Travel to the tropical north for world wonders and natural serenity. Indulge in spa treatments, fine-dining and cruise out to the Great Barrier Reef. The Daintree rainforest awaits those wanting to hike, there are ample opportunities to spot iconic Australian wildlife, plus the temperatures will thaw out your southern-state bones!
EXPLORE ALL THAT THE GREAT BARRIER REEF HAS TO OFFER:
Dive beneath the surface of the world’s biggest aquarium, the Great Barrier Reef! The UNESCO World Heritage reef is home to a kaleidoscope of colourful corals, exotic fish and fascinating marine life. The reef is huge, covering roughly the same area as the entire country of Italy, or 70 million football fields! Stretching across more than 2,000 kilometres, from the Fraser Coast all the way to the very tip of Queensland into the Torres Strait, there’s so many different places to dive into the Great Barrier Reef from.
Tropical North Queensland is the number-one destination for discovering the Great Barrier Reef. From Cairns, there are many tours that take divers to the best spots of the reef. One of the top reefs to explore is Flynn Reef, on the outer areas of the Great Barrier Reef. The perfect place for finding nemo, Flynn Reef is home to an abundance of marine life. Large fish species, such as dogtooth tuna, mackerel and barracuda, are frequent visitors to the reef, as are a range of colourful reef fish like the coral cod, butterflyfish, parrotfish, anemone fish, wrasse, rabbitfish and sweetlips. Shark species, mostly whitetip reef sharks, are seen quite often too. Another well-known dive site out of Cairns is The Cod Hole. This is one of the most famous dive sites in the world, thanks to the giant potato cod that call the waters home! These giant fish are used to being hand fed at the site. The giant potato cod can reach up 100 kilograms!, These friendly giants will do you no harm. The Cod Hole Dive site is a part of the Ribbon Reefs, so why not explore the colourful chain of individual reefs too?
The Ribbon Reefs stretch along the north coast and most of the reef out from Port Douglas is made up of them. North-east from Port Douglas, Agincourt Reef comprises of a number of small ribbon reefs and is situated along the very edge of the Great Barrier Reefs Continental Shelf. This reef is home to some of the most vibrant and unique aquatic animal and plant life in the world, making it one of the most popular diving destinations in the whole Great Barrier Reef. The outer reef location allows for vibrant and unique coral gardens to form as well as frequent visits from species of sharks, stingrays, turtles, whales, groupers, cods, Maori wrasse and parrotfish. Dwarf Minke Whales are frequent visitors to the reef between June and July.
Get a close up view of the reef by snorkelling or diving. . Those who aren’t confident swimmers but still want to explore the reef can zoom through the water on an underwater scooter. Go island hopping and see several parts of the Great Barrier Reef in a short period of time, cruise between islands stopping at the best of Tropical North Queensland reef spots, look at the underwater world from above on a glass bottom boat tour and kayak from one island to the next!
EMBRACE THE ANCIENT TROPICAL RAINFORESTS:
As described by Sir David Attenborough, the Wet Tropics of Northern Queensland are “the most extraordinary place on earth”. The enchanting ecosystem truly is like nothing else in this world and exploring the phenomenal environment is something everyone should experience. This World Heritage listed site stretches from around Townsville to as far north as Cooktown, covering almost 900,000 hectares – that’s about 162 Sydney Harbours! The area is made up 31 national parks and state rainforests so 79% of the historic site is protected. The Wet Tropics are the oldest living rainforests on earth and exploring them is like visiting a living museum. The same flora and fauna have called the rainforests home for millions of years.
The Wet Tropics are also home to rare and exotic animals, including unusual species that can be found nowhere else in the world but our lush rainforests. Hailing from the days when dinosaurs walked the earth, the Southern Cassowary still roams the mangroves and swamps between Mission Beach and Daintree. The rare Tree Kangaroos can be seen taking a nap on tree branches, while the bright blue and black Ulysses Butterflies flutter around the rainforest openings and lookouts. From the fast flowing rivers of Barron Gorge and the dense forest of Daintree, to the Skyrail in Kuranda and where the rainforest meets the reef in Cape Tribulation, we have a rainforest adventure for you!
