Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Fascinating Facts About Uluru and Kata Tjuta

Located in the heart of Australia’s outback, Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta form an integral part of the country’s desert. For thousands of years, these natural wonders have been an important part of Australia’s heritage and its landscape. Today, millions of visitors take Uluru Tours to experience one of the world’s most recognisable landmarks.

Here are some of the most fascinating facts about Uluru and Kata Tjuta.

Uluru is more than 600 million years’ old

The rock is an ancient monolith that was originally created at the bottom of the ocean. Today, it rises 348m above sea level, but there is still 2.5kms of its bulk that remains underground.

Uluru is owned by Anangu

Uluru is an integral part of Aboriginal heritage, and traditional values are still held in the region. Both Uluru and Kata Tjuta are owned by Anangu, but they lease it to Parks Australia who manage the tourist side of things. This arrangement began back in 1985.

Uluru is still a sacred site

A lot of visitors don’t know that Uluru is still a living cultural landscape, where the Aboriginal culture and heritage remains strong. Here, you might come across locals painting, performing traditional dances and songs, telling stories, or gathering bush tucker. The rich history and cultural narrative of the area is what makes it so special.

The area is a wildlife hotspot

Despite being set in the middle of what essentially is a red desert, Uluru and Kata Tjuta are home to an incredible array of native wildlife. There are more than 21 different kinds of mammal, including dingoes, hopping mice, red kangaroos, marsupial moles, and numerous species of bats. In addition, there are 73 types of reptiles in the area and a whopping 178
different bird species to spot.

The first Europeans

Kata Tjuta was first spotted by a European in 1872, when explorer Ernest Giles made an expedition into central Australia. It was named by his benefactor (although it was originally called Mount Olga). One year later, in 1873, William Gosse, another European explorer, spotted Uluru. He named the monolith after Sir Henry Ayers, who was, at the time, the Chief Secretary of South Australia.

Uluru doesn’t mean “waterhole”

A lot of people think Uluru translates to mean “waterhole”, but in actual fact it simply refers to a place name, which encompasses the rock itself as well as the waterhole that sits on top of it.

Kata Tjuta on the other hand does have a direct translation, meaning “many heads”.

Tour of the Week: 3 Day Great Barrier Reef Liveaboard $555

The Great Barrier Reef is a must-visit for anyone in Australia. As the largest natural eco-system in the world (it is so large it can be seen from space) it is an incredible sight to see and explore.

Our Great Barrier Reef Scuba Diving Liveaboard tour gives you the chance to really get to know this exceptional natural wonder. You’ll have the chance to explore more than just the shallows, getting up close and personal with some of the country’s most fascinating marine life.

During the tour, you’ll spend three leisurely days snorkeling in some of the most coveted reefs on the planet, scuba diving amongst mesmerizing sea creatures, and learning all about the eco-system and its inhabitants.

When you’re not taking to the waters, you can kick back and relax on deck, soak up the Australian sunshine, and admire the spectacular views across the reef and its many islands. When night falls, you can hit up the bar and get to know your fellow travellers and enjoy a delicious meal made up of fresh, local produce.

A Different Reef Each Day

The Great Barrier Reef is made up of thousands of different reefs, each one boasting its own personality and set of marine life. Each day, we’ll take you to a new reef to explore, where you’ll be greeted by a diverse selection of marine life and a wide variety of habitats.

Snorkel and Dive

The highlight of this tour is the snorkeling and diving opportunities, where you can explore the region from a different perspective.

Our qualified and knowledgeable guides will introduce you to the underwater world and show you how you can make the most of your time in the Great Barrier Reef. Each day you’ll have ample time to hit the waters and explore the colourful marine life on offer.

Night Dive
For those on the dive upgrade, there is the chance to take a night time dive, which opens up
a whole new world. Different creatures come out to play after dark, and the mesmerizing underwater world takes on a different look entirely.

Well-Structured Days

Each day you’ll wake up early and head out for a morning dive before breakfast, which will be much welcomed after exploring the depths of the ocean.

