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The article and the pictures by Rebecca Todesco

If you’re planning day trips around Victoria, then stop what you’re doing and immediately put Phillip Island at the top of your list. I’m talking about koalas, kangaroos, beaches and penguins all in one day!

Phillip Island is an Australian island that is a few hours’ drive southeasts of Melbourne. The island itself is less than 100 square kilometres so it is very easy to get from place to place once you’ve crossed onto the island. The island is extremely popular with tourists, especially in the warmer months and on the weekend. I would strongly advise making your visit on a weekday.

There are plenty of hotels and hostels on the island (or just across, on the mainland) if you decide to make your trip an overnight one. But if you leave early and have some people to share the driving with then it’s possible to do it all in one day.

Start your day with a visit to the Phillip Island Wildlife Park. This park is home to more than 100 species of Australian animals and is spread over a whopping 60 acres. You can see an array of famous Australian animals including dingoes, wombats, echidnas and bats.

The reptile house will bring you up close and personal with some of Australia’s scalier residents and you’ll be grateful for the wire that separates you from the birds of prey in the bird section. There’s even a raised platform that you can walk on which will allow you to get on the eye level of the koalas.

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For a small fee upon entry to the park, you can purchase a small bag of feed which you can use at my favourite area of the park: the free-range section. You’ll find yourself completely surrounded by kangaroos and wallabies with no fences to separate you. You can pat and feed them and it’s the perfect opportunity for you to get that snapshot for your Facebook.

If you’re brave enough you can even feed the emus but be warned: they’re big and they run fast!

After getting your fill of petting kangaroos and running from emus, head over to the western tip of the island to The Nobbies Centre. The headland cliffs are covered with a network of boardwalks which you can walk on, enjoying spectacular views of The Nobbies and Seal Rock.

At certain times of the year, if you’re lucky you can see some of the little penguins hiding in under the boardwalks or in their little burrows along the cliff’s edge.

If you choose to, there are boat tours that’ll take you offshore and closer to Seal Rocks for the chance to catch a glimpse of some seals. The Nobbies Centre boasts a gift shop chock-full of cute souvenirs as well as a café where you can sit and enjoy a coffee or snack in front of the floor to ceiling windows, overlooking the cliffs.

As the last activity of the day, head to the famous Penguin Parade. Phillip Island boasts the largest little penguin colony in all of Victoria. Decades worth of research effort has gone into the conservation of these little penguins at Phillip Island, making it one of the longest continuous seabird studies in the world.

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The research centre has plenty of information and exhibits about the little penguins, as well as a gift shop with an abundance of adorable penguin souvenirs. Visitors can learn all about what the penguins do at sea as well as why they make their way inland every night.

Just before sunset visitors make their way to Summerland Beach and fill the tiers of seating overlooking the water. Once the sun begins to set, keep your eyes peeled: that’s when the penguins make their way out of the water, up the beach and back to their burrows. You’ll be able to follow their journey from a safe distance as you make your way back up to the visitor centre.

If you get any time between activities head to the small town of Cowes. Like any quintessential beach town, the main strip of Cowes is crammed with fish and chips shops and coastal clothing and furniture stores. Spend some time having a wander or grab a serving of fish and chips and eat it on the beach.

(These are only a few of the activities available on Phillip Island. There is also a chocolate factory, Grand Prix circuit visitor centre and plenty of other wildlife parks)

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The article is written by Taryn Feldmann

City life can get tiring after a while, and a small town is just what the doctor ordered for relaxation and experiencing new things. The perfect place is Coober Pedy, a small town in the Australian outback in South Australia, 846 km north of Adelaide on the Stuart Highway.

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Author of the picture @tamaramerino_photography

It’s filled with dust in a barren landscape but what this small outback town does offer is an adventure, Australia history and most importantly you get to experience doing everyday activities underground.

There are so many tours to choose from but as it’s a limited time there’s only so much you can do. Here are my options for the best tours, which will offer you everything you’re looking for: Opal mining tours, Oasis tours, historical four-wheeled drive dune tours and desert cave tours.

It’ll be exciting, and you’ll learn so much. The 48 hours will be filled with picture worthy memories, and you’ll have amazing stories to tell your friends and family.

