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The 7 Things You Have to Know Before Your Trip to Canberra

Canberra Unsold Saver Deal 4 Nights

The 7 Things You Have to Know Before Your Trip to Canberra

Are you planning to visit Australia’s capital any time soon? Here’s a list of things you must know before you pack your bags and hop on the plane to Canberra.

Many people consider Canberra as nothing more than the political center of Australia. But those in the know would beg to differ. It may be home to buildings of power and grandeur, such as the Parliament House, but its tourist appeals are often underestimated.

If you’d only explore the city in earnest, you’ll soon get blown away by the wide range of activities. Everyone can find their cup of tea with so many cultural sites, nature parks, and other popular attractions in Canberra.

Do you and your traveling companion have different interests? Not a problem when you’re in Canberra. You can literally do anything here – from snorkeling to learning about the military history of Australia.

Here are the seven things to help you get started.

1.   Canberra Has Amazing Cultural Offering

Canberra Technology institute Questacon

You can visit museums, scientific centers, and architectural gems at the Australian Capital Territory. The National Museum of Australia is the place to be to learn more about the country’s history and geography. But if you’re curious to experience augmented reality, you’d best pay a visit to the technology institute Questacon.

Here’s an idea for those into the art scene: the Tootsie Art and Design is located in an art deco building since 1937. While there, you can check out the amazing sculpture garden and exhibition spaces and snack on cakes and coffee. What’s remarkable is that the atmosphere is a replica of the 40s and 50s.

2.   You Can Enjoy Plenty of Sports Activities

Snorkeling

Canberra offers visitors many opportunities to try their hands at sports, especially those that have to do with water. You can try diving, snorkeling, surfing, or any other beach activities if you plan to spend the day in one.

In place of the beaches, you can also go hiking at one of the city parks or cycle around the gorgeous Burley Griffin Lake in the city center. Having a picnic next to the lake is among the favorite things to do in Canberra of both tourists and locals alike.

For all the sports fans, the Australian Institute of Sports is a must. Take the 90-minute guided tour to learn more about Australia’s sports history. After that, move over to the equally dazzling interactive sports exhibit.

3.   You Can See Captain Cook’s Journal

Canberra National Library of Australia

British explorer James Cook is to Australia what Italian explorer Christopher Columbus is to the United States. And you can learn more about the Captain in Canberra.

In fact, it’s where Captain Cook’s journal resides – at the National Library of Australia, to be precise. The library opened its door to the public in 1968, perhaps to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the journal’s first entries (1768 to 1771).

The library itself is fascinating enough. It resembles an ancient Greek temple, complete with all the columns and marble decorations. This unique building becomes even more spectacular when the lights come on at night.

A word of caution though: you may have to book the library tour in advance.

4.   There’s Plenty of Nature to Enjoy

Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra

Nature lovers wouldn’t know where to start exploring the city. Maybe not even after the following rundown of the green places to visit in Canberra, Australia.

First up, there’s the Australian National Botanic Gardens. The gardens are home to numerous species of birds and butterflies, not to mention the often exotic Australian flora.

You may also want to check out the Black Mountain Nature Park while here. It serves up an excellent hiking trail and a panoramic view of the city.

If you don’t mind a short ride, there’s the Namadgi National Park a mere 40km away (25 miles). You’re likely to agree that the incredible fauna here is well worth your time. The Park is on the Australian National Heritage List.

5.   You Can Fly a Jet

Canberra’s Jet Flight Simulator

Not literally – at least not a real jet. But Canberra’s Jet Flight Simulator is a perfect place to take your children. Flying a virtual jet plane is going to be a hit with the young ones.

The kids (or even you, if you’ve ever dreamed of being a pilot) can enjoy flying a Boeing 737 with a professional pilot by their side. The pilot will be giving away tips and tricks for making your way through the clouds.

6.   You Can Go Shopping for Fresh Food

Capital Region Farmers Markets in Canberra

There are two fantastic markets for the souvenir hunters and those who prefer not to eat out every day. It’s where you’ll find farm-grown fruits and vegetables, homemade bread, and artisan goods.

You may want to visit both the Capital Region Farmers Markets and the Old Bus Depot Markets. They’re easily accessible from the city center, even if you’re to go on foot.

7.    You Can Relax on the Beach

Canberra Jervis Bay

If your stay is long enough, you should find out for yourself why beaches are among the favorite tourist spots in Canberra. Australia’s capital may not be a coastal city, but it’s worth renting a car for a two-hour ride to one of the bays.