After breakfast, we move to a new dive site, where you’ll have the chance to discover a new collection of creatures below the surface of the water before lunch. You’ll eat with your fellow travellers before we head to a new dive site and repeat the process before dinner.

After dinner, you can either kick back and relax in the bar, or head out on a night dive for another chance to explore the Great Barrier Reef.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

TOUR OF THE WEEK: City Sightseeing Tour with Melbourne River Cruise $83

Melbourne has long been a favourite city for Australians and tourists alike. It has everything you’d hope for in a city; a great dining destination, incredible shopping, fun activities for all ages, and eclectic neighborhoods to explore. Melbourne may be Australia’s favourite city, and with events like the Australian Open, Grand Prix, and the Melbourne Cup, we can see why the whole world has fallen in love with Melbourne too.

If you’ve been to Melbourne before or if it’s your first time, seeing the city by boat and coach is one of the best views and experiences you could ask for. Melbourne River Cruise offers a fantastic view of the city, as well as a look into the rich culture of the city.

On the City Sightseeing with Melbourne River Cruise, you will view the beautiful city skyline from the Yarra River, which flows through the middle of the town, as well as see the early
beginnings of the city at the blue stone wharves. Have a relaxing lunch on the boat as your cruise through the town and enjoy the views.

But the tour doesn’t stop with just a boat cruise. The coach bus tour is where you get to see more of what Melbourne has on offer. The long list of locations the bus visits highlights the best of Melbourne including: Melbourne Cricket Ground, Royal Botanic Gardens, King Domain Gardens, Shrine of Remembrance, St. Kilda, Etihad Stadium, and much more. This tour includes an interactive guide that tells the story and history of the city in the comfort of a coach. Stops to famous locations such as the Brighton Bathing Boxes and the Bolte Bridge
will provide great views as well as fantastic photo opportunities.

The tour stops for afternoon tea at local cafe after walking the lovely streets of fashionable St.Kilda and Fitzroy neighborhoods. Other main shopping spots the tour covers are Chapel St., Elwood, and Brighton. If you think the tour stops here, think again. This tour is meant to hit all of the big features of Melbourne, and it doesn’t disappoint. For Formula 1 fans, the tour stops of at Albert Park, home to the F1 Grand Prix races held every year in the city.

If you’re short on time, and want to see Melbourne from a different point-of-view, the Melbourne City Sightseeing Tour is a great option for you. If you’re looking for a great full-day of entertainment and history, book now.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Tour of the Week: Uluru Sunrise and Sacred Sites from Ayers Rock $120

Uluru is by far one of the most recognisable landmarks in Australia, and our Ayers Rock day tours are the perfect way to experience this natural phenomenon up close and personal.

As well as getting a glimpse of the impressive monolith, you’ll have the chance to explore the surrounding Kata Tjuta National Park, which boasts an incredible backdrop of stark dusty landscapes, native wildlife, and lush greenery.

Kata Tjuta National Park

From the park, you’ll be able to catch your first glimpse of Uluru from a distance. Once in the park, we’ll make our way to the Talinguru Nyakunytjaku where you can settle in to watch the beautiful sunrise over one of Australia’s best-loved attractions. You can watch the sky turn from an inky black to deep blue, orange, and turquoise over the sand dunes and mesmerising red desert landscape that characterises the area.

A potted history of the region

After the sun rise, we’ll make our way around Uluru so you can experience it from all angles. As we go, you’ll learn about the history of the region and discover how the monoliths were created in the first place. The fascinating heritage of Uluru and its surrounding scenery spans back more than 22,000 years, so there’s a lot to soak in.

The Olgas

As we say goodbye to Uluru, we’ll head to The Olgas, where you can admire these amazing
natural sculptures, as well as some other incredible landmarks that dot the area.

Walpa Gorge

To finish the day, we’ll head to the Walpa Gorge, where you can take stroll through the imposing cliff faces and explore that haven of plant life that exists in the shade of the Gorge away from the blazing heat of the desert sun. We’ll walk for around one hour, where you’ll get to know more about the native wildlife that calls the area home, and soak up some of Australia’s most exceptional scenery.

