Going Around Western Australia on a Budget

We all know that travelling anywhere in Australia costs a hefty sum of money. Even the sunshine paradise, Western Australia (WA), is no exception. But, imagine travelling to WA’s refreshing beaches, mysterious caves, and breathtaking national parks without breaking the bank. Wouldn’t that be the perfect vacation?

In this post, we will show you how you can travel around Western Australia on a limited budget. Here are some tips on how you can cut down your travel expenses in WA. Continue reading “Going Around Western Australia on a Budget”

10 Self Drive Destinations You Shouldn’t Miss In Victoria

The state of Victoria comes to mind every time “road trip” is mentioned. The best tourist spots in the state are very accessible and Victoria is also home to the most scenic coastal drive in Australia, the Great Ocean Road. Hiring a motorhome or a campervan can help you get around this picturesque place without leaving the comforts of a home on the road, and what better way to start your road trip than in a Hippie Camper?

Start at Melbourne or Adelaide

Before you go on that fun-filled journey, it’s best to start at Victoria’s capital city of Melbourne. This metropolis is known for its vibrant façade, a strong sense of artistry and inclination to sports, especially cricket. Find time to go around and immerse in Melbourne for free tram using the that goes around its CBD.

Adelaide nicknamed “the city of churches,” is an alternative starting point, especially if you are coming from the South. Adelaide is famous for their backstreet graffiti, boutique shops  and chic bars.

Melbourne and Adelaide are 726 kilometres apart and takes about 8 hours to cross from one city to another. Rent or pick up your vehicle in any of these two cities. So if you’re all geared up and ready to go, here are 10 self-drive destinations in Victoria that you should not miss.

  1. Phillip Island

You don’t have to go far from Melbourne to experience nature. The penguin sanctuary in Phillip Island is a great place to see these cute mammals. Every night, tourists can watch the “Penguin Parade” where groups of penguins walk to shore. The Nobbies centre is another attraction that drives visitors to this island. It houses much wildlife including koalas, several species of birds and fur seals.

Penguins_Phillip_Islands

"chick" by Frankzed available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/frankzed/8264488321 under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ BY Frankzed

 

  1. Torquay

Drive about 100 kilometres south-east of Melbourne and you will arrive at the first point along the Great Ocean Road, the surfing town of Torquay. Its world-renowned waves attract amateur and experienced surfers alike. Bells Beach in Torquay is the site of the annual Rip Curl Pro, one of the top-rated surfing competitions in the world. The town  is also perfect for a relaxing walk along the shoreline or sunbathing.

  1. Otway National Park

Continuing on your Ocean Road journey, you will arrive at Otway National Park. This place is great for taking photos because of its scenic views. Be sure to drop by the Cape Otway Lightstation, mainland Australia’s  oldest lighthouse. Dare to climb the 45-metre Otway Fly Treetop Walk, the longest and tallest treetop canopy of its kind in the world. The facility also has an exhilarating zip line ride that will leave you thrilled.

  1. 12 Apostles and Bay of Islands

Perhaps the most popular site on The Great Road, the 12 Apostles is a sight to behold. Million years of erosion has formed these 45-metre rock formation into how it is today. During dusk and dawn, it changes colour from dark to sandy yellow. To fully appreciate its beauty, simply head down the beach below through the Gibson Steps, where the coastline perfectly contrasts the 70-metre high vertical cliff line.

Just 3.5 kilometres from the 12 Apostles is the Loch Ard Gorge cliff. Not far from the area is another must-see: the Bay of Islands. This 32-kilometre coastal park has a great view of the ocean, rock stacks, sheer cliffs, and beaches.

Twelve_Apostles_in_Victoria

"12 Apostles" by Prerak Patel available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/prerak77/3344430560 under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ BY Prerak Patel

  1. Tower Hill State Game Reserve

Warrnambool is a place to be closer to nature. Just 15 kilometres from the town lies Tower Hill, a dormant volcano. Tower Hill was made into a state game reserve and is home to animals such as emus, kangaroos, and koalas. People can see its diverse wildlife while enjoying their barbie in a nearby picnic area.

