Backpacker Essentials August 2013
In this issue... choose your adventure: explore five of the best travel hot spots on Melbourne's doorstep, or discover Perth, a city between the desert and the sea. Check out what's new from Iceland to Italy, and get tips on travel money options overseas. Now is your last chance to enter the annual Photo Competition and be in the running to win a Canon camera, Macpac travel gear, and travel photography books! Plus snap up great deals and see what's on around Australia.
NEWS INSIDE BACKPACKER / ESSENTIALS WILD WILD WEST AUSTRALIA u 3 PHOTO COMPETITION SNAP u 7 ICELAND TO ITALY GLOBAL u 9 GREAT GETAWAYS DEALS 20 u VOL 17 / No 4 AUGUST 2013 VIBRANT VICTORIA FIVE HOT SPOTS ON MELBOURNE'S DOORSTEP ◆ MANAGING EDITOR Janet McGarry ASSISTANT EDITOR Elinor Sheargold YHA CONTRIBUTORS Elinor Sheargold Melinda Scott Rachel Seymour Tanya Heuke Francois LaJoie ART DIRECTOR Dan Morley 14 Backpacker Essentials is the member magazine for YHA Australia. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Association. No material may be reproduced without prior permission from the editor. All travel prices are subject to change and conditions apply. All hostel prices are YHA member rates and are subject to change. © YHA Australia ISSN 1328-6749. ®YHA Australia, Hostelling International and YHA house and tree logos are Registered Trademarks of YHA Australia Inc., PO Box A2462, Sydney South NSW 1235 DESIGN ASSISTANTS Elinor Sheargold Nicolas Chua Cover Image: Tourism Victoria TRAVEL MONEY MONEY MATTERS u 24 PERFECT PERTH URBAN ADVENTURE u 29 UPCOMING EVENTS WHAT’S ON 34 u EDITORIAL ENQUIRIES The Editor, Backpacker Essentials, GPO Box 5276, Sydney NSW 2001. T: (02) 9261 1111 F: (02) 9261 1969 E: backpackeressentials@ yha.com.au AUSTRALIA WILD WEST / ECO REPORT / YOUR SAY NEED SOME DIRECTION? GO WEST Tourism WA Windajinni Rocks, Western Australia Tourism WA Catspaw and tree grass / WA WILDFLOWERS WILD, WILD WEST Western Australia's rugged landscape is ablaze with the scent and vibrant colour of one of the most spectacular wildflower displays in the world. In August, Kalbarri National Park becomes a 186,000 hectare kaleidoscope of banksias, grevillas, kangaroo paws, flowering eucalypts and paperbark blossoms. September sees Esperance, Denmark, Albany and Margaret River spring to life with delicate dainty orchids, milkmaids, honeypots and mountain bells. There are more than 40 nature walk trails for petalheads and photographers wanting a 'wild west' experience. If you're in Perth, you only need to go as far as the city's Kings Park to enjoy the 50th Kings Park Wildflower Festival from 1-30 September 2013. Kalbarri Backpackpers YHA BOOK NOW WESTERN AUSTRALIA YHAS u yha.com.au / SUSTAINABILITY ECO REPORT Although backpacking is generally a low environmental impact activity, did you know that every night you spend in a hostel creates an average of 9 kgs of carbon emissions? To combat this, almost five years ago YHA established a fundraising program to undertake energy saving and waste reduction eco-projects in hostels. Each time you book an Australian YHA bed on yha.com.au you can choose to contribute $1 towards the Sustainable Hostels Fund (formerly Carbon Reduction Fund), with YHA matching every dollar you contribute. To date over $87,700 has been raised towards projects. Most recently, YHA switched on a brand new commercial hot water system at Adelaide Central YHA, which uses evacuated solar tube arrays with gas boosters, to give guests showers that are as refreshing as they are sustainable. It may sound like mumbo jumbo, but this is estimated to reduce emissions by more than 16.8 tonnes each year. Also benefiting from the Fund, Alice Springs YHA saw the installation of solar panels covering the entire length of the main building. The second largest project of its kind in the city, these panels feed into the main grid. The feed is shown on a monitor in reception, displaying how much renewable energy the hostel is contributing at any point in time. Not that YHAâ€™s commitment to eco and budget conscious travel is anything new. From eco hostels built using sustainable materials, and community-contributing YHAs in ecotourism hotspots, to properties making use of green practices such as composting, water conservation, energysaving devices and serving organic produce in their meals, there are many YHAs that go the extra mile. Visit the sustainability page on yha.com.au for more information on YHA eco-projects. Here are just a few YHAs doing their bit to save the planetâ€Ś SYDNEY HARBOUR YHA This YHA boasts $1 million worth of environmentallysustainable features. APOLLO BAY ECO YHA Architect-designed to cut water and energy use, there's also a herb garden and compost. PORT O'CALL LODGE YHA This Port Douglas eco-lodge has solar power and onsote wind turbines for hot water and electricity. COODLIE PARK YHA GREEN TRAVEL TIPS u Travel by train, coach or bike u Use the hostel book This South Australian YHA uses 100% green energy and lets guests plant native seeds to offset their footprint. rather than plane or car. heading out rather than buying bottled water. u Refill water bottles before exchange to update your library. u Turn off the lights in your DUNSBOROUGH BEACHOUSE YHA room when you go out. on the dedicated shelf in YHA kitchens. u Take a 1 minute shorter u Donate and use free food Heading to WA's sun soaked coast? This beachside YHA is working with Landcare to rehabilitate the local foreshore. Book online at yha.com.au shower. / YOUR SAY PITTWATER YHA, SYDNEY u (02) 9999 5748 u firstname.lastname@example.org u yha.com.au BOOK NOW NOMINATED BY CLAIRE SMITH, NSW If youâ€™re looking for a peaceful getaway, Pittwater is just the place. The only way in is by boat, which creates a magical sense of escape and serenity. It overlooks a beautiful view of the water, with wallabies hopping around and birds singing from the trees. You can either bury your head in a book or venture off into the bush. The perfect blend of relaxation and outdoors fun Iâ€™m planning my trip back now! WIN! Got a place to nominate? Want to win a great travel prize? Evan will be receiving a Footprint Travel Guide of his