Aug
25
2017

Spring festivals in Australia – where to celebrate the season

By Australia / Brisbane / Queensland /

Many people would agree that spring is the loveliest time of year. So why not get out and explore some of the best spring festivals that Australia has to offer…

Whether you’re a passionate gardener, a food lover or an arts and film buff, there are spring festivals for every niche.

For an affordable getaway, check out DriveNow’s website for some cheap campervan hire deals. Then make your way to one of these incredible spring festivals.

Brisbane Spring Festival

9-30 September, 2017

Spend 21 days celebrating one of Queensland’s most exciting arts festivals. More than a million people attend every year. Not only do you get the chance to explore thrilling opera, classical and contemporary music. You can also head along to comedy shows, circus, theatre and dance performances. There truly is something for everyone.

Bright Spring Festival

21 October – 7 November, 2017

Drive 320km north east of Melbourne to the charming town of Bright. Lush, green mountains surround you, while colourful flowers start to bloom again after winter. You’ll witnesses colourful flowers of all different types at the Bright Spring Festival. As the word gets out, more and more people are coming every year to admire Bright’s beautiful gardens.

Renmark’s Rose Festival

20-29 October, 2017

Here’s another stunning flower festival. This one is dedicated purely to roses. Drive 250km north east of Adelaide to discover spring in this quaint, rural town. Renmark is home to Ruston’s Rose Garden, which boasts 27 acres of beautiful roses and ornamentals. It’s the perfect place to explore by foot. Then relax with tea or coffee in the gardens afterwards.

Sydney Fringe Festival

1-30 September, 2017

It’s the largest independent arts festival in New South Wales. Every September, Sydney present more than 300 productions ore events across more than 50 venues. They all celebrate the innovative creations of independent artists, art makers and performers. There are interactive art exhibitions, artists talks and foodie feasts.

Aug
19
2017

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.

Apr
20
2017

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.

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.

BRIANNA PIAZZA

Mar
29
2017

Looking for the best Gold Coast restaurants? Read on

By Australia / Gold Coast /

The Gold Coast is most famous for its sunshine, sandy beaches and busy nightlife. But you may not know that Gold Coast restaurants are some of the best going around.

There are so many places where you can grab a scrumptious bite to eat, a quick coffee or sit down for some fine dining.

Here are five of the best Gold Coast restaurants for the hit-list. Make sure you grab a hire car from Surfers Paradise then head to these amazing eateries.

Hellenika Restaurant (pictured)

Hellenika is one of the best Gold Coast restaurants. Treat yourself to “simple authentic home-style food, designed to be placed in the middle of the table to share.” This philosophy is at the heart of everything Hellinika serves up. Treat yourself to traditional Greek dishes, such as smoky meats and seafoods. The salads are also divine and presented beautifully.

Etsu Izakaya

This gorgeous Japanese bar/restaurant is a great place to spend an afternoon with friends. Red paper lanterns, traditional tatami booths and trees that are “growing” from the tables are some of the unique features of this eatery. Those who dine here enjoy the busy, fun and loud environment. Silken tofu, tsukune dunked in egg yolk and wagyu beef are some of the incredible dishes to choose from.

Justin Lane

This popular pizzeria and pasta bar is a loud and lively place to spend the evening. There’s also the added option of rooftop dining, which sets a relaxing vibe at sunset or night. Admire views of Burleigh Beach and the iconic high rise buildings as you enjoy an antipasto place with company. Rustic pasta dishes and crusty wood-fired pizza are some of the most popular dishes on the menu.

Elk Espresso

Elk Espresso has a fantastic reputation among the locals. It’s always buzzing with excitement, no matter what time of day you visit. Fantastic coffee draws diners in, but the scrumptious Australian food keeps them coming back for more. For breakfast, indulge in some pork belly and corn with chilli. Or perhaps the Persian feta and poached eggs on sourdough is more to your liking. There’s plenty of healthy salads and burgers to choose from during the day.

The Fish House

This beachside dining room is elegant and charming. Feel at ease when you’re handed the menu, only to spot the day’s date, which proves just how fresh the produce here really is. Not to mention the fine wines that accompany the dishes. The restaurant is inspired by Southern Europe cuisine. Managers also proudly declare it “the finest Seafood Restaurant on the Gold Coast”.

BRIANNA PIAZZA

Mar
20
2017

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.

