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
HomeAway is one of the world’s largest online travel sites that allows house owners to rent out a bed, room or their entire house to visitors.
It is fast becoming many people’s preferred way to find accommodation when travelling both domestically and internationally.
Travel Therapy has picked out some of our favourite listings from all around the country.
From wilderness retreats to inner city pads, 360 degree views and beach backyards, here are the best on HomeAway right now.
1. Beachfront Heaven - Collaroy Beach, NSW
Anchored to the sands of Collaroy Beach with ever-changing ocean scenes forming a tantalising backdrop, is this meticulously renovated residence of undeniable lifestyle appeal. Crafted to facilitate the perfect blend of relaxed coastal luxury and free-flowing indoor/outdoor living and entertaining with top quality inclusions throughout.
Min stay 1-7 nights
From $868 per night
2. Family Friendly Winter stay
Picturesque and peaceful, Killcare and Hardys Bay offer an idyllic coastal lifestyle. Residents have beaches and bushland at their disposal and they take maximum advantage of both. Putty Beach is a firm favourite, and the Bouddi Coastal Walk, which stretches all the way to Macmasters Beach, is a local go-to. Bouddi National Park is a natural delight, with walking trails, mountain biking tracks, fishing spots and beautiful beaches that are a world away from the daily grind.
Min stay 1-7 nights
From $515 per night
3. Artistic Opulence in the Dandenong Ranges
This 100 year old grand villa is located conveniently behind Sassafras Village. Apart from shopping and dining at your fingertips you are surrounded by amazing walking trails, waterfalls and native wildlife. For our foreign guests this is the ultimate Australian experience and for our local visitors this is the luxury getaway you need.
Sassafras and the Dandenong Ranges offer an abundance of opportunities to unwind and relax with award winning restaurants and experiences at you doorstep. At the end of our street you can walk into an endless forest full of native wildlife.
From $550 per night
4. Sydney Harbour Views
Wake to the beautiful sounds of boats on the water in this gorgeously appointed, chic apartment with hardwood floors it's perfect for a weekend getaway or even a longer celebration stay. It's even great for a girls shopping trip.
With direct Harbour Bridge view, there is no better spot for New Years and Australia Day Fireworks, with panoramic water views from the comfort of its own private balcony.
Min stay 1-3 nights
From $383 per night
5. Blue Mountains Village traditional splendour
Balancing traditional period elements with modern comfort, our beautiful home is a perfect getaway.
Enjoy beautiful Leura village, a short 500 metre stroll, or world famous lookouts and bushwalks, all close by.
This house offers warmth, and charm which flow seamlessly throughout, with three separate living areas, a new designer kitchen with luxury appliances, and all the comforts to make your stay special.
From $529 per night
6. Walters Beach House, Coles Bay
Situated at Swanwick, a short drive to Coles Bay, Freycinet National Park and Wineglass Bay this is a idyllic apartment to enjoy all The East Coast of Tasmania has to offer.
Min Stay 1-7 nights
From $267 per night
7. Beach House to the Famous, Byron Bay
Echoes Beach House is located on a magnificent 1074m2 private beachfront block on Tallow's Beach, this is ideal for the perfect family Byron Bay beach holiday. Set amidst green lawns and tropical gardens, the spacious four bedroom three bathroom, fully refurbished beach house is absolute luxury throughout.
Min stay 1-7 nights
From $766 per night
8. Gold Coast waterfront mansion
The Beach House mansion provides you with a relaxing getaway whilst ensuring you have all you need to stay in style. Just a short walk to Broadbeach beach, The Star, Casino and Pacific Fair Shopping Centre, you'll enjoy staying right in the heart of Gold Coast heaven.
Min stay 1-2 nights
From $936 per night
9. Princess House, Margaret River
The beautiful formal gardens set on 8 acres that sweep down from the terrace, past the pool deck and onto the lawns below all with a view across the Leeuwin Ridge to the Indian Ocean provide the spaces and ambience for a beautiful relaxing and memorable getaway.
The house was architecturally designed and built about 15 years ago for a Balinese princess, striking minimalist design, glass floor to ceiling windows everywhere accentuated with Balinese design and décor. The second floor hosts the Master bedroom with ensuite marble bathroom, shower & bath with views to the Indian ocean. Two guest bedrooms with ensuites each with views across the estate to the Leeuwin Ridge.
From $1,757 per night
10. Tropical Rainforest Retreat, Palm Cove
Designed from a Traditional Papua New Guinea Long house, you are so close to nature, with common sightings of native wildlife just off the doorstep with wallabies, quoll and the musky rate kangaroo regular visitors. The Rainforest is right on your doorstep.
