Seven incredible spots to go surfing in Australia

By 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. If you’re visiting the area, hire a car at Melbourne airport to get straight on the road towards this exceptional surfing spot.

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.



Sydney summer events – five reasons you have to be there!

By Australia / Sydney /

Sydney events in the summer…

It’s the best and busiest time of year to visit. 

After hiring a car from Sydney Airport make sure you start checking out what’s on the Sydney events calendar during your stay. If you need more convincing, then here are five reasons why you have to be in Sydney this summer!

Sydney NYE
Sydney is the New Year’s Eve capital of Australia. From here you can be among the first major cities in the world to welcome in the New Year. The city is famous for its midnight fireworks at Sydney Harbour. Each more than one million people come to the various vantage points around the harbour to watch the colourful show and celebrate the end of the year in style.

Mardi Gras
Coming up in early March is the most colourful LGBTIQ celebration. Held in the heart of the city, the Sydney Mardi Gras draws 70,000 people from across the world. The parade is the highlight of the event, with epic costumes, loud music and colourful floats taking up Oxford and Flinders streets. It’s like a non-stop party that celebrates everything LGBTIQ while making a political and cultural statement.

Chinese New Year
More than one million people took part in Sydney’s Chinese New Year this year, as they were treated to more than 22 hours of live performances. The festival’s highlight is Lunar Lanterns, which features giant, colourful lanterns that represent the 12 Chinese zodiac signs.

Australia Day
People from across the country come together every year on January 26 to celebrate what it means to be Australian. The national day commemorate the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet, which changed the course of the nation forever. Sydney is Australia’s oldest city, making it the ideal location for several key events across the city.

Australian Open of Surfing
Kicking off in late February, the Australian Open of Surfing is one of the most exciting sporting events on Sydney’s calendar. Manly Beach becomes the home of Australia’s largest (and best) surf, skate and music festival for 10 days. World-class athletes and artists come together to celebrate surf and skate culture at what’s considered to be the birthplace of modern surfing.

Also try Five Ways To Play – Sydney to the Blue Mountains


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.”

Rent a car or campervan at Sydney airport, then off you go on a camping adventure!”

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


Your guide to your next Aussie weekend getaway in a campervan

By Australia / New South Wales / Queensland / South Australia / Tasmania / Victoria /

Aussies love to travel. It’s a huge country out there and there’s nothing better then getting the chance to explore parts of it with a quick weekend getaway from the capital cities.

Love the bush? The beach? Or perhaps even the mountains and lakes? Regional Australia has whatever you’re looking for in your next weekend getaway.

DriveNow always has cheap Australian campervan hire deals up for grabs. Hire a vehicle and choose one of these destinations if you’re having a hard time making up your mind!

Mornington Peninsula, VIC

It doesn’t matter what time of year you visit the gorgeous Mornington Peninsula. The area always makes for a relaxing weekend getaway. It’s also just a short trip from Melbourne, about one and a half hours driving time. Blairgowrie is a gorgeous, family- friendly beach to spend your days. There’s plenty of activities around too, such as a hike up the 300m high Arthurs Seat and many shops to explore at Sorrento.

Nelson Bay, NSW

Drive two and a half hours north of Sydney to get to the beautiful Nelson Bay. On the southern shores of Port Stephens you can go for a swim or surf at this fantastic natural playground. The waters are clear, making it a great place for fishing or spotting dolphins. September to November is one of the best times to visit if you want to see whales migrating south.

Murray Bridge, South Australia

More than one million people visit Murray Bridge every year. It’s considered “the crown” of the Murray region with exciting activities for people of all ages. There’s everything from great conditions for water sports to hiking trails and even paddleboat tours down the river. Murray Bridge is only a one hour drive south east of Adelaide.

Launceston, TAS

Untouched and unspoiled, Tasmania showcases nature at its best. The lovely riverside city of Launceston, which is two and a half hours north of Hobart, puts your right in the heart of this beautiful countryside. Head further north to explore pristine beaches. Head east if you want to hike through the alpine wilderness of Ben Lomond National Park. Not far from Launceston city centre is the famous Cataract Gorge, where you can go swimming or go white water rafting for a thrill.

Noosa, QLD

Noosa is a stunning coastal town on the Sunshine Coast, about two hours north of Brisbane. It’s definitely the place to be in the cooler months when the weather down south turns cold. See crocodiles and other famous animals at Australia Zoo. Go for an afternoon walk through Noosa National Park to admire the stunning coastline. Noosa Main Beach is a popular spot to relax with the family and catch some waves.


