Loading...

Follow Down Under Endeavours – Australia on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid

A highlight of any Australia vacation is meeting the unique Australian animals! Whether you’re visiting a wildlife sanctuary, watching kangaroos hop freely in the wild, cuddling a koala, or swimming with whale sharks, there are so many opportunities to experience Australia’s unique wildlife.

Here are some of the most iconic animals you’ll see in Australia:

Kangaroos & Wallabies


Photo courtesy of Ellen Hoffman

These iconic Australian animals are of course at the top of the list! Australia has 55 native species of kangaroos and wallabies. They look very similar, but have a wide range of sizes; wallabies usually look like a kangaroo, but smaller.

There’s no shortage of places to see wild kangaroos in Australia, but our favorite is Kangaroo Island. Over a third of the land on this southern island is protected in nature reserves. At Southern Ocean Lodge, one of the complimentary signature experiences is “Kangas and Kanapes,” where you can enjoy 5-star cuisine and bubbles while watching the roos hop around at dusk.

Koalas


Photo courtesy of Laura Tober

Who doesn’t love cute koalas?! You can find these adorable animals all over eastern Australia—yet their population is in steep decline and they are actually listed as vulnerable (one step below endangered).

You can get your picture taken with a koala at Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas. This is a great activity for families visiting the Great Barrier Reef! If you want to get more adventurous and see them in the wild, take a tour with our mates at Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours. Echidna Walkabout helps fund wild koala conservation, so by taking the tour you’ll be helping the animals.

Quokkas


Photo courtesy of Shannon Bradley

These little guys’ happy smiles make them some of the cutest Australian animals! Quokkas are some of the smallest members of the macropod family (aka “big foot”), which includes kangaroos and wallabies. You can get an Instagram-worthy quokka selfie on Rottnest Island off the coast of Perth. But remember: while quokkas look cute and cuddly, they are still wild animals, and it’s illegal to actually touch them.

Wombats


Wombat at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. Image: Tourism Tasmania

Wombats are some of the lesser known Australian animals, but once you get to know these waddling marsupials, they just might be your new favorite! Wombats are very short and sturdy, and they’re some of the world’s best diggers. Fun fact: their poo is square thanks to their extremely long digestive system.

Wombats can live up to 30 years, but in the wild, most of them survive only 3-5 years. There are some great sanctuaries you can visit that rehabilitate injured and orphaned wombats and release them into the wild. One of our favorites is Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary in Tasmania. Here, you can even take a private after-hours tour and hand-feed the wombies!

Quolls


Black quoll. Image: Pepper Bush Adventures

There are 4 species of quoll in Australia, and while they all look a bit different, each species has distinctive white spots. You might mistake these Aussie critters for some type of rodent, but they’re actually carnivorous marsupials that eat birds, reptiles, and sometimes other furry creatures.

Quolls like to come out at night and can be shy around humans. One of our favorite wildlife experiences is a campfire dinner with our mates at Pepper Bush Adventures in Tasmania. While enjoying a delicious meal in the remote wilderness, you’ll see the nocturnal creatures (including quolls) come to life and start wandering around your camp!

Tasmanian Devils


Tasmanian devil at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. Image: Tourism Tasmania

You may know the Tasmanian Devil as a Looney Toons character, but it’s a real live Aussie critter, too! Tassie devils are the size of a small dog, but they have a nasty reputation. When they’re threatened, they’ll make frightening growls and screams. Imagine early settlers hearing those devilish sounds out in the bush at night and it’s easy to see where the name comes from!

Tasmania is the only place in the world where you’ll find these rare creatures in the wild. But don’t be too scared about meeting them—they’re quite shy and only scream and growl when they feel threatened.

At the after-hours Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary tour, you can actually feed the Tasmanian devils and play a little game of tug of war over their food!

Platypuses & Echidnas


Left – Platypus at Healesville Sanctuary. Image: Yarra Valley Tourism. Right – Echidna. Image: Tourism Tasmania

Platypuses and echidnas are the world’s only 2 species of monotremes, or mammals that lay eggs. You’ve probably seen a platypus before, with its duck bill, otter body, and beaver tail. They’re difficult to see in the wild, but your best bet is in a quiet riverbank in the eastern coastal areas.

Echidnas are also strange-looking creatures. They have spines like a porcupine, a beak like a bird, a pouch like a kangaroo, and they lay eggs like a reptile. Fun fact: Baby echidnas are called puggles, and they’re very cute!

You can see both of these unique Australian animals (and many more) at Healesville Sanctuary outside of Melbourne.

Sea Turtles


Turtle hatching. Image: Heron Island Resort

There’s nothing like swimming alongside a turtle in the Great Barrier Reef! Sea turtles can be found in many Australian waters, but the Great Barrier Reef is one of the best places to see them year-round.

If you time your trip right, you might be treated to an even more amazing experience: watching turtle hatchlings make their way out to sea! A great place to see them is Heron Island, a fabulous resort located on the Great Barrier Reef. From September to March, hundreds of sea turtles come to nest on the beach, and you may even be able to see a mother digging a hole for her egg. The little hatchlings usually begin to break out of their shells in December.

Large Marine Animals


Swimming with whale sharks. Image: Tourism Western Australia

Australia has thousands of miles of coastline, so it’s easy to see large marine animals like sharks, whales, dugongs (relatives of the manatee), and seals. Ningaloo Reef on the western coast is one of the best places in the world to swim with enormous whale sharks! Unlike whale shark tours in Mexico, these tours don’t require you to wear a life vest, so you can get right up close to the animals (just don’t touch!).

You can swim with sea lions in Port Lincoln, a town on the southern coast. Meanwhile, various whales—including humpback and southern right whales—can be seen along the eastern and western coasts from May to November. And if you want to swim with dolphins, you can do so as an excursion from many major cities, including Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Perth.

Emus


Emus near Flinders Ranges. Image: Tourism South Australia

These large, flightless birds are so common in Australia that they appear alongside the kangaroo on the Australian coat of arms. There was even an Emu War in the 1930s when struggling farmers in Western Australia were suddenly swarmed with emus that destroyed their crops.

Emus can grow over 6 feet tall and run more than 30 mph! You’ll find these strange Aussie creatures roaming freely in the scrubby bushlands of the outback. The Flinders Ranges in South Australia is a great place to see them in the wild against a beautiful backdrop.

Crocodiles


Crocodile in the water. Image: Tourism Northern Territory

Crocodiles might be some of the most famous Australian animals, thanks to the Crocodile Hunter and the beloved film Crocodile Dundee. You might think there are dangerous saltwater crocs roaming all over Australia, but actually they’re mostly found in the northern outback.

This is one Aussie animal you probably don’t want to interact with! However, its natural habitat is absolutely gorgeous and certainly worth exploring. Kakadu National Park in particular features a lot of the rugged red escarpments, rushing waterfalls, and secluded swimming holes you’ve seen in the movies. We recommend exploring with a guide who knows the area well—ask us about some of our favorite Kakadu tours!

Ready to being planning your own vacation to meet Australia’s amazing animals? Read about our Top 10 Wildlife Tours in Australia, or give us a call at 888-367-0933 to begin planning the adventure of a lifetime!

