Forum Replies Created
March 29, 2017 at 1:06 am in reply to: Whats a good island to visit for snorkelling in Queensland? #4355
Well hello sister dearest! Thanks for posting on my forum 🙂
I have two fabulous options that would suite Mum and Dad knowing how they love being close to the beach and snorkelling.
I definitely suggest Heron Island as a good option as it’s a relaxing island resort where they can snorkel off the beach. It’s a tiny 29 ha coral cay in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef and there is no televisions or phone reception so it’s all about switching off and connecting with nature.
It’s actually a very special place as turtles nest on the Island so guests can see either turtles laying eggs or turtle hatchlings many months of the year.
Adult turtles are also spotted in the water around the island basically all year round. You can check their wildlife calendar to book at the right time for turtles.
There is snorkelling off the beach on the island from a couple of different places and they run a boat snorkel tour several times a day which is very reasonable priced (around $50).
Visiting Heron Island does require two flights to get there (flying via Brisbane) and book in advance to get 6 nights for around your $2000 budget.
Heron Island is right on the Great Barrier Reef and is a very special and unique nature based holiday experience. Visit book.seesomethingnew.com.au (powered by booking.com) to check prices for your dates and see more photos.
Good to know before you go
The Heron Island ferry does not depart Tuesdays or Thursdays and make sure you book flights with plenty of time to make the ferry on the way over and flight on the way back.
With current ferry timetables you will likely need to depart Melbourne first thing in the morning and fly out of Gladstone late afternoon – always check the ferry before booking flights.
Alternatively they could visit Fitzroy Island (which I have been to and loved) a much larger Island off the coast of Cairns. You can snorkel straight off the shore and most of the Island is National park so there are bushwalks and little hidden beaches to explore.
Fitzroy Island is a short 45 minute ferry ride from the coast so it does have day trippers that give it more of a busier vibe. I found it was still a super relaxed and laid back resort and Foxy’s Bar has one of the best views in Australia.
Another bonus is there are direct flights to cairns with a number of airlines including low cost carriers so you can get reasonably priced flights at most times of the year if you book in advance. You can pick up 7 nights starting from around $1300 so you could upgraded to a larger beach view suite within budget.
The ferry ride to the Island is less than an hour and there are a couple of departures a day so you do get more flexibility with flights.
Good to Know before you go
The beach on Fitzroy Island is made from coral so it’s not a traditional soft sand beach.
So which one should you choose?
You can rest assured that either option will be a nice relaxing island holiday with snorkelling off the shore.
If coming in on budget, beach view room and a direct flight from Melbourne are most important, Fitzroy Island may be a better alternative.
If being totally immersed in nature, with turtle and other wildlife spotting on a unique, quieter island with snorkelling off the beach is the most important aspect of the holiday then Heron Island would likely be your best choice.
Thanks for posting 🙂
It does depend on where your bother is travelling and the budget they have. If they will be driving mostly on bitumen with some graded gravel road the he can probably get away with an All Wheel drive from those listed on the ‘Wicked’ page you linked to.
Otherwise if your brother would like to drive on less well maintained roads or sandy tracks or the beach (again check where the 4WD is allowed to go) then I would definitely go with a true 4WD as the option for 4wd and low range will help them drive through tougher conditions!
Given your brother is travelling with his family, the only one that appears it has a twin cab that will fit everyone from the specific links you posted is ‘Drive Beyond’ however i’m sure ‘Aussie Campervans’ would have an option too.
I haven’t used any of these companies myself so I cannot recommend one based on personal experience, but but to summerise:
-AWD are usually cheaper and a good option for limited offroad (permitted maintained gravel roads) driving
– A true ‘4WD’ will allow your brother to go to more adventurous places and will also give them additional options such as high and low range 4WD which may assist them should they get stuck while 4WDing in the locations permitted by the company
-If your brother is travelling with children he will need to look at one of 4WD/AWD you linked to with a twin cab if a ute or a second row of seats if a wagon so there is enough seats for everyone.