What a better way to discover the Wet Tropics than to wander the natural wonder at your own pace? The Wet Tropics Management Authority have created 150 easily accessible walks throughout the rainforests. You can wander beneath canopies, around lakes, through a mangrove, up a mountain or along a beach. There are walks to suit everyone too!
If you are wanting to explore these amazing natural wonders for yourself My Queensland have some great value package deals out now! These special deals include flights and other exclusive bonus’. Our pick for a luxury Port Douglas stay is the Sheraton Grand Mirage Port Douglas or for a great central Cairns hotel Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort
Hoşgeldiniz and welcome to the Mediterranean country that is not only home to the city that straddles Europe and Asia but also has a history more diverse than any Asian or European country. Turkey, or officially the Republic of Turkey, has a comprehensive history of culture, religion, trade and commerce, making it a fascinating country to visit. On your tour, you will explore a 1,000 year old cathedral turned into a museum, a 4,000 year old city and central location for a very bloody battle, a bazaar where bargaining is an art form and many more unforgettable experiences. Join us on our journey through the country in the centre of the world as we take you exploring through Turkey!
Istanbul, the City that Straddles Two Continents
Istanbul, formerly Constantinople and Byzantium, is the largest city by population as well as the centre of the country’s economy. Due to its location along the Silk Road, the city is on the strategic path from Europe to the Middle East and contains the only route between the Black and Mediterranean Seas. Since its founding in 660 B.C., Istanbul has been one of the most coveted cities in the world. Ancient sailors would journey at sea for days through the Bosphorus Strait but today tourists can easily cross from Asia to Europe on the Marmaray metro line. Can you imagine having breakfast in Europe and then sitting at a café later in the day in Asia? While in Istanbul, view the Blue Mosque with its six minarets and over 21,000 blue Iznik tiles and Hagia Sophia, a 1,000 year old building. Visit what was once considered the greatest church in Christendom and is now a museum. This Byzantine cathedral has a huge dome and was created in the 6th century.
Konya, Ankara; Cultural Hubs in the East
The intriguing thing about Turkey is the amount of culture and history you can find in each one of its cities no matter on what side of the country. Konya is a city that is renowned for its architecture but is also the home of the famous Whirling Dervishes. You will also find the incredible Mausoleum of Mevlana, a historic mausoleum and home to the dervish museum. Ankara is the capital of the country and the second largest in population after Istanbul. In Ankara, you will view the Mausoleum of Kemal Ataturk, founder and first president of the Turkish Republic and the Anatolian Civilizations Museum, which features Anatolian artefacts dating back to the Paleolithic Age.
Çanakkale, Kuşadası, Izmir and Antalya; Historic Wonders of the West
Enjoy the western part of the country where we find some of the most important biblical, historical and archaeological sites in the entire world. Çanakkale is your gateway to the 4,000 year old city of Troy. Here you will find the city made famous by the Trojan War which was documented in the Illiad by Homer. Visit the port city of Izmir, historically known as “Smyrna”, home to countless archaeological sites and a history dating back over 3,500 years. Kuşadası is just down the coast and believed to be the birthplace of Homer. It has become a hub for cruise ships, marketplaces and restaurants. Relax with a nice cup of Turkish tea or try some traditional Turkish food while spending time in this coastal city. Antalya was founded by King Attalos of Pergamum as “Heaven on Earth” and has become a resort destination in Turkey. It is now popular for shopping, beaches, nightlife and history, a true heaven on earth for visitors.
From Izmir or Kuşadası, you will have a perfect gateway to Ephesus, Turkey. This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the most important in the Bible and is filled with important sites and places of pilgrimage. Visit the House of the Virgin Mary, where it is believed the mother of Jesus was taken by Saint John and lived the remainder of her life. The Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, is a temple built by the ancient Greeks to worship the goddess. The Basilica of St. John sits here and was built over the believed burial site of one of Jesus’ apostles, John. This holy landmark was built in the 6th century and is a popular pilgrimage spot for Christians. The largest historic building here is the Library of Celsus, an ancient Roman building that was completed in 114-117 A.D. This building was built to store thousands of scrolls and also served as the burial site for Celsus, a citizen who became a senator and benefactor of Ephesus.