The post Australian Animals: What You’ll See Down Under appeared first on Down Under Endeavours.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Australia is fringed by more than 8,000 islands, each of them unique and filled with unbelievable wildlife! That’s a whole lot of beautiful islands to choose from, so our Australia specialists have curated this list of the best ones to explore on your next trip.

Whether you’re looking to explore or completely relax, we are sure that one of these great islands will fit your fancy. Here are our 7 favorite islands of Australia:

Hamilton Island

Surround yourself with the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef on Hamilton Island. This tropical paradise features sandy white beaches and stunning ocean views around every turn. There are many great hotels to choose from on Hamilton Island, from family-friendly hotels to luxurious adults-only resorts like qualia. In addition to exploring the Great Barrier Reef, you can drive around the island on a golf buggy (there are no cars), relax on the beach, or take a quick hike up to One Tree Hill.


Aerial view of Hamilton Island. Image: Tourism Whitsundays

Fraser Island

Fraser Island is perfect for explorers who want to get off the grid. Flying in from the Queensland capital of Brisbane, your small plane lands right on the beach and your adventure begins! Fraser Island offers a plethora of activities to choose from, like hiking the dunes, exploring the shipwreck of Maheno, watching the migration of humpback whales, or exploring the rainforest filled with unique wildlife. You can visit Fraser Island on a day trip or stay a little longer at the Kingfisher Bay Resort.


The world renowned sandy beaches of Fraser Island. Image: Tourism Queensland

Lizard Island

The Great Barrier Reef has hundreds of gorgeous islands and coral atolls, some of which are home to luxury resorts. Lizard Island is well known for its clear waters and luscious greenery adorning the sandy beaches. The resort offers an exceptional “barefoot luxury” experience amidst some of the most stunning scenery in Australia. Lounge on private beaches, take a helicopter excursion over the Great Barrier Reef, spend a day island hopping, or simply soak up the views from a private plunge pool on your outdoor terrace.


The spectacular setting of Lizard Island. Image: Lizard Island Resort

Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island is an ecological haven for native Australian wildlife. Kangaroos, koalas, penguins, echidnas, and bird life all call this island home. Here, you can walk among a colony of endangered sea lions or spot a sleepy koala in the trees. Don’t forget to take in the breathtaking scenery of the island with its rugged cliffs, sheltered bays, native bush lands, and rolling farmland. From wildlife adventures and coastal activities, to food and wine and historical guided walks, Kangaroo Island has something for everyone!


Native Kangaroos hopping around on Kangaroo Island. Image: Tourism South Australia

Hayman Island

Located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, Hayman Island is the most northerly of the Whitsunday Islands. The Whitsundays have long been internationally recognized for some of the world’s most beautiful stretches of tropical coastline. Hayman Island is a private island resort that’s perfect for family travel, with luxurious and elegant of accommodations including expansive pools, lush gardens, and pristine white sand beaches. If you are wanting a more adventure-packed vacation, Hayman also offers activities like snorkeling, diving, excursions by seaplane, nature hikes, and bush walks.


The beautiful Hayman Island by InterContinental resort

Tasmania

Visiting Tasmania is a one-of-a-kind experience full of history, natural beauty, and delicious wine. Tasmania is still a wild place; more than a fifth of the island is wilderness and is designated as a World Heritage site, so it’s the perfect place for a wildlife tour!

Tasmania was settled by a rough assortment of convicts, miners, and whalers who’ve left traces of their history at scenic sites around the island. While visiting Tassie, you can explore the forests, cliffs, mountains, and white sand bays. If you head east, you’ll find Freycinet National Park and Wineglass Bay, where you can kayak, swim, or scuba dive right off the sandy shores. You’ll also find a plethora of hiking and nature cruises.


A relaxing cruise on Wineglass Bay. Image: Tourism Tasmania

Rottnest Island

Located off the western coast near Perth, Rottnest Island makes a great day trip off the beaten tourist track! Enjoy bicycling around the quaint towns or snorkeling in the beautiful coral gardens just offshore. And of course, you can’t leave Rottnest Island without getting a quokka selfie!


An adorable quokka on Rottnest Island. Image: Tourism Western Australia

Ready to begin planning your trip to the islands of Australia? Browse our Australian travel packages, or call us at 888-229-0082 to start planning the adventure of a lifetime!

The post Islands of Australia: 7 Jaw-Dropping Vacation Spots appeared first on Down Under Endeavours.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Ayers Rock, or Uluru as it’s known to the traditional Anangu owners, is a massive sandstone monolith in the heart of Australia’s Red Centre—the physical and spiritual center of the country. Ayers Rock and the nearby Kata Tjuta rock formations have been significant in traditional ceremonies and rites of passage for over 10,000 years.


Aboriginal guides having a campfire at Ayers Rock. Image: Tourism Australia

Today, Ayers Rock is one of Australia’s top natural wonders, drawing many visitors throughout the year. Sunrise and sunset tours allow you to watch in awe as Ayers Rock changes colors in the shifting light, from burnt orange to fiery red to deep purple. Combined with the remote and rugged outback landscape, it makes for a truly iconic Australian experience.

Our team of Australia travel specialists have visited the Red Centre several times, so we’ve compiled this Ayers Rock travel guide with everything you need to know before you go!

How do I get to Ayers Rock?

Ayers Rock is located in the Red Centre of Australia, far from major cities. The easiest way to get here is to fly to Ayers Rock Airport; most hotels in the area provide airport transfers. Its remote surroundings will make you feel as if you’re riding into a scene out of Star Wars!

We do not recommend self-driving to Ayers Rock as a tourist, as it is so remote and the landscape is quite harsh; you certainly don’t want to blow out a tire in the middle of the scorching hot outback! If you wish to visit some other outback destinations as well, like Alice Springs or Kings Canyon, you can enjoy multi-day tours with comfortable transportation in an air conditioned coach bus.

When is the best time to go to Ayers Rock?

The best time to visit Ayers Rock is May through September. This is Australia’s winter, so the temperatures are more bearable at this time of year.

Ayers Rock is located in the desert, so the climate is characterized by extremes: hot days and cold nights. It can be especially hot in the summer (December through February), and guests may be bothered by flies and pests. You can still travel during this time, but be cautious for higher temperatures during the middle of the day.


Raising a glass to Ayers Rock at sunset. Image courtesy of Vanessa Massey

What can you do at Ayers Rock?

We suggest spending 2-3 nights in the Red Centre, as there’s plenty to do! Here are some of our favorite activities at Ayers Rock:

  • Take a camel ride through the outback and witness Ayers Rock changing colors at sunrise or sunset
  • Enjoy an Aboriginal-guided tour of Ayers Rock and Kata Tjuta to learn about the area’s cultural and spiritual significance
  • Witness the majestic landscape from above in a helicopter
  • Ride through the rugged outback on a motorcycle
  • Enjoy a gourmet dining experience under the stars (our favorite is the Tali Wiru dinner)
  • Visit the incredible Field of Light art installation at the base of Ayers Rock
  • Learn about Aboriginal heritage with a traditional dot painting workshop

For many years, the local Anangu people have requested that visitors not climb Ayers Rock, although it was still technically allowed. As of October 2019, climbing Ayers Rock will be officially prohibited. In the local culture, this trek up Ayers Rock holds great spiritual significance.


