If your idea of meeting the locals is cradling koalas, hand feeding kangaroos, and laughing with a school of clownfish, then this is the vacation for you. Animal lovers unite on this spectacular safari tour of Australia. From Brisbane’s Australia Zoo, "Home of the Crocodile Hunter," to Alice Spring’s Kangaroo Sanctuary, "Home of the Kangaroo Dundee," you’ll get to know Down Under’s most captivating creatures and characters. The furry fun continues with a hop over to Melbourne to witness Phillip Island’s famous heart-warming Penguin Parade. Wombats and wallabies welcome you to the island state of Tasmania, as does the infamous Tasmanian devil-in its own unique way. Going below the surface, this in-depth tour of Australia also leads you to the marine life at the Great Barrier Reef, the whales, seals, and dolphins off the Tasman Peninsula, and the city and harbors of sunny Sydney. Did you know the koala sleeps an average of 20 hours a day? Why not add three nights in Fiji to your tour of Australia and curl up in a beachside hammock yourself? Between naps, you’ll enjoy a Sigatoka River Safari and the sun, fun, and genuine warmth of the islanders.
Laze in the lush riverside gardens of South Bank, then browse the markets and swim in its lagoon. Bike ride in the City Botanic Gardens and abseil the cliffs of Kangaroo Point. Glide down the river on a majestic paddle steamer or take a high-speed ferry to vibrant inner-city villages like Bulimba and New Farm. When culture cravings hit, wander the art galleries and museums, watch a performance by the Queensland Ballet, Opera or Orchestra perform or see cutting-edge theatre in the Powerhouse. In the boating hub of nearby Moreton Bay and Islands, you can swim, sea kayak, snorkel coral reefs, toboggan down the world's tallest sand dune, hire a sail boat or tussle with a marlin.
Five things you should do in Brisbane:
1. Glide down the river and relax in the gardens
Bike ride beneath macadamia trees and mangroves in the City Botanic Gardens or roller blade over a floating walkway. Then cruise down the river in a wooden paddle steamer, spotting pelicans and eastern water dragons. Laze or picnic under the palms on South Bank's 17 hectares of riverside gardens. Here you can swim from the lagoon and pools of Paul Breka Beach, browse the markets, visit a summer open-air cinema and dine alfresco in the sun. Follow an Aboriginal art trail through the bushland in Mount Coot-Tha Reserve, also the place to spot native wildlife and take in panoramic city views. At the foot of the mountain you can wander the tropical zone, rainforests and Japanese gardens of the Brisbane Botanic Gardens. Cuddle up to koalas and meet possums, kangaroos, wombats, emus and lyrebirds in the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, just a short bus drive from the city centre.
2. Soak up culture and architecture
See the skeleton of a Queensland dinosaur in the Queensland Museum and the work of famous Australian artists in the Queensland Art Gallery. Both sit in the sprawling Queensland Cultural Centre on South Bank. At night, visit the dress circle of the Queensland Performing Arts Centre or catch a show by the Queensland Ballet, Opera or Orchestra. Watch plays, browse art galleries and dine out in the transformed industrial space of the Powerhouse, which towers over the wide, brown river like a post-apocalyptic vision. Brisbane also houses many cultural institutions in fine old civic buildings, such as Customs House, the Treasury Building, Brisbane City Hall, the Commissariat Store and the Old Mill. In Brisbane, sandstone cathedrals and classic Queenslander houses on stilts blend seamlessly with steel and glass skyscrapers.
3. Hit the water and islands of Moreton Bay
Sea kayak from North Stradboke Island or Moreton Island or go deep-sea fishing from Scarborough, Bribie Island, Manly or Raby Bay. Jet ski and windsurf on the Redcliffe Peninsula or kite-surf on Wellington Point. Slide down the world's tallest sand dunes on a toboggan or sand buggy on Moreton Island. Scuba dive with colourful fish, crustaceans, corals and turtles at Cowan's Artificial Reef, Flinders Reef and in the Tangalooma shipwrecks. Watch out for humpback whales between July and October and dolphins and dugongs all year round. Meet colonies of koalas in Victoria Point and hundreds of wading birds in the Egret Colony and Boondall Wetlands. Aqua-bike from Coochiemudlo Island then mountain bike the BMX tracks at Cleveland and Deception Bay. Four wheel drive Moreton, North Stradbroke and Bribie Islands. See Queensland's oldest banyan tree in Cleveland Point, Aboriginal scar trees and middens in the Redlands and Myora Springs and a notorious old convict settlement on St Helena Island.
