5 Reasons why Tasmania is the Ultimate Wanderlust Destination

From sparkling sapphire bays to fossil-rich limestone, Tasmania is brimming with natural wonders sure to take your breath away

It may sit near the bottom of the globe, but with a treasure trove of natural wonders, it is hard to imagine anyone resisting Tasmania’s allure. Get bitten by the wanderlust bug as you explore more of what Tasmania has to offer.

Here are the top five reasons why the Apple Isle is the ultimate travel destination.

#1 Wineglass Bay

Freycinet Experience Walk

Freycinet Experience Walk, Wineglass Bay Photo: Tourism Australia

Located within the Freycinet National Park, Wineglass Bay, considered one of the top 10 beaches in the world, boasts a sparkling sapphire basin and a crescent of soft, white sand. For a truly spectacular view, take a short trek to the Wineglass Bay lookout. While the uphill walk might be a bit of a scramble, the view from atop is well worth the effort. There are many more short walks across the park, suitable for all. These mostly lead to secluded bays, beaches and bird-filled lagoons.

Adventurous travellers can try out the Freycinet Experience Walk, a four-day guided hike across the entire length of the peninsula. While on the walk, keep a sharp lookout for some of Tasmania’s native animals in action. If you’re lucky, you just might spot some native white-bellied sea eagles diving into the bay for food!

The bay’s calm and clear waters also makes it the perfect location for those who enjoy fishing, sailing or simply soaking up the coastal scenery.

#2 Freycinet Marine Farm

Food is the word on every Singaporean’s lips. And with Tasmania’s cool air and pristine waters, there can only be one thing on everyone’s mind — seafood!

Taste some of Tasmania’s freshest seafood at Freycinet Marine Farm, which rears everything from succulent Pacific oysters to Tasmanian Blue Mussels. For a truly immersive experience, the farm encourages visitors to sift for oysters straight from the waters. Just picture yourself ankle-deep in water and feasting on freshly shucked oysters!

#3 Maria Island

maria-island-credit-maria-island-walk-and-great-walks-of-australia

Maria Island photo credit: Maria Island Walk and Great Walks of Australia

Immense, raw and awe-inspiring — that is what walking through Maria Island feels like. The world heritage national park, located in a mountainous island to the east of Tasmania, is a sanctuary of stunning historic ruins and dramatic cliffs — and a goldmine for Instagram-worthy pics.

Fossil Cliffs is a real-life Jurassic Park, containing fossils of ancient creatures that date back to 300 million years ago. Hunt for remains of extinct organisms like the Eurydesma, a giant thick-shelled clam, which can be found embedded in beds of rocks.

Another reason to visit Maria Island is The Painted Cliffs. This site is covered in beautifully patterned sandstone that comes in stunning shades of red, orange and yellow; sometimes all at once. Fishing for more “Likes” on your Instagram photos? This is the place to be.

#4 Lavender Fields Forever

The best desserts always get a little messy 😉 Great pic by @tasmaniadotcom

A post shared by Bridestowe Lavender Estate (@bridestoweestate) on

Sifting for travel ideas this December or January? Look no further than the world’s largest commercial lavender farm, Bridestowe Lavender Estate, located in northeast Tasmania. Be mesmerised by rows and rows of gorgeous lavender bushes that form a colourful palette against the brilliant blue skies.

And don’t just stop and smell the flowers, you can taste them too! The Woodcroft Café on the estate sells a range of lavender-infused desserts, like lavender fudge brownie and lavender ice cream, which you can enjoy while curled up on one of the farm benches or under a grand oak tree! Is there any better way to spend a fine summer’s day?

Those looking to do a spot of souvenir shopping can purchase Bobbie, Bridestowe’s resident lavender-filled teddy bear. Aside from its lovely colour and soothing lavender scent, these bears also make the perfect cuddle buddy.

 

#5 Cataract Gorge Reserve

Cataract Gorge Cottage 22/2013

Gatekeepers Cottage Photo: Tourism Australia

Located less than two kilometres from Launceston’s city centre, Cataract Gorge, framed by an ice-cold river, bushland and cliffs, offers an escape from the buzz of city living. Interested in a walkabout? There are two walking tracks that straddle the gorge. Cataract Walk is level while the Zig Zag Track is steep. Both offer stunning, clear views of greenery and water.

If you are travelling with kids, the gorge offers a free outdoor swimming pool and barbecues for a lovely family outing in the summer. Be sure to take a ride on the world’s longest single-span chairlift and keep a lookout for sociable peacocks, which can be found strutting about the gardens.