Sunrise camel tour in the outback. Image: Luxury Lodges of Australia


Field of Light lit up under a starry sky. Image: Voyages Australia

Where should I stay when visiting Ayers Rock?

Due to the remote location, there is no real town to stay in, but there are some fabulous resorts that contain everything you need, including restaurants, spas, boutique shops, art galleries, supermarkets, and plenty of activities. Our favorite hotels and resorts at Ayers Rock are:

  • Desert Gardens Hotel: This lovely hotel on the Ayers Rock Resort compound offers rooms with views of Uluru, as well as poolside rooms.
  • Sails in the Desert Hotel: Sails in the Desert is the premium hotel at Ayers Rock Resort, offering an elevated experience compared to Desert Gardens.
  • Longitude 131°For a VIP Ayers Rock experience, stay at Longitude 131°. This intimate, eco-luxe camp features dramatic views and the utmost privacy. Think of it as 5-star glamping!


View of Ayers Rock from a room at Longitude 131°. Image: Luxury Lodges of Australia

Looking to experience the magic of Ayers Rock and Australia’s outback? Give us a call today at 888-229-0082 and let our luxury travel designers handcraft your dream adventure!

The post Ayers Rock Travel Guide: Everything You Need to Know appeared first on Down Under Endeavours.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

The South Pacific is home to some of the world’s most amazing beaches; pictures don’t even do them justice! From Australia to the Cook Islands, you’ll find amazing islands complete with picturesque views, luxurious accommodations, and adventures for everyone from honeymoon couples to families.

These 10 beautiful beach resorts will have you dreaming of your next getaway!

qualia

Australia: Situated on the northernmost tip of beautiful Hamilton Island, qualia is surrounded by the beauty and splendor of the Great Barrier Reef. Here you’ll find relaxation and calm, as you enjoy the beach and watch as the ocean stretches out in front of you.


Plunge pool overlooking the Great Barrier Reef at qualia. Image: Luxury Lodges of Australia

Lizard Island

Australia: Truly secluded from the rest of the world, the private Lizard Island is situated on the northernmost part of the Great Barrier Reef. With 24 private beaches and only 40 suites and villas onsite, that means a private beach for every guest, couple, or group! Soak in your private plunge pool overlooking the ocean, enjoy romantic beach picnics, snorkel the Great Barrier Reef right off shore, indulge in heavenly spa treatments, and much more.


Exploring private beaches at Lizard Island in Australia. Image: Luxury Lodges of Australia

Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa

Islands of Tahiti: At Le Taha’a, you’ll find yourself surrounded by traditional Polynesian-inspired architecture and style. A 5-star property, this amazing resort is located on a “motu” islet and features beautiful villas where you can walk right out to the beach. Explore lush mountains and valleys, gorgeous lagoons, and other tiny islets during your stay. You’ll also find a few pearl farms amongst the island’s crystal clear waters.


Overwater bungalows in the sunset at Le Taha’a

Le Meridien Bora Bora

Islands of Tahiti: Le Meridien Bora Bora is located on a tiny, 6-mile-long islet on a coral reef. Offering amazing views of world-renowned Mt Otemanu, as well as thick coconut forests, colorful villages, white sandy beaches, and clear blue waters, this resort embodies the amazing beauty and luxury Bora Bora is known for.


Picture-perfect views of Mt Otemanu at Le Meridien Bora Bora

Manava Beach Resort & Spa Moorea

Islands of Tahiti: The Manava Beach Resort & Spa Moorea is a luxurious boutique hotel, with an amazing blend of luxury and serenity—an ideal destination for couples, honeymooners, divers, and families! Each overwater bungalow provides a large sundeck with direct access to the lagoon for incredible snorkeling, while each garden bungalow features a backyard with private plunge pool. Here you’ll find amazing views, sandy white beaches, and memories to last a lifetime.


Luxurious bungalows with direct beach access at Manava Beach Resort & Spa Moorea

Matangi Private Island Resort

Fiji: Matangi Private Island Resort is situated on its own 240-acre island paradise in the northeast of Fiji. Here you’ll find that nature and beauty are not only in your surroundings, but also incorporated in the design and architecture of your accommodations. The authentic bures and treehouses are crafted from local hardwoods, bamboo, lava rock, and coconut palm thatch. At Matangi, it’s all about relaxation and paradise. Don’t forget to pamper yourself at the Ocean Spa!


Treehouse suite surrounded by tropical gardens at Matangi

Likuliku Lagoon Resort

Fiji: Likuliku Lagoon Resort is the only resort in Fiji with true overwater bungalows. You’ll find that the resort is a special place designed with a combination of luxury, Fijian cultural values, and traditional Fijian architecture. From the moment you arrive, you’ll feel the warmth of the Fijian people, and find yourself in a little slice of heaven.


Deluxe Beachfront Bure with a plunge pool at Likuliku

Royal Davui

Fiji: The beautiful Royal Davui resort offers access to some of Fiji’s best beaches and exceptional diving. Enjoy gorgeous sunrises from an Island Plunge Pool Villa on the eastern side of the island. Spend your mornings visiting incredible dive locations and exploring the fringing coral reefs, or take a leisurely stroll on the beach before breakfast. Go sea kayaking, paddle boarding, or enjoy a ride on a catamaran. Off-island activities include village tours, guided island treks, sailing, volleyball, deep sea fishing, and bushwalking.


Aerial view of Sunset Suites at Royal Davui Fiji

Little Polynesian Resort

Cook Islands: Little Polynesian Resort is located on one of Rarotonga’s finest beaches on a protected lagoon, offering great access to deep-water swimming and snorkeling. You’ll find a plethora of colorful fish! Your accommodations are just as exotic as your surroundings, as they are built into the natural setting of palm trees and tropical foliage. Each veranda opens up to a striking view of the clear blue ocean, magical waves, and lush green palms.


Pool with an ocean view at Little Polynesian Resort in the Cook Islands

Aitutaki Lagoon Resort

Cook Islands: With friendly locals and pure turquoise waters that rival those of Bora Bora, you’re bound to fall in love with the island of Aitutaki! At the luxurious Aitutaki Lagoon Resort, you can enjoy panoramic views of Aitutaki Lagoon from your overwater bungalow, treat yourself to a relaxing day at the spa, or spend the day enjoying the crystal clear waters and sandy beaches.


Overwater bungalows at Aitutaki Lagoon Resort

Are you ready to relax on one of the many beaches in the South Pacific? Give us a call today at (312) 951-8517 and let our luxury travel designers handcraft your dream vacation!

The post South Pacific Beaches: 10 Beach Resorts to Inspire Your Wanderlust appeared first on Down Under Endeavours.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Looking for things to do in Sydney? Australia’s largest city has no shortage of fun, family-friendly activities throughout the year! Watch one of the world’s most incredible fireworks shows on New Year’s Eve, see the city light up like never before during Vivid Sydney, and indulge your tastebuds during Good Food Month.

