Swimming with whales sharks and dolphins in Western Australia

By Australia / Perth / Western Australia /

Western Australia is an Aussie holiday destination with thousands of great outdoor activities to explore, including two fantastic ocean adventures.

Swimming with whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef

Where: Off the coast of Exmouth, roughly 1200km north of Perth, WA

Ningaloo Reef is home to an abundance of fascinating sea life and colourful coral, with plenty of snorkel and dive tours to choose from. Between April and July thousands of whale sharks descend upon these tropical waters, enabling visitors to come face to face with these fascinating creatures. They are the world’s largest living fish with mouths are up to one metres wide and lined with up to 350 rows of teeth but don’t let that scare you – these gentle ocean giants feed mainly on plankton, not snorkelers. Ningaloo Reef is one of the few unique spots in the world where large numbers of whale sharks regular appear. It’s also the only place in Australia where it’s possible to swim with these fascinating creatures – all the more reason to add this experience of a lifetime to your must-do list.

Visit www.whalesharkdive.com

Swimming with wild dolphins

Where: Shoalwater Islands Marine Park, 48km south of Perth

IT is often said there’s a deep connection between humans and dolphins. These self aware, compassionate creatures have even been known to defend people from shark attacks. Multi-award winning marine wildlife cruise company, Rockingham Wild Encounters, allows visitors the incredible and unique experience of swimming within a metre of wild dolphins in a natural environment. You simply link up with everybody in your tour group and jump straight into the water and dolphins emerge from the distance to join in for a play and a splash. For between 75 to 90 minutes you can witness dolphins catching their dinner, mothers nursing their calves or even showing off right in front of your eyes in what is said to be “the ultimate wildlife encounter”. Founder Terry Howson says this fascinating wildlife encounter is open to anybody. “It’s an unforgettable type of experience. The youngest I’ve put in the water is about 3 and the oldest was a 91-year-old Japanese lady.”

Visit dolphins.com.au



5 great Aussie caravan parks in wine regions

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

Where there’s a wine there’s a way, so jot down these five holiday parks close to vineyards throughout Australia.

1. BIG4 Port Willunga Tourist Park, SA

SOME travellers say Australia’s greenest wine region is the McLaren Vale, a must-see destination when in the South where the wine regions are some of the world’s best. Only 10 minutes from the wineries, BIG4 Port Willunga Tourist Park is considered the hot ticket venue for caravanners and campers to set up camp before experiencing the delicious home grown food and wine, popular beaches and nearby art galleries.

Famous for producing great reds and chardonnays, some of the best wines in the world feature among the 75 cellar doors you can explore in the region. Try Woodstock Wine Estate, Aramis Vineyard, Angrove McLaren Vale Winery and Cellar Door, and d’Arenberg for a real taste of the area. Even create your own food and wine trail by taking a car, walking or bike riding around the region and sampling the delicious regional produce.

Don’t miss the Willunga Farmers Market and go nuts with the abundance of fresh food on offer including, cheese, olives and bread to create your own perfect picnic. BIG4 Port Willunga Tourist Park has executive spa suites to a range of caravan and motor home sites. It’s perfect for cooking up a feast on the park’s barbecues while you uncork a bottle of local wine.

More port-willunga-tourist-park.sa.big4.com.au

2. Beachlands Holiday Park, WA

COULD there be a better place in winter than Busselton at Beachlands Holiday Park? Right beside the white sandy beaches of Geographe Bay, Busselton is widely considered the capital of the Margaret River wine region where you get the best of both worlds – gorgeous coastline and beautiful vineyards. The park provides a place to park your wheels before exploring the wineries, some landscaped gardens and nearby restaurants big on paddock-to-plate local produce. Over 150 wine producers call the Margaret River home, with many offering cellar door tastings and sales. Perhaps the best way to explore it all is with the Bushtucker River and Wine Tour which takes you to four wineries, a brewery and chocolate and cheese companies along the way. Accommodation options at Beachlands Holiday Park include chalets, spa villas, jacuzzi bungalows and camping and caravan sites. After a day of indulgence at the local wineries and restaurants, unwind in the heated swimming pool, enjoy a glass of Margaret River produced wine by the landscaped gardens or burn off all that recently consumed chocolate, cheese and wine on the NEOS equipment – the latest and greatest in fitness equipment.

