Expedia brings back the great Australian summer holiday

On November 04, 2008 at 01:00 PM

With international travel currently more expensive, there has never been a better time for Aussies to rediscover their own backyard

When planning for your summer holiday, at a time when the weakening Australian dollar is making international travel more expensive, travelling locally is now a much more attractive option than a few months ago, according to Expedia.com.auTM, operated by Expedia, Inc., the world’s leading online travel company.

Louise Hurbert-Burns, Marketing Manager, Expedia® Australia, says: “While many Australians might be reconsidering international travel due to the weakened Australian dollar, the start of our summer, and the holiday season makes it a great time to consider exploring more of Australia.”

Ms Hurbert-Burns said Australians are spoilt for choice when it comes to the variety of summer holiday options available within Australia, with beaches, islands, mountains and bushlands all in their backyards.

“Our cities too are great in summer. Apart from being less congested and more relaxed during the summer months, there are great festivals and other iconic outdoor events to get involved in. Plus, they also offer an ideal base for day trips,” she said.

“With summer just around the corner, and with local accommodation costs falling, it is a great time for Aussies to rediscover the joys of a summer holiday in their own country. Booking a local break has also never been easier, and with the internet, can save money and take literally minutes,” Ms Hurbert-Burns concluded.

Expedia.com.au Top ‘City-and-Surrounds’ Australian Summer Holiday Ideas

Sydney and beyond

Needing no introduction, Sydney is one of the world’s most spectacular cities, with a magnificent harbour side setting and famous landmarks such as the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. Sydney is also known for offering cuisines from every corner of the globe, a bustling nightlife and a cosmopolitan shopping experience. In summer the city comes alive with a number of festivals and events including the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race commencing on December 26, the Sydney Festival in January, Chinese New Year in January and February and the Mardi Gras in February and March.

An ideal day trip from Sydney is the famous Blue Mountains, a mere two hours’ drive away. The Blue Mountains National Park offers panoramic views from lookouts, waterfalls and a variety of activities including bushwalking, rock-climbing, swimming, Aboriginal sites and picnics areas. The Katoomba village is famous also for its alternative lifestyle, hosting many artists’ works from surrounding areas.

A three-hour drive north of Sydney is the picturesque Hunter Valley, famous for producing some of the country’s best wines and offering many other activities to enjoy such as crafts, wildlife, extreme sports and bushwalking.

For more information visit: www.visitnsw.com

Melbourne and beyond

Melbourneis world famous for its creative energy and is considered by many to be the cultural capital of Australia. The CBD is bursting with chic restaurants, theatres, galleries and one-off fashion creations as well as some of the world’s most prestigious sporting events. In the summer months Melbourne plays host to the Tennis Grand Slam Australian Open, which commences on January 19.

Just north of Melbourne, Fitzroy is home to Melbourne’s bohemian culture with an edgy mix of alternative, artistic and trendy elements. To the east, Richmond is famed for its Greek and Vietnamese eateries as well as its bargain shopping, while just south of the Yarra are the stylish suburbs of South Yarra and Prahran, the city’s premier destinations for designer fashion and food. Head west to the bayside suburbs of Port Melbourne, South Melbourne and Albert Park for food markets, delis and elegant nineteenth-century streetscapes.

Phillip Island makes for a great day trip being just a 90-minute drive from Melbourne, where visitors can see Australian wildlife like penguins, seals, koalas and birds in their natural habitat.

Also about an hour from Melbourne, a drive along the Mornington Peninsula could have you thinking that you have left Australia when you see rolling hills of olive groves and vineyards. Local produce is served in quaint restaurants and sold at bustling farmers’ markets.

The Great Ocean Road follows the contours of Victoria's rugged south west coast and offers visitors one of Australia's greatest and most spectacular coastal drives. Along the coast, seaside resort towns such as Lorne and Apollo Bay offer stunning beaches as well as some of Australia's best rainforest scenery in the nearby Otway Ranges. One of the most visited stretches of the road is Port Campbell, which has been sculpted over millions of years to form a series of striking rock known as the Twelve Apostles.

For more information visit: www.visitvictoria.com.au

Brisbane and beyond

Brisbaneshowcases a unique combination of the old and new where sandstone cathedrals blend with steel and glass skyscrapers. A network of grassy parks, drooping palm trees and a picturesque river reflects the sub-tropical environment of Queensland’s Capital City.

A pleasant day trip from Brisbane is to the one time rival as the site of the state capital, Maryborough, which has some of Queensland's finest heritage architecture. The city lies along the banks of the Mary River, overlooked by the heritage precincts around Wharf Street. Today, Maryborough is widely recognised for the abundant examples of colonial and Queenslander architecture, majestic public buildings and beautiful gardens.