 

Mar
08
2017

Brisbane’s coolest caravan parks for your campervan

By Australia / Brisbane /

Do you want to explore the beautiful city of Brisbane in a caravan? It’s a caravan friendly city with many caravan parks to choose from. 

Hire a caravan from Brisbane Airport and stay at one of these caravan parks.

Brisbane Holiday Village (right)

If location is your main concern, then look no further than Brisbane Holiday Village. The award-winning Brisbane Holiday Village is only 15 minutes from the CBD and 20 minutes from the Gold Coast Theme Parks. It’s one of the most central caravan parks you’ll find in Brisbane which caters to all budgets. It also comes with all the amenities you’d expect, such as BBQs, a tennis court, mini golf course and a restaurant. 

Newmarket Gardens Caravan Park

Once upon a time this property was a Jersey cow stud farm but now it’s a tranquil caravan park for holiday-makers. This caravan park has 100 tourist sites, camping sites, ensuite cabins, to name a few accommodation styles. Newmarket Gardens is conveniently close to attractions such as Suncorp Stadium, the QLD Museum, Southbank and the Convention Centre. It’s also just 4km from the city centre but you’ll feel as if you have your own quiet section of paradise.

Brisbane Gateway Resort

Brisbane Gateway Resort is another venue in a convenient spot, which also offers value for money. You’ll stay in Rochedale on the south side of the city and enjoy the excellent facilities on site. Tourists who stay here praise the resort for its cleanliness and the modern guest facilities. Enjoy the resort-style swimming pool, a day/night tennis court and an adventure playground for the kids. All of the sites have electricity, water and waste water services.

Lake Somerset Holiday Park

If you’re prepared to stay outside Brisbane, then you won’t be disappointed if Lake Somerset Holiday Park is your choice. It’s set on 45 hectares in the Valley of the Lakes. Here, you can stay right near the edge of the water at Lake Somerset. This holiday park is the perfect place to base yourself if you want to explore Brisbane, Toowoomba and the Sunshine Coast. You also have the added bonus of having a watersport playground on your doorstep!

BRIANNA PIAZZA

Jan
31
2017

4 of the hottest new hotels and resorts in Queensland

By Queensland /

AUSTRALIA has an endless feed of new hotels and resorts, but it shouldn’t come as any surprise Queensland often leads the pack with the most interesting and alluring. Looking for somewhere new to explore in the sunshine state after jumping in a Brisbane car rental and hitting the road? The Queensland Tourism & Events team serve up six of the finest…

Breeze (pictured) – Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast

Breeze is a new boutique coastal property located in Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast, and is the newest luxury resort to open in the seaside suburb in over a decade. Breeze occupies prime position on the beachfront esplanade and is within walking distance of award-winning dining including the area’s renowned Spice Bar. With its fluid, exterior architecture that mirrors the ocean’s gentle waves, the property features 57, style-forward apartments designed in neutral colors and beachside décor. Breeze also offers a pool and spa, and guests have access to the beach as well as bicycles for exploring Mooloolaba and the surrounding coastal community.

More: www.breezemooloolaba.com.au.

Paradise Country – Oxenford, Gold Coast

Paradise Country, the Gold Coast’s rustic farm-world theme park, where families discover a cuddly collection of Aussie wildlife and farmyard friends, now offers overnight stay experiences. Families can turn a day out at the farm into an overnight stay with the choice of accommodation in the park’s family style camp, motor home or farm stay eco-tent. Guests of Paradise Country’s overnight stay experiences enjoy full use of the theme park that includes access to the Farmhouse restaurant and bar facilities, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and are welcome to enjoy exclusive farm stay activities including campfires and games. Paradise Country is located 20 minutes from the Gold Coast’s renowned Surfer’s Paradise, and is nearby other theme park attractions including Warner Bros. Movie World, and Wet’n’Wild Gold Coast.

More: paradisecountry.com.au

The Island – Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast

Gold Coast and Surfers Paradise icon The Islander Resort has been completely redesigned and renamed The Island. Located in the heart of Surfers Paradise, The Island hotel offers 150 newly renovated, spacious rooms that are designed incorporating both classic and functional elements, while evoking a modern sense of the classic surfer film, “Gidget”. Boasting views of the hinterland, city, beach and water, guests of The Island hotel will also have access to experience the property’s revamped tropical rooftop bar, The Island Rooftop. The Island will debut a kids’ club, and programming later this year.

