Backpacker Essentials December 2013
In this issue... get hot for the sights and delights of enigmatic Hong Kong; take a tiki tour of New Zealand's Maori hotspots; hit Melbourne's hip and happening suburbs; and discover Australia's diverse islands. PLUS: check out our latest deals and see the winners of our annual photo competition.
INSIDE BACKPACKER / ESSENTIALS HOTTING UP SUMMER Tourism QLD VOL 17 / No 6 DECEMBER 2013 AUSTRALIA/NZ u 3 PHOTO COMP WINNERS SNAP u 7 NEW YHAS & DEALS GLOBAL u 9 TOP DEALS IN OZ & NZ MANAGING EDITOR Janet McGarry GETAWAYS 20 u ISLAND ESCAPES ◆ FOUR AUSSIE ISLANDS FOR A HOLIDAY WITH A DIFFERENCE DEPUTY EDITOR Elinor Sheargold NEW ZEALAND EDITOR Brindi Joy YHA CONTRIBUTORS Melinda Scott Rachel Seymour Tanya Heuke Francois LaJoie ART DIRECTOR Dan Morley GRAPHIC DESIGN Elinor Sheargold Nicolas Chua EDITORIAL ENQUIRIES 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 The Editor, Backpacker Essentials, GPO Box 5276, Sydney NSW 2001. T: +61 2 9261 1111 F: +61 2 9261 1969 E: backpackeressentials@ yha.com.au Cover: SATC HONG KONG HIDDEN GEMS 24 u TIKI TOUR NZ MAORI HOTSPOTS 30 u HIP IN THE SUBURBS MELBOURNE u 35 AUSTRALIA/NZ EVENTS WHAT’S ON 40 u AUSTRALIA/ NZ NOW OPEN / MAKING NEWS / YOUR SAY LOOK WHAT'S HOTTING UP SUMMER Shutterstock Injidup Beach, Margaret River Tourism WA / NEW YHAS MARGARET RIVER, WA YHA has popped the bubbly to toast the opening of a new hostel in Western Australia’s famous Margaret River. Margaret River Backpackers YHA, located just one block from the main street, is metres from the bus stop, shopping and nightly entertainment. Taking over from the town’s previous hostel, the new property boasts a range of air-conditioned multi-share rooms, WiFi/internet, cable TV, lounge and large modern kitchen, BBQ, games, parking and more. Take advantage of the YHA’s beach bus and jobs desk (great for vineyard work). Renowned for its world-class wines and tantalising food experiences, Margaret River is also nirvana for nature lovers and outdoor adventurers. Beaches and water sports go together like wine and cheese, and the region’s white sands and clear waters are up there with the world’s best to surf, paddle, kitesurf and dive. Land lubbers can explore above and below the waterline, from the subterranean worlds of Lake, Mammoth or Jewel Cave, or the Southern Hemisphere’s longest wooden jetty and artificial reef at Busselton, to the treetops of the towering Karri trees. Cheers! BOOK NOW MARGARET RIVER BACKPACKERS YHA u u email@example.com yha.com.au / NEWS MILFORD TRACK CELEBRATES 125 YEARS New Zealand’s world-renowned Milford Track in the South Island’s Fiordland National Park is celebrating its 125th anniversary. Considered one of the world’s finest walks, the four-day, 53.5km track winds through a landscape of beautiful beech forest and glacier-carved valleys, past impressive waterfalls, to the 1154m Mackinnon Pass before descending to famous Milford Sound. Retrace the steps of the early explorers and get a sense of the track’s history from the early memorabilia, photos and stories on display until 30 April 2014. YHA Te Anau is located on the edge of Fiordland National Park, making it the perfect base for tramping enthusiasts to gear up or wind down at the start or end of their tramps. Book online at yha.co.nz NEW ZEALAND IN YOUR HAND Hold New Zealand in the palm of your hand with YHA New Zealand’s essential new travel app for Smartphones. Designed to help get you to wherever your wanderlust may lead, the free YHA New Zealand Travel App will point you in the direction of the nearest supermarket, petrol station, free WiFi hotspots and more. You’ll also get hot and handy tips from locals and travellers who have trod the path before you, as well as up-to-the-minute information on road conditions. And because the app links directly to Google Maps, there’s even directions to get you from A to B and beyond. Best of all, you can sleep easy by using the app to locate and book your nearest YHA, while on the road. Easy as. Download the YHA New Zealand travel app from the iTunes app store or Google Play for Android phones, and start planning your kiwi adventure. MOUNT WARNING SUMMIT TRACK REOPENS Mount Warning, near Murwillumbah in the far-north hinterland of NSW, has reopened after January’s Cyclone Oswald caused severe damage to the Summit Track. Tonnes of debris have been cleared from the steep 4.4km rainforest path and repairs made to the 1157m summit platforms overlooking the lush Tweed Valley to Byron Bay. Known as Wollumbin or ‘cloud catcher’ to the indigenous Bundjalung people, for whom it is a site of cultural significance, the mountain is the Southern Hemisphere’s largest extinct volcano core and the first place on the Australian mainland to see the morning sun. Murwillumbah YHA is offering 3 nights’ multi-share accommodation, free transport to and from Mount Warning National Park, plus free canoe and bike hire from $84 per person. Book online at yha.com.au Shutterstock / YOUR SAY APOLLO BAY ECO YHA u +61 3 5237 7899 u firstname.lastname@example.org u yha.com.au BOOK NOW NOMINATED BY LISA HODGETTS, NSW On a road trip on the Great Ocean Road, I stayed at the Apollo Bay Eco YHA. It was like stepping into an eco resort. It had amazing kitchen facilities and comfy couches. It was so peaceful and right near the main street. The rooms were also great with a locker and your own light above your bed. The music playing in the bathrooms was also a nice touch. If in the region, be sure to stay here if you want a chilled out environment. Got a place to nominate? Want to win a great travel prize? Lisa will be receiving a $100 voucher from Kathmandu. For more information visit kathmandu.com.au. Tell us your favourite YHA (in less than 100 words) and send it, with your contact details, to email@example.com WIN! / COMING SOON WET’N’WILD THEME PARK COMING TO SYDNEY The countdown is on to the opening of Wet’n’Wild Sydney, on 12 December 2013. The world-class water park promises to make a splash with an incredible 42 slides and attractions including multiple world firsts and the world’s tallest Double SkyCoaster. Single entry will set you back a rather pricey AU$69.99 if you’re over 110cm tall or $54.99 if you’re under this height, however parking, locker hire, food, and the two pay-per-rides are not included. A Gold VIP Season Pass costs $124.99 and gives you unlimited entry during the 2013/2014 season, free parking, early-entry days and food discounts. Located at Prospect, 32km west of the Sydney CBD just off the city’s M4 Motorway, the park will be open from December 2013 to April 2014, when it closes for winter. For more information (and earlybird ticket specials) visit wetnwildsydney.com.au SNAP YHA PHOTO COMPETITION BEST PHOTO Red-eyed green tree frog, Costa Rica RACHEL BERTHOLD There were some exceptional entries in the YHA Photo Competition this year, making it very hard to pick our 2013 winners. Here they are... Many thanks to our generous sponsors Canon, Macpac and Woodslane for their great prizes. Take a bow! Thanks to our fantastic prize sponsors. Best overall shot wins: a Canon Powershot SX50 HS camera valued at AU$510 October corrections: the photo Red-eyed Tree Frog, Costa Rica by Rachel Berthold was incorrectly labelled Emerald