As you go, you’ll learn about the rare flora and fauna, and your guide will indulge you in some fascinating stories of local life in the gorge, and provide you with insights into the amazing geology of the region.

When we leave Walpa Gorge, you’ll have one last chance to soak in the views of Uluru as it fades into the distance. This incredible adventure unfortunately comes to an end, but you’ll have plenty of memories of your time watching the sunrise in this special part of Australia and getting to know the country’s most fascinating natural landmarks.

The Dry Season in The Daintree

The Daintree Rainforest boasts a tropical climate all year, with temperatures plateauing out at around 32 C in the summer and 25 C in the winter months. The dry season runs during the winter, when the temperatures are lower but there is less rain and humidity. You can expect balmy days with cooler evenings that rest at around 17 C, which makes it the perfect time to explore this exceptional part of Australia.

Winter (or the dry season) is known as the most pleasant time to experience the Daintree National Park, as there are less insects to contend with and the temperatures are much more bearable than the muggy summer months. However, this is also the tourist season, so you can expect more crowds than in summer.

However, if you want to explore the rainforest without so many people, there are ways you can get around it. It is best to start Daintree Rainforest Tours early in the morning to beat the rush, arriving before everyone else and having the chance to explore the lush scenery without the hordes that come later in the day. There are also plenty of private properties tucked away in the rainforest that provide a more secluded experience for visitors.

Things to do during the dry season

The Daintree Rainforest is jam-packed full of fun adventures for all the family. Year round, it provides the perfect backdrop for hiking and other active pursuits, as well as wildlife spotting and more relaxed ventures.

The dry season proves to be one of the best times to indulge in everything on offer, so here are some things to get you started.

Hit the Beach

Though the Daintree Rainforest is predominantly known for its forest backdrop, it also boasts spectacular beaches at Cape Tribulation, where land meets the Great Barrier Reef. You can splash about in the warm shallows or kick back and relax with a cold drink in hand.

Check out the waterfalls

Daintree is dotted with picturesque waterfalls. The dry season is the perfect time to take a
stroll around them all and cool off in the plunge pools.

Get some pedal power

The cooler temperatures of the dry season make cycling much more enjoyable in the Daintree Rainforest. Grab some bikes and pedal your way through the stunning mountain scenery, enjoying the breath-taking views and stopping off at mesmerising landmarks along the way.

Have a picnic

Without annoying bugs and muggy temperatures, you can enjoy a peaceful picnic amongst the lush landscape of the Daintree National Park. Grab some local meats and cheeses and soak up the warm winter sunshine.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Top 5 Waterfalls in the Atherton Tablelands

Tropical North Queensland is a haven of diverse landscapes, ranging from wild sandstone escarpments to lush rainforests and everything in between. One of the best reasons to visit the area, though, is to see the expansive collection of waterfalls that any Atherton Tablelands Tour will reveal. You’ll find numerous pockets of calm in the area, each with its own gushing waterfall and refreshing pool to relax in at the bottom.

Here are some of the area’s best waterfalls:

1. Malanda Falls

Situated close to the Malanda Visitor Centre, this waterfall is nestled in a landscape filled with carpeted rainforest. Despite this, it can be easily reached from the carpark. There are numerous walking trails that lead off from the waterfall and, if you’re lucky, you might even get to catch a glimpse of the elusive Lumholtz tree-kangaroo, one of the region’s rarest critters.

2. Millaa Millaa Falls

This is perhaps one of the most popular waterfalls in the Atherton Tablelands, which is probably due to its breath-taking beauty and photogenic scenery. Cascading 18m, it is an impressive addition to the waterfall trail in the region, and it has even been featured in Herbal Essence shampoo adverts. The waterfall can often get quite busy, but its majestic nature makes it well worth the visit.