4. Eat, drink and enjoy in the urban villages
Listen to live music, shop along the lively outdoor mall and feast on Chinatown dumplings in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane's cultural core. Next door in New Farm, you can people watch from trendy cafes, buy gourmet delights from the famous deli and picnic in the riverside parklands. Dine in warehouse converted restaurants and explore the transformed industrial space of the Powerhouse, now a buzzing centre for the live arts. Take the citycat to Bulimba on the river. Then visit pretty Paddington and hop between the popular bars, cafes and restaurants of Latrobe and Given Terraces. Then take in the traditional Queenslander homes which dot the hills and wide-lined streets. Cross the river for the funky restaurants and art house theatres of the West End, the shops of Stones Corner and the brewery of Queensland's most famous beer.
5. Embrace adventure
Abseil or rock climb the Kangaroo Point Cliffs at sunrise or at night when the city is dancing with lights. Climb the Story Bridge for spectacular 360 degree views. Free fall on a tandem sky dive or float over the city in a hot air balloon. You can even glide like a bird over the Sunshine Coast on a motor glider. Travel down the Brisbane River on a golden gondola, historic paddle steamer or wildlife cruise. Or take a luxury whale watching cruise from the Redcliffe Peninsula, just 30 minutes north of Brisbane. Do an eco cruise past Bribie Island and the Glasshouse Mountains to Pumicestone Passage Marine Park. Bushwalk, swim, four wheel drive, spot wildlife and explore glow worm caves on an eco-tour to Springbrook and Lamington National Parks. See the city sights on the back of a Harley Davidson or go horseriding in the sprawling bush on the edge of the city.
Soak up Sydney’s gorgeous harbour, seductive outdoor lifestyle and great natural beauty. Kayak under the Sydney Harbour Bridge or wave at the Opera House as you ride a ferry across the harbour to Manly. Learn to surf at Bondi Beach or swim in the calm waters of Coogee. Lose yourself in the cobblestone cul-de-sacs of The Rocks or in the markets, boutiques, cafes and pubs of Paddington. As well as a world-famous harbour and more than 70 sparkling beaches, Sydney offers fabulous food, festivals and 24-7 fun.
Five Sydney Experiences Not to Miss:
1. Explore the historic Rocks
Discover Sydney’s colorful convict history in the harbourside quarter where it all began. Just five minutes from Circular Quay, you can hear stories of hangings and hauntings on a ghost tour, wander the weekend markets or climb the span of the Harbour Bridge. In amongst the maze of sandstone lanes and courtyards, you’ll find historic workman’s cottages and elegant terraces, art galleries, hotels with harbour views and Sydney’s oldest pubs. See people spill out of them onto a party on the cobblestone streets when The Rocks celebrates Australia Day on January 26th, Anzac Day on April 25th and New Years Eve.
2. Hit the world-famous harbour
Sail past the Opera House on a chartered yacht or paddle from Rose Bay in a kayak. Take a scenic cruise from Circular Quay or Darling Harbour, past waterfront mansions, national parks and Shark, Clark, Rodd and Goat islands. Tour historic Fort Denison or learn about the life of Sydney’s first inhabitants, the Gadigal people, on an Aboriginal cultural cruise. Watch the harbour glitter from the green parklands of the Royal Botanic Gardens, which curves around its edge. Or take in the view from a waterfront restaurant in Mosman, on the northern side of the bridge, or Watsons Bay at South Head. Walk from Rose Bay to Vaucluse or Cremorne Point to Mosman Bay, on just some of the 16 spectacular routes hugging the harbour foreshore.
3. Visit Manly on the ferry
Travel across Sydney Harbour on a ferry to Manly, which sits between beaches of ocean surf and tranquil inner harbour. Wander through native bushland on the scenic Manly to Spit Bridge walk, learn to scuba-dive at Cabbage Tree Bay or ride a bike to Fairy Bower. Picnic at Shelly Beach on the ocean and sail or kayak from Manly Wharf round the harbour. Hire a scooter and do a round trip of northern beaches such as Narrabeen and Palm Beach. Explore the shops, bars and cafes along the bustling pine tree-lined Corso and dine at world-class restaurants with water views.