Cappadocia and Its Whimsical Rock Formations
The otherworldly area of Cappadocia is a true highlight in this Middle Eastern country. This UNESCO World Heritage sight is a rocky wonderland filled with fairy chimneys, homes carved into mountains and rock-face churches. This magical place is located in a semi-arid climate near several volcanic peaks. Cappadocia is actually the name for the region and it is compromised of smaller towns including Güvercinlik, Uçhisar, Paşabağı, Devrent Valley, and more. Be sure to tour the Open Air Museum in Göreme Valley, a display of ruins of houses and dwellings carved into the surrounding volcanic rock. Also visit the underground cities, take a stroll through Monks Valley and perhaps enjoy a Whirling Dervish performance.
The hot-air balloon ride in Cappadocia is one of the most popular of its kind in the world, if not the number one experience. The ride takes you high above the sights of this area to see the mesmerising carvings, dwellings and geological formations from high above the earth. One of the most exciting things about the balloon ride is the pictures you will get and the view of all the other hot-air balloons you will see floating through the sky with you. Charge up your phone and camera batteries and bring your binoculars for this unforgettable experience above Cappadocia. Some call Cappadocia the most magical place in the world.
The Whirling Dervishes are a true highlight of the country of Turkey. The term describes a dance called the “Sema” which is performed to express emotion and achieve the love of Allah. This religious dance is Islamic in origin and is thought to have originated in Turkey. Konya is the home of the practice but it is also performed in other parts of the country like Istanbul and Cappodocia. All of the dress and dance has meaning with the white skirt symbolizing the shroud of the ego and the open arms raised towards the sky that are ready to receive God’s acceptance. Sit back and observe the passion and discipline found in this beautiful dance.
Bazaars of Turkey
Whether it is spice, clothing, crafts, souvenirs or household items, Turkey’s many incredible bazaars have you covered. One of the most visited bazaars includes the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul that sees 400,000 people daily. This bazaar is the city’s oldest covered market and has a history dating back to the 15th century. Here you will find textiles, gems, home decor, apparel and even restaurants and cafés. Bargaining is an art here so be sure to have your game face on. The Spice Bazaar is also located in Istanbul and has a storied history including two fires in 1691 and 1940, both of which the market survived. Spices, herbs, jewelry and gift shops can all be found at this famous stop. Kemeralti Bazaar is located in Izmir and is the largest open-air bazaar in the country. Purchase crafts, jewelry and choose from a huge array of fresh spices and herbs. The Kuşadası Bazaar is located in the coastal town of Kuşadası and is the second largest bazaar in Turkey. The Kuşadası Bazaar is actually compromised of two smaller markets called the Grand Bazaar and Orient Bazaar. Find anything in this area from designer knock-offs, Turkish textiles, jewellery and more. If you love to shop or need a gift for a friend or family member back home, you must venture to the bazaars of Turkey and see the colours and excitement of these thriving shops. Some suggested items to buy include the Turkish glass lamps with their colourful mosaics, Turkish black tea which is offered as a sign of welcome or a delicious box of Turkish delights, a desert sure to thrill any sweet tooth.
See “More of the World for Less” with Gate 1 Travel on a tour to beautiful Turkey and learn about the culture, history and people of this ancient country.
Explore the land where the east and the west converge by joining Gate 1 Travel in Turkey
As far as incredible shopping venues go, the Folding Umbrella Market in Thailand might just be the most dangerous in the world.
At the very least, it's definitely one of the most fascinating.
The Maeklong Railway runs for nearly 67km between Wongwian Yaim, Bangkok and Samut Songkhram in central Thailand. The Maeklong Railway Station is located at the Samut Songkhram province end, the popular travel attraction is set up on both sides of a 100-meter stretch of train track.
Market vendors have devised a long row of umbrellas and awnings, which extend right over the tracks and shelter them from the heat and other elements and are able to be rescinded on call.