3. Ellinjaa Falls

Another of the popular waterfalls on the trail in the Atherton Tablelands. Here, you’ll find a designated BBQ and picnic spot, where you can tuck into lunch surrounded by spectacular scenery. The pool at the base of the falls isn’t particularly deep, so it is not ideal for swimming. However, if you duck behind the waterfall, there is a peaceful spot where you can
kick back and soak up the peaceful atmosphere.

4. Millstream Falls

Located close to the highest town in Queensland, this is the widest single-drop waterfall in the entire country. Its width is impressive, but the surrounding scenery is equally as beautiful, with cavernous gorges and volcanic caves painting a surreal picture. The area was, at one point in time, thought to be occupied by soldiers, so keep your eyes peeled for old, historic relics.

5. Mungalli Falls

Found close to Millaa Millaa Falls, this waterfall is situated in an area known predominantly for its farming industry – more specifically, the Mungalli Creek Dairy. As well as soaking up the pretty scenes of the waterfall, you can also explore the farmland, visit the Education Centre, and tuck into a local bite to eat.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Tour of the Week: 2 Day Great Ocean Road & Grampians Tour $239

The Great Ocean Road is one of the best-loved parts of Australia, and with our 2 Day Great Ocean Road and Grampians Tour, you can explore everything it has to offer and more. Along the way, you’ll get to discover some of the country’s incredible wildlife and its beautiful natural scenery, and there’ll be plenty of opportunity for photos in some of the most recognizable hotspots in Australia.

Surf Coast

The trip starts with a visit to world-famous Surf Coast, where you can take photos at Memorial Arch and walk along the picturesque beaches at Lorne and Anglesea. Take in the incredible waves and kick back and relax on the pristine sands – the perfect way to start your explorations of the Great Ocean Road.

Rivers and Rainforests

Afterwards, we’ll go koala spotting along the Kennett River, where you can also catch a glimpse of colourful birds, including King Parrots, and the native Kookaburra. Here, you’ll also get to stroll through the Otway Rainforest, soaking up the ancient scenery and getting to know the flora and fauna of the area.

World-Famous Landmarks

The Great Ocean Road is famed for its collection of natural landmarks, and this tour will showcase them all to you. You’ll get to see the mighty 12 Apostles standing tall in all their glory, the tragic shipwreck at Loch and Gorge, and the incredible London Bridge. Overnight, we’ll stay in the very heart of the Grampians, where you can dabble in some night-time kangaroo spotting before bed.

The Grampians National Park

The Grampians National Park is filled to the brim with delightful critters like kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, emus, and echidnas. During our time in this beautiful location, you’ll get to marvel at the breath-taking scenery of Hollow Mountain, which is known for its impressive
sandstone outcrops and lush green slopes.

Learn about Aboriginal culture

A trip to this part of Australia isn’t complete without a visit to the Brombuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre, where you can learn all about the history and culture of the Jordwadjali and Djob Wurring Aboriginal Tribes.

Pubs and Picnics

After getting to know the fascinating cultural history of the region, we’ll take a stroll to Lake Bellfield, where you can relax in the stunning scenery before we head to a traditional Australian pub in a quaint countryside town. Afterwards, we’ll head back to Melbourne, where this exciting tour unfortunately comes to end.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

What Happens on ANZAC Day in Melbourne

This year marks 101 years since the events that took place at Gallipoli, and on the 25th April, celebrations will be carried out to commemorate and remember everyone who was involved.

Throughout Australia, there are thousands of events, parades, and festivals to mark the occasion, with plenty of Melbourne tours offering visitors the chance to experience the city on this special day of the year.

The initials ANZAC stand for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, and the 25th April is the anniversary of the very first military action fought by these forces in the middle of the First World War.

Over the years, the ANZACs have become a stalwart part of Australian tradition, and a point of pride for the entire nation. They represent courage, endurance, and mateship, all of which are values held dearly by Australians well into the present day.

Gallipoli is the most prominent of the ANZAC events, when more than 25,000 Australians

were injured throughout an eight-month period on the Gallipoli Peninsula. A year later, in 1916, the anniversary of the event was celebrated across the world and was officially named ANZAC Day by the acting Prime Minister of the time, George Pearce.

