Six places to spend New Year’s Eve in Sydney and surrounds

By Australia / New South Wales / Sydney /

New Year’s Eve is perhaps the most exciting time of the year in Sydney and surrounds. Whether you want to watch the spectacular fireworks at Sydney Harbour, or celebrate quietly on the beach, everyone has different ideas on how to best bring in the New Year.

Here are six great places where you could spend this New Year’s Eve.

O Bar and Dining
At O Bar and Dining, you’ll be celebrating the end of the year while sitting 47 floors above everyone else. This restaurant treats diners to more than just good food and wine – its revolving design gives customers a 360 degree view of the city. Best of all, you get to enjoy the fireworks display from the sky!

On a cruise
A handful of companies allow you to admire Sydney’s famous fireworks from the water. Some offer a fancy five course dinner and drinks menu in a relaxing, intimate setting. Others cater for a wilder crowd, with a more party-style boat cruise. Either way, it’s an unforgettable way to experience New Year’s Eve.

Bradley’s Head
This is the ideal spot for families and children celebrating the New Year. Bradleys Head Amphitheatre provides clear views of Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. There’s also live music and plenty of food, while this family zone offers only non-alcoholic drinks.

Taronga Zoo
Have a wild New Year’s at the zoo! An all inclusive party package will give you a five-course dinner, or a night of music and dance at an adults only cocktail part. Both events will give you great views of Sydney Harbour when the fireworks arrive.

Royal Botanic Gardens
Sydney’s famous Royal Botanic Gardens is one of the city’s most-visited sites and on New Year’s Eve, it becomes one of the city’s most magical. It offers an amazing view of the Sydney Opera House, right near the fireworks. It’s a family-friendly location and perfect for a late-night picnic.

North Head
At North Head, you’ll be away from the crowds of the popular Bondi or Manly Beach, but you’ll still get to admire the fireworks display while relaxing with the family. Bring along a picnic and a blanket as you enjoy the stunning sunset, before waiting for the clock to strike midnight.



Five jacaranda hot spots in NSW

By Australia / New South Wales / Sydney /

Late October and November is a time Sydney and NSW is a purple explosion of jacaranda season signalling one of the most beautiful times of the year in the state.

Set against harbour backdrops in some of Sydney’s most picturesque suburbs and historic regional towns in NSW, it’s the perfect time to visit Sydney to take in the stunning sight of the jacarandas.

Destination NSW CEO Sandra Chipchase said: “NSW has so many jacaranda trees in bloom, we even have an annual festival dedicated to them in the historic town of Grafton.  From harbourside enclaves to regional towns, spring is a wonderful time to visit with family and friends to enjoy NSW in bloom during jacaranda season.”

Here are a few of NSW’s fantastic jacaranda spots:

1. North Shore: The North Shore suburbs of Lavender Bay, Greenwich, Waverton, Hunters Hill, Woolwich, Longueville and Wollstonecraft all display a beautiful selection of jacaranda trees during the season. Make a day of it and pack a picnic to enjoy a feast under the trees

2. Eastern Suburbs: Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs including Paddington, Woollahra and Double Bay all sport stunning lilac hues during October and November.  Oxford Street and Five Ways in Paddington always have a great selection to view

3. Sydney City: Starting at the Royal Botanic Gardens, a jacaranda walking tour through Circular Quay and The Rocks is a great way to see the trees, while taking in the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House, harbour views and historic cobblestone streets of The Rocks

4. Inner Sydney:  The giant jacaranda tree at the University of Sydney is so iconic that growers at the University have cloned it to ensure it lives on.  This tree is one of Sydney’s most famous jacarandas and well worth a visit during the season.  Neighbouring suburbs of Glebe and Erskineville are also worth exploring for blue hue.

5. Grafton: Located alongside the majestic Clarence River on NSW’s North Coast, the historic town of Grafton is home to the Jacaranda Festival, taking place from 31 October to 7 November 2015. Famous for its 6,500 jacaranda trees, the Festival is one of Australia’s longest running flower festivals and celebrates the town’s magnificent lilac-blossomed trees. Festival events include the coronation of a jacaranda queen, a street parade with themed floats, markets, live performances and fireworks.