More beachlandsresort.com.au

3. BIG4 Valley Vineyard Tourist Park, NSW

Hunter Valley wine region is as big as it gets when it comes to Aussie wines and BIG4 Valley Vineyard Tourist Park is the ultimate spot to relax and enjoy a holiday of wining and dining. Just a short distance from the main part of town, the park is set among Merlot grapevines and operates as a holiday destination and fully functioning vineyard. Discover many other award winning wineries in the area, including Arrowfield Estate, Drayton’s Family Wines, and Gartelmann Wines to name a few. Indulge yourself on the Rovers Wine Tour that departs from BIG4 Valley Vineyard Tourist Park most mornings where you’ll tempt your tastebuds throughout the day as you enjoy wine, cheese, chocolate and fudge tastings. Sit back at the end of the day while taking in the views from the balcony of your private cabin. BIG4 Valley Vineyard Tourist Park has modern accommodation options available including two-storey apartments, villas and cottages, to powered tent and caravan sites with views of the grapevines or the resort-style pool.

More valleyvineyard.com.au

4. Badger Creek Holiday Park, Victoria

THE Yarra Valley is a treat for sore eyes in any season, but the crisp weather down south can bring out the best in misty morning views and lush valleys that run deep – and then there are all the excellent cellar doors to discover. Better still, only an hour’s drive from Melbourne is a little charmer called BIG4 Badger Creek Holiday Park in Healesville. This is as down to earth as it gets and aside from a great range of cabins, a games room, basketball courts and barbecue areas, the real charm lies in the cascading gentle trickle of little Badger Creek itself where you can set up a tent and enjoy a campfire under some of the brightest stars in the southern hemisphere. Nearby are more than 40 cellar doors offering some of the country’s best wineries, including famous Domaine Chandon and De Bortoli Yarra Valley Estate. While you get the opportunity to rough it a little by camping by a creek, you can spoil yourself on the region’s sensational food and wine more suited to luxury travellers. As a bonus, wine tours or more information on local wineries can be organised through reception at the park.

More badgercreekholidays.com.au

5. Kelso Sands Holiday & Native Wildlife Park, Tamar Valley Region

EMBRACE great Tassie wineries, and cracking scenery and attractions in the Tamar Valley Region with a stay at Kelso Sands Holiday and Native Wildlife Park. A cool climate wine region, the Tamar Valley produces outstanding quality wines that reflect its environment, which, let’s face it, is pretty damn pure. Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir are some of the best of the bunch. Dalrymple Vineyards has developed award-winning wines and is a fantastic place to bring a packed picnic to enjoy overlooking the perfect rows of grapevines. For a change of wine scenery, J Boag and Son Brewery is one for the beer lovers, where you can take a tour of the historic brewery. Your choice of stay includes the riverview cottages, holiday units and caravan and camping sites.

More kelso-sands-holiday-park.tas.big4.com.au


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Nature’s best in Western Australia – five unmissable natural attractions

By Australia / Broome / Perth / Western Australia /

SO you’ve jumped in a Perth car rental for an adventure in Western Australia. The problem is, you’ve just lobbed in Australia’s biggest state, with an area of more than 2,500,000sq/km, a 12,500km coastline and spanning 2400km from north to south.

For an entire state being a third the size of a large continent, quite simply you’ve got to know where to go and we’ve hand-picked five unmissable natural attractions while you’re on the road in WA.