Special Travel Deals

Book your trip to Australia before 31st March to be able to redeem the CheapTickets.sg  $100 cash rebate promotion when you book your flight and minimum of 4 nights hotel in Australia now! There has never been a better reason to pack yourself off to Tasmania.

Want to discovermore in Tasmania? Check out our new Runway Australia self-drive and come with us to the Tasman Peninsula to see the highest sea cliffs in the southern hemisphere, see wild whales and eat the best oysters in the world.

Runway Australia Tasmania

 

3 Foodie ideas not to miss in Melbourne

Featured

Australia’s capital of culture brings many surprises for travellers on the hunt for exciting city-based experiences.

Ranked as the world’s most liveable city for the sixth year running, Melbourne has all the elements of a must-visit urban destination: a buzzing culture-rich core, a love for coffee and celebration, hip precincts, and lush parkland topped off with breathtaking nature. Here are 3 experiences that showcase the cities thriving food scene at its finest.

With return flights to Melbourne from only $394 and hotels from $98 why not book yourself a bargain trip and get a $100 cash rebate promotion when you book your flight and minimum of 4 nights hotel in Australia now!

1. Eat Your Way to the Top

Melbourne is a haven for any seasoned Singaporean foodie. At one of the city’s many cafes, pair creative brunch fare with coffee micro-roasted to perfection. For a spin on café culture, pop by Seven Seeds in Carlton for its university vibe, recycled timber interior and top-notch cappuccino.

The world’s best pizza is not in Italy, it’s at 400 Gradi on Lygon Street in Brunswick. Affable Aussie owner Johnny Di Francesco’s wood-fired Margherita is a must-try, having bested global contenders to win the 2014 World Pizza Championships in Italy.

For a spectacular view in an unusual setting, pay a visit to Easeys in Collingwood. Tuck into a cheesy burger as you perch on a rooftop in one of three train carriages. Try your best not to spill the tomato sauce!

2. Off the Beaten Truck

Melbourne Food trucks

Food Truck, Melbourne Photo: Visit Victoria

Food truck parks are an iconic part of Melbourne’s food scene. These food truck gatherings often occupy both an indoor and outdoor area, which makes for a lovely dining-under-the-stars experience — particularly in the summer.

Indulge in top-notch grub from over 40 street food vendors at Hank Marvin Market, which opens every Saturday at St Kilda East. This park transforms into a hub of fresh produce, food trucks and street food stalls serving everything from pizzas to wood-fired bagels. Just 20 minutes north of the city is Welcome to Thornbury, Melbourne’s first permanent food truck stop. With up to 43 trucks onsite and a host of craft beers and cocktail jugs for sharing, this park is the perfect eating spot for travellers who are new to the food truck scene. The 4,000-square metre venue features a 200-seater bar, where you can knock back some grilled bites and beer.

3. Heed the Call of Collingwood

Smith Street cafes, Collingwood

Smith Street, Collingwood Photo: Visit Victoria

Popular with locals, this neighbourhood is home to a monthly farmers’ market showcasing local goodies produced within a 160-kilometre radius. Grab a punnet of fresh berries, set out for nearby Yarra Bend Park and hop on a rowboat for the chance to see native grey-headed flying foxes in action.

Those itching to bring home a piece of Melbourne can hit the stores along Smith Street on Collingwood for unique collectibles. These stores typically specialise in handcrafted trinkets and jewellery with unusual features, like laminated flowers, pencils and recycled vinyl records.

What’s not to miss in Collingwood? The Melbourne suburb is home to Beanhunter’s number 1 cafe in Melbourne, Aunty Peg’s,  which is essentially the cellar door to Proud Mary Coffee Roasters. Aunty Peg’s is a must visit for a Melbourne coffee lover looking to discover their perfect brew. What’s the best way to get there? From Bourke Street take the 86 tram to Hodgson Street stop 18 and walk along Stanley Street to Wellington Street, it will take about 20 mins so enjoy the ride.

Don’t forget to book your trip to Australia before 31st March to be able to redeem the CheapTickets.sg  $100 cash rebate promotion when you book your flight and minimum of 4 nights hotel in Australia now!

What’s next after Melbourne? Check out our new Runway Australia self-drive and come with us from Melbourne city to the Mornington Peninsula to swim with dolphins and seals, eat fresh seafood by the beach and galavant through olive groves.

Take off for Runway Australia with CheapTickets.sg and ZALORA

 

 

 

 

5 Reasons To Celebrate Australia Today

Featured

Happy Australia Day! That’s right, every January 26th Australians celebrate, well, being Australian. Originally the date marked the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales. Today celebrations reflect the diverse society and landscape of the nation and are marked by community and family events, reflections on Australian history and welcoming new members of the Australian community.