Best campsites and hidden gems in NSW this spring and summer

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

Destination NSW know better than anyone about the best camping spots for the warmer weather that comes with spring and summer. As the team says “It’s the ideal time of year to discover some of the NSW’s secret campsites and hidden gems.”

According to Destination NSW CEO Sandra Chipchase, “NSW is filled with hidden camping gems waiting to be discovered. NSW has amazing coastal and bush camping spots that continue to stay under the radar and would make an ideal weekend away this spring.”

“These hidden camping gems are just that, secret spots that locals across NSW love due to their unique location and easy access to beautiful beaches, stunning national parks and pristine wilderness environments.”

“Tourism managers across the state have shared their favourite secret camping spots with Destination NSW for this short-list, however this does not exhaust the multitude of amazing campsites just waiting to be discovered. I encourage everyone to get out and explore NSW’s hidden gems this spring,” Ms Chipchase said.

Here are some of Destination NSW’s best secret camping spots along the coast and inland:

1. The spectacular and secluded Honeymoon Bay at Point Perpendicular on the northern end of Jervis Bay on the South Coast allows camping on weekends and during school holidays only. Allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, this rustic bush camp site is a true bush camping experience and just moments to the beaches of northern part of Jervis Bay.

2. Camp by the beach and amongst banksia trees at Picnic Point campground in Mimosa Rocks National Park. Find the perfect fishing spot, swim in crystal clear waters and enjoy scenic views of the stunning Sapphire Coastline.

3. An unknown gem, Lakesea Caravan Park Durras near Bateman’s Bay, has grassy shaded sites with BBQ drums and a campground that is kitted out for the more novice camper including a camp kitchen with free gas BBQs, fridge and oven. Just moments to Durras Beach and Lake Durras, enjoy surfing, kayaking, fishing and bush walking in nearby Murramarang National Park.

4. While many know the Central Coast’s Glenworth Valley for its horse riding and quad biking, it is it’s amazing bush camping sites will surprise people. Expect pristine, bush style campsites along the river bank with wood-fired BBQs, hot showers and plenty of peace and quiet.

5. For absolute beachfront, Beachcomber Holiday Park at Potato Point (pictured) is the place. Backing onto Eurobodalla National Park, expect to be camping amongst kangaroos and wallabies whilst cooking on the pizza oven and relaxing around the communal camp fires.

6. Outside of Mudgee in Central NSW is the pristine Dunns Swamp in Wollemi National Park. Set on the banks of the Cudgegong River and nestled amongst stunning sandstone pagoda rock formations, Dunns Swamp is a nature lovers dream with plenty of walking tracks and canoeing and swimming spots.

7. The pet-friendly Mystery Bay Camp Ground, near Tilba on the South Coast, is just moments from the beach, which has off-leash areas. Enjoy this bush camping site and all that Mystery Bay offers – snorkelling in the bay, surfing at 1080 beach, cheese tasting in nearby Tilba and of course the stunning views of Montague Island.

8. Camp under the stars and experience a true Australian outback station stay at Corynnia Station near Hay in Outback NSW. Camp under ancient black box tree on the edge of a 1,000 acre dry swamp on this working farm and discover this immense property on nature walks, paddock picnics and farm tours.

9. At the end of the dead-end road, North Coast Holiday Park Corindi Beach, on the NSW North Coast, has just 6 cabins and 64 shady campsites to choose from. Nestled beside the beach, within a bush setting enjoy gentle sea breezes and stunning bush and coastal views. Spend days fishing, snorkelling, surfing, swimming and kayaking in nearby beaches, lakes and rivers.

10. Camp in the middle of the mighty Tapin Tops National Park, in the NSW North Coast, at Dingo Tops and explore the park’s stunning waterfalls and creeks and relics from the areas forestry past. Surrounded by ancient rainforests and eucalypt forest, Dingo Tops is a quiet campground where parma wallabies, red-legged pademelons, greater gliders (at night) and koalas are frequently spotted.

For more ideas on camping in NSW this spring go to visitnsw.com/camping

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Five great Australian sporting events you can’t miss

By Australia / Hobart / Melbourne / New South Wales / Sydney / Tasmania / Victoria /

It’s no secret we Australians are absolutely crazy about our sports and springtime is arguably the most action packed time of the sporting calendar. To get into the sporting spirit, here are five huge upcoming events that everyone can cheer about.