More: www.theislandgoldcoast.com.au.

The Johnson, an Art Series Hotel – Spring Hill, Brisbane

Recently debuted in September 2016, The Johnson is the Art Series Hotels’ first Queensland property, and is inspired by globally renowned Australian colorist Michael Johnson. The opening marks a pivotal milestone for the hotel group in expanding their dedicated art inspired offerings across Australia. Eighty-three spacious suites and two penthouses boasting spectacular views across the city, as well as multi-functional public spaces are adorned with the Sydney-born artist’s original paintings and giclee prints. Guests of The Johnson have access to the hotel’s infamous art tours and in-room art channels and libraries. Branded Smart Cars and Lekker bicycles are available for guest use, and complement the property’s array of resort-like amenities that include: a 164 foot resort style pool and deck bar; state-of-the-art fitness facility; Tumbling Stone and the hotel’s signature restaurant.

More: artserieshotels.com.au/johnson

SCOTT PODMORE

 

Dec
15
2016

Summer favourites on the Sunshine Coast

By Australia / Queensland /

The Sunshine Coast is one of the best summer destinations in Australia. Soak up the sun as you enjoy clear blue skies, white sandy beaches and fun activities for the whole family.

Pick up one of DriveNow’s cheap Brisbane rental car deals and drive an hour north to the Sunshine Coast.

The Big Pineapple

It’s one of Queensland’s most iconic attractions. Staff at the Big Pineapple proudly say it’s also the most photographed BIG thing in the region. Not only can you climb the 16 metre high pineapple, but you can also learn about the pineapple farming forces. Jump on board a train to also explore nearby rainforest, orchids and zoo animals. Be sure to get a photo beside the Big Pineapple before you leave! 

Noosa Main Beach (pictured)

This beautiful beach is one of the few in Australia that face north. Its gentle waves and surf lifesavers makes Noosa Beach a wonderful place for families. It’s safe for swimming all year round. If you’re feeling up for a physical afternoon then you can eve take a beginner’s surf lesson. Or just simply relax by the sand and soak up the sun. As for the sunsets, look at the one pictured – it’s a dreamy way to end the day.

Australia Zoo

Get ready for some wildlife action. Australia Zoo is the heart of the legendary ‘Crocodile Hunter’ Steve Irwin’s legacy. Australia Zoo gets you up close with some of Australia’s most unique species. You’ll see crocodiles snap their powerful jaws together and watch giraffes and zebras roam. Feed kangaroos and also visit the country’s busiest wildlife hospital. All while learning about these amazing creatures.

Blue Water Kayak Tours

Feeling up for some fun on the water? Then a guided eco kayak tour might just be the thing for you. Your kayak becomes a great vantage point to admire beautiful wildlife. From Caloundra paddle across the Punicestone Passage to the Bribie Island area for morning tea. Learn about some local history and the work that has gone into protecting this national park.

BRIANNA PIAZZA

Sep
27
2016

6 adventure activities in Byron Bay you can’t ignore

By Australia / Gold Coast / Queensland /

Byron Bay is home to some of Australia’s most gorgeous beaches. The surf, sun and sand draw a crowd of approximately one-point-seven million visitors each year. But while the coastal town is renowned for its beaches and relaxed, hippie vibe, there are also plenty of activities that will wow the senses and get the adrenaline pumping! Grab a Byron Bay car rental at Gold Coast airport, hit the road and get ready for some adventure once you arrive in Byron.

Check out these six activities.

Sea Kayaking with Dolphins

Established in 1995, Cape Byron Kayaks offers the original sea kayaking with dolphins tour. You and a partner can paddle out over the waves of Byron’s beautiful Marine Park and get up close and personal with Bottlenose dolphins. You can even spot sea turtles and humpback whales as they migrate through the ocean. Let the experienced guides tell you about the local history and wildlife. When you get hungry, pull in to one of Byron’s beaches for some morning or afternoon tea. For the perfect mix of relaxation and excitement this tour is for you! More: http://capebyronkayaks.com/page/tours

Gyrocopter Lighthouse Flight

Jump in a gyrocopter and experience the highlights of Byron Bay from a completely different perspective. Your professional flight instructor will take you to the most easterly point of the Australian continent, flying over old ship wrecks, the iconic lighthouse and of course the famous beaches. Plenty of opportunity to take in the ocean’s beauty with its dolphins, sharks, rays, turtles and whales. For a scenic adventure, give the Gyrocopter a go. More: http://www.flygyro.com.au/

