BACKPACKER / ESSENTIALS /AUGUST 2016
TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND A WORLD AWAY
SYDNEY BREAK 48 HOURS ON A BUDGET THERE BE HOBBITS NZâ€™S LORD OF THE RINGS TRAVELS WONDERFUL WALES CASTLES, MOUNTAINS, COAST
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INSIDE BACKPACKER / ESSENTIALS
AUSTRALIA/NZ NEW YHAS
GLOBAL NEWS TRAVEL THE WORLD
TOP DEALS IN OZ & NZ
NEW ZEALAND LOTR TRAVELS
VOL 20 / No 4 AUGUST 2016
TROPICAL Cover image: Ocean Safari
MANAGING EDITOR Janet McGarry NEW ZEALAND EDITOR Brindi Joy DEPUTY EDITOR Melanie Tesoriero
YHA CONTRIBUTORS Leah Kmiec Rachel Seymour Di Caught
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
CASTLES, MOUNTAINS, COAST
48 HOURS ON A BUDGET
ART DIRECTOR Justin Thomas GRAPHIC DESIGN Nicolas Chua
EDITORIAL ENQUIRIES 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
AUSTRALIA/ NZ THREDBO / SUSTAINABILITY / YOUR YHA
KOSSIE IN COSSIES YHA and Thredbo YHA were honoured to sponsor five very brave men from Sydneyâ€™s south who - in the middle of winter - tackled Mount Kosciuszko in nothing but their budgie smugglers! (and protective snow shoes, of course). The group, named 'Kossie in Cossies', stayed at Thredbo YHA for a training hike when the weather was a little less harsh and then again in the lead up to their hike in July. They are aiming to raise $100,000 for beyondblue to help the organisation continue to address the social problem of depression and anxiety, whilst also promoting beyondblue to young people. Three of the team members are school teachers and have seen the issues that young people face firsthand and wanted to do their bit to help - plus show their students that a
physical and mental challenge such as this can be achieved with persistence, endurance and commitment - a very noble cause! Check out the slideshow to see the Kossie in Cossies team at the hostel before the hike - and reaching the summit!
YHA AND SUSTAINABILITY SUSTAINABLE HOSTEL FUND UPDATE
YHA GOES GEOTHERMAL IN ROTORUA
YHA’s Sustainable Hostel Fund was launched in 2010, since that time YHA guests have contributed $210,462 (up to June 2016) towards projects in hostels that help to reduce carbon emissions. Every dollar donated by guests is matched by at least one dollar by YHA! In the 6 years since the fund was launched, YHA has completed many projects that help reduce our carbon emissions with 8 major projects already part funded by guests and two more in the planning stage. Some of these projects include: • Installing solar hot water systems (including some gas-boosted) at Byron Bay YHA, Adelaide Central YHA, Pittwater YHA, Glebe Point YHA, Grampians Eco YHA and Brisbane City YHA.
Rotorua sits squarely on New Zealand’s Volcanic Plateau and the Pacific Ring of Fire which means there’s a whole lot of geothermal action bubbling away in her belly. YHA has tapped into that action by tapping into a pre-existing geothermal down-bore heat exchanger that will heat the hostel’s potable hot water supply. That means a 30% reduction in the hostel’s greenhouse gas emissions. And the news only gets better. Geothermal energy is possibly the cleanest form of renewable energy and by utilising it in the hostel, guests get a chance to learn more about geothermal power BOOK and how geothermal power NOW supports CO² reductions.
• Solar Panels at Alice Springs YHA and Perth City YHA. Solar panels on Perth City YHA
Guests can donate to the Sustainable Hostel Fund by booking on yha.com.au and choosing the donate option in the payment proccess. We will keep you up to date on future projects.
Rotorua Geothermal Field Chris McLennan
YOUR YHA YHA NEWS FOR MEMBERS IN AUSTRALIA
PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE
YHA TASMANIA MERGER PROPOSAL
YHA Directors and senior managers from around Australia recently participated in a strategic planning meeting, focussing on delivering even better services to members and guests in the future. The YHA Strategic Planning Conference took place in July 2016 in South Australia, bringing together delegates from around the country, and including overseas representation from YHA NZ and HI-Canada Pacific Mountain Region. Participants took part in two days of discussions, brainstorming and innovative thinking on the ways in which YHA can develop its business through to 2020 and beyond. Topics included how to grow strategic partnerships and alliances, sustainability, and how to better bring YHA’s not-for-profit ethos to life. Themes and ideas from the conference will now feed into a new national YHA Australia Strategic Plan which will guide the organisation’s future development. Thanks go to all the staff, and particularly the volunteer Directors, who gave up their time so generously to join in the planning process.
The Council of YHA Tasmania continues to work towards a merger with YHA Ltd (the operator of hostels across Australia, including the ACT, NSW, NT, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria). The benefits would include having a more streamlined structure and creating a stronger, more united entity. A due diligence process is underway with reports to be considered by the Council of YHA Tasmania and the Board of YHA Ltd in August. Subject to acceptance of the reports the next step will be for the Council of YHA Tasmania to recommend the merger with members in that State to be given the opportunity to vote on the merger proposal from mid-September either by proxy postal vote or in person at a Special General meeting in Hobart scheduled for the evening of Tuesday 18 October 2016. Full details will be sent to members eligible to vote in due course.
Whilst in South Australia, Directors and managers visited Mount Lofty YHA – the longest running hostel in the YHA Australia network.
FRANCE'S BEST CYCLING ROUTES / NEW HOSTELS / YHA MEMBER BENEFITS
FRANCE’S BEST CYCLING ROUTES Green tracks, hidden lanes, vineyards, walnut tree orchards, cheese makers, canal towpaths and abandoned railway tracks - you don’t have to be a Tour de France champion to enjoy the picturesque bike paths of the French countryside, especially when there’s a glass of red and a plate of cheese to look forward to at the end of a long day on the road! Here’s our list of France’s top five cycling routes, including a few tips before you hop on your bike. Bon voyage!
THE ATLANTIC MEDITERRANEAN TWOSEAS CANAL
Entre-deux-Mers, or between two seas, is a beautiful name for a beautiful route, which stretches 800kms between the beaches of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Wind your way along the Gironde estuary, the Garonne Canal and the Canal du Midi - a registered UNESCO World Heritage site - along this green route shaded by trees and free of motorised traffic. Tackle the whole trip or explore individual legs at your leisure.
Stay at: HI Sète Youth Hostel, HI Carcassonne Youth Hostel
/BEST CYCLING ROUTES Brittany Shutterstock
As you follow the ‘Cyclist’s Odyssey’, you always have the Atlantic Ocean at your side and the wind, the cliffs, the beaches and the forests of pine trees to awaken your senses. The longest cycling route in France - more than 1,200kms, and 80 percent of it car-free - the Vélodyssée connects seaside Roscoff to the Basque coast via the shores of Brittany.
Stay at: HI Pontivy Youth Hostel, HI La Rochelle Youth Hostel
LOIRE À VÉLO
See the orchards, vineyards and Renaissance architecture of the Loire Valley from 800kms of peaceful cycle ways trailing alongside France’s longest river. The Loire is renowned for its palatial châteaux (castles), as well as the region’s cuisine: cheese (Crottin de Chavignol, Sainte-Maur de Touraine), wine (sancerre, chinon, muscadet), and mouth-watering fruit desserts - don’t say no to a tarte Tatin, a Sologne specialty, or a plum pâté from Angers.