1. Australian Football League grand final, October 3 (Victoria)

Now complete with a pre-final public holiday, the AFL Grand Final weekend will see fanatics swarm the city on Grand Final eve for the annual parade. Here, you can catch an up close view of players from the two competing clubs as they eye each other off before Victoria’s largest sporting event at the world-renowned Melbourne Cricket Ground. AFL is the unofficial religion of this southern state, so if you plan on visiting make sure you book accommodation early. On the big day, the whole of Melbourne buzzes with a festival-like atmosphere, suburban verandas proudly draped in team colours while out back the beer flows and sausages sizzle. If you’re not lucky enough to be heading to the game, be sure to arrive at the pub well before the opening bounce to secure yourself a prime viewing spot. Alternatively you can catch the game on the big screen at Federation Square with thousands of other crazy fans.

2. National Rugby League grand final, October 4 (New South Wales)

The day after Victoria’s premier event, down some Berocca and bounce back into sports spectator mode because all eyes will be on Sydney’s ANZ Stadium which plays host to the NRL 2015 Grand Final. The occasion is more of a week-long celebration, with a live screened Grand Final Breakfast function attended by both teams and hundreds of guests in the days before. The Sydney Harbour Bridge is lit up each night in the countdown to the big day with 80-metre high projections of the competing teams. This year, the Grand Final will be marked by an NRL first, with Darling Harbour the home to a new interactive fan engagement centre where visitors can meet players from all 16 clubs and catch a glimpse of the two competing teas as they prepare to go head to head. Skills tests, giveaways and free entertainment will also be available to fans of the game.

3. Bathurst 1000, October 8 -11 (New South Wales)

For petrol heads who can’t get enough of the smell of burning rubber, the Bathurst 1000 is widely regarded as the pinnacle of Australian Motor Sport and is known as the “The Great Race” among motorsport fans and media. Run exclusively for V8 supercars, the four day event sees fans pitching camp under the stars on Mount Panorama for a weekend of high octane fumes, cars racing at dizzying speeds and of course, plenty of beer. The race culminates with the winner being presented with the coveted Peter Brock Trophy, introduced in 2006 to commemorate the death of supercar legend Peter Brock, who won the event nine times.

4. Melbourne Cup Spring Racing Carnival, October 31 – November 7 (Victoria)

Touted as ‘the race that stops a nation’, the Melbourne Cup is a heart-stopping event accompanied by yet another public holiday that is celebrated throughout Victoria. While the carnival runs over a week, the big race is held on the first Tuesday of every November. In nearly every home, workplace and local pub, all eyes on the room will be glued to the TV for about three and a half minutes, followed by gasps of elation, but mostly sighs of disappointment. The event sees some 110,000 people attend, some in formal race day wear and others in amusing costumes, but even if you are not terribly fond of racing or betting, the people watching opportunities are endless.

5. Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, December 26 – 31 (NSW, VIC, TAS)

Considered one of the most difficult sailing races in the world, the incredible Sydney to Hobart race covers nearly 1200 kilometres through the Sydney Headlands, across the Tasman Sea and to the Derwent River before the boats cross the line just in time for New Year’s Eve celebrations. The yachts come from all over the world, as do competitors, hailing from the UK, Singapore, Hong Kong, Germany, Cyprus and New Zealand. With the firing of the starting cannon, around 100 yachts will set sail in front of a crowd of 600,000, with the best vantage points including North Head and South Head in Sydney. Hobart’s historic waterfront plays host to a post event reception and spectators are encouraged to head there for celebrations after welcoming the yachts at Battery point.





NSW getaway ideas for families in the Spring holidays

By Australia / New South Wales / Sydney /

THE Spring School Holidays are only weeks away, from September 19 to October 5, and NSW offers families plenty of exciting short breaks and fun-filled getaways.

GETAWAY IDEA 1: Get Wet and Wild – Beat the summer crowds, don your swimmers to slip, slide and float your way down Wet’n’Wild Sydney’s waterslides. Make a real break of it, spend the night at Atura Blacktown and take the family along to the Skyline Drive In whilst in the area. Wet’n’Wild’s summer season kicks off in time for the Spring School Holidays, opening on September 19.  For more water based adventures, visit the nearby Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre where the water is a lovely 26 degrees all year round. Little kids will love the Splasher’s Playground. Kids in the Park , also at Sydney Olympic Park, offers the largest range of School Holidays activities in NSW in one precinct. Kids can take part in creative workshops, sports clinic and adventure activities. With so much to do at Sydney Olympic Park this spring you might want to book in at the family friendly Novotel Sydney Olympic Park where kids stay and eat breakfast for free.