1. Cable Beach (pictured, photo James Morgan)

Could there be a better way to catch a sunset than by cruising along on the back of a camel on pristine white sand stretching 22km? We think not. The beach is steeped in beautiful Broome’s history, earning its name from the telegraph cable laid between Broome and Java in the late 19th century that connected Australia’s secluded North West with the world. Stay at one of the resorts near Cable Beach or visit for the day from Broome, take a swim, jump on a boat cruise or just meander on one of the planet’s most beautiful beaches and catch a stunning sunset.

2. Ningaloo Reef

When you get a chance to go swimming with whalesharks in the gorgoues waters of the Ningaloo Reef on the mid north coast, you grab the opportunity with both hands – and your flippers! This part of the earth is home to whalesharks between April and July and tours from Coral Bay or Exmouth provide the opportunity to take a dip and float with the whalesharks, which are the biggest fish in the world. But that’s not all. You can also swim with manta rays, dolphins, colourful tropical fish and see rare turtles and migrating humpback whales.

3. Valley of the Giants

Such a name might turn any unsuspecting road tripper completely around and heading in the other direction, but fortunately these giants are peaceful, tranquil and beautiful. The Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk puts you in the sky to see some of the tallest timber giants on Earth – Western Australia’s tingle trees. Climbing 40m into the forest canopy and wandering through the treetops for 500 metres, the walk trail is set up to maximise views and minimise impact. Just a four hour drive from Perth, this experience is 15 minutes east of Walpole, on Western Australia’s south coast.

4. The Pinnacles

They say this place is “like walking on the moon”. A two hour drive from Perth, the lunar-like Pinnacles form one of Australia’s most interesting natural landscapes that evolved over millions of years. Tall limestone spires rise out of the yellow desert sands of Nambung National Park, just outside the coastal town of Cervantes.

5. Rottnest Island

Rottnest is a short ferry ride from the mainland from Fremantle, Perth’s Barrack Street Jetty and Hillarys Marina. It boasts 63 beaches, 20 beautiful bays and many coral reefs and wrecks to enjoy some of Australia’s best swimming spots, snorkel trails and surfing. A good idea is to cycle around the island where you’ll encounter the world renowned quokka.



Six great reasons to visit Perth

By Australia / Perth / Western Australia /

PERTH is said to be the world’s most isolated capital city, closer to Singapore than it is to Australia’s capital, Canberra. One thing is certain – despite its distance, every Australian and visitor to our country should spend at least some time in this glorious city.

Here are six great reasons to head west:

1. It’s the sunshine capital

Ever booked a beach holiday but it turned into a holiday on the couch because there was hardly sun? Weather is unpredictable but Perth has more sunshine than any other Australian capital city, so you could visit Perth at almost any time of the year and you’re likely to enjoy plenty of outdoor activities. Perth enjoys 3000 hours of sunshine a year (8.8 hours each day on average) and summer sees temperatures remain around 30 degrees celsius.

2. Beautiful beaches

Facing the Indian Ocean, Perth is within close proximity to several gorgeous beaches. The crystal clear waters at Cottesloe Beach, about 15 minutes from Perth’s CBD, is a popular spot for snorkelling and swimming (and stopping in at one of Australia’s best pubs, the Cottesloe Hotel). You can also find you’re own little quiet spot at one of the many smaller beaches just outside of Perth.

3. Food and wine

Just 30 minutes east of Perth city is the historic Swan Valley. Here, you may visit a winery to taste some of Perth’s premium wines or head to a boutique brewery. You’ll also find original gourmet food throughout the valley’s numerous restaurants and cafes, while chock-a-holics can enter a world of chocolate at the Margaret River Chocolate Company’s factory in Swan Valley.

4. Swim with wild dolphins (pictured)

One of the highlights of a weekend in Perth is swimming with dolphins – wild ones! Between September and June, Rockingham Wild Encounters takes travellers out on a boat and into the ocean to swim with these gorgeous animals. This company has won several ecotourism awards and there are few other places in Australia where you can swim with wild dolphins. Photo: Scott Podmore.

