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STA Travel Blog

8 off the beaten track destinations in Australia

Looking to take the road less travelled in Australia? Ditch the same old tourist route, hop in a camper and do things your way. For a country that spans over 7 million kilometres there are an abundance of secret spots to uncover, here’s a few of our favourites to get the ball rolling.

Kakadu National Park

Experience rich Aboriginal culture in all its glory with over 5000 aboriginal art sites across the park. A 2WD can cover the majority of the park, but make sure one of your stops is Ubirr for the ultimate in sunset goals.

Measuring in at the size of Slovenia, it’s a hard one to miss when in the Darwin area!

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Devil’s Marbles

Nearly 400 km north of Alice Springs, the Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve is definitely remote but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth making the effort to visit. Huge granite boulders scatter the valley so take a short self-guided walk to get amongst them or scramble from boulder to boulder. If you can, get there for sunset when it’s less toasty out and makes for even more spectacular photos.

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Coober Pedy

This place looks straight out of a movie – probs because it is! This opal mining town was the set for the 1985 Mad Max Beyond Thunderdrome and it’s this apocalyptic landscape that attracts people – plus the chance of finding their very own opal. Coober Pedy is hot hot hot and to survive the heat while digging for opals, the hardy people of the town decided to dig and live underground meaning you can enjoy underground hotels, churches and restaurants!

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Nullarbor Links

Do you like golf? Would you like over 1,000 kilometres of golf? Yep that’s right, the world’s longest golf course – an 18 hole-er with a par of a humungous 72 can be found in South West Australia. Running along the Eyre Highway, each hole is in a participating town or roadhouse, making it a great way to break up monotonous travel and is also plain good fun!

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Phillip Island, Victoria 

Phillip Island is only an hour and a half from Melbourne making it a great stopping point if you’re travelling through the East Coast. Especially if you love penguins. Get ready for cuteness overload as you watch the world’s smallest penguins come home after a long day fishing. Your admission also helps support the conservation of these little guys too -win win!

 

Arnhem Land

Home of the digeridoo and the Yolngu people, this region of Australia is an incredible insight into aboriginal heritage and culture. You’ll need a permit to visit and we recommend joining an organised tour. Make sure you see Gunbalanya with its ancient rock art, listen to Dreamtime stories and find out how the Yolngu people live off the land.

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Karijini National Park

Head west for freshwater pools, unforgettable views and a natural spa. After a long day of walking across mighty gorges and swimming in spring-fed pools beneath Fortescue Falls, you’ll want nothing more than to sink into the heart-shaped spa pool at Hamersley Gorge.

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How do all these places sound? Like they belong on your bucket list?

There’s nothing worse than getting somewhere you love and having to jump to catch a scheduled flight or bus out of there. With the flexibility of a camper van, you can spend as little or as much time you like so you can explore every corner of Australia on your terms.

How to be a Great Barrier Reef Warrior

This month we teamed up with Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef to offer one of our travellers a once-in-a-lifetime internship to work on this unique eco-system. Here’s why we need your help.

We’ve all seen Finding Nemo. If you were a fish, the Great Barrier Reef would be the Beverly Hills of ocean real estate. However, this 2,300km long underwater natural wonder has been having a hard time of it of late: under threat from climate change, water quality and crown of thorns starfish.

As self-proclaimed globetrotters, we’re not only all about exploring planet earth but when Mother Nature offers us so much why not give a little back? Here’s four ways how you can get involved both home and away…

 

 

1. Go see it.

Yes, tourism can actually help aid the conservation of the reef. The money spent on tours to this magical marine park makes an important contribution towards its management and protection. What’s more, tour operators and activities are regulated and kept in environmental check. They’re only allowed to venture into the marine park when these high standards are met.

So snorkel, scuba and even observe the reef from the air knowing you’re not only experiencing one the world’s largest coral reef system, but you’re also doing your bit to conserve this underwater paradise.

2. Use your voice.

We understand not everyone can hop on a plane destined for Australia (if you can, why are you still here?), so get involved from the comfort of your sofa. We’re a unique generation of digitally connected nomads who, when we shout online, someone on the other side of the world can hear. So why not use this to yours and our good pal Planet Earth’s advantage by joining a reef conservation group or charity and even telling your friends about it too?

3. Choose greener

Fact: Only 7% of the natural resources we take are actually then re-used again. Not only should we be making an extra effort to re-use and reduce our own waste, do a little research and choose brands that are making the effort to become more sustainable, support environmental projects and help reduce climate change.

4. Get involved

Go one step further and support the Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef – a social movement dedicated to protecting the reef and sharing its story. This year, we partnered with these turtly awesome, planet-saving humans to offer one of our travellers a once-in-a-lifetime internship to get hands-on and work with them on the reef. You can hear about their story here > . And if you’re feeling inspired, get in touch with the Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef to see how you can help.

So there you have it. Four ways to make Mr. Attenborough proud and keep this underwater hot spot thriving with marine life. Want to find out all the places you can visit the Great Barrier Reef? Read more here >

What is the best way to travel the East Coast of Australia?

Travelling around the East Coast of Australia is no picnic in the park or BBQ on the beach should we say! It’s a huge stretch of coastline and we mean HUGE. You’ll find everything along the way including the world’s largest sand island, crystal clear waters of the Whitsunday Islands, tropical jungles in the north and the best surfing spots like Byron Bay! Oh, not forgetting some of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world like Sydney and Brisbane.

To help you plan your itinerary, here are a few things to bear in mind when travelling the East Coast of Australia…

At your own pace

Travel Australia at your own pace
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Where to visit the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef – mother nature’s greatest masterpiece. When you picture it, you may just think of the Reef as part of Tropical North Queensland, accessible from everyone’s favourite party playground, Cairns. However, the Reef actually runs almost all the way down the coast of Queensland (1,430 miles in fact), so you can visit it from multiple places on your East Coast adventure. So where are some of the best places to visit the Great Barrier Reef, and what can you do there?

Let’s start from the bottom and work our way up, as if you’re coming from Brisbane.

From Hervey Bay

Photo courtesy of Tourism Queensland

Firstly, if you’re in Hervey Bay between July to November, you’re in prime whale watching season. Humpback whales are known to stop off at the bay for a rest before continuing their migration. Once you’ve experienced that, think about taking a scenic 40-minute flight from Hervey Bay over to Lady Elliot Island, the southernmost island of the Great Barrier Reef, where you’ll see all the beauty of the reef from above. Known for some of the clearest of water on the reef, the area is perfect for snorkelling. The island is known as ‘Home of the manta ray’, with over 700 species in its waters – AND if you arrive between November and March, it’s hatching season for the green sea turtles. An amazing flight, some excellent snorkelling, prime whale watching, swimming with manta rays AND green sea turtle hatching?! Sign us up!
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8 Things I did on Australia’s Nature Coast

Today’s post comes from Alison Nicholls from our Key Accounts team who travelled to Australia in October and spent 9 glorious days on the Nature Coast.

I already know what you’re going to say: “What the hell is a nature coast anyway?” Well, honestly, I wasn’t sure myself until I headed down under and travelled for 9 days along the most beautiful stretch of shoreline in the world (bold claim but I stick by it).

Australia’s Nature Coast is comprised of the Sunshine Coast and Fraser Coast which include such awesomeness as Rainbow Beach, Fraser Island, Noosa, loads of vineyards, national parks and much much more! Read on for 8 highlights not to miss on your Australian adventure.


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