GETAWAY IDEA 2: Venture Indoors for Adventure –Wild Planet is opening in August at The Australian Museum, as part of its ongoing $5.5 million transformation. Showcasing a rich array of biodiversity featuring more than 400 animal specimens, Wild Planet is the first permanent gallery to be added to the Museum in over 50 years. Even better – kids under 16 years old now gain free entry to The Australian Museum.

If it is more adrenalin the kids want, then book them into indoor skydiving at iFly, Australia’s newest indoor skydiving facility, in Penrith. iFly gives kids, teens and adults the chance to feel the exhilaration of flight in a high-tech wind tunnel. Also in Penrith, Jet Pack has just launched the new super fun Flyboard Adventures, where adults and kids can fly super-hero style above the water.
GETAWAY IDEA 3: Nocturnal Adventures – Grab your torch and join the Spotlight Prowl at Centennial Parklands, on after-dark adventure to meet the park’s nocturnal creatures – brushtail possums, microbats, tawny fogmouths and flying foxes. For a complete nighttime experience in the park, book the family into one of the historic Centennial Parklands Residences.



Five Australian resorts for a girls weekend away

By Adelaide / Australia / Brisbane / Melbourne / New South Wales / South Australia / Sydney / Victoria /

Looking for a girls’ weekend away? Here are five resorts, which are absolutely perfect for a some relaxing time with the ladies.

Smiths Beach Resort, Margaret River, WA

Experience the ultimate beachfront lifestyle at Smiths Beach Resort, which is nestled between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin in Western Australia. It’s heaven for beach lovers who are looking for a sunny weekend away with the girls. Spoil yourself with self-contained accommodation that boasts ocean views. In the resort you also have a cellar door, bar and restaurant at your disposal. Not to mention the many spa treatments available.

The Mineral Spa, Daylesford, VIC

This retreat is located in the heart of Victoria’s spa country. The Mineral Spa retreat offers you an indulgent spa experience, with its two warm mineral spa pools and a cool plunge pool that overlooks beautiful gardens. There are exclusive packages on offer when you have six or more friends. These include a choice of facial, massage, exfoliation, pedicure and manicure options – plus finger food and cocktails.

Crystal Creek Meadows, Kangaroo Valley, NSW

Crystal Creek Meadows boasts luxury, award winning country cottages, where you can stay overnight. Then there’s also a day spa retreat, which sets the scene for an amazing girls’ weekend away in the country. Rejuvenate and unwind with amazing massages, spa baths, aromatherapy and skin care treatments. There are also many local shops and dainty cafes to check out while you’re in Kangaroo Valley Village.

Glass on Glasshouse, 1hr north of Brisbane
If luxurious cottages with a spa bath, private patio and amazing views of the Glasshouse Mountains sounds like your idea of the perfect getaway, then Glass on Glasshouse is the place for you! The cottages feature floor-to-ceiling windows, which overlook the mountains, and in the winter months you also have a fireplace at your disposal. Relax with an on-site massage, or go sightseeing nearby.

Sticky Rice Cooking School and Villas, Adelaide Hills

This inspiring accommodation is set in the lovely town of Stirling. It features three gorgeous villas, with each luxury villa offering a different theme. Visitors can choose between Bali, Thailand and Japan style accommodation, before being immersed in the flavours of the world. Sticky Rice is also a cooking school, offering hands on cooking classes, where visitors learn from respected chefs on how to cook Asian, Spanish and Moroccan cuisine.


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Six Australian food festivals you simply cannot miss

By Australia / Brisbane / Melbourne / New South Wales / Perth / Queensland / Sydney / Victoria / Western Australia /

Food, fabulous food. Everyone loves it – that’s why we celebrate it with food festivals.

As we gladly wave goodbye to winter and welcome springtime with open arms, both seasons offer the perfect opportunity to unwind and enjoy the incredible fresh produce and diversity in food that Australia is gifted with.