These are the 10 best events and festivals in Sydney:

1. New Year’s Eve

December
Join one of the world’s biggest parties at Sydney New Year’s Eve, famous for its spectacular fireworks display on Sydney Harbour. Many of the city’s hotels get into the spirit with festive New Year’s Eve events, special meals, and accommodation packages.


New Year’s Eve fireworks display in Sydney. Image: Destination New South Wales

2. Australia Day

January
Celebrating Australia Day in Sydney is a can’t-miss event! It’s a day of fun for all, with much of the action taking place on and around Sydney Harbour. The day includes a range of performances taking place in the city’s finest outdoor locations, including Hyde Park, Darling Harbour, and the Sydney Opera House. Other highlights include the ever-popular Ferrython races and a fireworks extravaganza at Darling Harbour. And of course, you can celebrate with the locals at many of the pubs in town.

3. Sydney Festival

January
The epic Sydney Festival comes alive for 3 weeks in January with city-wide performances taking place by over 1,000 artists, including international headliners. Performances are held all over the city, from Carriageworks to the Riverside Theatre to the Sydney Opera House itself. You may see burlesque dancers performing in a circus extravaganza one day and catch the Sydney Symphony delighting crowds the next.

4. Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras

March
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is the world’s most joyous and spectacular celebration of LGBTQ+ pride. The event attracts over 20,000 visitors each year, who enjoy a diverse and exciting line-up of events culminating in a dazzling parade.


Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade. Image: Destination New South Wales

5. Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour

March – April
Each year, the iconic Sydney Opera House puts on a spectacular show outdoors at Sydney Harbour. Raise a glass as the sun sets and drink in the view as you share a meal in one of the 5 bars and restaurants onsite. Then sit back to enjoy the enthralling show, complete with live orchestra hidden beneath the dramatic stage and state-of-the-art sound design so you’ll hear every note.


“Aida” performed at Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour. Image: Destination New South Wales

6. Sydney Comedy Festival

April – May
The Sydney Comedy Festival is Sydney’s biggest annual comedy event, featuring performances from the finest Australian acts, the biggest international stars, and the most promising emerging talent. Every April and May, hundreds of the world’s funniest comedians take to stages across Sydney to entertain an audience of more than 120,000 people.

7. Vivid Sydney

May – June
Witness the city of Sydney transform into a canvas for brilliant light installations and projections during Vivid Sydney. The annual event attracts more than 2.3 million visitors, and sees historic sights—including the Sydney Opera House, Customs House, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and Taronga Zoo—illuminated in brilliant color. The program also includes big-ticket music performances, creative conferences, talks, and workshops.


Vivid Sydney lights up the city. Image: Destination New South Wales

8. Good Food Month

October
Good Food Month is the world’s largest food festival, with everything from fine dining to free, family-friendly outdoor gatherings. The much-loved Let’s Do Lunch portion of the festival serves up Sydney’s introduces fabulous prix fixe menus at Hatted restaurants (the equivalent of a Michelen star). Meanwhile, the Night Noodle Markets transform Hyde Park into a bustling Asian street food festival each evening.

9. Sculpture by the Sea

October – November
Photographers and art lovers won’t want to miss this annual event featuring surrealistic sculptures and stunning ocean views! Each year, 2 km (1.2 miles) of the Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk is transformed into a public sculpture park. The park extends from Bondi to Tamarama Beach and is on display for 3 weeks, featuring 100 sculptures by artists from Australia and across the world. A variety of walking routes are available for all mobility levels.


“Horizon” sculpture by Mu Boyan during Sculpture by the Sea. Image: Destination New South Wales

10. Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

December
The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race has become one of the most popular and exciting yacht racing events in the world. It kicks off each year on Boxing Day in Sydney and finishes in Hobart, Tasmania. Join the festivities and watch the impressive vessels in Sydney Harbour from the Opera House or Mrs. Maquerie’s Point.


The beginning of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Image: Destination New South Wales

Want to experience all that Sydney has to offer? Find inspiration with our Australia travel packages, or give our travel specialists a call at (888) 229-0082 to start planning your handcrafted trip of a lifetime! 

The post Top 10 Events and Festivals in Sydney appeared first on Down Under Endeavours.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

You can’t get a more quintessential Australian wildlife experience than visiting the Australia Zoo and seeing Steve Irwin’s legacy firsthand. The Australia Zoo, founded by the original Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, runs one of the largest wildlife conservation programs in the world. All money raised is put back into wildlife projects and conservation efforts around Australia. You can meet the animals and feel great about doing it, too!


The Irwin Family cuddling a koala at the zoo

How to Get There

The Australia Zoo is located just north of Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, which is about a 1-hour drive away. Getting to Brisbane is easy with direct flight options from Los Angeles or Vancouver. Renting a car is simple in Australia, but if you prefer not to drive on the left side of the road, you can take a scheduled coach bus from Brisbane to the zoo.

Where to Stay

Stay in Brisbane a few days and explore this up-and-coming city that perfectly blends outdoor adventure with cosmopolitan offerings. If you are traveling with family, Noosa or Rainbow Beach on the Sunshine Coast is a great option. Find more inspiration on things to see and do nearby in our guide to Queensland.

What to See and Do at Australia Zoo

The zoo is your oyster! With a wide variety of experiences available, you can decide which animals you want to see up close, including a cheetah, wombat, koala, and more!


Bindi Irwin visiting a koala at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital

Australia Zoo Highlights:

  1. Rent a golf cart so you can see as much as possible during your stay. This will help you navigate the grounds (particularly with little ones in tow).
  2. Go behind the scenes of Australia’s largest and busiest wildlife hospital with an exclusive tour. 100% of the proceeds of this experience go back into saving the lives of the animals you see in the hospital! Did you know the animal hospital is nearly the same size as the portion of the zoo accessible to the public? They take rare and hard-to-treat cases in an attempt to save injured, sick, and critically endangered animals.
  3. Do you prefer furry animals? Reptiles? Aussie animals? Sign up for a specific adventure based on your interests! You can feed an echidna, cuddle koalas, or get a photo with a Komodo Dragon—the dragon is adults only.
  4. Want the ultimate wildlife experience? Splurge on the Platinum package including a personal photographer, multiple animal encounters (including big cats), and meals throughout the day. This tour can be completely customized to ensure you get the best experience!
Can I Meet the Irwins at the Australia Zoo?


Robert Irwin feeding a kangaroo at Australia Zoo

The Irwin Family remains closely involved and hands-on at Australia Zoo, creating a personal touch for the visitors. So do keep your eyes peeled as they have been known to make plenty of appearances.

Robert Irwin particularly loves showing up to help out at the daily Wildlife Warriors Show at the Crocoseum. Bindi Irwin is often found checking in on the animals at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, making sure they get plenty of attention and cuddles.

Are you ready to experience Australia Zoo for yourself? Give us a call today at (312) 951-8517 and let our luxury travel designers handcraft your trip to Australia

The post Australia Zoo: Channel Your Inner Crocodile Hunter! appeared first on Down Under Endeavours.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Sydney, Australia has a seductive outdoor lifestyle and great natural beauty. The iconic Sydney Opera House is well worth a visit, and if you have a head for heights, take the Sydney Harbour BridgeClimb for stunning views and a great adventure. Be sure to see the city from the water, explore hidden beaches on beautiful coastal walks, hit the surf, and relax over a long lunch at one of Sydney’s incredible restaurants.

