Tuesday, June 21, 2016

DISCOVER AUSTRALIA


The world’s best in your own backyard

Guest blogger - Skyscanner’s list of Aussie-exclusive holiday hotspots
that won’t cost you an arm and a leg

Whether it’s a spontaneous weekend away or a week-long break, it’s common to gravitate towards the country’s best city spots. But for your next holiday, why not do something a little different and experience one of these uniquely Aussie landmarks?

Global travel search engine, skyscanner.com.au has sourced these Aussie-one-of-a-kind destinations that are not only breathtaking to witness, but also won’t make a huge dent in your savings account.

Commenting on Australia’s unsung heroes, Emily Callahan, Senior Marketing Manager at Skyscanner for Australia and New Zealand said: “Our search data confirms that city getaways are very popular amongst Aussies, with the majority of travellers flying into Sydney, Melbourne Tullamarine, Brisbane and Perth airports. Whilst you’re sure to have an amazing experience, we wanted to highlight that there is more to see than just our energetic city destinations. Australia has an abundance of ravishing, one-of-a-kind sights which will make for great holiday memories – and we show you the best ways to get there and possibly save some money too.”

1. 12 Apostles – Great Ocean Road, Victoria

12 Apostles – Great Ocean Road, Victoria
Created from millions of years of erosion along the Great Ocean Road on the Victorian coastline, the 12 Apostles are magnificent limestone formations that make up one of the world’s most captivating coastal drives. Unfortunately, only nine are still standing so make sure you see this world heritage listed site before more disappear. Take advantage of the trip and check out other attractions set along the coastline, these include Bay of Islands, Gibson Steps, Loch Ard Gorge and London Bridge.

While the Great Ocean Road drive will take about four hours, we recommend heading out early to see the apostles at sunrise. The changing hues of the sky brings out the natural tones of the rock, making it a feast for the eyes. You’ll also beat the tour buses. If you’re not an early riser, sunset will be just as spectacular too.

✈ How to get there:
Fly in to Melbourne Tullamarine airport (flights from $93) and hire a car from $25 a day. If you’re flying from Sydney, try flying into Melbourne Avalon airport, which will save you about $50 on flights* and reduce your drive time by about 45 minutes to an hour.

2. Green Island – Great Barrier Reef, Queensland

Great Barrier Reef, Queensland
One of the seven natural wonders, the Great Barrier Reef spans over 2,000km and is the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem. It comprises thousands of reefs and hundreds of sand islands and hosts a plethora of marine life. Activities that can be enjoyed at the reef include snorkelling, scuba diving, helicopter tours, sailing, and whale watching.

Just a 45-minute ferry ride away from Cairns is Green Island, a 6,000-year-old coral cay and the only reef that has a rainforest growing on it. Sign up for a snorkel tour to see the beautiful corals and marine life such as turtles, clams, sea anemones, fish and eels, or opt to stay dry and board a glass bottom boat.

✈ How to get there:
While the Hamilton Island Airport (flights from $200), also known as the Great Barrier Reef Airport gives you access to the reef, flying to Cairns Airport (flights from $153) is not only cheaper, but is probably the best choice if you have limited time to explore this wonder. It is also the closest airport to Green Island.

3. Uluru – Red Centre, Northern Territory 

Red Centre, Northern Territory
Believed to be 700 million years old, Uluru is a sacred indigenous sandstone monolith in the heart of the Northern Territory’s Red Centre. The sandstone is approximately 348m high with most of its bulk lying underground and has a total circumference of 9.4km. It is commonly said that nothing can really prepare you for its grandeur and magnificence.

The nearest town and airport is almost six hours away, which makes this remote and isolated getaway a truly special experience. You can take a camel ride around the base of the rock and through the sand dunes or venture out by foot. Once the sun sets, a candlelight dinner under the stars will complete your spectacular time at Uluru.

This world heritage-listed icon holds great cultural significance to its traditional owners, the Anangu people. While at the Red Centre be sure to explore Alice Springs, Devils Marbles, Kings Canyon and Kata Tjuta too.

✈ How to get there:
Fly to Uluru via Ayers Rock Airport (flights from $342). There are no taxis available so it’s best to arrange for car hire or take advantage of the free shuttle bus. Alternatively, if you’re up for a six-hour drive, land at Alice Spring Airport (flights from $374) with car hire available from $70 a day.

4. Ningaloo Reef & Coral Bay, Western Australia 

Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia
If you’re after the best diving experience in Australia, make sure to take a trip to Ningaloo Reef and Coral Bay. Located in the northern remote and isolated part of Western Australia, Ningaloo Reef and Coral Bay is Australia's only fringing reef where the coral starts at the water's edge. It is also another UNESCO World Heritage listed site.

This natural ecosystem is home to some of the world’s most amazing marine life, including different reef fish, manta rays, green turtles, bottlenose dolphins, dugong, and reef sharks. There’s even an opportunity to swim with whale sharks, the biggest fish in the ocean.

✈ How to get there:
The closest airport to Ningaloo is Learmonth WA and then it’s a scenic 90-minute drive down to this isolated coral reef. Fly to Learmonth (flights from $483) via Perth (flights from $180) and then pick up a car from $107 a day.


For all six uniquely-Aussie destinations and tips on how to get there please visit: www.skyscanner.com.au/news/features/discover-australia-the-worlds-best-in-your-own-backyard/

*Based on average savings indicated by Skyscanner data that looked at actual fares paid by travellers when flight fares were cheapest.
Skyscanner compares millions of prices from airlines and online travel agencies to help travellers find the best deal on their flights with no added fees. Travellers search with Skyscanner and are redirected to book with one of over 1,200 global partners.

About Skyscanner:

Skyscanner is a leading global travel search company providing free search of flights, hotels and car rental. Founded in 2003, Skyscanner helps to meet the travel planning needs of over 50 million people each month. Skyscanner is available in over 30 languages. Skyscanner’s highly rated free mobile apps have been downloaded over 40 million times. The privately owned company employs over 700 staff and has 10 global offices in Edinburgh, Singapore, Beijing, Shenzhen, Miami, London, Barcelona, Glasgow, Sofia and Budapest.

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