Feb
27
2010

Australian music festivals well worth the drive

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EVERYONE loves a music festival, whether you love blues, country, jazz, pop or rock. So snap up a campervan rental deal with DriveNow, hit the highway and prepare to dance, sing, eat and drink ’til your heart’s content. While there are loads of big ones such as the Big Day Out, Good Vibrations and V Festival that do the rounds countrywide, don’t forget the smaller ones that might just offer something a little more intimate and also give you the chance to look around. Try these for size … 1) Riverboats Jazz Food and Wine Festival. Every July this one attracts jazz and wine lovers in their droves from all corners of the country, so head down the Hume Highway in your campervan or hire car to this historic river port township set on the banks of the mighty Murray River for some smooth jazz, great food and wonderful nearby attractions. It all happens in late February. 2) Byron Bay…

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Aug
05
2009
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Driving holidays – Sydney to Coffs Harbour (NSW)

By Australia / New South Wales / Sydney /

The great thing about cruising in a campervan to Coffs Harbour is that you can either do it from Brisbane or Sydney, therefore offering two very different journeys to enjoy. For us, we chose the Sydney option and while it would take about seven hours maximum with no stops, we spent five days negotiating the route along the Pacific Highway, a great option for some diverse stop-overs along the way. Newcastle First port of call was Newcastle after a leisurely two hour cruise. This city is one of extremes – a rougher element stemming from its early days as a shipping and commercial centre, with iron and steel mills built. While some parts of town are eyesores, the rest is beautiful, including some amazing beaches such as Stockton, Nobbies and Mereweather, while the Honeysuckle Boardwalk – an area that was a once derelict harbour area – now boasts funky restaurant-bars, a brewery and a great walk. Forster Second port of…

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Jun
27
2009
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Driving holidays – Port Augusta to Adelaide (SA)

By Australia / South Australia /

From Port Augusta to Adelaide on the banks of the beautiful Spencer Gulf, it’s just gorgeous. It’s only a leisurely two-hour drive and all easy going, big open roads. Port Augusta has some  unique attractions including the “spook hill” or Gravity Hill, near the Flinders Ranges where you face your car up this hill and put it in neutral and you somehow get pulled up the hill! It’s all true and is a fairdinkum optical illusion and very much worth the drive out there. We enjoyed the the Champagne Cruise out onto the Spencer Gulf itself and went diving for the rare Razor fish (see picture). The water here has 7% more salt in it and you float really easily, but it makes it tougher to dive down for the Razor fish. This really is a place where the Outback meets the ocean and you won’t find a more photogenic place. Also take in a visit to the Wadlata Outback…

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Jun
22
2009

Driving holiday – Sydney to Melbourne (NSW/Vic)

By Australia / Sydney /

I’ve always preferred to drive to Melbourne than fly – I just like my independence, the freedom of the road and the convenience once I get there. The direct route down the Hume (highway) can be a little tedious, just as well I’m comfortable behind the wheel! A new touring route has officially opened, however – the Sydney to Melbourne Touring Route. It’s not a new road, just a new slant on familiar territory, opening tourists’ eyes to what’s special in the states of NSW and Victoria. Keen to try out the multi-day ‘Mega Drive’, I arranged campervan hire through DriveNow, picking up my camper in Sydney. After meandering through Sydney’s southern suburbs, we diverted through the gorgeous Royal National Park, emerging at Stanwell Tops and the start of the spectacular Grand Pacific Drive. This new road skirts the spectacular Wollongong escarpment, with a bridge hovering above the pounding ocean and offering spectacular views down the coastline. I’m always blown away…

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Jun
09
2009
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Driving holidays – Esperance to Port Augusta (WA)

By Australia / Western Australia /

DESERT ROAD DREAMING The great vastness of the desert …The Nullarbor. What  a drive! We set off early in the morning thinking we would get a big day of driving in. Silly idea. The amount of wildlife playing on the road was bordering on being ridiculous. Certainly, this provided terrific photography opportunities, but not a particularly safe environment when towing a 4000kg road beast in their path. The Nullabor is deceiving and almost every person we bumped into (not literally!) along the way, which wasn’t many mind you, had a great yarn about their journey. And make sure you experience the Nullarbor Roadhouse, which is a real treat. There is an old bike there that some silly dude rode on for the entire Nullarbor Plain back in the 1950s. There isn’t much there, however. In fact, there isn’t much anywhere along the plain. We were very lucky to run into not one but two herds of camels. They are such…

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Jun
02
2009

Driving holidays – Geraldton to Busselton (WA)