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Author of the picture @eevgum

Getting there

You can go by plane, bus, or train. Coober Pedy’s airport, located five km from the town centre, and regional express has flights between Adelaide and Coober Pedy. More information about the transportation you will find here.

Want to experience the Ghan railway, you can take a train from Adelaide to Coober Pedy. It’ll be a fun experience, plus you can look at scenery along the way, or you can go by coach on a bus which departs from Adelaide at 7:25 pm and arrives in Coober Pedy at 6:15am. More info here. 

 

Accommodation

The best place to stay will be underground, as it’ll be a once in a lifetime experience. It’s not a regular thing that we do every day, but it is for residents who live in Coober Pedy because temperatures can soar into the 50’s. Plus, you will make your friends jealous with your endless selfies of you in your room underground.

 

There are quite a few options to choose from, and it’ll depend on how much money you can spend so here’s a link which can help.

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Author of the picture @danielle_jessie

Opal mining tours

Coober Pedy is a mining town, and it’s famous for its opals. It’s a tourist attraction, and a must do. It could be the high light of your trip. Once again, you’ll be underground, and you’ll follow the guides on an informative tour and learn Coober Pedy’s history.

You’ll learn about mining, learn everything there is to know about opals in their underground museum, and you’ll enjoy a documentary in their underground theatre. The high light of your trip will be seeing firsthand how stones are cut. Helpful links about everything this tour has to offer.

 

Oasis tours

Love thrill-seeking adventures? This oasis tour will be for you. Experience the barren landscape of Coober Pedy at sunset, which will make it even more spectacular. It’s a two and half hour tour, and it’ll leave you breathless.

You’ll get to experience the Breakaways, a massive dune via The Moon Plain Desert and you’ll be able to see Australia’s famous fence, the Dog Fence to keep out the Dingo’s, Australia’s famous wild dog. What makes it so popular worldwide is the length, a staggering 5.614 million miles. Even more spectacular you can watch the sunset on top of the Breakaway with a nice glass of wine or a refreshing beer. Interested in some tours? Check this link.

 

Mail Run Tours

You need to do this tour as it sounds like fun and unique. You get to go on a tour with the postman by travelling with him as he delivers mail to the historic towns of Oodnadatta and William Creek and most importantly you’ll get to experience five cattle stations, including the largest, Anna Creek Station. Australia is well known worldwide for its cattle stations.

 

More amazingly go on a historic trip down memory lane like Australia’s famous explorer, Charles Sturt, the namesake of Australia’s most famous highway, The Sturt, which stretches for miles from Darwin to Adelaide. Stop over at the old Ghan Railway line and enjoy the arid landscape. Don’t forget to take photos as this is a memory you’ll want to keep.
Check this link for more information.

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Desert Cave tours

This four-hour tour lets you go down a mine and witness Coober Pedy’s jewels, opals still embedded inside the sandstone. You’ll also get to go on a Serbian Underground Church, where you’ll experience an archaeological excavation and get to see amazing architecture.

Want to see how the locals live? Don’t despair; this tour lets you witness a unique local underground home, which they refer to as a ‘Dugout’. It’s not to be missed and once again you can take selfies galore and post them all on your social media. What makes it even more special is your family and friends will be able to experience a new culture.

This town has so much to offer, and it’ll be an experience which you won’t be able to get anywhere else. Have fun!

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The article is written by Taryn Feldmann

Need a getaway from city life – Kangaroo Island, located, 112 km southwest of Adelaide, is the perfect destination. It has beautiful scenery, many exciting activities and iconic Australia wildlife that other places won’t be able to offer.

Go hiking, take historic tours, enjoy coastal activities, and Australia’s iconic wildlife. With so much to do you certainly won’t be bored.

Getting there

There are two options – flight or by ferry. The flight is only 30 minutes from Adelaide, South Australia airport and the ferry is 45 minutes along. You can catch the ferry in Adelaide or Goolwa to Cape Jervis. Or check this link for useful information.

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Things to do

Australia’s wildlife

Love animals? These two tours will be perfect for you – Seal bay and Kangaroo Island hire a guide and nocturnal tours, Kingscote.

