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STA Travel Blog

How to travel the East Coast of Oz for under £950

If you’re really keen to travel the East Coast of Australia but think it might cost you a literal arm and a leg, it doesn’t have to. One of our staff members, Rachael, had exactly the same predicament in her first year of working and travelling Australia. She’s here to tell you how she managed to travel the epic East Coast for under £950 (or $1,500AUD).
BODYSydney Harbour_ Australia

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10 most surprising places to celebrate St Paddy’s

It’s time to get your bright green clothing out the back of your wardrobe, start training your taste buds for copious amounts of Guinness, and be prepared for a crazy St Paddy’s celebration. Ireland is not the only place you can go to celebrate though…

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Top 5 hipster neighbourhoods in Canada

Hey you, the one with the facial hair and trousers rolled up! We’ve found the five hippest neighbourhoods that are about to make your man-bun fall off. And no, they’re not in London or Melbourne but dotted across the glorious nation of Canada. From Toronto’s quirky street art to Winnipeg’s trendy Osborne Village, get ready to brunch your way around the hipster hoods of this vibrant country…

1. Toronto: West Queen West

Morning stroll

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Without a doubt, the coolest place to live in Toronto. ‘Why?’ I hear you hipsters cry! Well, because WQW has been voted the second coolest neighbourhood to live in the entire WORLD by Vogue and with over 300 secret galleries, urban patisseries and boutique shops we can see why! Check out the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Graffiti Alley, and ultra-cool hotels like The Gladstone, and fall in love with Toronto’s creative heart.

Ultimate hipster activity: Chow down on Clafoutis at Clafoutis, 915 Queen St West

2. Victoria: Downtown

“Happy hour is from 4-6″ -Mrs. George

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Downtown. Even that just sounds cool. If you’re in Victoria, head to Centennial and Market Square for live music and festivals, Chinatown for the best Asian food and Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre for all types of arts events in this epic venue. As part of the ‘Old Town’ this suburb is jam-packed with restaurants, bistros, bars and nightclubs – giving the city its urban, hipster edge.

Ultimate hipster activity: Feast on Oysters at The Docks, 1208 Wharf St

3. Winnipeg: Osborne Village


Winnipeg’s bohemian epicentre, Osborne Village is where you’ll find vintage clothes, custom made jewelry, kitsch cafes and alternative bakeries. Hipsters head to the Winnipeg Comedy Festival (3 April – 9 April) at Osborne Village – be there or be square.

Ultimate hipster activity: Catch a show and grab an artisan beer at The Zoo, 160 Osborne Street or The Cavern, 112 Osborne St

4. Ottawa: Byward Market


Canada’s capital is obviously one of the hippest hoods, especially the historic Byward Market. Here you’ll find trend-setters and beatnicks, exotic food markets, vintage shops, cozy cafés and the National Art Gallery. And dig a little deeper you’ll find a buzzing bar scene full of hipster dives, jazz-bars and atmospheric Irish pubs.

Ultimate hipster activity: Party the night away Zaphod Beeblebrox, 27 York St,Ottawa

5. Vancouver: Gastown

#poutine

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Renowned for its ‘fiercely local vibe’ it doesn’t get more hipster than Gastown, Vancouver. With an extremely young population, you won’t spot anybody over the age of 40 – hipsters are immortal. Gastown is dotted with heritage buildings adding to the hipster ‘vibez’ along with tech start-up companies, fashionable boutiques and lively bars.

Ultimate hipster activity: Eat a massive bowl of Poutine at Six Acres, 203 Carrall St

Man-buns still on? Good. We hoped you enjoyed checking out these Canadian hipster hoods. Want to see them for yourself? Then grab your man bag and book your flights to Canada.

How much do you need for 1 month in Oz?

Here at STA Travel we pride ourselves on the fact we “know because we go”, so instead of giving you a generic post about spending in Australia we thought we’d hand it over to Rachael, who can give you the lowdown on how much you should spend in Australia in one month– drawing on her own experiences.