Is there anything more indulgent than sitting by an open fire, sharing a charcuterie board or an aged bottle of deep, woody Shiraz? To celebrate the country’s love affair with all things delicious, here are six upcoming food and wine festivals from around Australia.

Barossa Gourmet Weekend, SA, 14-16 August

Shed the winter blues with a weekend getaway to the world renowned Barossa Valley in South Australia, just over an hour’s drive north from Adelaide Airport. The weekend showcases everything delicious that the picturesque wine-producing region is famous for, as visitors are treated to a packed program of winery tours, masterclasses and long lunches, all accompanied by live music and entertainment. Shuttle buses will run throughout the weekend, but accommodation is limited so get in quick to book your Barossa Gourmet getaway. Visit barossagourmet.com for more information.

Newcastle Food and Wine Expo, NSW, 28-30 August

Visitors to the harbour side city of Newcastle will be able to kiss the cold goodbye in serious foodie style, with the three day exhibition of non-stop feasting, celebrity chef cooking demonstrations, culinary presentations and free samples of food and wine. About 150 gourmet exhibitors from all over the state will be tempting foodies with their incredible produce. Just some of the mouth-watering products include those from the Hunter Valley Cheese Factory, Byron Bay Chocolate Co and Coastal Garden Preserves, so make sure you head there on an empty stomach! Also on the event program are free appreciation classes to give you a better understanding of gourmet food and drink. The varied classes cover cheese, wine, beer and liqueur, so there is definitely something for everyone to indulge in. For more information, check out foodandwineexpo.com.au/shows/newcastle/.

Rockhampton Capricorn Food and Wine Festival, QLD, 18-20 September

Set against the backdrop of the Fitzroy River, the location of the 2015 Capricorn Food and Wine Festival couldn’t be more ideal for a weekend of grazing and wine tasting. In the springtime, the perfect view is rivalled only by the ideal weather that Queensland is famous for, and 8000 people are expected to flock to the riverbank and surrounding areas to indulge in exquisite wine and cuisine in the gorgeous sunshine state. The festival isn’t just restricted to the hub of the riverbank though, as all of Rockhampton’s finest dining establishments will have the chance to get involved in the event. Abundant regional food will be showcased, with emphasis placed on the importance of sustainable and healthy paddock-to-plate practices, and supporting Australian farmers as the country’s love affair with good food continues to evolve. For more information go to capricornfoodandwine.com.au.

Heathcote Wine & Food Festival, VIC, 10-11 October

City slickers need head north just 90 minutes to reach the Heathcote area, a location rich in history and nestled smack-bang in the middle of Victoria. Once a bustling mining and logging town, the owners of over 70 vineyards in the region can thank the Germans and Italians for introducing grape growing to the area as the gold rush began to stall. It goes without saying then that this year’s theme, ‘Shiraz Heaven’ couldn’t be more fitting and visitors are invited on a delicious journey discovering the region’s famous full-bodied shiraz and alternative varieties of reds, whites and sparkling. The endless wine list will be complemented by perfectly matched regional food and accompanied by and live music and entertainment. The Heathcote festival’s promise of knockout wines, specialty masterclasses and tasting sessions enjoyed in the great country atmosphere are sure to have punters welcoming spring with open arms. Visit heathcotewinegrowers.com.au/festival to plan your weekend getaway.

Mildura Jazz, Food and Wine Festival, VIC, 30 October – 2 November

Run annually the weekend prior to Melbourne Cup, this established festival celebrates its 35th year combining traditional jazz, contemporary sounds and locally produced gourmet food and wine. The ambience of the festival is impossible to beat and the Murray River provides the perfect backdrop as paddle steamers chug by the riverside wineries, clubs and pubs as visitors are treated to an incredible auditory, gustatory and visual feast. Lunches and dinners aboard the paddle steamers, picnics in the parks, jazz by the river and even a Saturday night street party will no doubt ensure that visitors are treated to one heck of a party over four exciting days. For more info, check out artsmildura.com.au.