Here are the 15 best places to see and things to do in Sydney, Australia:

1. Sydney Opera House


Sydney Opera House at sunset

Discover the fascinating history of this iconic Australian landmark and World Heritage site. Set below the famous white sails and the granite Monumental Steps, the Forecourt offers patrons stunning harbor and city views. Or take a tour of the Opera House and uncover the mysteries of the backstage world. Afterwards, make your way down to the Opera Bar, located on Sydney Harbour. This lovely terrace bar on the waterfront has free live music each night and on weekend afternoons.

2. Sydney Harbour

Known as the most beautiful natural harbor in the world, those who come to see it will understand why. Did you know that Sydney Harbour is part of Sydney Harbour National Park? You’ll find many bushwalks with natural flora and, if you’re lucky, local fauna such as the long-nosed bandicoot and little penguin. Whether discovering hidden coves and bays, kayaking, chartering a yacht, flying above in a seaplane, booking a dinner cruise, or simply catching a commuter ferry, there are many ways to experience Sydney Harbour.

3. Sydney Harbour Bridge


Sydney Harbour BridgeClimb at night

Positioned across Sydney’s breathtaking natural harbor, this bridge has become one of the most photographed features of the city. Walking across Sydney Harbour Bridge is free; starting at the southern end, take the pedestrian walkway on the eastern side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge roadway and walk to Milsons Point at the northern end. On your return to The Rocks neighborhood, stop for pizza and a beer at the Australian Heritage Hotel, one of Sydney’s oldest intact pubs.

4. The Rocks

The Rocks is essentially the birthplace of modern Sydney. Over the last 200 years, it has morphed from a rowdy settlement of convicts, soldiers, sailors, and street gangs to a thriving, modern neighborhood. The area is a well-known creative and cultural arts hub, as well. Be sure to check out the Argyle Gallery, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and The Rocks Discovery Museum. Visit the weekend markets and explore Sydney’s history and culture with a tour of the historic Rocks area. Explore the cobbled laneways, cozy cafes, and oldest pubs in the country.

5. Barangaroo


Smoke rooftop bar in Barangaroo. Image: Tourism New South Wales

Barangaroo is Sydney’s hottest new development, located in easy walking distance to top attractions like the Sydney Opera House and The Rocks district. Here, you’ll find a number of great restaurants, local artist stalls, and a spectacular nature reserve on the edge of Sydney Harbour featuring sweeping views of the water and skyline.

6. Royal Botanic Gardens

Just a short walk around the water’s edge from the Sydney Opera House, you’ll find the natural beauty of the Royal Botanic Gardens. The Gardens boast magnificent harbor views—an excellent place to escape the noise of the city for some peace and relaxation.

7. Bondi Beach


Surfers hitting the waves at Bondi Beach. Image: Tourism New South Wales

Golden sands, blue waters, and perfect waves make Bondi Beach an iconic Sydney attraction. In the mornings, you can enjoy breakfast and coffee followed by walking the Bondi to Coogee coastline. You can learn to surf and catch some waves before heading to the Bondi Farmers Market (Saturdays only).

8. Manly Beach

One of Sydney’s favorite beaches, Manly Beach has a casual atmosphere that feels a world away from the city, all the while just a 30-minute ferry trip from Circular Quay. Experience Sydney’s beach lifestyle firsthand and explore on foot, rollerblades, or bike.

9. Taronga Zoo

Located along the waterfront overlooking Sydney Cove, the Harbour Bridge, and the Opera House, you’ll find Australia’s leading zoological garden: the Taronga Zoo. Discover native Australian animals and exotic species. If you like to get up close and personal with the animals, try the Animal Encounters experience.

10. Darling Harbour


View from the pool at Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour. Image: Tourism New South Wales

Just a 10-minute walk from Sydney’s central business district (CBD), Darling Harbour boasts a fantastic harborside location in the heart of Sydney with some great dining options. Cockle Bay and King Street Wharf also offer funky nightclubs, wine bars, and bistros serving fine food, great cocktails, and late-night dancing.

11. Australia Museum

The Australia Museum has an international reputation for its natural history and indigenous studies research, community programs, and exhibitions. The museum was established in 1827 and is Australia’s first museum, with unique and extensive collections of natural science and cultural artifacts.

12. St. Mary’s Cathedral

Located across from Hyde Park, St. Mary’s Cathedral stands in the center of Sydney as a statement of grace and beauty. It is one of Sydney’s most treasured historic buildings and one of the finest examples of English-style gothic churches in the world.

13. Spice Alley


Dining in Spice Alley. Image: Tourism New South Wales

This open-air food court brings a taste of Asian street markets to Sydney’s fashionable Chippendale neighborhood. Bring a bottle of wine from the nearby Handpicked Cellar Door, stroll beneath the canopy of red paper lanterns, and sample your way through street stalls featuring cuisine from Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and beyond.

14. Paddington Market


Paddington Markets in Sydney. Image: Tourism New South Wales

Every Saturday, rain or shine, Paddington Market has been open since 1973! The market has over 150 unique stalls filled with creative fashion and accessories, beautiful soaps and candles, and pictures that inspire. Take a look at Australian Made section in the market courtyard or try some handmade chocolates and local bread. Relax under the trees with a coffee and soak up the day.

15. Inner West

Sydney’s Inner West neighborhood boasts a variety of local attractions, from family-friendly streetscapes and Victorian buildings to wide-open parks and community-run events. Suburbs like Ashfield and Strathfield are vibrant places to discover the local history on a heritage walk during the day and enjoy a bit of indie rock by night. Newtown’s King Street is the hub of the Inner West, and just under 2 miles from the city center. On the weekends, check out the popular Carriageworks Farmers Market (Saturdays 8 am-1 pm) or the trendy Glebe Markets (Saturdays 10 am – 4 pm).

Our Australia travel specialists have visited Sydney several times and are happy to chat about the best things to see and do! Call us at (888) 229-0082 to start planning your trip to Sydney, or browse our Australia travel packages.

The post What to Do in Sydney, Australia appeared first on Down Under Endeavours.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Australia has so much to offer travelers, from the Great Barrier Reef to wild outback to bustling cities. But no matter where you go or what type of traveler you are, a highlight of your trip will be the amazing Aussie critters!

We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite animals from the land down under. We can even help you see them in the wild, cuddle them, or hand-feed them!

Ready to start planning your Australian wildlife vacation? Give us a call at (312) 951-8517!

Kangaroos & Wallabies


Photo courtesy of Ellen Hoffman

These iconic Aussie critters are of course at the top of the list! Australia has 55 native species of kangaroos and wallabies. They look very similar, but have a wide range of sizes; wallabies usually look like a kangaroo, but smaller.

There’s no shortage of places to see wild kangaroos in Australia, but our favorite is Kangaroo Island. Over a third of the land on this southern island is protected in nature reserves. At Southern Ocean Lodge, one of the complimentary signature experiences is “Kangas and Kanapes,” where you can enjoy 5-star cuisine and bubbles while watching the roos hop around at dusk.

