views from the lighthouse are breathtaking. Tourists often spot whales and dolphins from the lighthouse at certain times of the year.

Complete the Newcastle Memorial Walk

This spectacular coastal walk has a personal connections for thousands of locals. It was built to commemorate the centenary of the ANZAC landing at Gallipoli in 1915 while it also marks the beginning of the steel making industry in Newcastle. The 450 metre long cliff top walkway joins Strzelecki Lookout and Bar Beach. The views of the coast, city and valley are amazing.

Glenrock State Conservation Area

Just 5km from Newcastle is Glenrock State Conservation Area which offers pristine beaches, rainforest walks and waterfalls. This coastal rainforest area is home to bats, bandicoots and many ancient Aboriginal sites. There are plenty of walks and mountain bike trails and furthermore the park is home to gorgeous beaches that you can relax at.

See the world from Perpendicular Point, Laurieton

The majestic Perpendicular Point offers spectacular views of the surrounding coast. The lookout is located above 40 metre high cliffs and is surrounded by rugged headlands and forest. It’s also the highlight of Kattang Nature Reserve. It’s worth visiting in spring because the walking tracks nearby feature many wildflowers.

Visit Billabong Koala and Wildlife Park

This park is one of Port Macquarie’s most popular attractions. It features a range of Australian animals, such as kangaroos, echidnas, snakes and Birds of Prey. You’ll also get up close with animals from across the world, including lions, snow pandas and red pandas. The zoo has also gained worldwide recognition for its koala breeding program.

Detour for Bindarri National Park

Detour inland for about and hour to explore some of the highlights of Bindarri National Park. There are scenic spots for picknicking, walking and swimming. You’ll drive through old, lush forest which is full of wildlife and hidden natural treasures. In addition, many people like to pack their mountain bike so they can explore the area. But most of all, no matter where you choose to go in the National Park, you’re likely to find peaceful scenes that you’ll have all to yourself.

BRIANNA PIAZZA