choice. For more information visit woodslaneonline.com.au. Tell us your favourite YHA (in less than 100 words) and send it, with your contact details, to email@example.com /YHA NEWS BIKE LIKE YOU MEAN IT One woman, one bike, 3,000km, four charities, one message. On 21 August 2013, Cairns Central YHA's Manager, Courtney Preo, will set off on a long journey from Cairns to Sydney (via Bourke), by bike. The self-confessed non-cyclist, aims to raise funds and awareness for four charities, as part of a year dedicated to "doing all those things I've been leaving for tomorrow", and inspiring people to live each moment "like we mean it". The four charities: Royal Flying Doctor Service, Humpty Dumpty Foundation, Spinal Injuries Assoc., and Lymphoma Australia, were chosen by a public vote. You can show your support for Courtney and the charities above by donating to the Bike Like You Mean It campaign online. Follow Courtney's journey on Facebook. SNAP YHA PHOTO COMPETITION See next page for more finalists BIJAIPUR, INDIA JENNIFER SWANTON, VIC Got a great photo that captures that inspiring scenery, incredible cultural experience or event, or just that shot in your album that sums up the trip? Enter the YHA Photo Competition and you could win these great prizes including a Canon PowerShot SX50 HS camera, Macpac travel packs, and a selection of inspiring photography books. HURRY - ENTRIES CLOSE 12 SEPTEMBER Each issue, a number of finalists will be published on this page. An overall winning photo and winning shots in the scenic, cultural, and backpacking photo categories, will be announced, along with runners up, in the December issue. CLICK HERE FOR HOW TO ENTER Take a bow! Thanks to our fantastic prize sponsors. CLICK HERE FOR MORE PRIZE DETAILS. Schoolgirl, India - Jennifer Swanton Bricklayer, Agra, India - Jamie Cone La Paz, Bolivia - Vincent Green Mt Ngauruhoe, New Zealand - David Pulleine Ak Baital Pass, Tajikistan - Hayley Burkhardt Lucky dragon cauldron, Forbidden City, Beijing, China - Lucy Smallwood GLOBAL NOW OPEN / NEWS / DEALS / YOUR SAY NOW OPEN M O R F S A H Y W E N I CELAND TO ITALY Seljalandsfoss waterfall, Iceland Shutterstock /NOW OPEN Shutterstock Skogafoss waterfall REYKJAVIK, ICELAND A land of volcanoes and icebergs, epic waterfalls and steaming thermal pools, modern towns and age-old Viking history, Iceland is a bewitching destination for travellers. It’s also home to the cool new Loft Hostel, located in the centre of the hip young capital, Reykjavik. Smack bang on the main shopping strip, Loft offers a range of four to eight-share rooms and double rooms, all with private bathroom. Facilities include a cosy lounge, free WiFi and computer access, a fully-equipped guest kitchen, free luggage storage, and regular live music and activities. But it’s the balcony café that’s the real talking point, offering some of the finest views in town. It's a great spot to catch the midnight sun in summer or the northern lights in winter over a glass of local beer. Ask the friendly staff at the 24-hour reception for tips on the local music scene, the city's famous Blue Lagoon, visiting the puffins of Fazafloi Bay, glacier walks, or "elf hunting". BOOK NOW REYKJAVIK LOFT HOSTEL u u firstname.lastname@example.org hihostels.com.au /NOW OPEN PTUJ, SLOVENIA Tracing its history back to the Stone Age, Slovenia’s oldest town is now home to one of the country’s newest hostels. Hostel Poetovio is located 1km from the town centre, in quiet green surrounds. Accommodation is in either twin or 3-share rooms, and facilities include a guest living room, kitchen with large dining area where guests can order meals, laundry, table tennis and fussball, and free parking if you have your own wheels. Stroll along the snaking medieval streets to the hilltop castle with its arcaded courtyard, pop into the centuries old vaults of Slovenia’s oldest wine cellar for the music and light show, and check out archaeological findings from the years 2 and 3AD, when Ptuj was the centre for Mithraism, the official Roman religion before Christianity. Don't miss the unique Kurent Festival in February. ISCHIA, ITALY The appropriately-named Ostello del Sole (Sun Hostel) opened in early July on the sun-soaked Mediterranean isle of Ischia. The largest (and some say most beautiful) island in Italy’s Bay of Naples, Ischia is a playground of thermal waters, mountainous volcanic interior, cool green pine forest, and fine beaches. Sitting opposite the beach, in the fishing village of Casamicciola Terme, the 61-bed hostel is equipped with all modern comforts in a beautifully renovated mansion. Choose from 1-4 bed rooms or one of 10 family ensuite rooms. The onsite restaurant serves up meals, plus there’s a fully equipped kitchen, outdoor eating area, TV room, tour desk, and even a solarium. Hostel rates start from €25 per person per night including breakfast in a 4-bed ensuite room. Open 1 April - 31 October. Opening special: Save 20% for stays between 24 August and 31 October 2013! BOOK NOW YH POETOVIO u u email@example.com hihostels.com.au IZOLA, SLOVENIA BOOK NOW OSTELLO DEL SOLE u u BOOK NOW firstname.lastname@example.org hihostels.com.au The little fishing port of Izola hugs Slovenia’s short but preposterously pretty coastline on the Adriatic Sea. Conveniently located in the historic heart of town, Hostel Alieti is, like Izola itself, small but absolutely charming. The hostel’s 25 beds are spread across air-conditioned 4, 5 and 6-share rooms on three floors that have been stylishly decorated, along with comfortable lounge, dining and kitchen areas. There’s also free breakfast and WiFi. HOSTEL ALIETI u email@example.com u hihostels.com.au Shutterstock /WINTER DEALS SKI SWITZERLAND FREE Ever wanted to ski or board the spectacular Swiss Alps? YHA Switzerland is throwing in a ski pass for free at their Davos and Valbella hostels in the lead-up to Christmas. Simply pay for your accommodation and half board at either hostel and get a ski pass for the duration of your stay absolutely free! DAVOS YHA Priced from CHF139 for two nights in a 4-bed ensuite room, and from CHF180 for two nights in a double/twin ensuite room. Valid 22 November - 22 December 2013. u