The Gold Coast is just an hour by car from Brisbane and hosts a plethora of beaches, rainforests, theme parks, shopping and nightlife. Carefree days of sun and beach combined with vibrant nights are what have made this place popular for many generations of Australians.

Further afield is the Fraser Coast, gateway to the world famous Great Barrier Reef, and home to pristine beaches and coral islands. The Fraser Coast region is filled with natural wonders and some of the most unique attractions such as World Heritage listed Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world, with spectacular coloured sands, freshwater lakes and towering rainforests.

For more information visit: www.tq.com.au

Perth and beyond

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy the sunshine, natural parklands and relaxed lifestyle of Perth. The weather is fantastic, the beaches are clean and uncrowded, and the city, situated on the banks of the Swan River, is in a postcard-perfect setting. Stroll through Kings Parkbotanical gardens or try the treetop walk for a unique view of the city. Lined with well-kept lawns and riverfront cafes, Perth’s skyline is especially spectacular when the city's glittering skyline is reflected in the Swan River. Head to Subiaco for some of the country’s best bars and night life.

Visiting Fremantle (30 minutes south of Perth) is an absolute must. Situated at the mouth of the Swan River, the multi-cultural city has a charm of its own. ‘Freo’ has retained its authenticity, anything-goes attitude and creativity. Browse through crafts, clothes, jewellery and food in the bustling Fremantle Markets, or stop for a pint at a heritage pub to watch the buskers. The famous West Coast Blues 'n' Roots Festivalis on in March and the Fremantle Festivalis in November, both offering great entertainment.

Just offshore from Perth, Rottnest Island is where the locals go to snorkel in turquoise water over shipwrecks in the 63 sheltered beaches, surf or fishing. ‘Rotto’ is a car-free zone, which adds to its relaxed feel. Once used as an Aboriginal prison, the island has a fascinating history, including early colonial buildings, a lighthouse and underground tunnels to explore.

For more information visit: www.westernaustralia.com.au

Adelaide and beyond

If you want to immerse yourself in South Australia's rich arts and culture, stroll along North Terrace- Adelaide's cultural boulevard. With more than 700 restaurants, cafes and pubs to choose from, sample the al fresco styles of East Rundle Street, try the seafood and Asian cuisine at Gouger Street, and treat yourself to some fine dining at the restaurants and cafes of North Adelaide. Adelaide, known as ‘the festival city’, has an abundance of events to be enjoyed over summer including the annual Guitar Festival in early December and WOMADelaide, the annual World Music festival held in the Botanic Gardens in early March.

The Barossa Valley, Australia's most famous wine region, is only an hour’s drive north of Adelaide, which makes it an ideal day trip. This region was listed in October 2008 in the world’s top 10 wine destinations, alongside regions including Bordeaux and Tuscany, by the largest online travel community, TripAdvisor®. The Barossa Valley is home to some of the oldest Shiraz vineyards, acclaimed Rieslings and iconic wine brands. It is a gourmet lover's paradise with a strong cultural heritage reflected in its wine, food, buildings and people. Diverse experiences including festivals, events, the arts, bushwalking, golf, cycling and shopping can be enjoyed amongst a stunning Australian landscape of rolling hills, manicured vineyards, and closely linked towns and villages.

For more information visit: www.southaustralia.com

Hobart and beyond

Tasmania’s capital Hobart combines heritage charm and cultural diversity in a setting of great beauty.You can take in art, craft, music and theatre at Salamanca Arts Centreand enjoy the sounds of South American flutes, pub rock, street buskers, string quartets and theatrical performances whilst enjoying an alfresco meal in the quaint Salamanca Place precinct near the waterfront.

Port Arthuris only 90 minutes drive from Hobart and is a piece of the nation’s convict history not to be missed. In convict times, this is where soldiers and dogs guarded the Tasman Peninsula to ensure that escape from Port Arthur was impossible. Today surfing, sea kayaking and bushwalking are popular on this spectacular coastline.

Richmond, 30 minutes drive east of Hobart is one of the oldest Tasmanian towns and famous for its bridge, built in 1823, the oldest stone bridge remaining in Australia. You can enjoy a ride in a horse-drawn carriage and pick up a memento from one of the many shops full of antiques and craft products. There are also cafés, old-time bakeries and restaurants.

The Huon Valley, a 40 minute drive from Hobart, retains the beauty, charm and heritage of a bygone era. Pristine rivers weave through valleys bordered by national parks. The numerous waterways provide the setting for kayaking, sailing or cruising and, for the more adventurous, whitewater rafting or jet boat rides. The area is also renowned for its produce, which can all be enjoyed at the "Taste of the Huon", held in March each year.

For more information visit: www.discovertasmania.com

For excellent travel deals and a great travel experience, visit www.expedia.com.au

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