Also in addition to making sure his travel insurance covers his excess he should also ensure the company has valid road side assist in remote areas as it can be longer distances to the nearest mechanic!
I hope that has given you some useful information to assist you brother in planning.
Thanks for visiting See Something New Australian travel forum and if your brother has any more questions about places to visit in Australia please feel free to post them!
That sounds like a really fun trip for your brother, maybe you should sneak along in his suitcase 🙂
Are they looking to hire a 4WD with a rooftop tent /4WD campervan or are they going to be staying in hotels?
Is there anywhere particular they are hoping to visit on their trip as it will be important to go with a company that allows them on the specific roads, beaches or activities (e.g driving after dusk) that will suit them best!
Also if they would like to avoid paying a daily excess reduction get them to make sure they have travel insurance with a high excess cover as 4WD excess is generally higher.
If you can let me know a little more about their plans I can help you narrow down their choices!
Your most welcome 🙂 I hope you guys have a lovely trip and if you have any more questions just ask!
Thanks so much for visiting the See Something New forum!
There are definitely some awesome places you can get to for a week and February is a really nice warm time for all the southern states.
One roadtrip that would tick all the boxes for you guys would be exploring Perth and South West Western Australia. It will be beautiful and warm for swimming at that time of year and the region has so many beautiful beaches.
Perth is a really lovely city to explore with lots of parks & gardens and beaches south and north for frugal travel and self catering. You can visit places like the beautiful big Kings Park to go and enjoy the views and wander around the free galleries in Fremantle (some amazing photographers etc).
Can also highly recommend a day trip to the beautiful Rottnest Island. You can take a picnic with you and catch the shuttle around so you only have to do short walks.
South West of Perth is full of National Parks, tourist drives and beaches to enjoy nature. My favourite place for a swim is called ‘Greens Pool’ which is down in the Denmark Region.
Depending on how far you want to drive, further afield Cape Le Grand National Park has one of the white at beaches in Australia (Lucky Bay) and it’s a short walk onto the beaches there for you.
There are lots of little towns all the way along the coast and many of them would have picnic areas or bbqs for self catering.
The Pemberton area has these huge Karri Trees and there are a few short boardwalks to see them which would be a nice comfortable walk for you to just go as far as you want to.
The Busselton Jetty is a nice place for a wander and you may even spot a dolphin around there or you can visit the Bunbury Dolphin Centre.
There are also loads of little towns to explore in the South West corner near Margaret River and Dunborough.
If you would like to hire a campervan there are plenty of camping areas in National Parks and Caravan Parks in towns. You usually get a better deal hiring them for at least 7 days and they are generally hire ‘per day’s rather than per 24 hours like a car so 7 nights would be 8 days hire. You may like to look at one with a bathroom so you don’t have to go out during the night so much.
If you would prefer to hire a small car the best places are mostly 2WD accessible so you don’t need anything big. For accommodation there are plenty of options in the region from hotels to holiday houses and b&bs. I have stayed at Karri Valley Resort before, it was a little bit old but on a beautiful lake surrounded by huge trees.
My other suggestion and one of my favourite roadtrip places is Kangaroo Island! You could fly into Adelaide so you can do some urban exploring before or after and drive down. Just ensure that whoever you book a campervan with covers you for taking it over on the ferry. Also be aware that the ferry is by no means a bargain 😉
It’s a fabulous place for you to explore pregnant as you can get to sea Admirals Arch, Seal Bay, Remarkable Rocks all less than 500 metres walk (most lots less). You will see heaps of wildlife around even just driving and you can get an island pass which lets you into many of the attractions. There is cabins in caravan parks and hotels however you could consider driving over with the camping equipment you do have. You may be uncomfortably hot camping that time of year though. The island is about 1.5 hours drive across so you can pick a few bases and road trip.
There are beautiful beaches to swim at and being and island one side is usually calm enough to explore even in windy weather.
