5 Reasons To Celebrate Australia Today

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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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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 –

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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.

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

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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.

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Photo credits: tripadvisor

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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!!

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Photo credits: Port Macquarie Holidays

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!