BOOK NOW firstname.lastname@example.org Shutterstock u youthhostel.ch VALBELLA YHA SKI WANAKA, NZ BOOK NOW 5 nights for the price of 4 in a lakeview double room with ensuite and flat screen TV u A 4-Day OnePassNZ Lift Pass per person, giving you access to 8 of the South Island's biggest and best ski and board areas in 2013 u u 4 days ski/snowboard rental (optional) Priced from NZD$750 per person (based on two adults). Valid for stays 31 August to 7 October 2013. YHA WANAKA u u email@example.com yha.co.nz Davos ski resort Shutterstock Escape with your partner to Wanakaâ€™s Winter wonderland. Stay 5 nights and pay for 4 at popular YHA Wanaka. This mini break package includes: Priced from CHF130 for two nights in a 6-share room, and from CHF172 in a double/twin ensuite room. Valid for stays between 6 and 19 Decemeber 2013. u BOOK NOW firstname.lastname@example.org u youthhostel.ch /APPY NEWS NEW AUSSIE APP GIVES TRAVELLERS PEACE OF MIND The handy new My eVault app for iPad and iPhone (Android is in the pipeline) allows you to store your all-important travel documents and personal assets information - think insurance, passport, credit cards and product info for valuable items in your backpack - together in one secure and easy-access portable register. You’ll have all the key information at your fingertips in the event of loss, theft or damage for warranty and insurance claims. You can also register your home contents, taking the guess work out of how much you own and what it's worth, not to mention giving you peace of mind while you’re away. Key features include: secure passcode access and security timeout; data entry via your smartphone or tablet keyboard, camera, or even Siri; backup to iTunes or iCloud; email information and get instant PDF reports for insurance claims or tax returns; record receipts and warranties; take up to five photos per asset like your car, favourite camera, or heirloom jewellery. Try the Free Lite version or upgrade to the full version for only AUD$6.49. Download from the App Store. Tap here to play video / YOUR SAY NEWSTAY INN TAIPEI, TAIWAN u +886 2 2370 2888 u email@example.com u hihostels.com.au BOOK NOW NOMINATED BY EVAN MILLER-HEWSON, QLD Talk about location! This place is on a floor of a building right near Taipei’s main train station and the Shin Kong Mitsukoshi shopping mall. The rooms are comfy after a day's sightseeing and the design is modern – it only opened at the end of 2011. Staff were really efficient and went beyond what I would expect of a small hotel. They also have discount Kuo Kuang airport bus tickets which will save you money. WIN! Got a place to nominate? Want to win a great travel prize? Evan will be receiving a Footprint Travel Guide of his choice. For more information visit woodslaneonline.com.au. Tell us your favourite YHA (in less than 100 words) and send it, with your contact details, to firstname.lastname@example.org FEATURE / BEYOND MELBOURNE V ibran� ictori� ◆ THIS PART OF THE YEAR CAN BE COLD, BUT SO WHAT? REGIONAL VICTORIA SHINES IN THE CRISP COOL DAYS AND NIGHTS. BY TIM RICHARDS. Tourism Victoria GRAMPIANS NATIONAL PARK GRAMPIANS BALLARAT MELBOURNE PORT FAIRY GREAT OTWAY NATIONAL PARK Victoria offers invigorating walking and cycling trails, spectacular scenery, and plenty of great locally-produced wine, beer and food. Great Ocean Road Walk Shutterstock APOLLO BAY PHILLIP ISLAND APOLLO BAY DISTANCE FROM MELBOURNE: 3½ hours by car. This is the best time of year to visit the Great Ocean Road; without the summer crowds, you can be alone in nature and get served quickly in local cafés. Then head out on the Great Ocean Walk, a 104km walking trail with spectacular ocean views. Outside the town is the Great Otway National Park, with its rainforests, woodlands and scenic waterfalls. Nearby is the Otway Fly treetop walk. Even more impressive is its zip line tour, a 2.5 hour series of cable rides through the trees. For a gentler activity, stroll to the Old Cable Station Museum on the town’s edge, and learn about the many shipwrecks along this treacherous coast. BOOK NOW APOLLO BAY YHA ◆ (03) 5237 7899 ◆ email@example.com ◆ yha.com.au Melba Gully Rainforest Tourism Victoria Halls Gap Grampians Tourism Victoria GRAMPIANS FROM MELBOURNE: 3 hours by car. The big attraction of this region is the Grampians National Park. It’s currently peak wildflower season here, with a profusion of native plants. There’s a good chance of seeing wildlife too, from wedge-tailed eagles to kangaroos. The Grampians have long been home to indigenous culture, and the Brambuk Cultural Centre in Halls Gap can direct you to the many Aboriginal art sites within the national park. They include Billimina, a massive rocky overhang covered with red ochre strokes. If you feel like getting active, try climbing 230m-high Mount Arapiles; there are numerous alternative routes up through its craggy rock formations. For an easier option, drive or cycle to the top. BOOK NOW GRAMPIANS YHA ◆ (03) 5356 4544 ◆ firstname.lastname@example.org ◆ yha.com.au Grampians Lookout Tourism Victoria PORT FAIRY FROM MELBOURNE: 5 hours by car. At the end of the Great Ocean Road, this fishing town has a great mix of natural and historic attractions. Cruises take visitors to Lady Julia Percy Island, home to a huge colony of Australian fur seals. You might also spot dolphins, fairy penguins and whales. Outside town, Tower Hill State Game Reserve within an extinct volcano is home to waterbirds, kangaroos, koalas and emus. There are several galleries in Port Fairy, including the Eclectic Designs Glass Studio where you can watch artists at work. When it comes time to get out of town, you might consider hiking or cycling the 37km recently opened Port Fairy to Warrnambool Rail Trail, which passes both farming country and coastal dunes. BOOK NOW PORT FAIRY YHA ◆ (03) 5568 2468 ◆ email@example.com ◆ yha.com.au TOP FIVE COUNTRY PUBS 1 Rusty Water, Phillip Island Overlooking the gum trees of the Koala Conservation Centre, this modern pub brewery serves five inhouse beers, including the medalwinning Koala Pale Ale; and the Caramelized Banana Wheat Beer and Dark Malt Burnt Toffee Ale. Apollo Bay Hotel A classic Aussie pub with foreshore views from its beer garden. Its drinks list includes wine and beer choices from the region. Try the seafood paella. 