A 15-minute drive from the reserve is Port Fairy, a coastal town known for their old stone churches, Norfolk pines, and 19th century cottages. During winter months, visitors can go whale watching here. Stay  for the night at the country-style Merrijig Inn, the oldest in Victoria.

  1. Geelong and Bellarine Peninsula

Less than two hours Southwest of Melbourne lies the city of Geelong. Victoria’s second largest metropolis has a bustling port. Kids will love its steam-powered, hand crafted carousel which is over a hundred years old.  Tickets are sold at only $3.50.

Geelong’s waterfront is also riddled with bollard people and wood carvings of the city’s history and local figures. For a unique souvenir, drop by the Geelong Vintage Market. Here, you can choose from a huge collection of antique and quirky items.

  1. The Great Aussie Beer Shed

Aussies just love their drinks! The Great Aussie Beer Shed has a huge collection of beer and beverage-related items that will astound anyone. The shed now has 16,000 collections from old bottles, retro bar signs, modern brewery equipment to beer barrels.  Visit them at 377 Maryann Road, Echuca and get a personal tour from its owner Neil Thomas.

  1. Peninsula Hot Springs

The daily grind may have worn you out. To relax your mind and body, head to the hot springs. Victoria’s Peninsula Hot Springs is just two hours from Melbourne. The place is famous for their natural thermal mineral waters that relax tired muscles and give plenty of medicinal benefits. The facility has over 20 bathing areas based on hot springs around the world like cave pool, reflexology walk, and Turkish steam bath.

  1. Coorong National Park

Dive into the untamed wilderness and learn from the Ngarrindjeri people. Coorong’s tranquillity will instil peace into your being. The park also has a 140-kilometre narrow lagoon that runs parallel to the coastal dunes and a wetland ecosystem that includes freshwater lakes and estuaries.

Birdwatchers can also get a glimpse of several species of birds as pelicans, ibis, terns, wild ducks and terns head towards their breeding grounds.

Ibis_at_Coorong_National _Park

"Coorong National Park" by loloieg available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/loloieg/3474119819 under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/ BY loloieg

  1. Colac Culinary Tour

What’s a road trip without a great culinary experience? The town of Colac is the perfect gastronomic destination because of its restaurants that serve different cuisines. Brae, which serves home-grown organic food, received the illustrious Restaurant of the Year Award in 2015 by The Age Good Food Guide.  Future Restaurant Colac is one of the top rated restaurants in the area. Their food choices range from sea food to home-cooked delicacies. Dishes cost an average of $13 to $57.

 

Victoria offers some of the best self-drive destinations in Australia. Renting a campervan will not only save you on accommodation but will also help you manage your schedule better. To get affordable deals on these vehicles, book a Hippie campervan today. *terms and conditions apply with travel in Adelaide- please check with our friendly reservations staff.

Hippies Ultimate Guide To Travelling In Queensland

There are tons of things you can do in Queensland. From immersing in its rich culture to swimming or surfing its long stretch of coastline, down to trekking its luminous green forests. Getting around its tourist destinations is also a zilch because they are close to each other. To get the most from of your travels, we recommend that you get a motorhome or campervan and go on a road trip using this travel guide.

Planning Your Trip To Queensland

If you are planning to go to Queensland there are some things you need to know about this region so you can optimize your vacation or road trip.

First, Queensland actually has five climate zones. But it can be divided into two main areas. The upper two-thirds(Mackay and above), has a tropical climate with summer running from November to April. The lower part of the state (Mackay and below),  has a humid tropical climate whose drier months span from October to March.

