Carry-on classic and other nifty travel gear


So you’re looking for the right gear and gadgets as a business traveller on the road? Try these 5 recommendations from the DriveNow car rental team.

Stylish Victorinox carry-on is king

Light, compact and as tough as a goat’s head – if ever there’s a cool piece of carry-on luggage to glide through the airports with, it’s the latest from Victorinox called the Etherius Gradient.

Etherius Metallics Collection has suitcases in four sizes (from carry-on to check-in) in Gold, Rose Gold and Silver (it’s since added Evergreen, Deep Lake, which is navy blue). The carry-on stood out for its ultra light weight while shouldering up with some solid protection qualities.

The hard-shell cases are made from Bayer polycarbonate which translates to serious durability and super light. The Hinomoto wheels (made in Japan) and a retractable handle that can be set at three different positions make it a smooth experience, especially with separate grips on the side and top for extra convenience.

Victorinox Etherius luggage. Photo by

Navman GPS EZY400LMT

Many travellers still use a GPS device while on the road. A little old school perhaps, but the Navman EZY models are still improving and the bigger screen and functionality seem to suit a big section of the corporate traveller market.

This one is perfectly affordable for drivers who may prefer to keep their sat-nav technology straightforward but appreciate the useful features of a standalone GPS, such as free lifetime map updates, spoken safety alerts, built-in multi-language options, or live traffic found on the EZY400LMT.

The touchscreen is one of the big drawcards, a 5-incher and includes 3D Junction Views and lane guidance so you don’t miss any of those sudden turn-offs in a foreign city, safety alerts that will actually tell drivers there is a school zone or speed camera ahead, tunnel simulation that ensures the GPS signal isn’t lost when travelling in a tunnel and lifetime map updates. The Navman EZY400LMT includes even more features such as Bluetooth Hands-free, New Zealand maps and a stack of traffic info such as Live Traffic and Smart Route that uses historical traffic data to provide the best route to avoid traffic congestion at any given day or time.

Navman EZY400LMT. Photo by


FireFly combats DVT

Deep Vein Thrombosis is a serious issue and one regular flyers need to be mindful of. FireFly is a brilliant  device created with the aim of stimulating blood flow for the prevention of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). It was previously only used in hospitals.

Business travellers and travelling sports men and women take note: the electronic device provides athletes with accelerated recovery after intense physical activity. It has also been proven to assist in preventing the serious health risk of DVT when travelling long distances or when mobility is reduced due to an injury.

For some tech talk: it’s worn behind the knee, the device uses OnPulse neuromuscular electro- stimulation (NMES) technology to simulate muscle contraction and trigger the body’s built-in mechanisms. It’s portable and has no wires and can be easily turned on and off.

Firefly Recovery Device. Photo by

Brilliant buds for long-haul flights

Air pressure changes during landing and take-off can be torture, and those annoying background noises on long-haul flights are a right pain. But the FlyFit noise and pressure-reducing earplugs are the perfect solution. FlyFit includes acoustic filters, which regulate uncomfortable pressure on the eardrums during takeoff and landing and act as a valve that balances the pressure between the outside world and the mid ear, to give your ears time to adapt to the differences in pressure in the air. These filters also absorb ambient noise, so you can have a relaxed start to your trip. Made from a special thermoplastic material developed by Alpine, these earplugs mold to the shape of your ear, so you’ll always have a perfect fit (not recommended for children under 10).

FlyFit Earplugs by Alpine. Photo by Alpine Hearing Protection

Noke a keyless winner

Who wants to worry about those tiny keys for your luggage padlocks? No one, really. Noke (pronounced “no key”) has served up the world’s first Bluetooth padlock which works with a simple app on your smartphone. The padlock opens and closes with a simple swipe of your finger. Better still, you can even share access to locked items with others by setting timeframes and duration of access if you really want to get fussy. And what if you lose your smartphone? Noke allows you to make a custom access code to open the padlock manually.

Noke padlock. Photo by


Why a Tasmania campervan escape is a must-do

By Australia / Tasmania /

Tasmania is beautiful any time of year with its countryside being the perfect place to relax and unwind. Just a couple of days away from the hustle and bustle of the city and you’ll feel as if you’ve been on holidays for weeks in beautiful Tassie.
Thinking of heading somewhere beautiful for the Easter break? All you need to do is grab a great campervan deal to enjoy a cheap weekend at one of these destinations in Tasmania.


Located within a beautiful valley, Rosebery is a zinc and gold mining town. It’s surrounded by dense forest and volcanic mountains known as the West Coast Range. If you like walking then there’s a scenic loop that offers superb views of the town. Rosebery also isn’t far from Montezuma Falls, which is one of Tasmania’s highest falls. To get there you just need to take a short walk along an old mining tram line or you can even get there along a 4WD track.

Snug Beach

Are you searching for your own beachfront paradise? You’ll find it at Snug Beach. It’s only a 30 minute drive from Hobart. Relax by the beach as you ready a book or have a picnic with the family. It’s a great location to swim, fish or go boating. You’ll also find a beach tennis court and a children’s playground not too far away. Venture a little further into the Huon Valley and you’ll be kept busy with plenty of scenery and popular attractions.


Beautifully preserved colonial buildings and cafes line the town of Stanley. A history tour will help you learn all about Stanley’s past. Another popular activity is climbing the path to the top of the Nut, which is a flat topped hill rising about 150 metres from the water’s edge. You’ll enjoy 360 degree views of the town. If you’re feeling tired then you can just take the chairlift to the top. However, it’s a good idea to base yourself in Stanley if you want to discover some of the best wilderness experiences that Tassie has to offer.


Tasmania’s second largest city is still a fantastic place to enjoy a relaxing weekend away. It offers a fantastic mix of city and country charm with its elegant Victorian and Colonial buildings. Launceston is also known for its surrounding natural beauty. The stunning Cataract Gorge is only a short distance from the centre. While if you follow the Tamar River north then you’ll encounter the state’s finest wine-growing region. You could easily stop by many wineries along the way!

