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Kakadu’s Ancient Secrets Darwin • Kakadu • Jabiru • Ubirr • Katherine Gorge Venture to Australia’s Top End, through the untamed wilderness and wetlands of Kakadu – an ancient landscape of billabongs, gorges and hidden canyons teeming with spectacular wildlife. Embark on an Inspiring Journey to the haunt of the Lightning Man, Aboriginal clans and the mighty crocs that roam Kakadu’s floodplains.





World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park

Climb Nourlangie for spectacular views over Kakadu National Park

Immerse yourself in WWII history at Adelaide River War Cemetery

Swim at Gunlom Falls overlooking Kakadu

Explore the waterfalls of Litchfield National Park

Get off road on the Marrakai 4WD track

Learn about rock art at Ubirr

Unwind in luxury at Cicada Lodge

Exclusive Aboriginal cultural experience

Take a refreshing dip at Wangi Falls

Cruise along the Mary River

Ubirr Darwin Corroboree Billabong



Mary River Wangi Falls Litchfield National Park

Adelaide River

Nourlangie Kakadu National Park

Florence Falls






Arnhem Land

Gunlom Falls Edith Falls

Katherine Gorge


Katherine River Nitmiluk National Park

5 Day Inspiring Journey From

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Be inspired


ustralia is home to some pretty special sites. In fact, we’re spoilt being surrounded by stunning world wonders, a land girt by beautiful beaches and no shortage of amazing experiences awaiting in between. So, YourLifeChoices is excited to bring you this first issue of Australian Travel Inspirations 2018. It’s actually the second time we’ve teamed up with AAT Kings/Inspiring Journeys to bring you an eGuide that showcases the best of Aussie travel, based on feedback from over 3600

YourLifeChoices’ members who took part in our annual Australian travel survey. This year, we’re all about inspiration – because bucket lists are so last year. Travel is all about the experience; a feeling that you’re truly living and discovering, meeting different people, trying interesting food and learning something new. We visit Uluru – the heart of our nation – to witness the wonderful Field of Light and we’ve also managed to interview the artist who created it, Bruce Munro. You told us about your most inspiring destinations, as well as the single travel experience that most excites you. We also share

some interesting ways to get around town (and country) and Lee Atkinson details her drive along The Outback Way. And, as always, we share practical tips and ideas to help you make the most of your travel time and money. From the captivating Red Centre to our gorgeous coastline, we’ve got you covered. We’re proud of our country and we know that this eGuide will inspire you to experience more of our exciting states and territories. Leon Della Bosca Editor

Contents Published by: Indigo Arch Pty Ltd Publisher: Kaye Fallick Editor: Leon Della Bosca Copy Editors: Lucy Fallick and Olga Galacho Contributing Writers: Lee Atkinson, Olga Galacho, Lucy Fallick, SJ Fallick and Leon Della Bosca Designer: Word-of-Mouth Creative Phone: 61 3 9885 4935 Email: Web: All rights reserved, no parts of this book may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, recording or otherwise, without the permission in writing from the publisher, with the exception of short extractions for review purposes. IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER No person should rely on the contents of this publication without first obtaining advice from a qualified professional person. This publication is distributed on the terms and understanding that (1) the publisher, authors, consultants and editors are not responsible for the results of any actions taken on the basis of information in this publication, nor for any omission from this publication; and (2) the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, financial, professional or other advice or services. The publisher and the authors, consultants and editors expressly disclaim all and any liability and responsibility to any person, whether a subscriber or reader of this publication or not, in respect of anything, and of the consequences of anything done or omitted to be done by any such person in reliance, whether wholly or partially, upon the whole or any part of the contents of this publication. Without limiting the generality of the above, no publisher, author, consultant or editor shall have any responsibility for any act of omission of any author, consultant or editor. Copyright Indigo Arch Pty Ltd 2018

Where you want to go in 2018 We asked, you told us: your most inspiring destinations, experiences and adventures


Sea change: Inspiring coastal getaways Beautiful beaches well off the beaten track


Uluru’s light fantastic Kaye Fallick visits Uluru’s dazzling Field of Light


The man behind the marvel An interview with Field of Light artist, Bruce Munro


Road, rail, bus, boat and beyond How many different ways can you see Australia?


The Outback is the star of the show See why the Top End is tops and the best way to get there


Taking on the Bibbulmun Track We chat to nature nomad Laura Waters about her epic 1000km walk


Common holiday hiccups Baby boomers reveal their top travel mistakes


Australia’s best kept secret Queensland has been keeping this special spot under wraps, until now …


Luxe for Less Australia Luxury travel without the high price tag


Australia’s longest shortcut Lee Atkinson takes us along The Outback Way


Solo travel tips Time to try travelling alone?


Tell us what you think about … Australians share their thoughts about our major cities


8 12 16 20

YourLifeChoices Australian Travel Inspirations 2018


The Kimberley



There’s so much to do and see in Australia, so we asked you which places to you’d like to visit and the experiences that top your Australian Travel Inspirations list for 2018.


here is no shortage of places to see and things to do in our own backyard, and there’s no better time than now to experience the best that Australia has to offer. We asked our members where they most want to travel this year and, from the thousands of responses, we’ve curated these definitive lists. While Tasmania took out the most desirable destination for the second year running, for 2018, the Outback and the Top End were the big winners, taking out five of the top 10 places.