5 reasons to visit Newcastle for your next holiday

By Australia / New South Wales /

Newcastle was once an industrial town that hardly rated a mention in traveller guide books. These days, nothing could be further from the truth. The city has well and truly evolved into not just an exciting place to stop over on a road trip, but a standalone tourist destination in itself.

What makes Newcastle so attractive as a holiday destination (apart from the beautiful beaches, incredible hikes and trendy cafe culture) is that it’s only a two hour drive north of Sydney. This makes it an easy pick for your next weekend getaway.

Compare the latest cheap Sydney car rental deals, then check out one of our five reasons to visit Newcastle.

Newcastle Memorial Walk (pictured)

If you want to enjoy 360 degree views while undertaking one of New South Wales’ most beautiful coastal walks, then this is for you. The Newcastle Memorial Walk, which features a cliff top walkway, was built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli in World War One. Learn about ANZAC history and the deeply personal stories tied to this seaside city.

Nobbys Beach

It’s Newcastle’s highest profile beach. Nobbys Beach is also a hit with swimmers who want to enjoy a day in the sun in this gorgeous part of the world. Lifeguards patrol the area, making it a safe place to take the family. Read a book in the sunshine, build a sandcastle or take a dip in the cool ocean. Nobbys Beach is the place where you can relax and let time pass you by.

Merewether Baths

Merewether Beach was famously declared a National Surfing Reserve in 2009. But talented surfers have called this beach home long before that. The conditions make it an ideal place for competitive surfers. It’s also a popular spot to soak up the sun and get some exercise at the nearby Merewether Baths. All while enjoying stunning ocean views.

Glenrock State Conservation Area

This natural paradise is just 5km from Newcastle. Hire a guide to explore the park’s beaches, rainforest walks and waterfalls while learning about the local history. If you just want to get back to nature and enjoy the sounds of birds and gushing rivers, then grab a mountain bike and ride through one of the many scenic trails.

Hunter Valley Wineries

Make the most of your hire car by driving about an hour into the scenic Hunter Valley, visiting boutique wineries, cafes and restaurants. You’ll sample some of the region’s best drops and exquisite cheeses, among other delicious treats. With the freedom of your own car you can stop by towns like Pokolbin in the heart of the Hunter Valley and enjoy the peaceful surrounds.


Break the winter blues with a quick getaway to Queensland

By Australia / Queensland /

Queensland is the place to be in the colder months when you’re searching for the ultimate winter getaway. With average daily temperatures hovering around the mid-20s, it’s little wonder why people call it the Sunshine State.

If you’re shivering through gloomy, grey skies, then you’ll love a last-minute winter getaway to the north.

All you need to do is book a flight, pick one of DriveNow’s cheap car hire deals from Brisbane Airport. Then the hard part will be picking just one of these destinations for your winter getaway.

Sunshine Coast (Noosa, pictured)

The Sunny Coast, as the locals affectionately call it, is exactly that. One of the sunniest places you’ll ever visit. From the high-class bars and restaurants along Noosa’s main strip, to the quieter, relaxing spots like Peregian Beach, you’ll easily find your own slice of paradise. Make the time to take a day drive to the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. Here you’re discover quaint, historic towns like Maleny, which are full of character.

Gold Coast

This is where the surf beaches, the theme parks and the nightlife combine to create the ultimate destination. It’s a place where there’s something different for everyone, no matter what you’re looking for in a holiday. Burleigh Beach is easily the most famous sandy beach along the Gold Coast, which is also known as ‘the Bondi of Queensland’.

Fraser Coast

The Fraser Coast’s greatest asset is the beautiful, Fraser Island. The world’s largest sand island is also the only place in the world where rainforest grows on sand. It’s a great place to take the family on an adventure. There’s also Hervey Bay, which is one of the best places in the country to go whale watching during the annual migration. More than 3,000 whales visit Hervey Bay each year.

Whitsunday Coast

Whitehaven Beach is the number one destination on the Whitsunday Coast. It’s right up there with Australia’s best beaches. Incredible shades of turquoise water stretch across what’s bound to be the whitest sand you’ll ever see. It’s actually the purest silica sand in the world. One hour here and it’s nearly impossible to leave. The Whitsunday Coast is also paradise for those who enjoy sailing and snorkelling.

Cassowary Coast

Journey to the rugged Far North wilderness to explore one of the quieter spots along the Queensland coast. You won’t find massive surf breaks but what you will stumble upon is unique wildlife. Etty Bay and Mission Beach are idyllic beachside destinations where you’re guaranteed to see a cassowary. Many travellers say getting up close and personal with one of these wild, prehistoric-looking birds is a moving experience they’ll never forget.