Skydive

Skydive Byron Bay is not for the faint-hearted but will certainly provide an experience of a lifetime. After a scenic ascent over Byron Bay, you’ll tandem jump from a height of up to 14,000 feet and freefall at over 200km/hr for up to a minute. Let the rush sink in as you enjoy the last five to seven minutes parachuting over the beautiful coast, taking in hinterland views up to Brisbane and the Gold Coast. For adrenaline-junkies this one’s for you! More: https://www.skydive.com.au/byron-bay /

Night Vision Walk

Experience the nature and wildlife of Byron Bay in a way you’ve never seen before: with military graded night-vision goggles. Embark on a night-time nature walk where you will be taken through the habitats of nocturnal animals. Keep an eye out for the possums, pademelons, bandicoots, tawny frogmouths, frogs, koalas and owls which are most active at this time. You’ll also have the chance to see a colony of glow worms illuminated in the dark. You’ll finish the night off with a delicious hot chocolate at the top of Minyon Falls. More: https://www.experienceoz.com.au/en/byron-bay

Kite surfing

If you’re looking for a different way to surf Byron’s seas then kitesurfing could be the way to go. You’ll use a small surfboard and a parachute-type kite which uses wind power to propel you across the seas. Byron Bay Kitesurfing offers one, two and three-day courses in which you’ll perfect the art of self-launching, practise kite control and steering, one handed flying and plenty more! Byron’s beaches provide ideal conditions to make sure you get the most out of your kitesurfing adventure. More: http://byronbaykitesurfing.com/

Rainforest Mountain Biking

If you love scenery and aren’t afraid of a little sweat then a rainforest mountain bike adventure is calling your name. Ride through the ancient volcanic terrain in the Nightcap National Park of Byron Bay’s hinterland.  You’ll pedal through a range of fire trails, single tracks, downhills and complete a few log jumps. Stop at a swimming hole for photo opportunities, lunch and perhaps a dip! Once you reach the top of Minyon Falls, finish the day off with a relaxing downhill ride and a well-earned snack. More: http://www.mountainbiketours.com.au/

STEPHANIE DELLER

 

 

 

 

 

Sep
26
2016

5 Campervan holiday options from Brisbane

By Australia / Brisbane / Queensland /

Travelling around Brisbane in a campervan is one of the most convenient ways to explore this part of Queensland. Hire a campervan in Brisbane and start driving to one of these holiday parks.

Brisbane Gateway Resort (pictured)
This holiday park is in a fantastic location, just 15 minutes from the CBD. It’s also just 30 minutes from the Gold Coast and its theme parks! This means you can spend more time enjoying your holiday rather than sitting in traffic and you move from each attraction. The caravan and camping sites are spacious. They’re also set among beautifully landscaped gardens, giving you plenty of room to relax.

Maroochydore Beach Holiday Park
Wake up in the morning, walk out your door and head straight across the road to the beach. Does that sound like your perfect holiday? Then Maroochydore Beach Holiday Park is the place for you. Lifesavers patrol the beach, which offers some awesome waves. It’s a great destination for families or couples. The holiday park is also close to outdoor BBQ and picnic facilities and many eateries.

Jolly Swagman Caravan Park
Set in the heart of town, Jolly Swagman Caravan Park is the best place to base yourself when you visit Toowoomba. This caravan park has award winning gardens where you can have a picnic and relax. You’re also allowed to bring your pets into the park with you during your stay. It also boasts a famous statue of Jolly Swagman and his dog – make sure you ask the park’s owners for a rundown of the story behind the statue.

Ipswich Caravan Village
Enjoy your stay in a peaceful bushland setting at Ipswich Caravan Village. You’ll also be close to shopping centres, restaurants and tourist attractions. If you’re up for an adventure, the theme parks on the Gold Coast are just a 50-minute drive away. Powered and unpowered sites are on offer. For those wanting a little extra comfort, there are air-conditioned family cabins.

Esk Caravan Park
Esk Caravan Park is a little piece of paradise. The park is located in the heart of Brisbane Valley, between Wivenhoe and Somerset Lakes. As you enjoy your stay, you can also admire the surrounding mountains and creeks. Both are only a short drive from the caravan park and you can enjoy plenty of water activities.

