Journey from Canberra to Alice Springs

If you are planning a trip to the heart of Australia, you’ve come to the right place! We are going to tell you everything you need to know for this 2500 km long journey. By the time you finish reading this article, you will have a better idea about which form of travel suits you best.

Flights

There are two things you need to be aware of. First, only Qantas Airways and Virgin Australia (best connections to New Zealand as well) fly to Alice Springs. Second, there are no flights to Alice Springs in Canberra. In other words, you will have to go to the Sydney Airport if you want to get there by plane. The average one-way adult ticket costs about 240$ and the flight lasts around three hours.

Airport tips

If you opt for travel by air, you should know that the Alice Springs airport is 15 km south of Alice Springs. To put it simply, you can’t see the town from the airport. The airport is very small and has two sets of toilets. We will tell you one secret: instead of going to the first lot of toilets, go through the security area and turn left. There you will find the toilets that the locals always use, and they never have a queue in front of them (you’re welcome).

You can book a shuttle drive at the airport’s shuttle desk (at the front of the airport near the baggage carousel area) that will transport you directly to Alice Springs. If you are a backpacker, many backpacker hostels offer free shuttle drives from the airport. There are also plenty of private car hires and taxis. But if you want to hire a car, it will be much cheaper to hire it in town rather than at the airport.

Driving

This is probably the best way to get to Alice Springs. You will have an a great time and see amazing scenery, such as Stuart Highway , Port Augusta, Uluru, Coober Pedy, etc. In other words, you are going to live and experience the full size and beauty of Australia (and it will be cheaper than flying).

But driving also has its downsides. The travel itself is going to be a bit more exhausting because you will need to add 3 extra days of travel time, and the fuel costs are going to be big. Along the Stuart Highway fuel costs from $1.80 – $2.30 per liter.

Train

If you are an Aussie you probably already know about the legendary Ghan train service. With the train, you will experience the pleasure of meeting new and different people, and enjoy the cheerful service and comfort of the train itself.

Bus

There are many different options for buses, but if you are in a group, you should check charter bus rental in Canberra. Just imagine you and your family and friends traveling alone in a spacious and fully equipped bus, relaxing and enjoying the view. Grab some playing cards, beer and food and you will experience the best possible road trip.

If there are only a couple of you, or you are travelling alone, there is actually a regular Greyhound bus that goes up and down the Stuart Highway directly to Alice Springs. Consider getting a kilometer pass since they last for a year and you can hop on and off the bus whenever you want until you run out of kilometers.

Rental Car

This is definitely the cheapest option for those that just need to get to Alice Springs, or get out of Alice Springs. Basically, you rent a car at one location and your rental finishes at your final destination. In other words, you don’t have to worry about returning your car to the original rental office. The cost can be as cheap as 1$ per day hire plus fuel. The downside is that sometimes the rental company can give you a really short time limit between the two locations so you won’t have time to look around. They book very fast and if you are travelling alone, you have a lot of driving to do in a very short period of time.

That would be it for Alice Springs tips. We would love to hear about your Alice Springs experience, so feel free to share it with us in the comment section. You can never get too much information and advice.

Parent Only Getaways to the Costa del Sol in Spain

The Costa del Sol in Spain is currently one of the hottest choices both for family vacations, and for second home, for buyers from the UK, Scandinavia and even Russia and China. The reasons why so many people from abroad are visiting and even moving to the south of Spain, are manifold. Perhaps most importantly, the weather is fantastic almost all year around; winters are mild and summers, deliciously sunny, with life focused on the beach and the many beach restaurants and clubs which pepper the Coast. Safety is another strong point. Families love the peace and calm, which sits nicely alongside the buzzing night life in both the city of Málaga and her smaller yet more luxurious sister, Marbella, famed for top-level shopping and gastronomic offerings. Finally, price is another strong point. You can enjoy a great tapas meal or three-course meals for a fraction of the price you would pay in a city like Paris or Berlin.

One thing many travellers won’t tell you about, is that the Costa del Sol is also a great choice for a parents-only holiday. The buzzword these days in health and travel circles alike is self-compassion; which in essence involves being kind to oneself, taking a break from our duties to work, friends and children to re-focus on the things that make each of us feel happy and whole. The results of ignoring our inner needs can be disastrous, ranging from anxiety to depression so it pays to make it a point to disconnect at least once a year. A parents-only holiday also allows us to reconnect with our partner or spouse, and enjoy a few romantic days away together, discovering new sights, sounds and flavours in the company of our best friend and lover.