Glass Frog, Costa Rica; the photo Fetching Water, Namibia by Debbi Stockhammer was incorrectly labelled Aksaray, Turkey by Rosemary Noakes-Sherwin. /PHOTO COMPETITION BEST SC Balloonin g Capp HAM I STOCK B B E D urkey adocia, T E T NIC SHO MER G SHOT Hugh's Da le Waterfa ll, Christm as Is. - JEN NINE LAVE NDER BEST BAC KPACKIN Best category shots win: One of two stylish, durable travel bags from travel gear experts Macpac Reader's Choice Winner BEST CULTURAL SHOT Tap for online gallery of all winners and runners up Bijaipur woman, India - JENNIFER SWANTON RUNNERS UP 1. A bit of bling, Madagascar KIRSTEN WALLA 2. Brick layer, Agra, India JAMIE CONE 3. Great Wall of China GREG BEST GLOBAL NOW OPEN / MAKING NEWS / YOUR SAY S T H G I L N R E H NORT N U S T H G I N D I M & N E P O W O N D N A L N I F IN Visit Finland Aurora Borealis Lapland, Finland /NOW OPEN Shutterstock Reindeer safari, Lapland LAPLAND, FINLAND Dreaming of a White Christmas? Are the Northern Lights on your bucket list? Finland’s newest hostel brings both to your doorstep. Located in Levi, the biggest ski resort in Finnish Lapland, Hostel Hullu Poro (‘Crazy Reindeer’) offers four-bed apartments each with lounge, kitchenette and bathroom. An easily-accessible 2km from the town centre, reception for the hostel is at its namesake in town, Hotel Hullu Poro. Here, hostel guests can also enjoy breakfast and the hotel’s spa. Levi serves up an encyclopaedia of activities, including every snow sport under the (midnight) sun, reindeer safaris, dog sledding and snowmobile rides. January is best for viewing the Aurora Borealis, and a traditional peat sauna is a must at any time of year. Visit Santa’s workshop at the elves’ cottage in Taivaanv or try one of the more “out there” activities like ice swimming, snow football, tandem skiing, or arctic diving. Come summer, a whole new range of activities are on the menu, and autumn’s colours are perfect for Nordic Walking and berry picking in the forest. BOOK NOW HOSTEL HULLU PORO u u firstname.lastname@example.org hihostels.com.au /NOW OPEN BEAUFORT, LUXEMBOURG As you’d expect from a country sandwiched between France, Belgium and Germany, Luxembourg oozes with history. More surprising is the vibrant culture and arts scene, while across the country you’ll find fairytale villages, hilltop castles, forest and rolling farmlands. One of the country’s first hostels now has a new address and snazzy new building in the heart of Beaufort, a pretty village in Luxembourg’s “little Switzerland” Mullerthal region. The modern Hostel Beaufort offers double, six or 12-bed accommodation, as well as a long list of facilities including cafe/bistro, internet, TV lounge, games, indoor and outdoor recreation areas, and even its own bowling alley! It’s the perfect base to explore the town’s impressive medieval castle ruins, discover the rock formations and gorges of the Mullerthal, or take a canoe or cycle trip along the Sauer River. Werner Hannappel © Heike Mutter and Ulrich Genth, "Tiger and Turtle - Magic Mountain" DUISBERG, GERMANY Located in the Rhineland city of Duisburg, Germany’s newest hostel offers modern double/twin and four-share rooms, all with private bathroom. Duisburg Sportpark Hostel has all the high-quality facilities you would expect of a YHA, plus a fitness centre, sauna, indoor and outdoor sports grounds. Sports may be Duisburg’s current claim to fame, but reminders of its days as Germany’s industrial centre are everywhere. The largest inland harbour in Europe is best appreciated on a leisurely boat tour, or a stroll of the dynamic inner harbour quarter, now rejuvenated with restaurants, bars, and museums. The bizarre (and free) Landscape Park allows you to walk or cycle the grounds of the former ironworks, which nature is slowly reclaiming. The adventurous can abseil, climb, or even dive in the old factory buildings. It’s particularly beautiful at night when the park is ablaze with colourful light installations. Our pick? The very cool Tiger and Turtle – Magic Mountain steel sculpture, a sort of pedestrian roller coaster (stroller coaster?) overlooking the Ruhr Valley. HOTEL BEAUFORT u u email@example.com hihostels.com.au BOOK NOW u u DUISBURG SPORTPARK duisburg-sportpark@ jugendherberge.de jugendherberge.de BOOK NOW /NEWS ALL ABOARD AS HIGH-SPEED RAIL BOOMS The high-speed train, which can reach 320kph, will run three times a day in each direction, cutting travel times from London to the Dutch capital to just four hours, and reach Frankfurt in less than five hours. The competition could also mean lower fares for cross-channel passengers with a one-way trip to Germany from as little as £39 to £49. South-East Asia is also getting in on the rail boom. A new rail service promises to link Singapore with the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, in just 90 minutes, compared with five hours by road and seven hours via existing rail services. If it goes ahead, the rail service is not is not due to be completed until 2020. Neighbouring Thailand has approved plans to invest US$68 billion into the country’s rail network as part of a seven-year scheme. The plan includes high-speed connections between Bangkok and the northern city of Chiang Mai, cutting travel times from 12 to four hours, as well as links to the Malaysian and Laotian borders. Nickolay Vinokurov Shutterstock Deutsche Bahn is set to challenge Eurostar’s cross-channel monopoly, announcing plans for direct high-speed rail services from London to Amsterdam and Frankfurt. From December 2016, the German national rail company hopes to run its Intercity Express (ICE) bullet-trains from London’s St Pancras International station to Brussels, where the 16-carriage trains will split, with half continuing to Amsterdam via Rotterdam and the other half heading to Frankfurt via Cologne. /YOUR SAY HI ILES-DE-LA-MADELEINE u u u +1 418 986 4505 firstname.lastname@example.org hihostels.com.au BOOK NOW NOMINATED BY BARBARA THOMAS, NSW A former meteorological station is now the delightful hostel at Parc de Gros Cap on the Magdalen Islands (Iles-de-la-Madeleine) in the Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada. Amidst the stunning scenery of this red rock island, the hostel has charming lounge and dining areas, ground and first floor bedrooms, night lights, bathmats, comfortable beds, wide bunks. Spotlessly clean. Got a place to nominate? Want to win a great travel prize? Barbara WIN! will be receiving a $100 voucher from Kathmandu. For more information visit kathmandu.com.au. Tell us your favourite YHA (in less than 100 words) and send it, with your contact details, to email@example.com Darwin Katherine The most relaxed way to see the vast Australian Outback is by train. • Travelcitytocityandseeeverything betweenatgreatvalue Perth • Makefriends,haveasnackordinner inthelicensedcafé/bar • Freshenupwithonboardshowerfacilities • Pointtopointbackpackerfaresarealsoavailable Alice Springs ULURU Adelaide Sydney Melbourne Rail Explorer Pass Thispassgivesyou2or3monthsofunlimitedtravelaboard TheGhan,IndianPacificandTheOverland.DiscoverUluru andtheRedCentre,orexploreDarwinandKatherineinthe tropicalTopEnd.Useyourpasstohoponandoffasyou pleaseandtravelinanydirectiononourgreattrainjourneys. Fuelsurchargeispayableattimeofbooking. 