Parasailing has been on my bucket list since I was a little girl and discovered it in Hawaii. I'm glad my first experience was with my dad when we visited Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef. What a view.
A great way to spend a day out by the reef, but without the crowds is to take a ferry out to Green Island (pictured above). It is an all-inclusive island resort on the outskirts of the reef complete with glass-bottom boat tours, snorkeling, diving, and parasailing options.
Swimming with a Maori Wrasse at Agincourt Reef located 38 kilometers from Cairns on The Great Barrier Reef. I highly recommend Silverswift dive boat out of Cairns or their sister vessel the Silversonic out of Port Douglas.
After living in Far North Queensland for some of the summer months we decided to drive up into the Daintree Rainforest and get as close to Cape Tribulation as we could, and hopefully spot the endangered cassowary bird. After crossing the Daintree River we were taking Cape Tribulation Road toward the Cape when we spotted a sign that read, "Daintree Ice Cream Company." So, of course, we stopped. We pulled onto a small dirt road that made its way through rows and rows of fruit trees and emerged in front of a wooden stand with a freezer and a cash register. We ordered a cup of the sampler, which gave us a taste of four different ice creams made from fruits in season: mango, wattleseed (tasted like coffee), black sapote (tasted like chocolate pudding), and soursop (similar to lemon sorbet). They were so different from anything we had tasted before, and...
Possibly one of the best lodges I've ever stayed in. Kangaroo Island is a 17-minute flight from Adelaide and the drive to the lodge is 50-minutes. You will see tons of wildlife including kanagroos, koalas and exotic birds. The food and accomodations are top notch but it's not cheap.
by Jennie Nunn
Outfitted with industrial pendant lamps and wooden communal tables, Garagistes serves biodynamic wines from small island vineyards along with organic labels from France, Italy, and Spain. The restaurant offers tapas-style plates, including Bruny Island oysters and locally produced Belstone Gouda.
Garagistes, 61/(0) 3-6231-0558. Photo courtesy of Garagistes. This appeared in the March/April 2012 issue.
Last week we ordered this for breakfast and were told they would closing for three months during winter so best to check if they are open when you are in town.
by Jennie Nunn
Specialty cheese shop Bottega Rotolo offers classes in how to make braised eggplant, pasta sauces, and profiteroles.
Bottega Rotolo, 61/(0) 3-6234-9978, “To the Plate” courses are $96 per person, including wine. Photo by John Kruger. This appeared in the March/April 2012 issue.
I love trains. That being said, how could I go to Australia and not ride the Ghan from Alice Springs to Adelaide? The train was stopped on a siding to wait for another train to pass. This gave me plenty of time to enjoy the view from the lounge car. I've seen some amazing sunsets both at home and while travelling. This is definitely one of my favorites.
Emus definitely aren't in short supply around Exmouth, a middle-of-nowhere town in Western Australia, just a short drive from Cape Range National Park and the magical Ningaloo Reef.
It doesn't get much better than snorkeling from the gorgeous white sand beach of Turquoise Bay through crystal clear waters to Ningaloo Reef, one of the greatest places on earth for snorkeling! We saw a sea turtle, a shark, rays, eels, and all kinds of exotic fish darting around the spectacular coral. And in the morning we even had the whole place to ourselves!
More than 700 people live in the town, and water’s its lifeblood. Crayfish, abalone and Australian salmon are often brought ashore with the daily fishing catch.
During an amazing day trip to Arnhem land. After meeting the locals in the arts center, a stiff climb to the top of the Gunbalanya Hill, where Glen told us all about the dream time stories of his ancestral. Evert y stop a different gallery with hundreds of aboriginal rock paintings, telling the secret story anyone who attempts to understand the simple but meaningful drawings. Clearly we could not have understood a bit of it without Glen’s passionate accounts.
On our first visit to Kangaroo Island we stayed at a beautiful spot in what's called 'The Sky House'.
The house is perched on top a hill with commanding views along the northern coast of Kangaroo Island. At sunset the grasses turn golden and this beautiful kangaroo came up close to our deck to graze.
Most visitors to Australia have heard of Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory, but few realize that neighboring Nitmiluk National Park, four hours south of Darwin, is actually more spectacular. During the wet season, from November to April, electrical storms streak across the sky, Nitmiluk’s waterfalls transform into thundering cascades, and immense flocks of magpie geese, brolga cranes, and jabiru storks converge on the wetlands. Year-round, the Katherine River carves a path through 13 sandstone gorges—Nitmiluk’s main attraction.
The custodians of this land are the Jawoyn, Aboriginal people with one of the oldest living cultures on earth. Jawoyn-owned Nitmiluk Tours rents canoes and guides visitors through the gorges in flat-bottom boats. Arrange for excursions at the Nitmiluk Visitor Centre, where the Jawoyn also run arguably the best restaurant in a 220-mile radius: the...
From your base camp in one of Huski’s airy apartments, ski the slopes at Falls Creek resort at night or take a snow kite lesson (think kiteboarding on snow) with Kite Republic.
From $1,310 for two nights, July through August. 61/(0) 1-300-652-260. This appeared in the November/December 2012 issue.
At a misty lakeside retreat, on six acres of gardens and fruit orchards roughly 70 miles from Melbourne, chef/co-owner Alla Wolf-Tasker serves such locally sourced goodies as vegetable tagine and truffle pecorino tarts. Guests can enjoy full-day cooking classes with leading Aussie chefs before retreating to their waterfront cabins or the treetop spa. From $541.