Even if you have just a few days (between three days and a week), there is plenty to do in the Costa del Sol. Top suggestions include:

  • A night at the theatre: Head for Málaga’s premiere theatre, the Teatro Cervantes, which attracts world-class performers from the worlds of dance, classical and modern music, opera, ballet, modern dance, jazz, flamenco and so much more. The Cervantes was built in the 19th century and is beautifully elegant inside, with gilded balconies, a painted ceiling and a magnificent main stage.
  • The Starlite Festival in the summer: Starlite is a festival which takes place every summer (July and August) in Marbella, a city which is around an hour’s drive (or less) from the Costa del Sol’s main city (Málaga). Starlite features top performers, and offers a fun night for all in a unique setting: the Cantera de Nagueles, set in the midst of dramatic rock formations. Just a few of this year’s performers are Andrea Bocelli, Elton John, and Jason Derulo.
  • Museum hopping: Málaga has long ceased to be a city that relies on the beach for tourism. Its Town Hall has done plenty to make it an epicentre of art and culture, with the establishment of various museums, including the Contemporary Art Centre, the Picasso Museum of Malaga, the Russian Museum and the pop-up Pompidou Art Center, the first of its kind in Europe. Also on the list of most visited museums is the Carmen Thyssen Museum, which focuses on 19th-century art. While you are in the Old Town, take in the stunning exponents of architecture, including Málaga’s magnificent cathedral, built between 1528 and 1782 and featuring stunning Renaissance-styled interiors.
  • Tasting evenings: Málaga is home to more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other province in the south of Spain. In Marbella is Dani García: a two-Michelin starred restaurant that takes you on an imaginative journey which combines traditional ingredients with avante-garde preparation methods. Also in Marbella are El Lago (one Michelin star), Messina (one star) and Skina (also with one Michelin star). Skina is a particularly beautiful place to dine, since it is located in the quaint Old Town of Marbella, where iron lampposts stand gracefully in cobblestoned squares, and where restaurants are often graced with the scent of flowers and the sight of flickering candles. For an elegant night out with a big party afterwards, head for Plaza Village at the Puente Romano Beach Resort & Spa. The latter boasts a plethora of top-rated restaurants (including Thai Gallery, Dani García and Bibo) as well as elegant nightclubs such as La Suite or Joe’s Bar.
  • Relaxing spa breaks: Málaga is home to a plethora of stunning spas, the best and most luxurious of which are in Marbella. Have an anti-ageing facial or soothing massage at the Villa Padierna Palace spa, the La Cala Resort Spa or the Marbella Club Hotel Spa, to name just a few of the many luxurious spas on the Coast.

This is an article sent in by Sally Barker

Top 3 Excursions Around Sydney

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There are so many things that Australia’s Sydney has to offer. In the midst of all the possibilities and excitement, it can get a bit tricky to organize your time well and actually decide on your itinerary. If you ever happen to be in such situation, you can save yourself a lot of trouble by booking some of the most popular excursion tours around Sydney. The following three are the best of the best and you should definitely try to squeeze them in your schedule.

Hunter Valley Wine Tasting

Enjoying some of the best wines in the country is undoubtedly something most people would enjoy. There are many ways for you to get to the Hunter Valley. You can go by train that leaves from Sydney’s Central Station; by coaches and tours that depart from Sydney regularly; by car or take a bus. It will take you about 2 hours to get there by car, while the bus or train takes longer (around 4.5 hours). Leogate Estate Wines should be your first place to visit in Hunter Valley where you can taste some of their award-winning wines. Afterwards, you can relax and have a delicious lunch at the Hunter Valley Resort. Enjoy the breathtaking scenery as you eat your meal and sip on some wine. Afterwards, make sure to check out McGuigan Wines because they are one of the best in the world. Nothing can complete your day here as much as Hunter Valley Gardens. You’ll be able to shop, spend time in great cafés, taste amazing food and liquor and admire the view altogether.

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Snowy Valleys Way

The beauty of Snowy Valleys Way is only matched in fairy tales. Taking a trip here is absolutely wonderful and pleasant all year round. It will take you almost 4 hours to get there by car if you go on the M31, or around 6 hours via Great Western Highway. Bus rides usually take longer, around 8 hours. Still, even though Snowy Valleys Way is a bit far from Sydney, it is well worth the experience. There are always some cool outdoor activities as well as seasonal events to keep you entertained. From the picturesque Gundagai, your next stop should definitely be at Tumut, which is known for its spectacular autumn colors. Continue to Batlow and Tumbarumba. All through Corryong to Tallangatta and even further, you’ll enjoy some amazing sights and sceneries as well as the rural charm of this region.

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Gundagai

Poachers Way

A three hour drive to Canberra, or almost 5 hour trip if you take the bus, will provide you with the impeccable start to your excursion and exploration of Poachers Way. There are several places that you should visit in this region. Since there will be a lot of important stops during the excursion, it might be better to book a bus charter than to drive yourself. The differences in the travel time are minimal. Murrumbateman, which is around 45 minutes from Canberra is definitely a place to start. Horseback rides, tasty chocolate and numerous cellar doors are just part of the fun. Half an hour further and you’ll reach Gundaroo, where you can soak up on the wine culture and get incredible historical insights. Another half an hour and you’ll reach Bungendore, where you’ll get the chance to visit incredible cellar doors liquor stores, but amazing village antiques and wood works gallery as well. Wrap up this journey with Hall, which is about an hour away. Make sure to try Pankhurst Wines and check out the One Tree Hill Lookout Walk. Finally, end your journey in Yass, that’s only half an hour away, and get a complete picture of the amazing culture that Poachers Way has to offer.

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Bungendore

Be sure to catch the weather forecast before visiting all the mentioned places. Since most of these tours include wine tasting, forget about your diet restrictions and eat proper meals whenever you have the chance.

 

This article was written by Roxana Oliver, a travel enthusiast and an occasional blogger from Sydney, Australia.