Coles Bay

This part of the world is unforgettable. Long after you leave the lovely seaside village you’ll be thinking about when you can return. Coles Bay sits between the bottom of stunning granite mountains and crystal clear waters of Oyster Bay. The best part about Coles Bay is that the beaches aren’t crowded. Enjoy swimming, fishing, boating, etc. while feeling as if you have this little slice of heaven all to yourself. From here you can also explore the stunning Wineglass Bay, which is consistently rated among the top beaches in the world.



Get a taste for this year’s Noosa Food & Wine Festival

By Brisbane / Queensland /
Tipis on Noosa Beach

The Noosa Food & Wine Festival continues to boom and this year’s event on May 17-20 will have over 30 great events so there’s every reason to get your holiday accommodation sorted and your Brisbane car rental booked in and prepare to cruise up the highway for a feast for the senses.

The Festival Committee says one of the hottest places to be is under the Noosa Tipis on Noosa Main Beach: “This stunning venue opens on Friday night as it hosts the Festival Opening Party, celebrating Noosa’s amazing collection of restaurants coupled with some of Australia’s leading wines and continues to party across the weekend with great events presented by some of Noosa’s finest restaurants.

Check out the festival’s five great reasons to book your tickets now…


Ground your feet in the sand, take in the fresh air and immerse yourself in yoga and a nourishing breakfast under the Beach Tipis. Beyond Experiences will present a unique fusion of health and wellness offerings, showcasing talented and passionate souls.

Zenko Yoga will lead a 60-minute beach practice that will awaken the senses through breath and movement, while taking in the best view in Noosa. This feel-good flow will energise, stretch, centre and focus you in preparation for a fulfilled day.

Nutritionist and founder of Changing Habits, Cyndi O’Meara, will share her inspiring story along with insights into her sustainable farm located in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.

A nutritious Cyndi O’Meara-inspired breakfast will be served on the beach, showcasing local produce from Noosa’s own Shambhala Farm. A healthy breakfast wouldn’t be complete without a fresh Noosa Cleanse juice and a splash of champagne!  (Stand-up event.) Saturday 19 May 6.30-9am $80.


Watch the sun set from the Beach Tipis?as you join Bistro C, Boardwalk Bistro and Rococo for a sublime night of food, wine and entertainment to remember. (Stand-up event.) Saturday 19 May 5-9pm $195. (Please note this is an 18+ only event).


There’s no better way to start a Sunday?than with a Champagne breakfast. Take in stunning sea views with Laurent-Perrier in hand, delicious canapés by Rickys Head Chef Josh Smallwood and chilled Sunday sounds by DJ Mike. (Stand-up event)

Ticket includes one Champagne Fizz served on arrival, one glass of Laurent Perrier Champagne, plus six canapés (four small canapes and two substantial canapes). Sunday 20 May 9.30-11am $75. (Please note this is an 18+ only event).


Experience four of Noosa’s finest restaurants – aromas Noosa, Rickys, Locale Noosa?and Wood Fire Grill at a four-course lunch showcasing produce from Maravista Farm and matching wines by Pizzini Wines together with a welcome drink on arrival. (Sit-down event.) Sunday 20 May 12-2.30pm $165. (Please note this is an 18+ only event).  


What is Aperitivo? To the Italians, Aperitivo refers to a refreshing alcoholic beverage or cocktail shared with friends at sunset. It is meant as an appetizer or opener to your night with the intention of stimulating your appetite for a night of food and fun!

For the finale of Noosa Food & Wine 2018, Noosa Boathouse and Dal Zotto Wines are presenting just that! Join them for the Official Closing Party and enjoy the sunset on Noosa Main Beach, slip off your shoes and feel the sand between your toes.

Grab a Dal Zotto Prosecco cocktail while you decide what you’d like to nibble on. With Noosa Boathouse Chef Shane Bailey and Chef Matt Golinski at the helm, there will be some fantastic local food on offer, so be prepared to try some amazing produce from the Noosa region.

The music kicks in, as does a night under the stars full of fun, food and festivities….Welcome to Tipi Aperitivo. Tickets include: Beach Tipi entry, 2 hours of Dal Zotto Prosecco cocktails and wine (5-7pm), generous amounts of food by Matt Golinski and Shane Bailey, plus live music by Honey! Cash bar available 7-9pm. Sunday 20 May 5-9pm $149. (Please note this is an 18+ only event).  

Also see Great Ways To Play on the Sunshine Coast at Easter


Love is in air for Sydney and surrounds this Valentine’s Day

By New South Wales / Sydney /

With Valentine’s Day less than three weeks away, now’s a great time to book your Sydney car rental and treat your loved one to a special escape. AccorHotels have some fantastic options for lovebirds.

Harbour Rocks Hotel, MGallery by Sofitel

This Valentine’s Day guests at Harbour Rocks Hotel’s Scarlett Restaurant (pictured) are invited to enjoy a four course degustation dinner, plus a glass of bubbles on arrival and a red rose. Priced from $160.00 per person, or $130 per person for AccorPlus members. The meal must be fully prepaid and is non-refundable, subject to availability and conditions apply.