I have a quick article on it here: https://www.seesomethingnew.com.au/6-reasons-to-choose-kangaroo-island-for-your-australian-holiday/
There is picnic and BBQ areas in some of the council campgrounds and many of the parks as well.
I would suggest that unless you are really good with humid heat (I’m a wierdo I love it the hotter the better) that you would likely be more comfortable sticking to the southern states.
Northern Queensland, NT and WA will be very humid in February so it’s probably not a bad idea to save save GBR to when your partner has improved.
If you think you have your heart set on an Island (there’s never a bad time to hang out on a tropical island I reckon ;)) maybe consider Heron Island. It’s rooms a bit older but it is a coral cay so you partner could swim in straight of the beach where he may feel a bit more confident swimming! Most times of the year you can spot turtles and other wildlife from the island.
Also the 5 Star Cable Beach Club Resort often has rooms on sale for about 179 a night that time of year (usually about $400). It’s a fabulous resort to relax at but I went in February and it was super humid and the poolmaybe not as refreshing as you would like to cool you down! But it is a beautiful beautiful resort and Broome is a wonderful town to explore around with red dirt and aqua water.
I hope all this info is helpful and how exciting for you guys having a break!
Thanks again for visiting the See Something New Australian Travel Forum. Don’t forget you can book through our affiliate website, book.seesomethingnew.com.au if you do decide to go with accommodation!
Let me know if you need any more information on a particular area!
See Something New
Cradle Mountain has some beautiful easy walks for kids to do!
Walks for Small Children at Cradle Mountain
For small children you can do the 10 minute Rainforest Walk which takes your to pencil pines. Its accessible from the visitors information centre.
Another option is the slightly longer Enchanted Walk, it’s on the parks list of ’60 Great Short Walks’ of Tasmania and takes you on a 20 minute circuit to see some of the habits in the area such as rainforest and moorelands as well as past waterfalls and pools.
Walks for older children and teenagers at Cradle Mountain
My favourite walk is the Dove Lake Circuit (2 hours return) which takes you on a loop around the lake and takes in iconic scenery such as Cradle Mountain and the much photographed boat shed.
There are also longer options for older children who are keen bushwalkers!
Be aware that on most days when its busy you have to catch a bus around the park for a small extra fee. They introduced this to protect the fauna and minimise cars in the park.
This means you will need to be organised in making sure you pack anything you need for the day while away from the car or your room.
Booking a Hotel at Cradle Mountain
The only accomodation inside the gates of the park is the Waldheim Cabins which you can book through parks (there is just 8 basic cabins so book in advance).
The most popular places to stay are the campgrounds and hotels near Cradle Mountain including the beautiful Cradle Mountain Lodge. Check them out at booking.com.
Cradle Mountain is one of my favourite places in Tasmania so I know you will have a lovely time 🙂
I got so excited writing so much in a reply I ended up turning it into a blog post!
For ideas on kid friendly activities around Darwin as well as things to do with kids near Darwin check out the new post ‘Darwin with Kids’!
This is probably best determined by your budget and time constraints!
The bonus of a liveaboard is less time travelling and more on the reef and the liveaboard tours take you to places that are too far for a day trip so this does mean they are a more pristine and quieter option than some of the more heavily visited reefs. They are a chance to really explore and experience the Great Barrier reef in a unique way to the average diver.
That been said there are loads of day trips on smaller boats that will take you to sections of the reef where your boat may have the reef to yourself at certain times of the day.
I’m not a diver (I have only done introductory dives) however I have seen turtles, reef sharks, clown fish etc on many of the day trips out of cairns and the Whitsundays. Generally if you avoid the larger or pontoon boats then you will have a far quieter experience as the smaller boats can access moorings that the large boats cannot.
Day trips on smaller boats depart from many of the towns and cities along the east coast of Queenslands, particularly places like Cairns.
Visit Queensland has some quick blogs on their website for some more information!
Melbourne is a great place to explore on a rainy day as there are so many indoor places to visit!
There are trams and trains available around the CBD and out to the suburbs so you can get around to places without getting wet – this means you can still fit lots of places into your day.