The Sounds of Silence tour at Ayers Rock Resort begins at sunset, when the iconic rock formations of Uluru and Kata Tjuta glow fiery red. Take a short walk through the dunes to a panoramic viewpoint, then dine outdoors on Aussie fare, including crocodile canapés, barbecued kangaroo, and wild barramundi. When night falls, an astronomer directs you to sights in the southern sky and explains the stars’ significance in the culture of Uluru’s traditional landowners, the aboriginal Anangu people. $158 for a four-hour tour, including dinner and drinks. Rooms at the resort from $188 per night.
by Luke Nguyen, As Told To Sarah Henry
Luke Nguyen says: “Our restaurant’s dining room is rustic, and we hope it feels warm and inviting, like you’re visiting our home.” 545 Crown St., 61/(0) 2-9698-4355, redlantern.com.au
Photo by Petrina Tinslay. See all of Luke Nguyen’s favorite places in Surry Hills, Sydney. This story appeared in the November/December 2011 issue.
I recommend North Sydney Harbourview Hotel to all my overseas visitors. An excellent position to take in the Sydney Harbour views. And I love running by the bay too!
The meat pie is synonymous with Australia and no place is more iconic in Sydney than Woolloomooloo's Harry's Cafe de Wheels. What started out as a stand turned into one of the first food trucks when local ordinances dictated that mobile food carts had to move at least 12 inches every day. There are now dozens of Harry's around Sydney, each serving up their famous pies. "The Tiger" is the most well known: a pie topped with mashed potatoes, gravy and mushy peas. There are no tables to speak of, but rather a counter attached to the truck. Hundreds of celebrities, politicians and locals have flocked to Harry's for their pie fix. They're also open until 2 a.m., making this a great late-night spot.
Although Uluru is an iconic image, I cannot even begin to describe the power of this place when seen up close. The size alone will blow your mind (it takes 6 hours to walk around the entire rock) and the many inlets, crevices, and plants growing in and around this “rock” will put you in awe of nature.
This oasis named the “Sacred Waters” of Uluru is a deep pool at the base of one area of the rock. It has been the watering hole crucial for survival to both the Aboriginal peoples and desert dwelling animals of Australia for millions of years.
The path of the water running from the top of the rock to the pool below has created this beautiful stain on the rock that shimmers like the inside of an abalone shell. In the scorching heat of the desert, just looking at this beautiful oasis instantly begins to cool you down.
Although there are many trips and tours offered to the rock, I would highly...
Learn about the indigenous Wardandi people on guide Josh Whiteland’s Koomal Dreaming bush walk. It ends with a didgeridoo performance inside Ngilgi Cave. Bushtucker Tours leads canoe trips that focus on native foods (shown), fauna, and medicinal plants. Photo by Cynthia Chew. This appeared in the May 2013 issue.
A little out of place in Perth’s St. Georges Terrace business strip, Greenhouse Restaurant is a delicious dining experiment, built with 100 percent recyclable materials. Beat the crowds and arrive for breakfast, when executive chef Matt Stone turns out excellent Mod-OZ (Modern Australian) dishes such as pumpkin pancakes with goat’s curd and a daily ‘brekkie’ pizza that features Margaret River eggs and freshly picked herbs from the organic rooftop garden. When night falls, the rooftop space, appointed with upcycled furniture, is transformed into a lively outdoor bar that specializes in classic cocktails.
Pick one of 10 villas at Injidup Spa Retreat to be your Aussie beach pad. Each features a jarrah-wood deck and private pool as well as a kitchen stocked with organic Busselton eggs and a bottle of Lamont’s Quartet white wine. Draw back the foldaway doors come sunset. From $697. 61/(0) 8-9750-1300. Photo by Laneway Photography. This appeared in the May 2013 issue.
Every once in a while you find yourself in one of the world's great "bike cities." Examples are Portland, Oregon; Fukuoka and Kyoto, Japan; and Amsterdam, Netherlands. These are cities where the bicycle prevails and is an integral part of each city's culture. Melbourne, Australia is one of these amazing cities.
Bicycling in Melbourne is accessible and safe. Bike lanes are everywhere and well marked, and a bike can easily be obtained through the Melbourne Bike Share program at centers throughout the city, or at a bike shop like the "Humble Vintage." A bicycle makes it easy to hit all of Melbourne's great attractions, from the beach at St. Kilda, to the boutiques and cafes in Fitzroy.
I recommend riding the entire Capital City Bike Trail that takes you on a 30km trip around the city. This trail can also be a great route up to the CERES Environmental Park, which is another one of...
When my alarm went off at 3:30 in the morning, I considered "calling in sick." At that moment, I thought nothing in the world could be worth the loss of almost an entire night's sleep.
Instead, I dialed a number and found out weather conditions were expected to be good enough for a ride over Melbourne, one of the only cities on earth that allows hot air balloons to traverse its airspace.
We met in darkness at the Hilton on the Park and departed to Royal Park, where we watched, and sometimes helped, as our crew expertly inflated hot air balloons while the earliest glimpses of sunrise began to highlight the city skyline. Then it was time to board our balloons and ascend.
For an hour, we drifted up and over the city, following the wind and watching sunlight color the buildings. My spirit was so high our balloon couldn't have reached it. Never have I enjoyed an experience as much as I did...