Shoppers and tourists saunter through the markets, along the train tracks, many taking photos or jostling for a position in anticipation of the coming scene.
Then, the loud horn of a train punctuates the air, alerting you to step back and watch the awe-inspiring display comes to life.
The vendors quickly fold up their awnings, some scooping up the goods touching the track rails. Everyone evacuates the line as the train slides through, with seemingly centimeters to spare.
Then, once the train has safely passed, everything is unfolded and it's business as usual.
To see this amazing railway station on your next trip to Thailand, see all our Thailand deals here
The overwhelming happiness and excitement that comes from choosing Hawaii as your next holiday destination can quickly turn to confusion when you try to work out which island?
Each of the six islands are perfect and this struggle is a real one… but not for long. Whichever one you pick, you’re in for a sensational holiday. And with a little insider knowledge you can pick the Island that’s right for you.
Oahu is the home of the Hawaiian monarchy and the official seat of government in America’s 50th state. It’s very well known because of Honolulu and even thou smaller than Australia’s Fraser Island, Oahu is the undisputed shopping destination. Shopaholics will delight in Ala Moana Center and a large range of accommodation options including our top pick for you perfect escape, restaurants and plenty of tourist attractions to add to your to-do lists.
Waikele Premium Outlets, Find bargains at Aloha Stadium Swap Meet, Hawaii’s biggest open-air flea market, and locally made threads at South Shore Market, with Honolulu’s coolest boutiques.
Pearl Harbour Tour / Oahu Circle Island Helicopter Tour
Maui wins more “best island” awards than any other Hawaiian island and attracts a steady stream of holidaying celebrities. If you are in it for the food then this is the Island for you, Maui restaurants are the place to taste Hawaii’s fresh flavours through caught-that-morning seafood, high-quality local beef and Maui-grown onions, strawberries, avocados, and more. Most eateries proudly support local farm-to-table cuisine. You can still get your fill of outdoor action on Maui, Soft adventurers can Bike Maui down a dormant volcano, Haleakala, from summit to sea-level, or hike the out-of-this-world slopes of Haleakala National Park.
ISLAND OF HAWAII,
The Island of Hawaii or nicknamed the Big Island is a vast landmass, Hilo on the wet side (east) is Hawaii’s second biggest town, the CBD and hub for Hawaiian language revitalisation. Kona on the dry side (west) is built for holiday-makers. The Hawaiian cultural and spiritual connections are made at the historic sites and parks around the Island.
The Big Island brings the wow factor with once in a lifetime experiences. As the only Hawaiian island with active volcanoes, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is the spot for all lava-related pursuits. Feel the warmth of steam vents, navigate underground lava tubes and traverse lava fields with Hawaii Forest & Trail.
As the oldest Hawaiian island, millions of years have gone into Kauai aesthetics. It’s the stuff of which Hawaii dreams are made – deserted white beaches, see-through turquoise ocean, rich green rainforests. One of the wettest places on Earth, it gushes waterfalls, vivid rainbows abound.
Next door, Allerton Garden is a scene straight out of Jurassic Park, the movie. You can’t miss the majestic, perhaps familiar, Moreton Bay fig trees (where Sam Neill’s Dr Grant discovered velociraptor eggs).
LANAI & MOLOKAI,
Lanai and Molokai are two small islands visible off Maui’s west coast.
Lanai’s anchor property is a Four Seasons resort overlooking Hulopoe Bay, which features a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course. It’s no surprise Lanai is dubbed Hawaii’s most exclusive isle, those not on a day trip from Maui are usually flying in by private jet.
Molokai has a significant Native Hawaiian population and retains a traditional way of life. The island is unspoiled, has few hotels, and no traffic lights or buildings taller than a coconut tree.
Fewer than 5000 people visit Molokai every year and the locals, while friendly to travellers, prefer to keep tourism at bay.
Honolulu has always been our Aussie love affair, we love to stay, play and enjoy everything the Hawaiian Islands have to offer.