Koalas


Photo courtesy of Laura Tober

Who doesn’t love cute koalas?! You can find these adorable animals all over eastern Australia—yet their population is in steep decline and they are actually listed as vulnerable (one step below endangered).

You can get your picture taken with a koala at Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas. This is a great activity for families visiting the Great Barrier Reef! If you want to get more adventurous and see them in the wild, take a tour with our mates at Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours. Echidna Walkabout helps fund wild koala conservation, so by taking the tour you’ll be helping the animals.

Quokkas


Photo courtesy of Shannon Bradley

These little guys’ happy smiles make them some of the cutest Aussie critters! Quokkas are some of the smallest members of the macropod family (aka “big foot”), which includes kangaroos and wallabies. You can get an Instagram-worthy quokka selfie on Rottnest Island off the coast of Perth. But remember: while quokkas look cute and cuddly, they are still wild animals, and it’s illegal to actually touch them.

Wombats


Wombat at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. Image: Tourism Tasmania

Wombats are some of the lesser known Aussie critters, but once you get to know these waddling marsupials, they just might be your new favorite animal! Wombats are very short and sturdy, and they’re some of the world’s best diggers. Fun fact: their poo is square thanks to their extremely long digestive system.

Wombats can live up to 30 years, but in the wild, most of them survive only 3-5 years. There are some great sanctuaries you can visit that rehabilitate injured and orphaned wombats and release them into the wild. One of our favorites is Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary in Tasmania. Here, you can even take a private after-hours tour and hand-feed the wombies!

Quolls


Black quoll. Image: Pepper Bush Adventures

There are 4 species of quoll in Australia, and while they all look a bit different, each species has distinctive white spots. You might mistake these Aussie critters for some type of rodent, but they’re actually carnivorous marsupials that eat birds, reptiles, and sometimes other furry creatures.

Quolls like to come out at night and can be shy around humans. One of our favorite wildlife experiences is a campfire dinner with our mates at Pepper Bush Adventures in Tasmania. While enjoying a delicious meal in the remote wilderness, you’ll see the nocturnal creatures (including quolls) come to life and start wandering around your camp!

Tasmanian Devils


Tasmanian devil at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. Image: Tourism Tasmania

You may know the Tasmanian Devil as a Looney Toons character, but it’s a real live Aussie critter, too! Tassie devils are the size of a small dog, but they have a nasty reputation. When they’re threatened, they’ll make frightening growls and screams. Imagine early settlers hearing those devilish sounds out in the bush at night and it’s easy to see where the name comes from!

Tasmania is the only place in the world where you’ll find these rare creatures in the wild. But don’t be too scared about meeting them—they’re quite shy and only scream and growl when they feel threatened.

At the after-hours Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary tour, you can actually feed the Tasmanian devils and play a little game of tug of war over their food!

Platypuses & Echidnas


Left – Platypus at Healesville Sanctuary. Image: Yarra Valley Tourism. Right – Echidna. Image: Tourism Tasmania

Platypuses and echidnas are the world’s only 2 species of monotremes, or mammals that lay eggs. You’ve probably seen a platypus before, with its duck bill, otter body, and beaver tail. They’re difficult to see in the wild, but your best bet is in a quiet riverbank in the eastern coastal areas.

Echidnas are also strange-looking creatures. They have spines like a porcupine, a beak like a bird, a pouch like a kangaroo, and they lay eggs like a reptile. Fun fact: Baby echidnas are called puggles, and they’re very cute!

You can see both of these Aussie critters (and many more) at Healesville Sanctuary outside of Melbourne.

Sea Turtles


Turtle hatching. Image: Heron Island Resort

There’s nothing like swimming alongside a turtle in the Great Barrier Reef! Sea turtles can be found in many Australian waters, but the Great Barrier Reef is one of the best places to see them year-round.

If you time your trip right, you might be treated to an even more amazing experience: watching turtle hatchlings make their way out to sea! A great place to see them is Heron Island, a fabulous resort located on the Great Barrier Reef. From September to March, hundreds of sea turtles come to nest on the beach, and you may even be able to see a mother digging a hole for her egg. The little hatchlings usually begin to break out of their shells in December.

Large Marine Animals


Swimming with whale sharks. Image: Tourism Western Australia

Australia has thousands of miles of coastline, so it’s easy to see large marine animals like sharks, whales, dugongs (relatives of the manatee), and seals. Ningaloo Reef on the western coast is one of the best places in the world to swim with enormous whale sharks! Unlike whale shark tours in Mexico, these tours don’t require you to wear a life vest, so you can get right up close to the animals (just don’t touch!).

You can swim with sea lions in Port Lincoln, a town on the southern coast. Meanwhile, various whales—including humpback and southern right whales—can be seen along the eastern and western coasts from May to November. And if you want to swim with dolphins, you can do so as an excursion from many major cities, including Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Perth.

Emus


Emus near Flinders Ranges. Image: Tourism South Australia

These large, flightless birds are so common in Australia that they appear alongside the kangaroo on the Australian coat of arms. There was even an Emu War in the 1930s when struggling farmers in Western Australia were suddenly swarmed with emus that destroyed their crops.

Emus can grow over 6 feet tall and run more than 30 mph! You’ll find these strange Aussie creatures roaming freely in the scrubby bushlands of the outback. The Flinders Ranges in South Australia is a great place to see them in the wild against a beautiful backdrop.

Crocodiles


Crocodile in the water. Image: Tourism Northern Territory

Crocodiles might be some of the most famous Aussie critters, thanks to the Crocodile Hunter and the beloved film Crocodile Dundee. You might think there are dangerous saltwater crocs roaming all over Australia, but actually they’re mostly found in the northern outback.

This is one Aussie animal you probably don’t want to interact with! However, its natural habitat is absolutely gorgeous and certainly worth exploring. Kakadu National Park in particular features a lot of the rugged red escarpments, rushing waterfalls, and secluded swimming holes you’ve seen in the movies. We recommend exploring with a guide who knows the area well—ask us about some of our favorite Kakadu tours!

Ready to being planning your own vacation to see Australia’s amazing wildlife? Browse our custom Australian vacation packages, or give us a call at 888-367-0933 to begin planning the adventure of a lifetime!

The post Cuddly Aussie Creatures & Wildlife appeared first on Down Under Endeavours.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

The best places to go wine tasting in Australia include Barossa Valley, Yarra Valley, McLaren Vale, and Margaret River. You can go wine tasting on a day trip from Sydney or Melbourne, or stay a few nights at a beautiful hotel set amongst the vines. We can even arrange exclusive behind-the-scenes tours or a private dinner with a winemaker.

Australia may be known for its Shiraz, but the country is filled with a multitude of wine regions and varietals to try on your next trip! Shiraz and Chardonnay make up 44% of Australia’s total wine production, but other varietals, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc, are becoming increasingly popular.

Australia’s Wine Regions: The Ultimate Australian Wine Tour


Dining at Murray Street Vineyards, Barossa Valley. Image: Tourism South Australia

Barossa Valley

Why visit Barossa Valley: Barossa Valley has possibly the oldest living vines in the world! Barossa Valley is only 45 minutes from Adelaide and nestled within beautiful rolling hills. You will feel disconnected from the rest of the world as you walk through wineries and take in the views.