Western Australia


A similar trend occurs for the top 10 experiences, with the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb the most popular choice, but more than half of the remaining list based in the top half of the nation. It seems Aussies are inspired to head north for their next holiday, and they’re choosing some fairly hairy adventures, too. Whether swimming, scuba diving or snorkelling with aquatic wildlife, or hovering in a helicopter over The Kimberley, Uluru or The Bungle Bungles, older Australians are proving time and again that, on holiday, they’re not afraid of taking risks and seeking thrills. So, without further ado …

Top 10 inspiring destinations 1. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Tasmania The Kimberley Uluru Broome Western Australia Darwin Kakadu Sydney Melbourne Cairns

winner 4

YourLifeChoices Australian Travel Inspirations 2018

Top 10 single travel experiences 1. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb Visit Uluru Great Barrier Reef The Ghan Tasmania Kakadu National Park Visit Broome Kimberley cruise/helicopter ride Drive the Great Ocean Road Horizontal Falls, WA










Swimming with whales, dolphins, sharks and in exotic locations


Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb






9 Top six adventure activities



11.. Swimming with whales, dolphins, sharks and in exotic locations 2. Helicopter rides 3. Hot air ballooning 4. Snorkelling and scuba diving 5. Parachuting and paragliding 6. Sailing and yachting

winner YourLifeChoices Australian Travel Inspirations 2018


Inspiring coastal getaways Australians don’t need to be told that we are blessed with the world’s best beaches – we know it writes Lucy Fallick.


hat we might not be so aware of, however, are our country’s lesser-known stretches of sand. You could be forgiven for forgetting that Australia has 25,760km of coastline – especially when the same beaches (as beautiful as they are) are continually touted as ‘must-see’ destinations (yes, Bondi, we’re talking about you). You’ve told us that your favourite destination in Australia is the coast, and that you want to relax, recharge and escape while staying physically active on a holiday. So, steering clear of the more obvious options, we’ve selected our top choice for a coastal getaway for each state. These places should inspire you to discover more of our country’s 6

stunning landscapes and to stray a bit farther off the well-trodden track.

Alexandria Bay, Qld If you want to get your kit off, this is the beach for you. Even if you’re not the au naturale bathing type, Alexandria Bay in the Noosa National Park is still not to be missed. Known for its pristine sand, and as the area’s unofficial nudist spot, you’ll feel as if you’re miles away from civilisation when you plonk your towel down. It’s a 20-minute walk through the National Park, and some spectacular scenery, to Alexandria Bay. Insider tip: rent an Airbnb in Sunshine Beach if you want to avoid the masses in Noosa.

Almonta Beach, SA Almonta Beach is in the Coffin Bay National Park on the Eyre Peninsula – read: it’s very remote. This is the destination for you if

YourLifeChoices Australian Travel Inspirations 2018

you really want to leave the crowds behind. The National Park is also home to a plethora of native wildlife and a great spot for bird watching. The local seafood, particularly Coffin Bay oysters, is unbeatable – buy it fresh, direct from the producers and you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven. Insider tip: book a cabin at the Coffin Bay Caravan Park.

Binalong Bay, Tas Located at the southern end of the Bay of Fires, Binalong Bay is a village with a strong community feel. The crystalclear sea mightn’t be as warm as our northern waters, but once you see the area’s jaw-dropping beauty, you won’t think twice about the sea temperature. Surrounded by giant orange-hued boulders, Binalong Bay and the surrounding beaches are truly unique. Insider tip: camp at the Bay of Fires Conservation Area.

Greens Pool, WA

Seal Rocks, NSW

It’s no coincidence that most of our picks are beaches located within national parks, which means that they’re less spoiled and less developed. Greens Pool is situated in William Bay National Park, on the south coast of Western Australia in between Walpole and Denmark. The beach is essentially a giant rock pool with huge boulders acting as breakwaters to the Great Southern Ocean. Swim, snorkel or just splash about in the turquoise sea at Greens Pool – you’ll never want to leave.

A popular choice for those fond of surfing, Seal Rocks is a fishing village with no shortage of idyllic beaches to laze upon or stroll along. There are plenty of other opportunities for walking in the area, too, including Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse, which dates back to 1875, and the Treachery Headland walking track located not far from the town. Seal Rocks ticks all the boxes for a beach getaway, with its stunning coast, fascinating history and relaxed vibe.

Insider tip: book a selfcontained cottage at William Bay Country Cottages.

Insider tip: splurge and stay at one of the three original Lighthouse Cottages.

… you’ll feel as if you’re miles away from civilisation when you plonk your beach towel down. Wilsons Promontory, Vic While not as far from the hordes as we’d like, for a good time by the sea, you can’t go past ‘The Prom’, as Victorians affectionately know it. Wilsons Promontory National Park is the largest coastal wilderness area in Victoria, which means there’s no shortage of places to explore, tracks to wander and bliss to be had. Squeaky Beach is a mustsee – you’ll soon discover the reason for its name when you take your first steps on the sand – as are the lesser known and more secluded Darby Beach and Whisky Bay. Make sure you plan ahead, so you don’t miss out on nabbing a place to stay within the park – sites are limited! Insider tip: reserve a safari-style Wilderness Retreat tent at Tidal River. More Check out our 10 tips for a better day at the beach

YourLifeChoices Australian Travel Inspirations 2018


Uluru’s light fantastic Field of Light, Uluru, Bruce Munro 2016. Photo by: Mark Pickthall

Uluru’s Field of Light is the coolest thing Kaye Fallick has ever seen.


was told by those who have seen it that the Field of Light is a stand-out, oncein-a-lifetime travel moment. But even so, it has surpassed all my expectations. It is the gentlest, prettiest, most inspiring sight I have ever seen. Our visit starts with a 4.30am collection from the Desert Gardens Hotel at Ayers Rock Resort. We had been told the previous day, by an AAT Kings tour guide, that they are very careful to speak quietly on the sunrise tours as many guests do not like loud cheery chatter at that hour. I’m one such guest, so I appreciate the quiet during our 15-minute drive towards Uluru, when we are able to take in the 8

desert landscape as revealed by our coach’s headlights. As we disembark, we are given tiny red torches to make sure we can find our way along the paths. As it happens, they are discreetly, but well, lit, so I don’t need to use mine. First up we gather at the base of the nearest sand dune while Richard, our AAT Kings Ambassador, briefs us on the safety needs, timelines and what we can expect to see. But nothing can prepare us for the wave of tiny, vibrant explosions of colour that undulate before us as we reach the top of the dune. There, in a vast stretch of darkness, shine 50,000 colourfilled flowers, seemingly bowing and swaying in front of a majestic, immovable Uluru. Are they paying homage to this ancient spiritual monolith?