5. Rottnest Island

Just a short ferry ride from Perth is Rottnest Island, home to white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. No cars are allowed on this natural paradise, so most people cycle around the island. Look out for the adorable, smiling quokkas – these cute creatures are found throughout the island.

6. Explore the weekend markets

Markets across Perth sell everything from handmade crafts to organic produce. every weekend. Western Australia’s largest undercover market on Sundays, Canning Vale Markets, operates 7am to 2pm. It has over 1,000 stalls selling new and second-hand furniture, clothing, books, toys and war memorabilia. You can pick up some colourful rugs and pottery at the Station Street Markets, which run Friday to Sunday, 9am to 5.30pm. There’s also the Perth City Farmers Market every Saturday morning, where you’ll pick up bargains from growers who farm ethically and sustainably.



Top snorkeling spots in Australia

By Australia / Brisbane / Cairns / New South Wales / Perth / Port Douglas / Queensland / Sydney / Western Australia /

AUSTRALIA  has some of the best snorkeling spots in the world. If you’re heading to the Australian coast this summer, consider discovering the beauty of the underwater world with snorkeling. Join a guided tour or grab your snorkeling gear and swim through some of the most spectacular marine areas – anybody can do it.

Here are some of Australia’s best places to snorkel.

Ningaloo Reef, WA

Check out the whale sharks, manta rays, turtles and humpback whale at certain times of the year around this incredible section of the world. Some of Ningaloo’s hotspots are:

The Oyster Stacks. Five isolated islets which protrude from the reef and are covered with oysters. It’s also home to a variety of colourful fish. Best accessed during high or incoming tide.

Turquoise Bay. Absolutely stunning and is widely considered by many to be one of the area’s best snorkeling spots. Beginners who don’t want to deal with currents can simply step off the beautiful sandy beach of Turquoise Bay and swim right into the coral section.

Geographe Bay, WA

While Geographe Bay has many popular attractions, snorkeling off this pristine coastline in the state’s south-west is the number one experience for anybody visiting the region.

Busselton Jetty. The heritage listed Busselton Jetty is the longest timber-piled jetty in the Southern Hemisphere, extending 1.8 kilometres across the bay. Dive into the surrounding waters surrounding to discover the 300 different marine species living below the jetty.

See something different at Shelly Cove, located at the end of Bunker Point. It’s a wonderful place to snorkel, with limestone cliffs towering above and gorgeous pebbles and shells of all colours and patterns scattered across the seabed.

Great Barrier Reef (pictured)

The world’s longest coral reef system has inner reefs, which comprise of softer corals, and outer reefs, where you’ll find harder corals. It’s definitely worth visiting both if you’ve got the time. However, the GBR stretches for over 2,300 kilometres, so we’ve narrowed it down to the three best snorkeling spots for you.

Agincourt Reef: located on the very outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef. Because of its distance, fewer travellers visit. Here, unique reefs known as ‘ribbons’ run parallel to the continental shelf, offering vibrant coral gardens.

Lady Elliot Island, Southern Great Barrier Reef: the lagoon on the island’s eastern side is ideal for beginners, with an abundance of colourful coral and tropical fish, along with sea cucumbers, starfish, sea urchins and gorgeous turtles. More experienced snorkelers can head to the deeper western side, where you’ll encounter mantas, reef sharks and dolphins.

Orpheus Island: this world-class snorkel site is situated just north of Townsville. Researchers regularly study this gorgeous section of the reef because of it’s fantastic variety of marine life. There are thousands of damsel fish and hundreds of giant clams, which have been seen to squirt water at low tide!

Lord Howe Island, NSW

Situated at the crossroads of five major ocean currents, Lord Howe Island is renowned for its pristine waters. Some of the best snorkeling spots include:

North Bay: a secluded beach, accessible only by foot or water. In these waters explore the colourful fish and coral, and also the shipwreck of the Favourite, which has been lying on the ocean floor since 1965.