The best time to visit Queensland is by the end of October (spring time) when the jacaranda trees are in full bloom. However, you can enjoy Gold Coast’s awesome beach life most of the year because it has an average of 300 days of sunshine.

Whether you’re visiting Queensland for the first or tenth time, this list of must-go places will help you get the vacay of a lifetime.

Must Go Places In Queensland

Starting points- Brisbane and Cairns

Brisbane is a great starting point for your journey in Queensland. The city’s lively landscape is accentuated by lush green spaces and high-rise modern structures. Sitting on the banks of Brisbane River, you can also get around this metropolis by kayak and ferry. Mt. Cootha, a nearby lookout post, offers a great view of the city’s landscape.

Brisbane"South Bank Brisbane" by Lenny K Photography available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/lennykphotography/20777797153 under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0. Full terms at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ BY Lenny K Photography

The city is also surrounded by national parks and waterfalls, which are just a few minutes drive away. Our top picks are Springbrook National Park that shelters the Natural Bridge, a waterfall inside a cave and the picturesque Cedar Creek Falls in Tamborine Mountain.

Up north, you can start your road trip from the city of Cairns, which is known as a gateway for some of the thrilling vacation spots in Queensland. If you want to explore the Australian gem- the Great Barrier Reef then you definitely must pass through here.

1. Beach Hopping

Without going far away from Brisbane or Cairns, beach lovers can enjoy Queensland’s pristine summer getaways.

Heading north from Brisbane will take you to the warm stretch of Sunshine Coast where you can swim, surf and do other water sports on beaches such as Coolum, Mooloolaba and Kings Beach. These places also has some great eateries near the shore where you can take a quick bite after hitting the waves all day.

Mooloolaba"Windsurfing mooloolaba" by texaus1 available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/texaus1/9912844825 under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0. Full terms at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ BY texaus1

Going down south, summer seems not to leave you. The coastal waters of Gold Coast, is just an hour drive away (or two by tram). Swim or just go sunbathing on some of the tourist-friendly beaches like Nobby, Burleigh and Currumbin.

If you have the extra budget and time, do not miss seeing the Great Barrier Reef. Tour packages for touring the largest nature-made structure in the world range between $100 to $300 per person, depending on your chosen activities and package inclusions.

Another great swimming spot around Cairns is the Whitsunday islands that that is home to the much-praised Whitehaven Beach- a constant contender (and winner) for the top beach in Oz.

2. See Australia’s Wildlife

If you are travelling with your kids, Queensland is a great way to introduce them to some rare animals. The Australia Zoo at Steve Irwin Way, Beerwah made famous by Crocodile Hunter, houses over 1,200 animals and has free shows daily. It is only less than 90 kilometres from Brisbane. Entrance fee is $35 for children and $59 for adults. Family admissions and other packages are also available.

Another great place to see rare animals is at the Cairns Tropical Zoo at Captain Cook Highway, Palm Cove. You can hand-feed their tame kangaroos and select animals for a more up close experience. Admission fee is $17 for kids and $34 for adults.

Australia Zoo"Australia Zoo - they're BIG!" by saintrain available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/saintrain/2439569126 under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0. Full terms at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ BY saintrain

Often, you can even spot animals in the wilds just by visiting these places:

Whales: Hervey Bay

Dolphins: Moreton Island and Tin Can Bay

Koalas: Magnetic Island, Townsville

Crocodiles: Proserpine River and Daintree River

Emus: Outback Queensland

Cassowaries: Cape York, Mission Beach and Daintree Rainforest

Wallabies: Cape Hillsborough, Mackay

Dugongs: Moreton Bay, Brisbane

3. Learn to Live Like the Aborigines

The town of Laura in Quinkan Country has figurative stencils, paintings and engravings that date between 15,000 to 30,000 years old. You can take a three-hour indigenous-guided tour over the Split Rock and Yalangi galleries. If you don’t want to travel through caves or trails, simply head to the Quinkan Cultural Centre that also displays the same rock art for an entrance fee of $5.00.