Jervis Bay and Batemans Bay have more than a hundred glorious beaches altogether. The landscape is breathtaking and a dream come true for photographers. Also, the waters are calm enough for swimming, diving, surfing, and sunbathing all day long.

Sounds Like Heaven on Earth

See how Canberra really does have everything you may need for an ideal vacation?

You can get your daily dose of culture, sports, good food, beaches, and unspoiled nature in one city. And if you want to see all of these popular attractions in Canberra, just plan your itinerary with care. It’s ideal that you dedicate one day to each attraction.

But what if your vacation is too short to see all of Canberra’s hidden gems and landmarks? It’s a good reason to come back as soon as possible.

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Arts & Culture

Awesome Adelaide (And the 11 Tourist Spots for Visitors)

Adelaide Glenelg Beach

Awesome Adelaide (And the 11 Tourist Spots for Visitors)

Is Australia next on your to-visit list? We suggest taking a trip to Adelaide, the beautiful cosmopolitan city on the coast of Gulf St Vincent. Its cultural offering is spectacular, but that’s not all you can enjoy.

Adelaide is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Australia, and for a good reason. It’s an ideal mix of culture, fun, and nature. Not to mention that it’s a heaven for animal lovers, especially if you have time to visit nearby places.

Out of all the fantastic tourist spots in Adelaide, you’ll find in the following a list of 11 favorites. These are some of the attractions and places that you simply can’t afford to miss while in this sophisticated city.

1. Central Market

Adelaide Central Market. (2023, January 28). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adelaide_Central_Market

The best place to learn about local food and drinks is the Adelaide Central Market. And if you’re a fan of always lively places, the market is a perfect launching pad for exploring Adelaide. It’s where you can find fresh fruits and vegetables, delicious sweets, and then some.

And if you stop by on a Friday night, you can also enjoy live music. There are also workshops for kids, cooking lessons, and other exciting activities, depending on the season.

2. Glenelg Beach

Glenelg, South Australia. (2023, February 9). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glenelg,_South_Australia

A metropolis with a beach that’s only 25 minutes away sounds like a dream. And this is exactly what you get in Adelaide.

Glenelg Beach, one of the most famous in all of Australia, is easily accessible by tram and will amaze you with its awesome sunset. It’s perfect for photographers and romantic souls who want to enjoy a cup of coffee or cocktail in one of the cozy cafés along the beach.

3. Haigh’s Chocolate Store

Kemp, Jason. “Iconic Haigh’s Chocolates Opens New CBD Store • Glam Adelaide.” Glam Adelaide, 16 June 2021, glamadelaide.com.au/haighs-chocolates-opening-new-cbd-store/. Accessed 20 Apr. 2023.

Are you up for fine chocolates? If so, Haigh’s Chocolate Store is a logical stop on your route.

The factory is a family-owned business and is where the best South Australian sweets are born. The factory’s part of a host of Adelaide city tours, and it’s where you’ll learn all about the chocolate-making process.

Haigh’s selection includes more than 250 types of chocolates in all shapes and sizes imaginable. You might want to bring home at least one gift box as a souvenir.

4. North Terrace

North Terrace, Adelaide. (2023, January 25). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Terrace,_Adelaide

Adelaide’s famous boulevard’s filled with historical sites and cultural monuments. And if you’re not sure where to start, this may be perfect. You’ll first see the Parliament House, undoubtedly the city’s most impressive building.

And as you continue the walk, you can visit the State Library of South Australia, various museums and galleries, and the University of Adelaide campus.

You may have to spend a whole day to fully take in these examples of splendid architecture.

5. Art Gallery of South Australia

Art Gallery of South Australia. (2023, April 10). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_Gallery_of_South_Australia

As you walk down and explore North Terrace, make sure to stop by the Art Gallery of South Australia. Located in Adelaide’s primary cultural area, this Victorian building houses some superb art collections.

You’ll have a chance to see different kinds of artworks – from the colonial days to the contemporary. Whether you favor sculptures, paintings, or photography, you’ll find something to enjoy in this gallery.

6. The Adelaide Oval

Adelaide Oval. (2023, April 5). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adelaide_Oval

There’s something for sports fans as well among the many tourist places in Adelaide. Whether it’s the cricket or soccer season, the famous Adelaide Oval is always packed.

Like in many European cities, the stadium is also a huge tourist attraction. It’s located in the Riverbank Precinct and can hold thousands of spectators. More than 16 sports competitions have taken place at this historic stadium.