Stay at: HI Nantes Youth Hostel
Loire Valley JD Billaud
/BEST CYCLING ROUTES Notre Dame Shutterstock
Pedal from Paris’ Notre Dame to the island commune of Mont Saint-Michel via the historic ‘Veloscenic’ route, which passes five UNESCO World Heritage sites on its way from the French capital to the stunning Normandy fort. The 450kms of green pathways and forest tracks are great for all levels of cyclist, especially families.
Stay at: HI Paris
The 40-kilometre bike circuit of Lake Annecy is a classic, looking over the clear waters from alpine heights and providing plenty of beaches for a quick dip along the way. You can decide which route you take – and there’s a 300 metre altitude difference between some of the 100-plus routes – but the old town of Annecy, 40kms south of Geneva and nicknamed ‘the pearl of the French Alps’, provides a special start and end point.
Stay at: HI Annecy Youth Hostel
Lake Annecy Shutterstock
/NEW HOSTELS BERLIN GERMANY PANTANAL BRAZIL Berlin's Brandenburg Gate Shutterstock
HI BERLIN OSTKREUZ Perched on the doorstep of Berlin’s busiest transport interchange, Ostkreuz station, the state-of-the-art Youth Hostel Berlin Ostkreuz is the ideal base to explore the German capital. The refurbished school building is the fourth – and biggest – HI hostel in Berlin, and boasts modern en-suite showers and toilets in every room. Youth Hostel Ostkreuz is located just steps away from trendy Friedrichshain, one of Berlin’s most lively and creative districts brimming with bars and cafes, while all the attractions of this uber-cool and budget-friendly city – like the Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag, Museum Island, Checkpoint Charlie and East Side Gallery (Berlin Wall) are only a couple of S-Bahn stops away.
BOOK NOW HI BERLIN OSTKREUZ u
/NEW HOSTELS BERLIN GERMANY PANTANAL BRAZIL Brazil’s Pantanal region Shutterstock
HI HOSTEL SÃO JOÃO If you’re looking for a hostel that offers an authentic local experience of Brazil’s epic Pantanal region, you’ll love HI Hostel São João Ecotour. This newly opened property is surrounded by 2000 hectares of untouched nature – the perfect launch pad for your adventure into the world’s largest tropical wetlands, home to a breathtaking variety of plants and animals such as jaguars, macaws and tapirs. Hostel São João offers organic local cuisine, tours into the beating heart of the South Pantanal on horse, boat and foot, and comfortable multishare and private airconditioned rooms – as well as the chance to sleep in open-air hammocks just like the Pantanal’s trailblazing cattle ranchers.
BOOK NOW HI HOSTEL SÃO JOÃO u
/YHA MEMBER BENEFITS
YHA MEMBERS SAVE IN THE UK Harry Potter buffs, ever wanted to stroll around the grounds of Hogwarts? Game of Thrones addicts, fancy a visit to Winterfell’s Stark Castle? Batman fans, how about Wayne Manor from The Dark Knight Rises? If you’re planning a trip to the UK, your YHA membership is your key to these famous sites and countless more film and TV backdrops. They are all properties owned by the National Trust and you can save $35 on membership of the Trust when you join here in Australia. This then gives you free or discounted entry to more than 180 historic properties in Australia and over 500 belonging to their partners at the UK National Trust (excluding special events). You’ll save a fortune! Simply enter promo code “YHA” at checkout on nationaltrust.org.au.
Lacock Abbey - used for the Harry Potter films Shutterstock
Belton House - used for TV show Pride and Prejudice Shutterstock
YHA DEALS IN AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
Surfers Paradise ChameleonsEye
YHA WHALE WATCHING SPECIALS
SURFERS PARADISE YHA Package includes: u u u
It’s that special time of year again! Thousands of humpback whales have begun their 10,000kms migration north to warmer waters. Don’t miss out on seeing these beautiful creatures along Australia’s east coast! If you want the best vantage points, why not visit one of these top locations and score a bonus accommodation package while you’re at it!
1 night accommodation Half day whale watching tour Complimentary morning tea
From AU$112 p.p multi-share. Valid until 30 September 2016.
SURFERS PARADISE YHA
+61 7 5571 1776
PORT MACQUARIE YHA Package includes: u u u
3 nights’ accommodation 1.5 hours whale watching cruise 3 days Premium Wi-Fi
From AU$87 p.p multi-share. Valid until 31 August 2016.
PORT MACQUARIE YHA
+61 2 6583 8133
Port Macquarie Whale Watching Port Macquarie Cruise Adventure
HERVEY BAY YHA
COFFS HARBOUR YHA
2 nights’ accommodation Half day whale watching tour - morning or afternoon
From AU$135 p.p multi-share, AU$270 double/twin room or AU$520 for 2 bed selfcontained villa. Valid until 14 October 2016.
HERVEY BAY YHA
2 nights’ accommodation Half day whale watching tour
From AU$100 p.p multi-share. Valid until 31 October 2016.
u u u
3 nights’ multi-share or double room accommodation 3 hour whale watch cruise 1 entry into Dolphin Marine Magic Park including dolphin shows
From AU$150 p.p. Valid until 31 August 2016.
+61 7 4125 1844
+61 7 5536 7644
COFFS HARBOUR YHA
+61 2 6652 6462
ADELAIDE CENTRAL YHA BED & BREAKFAST Relax in the comfort of a double room and then get out and enjoy the city’s cool cafes, bars, markets, a spot of shopping and a bit of culture. Or maybe you’d like to hike up a mountain, walk along the beach, bicycle along the river - it's all here, and it's all easy. Package includes: u u u
3 nights’ accommodation in a double room Continental or DIY hot breakfast every morning Free premium Wi-Fi for three days
From AU$120 p.p. Valid until 30 September 2016.
ADELAIDE CENTRAL YHA u u
PERTH CITY CRUISE BREAK This awesome deal will help you make the most of your visit to this amazing city with a stunning cruise along the Swan River to the historic port city of Fremantle. Package includes: u u u
2 nights’ accommodation - double/twin ensuite or 4 share room 2 days' breakfast Perth - Fremantle River Cruise
From AU$99 p.p. Valid until 31 October 2016.
PERTH CITY YHA u u
+61 8 9287 3333 email@example.com
Fremantle River Cruise Captain Cook Cruises
+61 8 8414 3010 firstname.lastname@example.org
AUCKLAND UNDER THE SEA PACKAGE Sharks and stingrays and penguins, oh my! Get ready to go under the sea with one of Auckland’s best attractions: Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium. Immerse yourself in Stingray Bay, Underwater World, Fish Gallery and Seahorse Kingdom. Then hotfoot it back to the hostel to dry out. Package includes: u u
1 night accommodation Entry into Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium
From NZ$47.20 p.p multi-share or NZ$125 per private room. Valid to 9 September 2016.
YHA AUCKLAND INTERNATIONAL u u
+64 9 302 8200 email@example.com
BOOK NOW Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium Kelly Tarltons
BAY OF ISLANDS ESCAPE All aboard YHA NZ’s only houseboat to explore the Bay of Islands with an activity-fuelled, naturefilled, awesome-full overnight cruise. Get ready to swim, snorkel, kayak, fish, target shoot, dive for mussel and kina, play beach cricket and go island walking. Plus there’s some pretty sweet extras. Package includes: u u u u
1 night accommodation BBQ dinner, continental breakfast & packed lunch Wetsuit & towel Hot cuppa or cold brew upon arrival
From NZ$214.20 p.p multi-share or NZ$477 for private cabin. Valid until 30 September 2016.