We thought we would mark this year’s celebrations by sharing 5 reasons we love Australia!

  1. It’s picture perfect. Every picture we see of this beautiful country on the gram just melts our travel hearts and makes us want to book another flight to Australia (insert small plug about how you can book a return flight from Singapore to Australia from only $289 all-in, fare, tax, everything included!).
    One of our favorite examples: Crawley Edge Boat Shed, Perth

 

2. The food. Everywhere you look, there is amazing, fresh food made from local produce. Whether it’s the Lavender ice cream below in Tasmania, Black Star Pastry’s famous watermelon cake, freshly shucked oysters or just a tasty, perfectly cooked steak cooked on a beachside bbq (hungry yet). It’s there, waiting for you in Australia. Looking for something exciting in Sydney? Check out our list of hidden foodie gems.

 

3. The wildlife: Australia knows how to do cool animals. Yes, there are the slightly scary animals if you go looking for them but then there are these amazing creatures just waiting for you at check in on Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays.

 

4. It’s Iconic. From the Sydney Opera House to Uluṟu and even the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour. There are so many places to put on your bucket list that we would struggle to whittle it down to 100 for a post. Make a list, check it twice and start planning where to go first.

The spiritual heart of Australia. Photo thanks to: @tscharke #seeaustralia #exploreuluru #uluru #ntaustralia #stars

A post shared by Explore Uluru (@exploreuluru) on

 

5. Utterly beautiful beaches. Lots of them. Let’s face it, Australia is an island, and the majority of people (80% of the population) live on the edge of it, and we can see why. We think every Australian has a favourite beach, and with so many to go around unless you are heading to Bondi on Christmas Day you won’t need to share it with too many people.

Happy Australia Day!

Celebrate Australia every day by following the beautiful posts from @australia and @cheapticketssg for your daily dose of Australian inspiration. Happy travels!

Happy #australiaday from the awesome @ausoutbacknt

A post shared by CheapTickets.sg ✈ (@cheapticketssg) on

5 reasons you need a last minute long weekend in Margaret River

Featured

It’s the end of the year! Refresh yourself a little with a long weekend away before the final stretch. Things can get hectic and if you need to clear a couple of days leave this is the perfect place to escape too. You deserve it! Need more of a reason? We’ve got some inspiration for you.

1. It’s a gourmet Escape! The Margaret River is a foodies dream at any time of year, known for its local produce and award winning wines but from 18-20 November the world comes to the region for The Margaret River Gourmet Escape. Take your seat to taste creations from 50 culinary superstars from around the world during the 5th anniversary of this mesmerizing foodie event. If you are looking for a taster be sure to buy tickets for the Gourmet Village to gain access top tasting opportunities, artisan producers, restaurant pop ups surrounded by music and lounges. Entry on the Sunday is just $45 on the door.

gourmet-village-oysters-margaret-river

Fresh oysters at Margaret River Gourmet Escape. Image credit: Elements Margaret River

2. BBQ on the beach with Rick Stein. There are still some tickets for the lunch and dinner at the iconic Audi Gourmet Beach BBQ on Sunday 20th available… This exclusive event promises privileged access to Castle Bay Beach which will be transformed into a waterfront eatery with giant tipis and live music. On arrival be tantalized by artisan gin cocktails crafted exclusively for the festival by Palmer- Watts and award winning local distillery Limeburners before canapés and the main event- local produce sizzling from the grill cooked by celebrity tong masters from Movida Melbourne and Guillaume in Sydney. Did we mention how insta-worthy this will be. You might have a few friends joining you next year after this.

Audi Gourmet Beach BBQ with Rick Stein

Audi Gourmet Beach BBQ with Rick Stein Image credit: Elements Margaret River

3. Food, food everywhere. OK so we keep going on about this food thing, but seriously we know you won’t be disappointed in the MR. From the breaky burget at Morries (think chewy brioche from the local bakery, bacon from The Farmhouse, aioli, Swiss cheese and free range eggs that ooz a deep yellow yolk when you bite it) for your arrival breakfast to dining alfresco on platter of local produce including wagyu venison pate at Brookwood Café for dinner whilst the sunsets.

🍸🍔🍤💏

A post shared by Em O'Connell (@emmyokie) on

4. So much more than just the town. You might find it hard to go straight to your hotel in Margaret River with all the spots to stop along the way, just let your trip flow. Landing early? Make your first stop at Busselton and stride off your plane legs with a walk (or a train ride on the cute motor) to the end of the jetty. With seaside cafes, kiosks and restaurants you will be spoilt for choice, we think you might love it so much you want to spend the night so consider adding a day onto your itinerary if this sounds like your idea of a perfect location? Check out our self drive route from Perth through Margaret River to Augusta taking in just some of the jewels of that this region has to offer.