7. Barossa Valley

https://www.facebook.com/stonewellcottagesandvineyards. “Where Is the Barossa Valley? Get a Barossa Map, Then Come and Explore!” Stonewell Cottages & Vineyards, 2022, stonewellcottages.com.au/plan-trip-barossa/get-to-the-barossa-map/. Accessed 20 Apr. 2023.

As you know, Australia is one of the world’s major wine-producing countries. The Barossa Valley is the best-regarded wine region in South Australia and has a lot to offer all visitors.

Aside from the remarkable wines to try, you’ll find excellent food and even golf courses and cycling tracks. There are also a few galleries to visit for those who are into art.

If you have the time, you might want to consider spending a few days in this beautiful valley.

8. National Wine Centre

“Tickets & Tours – National Wine Centre of Australia, Adelaide – Viator.” Viator.com, 2023, www.viator.com/Adelaide-attractions/National-Wine-Centre-of-Australia/d376-a367. Accessed 20 Apr. 2023.

Speaking of Australian wines, the National Wine Centre isn’t off the beaten path and certainly worth a visit.

It’s the place to attend all types of wine events, including tastings and interactive wine discovery journeys. And if you’d like to learn more about wines a bit more, you should know the Centre is also an enology research institute.

9. Adelaide Zoo

“Gallery of Adelaide Zoo Entrance Precinct / Hassell – 2.” ArchDaily, 2020, www.archdaily.com/70629/adelaide-zoo-entrance-precinct-hassell/50124e9528ba0d0a48000314-adelaide-zoo-entrance-precinct-hassell-photo. Accessed 20 Apr. 2023.

One of the unavoidable tourist attractions in Adelaide, Australia is the Zoo. Close to 300 species of animals live here. You’ll catch a glimpse of everything, from local animals to the most exotic, including the southern hemisphere’s only couple of giant pandas.

A visit to the Adelaide Zoo is an excellent choice for families with kids. The tour can include interactive presentations and a petting zoo of farm animals. There’s also a unique vertical garden and a huge terrarium.

10. Botanic Garden

Adelaide Botanic Garden. (2023, March 10). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adelaide_Botanic_Garden

Off North Terrace Boulevard, the Adelaide Botanic Garden has a long history. It’s home to many medicinal plants, for starters. You’ll also find rainforest plants, Amazon water lilies, the oldest fig trees in Australia, and more.

The best thing about the Adelaide Botanic Garden? It’s open all year round and it doesn’t cost a dime! The guided tour is also free.

11. Cleland Wildlife Park

“Cleland Wildlife Park | Home.” Cleland Wildlife Park, 2023, www.clelandwildlifepark.sa.gov.au/. Accessed 20 Apr. 2023.

Who knew that a wildlife park could be only 20 minutes away from the city center? While in Adelaide, don’t forget to stop by the Cleland Conservation Park.

At the park, you can get your daily dose of kangaroos, emus, wallabies, and koalas. Not only can you see them up close, but you can also feed and cuddle them.

This park is among the most visited tourist places near Adelaide. It’s fantastic for photographers, as well as kids who want a souvenir photo of them cuddling a koala.

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Byron Bay

The Backpacker’s Guide to Byron Bay

Byron Bay

The Backpacker’s Guide to Byron Bay

Traveling on a budget? That’s no reason why you can’t enjoy the paradise known as Byron Bay.

Like any other destination, planning a trip to Byron Bay may take some time. It’s especially true when you don’t want to spend a fortune while you’re there.

You have to keep in mind that Byron Bay has wildly popular beaches and amazing natural attractions. That’s why there’s always something fun to do, some even for free.

But before you take off, let’s start with one of the most essential Byron Bay travel tips…

Getting There

First and foremost, you have to know how to get to Byron Bay. Some essential travel tips to Byron Bay include knowing that it has three airports.

  • Ballina Airport is 15 minutes out of the city
  • Gold Coast Airport is 45 minutes away
  • Brisbane Airport puts you two to three hours away from the city

Gold Coast Airport is often your best bet because it has a broader range of flights. But if convenience is your priority, Ballina is a fair option.

You can also go here by car. Brisbane, the next state over, is the closest major city. However, anyone planning a ride from Sydney should know that it’s on the other end of New South Wales and not exactly practical.

Tips on Finding the Best Byron Bay Accommodation

Perhaps the most popular of all Byron bay hotels is the Byron Bay Beach Hostel. It’s newer than most and its location in the city’s center provides quick access to many points of interest.

