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THE hunt is on for the best Aussie secret spots. Shhh don't tell anyone. They've got the list down to 40.
Hooroo, Qantas’ website, has invited Australians to share their favourite "in the know" travel experiences and destinations via a Facebook competition.
The competition has uncovered hundreds of hidden gems from across the country, and now Hooroo is asking readers to pick the top five.
There's one spot where you can ride a lava tube, another where you can whisper a message and have it heard 100m away and one where you can fish for barramundi alongside a croc named Cedric.
At Mickey Creek Gorge in Carnavon Gorge National Park, Queensland, most visitors are satisfied with a swim and a slide down the natural rock slide. But locals say they are missing out on the most spectacular view. The track appears to end so tourists head back to the car park. But battle on for another five minutes and you'll find "towering walls of rock covered in moss with some sections becoming so narrow you can touch the walls of both sides with your hands and feet".
According to those who have voted in the competition so far, Bondi has nothing on Sydney’s Wattamolla Beach. No idea where that is? Not many people do, that’s why it is so good. Wattamolla is a combination of beach and freshwater lagoon, less than an hour from Sydney's CBD - but it feels like a million miles away. Or you could always find your own island paradise at Moreton Island, Queensland.
Like infinity pools? Brave a bumpy dirt road in the Northern Territory and you will find an amazing one, courtesy of mother nature. It’s called Gunlom Falls and as expected it is in the Kakadu National Park - but far away from the rest of the tourists.
So how did they compile the list? The Hooroo team called for submissions from the public and whittled it down to a selection of the 40 best, chosen by three lifestyle experts Dr Chris Brown from Bondi Vet and host of a travel segment on the Living Room TV show on Channel 10, columnist Paula Joy and Lija Wilson from Hooroo.
But have they picked the best?
Here's the list of the top 40 in no particular order.
Little Beach, Albany
Pentecost River, Home Valley Station, Kimberley
Lighthouse Keeper’s House remains, Albany
Jurien Bay Sea Lions, Jurien Bay
Mintaro Maze, Mintaro
Whispering Wall, near Williamstown Barossa Valley
Northern Flinders Ranges
The Great Wall of China, Central Flinders Ranges
BlueSeas Beach House, Kangaroo Island
Mickey Creek Gorge, Carnarvon Gorge National Park
Starlight’s look out, 40 minutes from Longreach
Undara Volcanic National Park
On the Inlet, Port Douglas
Champagne Bay, Thomas Island, The Whitsundays
Secret Falls, Hobart
Bay of Fires
Donaldson River, Corinna
Aireys Inlet – Great Ocean Road
The bottle of milk, Lorne
Shizuka Ryokan Japanese country spa and wellness retreat Hepburn Springs
New South Wales
Beaufort House, Adelong
Wattamolla Beach, Sydney Royal National Park
Milk Beach, Vaucluse
Mungo Brush, Myall Lakes National Park
Tumbarumba Rodeo, Tumbarumba
The Rock Pool, Tuncurry
Lake Liddell, Muswellbrook
Caves Beach, Central Coast
Protesters Falls, The Channon
Fish Rock Cave, South West Rocks
Menindee Lakes, Menindee
Kosciuszko huts, Snowy Mountains
Gunlom Falls, top pool, Kakadu National Park
Escape your dull day to day routine to explore the beauty of Queensland on foot and take in the crisp, fresh air while discovering a serene National Park or pack up the car to head off on an impressive road trip – get the most out of your journey!
Now is your chance to experience what Queensland has to offer by foot, car or boat just to name a few! Plan your itinerary to suit you – travel at your own pace and take the time to explore the vast countryside or the stunning coastline.
If you’re looking to escape just for the weekend there are plenty of half day or full day trips to consider or in order to completely unwind check out the itineraries from 2 days to 1 week.
TOP 10 ITINERARIES
What has been months in the pipeline is now available - 99 Experiences e-Book, designed to inspire Australians to try different and exciting adventures around the country - is available for free.
While there are thousands of holiday experiences you could name in Australia, Experience Caravanning and Camping has picked 99 of our favourites in the ultimate holiday planning guide.