Seal Bay

This is an unforgettable must do experience. The tour will lead you into their colony on the beach. It gives you a chance to witness them in their natural habitat. Many Instagram worthy memories of the seals and selfies of you and one in the background. Click for more useful info here.

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Kangaroo Island hire a guide and nocturnal tours, Kingscote

Want a fun wild adventure? This tour is for you. It offers a four-wheel drive. There are a few options but for a better experience, the Flinders chase 4wd tour is the way to go.

It’s a tour where you’ll be able to see Kangaroo’s islands unique rock –  Admiral Arch, fur seals, echidna, Koala’s, and Kangaroo’s.

This action-packed tour will leave you breathless and with many worth Instagram pictures.

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Coastal activities

Love the sea? These two tours will satisfy your adventure. They are a part of the Kangaroo Island ocean safari and they offer a 2-hour swim with dolphins/seals and coastal snorkelling.

You’ll be able to experience wild dolphins and seals up close and witness coastal sea life whilst snorkelling. This will be a once in a lifetime so be sure not to miss out.

Want to stay on the boat, the 75-minute ocean safari will perfect. Enjoy the scenery of the ancient coastline and the wildlife. Some animals you’ll be seeing: dolphins, seals, and whales if you’re lucky, as you’ll only be able to see them in season.

No matter what you fancy, these tours will leave you talking about it for days.

Historic tours

Want to learn more about Kangaroo Island’s history, this tour will be ideal – Cape Borda Lightstation Flinders Chase National Park

Learn about travelling with sails in an early era and how light keepers lived. It has a lighthouse, light keeper’s cottages, and a maritime museum.

You can personally read diary entries from early light house keepers and look around at Kangaroo island’s amazing history.

Want an even better experience, stay overnight in one of the cottages.

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Hiking

Love walking? Kangaroo Island offers a wide range of hiking trails for beginners and more experienced.

Want nice scenery and wildlife, the flinders chase national park is the location. There’s several walking trails, take a slow stroll and enjoy the iconic granite boulders, Remarkable Rocks, the Admirals Arch, beaches, wildlife and wilderness.

 

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The article is written by Candice Locklee

If you’ve just settled into your new life in this country and are looking forward to immersing yourself in everything Australiana, we imagine that you’ve got a pretty long list of places you want to visit while you’re here. Sometimes, that means scooting off on a plane to another city for a quick two day trip in your spare time so that you can experience as many awe-inspiring sights as you can squeeze in and truly make the most of your time here.

With so much to see and so little time to see it, we’d love to introduce you to our new travel blog series “48 hours in…” in which we take you round to all of the major sites and cities in Australia and give you a quick guide of the best things to see and do in each place.

First stop – Melbourne.

Often voted the #1 most livable city in the world, Melbourne is a stunning mecca of art and culture, hidden laneways, shopping extravaganzas and a thriving café and coffee culture that will have you coming back in no time.

Here are our top picks on how to make the most out of a quick visit:

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THE FOOD

Melbourne is a foodie’s dream. Whether you’re after the best souvlaki you’ve ever had, beer ice-cream or the perfect pho, Melbourne has you covered.

From Michelin star fine dining to grungy bars with live music and hipster cafés hidden down laneways, you can find any cuisine to satisfy your taste buds. TripAdvisor is a great place to discover popular local haunts that offer anything from old-fashioned comfort food to the super weird and experimental.

Also, don’t forget to check out Melbourne’s markets. There are a number of huge food markets around the city where you can find delicious homemade meals and fresh, organic produce for low prices. Queen Victoria Market on Elizabeth St and South Melbourne Market on the corner of Coventry and Cecil St are two of the best.

DIRECTIONS

QUEEN VICTORIA MARKET:

Queen Victoria Market is located in the city centre and is within the free tram zone. It is bordered by Peel, Franklin, Victoria and Elizabeth Streets. To get here by tram, take the number 19, 57 or 59 to stop 7 on Elizabeth St. You can also take tram 59 to Peel St and enter through an alternative entrance.

SOUTH MELBOURNE MARKET:

From the CBD, take tram 96 on Bourke St and get off at South Melbourne stop 127. Alternatively, you can catch tram 12 from Collins St and get off at the corner of York St (stop 127).

Check http://ptv.vic.gov.au/ for other methods of transport.