+64 9 402 7796 firstname.lastname@example.org
Waterfalls, rainforest and loads of fun! This overnight adventure to the Atherton Tablelands will be one to remember. Plus you get two nights' stay at Cairns Central YHA. Package includes: u u
1 night accommodation in the Atherton Tablelands 2 nights' multi-share accommodation at Cairns Central YHA Full day guided tour of the Atherton Tablelands 1 x breakfast, lunch and dinner
From AU$175 p.p. Valid until 31 March 2017.
BOOK NOW YHA BAY OF ISLANDS THE ROCK CRUISE
ATHERTON TABLELANDS OVERNIGHT WATERFALLS ADVENTURE
CAIRNS CENTRAL YHA +61 7 4051 0772 u email@example.com u
HIT THE SLOPES TEKAPO DEAL
CANBERRA YHA FLORIADE SPECIAL
Whether you shred the slopes at a screaming fast pace or you’re an energetic novice, Roundhill Ski Area has group lessons to keep every snow addict satisfied. Plus they’ve got the wickedest views. Cap it off with soaking in the nearby hot pools, then settle in for some fireside chilling at the lakefront YHA. Package includes:
Floriade is Canberra’s way of celebrating the return of Spring – and with one million flowers in bloom on display, it’s a sight you don’t want to miss. NightFest – Floriade’s twilight event with amazing light displays, night markets and more – is a must-see. Stay at Canberra City YHA with this amazing package, including:
u u u
1 night accommodation 1 Roundhill group lesson Entry to Tekapo Springs including steam and sauna
u u u u
From NZ$92 p.p multi-share or NZ$214 for a private room. Valid until 11 September 2016.
2 nights’ accommodation Breakfast daily Premium 3 day Wi-Fi 1 day bike hire 1 meal voucher at Transit Bar
From AU$98 p.p in a multi-share. Valid until 30 September 2016.
Tekapo Springs at Night Mark Gee
YHA LAKE TEKAPO u u
+64 3 680 6857 firstname.lastname@example.org
CANBERRA CITY YHA +61 2 6248 9155 u email@example.com u
TONGARIRO WINTER CROSSING The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is considered the best day walk in New Zealand. Crossing in winter offers one special perk summer doesn’t - snow! Tie up your hiking shoes and clip on your crampons before embarking on this challenging fully guided journey across a remarkable volcanic landscape. Spot the volcanic peaks of Mt Ngauruhoe (Mt Doom in LOTR), Tongariro and Ruapehu, old lava flows, craters, emerald green lakes, volcanic vents and panoramic views covered in pristine snow. Package includes: u u u u
2 nights' accommodation 8 hour guided Tongariro winter alpine crossing with Adrift Crampons, ice axes & warm winter gear Transport
NZ$215 p.p in a multi-share. Valid until 6 October 2016.
YHA TAUPO +64 7 378 9292 u firstname.lastname@example.org u
Tongariro National Park Destination Lake Taupo
FEATURE / NEW ZEALAND
Everything's coming up
NEW ZEALAND WAS A BIG DEAL LONG BEFORE ORLANDO BLOOM TURNED UP IN A PAIR OF TIGHTS, BUT JAMES DRAVEN DISCOVERS THAT NO TRIP AROUND THE NORTH ISLAND WOULD BE COMPLETE WITHOUT THESE LORD OF THE RINGS EXPERIENCES.
Weta Cave and Weta Workshop are a mecca for LOTR fans Weta Workshops
“DON’T DROP THAT,”
says our guide with a broad, friendly grin but fear in his eyes, “it’s worth a gazillion dollars.” Wellington’s Weta Workshop is the worst place on Earth to not be allowed to take photographs. Literally everywhere you look there is an awesome Instagram opportunity. Including the gazillion-dollar blade I hold before me that isn’t shimmering with hues of blue, warning of nearby goblins, but merely reflecting my grin-spattered face. After being shown Weta Workshop’s pioneering method of handknitting chain mail with lightweight plastic and seeing the formidable, unyielding Sauron suit of armour, and realising it’s also made from pliable polymer, I’m delighted to feel the weight of a real, metal shortsword in my hand. And not just any shortsword, this is Sting. It’s not a reproduction or a replica; this is the actual weapon of Frodo Baggins, used on film in the Lord of the Rings movies. And I’m thinking about using it as the ultimate selfie stick. Being a fan of the genre, I’m channelling my inner geek, trying to use telepathy on my companions, silently screaming, “Somebody, please take a sneaky picture of me!” Nobody does. Elven royalty, Galadriel, can rest assured I’ll not be troubling the good people of Middle-earth with my powers of mind control.
Nadine Jaggi applying finishing touches to the Giant Eagles Weta Workshops
Lurtz on display inside the Weta Cave Weta Workshops
Inauspiciously located in a residential neighbourhood in the suburb of Miramar, just outside Wellington and a jaunt from Weta Workshop, you might walk right past the Weta Cave if it weren’t for the three largerthan-life stone trolls standing, petrified in the front garden. They do tend to catch the eye. Inside you’ll find a tiny museum featuring Bilbo’s brogue-busting prosthetic feet from The Hobbit movies, as well as some genuine Elven armour and ... well, let's not forget that Weta is about more than Lord of the Rings: expect goodies from their other projects like King Kong, The Chronicles of Narnia, James Cameron’s Avatar, Stephen Spielberg’s Tintin, and, erm, pre-schoolers’ TV show, The WotWots. The adjoining shop sells all the usual LOTR souvenirs along with some unexpected, hand wrought, limited-edition goodies exclusive to Weta. Go nuts getting pictures of yourself here with a life-size and lifelike model of Gollum or Lurtz, the dirty-great Uruk-hai (that’s a big orc), that stands sentinel beside a variety of Middle-earth mementos. There’s also a minuscule screening room, showing a genuinely interesting documentary featuring Richard Taylor and Peter Jackson. All of this can be accessed for free, but since you’ve come all this way you might as well fork over the $25 to go on the behind-the-scenes tour.
Dwarf, Dwalin on display in the Weta Cave James Draven
Bilbo’s feet in the Weta Cave James Draven
The Trolls on display outside the Weta Cave in Miramar Weta Workshops
Don’t arrive expecting a Hollywood-style veneer of glamour, Weta Workshop is a real-life, working effects department, and a much more authentic experience because of it. Here you’re likely to see members of the design and production teams working on movie projects or private commissions. It’s a diminutive space crammed full of incredible, genuine movie memorabilia and tours are led by actual members of the Weta team who are themselves part of the creative process and can give meaningful and technical insights into the secrets behind the silver screen. For example, did you know that there was going to be a movie based on hit video game series, Halo? Directed by Neill Blomkamp, produced by Peter Jackson and scripted by Alex Garland? Well there was – until the project was shelved – and Weta went so far as to design and build a fully functioning Warthog (a fictional, machine-gun-turret-equipped light reconnaissance vehicle) to promote the video game, Halo 3, and tease the movie that never was. It’s currently parked in Weta’s workshop.