Erscott’s Hole: among the luscious coral garden, including Staghorn coral, you may spot the amazing Double Header Wrasse or the Blue Fish, which can change its body colour from dark green to sky blue within seconds.



Go retro with these 4 Australian drive in venues to catch a movie under the stars

By Australia / Darwin / Melbourne / Perth / Sydney /

GOING to the local cinema always guarantees a good night out, but nothing compares to the nostalgic charm of jumping in a car with your partner, or the family, and watching a movie at the drive in theatre. Whether you’re with your partner, friends or family, everybody loves a night under the stars. It’s an old-fashioned way to have some fun, but it’s a goodie.

1. Skyline Drive In

Blacktown, 38km west of Sydney CBD

When it comes to drive in movies Sydney does as well if not better than anyone with its only drive in featuring a 50s-in-America theme, perfect for anybody who wants to go back to the days of Elvis, Rock’n’Roll and puffy dresses for an evening out. The staff at the diner even bring you burgers and hotdogs in their ’50s style costumes. It’s serious retro fun at a Sydney drive in threatre that offers the lot!

2. Deckchair Cinema

13km south east of Darwin Airport

Watch a movie with a frog hopping at your feet, an owl gently hooting and the occasional bat flying across the projector’s beam. That’s just how the locals love it at Darwin’s famous Deckchair Cinema overlooking Darwin Harbour on Jervois road in Darwin. Open throughout the dry season, chairs and cushions are provided while a licensed bar offering beers, wines and other tasty treats.

3. Coburg Drive In

16km north of Melbourne CBD

For some good old-fashioned fun on a Saturday night, Melburnians head to the Coburg Drive In. Grab a bite to eat in the spectacular retro style diner, or if feeling a little self-indulgent, order your treats via SMS and have them delivered straight to your car.

4. Kookaburra Outdoor Cinema

Mundaring, 35km east of Perth CBD

This beautiful outdoor cinema is unlike any other in Australia. What makes Kookaburra Outdoor Cinema so special is that you’re in the forest – while watching your movies you have the stunning state forest as your backdrop. It’s also small in comparison to some of the other city drive ins, and there’s plenty of deckchairs and picnic tables to go around.

Car rental kings – DriveNow is the best answer for Australian car and campervan rentals.



5 incredible ways to go missing in your Perth car rental in Western Australia

By Australia / Perth / Western Australia /

WAY out west there are plenty of reasons to lose yourself from the daily grind of city life. Western Australia is overflowing with great escape options, so get yourself a Perth car rental and hit the accelerator as you head for one of these sublime destinations for some serious R&R.

1. Balingup Heights Hilltop Forest Cottages (pictured)

TWO hours south of Perth (246km) along the coast is all it will take to reach one of the highest accommodation locations in WA’s South West – and most enchanting – the multi-award-winning Balingup Heights Hilltop Forest Cottages. This venue’s has only just unveiled a fresh look for its five rustic timber cottages following a major renovation. A Spring Special is on for stays up until December 20 this year (2014), so get in quick – stay a minimum of three nights in your choice of cottage and receive a complimentary farmhouse breakfast hamper, a gourmet cheese platter and bottle of award-winning Smallwater Estate Wine. Spring Special package rates start from $230 per couple per night ($175 mid week). Offer not available long weekends.
The Forest Cottages are set amidst 25 acres of bushland, and now feature new open-plan kitchens, bathrooms, paintwork and floor coverings, plus reverse-cycle air conditioning and pot-belly log fires. A revamp of the property’s two-bedroom ‘Gum Nut Cottage’ has added a new Jarrah timber deck to take advantage of spectacular views, and an extended master bedroom and living area. The 46-acre Balingup Heights’ property is perched high above the quaint township of Balingup in the Blackwood Valley. We’re talking authentic country charm, incredible views over rolling green hills and ever-changing fruit orchards. Visit www.balingupheights.com.au or www.facebook.com/balingupheights

