Head Down Under and yap about bloody Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Determine the best place to buy a car, how to get a working holiday visa and the best route for travelling the east coast of Oz and around the Kiwi Islands.

Australasia and Pacific Islands Recommendations and Raves

brosens

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  • Added on: March 1st, 2007
I spent a bit of time travelling around australia and new zealand and my favorite spot by far was tasmania. If you are into hiking, climbing, rafting, or any other outdoor sport, tasmania is a dreamland. Hobart is a beautiful city and people are extraordinarily friendly. If you are going to oz be sure to fly down to tassie for a visit.
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jake thomas

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  • Added on: March 22nd, 2007
New Zealand

- if you'll be staying for more than a few weeks, you might want to buy rather than rent a car. they can be found for cheap (under $400USD) around college towns, especially dunedin. no car insurance is required in new zealand (at least it wasn't as recently as two years ago), so your only expenses should be transfer of title ($20USD) and gas.

- in dunedin, you must go out on the peninsula to check out the albatross and penguins. Dunedin and the southern tip of SA are the only two places in the world where you will see albatross. they are amazing.

- if you find yourself on the west coast of the south island, check out the wildfoods festival in a small town called hokitika. http://www.wildfoods.co.nz/wildfoods/

- hitchhiking is safe in new zealand, but it doesn't seem to be so popular with the locals. you're much more likely to be picked up by fellow travelers. for the most part, kiwis just point, laugh, and honk their horns.

fandango

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  • Added on: May 8th, 2007
NZ - don't discount Auckland, it has some great night outs, try a trip over to Devonport (around nz$8) on the ferries, or Waiheke Island (look out for the Great White Shark spotted flags!). When you're done there and you want some island time in some (usually) nice weather, try heading up to the bay of islands for a spot of snapper fishing, swimming (with dolphins is possible) or sailing...

There's probably the most beautiful drive in the world near Queenstown in the South Island, and watch out for those secret greenstone spots!
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maggiegirl

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  • Added on: October 3rd, 2007
I have used this relatively new site a lot and I love it.

cityhobo

It's got plenty of information on how to get around Sydney, where to live, what places to visit, where to get a decent coffee and meal, and general advice to newcomers.

chamachick

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  • Added on: February 11th, 2008
In New Zealand I did the cruise on Doubtful Sound as well as the cruise of Milford & I enjoyed Doubtful Sound much more! No tour planes flying overhead, more wild & you get to tour the hydroelectric plant as well which was fascinating!!

My other favorite place in NZ was Great Barrier Island. Very remote & wild & beautiful.

In Australia, my favorite city was Darwin - great jumping off spot to visit the aboriginal communities of the Tiwi Islands and Arnhem Land. The drive from Darwin to Oenpelli (Gubalanya)is beautiful - four wheel drive required. There are art centers in the different communities & they are very welcoming towards visitors. Other communities in Arnhem Land that were great to visit - Maningrida & especially Yirrkala on the Gove Peninsula. Yirrkala is near the modern mining town of Nhulunbuy which has places to stay. The best part of my trip was time spent in these communities.

Happy travels!

Barb the traveler

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  • Added on: February 18th, 2008
My favorite city in Australia is Fremantle, Western AU. Favorite area is northwestern Western AU, the Pilbara area of the outback. Next on the list is just about everything in the Northern Territory. My cousin lived in the Roper River aboriginal settlement for almost 18 years. I leave for Australia on Sunday and hope to find some way to get to that remote area. It will probably have to be by a private 4-wheel hire.

Alice Springs, NT offers some very good aboriginal art and a fabric shop that sells cotton fabric designed by aboriginal women. Great for quilters and designers. Those women get the $ from your purchase.

When buying aboriginal items, please make sure the money actually goes to the artists.

There is a small aboriginal publishing house in Broome. Magabala Books on Saville Street.

Never stop exploring. Make friends and never have to stay at a hotel again.