TOURS ARE LED BY ACTUAL MEMBERS OF THE WETA TEAM WHO ARE THEMSELVES PART OF THE CREATIVE PROCESS After being shown its step-by-step design and manufacturing process, I’m allowed to pick up and tote a plasma rifle from Neill Blomkamp’s gritty sci-fi classic, District 9: the film that resulted from the axing of the Halo movie … And then, of course, there’s that sword. JRR Tolkien described Sting as practically a dagger by Elven standards, though the perfect shortsword for Frodo Baggins, and Bilbo before him. The latter is said to have been able to conceal Sting ‘in his breeches,’ and he was still able to run about stealing dragon treasure unhindered, and unpierced, by its legendary prick. I’m still considering if I could get Sting into my trousers, personal legend intact, when my furtive glances are noticed and I’m disarmed, with a smile.
Gollum at Wellington Airport
Hobbiton Ian Brodie
KEY FACTS ◆ Find out more about Weta online
STAY AT YHA WELLINGTON ◆ +64 4 801 7280 ◆ email@example.com
YHA TAUPO ◆ +64 7 378 9292 ◆ firstname.lastname@example.org Hobbiton Sara Orme
YHA OHAKUNE ◆ +64 6 385 8797 ◆ email@example.com
YHA NATIONAL PARK ◆ +64 7 892 2870 ◆ firstname.lastname@example.org
3-STEP PERFECT HOBBITON PHOTO PLAN 1. Get there early So you’re in Hobbiton (on picturesque private farmland in the locally known town of Matamata) and you want to capture the peaceful, bucolic beauty of the Shire on camera. Save yourself hours of trying to Photoshop grass over dopeylooking tourists by turning up as early as you can by getting on the first tour of the day.
of the group. Assuming you’ve followed tip #1, skip this photo op and head up the hill quickly to be the first of the day to arrive at Bilbo’s, giving you the chance to get a sneaky (read: forbidden) picture behind his garden gate.
3. One GIF to rule them all Remember when Bilbo slipped the One Ring on and disappeared in front of the Party Tree on his eleventy-first 2. Get the ultimate selfie birthday? There’s a moment on the tour Well bring a tripod and take two when the group stops to take photos of the tree, one with you some pictures of visitors peering out of a random hobbit in it and one without, then make hole; the guide will tell all those an awesome animated GIF of you disappearing just like Mr who finish to continue up to Bilbo’s house and await the rest Baggins.
TONGARIRO NATIONAL PARK: SURMOUNTING MT DOOM There’s no way Frodo and Samwise would have made this climb. Stopping every five minutes for a cuddle and a pep talk, or a tiff about who’s eaten all the sammies. The magic of the movies is the only way those two vertically challenged ring-bearers didn’t meet their vertical limit and actually made it to the top of Mount Doom to chuck that abominable golden band into its fiery, volcanic depths. Sure, Mount Ngauruhoe, to give it its actual name (but don’t ask me to pronounce it), isn’t raining lava down upon me – it hasn’t erupted in the real world since 1975. But – as a loose rock comes gambolling down the 45-degree incline towards me, bouncing within a few feet of my head before gleefully prancing towards some other foolish climbers below, like an enthusiastic puppy greeting newcomers – I’m starting to think this little perpendicular detour wasn’t such a great idea. Then the peak becomes engulfed in cloud and it starts to rain. Great. This optional side-schlep from the Tongariro Alpine Crossing – which is one of New Zealand’s ultimate tramping adventures through the eponymous national park – climbing the 2,287 metres up the cone of Mount Ngauruhoe is made more challenging by the shifting volcanic sands that slip underfoot, giving way with each step. There’s no marked track; you find your own way up, if you can. Make it to the top to see its steaming volcanic vents though, and you can bask in the knowledge that you too could have defeated Sauron … and that you’re probably a good metre higher up than any hobbit would be. Tongariro Alpine Crossing YHA New Zealand
Blue Lake, Tongariro Alpine Crossing Johan Lolos
NEW ZEALAND HOBBIT ADVENTURES
TAUPO NATIONAL PARK OHAKUNE
WELLINGTON SOUTH ISLAND
FEATURE / TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND
Queensland’s Northern Stars ◆
HEAD NORTH ON A ROAD TRIP FROM CAIRNS AND YOU’LL FIND THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS IN CAPE TRIBULATION AND PORT DOUGLAS, WRITES JO STEWART.
CAPECAPE TRIBULATION TRIBULATION
DAINTREE DAINTREE NATIONAL NATIONAL PARK PARK PORT DOUGLAS
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a rainforest and sugar cane-fringed highway, these two spots with distinctly different personalities show two sides of Tropical North Queensland’s coin.
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About 140 140kms kilometres north ofnorth Cairns, of Cairns, Cape Tribulation Cape Tribulation is where is the where forest themeets forest the sea.the meets Actually, sea. Actually, it’s where it’s two where UNESCO two UNESCO World Heritage-listed World Heritage-listed places come together places come together in a magical in a magical way, soway, it’s the so it’s typethe of type placeofwhere place spending where most of your spending most time of your outdoors time is outdoors a wise investment. is a wise investment. With no mobile With no phone mobile signal or phone signal Wi-Fi oravailable Wi-Fi available once you once make youthe make ferry thecrossing ferry crossing into Cape into Cape Tribulation, it makes sense to be immersed in the natural wonders of the UNESCO-approved Daintree and Great Barrier Reef. Daintree National Park, Cape Tribulation Shutterstock
Boardwalk with fan palms Shutterstock
Millions of years older than the Amazon Rainforest yet not nearly as famous, the Daintree Rainforest has something special for everyone from avid twitchers keen on a tropical bird sighting to water babies excited to swim with sea turtles, or thrill seekers in the mood for some super fun zip-lining. If there’s an adventure you need arranged, in Cape Tribulation there’s a whole host of passionate locals keen to make it happen for you. While diving, snorkelling, jungle surfing and kayaking are all perfectly good ways to experience Cape Tribulation, a good old fashioned walk is one of the best ways to get acquainted with the unique wildlife and environment of the area (and as a bonus it doesn’t cost a thing to have a wander). A simple walk reveals everything from swampy mangrove systems full of twisted tree roots to a rainforest filled with graceful, electric blue Ulysses butterflies. The Dubuji Boardwalk is an easy option at just over a kilometre and reveals many species including tree snakes, spiders, stick insects and bats. Because this walk is essentially a series of interconnected boardwalks, it’s the perfect introduction to the local environment and a great option for visitors without much time on their hands. A bigger challenge comes in the form of the Mt Sorrow Ridge Walk. Taking about five to six hours to complete the return trip, walkers are challenged with difficult terrain and an abundance of leeches who are fond of the lush environment and low hanging canopy. While annoying, leeches aren’t considered dangerous so walking with long pants or gaiters is recommended, as is taking plenty of water. Walkers who manage to get to the top are rewarded with unforgettable views at the lookout, especially on a typical Queensland sunshine-filled day. While the thought of being surrounded by leeches, crocs, tree snakes and spiders may seem a little unsettling, this is the beauty of Cape Tribulation. It really is a world away from everywhere else.