2 Month - $495pp 3 Month - $595pp heGhan MatildaCafé,T Find us at facebook.com/GreatSouthernRail To book call 13 21 47, visit greatsouthernrail.com.au/backpackers or your local travel agent. Territory ,Northern e rg o G e n Katheri Uluru,No rthernTerr itory For new bookings for travel from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015. Prices are subject to change without notice. The Rail Explorer Pass is issued to and accepted by the person named on the ticket, subject to the terms and conditions of carriage of Great Southern Rail. The pass is valid for use on specified rail services operated by Great Southern Rail (Red Service Day/Nighter Seats). For full pass terms and conditions see www.greatsouthernrail.com.au/backpackers. Travel Agent License No.TTA164190. 04053CDGM 1113 ISLAND ESCAPES WHETHER YOU’RE LOOKING FOR DESERTED BEACHES, OUTDOOR ADVENTURE OR A WILDLIFE ENCOUNTER, AUSTRALIA’S ISLANDS OFFER ALL THIS AND MORE, WRITES JANET MCGARRY . FEATURE / ISLAND ESCAPES ◆ The Remarkables, Kangaroo Island. SATC AUSTRALIA ISN’T lacking in great spots to visit but somehow travelling to an island adds a certain extra spark to any trip. Whether it’s 150 kilometres off the mainland or just a few hundred metres by bridge – it brings an element of isolation and adventure and a certain intrigue. Here are four of my favourite islands around Australia. All are easily accessible but offer very different experiences. All deserve a spot on your bucket list. The Remarkables, Kangaroo Island. SATC KANGAROO ISLAND Size matters. After all, with islands you might as well have them either small and deserted, or as big as the ACT. Kangaroo Island (commonly referred to as KI) is the latter – stretching for more than 150kms from top to toe. You’ll arrive off the ferry (perhaps a bit green around the gills as it can be a rough crossing) at Penneshaw on the south-easterly tip. But plan to spend more time than you expect getting around - whether you just want to knock off the main attractions or want to discover small empty beaches and other hidden gems. Slow down and you’ll be rewarded with outstanding vistas and rolling green country. KI should have been dubbed ‘Wildlife Island’. It takes most of Australia’s iconic animals and puts them within accessible distance. Never seen a koala outside of Taronga Zoo? You can fix that here with a wander down koala alley near Hanson Bay (where they are practically falling out of the trees). Or you might have chance encounters like the one I caught snoozing up in the branches of a convenient gum tree as I pulled into a cafe. Most people start with Seal Bay – a wide horse-shoe expanse of the southern ocean with a starkly white beach littered with sea lions. Gathering in groups, they flap and flop, bark and barrack, preen and pose, as groups of visitors are brought down by national park rangers for a close up encounter. It’s very controlled and organised, but works to balance visitor numbers with keeping the wildlife ‘wild’. It’s also easy though to see seals basking off rocks in Flinders Chase National Park. Visitors are drawn by the distinctive Remarkable Rocks, but wander a little off the main path and you’ll be rewarded with colonies of sea birds and basking seals. Late in the afternoon, driving back to the eastern end of the island, make sure to slow down and you’ll see mobs of shy tammar wallabies – much smaller than kangaroos, and virtually extinct on the mainland. You can never have enough wildlife, so finish a KI day with a visit to the Penguin Centre just down below the Kangaroo Island YHA in Penneshaw. Watch the fairy penguins come ashore at dusk – the odd one has even been known to take a wrong turn and pop up at the hostel! SLOW DOWN AND YOU’LL BE REWARDED WITH OUTSTANDING VISTAS AND ROLLING GREEN COUNTRY. Sand boarding on the Island's sand dunes SATC Cape Willoughby Lighthouse SATC SATC Sea Lion, Kangaroo Island. BEST WILDLIFE PHOTOS Special spots to get that shot: Koalas – catch a glimpse of them high up in the trees on KI, or get up close and personal on Magnetic Island. Horseshoe Bay, Magnetic Island. Tourism Queensland Sea Lions – Seal Bay on KI is the spot. Guided beach walks get you right up close to these giants. MAGNETIC ISLAND There’s a point on the ferry ride from Townsville to Magnetic Island when you realise that you are about to shake off urban living. Townsville is a busy regional centre and whilst some residents commute in from Maggie, the differences between the two are vast. Maggie is a world apart – a small tropical island with a laidback lifestyle to match. Only 8kms off shore, Magnetic Island is 50sq kilometres of tropical paradise, with deserted beaches, azure blue waters, and warm sunny days. Twenty minutes is all the time you have to get into holiday mode before the ferry pulls into the main settlement of Nelly Bay which looks back towards Townsville. The island’s only real road heads east from town, past idyllic beaches like Arcadia Bay, up and over a pass by the highest point on the island (Mt Cook), and down to the village of Horseshoe Bay. My first evening on Maggie, I sipped a cold beer at the pub on the beachfront at Horseshoe, listened to the chatter of locals and watched the light fade over the perfect curved beach. It was a great introduction to time away from the rat race, and one of the reasons Magnetic Island is a popular holiday spot. An early start next morning saw a breakfast date with koalas. Let’s be honest here, koalas are very cute – at a distance. Up close, they have a distinctive odour (eat eucalyptus leaves all day and you would too), and can be more than a tad grumpy. But Bungalow Bay YHA, just on the edge of Horseshoe Bay, has something no other YHA has – its own wildlife park – and a champagne breakfast with the koalas is too good to pass up. The rest of my stay was a mix of activity (think bare back horse riding along the beach and superlative sea kayaking to Balding Bay) followed by lazy afternoons at the pool or beach. It’s easy to see why the locals slip into Maggie-time, who wouldn’t? Manta Rays – diving off Stradbroke Island will allow you experience this majestic marine life. Tammar Wallabies – smaller, darker and much cuter than their larger marsupial relatives, these wallabies are abundant on KI. Penguins – it’s hard to resist a smile at fairy penguins who are so elegant in water but ungainly on land. Get up close on Phillip Island with the famous sunset beach parade. Clockwise from above: Coastal boardwalk; sunset penguins; Cape Woolamai, Phillip Island. Shutterstock, Tourism Victoria GET OUT THERE! PHILLIP ISLAND Penguins can be both a benefit and a curse; on the plus side, lots of people discover Phillip Island purely because of their famous fairy penguins. But on the negative side, most rush their visit and miss the grandeur and beauty of the island and the wealth of other things to see and do. Whilst connected to the mainland by a bridge, Phillip Island holds to the island ideal by having that sleepy, laidback feel that is so essential. Its rocky shoreline, craggy cliffs and long sea beaches with great surf breaks make it a quintessential Aussie seaside destination. Combine this with the appeal of a variety of motor sports (there’s more than just the bikes once a