YourLifeChoices Australian Travel Inspirations 2018

Are they dancing in the moonlight? Or are they trying to convey a multitude of desert stories? All of the above, and more. The genesis of this extraordinary sight was the vision of one man, Bruce Munro, an English immigrant to Australia in the early 1990s. In particular, he was struck by the sheer joy he experienced in the Red Centre. About 24 years ago, he dreamed of a field of light in front of what was then known as Ayers Rock. In the intervening years, he returned to work in the UK and elsewhere, establishing more

After your walk, you n’t o D can enjoy a tea or is s M coffee from a viewing point, watching the globes dim as the sun rises.

Field of Light, Uluru, Bruce Munro 2016. Photo by: Mark Pickthall

modest versions of his frosted globe installations in Wiltshire, UK and Arizona, USA. Finally, he was granted permission by the traditional owners of Uluru, the Anangu people, to bring his dream to life. And in March 2016 he and a team of colleagues painstakingly laid out the cabling and solar panels, and inserted the rods (stems) and frosted bulbs required to paint a neon representation of Australia’s ancient central desert, its seasons, vegetation and creatures. The Field of Light titled Tili Wiru Tjuta Nyakutjaku (which means 'looking at lots of beautiful lights' in local Pitjantjatjara), opened to rapturous reviews on 1 April 2016. Since then many thousands of visitors have journeyed to Uluru and walked the red sand pathways in silent contemplation, marvelling at Mr Munro’s work.

As we set off on our 60-minute stroll through the lights, Richard reminds us that this is our time to be silent; to look, listen and wonder.

Nothing can prepare us for the wave of tiny, vibrant explosions of colour that undulate before us as we reach the top of the dune. And in the warm dawn air, this is what we do, an occasional burst of bird song the only sound to break the silence. Bruce Munro’s Field of Light offers peace, tranquillity, beauty and joy, in the most majestic of settings. Something each and every one of us deserves at least once in a lifetime, surely?

Kaye Fallick travelled as a guest of AAT Kings

The Field of Light cannot be experienced independently; you must join a guided tour. Also, the flies must have missed the tranquillity memo – make sure you take insect repellent and a hat with a net. More Need to know The AAT Kings tour lasts two hours. Single tour prices are $69 and $62 (concession). Book here At the time of writing, the Field of Light has just been extended until December 2020 – so add it to your list today. More about Bruce Munro and his work.

YourLifeChoices Australian Travel Inspirations 2018


The man behind the marvel

Field of Light, Uluru, Bruce Munro 2016. Photo by: Mark Pickthall

YourLifeChoices interviewed Bruce Munro, whose inspiring work has brought many Australians together to lose themselves in awe of Uluru’s temporary footlights, or simply to smile and reflect on life’s journey.


hile Bruce never anticipated such an incredible response, he believes it is proof positive of the need to ‘connect with the sense of being part of something larger than our single lives’.

Q. Considering the incredible popularity of the Uluru installation, where else in Australia would you consider for another Field of Light? Uluru was the place that inspired the installation. As a location, it’s unique; and to date is the only semi-permanent installation in the world. [Elsewhere] in Australia, I am creating a new iteration of the Field of Light (FOL) to commemorate the end of the 1914-18 war and the ANZAC contribution to that. The installation will be on the Avenue of Honour in Albany near the ANZAC museum. This will be a temporary installation from October 2018 through to the end of April 2019. But I do not believe another FOL installation is appropriate whilst 10

the installation shines at Uluru … it is too special. Q. Why do you think it resonates so much with Australians? Uluru is such a powerful landscape. Just standing in the middle of 50,000 gently illuminated colour changing lights with the Milky Way shining bright above, one feels very small. I can’t help but marvel at the beauty of existence. That makes me smile … and I guess a lot of Aussies feel the same way! Q. How did it change you as an artist and a person? I have been on this journey since I visited Uluru in 1992. It did not happen overnight. it was a struggle to persuade people I had not lost the plot when I explained my plans to them! But I am stubborn by nature and just had to bring it to fruition. I have had a lot of luck and been supported by many good people, especially a very patient wife and children! I just have to do these things and there’s so much more to do!

YourLifeChoices Australian Travel Inspirations 2018

Q. What inspires you about Australia? My first visit to Australia was like coming home. I remember calling my father the day I landed … to arrive in a place that felt so familiar was unique to me. Australia inspires me so much … I could go on for hours! Field of Light facts: • FOL consists of 300,000 parts using over 380km of optical fibre (equivalent to the distance from Sydney to Wagga Wagga) • the fibre will be re-cycled for use in other installations • it took over 2800 hours to design and build in the UK and a further 3900 hours to recreate at Uluru • it is Bruce’s first solar-powered installation • six UK-based art technicians, four AUS/US-based art handlers and up to 15 volunteers helped in the installation over a period of five weeks. More fieldoflight

Road, rail, bus, boat and beyond There’s no wrong way to see Australia. In fact, irrespective of which mode of transport you choose, touring our sunburnt country is bound to be a winner.

In the air Budget airlines offer domestic fares from as little as $29, so it’s no surprise that many travellers prefer to hurry their way to their final destination. However, there are more ways to fly than in a commercial jet – and you don’t have to travel across the country to have a memorable adventure, either. We know there are quite a few thrillseekers out there hankering to hover in a hot air balloon. Or how about those who said that paragliding, skydiving, or perhaps a joy flight in a vintage aerobatic biplane would be the ultimate thrill? Helicopter rides are also a top buzz. What better way to see places such as Kings Canyon, Uluru, The Twelve Apostles, Sydney Harbour or any other Australian landmark?