JohnnyMac_

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  • Added on: March 2nd, 2008
Good tip, the aborigines are nice people

cup2

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  • Added on: March 9th, 2008
There is a complete list of all the surfing spots in Australia that you can get to from here. This way you can check the ones that are on your route either to watch the surfer or to surf
http://www.thesurfingvillage.com/surfing-in-australia-58.html
If you follow the link in the post you'll reach a very helpful map and much more information.

heidiwho

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  • Added on: March 17th, 2008
I have just got back from Fiji - a place that I never thought I would go to, let alone enjoy. It is amazing! The islands are the most beautiful part. We stayed at Octopus Resort on Waya Island, and I knew we were in for a fabulous stay when we were greeted by singing on the beach as our tender pulled up. The food is better than even the Radisson on Denarau, the service is better, the ambience is very tropical, casual and laid back, the rooms are nice with open air bathrooms, and the staff laugh a lot. The beach is beautiful, and the coral reef just a couple of metres out is swarming with colourful fish. The tours to the village are eye opening, you get to sit in on a church service, bugs buzzing around your head, sweat dripping down your back, all the while listening to their amazing voices. You can visit the kindy, where the kids will sing in English and Fijian, and wander around the market there. The people are so kind and welcoming.
Wananavu Resort is also beautiful, at the tip of Viti Levu. It is the other side of the island from the hustle of touristy Coral Coast.
Having said that though, if you were to stay on the Coral Coast, Pearl Pacific at Pacific Harbour is great. We got a great deal on wotif.com. This is the hub of all the adventure sports.
Denarau Island is so unlike Fiji, a complete contrast. Beautiful spot for a relaxing holiday by the pool in a five star resort, but that's about it. The beach is not so nice here, as like many on Viti Levu. But, it is a nice way to end a trip around the islands before heading home. Just save the dollars for it. Again, we got a great deal through a website.
Another little treasure is Ovalau, where Levuka, the old capital of Fiji stands. You fly over in a little 8-12 seater plane, a whole 12 minutes. It is as rough and ready as you can get. Tourism has not reached here yet, apart from a couple of backpacker and bed and breakfast joints. The main street looks as if it's been lifted straight out of a western movie - the roads are half bitumised, the buildings splashed with colour, and wooden balconies stretch out to the street. It's where you can meet the locals, get into real culture, and veg for a few days.
One last piece of advice... Car hire. Some cheap guys are ok, but if you plan to do the northern part of the island, make sure to get a proper map. We were sent off with a tourist style map, no roads shown on it, and told to just follow it around. Well, hitting the northern part, the road turned to mud, the road forked off every now and then, and we had to play chicken with a bus to avoid getting bogged in the slushy road. It rained, the road was slowly getting updated from a dirt track to bitumen, we crossed rickety bridges, one wheel dropped off the side of a hill, and we almost missed a bridge while our tyres were slipping in the mud. Oh, it was fun. After what seemed like a whole day (but only a couple of hours) we were back on bitumen, and it was only then we noticed our sore ab muscles, tense from all the bumping around. It's an adventure, but well worth it. The views, the settlements, the rural feel, the Indo-Fijian culture.

Scylla74

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  • Added on: March 28th, 2008
Fiji - Kadavu Island (Matava Resort)


If you're looking for a mainstream resort or a place to party - this is NOT the destination for you.

However if you're looking to experience the real Fiji in a location that hasn't been touched by mass tourism or large scale development, this will be the trip of your dreams.

I recently returned from a 10 day trip to Kadavu Island (45 min. flight south of Nadi). And I can't say enough positive things about Kadavu or the Matava Resort.

The island has very few roads and all of the villages and (small) resorts located there are accessed by boat from the airstrip. Diving and snorkelling are excellent (a large and beautiful reef was located right off Matava's shore). The kayaking is great (with opportunities to do overnights in local villages). Also a good spot for deep sea fishing and advanced surfing (not a place for beginners due to the reefs).

Although Matava is billed largely as a diving resort, I am a non diver and could have easily spent a month there. The food was fantastic and both the expat owners and Fijian staff were great.

Bures (accommodations) were beautiful and although the resort is run on solar power, hot showers were always available.

I think I found paradise on earth and hope I can return again some day.

Resort website: http://www.matava.com/

flaps

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  • Added on: November 9th, 2008
Alternatives to the Australian backpacker treadmill
Whale watching at Eden. Cheaper than the rest of the East Coast and more intimate.

Kangaroo Valley in NSW, free camping + guaranteed sightings of Kangaroo's and Wombats

Mount Isa Rodeo, or any rodeo in fact.

Brunswick Street in Melbourne, awesome for a coffee, etc.

Climbing on of the Glass House Mountains. Nice and easy, with some fantastic views.

Anything to do with the top-end of the Northern Territory, near Darwin.