CAPE TRIBULATION FOOD EXPERIENCES Cape Tribulation has many outdoor adventures on offer, but the food experiences found in the rainforest aren’t to be overlooked either. Here are three ways to taste the tropics in Cape Trib: Whet your appetite Whet Café & Bar sits in a tropical rainforest setting and serves native fare like kangaroo, crocodile and
barramundi, as well as a fierce curry that is so good it could come straight from the streets of India.
and coconut, or go for something left field with a tub of Guinness-flavoured ice cream. Cheers!
Daintree Delights Marketed as ‘supernatural biodynamic organic ice cream’, the range of flavours at Floravilla Ice Cream Factory is very impressive. Choose from tropical favourites like passionfruit, mango
Meat as Mason’s Exotic meats are the order of the day at Mason’s Café. You can have wild boar, buffalo, emu or camel meat on your burger if beef is too pedestrian for your tastes.
Cape Tribulation Tourism Queensland
HIGH SOCIETY If Cape Tribulation is the perfect place to drop off the map for a while, then Port Douglas is the place to be social. Popular with everyone from backpackers to honeymooners, retirees and young families, easy, breezy Port Douglas is one of those places that has a holiday vibe all year round. About 70 minutes’ drive from Cairns, Port Douglas’ proximity to the Great Barrier Reef makes it a great launching point for diving and snorkelling trips, yet many people head to Port Douglas simply to relax in a cosmopolitan spot with a distinct village feel. While Macrossan Street is undoubtedly the hub of all things coffee, burgers, beer and brekkie, it pays to wander further afield. Over at the Reef Marina, a brand spanking new microbrewery offers something special for the discerning drinker in search of something more than a tinnie of XXXX. While there’s nothing wrong with Queensland’s iconic golden ale, Hemingway’s Brewery gives beer lovers a genuinely great selection of locally-brewed craft ales. From crisp pilseners to super hoppy IPAs, dark lagers, zesty ginger beers and beyond, the beers brewed at Hemingway’s are all inspired by stories of local legends who have helped to shape the face of Port Douglas over the years. Keeping this in mind, drinking at Hemingway’s is practically a history lesson – so get studying!
St Mary's by the Sea, Port Douglas Shutterstock
Four Mile Beach Shutterstock
But it’s not all about eating and drinking in Port Douglas. While you may not have much spare cash to invest in art, it doesn’t cost anything to look at the colourful works of Indigenous art adorning the walls at Ngarru Gallery. From kaleidoscopic dot paintings depicting Dreamtime stories to more abstract contemporary works, this light and bright space isn’t the type of gallery where window shoppers are made to feel unwelcome. Instead, guests are encouraged to soak up the knowledge and beauty of the works on display, even if they’re not in a position to pay for one. With a collection of artefacts including sculptures, weavings and termite-hollowed didgeridoos, the gallery also stocks smaller items like jewellery boxes and cards, for those of us not accustomed to dropping five grand on a painting. Over at Whileaway Bookshop & Café, visitors can buy a book and grab a killer latte at the same time. While many towns geared towards travellers serve up questionable coffee, Port Douglas has some solid coffee options, with locals and tourists alike gravitating towards Whileaway’s laid back charm and friendly staff (who are keen to pair you up with the perfect book to read while in town). Whether you’re after books, brews or a little boutique shopping, Port Douglas has you covered!
Sunrise Sunrise on Four Mile Beach Shutterstock
EATING PORT DOUGLAS After a long day exploring the reef, a good feed is in order. Here are two three Port Port Douglas Douglas spots spots toto make make aa beeline for: Iron Bar A quintessential Queensland experience, the in-house cane toad racing comedy show held here nightly is a major drawcard for visitors. Six different types of steak and a range of fresh seafood seal the deal. Rattle 'nSally’s Cyclone Hum If premium Warm and friendly, wagyu burgers the low and key American-style, Rattle 'n Hum’s no-fuss slowcooked pub classic spare menu ribs and are friendly your thing, staff then make Cyclone it a favourite Sally with delivers locals and allvisitors this andalike. more along with American and Australian craft beers and ciders. Rattle ‘n Hum Warm and friendly, the low key Rattle n Hum’s no-fuss classic pub menu and friendly staff make it a favourite with locals and visitors alike.
MORE INFORMATION Try out Ocean Safari’s reef trips or ziplining with the Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours crew whilst in Cape Tribulation – the hostel can help you out with bookings.
WHERE TO STAY CAPE TRIBULATION BEACHOUSE YHA ◆ +617 4098 0030 ◆ email@example.com
CORALDOUGLAS PORT BEACH LODGE YHA YHA ◆ +617 4099 5422 ◆ firstname.lastname@example.org Cape Tribulation YHA
The Iron Bar Tourism Queensland
with turtles Snorkelling withSnorkling turtles Ocean Safari images Ocean Safari images PLAY VIDEO
FEATURE / WALES
WONDERFUL WALES IT'S SAID THAT WALES HAS MORE CASTLES, PER SQUARE KILOMETRE, THAN ANY OTHER COUNTRY. AND THE FORTRESS OF CONWY IS POSSIBLY THE MOST IMPOSING AND ENCHANTING OF THEM ALL. BY STEVE MCKENNA
The fortress of Conwy Shutterstock
MANCHESTER CONWY BETWS-Y-COED BLAENAU FFESTINIOG SNOWDONIA NATIONAL PARK
a rock above the musselblessed River Conwy near Llandudno, with the verdant hills of Snowdonia in the background, this UNESCO World Heritage site stirs the imaginations of even the biggest historyphobes. I can't help but think of Game of Thrones - and the castles of Winterfell and King's Landing - as I delve into its dimly-lit, greystone nooks and crannies, past spartan chambers and dungeons, and up spiral staircases to breezy ramparts and watchtowers that afford spellbinding views over a former garrison town that's encircled by 1.3 kilometres of walkable, moss-covered walls.
The castle was built in the Middle Ages for Edward I, an English monarch with an appetite for invasion (not content with quashing the rebellious Welsh, he also sought to crush those independence-seeking Scots; William 'Braveheart' Wallace was perhaps his biggest nemesis). During Edward's iron-fisted rule, you'd barely hear Cymraeg (Welsh) spoken in Conwy (the natives were shunted out behind the town walls). But these days, this melodic, at-times tongue twisting language permeates the narrow, salty-aired streets - it's estimated that almost 40% of Conwy County residents can speak (at least some) Welsh alongside English. Conwy Castle at night Shutterstock
Conwy Castle Steve McKenna
A 90-minute drive from Manchester, Conwy is a rewarding first pit stop on our road trip through Wales, a country that's similar in size to Israel, but noticeably greener. They certainly get their fair share of rain here, but as luck would have it, we enjoy wonderfully warm and dry weather (it's May and the Welsh countryside, speckled with grazing cows and sheep, and etched with ancient dry stone walls and farmhouses, looks utterly idyllic under the sun). Snowdonia National Park is particularly beautiful. Founded in 1951, carpeting 10 percent of the country, Wales' first national park is a gorgeous collision of craggy mountains, glacier-carved valleys, mirror lakes and cute towns and villages (some of which are linked by scenic heritage train rides). We really like Betws-y-Coed, which, in English, roughly translates to 'chapel in the wood'. Fringed by oak, beech and conifer forests, and gushing rivers and waterfalls, it has the air of an alpine resort, with photogenic clusters of stone cottages and bridges, and cosy cafes and restaurants that cater to hungry hikers and sightseers.