In addition, Byron Bay offers a variety of choice accommodations. It has social hostels, upscale resorts, and quite a few inns right on the beach.

The general rule here is that the further away from the center, the cheaper the rooms.

Of course, the time of your visit also affects pricing. Low seasons or Australian winter has the best room rates. But if you’re arriving during the peak season, expect prices to be as much as triple the usual rates even at the cheapest places.

Don’t forget that Byron does offer campsites and caravan parks, too. While they won’t be the cheapest compared to the rest of the country, they’re good enough for a premium destination like Byron Bay.

Areas of Focus

You can split your attention in half: there’s Byron Bay and then there’s the Outside Byron area. And each destination has its unique pros and cons.

For example, most backpackers who focus on Byron Bay would stick to the beaches. It’s great for surfing, swimming, sunbathing, and partying after all. But there’s not a lot of hiking or truly spectacular things to see within the city.

Outside Byron is where you can do your real backpacking. It’s the part of Byron that’s famous for its hippie vibes, gorgeous scenery, and unique attractions. 

There’s a lot to do here and time just seems to fly as a result, so make sure you map out some favorite routes to make the most out of it. You can take on bike trails, walking trails, hikes, and plenty of scenic routes of varying degrees of difficulty. In fact, exploring Outside Byron on foot is probably the best way to do it.

You can check out the national parks, try to find a few waterfalls, or even interact with the native wildlife. The area around Byron is where most nature lovers feel at peace.

Byron Bay Travel Tips – Budgeting Your Trip

If you’re an avid backpacker, chances are you like your freedom. But you probably don’t want to spend a fortune, either.

As such, it’s good practice to know about the free things you can do in the area. To start with, going to the Byron Bay markets can help you find cheaper food and affordable trinkets to bring home. Take advantage of the many picnic and BBQ areas on the beach and cook your own food. 

If you want to have a spa day, check out Tea Tree Lake. Swimming doesn’t cost anything there and the water is teeming with essential oils. That’s why it’s one of the most common things to do in Byron Bay.

When you want some entertainment, wander around town and listen to the local buskers. You’ll always find someone playing there in the main park.

Spending a few hours on the beach also doesn’t cost a penny, save for the price of sunscreen. But activities such as snorkeling, diving, whale watching cruises aren’t free. 

And if you want to party but nightclubs aren’t good for your budget, try something else – join one of the many drum circles. It’s a great way to interact with both locals and other tourists and spend a few hours swapping stories, dancing, eating, and drinking.

Know the Best Surf Spots

The Wreck is Byron’s most iconic surf point. It’s also crowded but it has fantastic breaks and, at night, the aforementioned drum circles.

Main Beach is a solid choice if you’re a beginner and can’t handle big swell rolls. But the season for experienced surfers doesn’t last long here.

Belongil is a suitable alternative thanks to its beginner-friendly inside section. However, this spot offers steep faces during peak season.

Tallows is a perfect spot if you want to chase massive hollow waves. There’s no real room for beginners there, which means lighter crowds.

Affordable Places to Party

Not all of Byron Bay is expensive. Locales like Woodys or Aquarius (AQ) have very affordable drinks for you to enjoy.

Dancing also goes on for most of the night. So if you want to hear some cool live music, know that places like the Rails or Northern often host gigs.

But by far, Cheeky Monkeys wins the popularity contest among backpacker bars. The party here lasts seven days a week, there are many drink deals every day, and dancing on a table is a local custom.

Take Your Time If You Can

Many people would tell you that five days in Byron Bay is enough. But the truth is that the city and its surrounding areas simply have a lot to offer.

So if you want a memorable vacation, try to stay at least a full week. That should give you more time to experience the vibe of the place, interact with the locals, and check out most of its unique attractions, all while not having to stop and catch your breath.

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Byron Bay

Unique Experiences for a Memorable Trip to Byron Bay

Unique Experience Byron Bay

Unique Experiences for a Memorable Trip to Byron Bay

There’s more to Byron Bay than sunbathing and surfing. Take a chance and do something different every day to create an everlasting memory.

The coastal southeastern Australian town of Byron Bay sees plenty of tourists throughout the year. 

Most people know it for the impeccable beaches, amazing scenery, and ideal diving spots. But the city and neighboring areas have many more gems to offer. So you can easily spend each day performing interesting activities you might not get to perform elsewhere.

Here are some ideas to help plan your next trip.

Experience The Farm

One of the best things to do in Byron Bay is to interact with animals, and The Farm is an excellent spot to do that. Keep in mind that it’s a fully operational farm and not a petting zoo.