On the road For those of you who like to keep your feet, or in this case, wheels, firmly on the ground, Australia is home to some of the most beautiful road trips in the world. Maybe you’d like to hit the road behind the wheel of your dream

car or the handlebars of a Harley Davidson? Or, if you’d prefer to hand over the wheel and admire the passing scenery, then a luxury coach tour could be for you. Our good friend Lee Atkinson is the Australian road trip pro and she’s bound to have a tip (or twenty) for your ultimate driving holiday.

Riding the rails Riding the rails from Adelaide to Darwin (or vice-versa) via Alice Springs on The Ghan is the rail tour most desired by baby boomers, but there is a stack of other track tours to consider. Take the Indian Pacific cross country either way from, as the name suggests, the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, through the Blue Mountains and historic townships then along the Nullabor. Or punch a ticket for The Spirit of the Outback ranging across the Queensland outback from Brisbane to Longreach. The Overland will take you from Melbourne to Adelaide and surrounding regions. You could also check out the Sunshine State’s most popular coastal destinations on the Tilt Train, and for those further south, hitch a ride on one of NSWTrainLink’s XPTs from Brisbane all the way to Melbourne.

Waterborne breaks Cruising the Kimberley is ever-sopopular with many Australians. The Kimberley is three times the size of the UK and with all those bays, tributaries and the chance to cruise beneath ancient waterfalls, such as Kings Cascade, it’s hardly surprising so many are flocking to sail the wonderful northern coastline of Western Australia. On the open ocean, a three-day sample cruise is a great way to discover whether you can handle a longer voyage or to test a new ship. Or for a longer expedition, the saltier sailors out there may have a circumnavigation of Australia on their wish list. Such voyages take between 28 and 33 days and, for the best weather and conditions, you should book your cruise for October or February/March. However, you don’t have to board a big boat for a wondrous water experience. Why not try jetboating or sail a catamaran or luxury yacht? With our stunning coastline, harbours and a plethora of ports punctuating our island home, there’s almost no place you can’t visit from a big (or small) boat.

YourLifeChoices Australian Travel Inspirations 2018


The Outback is the star of the show

Sponsored message from Inspiring Journeys

Whilst the coastal capitals are major drawcards for local and overseas travellers, it’s the heart of Australia – The Outback – that is the unrivalled star of our nation’s stage.


t’s little wonder that The Outback regularly tops the travel wish lists of many, if not most, Australians. Not only is it the spiritual heart of the nation, it’s also home to the oldest culture on the planet and natural wonders that are the envy of the world. If The Outback is the main attraction, then Uluru is undoubtedly its hero. This great red rock is instantly recognisable and has truly become the sacred symbol of Australia. Witnessing this marvellous monolith is a must. And once travellers come within viewing distance of Uluru, they’re instantly enthralled by its sheer size and beauty.

domed rocks almost dominate the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, where you can view Anangu rock art at Kantju Gorge, experience magical waterfalls at Mutitjulu Waterhole, wander through Walpa Gorge to spy rare birds and wildlife or purchase Indigenous artworks from the Cultural Centre.

Even better is seeing it at sunset and savouring a glass of delicious sparkling wine in the shadows of this mythical marvel. Almost as impressive (some say more special) as Uluru is Kata Tjuta. Formerly known as The Olgas, these 36 mystical red12

YourLifeChoices Australian Travel Inspirations 2018

And then there’s the red rock cliffs of King’s Canyon, and the unequalled vista of outback palms and the native forest that stretches to the horizon. The awesome views provide a cracking photo opportunity – and change to ‘especially as the sun rises or sets over the ancient landscape of the Red Centre. Discover more on the Outback Australia: The Colour of Red Fiveday Inspiring Journey

Sponsored message from Inspiring Journeys Immerse yourself in Australian WWII history at the Adelaide River War Cemetery, visit the haunt of the Lightning Man, learn about rock art at Ubirr or go off-road on the Marraki 4WD track. Kakadu is waiting for you. Travellers can also duck across to Litchfield National Park and swim in pristine pools under glorious waterfalls, or wander the ancient rainforests and ancient gorges to study hundreds of bird species and a rich range of native flora and fauna. Discover more on the Kakadu’s Ancient Secrets Five-day Inspiring Journey

Unique Experience Enjoy a traditional bush tucker dinner against the backdrop of the spectacular West MacDonnell Ranges. Your host Bob cooks your meal in an outdoor bush oven while sharing stories of the land and tips on how to cook using native flavours.

The jewel in the Northern Territory’s crown has to be Kakadu, home of the oldest living culture on earth, the Bininj/ Mungguy people. Visitors to the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park will delight in exploring the many features of the region. Try an aboriginal-run river cruise or a wetlands wildlife safari on the Mary River floodplains.

If you covet an Outback holiday, then why not head off on an Inspiring Journey? You can rest assured that you’re in good hands with experienced Travel Directors/Driver Guides. You’ll profit from their unparalleled knowledge as they show you the best of the Top End and uncover the many secrets to which other tour operators just aren’t privvy.

Unique Experience Taking a refreshing dip at Gunlom Falls is a special experience, with the infinity pools offering spectacular views of Kakadu National Park. These waterfalls are secluded so not many people get the chance to have this amazing experience. More YourLifeChoices Australian Travel Inspirations 2018


Taking on the Bibbulmun Track The Bibbulmun Track is Western Australia’s longest – and arguably Australia’s most beautiful – walker-only trail.


