Top 7 things to do in Canberra

By Australia / Australian Capital Territory / Canberra /

WHAT to do in Canberra? It’s a question visitors ask regularly. Australia’s capital city has several exciting things to do and landmarks to see. Many attractions in Canberra that will undoubtedly blow you away.

Here’s seven things to do in Canberra.

1. Visit Parliament House

When you’re visiting the nation’s capital city, visiting Parliament House is a must. Explore the public galleries and watch politicians debate at question time. If you’re there at the right time, you might even see the House of Representatives or the Senate pass an historic law!

2. Take a tour of the Royal Australian Mint

Since opening in 1965, the Royal Australian Mint has produced over 15 billion circulating coins. Find out more fun facts with a tour of the Mint, where you’ll observe coins being produced, learn about historically significant coins and marvel at the National Coin Collection. 

3. Discover history at the Australian War Memorial

The Australian War Memorial is the leading archive and centre for research into the history of Australia’s involvement in war. While here, remember the service and sacrifice of Australians during wartime and learn about the people and events that shaped Australia.

4. Walk along ANZAC Parade

A moving and visually powerful walk, with a red gravel strip in the centre with dark eucalypt ‘walls’. Start at the Australian War Memorial, which sits at the top end of the parade as you begin your walk, exploring monuments along the way.

5. Go bushwalking in the Namadgi National Park

The majestic Namadgi National Park is rich with Aboriginal History, making up around 46 percent of the ACT’s land area. Explore this scenic park’s peaks above 1700m on foot, with opportunities to see wild kangaroos, wallabies and emus. Try the popular Booroomba Rocks walking trail, which treats you to amazing views of the Australian Alps at the summit.

6. Test your science knowledge at Questacon

Learn about science and technology at Questacon, the National Science and Technology Centre – best of all, it isn’t boring! With over 200 interactive exhibits to explore, you can also free-fall down a six metre slide and experience an earthquake. There’s also a gallery for kids under 6.

7. See inside the National Arboretum

One of Canberra’s most popular new attractions, the National Arboretum, isn’t only beautiful. Important research and conservation work is undertaken here. The Arboretum’s collection of trees spans 250 hectares, with the hilltop estate offering wonderful views across Canberra. Learn about how the Arboretum is helping protect tree species and generating new research on how trees grow and adapt.



Top museums in Melbourne

By Australia / Melbourne / Victoria /

MELBOURNE’S museums offer you the chance to see, feel and touch what you would otherwise only read about in books or watch on television. Melbourne is home to many unique museums, giving you the opportunity to see famous art up close.

Many museums host permanent collections but there’s always something new and exciting to see with new exhibitions always coming to Melbourne.

Pencil in a date to explore history, culture and science at some of these top museums in Melbourne.

Melbourne Museum

No childhood is complete without a memorable experience to the award-winning Melbourne Museum. See Australia’s most famous racehorse Phar Lap, marvel at the complete skeleton of a blue whale, step inside a living rainforest. For an extraordinary experience, watch a 3D documentary on the IMAX Theatre’s eight storey high screen.

Jewish Holocaust Museum

Dedicated to the memory of the six million Jews who perished at the hands of the Nazis between 1933-1945, this museum in Melbourne’s southeast aims to combat anti-Semitism, racism and prejudice. Holocaust survivors take you on a tour through the museum, sharing their personal stories of hardship and survival.

National Gallery of Victoria

The Gallery’s permanent collection contains over 68,000 works of art, including Australian, European, Indigenous and Asian paintings, sculptures and antiquities. With exciting new exhibitions always coming and going, always keep a close eye on the NGV’s website to see what’s currently on show.

Chinese Museum

Located in the heart of Chinatown, the Chinese Museum documents the history, art and culture of Australia’s Chinese community. Highlights include heritage tours, public seminars, the re-creation of a goldfield mine and displays about early Chinese industries such as furniture making. It’s also home to the world’s largest dragon, the Millennium Dragon.