To book, visit

Novotel Lake Crackenback

Guests are invited to rekindle their romance in the picturesque Snowy Mountains with the High Country Romance Package at Novotel Lake Crackenback. The package includes two nights accommodation, buffet breakfast daily, a two course dinner at Alpine Larder, a relaxing 45 minute massage for each guest, late check-out and complimentary resort activities including tennis courts and archery. Priced from $479 per person, the package is subject to availability and conditions apply. To book, visit

Sofitel Sydney Wentworth

This Valentine’s Day Sofitel Sydney Wentworth presents High Tea au Chocolat. The hotel’s renowned pastry team has partnered with the chocolatiers of Weiss chocolate to create a sinfully sweet surprise for guests to share with their amour. Priced from $69 per person, $79 per person including a glass of sparkling wine and $89 per person including a glass of Vevue Clicquot. For more information and to book, visit

Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour

The Ultimate Romance Package is presented by Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour this Valentine’s Day. Guests will enjoy an indulgent three course dinner and bottle of Champagne for two, served by a butler from their very own private balcony of one of the hotel’s luxurious suites. The suites offer one the world’s most romantic views of Sydney Harbour and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Priced from $1,199, the package also includes overnight accommodation, early check in, late check out and breakfast for two at Q Dining. Subject to availability and conditions apply. To book, visit


Five great reasons for a summer escape to Queenscliff

By Melbourne / Victoria /

Steeped in history, Queenscliff’s modern, cosmopolitan touch is driving everyone south in Victoria to discover its charms in accommodation, dining, train rides and seaside appeal among dozens of other reasons. From its early beginnings in the 1850s when it became a strategic defence post close to the entrance of Port Phillip which in turn provided shipping access to Geelong and Melbourne, it’s become a hot-ticket item for “great escape” destinations in Australia.

Only a 90-minute drive to the Bellarine Peninsula in your Melbourne airport, Queenscliff has dozens of reasons for a weekend – or week-long – escape, but here five standouts.

360Q – a waterfront feast for the senses

Great ocean views, superb service, incredible food and live entertainment. There’s 10 words or less that should be enough to suggest you’d be crazy to avoid spectacular 360Q waterfront restaurant (pictured) at Queenscliff Marina. The venue was closed in 2014 but was reborn over 12 months ago under the management of charismatic Mornington Peninsula celebrity caterer and restaurateur, Barry Iddles, who has breathed new life into its two venues – the Hooked on Fish Cafe Bar and Restaurant downstairs and the spectacular 360Q function space on the first floor.

Upstairs you can soak up views across Queenscliff’s $38 million marina, with the city of Melbourne in the distance, Port Phillip Heads and the town of Queenscliff from its enclosed viewing deck which guests access via a spiral staircase. The food itself is adventurous and memorable. Think entrees like sweet corn and jalapeno fritters with lime and chilli glaze or Idamaes summer duck salad with peach salsa. Mains hit the spot with popular menu items such as Sri Lankan rubbed lamb rack with cardamom pilaf rice, green beans and raita or Dendeng balado beef short rib with coriander rice & fried basil. Of course, the location requires some choice seafood and it certainly delivers by capitalising on local produce – try Portarlington mussels with lemongrass & chilli, coconut broth, or the simple but sensational Furphy battered whiting fillets, crunchy chips, lemon and tartare. Desserts are must, namely the Chocolate molten pudding w vanilla ice cream and a compote of raspberries, or Coconut creme brulee with papaya & lime.

“This was an incredible opportunity to relaunch a venue that locals and Melburnians alike know and love,” Iddles told DriveNow. “It’s the perfect spot for residents to come for a casual lunch or breakfast, for tourists off the ferry to stop and relax during their day trip and its magnificent views will mean we’ll soon be the most talked-about function space on the Bellarine coastline.”

Sleep easy at beautiful Benamda B&B

This historic cottage is one of the oldest buildings in Queenscliff still in use and has an old-fashioned irresistible vibe with hosts Geoff and Anne at the helm.

Benambra Boutique Bed & Breakfast offers a relaxing escape in the heart of town where you can experience an ambience of the 1870s with modern day comforts and homely food. Lovingly restored and in immaculate condition, it provides seven rooms with ensuites; two with spas. Everything is nearby including the beach, restaurants (360Q only 10 minutes by foot), shops and the ferry to Sorrento.

Homemade cake with tea or coffee is served on arrival and every morning begins in the dining room with a hearty breakfast like grandma used to make. Plus you can tap into the hosts’ wealth of local knowledge and top tips.

Eco Boat Tours

After you wander the historic streets to work off a big breakfast, book in with the South Bay Eco Adventures crew for any number of tour types at Queenscliff Harbour.

Take your pick from Bay & Bass Strait tours, Bird Watching & Photography, South Channel Fort Tours, Mud Island Tours, Dolphins, whales, seals and penguins, private charters and more. These guys offer an up close nature based adventure you won’t forget highlighting the unique history, wildlife and coastal landscape of the area.

Rock out on the Blues Train

They say nothing quite captures the essence of the blues like a steam train in full swing, and this Blues Train is always rockin’.

The Blues Train leaves Queenscliff Railway Station after guests enjoy a buffet style dinner with local wines, beers and spirits. Then the real party begins. It’s a full meal and show, four blues artists and the full train ride to Drysdale return over five hours.

A tipple or two at Scotchmans Hill

From a broad selection of wineries in the region, Scotchmans Hill is a must with lots going on as new owners work on some renovations. Established in 1982, Scotchmans Hill is a producer of premium cool maritime climate wines and is rated among James Halliday’s Top 100 Australian Wineries. Immaculately maintained vineyards overlook Port Phillip Bay, and the wines are to die for, which can be sampled in the cellar door. Must include the wickedly delicious freshly made platters out in the courtyard.



Christmas spirit sweeps over Melbourne

By Melbourne / Victoria /

Melbourne comes alive for some serious Christmas spirit every year as shopping hotspots dress up for the occasion. The Visit Victoria team shared the news with Melbourne car rental specialists DriveNow on just where to go to find the Spirit of Christmas, along with what’s open and when.

From markets to the Myer windows, selfies with Santa and a merry activation in Federation Square, there’s something for locals and visitors alike as Victoria celebrates. Try these:

Federation Square (until 25 December)

Federation Square will be transformed into a Christmas wonderland offering festive fun for the whole family. The jolly man in red is in residence, found beneath a 16-metre-tall tree and waiting to make his list of naughty and nice children. A light show takes over at 9:00pm every night, with a six-metre bauble glittering in the Square.