2. Moore River Holidays

This beautiful place just 85km north of Perth is secluded and can accommodate up to 14 people comfortably – so grab another group of friends or another family and have a fun group escape. Moore River Holidays is self-contained, has reverse cycle air conditioner, wood fired heater, gazebo on the Moore River and a hooded BBQ. Stainless steel kitchen has a super dooper fridge, casserole slow cooker hot pot, rice cooker, steak knives, flat sandwich maker and large pots for cooking up a storm. Visit mooreriverholidays.com.au/accommodation

3. Pinnacles Holiday Park

Go a bit further up the road past Moore River and say hello to paradise at the Pinnacles. Just over two hours drive north from Perth on the scenic Indian Ocean Drive the Pinnacles Holiday Park is right in the heart of Cervantes and has a range of facilities and amenities to suit everyone. Think absolute beach frontage and kick back with brekky, lunch or dinner at Seashells Café. Gorgeous part of the world. Visit www.pinnaclesholidaypark.com.au

4. Cape Lodge

Three hours drive south in Margaret River country, it’s more than just beautiful vineyards and magic ocean views – this is the home of mighty Cape Lodge, stunning five star accommodation of the highest order. And amazing food! Cape Lodge is a prestigious venue with 22 rooms and suites, an executive five-bedroom house, all enveloped within a vineyard, enchanted bushland and a lake. When not losing yourself in the grounds’ gardens, there’s a tennis court and free-form swimming pool that may come in handy for burning those extra calories you’re doomed to load up on at the venue’s restaurant. Dynamo chef Tony Howell’s offerings are melt-in-your-mouth world class. Visit www.capelodge.com.au

5. Brookleigh

If it’s a quick drive from Perth you’re after, head north east for half an hour and park your wheels at beautiful Brookleigh, luxury chateau accommodation in the heart of the Swan Valley where there’s so much to explore in this dynamic little region in the west. Visit www.brookleigh.com.au



Three spine-tingling Australian haunts

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

AFRAID of ghosts? What about paranormal activity? There’s plenty of spooky places around the planet but Australia has many of them.

It’s not for everyone, but if you have hired a car in Sydney, Melbourne or Perth here are three places that promise to spook the hell out of you.

1. Monte Cristo Homestead in Junee NSW – Could this old mansion be the most haunted place in the world? Many say it is. The resident ghost is said to be Mrs Elizabeth Crawley, the original owner, who apparently is fiercely protective of her property. In addition to spooky visions there’s believed to be poltergeist like activity as well. Yikes! From Sydney, Junee is a four hour drive. We suggest you get a room at the Mercure in Wagga Wagga just a racing heartbeat away. Don’t forget to do a tour of the mansion.

2. Princess Theatre in Melbourne Victoria – This gorgeous building was built in 1854 and is known as the home of Frederick Baker, a ghostly resident who has been lurking around the stage and dressing rooms since the late 19th century. It is said he played the role of Mephistopheles in Faust when he died of a heart attack just after his performance. It’s believed for a long time the third-row seat in the dress circle was kept vacant in his honour.

3. Fremantle Arts Centre WA – The Freo venue is said to be “seriously haunted” and once was an Asylum for the mentally insane. Reports include sightings, doors opening and closing, strange lights, sounds, while others have said they have been touched or even kissed but nothing appears to be nearby.


7 amazing things to do in Australia’s great outdoors before your croak it

By Melbourne / Northern Territory / Perth / Port Douglas / Queensland /

AUSTRALIA’S landscapes are so vast and diverse, with so much to offer travellers who love an unforgettable outdoor experience. Hit the road and explore the great outdoors (and underground!) with one of these exciting adventures.