There’s no hiding the fact that it’s a large, urban-centered city, but due to its supreme location on the island of Oahu, overlooking the beautiful vistas of the Pacific Ocean, Honolulu is a city that is very much livable – and perfect for a holiday.
City life in Honolulu is slow, it’s easy to escape the streets by simply walking down to one of the many beaches to spend the day relaxing in the sun or exploring the shoreline by paddleboard or boat.
The days will fly by in Honolulu, and that’s before you even head further afield.
Climb the iconic Diamond Head Crater for incredible views over the city or travel to the North Shore to explore some of Hawaii’s best beaches.
If you fancy, you could even travel to the other islands in the archipelago, chasing volcanoes and waterfalls as you go. Honolulu is the perfect base from which to explore Hawaii; Here are the best day trips you can make from the city.
1. Waikiki Beach
Honolulu might be a city, but it’s also the perfect beach getaway destination, complete with sandy scenery and all the amenities you could ever need right on your doorstep.
Many tourists will find themselves staying on Waikiki Beach, on the south shore.
If you aren’t booked into a hotel there, you will find that your first day trip needs to be to Waikiki Beach.
Waikiki is what most people imagine when they think of a holiday to Hawaii.
This is the most famous beach in the state and it’s complete with bars, restaurants, and outdoor activities to keep you occupied for weeks if you desire.
White sands contrast starkly with the glimmering skyscrapers of Honolulu.
Spend the day drinking cocktails, snorkeling, surfing, paddle boarding – the options here are absolutely endless.
Available tour: Waikiki Sunset Cocktail Cruise
2. Diamond Head Crater
The hike to the summit of the iconic Diamond Head Crater could well be the best day trip possible from Honolulu.
As soon as you land on Oahu, and as soon as you begin your journey through the streets of Honolulu or along the beach at Waikiki, you’ll notice the towering presence of Diamond Head Crater.
The crater itself is a huge volcanic cone which dominates the horizon.
The hike to the top takes you along some of the best scenic viewpoints overlooking the shoreline and Honolulu.
Be sure to start your trek to the top early – much of the trail is steep and the weather here is always hot.
Although many parts are now concreted with steps, the hike is still demanding.
The earlier you start, the fewer people there are and the cooler it’s going to be.
Suggested tour: Diamond Head Crater Hike
3. Pearl Harbour
It might be a rather somber day trip from Honolulu, but a visit to Pearl Harbor will certainly be a moving day trip.
This is the scene of the infamous Japanese attack on Hawaii during World War II. It’s a dramatic piece of history and one that many visitors to Honolulu will find themselves immersed in at some point during their trip.
Visit the harbor itself to see the site of the attack and to learn more about it.
Then travel to the USS Arizona, where the sunken battleship still rests on the harbor floor after its sinking and a visitor’s center allows you to walk out over the wreck.
Finally, visit the Punchbowl Cemetery, to pay your respects to all those who died fighting during World War II, not just at Pearl Harbor but across the Pacific.
Recommended tour: Pearl Harbor & USS Arizona Honolulu city tour
4. Honolulu Helicopter Rides
Oahu is a truly spectacular island to visit, but to really experience the vast, wild nature and beautiful shorelines found here, the ultimate day trip from Honolulu is to take to the skies.
What better way to see Oahu than from the air? Many tour companies provide helicopter rides to meet the ever-increasing demand from tourists and travelers looking to get airborne.
These small helicopters even have the option to have the doors on or off.
Don’t worry, you are safely strapped in, but removing the doors gives you the opportunity to really see what’s below you and take some awesome photos.
Book online: Oahu Circle Island Helicopter Tour
5. Learning to Surf or Paddleboard
Hawaii is where surfing was invented.
The Hawaiian tradition began centuries ago and was first recorded by Europeans when Captain Cook sailed through in the late 18th Century.
This ancient Polynesian tradition has very much become a worldwide phenomenon, but this is where it all began.
While in Honolulu, take the day to travel out to the numerous beaches around Oahu to hit the famous breaks.
If you have never surfed, there are plenty of companies offering instruction – a good place to start is Waikiki.