State Library of Victoria Christmas Projections (until 25 December)

The iconic State Library of Victoria will light up across December, with its stunning architecture featuring a bright and swirling projection show that tells the story of the North Pole’s preparation for the big day. The show begins at 9pm every night.

Myer Christmas Windows (until early 2018)

As iconic as Santa Claus himself, the Myer Christmas Windows in the Bourke Street Mall are a Melbourne institution. Celebrating ‘The Completely and Utterly Perfect Christmas’ by HC Floren, it’s best to get there early and avoid the queues. The Giftorium on the sixth floor provides plenty of inspiration for those on the hunt for presents that surprise a loved one.

Christmas Laneways (until early 2018)

Degraves Street, Alfred Place, Howie Place, Meyers Place and Manchester Lane are some of Melbourne’s most iconic laneways and in 2017 they’ll be decked out with boughs of holly, fairy lights, baubles and in some cases, a reindeer too. Did someone say Instagram?

The Gingerbread Village (until 24 December)

The Gingerbread Village by EPICURE returns to the Melbourne Town Hall in 2017, brought to life by award-winning pastry chef Deniz Karaca and his talented team in an effort to raise money for the Royal Children’s Hospital. This year they will craft the F1 Grand Prix circuit, adding to the existing village comprising 500 kilograms of gingerbread, 360 kilograms of royal icing, 150 kilograms of marzipan and around 800 miniature Christmas trees for the festive backdrop.

Christmas with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (16 Deccember)

Feet will be tapping as the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra perform favourite festive orchestral works, such as ‘The Nutcracker’ by Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov’s ‘Christmas Eve’ at the Arts Centre’s Hamer Hall, where a recent renovation and the very latest sound technology has cemented the venue as one of the world’s great music halls.

Carols by Candlelight Sidney Myer Music Bowl (Christmas Eve)

Those attending will join in the chorus at Carols by Candelight, a now 80-year long celebration of music that donates 100% of profits to the efforts of Vision Australia. For locals and visitors alike, this is an unforgettable evening of music, laughter and memories. Spectators can enjoy a BYO picnic on the grass, watching and listening to your favourite carols by artists like Marina Prior, Denis Walter and Silvie Paladino.

Skate with Santa (every weekend in December)

Budding Winter Olympians can take to the ice alongside Santa at O’Brien Group Arena, with skating for the whole family a fantastic way to begin the build-up to Christmas Day. It’s on every Saturday and Sunday across December, from 11am – 3pm.

Queen Victoria Market (until 25 December)

The North Pole comes to Melbourne’s most iconic market this December, as thousands of Melburnians stock up on the trimmings required for a feast to remember. More than 250,000 people are expected to pass through in the days leading up to Christmas, with entertainment from carollers to feature alongside Santa Claus and cooking demonstrations by celebrity chef Lynton Tapp.

South Melbourne Market (until 25 December)

An Australian Christmas abounds for Melburnians on the hunt for seafood, and the South Melbourne Market, Coventry and Cecil streets, is the place to be for prawns, crayfish, crabs and oysters this festive season. There will be extended trading from 20 December and Santa and his elves will be on site to support with any final gift ideas.


As Christmas Day fast approaches, it’s time to plan ahead. Below is an update on Christmas trading hours for the major centres across the city.

Chadstone, the Fashion Capital
11 December – 17 December, 9:00am – 9:00pm
18 December – 22 December, 9:00am – 12:00am (midnight)
36 hours of trading: 8:00am, Saturday 23 December – 6:00pm, Sunday 24 December

Melbourne Central
11 December – 23 December, 9:00am – 9:00pm
24 December, 9:00am – 6:00pm

11 December – 13 December, 9:00am – 7:00pm
14 December – 17 December, 9:00am – 9:00pm
18 December – 22 December, 9:00am – 11:59pm
34 hours of trading: 9:00am, Saturday 23 December – 5:00pm, Sunday 24 December

11 December – 23 December, 9:00am – 9:00pm
24 December, 9:00am – 6:00pm

Westfield Doncaster
11 December – 13 December, 9:00am – 7:00pm
14 December – 15 December, 9:00am – 10:00pm
16 December – 17 December, 9:00am – 7:00pm
18 December – 20 December, 9:00am – 10:00pm
21 December – 22 December, 9:00am – 11:59pm
23 December, 9:00am – 9:00pm
24 December, 8:00am – 5:00pm

The District, Docklands
16 December – 20 December, 9:00am – 6:00pm
21 December, 9:00am – 8:00pm
22 December, 9:00am – 9:00pm
23 December, 9:00am – 7:00pm
24 December, 10:00am – 6:00pm


Wet and wild is the Northern Territory summer

By Darwin / Northern Territory /

The NT is stunning all year round, yet when the wet season rolls in like clockwork every November, it adds a certain vibrancy to the landscape as floodplains fill and spill into surrounding waterways and the green foliage thickens and deepens in colour. Touring the Top End in your Darwin car rental in the green season also means you’ll be visiting out of peak, so your Territory trip-of-a-lifetime won’t break the budget as hotels and tour operators offer generous discounts.

If you’re ready for a cool change this summer, here are Tourism NT’s picks to whet your appetite for travel in the green season.


The tropical capital is treated to vivid sunsets, spectacular light shows and refreshing rains, which bring a cool change during the summer months. Darwin’s famous Sailing Club at Fannie Bay or the Darwin Waterfront are the perfect places to watch the show unfold.

A visit to modern-day Darwin is also a journey back through Australia’s war time history. East Point Reserve, just 10 minutes’ drive from the city centre, is home to a cool collection of artillery that’s housed in the original concrete bunker used by the army to plan the strategy for the wartime defense of Australia’s northern shores.