year!), wineries, animal sanctuaries, and even a chocolate factory, and it’s easy to extend your visit for days. Still not persuaded? You’ll be a convert on arrival at Phillip Island YHA where they use a simple brightly coloured map to show you all there is to see and do. The natural enthusiasm of hostel staff for their slice of paradise will do the rest. My ideal Phillip Island day? A bike ride from the hostel to nearby Cape Woolamai followed by a walk over the headland to take in the spectacular views. Refresh with a swim or surf and lazy beach afternoon followed by an early dinner at one of the many spots in Cowes. Round off the day with a quick walk and seal-spotting at The Nobbies headland en route to sunset penguin parade. Enough of lazing on a beach - get active! All these islands offer great adventure activity opportunities: Sand Boarding: Guaranteed a laugh as well as adrenalin rush. Kangaroo Island Outdoor Action runs trips to Little Sahara sand dunes. Surfing: Phillip Island have long stretches of surf breaks and Girls On Board surf school will get you out there. Diving: Get your PADI certificate without the crowds on Stradbroke Island. The dive school is even part of the YHA! Sea Kayaking: A sea level view of Magnetic Island around to a deserted beach on easy half day kayak trips with Magnetic Island Sea Kayaks. NORTH STRADBROKE ISLAND If your idea of heaven involves long stretches of white sandy beaches, clear blue waters, fishing, surfing, diving and swimming then North Stradbroke Island in Moreton Bay or ‘Straddie’ as it’s widely known is the perfect spot for you! One of the great sand islands, with rich history, diverse flora and fauna and pure isolation, you’ll be on island time in no time. Thirteen kilometres by ferry from the Brisbane seaside suburbs of Redland Bay and Cleveland make Stradbroke Island the ultimate easy island getaway. You arrive into Dunwich and should then head north to the coastal townships of Amity Point and Point Lookout. These little towns have a fantastic laidback vibe with quirky cafes and cute restaurants, all buzzing with holiday-makers and locals. Enjoying the panoramic views of the bay while eating fish and chips on the headland is a must do and if you’re lucky you’ll spot some dolphins, turtles or whales frolicking in the ocean. A visit to Stradbroke Island without experiencing some of BOOK the best scuba diving is an absolute no no. The chance to get NOW up close and personal with the colourful marine life is an WHERE TO STAY opportunity too good to refuse. Oh-so-conveniently Stradbroke Island YHA at Manta Lodge has an onsite scuba centre and run KANGAROO ISLAND YHA a PADI dive tour offering daily scuba dive and snorkel trips. ◆ (+618) 8553 1344 The waters are full of the most amazing sights - keep an eye out for wobbegongs and of course the manta rays. The hot tip, ◆ firstname.lastname@example.org if sighting manta rays is on your bucket list is that they like ◆ yha.com.au the cooler winter waters. Trust me it’s worth braving the icy MAGNETIC ISLAND – waters to catch a glimpse of these magical creatures and a definite pinch me moment. BUNGALOW BAY YHA In search of the perfect wave, Stradbroke Island. ◆ (+617) 4778 5577 ◆ email@example.com ◆ yha.com.au PHILLIP ISLAND – THE ISLAND ACCOMMODATION YHA ◆ (+613) 5956 6123 ◆ firstname.lastname@example.org ◆ yha.com.au STRADBROKE ISLAND – MANTA LODGE YHA ◆ (+617) 3409 8888 ◆ email@example.com ◆ yha.com.au YHA GETAWAYS DEALS YHA DEALS IN AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND Tourism & Events Queensland WHITEHAVEN & HAMILTON ISLAND ADVENTURE SOUTHERN ALPS SADDLE & SUNSET Amble, canter or trot through the foothills of New Zealand’s Southern Alps. Earlybirds can saddle up and head to the breathtaking Waimakariri River gorge, and get a taste of Mount Torlesse and the golden hills around Rubicon Valley. Or, ride into the sunset to experience the landscape’s changing colours. This package includes: u u No trip to The Whitsundays is complete without a visit to famous Whitehaven Beach and Hamilton Island. This deal gives you both, with a relaxing day cruise taking you to the white sands and azure waters of one of the world’s most beautiful beaches and cosmopolitan Hamilton Island. Package includes: u Shutterstock 1 night at YHA Springfield 2-hour horse ride. Choose early morning or sunset 1 night’s multi-share accommodation at Airlie Beach YHA + bonus backpack u Priced from NZ$100 per person multi-share and from $220 for two in a double/twin room. Valid to 28 February 2014. Excludes 14-15 February. Cruise to Whitehaven Beach with Lunch and afternoon tea Environmental Marine Charge time to explore Hamilton Island u u Priced at AU$200 per person. Departs daily. Valid to 31 March 2014. BOOK NOW YHA SPRINGFIELD u u AIRLIE BEACH YHA u u BOOK NOW +64 3 318 4780 firstname.lastname@example.org +61 7 4946 6312 email@example.com KANGAROO ISLAND 3-DAY SPECIAL With its abundant wildlife, rugged scenery, pristine sandy beaches and sumptuous local produce, Kangaroo Island will transport you to another world. Swim in beautiful Hog Bay and visit the island’s famous Seal Bay, Admiral’s Arch, and Remarkable Rocks with this package departing Adelaide daily. Package includes: u 2 BLUE MOUNTAINS CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE The Blue Mountains wilderness is just two hours west of Sydney, making it a perfect mini break for time-starved travellers. From abseiling and canyoning, to exploring the magical underworld of one of the world’s finest cave systems, or visiting the attractions of Scenic World, Blue Mountains YHA is letting you choose your own adventure with these three great deals: u 2-night nights’ multi-share accommodation coach and ferry transfers ex. Adelaide Kangaroo Island Highlights Tour u Return u Full-day Priced at AU$291 per person. Exclusive to YHA/HI members. Valid to 31 March 2014. BOOK NOW KANGAROO ISLAND YHA u u Scenic Discovery from AU$85 per person u 2-night Jenolan Caves Special +61 8 8553 1344 firstname.lastname@example.org from AU$130 per person u 2-night Adventure Deal from AU$219 per person APOLLO BAY SURF OR KAYAK Pack your summer swimwear and hit the waves at this seaside town on Victoria’s Great Ocean Road. Check out the scenic coastline as you kayak with the local seal colony just off shore, or try your hand (or should we say legs) at surfing. Apollo Bay Eco YHA has two great deals to entice you out on the water this summer: Singles Surf Package from AU$112 person u 2 u 2 All deals valid to 31 March 2014. Double/twin packages available. nights’ multi-share accommodation hour surf lesson, board and wetsuit hire Doubles Kayak Package from AU$295 u 2 u 2 nights’ for two people in a double room hour sea kayak tour to the seals (two people) Deals valid to 31 March 2014. Excludes 30 December to 2 January and 8-10 March 2014. BOOK NOW APOLLO BAY ECO YHA u +61 BLUE MOUNTAINS YHA u +61 BOOK NOW 3 5237 7899 2 4782 1416 u email@example.com u firstname.lastname@example.org Jenolan Caves Shutterstock YHA GETAWAYS HIKING LORD OF THE RINGS COUNTRY One of New Zealand's oldest National Parks, and dual World Heritage site, is the backdrop to the awesome Tongariro Alpine Crossing, considered the best day walk in the country. Tie up your hiking shoes