By the time the 1920s rolled around, ANZAC Day celebrations were something to look forward to for Australians, with hundreds of events taking place throughout the country. Over the years, more and more veterans who fought on behalf of Australia joined in the marches, including those who spent time in Vietnam, Indonesia, and Korea.

The Events of ANZAC Day

Each year, the events of ANZAC Day unfold in a similar fashion. The day starts with commemorative services and a parade at dawn that takes place at the Shrine of Remembrance. Afterwards, a ‘gunfire breakfast’ takes place, which reenacts the ‘breakfast’
many of the ANZAC soldiers took before they faced battle.

The Dawn Service takes place at 6am each year, drawing in crowds from all over, including plenty of veteran soldiers. After the gunfire breakfast, there is the ANZAC Day March which starts at 9am and parades through the streets of Melbourne. To finish, there is a Commemorative Service at 1pm, after which several smaller, local events break out and offer attendees the chance to celebrate with family and friends.

Throughout the city, there are numerous festivals, street stalls, and street parties that bring locals together and offer a fun way to celebrate this major Australian day. 

Find out more about the history of the Shrine of Remembrance on a Melbourne City Tour.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Tour of the Week: 4 Day Arnhem Land & Kakadu 4WD Tour $950

Want to explore the incredible landscapes of the Kakadu and Arnhemland National Parks? Our 4 Day Kakadu Arnhem Land Tours give you the chance to experience the eclectic scenery and great array of attractions in this stunning area. Not only will you get to explore the native flora and fauna on offer, but you’ll also have the chance to learn about the rich Aboriginal Heritage of the region, and get stuck into some adventurous activities.

Crocodile Cruise

The trip starts in an adventurous fashion with a salt water crocodile cruise. During this amazing experience, you’ll learn about the habitats and lifestyle of these ancient creatures and discover some of the other species that call this part of Australia home.

Get to Know Ubirr Rock

After we’ve arrived in Kakadu National Park and enjoyed a picnic alongside the East Alligator River, we’ll make our way to Ubirr Rock, which is home to a jaw-dropping collection of ancient rock art and breath-taking views over the Nardab Floodplain.

Waterfalls and Creeks
The second day is all about exploring the stunning scenery of the region. To start, we’ll take a 4-wheel drive trip to Twin Falls, where you can dip in the refreshing pools before we head to Jim Jim Creek and marvel at the incredible views across the ancient Arnhemland escarpment. There’ll be an opportunity to walk amongst the scenery before we tuck into a traditional Aussie BBQ surrounded by beautiful views.

Aboriginal Culture

Kakadu and Arnhemland are known for their rich ties to Aboriginal culture, and we’ll take you to the Warradian Cultural Centre where you can learn more about the traditions and history of the region. After soaking up all the information, we’ll kick back and relax at the
Barramundi Gorge, where you can go for a refreshing swim.

Aboriginal Lands

On the final day, we head to Aboriginal Lands (Arnhem Land), where you’ll get to explore a region that’s off limits to all except a few tour operators. Here, there’s plenty of rock art to discover at Injalak Hill, as well as views across the floodplains and plenty of aboriginal heritage to soak up. The day ends with a stop off at the Injalak Art and Craft Centre, where you can pick up a souvenir before we head back to Darwin.

This incredible natural and cultural trip gives you the chance to explore part of Australia that’s rich in history and incredible views – an exciting combination.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Top 5 Coffee Shops You Must Visit in Melbourne

If there’s one thing Melbourne knows how to do well, it’s café culture. Throughout the city, you’ll find hundreds of quaint coffee shops serving rich selections of hot drinks and delicious all-day breakfasts set against a stylish backdrop of hardwood, colourful splashes, and lots of steel.

Yes, Melbourne is a coffee-lover’s paradise, where you could literally spend all day hopping from one hotspot to the next, slurping every type of coffee under the sun, and tasting brunches from all over the world. The vast majority of Melbourne Tours touch on this integral part of the city’s lifestyle, so get stuck in with these great offerings.