Famous for: Barossa Valley is famous for Riesling, both a rich and a dry. The nearby Clare Valley produces some of the richest Riesling, while the Eden Valley produces very dry Riesling.

Getting there: Barossa Valley is about 1 hour’s drive from Adelaide.

Don’t miss: Barossa Valley is home to some of our favorite wineries, each with a unique feel and experience.

  • Seppeltsfield – The winner of an international Best of Wine Tourism award in 2019, this winery releases a 100-year-old vintage each year.
  • Jacob’s Creek – Relax with a glass of wine or join in on a food pairing class with a food and wine master.
  • Pindarie Wines – A family-owned winery that is adorned with restored wood and exposed brick. They also have an onsite restaurant with gourmet pies.
  • Turkey Flat Vineyards – Formerly a butcher’s shop, this family-owned vineyard is nestled in historic Tanunda.
  • Elderton Wines – With top class vintages, this family-owned winery is inviting and offers amazing tasting experiences.
  • St. Hugo – Offering sophisticated dining, ironstone buildings, and fine wine varieties, this winery is sure to check all of your requirements.


Kangaroo among the vines in McLaren Vale. Image: Tourism South Australia

McLaren Vale

Why visit McLaren Vale: Come for the wine, stay for the food! Best known for Shiraz, McLaren Vale also produces Grenache and Cabernet. When you visit McLaren Vale, you can experience everything from high-end wines to everyday vinos to sip on. Mix your wine experience with some bites to complete your time there.

Famous for: McLaren Vale is best known for their Shiraz, but is also popular for their Grenache and Cabernet. They also offer some Mediterranean varieties like Fiano, Vermentino, Tempranillo, and Sangiovese.

Getting there: Located in the Fleurieu Zone, McLaren Vale is a 40-minute drive from Adelaide.

Don’t miss: After your wine tours, make sure to take in some of the beautiful beaches of McLaren Vale! Almost 20 miles of coastline pairs perfectly with a glass of Shiraz or Cabernet. Beaches like Aldinga Beach, Moana, Port Willunga, and Sellicks Beach are a perfect way to spend an afternoon.


Hot air balloon over Yarra Valley. Image: Tourism Victoria

Yarra Valley

Why visit Yarra Valley: Located in Victoria near the vibrant city of Melbourne, the Yarra Valley has a cool climate that makes for an amazing Pinot Noir. The Yarra Valley is the oldest wine region within Victoria, dating back to 1838. You can enjoy anything from a sparkling wine to a beautiful crisp rosé.

Famous for: The Yarra Valley is known for its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Yarra Valley is also known for fresh produce, like salmon, trout, and caviar along with handmade cheeses and preserves.

Getting there: The Yarra Valley is about a 1-hour drive from Melbourne.

Don’t miss: The Yarra Valley is not just a wine destination. After your wine tour, stop at one of the many breweries to enjoy some beer! Before you leave the wineries, make sure to check out some local art at a surrounding museum. One of our favorites is the TarraWarra Museum of Art, with a restaurant and cellar located on property.

Here are some great breweries in Yarra Valley to check out:

  • Innocent Bystander
  • White Rabbit Brewery
  • Watts River Brewing


The Cape to Cape Track in Margaret River. Image: Tourism Western Australia

Margaret River

Why visit Margaret River: Margaret River is known for producing wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc blends. Located in Western Australia, it’s a bit off the beaten track and features gorgeous scenery. If you are looking to indulge in a great red wine or discover some fresh whites, Margaret River is a great place to explore!

Famous for: The Margaret River is famous for Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc blends. Margaret River is popular for both red and white wines, but Cabernet Sauvignon is what they are best known for. It is known as the “hero” variety in the area, which is often blended with Merlot for a full-bodied and earthy flavor.

Getting there: Margaret River is located in Western Australia, about 3 hours’ drive from Perth. We recommend staying a night or 2; there are some beautiful properties to stay in.

Don’t miss: After you are finished tasting the amazing wines of Margaret River, make sure to explore one of the underground caves or indulge in a gourmet culinary experience!


Welcome to wine country! Image: Tourism Australia

Hunter Valley

Why visit Hunter Valley: The history of Hunter Valley stretches 180 years, with over 150 wineries spanning across the beautiful hills of the area. The history of Hunter Valley is rich; the Wonnarua were the first inhabitants of the area. The Wonnarua inhabited the area for 30,000 years, carving the way for the valley that is known today. The wine produced here is globally known and loved by many.

Famous for: Although Hunter Valley is not known for a specific varietal, the wine owners often co-op their grape produce sharing them amongst each other. If you are planning to visit Hunter Valley, we suggest you take the day to explore surrounding activities as well!

Getting there: Located in New South Wales, Hunter Valley is about a 2-hour drive from Sydney.

Don’t miss:

  • Visit cellar doors with a winemaker
  • Enjoy a day spa at Chateau Élan
  • Take a balloon ride to witness breathtaking views


Scenery at Devil’s Corner Winery in Tamar Valley. Image: Tourism Tasmania

Tamar Valley

Why visit Tamar Valley: Although Tasmania may not be the first place to go wine tasting in Australia, the Tamar Valley is a great place to stop if you are visiting to see the local wildlife. The Tamar Valley, along with the Coal River Valley and Richmond, is drier and warmer than southern Victoria. That being said, they offer a great sparkling wine that truly challenges Champagne from France.

Famous for: Tasmania is known for its Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, and sparkling wine.

Getting there: You can visit the Tamar Valley on a day trip from Launceston or Cradle Mountain.

Don’t miss: The Tamar Valley offers a great variety of wine, but is also packed with history, industrial heritage, and natural wildlife. When you are done with your wine tasting or tour, make sure to head to a museum or garden tour.

  • Lawrence House Museum – Ideal for picnics on a warm day, this local history museum will blow you away with the interior design.
  • The Garden House – Filled with enchanting terraced walled garden sets, the 16th century home is stunning and inviting.
  • The Forgotten Garden of Lewtrenchard – This garden is nestled between the secluded Lew Valley, great to explore and take in some of the wonderful local greenery.


Wine with a view at Paringa Estate, Mornington Peninsula. Image: Tourism Victoria

Mornington Peninsula

Why visit Mornington Peninsula: The landscape of Mornington Peninsula will draw you in; with its gentle hills, rolling green pastures, and tranquil vineyards, the area is calming and peaceful—the perfect backdrop for a leisurely sip. The region has built a global reputation for producing a wide range of wines, which go well with their breathtaking beaches, bays, and natural scenery.

Famous for: The Mornington Peninsula is famous for Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Noir. 40% of their wines are white while 60% of their wines are red. The Chardonnay is very distinct in flavor, with notes of melon, citrus, and fig.

Getting there: Mornington Peninsula is 1 hour south of Melbourne.

Don’t miss: When sipping on your wine, don’t miss the beautiful scenery surrounding Mornington Peninsula. The area is close to the ocean, which brings in cool breezes even on the warmest day. You have to try the Chardonnay and the Pinot Noir while you are there, but you can also try a Shiraz if you are interested.


