Australia is well known for its stunning scenery, breath-taking rainforests, all year round Mediterranean style climate and not to mention the adorable koalas and kangaroos! It sounds like the dream holiday destination doesn’t it? For many of us it’s on our list of ‘to visit’ places, whether it be for the bucket list holiday of a lifetime, or for a few days before you board your cruise ship…
Our specialist cruise consultant Haydn was lucky enough to cross the incredible destination off his bucket list! He went on a 5-day trip to the land of OZ and even took part in activities that you can do as part of The Fully Escorted Australia & New Zealand Odyssey bucket list package! So we decided to ask him a few questions and get the lowdown on what were his top spots to visit, and what to expect from the country that has everything.
Read on to find out why Australia is now his new favourite country!
Melbourne Lanes and Arcade Walking Tour
On the first full day of Haydn’s trip he decided to take part in the Melbourne Lanes and Arcade Walking Tour provided by Hidden Secrets Tours. The 3-hour long adventure offered an alternate view of the city and enabled him to visit the places that tourists usually overlook… He inspected exclusive boutiques by local designers, admired the incredible street art of Melbourne and stopped off at some of the quirkiest cafes tucked away from the hustle and bustle.
We asked Haydn what made the tour for him and he told us: “We got to see some of the ‘quirky’ retailers and cafes, plus street art. Perfect tour as we had so little time in Melbourne, but MEL is a fantastic city and now at the top of my list of favourite cities alongside Vancouver!”
Great Ocean Road and Twelve Apostles
Day two took Haydn on one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives. The Great Ocean Road boasted a view of the most stunning coastline, with local surf towns offering fine dining and wines along the way, making it perfect for a road trip he’d never forget. At the end of the trip he visited the Twelve Apostles, a collection of huge limestone rock stacks created by constant erosion over time.
Did you know? The location has become so popular due to the unusual placement of the rocks; they appear to just be abandoned in the middle of the ocean!
Haydn let us know what it was like to see the Twelve Apostles up close: “Stunning scenery and the sound of the sea just makes it that extra special. My videos wouldn’t do it justice. What the sea has done to these rocks over the years is an amazing sight.”
Thala Beach Nature Reserve
On day 3 Haydn was lucky enough to stay overnight at the idyllic Thala Beach Nature Reserve. Located on private headland between Cairns and Port Douglas, the reserve had its own luxurious log hut style bungalows that made him feel like he was sleeping in the middle of the rainforest.
Imagine listening to the sound of cicadas singing at dusk, and falling asleep to the relaxing calm of the Eucalypt forest around you! As part of the stay Haydn was given a complimentary tour of the private nature reserve and got to glimpse Australia’s incredible wildlife. Apparently there were spiders as big as his hand! Oh and did we mention the hotel had its own private beach?
Haydn told us what it was like to stay at the hotel: “Loved my room, very luxurious considering it was basically a wooden lodge on stilts. Good job it had air con as so hot. Could open doors onto veranda and look over the jungle canopy down the coast. At night the sounds of the jungle were amazing, never heard anything like it. On the veranda there were plenty of the locals (lizards, spiders etc.) to be seen.”
Great Barrier Reef
Day 4 of his Australian adventure saw him travelling to the Great Barrier Reef, one of the most mesmerising natural wonders in the world. Quicksilvers catamaran escorted him to the Agincourt Reef (the outer edge) where the waters clearest, offering the best underwater visibility!
He then was given the choice of diving, snorkelling, or going in the semi sub, 1 meter under the surface, where you’re allowed to stand on a viewing platform and see the stunning palate of colours the reef has to offer.
Haydn took the opportunity to go scuba diving and snorkelling in The Great Barrier Reef and told us what it was like: “Once in a lifetime opportunity, as soon as my dive had ended I was straight back in snorkelling as I had to make the most it.”
Did you know you can do this excursion as part of our bucket list package? Click here to find out more!
On his final day Haydn decided to make the most of it and spent the full day touring Tjapukai and Kuranda. First stop was Tjapukai where he learned all about the history of Australia, with live performances including: an art display showing all about the different clans throughout history, dance shows with outstanding visual effects and they even taught him how to throw a proper boomerang!
This is also available as part of our bucket list, you’ll even get the opportunity to dine on traditional Australian food!
Haydn’s highlight of Tjapukai was: “Boomerang throwing, I did manage to get it to return although I couldn’t catch it! Wasn’t so good at spear throwing though.”
Kuranda Koala Gardens
After learning a bit more about the Australian history Haydn took a cable car journey by Skyrail to Kuranda, taking in views of the incredible tropical rainforest along the way.
When he got there it was straight to Kuranda Koala Gardens to see the koalas in their natural habit, and to learn all about Australia’s furry little mascots. He was even fortunate enough to cuddle one, as the gardens give the opportunity to hold one and have your photo taken if you make a donation! It’s well worth it though, because not only do you get to snuggle one of the critters, all proceeds go toward the upkeep of the animals and the gardens!
He told us all about what it was like to cuddle a koala! “what lovely animals, had a nice cuddle even though her claws were firmly gripped on my shoulder. Very lucky to be able to do this as you can’t even hold a koala in southern Australia. Great to see the entrance fee being solely used for the upkeep of the zoo and animals and not for profit.”
After a day filled with excitement Haydn took a scenic railway back to Cairns where he bid adieu to the beautiful rainforest scenery, as he travelled to Cairns for his final night in Australia.
He spent the night having a few drinks in a local bar before flying home the next day. Unfortunately, Haydn wasn’t able to fully explore the city but he was able to pick up a few gifts for the kids!
But what was the ultimate highlight of Haydn’s trip? Well, he told us: “Have to be scuba diving for first time as I was very nervous. Something I’ll always remember. Also I loved Melbourne pity I didn’t have more time there.”
So that was Haydn’s 5-day adventure to Cairns! Do any of you guys fancy visiting Australia? Would you like to cross the great barrier reef off your bucket list? Let us know in the comments!
Would you like to find out more about Haydn, or book a cruise from him? Click here to get in touch!