2 3 The Mallow, Ballarat In a city with plenty of pubs, the Mallow stands out with its friendly vibe and the cosy feel of a “local”. It serves craft beers and ciders from across Victoria, with a dozen on tap. Royal Mail Hotel, Dunkeld Just south of the Grampians, in the town of Dunkeld, this impressive hotel has been reinvented as an acclaimed restaurant. Save cash with the tasty public bar snack menu. Caledonian Hotel, Port Fairy This pub, nicknamed “The Stump”, is said to be the oldest continuously operating hotel in Victoria, first licensed in 1844. It’s popular for its freshly caught fish and live music at weekends. 4 5 Port Fairy Shutterstock Phillip Island Nature Park Tourism Victoria PHILLIP ISLAND FROM MELBOURNE: 90 minutes by car. Top choice on this holiday island is the Koala Conservation Centre, with its boardwalks which take you closer to the cute marsupials in the trees. The Penguin Parade is always popular, but consider shelling out for the Penguins Plus option which gets you down near the beach. The Phillip Island Chocolate Factory has a museum featuring crazy chocolate artwork. Not far away is the Churchill Island Heritage Farm, run in 19th century style complete with whip-cracking demonstrations. If you’re a rev-head, you’ll like the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix in October. For sheer silly fun, however, you can’t beat Amaze‘N Things, a funhouse full of quirky puzzles and optical illusions, along with minigolf and an outdoor maze. BOOK NOW PHILLIP ISLAND YHA – THE ISLAND ACCOMMODATION ◆ (03) 5956 6123 ◆ firstname.lastname@example.org ◆ yha.com.au Phillip Island Shutterstock BALLARAT FROM MELBOURNE: 90 minutes by car. The city’s newest attraction is the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka (MADE), which opened in May. Stifle that yawn – this place is packed with fascinating interactive exhibits. Browse a shelf of banned books, support the protesters of the world via music, and see famous speeches come to life onscreen. Sovereign Hill is an ever-popular and atmospheric historical village. You can easily spend a whole day here, wandering the streets, going on an underground tour and seeing gold poured. The Art Gallery of Ballarat is the best in the region, and to stretch the legs hit the Lake Wendouree Trail. For fantasy fun, head to Kryal Castle outside the city. This mock-castle’s recent big makeover focuses on a myth involving dragon eggs. There’s also live jousting. BOOK NOW BALLARAT YHA ◆ (03) 5337 1159 ◆ email@example.com ◆ yha.com.au TOP FIVE EVENTS 1 Port Fairy Folk Festival If folk music has a Victorian home, this is it. Each March the town is taken over by lovers of folk, though the program also extends beyond its Irish-accented origins to include roots, blues and world music. 2 Ballarat Beer Festival Heading toward its third year, this popular celebration of the ale showcases craft beers from across Australia, along with live music. The January date means warm weather, a perfect match for beer tasting. Run the Gap Participants in this May event held in Grampians National Park can run or walk either a 6km or 12km course, each passing through beautiful scenery. Profits help the establishment of more walking/ cycling tracks in the area. Apollo Bay Music Festival This is the biggest event in the coastal town, attracting thousands to both its ticketed and free events in April. The eclectic program ranges across jazz, blues, roots, classical, pop, rock, country and world music. 3 4 5 Port Fairy Shutterstock World Superbikes Held annually on Phillip Island, this February event sees expert riders racing tuned-up versions of motorcycles available to the general public. It’s a fast-paced, noisy event with a lot of energy. YHA GETAWAYS TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THESE GREAT-VALUE YHA MEMBER DEALS Scenic World DEALS BLUE MOUNTAINS SCENIC DISCOVERY Save with this great Blue Mountains short break that includes tickets for the area’s premier attraction, Scenic World, including Australia’s highest cable car, the steepest incline railway in the world, and beautiful rainforest walkway. 2 nights' accommodation at Blue Mountains YHA (choice of multi-share, family room or double/twin) u u u CURRUMBIN WILDLIFE SANCTUARY PACKAGE See hundreds of native animals in natural bushland and rainforest settings at the famous Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Make the most of your Gold Coast mini break with Coolangatta YHA’s fantastic package including: u u u Breakfast daily 2 nights' accommodation at Coolangatta YHA Entry into Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary Souvenir photo with a koala From $90 per person multi-share. Valid to 15 December 2013. Scenic World Discovery Pass (includes unlimited rides on the Scenic Railway, Skyway, Cableway, plus access to the Scenic Walkway) Priced from $85 per person multi-share, from $261 per double/twin ensuite room, from $329 per family room (1-2 adults, at least one child under BOOK 18). Valid to 30 September 2013. BOOK NOW NOW COOLANGATTA/ KIRRA BEACH YHA Aaron Tait u u BLUE MOUNTAINS YHA u u (07) 5536 7644 firstname.lastname@example.org (02) 4782 1416 email@example.com CANBERRA SPRING FLING Ring in spring in the capital during the city’s justly famous Floriade Festival. Take advantage of Canberra City YHA’s Spring Break package including: u u Tourism Victoria 2 nights' accommodation SORRENTO WINTER INDULGENCE Escape the city and treat yourself to a thermal spa in beautiful Sorrento, on the Mornington Peninsula. Recharge with a walk along pristine beaches or rugged coastal tracks, and indulge in delicious local gourmet foods and wines. Sorrento YHA is offering: Singles Package from $90 u u u Breakfast at onsite Bytes Cafe u u 1 day bike hire 2 days WiFi Couples Package from $240 u u u 2 nights at Sorrento YHA in a multi-share room 1 bathe pass at Peninsula Hot Springs Visit the Mornington Peninsula's many wineries 2 nights at Sorrento YHA in a double room 2 bathe passes at Peninsula Hot Springs Priced from $100 per person