Penguins to Prom Two Day Tour

Southern Australia is a special part of the world—one of the last inhabitable places before the South Pole. Rocky coastlines border vast forests abundant with wildlife. A bustling metropolis showcases modern Australia. See the best of the big city, national parks, and native wildlife along the way through an intimate, small-group tour with Australian Coastal and Mountain “Penguins to Prom” two-day tour. Enjoy lunch and dinner provided on Day 1, as well as a full breakfast and a BBQ picnic on Day 2. Refreshments are provided throughout the Penguins to Prom experience.

Tours begin in Australia’s most European city, Melbourne. Known for its café culture, winding alleyways, and beautiful architecture, Melbourne exemplifies Australia’s past and future. The “Penguins to Prom” tour starts with admission to the Eureka Skydeck, an observation deck far above the hustle and bustle of Melbourne’s streets. See the winding Yarra River, the die-hard footy fans in the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground), and the not-so-far away mountains beyond the cityscape. Afterwards, enjoy the Philip Bay coastline on the way to Mornington Peninsula, a sleepy fishing village south of the city. See the true Australia in small-town life along the way. Head to nearby Hastings to catch the Philip Island Ferry across the bay. Observe Melbourne’s skyline in the far distance as the tour heads to Philip Island, home of the famous “little penguins” who emerge from the sea each day at dusk to return to their nests in the sand. Hundreds of these miniature black-and-white penguins waddle across the sand, creating a rare wildlife show for visitors to observe. After a day of sighseeing in the city and the sea, the tour returns to one of two luxury resorts in nearby Inverloch—Silver Water or RAVC. Tour includes twin accommodation at either resort.

The Australian experience continues on Day 2 as the tour heads to one of Victoria’s most loved nature reserves—Wilson’s Promontory National Park, affectionately known to locals as the Prom. See wildlife exclusive to the Australian bush: wallabies, kangaroos, wombats, and other beautiful birdlife. Experience fern gullies and a stringybark forest during a trek to Mt. Bishop Summitt, a moderate 3.7 km track with beautiful coastal views from the top. A rewarding BBQ picnic will be prepared before leaving the park and heading back to the big city.

Experience the best of both worlds—big city and rural life, all in the span of a few days. Charge for the “Penguins to Prom” tour is $625.00 per person, which includes admission to the Eureka Skydeck, Philip Island Ferry, Penguin Parade, Koala Conservation Center and park entree to Wilson’s Promontory. Accomodation at either luxury resort in Inverloch, as well as transportation, is also included in the price. Make the most of your Australian experience by taking advantage of the intimate setting provided by Australian Coastal and Mountain Tours, as well as the vast knowledge of their staff and tour guides.

 

Mallacoota is the perfect escape for the city dweller

 

If the daily 9 to 5 grind in Sydney or Melbourne is starting to take its toll, then it might be time to head out on the Princess Highway to Mallacoota, an isolated paradise, and not just for golfers.

With tons of surrounding forests and wildlife, the small fishing town of Mallacoota is the perfect escape for any city dweller to trade in their stress-filled life for either relaxation or exploration. Not to mention that with Croajingolong National Park surrounding the town, over 87,500 hectares of coastal woodland and temperate rainforests offer the adventurer a wide array of activities, from hiking, walking, canoeing, swimming and even fishing, although a license is required. Additionally, anyone can camp out at one of the many campgrounds within the park to really vast in all that is Mother Nature’s glory.

A visit to Mallacoota without a trip to Gabo Island, however, is basically just a waste of time. Located only 16km from the town, Gabo Island houses one of the largest populations of small penguins, as well as the second tallest lighthouse in the country, fabricated out of locally cut pink granite. The ancient and aesthetically pleasing structure was completed in 1862, originally constructed out of wood and was designed to prevent many of the shipwrecks that had occurred in the shallow waters between the island and the mainland. One particular wreck was the Monumental City shipwreck, were 30 people died in 1853 near Tullaberga Island.

Besides lighthouse touring, individuals can go fishing, swimming and even snorkeling off of the island’s coast at Santa Barbara Bay. Not to mention that for the lucky, dolphin, whale and seal spotting can sometimes occur. Of course, the island is also a great place for a great walk or a picnic lunch with the family.

Although the only lodging facilities on the island are the 8 person accommodations at the residence of the assistant light keeper, the quick boat ride back to the small coastal town offers a wide variety of places to stay. In fact, the large selection of Mallacoota accommodation options range from beachfront apartments to cozy bed and breakfasts. Moreover, with the ocean breezes and mellow climate, Mallacoota is the perfect place for a week long vacation at almost any time during the year.