Cooling off with some Cairns attractions in summer

By Australia / Cairns /

The fierce heat of summer months in Far North Queensland scare a lot of travellers away from Cairns. What many people don’t realise is there are plenty of Cairns attractions where you can spend your days cooling off. Some of the best Cairns attractions are inland waterfalls and lakes where you can go swimming. Pick up your hire car from Cairns Airport this summer and visit one of these Cairns attractions.

Lake Eacham

Volcanic activity formed the gorgeous Lake Eacham, which is popular among locals. It’s a clear, blue lake in the middle of a cool rainforest. Take the 3.5km walk around the lake or go swimming, canoeing and have a picnic. Because it’s about an hour inland and only accessible by the windy Gillies Range, it’s not on many travellers’ radars. But if you have your own car it’s not an issue getting there.

Josephine Falls

Venture 75km south of Cairns and you’ll encounter one of Australia’s most exciting waterfalls, which is fed by rains cascading down Queensland’s highest mountain, Bartle Frere. It’s consistently ranked as a top favourite among visitors. Swim in crystal clear waters and relax with a picnic lunch on its smooth boulders. You can also slide down the bottom part of the waterfall. Park your car and it’s only a 700-metre walk through rainforest to get to the falls.

Fitzroy Island

Travel 45 minutes by boat and you’ll feel as if you’ve entered an unspoilt, tropical island paradise. Stunning blue waters, an abundance of coral and marine life along with lush forests await. Fitzroy Island has many walking trails that treat you to spectacular views. We recommend doing the 3.6km steep trek to the lighthouse as soon as you get off the boat. Then you can spend the rest of your day relaxing by the cool ocean.

Welcome Bay on Fitzroy Island

Welcome Bay on Fitzroy Island by Riftreef at English Wikipedia CC BY 2.5

Palm Cove

Drive north of the CBD and you’ll be enjoying one of the most famous Cairns attractions (pictured, image by Martin Galivursky 123rf). This quiet, relaxing seaside village is the perfect place to have a meal or coffee on a hot day as you enjoy the cooling sea breeze. After walking past the exotic, distinct palm trees, take a dip in the ocean. Make sure you swim between the nets and wear a stinger suit during summer when stingers are about.

Crystal Cascades

This is one of the most charming waterfalls and the best part about it is it’s right on Cairns’ doorstep. It’s a secluded freshwater swimming hold, hidden in a tropical rainforest at the city’s fringe. Several small waterfalls flow into large pools that you can swim in. There’s also a BBQ and picnic tables for visitors. It’s a scenic drive to get here. Once you’re at the carpark, be prepared to walk for half an hour to the falls.



Lap of luxury in Mornington Peninsula with Jackalope

By Australia / Melbourne / Victoria /

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

Jackalope Hotel

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

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

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

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

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

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


Bass and Flinders Distillery

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

Red Hill Community Market

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

Cape Schanck – Mornington Peninsula National Park

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

Merricks House Art Gallery

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

Hit the road for a scenic drive

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



Great ways to play on the Sunshine Coast this Easter

By Australia / Brisbane /

DO you prefer cheese and wine to chocolate eggs? Then the Sunshine Coast is the place to be this Easter according to the visitsunshinecoast.com team, so make sure you mark these hot things to do on your GPS after jumping in your car rental at Brisbane airport and heading north.

The region will play host to the Kenilworth Cheese, Wine & Food Fest on Easter Saturday(15 April) – a free event which kicks off with a cheese rolling competition, Cheester Egg Hunt for children aged four to seven years and gourmet cooking demonstrations showcasing produce from the Mary Valley.

And it’s not only cheese and wine that will be on the menu over Easter. On Easter Sunday (16 April), Maroochydore will be transformed into a celebration of diversity at the Ocean Street World Festival. A free event that will feature artists across four stages with acts from Japan to Bolivia, Budapest to Jamaica, Salsa dancing and Bollywood workshops, choirs, djembe workshops and more.

Australia Zoo will be another hive of activity during the Easter break with Robert’s epic treasure hunt, pony trails, Bindi and the Jungle Girls ‘Island Time’ show and colouring competitions. From the 9 – 13 April, the Irwin family will also be feeding the crocs (pictured) in the 12pm Wildlife Warrior show in the world-famous Crocoseum.

Surfers will be attracted by one of Australia’s oldest surfing competitions: the Pa and Ma Bendall Memorial Surfing Contest, held over the Easter Long Weekend (14-16 April) at Caloundra’s Moffat Beach. The surfing contest began in 1974 and has attracted some big names over the years including Wayne (Rabbit) Bartholomew, Simon Anderson and Hawaiian legend Gerry Lopez.

Children can enjoy the annual Easter egg treasure hunt at the Original Eumundi Markets on Easter Saturday (15 April).  This will be another fun and free activity that includes a hunt with clues through the market with a chocolate surprise at the completion of the journey.