I worked and travelled in Australia for exactly 2 years – I literally left one day before my visa ended because I loved it so much, so I’d like to think I know a fair amount about the place. If you’re off there for a month and want to know how much you’ll need then I’ll split it into four sections: transport, accommodation, food and spending. This is a general guide, as opposed to state focused, so please bear that in mind – and don’t hate me if you spend more than this. Let’s say you’re travelling all of Australia in that time…very ambitious, but let’s go with it.

Transport

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This can range as you’ve got loads of ways of getting around Oz – trains, planes and automobiles, literally…plus boats. I would say Greyhound is the best way to get up and down the East Coast (hop-on-hop-off Sydney to Cairns is around $650), and between Alice Springs and Darwin (I got this for $150 – way in advance). There are always cheap flights between most cities too (usually excluding Perth and Darwin) for about $90 one-way. I flew Brisbane to Cairns for that price, and also Adelaide to Melbourne. In terms of public transport, I’d say set aside $40 a week (the average for unlimited travel on a travel card). Perth is a little isolated, so my friends did an epic road trip between Darwin and Perth, which I wish I’d gone on, and the average for a campervan per day is about $50 a day. Take 10 days to do it and that would be around $500 (remember this could be divided between a few of you – for this, let’s say between 2).

So per person for four weeks – and if you’re going to see practically everywhere in Australia – you should set aside around $1570AUD (about £970).

Getting an ISIC card can save you tons of money on transport too – so the above amount could be even lower if you have one of those. Which you can currently get if you open a Westpac Choice Account – which works out pretty well if you haven’t opened an Aussie bank account yet!

Accommodation

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I lived in hostels for the majority of my time in Australia, and the average cost of a hostel per night is $25AUD (you get discounts if you stay in the same hostel for a week). Let’s assume the above costing got you a little worried, so we’ll stay with just hostels. If you do the campervan thing, you won’t need to spend on hostels for those 10 days, so say 20 days of hostel accommodation.

Per person for 20 days hostel: $500 (about £310)

Again, an ISIC card can help you out with hostel costs too!

Food

Well poke me in the eye and call me Shirley. Best #burger EVA #Melbourne #explorations #instafood #thaiger

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Let’s say your hostel includes free breakfast (a lot of them do, or at least a free pancake morning) – and you can do a weekly shop for about $25. Throw in a few brunches (maybe four) at around $12, and a few dinners (maybe ten) at around $20 and we’ll say that’s your food allocation.

Per person for 30 days food: $348 (about £215). You can definitely easily go over this – I would. So if you want to have more money for food, I feel ya.

And guess what? The ISIC card gets you food discounts too! It seems like there’s nothing this little card can’t do.

Spending

BODY - Tom Harley - Photography Competition 2013
This depends on how many places you’re going and exactly what you want to do. Attractions can cost big bucks, but things such as beach days are pretty much free. Let’s say that every week you want to visit 2 attractions at an average of $50 each, and the standard tours such as Whitsundays at around $400, Fraser Island at about $325 (or get a combo tour for about $650), diving at the Great Barrier Reef for around $160, and an Aussie Outback trip at around $400.

Per person spending money for 30 days: around $1,700 AUD (about £1,200).

All together: $4118 (about £2,500) maybe just round it up to $5000.

Now that you’ve got an idea about how much you should be saving, why not kick start your planning by booking your flight? Have a look at our best deals now!

10 images of Canada to make you book your flights immediately

Warning you are at risk of having an uncontrollable urge to book flights to Canada after reading this blog. Toronto’s dramatic skyline, Lake Moraine’s juicy watermelon, Pemberton’s Music Festival and Fogo Island’s sumptuous breakfast are about to make your fingers start clicking on the search for Canada flights button. It’s a natural reaction, you’re only human but don’t say we didn’t warn you!

Wait until you see that little house in Quebec…

1. The Toronto skyline

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A multicultural melting pot, with over 140 different languages spoken and half of the population not born in Canada, you won’t find a more diverse and vibrant city! Definitely check out the CN Tower, well you can’t miss it. It’s over 553 metres high and the views of Lake Ontario are unbeatable. Head down to the Habourfront Centre, for waterside drinks and alfresco dining and soak up the sunshine with an Aperol Sprtiz in hand.