If you want to learn how to survive the wilderness, head to Cooya Beach and Daintree Forest where they teach Aboriginal hunting and gathering techniques. You can then explore these areas which are known to have the highest number of endangered plant or animal species in the world.

These are only some of the awesome things that you can do in Queensland. To complete your trip in this amazing state, rent a campervan or motorhome for a worry-free trip. Visit Hippie Camper’s  website and get the lowest rates on our camping vehicles.

 

Drive Around NSW in 10 Days

New South Wales is teeming with sites worthy of a visit from any tourist. Considered the most populous state in Australia with a population of 6.7 million, NSW offers a multitude of experiences from its natural wonders, sandy beaches, rainforests and historical sites.

Because it encompasses a large area (809,444 square kilometres to be exact), travelling around the state may take a week or more. So to make your holiday planning easier, we’ve come up with a 10-day self-drive itinerary so all you camper van hippies cover all that NSW has to offer. Of course, your travels kick off from the beautiful Harbour City- Sydney.

Day 1- Immersing in Sydney Part 1

You can start the first leg of your self-drive holiday by taking a short tour at the Museum of Contemporary of Art in Sydney, where you can view their collection for free. The museum also overlooks Circular Quay where you can admire the city’s majestic harbour. Afterwards, learn more about Australia’s history and Aboriginal heritage by visiting the Rocks Discovery Museum which is just a short walk away from Circular Quay.

Sydney_Harbour

“Sydney Harbour” BY Nicki Mannix via www.flickr.com/photos/nickimm/19829716730 under a Creative Commons Atribution 2.0 Generic. See full license terms at creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ BY Nicki Mannix

Spend the afternoon relaxing at the Royal National Park. Just be careful not to get lost in its littoral rainforest that has over 100 kilometres of walking tracks. The Royal National Park is also famous for the coastal views from its Wattamolla picnic area, making it ideal for camping and picnics. Park your motorhome for an affordable $29 a night on top of the $11 entry fee to the park.

Day 2- Immersing in Sydney Part 2

On your second day, explore the Bondi to Coogee Cliffside Walk. This six-kilometre walk may require four hours to complete, but is worth all the effort. The views of the harbour and the city will surely make you forget about your tired legs and aching feet! While you’re in the area, drop by Grotto Point Light House and take snapshots of the harbour;  you know you want to.

After an adventure-filled day, relax at the Waterfront Cafe on Fort Denison which has a great view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House. You can get to this fortress-like island through a ferry service from Circular Quay. Most of the shops offer cocktails and snacks perfect for your next Instagram upload.

By now, you have a firmer grasp on how life in Sydney flows. There are really a lot of other places you can go to, but since this article can’t cover them all,here’s a quick roundup of our highly recommended spots: St. Mary’s Cathedral, the largest cathedral in Australia; the Sydney Aquarium which is home to a variety of marine animals and the Sydney Tower with its breathtaking views of the city.

You can also use this day preparing for your drive deeper into NSW. If you want to carry with you a piece of Sydney, shop for souvenirs at the Peruse Paddington markets. Don’t also forget to stack up on food if your supply is running low.

Day 3- Blue Mountains

Just two hours drive from Sydney is a rugged region with steep cliffs, waterfalls, eucalyptus forests and villages, collectively known as the Blue Mountains. The village of Katoomba is considered as the largest town in this region, known for its chic retail outlets and diverse restaurants. It also has its own sporting facilities and golf courses. Not far away from the town is the famous Three Sisters rock formation which are made of sandstone.

A 10-minute drive east from   Katoomba is Wentworth Falls which has several picnic areas surrounded by trees and other vegetation. The place is particularly more attractive during Autumn when the trees are dyed in shades of red and gold. Depending on your itinerary, you can cover much of this region without missing its natural beauty.