and pack some layers before embarking on this challenging journey across a remarkable volcanic landscape. Spot the volcanic peaks of Mt Ngauruhoe (Mt Doom in the Lord of the Rings films), Tongariro and Ruapehu, old lava flows, craters, emerald green lakes, volcanic vents, panoramic views and tussock slopes leading to forest bushline. Package includes: u 2 RIDE BACK IN TIME IN OHAKUNE Step back in time and explore some of New Zealand's oldest railway history by bike. This fantastic multiterrain cycle track forms part of the New Zealand Cycle Trail and provides a great dayâ€™s cycling that is steeped in history. The 15km track winds beneath the cool forest canopy on the lower slopes of Mount Ruapehu and offers a rare opportunity to get into the heart of one of the few remaining sections of virgin native forest in the North Island. Package includes: u u u 2 consecutive nights at YHA Ohakune Mountain bike rental Transfer to the start of the trail consecutive nights at YHA Ohakune to and from the Tongariro u Transport Priced from NZ$85 per person multi-share, and from $195 per double/twin. Valid to 31 March 2014. Alpine Crossing u Bragging rights (free) Priced from NZ$75 per person multishare and from $180 per double/twin. Valid to 31 March 2014. Tourism New Zealand YHA OHAKUNE u +64 BOOK NOW 6 385 8797 u email@example.com Shutterstock NOOSA EVERGLADES BAR-B-CANOE Explore Australia’s pristine Noosa Everglades by canoe and cruise. Enjoy a river cruise to the “River of Mirrors”, then get your camera ready for a more intimate journey through the wetlands and sub-tropical rainforest by canoe. Deal includes: u 2 ABEL TASMAN TAXI TO TRACKS Hit the famous Abel Tasman National Park renowned for its golden beaches, sculptured granite cliffs, and world-famous Coast Track. Hop on the bus to Marahau then enjoy a scenic water taxi ride to Anchorage Beach where your scenic 3.5 hour coastal walk begins. Discover clear streams, native bush and incredible views before transferring back to the YHA. Package includes: u 2 nights’ double/twin accommodation at YHA Nelson nights' multi-share accommodation u Everglades river cruise including morning tea and BBQ lunch with beer and wine u Canoe paddle including buoyancy vests and waterproof carry bag u $10 internet voucher at the YHA Priced at AU$179 per person. Departs daily. Valid to 31 March 2014. u Return u Scenic bus transfers between YHA Nelson and Marahau in Abel Tasman National Park water taxi from Marahau to Anchorage Beach Priced from NZ$262 per double/twin. Valid 1 December 2013 to 28 February 2014. BOOK NOW HALSE LODGE YHA u +61 YHA NELSON u BOOK NOW 7 5447 3377 +64 3 545 9988 u firstname.lastname@example.org u email@example.com Kosciuszko Thredbo THREDBO MOUNTAIN ADVENTURE No crowds, awesome scenery, loads of activities, and of course the Mt Kosciuszko walk, the Snowy Mountains have all the ingredients for a summer adventure with altitude. Thredbo YHA is offering: u 3 u GRAMPIANS GO WILD Get up close with some the cuddly (and not-so-cuddly) animals at Halls Gap Zoo in The Grampians. The zoo boasts 160 species of native and exotic mammals, reptiles and birds. Offer includes: u 2 nights’ multi-share accommodation Half-day climbing and abseiling with K7 Adventures All equipment supplied, bring a packed lunch u 2-day scenic lift pass save 10% off Thredbo Summer Passes u PLUS: Prices start from AU$240 per person. Valid 13 December 2013 to 14 April 2014. Family packages available. nights’ 4-share or family room accommodation at Grampians YHA u Entry to Halls Gap Zoo u YHA members save 10% on the zoo's Animal Encounter experience Priced from AU$70 per person multishare and from $260 per family room. Valid to 31 March 2014. Excludes 30 Dec – 2 Jan, 7-9 Feb, 8-10 March. THREDBO YHA u +61 BOOK NOW GRAMPIANS ECO YHA u +61 BOOK NOW 2 6457 6376 3 5356 4544 u firstname.lastname@example.org u email@example.com Halls Gap Zoo FEATURE / HONG KONG HIDDEN GEMS u HONG KONG’S WHETHER IT’S ON A BRIEF STOPOVER, OR A TRIP IN ITSELF, HONG KONG OFFERS LOTS TO ENTICE THE BUDGET TRAVELLER WRITES DEBORAH DICKSON-SMITH. Roasted Duck. Deb Dickson-Smith HONG KONG is world-famous for shopping and fine dining, but if you scratch beneath the surface of its rooftop cocktail bars and Michelin-hatted restaurants you’ll find a fascinating culture, picturesque landscapes and plenty of cheap eats along the way. Hong Kong is a series of islands and a chunk of Mainland China so well linked by public transport that you would be forgiven for thinking it was a single island. In fact, it’s easier (and faster) to find your way around Hong Kong via MTR, tram and bus than it is by car or taxi. And of course it’s also a lot cheaper. One of the first things you should do on arrival is download the MTR app to help you navigate your way around, and an Octopus card. The Octopus is a rechargeable and contactless smart card which can be used on most forms of public transport including bus, minibus, ferry, peak tram, tram and MTR trains, as well as most major convenience stores, fast food restaurants and vending machines. Top tip: Do NOT buy your Octopus card at one of those vending machines at the airport – if you have a foreign passport it is cheaper to purchase one at the special kiosk near the exit to the express train. Here are some urban exploration ideas off the beaten tourist track in Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. KOWLOON A good way to start your day’s exploration of Kowloon is with a spot of brunch and there’s no better place than one of the local Cha Chaan Teng. Here you can grab yourself a well-stewed pot of tea, whitened and sweetened with evaporated milk. Jump on the MTR and head to the Star Ferry terminal for a wander along the promenade, take in the landscape of skyscrapers across the bay and go star-spotting. The Avenue of Stars is Hong Kong’s version of Hollywood Boulevard, with tributes to the stars of Hong Kong’s movie stars like Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee. While you’re here take a ride on the famous Star Ferry, which has been carrying passengers since 1950 and was rated by National Geographic as one of 50 “Places of a Lifetime”. (Your Octopus card will work here.) In the late afternoon take the MTR back to Jordan and wander through Temple Street Market, a local shopping extravaganza with rows of brightly lit stalls and a few local delicacies to sample. Be sure to venture into the Yau Ma Tei area at the end of the street to watch the impromptu performances and maybe get your fortune told. The Jade Market (Corner Kansu Street and Battery Street, Yau Ma Tei) is a short stroll away and also worth checking out to practice your haggling skills before heading to Mong Kok for a bit more people-watching and window-shopping at the Ladies Market on Tung Choi Street. Mong Kok is also where you’ll find the famous Goldfish Market which actually sells all manner of tropical fish but don’t be tempted – you can’t take them out of Hong Kong. Claudio Zaccherini Shutterstock Clockwise from left: The Ladies Market, Mong Kok; Shanghai Street, Kowloon; The Star Ferry Deb Dickson Smith Tung Cheung Shutterstock The view from Victoria Peak. Deb Dickson-Smith 5 BEST CHEAP EATS 1 Tsui Wah Restaurant. There are several Tsui Wah restaurants dotted around Hong Kong, but the best-known is in Central. Grab yourself a well-stewed pot of tea and toasted buns spread with condensed milk. 15 Wellington Street, MTR Central In Kowloon, the oddly named Australia Dairy Company is worth a visit to sample their famous Double Boiled Egg White Milk Dessert – a bit like a bowl of sweet custard. It’s extremely popular (and busy) so expect to share your linoleum table with a few locals. 