#nofilter needed. #thisiswa #wanttogoback to Busselton! ❤️

A post shared by CheapTickets.sg ✈ (@cheapticketssg) on

5. You can do it cheaper than you think!

Book a 4 day trip from only $803 per person all in. How?

Direct flights from Singapore to Perth with Qantas= $545

3 nights 4* accommodation at the Margaret River Resort= $227

4 days car rental of a Toyota Corolla or similar= $86

Ticket entry to the Gourmet Escape Festival Village= $45

Less DBS $100 cash rebate for your booking= $803 (valid until 15th November)

From now until the 17th November, book a minimum of return flights and 3 nights accommodation in the Margaret River between 15-22 November with any ticket to The Gourmet Escape and get a $100 travel rebate when you pay with a DBS card. For full details click here.

5 Reasons you should have Canberra on your ‘must visit’ list

Featured

What is the capital city of Australia? Rewind to the end of Year 5 quiz and the tie breaker question to win the huge box of chocolates for my class comes down to me, because it’s a geography related question and well… I have always been obsessed with wanting to put pins in my world map of places I have been. My opponent quickly answers “Sydney”, and I know we have won. “It’s Canberra” I say; celebrations all round. The thing is, I had never actually been to Canberra, until now!

IMG_8983

The first thing I ate in Canberra, at the beautiful Pialligo Estate Farmhouse Restaurant. I knew it was going to be a good trip!

When I heard there was going to be a direct flight from Singapore to a new city in Australia I thought, “hurrah, another place to explore”. With direct flights from Singapore to Canberra starting on the 20th September you can book your flight now.

With Canberra only being a three hour drive from Sydney I thought, “why wait for the new flight? I’ll go now and check it out.” Now I wonder why I didn’t go sooner. I booked a flight to Sydney and a hire car from the airport and got on the road through the picturesque valleys towards the capital- the Australian Capital Territory.

Here are my top 5 reasons to visit Canberra:

  1. Café hopping
Freakshakes at Patissez in Canberra

Freakshakes at Patissez in Canberra

VisitCanberra’s tag line is ‘one good thing after another’ and that is certainly true when it came to getting my foodie fix. Whether it was breakfast at Ona Coffee or The Cupping Room or fuelling up on coffee at Local Press, I was happy from dawn till dusk eating my way through the city. My favourite place was Pâtissez; made famous by its freakshakes and being all over Instagram with their calorific creations, it was well worth the trip. If you need any more reason to put this on your list check out their list of shakes here. Don’t over look their food either; they certainly know how to do perfect poached eggs on sourdough toast with smashed avo. Hungry? Did you know you can also road test four of the freakshakes here in Singapore at their new store in Holland Village?

2. Get cultural

It’s the capital city of Australia… and there are lots of free things to do! My top pick is The National Museum of Australia, which is nestled beautifully into a nook of Lake Burley Griffin and has an amazing collection of historical pieces from Australia’s history and events that have shaped the nation. Entry is free and with the museum only ever closing on Christmas Day this is a great way for travellers of all ages to spend three hours. History buffs need to visit between now and 29th January 2017 to experience 2 million years of human history in one room when the British Museum collection of ‘A history of the world in 100 objects’ comes to town. Whilst I usually swerve well clear of the pens and bookmarks of museum shops this one is not to be missed with its collection of unique gifts including beautiful Indigenous designs, jewelry and home wares. Most of my purchases were more ‘self gifting’!

3. Soar over the city

The National Museum of Australia sitting in Lake Burley Griffin during Balloons over Canberra

The National Museum of Australia sitting in Lake Burley Griffin during the Canberra Balloon Spectacular

To be honest, my Canberra dream is to come back and do a hot air balloon flight over Parliament House. I didn’t manage to fit it in on this trip (and it is an early start) but I do recommend seeing the city from a bird’s eye view. For those who don’t want to splash the cash, take your hire car up to Telstra Tower, just a few minutes’ drive from the National Museum of Australia and for $7.50 per adult you can get an awesome vista and test out the panorama app on your phone.