Day 4- North Coast

From Blue Mountains travel about 200 kilometres north towards your next destination. The North Coast is famous for its brimming coastline highlighted by Queensland’s pride- the Gold Coast. One of the great urban areas to stop by is New Castle which is the second largest in NSW and is just 162 kilometres northeast of Sydney. It is known as one of the most vibrant cities in Australia with several beautiful surrounding beaches that boosts its tourism.

You can also divert from the Freeway and drop by Stockton Beach for its majestic sand dunes. If you want to explore this area further, the best way is by riding a camel, a sand buggy or a 4WD adventurer. However, do plan ahead as permits are necessary in renting an off-road vehicle. You may also include visiting the fishing towns of Hawks Nest and Nambucca Heads while you’re in the area.

Day 5- Heart of the Country Part 1

After indulging in lush coastlines and riverbanks, it’s time to head to the wilderness. Drive for about five to six hours towards The Heart of the Country region. This place is rich in national parks that preserves the natural wonders known only to Australia. Mount Kaputar, which is elevated by 1,200 metres from surrounding plains, is one of the best place to start your journey of this vast wilderness. The mountain’s rocky exterior offers breathtaking views including the Sawn Rocks, a rock formation with very distinct lateral patterns.

If you want to catch a glimpse of Australia’s fauna and flora, head to the Warrumbungle National Park which is just about a two-hour drive from Mount Kaputar. The magnificent Breadknife, an ancient volcano, is a must-see. You can even camp at three locations- Camp Blackman, Pincham and Wanbelong.

Day 6- Heart of the Country Part 2

For your second day in the Heart of the Country, drive for more than three hours toward Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. Spend time in Wollomombi Falls, the second highest in Australia, at 220 metres. You can also check out nearby falls such as Chandler Falls and Apsley Falls.

Travel a bit for three hours northward to Bald Rock National Park which features the water-streaked dome, Bald Rock which is 750 metres long, 500 metres wide and 200 metres high and is Australia’s largest granite rock. Vehicle entry fee in this park is $7 per day.

Day 7- Outback Part 1

After playing around the Heart of the Country, it’s a long drive towards the Outback. Be prepared to travel for almost half a day towards Bourke, which is considered as the gateway to the “real” outback. Here you can resupply and discover artworks in the Back O’ Burke Gallery. It also has an exhibition centre with interactive displays and a gift shop.

If you still have time in the afternoon, you can travel for two hours toward the mining town of Cobar via the Kidman Way. There are plenty of hotels and place to stay in this town for the night.

Day 8- Outback Part 2

Cobar has mining areas that were discovered as early as 1870’s. You can visit the Great Cobar Heritage Centre and  learn about the their mining history. The town is also known for their parkland where you can enjoy water sports.

If you have had your fill for the day, you can opt to go to the Snowy Mountains early. You can stop mid way to Canberra, which is more than seven hours away. Being the capital of Australia, Canberra has much to offer from historical sites to an active night life. It is also just less than two hours drive from your first stop in the Snowy Mountains region- the town of Cooma.

Day 9-Snowy Mountains

The  Kosciuszko National Park takes up a third of this region. The town of Cooma is a good starting point for your adventure as it is only an hour drive to this park. Here you can see the Mount Kosciuszko which is the highest peak in Australia standing at 2,228 metres.

Tourists can fully appreciate the beauty of this region during the winter season when you can have fun on its snow-capped mountains. The nearby town of Jindabyne is known for its ski resorts and unspoilt rivers and lakes. Another great place to visit is Tumut which hosts the Festival of Falling Leaf to celebrate the coming of Autumn.

Day 10- South Coast

For the last day of your 10-day tour, it’s time to explore the South Coast. If you have been here, you know that this region is known for its beautiful coastal and fishing resorts. Just travelling  Princes Highway traverses much of the attractions available. Visit the town of Narooma where you can spend time swimming and fishing.