4. Enjoy café culture and top shopping in Paddington
Meander through the Saturday markets, browse fashion boutiques on bustling Oxford Street or discover the antique shops and art galleries in upmarket Woollahra. Visit the 1840s Victoria Barracks Army base, open to the public once a week, and see restored Victorian terraces on wide, leafy streets. Ride or roller-blade in huge Centennial Park, then stop for coffee and lunch on Oxford St or in the mini-village of Five Ways. Catch a movie at an art-house cinema or leaf through a novel at midnight in one of the huge bookstores. Crawl between the lively, historic pubs. They hum even more after a game at the nearby stadium or a race day, when girls and guys arrive in their crumpled trackside finery.
5. Walk from Bondi to Coogee
Take in breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean as you walk the winding, sea-sculpted sandstone cliffs between Bondi and Coogee. Swim in the famous Bondi Icebergs rock pool or just watch the swimmers with a sunset cocktail from the restaurant above. See wild waves in Tamarama, nicknamed Glamarama for the beautiful people who lie on its golden sand. From mid-October to November, the stretch from here to Bondi is transformed into an outdoor gallery for the Sculptures by the Sea exhibition. You can surf, picnic on the grass or stop for a coffee at family-friendly Bronte. Or swim, snorkel or scuba dive in Clovelly and tranquil Gordon’s Bay. See the graves of poets Henry Lawson, Dorothea Mackellar and aviator Lawrence Hargrave in Waverley Cemetery, on the edge of the cliffs. Finish your tour in the scenic, backpacker haven of Coogee.
Cairns is the sunny garden city where the Great Barrier Reef meets the Wet Tropics Rainforest, mountains and the gulf savannah not too far away. The city's water front boasts a world class marina and wharf used by visiting cruise liners, yachts and tour vessels. Cairns is situated in the Northern end of Tropical Queensland Australia. It's a modern city with a good location to explore some of Australia's vast array of flora and fauna. With a magnificent Casino, Cairns is alive with more activities than a visitor will ever have time for. The principal attraction is the over 60 national parks from the wet tropical rain forests and lush tablelands to the truly wild Cape York Peninsula and the Great Barrier Reef.
It's the heart of Australia, capital of the Outback and most romantic country town in the world. It's where people race camels and hold holiday regattas in dry river beds. The town is a self-contained business community catering for its population and the many thousands of annual visitors - who can experience Alice Springs Desert Park, Aboriginal culture, the world's largest classroom - the School of the Air - and is the perfect place to start touring the Eastern and Western MacDonnell Ranges, famous Uluru (Ayers Rock), Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) and Kings Canyon. The superb desert climate allows for cycling and walking along an extensive network of tracks.
This elegant city is known for its colonial stone architecture, expansive parklands, lively festivals and incredible sense of space. Explore the museums and libraries of North Terrace, dine on dedicated 'eat streets' or picnic in gardens that sprawl over almost half the city. Go bike riding in Botanic Park or row past rose gardens in Rymill Park. Swim with dolphins or learn to sail in Glenelg or fish from the jetty in Henley. Just beyond the city centre you'll find the picturesque Adelaide Hills and the world-class wineries of the Barossa Valley.
Five ways to immerse yourself in Adelaide:
1. Hit the eat streets
Sample everything from Asian fusion to Argentine cuisine in the exotic, bustling foodhalls of Chinatown. Embrace the alfresco ambience of Rundle Street in Adelaide's East End or live it up in one of the city's many elegant wine bars and fashionable restaurants. Enjoy a beach sunset with your meal in the coastal suburbs of Glenelg and Henley Beach or wind down with a wine at the National Wine Centre. If you're a fresh food addict, Adelaide Central Markets offer premium produce from growers across the state.
2. Feel green and serene in Adelaide's parks
Hire paddleboats and bikes in Elder Park or row past formal rose gardens in Rymill Park. Picnic in the local's beloved Botanic Park or cycle from the hills to the coast in River Torrens Linear Park. For serious tranquility, head to the classic Japanese oasis of Adelaide-Himjei Garden. Adelaide's 29 parks take up almost half of the city, and come with walking trails, quiet spaces and sporting fields for everything from football to archery.
3. Head for the coast
Swim with dolphins or learn to sail in Glenelg, which bustles with sidewalk cafes, alfresco dining and summer entertainment. In the beach suburb of Henley, you can fish from the jetty or go on a culinary world tour at the ethnic food stores and eateries. Explore the museums, markets and historic harbour of Port Adelaide, the city's maritime heart. Or see heritage buildings and colourful summer sideshows in family-friendly Semaphore. Further along the spectacular Le Fevre Peninsula, you can swim on protected beaches and walk one of the state's few heritage-listed jetties at Largs Bay.