It’s the best place to go and see how everything works on a farm. In fact, animal lovers who travel to Byron Bay always add The Farm, Byron Bay to their itineraries.

There are also a few boutique restaurants and stores on-site. And for a more unique experience, there are walking tours and horseback tours available. You can even join some of the workshops to learn more about what Australian farmers do to create food.

Check Out the Crystal Castle

You probably don’t know this, but the Byron hinterlands have some hidden gems, too – literally. They’re home to the largest amethyst cave in the world after all.

Not only that, but you can also see some of the world’s biggest crystals. The quartz geodes tower typical tourists, as these geodes reach heights of over 18 feet each.

The Crystal Castle and Shambhala Gardens also provide more than photographic opportunities. Many tourists go there to meditate, learn about crystals, and recharge their energy. It’s a very different experience, but one you’re likely to enjoy.

Engage in a Drum Circle

If crystal tourism didn’t convince you, perhaps this will. 

Byron Bay may be a modern city but it still has a thriving hippie culture. So if the weather’s good and you head to Main Beach around dusk, you should be able to join a drum circle. Many tourists join the locals, learn the customs, and learn to let go. 

A drum circle against a gorgeous beach backdrop, live music, and dance is one of the best ways to unwind and feel freer than ever even if only for a few minutes. It’s also a great opportunity to meet some new people, mingle, and swap travel stories.

The Tree Sanctuary, Byron Bay’s Swamp Gem

Take a page from the locals’ playbook and spend some time in the Cumbebin Swamp Nature Reserve. And once there, walk along the Wetland Sanctuary Boardwalk to find yourself in the tree sanctuary.

Nature lovers and anyone carrying a lot of stress on vacation can benefit from an afternoon at the tree sanctuary. It’s a unique place rich in birdlife and amphibians – just make sure to mind the mosquitos. Its proximity to the most popular Byron Bay accommodations makes things even better. 

To get there, you can go on a 20-minute walk away from the city center. Although it’s by no means far, the change of scenery is breathtaking.

Bathe in the Tea Tree Lake

If you like your essential oils, you’ll love Lake Ainsworth or Tea Tree Lake. 

Accurately dubbed so, the lake is almost entirely surrounded by tea tree plants, and that gives the water a slightly brownish color. While it doesn’t look very appealing, it’s actually quite clean. The amount of oil in the water also gives it some pain-relieving properties.

You can even spend an entire day at the lake as it has designated picnic and barbeque areas that you can use to cook and hang out. 

Think of this unique experience as a free day in a natural spa facility.

Become Well-Versed in All Things Beer

It’s no secret that Australians love their beer. But who doesn’t?

So if you like hands-on, interactive experiences, take a tour of the Byron distilleries and breweries. 

One of the most popular in town is the Byron Bay Brewery. Not only can you sample the local goods here, but you can also check out the entire beer-making process.

For a similar experience, you can hop on a distillery tour. It gives you a chance to see how the locals make their award-winning dry gin.

Even as you tour these facilities and peek at their operations, you’ll still notice the same laid-back attitude in everyone that works there.

Explore the Byron Coastline

From June through November, you have an excellent window to do some whale watching. This is among the best things to do in Byron Bay that you shouldn’t miss.

Take a boat into the deep blue and catch the sight of the massive humpbacks as they migrate. Look for dolphins, sharks, and other marine life that makes Byron their home, at least for a time. You can also do serious birdwatching in the area. 

But don’t worry if you’re not knowledgeable about the local wildlife. There are tours you can take that have marine biologists as guides. In that way, you get to learn and ensure that you hit all the best observation spots at the same time.

Get Close to the Underwater Wildlife

The waters in Byron Bay are quite exquisite. Cold and warm water currents meet and create a perfect environment for diving and wildlife.

The visibility is often impeccable, so you can definitely go snorkeling or scuba diving. Julian Rocks is an interesting location that’s ideal for doing so, as it’s a marine reserve.

Here you can spot some of the most exciting aquatic creatures like the leopard sharks, manta rays, and grey nurse sharks. The latter aren’t active until the winter seasons, but they’re also an endangered species. Who knows how for long you can still see one up close?

A New South Wales Paradise

You can create new and unique memories every day you spend in Byron Bay. And many of the favorite local attractions and activities are exclusive to the city.

It’s possible to party every day, but that’s not a necessity to alleviate boredom here. The laid-back attitude, hippie vibes, and diverse offerings of Byron Bay give you plenty of fun alternatives to consider.

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