47-49 Parkes Street MTR Jordan North Point’s famous mini egg puffs, or Gaai Dan Jaai as they are known, are sweet puffs of batter perfect for a mid-afternoon or post-dinner treat. 492 King’s Road, MTR North Point In Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island, you’ll find one of the best places in Hong Kong for Cantonese barbequed meat, or Char Sui – Joy Hing Chiu Chow Roasted Meat Shop. Shop C, 265-267 Hennessey Road, MTR Wan Chai To sustain those evenings spent haggling in night markets, sample some of the delicious street food Mong Kok has to offer and be sure to try a stick of spicy fish balls and some other barbeque delights. MTR Mong Kok 2 HONG KONG ISLAND Hong Kong Island’s most famous tourist attraction is the Peak, and it is definitely worth taking the tram ride to the top to take in the view of the Hong Kong skyline, which is spectacular. It’s not necessary to pay the extra to see the view from the observation deck though as you can get an equally good view from a much smaller little viewing platform down the pathway leading away to the left from the big complex at the top. Hop on a tram at any point on Hong Kong Island and head down to Causeway Bay for some serious window shopping at the many department stores including the huge Times Square complex. Take a detour under the Canal Road Flyover and reverse your bad luck or place a curse on one of your adversaries by paying a granny to hit a piece of slipper with another slipper in an old Chinese ritual called Da Siu Yan. In North Point you’ll find the only theatre in Hong Kong with regular Cantonese Opera performances as well as another local favorite hole-in-the-wall eatery. It’s worthwhile taking time to visit the many antique shops along Hollywood Road in Sheung Wan. There are some gorgeous little curiosity shops to explore along the way to one of Hong Kong’s most famous temples, the Man Mo Temple. 3 4 5 Hollywood Road, Shuan Wan Deb Dickson-Smith Also in Sheung Wan, the spectacle of Dried Seafood Street is worth a lookin as is the old Western Market, an Edwardian-style building that’s now home to arts and craft and fabric merchants who were originally located in the old alleyways of Central. Definitely end your day somehow in Wan Chai, with a visit to the White House on Mallory Street – an historic colonial building that now houses a cooperative of cartoonists. You can take a tour of the studio and gallery that takes you through the process of creating Manga, from initial sketches to finished artworks, models and sculptures. Hong Kong light show. Deb Dickson-Smith TOP 5 DAY TRIPS 1 TAI O FISHING VILLAGE ON LANTAU ISLAND 2 HONG KONG WETLAND PARK 3 OCEAN PARK THEME PARK 4 STANLEY MARKET 5 GLOBAL GEOPARK Tai O Village Shutterstock YHA MEI HO HOUSE The brand new Mei Ho House YHA, which opened in October 2013, uses innovative design to provide comfortable and ambient accommodation and common areas while showcasing the surrounding area’s rich history. So old really does meet new … The building itself is a public resettlement block, built in 1954 which has been fully renovated and revitalized into a hostel with 129 rooms. The Shek Kip Mei Resettlement blocks were built by the government in 1954 to rehouse the massive number of victims of a disastrous fire, which swept through the area, and marked the start of Hong Kong’s public housing program. The launch of this program saw tremendous impacts on society, livelihood and education, laying the groundwork for Hong Kong’s economic takeoff. Mei Ho House, having stood here for half a century, has a rich heritage, which is on display in a museum housed inside the hostel. Here you are able to see how people lived in the 1950s Shek Kip Mei resettlement area with sample units, public bathing facilities and shops. The rooms, which in the 1950s managed to house two extended families, (privacy assured by a curtain), now house twin rooms, family rooms and multishare rooms, sleeping between two and eight guests. WiFi is available throughout the building as well as a self-service laundry, self-catering kitchen and the Mei Ho House Fullcupcafe. The hostel has several indoor and outdoor communal areas including a courtyard and landscaped garden - The Hideaway - outdoor garden with hammocks and bean bags. Indoor common rooms such as The Hub and The Hangout are equipped with papers, magazines, board games and computers. Accommodation ranges in price from HKD$300 (AUD$40) per person per night for a mixed or single sex share room in the off peak season, to HKD$1900 (AUD$258) for a family room in peak season. It’s a short walk from the hostel to the closest MTR stations Sham Shui Po or Shek Kip Mei and from there, a 10 to 15 minute journey into central Hong Kong. WHERE TO STAY YHA MEI HO HOUSE u (852) 3728 3500 u firstname.lastname@example.org u yha.org.hk BOOK NOW The traditional Maori way to say welcome is hongi, a touching gesture that involves foreheads and noses. Blaine Harrington The landscape, history and culture of Rotorua are like nothing youâ€™ve seen before. Eric Lindberg - carving at the National The art of Maori Carving School in Rotorua. Chad Case 1 1 Blaine Harrington NORTH ISLAND Experience the cathedrallike stillness of Waipoua Forest at night and visit the worldâ€™s largest kauri trees with Footprints Twilight Encounter in Hokianga. 4 2 NORTH ISLAND Stroll from Heaven to Earth with Tamaki Hikoi beginning at the dormant volcano, Maungawhau (Mt Eden), and past landmarks of historical significance to the Ngati Whatua in Auckland. 3 4 NORTH ISLAND Put a new spin on Maori art tours! Cruise Lake Taupo with Sail Barbary to see Maori rock acarvings from an historic yacht. SOUTH ISLAND Ride the Gondola to Bobâ€™s Peak and step into the world of Kiwi Haka in Queenstown. Feel the spirit in the fearsome haka, stunning poi display and more. SOUTH ISLAND Take an historical pre1850 amble along the Christchurch coast amd inner city or visit the Ko Tane Pa (village) at Willowbank and have your mettle tested: do you come in peace or war? 5 BOOK NOW YHA BAY OF ISLANDS PAIHIA YHA BAY OF ISLANDS THE ROCK CRUISE YHA ROTORUA YHA KAIKOURA Shutterstock THINK HIP AND HAPPENING AND HEAD TO THE ‘BURBS, WRITES JO STEWART ABOUT MELBOURNE’S HAPPENING HOT SPOTS. ◆ L ive. L ove. Melbourne. FEATURE / MELBOURNE SUBURBS WHAT IS IT about the suburbs? Once deemed a cultural wasteland, suburban areas are enjoying a renaissance, with travellers swapping the city lights for the slow burn of the sprawl. Whether it’s the desire to get to know the local way of life or just a yearning for authenticity, instead of being ‘stuck in’ the ‘burbs, travellers are now getting stuck into the ‘burbs. Sure, Melbourne’s urban core has enough to keep visiting punters happy but it doesn’t have a stronghold on the cool scene. Just like New York’s five boroughs, Melbourne’s inner suburbs