Where do you stay? Three-sided shelters are spaced roughly a day apart with sleeping platforms, a water tank and bush toilet. It’s all you need and it’s nice to know you’ll have a roof over your head at the end of the day, particularly in inclement weather.

unning for 1003.1km, the Bibbulmun Track stretches from Kalamunda near Perth down to Albany, passing through Jarrah forests on the Darling Range, then Karri forests near the coastline, and coastal forest, scrub and along sandy beaches on the south coast. While only serious walkers are encouraged to walk the Bibbulmun end to end, there are plenty of short walks for anyone looking to meander through WA’s finest countryside. We caught up with nature nomad Laura Waters to discover what it takes to complete the arduous yet inspirational hike along the Bibbulmun Track. What inspired you to take on the Bibbulmun Track? A few years ago, I hiked the length of New Zealand, a 3000km journey that changed my life. I learned how much joy can be gained from leading a simple life out in nature, walking every day with one bag of belongings. It’s an addictive lifestyle. The Bibbulmun was an obvious choice for ticking off one of Australia’s best longdistance hikes.

What do you see along the way? The south-western corner of WA is one of the most bio-diverse in the world. In spring, wildflowers take over and there are 350 orchid species alone to be found. It’s like a treasure hunt seeking them out. 14

Any standout highlights? I loved the granite-domed peaks of the Darling Ranges east of Perth – fabulous views and a great place to laze in the sun for a rest. The rugged cliff tops in the southern coastal section are also a highlight. You walked the track alone, were there any scary moments? Yes. I met people along the way but I was essentially on my own. One day, I came around a corner to see a snake reared up, mouth wide and ready to strike. I retreated, but it took a good five minutes for it to move on. Then I had to walk the narrow path past where it had been! You’d have to travel pretty light, so what were your mustpack items? Apart from a sleeping bag, tent, mattress and stove, I always carry a Personal Locator Beacon just in case the worst should happen. A first aid kit is a must too, and for me, a camera and diary.

YourLifeChoices Australian Travel Inspirations 2018

How do you carry enough food to eat? Food weight can add up really quickly so it’s important to think carefully about choosing energy rich and nutritious foods that aren’t too heavy. I recently invested in a food dehydrator and that makes full meals fit into tiny ziplock bags that are light as a feather. I also make the most of rest days and stock up on fresh stuff when I can. Any tips for would-be walkers? Stretch at the end of every day and give your feet and legs a little massage too. It rewards them for the work they’ve done and revives them before the next day’s effort. A small chunk of Lush massage bar goes a long way.

Keep an eye out for on’ts D signs of the ‘ wagyl’ , a M is mythical creature from Aboriginal Dreamtime stories. More Laura is currently writing about her life-changing journey hiking Te Araroa in New Zealand. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

Holiday hiccups Few things can ensure a trouble-free trip more effectively than learning from the mistakes of others. We asked our readers to share insights into their vacation boo-boos so you can avoid them. Olga Galacho reveals the main holiday hitches and how to avoid them.


ver since Lonely Planet demystified far-flung locations for holidaymakers, reading travel reviews has become an important and fun part of preparing for a vacation. Learning about a destination from those who went before you can prevent mistakes that could ruin your adventure.

The places you’ll never visit again When we asked our readers which Australian locations they would not revisit and why, hygiene issues were the top reason cited by many. Broome was described as a nogo zone by one respondent for being plainly “dirty”, but West Wyalong was another presumably avoidable town because it “smelt of cats’ wee”. Sometimes it was the ‘natives’ who repelled travellers. A onetime visitor to the Birdsville Races vowed never to return because it was too crowded and “yahooey”. Another would in future give Melbourne a wide berth because the “snobbish locals were too full of themselves”.

And then there was one reader so miserably affected by a trip to Hobart, that they lamented: “Such a sad, sad, sad city. Dreadful. Wrung my soul dry!” Fortunately, these underwhelming experiences were the exception, with an overwhelming number of our respondents telling us they could not think of a place to which they would never return.

Learning from the mistakes of others We also asked our readers to share any examples of mistakes they may have made on an Australian holiday. A large number bemoaned having packed too many clothes for their trip. The team at YourLifeChoices regularly share tips on making your luggage as light as possible. The number one rule for ensuring that you don’t lug around items you won’t need is to pack early. Kay O’Sullivan explains the surprising and foolproof psychology behind ensuring your suitcases are ‘check-in ready’ well in advance.

And our roving travel reporter SJ has dozens of tips on packing correctly so that you can squeeze in a little more. Watch her quick tutorial here. Plus, Leon’s tireless research reveals the most upto-date gadgets and organisers to get your suitcases in tip-top shape. Surprisingly, one of the most common mistakes respondents admitted to was not leaving enough time for exploring their destinations. Amelia can relate to this and regularly offers tips on holiday-planning slip-ups to avoid. Running out of time to sightsee and choosing the wrong vehicle for road trips are typical mistakes for many of our respondents. In order to help you not fall into that pothole, we have reviewed the latest apps designed to make driving around Australia a relaxing and worry-free adventure. Check them out here. So now that you know how to avoid some of the pitfalls of an Aussie holiday, what are you waiting for? Grab your knapsack and go happily a-wandering!

YourLifeChoices Australian Travel Inspirations 2018


Queensland’s best-kept secret Maleny locals love Maleny, and so will you. There’s not much to dislike. It’s pretty, has great weather and, as Leon Della Bosca discovered, people who are super proud of their community


love it when I meet people who are proud of and passionate about what they do – especially when that pride is so totally justified. Matt Jancauskas is such a person. He’s one of the founders and the head brewer at Brouhaha Brewery, an up-and-coming craft brewery and gastropub set high in the Sunshine Coast hinterland town of Maleny. For a man who says he finds it difficult to smile for photos, Matt loves what he does so much that he simply can’t hide his pearly whites. To put it bluntly, his beer and food are bloody good. Little wonder Matt is so stoked.

He’s part of an emerging culinary scene that’s catching up with its cultural origins. Maleny has long been, as Tourism Queensland’s Shelley Winkel puts it, “an arty, hippy town”, but more recently, the region, renowned for its award-winning dairy and quality local produce, 16

has also become a fine food mecca on the Sunshine Coast. But if you ask the locals, it’s always been the food capital of the Coast.