We found there was way too many backpackers around Fraser Island, Whitsundays, and Cairns (an infestation of them) - so if you want to talk to locals give these a miss. PS, you dont need to go to Cairns to see the Great Barrier Reef.

victoriab

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  • Added on: July 11th, 2009
Where to start...I travelled for 2 1/2 months around Australia and you can read about my journey here

http://www.pommietravels.com/

In Sydney- walk around the city in a day- go to Darling Harbour for a morning coffee or get a cup of tea in the Chinese Garden of Friendship. Take a walk through Hyde Park and the Botanical Gardens towards Sydney Opera House. Walk around circular Quay and stop for lunch at The Rocks. Make sure you walk past the Opera House around the headland to Mrs Macquarie's chair for an excellent view of the city. Also visit Bondi to do the Bondi to Coogee walk and take the ferry over to Manly.

Go to Byron bay (my favourite place in Oz), with its relaxed hippy vibe and do a spot of surfing. You can easily spend a week here relaxing.

Other highlights have to include the 4x4 on Faser Island, Sailing the Whitsundays and Cape Tribulation and make sure if you have the time to stop at Town of 1770- it's a picturesque quiet little town with an amazing hostel called Cool Bananas. Noosa is also a very upmarket pretty holiday town.

I also did a 3 day Big Rock Tour from Alice Springs to sleep under the stars at Uluru. But my most favourite part of the trip had to be the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne. Me and a friend rented a campervan and drove it ourselves- it's the most beautiful stretch of coastline I have ever seen and was a fun experience to cook on our camping stove at remote stops along the way! Make sure you drive the crazy bit of road that takes you to Bells Beach!

patricia23

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  • Added on: November 20th, 2009
Nice adventure Victoriab!

That was a great trip in Australia... So are you planning to go back there again?

BTW, can you share pictures with us?

victoriab wrote:Where to start...I travelled for 2 1/2 months around Australia and you can read about my journey here

http://www.pommietravels.com/

In Sydney- walk around the city in a day- go to Darling Harbour for a morning coffee or get a cup of tea in the Chinese Garden of Friendship. Take a walk through Hyde Park and the Botanical Gardens towards Sydney Opera House. Walk around circular Quay and stop for lunch at The Rocks. Make sure you walk past the Opera House around the headland to Mrs Macquarie's chair for an excellent view of the city. Also visit Bondi to do the Bondi to Coogee walk and take the ferry over to Manly.

Go to Byron bay (my favourite place in Oz), with its relaxed hippy vibe and do a spot of surfing. You can easily spend a week here relaxing.

Other highlights have to include the 4x4 on Faser Island, Sailing the Whitsundays and Cape Tribulation and make sure if you have the time to stop at Town of 1770- it's a picturesque quiet little town with an amazing hostel called Cool Bananas. Noosa is also a very upmarket pretty holiday town.

I also did a 3 day Big Rock Tour from Alice Springs to sleep under the stars at Uluru. But my most favourite part of the trip had to be the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne. Me and a friend rented a campervan and drove it ourselves- it's the most beautiful stretch of coastline I have ever seen and was a fun experience to cook on our camping stove at remote stops along the way! Make sure you drive the crazy bit of road that takes you to Bells Beach!

WestCoast

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  • Added on: November 20th, 2009
the park and gardens in downtown Sydney is amazing.

Right by the water, well taken care of, and flowers everywhere.
Also, if you go towards dusk, you will see all of the bats waking up and flying out.

They are super noisy and just fun to see in such an urban setting.

Kaileena

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  • Added on: January 12th, 2010
If you are ever in the Surfer's Paradise /Gold Coast area of QLD, and like a bit of a macabre treat, look no further than Dracula's Caberet Restaurant in Broadbeach, just around the corner from the Jupiter Casino. My sister and I went twice in one week! (Well, technically we went back 2 or 3 days later, but anywho... ;) ).

It's only $70-something for your Dinner and the Show, along with the Spooky Train Ride (which is FUN!!!). All the staff are dressed as characters from horror/scarey/macabre/noir/alternative films/movies, or are horror/scarey/macabre/noir/alternative renditions of characters from other films/movies (Captain Jack Swallows, being a favourite!). The show is amazing. While my sister and I were there, they were doing a show called "Beasts of Burlesque", which had skits/performances of Magic and Illusions (including macabre magical mishaps! Not for PETA members, involved an exploding pidgeon...), Showtunes (a fan dance with a catchy tune!), Upbeat Dance Numbers (23 Positions in a One-Night-Stand, Love in an Elevator, Supermassive Black Hole etc.) and much more I can't remember, thanks to one-too-many fishbowls of Tutti-Fruitti and a couple of Cyberghosts (<- Inhouse Cocktails, MUST TRY!!!!)
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