If you would rather try a more relaxed version of the sport, give stand up paddle boarding a go.
Available class: Group Surf Lesson
6. Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
Hawaii is a real paradise for those who love the underwater world.
The rich, coral-filled waters are awash with a diverse array of marine life, both small and large.
There are plenty of unique and exciting snorkel and dive spots for visitors to explore across the island, and many tours exclusively cater to people looking to experience the best that can be found in the water.
7. Hanauma Bay
Hanauma Bay is Oahu’s best preserved marine nature park.
It’s one of the ultimate destinations in Hawaii for snorkeling and diving, and one of the easiest to reach destinations from Honolulu.
Just a short walk off the beach into the calm ocean is a rich coral bed full of colorful and vibrant aquatic creatures.
The beach is stunning and the coastline here is the best that Oahu has to offer.
8. North Shore Beaches
The North Shore of Oahu makes for an exceptional day trip from Honolulu.
There are countless beaches in the north of the island just waiting to be discovered and explored, and it makes for a relaxing, quieter getaway than the usual outing to Waikiki.
The coastline here is wild and windswept and is a favorite amongst surfers and snorkelers looking to either ride the waves or spot some marine life.
There’s so much here to explore that you could keep returning day after day and still find a new spot every time.
Recommended tour: Small Group Tour of East Oahu's Famous Beaches
9. Ko Olina Coastline
On the west coast of Oahu can be found one of the island’s most up and coming beach areas, the Ko Olina Coastline.
Previously just the domain of a few very upscale resorts, this quiet but beautiful area is becoming known to the rest of the island very quickly.
It’s an absolutely stunning stretch of coastline and is within easy reach of Honolulu.
Relax along the beaches, hike along dramatic cliffs or hit the water to experience the waves or coral.
There’s plenty to keep you coming back for more at Ko Olina.
10. East Coast Oahu
Oahu is the island that just keeps giving and giving when it comes to incredible scenery and coastlines.
The East Coast of Oahu is no exception and you will find that tour companies provide dedicated East Coast tours to take you on a full day’s exploration from Honolulu.
This is the ‘windward’ side of the island and it really is a wild and windswept place.
Less explored than the west and north shores, the eastern coast is home to the most typically volcanic and tropical scenery on Oahu.
There are fewer resorts and hotels here, but that’s just fine because it means the coast is a lot more relaxed and quiet, especially in comparison to places like Waikiki.
Available tour: O’ahu Circle Island Adventure from Waikiki
11. Pineapple Plantations
An unusual day trip from Honolulu but a much-loved favorite among visitors to the city is a trip to the surrounding pineapple plantations.
The most famous is the Dole Plantation, a family-friendly affair where you can enjoy the delights of some of the world’s sweetest and juiciest pineapples, grown in perfect conditions in the fertile volcanic soil that’s found here.
12. The Valley of the Temples
Found on the eastern side of Oahu, The Valley of the Temples is a green and verdant area of the island, framed by mountains and forest.
It’s an unusual attraction, in that throughout this protected park, hundreds of different temples, shrines, and churches have been constructed over the years.
You will find Christian cathedrals next to Buddhist temples, making for an enlightening experience.
13. Waimea Waterfall
Waimea Waterfall is hidden in the jungles of the North Shore and a hike to Waimea Waterfall is an epic day trip to make.
Strap on your boots and hit the trail to walk through the excellent and pristine natural surroundings of Hawaii’s landscapes and check out this beautiful, cascading waterfall.
14. Manoa Falls
Another incredible waterfall to see while staying in Honolulu is the Manoa Falls.
This rocky, green waterfall rises 150-feet from the jungle floor and the hike here is sweaty but not too challenging, making it an excellent, accessible day trip from the nearby city.
Suggested tour: Manoa Waterfall Small Group Adventure with Hidden Trail Hike
15. Volcanoes National Park
Take a trip to the Big Island, to Hawaii itself to experience the volcanic nature of this Pacific Archipelago.
This is one of the most incredible things to do while visiting the state, as this national park is full of craters, lava flows, and even active volcanoes.