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THE FASHION

While you can no doubt find any outfit in Melbourne to suit your style, we suggest bypassing the big department stores and seeking out the independent stores that make Melbourne fashion so special.

It’s no secret that Melbournians love their vintage, from fashion and accessories to vinyl and video games. Visit one of the many vintage clothing stores in the city and grab something at a bargain price to stand out in the crowd. RetroStar in the CBD and Shag are a must.

Head to the famous Sydney Rd in Brunswick where you’ll find an endless run of fashion stores selling both retro and new outfits, accessories, handmade items and everything in between. Chapel St is also an iconic shopping strip that stretches through South Yarra, Prahran and Windsor. There isn’t anything you can’t find here – from the wildly eccentric to the impossibly chic, you can find it on Chapel St.

DIRECTIONS

RETRO STAR:

RetroStar is located on the first floor of the Nicholas building on Swanston St and corner of Flinders Lane in the CBD.

SHAG:

Shag is located in the Centreway Arcade, between Flinders Lane and Collins St in the CBD. You can also head to Chapel St to visit their second store.

SYDNEY RD:

From the CBD, take tram 19 from Elizabeth St in the CBD to Sydney Rd, Brunswick.

CHAPEL ST:

Take tram 8 to Chapel St leaving from Swanston St in the CBD.

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ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT

Melbourne loves its art and culture and there’s always plenty happening to keep you busy no matter what day of the week you land here.

If you’re looking for an alternative taste of the Melbourne art scene, street art is a celebrated culture here and you can find it all over the city. Like Alice down the rabbit hole, lose yourself down cobblestone laneways that roar to life with colour and creativity all year round. Hosier Lane is the most popular spot for graffiti artists to show off their talents with its walls covered daily with spectacular art that is constantly being updated.

Some of the best indie bands in the country are coming out of Melbourne’s thriving underground music scene. Catch a live band at one of the many venues around the city – the Corner Hotel, Cherry Bar and Prince Bandroom are a few of the best.

DIRECTIONS

HOSIER LANE:

Hosier Lane is in the heart of the CBD. It’s situated between Flinders St and Collins St and you can get there with a short 2-minute walk down from Flinders St Station and Federation Square (head in the direction of ACMI and Hosier Lane will be on the left side).

CORNER HOTEL:

The Corner Hotel is located on the corner of Swan St and Stewart St, only 1.5km from the CBD. You can take tram 70 from Flinders St to Wattle Park and get off at stop 9. Alternatively, the train from Flinders Station will take you to Richmond Station (the first stop out of the city). From here, it is only a short 50m walk to the Corner hotel.

CHERRY BAR:

Cherry bar is located on the famous AC/DC Lane in the centre of the Melbourne CBD. It is off Flinders Lane and between Russell and Exhibition Street.

PRINCE BANDROOM:

Prince Bandroom is located on the corner of Acland and Fitzroy St in St Kilda. Trams 16, 96 and 12 to St Kilda can get you there.

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SIGHTS TO SEE

If you’ve still got time to spare, the picturesque parks and gardens in Melbourne are a great place to unwind after a hard day’s work of sight-seeing. The Royal Botanic Gardens are a must for those looking to escape the crowds. Fitzroy Gardens is another favourite – sprawled across 64 acres, the gardens are stunning and there’s plenty of relaxing strolls down tree-lined pathways to be had amongst the native Australian flora and fauna.

DIRECTIONS

ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS:

The Royal Botanic Gardens is located on Birdwood Ave approximately 2km from the city centre. For $10, you can get a ride on the Melbourne Visitor Shuttle that runs every 30min from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm daily and will take you around to over 15 stops around the city, including stop 13 – Melbourne Gardens/ Shrine of Remembrance. Alternatively, trams 3, 5, 6, 8, 16, 64, 67 or 72 from Flinders Street to stop 13 will also get you there.

FITZROY GARDENS:

Fitzroy Gardens are located in East Melbourne, between Wellington Parade, Lansdowne St, Albert St and Clarendon St. Trams 48 and 75 run between Wellington Parade and Flinders St in the CBD to get you there quickly and easily.

For more info about being an international student living in Australia, be sure to check out the official web page at www.studyanywhere.com.au

 

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