1. Auction Rooms 

Boasting the popular warehouse-style décor with high ceilings and plenty of light oozing in, the Auction Rooms are a firm favourite with locals and tourists alike (so much so, that there’s often a long queue). As well as a spacious backdrop and coffee that’s to die for, the Auction Rooms serve a menu of mouth-watering dishes, including Brulee French Toast and their signature recipe of Pressed Pork Shoulder.

2. Breakfast Thieves
Laid out in a similar vein as the Auction Rooms, Breakfast Thieves boasts bright lighting and a spacious atmosphere perfect for people watching. Here, you can snap up a delicious, organic coffee, and a brunch that’s centred around fresh, local ingredients. The communal tables make it sociable place to hang out with friends, or for solo travellers looking to feel like a part of the action.

3. Crabapple Kitchen 

If a hearty breakfast is on your to-do list, head straight to the Crabapple Kitchen, where the dishes are influenced by the fresh ingredients of the Mediterranean. The seasonal menu changes throughout the year, reflecting international trends and recipes picked up from the kitchen teams’ travels. Try the exotic Shrimp and Coconut Curry for a tropical kick, or tuck into the bestselling Crab Apple Sliders, which are stuffed with spanner crab and mustard cress.

4. Chez Dre + Bibelot 

Located near the South Melbourne Market, this French-focused café serves sweet and savoury all day breakfasts to keep you full. Alternatively, grab a coffee and a cake for a tasty afternoon snack.

5. Dead Man Espresso 

This café had an espresso blend made especially for them by Seven Seeds, so you can tell it’s going to do coffee well. Along with high-end hot drinks, you can also grab a scrumptious breakfast, which includes things like slow cooked pork belly bun and toast with vegemite.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Tour of the Week: 1 Day Cape Tribulation & Daintree Tour $120

Our 1 day Cape Tribulation and Daintree Rainforest tours are the perfect way to explore the tropical scenery of Queensland, soaking up the marvellous landscapes and getting to know the history of the area. During the day, you’ll be able to get up close and personal with some of Australia’s best-loved wildlife and walk among ancient plant life in the rainforest.

Crocodile Spotting River Cruise

After driving from Cairns and arriving in the Daintree National Park, we’ll enjoy a cup of tea on the banks before delving straight into the first activity of the day: crocodile spotting.

This adventurous cruise takes place on the river, where you’ll spend an hour spotting magnificent crocs with the help of a knowledgeable local guide. As well as getting to know the habitats and habits of these creatures, you’ll learn more about the ecosystem of the region and have the chance to spot other animals, like reptiles, huge butterflies, and colourful birds.

Delve into the Daintree Rainforest

Back on dry land, we’ll head straight into the Daintree Rainforest, where you can marvel at the dense jungle scenery and spot wildlife as you go. A local guide will share stories along the way as we head to Marrdia Boardwalk for a stunning rainforest walk. The hike takes about 1 hour, where you’ll learn more about the spectacular scenery, discover ancient plant species, and take in the impossibly clear waters of meandering streams.

Cape Tribulation

Next up, we’ll head straight on to Cape Tribulation, where we’ll stop for a delicious picnic. Afterwards, there’ll be plenty of time for you to check out the Cape Tribulation beach and the surrounding landscape.

Alexandra Range

When beach time is over, we’ll head straight to the Alexandra Range, where you can soak
up the spectacular views of the Daintree Rainforest, the River, and the Coastal Hinterland from an elevated viewpoint.

Mossman Gorge

To finish the day, we’ll take you to Mossman Gorge, where we’ll stop for an afternoon tea before heading back to Cairns via the quaint village of Port Douglas. From here, there will be some time to enjoy the views of Trinity Bay, Coral Bay, and the Great Barrier Reef before this exciting day trip comes to and end.

Back in Cairns, you’ll be able to reflect on all the fun and adventure you’ve had during the day, and look back over your photos of the stunning scenery, the amazing wildlife, and the incredible views.