As well as traditional Welsh dishes - think lamb cutlets, leek soup and rarebit (it's like cheese on toast but with a creamy, mustardy sauce) - you'll find creative menus big on locally-sourced produce. Olif, for example, serves 'gourmet' Conwy Valley beef burgers and 'Welsh tapas', including pan-fried chorizo, Menai prawns in garlic butter and Anglesey goat's cheese salad. We eat exceedingly well in Wales - the quality and quantity of the food are impressive, and the prices markedly cheaper than London's.
Zip World Titan Steve McKenna
WE SPEND AN EXCITING MORNING AT ZIP WORLD TITAN NEAR BLAENAU FFESTINIOG, AN HISTORIC SLATE MINING TOWN THAT APPARENTLY ONCE 'ROOFED' THE WORLD. We find plenty of fun ways to burn off the calories (2016, incidentally, is Wales' 'Year of Adventure' and campaigns are being run to promote the country's diverse adrenaline-fuelled activities). We spend an exciting morning at Zip World Titan near Blaenau Ffestiniog, an historic slate mining town that apparently once 'roofed' the world. Hitting speeds of up to 70km/h, we zip line a total of 2 kilometres over sheepdotted moorland, jagged quarries and denuded hills, while glimpsing faraway vistas of Snowdon (at 1085m, Wales' highest summit). Another much talked-about new attraction is Surf Snowdonia. Built over a former aluminium factory site, this inland artificial wave lagoon lures both novice and accomplished surfers. Despite spending countless summer days by the beaches of Margaret River, Bondi and Byron Bay, I'd never surfed before (I blame my shark phobia, clumsiness and terrible coordination). But, clad in a thick winter wetsuit (which I initially mistakenly put on back to front), my first-ever lesson is a surreal treat. Guided by my instructor Sirena, I manage, after about 15 attempts, to paddle smoothly onto my board and catch one of the regular-as-clockwork, machine-generated waves (they range from 0.5m to 2m high). It's exhilarating - for about three seconds, then I lose my balance and splash, once more, into the lagoon.
Zip World Titan Steve McKenna
Mt Snowdon in Snowdonia National Park Visit Britain
Another memorable activity that sees us wading through chilly Welsh waters is coasteering. The good folk of Pembrokeshire - in south Wales - tout themselves as the pioneers of this quirky fusion of daring coastal pursuits (think: rock climbing, cliff jumping, wave riding and swimming into sea caves). As our guide, Lucy, explains: "Coasteering is basically everything your parents said you couldn't do." It's a thrilling way to experience one of Britain's most ruggedly picturesque coastlines - especially when you're flushed around in turbulent wave pools nicknamed 'The Toilet' and 'The Washing Machine'. Driving along Wales' south coast towards Cardiff, we pull into some beguiling little towns. Perched by the heron-peppered Taf Estuary, with an eye-catching ruined castle by its shore, Laugharne is best known for its Dylan Thomas connections. The most revered Welsh poet of all time, and a notoriously prolific drinker, Thomas spent the last four years of his life in Laugharne (we actually lunch in The Boathouse, his former waterfront abode and now a cafe and museum dedicated to him; Prince Charles came to pay his respects a few summers back). Accustomed to the tranquillity of the Welsh countryside, the vibrancy of the capital, Cardiff, takes us aback. Once the world's largest coal port, it's reinvented itself as a buzzing city of leisure and culture, with dazzling modern architecture, world-class museums and exuberant festivals. On 17-18 September 2016, the city will mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of its famous son, Roald Dahl. Secrecy cloaks the itinerary, but events will be staged in several iconic Cardiff locations. Rumours abound that Brain's Brewery, which has been slaking Welsh beer drinkers' thirsts since 1882, will double up as Willy Wonkaâ€™s Factory. Bute Park, a lovely leafy space in the shadow of Cardiff's eclectic neo-Gothic castle, will host a giant Dahlthemed pyjama picnic. In the words of the author's made-up language, Gobblefunk, it promises to be a flushbunkingly gloriumptious weekend.
FIVE OTHER THRILLING ADVENTURES IN WALES 1. M OUNTAIN BIKING Wales has some fantastic free designated mountain biking trails. Check out Snowdonia's Coed-y-Brenin Forest Park, which has snaking routes of increasing difficulty. 2. C OASTAL HIKING You'll need a few months to 'do' the 1400km Wales Coast Path, which spans the country's entire coastline. But you can hike smaller sections - say the charming Gower Peninsula, near Swansea - in a day. 3. C AVING AND POTHOLING Scramble through some of the longest limestone caves in Britain in the Brecon Beacons National Park, a haven of outdoorsy pursuits an hour's drive north of Cardiff. 4. H ORSE RIDING In Pendine, on the county border between Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire, saddle up and navigate enchanting oak forests and sweeping sandy beaches. 5. B OG SNORKELLING Held annually in the Mid-Wales town of Llanwrtyd Wells, the World Bog Snorkelling Championships sees competitors race through a peat bog, clad in snorkels, flippers and fancy dress.
Coed y Brenin mountain biking Steve McKenna
Horse riding in Pendine Steve McKenna
FIVE OTHER CARDIFF HIGHLIGHTS 1. CARDIFF BAY Arresting sights fringe the capital's rejuvenated waterfront, including the Wales Millennium Centre (a mecca of drama and culture); Doctor Who Experience (the hit BBC show is filmed in Wales), and the Norwegian Church Arts Centre (where Roald Dahl was christened). 2. THE ARCADES Far more alluring than its modern malls are the city centre's spruced-up Victorian and Edwardian arcades, which shelter independent shops, cafes and eateries. 3. PRINCIPALITY STADIUM Formerly the Millennium Stadium, the home of Welsh rugby - nestled by the River Taff - is not to be missed when the national team is playing. The atmosphere is electric. 4. NATIONAL MUSEUM CARDIFF Housed in an elegant neoclassical building, this admission-free gem boasts one of Europe's best collections of Impressionist art, with paintings from the likes of Monet, Renoir and Sisley (who got married in Cardiff in 1897). 5. NIGHTLIFE Few British cities are as lively as Cardiff after dark. You'll find everything from craft ale taverns and slick wine bars to boozy clubs and rocking live music venues (you might be lucky enough to catch the next Manics or Stereophonics). Morgan Arcade Visit Britain
WHERE TO STAY There are many YHA hostels in Wales â€“ ranging from small quaint cottage-style hostels in Snowdonia National Park to a modern city hostel in Cardiff. You can see all of them and book online.