You can also drop by the town of Merimbula which also has a beautiful coastline and marina. During the holiday season, you can go whale watching. Finally, if you are looking for a great shopping experience, you can drop by Wollongong, the third largest city in NSW. There are a lot of chic boutiques in this area plus the city itself is a marvelous place to explore. From here, Sydney is only an hour drive away, so returning your motorhome rental should be a breeze.

We only listed some of the most popular places you can visit in New South Wales, and there is still so much more to see. So check out Hippie Camper’s website www.hippiecamper.com  to get the best deals on your campervan rental right now!

 

Hippies Guide to the Best Surf Beaches in Australia

Surfing in AustraliaNever mind all the other things to do in Australia, surfing is the way to go! After all, we wouldn’t be a famous surf destination across the globe if we didn’t have all the best spots here.

We are blessed with some of the world’s best coastlines, reefs (the Great Barrier Reef, no less), and point breaks. Really, nowhere else in the world do we get an opportunity to ride waves that make us feel more alive!

We’re checking out the best surf beaches and towns in Australia to see which ones (if not all) we like best and would travel to. Plus, we’re giving you tips in how you can you can go large on your trip!

Wanna go and ride with us? Whether you are in the West or in the more popular tourist states like Queensland, New South Wales and Vic or even as far as South Australia or Tassie, you’ll find a place to call your own. Without further ado, aside from Surfers Paradise, here are the best surf spots in Australia you can drive to with a campervan!

Noosa Beach

If you want great photos to accompany your adventures, then it’s Noosa that you should visit first. The longboard breaks make for picturesque moments in the water. Plus, the waves reach up to 200 metres! How totally cool is that? Noosa is also the place where, if you’re starting out, you can learn to how to surf. The waves here at the beach located in Queensland range from mild to wild!

Bells Beach, Victoria

You know, I know it, we all know it—a list of the best surf beaches will not be complete without Bells Beach on the list. If you want to see where all the hype began, the beach is a great starting point. What makes it so wonderful are not only the biggest swells one could ever ride. The coastal locality of Bells Beach is home to the annual Rip Curl Pro, Australia’s oldest and most prestigious surfing competition, and the Music Festival Bird Rock.

Snappers Rock

Queensland’s Gold Coast is arguably one of the most picturesque urban jungles you will ever see. The city’s skyline alone is enough to take your breath away so when you mix in a stretch of sandy beaches, you know you’re well on your way to falling in love. At the southern end of the Rainbow Bay lies Snappers Rock—home to the world’s longest waves and a destination that suits all family members. The beach has nearby attractions like shops, bush walking trails, hinterlands and national parks.

If you’re a budding surfer, here are our top ten tips to get you topped up:

  1. There is a variety of surfboards, while some can even be customised to suit your style and need. The three main ones are the longboard, shortboard and funboard.

  2. The longboard is used by beginners to learn to paddle well and take advantage of smaller waves.

  3. The shortboards are used by mid-level surfers and pros to easily ride taller waves and barrels.

  4. Funboards, meanwhile, are for easy transition from beginner to pro.

  5. Get a rash guard—It’s fashion and function rolled into one. It protects you from the sun, prevents you from getting rashes from the wax on the surfboard and helps keep you warm during cold surfing seasons.

  6. Do a lot of exercise to increase your stamina. Surfing is not only difficult to begin with, it is also quite tiring.

  7. Practice your swimming as well. Needless to say, you’ll be in the water 100% of the time. Knowing how to not drown is a great advantage.

  8. Always listen to your trainers and instructors. They’ll keep you safe. ‘Nuff said.

  9. Before you do anything, do your research. You’re on the right track now, so keep it up!

  10. Most importantly, have fun. Stay gold!

Dive in, head first to the best surf beaches in Australia with Hippie Camper. Our campervans are among the most affordable in the country, the perfect way to save for more outdoor adventures! Follow our social media pages (Facebook) and go to our website now!