Geographe Crush Food and Wine Festival, WA, 7-9 November

The Geographe Crush celebrates the wine, food and attractions of the south west wine region of Geographe in Western Australia. The huge area extends from Harvey in the north, Collie, Dardanup and Donnybrook in the east and Capel and Busselton in the south, centering on the main city of Bunbury. Run over three days, an opening night function welcomes visitors on the Friday and Saturday sees the Crush Wine Exhibition showcasing the wines of the region and includes wine seminars, cooking demonstrations and entertainment. On the Sunday, visitors are treated to tours of wineries and the restaurants and cellar doors provide visitors the chance to enjoy local produce and dishes before stocking up on their favourite reds, whites and sparkling. Stay tuned to wineandfood.com.au as more info is released.



5 Sydney museums you must see

By Australia / New South Wales / Sydney /

Museums are places where curious minds can explore and learn about history. Sydney has so many wonderful museums with interactive and interesting displays. Here are five of the best museums that you must see in Sydney.

Australian Museum

The Australian Museum (pictured) was established in 1827, which makes it Australia’s first museum. Its fantastic displays feature extensive collections of natural science and cultural artefacts. Take a closer look at Australia’s unique animals or hear in-depth stories about the plight of Indigenous Australians. You can also delve deep into history of the dinosaurs to explore how they lived and died.

Sydney Jewish Museum

The permanent exhibitions at the Sydney Jewish Museum include Jewish culture and Jewish involvement in the Australian military. Visitors have the opportunity to examine original documents and newspapers, life-size sculptures and interact with multimedia displays. One of the temporary exhibitions on display is Signs of Life – Letters of the Holocaust. It showcases about 1000 Nazi and postwar era letters and postcards, telling the touching stories of families who were torn apart during the Holocaust.

Macleay Museum

This natural history museum is located on the University of Sydney’s main campus. It holds the oldest natural history collection in Australia. It features Aboriginal, Torres Strait and Pacific Islanders’ cultural artefacts. You’ll also find collections of insects, scientific instruments and historic photographs. Most of the items on display were donated by Alexander Macleay and his family.

Sydney Tramway Museum

The Sydney Tramway Museum is the country’s oldest tramway museum – it’s also the largest in the southern hemisphere. It features an extensive collection of trams from cities around Australia. There are also restored trams from overseas. A highlight for many visitors is a tram ride through Sydney on one of the museum’s tram lines.

Australian National Maritime Museum

The museum focuses on James Cook’s discovery of Australia, travel by ocean to Australia, naval defence, the Aborigine’s connection to water and how the country has used the ocean as a resource. It’s also home to Australian-built replicas of historical shops, such as James Cook’s HMB Endeavour. This beautiful ship treats visitors to an understanding of life aboard Captain Cook’s 1768-71 world voyage. It’s also possible to take a trip on the Endeavour as it sails along the Australian coast.


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Seven incredible spots to go surfing in Australia

By Australia / Brisbane / Great Ocean Road / Hobart / New South Wales / Perth / Queensland / Sydney / Tasmania / Victoria / Western Australia /

Pro surfer Mick Fanning may be contemplating getting back into the ocean, but even his dramatic brush with a hungry Great White can’t put a stop to Australia’s 100-year love affair of combining the board with the breakwater. In a tribute to surfing, here are seven incredible suggestions on where to catch an epic wave around Oz.

1. Sheringa, SA

While only accessible by 4WD or foot, a short hike is well worth it to discover these hidden gems in South Australia. On the southern side of a rocky outcrop, the mellow point break at Sheringa Beach offers up a challenge, but for those who really have a death wish, Sheringa Left to the north produces an unpredictable swell amongst a rocky, reefy, remote part of the Eyre Peninsula. Sharp rocks, dangerous rips, and even sharks make surfing at Sheringa something to write home about – if you survive.

2. Ningaloo Coast, WA

Famous for its incredible UNESCO World Heritage listed reef which is home to more than 500 species of fish, rays and turtles, many don’t realise that between July and October the fringing coral reef of the Ningaloo Coast serves up some pretty awesome swells. At the north of the cape, The Bommie, Dunes and Wobiri Access offer waves of varying difficulty while at the southern end of the reef, surfers at Gnaraloo can expect three metre waves even on an average day. The perfect combination of endless surf breaks and ecological wonders make the Ningaloo Coast a great getaway destination for those who can’t agree on one or the other. Make sure you have plenty of time to explore all of the Reef’s secrets though, as driving along the length of the 280km reef takes at least eight hours!