1. Hang gliding in one of Queensland’s popular seaside towns

Where: Port Douglas, 67km north of Cairns

Hang gliding is probably the closest you’ll ever come to experiencing what it’s like to fly like a bird. Admire Port Douglas’ stunning beaches and blue waters from above, while enjoying the thrill of take off and landing.

2. Horse riding in the Snowy Mountains

Where: Bago State Forest, 240 km south west of Canberra

Explore a stunning landscape on horseback with Mountain Ash Trails’ half day and full day rides. Ride through the gorgeous Tumbarumba region and spot kangaroos, brumbies and kookaburras along the way.

3. Cave exploring in Gippsland

Where: Buchan, 355km east of Melbourne

Underground a wonderland of ancient caves awaits, formed nearly 400 million years ago as rivers cut through limestone rock. Guided tours take you to see some of the amazing limestone formations, including Fairy Cave’s decorative stalactites and stalagmites, and the Royal Caves calcite-rimmed pools.

4. Walk the Bay of Fires (pictured)

Where: 275km north east of Hobart

Famous for its white beaches, turquoise waters and large boulders dusted with orange, Tasmania’s Bay of Fires is a must see on every traveller’s list. Take your time to stop and admire the breathtaking views of this untouched wilderness at every opportunity, because you’ll never see anything like it again.

5. Canoe along the Coorong

Where: Coorong Wetlands, 85 km south west of Adelaide

Take in the natural beauty of the Murray River, Lakes and Coorong with a kayak trip through the Coorong Wetlands, one of South Australia’s ‘best kept secrets’. You’ll also learn about the area’s fascinating wildlife and its importance to Indigenous culture.

6. Snorkelling in crystal clear waters

Where: Shoalwater Islands Marine Park, 47 km south of Perth

This marine park’s beautiful limestone islands, shipwrecks, reefs and sea life provide for excellent snorkeling and diving. Swim near bottlenose dolphins, spot little penguins, sea lions and also seabirds, which are rarely seen on the mainland.

7. Camel trekking in the Red Centre

Where: Alice Springs, 1,500 km south of Darwin

Marvel at the unique beauty of the Red Centre with Pyndan Camel Tracks’ sunset camel ride. Trek along the intriguing Ilparpa Valley, looking out for some of Australia’s iconic animals such as dingoes and kangaroos. All against a backdrop of stunning mountain ranges.




5 outrageous views that may force you to never return home from Australia and New Zealand

By Australia / Brisbane / New South Wales / New Zealand / Perth / Queensland / Western Australia /

WHEN you discover holiday parks with such incredible views, there’s no choice but to spread the word. Grab a car rental from your nearest capital city and check out these holiday parks with views so outrageous, that you may never want to return back home.

Beachcomber Holiday Park offers sensational ocean views, with cabins and campsites spreading from the edge of the beach and sloping uphill. Beachcomber has won tourism awards and its owners guarantee kangaroo and wallaby sightings. How could you not want to stay forever?

Approximate travel time: 50 mins south of Sydney

Cowes Caravan Park in Phillip Island faces a stunning, white sandy beach, with front cabin and caravan sites overlooking Westernport Bay. In this tranquil haven, rock pools, shore fishing and other attractions are only a short walk away.

Approximate travel time: 2 hours south east of Melbourne

Cotton Tree Holiday Park on the Sunshine Coast has direct access to the idyllic Maroochydore Beach and Maroochy River, so you don’t have to choose! There’s a quiet corner for everybody – you can read under a shady tree, play beach cricket, surf or go fishing.

Approximate travel time: 1 and a half hours north of Brisbane

Fiordland Great Views Holiday Park in New Zealand is nothing short of exceptional, showcasing breathtaking views of Lake Te Anau and surrounding mountains (pictured). In this tranquil corner of the world, sunsets are beautiful, nearby walking tracks are divine and wildlife is everywhere you turn.

Approximate travel time: 7 and a half hours south west of Christchurch

Panorama Holiday Cottages and Caravan Park treats you to wonderful waterfront views of Albany’s Princess Royal Harbour. There’s amazing birdlife, fishing while night is almost magical, with streetlights from across the harbour lighting up the landscape.