multi-share and from $230 per double/twin room. Valid 14 September to 13 October 2013. Visit one of the many Wineries on the Mornington Peninsula Valid Sunday to Thursday only, until 31 October 2013 (excludes school holidays and public holidays). BOOK NOW CANBERRA CITY YHA u u BOOK NOW SORRENTO YHA u u (03) 5984 4323 firstname.lastname@example.org (02) 6248 9155 email@example.com WIRRABARA WILDERNESS ESCAPE Stay in a piece of rural history at beautiful Wirrabara YHA. This former 1880 community school house can be rented exclusively for up to 20 people, making it the perfect wilderness getaway and a great base to explore the treelined gorges and rolling plains of the Southern Flinders Ranges. Don’t miss the Wirrabara Producers Markets every 3rd Sunday morning of the month. Wirrabara YHA is offering: 3 nights for price of 2 – save up to $171. Have the place to yourself for 3 nights from just $252 Monday – Thursday, and from $306 Friday – Sunday. Available for stays 10 August – 27 September 2013. WIRRABARA OLD SCHOOL YHA u u BOOK NOW (08) 8414 3000 firstname.lastname@example.org SATC Australian Capital Tourism Tourism Victoria Shutterstock THREDBO YOGA RETREAT WEEKEND Book ahead for this exclusive spring retreat in the Snowy Mountains from 8 to 10 November. This retreat is suitable for all levels and abilities, places are limited in order to keep the retreat personal and exclusive. Package Includes: u u Priced from $321 per person. All catering is vegetarian. Retreat held Friday 8 – Sunday 10 November 2013. PITTWATER GIRLS ONLY WEEKEND From 23-25 August, Pittwater YHA celebrates 10 years of its popular Girls Weekend Retreat. Ladies, leave the family at home, gather your girlfriends, or come on your own for a fabulous weekend full of relaxation, yoga, guided bushwalks, kayaking and massage. Priced from $180 weekend includes: u u u u THREDBO YHA u u BOOK NOW (02) 6457 6376 email@example.com u u u 3 nights' accommodation (4 share or twin share) 6 yoga sessions with Kate Nirlipta who has 23 years yoga experience Light supper on arrival, Friday night Buffet brunches each morning of your stay 2 course dinner on Saturday night 2 nights' multi-share accommodation Yoga classes and massage workshops Vegetarian dinner Friday & Saturday Wildflowers walk and kayaking BYO food and drink for meals not included, bed linen, massage towel, yoga mat, and winter woollies. Arrivals from 2pm Friday. Package finishes 12 noon Sunday. Book direct with Pittwater YHA. DUNSBOROUGH WAVES, WINE & WHALES An awesome range of activities awaits you in Dunsborough, only 3 hours from Perth. Enjoy whale watching from the many viewing platforms or get closer on a cruise. Indulge in the region’s great selection of wineries and gourmet food products from bold Cabernets and fruity Sem Sav Blancs, to chocolate, cheese, and olive oil. Work it off on one of the dozens of surf breaks a short drive from the YHA. Choose from two deals: Weekend Double Deal (Fri Sat) u Pay for 2 nights in a double room and you’ll receive a bottle of local wine to help keep the winter chill at bay. Weekdays 3 for 2 Deal u 3 nights for the price of 2 nights. Available for all room types. Deals Valid from 10 August – 10 October 2013. Excludes public holidays. Shutterstock DUNSBOROUGH YHA u u BOOK NOW PITTWATER YHA u u BOOK NOW (08) 9755 3107 firstname.lastname@example.org (02) 9999 5748 email@example.com FRASER ISLAND & WHALE WATCHING PACKAGE Hervey Bay is the gateway to Fraser Island and Australia’s humpback whale hotspot. Combine the best of both with this great-value package including: 3 nights’ accommodation in a 6 share room at Hervey Bay YHA u Full day Fraser Island tour. Departs the YHA at 7.30am u Half day Tasman Venture whale watching tour. Departs 8.30am or 1.30pm. Free pickup and morning/afternoon tea. u From $300 per person. Valid from 20 July 2013 - 27 October 2013 COLONIAL VILLAGE YHA u u BOOK NOW (07) 4125 1844 firstname.lastname@example.org Tourism Victoria APOLLO BAY WEEKLY BEACH ESCAPE Experience all there is to offer in beautiful Apollo Bay, from the Otway Fly Treetop Walk and Zipline, horse rides along the beach, bushwalking, whale watching, and spa packages, to segway and inflatable globe rides, and the scenery of the Great Ocean Road. Stay 7 nights at Apollo Bay Eco YHA from $154 multi-share. Valid to 31 October 2013. APOLLO BAY YHA u u BOOK NOW (03) 5237 7899 email@example.com Darren Jew, Tourism & Events QLD FEATURE / TRAVEL MONEY MONEY MATTERS LOUISE SOUTHERDEN EXPLORES THE BEST WAY TO TAKE YOUR MONEY TRAVELLING. ◆ Shutterstock NO MATTER WHERE you go in the world and how you travel, you’re going to need spending money. The question is: how to take it with you to maximise convenience and peace of mind, and minimise fees and hassles. There are three main options: cash, credit/debit cards and prepaid travel cards. So how do they stack up? 1 DOLLARS AND SENSE: CASH You’re going to need at least some cash in the currency of your destination as soon as you arrive, for those immediate, on-the-ground expenses like a cab to your hotel or a cup of coffee. PROS: Cash is convenient and there are no hidden costs. CONS: You’re at the mercy of exchange rates and there can be charges to buy foreign cash (Westpac, for instance, charges $4 to buy foreign cash online). There’s no emergency backup – except whatever cash you’ve stashed in a secret place, such as a sock or a secret pocket in your luggage. Having to carry around more than one currency when travelling to multiple destinations on one trip (and having money in several currencies leftover) can also be a hassle. OPTIONS: You can get foreign cash commission-free in up to 40 currencies at Travelex and in up to 14 currencies at Australia Post THE FUTURE OF TRAVEL MONEY •Virgin Australia and Qantas are introducing travel money cards (called Global Wallet and Qantas Cash respectively) linked to their frequent flyer programs, sometime in 2013. Shutterstock THE FUTURE OF TRAVEL MONEY •You can already buy foreign currencies and travel money cards online; one day soon you might be able to buy them with your airfare or online accommodation booking. •With the rise of mobile and contactless payments using ‘near field’ technology, there could come a time when you won’t travel with cash or cards, just your smartphone (or a wrist-embedded chip). 