The Territory’s famous ‘build up’ and run-off from monsoonal rains also make for great fishing from January to mid–March and the Territory’s famous Million Dollar Fish competition provides a million extra incentives for anglers to stay, play and fish in and around the Top End.  For those that prefer to feed their fish rather than catch them, Aquascene offers a daily fish feeding experience in the heart of Darwin that’s perfect for families. Expect to see inquisitive mullet, milkfish, catfish, bream, batfish and barramundi coming in to feed. For more visit


The swell of wet-season waterfalls, like popular Wangi Falls, makes for epic Instagram-worthy images when taken from the lower viewing platforms at Litchfield National Park, just a short 90-minute drive from Darwin’s CBD.

While the 4WD tracks and some walking tracks close during the green season, most of the park remains open year-round as do the popular gin-coloured Florence Falls and Buley Rockhole.

If you’re heading to these parts, then a trip to the Tolmer plunge waterfall really showcases the power of Mother Nature and it’s easily accessible in green season.  A quick dip in the infinity pool at Greenant Creek offers unbelievable views from the escarpment and, if you are lucky, you’ll have the place to yourself during the wet. In fact, this spot is so good, that Litchfield Park Rangers rate it as one of small must-do experiences in life.

For those that love their camping, it’s also much easier to nab a great camping spot at this time of year and soak up the quiet.  Outdoor types can roll up your swags and join Territory Expeditions’ Three day Kakadu/Litchfield small group camping expedition every November to April.


Uluru aside, a visit to World Heritage-listed Kakadu is one of the most spiritual experiences a traveller can experience on home soil.

In the green season, a scenic flight is one of the best ways to fully appreciate this ancient and rugged landscape as water buffalo roam with free abandon, green spear trees reach their full height, billabongs swell and fill and waterfalls are in full-flow. Operators like Kakadu Air take in the park show-stoppers – Jim Jim and Twin Falls – the sight of which guarantees to make your cameras whir as fast as the helicopter’s rotors as the drama unfolds below.

On the ground, sealed roads make exploring a breeze and Nourlangie Rock (or Burrunggui as it is known to the Gun-djeihmi speakers) is one of the most impressive ancient galleries in Kakadu. This open-air gallery was the wet season home for generations of Aboriginal people and Park Rangers stress it’s important to look and not touch to preserve the site for future generations.

A cruise on Yellow Water – a lush, tropical billabong that’s home to wild buffalo, crocs, 120 species of reptiles and flocks of native birds (some 300 species in total) and all manner of flora – is a must-do on any Kakadu trip.  Kakadu Tourism offers a 90-minute trip through the wetlands – complete with expert commentary from super-enthusiastic guides and the occasional trumpeting of brolgas (which can be heard up to 2km away) – which brings visitors nose to snout with the region’s famous salties.

A range of discounted cruise options and accommodation packages are available during the green season including a Sunset and Sunrise cruise package, with overnight stay at Cooinda Lodge, or slip into safari life or embrace the emblem of the NT and stay in the park’s famous croc-shaped hotel, Mercure Crocodile Hotel.

For a touch of understated bush luxury, treat yourself to a night or two at Bamurru Plains lodge, perfectly plonked on a privately-owned buffalo station right on the fringes of Kakadu National Park. Surrounded by savannah woodland, you’ll wake to birdsong, feast on bush-inspired gourmet meals and fall asleep to the sounds of nature. The property is closed during the early months of the wet season (Nov to Feb), operates as an exclusive fishing lodge from February to April and reopens in May.


Stretching from Queensland to Western Australia, the Katherine Region is where the outback meets the tropics in a region that’s filled to the brim with dramatic gorges, river ways, thermal springs and waterfalls.

In country as beautiful as this, it’s always a good idea to take to the skies and soar over the Z-shaped lands to really appreciate the diversity, so make sure your camera is fully charged. No less than thirteen dramatic gorges dot the landscape and names like Biddlecombe Cascades, Crystal Falls and 17 Mile Falls roll off the tongue as you fly low along the escarpment towards Arnhem Land.


A little closer to terra firma, Nitmiluk Tours run their Nit Nit Dreaming Two Gorge Cultural Cruise through the lands of the Jawoyn people and continue during the green season until the water levels rise too high. For water babies, Mataranka Hot Springs and its neighbour, beautiful Bitter Springs, are located just a 50 minute drive south.

Immerse yourself in nature with a hike through the Nitmiluk National Park to the Southern Rockhole – one of the few places where you can swim in park during the wet season. The walk is more hike than stroll as you clamber over the rocky escarpment so BYO good walking shoes. And, at day’s end, retire to your Safari Tent in the National Park campground, complete with resident wallabies and a side of fresh NT air.

Some call it the green season; we just call it a summer well spent in the NT.

SCOTT PODMORE (with Tourism NT)


Sydney New Year’s Eve party hot spots to bring in 2018

By New South Wales / Sydney /

With Sydney set to throw the world’s most exciting New Year’s Eve party party featuring outstanding fireworks displays, we’ve asked the Destination NSW team to reveal some of the city’s best vantage points and parties for revellers to ring in 2018.

As NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall says: “Every year Sydney erupts into a kaleidoscope of colour as the nation’s biggest-ever fireworks display welcomes in the New Year. With many locations across the harbour foreshore to view the fireworks, as well as festivities and parties to experience, celebrating New Year’s Eve in Sydney is another great reason to book a holiday to NSW.”

Here are some great options to watch all the action

Sydney - New Years Eve

The Rocks

Campbell’s Cove is on Hickson Road north of the Overseas Passenger Terminal, offers front row views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. Revellers are advised to arrive early as the area usually reaches capacity at around 4pm. Admission is free; Opening times: 9.30am 31 December to 1am 1 January.