The food is top class. The people are warm and welcoming. But the hinterland’s most alluring quality is the sense of community that emanates from those who live there. The Sunshine Coast hinterland is, let’s just say, very easy on the eyes. The food is top class. The people are warm and welcoming. But its most alluring quality is the sense of community that emanates from those who live there. It’s refreshing. It’s unexpected and, most of all, it’s genuine.

YourLifeChoices Australian Travel Inspirations 2018

Make sure you sample a few brews at Brouhaha, Maleny’s hip craft brewery and gastropub. Tell ‘em Leon sent you! It’s something I miss in my own hometown, Melbourne, which may boast some of the best food, coffee, craft beer and wineries in the country, but has also developed an ego to match. Don’t get me wrong. I love Melbourne. And I feel as if I cheated on her when I went to Maleny. The minute I was on those windy roads in the Queensland hills, I relaxed and fell for this hinterland haven.

Breakfast at Altitude Don ’ t on Montville and the M is s Milk Stout at Brouhaha.

be achieved with little time and prior knowledge. And he’s happy to do the same for you, too! Don’t forget to sample the coffee and ask for the local produce platter featuring Maleny Dairy cheese, quince paste and tasty cold cuts. Looking for lodgings? Head to the village next door and stay at Altitude on Montville. Another Blackall Ranges town, Montville is breaking away from its ‘death by doily’ reputation with this five-star hotel. The rooms are first-class (make sure you book one with a deck spa) and the restaurant is home to celebrity chef Matt Golinski, whose culinary mastery and passion for his hometown is exemplified in the seasonally inspired, producedriven menus. Maleny locals also love Maleny. There’s not much to dislike. It’s pretty, has great weather, a laidback vibe and people who are proud of their community. Ask the waiters where the produce is from, they’ll tell you ‘Maleny’. They’ll even tell you the name of the farm and sometimes the name of the farmer. They love their dairy, with cheese, milk and yoghurt featuring prominently on most menus. And although the food is indeed a drawcard, the local art scene could well be the catalyst for the area’s renaissance. Long known for its thriving arts and crafts community, Maleny is a hotspot of hip galleries and home to many fine artists, artisans and

sculptors, such as ceramicist Cathy Lawley from Fried Mudd. Cathy will take you under her wing for a quick clay sculpting class and within two hours she’ll coach you towards creating your own quirky clay masterpiece – be it chicken, guinea fowl or garden nymph. Or you could sit in on a watercolour session with local painter James McKay. We were lucky to get a spot outside the Mountain View Café at Cairncross Discovery Centre, overlooking our subject for the class – the magnificent Glass House Mountains. With the patience of a mentor, James guided us all towards acceptable artworks far beyond what most of us expected could

“This beautiful area holds a special place in my heart and Altitude on Montville offers not only a relaxed and memorable dining experience, but also an opportunity to showcase the bounty of incredible produce the region has to offer,” said Chef Golinski. But the best things about the hinterland are free. Don’t miss seeing the sun rising over the Glass House Mountains, a walk through the subtropical rainforest at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, watching the sun set over the Sunshine Coast from the hills and, best of all, getting to know the locals. More

YourLifeChoices Australian Travel Inspirations 2018


Luxe for less Australia Often, the memories we treasure the most on our travels are the moments that money can’t buy. SJ Fallick shares her tips for achieving luxury travel experience without the high price tag.


t can be hard not to wish you had a millionaire’s bank account when it comes to travel. However, as the old saying goes – money can’t buy happiness and it isn’t everything. Often, the memories we treasure the most on our travels are the moments that can’t be bought – those spent with great company, incredible views and good food, wine – or if you’re lucky – all of these! With that in mind, we’ve put on our thinking caps and drawn from our collective (and rather extensive) travel experience to compile the best ways you can achieve ‘luxury’ travel, minus the Rockefeller AMEX card.

Transport While domestic Business Class flights don’t fit into most people’s budget, there are many ways you can save money on transport without sacrificing comfort. 18

Setting price alerts is a great way to monitor when fares are lowest, with research indicating that generally Tuesdays are the best day to book. Travel agents can also be helpful when it comes to bagging the best deal and always keep an eye out for sales – you never know what you may find.

There’s no need to spend a fortune on jam-packing your days with expensive activities If you’ve got more time up your sleeve, consider taking the low road and doing a self-drive trip. As they say it’s about the journey not the destination – not only will you see a lot more from a vehicle, but you can stop when you feel like it to buy that cheese, visit that winery or dip your toes in the ocean.

YourLifeChoices Australian Travel Inspirations 2018

Some ways to see Australia that don’t involve a plane are: • Great Southern Rail’s Indian Pacific, The Ghan and The Overland train journeys • hiring a dream car and doing a road trip up the East Coast of Australia, along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Nullarbor Plain in Southern Australia, from Hobart to Freycinet in Tasmania or 4WD along the 75 Mile Beach on Fraser Island.

Accommodation Sure, five-star hotels are nice but they don’t offer the same freedom as someone else’s home and sure aren’t as memorable as sleeping under the stars. Think outside the box when it comes to where you sleep and book one of the following instead: • a quirky Airbnb • a property with a kitchen so you can cook your own meals rather than eating out all day every day

• a private room at a hostel. Many now offer a superior level of accommodation closer to that of a hotel, with the added bonus of a more social atmosphere and better deals when it comes to breakfast, drinks and organised activities • swap your home and stay for free at your swapper’s place with home exchange. You may even enjoy the use of their car during your stay. Try or • camp under the stars – unlike going bush, camping on a beach has a much more exclusive and special feel to it, especially as you fall asleep listening to the sound of the waves and ocean, or the outback and wildlife.