Spread at Zema Estate, Coonawarra. Image: Tourism South Australia

Coonawarra

Why visit Coonawarra: If you are a fan of Cabernet, Coonawarra is the place for you! The flat and fertile land of Coonawarra drew settlers into the area in the mid-1800s, who saw potential in the land and established the wine region. Coonawarra is popular not only for wine, but also sheep produce. Many sheep herders have migrated to the area for the lush land.

Famous for: Coonawarra is known as the king of Cabernet, but many other grape varietals are also found in this region, including Merlot, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc.

Getting there: Coonawarra is about halfway between Melbourne and Adelaide, so you can make a stop while driving the Great Ocean Road.

Don’t miss: Coonawarra is close to the ocean and has neighboring sheep farms. Make sure to take in the beautiful scenery while exploring the wine region. Only an hour and a half north, the Clare Valley offers great wines as well. If you have time, we suggest you stop by to do some wine tours in the Clare Valley!


Wine and local produce at Pike & Joyce, Adelaide Hills. Image: Tourism Australia

Adelaide Hills

Why visit Adelaide Hills: The altitude in Adelaide is cooling, which produces wines like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, and Shiraz. Adelaide Hills is unlike most of the southern regions of Australia, since its colder climate and rockier soil produce medium-flavored wines, perfect for everybody!

Famous for: Adelaide Hills is famous for Chardonnay but also produces an amazing Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blac, and Shiraz.

Getting there: Adelaide Hills is just 40 minutes from central Adelaide, making it the most convenient wine tasting option on the list!

Don’t miss: When traveling to Adelaide, make sure to visit the Adelaide Central Market, the botanic garden, and the fabulous restaurants in town! The city is filled with adventures and places to see, so we recommend staying at least 2 nights to explore.

Want to go wine tasting in Australia? Browse our food and wine travel packages, or give us a call at (888) 229-0082 to plan a handcrafted trip!

The post What are the best places to go wine tasting in Australia? appeared first on Down Under Endeavours.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Melbourne is a stylish, sophisticated, and dynamic city with plenty to explore! Some of our favorite things to do in Melbourne are wandering through lanes and arcades covered in street art, exploring the vibrant culinary scene, driving the Great Ocean Road, wine tasting in Yarra Valley, and wildlife tours just outside the city.

Here are 16 best places to see and things to do in Melbourne, Australia:

1. Federation Square

Watch the world go by from a comfy deck chair in Federation Square. Melbourne’s meeting place and unique cultural precinct brings together a creative mix of attractions, museums, galleries, and restaurants.


View of Federation Square from Transit Rooftop Bar. Image: Tourism Victoria

2. Lanes and Arcades

Melbourne’s arcades and laneways are full of hidden treasures. Take a step off the beaten track and discover local designers and specialty retailers, quirky cafes, independent designers, street art, amazing architecture, and historical tales of Melbourne along the way. We definitely recommend a guided tour so you can discover the hidden gems of Melbourne that only the locals know!

3. St. Kilda

Just 3.7 miles from Melbourne’s city center, St. Kilda is Melbourne’s seaside neighborhood, which is much-loved by residents and visitors. St. Kilda is renowned for its sandy beaches, palm-lined boardwalks, gorgeous sunsets, great restaurants and bars, and fascinating history.

4. Royal Botanic Gardens

Looking for some peace and quiet in the heart of the city? Take a stroll through the internationally renowned Royal Botanic Gardens, a beautiful oasis featuring thousands of plants, including rare and endangered species.

5. Harbourside Docklands Art Trail

This waterfront walking trail features public art from Melbourne-based and international artists. The trail is divided into three sections, each approximately 1.5 miles long. Download the Harbourside Docklands Art Trail app for a map and special commentary on the works.

6. Shopping in Melbourne

Melbourne is home to a diverse and stylish selection of shops offering everything from locally-designed originals to vintage gems. Top shopping locations include Flinders Lane, Emporium Melbourne, and QV Melbourne.


Shopping in Melbourne. Image: Tourism Australia

7. Chapel Street

The Chapel Street Precinct is a vibrant area filled with high-end designer shops, quirky cafes, and stylish bars. Find unique trinkets at the Chapel Street Bazaar, indulge in multicultural cuisine, and explore local art at one of the many galleries in the area.

8. Art Galleries

Melbourne is home to a thriving arts scene and boasts more than 100 galleries, ranging from large public institutions like the National Gallery of Victoria and Australian Centre for Contemporary Art to smaller commercial galleries and artist-run cooperatives. See our list of Melbourne’s best art galleries.

9. Melbourne Markets

Locals and tourists alike love visiting the Melbourne markets for food, clothes, art, and more. The Queen Victoria Market (open Tuesday – Sunday) is a must-visit; South Melbourne Market (open Wednesday and Friday – Sunday) features produce and gourmet treats that will delight any foodie; and the Rose Street Market (open Saturday – Sunday) features handmade goods from local artists and designers.

10. Great Ocean Road

Take in surf beaches, historic ports, whale lookouts, rainforests, and mountain ranges on this spectacular coastal route. A highlight of the Great Ocean Road is the Twelve Apostles limestone stacks, created by nature rising from the ocean depths.


Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road. Image: Tourism Australia

11. Yarra Valley

The Yarra Valley, renowned for producing Australia’s finest pinot noir, is just an hour’s drive from Melbourne. Take a guided tour or follow a self-drive wine trail and design your own route between cellar doors.


Hot air balloon over Yarra Valley. Image: Tourism Victoria

12. Phillip Island

Phillip Island, a natural wonderland, is just a 90-minute drive from Melbourne. Every night, visitors can witness the Little Penguins in their natural habitat as they make their nightly march up the beach to their dune burrows.

13. Mornington Peninsula

Under an hour from Melbourne, you’ll find orchards, olive groves, and more than 200 vineyards in the Mornington Peninsula. Take coastal walks, spot seals, and swim with dolphins. End your day with a nice, relaxing soak in the hot springs.

14. Nature and Wildlife Tours

Discover native Australian wildlife in its natural habitat. Wildlife excursions led by local guides allow you to witness kangaroos, koalas, and more just a short drive from the city. Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary is a popular place to interact with Australian animals up close.


Feeding kangaroos at Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary. Image: Tourism Victoria

15. The Goldfields

An easy 90-minute drive from Melbourne, Ballarat is home to Sovereign Hill, an open-air museum that brilliantly recreates life during Victoria’s glorious gold mining days. See how the Eureka Rebellion shaped modern Australia and immerse yourself in the spectacular AURA sound and light show. The nearby Ballarat Wildlife Park is worth a visit as well.

16. The Grampians

The majestic mountain ranges and forests of the Grampians are famous for their magnificent scenery and Aboriginal heritage. Discover rock art, go fishing or canoeing, enjoy scenic hikes, and get up close to native animals in this picture-perfect mountain range.

Our Australia travel specialists have visited Melbourne several times and are happy to chat about the best things to see and do! Call us at (888) 229-0082 to start planning your trip to Melbourne, or browse our Australia travel packages.

The post What to Do in Melbourne, Australia appeared first on Down Under Endeavours.

Read Full Article

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
close
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview