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The Melbourne Cup is coming! Visit for the race, stay for an unforgettable trip along the Great Ocean Road

Melbourne Cup

Save the date, folks. You might not think to come to Australia just to watch a horse race, but miss out on the Melbourne Cup and you’ll miss out on one of the biggest sporting events of the year in arguably the most sports mad city in Australia! But that’s not the only reason you’ll want to head to Melbourne.


What is the Melbourne Cup?

What’s that, you don’t know the Melbourne Cup? You’re forgiven. Not necessarily as world famous as some locals would have you believe, if you come to Australia and hang around for a while you’ll soon learn about this epic event in the sporting calendar. The Melbourne Cup is an historic thoroughbred horse race held annually at the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne on the first Tuesday in November, which this year falls on Tuesday 5th November. Despite the first race being held back in 1861, the Melbourne Cup is as important to modern day Melburnians as ever and there is lots on besides the big race.

Melbourne Cup

How to watch it and what’s on besides

The Melbourne Cup is actually part of a bigger festival called the Melbourne Cup Carnival held at the Flemington Racecourse, along with cup themed events all over Melbourne. There are a total of four race days, with the main race on 5th November, but expect all manner of festivities across the city from fashion events to food pop ups and entertainment. Every pub, restaurant and bar will have their own Melbourne Cup inspired night so check local listings and get involved.


For tickets to the race itself check out the official Melbourne Cup website for details.


Why you should hang out in Melbourne for longer

You can’t come to Australia and not pay a visit to it’s very special second city. Melbourne is a cultural haven of top notch art galleries, museums, indie cinemas and iconic laneways filled with street art and hidden bars. But beyond the city streets lies the beautiful coast of Victoria and the world famous Great Ocean Road.

Great Ocean Road

Just a 90 minute drive out of the CBD, the Great Ocean Road is a wild and windswept drive past the crashing waves of the Southern Ocean, soaring cliffs and iconic sights such as the mighty limestone spires of the 12 Apostles. Most people who decide to come to Australia or Melbourne specifically take the time to explore this gorgeous stretch of road.


There are many tours to join but the most sociable on offer is that offered by Teepee Tours on their 2 day 1 night Great Ocean Road surf camp trip! The bus stops whenever you decide just like it would if you had hired your own ride. All tours include a good surfing session for a couple of hours, the opportunity to spot kangaroos and koalas along the way. Best of all your get to camp in their enormous teepee complete with campfire in the middle. Check out more here and book direct to get the best deal!


If you’re going to come to Australia, live like the Aussies for a while and bet on the races one day then cruise wild and windy Great Ocean Road the next. What are you waiting for?

From Sydney to the Whitsundays – Top 5 Essential Stopovers 

Drop Bear Adventures Lake Birrabeen

The East Coast is Australia’s best loved and most travelled route. From the gleaming skyscrapers of Circular Quay in Sydney to the underwater wonderland of the Great Barrier Reef up in the north, the contrasting experiences on offer are second to none. Planning an east coast adventure can seem like a daunting task but we reckon we’ve managed to highlight the absolute must see destinations on any route from Sydney to the Whitsundays. You cannot pass these destinations by!


The Blue Mountains, Sydney’s backdoor wonderland

This stunning mountain range is within spitting distance (by Aussie standards) of the Sydney CBD reached in just under 2 hours by car, and are a grand introduction to the natural wonders of eastern Australia. Earning their name from the natural blue haze produced by their vast forests of eucalyptus trees, the Blue Mountains offer excellent hiking trails, stunning vistas including the famous Three Sisters rock formation, hikes past remote waterfalls and the chance to learn about the area’s ancient Aboriginal heritage. Check out our eco adventure tour to the Blue Mountains here!

Blue Mountains Three Sisters

Byron Bay, the counter-culture capital of Australia

This former hippie hang out still retains much of that alternative feel and faces one of the best beaches on the east coast. Spend your days learning to surf, people watching from one of the cool vegan cafes or take a hike to the most easterly point in Australia. Byron Bay, or “the Bay” as locals call it, has been the ground zero for Australian counter-culture for years. In keeping with its reputation, the town recently prevented McDonald’s from setting up shop, therefore retaining its independent character. Adventure Dudes run one fo the best tours to the Bay out there, including the chance to kayak with dolphins! 


Noosa, a tropical town with a unique environment

This quaint little town brims with tropical charm and natural beauty, from its cute independent shops to the miles of white sand beaches, lakes and national parks that surround it. Noosa is also home to one of only two everglade environments in the world (the other being in Florida, USA). A serene kayak tour through the sun dappled waterways looking out for birds and other wildlife is a once in a lifetime experience, and the chance to cool off with a wild swim in the Noosa river. Kanu Kapers offers a superb self guided kayak journey through the everglades

Abseiling Tour Noosa

Fraser Island, where the dingo rules the beaches

This World-Heritage Listed sand island is the largest of its kind in the world and an absolute must do while you’re heading up north. The unique landscapes of Fraser include pristine rainwater fed lakes, endemic wildlife seen nowhere else (the Fraser Island dingo is the purest strain of dingo in Australia), endless miles of wild beaches and an eerie shipwreck past. Go hiking, camping, swimming and exploring on this gem of an island. You’ll need a 4WD vehicle to get around so join a guided tour or get help hiring your own vehicle with the friendly folks over at Drop Bear Adventures!

Fraser Island 4wd Tour

The Whitsunday Islands, where paradise is repeated 74 times over

The Whitsundays are the jewel in the crown of the east coast and cruising through the turquoise waters and untouched beauty of these magical islands is unparalleled. Snorkel and dive on the Great Barrier Reef, explore the islands on foot with a guide and learn about the creatures and plants that make the Whitsundays their home, or just kick back on deck and take in the stunning scenery.  Whitsundays Sailing Adventures are the proud owners of an old world charm, polished timber sail boat, Summertime. With all the beauty of a classic boat combined with 21st century amenities, Summertime is the perfect vessel to guide you through the beauty of the Whitsundays. Check her out here! 

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Three islands of Australia you don’t want to miss

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There are more than 8,000 islands off the coasts of Australia, and unless you’re planning on staying for a few decades chances are you won’t have time to visit them all. Each one has its own charm and unique characteristics, and some are better known than others (Shag Island, anyone?) but when it comes to the must see islands of Australia, the three listed below sit well and truly at the top of the list.

Fraser Island

The largest sand island in the world is also a World Heritage listed site and an absolute must see while in Queensland. Fraser is a wild island of rainforests, lakes, pristine beaches and unique wildlife, including the purest strain of dingo in Australia. Spend your days hiking, swimming and exploring the forests and beaches that make this peaceful place so unique among the islands of Australia. Lake McKenzie is particularly beautiful, with clear blue waters and sandy shores. It’s position high above the water table means its waters are pure rain water, which is about as pure as you can get. To see the island with the best guides in the business (and the top rated on TripAdvisor) check out Drop Bear Adventures, and choose from either of their excellent 2 or 3 day Fraser Island Tours by 4WD. Camp under the stars, spot turtles and sharks from Indian Head, cruise 75 mile beach and swim and hike your way across the island. 

The Whitsundays

Ok, there’s not just one island, but 74 patches of paradise blessed with blindingly white, fine sand beaches and crystal clear turquoise waters, all located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. Whitehaven Beach is an award winner and particularly popular; its white silica sand (an extremely soft and fine mineral which feels like baby talc to walk on) lapped by clear blue waters make for a true Robinson Crusoe dreamscape, completely untouched by development. But all the islands are gorgeous and a top draw to visitors travelling through northern Queensland. Most are uninhabited national parks but you can visit them on any number of boat tours operating out of Airlie Beach. Whitsundays Sailing Adventures offers a 2 day 1 night adventure aboard their stunning 17.5m sail boat S.S. Whitehaven. Taking in all the top snorkelling sites around the Whitsundays and with a strong emphasis on teaching travellers about the island’s ecological diversity with onshore island explorations, her big open decks and comfortable seating mean there are plenty of places to sunbathe while on board.

Book direct here!


Magnetic island

A short 25 minute ferry ride from Townsville, the palm-fringed shores of Magnetic Island make this one of the most beautiful of all the islands of Australia. Named Magnetic Island by Captain Cook back in 1770 when the island appeared to affect the magnetic compass on his ship, today just 2,500 people call the island home making it a serene place ripe for exploration. Hiking trails through forests of eucalyptus, rugged natural landscapes and close proximity to the Great Barrier Reef mean excellent wildlife spotting opportunities both above and below the water. There are a total of 23 beaches here and excellent diving at the SS Yongala wreck, plus the chance to spot koalas (there are more koalas here than anywhere else in Northern Australia) and more from the Hawkings Track, an easy 1.2km hike with fantastic views. And there is no better way of seeing the lot than from behind the wheel of a barbie inspired topless car, which are for rent everywhere on the island.


When to comes to islands of Australia, these gems are absolute must sees! 


5 Top Things to do on Fraser Island in 2019

Drop Bear Adventures Lake Birrabeen

Fraser Island may be a staple on the classic backpacker route up the East Coast, but did you know there is so much more to this sandy Aussie beaut than just beaches and dingoes? Here’s a breakdown of the 5 best things you absolutely have to experience while travelling around this unique island.


Hike and swim at Lake Wabby

This stunning lake is the deepest dune lake on the island and, unlike many of the other lakes in the Great Sandy National Park, is full of fish – 12 species to be exact, including the rare honey blue-eye fish which zip around at lightening speed. The trail head is located just north of Eurong and it’s an easy 40 minute hike to the lakeshore through shady forest and across seemingly endless sand dunes. The crystal clear lake waters are perfect for a refreshing dip.


The coloured sands of the Pinnacles

The beautiful coloured sand cliffs which line the eastern coast are a prime example of Fraser’s unique geological history. Formed over hundreds of thousands of years when minerals drained through the sand and dunes, today there are more than 70 different colours on show as a result. Head over at sunrise and sunset when the sun’s rays brings out the red and golden tones in the cliffs.


Float effortlessly down Eli Creek

Eli Creek, on the eastern beach, is the largest creek on the island. In fact, it’s so large it dumps up to 4 million litres of fresh water into the ocean each hour! That’s a lot of H20. Get in on all that natural free flowing energy and head into the water at the far end of the boardwalk and float effortlessly down the creek. The water is crystal clear and honestly, what beats a refreshing swim requiring zero effort? We can’t think of anything.


Bathe in a natural jacuzzi at Champagne Pools

There aren’t many chances to cool off in an all natural jacuzzi, but Fraser Island gives you that chance. The Champagne Pools are a series of sandy bottomed rock pools facing the ocean which fill up whenever a wave hits, causing a lovely load of bubbles in each pool which, it’s said, feels a lot like champagne. And who are we to argue. These bubbly little wonders are a unique experience not to be missed.


Marvel at the Maheno Shipwreck

Probably the most famous of all of Fraser Island’s shipwrecks, the Maheno was forced on to shore way back in 1935, during a fierce cyclone. The Maheno, up until that point, was a well known liner plying the route between Australia and New Zealand for many years. Today her wreckage is an atmospheric, eerie sight, slowly being eaten away by her harsh salty grave. The wreck of the Maheno is a top spot for photographers and a fascinating glimpse into Fraser Island’s history.


Fancy hitting K’gari?! With two and three day tours available inclusive of awesome 4wdriving experiences be sure to get in touch with Drop Bear Adventures. Also find out about how you can get hold of discounts on other tours such as the Whitsunday Islands! Not to be missed!






How to Travel the Wild West Cost of Tasmania

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The West coast sums up why travellers come to Tassie in the first place. Stunning natural wonders are to be found at every turn, from the tallest waterfalls to the deepest lake and more weird and wonderful critters than you can shake a stick at (don’t shake a stick at the poor guys). The area is also blessed with a rich cultural history to go along with all that spectacular natural beauty – the west coast has something for everyone.

One of the top sights is the highest waterfall in Tasmania, the gorgeous Montezuma Falls. Located near Rosebury towards the north end of the coast, Montezuma Falls lies at the end of a very do-able hike which winds its way through pristine rainforest, past myrtle and giant tree ferns. Wildlife can be seen along the way including many species of colourful birds. Huge amounts of water pound into the ground from the 104 metre drop every day, and the cool mist is a real treat after the hike. The creek at the base of the falls was once crossed by a wooden bridge which eventually collapsed, leaving a eerie scene of derelict timbers covered in dense moss hiding rusty old nuts and bolts. The falls are one of the west coast’s top sights and should definitely feature on any itinerary to the area.

For a place that delves into Tasmania’s dark(ish) past, head over to the pretty seaside town of Strahan. Built on the banks of the Macquarie Harbour, Strahan today is a charming place perfect for hanging out for a few days taking in its pleasant waterside cafes, shopping at cute stores and learning more about its history. Once belonging to the UK, as did all of Tasmania, the town was one of the most distant outposts belonging to the British Empire. Home to many early pioneers it was host to infamous Sarah Island. Just offshore in the harbour, Sarah Island was the location of a brutal convict prison with a particularly fierce reputation. Thankfully, these days it’s more beaches and sunshine than prisoners and brutality, but Strahan is still a fascinating place to learn about Tassie’s history.

Another top sight not to be missed is Mount Field National Park. Famous for being Tasmania’s first national park, there is incredible wildlife and beautiful scenery to be explored including the thundering Russell Falls. This beautiful waterfall even featured on Australia’s first stamp! It’s an easy hike through the forest and a gorgeous sight. Other waterfalls include Lady Barron and Horseshoe falls. Look out for critters such as the rarely seen platypus, which looks like something between an otter and a giant duck. Many of Tassie’s endemic bird species live here too so keep your eyes up as to the skies, as well as down on the forest floor. The park is a nature lover’s dream.

Convinced yet? If you are, and you should be, check out the marvellous Wild West Coast Tour run by the good folks over at Jump Tours. This excellent tour takes in all of the above and more. Get wild out west – you won’t be disappointed.



2019, a new year, a new you?!

January is probably the worst month to start a new year. For most of us in the Northern hemisphere, January is the coldest, darkest month in the calendar which can leave us feeling lethargic and uninspired. But hold the darn phone. Those first few weeks after the madness of Christmas and New Year are also the perfect time to contemplate the year ahead and plan everything we can, and should, aspire to achieve. Slow down, reflect and set a path towards a year full of achievable goals and a happier mindset.

So, where do you start? The best answer is, start small. Set aside that pipe dream plan to climb Everest – unless you really, really want to – and make small changes that will have a big impact on your life.

Take a break from technology

Taking regular time away from the glare of a screen is something all of us could benefit from.  A recent study in the US estimates that each of us spends more than 10 hours a day on social media, working at a computer or just plain staring at our phones and tablets. Screens have our full attention, but should they? Think of what other more fulfilling activities you could be doing with all that time. Whether it’s something as simple as taking the dog for a walk, signing up to a new dance class or just picking up your phone and actually calling someone you love. Start small and make a commitment to spend less time participating in the virtual world and more time having real, tangible experiences in the real world.

Do more of what you love

This seems like such a simple idea, but something a lot of us fail to do. We all have something that we enjoy doing above everything else so taking the time to do more of it is a bit of a no brainer. Most of us live for our annual dose of world travel – escaping the comforts of home and immersing ourselves in a different culture for a few days or weeks is endlessly inspiring. So, instead of the standard two weeks in the sun, why not break up your travels and pledge to head somewhere new and interesting every 6 weeks? Even if it’s just a few nights or a longer break, something little and often is guaranteed to beat cramming all your travel goals into one trip.

Be conscious of your impact on the planet

There are very few things more important for the state of the planet than living a more eco conscious life. Taking a more responsible approach to your daily routine will have far more reaching consequences and also make you feel pretty damn good about yourself. Small changes like ditching the plastic bags for life and taking a reusable bag where ever you go could prevent tonnes of non-biodegradable plastic entering the sea for years to come. Turn the heating down a notch, take the bus instead of your car and better still opt to travel with people rather than solo. Every change can make a huge difference.

Feeling suitably inspired and looking for adventure? Give us a call and let us impart some sound advice on making your Aussie travel dreams a reality. That’s one goal you truly can achieve!





How to spend 48 hours in Noosa, Sunshine Coast

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Before and after your Fraser Island Drop Bear Adventures Tour make sure you take time to enjoy Noosa and some activities on the Sunshine Coast. Drop Bear Adventures tours depart and return to Noosa with a pick and drop off in Rainbow Beach so there is little excuse not to spend some time soaking up the delights of the Australian holiday vibes.


Noosa Everglades with Kanu Kapers

Noosa boasts one of only two everglades in the world offering tranquillity at its best. Kayak Noosa’s Everglades with Kanu Kapers and experience a heavenly escape like no other. The perfect glassy waters act like mirrors reflecting the stunning scenery that surrounds you. This is every photographers haven!


Eumundi Markets

Every Wednesday and Saturday Eumundi Markets offers a plethora of delights to explore. Food, arts, crafts, traditional music, clothing and much more are on offer at Eumundi and this is the perfect way to satisfy shopping needs and your taste buds!


Noosa National Park

The National Park in Noosa is great for exploring on foot. With stunning ocean views, secret coves, and beautiful flora and fauna this is a perfect activity to enjoy locally. Meet koala bears and spot dolphins and whales from the various lookouts. With plenty of walking trails you can soak up some wild Australia!


Hasting Street Shopping and Food

Enjoy the boutique shopping scene and scrummy food along Noosa’s main high street Hastings Street. It’s the perfect location to pick up souvenirs and gifts also. Cool off after your shopping spree with a cool drink in one of the many quirky bars that lines the streets.


Accommodation at Flashpackers

Looking for a great value place to stay with a luxury feel?! Then look no further. Flashpackers provide plush backpacker accommodation that you can really kick back and relax in. Rooms surround a lovely pool and social area and with a regular shuttle bus service into town it’s the perfect stopover for your time in Noosa.


Your Guide to Superannuation


What is a superannuation fund?

Sometimes referred to as your “Super”, Superannuation is a pension arrangement. Employers were required by law to contribute a minimum of 9.5% of an employee’s ordinary time earning into a superannuation fund, which is called a ‘Superannuation Guarantee‘. This is an additional payment made by your employer; it is not deducted from your gross pay.


Am I eligible for superannuation?

To be eligible for superannuation you must be over 18, working over 30 hours a week and earning over $450 per month from one employer. As of the 1st January 2014 the Australian Government obligated employers to pay default contributions to an authorised MySuper product, meaning there is less risk of losing you superfund to unregistered providers.


How do I set up my superannuation?

You can set up your own super account very easily and following this, share the details with your employer. Alternatively you can also ask your bank to set up your superannuation when you open an account with them or you can join the super account set up by the employer.  For an ethical Super Fund check out the following comparison website that allows you to ensure your funds are being invested in causes and companies that match your values and beliefs.


How do I claim back my Superannuation with BackPay?

There are over 200 Superfunds where your ex-employers may have paid the money and BackPay knows them all. Your Superannuation could be spread across several funds, and BackPay has the systems to find the funds for you. BackPay refund service applies to anybody who has worked in Australia for an employer (not self-employed) since 1992 when compulsory Superannuation contributions were introduced by the Australian Government as standard.


You must have left Australia as a temporary resident in order to claim back your Superannuation Refund. After you apply through the BackPay website for your Superannuation Refund, they provide the following services:


  • A ‘No Refund No Fee’ service.
  • Direct telephone or email consultation and questionnaire with one of our staff if necessary.
  • Provide you with a simple online application portal, which will save an incomplete application if you do not have all prior employer details and Tax File Number at hand. Backpay can assist you with gathering old information requested in the application. Once the application is completed they do all the work.
  • BackPay will keep you informed of the amount of money located in your Superannuation savings and the dollar value of your net refund they shall be sending to your bank account in your home country. And also, approximately when to expect it. (Normally 6-8 weeks).
  • BackPay communicate with the Department of Immigration and Australian Tax Office on your behalf wherever the sum exceeds $5,000 they seek the compulsory certification that your visa has expired.
  • Backpay fees of 12% plus 65% tax are deducted and your money is sent to you via bank transfer.

Think you are due a refund?! Apply today!

What are you waiting for, with the “no refund no fee” service you have got nothing to lose. Head across to BackPay and start your application now!


Why Whale Watch with Blue Dolphin Tours

Whale Watching

Blue Dolphin Tours are an ECO certified tourism company that are incredibly passionate about giving tourists a unique experience of whale watching whilst also protecting the whales and other sea life living off the coast of Queensland. There is nothing quite like whale watching and seeing these beautiful giants playing in the waters off Australia. From July until October you can experience whale watching tours with Blue Dolphin Tours from Hervey Bay.


All the tours and cruises are on the waters off Queensland’s stunning Hervey Bay and Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island. Hervey Bay is a coastal city in southern Queensland which is widely known as a site for observing humpback whales. The waterfront esplanade links the city’s marina with beaches offering calm waters for swimming. Fraser Island is a popular camping and ecotourism destination with beaches and swimming sites at Lake McKenzie, Lake Wabby and other freshwater pools. Together Hervey Bay and Fraser Island create a perfect stop location for humpback whales during there long migration up and down the East Coast of Australia. The waters are sheltered and calm allowing whales to rest and play whether travelling North or South.

Blue Dolphin Boat Experience

Blue Dolphin operate a luxurious 11.6m catamaran for all their tours and cruises. Catamarans provide a stable ride for ultimate comfort, even for those that get sea sick. The vessel has an in-water platform that on occasions can allow guests to enter the water with the whales. Blue Dophin tours are incredibly whale friendly as they allow the whales to decide whether they come in for a look or not. This means the whales dont become stressed and stay in control of their interactions. But don’t worry, whales are very inquisitive creatures and often swim up to see what is going on.

Blue Dolphin’s skipper has 27 years of experience with marine mammals and shares his knowleldge with guests on tour. Having previously worked to save stranded marine life and now for many years has been involved in ecotourism; he has given him a deep understanding of the local sealife and surrounding locations.


Blue Dolphin have a selection of cruises to choose from depending on the time of year. These tours  include the Exclusive Whale Watching Encounter, Fraser Island Eco-Sailing Adventure, The Champagne Sunset Sail and the option to book private charter tours. By limiting passenger numbers to just 20 people Blue Dolphin promises a truely unique and outstanding whale watching experience.

With just a couple of months to go for 2018’s whale watching season now is the time to book yourself on a tour. Check out the great deals on offer with Bare Travels and get in touch with us should you need any tour or travel advice along the way!