2 PLASTIC FANTASTIC: CREDIT/DEBIT CARDS For sheer spontaneity, you can’t beat credit cards and debit (or ATM) cards; the latter can be used the same way as a credit card but the money you spend comes out of your account instead of being on credit. PROS: Convenience is the big one – just pack and go. When you’re overseas you’ll have access to 29 million Visa or 34 million Mastercard EFTPOS and ATM locations worldwide. Most cards can be replaced if lost or stolen, often within 24 hours, and many credit card companies offer insurance for items bought with their card. CONS: Fees and charges, which will depend on how you use your cards and which bank you’re with (though some banks are dropping foreign transaction fees to encourage card usage). The most common fees are: withdrawal or ATM fees (usually $5 per withdrawal), foreign transaction fee (2-3 per cent of the transaction amount in AUD) and cash advance fees (when using your credit card to withdraw cash from an ATM). OPTIONS: Take your existing credit/debit card or cards, or get one specifically for travelling, such as GE Money’s 28 Degrees Mastercard , which won the 2012 CHOICE Award for Best Travel Money Card for having no charges for international transactions or cash advances, and no currency conversion or annual fees. TIPS: Before you go, let your bank know when and where you’re travelling (so they won’t query unusual spending or put a hold on your card) and check their fees and charges (so you don’t get a surprise bill on your return). Make sure you have a fourdigit PIN (that’s not your birth date); for countries that require a six-digit PIN, just add two zeros (00) at the end. Shutterstock So, there are lots of options. But really only two things to remember when it comes to travel money: do your research (particularly into fees and charges) and spread the load. That is, take a bit of cash in the local currency (for daily expenses such as bus fares, cups of coffee, tips), maybe some Australian dollars as back-up, at least one credit/debit card for ready access to your funds back home and for big purchases; and, for the bulk of your funds, take a travel money card or travellers’ cheques (if you’re going away a while or heading somewhere remote). Happy travels. 3 PAY BEFORE YOU PLAY: TRAVEL MONEY CARDS Travel money cards, also called prepaid travel cards, have come a long way since they were introduced a few years ago. The drill is: you ‘load’ funds onto the card in up to 10 currencies (to lock in exchange rates before you travel; cards automatically use the right currency, depending where you are) then use your card like a credit/debit card. PROS: The biggest advantage is no transaction fees when making a purchase in person, over the phone or online, or withdrawing cash from an ATM. An exception is the American Express Global Travel Card, which charges $2 per withdrawal, but in most cases using a travel money card to buy something is like spending cash. Unlike credit cards, travel money cards have no annual fees. And they’re safer than a card linked to your home bank account because there’s usually less cash $£€ on travel money cards. CONS: There’s an initial fee to purchase most travel cards, ranging from $11 to $15; reload fees (usually about one per cent of the reload amount, so $5 if you’re reloading $500). Most cards have fees if you withdraw cash in a currency that’s not loaded onto the card (about three per cent of the withdrawn amount). There can also be fees to use ATMs within Australia, and inactivity fees (up to $10 a month) if you don’t use the card for 12 months. OPTIONS: Travelex Cash Passport Card was one of the first travel money cards. The big banks are getting in on the act with CommBank’s Travel Money Card, the NAB Traveller Card and the ANZ Travel Card. Even American Express now has a Global Travel Card which is also available through Australia Post. 5 TIPS FOR SAVING MONEY WHEN YOU TRAVEL 1 2 3 4 5 Try to use ATMs affiliated with your Australian bank; Westpac and St George customers, for instance, can avoid a $5 ATM fee by using Global Alliance ATMs at Bank of America in the US, Scotia Bank in Canada and Barclays Bank in the UK and east Africa. When using a credit/debit card at an ATM, withdraw as much cash as you feel safe carrying around; the fewer transactions, the fewer the fees. Or use a prepaid travel money card, most of which have no transaction fees. Don’t change money at airports or, if you can help it, anywhere. If you must change cash into another currency, know what the ideal exchange rate is (see www.xe.com or its app) and shop around. Help your hard-earned travel savings grow by keeping the bulk of it in a high-interest savings account and reloading your travel card or transferring funds into your card-accessible account periodically. Travel for longer on less, using the Trail Wallet app which allows you to set a daily, weekly or monthly budget; whenever you pay for anything, add the amount to the daily/weekly page and the app adds it up. WHICH CURRENCY IS BEST? That depends on your destination. Euros are accepted in 17 European countries including Ireland (all members of the “Eurozone”) as well as Vatican City and Monaco. European countries that aren’t in the Eurozone, and so have their own currency, include: Denmark, Norway, Sweden. The UK is a member of the European Union but not the Eurozone and uses British pounds. US dollars remain the most widely accepted of all currencies and are the official currency in some Latin American (such as Ecuador and Panama) and South East Asian countries (such as Cambodia, where the local currency, the riel, is used only for small transactions). Australian dollars are accepted in many South Pacific nations. FEATURE / PERTH PERTH IT MAY BE A CITY ON THE EDGE OF A DESERT, WRITES SUE WHITE, BUT PERTH OFFERS THE PERFECT URBAN EXPERIENCE – MOST OF IT OUTDOORS. Perfec� ◆ PERTH MAY BE one of the most isolated cities on the planet, but on a Monday night out the back of its bohemian heartland, Fremantle, you’d never know it. Here, the Fremantle