3. Bells Beach, VIC

Who can go past the famous Bell’s Beach in Torquay? Home to matted mops of salty, sun-kissed hair, surf brand warehouse sales and of course the world’s longest running professional surfing competition, the Rip Curl Pro, which since has continued to draw massive crowds over the Easter long weekend. I still remember visiting as a little kid in my oversized Rusty cap with ice cream in hand, jostling other spectators for a prime viewing spot atop the golden Torquay dunes.

4. Lord Howe Island, NSW

For those who strive to avoid the crowds, there are few destinations more intimate than the beautiful Lord Howe Island. With a strict cap on the number of visitors to the island at any one time, Lord Howe was once described as ‘paradise on Earth’ and ‘quite possibly the most perfect place in the world’ by globetrotter Lee Abbamonte. If anyone should know it is him, having visited every single country on the planet! There are eight designated surf spots dotted around the island, but it’s rumoured a friendly chat with the locals can sometimes reveal the very best kept secrets.

5. Gold Coast’s Superbank, QLD

For those hoping to catch a glimpse of our resident shark wrangler and other world champs Steph Gilmore and Joel Parkinson, the Superbank is your best bet, where surf breaks Snapper Rocks, Rainbow Bay and Greenmount combine. If you are lucky, you may manage to catch a wave for 2kms along the coast!

6. Yallingup, WA

Not for the faint hearted, Yallingup Reef, located 300kms south of Perth boasts consistent 10 foot waves along the Margaret River coastline. Brave surfers impress beachside spectators, while others snorkel and paddle in the lagoon, soaking up the brilliant view of the Reef’s aquatic wonderland. Surfers of all ability come from near and far to visit the famous waves of Yallingup. If you haven’t already, it’s one to add to your bucket list.

7. Lighthouse Beach, TAS

Of course, we can’t forget our cousins across the Strait, where surfers brave the chilly waters of Lighthouse Beach, a beautiful stretch of pristine coastline offering a sheltered yet powerful beach break for beginners and accomplished riders alike. Relatively deserted, this unpatrolled, isolated spot serves as the perfect oceanic escape.

And remember folks, if you do happen to be that unfortunate one in 11 million confronted by a shark, contrary to Mick’s action of ‘punching him in the back’, the best advice is to punch and claw at the eyes and gills aggressively.



5 Great Ways To Discover Byron Bay in NSW

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

A beautiful beachside town famous with backpackers for its laid-back vibe and enviable year-round weather, Byron is also a crackerjack holiday spot for everyone from families to grey nomads and friends on the loose. At mainland Australia’s furthest point, visitors do more than admire the Cape Byron Lighthouse that sits atop the headland, dividing the uncrowded beaches stretching miles north and south of the township.

No.1 Whale Watching

The perfect place for whale watching, Byron Bay is arguably unmatched as the east coast’s premier spot to sight a pod of humpbacks. While you can join one of the intimate tours, the likelihood of catching a glimpse of them from the headland on their annual migration from May to November is high. There can’t be many better places to wait for the whales than in the breathtaking surrounds of the point.

No.2 Byron Bay Brewery

For those who love to finish of a long day’s exploration with a cold one, there is plenty of choice at the local brewery. With six beers brewed on site, why not grab a tasting board and sample them all? The food is sure to satisfy the hunger worked up throughout the day and if you are lucky enough to be here on a lazy Tuesday or Thursday arvo, a brewery tour will take you behind the scenes, explaining what goes into the beer that you are about to sample. More www.byronbaybrewery.com.au

No. 3 Cape Byron Walking Track

For incredible views of the golden sandy beaches, glistening ocean and tropical vegetation that make Byron Bay the ultimate escape, the Cape Byron Walking Track is sure to mellow even the most stressed of visitors. Why else would you come to Byron, if not to unwind and take it all in? Setting off from the Captain Cook Picnic Area, the two hour walk winds through Palm Valley, past Watego’s Beach and to the heritage-listed lighthouse and Keeper’s Cottages, which have been converted into rustic accommodation and which boast stunning coastal views. More www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/Walking-tracks/Cape-Byron-walking-track

No 4. Circus Arts Byron Bay

For those who need something a little more interactive than walking to keep them entertained, Circus Arts is a kid’s play space where littlies can get physical and learn the basics of flying trapeze, indoor climbing, yoga and circus. Circus Arts is open year-round but hosts dedicated school holiday program events.  More www.circusarts.com.au