are hip, happening, and have a distinct, almost-tribal identity that travellers are picking up on. Luckily, Melbourne’s trams, trains and nifty bike sharing system are on the ready to get you there, whichever way the wind blows. NORTH: FITZROY, COLLINGWOOD, CLIFTON HILL, NORTHCOTE, CARLTON, BRUNSWICK This is where the greenie, leftie, eco-conscious, artsy tribe live, work and play. Independent book stores, gritty street art, record stores, vintage shopping and live music proliferate in these parts, as do bike lanes, green space and vegan restaurants. You won’t find many air-conditioned malls here, with strip shopping and markets the preferred form of retail. Fitzroy stalwart, the Rose Street Artists’ Market is a weekend institution for locals and visitors alike, and a top place to score an oh-so-Melbourne keepsake or gift. Music of all varieties is a big part of local life in these parts, with live music institution The Tote (complete with sticky carpet) delivering rock, punk and metal, while Fitzroy’s Night Cat is the domain of Latin beats and smooth, salsa moves. Back street ‘footy pubs’ typically serve up schnitzels and brews with a side of folk or country. In winter, the old fireplaces crackle, but in summer the beer gardens overflow with cider and sunshine. Over in Carlton, Lygon Street may be considered ground zero for Italian dining, yet many of the best food and wine finds are in surrounding streets with Rathdowne Village’s low-key, cash-only Gerald’s Bar delivering food, wine and imported beer minus the hype. This is one area where straying from the main street pays serious dividends. Rose Street Artist's Markets, Fitzroy Jo Stewart Street Graffiti Jo Stewart WEST: YARRAVILLE, SEDDON, WILLIAMSTOWN, FOOTSCRAY TOP 5 ‘LIVE LIKE A LOCAL’ EXPERIENCES An area with working class roots but an eye on the future, Melbourne’s west is often overlooked despite its wealth of diversity. The hub of Yarraville is a compact collection of shops clinging to the Art Deco glory of the Sun Theatre, an old-school movie house known for its comfy couch seating and artisan choc-top selection. Wine bars, cafes and speciality shops are neatly dissected by a train line that cuts straight through the village. Forget tunnels and overhead bridges for pedestrians – Yarraville still relies on white wooden boom gates and level crossings, nailing the ‘quaint village feel’. Footscray was once considered by some to be ‘on the wrong side of tracks’. However Footscray has earned some street cred of late thanks its solid food scene. A haven of cheap eats, Footscray’s migrant population has ensured it’s become a foodie hotspot for global fare. For anyone unafraid to swap fine dining for budgetfriendly banquets, Footscray is the real deal - plastic table cloths and all. At the end of the rail line, you’ll find the port of Williamstown. This is where shipping containers and cargo ships mix with luxury yachts and fish and chip shops. A walk or bike ride along the waterfront reveals maritime history, black swans, old mariner’s cottages, and locals going for their daily jog. Pro tip: skip the train and take the ferry to Williamstown for a dose of fresh salt air. 1 Get down at No Lights No Lycra 49 Nicholson Street, Brunswick Essentially a formalised dance party, this phenomenon has spread to Sydney, New York and London, but it all started in Melbourne, so why not shake it with the founding members? Have a play date at Mr Wow’s Emporium 97b Smith Street, Fitzroy 3065 Any place with a mission statement like ‘drinks, good times and bocce’ is worth checking out. Mr Wow’s delivers beer, wine, cocktails, free popcorn, ping pong tables and a dedicated space for playing bocce. Go back in time at the Coburg Drive In 155 Newlands Road, Coburg Downloads and live streams can’t compare with the humble drive in. The Coburg Drive In delivers a good, old-fashioned night on the town complete with 50’s-style diner serving up the usual (deepfried) suspects. Go green at CERES Environment Park Stewart Street, Brunswick For a dose of green space, head to CERES to see how locals farm in an urban environment. There’s an onsite café, organic produce market, nursery, and bike workshop too. Catch a talkie at the Astor Theatre Corner Chapel Street & Dandenong Road, St Kilda With the community saving this icon from redevelopment time and time again, this place truly has nine lives. She’s a classy old dame with an impressive calendar of movies showing every week; from classic double features to cult favourites. 2 3 4 5 Wiilliamstown Jo Stewart SOUTH: ALBERT PARK, SOUTH YARRA , ST KILDA, PRAHRAN, ARMADALE St Kilda Pier Tourism Victoria Heading south of the city, Albert Park, Elwood and Armadale boast an air of refinement and elegance, with stately Art Deco apartment blocks, boutiques, antiques shops and grand manors with rose gardens adding a touch of class. Over in Toorak shops selling luxury goods and imported wines and cheeses at ‘you wish’ prices occupy the main street, while the nearby suburbs of South Yarra and Prahran offer chain stores and high street fashion for the rest of us. On the weekend Prahran’s Chapel Street pumps with youthful energy as crowds hit the streets for retail therapy, manicures, long lunches, and afternoon champagne sessions. Waterfront St Kilda is a favourite with all kinds of travellers. The grinning face of Luna Park, the faded glory of the Palais Theatre, towering palm trees, and burnt orange sunsets combine to create a photographer’s dream. The Esplanade Hotel (or the ‘Espy’) combines loud music with a killer view, and if the wind is up the Espy offers a prime position to see kite-surfers carve up the bay. Down the road, Acland Street unites locals and tourists, who all come for cakes, coffee, gelato, juices, smoothies and other extremely important necessities for happiness. Tea House in South Yarra. Tourism Victoria Richmond Bowling Club Richmond Bowling Club Jo Stewart Jo Stewart Richmond Visions Of Victoria EAST: EAST MELBOURNE, RICHMOND , ABBOTSFORD The inner east is a bit of a mixed bag. Sports nuts, fashionistas, students, working professionals and families all collide in this pocket within walking distance of the city. Richmond’s main roads have distinct personalities, with people heading to Bridge Road for fashion bargains, Swan Street for food, pubs and gigs, and Victoria Street for a steaming bowl of pho. Over in Abbotsford keen caffeine fiends line up to get into Three Bags Full, a perennially busy café known for its coffee prowess and impressive cake selection. The east also lays claim to the hallowed turf of the MCG. Ruled by the fast-paced, scrappy game of AFL in winter, come summer the ‘G is handed over to cricket, with the first day of the Boxing Day Test seeing crowds swell to more than 80,000. But it’s not all about elite sports in these parts. With barefoot bowling and beer at austerityapproved prices, the Richmond Union Bowling Club welcomes visitors and is a top spot for a lawn bowls showdown in the sun. BOOK NOW WHERE TO STAY MELBOURNE CENTRAL YHA ◆ +61 3 9621 2523 ◆ email@example.com ◆ yha.com.au MELBOURNE METRO YHA ◆ +61 3 9329 8599 ◆ firstname.lastname@example.org ◆ yha.com.au WHAT'S ON HEREâ€™S OUR PICK OF EVENTS COMING UP IN YOUR REGION SYDNEY FESTIVAL 9 - 26 January 2014 