Things to do in Melbourne on a rainy day
The Melbourne Museum, National Gallery of Victoria, Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) and Melbourne Aquarium are all places close to the CBD that are entirely inside.
For foodies you can head to somewhere like Southbank where there are lots of restaurants on the first floor which can be accessed walking along indoors and many of them have balconies with clear plastic and heaters so you can still sit outside and enjoy the view of the river.
There is shopping all over Melbourne but some good rainy day shopping centres are Emporium Melbourne and Melbourne Central as they are large and accessible by public transport. Crown Casino is a good indoor luxury shopping place with stores like Prada and Louis Vuitton
Last minute show tickets are a great way to spend a rainy evening as some events, especially those on weekedays, often don’t sell out. Check out the Melbourne Art Centre website for everything from ballet to comedians and my personal favourite National Geographic Live!
Things to do in Melbourne on a rainy day with kids
For things to do in Melbourne on a rainy day with kids head to the Melbourne Aquarium which is all indoors and has lots of fun and interactive displays for kids. You can also book behind the scene tours which are a great treat on holidays.
The Melbourne Museum has lots of stuffed animals in their Wild section and Dinosaurs and Bugs Alive are also favourites with children. Scienceworks is also a great thing to do with kids on a rainy day in Melbourne but you do need a car to easily get there.
The Crown Complex also has lots of paid activities like the huge video arcade Galactic Circus, Bowling and Laser Tag.
Happy travels 🙂
See Something New Founder
I personally love staying around the Darling Harbour area! You walk out the door of your hotel (many of which look out over the water) and there are restaurants galore to choose from and many of the inner city attractions are walking distance. If you are travelling with kids its also close to the Sydney Aquarium.
My other favourite option is staying close to Circular Quay. There are loads of restaurants choose from that look out over the the Sydney Harbour Bridge so it’s the perfect place to sit in the sunshine and enjoy a drink with a view. It’s also the hub for the ferries so you can go on a bit of an adventure and catch the ferry to Darling harbour, Manly or other places around Sydney. It’s walking distance to the Sydney Opera House and easy to walk or catch public transport into the CBD.
There are some incredible day trips from Perth! My personal favourites in no particular order are:
1. Rottnest Island<(90 minutes from Perth or 25 minutes from Fremantle on the Ferry)
Best for: Beautiful beaches & Quokka spotting
Long a favourite of Perth locals, Rottnest Island has recently become famous for its Quokka selfie craze. It’s a lovely laid back island with beautiful beaches, snorkeling and of course Quokkas. You can can purchase a hop on hop of bus pass or get pedaling on a hired bike, and explore around the island.
Get an early ferry to make the most of your day. When your all worn out from adventures, the Rottnest Hotel has a great beer garden with water views making it the perfect place for a beer while you wait to catch the ferry back to the mainland.
2. Swan Valley (35 minutes driving each way from Perth)
Best for: Sampling every kind of imaginable local product
From chocolate to cheese and wine the Swan Valley Food & Wine trail is a really easy to get from Perth and is so delicous you will probably roll back home or to your hotel!
3. Lane Pool Reserve (1.5 hours driving each way from Perth)
Best for: Swimming, a picnic lunch, bushwalks, tourist drive, canoeing (BYO)
This huge park is popular for its beautiful freshwater swimming holes but there’s plenty of other activities to do in the park including canoeing and bushwalking.
4. Busselton Jetty (2.5 hours driving each way)
Best for: A jetty walk and a swim
A lovely beach front town Busselton is known for its 1.8km jetty jutting out into the sea. There is a small fee to walk out along the jetty but its a nice walk and a chance to watch out for local marine life. For an additional cost there is an underwater viewing platform and guided walks available. You can swim at the beach near the jetty and there is a cafe nearby.
There are other places to stop along the way like the Bunbury dolphin centre and you can continue a bit further on to explore the area around the small seaside town of Dunsborough.