Mallacoota is the perfect combination of landscape and history

For any family vacation, it is important to offer the best of both worlds: relaxation and history. Every hard Sydney or Melbourne city worker deserves a week or two every year to rest and unwind, release the built up stress from the 9 to 5 work week, but the kids need to be entertained as well. Luckily, the small fishing town of Mallacoota offers something for everyone, a combination of historical aspects surrounded by panoramic landscape.

For a trip to the past, look no further than a 16km boat ride to Gabo Island. Surrounded by shallow waters and a history of shipwrecks, including the dreadful Monumental City wreck of 1853, where 30 people lost their lives off the shores of Tullaberga Island, the island is home to Australia’s second tallest lighthouse. Tours of the ancient structure, which was fabricated initially out of wood before local pink granite was used to complete it in 1862, are available as well as optional lodging in the assistant light keeper’s residence – accommodations can only hold 8 individuals at a time.

Besides tours, families can have a mellow day exploring the island and having a picnic while the more adventurous can satisfy their cravings either by fishing, swimming or snorkeling. Whale, dolphin and seal spotting are usually common, not to mention that the island is home to one of the largest small penguin populations in the world.

With regards to the scenery factor, Mallacoota is surrounded by the Croajingolong National Park. Consisting of over 87,500 hectares of temperate rainforests and coastal woodlands, the park is home to a wide variety of animal species as well as a slew of activities for all members of the family, from hiking and walking to canoeing and swimming. Fishing is even allowed within the park, provided that a permit is purchased ahead of time. For the camper at heart, the park offers many great campgrounds; for the bed and breakfast or hotel lover, the Mallacoota accommodation options will satisfy every desire.

So, with the surrounding forests, historical aspects and relaxing atmosphere, the small fishing village off the Princess Highway, practically located in between Sydney and Melbourne, is the perfect place for the family to get in touch with Mother Nature for a weekend or week long retreat.

Kangaroo Island: a Magical Australian Experience

In 1802 a British and a French explorer set foot on Kangaroo Island, an island in the south of Australia. They discovered the land, naming areas and mapping it out. The island was full of kangaroos, an animal they had never seen before. At first the men and their crews easily hunted these large, dark animals since the kangaroos were not scared of the humans, using the kangaroo meat regularly for steak and soup. The island’s name comes from the abundance of the animals that were seen on the land.

Today Kangaroo Island is the 3rd largest island in Australia and is known for a lot more than just kangaroos, which are no longer hunted. Beaches, wine and honey production, wildlife, nature, and lighthouses are just a few of the reasons that each year over 140,000 tourists are drawn to the island, making reservations at the Kangaroo Island accommodation options. With so much to do, at least a few days are needed to see one of the country’s most popular vacation spots.

As in most of Australia, surfing and beaches are a main attraction on Kangaroo Island. Each part of the island has different conditions, some stronger than others. All the beaches have one thing in common; they are beautiful, clean, and well taken care of by locals, which is something they expect from visitors as well. Enjoy fishing, sailing, scuba diving, surfing, and swimming. The water off the island is always very cold, so when participating in a water sport a wetsuit is recommended. Researching the different conditions is a good idea, as choppier waters, such as in the south, are better suited for more experienced surfers and swimmers.

Agriculture is a large part of the Kangaroo Island economy. The island was proclaimed an Australian wine region in 2001, although wine has been produced on the island for many years before that. 494 acres of vines and 30 growers result in 18 home made brands. Some of the wines are exported to Asia, the United States, and Europe. Visitors to the island can tour the various vineyards for wine tasting, beautiful views, restaurants, and to learn about the individual wines.
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In addition to wine, honey is widely produced on Kangaroo Island. All of the bees on the island are Ligurian Bees, a gentle Italian bee that was first brought to the island in 1884. The island’s honey producers are proud to make delicious pure strained honey from the Ligurian Bees. Other bees or bee products are prohibited to enter the island, in order to prevent disrupting the natural bee population. Visit Island Beehive for more information about tours, bees and the process of extracting honey.