 

Driving up Black Mountain to Telstra Tower to get a view over Canberra

4. Go on safari

IMG_8907

Fancy a bath? Yes, that is a Tiger nestling into his bed in my hotel room…

OK so not a safari but it comes pretty close, but with a touch of extreme luxury. A clever entrepreneur, who I was lucky enough to meet briefly during my stay at Jamala Wildlife Lodge, has created an experience unlike any other in Australia. Think, a night at the museum, but in a zoo. Attached to the National Zoo & Aquarium is this 5* hotel where you can wake up to the roar of the lions, feed a giraffe from your personal tree house or just have a tiger looking into your room, yes a real one, not the can of lager.  You need to book in advance to get one of the wild encounter rooms but all guests are treated like kings with a personal tour of the zoo, going in the enclosures, feeding a rhino, before dining with the lions. It was a real treat (and the food was pretty fantastic too!)

 

 

5. Explore the region

There is so much to do, all within 30 minutes drive from your base in Canberra. Take a day away stopping off at  the morning Capital Region Farmers Market on a Saturday morning before lunch at Grazing in Gundaroo. Be sure to visit the Clonakilla vineyard, where the fantastic wines served in Singapore Airlines’ First Class come from, and if you are the designated driver be sure to take a bottle of two back with you enjoy back at the hotel. If you need to walk off the day’s indulgence stop by Cockington Green Gardens where you can enjoy a trip around the world in miniature form and a special treat for the little or not so little ones among us on the stream train. Toot toot!

If you don’t need to fly straight back after your trip to Canberra, take the scenic route back to Sydney via Jervis Bay by following our Capital Coast and Country Self Drive route taking you past vineyards, whale and dolphin watching spots, and the whitest sand in the world at Hyam’s Beach.

Check out these dolphins showing off to my camera as they swan in the wake of the boat during my outing with Jervis Bay Wild Cruises.

What are you waiting for? Catch the Capital Express to Canberra now!

Cost of trip:

Return flights to Sydney from $349 or now fly direct to Canberra from $956.

Book 4* hotels in Canberra from $120 per night. Its best to avoid the Parliamentary sitting dates as hotels are quite full and generally higher in price, check out the dates here:

Book car rental from Sydney airport from $45 per day.

Get a $30 discount on all flights from Singapore to Canberra from now until 30th September 2016 by entering the discount code CANBERRA. For redemption details see here.

 

Australia’s Northern Territory- Kakadu National Park

After a busy day in Darwin my long weekend adventure continued with an early start to venture into Australia’s Northern Territory area of Kakadu National Park.

Travelling in comfort with an AAT Kings tour (I also recommend self driving this region but due to my short trip I went with the professionals this time) we headed out of the traffic free city of Darwin towards the Arnham Highway and the park. Stopping off on the way for a ‘Spectacular Jumping Crocodile’ Cruise I captured the mightly saltwater crocs jumping out of the muddy river for their red meat breakfast. We were also fortunate to get some great close ups of the amazing birds swopping in for the food.

Birds of prey on the jumping crocodile cruise

We stopped in for lunch at the Wildman Wilderness Lodge for a sumptuous lunch with a view out across their personal landing strip and the open landscape. I definitely recommend staying over night here if you can plan it in your trip! We were treated to a leisurely cruise along the Wildmans Home Billabong capturing exotic bird life and getting very close to their local crocs, and a water buffalo!

Crocodile on a plate at Aurora Kakadu ResortNext it was onward to our overnight accommodation at Aurora Kakadu Resort. This group and family friendly resort has large rooms with equally sized bathrooms overlooking their shaded pool (croc free!) and perfect to cool off in. There are not many places to eat nearby here but the hotel restaurant, along with the price of the room is great value for money. I sampled buffalo, fresh oysters and of course crocodile! (the address is amusingly in South Alligator- you can find out the story behind that when you visit).

I awoke early the next morning in anticipation of our day in Kakadu, a World Heritage- listed site accredited for both its natural and cultural wealth. Covering over 19,000 square metres of dramatic landscapes from towering escarpments and waterfalls to floodplains. The changing scenery of the area from the wet season (now) to the dry season makes this a year round destination. To add to my excitement at being in this wondrous destination I was also going to get up close with some of the oldest examples of Aboriginal rock art in Australia.

Wild birds at Yellow Water Billabong, Kakadu National ParkWe wet our appetite for the park on another cruise, this time on Yellow Water cruises on Jim Jim Creek. I captured Whistling Ducks, Magpie Geese and Kingfishers to name a few birds, carefully perching around yet more crocs. The near by Barra Bar and Bistro at Cooinda Resort around the corner from the cruise departure point served us up a hearty buffet lunch with a huge selection of cut meats to energise us for the afternoon walk.