FEATURE / SYDNEY INSIDER ATTRACTIONS
WITH A STUNNING HARBOUR, COUNTLESS BEACHES AND PLENTY OF TRENDY CAFES, BARS AND MARKETS, A VISIT TO SYDNEY KEEPS YOU ON YOUR TOES. BUT WITH PLENTY OF TOURIST APPEAL COMES A TONNE OF TOURIST TRAPS. WE LOOK BEYOND THE CLICHÉS TO BRING YOU THE TOP INSIDER ATTRACTIONS FOR 48 HOURS IN SYDNEY. BY JENNIFER ENNION
DAY ONE BREAKFAST There's a reason Sydneysiders love The Grounds of Alexandria - it's where design meets secret garden meets top-notch food. With multiple spaces, both indoors and out, The Grounds, as the locals say, is somewhere to hang awhile. It gets busy, so visit early for breakfast. The main cafe serves a delicious platter of fruit, nuts, granola and organic yoghurt (among other dishes), and does a perfectly spiced chai tea. You can also grab takeaway muffins, pastries, cronuts (croissant-donut pastries), donuts, plump strawberries and loaves of sourdough - great for hostel snacking later. If you ride a bicycle there, you'll get free coffee, too. SHOP Just around the corner is The Grounds Markets, held on weekends. They're small but a good place to pick up a stylish souvenir. Soul & Ark sell beautiful soy candles in fragrances such as pink champagne and coconut lime. They come in lightweight tins, too, making them easy to fit into a backpack. You'll also find jewellery, children's books and cards. Afterwards, walk to Green Square station (10 minutes) and catch a train to Bondi Junction, via Central. Then catch a bus (333, 380, 381, 389) to Bondi Beach. Once in Bondi, head to Hall Street, home to local favourite Gertrude & Alice Cafe Bookstore. There are more than 25,000 second-hand books for sale, making it the perfect place to pick up your next read. Bondi Markets, in Bondi Beach Public School, is your best bet for affordable clothing, but if you're in the mood to splurge, head to Gould Street's high-end boutiques. Once you're shopped out, stroll down to the beach for a dip, before wandering up the hill into North Bondi.
The Grounds Markets
The Grounds of Alexandria Jennifer Ennion
LUNCH Head away from the main drag for a no nonsense lunch at The Hill Eatery, North Bondi. Here, you're removed from the "Bondi scene" and can dine on reasonably priced, simple burgers while surrounded by pot plants and fresh flowers. The Hill also has mellow Sunday sessions, during which you can enjoy a burger, beer and beats. Plus, there's free Wi-Fi. WALK & SWIM Burn off that burger by following one of Sydney's most stunning trails, the Bondi to Coogee Walk. Saunter for 6 kilometres along cliff edges, over headlands and across beaches as you visit the beautiful postcodes of Tamarama, Bronte and Clovelly. Stop for a swim at Bronte and, if the ocean is calm, don't forget to carry snorkelling gear for Gordons Bay. Reward yourself at the end with a swim at family friendly Coogee Beach. Catch a bus from Arden Street to Oxford Street, Surry Hills (about 30 minutes), then walk to Butter, on Hunt Street. DINNER & DRINKS It may look like a sneaker store from outside, but Butter is a new small restaurant/bar making its mark on the Sydney after-dark scene. Perch on a stool behind the shopfront of high tops and hoe into a basket of spicy fried chicken as you tap your toes to the great soundtrack of hip hop tunes. With black decor, laid-back staff and a beer and champagne menu, this place will make you linger. It's a popular spot, so arrive about 6pm to avoid queues.
Butter Jennifer Ennion
DAY TWO BREAKFAST For breakfast with a difference, start your day at Reuben Hills, in Surry Hills. Quirky creations include porridge with Milo, sultana syrup and charred mandarin, and a broken omelette roll with fried shrimp and bacon jam. This cafe is also a great spot for people-watching. Once your belly is full, walk to Central Station (10 minutes), catch a train to Circular Quay (8 minutes), and board a ferry to Cockatoo Island (27 minutes).
Cockatoo Island Shutterstock
TOUR A ferry trip to Cockatoo Island is a harbour "tour" without the price tag. Aside from the views of the Harbour Bridge and waterside suburbs, the island has an interesting history. It was settled as a convict prison in 1839, and was later home to a reformatory school and one of Australia's biggest shipyards. Visitors can learn about it all on a self-guided audio tour. After about two hours, return to Circular Quay and explore The Rocks by foot. LUNCH The Rocks is one of Sydney's most treasured suburbs, with its history rooted in European settlement. Today, its biggest drawcard is the numerous old Aussie pubs, and The Glenmore is one of them. Built in 1921, it has a narrow, soaring stairwell to a rooftop bar with stellar views of the Opera House. Private parties can reserve the best seats at night, so call in at lunchtime when it's less crowded and dishes such as barbecue beef ribs are on the menu. Walk back down the hill to the impressive Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) on the harbour.
A FERRY TRIP TO COCKATOO ISLAND IS A HARBOUR "TOUR" WITHOUT THE PRICE TAG VISIT Culture vultures will love the MCA, which showcases works by contemporary Australian artists. You'll find a wide range of mediums on exhibition, from painting, photography and sculpture to moving image, and works on paper and bark. The MCA is also a good place to view Indigenous art, with pieces from Arnhem Land from the 1950s. Learn more about the collections on one of the free daily tours, and download the free MCA Australia app. DINNER & MUSIC It's loud, crude and definitely hip, which makes Frankie's Pizza, on Hunter Street in the CBD, all the more attractive. Snap up a booth in the tiny cavern of a restaurant, where the young crowd dines on pizzas in dim light. Then move into the main bar, where freshly squeezed orange and apple juice is served with spirits as the screams of a rock 'n' roll band reverberate across the poster-plastered room. The biggest selling point is the row of pinball machines in the back corner - they're a blast and a great find in Sydney's white-collar district.
Frankieâ€™s Pizza Jennifer Ennion
HIP HANGS AFTER DARK
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Shady Pines Saloon
If you're hankering for some cowboy culture, head to this North American-style drinking hole located in Darlinghurst.
The Enmore Theatre
From comedy shows to rock 'n' roll, if you're keen to see a live show, The Enmore Theatre, in Newtown, has a decent dose of acts to choose from.
Attracting Sydney's "it" crowd, Opera Bar is Scubar the place to be seen. It's also on the doorstep If you're hankering for some old-fashioned of the Opera House and has awesome bridge backpacker fun, visit Scubar, underneath views. Sydney Central YHA, for parties and theme nights. Monday is a highlight with cane toad racing.
The Bucket List
Bondi locals make a beeline to The Bucket List for lazy dusk-to-dark beachside sessions, when drinks flow and party people play. Opera Bar Shutterstock
POOLS WORTH DIPPING INTO 1. Bondi Baths (aka Icebergs) It's one of the most Instagrammed attractions in Sydney, and the famous Bondi Baths is the place to hang when the ocean's too rough for a surf.
neighbourhood of Balmain. Whilst closed over winter, they reopen 1 October for summer.
4. North Sydney Olympic Pool Located in one of the city's most expensive suburbs, and within a swimmer's splash 2. Whylie's Baths A short walk around the corner of the Harbour Bridge, North Sydney Olympic Pool is an from Coogee Beach, Whylie's attraction in itself. Baths has been drawing Sydneysiders since its opening 5. Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool in 1907. For more views of Sydney Harbour, check out Andrew 3. Dawn Fraser Baths (Boy) Charlton Pool, on the Built in the 1880s and well edge of the Royal Botanic off the tourist trail is the Gardens and just a skip from charming Dawn Fraser Baths, in the trendy inner-city the CBD. North Sydney Olympic Pool Shutterstock
Sydney Harbour YHA
WHERE TO STAY You are spoilt for YHA options in Sydney. Sydney Central and Railway Square YHAs are choice for transport links, and exploring Chinatown and Darling Harbour. You can’t beat the harbour views from the rooftop at Sydney Harbour YHA in The Rocks. Or the beach views from Bondi Beachouse YHA. And if you are staying longer and want to live like a local, try Glebe Point YHA, in one of Sydney’s trendy inner suburbs. See all the Sydney YHA’s and book online.