By Australia / Western Australia /

Well what a trip this one was! We were told by many avenues – one being a good map, the others by mouth – that our trip from Geraldton to Busselton would take approxiamately five hours … 9 1/2 hours later, we finally see the “Welcome to Busselton” sign! At first I thought it was a mirage. Geraldton is a must-stop place. It’s under-rated from what you read about it as it really is a place with so much going on that you do really have to stop and stay a while. Built on the successful seafood industry, it’s a buzzing and vibrant place. And it’s refreshing to see the local council is pumping heaps of cash back into the community with the absolute best-ever kids play area right on the foreshore.  The HMAS Sydney tribute (below left) will take your breath away; absolutely stunning and quite humbling. If you’re up for a quiet ale try the Camel Bar –…

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May
25
2009
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Driving Holidays – Alice Springs to Tennant Creek (NT)

By Alice Springs / Australia / Northern Territory /

The journey What a drive this was! A total of 531km in 47-degree heat and and the air-conditioning wasn’t working. Worse still, we had it quoted in Alice Springs to fix for a whopping $3100! Fortunately, we got it fixed for $434 in Broome. While in Alice Springs, dinner at the Outlander Steak House is a must. They have 2kg steaks and I finished mine in 42 minutes, which was a mighty achievement. It is very funny watching people try to do it, so just make sure you eat dinner first as it can be quite off-putting.  The old Jail is home to the Women’s First Gallery, which highlights all women who were first in their field and makes for some very interesting reading. The old Jail is also haunted so go for a stroll through the cells if you dare. Keen hikers should take in Stanley Chasm, absolutely spectacular. A huge lizard ran in front of me and scared…

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May
18
2009
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Driving holidays – Hobart, Richmond, Port Arthur (Tasmania)

By Australia / Hobart / Tasmania /

Competition is running hot with the budget airlines in Australia, so keep a close eye on Jetstar, Virgin Blue and Tiger by signing up for their e-newsletters – there are hot deals being bandied around almost every week and you will generally find a beauty somewhere among them for Tasmanian destinations. My wife and I snapped up return flights from Melbourne to Hobart for around the $150 mark – extraordinary value. Even better, we also discovered a ridiculously good rate with DriveNow for a 4 berth camper. From there it was a breeze. A quick one-hour flight to Hobart, we then grabbed our camper and hit the Tasman Highway, onto Richmond Rd and within half an hour we arrived at our favourite destination in Australia, the quaint village of Richmond and all its cobblestone, cottage and old world charm. This gorgeous township has some delightful treats: serene atmosphere around historic Richmond Bridge (pictured); go back in time at Grannie Rhodes’…

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Apr
28
2009
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Driving holidays – Warrnambool (Victoria)

By Victoria /

It’s the stuff of legend. Some call it Australia’s Loch Ness. It’s the Mahogany Ship, the mystery vessel, maybe a Portuguese caravel or even a Chinese junk, claimed to lie buried beneath the dunes between Warrnambool and Port Fairy on Victoria’s notorious Shipwreck Coast. Historians predict that if found it could rewrite the history of Australia’s discovery. You might not find it, but walking the sands and following the clues is heaps of fun. The journey From Melbourne there are two choices, with either Warrnambool or Port Fairy, a little beyond, as your base. The inland route to Warrnambool, 269km or a 3.5-hour drive along the Princes Highway through Geelong, Colac and Camperdown, is the quickest, while your return can be via the spectacular Great Ocean Road, through Lorne and Apollo Bay, which takes a couple of hours longer. Follow the clues To get your bearings on the Mahogany Ship jigsaw, first visit Warrnambool’s Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum to soak…

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Feb
26
2009

Driving holidays – a perfect Port (NSW)

By Australia / New South Wales /

Ah, Port Macquarie – beautiful one day, blissful the next. It’s my favourite holiday destination, any time of year – winter chills disappear on its sunny beaches; while in summer cool sea breezes keep the heatwaves at bay. For my daughter and I, a road trip to Port is always an adventure. After picking up a last minute deal on an Avis Hyundai rental from DriveNow’s last minute Sydney Car hire area we hit the Pacific Highway for the crawl out of Sydney – always the worst part of the trip. But once we were freewheeling north, it’s smooth driving for four and a half hours before we reach paradise – Port, that is! There are a stack of affordable places to stay in town, but our choice this time was the Sundowner Breakwall Tourist Park, located right on the Hastings River fronting the boardwalks with its distinctive colourful rocks. Talk about a room (or in our case, site!) with…

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