CheapTickets.sg Carrie at NourlangieThe highlight of the day was the hike through Nourlangie. Following a 1.5km walk amongst the impressive natural rock structures we learnt the stories handed down through generations of Aboriginal people through their art. Get your cameras ready for the panoramic shots available at the tip of the walk!

A great place to start your Kakadu trip is at the Bowali Visitor centre. As well as collecting your obligatory National Park pass for Kakadu you can collect information on the area as well as refresh and buy a few souvenirs.

CheapTickets.sg Carrie Eaten by a crocThe remainder of my day was spent sitting back and watching the landscape pass by from my comfy seat, sipping on some ‘Pauls’ iced coffee, an iconic brand of The Northern Territory, bliss.

Just wait until you see what was in store for me on my final day in Australia’s Northern Territory!

Win flights to Australia's Northern Territory with CheapTickets.sgThere is still time for you to win return flights for you and a friend to Darwin, Australia to start your Northern Territory Adventure. Enter our sweepstakes contest before 22 September 2014 at http://woobox.com/wzhz9e.

For more information about travelling to The Northern Territory log on to www.CheapTickets.sg/Australia/NT to get the cheapest flight and hotel deals now.

Carrie’s Australia Adventure – New South Wales

Sydney, the capital city of Australia, is regularly voted as the world’s best for its natural beauty and iconic landmarks. I embarked on The Legendary Pacific Coast self-drive in October last year… I guess it’s about time for me to share my awesome experience! 😉

Check out our super fun self-drive route on The Legendary Pacific Coast!! We drove approximately 930km over 8 days.

CheapTickets.sg_NSW_Selfdrive

Map credits: Google maps

Day 1 – Sydney

Upon arrival at Sydney we went straight for afternoon tea at The Grounds of Alexandria, a holistic café situated in a heritage-listed warehouse that roasts their own bean and grow their own organic ingredients. The rustic interior is sure to calm any post-flight discomfort and settle you right into the relaxed mood of Sydney.

CheapTickets.sg_Sydney_NSWCheapTickets.sg_Sydney_NSW

CheapTickets.sg_Sydney_NSW

If you traveled by dog, please park it here. Hehe.

The Grounds of Alexandria
Address
: Building 7A, No. 2 Huntley St. Alexandria NSW 2015
Phone: +61 2 9666 2225

After settling ourselves down with some good coffee, we headed to our accommodation for the next two nights at Blue Sydney – A Taj Hotel. A boutique hotel in the heart of a luxury marina, entertainment and apartment complex, many shopping districts and tourist attractions are within walking distance, including the Sydney Opera House!

CheapTickets.sg_Sydney_NSWCheapTickets.sg_Sydney_NSWCheapTickets.sg_Sydney_NSW

Blue Sydney – A Taj Hotel
Address:
6 Cowper Wharf Road, Woolloomooloo NSW 2011
Phone:
+61 2 9331 9060
Website: www.tajhotels.com/sydney

We then strolled along the Woolloomooloo wharf, located just by the hotel. Woolloomooloo is the longest timbered-piled wharf in the world! It used to be a busy wool and cargo dock, but is now known for its relaxed atmosphere for people to stay, eat and drink.

In the evening, we took a stroll at Darling Harbour, and walked towards Darling Quarter entertainment precinct for good food and entertainment at Stacks Taverna.

CheapTickets.sg_Sydney_NSW

CheapTickets.sg_Sydney_NSW Photo credits: tripadvisor

Stacks Taverna
Address
: Southern Building, Shop 24/25 Darling Quarter, 1-25 Harbour St Sydney
Phone: 1300 989 989
Email: restaurant@stacksbar.com.au
Website: www.stacksbar.com.au

Day 2 – Sydney

First thing in the morning, we visited Bondi Beach for the world’s largest annual outdoor sculpture exihibition, Sculpture by the Sea. Held from 24 October – 10 November last year, the sights were amazing. With the beach as its natural backdrop, the sculptures were beautifully woven into nature. What’s better is that the exhibition was free to the public!

ImageImage

After soaking in some morning sun we proceeded to have lunch at Formaggi Ocello, a contemporary Italian restaurant-café serving superb coffee, wine and quality deli goods.

CheapTickets.sg_Sydney_NSWCheapTickets.sg_Sydney_NSW

CheapTickets.sg_Sydney_NSW

Delectable cheese!!

Formaggi Ocello
Address
: 16/425 Bourke Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010
Phone: +61 2 9357 7878
Email: sogna@ocello.com.au
Website: www.ocello.com.au

Day 3 – Hunter Valley

Departed Sydney for Hunter Valley! Our first stop was the Hunter Valley Gardens, which feature 10 stunning gardens in the heart of Hunter Valley vineyards. Be transported into a whimsical wonderland as you roam the gardens – a perfect activity for the young and old. Join the Mad Hatter for afternoon tea in the Storybook Garden!