Besides kangaroos, Australia is known for several other unique animals, many of which reside on Kangaroo Island. Due to the isolation of the island foxes and rabbit are easily kept off the land, allowing the other animals there to thrive without being hunted or disturbed. Walking trails and guided tours, including at night when some of the animals are most active, are available in the National Parks. The most common animals that will be spotted are Kangaroo Island Kangaroos, Tammar Wallabies, Australian Sea Lions, New Zealand Fur Seals, Heath Goannas, Echidnas, and Koalas. These animals are observed from a distance so as not to interrupt their normal activity.

Kangaroo Island is fortunate enough to have a beautiful and natural environment that is well taken care of. In fact, over one third of the island is declared as National Park or Conservation, protecting the natural habitats and the animals that live there. The natives expect that all visitors have the same pride and respect for the land as they do. They ask that visitors take care to walk on beaches as opposed to driving, unless necessary, to cooperate with tour guides and follow the rules, not to litter, to wash shoes off after a wildlife tour to avoid passing along fungus, and to observe wildlife from a distance for the animal’s safety and your own. Take advantage of the beautiful environment including the beaches, the National Parks, and the wine vineyards.
The Cape du Couedic Lighthouse on Kangaroo Island

The island’s beautiful lighthouses are as much a part of history as they are a tourist attraction. Kangaroo Island holds the first lighthouse in South Australia, which was built in 1852, and since then two more have been built on the island. Each is beautiful in its own way and each has a unique history. Tours of the lighthouses and museums are given daily.

It’s not just yuppies who enjoy Daylesford

Daylesford, Victoria has a long list of accolades associated with it. Home of the oldest Italian building in all of Australia, this popular vacation town is nestled in the foothills of Australia’s Great Dividing Range, right next to over half of Australia’s supply of mineral water. In the 1800s, mineral water was definitely not what brought people to town, though; instead, it was the gold rush, which managed to build Daylesford into the quiet town that it is today. But where other bustling villages became ghost towns, Daylesford’s mineral water and ideal location allowed it to survive and continue prospering well into today.

A hugely popular vacation spot from its inception, travelers from all over Australia have been taking their holidays in Daylesford for quite sometime. For those foreigners who are expecting a sleepy town of around 3,000 inhabitants to be lacking in the high-class options, think again. Daylesford accommodation options are hugely varied, from luxury spas on the lakefront to bed & breakfasts ran by serious foodies who whip up gourmet meals while offering tours of the different mineral water varieties available in town.

It’s not just yuppies who enjoy Daylesford and its healing springs. The New Age community has been falling in love with the town for ages, and with a new nearby yoga ashram built and all of the healing powers of Hepburn Springs just a half-hour drive away, Daylesford is more popular than ever with the crystal-toting crowd. Whether it’s acupuncture, tarot card readings, aura cleansing, or any other variety of services, Daylesford definitely knows how to provide different outlets for those interested in their spirituality.

Less than three hours from Melbourne by car, Daylesford also makes for an excellent day trip, especially for those who are interested in a relaxing afternoon strolling through art galleries and checking out buildings that have managed to survive since gold was king. Mom and pop boutiques are another huge asset to the town’s appeal with visitors, and it’s definitely possible to explore Daylesford for the afternoon and be impressed with the amount of shopping that there is to get done.

A longtime favorite retreat for Aussies and foreigners alike, Daylesford has gone from gold rush capital of Victoria to one of the country’s fanciest spa retreats. With the excitement of today’s rush of spirituality and a healthy contingent of old-timers who have been vacationing here for years, it’s safe to say that the old and the new are managing to coexist just fine in this sleepy little town a couple of hours away from one of Australia’s biggest cities.

Find a small part of Europe in Hahndorf Australia

Most visitors to Australia aren’t expecting to catch a glimpse of a small town that would look more at home in the mountains of Europe, but then again most people visiting Australia aren’t familiar with Hahndorf before they arrive. Tucked into the Adelaide Hills just a half-hour south of Adelaide itself, Hahndorf was settled by Lutherans and bears a strong resemblance to the homeland of Germany.

One of the most popular towns in all of South Australia for day trips, Hahndorf clocks in at just under 2,000 residents, meaning that its charm and quaintness aren’t just a facade–things really are that laid-back here. A short drive from the Princes Highway, the buildings of Hahndorf appear more like old-world Germany than contemporary Australia. Add to that the surreal nature of bakeries and markets and butchers, and it’s almost as though you’ve stepped into a time warp and ventured back to a simpler, more locally-oriented time.