BRIANNA PIAZZA

Sep
24
2016

Gold Coast escape – how to plan your next winter school holidays away from Melbourne

By Australia / Gold Coast / Queensland /

What to do when the school holidays arrive next winter has the whole family shivering in its collective boots?

You head north, hit the east coast and soak up the sun in between theme parks, that’s what. But it’s not for the faint-hearted. We may be heading into the warmer weather, but here’s a cool plan for school holidays next winter.

A Gold Coast adventure with theme parks on the agenda in a Griswald-style escape may be an oldie, but it’s certainly a goodie and the perfect way to elude the Victorian winter chill for a week or so. With five kids – aged 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 – stacked into a people mover, the good news is cabin fever only lasts in small doses, especially if you prepare, book and deliver properly, so the “are we there yets” are few and far between. This is how we did it…

First on the list is book flights and accommodation early. For a party of seven you’re crazy if you don’t, and one of the first things you should do is be registered for updates from low cost carriers Tiger, Jetstar and Virgin. Tiger was the winner for us as we got in early and managed to snag seven return airfares for under $1200. Next on the list was self-contained accommodation and the ultimate scenario was to have a venue right smack bang near all the action – in Helensvale – so a three bedroom cabin was locked and loaded at Gold Coast Holiday Park, but more about that later. For more visit Tiger Airways, Jetstar and Virgin websites to sign up to newsletters.

Book a people mover at DriveNow for the best deal. Yep, you can’t go past this website which is akin to Wotif in the world of car hire, and we bagged a big Hyundai Imax, an eight-seater, plenty of room for suitcases, aircon and auto for less than a grand for 10 days! The process is simple in that you search for people movers in desired location and eight or 10 options pop up with the best deals. We had wheels and there was a party going on in the cabin above them! A great website that’s easy to navigate, book quickly and be all sorted for transport while away.

goldcoastholidaypark-1Gold Coast Holiday Park, a big kick-arse cabin with the works. You can either shell out and get a fancy hotel on the Goldie or you can lower your sights and get a home away from home in a more down to earth location like a modern caravan park – which are like mini resorts these days. GCHP is not just any holiday park, but a Big 4 holiday park and anyone who has stayed at one knows exactly what I mean: they’re the upper echelon for raising the bar in facilities and standards. Aside from a superb spacious cabin, with kitchenette, bunk beds, great lounge area and widescreen TV was the fact Gold Coast Holiday Park is an entertainment hub in its own right with an amazing pool and waterslide adjoining Nibbles Cafe, an upmarket camp kitchen, bike track, tennis court, outdoor cinema and loads more. But the piece de resistance? It’s literally five minutes by car to Movieworld or 10-15 minutes to Dreamworld! All the kids admitted a holiday spent entirely at this great park would be worth the trip to the Gold Coast alone. More goldcoast holidaypark.com.au

Brace yourself for the rides of your life. The instructions were clear from the kids: leave your fear of heights back in Victoria and strap yourself in. The best thing about staying at Gold Coast Holiday Park is they can offer the best multiple park ticket deals going – a must if you want to save some serious dollars. So with our stomachs flipped upside down, sideways and round and round multiple times over the next few days what were the highlights? The kids voted Dreamworld and Movieworld and their accompangold-coast-kidssying water parks as the best for all the action. Here are some rides that rattled our bones and insides: The Giant Drop, Wipeout, Shockwave, Superman ride, Scooby Doo Spooky rollercoaster, Arkham Asylum, the Batwing, and the Tower of Terror. Speaking of which, see inset for how we grown-ups were processing the Superman ride while our two blonde teenagers in front of us were already looking for something more dangerous! Of course, there’s plenty more features to explore and absorb, including a tiger cub being walked around the grounds at Dreamworld which is a cute surprise. More movieworld.com.au and dream world.com.au

The NightQuarter night markets in Helensvale are unmissable. When you’re not kicking back in the great facilities at Gold Coast Holiday Park or going nuts in the theme parks, this market experience is an absolute treat for both grown-ups and the kids. A hive of activity, there are more than 120 food trucks/stalls, micro-restaurants, bars, craftspeo- ple, musicians and other quirky points of interest in a real carnival atmosphere. Otherwise known as “shipping container city”, the concept is catching on all over Australia. The food is everything from tapas, oysters, BBQ ribs and Asian choices to cronuts, chocolate fountains, amazing icecreams and more. More nightquarter.com.au

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Jul
29
2016

Hervey Bay Ocean Festival

By Australia / Queensland /

Hervey Bay Ocean Festival arrives next week with oceans of fun and a jam-packed 9 day program of events highlighting the Fraser Coast’s deep connection with the sea, according to the region’s tourism body. World famous whale-watching experiences, renowned mouth-watering seafood, a seaside lifestyle, music and cultural activities are all heroes of this gigantic showcase from August 13.