Approximate travel time: 4 and a half hours south east of Perth



Park in profile – Taunton Farm Holiday Park, Margaret River

By Australia / Perth / Western Australia /

PARK IN PROFILE: Taunton Farm Holiday Park, Western Australia

Where: 8113 Bussel Highway, Cowaramup, set right in the heart of Margaret River, part of Western Australia’s famous wine, food, nature and surf region.

Website: www.taunton-farm-holiday-park.wa.big4/com.au

10 words or less: The great Aussie farm outback experience. Family-friendly, tranquil setting.

The lowdown: After grabbing your Perth campervan rental it’s a beautiful three and a half hour drive from Perth to reach Taunton Farm Holiday Park, the ideal place to park your Western Australian campervan wheels – especially given April is “Aussie Wine Month”. Nestled amongst forest and close to Margaret River’s attractions, the farm-themed park spoils its visitors with its peaceful environment and friendly atmosphere.

Margaret River is known as one of the world’s best fine wine regions and is highly regarded for its chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet blends. Some cellar door highlights include Evans & Tate, Cullen Wines, Peacetree Estate, Voyager and Leeuwin Estate. With around 150 wine producers in the region, there is ample opportunity to sit back, relax and enjoy some premium wine and food. The region is also home to some of Western Australia’s best surf beaches and crystal-clear waters. Tourists can also treat themselves to whale watching cruises and explore the region’s breathtaking caves.

Taunton’s farm theme provides visitors with a unique rural experience unlike no other. On this spacious farm, the whole family can get up close and personal with farm animals or simply relax and have a barbecue with neighbours. Taunton’s visitors also cherish the opportunity to discover some of the region’s incredible flora and fauna with nearby nature walks.

Accommodation options include self-contained farm-style cottages, campgrounds as well as powered caravan and motorhome sites. Taunton also features an adventure playground, wireless internet and free gas barbecues.





Toast the good life with a scenic drive through classic wine country

By Adelaide / Australia / Melbourne / New South Wales / Perth / South Australia / Sydney / Victoria / Western Australia /

AUSTRALIAN wines have taken their place amongst the best in the world. Combined with a stunning landscape, wineries offer a great Australian drive-tour experience.

The first thing to do is nominate a driver – maybe take it in turns if an overnight stay is planned. The next thing is to select your DriveNow rental vehicle. A roomy sedan or four-wheel drive might be handy, or why not pick up a campervan and have your accommodation sorted as well?

Those in Western Australia have the acclaimed Margaret River to explore. Pick up your Perth car rental and head about 280km south to Margaret River, home to 20 percent of Australia’s premium wines. Take advantage of the area’s beaches and forests by staying at the Riverview Tourist Park and making it your base.  Xanadu winery is a popular and picturesque place to start, with an award-winning restaurant and sweeping views.

In NSW the Hunter Valley is considered the grand old daddy of wine regions – and it’s only two hours from Sydney.  Lindemans, McGuigan, and Wyndham Estate are just some of the famous labels to be explored.

Take in South Australia’s Barossa Valley Tourist Park, 70kms north of the state’s capital and maybe hire one of the bicycles on offer. The park is close to wineries such Wolf Blass, Penfolds, Tarac Australia, and Chateau Dorrien.

Victoria is the perfect place for winery day trips with the Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula and Geelong winery regions all within an hour’s drive of the city.  St Huberts, Sticks, Dromana Estate, T’Gallant, Bellarine Estate and Jack Rabbit Vineyard are amongst the state’s diverse offerings.

Across the water, Tasmania’s Tamar Valley is home to some of Australia’s premium cool-climate wines and over in New Zealand, wineries are one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions. Northland, Nelson, Hawkes Bay and Marlborough are some of the popular wine districts just ripe for exploration.