No 5. Main Beach

We know what you’re thinking. The beach? Hardly rare in Australia, no doubt. But what makes this one so special? It’s quite possible that this is the most family-friendly beach in the country. For starters, Main Beach is sheltered from wind by the headland and patrolled from October to Easter by surf lifesavers. Parents’ lives are made easier with a baby change room in the surf club and a playground nestled in the shade of the soaring pine trees, as well as plenty of food and drink options nearby. For a bit of adventure with the older ones, a popular activity is to snorkel out from to the Tassie II, a ship off the coast. If you’re lucky you may even spot some passing whales and dolphins from the shoreline, proving that this is NOT just any beach.



Five unmissable museums in Sydney

By Australia / New South Wales / Sydney /

Step back in time at one of Sydney’s museums, which allow you to explore Australia’s fascinating history.

Here are five unmissable museums in Sydney.

Macleay Museum

This natural history museum, located on the University of Sydney’s main campus, holds the oldest natural history collection in Australia. Alexander Macleay and his family acquired most of the items on display in the museum. Here, you’ll find collections of Aboriginal, Torres Strait and Pacific Islanders’ cultural artefacts. There are also collections of insects, scientific instruments and historic photographs.

Australian Museum

The Australian Museum was Australia’s first museum, which was established in 1827. It exhibits extensive collections of natural science and cultural artefacts. Take a closer look at Australia’s unique animals or explore stories of Australia’s Indigenous people. You can also delve deep into history, exploring how dinosaurs lived and died.

Museum of Sydney

This modern museum lets visitors explore Sydney’s places, people and culture. It was built on the ruins of first Government house for the first New South Wales governor, Arthur Phillip, in 1788. Fast forward nearly 230 years, and the museum contains many archaeological remains of Australia’s first Government house. Some of the interesting artwork on show includes interpretations of when First Fleet settlers and Aborigines first made contact.

Powerhouse Museum

One of Australia’s largest and most diverse museums features arts, science, transport, space and social history collections. Temporary exhibitions are always coming and going. There are also interactive exhibits, film screenings and performances around the museum.

Museum of Contemporary Art

See the work of today’s artists at Australia’s Museum of Contemporary Art, located at Sydney’s Circular Quay. The museum opened in 1991, and recent years have seen it transformed. The Museum of Contemporary Art now includes more space for galleries and specific artist commissions. Its permanent collection contains more than 4000 works by Australian artists. This includes paintings, photography, sculptures and moving images, which have all been acquired since 1989.



5 great historic New South Wales pubs

By Australia / New South Wales / Sydney /

New South Wales is home to so many pubs that you’ll probably never get the chance to visit them all. Add these five historic New South Wales pubs to your bucket list of great old pubs to visit for an awesome night out with your mates.

The Lord Nelson, Sydney

Established in 1841, The Lord Nelson is one of the country’s oldest brewery pubs. This is the place to go for decent ale. Choose from an incredible selection which is brewed on premises, including several 100 percent natural award winning Mainstay ales.

The Newport Arms, Sydney

The Newport Arms (established 1880) is one of Sydney’s iconic pubs, which consistently ranks among some of the best pubs in Australia. International visitors have this outdoor beer garden and its stunning ocean views at the top of their to-do list in Sydney.

Jack Duggans Irish Pub, Bathurst

The Irish know how to drink, and Jack Duggans Irish Pub’s numerous awards for excellence over the years prove they know how to make sure Aussie patrons have a good time too! The pub is famous for warmly welcoming visitors, so much so that people will detour during a long road trip just to enjoy one night at the pub.

Woolwich Pier, Sydney

This awesome harbourside pub was crowned the best hotel for dining, according to the Pub Food Guide 2014 awards. It’s diverse menu means you can be served high tea during the day, or a classic-style pub burger and a refreshing beer or whiskey at night.

The Scarborough Hotel, Wollongong

The internationally renown Scarborough has been going since 1886, and its pet-friendly beer garden and ideal location attract people from all over. The Scarborough sits on the top of a cliff, treating guests to amazing views of Illawarra’s coastline. The perfect place for a delicious burger, pasta, steak or fresh seafood on a sunny afternoon.