Pick up your Sunshine Coast car rental and head north for a whale of a time!

Festival highlights:

The Blessing of the Fleet opens the even, which the Fraser Coast’s famous fleet of whale watch vessels undergo a centuries old tradition at Hervey Bay Marina to ensure a safe and prosperous season. Visitors can tour the vessels, wander through market stalls and enjoy delicious wine and cheese tasting, a sail past, fabulous fireworks and live entertainment.

Hervey Bay Seafood Festival launches the next day, August 14, the event serves up a host of fresh and delicious wild-caught ocean produce, loads of entertainment, competitions, cooking and catching tips and more at Fishermen’s Park, Urangan Boat Harbour. Highlights include tasty morsels such as cooking demonstrations from leading chef Javier Codina from Moda Restaurant, prawn eating competitions, bumper artistic, music and cultural program with performances by 8 Ball Aitken, The Rain and Wal Neilson plus more.

Whale Parade and Concert in a big drawcard and features an enchanting spectacle of lights and floats representing the humpback’s annual migration, followed by a fabulous free concert with local artists.

MEANWHILE, Hervey Bay’s world renowned whale fleet is famous for providing visitors with soul-stirring, intimate encounters with the gentle giants. This year an estimated 22,000 humpback whales have migrated from Antarctica to the warm northern waters to breed.

The humpies are on their return journey and will be making their annual migration stop-over in Hervey Bay until early November. The proud new parents and the cutest calves on earth are making a temporary home in the tranquil marine environment of the Great Sandy Straits, creating a wonderland of intimate and interactive whale activity.

Get on board with one of these leading operators for a whale experience to live long in the memory.

Blue Dolphin has exclusive full day whale encounters including limited passenger numbers for great viewing; eight hours touring on board the luxury eco-friendly vessel; morning, afternoon tea and quality buffet lunch with free drink. If the conditions are right, passengers can immerse themselves with the whales in the water on the boat’s purpose-built platform. Passengers benefit from a highly educated crew with more than 30 years’ experience in marine animal behaviour.

Hervey Bay Whale Watch Quick Cat II has a full day Whales and Fraser Island experience including light breakfast, morning tea and hop off at Kingfisher Bay Resort on Fraser Island for lunch. Quick Cat ll offers four levels of viewing decks and full wheelchair access around the entire vessel. Underwater cameras and hydrophones add to the interactive experience, but for that once in a lifetime experience, Hervey Bay Whale Watch also offer a swim with whales experience that is not to be missed.

Whalesong are whale and dolphin specialists at Hervey Bay providing an ideal way to explore the pristine waterways and diverse wildlife between Fraser Island and the Fraser Coast. Discounted rates for teenagers (up to 18) makes for an affordable day out on the water, while fresh local produce prepared onboard will delight the tastebuds. Whalesong can also assist you with exploring Fraser Island while you’re here.

Freedom III is a family owned and operated business which offers longer days on the water and small to medium passenger numbers to provide a relaxed experience. Rated number one on TripAdvisor, it is clearly a popular choice, and with the delightful menu on offer including homemade morning tea, buffet lunch fresh fruit and cheese platter, it’s no wonder people keep going back for more.

Spirit of Hervey Bay is the largest and fastest whale watch vessel in Hervey Bay, offering the biggest underwater viewing room in the fleet and a hydrophone to listen to the whales. The Spirit has a range of well-priced tours complete with courtesy transfers, souvenir whale DVD and more. Five levels of viewing decks means you can catch the whales’ antics from every angle.

Tasman Venture offers multi-lingual guides, advanced eco certification, free onboard Wi-Fi and an immersive platform allowing guests to get closer to the humpbacks than ever. Tasman Venture is also the only operator permitted to access the North West Coast of Fraser Island, taking visitors to pristine, isolated locations.

For more visit whalesherveybay.com.au

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