Circular Quay

To nab a spot on the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House it’s best to arrive as early as possible as this iconic spot reaches capacity early in the day. Food and drinks are available for purchase onsite. Admission is free; Opening times: 7.30am 31 December to 1.30am 1 January.

The Royal Botanic Gardens

Mrs Macquarie’s Poinnt is one of the most popular viewing spots for New Year’s Eve due to the location’s fantastic views. This vantage point also offers food and drinks available for purchase onsite. Admission is free; Opening times: 10am 31 December to 12.15am1 January.

Barangaroo Reserve

This year, celebrate New Year’s Eve at Sydney’s Barangaroo Reserve. The Reserve is one of the best-value ticketed New Year’s Eve venues on Sydney Harbour. The spectacular harbourside location, superb views of the sunset and the western façade of the Sydney Harbour Bridge make Barangaroo Reserve the ultimate spot to enjoy the 9pm and midnight fireworks. The site will feature light entertainment, picnic spaces, food and beverage hampers available for purchase and family-friendly alcohol-free zones, as well as licensed areas. Tickets start at $40 for adults and from $5 for children. Juniors under two are free. Tickets are available for purchase from Admission is ticketed; Opening times: 6pm 31 December to 12.45am 1 January.

Darling Harbour

Viewing spots around Cockle Bay are prized locations and this year will be no exception. With a free program of live music and light shows from 7pm, as well as the famous 9pm and midnight fireworks, Cockle Bay is set to be one of the most exciting, free family-friendly locations to celebrate the end of 2017. Admission is free; Opening times: 11am 31 December to 1.30am 1 January.

Sydney Harbour Islands

Shark Island will be transformed into an island paradise this New Year’s Eve. Guests will be treated to a live DJ and some of the best views of Sydney Harbour. Dance to the tunes of DJ Adi Toohey and Sydney’s own Recess DJs. Sliders, fries and desserts will be available for purchase from Slippin’ Sliders. Tickets start from $232 for adults and from $165 for children. Children aged under four are free. Tickets include ferry transfers to and from Rose Bay.

Sydney’s other islands including Cockatoo Island, Goat Island and Clark Island offer a range of exciting New Year’s Eve events. For a lively celebration book a ticket to enjoy a three-course meal and Garden Party on Clark Island with tickets priced from $395 for adults and $242 for children. Children aged under four are free.

On the water

For a ‘ferry good view’ of the fireworks, jump aboard an iconic Sydney Harbour Ferry from Manly or Rose Bay Wharf for a front row seat of the fireworks. Exclusive tickets are now available for the Harbour of Lights Parade which gives visitors a tour of the Harbour and the closest views of the 9pm and midnight fireworks. Guests can pack a picnic to enjoy on-board with tickets starting from $150 for adults and $125 for concessions.

Sydney CBD

Sitting 47 floors above the city and offering 360 degree views from the deck of a revolving restaurant, O Bar and Dining is one of the most exclusive places in Sydney to see in the New Year. Choose to have an eight-course degustation dinner or rolling chef’s tapas taking in Sydney from all angles in the unique circular dining room. The cuisine is based on chef and owner Michael Moore’s healthy eating philosophy and complements an extensive wine list and innovative cocktail menu of modern, classic and vintage drinks. Tickets start from $475 for adults (18 years+ only).

Portside Sydney will host an exquisite ‘La Riviera’ themed party this New Year’s Eve with open-air dining and uninterrupted views of the world-famous 9pm and midnight fireworks on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Guests can enjoy free-flowing French Champagne, cocktails, live food stations and canapes by Lauren Murdoch all night as they enjoy the live music beneath the stars, under the sails of the Sydney Opera House. Tickets are priced from $695 for adults (18 years+ only).

While demand is high, revellers can still book a hotel room in the city to ring in the New Year. Travellers are advised to book fast as hotels will be at capacity on 31 December.

For a full list of Sydney New Year’s Eve vantage points visit and find your Sydney car rental here.


5 great Australian music festivals for summer


We come from a land Down Under where women glow and men plunder, and we have an endless supply of incredible music festivals. Diversity is the key so there is a festival somewhere in our great southern land to suit all tastes. Where to begin? Why not start with a campervan rental and book a holiday park to park your wheels before getting in tune with one of these five for the summer of 2017-2018.

The Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth (19-28 January 2018)

TEN days, 700 performers, 2800 events and more than 50,000 country music lovers. Clearly there are big numbers behind this giant country music fest which this summer showcases the likes of Troy Cassar-Daley, Adam Harvey, Amber Lawrence, Beccy Cole, John Williamson and more.  From free shows every night in the park, to buskers, stalls, children’s activities and street performers there is a helluva lot going on. Choose from thousands of free and ticketed shows over the journey of the festival in the pubs, clubs and hotels around Tamworth.

Rainbow Serpent (26-29 January 2018)

A monster electronic music, arts and bush festival in Lexton, in country Victoria, the Rainbow Serpents clearly is one of Australia’s most popular festivals. The event is revved up for its 21st celebration, a long way from its humble beginnings of a small gathering in a secluded clearing to become an internationally renowned weekend of dance, colour, expression and celebration. People now travel from all over the world to Western Victoria to experience what some have said is the best outdoor festival of it’s type in the Southern Hemisphere. As the organisers say, it’s a “fresh discovery of opportunity and escapism, a chance to connect with like minded individuals and to celebrate nature, community and harmony.” No longer just an electronic music festival these days you can expect to experience a unique combination of music, art, performance, spiritual discussion, relaxation and healing.

Falls Festival (New Year’s Eve)

The Falls Music and Arts Festival celebrates 25 years this year and is one of the longest running, boutique music events in Australia. The festival is inspired by European style events, with a great selection of talented bands, DJs and comedians from throughout the world. Set in four venues including Lorne, Byron Bay, Marion Bay and Fremantle. Some big name artists this year include Flume, Peking Duk, the Kooks, Glass Animals, Daryl Braithwaite and more.