4. Soak up Aboriginal and European heritage
Do a cultural tour of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens with traditional custodians the Kaurna people. You'll learn how native plants have been used for sustenance, shelter, ceremonies and medicines for thousands of years. Browse the world's largest collection of Aboriginal antiquities at the Aboriginal Cultures Gallery at the South Australian Museum and visit Tandanya, the National Aboriginal Cultural Institute. Adelaide also has a proud European heritage for you to explore -in the museums and libraries of North Terrace, in Adelaide Town Hall and in Port Adelaide, the state's first declared heritage area.
5. Escape to the hills
Drive to the Adelaide Hills, where the picturesque farmlands and charming villages have inspired many generations of artists. Stay in Bavarian-inspired chalets and browse the bakeries, craft shops and galleries of Hahndorf, Australia's oldest surviving German village. Visit The Cedars, once the gracious old home and studio of famous landscape artists Sir Hans Heysen. Then hit the markets of Lobethal, a fairytale town which celebrates Christmas with metres and metres of colourful lights.
From palm-lined beaches and warm crystalline waters to grassy highlands and lush tropical rain forests, Fiji offers visitors a true South Seas paradise. The Fiji archipelago consists of tiny coral atolls and mountainous forest-clad islands of volcanic origin, and is famed for its aquamarine waters and white sand beaches. Beyond experiencing Fiji's perfect physical environment, it is sharing the warmth and friendliness of the Fijian people and their special living culture that makes this a holiday as it should be—a life-enhancing experience. To hear a heartfelt "Good Morning" and to know it is sincerely given; to listen to the stories of what has shaped the culture into what it is today, and to share the laughter and smiles with your new friends—this is the true treasure of Fiji awaiting your discovery!
Don't miss this small, scenic capital, famous for its Georgian buildings and crisp air. Browse bustling Salamanca Markets and run your hands over the sandstone buildings in Salamanca Place. Climb craggy Mount Wellington for sweeping views over Hobart and the wide Derwent River. Do a ghost tour in Battery Point, walk across Australia's oldest bridge in Richmond and visit the cute coastal hamlet of Kettering. Wind past forest and farmland to the cool-climate wineries of the Coal Valley. See bright spinnakers on the water and dine on fresh seafood from one of Hobart's waterside restaurants.
Five must-have Hobart experiences:
1. Wander Salamanca Place
Step back in time in Salamanca Place, the captivating cobblestone square on Hobart's waterfront. On Saturday mornings, you can wander through bustling Salamanca Markets and see glassblowers, potters and painters selling their wares. Buy a one-off piece of craft or pick up organic fruit and vegetables, farmhouse cheeses and freshly-cut flowers from the friendly local growers. Drink coffee under the sun umbrellas while listening to the slap of sails on masts and busking string quartets. Explore the galleries, theatres, craft shops and restaurants in the 1830s Georgian warehouses, once the haunt of sailors, whalers and workmen.
2. Climb Mount Wellington
Take in panoramic views over Hobart, Bruny Island, South Arm and the Tasman Peninsula from the interpretation centre at the top of windswept Mount Wellington. Stroll through cool forested gullies along the historic Pipeline Track or traverse Wellington Range on the back of a horse or mountain bike. Climb Sphinx Rock and see the Octopus Tree, the forest's tallest tree. Abseil or climb the Organ Pipe's craggy dolerite towers. Camp under the stars, four wheel drive along rough mountain trails or bike-ride down the mountain on an exhilarating tour. Mount Wellington's wilderness experience is 1,270 metres above sea level but just 20 minutes from the city centre.
3. Stay in Hobart's oldest suburb
Stay in bed and breakfasts next to grand old mansions and simple fishermen's cottages in Battery Point, named after a battery of guns put on the point in 1818. The guns have long been dismantled but Battery Point has retained its original seafaring charm. Visit elegant old buildings such as Arthur Circus Cottages, St. George's Anglican Church and Van Diemen's Land Folk Museum, a Georgian building on landscaped grounds. Check out Kelly's Steps, built by legendary adventurer James Kelly in 1839. Or walk in the footsteps of convicts, bushrangers, whalers, sailors, barmaids and prostitutes on a ghost tour.
4. Visit Richmond and Kettering
You can walk across Australia's oldest bridge and stand in the cell of its oldest jail in picturesque Richmond, a 30-minute drive north-east from Hobart. Explore the cobblestone streets by the lantern light of a ghost tour or picnic on the banks of the Coal River. Check out local art and craft in the galleries and cafes. On your way back to Hobart, stop off at one of the Coal Valley's many wineries. South from Hobart, you'll find the sleepy seaside town of Kettering on the shores of the D'Entrecasteaux Channel. Have lunch watching the yachts and fishing boats bob on the sheltered harbour or take the ferry to Bruny Island.