CheapTickets.sg_HunterValley_NSW

Photo credits: Australian National Botanic Gardens

Hunter Valley Gardens
Address
: 2090 Broke Road, Pokolbin, NSW 2320
Website: www.hvg.com.au

We moved on afterwards to the Hunter Valley Cheese Factory, where we got the chance to try even more cheese! They house award winning cheeses, delicatessen products – and take the opportunity to view their cheese maker in action!

CheapTickets.sg, Australia expert

 

Hunter Valley Cheese Factory
Address
: McGuigan Wines, McDonalds Road, Pokolbin 2320
Phone: +61 2 4998 7744
Email: huntervalleycheese@westnet.com.au
Website: www.huntervalleycheese.com.au

Time to check-in to our hotel! We were hosted at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley. Just look at the greenery surrounding the pool that makes it perfect for a carefree break –

CheapTickets.sg_HunterValley_NSW

 

Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley
Address
: 430 Wine Country Drive, Lovedale, 2320
Phone: +61 2 9380 0228
Website: www.crowneplazahuntervalley.com.au

Day 4 – Port Stephens

After breakfast, we made our way to Port Stephens, a 2-hour drive from Hunter Valley. When we arrived, I was amazed at how pristine and clean the beaches were, and how white the sand was! It was a breathtaking sight.

CheapTickets.sg_PortStephens_NSW

Our next activity was the Quad Bike Tour, organized by Quad Bike King!

CheapTickets.sg_PortStephens_NSW

Photo credit: Port Stephens

It was a super exciting and unique way to explore the sand dunes and eco-system of Stockton Beach, as we rode across the dunes, catching glimpses of the beautiful ocean, bushland and Newcastle. It was a great activity for groups like us, and we had lots of fun racing each other across the dunes!

Quad Bike King
Address
: 2130 Nelson Bay Road, Williamtown
Phone: +61 2 4919 0088
Email: sales@quadbikeking.com.au
Website: www.quadbikeking.com.au

Day 5 – Port Macquarie

We departed Port Stephens in the morning for Medowie Macadamias, a macadamia plantation established in 1980, with more than 12 acres of land harvesting five different varieties of macadamia nuts! A family business, Medowie Macadamias makes sure to be involved in every stage from production of nuts to experimenting with new, tasty products to be taken home.

Medowie Macadamias
Address
: 672 Medowie Road, Medowie
Phone: +61 2 4982 8888
Email: sales@medowiemacadamia.com.au
Website: www.medowiemacadamias.com.au

We visited the Sea Acres Rainforest Centre in the afternoon, immersing ourselves in rich Aboriginal culture, flora and fauna. This rainforest is one of the largest, least disturbed and most diverse coastal rainforests in NSW.

CheapTickets.sg_PortMacquarie_NSW

Photo credits: tripadvisor

CheapTickets.sg_PortMacquarie_NSW

Photo credits: tripadvisor

Sea Acres Rainforest Centre
Address
: 159 Pacific Drive, Port Macquarie
Phone: +61 2 6582 3355

Day 6 – Port Macquarie/Coffs Harbour

We started the morning with a visit to The Koala Hospital, a one-of-its-kind and first ever Koala Hospital, established since 1973. The hospital has featured in various documentaries and wildlife programs throughout the world, and is Port Macquarie’s most visited attraction! You can even adopt a wild koala – proceeds go towards helping sick koala’s treatments and preservation causes. Just look at their cute squishy faces!!

CheapTickets.sg_PortMacquarie_NSW

Photo credits: Port Macquarie Holidays

CheapTickets.sg_PortMacquarie_NSW

Photo credits: Port Macquarie Holidays

The Koala Hospital
Address: Macquarie Nature Reserve on Lord St, Port Macquarie
Phone: +61 2 6584 1522
Website: www.koalahospital.org.au

Time for some strawberry picking at Ricardoes Tomatoes and Strawberries! Tall strawberry vines climb up beside tomato houses in beautiful shady enclosures.

CheapTickets.sg_PortMacquarie_NSWCheapTickets.sg_PortMacquarie_NSW

Ricardoes Tomatoes and Strawberries
Address
: 221 Blackmans Point Road, Port Macquarie
Phone: +61 2 6585 0633
Website: www.ricardoes.com

Departed Port Macquarie for Coffs Harbour, which is 2 hours away. Visited The Big Banana when we arrived, tried some local banana produce and took an exciting toboggan ride!