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

SPECIAL ACCOMMODATION OFFER: Mantra Mooloolaba Beach – from $255 per night in a one bedroom apartment (minimum three night stay). To book, visit mantra.com.au or call 13 15 17.



Byron Bay highlights in the Autumn months

By Australia / New South Wales /

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

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

Do the Byron Bay Lighthouse Walk

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

Check out the Bangalow Markets

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

Hit the beaches

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

Head to the Ballina Historic Waterfront Trail

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

Exlpore the Macadamia Castle

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



5 unmissable attractions in Auckland, New Zealand

By Auckland /

Auckland is definitely worth a decent stopover on your New Zealand adventure. You’ll soon come to realise the city is unique. Not only is it a world class city with all the facilities you’d expect in a capital, but it also has natural wonders right on its doorstep.

In a single day you could be climbing the city’s highest tower, exploring wineries and hiking through pristine rainforest.

This alone makes it a great city to base yourself as you explore Auckland’s attractions. All you need to do is find a great hire car deal from Auckland Airport with DriveNow and you’re all set.

Visit Sky tower in Auckland (pictured)

At 328 metres tall, the Sky Tower is an icon of Auckland’s sky line. Tourists who stop in Auckland even for just one day tend to make sure the Sky Tower is at the top of their list. Admire the panoramic 360 degree views of the city and its natural surrounds. You can also enjoy a superb lunch or dinner at the top so you have longer to take in the views. Daredevils can take up the offer to go bungee jumping off the tower. Sky Tower has something for everybody!

Explore wineries at Waiheke Island

All it takes is a 35 minute ferry ride to get from Auckland to Waiheke Island. Travel to this island and you’ll be amazed at the beautiful vineyards and beaches that await. The island is home to more than a dozen high class vineyards. Sample the region’s finest drops as you take in breathtaking views in every direction.

Laze the data away at the West Coast beaches

Auckland’s west is as wild as it is marvellous. You’ll discover remote, untouched beaches that soothe the soul. Piha Beach is popular with surfers and swimmers. Karekare is a great, isolated spot for travellers who are looking for natural beauty. Make sure you take the time to see Karekare Falls while you’re in the area. People also flock to Muriwai for its impressive coastline.

Mount Eden hike

Auckland is home to nearly 50 volcanoes. Many of these have spectacular walking tracks to the top and panoramic views. One of the best short hikes is Mount Eden. At 196 metres high, it’s the city’s highest natural point. Gorgeous views of the city and harbour await.



4 great day trips close to Melbourne

By Australia / Melbourne /

Melbourne’s many exciting attractions and experiences draw in 2 million international tourists every year. However, too many people tend to confine themselves to the CBD. It’s worth taking a day trip from Melbourne. Why not add on a couple of days to explore some of the treasures of country Victoria with a day trip from Melbourne? Snap up a cheap hire car deal at Melbourne Airport and give one of these day trips below a go.

Werribee Open Range Zoo (pictured)
If you’re going to visit only one zoo during your stay in Melbourne, then this is it! Werribee Open Range Zoo is just 40 minutes west of the CBD. Step inside the zoo and you’ll feel as if you’re on another continent. Zebras, Rhinos and Giraffes roam the fields. You’ll also get to hand feed kangaroos and get close to many other Australian animals. Also make sure you take up a safari tour while you’re here. You won’t be sorry you decided to visit Werribee Open Range Zoo with the family.

Yarra Valley Wineries
A trip to the stunning Yarra Valley makes for the perfect day trip with your partner or friends. The region, which is only about half an hour north east of the CBD, is most famous for its wineries. There are tours that take you to wineries of your choice. Or you can self-drive to a few wineries and take everything at your own pace. It’s a scenic area, which deserves some stopping along the way to admire the rolling green hills. Driving the area yourself also means way you can enjoy wine tastings, lunch and more for as long as you like.

Puffing Billy
The Dandenong Ranges is home to the most famous open air steam train in Victoria. Puffing Billy ventures through lush forest from Belgrave to Emerald. Many visitors choose to dine on board Puffing Billy for lunch or dinner. But if you’re looking for a different kind of experience with the family then you can simply pack your own lunch and have a picnic when you get off at Emerald Lake Park.

Phillip Island
Drive two hours east of Melbourne and you’ll find yourself at the lovely Phillip Island. It’s one of the best day trips from the city and many Melburnians make this trip every year. The surf beaches are among the best in Victoria and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy a meal by the beach. The penguin parade is always a favourite with tourists. Watch fairy penguins catch the waves into shore and waddle up the beach to their nests. It’s also worth spending a few hours admiring the views at The Nobbies.