5. Margaret River (3 hours driving each way)
Best for: Food & wine in a nice bush setting and nearby beaches
One of Australia’s most famous wine regions, Margaret River is a holiday destination all by itself. As it’s a long day trip from Perth get going early in the morning so you have plenty of time to enjoy the local restaurants and cellar doors as well as wander on a nearby beach (check out the surfers). Jump on an organised day tour from Perth if you don’t have a designated driver!
6. Fremantle (a 30 minute drive each way from Perth or a leisurely 1h 15 minute cruise)
Best for: Strolling around markets, galleries and shops, visiting mircro breweries,cafes and coffee
The heart of fremantle is a busy cafe & shopping district close to the water (and the little creatures brewery!). There are a number of micro breweries to try, plenty of shops and galleries to wander through (including some spectacular photo galleries), a weekend market, bars and cafes and water front fish and chip restaurants that look out of the boat harbour.
My favourite way to get to Fremantle is a one way commentated cruise up the Swan River (it’s a good introduction to the city and surrounding areas) and then the quicker train back to the to Perth. This way you don’t have to drive and can enjoy a drink at one of the little breweries or in the cavernous little creatures beer hall or their waterfront beer garden.
Other popular organised day tours include a wine cruise and specialist wildflower tours (which only run seasonally approximately August – October) and wave rock and the Pinnacles which you can also self drive to.
Perth is a great city to visit as the weather is warm much of the year and there are lots of places to explore around the city itself as well all these amazing day trips from Perth!
If you have any other questions feel free to ask!
I definitely need to dedicate more time to trying them all out but so far my favourite by far is the Dudley Cellar Door on Kangaroo Island!
They have an extensive list of whites, reds and sweet wines and they tasting experience felt like a free tour. We get to work our way through the very long list on offer and they explained a lot of the techniques behind making the wine!
But equally as good as their wine is the view – the decking looks straight out over the ocean!
Happy wine tasting 😉
Thanks so much for your question!
It does depend a bit on how long you’re walking for and the area you are hiking in.
What to pack for Day Bushwalk
For a day hike I like to take a small first aid kit, a light polar fleece (and depending on the location/forecast a waterproof shell – gortex or similar), drinking water and some snacks. I also have my phone for emergencies and my camera gear.
If the track is flat and gravel I may wear runners or walking sandles, otherwise its my hiking boots to make sure I have ankle support on uneven ground.
I would always recommend as a minimum having park notes and maps with you while walking but from a practical perspective if i’m in a busy park with lots of visitors and well marked tracks I don’t always take these.
I would always say its better to have the information with you and be prepared than just guess and risk getting lost! As a last resort you can snap a photo of the map on your phone at the information signage.
If I was walking in a remote area regardless of if it was overnight or just for the day I would have my GPS, spare batteries, compass and a proper map of the area with me as well.
What to pack for an Overnight Bushwalk
For an overnight hike at an absolute minimum I would also pack thermal pants and tshirt, a thicker polar fleece or down jacket, head torch & spare batteries, lightweight hiking tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, 2nd set of clothing, enough food for each meal and snacks, lightweight cooking gear (stove, saucepan) if you want hot meals or drinks), eating utensils, hat, sunscreen, additional water, rubbish & wet clothing plastic bags, additional first aid & toilet paper.
The above are some basics to get someone started, you may need more or less depending on where you are hiking (lots of water in central Australia, definitely no thick jacket in summer in the top end!) and some people carry extras like a blow up pillow, wine etc 😉
How to pack for walking is definitely one of those questions you could ask a 100 people and get 100 different answers (people tend to be passionate about it)! Some people would pack lighter than me, others would be even more prepared. As you saying, its finding that balance between packing light so your comfortable and enjoy the walk but ensuring you have the essentials you need!
Ultimately, not having the right gear shouldn’t stop people from getting outdoors (everyone should get to experience the happy place that is hiking!!!) but it should be taken into consideration when choosing the type, length and location of the walk.
I hope that helps, let me know if you have any more questions!
Happy Bushwalking 🙂