Woodford Folk Festival (27 December 2017 to 1 January 2018)

Woodford Folk Festival is one of the largest folk festivals in the world. The program taps into Australia’s cultural, artistic and social expression with music, cabaret, dance, comedy, workshops, debate, street theatre, films, forums, circus and visual arts, including an entire children’s festival and spectacular fire event on New Year’s Day. More than 2000 performers and 438 events are programmed featuring local, national and international guests. This year will be the 31st Woodford Folk Festival and the 23rd held at Woodfordia.

Mona Foma (12-22 January 2018)

Tasmania’s annual eclectic music and arts festival, Mona Foma (aka MOFO) is set in Hobart and curated by Brian Ritchie, bass player from the rock band Violent Femmes. The 2018 instalment of Mona’s popular festival will see the event branch out into Launceston for the first time, with a three-day “Mini Mofo” weekend to feature Grammy-winning Australian star Gotye and culminate in a free block party at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery. Mofo then returns to Hobart for several events before the big “Weekend at Walshy’s” features dozens of performances on-site at Mona from January 19-21.


5 unmissable events in Queensland this November

By Australia / Brisbane / Queensland /

THE sun shines all year round in Queensland so that’s reason alone to jump in a Brisbane car rental and head for the sun, sand and sea. But while the notoriously brilliant beach life is always available for visitors, some super events come and ago and take another 12 months before they come around again. So let’s look at 5 ripper events put forward by the Tourism Queensland team in the Sunshine State before we sign off on 2017.

No.1… Noosa Triathlon Multi Sport Festival

November 1-5

The Noosa Triathlon Multi Sport Festival is a five-day bonanza based in Noosa on the Sunshine Coast and includes a stacked line-up of events for all ages and abilities. The schedule includes a Breakfast Fun Run and a Run Swim Run event. Super Saturday is one of the highlights of the event with the Superkidz and Special Triathlon in the morning and the Subaru Noosa Australian Open Criterium and Asics Noosa Bolt in the afternoon, which also includes the Legends Triathlon with all the events attracting a premium field and sporting legends. Of course, the crown event is the Noosa Triathlon on Sunday, which has continued its prime position of the largest standard distance race in the world. It includes a one and a half kilometre swim, a 40km bike and 10km run. With over 12,000 athletes competing over the event week, it is certainly one event you need to experience for yourself.

No.2… The Wizard of Oz in South Brisbane (pictured)

November 4 – December 3

The world’s favourite musical is returning to Australia and the London Palladium production of The Wizard of Oz will have its Australian Premiere in Brisbane from 4 November 2017 before travelling to Sydney from 30 December. Producers John Frost and Suzanne Jones have announced that Australia’s leading musical theatre star Anthony Warlow will be playing The Wizard and Professor Marvel, while Lucy Durack will play Glinda the Good Witch, and Jemma Rix will be The Wicked Witch of the West. Developed from the ever-popular MGM screenplay, the London Palladium production of The Wizard of Oz contains the beloved Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg songs from the Oscar-winning movie score, all the favourite characters and iconic moments, plus a few surprises along the way, including new songs by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

No.3… Rugby League World Cup semi final and final

November 24 and December 2

The Rugby League World Cup Semi Final in Brisbane will take place on November 24 and the final will explode on December 2 in Milton, in a month when the world’s best players descend on Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea for the Rugby League World Cup in Queensland. The tournament will see 14 teams play 28 games over five weeks from 27 October until 2 December 2017 – all hoping to be crowned World Cup Winners, in what is the pinnacle event in international Rugby League. This will be the biggest sporting event in Australia during 2017, with Brisbane Stadium to host a much-anticipated Semi Final of the Rugby League World Cup on Friday 24 November 2017. The atmosphere will be electric in the stadium, and the fan experience will be unrivalled, as two of the world’s best teams battle it out for a place in the Final at Milton in early December.

No.4… Woodford Folk Festival

December 27 – January 1

Woodford Folk Festival in Queensland is an annual six day and night event. It is one of Australia’s largest and most iconic events. It is also the largest gathering of artists and musicians in Australia. The program encompasses the depth and diversity of Australia’s cultural, artistic and social expression with music, dance, cabaret, circus, comedy, workshops, debate, street theatre, films, forums, visual arts, an entire children’s festival and many special presentations including a spectacular fire event on New Year’s Day.

No.5… Australian PGA Championship, Benowa, Gold Coast

November 30 – December 3

Australia’s most energetic golf tournament, the Australian PGA Championship is back at RACV Royal Pines Resort in Queensland from 30 November to 3 December. A stellar list of Australian and international players from all over the globe are expected to compete for the Joe Kirkwood Cup. The 2017 tournament will feature an array of entertainment on and off the course, but it’s the Soniq Million Dollar Hole where the tournament really comes alive. While players aim to ace their way to a big pay day, fans will be celebrating in the sun with great food, music and entertainment.


Tasmania a hot holiday prospect for summer

By Australia / Hobart / Tasmania /

TASMANIA was once the forgotten little state separated from the rest of Australia by Bass Strait and no real desire from most Aussies to mark it down as a summer destination. But it seems now we can’t get enough of the Apple Isle so start thinking about your Hobart car rental now with an eye on scooting way down south for the summer holidays.

Let’s not forget what happened earlier this year when Tasmania loaded up with gold across five categories at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards. Not only that, Tasmania collected seven silver, two bronze and The Old Woolstore Apartment Hotel was inducted into the Hall of Fame. What’s more, Tassie picked up the most awards out of every state.

Such is Tasmania’s charm that Roy Morgan Research earlier this year revealed Hobart now outranks Perth and Brisbane as a capital city holiday destination Australians want to visit.