From $650 per night
11. Million dollar luxury 90ft yacht
This luxury multi million dollar 4 bedroom vessel is available for 5 Star accommodation . book your luxury getaway on even exploring places like Tangalooma, Bryon Bay , Noosa or Fraser Island.
From $1536 or only $170pp per night
12. Billabong Falls Olinda, Yarra Valley
International award winning landscape designer Phillip Johnson opens his home and garden to you for a weekend of pure luxury among towering Mountain Ash trees and lush natural bushland in the beautiful Yarra Valley.
Escape to peace and quiet and reconnect with nature, listen to cascading waterfalls and watch the abundant birdlife from the comfort of this two bedroom retreat.
Min stay 2 nights
From $608 per night
Rawnsley Park Station, Flinders Ranges
Ranges Kids can learn about wool classing and shearing on this outback station, which runs 2000 head of Merino and Dohne sheep. Explore the property and neighbouring Flinders Ranges on foot or by mountain bike, four-wheel drive or helicopter. Families can book the 1950s two-bedroom Rawnsley Homestead or luxe Eco Villas with views of Wilpena Pound, while those on a budget can opt for a self-contained unit with a shop, swimming pool and the Woolshed Restaurant nearby.￼
Wooleen Station, Murchison
“The romance of the Australian outback is part of our identity and Wooleen cattle station is all about its conservation,” says host Frances Jones. Kids will love spotting kangaroos, emus and sand goannas and pedalling through the bush on the two mountain-bike trails. A pair of rammed-earth, self-contained two-bedroom guesthouses sit amid the mulga landscape. Families can also set up tents and caravans on the Murchison River.
Brickendon Estate, Longford
“Discovering newly hatched ducks, taking in the perfumes of the old roses, being visited by the descendants of convicts on the trail of their family’s past... our family is so lucky to have called Brickendon home for nearly 200 years,” says owner Louise Archer. Just south of Launceston, the estate’s World Heritage-listed colonial Farm Village – which includes a chapel, blacksmith’s shop and cookhouse – dates back to 1824. Stay in the Farm Cottages or convict-built Historic Cottages.￼
Ratho Farm, Bothwell
You’re in wild trout territory here in Tasmania’s Central Highlands. Even the young or inexperienced can go fly-fishing with a guide in the Clyde River or play a round on the golf course thought to be the Southern Hemisphere’s oldest. Stylish minimalism meets rustic chic in the convict cottages and stables by the river, with camping and homestead rooms available for bigger family gatherings.￼
Stonehurst Cedar Creek Cottages, Wollombi
“Guests can taste the grapes straight from the vine and are welcome to explore the 550 acres of farm, organic vineyards and hillsides,” says Laura Heslop, fifth-generation owner of the eight-hectare Stonehurst Cedar Creek estate in the Hunter Valley. Each self-contained convict-brick, timber-slab or sandstone cottage has a wood fire and spa bath and the rate includes a hamper with breakfast supplies. Half an hour up the road, the interactive Hunter Valley Zoo will delight the kids with keeper talks and the Meerkat Encounter.
Kings Creek Station
Families on the big drive around Australia can discover Kings Canyon, in Watarrka National Park, using this nearby camel and cattle station as their base. Sleep under the stars at the Old Drovers’ Camp or stay in the canvas Safari Cabins with solid floors, share bathrooms and a self-catering kitchen (the rate includes a bushman’s breakfast). At the nightly camp fire, kids can toast damper on a stick. Quad-bike safaris and heli rides are also available.
Mango Hill Farm, Sunshine Coast
The Glass House Mountains are the backdrop to this farm in Peachester, where kitchen gardens and fruit trees offer their harvest to guests and children can interact with the horses, goats, sheep and chooks. Bed down in a 100-year-old Queenslander, a two-bedroom workers’ cottage or a former mango packing shed offering accommodation for six people, a kitchen and a barbecue area.
Myella Farm Stay, Baralaba
Ride a horse, crack a stockwhip or toast a great day at the sunset lookout on this 1052-hectare cattle station, 140 kilometres inland from Rockhampton. Stay in the basic rooms (some with ensuites) or camp out. And be sure to gather in the outdoor dining hut for a homemade meal using fresh farm produce.
Traditionally when booking flights the earlybird gets the worm. This is still true, especially if you are wanting to fly in busy holiday periods, such as Christmas and during school holidays etc. As a standard rule of thumb did you know that often the best time to book domestic flights is approximately 3 weeks in advance (Excluding holiday periods).