CheapTickets.sg_CoffsHarbour_NSW

The Big Banana
Address
: Pacific Hwy, Coffs Harbour
Phone: +61 2 6652 4355
Website: www.bigbanana.com

Day 7 – Grafton, Byron Bay

We headed to Grafton in the morning for the Jacaranda festival – a floral festival from the last weekend of October up till the first weekend of November, opening with the crowning of the new queen in an open ceremony under the beautiful canopy of Jacaranda blooms.

CheapTickets.sg_Grafton_NSW

After a long drive in the afternoon, stopping for oysters at Yamba and taking photos along the way on our road trip, we finally arrived at Byron Bay. Immediately, we checked into our rooms at The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa. Enjoy the seemingly endless summer here at The Byron, which promises only the most comfortable rooms and best services.

CheapTickets.sg_ByronBay_NSWCheapTickets.sg_ByronBay_NSW

The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa
Address
: 77-97 Broken Head Road, Byron Bay
Phone: +61 2 6639 2000
Website: www.thebyronatbyron.com.au

We then headed for dinner at Fishheads Restaurant that offers fresh local seafood cuisine, available for takeaway too!

CheapTickets.sg_ByronBay_NSWCheapTickets.sg_ByronBay_NSW

Fishheads Restaurant
Address
: 1 Jonson Street at Main Beach, Byron Bay NSW 2481
Phone: +61 2 6685 6011
Email: functions@fishheads.com.au
Website: www.fishheadsbyron.com.au

Day 8 – Byron Bay

Breakfast at Byron Beach Café – perfectly positioned with views of both mountains and the sea, and offering both indoor and alfresco dining, you get to pick your setting for the ultimate breakfast experience.

My choice of breakfast: Eggs Florentine. YUMMY!

CheapTickets.sg_ByronBay_NSW

 

Byron Beach Café
Address
: Clarkes Beach, Lawson Street, Byron Bay
Phone: +61 2 6685 8400
Email: ben@byronbeachcafe.com.au
Website: www.byronbeachcafe.com.au

No breakfast is complete without coffee! Although there was no café at Zentveld’s Coffee for us to sit down for a kopi break, the aroma of the coffee beans was enough to wake us up.

CheapTickets.sg_ByronBay_NSW

Zentveld’s Coffee
Address
: 193 Broken Head Road, Newrybar NSW 2479
Phone: +61 2 6687 2045
Website: www.zentvelds.com.au

We then headed to Crystal Castle and Shambhala Gardens, showcasing acres of lush gardens, panoramic views, amazing natural crystals and exquisite jewelry. The Shambhala Gardens features giant crystals and sacred statues, including the incredible World Peace Stupa, unique in the southern hemisphere! Also, stroll along the Buddha Walk and see Australia’s biggest Blessing Buddha.

CheapTickets.sg_ByronBay_NSWCheapTickets.sg_ByronBay_NSW

Crystal Castle and Shambhala Gardens
Address
: Monet Drive, Mullumbimby, NSW 2482
Phone: +61 2 6684 3111
Website: www.crystalcastle.com.au

After a holy afternoon at the Crystal Castle, we proceeded to the Cape Byron Headland Reserve, Australia’s most easterly point. We went up the lighthouse, taking about a half-hour walk as we soaked in sights and sounds of the ocean and distant mountains, and when we finally reached the lighthouse, we were generously rewarded with spectacular views over the Pacific Ocean.

CheapTickets.sg_ByronBay_NSWCheapTickets.sg_ByronBay_NSWCheapTickets.sg_ByronBay_NSW

Cape Byron Headland Reserve
Address
: Lighthouse Road Byron Bay, NSW 2481
Phone: +61 2 6620 9300
Website: www.environment.nsw.gov.au

As our trip came to an end it was time to say bye to our trusty cars that carried us across The Legendary Pacific Coast. This self-drive was one of the most exciting and adventurous trips I had ever embarked on. From food, to nature, wildlife and adventure, it was all easily accessible thanks to the self-drive!

 

For more information on our Australia self-drive packages, don’t hesitate to contact our Aussie specialists: 

Monday – Friday: 9am – 6pm at +65 6372 4217
or email cheaptickets.sg@travix.com

Visit www.CheapTickets.sg/Australia now for more information about all things Australia!

Plus, from now till 24 April 2014, receive $60 off when you book a flight to Sydney! Just use the code: SYD60 before check-out to redeem your discount. More details at www.CheapTickets.sg/Australia/discount. Don’t miss it!