Bondi Icebergs Shutterstock
WHAT'S ON HERE’S OUR PICK OF EVENTS COMING UP IN YOUR REGION
SPRING HAS SPRUNG! Put some colour back into your life with these floral festivals and banish the winter blues.
FLORIADE 17 September 16 October 2016
Nothing sings spring more than Floriade, when more than one million blossoms dazzle the shores of Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin for a month-long flower festival. Over 400,000 green thumbs flock to the capital’s Commonwealth Park every year for Australia’s biggest celebration of spring, filled with gardening tips, music and entertainment, plus activities and workshops for kids and families. And the best part about the largest floral fair in the Southern Hemisphere? It’s free! floriadeaustralia.com. u u u
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Floriade Canberra Tourism Canberra Tourism
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Wellington Spring Festival PWT Wellington
WELLINGTON SPRING FESTIVAL 24 September 2 October 2016
Wellington celebrates what we love about spring with spectacular flowers and colourful activities. The Botanic Garden touts their tulips and other colourful and fragrant spring flowers, while nature lovers are invited to New Zealandâ€™s native-plants-only public botanic garden. wellington.govt.nz.
60TH ANNIVERSARY ALEXANDRA BLOSSOM FESTIVAL 21 September - 10 October 2016
Flowers in full bloom Wellington Botanic Gardens
Herald spring in Alexandra with a grand procession, egg-throwing competition, live bands, fireworks, drag racing and self-drive garden tours to 10 established country gardens and budding marvels. blossom.co.nz.
TARANAKI GARDEN SPECTACULAR
28 October - 6 November 2016 Slip on your walking shoes and get set to wander through private and public gardens galore, from sub-tropical to rural to gardens of international regard. Add on workshops, guest speakers, celebrity chefs and more. gardenfestnz.co.nz.
Stay with YHA New Zealand 0800 278 299 (NZ) or 1800 242 191 (Aus) firstname.lastname@example.org
BRISBANE EKKA 5 - 14 August 2016
Queensland’s most loved annual event, the Royal Queensland Show - or ‘Ekka’ as the locals affectionately call it - is almost here! Visitors will flock to Brisbane for 10 fun-filled days jam packed with show bags, adrenaline-pumping rides and super cute animals. ekka.com.au. Brisbane Ekka Royal Brisbane Show
ROYAL ADELAIDE SHOW 2 - 11 September 2016
September is Show Time in Adelaide! We’re talking rollercoasters and show bags, fireworks and cakes, entertainment for kids and kids at heart. Step back in time with the wood-chopping competitions, baby pig races and baking contests, or test your nerve on one of the crazy rides - and don’t worry, there are gentler attractions for the faint-hearted! theshow.com.au. Royal Adelaide Show Shutterstock
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DARWIN FESTIVAL 4 - 21 August 2016
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Food stalls, live music, dance shows, circus acts, theatre performances, stand-up comedy, visual arts, cabaret, and the festive atmosphere of the tropics . . . it’s not hard to see why the Darwin Festival is one of the highlights of the Territory’s calendar. Make the most of the Top End’s warm weather with this colourful and family-friendly outdoor extravaganza. darwinfestival.org.au.
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BOOK NOW Darwin Festival Fiona Morrison
ROYAL MELBOURNE SHOW 17 - 27 September 2016
Running for 11 days in September at the Melbourne Showgrounds, the 2016 Royal Melbourne Show celebrates the best that Victorian agriculture has to offer. Be enthralled by live entertainment and rides, marvel at the animals featured in prestigious competitions, try out delectable award-winning food and drinks and - of course - don’t forget to grab yourself a show bag! royalshow.com.au. u u u
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CONSERVATION WEEK 10 – 18 September 2016
Royal Melbourne Show RASV
Make sure you make your mark on improving New Zealand’s beautiful backyard and get back to nature by lending a hand during Conservation Week. Choose from the Department of Conservation’s nationwide volunteer opportunities plus a national geocaching challenge and conservation quizzes. Hashtag #conservationweek to add your voice to the conversation. doc.govt.nz.
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Chocoholics, sweet-tooths, dessert addicts, this one’s for you! The Smooth Festival of Chocolate is back for its third year and ready to transform Sydney’s The Rocks precinct into an oasis of sugary treats for one decadent weekend. Over-indulge at 80 mouth watering stalls then smuggle a stash of sweets back to your room at Sydney Harbour YHA, just minutes away. smooth.com.au.
SMOOTH FESTIVAL OF CHOCOLATE 10 - 11 September 2016
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GISBORNE WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL 22 - 23 October 2016
Fertile loam and sunny climes means Gisborne is a wine-making Mecca, and they celebrate it all with a weekend at cellar doors for local food. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Merlot aplenty with a chance to meet the makers. gisbornewineandfood.co.nz.
WHITIANGA SCALLOP FESTIVAL 10 September 2016
If you love scallops, then shuck your way to Whitianga on the Coromandel Peninsula and enjoy scallops served up in more ways than you can imagine. scallopfestival.co.nz.
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WELLINGTON ON A PLATE 12 - 28 August 2016
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Foodies flock to the coolest little capital for mouth-watering events from backyard brewing to artisan baking, to banquets and more. visawoap.com.
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KAIKOURA SEAFEST 1 October 2016
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Kaikouraâ€™s ocean heaves with delicacies from the deep and Seafest cooks it all up for scrumptious tucker of baby octopus, paua (abalone), whitebait, crayfish (lobster) and mucho fishes. seafest.co.nz.
Wellington on a Plate
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ROTTOFEST 17 September 2016
Every year, Rottnest Island’s annual comedy and music festival rocks the land of the quokka and puts on the liveliest show you could imagine. Get your laughs from local and international comedians and groove along to live music, from rock to indie and everything in between. Whatever type of entertainment you’re into, Rottofest can provide. rottofest.com.au. u u u
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HENLEY-ON-TODD REGATTA 20 August 2016 How do you hold a boat race in a bone-dry riverbed? Ask the organisers of this Red Centre regatta! Crowds of up to 20,000 flood Alice Springs to watch competitors carry bottomed-out boats around the waterless waterway as well as plenty of other whacky events. Watch out for the YHA boat and cheer it on! henleyontodd.com.au u u u
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Rottofest Naomi Craigs
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BEERVANA 12 -13 August 2016 Stay YHA Wellington
MELBOURNE WRITERS FESTIVAL 26 August - 4 September 2016 Stay Melbourne Central YHA
HOBART FLORAL SHOWS 26 August - 2 October 2016
The first authentic Indigenous ‘Festival in Light’ will use the newest technology to showcase the oldest continuous culture on earth. Traditional and contemporary Indigenous art will light up the 300 million year old canvas of the MacDonnell Ranges in Desert Park to celebrate the culture and stories of local people, producing a breathtaking display for 10 nights in the heart of Australia. parrtjimaaustralia.com.au. u
WHITSUNDAYS REEF FESTIVAL 5 - 14 August 2016 Stay Airlie Beach YHA
PARRTJIMA 23 September - 2 October 2016
Stay Hobart Central YHA
AUCKLAND HERITAGE FESTIVAL 24 September 9 October 2016 Stay YHA Auckland International BOOK ONLINE
YHA.COM.AU YHA.CO.NZ Parrtjima Glenn Campbell
BACKPACKER / ESSENTIALS
YHA.COM.AU YHA.CO.NZ NEXT ISSUE AVAILABLE 6TH OCTOBER 2016