Environmental Resource Network, known to locals as FERN, offers dinner by donation as a fundraiser for this bike repair hub, community garden and education centre rolled into one. Volunteers (always welcome, arrive around 3pm to pitch in) slice and dice fresh produce for hours to produce a vegetarian feast for the 100 plus locals and tourists who turn up every week from 7pm. Officially, the ‘do’ is all over within a couple of hours, but most weeks see diners relaxing in the garden, enjoying Perth’s year-round temperate climate over dessert and a slice of good conversation. If dinner for 100 isn’t your style, come back and dine at FERN by daylight, when there are plenty of comfy couches filled with happy eco types, resting after a bike repair workshop or gardening stint (you’re welcome to join either). The only thing that might disrupt this plan is that in the daytime it’s pretty easy to get distracted by Perth’s ‘broader’ great outdoors. To explore it, start by heading to the Fremantle Visitor Centre at 8 William Street and borrowing one of their free bicycles. Get up early – there are only about 6-8 bikes and on a nice day they’ll be snapped up quickly (and no, you can’t book them in advance). But hit the centre at 9am opening, drop off your $200 deposit and ID and a bike, helmet and lock should all be - temporarily - yours for nix. Just return the bike before 5pm closing time to get your cash back! MOST WEEKS SEE DINERS RELAXING IN THE GARDEN, ENJOYING PERTH’S YEAR-ROUND TEMPERATE CLIMATE Dinner at F.E.R.N Sue White Riders usually choose either to stick around Freo or cycle the sunset coast; a beach-lined strip running along Perth’s western fringe. If you do the latter, make sure to stop off at Cottesloe Beach, famous for its sunsets (it’s also the site of WA’s Sculpture By The Sea every March). For super keen cyclists, there’s no need to finish your ride at Cottesloe: it’s possible to cycle the whole 28 kilometre stretch from North Fremantle to Whitford’s (just beyond Hillarys Boat Harbour). Back in Fremantle to return your bike, grab a takeaway coffee and rest up round the corner from the Visitor Centre at Freo’s outdoor reading room, where activity equals nothing more than grabbing a book, a chair and settling in for an hour or two. (Good to know: although the reading room is free, it’s usually only open on weekdays.) If that’s too sedate - or cerebral - try the free outdoor table tennis table (borrow balls at the Visitors Centre; paddles should be on the table) or give your brain a work out via the large chess board opposite. Of course, while Fremantle is amazing, Fremantle isn’t Perth. But even once you hit the city proper there are plenty of outdoorsy experiences to be had. Kings Park and Botanic Garden is the most popular tourist spot in Western Australia, although at 400+ hectares, there’s plenty of space for everyone to stroll or simply chill. Clockwise from above: Fremantle Prison Tour; "Indiana Tea House", Cottesloe Beach; Wolfe Lane, Perth; Freo Cafe strip. Tourism WA, Shutterstock To learn about the native bushland take a free guided walk (starting Perth, seen from opposite the gallery shop, Aspects of Kings Park). For those less the Swan River horticulturally oriented, there’s good news: you don’t have to become Shutterstock a tree-buff to love Kings Park. At night, it’s a beautiful picnic spot: stay on the city side for grassy areas boasting views of TOP 5 PERTH the CBD and the Swan River. CYCLING ROUTES Once daylight hours come round again, Perth has the usual shops and malls on offer, although the cafe culture is best Take it easy: North in the inner city suburbs of Leederville or Subiaco rather Fremantle to Cottesloe than the city centre itself. On the café front, the city’s most Beach, around 6kms one way. memorable find is just to east of the centre: Perth City Farm. Ride the Sunset Coast: Running for almost 20 years, this urban growing environment North Fremantle to Hillarys also boasts a popular café, where you can while away a is around 28kms one way. couple hours watching others tend to the neighbouring Explore the Swan River: garden beds. Sure, you could chip in yourself, but you’re The 3 kilometre Windan on holidays, right? Bridge loop is just one of many To round off the city experience, don’t forget that Perth’s options here, with over 12 short water frontage isn’t all about beaches. The Swan River bike routes available along the feeds into a large bay, and you could easily spend a half river’s edge. On this trip, keep day wandering around it. Locals love the ‘two bridges’ walk an eye out for kangaroos on (Narrows and The Causeway), and its flat, scenic path which Heirisson Island. connects the city with South Perth. Starting in the city, head from Riverside Drive in either direction to enjoy the 10 km Go north: If you don’t want loop. If you tire halfway through, there’s good news: a seven to do the whole Sunset minute ferry ride from South Perth will have you back at Coast, try the Marmion to Barrack Street Jetty in no time. Burns Beach stretch. This easy 1 2 3 4 Sue White travelled thanks to Tourism Western Australia. 14km section passes Hillarys Marina and offers natural scrub and coastal views plus family friendly swimming spots. 5 Roll through Kings Park: With over 400 hectares to explore, this (somewhat hilly) parkland makes the perfect bicycle outing. WHERE TO STAY PERTH CITY YHA ◆ (08) 9287 3333 ◆ firstname.lastname@example.org ◆ yha.com.au BOOK NOW Perth City YHA is right in the heart of the city. Make sure to book ahead! Greenhouse, Perth. Sue White TOP 5 PERTH EATS 1 Fremantle Environmental Resource Network (FERN) 26 Montreal Street, Fremantle. fern.org.au Monday night’s “Soupie” (dinner by donation) is fabulous. 2 Greenhouse Perth 100 St. Georges Terrace, Perth. greenhouseperth. com Eco friendly eating in a building covered with plants. Why not? 3 Perth City Farm 1 City Farm Place, East Perth. perthcityfarm. org.au Cafe opens early (7am) and the ambience is great. 