The European influence isn’t just for Hahndorf accommodations, but also for its important structures. Home of the oldest church in Australia as well as other religious spaces, history buffs and architecture fans will find themselves engrossed in learning while touring St. Michael’s Lutheran Church or Australia’s oldest day school. And the history in the walls is quite formidable, with a number of important moments in the history of South Australia occurring within the town limits of Hahndorf.

For those who are gearing up for some good eating before escaping to wine country, there’s no better place to start than in Hahndorf, where bakeries and chocolate shops are a common and popular sight. Whether it’s delicious pastries made from centuries-old German recipes or some of the most mouthwatering chocolate in the southern hemisphere, Hahndorf has something for everyone’s sweet tooth. Fine dining and inviting home-cooked meals are also easy to come by, with a number of mom-and-pop restaurants around town serving up dishes to locals and travelers alike. Those who have been on the lookout for some fine German beer will be thrilled with what the town has to offer, and more than satiated enough to continue on their journey towards wine country.

An afternoon in Hahndorf is just the sort of relaxing day trip needed to boost the spirits and feel as though, for just a day, one has traveled to a different land, where the spirit of the old country is still very much alive and kicking.

Daintree Rainforest is home to the largest range of plants and animals on earth

Home to the largest range of plants and animals on earth and spanning 1200 square kilometres, Daintree Rainforest in the Tropical Far North Queensland is one of the most beautiful and jaw dropping examples of Mother Nature in the world.

Precariously balanced between the advancement of civilization and the warnings of environmentalists the Daintree Rainforest is listed as a World Heritage site. The rainforest is home to the highest number of rare and endangered plant and animal species anywhere in the world.

Basking between the tropical sun and pristine ocean waters, the beaches of the Daintree Rainforest are renowned as being the most spectacular in the world. Some have even mistaken them for heaven on earth. A wonderful and humbling feature of the beaches is the lack of people. Walk for kilometres along the golden sands on your own, or if you’re lucky, with that special someone.

A note: during the summer months (November to March) there is a safety advisory for all visitors to remain completely out of the water as the prevalence of marine stingers, or jellyfish, makes swimming in the ocean extremely dangerous, possibly even life threatening.

 

Australia’s Deadliest

People are just plain scared of certain animals, and rightly so in Australia! Use extra caution around these most dangerous Australian animals.

Irukandiji Jellyfish
This tiny but deadly jellyfish reaches only about 2.5 centimeters in diameter, but still causes various deaths each year. Symptoms of a sting can be delayed up to 24 hours, thereby increasing the danger.

Box Jellyfish
box_jellyfishThe toxin-covered tentacles of the Box Jellyfish can stop human cardio-respiratory function in about three minutes. Found around the Great Barrier Reef, jellyfish cause more deaths in Australia than snakes, sharks and salt water crocodiles.

Saltwater Crocodile
The ‘world’s largest reptile’ the Saltwater Crocodile can reach up to 7 meters in length. This protected species is difficult to see when its swimming, adding to the danger of a sneak attack.

Blue Ring Octopus
BlueRingFound in the shallow waters of Australia’s reefs, the Blue Ring Octopus has a golf-ball sized body, and venom that can cause motor paralysis leading to cardiac arrest and death for which there is no known antidote. The Blue Ring Octopus, so-called for its blue ring markings, is both beautiful and deadly.

Stonefish
StonefishLurking in the shallow waters of coastal Australia is the brownish-colored Stonefish, which appears to be a rock when in the water. Its thirteen sharp dorsal spines inject venom causing shock, paralysis, and even death.

Red Back Spider
RedBackFound across Australia, the Red Back Spider hides in common insect spots. Only about 1 centimeter long and recognizable by a red stripe down her back, the female Red Back’s venomous bite causes acute pain, but fortunately deaths by Red Spider bite are rare.

Brown Snake
BrownSnakeThe Brown Snake, found mainly in Eastern Australia, is famous for its deadly venom. Seeking treatment quickly is vital to survival after a Brown Snake bite.

Tiger Snake
The Tiger Snake’s venom when left untreated can result in death, but today deaths are rare because of widely available anti-venom. This non-aggressive snake is found in southern regions of Australia.

Taipan
The fast moving Taipan lives throughout Australia, and is famous for its extremely toxic venom, which could kill up to 100 adult humans with a single bite. A Taipan will attack aggressively when threatened.

Great White Shark
Along all Australian coasts watch out for the 3 Great White Shark and its 2,800 teeth. Great Whites attack by wounding their prey, then tracking the scent of the blood. The majority of human victims only suffer ‘test bites,’ not ‘full attacks’ …although they still hurt!