Experiences Regardless of how you get there and where you stay, the lasting travel memories come from the moments. That said there’s no need to spend a fortune on jampacking your days with expensive activities.

Make the most of local produce Rather than mindlessly heading to the nearest restaurant, enjoy your food with a view. Buy fresh seafood and enjoy it washed down with champagne on a pier or by the beach. If you have access to a barbeque, pick up some top-quality steak and a nice bottle of red wine for a more luxe option to the traditional BBQ.

Outdoor cinemas With a number of options around Australia now, outdoor cinemas are a more memorable way to see a movie. Often featuring beanbags, deckchairs or the ability to take your own mat, it’s

the perfect opportunity to pack a picnic full of your favourite foods to enjoy while you sit back beneath the stars and watch the film.

Pamper yourself There’s no need to stay at a fivestar hotel to treat yourself while on holiday. Look into local shops that offer massages or nail services and book yourself in for a treatment. A quick Google search will also give you the details of any providers who can come to you – a great way to get an in-house massage without the five-star fee. Many hotels will also allow you to make use of their pool, spa and sauna facilities for a day rate or sometimes just the price of a drink there.

More Top five free events in Australia Finally, for a trip to remember, factor one of the following events into your travel plans: • Taste of Tasmania – Hobart, December 28 2018 – 3 January 2019 • Sculpture by the Sea Cottesloe – Perth, March 2-19 • Moomba Festival – Melbourne, March 9-12 • Blues on Broadbeach Music Festival – Gold Coast, May 17-20 • Vivid Light Festival – Sydney, June 16-18 YourLifeChoices Australian Travel Inspirations 2018


Australia’s longest shortcut Photo: Lee Atkinson

Not all shortcuts are created equal. However, in terms of Great Australian shortcuts, the biggest and best of them all is the Outback Way, as Lee Atkinson discovered


he Outback Way is the quickest way to get – by road – from Cairns to Perth or vice versa although officially it stretches from Winton in outback Queensland to Laverton in the WA goldfields. Cutting around 1000km or so off the journey when compared with driving Highway 1 and other main roads, it’s not so much one road as a network of well-maintained dirt roads such as the Great Central Road and the Plenty Highway.

One of the world’s truly great trans-continental journeys, it’s off the radar for most Australian road trippers, even though you don’t need a 4WD (although an SUV will probably be more comfortable), you don’t have to camp because there’s plenty of motel accommodation, lots of places to fuel up along the way and as long as it hasn’t been raining it’s fine for caravans if that’s what you want to take. 20

At the time of going to press around a third of the trip – 1100km – is sealed, but a new round of government funding was announced in late 2017 and the whole thing should be bitumen by 2025.

It might be the granddaddy of shortcuts, but this is not a road trip to do in a hurry. It might be the granddaddy of shortcuts, but with so many of the great Australian icons (Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon), and some of our most fascinating outback towns including Longreach, Winton, Alice Springs and Kalgoorlie on the route, this is not a road trip to do in a hurry.

YourLifeChoices Australian Travel Inspirations 2018

Allow yourself at least a couple of weeks, more if you have the luxury of time on your side, because there’s plenty of places you just don’t want to miss. Places like the Min Min Encounter Centre in Boulia, where an entertaining animatronics theatre show will introduce you to the mysteries of the floating balls of light that are often sighted in the middle of the night. And, of course, there’s Longreach with its collection of fascinating museums – the Stockman’s Hall of Fame and the Qantas Founders Museum where you can tour a fully-equipped jumbo jet and take a walk out on the wing of a 747 – as well as memorable experiences from riding a replica Cobb & Co coach at full gallop to a sunset cruise on the Thomson River.

Give yourself at least a Don ’ t week in Alice Springs, M is s two days at Kings Canyon and three in Uluru.

Driving on unsealed roads is tiring – don’t overestimate how far you can travel in a day (six hours per day is ideal) and avoid travelling at night as your chances of colliding with a camel, kangaroo or wandering stock is very high. Watch out for bulldust and always give trucks and road trains plenty of space.

You could easily spend a week just in Alice Springs, visiting museums, Indigenous art galleries and exploring the gorges, sacred sites and rockholes in the East and West MacDonnell Ranges. Allow at least two days in Kings Canyon and three in Uluru. West of Yulara (Ayers Rock Resort) you’re in the heart of the western deserts, and each of the roadhouse stops have fabulous collections of Aboriginal art that you can buy.

Don’t miss the Tjulyuru Gallery in Warburton – it has one of the world's largest collections of community-controlled Aboriginal art – and drop in to see the Giles Weather Station at Warakurna.

even stay in US President Hoover’s old house – and peer into the depths of Australia's largest open pit gold mine in Kalgoorlie. Australia’s longest shortcut really is the ultimate Australian road trip.

Spend some time at the museum in Laverton and exploring the unrestored historic heart of the old mining town, head out to Lake Ballard to see artist Antony Gormley’s extraordinary sculptures shimmering in the salt lake, wander around beautifully-preserved ghost towns such as Gwalia – you can

More How far? 2800km from Winton to Laverton, 4615km if you go all the way from Cairns to Perth. Aboriginal community permits: you need two permits – one to travel between Laverton to WA/NT Border from the Department of Indigenous Affairs (08 6551 8024) and another from the Central Land Council to travel the NT section of the road from the border to Yulara (08 8951 6320).

Photos: Lee Atkinson

Winton’s famous for its dinosaurs – Lark Quarry, the only known site of a dinosaur stampede in the world is an hour’s drive out of town, and if you have an interest in palaeontology you can help out the scientists preparing dinosaur bones in the fossil lab at the Age of Dinosaurs Museum. Winton is also where our most famous song, Waltzing Matilda, was written and performed for the very first time in 1895. The new Waltzing Matilda Centre (set to reopen in April 2018) is currently being rebuilt after a devastating fire almost destroyed it in 2015.