Another great way to save on flights is checking out their weekly domestic sales. Virgin Australia’s Happy Hour is on every Thursday between 4 – 11pm which has a selection of reduced fares each week offered exclusively during this time. Jetstar also runs a Friday Frenzy from 12 – 8pm every week with their discounted departures.
To get a better deal on international flights booking at least 6 months in advance will help you pay a fairer price. Most airlines allow you to book up to 11-12 months in advance.
As travel habits change, so have the seasons. You can grab a great airfare if you are savvy and know when the airlines release their Sale Fares. Europe Early bird fares are usually released for sale around Sept/Oct for specials for the following year. Canada and the USA are typically on sale around June. Asia and other South Pacific destinations often have sales on throughout the year, if you want to grab a bargain, January always has great New Year sale fares if you are open to any destination that may be on offer.
The best deal is always when you get free flights. Some travel companies offer Free flights when booking one of their exciting land and cruise tours. We have some exclusive Travelmarvel fly free offers available for Europe / Canada /Vietnam and Cambodia. Click through to take advantage of them now. CLICK HERE
10 STUNNING BATHROOMS IN AUSTRALIA – RIGHT ON OUR DOORSTEP
Australia is a land of vast beauty, with so many stunning landscapes in our own backyard.
We have compiled a list of simply some of the most beautiful bathrooms to take in these landscapes, relax and soak all your worries away. Some of these bathrooms are destinations in themselves!
QUALIA - HAMILTON ISLAND, QLD
Overlooking the crystal clear Whitsunday Waters, surrounded and of Hamilt
KINGSFORD HOMESTEAD – BAROSSA VALLEY, SA
Enjoy peace and quiet after a day exploring in the renowned Barossa Valley Wine Country. Kingsford Homestead truly understands the balance between luxury and nature. Tucked away on this extensive property you will find a beautiful claw footed bath, a magic place to open that bottle of red you just purchased from the cellar door.
JAMALA WILDLIFE LODGE - CANBERRA, ACT
This bathroom experience is for the wild at heart. Imagine that only a glass wall is separating you from majestic animals such as Lions, Cheetahs, Tigers and Malayan Sun Bear.
Jamala Wildlife Lodge in ACT is family run and are passionate about the conservation of these amazing animals.
THALIA HAVEN - EAST COAST, TASMANIA
Is this the most scenic bathtub in Australia?
Thalia Haven on Tasmania’s East Coast is the ultimate location where you can truly get away from it all. From the sounds of the rugged ocean below, unforgettable views of the rocky islands of Great Oyster Bay. It is a true natural wonder.
THE STAR - SYDNEY, NSW
The Star Sydney is on the doorstep of one of the most exciting and vibrant cities in the world. Take in the energy and vibe that Sydney has to offer then come back to the Star where you can recharge in your own spa overlooking the iconic Sydney Harbour.
PARK HYATT - MELBOURNE, VICTORIA
Have you ever wanted to experience how the other half live? The Park Hyatt in Melbourne is at the height of luxury. Imagine relaxing in one of Melbourne’s largest bathrooms made almost entirely from imported Italian marble. The oversized spa bath even has is own hidden television.
PULLMAN SEA TEMPLE RESORT – PORT DOUGLAS, QUEENSLAND
This striking bathroom is found at the Pullman Sea Temple Resort in the tropical resort town of Port Douglas. The Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. After a day of exploring the surrounding natural wonders come home to this private tropical oasis and reminisce on your days adventure in luxury.
DEJA VU ESTATE - POKOLBIN, HUNTER VALLEY, NSW
If you are looking for modern country luxury in the Hunter Valley, this may just be what you are looking for. Déjà vu estate in Pokolbin is a true luxury getaway. The inside Barbados bathtub even has its own 24 carat gold plated splash back. You can also take in this secluded estates scenery while relaxing in the large outdoor spa bath.
HILTON HOTEL – SYDNEY, NSW
The Hilton Sydney is another luxurious gem in the heart of this metropolis city. Imagine relaxing in your own hydra spa bath, while using essential oils from a complimentary holistic relaxation kit.
Relax in celebrity style, you won’t want to leave this place.
SPICERS PEAK LODGE - MARYVALE, SCENIC RIM QLD
Spicers Peak Lodge in Maryvale QLD is the ideal escape from the everyday, located about a 90 minute drive from Brisbane or the Gold Coast. Of if you'd like to arrive more quickly, take advantage of the helicopter landing pad welcoming aircraft from all over South East Queensland.
Imagine soaking in your own private heated infinity spa while watching the warm Queensland sun set. The Lodge is set in natural bushland and is a perfect getaway all year round with a stunning double sided fireplace you can stoke in the cooler months.