Scienceworks makes science fun! A hands-on experience with live demonstrations, interactive activities and guided tours about science and technology. Don’t miss the much-loved Planetarium shows – the 16m domed ceiling, stereo surround sound system and reclining seats allow you to marvel at the stars at any time of day.



7 top spots for a sunrise or sunset in Sydney

By Australia / New South Wales / Sydney /

WHETHER you’re looking for stunning views of the city’s skyline, gardens or surrounding water, there are many places around Sydney where you can admire an incredible sunrise or sunset.

Here are some of the best spots for a spectacular sunrise or sunset in Sydney. 

1. Sydney Tower Eye

Sydney’s tallest building is the first place in the city to witness dawn and the last to see dusk. From the viewing platform you’ll enjoy 360-degree views of Australia’s largest city, including Sydney’s beaches, harbour and the Blue Mountains in the distance.

2. On the harbour

You don’t know what you’re missing until you’ve experienced sunrise or sunset on the water! Take a ferry or boat cruise in the evening or first thing in the morning on Sydney Harbour. Marvel as the sky changes colour and the sun’s rays bounce off the water.

3. Hornby Lighthouse, Watson’s Bay

Watch the sunrise and sunset from arguably one of Sydney’s most breathtaking coastal views, the Hornby Lighthouse. From the iconic red and white striped lighthouse, appreciate the evening sky’s extraordinary colours as they sweep across the sky above the Pacific Ocean.

4. Fairy Bower Rock Pool, Manly

An enchanting, dreamlike view when the sky’s blue, red and golden tones blend above you while walking along the Marine Parade. Admire the sky from the gorgeous Fairy Bower Rock Pool. Along its rock edge you’re also treated to the silhouette of ‘The Oceanides’ sculptures, which face the sea.

5. The Glenmore Rooftop Hotel

With sweeping 180-degree views of Sydney’s harbour and spectacular skyline, the Glenmore Rooftop Hotel in The Rocks is the perfect place to be when you just want to sit back, relax with some wine and enjoy the sunset.

6. The Gap

Golden rays break through the clouds and shine upon The Gap’s spectacular rocky cliffs in the early hours of the morning as the city wakes up. There are also some amazing views of Sydney Harbour and the magnificent city skyline.

7. Royal Botanic Gardens

A tranquil experience in the heart of the city, surrounded by a beautiful lake, Sydney Harbour, rose garden and themed garden areas. Escape to your own world at one of the several spots around the gardens as you take in Sydney’s sunset.



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.

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7 things to do in Canberra and why there’s much more to it than just pollies and roundabouts

By Australia / Canberra / New South Wales / Sydney /

CANBERRA – it’s Australia’s capital. Many will tell you it’s best to steer clear of it if you’re zooming around on an Aussie road trip in your Sydney car rental and avoid the home of politicians and roundabouts. But they’re wrong, and I’ll give you seven good reasons why there are plenty of good attractions in Canberra.

1. The Australian War Memorial

BEAUTIFUL and monumental in its bush setting, the AWM transports us back in history – and the present – allowing us to reflect on some extraordinary Australian experiences in war. Forever expanding since early last century, we’re not talking about old-fashioned dioramas any more, but rather a thoroughly engaging and immersive experience where new technology is taking it to new levels. This includes such treats as simulated submarine activity and in Anzac Hall, for example, there is a permanent exhibition Over the front: the Great War in the air, which recounts the story of military flight and aerial combat during World War I using original aircraft in an exciting sound-and-light show put together by director Peter Jackson. For more visit awm.gov.au