Travel writer, photographer and author, Lee Atkinson, has been writing about her adventures on and off the road since 1991. Her latest book, Explore Australia by Camper Trailer, is published by Hardie Grant Travel and is available from all good bookstores. rrp $39.99

YourLifeChoices Australian Travel Inspirations 2018


Solo travel tips and conversation starters Who’s afraid to travel alone and who’s game? Olga Galacho reports on how older Australians view being single on holidays and shares advice for those considering travelling solo.


ravelling alone is avoided by many Australians not because they are afraid, but for a variety of practical reasons. Whether they are in a relationship or not, nearly two-thirds of our Australian Travel Inspirations 2018 survey respondents said they had not holidayed solo. Among their reasons were the single surcharge made it too expensive, they had pets at home or believed they could not enjoy a trip without a companion. Only a small minority said they were too scared to travel alone and fewer still cited poor health as prohibitive. Just 39 per cent had struck out alone for their vacation, and they had plenty of down-to-earth and motivational advice for others. One participant said it was crucial to “research public transport, the local ‘no-nos’, and public toilet locations”. Another warned that remembering to take hangover remedies was essential! Many were broader in their advice, with suggestions such as “put yourself out there more and talk to new people” and “be friendly to others and enjoy it”. 22

On the question of luggage there was a big variation, with suggestions such as “pack everything” to “travel light”. Also eliciting a wide range of perspectives was the issue of personal safety. Some were overly-security minded and suggested “use your eyes, ears and mouth to learn and keep a sharp eye out for thieves and pickpockets”. Another went further and advised “leave a footprint, as in posts on Facebook and SMS messages”.

“put yourself out there more and talk to new people” Then, there were travellers who encouraged throwing caution to the wind. “Don’t be scared to try free camping … just make sure there are other vans or campers around,” they wrote. Older Aussies are a sociable bunch with nearly three-quarters reporting no problems connecting with new people. Almost a

YourLifeChoices Australian Travel Inspirations 2018

quarter actually found it “very easy” to strike up a conversation with a stranger, and just eight per cent considered it “very difficult”. Luckily for that minority there are many tips on breaking the ice. One respondent suggests “smile first and look friendly”. Another reached for Dutch courage – “have a couple of beers or wine first”. For those determined to learn the gift of the gab, one reader recommended: “Catch public transport before you go on holiday, and practice making small talk to other people. It gets easier.” Seniors travel guru Perry Morcombe also has sage words on the topic: “Just remember that so many Australians over 60 are single, and they’ll be keen to talk to you, so don’t feel afraid to approach another solo traveller. They could end up being a new life-time friend!” If you’re still stuck on how to start up a conversation on holiday, have a look at Leon’s five tips – a little small talk could open up some big discoveries.

Our capital cities in one word

Because there’s no one better to comment on our Aussie capitals than Australians, we played a little word association game. So, what do YourLifeChoices’ members really think about each of our cities?


ach of our eight major cities has a quality that makes them special in their own way, accentuated by the vast and varied landscape of our land Down Under. That said, in true Aussie spirit it’s the rivalries and stereotypes that really set our state capitals apart. And who better to comment on our Aussie capitals than Australians? So, we played a little word association game to see what our audience really thinks about each of our main cities.

Canberra • Politicians • Museums • Floriade • Circular •L  ost (we hope all of you who answered this aren’t still out there driving around the roundabouts).

Adelaide • Wine • History • Culture • Boringness • and for being the ’10-minute city’!

Darwin • Bloody hot and humid • Mindil markets • Indigenous • Adventure • Crocodiles / cyclones

Brisbane • Sunny • Friendly • Rivers • Fun • And all that glitters is not gold.

Hobart • Beautiful • MONA • Historic • Cold • Tasmania (we’re not entirely sure about this response)

Melbourne • AFL • Culture • Shopping • Coffee • Exciting Perth • Beaches • Swan River • Far away • Parks • Sharks

Sydney • Fun • Harbour Bridge • Crowded • Ferries • Traffic All that said, the above should be taken with a tablespoon of salt as, regardless of which city you call home, we must remember that at the end of the day we are indeed all living in the Lucky Country. Just think, it could be worse … you could live in London!

YourLifeChoices Australian Travel Inspirations 2018


Outback Australia: The Colour of Red Uluru • Kata Tjuta • Kings Canyon • Simpsons Gap • Standley Chasm • Alice Springs Journey to the Red Centre of Australia – the sacred landscapes of the Outback and imposing Uluru. Delve into fascinating rituals of the Anangu during your Inspiring Journey through outback Australia and share in their spiritual connection with this ancient land that spans millennia.





Iconic Uluru

Hike to the top of Kings Canyon for breathtaking views

Learn about Uluru’s sacred sites

Toast an Uluru sunset with sparkling wine

The 36 domes of Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) Henbury Meteorites Conservation Reserve

Wander through Simpsons Gap

Taste traditional bush foods while overlooking West MacDonnell Ranges

Take a dip in Ellery Big Hole

Be amazed by the imposing Standley Chasm

Visit the School of the Air & the Royal Flying Doctor Service

Dine ‘Under a Desert Moon’ at Kings Canyon

Simpsons Gap


Alice Springs

Angkerle (Standley Chasm)

1 Ayers Rock Resort Kata Tjuta (the Olgas)


Kings Canyon

Curtin Springs Station

Uluru (Ayers Rock)

Henbury Meteorites





5 Day Inspiring Journey From

$2450* per person tour only

For more information or to book call 1300 228 546, email or visit *Conditions: For more information visit


Australian Travel Inspirations 2018  

Australia is home to some pretty special sites. In fact, we’re spoilt being surrounded by stunning world wonders, a land girt by beautiful b...

Australian Travel Inspirations 2018  

Australia is home to some pretty special sites. In fact, we’re spoilt being surrounded by stunning world wonders, a land girt by beautiful b...