4 The Raw Kitchen 36 South Terrace, Fremantle. therawkitchen. com.au 5 Greens & Co. 123 Oxford Street, Leederville. (08) 9444 4093 Come for the old school vibe: poster If you’ve ever wallpaper, paper doubted how good light shades and raw food can taste, old couches, rather head here for the than the service. proof. WHAT'S ON HERE’S OUR PICK OF EVENTS COMING UP IN YOUR REGION BRISBANE FESTIVAL 7-28 September 2013 Slick, edgy, rough and revelrous, this world-class arts festival fires up September with a sensational program of music, theatre, dance, comedy, opera, circus and more. Hunt down tickets to the hottest productions including Aussie music legend Paul Kelly, and twisted cabaret La Soiree. If you missed out on tickets to the Spiegeltent’s roof-raising music sets you can still catch shows on the giant outdoor screens. Stake out your spot for the nightly City of Lights laser, light and special effects show, culminating in Brisbane’s night of nights – Riverfire on 28 September. brisbanefestival.com.au QLD BOOK NOW ◆◆ Stay at Brisbane City YHA ◆◆ (07) 3236 1004 ◆◆ email@example.com Atmosphere Photography Brisbane Santos City of Lights OTWAY OKTOBERFEST 19 October 2013 VI C BOOK NOW In traditional Bavarian fashion, very large glasses will be raised to usher in the monthy of October this year in the Otways. Otway Estate Winery and Brewery plays host to this rollicking day of live music, hearty German fare, slap-dancing and, of course, their very own Oktoberfest Lager. otwayestate.com.au ◆◆ Stay at Apollo Bay YHA ◆◆ (03) 5237 7899 Otway Oktoberfest ◆◆ firstname.lastname@example.org OZASIA FESTIVAL 13-29 September 2013 Aiming to increase interaction and understanding between cultures, this festival boasts thrilling music, workshops, visual arts, film, talks, cuisine and so much more. The highlight is the annual Moon Lantern Festival on 19 September, which lights up Adelaide's Elder Park and River Torrens for a stunning lantern and fireworks spectacular. ozasiafestival.com.au BOOK NOW ◆◆ ◆◆ ◆◆ Stay at AdelaideYHA (08) 8414 3010 email@example.com Adelaide Festival Centre SA N SW SYDNEY GOOD FOOD MONTH (CRAVE) 1-31 October 2013 Sydney’s Good Food Month menu is crammed with signature events inviting you to taste, talk, drink and dine your way around town. Think a honey-themed dinner beside beehives at a pop-up restaurant, chef showcases from the kitchen’s big name stars, a laneway paella feast, Barbecue Madness, or The Ultimate High Tea. It wouldn’t be springtime in Sydney without Hyde Park’s iconic Night Noodle Markets, while the flirty, fiery and free Darling Harbour Fiesta spices up the 12-13 October weekend. Or, you could get some food for thought at Art and About’s impromptu open galleries. Canberra and Brisbane also celebrate Good Food Month in October. goodfoodmonth.com.au Hamilton Lund Destination NSW BOOK NOW ◆◆ Stay at Sydney Central YHA ◆◆ (02) 9218 9000 ◆◆ firstname.lastname@example.org CANBERRA FLORIADE 14 September – 13 October 2013 The largest flower festival in the Southern Hemisphere, Floriade offers a smorgasbord of creative, colourful and quirky flower displays, floral gowns and workshops. Get a birds-eye view from the giant ferris wheel. Petalheads can follow the flower trail taking in Canberra's main sights. Don't miss Floriade NightFest - a five night outdoor fiesta with outdoor cinema, music, food and wine. floriadeaustraliacom ACT Cameron Major Australian Capital Tourism BOOK NOW ◆◆ ◆◆ Take advantage of Canberra City YHA's Spring Break package. email@example.com Tap to see complete artwork Shutterstock BAROSSA GOURMET WEEKEND 16-18 August 2013 SA SHINJU MATSURI FESTIVAL 13-22 September 2013 WA Indulge in the Barossa Valley's world-class wines, premium dining and live music. This weekend combines all three with long lunches, markets and masterclasses at various venues including many of the region's cellar doors, with the gorgeous Barossa scenery as a tasty backdrop. barossagourmet.com Shinju Matsuri celebrates Broome's pearling history and its status as a cultural melting pot. Ten days of events kick off with the traditional parade (a festival highlight), there's also a pearl meat cook-off, sand sculptures, a dragon boat regatta and more. Take the time to visit WA's wildflower displays while you're here. shinjumatsuri.com.au BOOK NOW ◆◆ ◆◆ ◆◆ Stay at Adelaide Central YHA (08) 8414 3010 firstname.lastname@example.org BOOK NOW ◆◆ ◆◆ ◆◆ Stay at Kimberley Klub YHA (08) 9192 3233 email@example.com Tourism WA NT WHITSUNDAY REEF FESTIVAL 15-18 August 2013 This four day festival, in the heart of Airlie Beach, celebrates the best of Whitsundays living. Highlights include the hilarious Comedy Gala night, fireworks, The Great Whitsunday Fun Race, movies under the stars, sand sculpting, a Recyclable Regatta, street parade, markets, loads of live music and entertainment. whitsundayreeffestival.com.au BOOK NOW ◆◆ Stay at Airlie Beach YHA ◆◆ (07) 34946 6312 ◆◆ firstname.lastname@example.org THREDBO EFTERSKI FESTIVAL 10-14 September 2013 DARWIN FESTIVAL 8-25 August 2013 For 18 balmy nights in August, Darwin hosts this premier Indigenous and multicultural arts and culture festival. Local, national and international artists flock to town for hundreds of live shows, events, exhibitions and performances from concerts and comedy, to workshops and a huge opening weekend. darwinfestival.org.au The Efterski Festival is Australia’s newest and biggest festival above the snowline, combining live music, action snow-sports, film and culture. Join us in Thredbo Alpine Village, where you can ski or snowboard during the day and then party in the evenings to the biggest line up of DJ’s and bands ever seen in the Snowy Mountains. During the day witness some of the world’s best freeskiers battle it out then party into the night. thredbo.com.au Take advantage of Thredbo YHA’s Efterski Package, including 3 nights’ accommodation and a Festival Pass from $165 per person. valid 12-15 September 2013. ◆◆ Book online at yha.com.au ◆◆ email@example.com BOOK NOW BOOK NOW ◆◆ Stay at Darwin YHA ◆◆ (08) 8981 5385 ◆◆ firstname.lastname@example.org AND ALSO... perth winter arts season Until 31 August 2013 Stay Perth City YHA royal melbourne show 22 Sept -2 Oct 2013 Stay Melbourne Metro YHA BOOMERANG Festival 4-6 October 2013 Stay Byron Bay YHA BACKPACKER / ESSENTIAL S YHA.COM.AU NEXT ISSUE AVAILABLE 9TH OCTOBER 2013