2. Lonsdale Street in Braddon

ONLY five minutes’ walk from Canberra’s CBD, and the smell of roasting coffee combined with the street’s industrial edginess makes you immediately think of Melbourne. But that’s not to say funky Lonsdale St isn’t carving out its own personality. Quite the contrary, as a quick stroll will lead you to anything from an eclectic mix of pop-up shops at retailing pod Lonsdale Street Traders, cool cafes, hip-hop tapas bars, vegan bakeries, and – ahem – car yards. (The area is traditionally known for car salesmen and mechanics wandering about rather than cosmopolitan hipsters on the hunt for a good coffee). “Oh that’s all changed, we’re developing our own culture here,” Lonsdale Street Roasters’ Paul Wilson says. “It’s our time to shine.” Cool establishments such as the Elk & Pea are also making a noise with their affordable, street food vibe based around a South American share culture. “It’s an industrial feel but with some great shops, food and coffee on offer,” the Elk & Pea’s Minky Faber says. “While you enjoy a great bite to eat or a drink you can watch the used car salesmen work their magic.” For more visit elkandpea.com.au and lonsdalestreetroasters.com

3. B&B Country Guesthouse Schonegg

CANBERRA has accommodation ranging from budget to high-end luxury, but the region’s cool climes are perhaps best experienced out of town and curled up in front of a cosy slow-combustion fire in gorgeous B&B Country Guesthouse Schonegg. Schonegg is a place where you can get back to nature in the country and relax in beautiful 4 1/2-star lodgings comprising six ensuite guestrooms – three with double spa, a fully accessible room and two pet-friendly rooms. For more visit schonegg.com.au

4. Silo Bakery

Of all the things to do in Canberra, this is definitely one of them. This family-run winner in Kingston offers an impeccable wine list and unforgettable food including pastries, slow-braised meats, tartes, soups and pizzas. For more visit silobakery.com.au

5. Hotel Realm

IF you thought Canberra was light on for quality hotels, think again. Hotel Realm is a 5-star gem at the footsteps of Parliament House, with 158 hotel and suite-style rooms complemented by an in-house day spa, health club and dining options. For more visit hotelrealm.com.au

6. Tourist Trail

FOR things to do in Canberra, this is a ripper. From little things big things grow, as they say, and The Poacher’s Way is a small collective of about 20 of Canberra’s best artists, chefs, winemakers and rural retreats inspired by life and the land. Susan Bruce, managing director of Poacher’s Pantry, a crowd-pleaser smokehouse, vineyard and cafe dishing up the finest gourmet smoked meats and cool-climate Wily Trout wine range, says the Poacher’s Trail is starting to make an impact on visitors wanting to “explore our region, to taste our wines, enjoy fine local cuisine, discover galleries and even to race across the hills on horseback or indulge in delicious chocolates … all before settling in for a night at one of our divine accommodation options”. Start with Robyn Rowe Chocolates in Murrumbateman (right), about half an hour from the city, be sure to include a wine-tasting experience at Clonakilla, a family-run legendary Australian winery that produces some of the world’s most delicious award-winning shiraz viogniers and pure shirazes, and a food stop at Flint in the Vines and wine tasting at Shaw Vineyard Estate is a must, too. For more visit thepoachersway.com.au

7. National Museum Australia

THIS place has everything under the sun and is fascinating to explore our country’s history through a variety of great displays and presentations. Check out “where our stories live” at the National Museum Australia. Allow half a day because you will be exploring for hours. It’s a beauty. For more visit nma.gov.au

– SCOTT PODMORE (words & pics (c))

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Early Christmas Tip #1: Booking a 7 Seater


If you are in the market to hire a people mover for Christmas, here’s a hot tip ….. book now. Get in early and get a cheaper rate and more importantly secure a vehicle.

Of all rental cars in Australia, 7 seaters and people movers sell out more quickly and earlier than any other at Christmas. Every year DriveNow has to turn away travellers looking for these vehicles as suppliers across the country book out.

There’s no deposit required and with no booking or cancellation fees charged by DriveNow you’ve nothing to lose by booking now and locking down a 7 seater for your Christmas holiday.
DriveNow Reservations Team


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.