Cool thing to do:

Sip on a craft beer or two at Mill St. Brew Pub in Toronto’s trendy Distillery District.

2. Pemberton Music Festival

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Also known as Pemby Fest, Pemberton Music Festival in British Columbia claims to be the ‘best weekend of your life’ so you’re in for a good one! Enjoy live music, comedy shows, food trucks and arts performances at the foot of the majestic Mt. Currie. Make your Canadian adventure that little bit more awesome over four epic days (13 July to 16 July 2017).

Cool thing to do:

Catch the likes of The Killers, Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa on this year’s lineup.

3. The tranquillity of Vermillion Lakes

Have you seen anything more peaceful? Vermillion Lakes are formed in the Bow River valley of Banff National Park – an area of untamed wilderness and sheer beauty. With rugged mountains as your backdrop and emerald lakes shimmering at your feet, your Instagram is going to thank you for this later. Keep your eyes out for black bears, wolves, moose, elk and bighorn sheep (yes that’s their official name).

Cool thing to do:

Relax in naturally hot mineral springs at Banff Upper Hot Springs surrounded by snow.

4. This cute little house in Quebec

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Just look at it.

5. Canadian breakfasts on Fogo Island

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A traditional Canadian breakfast usually consists of fluffy pancakes and crispy bacon drenched in maple syrup. Or you can always opt for a more European style of buttery croissants and sweet pastries. For the best tasting breakfast, it has to follow a two hour long hike around Fogo Island.

Cool thing to do:

Go whale watching from Fogo Island shore during summer season.

6. Juicy watermelons at Moraine Lake

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That looks ridiculously inviting! Lake Moraine is arguably even MORE scenic than its famous sister Lake Louise. This glacier-fed lake in the beautiful valley of the Ten Peaks is just 14km from the village of Lake Louise. Known as the twenty dollar view due to being featured on the twenty dollar bill between 1969 and 1979 – this is an iconic Canadian spot to visit, so don’t forget to bring your watermelon!

Cool thing to do:

Head up the Rock Pile trail for fantastic views of the lake.

7. The Parisian feel of Quebec City

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A little touch of je ne sais quoi in Canada, Quebec City is quaint, beautiful and full of European charm. Definitely do a Quebec City food tour, you’ll eat like a local thanks to the guide’s insider tips and discover hidden foodie delights in Old Quebec (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Sample the very best of Canadian-French cuisine, including tasty morsels of wine, cheese, chocolate, syrup and crêpes. You’re on holiday, indulge!

Cool thing to do:

Take in the awe of Montmorency Falls.

8. Winnipeg’s quirks

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Osborne Village is home of all things hipster in Winnipeg – vintage clothes, kitsch cafes and alternative bakeries. For a few laughs head to Winnipeg Comedy Festival (3 April – 9 April). For other hipster hot spots in Canada take a look at our hipster neighbourhoods blog.

Cool thing to do:

Visit the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and learn all about this fascinating country’s history.

9. West Coast sunsets in Tofino

Escape to Tofino for impressive waves, laid-back beach vibes and rainforest walks. This is Vancouver Island’s ultimate outdoorsy retreat. After a hard day surfing the breaks, searching for black bears or relaxing on the beach head to Tacofino for the best fish tacos in Canada! Watch the sun go down with a glass of Tuff Session Ale at Tofino Brewing Co. and see a sunset like nowhere else.

Cool thing to do:

Try your hand at SUP – stand up paddle boarding (harder than it looks!)

10. Watching the Toronto Blue Jays

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When in Canada obviously go see a baseball game! Soak up the atmosphere of a Major League Baseball game at Rogers Centre stadium, cheer for Toronto’s mighty Blue Jays as they take on the New York Yankees, grab a few beers, devour a couple of hot dogs and try not to get caught on kiss cam. You’ll feel like a proper Canadian! Tip: Head up CN Tower for this cracking view.

Cool thing to do:

For all you sports fans take a Rogers Centre Stadium tour.

Have you been able to make it this far without booking? You’ve got will power. Don’t mind us, we’re just going to leave this Canada link here. Not to tempt you or anything!