Awesome walks

When Lonely Planet rated Tassie among the world’s top regions a few years ago they named the Three Capes Track a must-do adventure in bushwalking … even before the first steps were taken! But it hasn’t taken long for the walk to clean up with awards. The four-day Tasman Peninsula walk features dolerite chasms, architecturally-designed lodging, Eucalypt forests and towering sea cliffs. The Tasmanian Walking Company also was noticed at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards bagging gold. With over 25 years of experience beneath their boots, not only is the trekking terrific, it can be served with affable guides, wine and plush pillows. Walking in some of Tasmania’s most iconic locations, they add more than a touch of class to the experience with the Cradle Mountain Huts Walk, Bay of Fires Lodge Walk (and spa) and more recently the Wineglass Bay Sail Walk.

Luxurious lodgings

As Tourism Tasmania wrote after cleaning up at the awards, “mix the words luxury and Tasmania together and you’ll get Saffire Freycinet. Saffire breathes luxury and class. It’s been named the world’s best boutique hotel. It’s no stranger to first place.” As it turns out the East Coast resort can now add a new accolade – Gold for Luxury Accommodation. “Saffire appears to have the indulgence recipe just right.” Others well worth a stay include The Henry Jones Art Hotel, wth a to die for waterfront position and housed in the landmark historic colonial building, The Hotel Grand Chancellor in Hobart, and Edge of The Bay Resort at the gateway to Wineglass Bay. The Old Woolstore Apartment Hotel is also hot to trot with some major awards and ever-growing popularity for its location on the middle of the Hobart waterfront.

The great outdoors

Blessed with a natural playground where mountain peaks and ocean are always nearby, and “where a short walk can feel a world away from our major cities”, as the Tourism Tassie crew tell you. “If you’ve not heard of RiverFly 1864, it’s time to pack your rod. The outfit won Gold for Specialised Tourism Services and offers three-day guided fly fishing trips up at the Western Lakes in private eco-friendly huts. Others include Bruny Island Cruises, the coastal wilderness experience featuring ancient sea cliffs among the southern hemisphere’s tallest, sea caves and the occasional whale encounter. Par Avion Wilderness Tours also venture to places inaccessible on foot, taking silver for Major Tour and Transport Operators.

Great drives

The Great Eastern Drive follows a coastline of 176 kilometres of spectacular beauty; dramatic coastlines, world-famous beaches and unique natural attractions. Some say it rivals the best coastal drives on the planet. Check out our Car Hire Tasmania section.

For more visit Discover Tasmania


Five great reasons to escape to The Star Gold Coast

By Australia / Gold Coast / Queensland /

The hype is building as the countdown begins for the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast next year. The good news for travellers looking for a bit of sun and sand on our most famous beach strip is all the action taking place with hotels upgrading or being built – none more impressive than mighty The Star Gold Coast, formerly known as Jupiters. Best of all, once collecting your Gold Coast car rental there’s only a quick 15 minute drive north and The Star Gold Coast will have you checked in within a flash.

What’s all the fuss about? Plenty. The Star Gold Coast is in the midst of an $850 million remake. Since 2014 this star of the show in beautiful Broadbeach has already undergone some serious make over work, including the snazzy refurb of more than 590 rooms refreshed Lobby area and much more. Try these five great reasons to escape to The Star Gold Coast – no matter where you’re from.

One… The rooms are dreamy

Any hotel refurbishment generally means rooms are going to hit a certain standard with a beautiful fresh look and new feel, but The Star Gold Coast has put a lot of consideration into this. Ours was a King Superior Deluxe Room, spacious and super functional. Think blinds that automatically open upon entry, strategic bedside-placed switches and buttons for lighting, aircon and other functions, all complemented by beautifully inviting interiors. But the winning move is a specially designed pillow menu and ‘The Cloud’ mattress topper exclusive to The Star and bathing amenities by L’Occitane.

Two… The food!

The locals tell me food has always been top quality at the venue, but the reinvention of The Star has introduced some world-class stunners in restaurant terms. Elegant and oozing a dimly-lit atmosphere is incredible Kiyomi, a multi-award winning hatted Japanese restaurant infusing a tapas-style approach to small dishes with intense flavours and immaculate presentation. The menu is packed with sashimi (raw), izakaya (small plates), tempura (fried), binchotan (grill), other sushi, salad, soup and desserts as well as degustation and set menu alternatives. Other newbies include scrumptious new Chinese restaurant Imperial (brand new, in fact), the earthy and spectacular Garden Kitchen & Bar, complete with huge outdoor dining and party area with a giant big screen, more Asian influence with Mei Dumplings restaurant, Cucina Vivo, and Food Fantasy, one of the best buffet experiences you’ll ever have for either breakfast or dinner. The smorgasbord offers more than 80 dishes from around the world, including an irresistible hot and cold buffet selection, roast meats and salads.

Three… Entertainment

Yes, there’s still a casino and all the fun one can have with top bars, roulette wheels and card tables, but there’s a lot more these days including a bold and bright theatre being the perfect platform to showcase some of the world’s best performers, stage shows and exclusive film premieres. Its modern architecture and cutting-edge technology make it a leading entertainment venue.

Four… Broadbeach

Literally 5 minutes walk over the bridge is Broadbeach central with loads of bars, food options, shopping and a beautiful beach to soak up the sun, sand and surf or catch a friendly game of beach volleyball in full swing. Surfers Paradise is only a 15-20 minute walk away, too, so everything’s quite close.

Five… Day trips

Take your pick. Want to head for the hinterland and more alternative charms of Byron Bay in the south? Or how about heading north for some theme park action at all the worlds including Wet ‘N’ Wild, Movieworld, Seaworld, Dreamworld and more? Head even further north and you’ll be in Brisbane. It’s a beaut location with lots to do nearby with a comfy and exciting hotel to come back to for dinner and snooze in sublime comfort.