5. Fill up on seafood and fine wine
Savour classic cool-climate wines at the cellar doors and wineries of the Coal River Valley, Derwent Valley and Huon Valley, all a short drive from Hobart. You can team them with a plate full of fresh produce in a sunny vineyard restaurant. Feast on freshly shucked oysters at Barilla Bay and fresh-off-the-boat fish from Salamanca Markets. Or you can watch the catch being unloaded from the balcony of one of Hobart's waterside restaurants. Wrap yourself in the aroma of ground coffee in the cafes of Salamanca Place. Or spice up your holiday with a meal at one of Hobart's many great Indian eateries.
Melbourne is a maze of hidden laneways, opulent bars, exclusive restaurants and off-the-beaten-track boutiques. Here you can soak up culture, hit the sporting grounds, taste the dynamic food and wine scene, dance til dawn or wander the parks and leafy boulevards. Visit Federation Square, the city's landmark cultural space, and enjoy a sunset beer on the St Kilda promenade. Shop till you drop on funky Brunswick Street or upmarket Chapel Street. Wander Southbank's cafes, bistros and bars and get a world tour of cuisines in Carlton, Richmond and Fitzroy. Take an Aboriginal Heritage Walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens and cheer with a capacity crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Five Must-Have Melbourne Experiences:
1. Shop till you drop
Bag a bargain at the Rose Street Artist's Market and browse the funky boutiques on Brunswick Street. Buy designer labels such as Akira Isogawa and Zimmerman on Chapel Street in Prahran or in the historic Melbourne General Post Office, which covers an entire city block. For everything from fashion to furnishings at fantastic value, visit Bridge Road in Richmond. Melbourne is a shopper's haven, offering eclectic boutiques, high-end fashion, funky homeware stores and European style piazzas in the city's arcades and hidden laneways.
2. Bar hop and dance till dawn
Sip a cocktail in a converted sea container in Chinatown, enjoy a sunset beer in a St Kilda pub or listen to cabaret in lush retro surroundings in jazz bars in the city. Linger over exquisite tapas and exotic wine in a Little Collins Street bar and mingle in a pink parlour with fake grass in Bourke Street. You can party from dusk in the bars of Brunswick Street. Or dance till dawn in bars in the city's lantern-lit laneways, secret apart from the spill of coloured light under heavy brass doors.
3. Get into the gourmet goodness
Let the aroma of good coffee waft over you in Melbourne's gothic European laneways. The city is famous for its coffee and old-world café culture but there's so much more to explore. Once you've downed a 'short black' or taken an afternoon aperitif, try tea in a nineteenth-century hotel or salivate over your silver spoon in acclaimed restaurants like Nobu, Botanical and Becco. Pick up fresh fruits, vegetables and seafood at the Queen Victoria Market on a Saturday, known for its bustling crowds and buskers. Try out the restaurants, cafes, bistros and bars in Southbank or Federation Square. Make your way around Melbourne's multicultural cosmos of cuisines: Carlton for Italian classics, Richmond for budget-friendly Vietnamese and Fitzroy for Spanish tapas.
4. Fill up on culture
See a performance by the Australian Ballet, which is based here in Australia's cultural capital. Or enjoy a dazzling musical at the Princess Theatre. Browse the Southern Hemisphere's best collection of international art at the National Gallery of Victoria. Or visit the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Federation Square, a landmark cultural 'space' for Melbournians. Challenge yourself with the creative collections in the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in Southbank. To learn more about Melbourne's Aboriginal cultural heritage, see contemporary and dreamtime art or take an Aboriginal Heritage Walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens.
5. Go sports mad
Cheer for an Australian Rules Football game with a capacity crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground over winter. Go cricket mad in summer, when the city hosts the Ashes and one day internationals. Or join the huge crowds watching the Australian Tennis Open at Melbourne Park. Rev heads head to Melbourne in March for the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix in Albert Park. And whether you are a racing fan or just a casual punter, you won't want to miss the Melbourne Cup - the world's richest horse race on the first Tuesday in November.
Sitting on the edge of the World Heritage Site, is Cradle Mountain, one of Tasmania's premier wilderness regions and the fifth highest mountain. It's natural beauty is owed to the dolerite columns and Lake St. Clair National Park.
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