It wouldnâ€™t be summer in Sydney without this audacious annual festival and its celebrated menu of music, theatre, dance, art, sights and sounds of all sorts. Highlights include: a life-size inflatable Stonehenge in Hyde Park; free concerts in the Domain; eats, beats and treats at the Festival Village and Speigeltent; and the curtain-raising Festival First Night, which transforms the city centre into an epic theatre of music and spectacle. It's just one of the events hitting Sydney in the New Year. Check out Circus Oz's aerial and acrobatic feats and comedic mayhem. Cheer on the Australia Day Ferrython, and enjoy the Chinese New Year Twilight Parade and dragon boat races. sydneyfestival.org.au BOOK N SW NOW u Stay at Sydney Central, Railway Square or Sydney Harbour YHA Hamilton Lund Destination NSW Festival First Night concert Caveboy Studios, Nate Cooper WORLD BUSKERS FESTIVAL 16-26 January 2014 Brace yourselves folks, the buskers are coming for the largest street performance festival in Australasia! There will be more buskers, more laughter, and more chaos than ever. Prim and proper Hagley Park will become ‘Busker Park’ with over 500 hours of circus, street comedy, acts of daring, juggling, acrobatics, fringe theatre and contortionism transforming Christchurch into a heaving, brash street party. worldbuskersfestival.com BOOK NOW u u u Stay at YHA Christchurch Rolleston House 0800 278 299 (NZ) or 1800 242 191 (Aus) email@example.com OZ Hopman Cup, Perth 28 December 2013 – 4 January 2014 Kicking off the Australian Open Series, Perth welcomes some of the world’s big hitters for this round robin competition between eight countries. hopmancup.com Australia’s own Bernard Tomic, Lleyton Hewitt and Samantha Stoser will be spearheading the Aussie assault at this New Year tournament. Fans can also enjoy including live bands, player appearances, activities and giveaways. brisbaneinternational.com.au Brisbane INTERNATIONAL 29 December 2013 – 5 January 2014 world tennis challenge, ADELAIDE 7-9 January 2014 Take one legendary player from tennis’ hallowed past, including Australia’s Pat Cash and former women’s champion Martina Navratilova, pair with one current star of the court, for this tournament with a twist. worldtennischallenge.com australian open, melbourne 13-26 January 2014 Djokovic, Nadal, Sharapova, Williams. The world’s hottest tennis players battle it out over two star-studded weeks for Grand Slam glory. You don’t need to be a tennis fan to get sucked into the atmosphere. In addition to the court action, there is plenty of live music acts, a super screen in Garden Square and the ever popular Heineken Beer Garden. australianopen.com BOOK u Book YHAs in all these locations at yha.com.au NOW Image courtesy of Tennis Australia Neale Cousland Shutterstock NZ ST KILDA FESTIVAL 1-9 February 2014 One of the oldest and best free street festivals in Australia, Melbourne’s St Kilda Festival attracts thousands of people who spill onto the streets of St Kilda for a program of music, dance, comedy, visual arts and various workshops. Festival Sunday (9 February) is the highlight, when the party hits the foreshore to enjoy the last days of summer with performances by some of the country’s best talent. stkildafestival.com.au BOOK VI C NOW u Stay at Melbourne Metro YHA or Melbourne Central YHA Greg Elms Tourism VIC SA TUNARAMA FESTIVAL 24–27 January 2014 QLD CAIRNS CHINESE NEW YEAR FESTIVAL 28 January - 15 February 2014 Come and celebrate the Chinese Year of the Horse in Cairns. From street festivals, first class dining, art exhibitions, traditional entertainment, games, and demonstrations, the festival is a great showcase for the region’s cultural diversity. cadcai.org Tuna is the order of the day at this entertaining free festival. The 53rd annual Tunarama promises live entertainment, competitions, fun activities, stalls, rides and fireworks,set on the Port Lincoln foreshore. Try the best of the local fresh seafood and the region’s wines and watch the 10 kg fish fly in the celebrated World Championship Tuna Toss competition. tunarama.net u Stay at Port Lincoln YHA +61 8 8682 3605 firstname.lastname@example.org BOOK NOW u u u Stay at Cairns Central YHA +61 7 4051 0772 email@example.com BOOK NOW Shutterstock u u NAPIER ART DECO WEEKEND 19-23 February 2014 Throw on your fedora or your feather boa and step back into Gatsby time for a weekend in the ‘Art Deco Capital of the World’. Following the devastating 1931 Hawke’s Bay earthquake, Napier was rebuilt in Art Deco style. Join the locals to relive and relish the mystique of the 1920s and 30s with a vintage car parade, fashion shows, steam train rides, a Gatsby picnic, dry boat racing, street parties, a Depression dinner, free outdoor concerts and aerial displays that will include director Peter Jackson’s WWI vintage plane. artdeconapier.com Stay at YHA Napier 0800 278 299 (NZ) or 1800 242 191 (Aus) firstname.lastname@example.org NZ Images: Art Deco Trust New Zealand BOOK NOW u u u DRIFTWOOD AND SAND 20-26 January 2014 What do you do with a beach absolutely chokka with driftwood? Start a festival! Driftwood and Sand is a summer celebration of art on Hokitika Beach. Using nature’s never-ending supply of raw materials such as flax, sand and an abundance of driftwood, thousands of people bring their imaginations and a little bit of elbow grease to join in the classic beach sculpture competition (top prize $500 NZD), art workshops and the kids’ penguin house-building in “Penguinville”. driftwoodandsand.co.nz u u u Driftwood and Sand Stay at YHA Hokitika 0800 278 299 (NZ) or 1800 242 191 (Aus) email@example.com BOOK NOW Sean Fennessy Tourism Tasmania TAS AND ALSO... Whether you’re feeling patriotic or just enjoy a good show, both Australia and New Zealand will be celebrating their cultural diversity and history during their respective national days in early 2014. Take advantage of events, concerts, fireworks and a whole lotta action... FlashStudio Shutterstock TASTE OF TASMANIA 28 December 2013 – 3 January 2014 For seven days and nights Hobart’s waterfront will be filled with aromas, sights and sounds as the Taste Festival takes place for another year of fun, food and entertainment. Taste has become one of Australia’s most successful food and wine events, coinciding with the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. Best off entry is free! thetasteoftasmania.com.au BOOK NOW ◆◆ Stay at Montgomery’s YHA ◆◆ +61 3 6231 2660 ◆◆ firstname.lastname@example.org AUSTRALIA DAY 26 JANUARY 2013 ChameleonsEye Shutterstock PERTH INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL 7 February – 1 March 2014 WA Waitangi Day, NZ 6 FEBRUARY 2013 BOOK ONLINE For over 50 years this festival has welcomed some of the world’s greatest living artists to Perth. It comes as no surprise then that the festival offers some of the world’s best in every genre of art you could possibly think of including theatre, music, dance, exhibitions, visual arts, film, and big focus on indigenous events recognising the traditional Noongar nations of Western Australia. perthfestival.com.au BOOK NOW ◆◆ Stay at Perth City YHA ◆◆ +61 8 9287 3333 ◆◆ email@example.com YHA.COM.AU YHA.CO.NZ BACKPACKER / ESSENTIALS YHA.COM.AU YHA.CO.NZ NEXT ISSUE AVAILABLE 12 FEBRUARY 2014