Inside you will be taken on a journey around our gorgeous country as we count up our top 99 experiences for the explorer in us all.
Caravanning and camping numbers are booming because it’s such a relaxed and easy way to holiday. It provides the thread that binds Aussie camaraderie and presents the perfect way to welcome visitors from other countries to explore our towns and regions. It spawns magical memories.
Our great southern land provides the most envied platform for discovery and we have some of the world’s best and most diverse experiences on the planet.
From the east coast’s beaches and historic hamlets, to the west coast’s wine regions, dazzling natural land formations and spectacular waterways.
Head north for serious Aboriginal cultural experiences, unique native wildlife, the mighty Uluru and all the charms of Darwin, Tennant Creek and the Katherine region. Head south for the rolling hills of South Australia, and little old Tasmania may be our smallest state, but it arguably packs the biggest punch of them all for experiences.
And while there are thousands of experiences to choose from, we’ve found 99 that suit all walks of life and cover every patch of our great country. It’s a taste of what is out there for those exploring Australia by road.
The eBook has something for everyone: bushwalkers, adventure thrill-seekers, animal lovers, fossickers, golfers, fishermen, cyclists, surfers, beach lovers, and food and wine enthusiasts.
Best of all, whether you’re exploring with a caravan, tent, motorhome, camper trailer or seeking out cabin accommodation, there is a caravan holiday park only a stone’s throw away to park your wheels and set up camp while discovering any of these 99 Aussie experiences.
A BIG4 Holiday Parks membership has always been great value, but now guests will receive bigger and better holiday savings with the launch of the refreshed BIG4 Loyalty Club. After carrying out extensive market research on what guests want from a loyalty program, BIG4 recently relaunched their Loyalty Club rewarding guests with accommodation discounts for each stay as well as amazing offers from more than 600 partners.
BIG4 Holiday Parks CEO, Ray Schleibs, says the refreshed program will provide increased value to the BIG4 Loyalty Club members, rewarding them for their ongoing support of the group.
“We really wanted to create a Loyalty Club that rewards guests that choose to stay with BIG4 frequently and one that differentiates us from the rest of the market,” Ray said.
“So far we’ve had great feedback from guests who are reaping the rewards of bigger discounts and great deals with our program partners.”
There are two levels of BIG4 Loyalty Club membership, blue and gold. Existing and new members are given blue status which entitles them to a 10% discount on accommodation up to $40 per stay. For every night stayed at a BIG4 Holiday Park, Loyalty Club members earn status credits and will be upgraded to a gold membership once they reach 100 status credits. Members will earn one status credit for every site night and four status credits for every cabin night at one of BIG4’s 180 Holiday Parks.
Upon reaching gold status, BIG4 Loyalty Club members will receive an uncapped 10% discount for each BIG4 stay. Well worth the joining fee of $50 for new members and $40 for renewing members. Each membership is valid for two years giving plenty of time to build up status credits to become a gold member.
It hasn’t taken long for the some avid travellers to reach gold status, with Jared Brealey of Adelaide claiming the title of BIG4’s first Gold Loyalty Club Member this month. Jared chalked up most of his status credits staying in Melbourne and Geelong for work and says the friendly staff and great service keep him coming back.
“I spend a lot of time in BIG4 parks and the staff are always so friendly and helpful which makes the park’s a home away from home,” said Jared.
Another new gold member, Ian Such, has built up his status credits enjoying retirement by travelling across the country on long road trips with his wife. A BIG4 Loyalty Club member since 2011, Ian also credits his loyalty to the BIG4 group for outstanding service as well as the partner benefits for Loyalty Club members.
“We always seek out BIG4’s on our travels because we know we can expect great service, friendly staff and beautiful parks with impressive facilities,” said Ian.
If, at any time, guests want to check how many credits they have, where they have stayed and what special offers are available through the extensive BIG4 partnership deals, guests can log onto their own members page in the secure dedicated section of the BIG4 website.
Visit www.BIG4.com.au for more information and to become a BIG4 Holiday Park Loyalty Club member.
Your Naturally Relaxing Sunshine Coast Holiday Destination
The Sunshine Coast is aptly named: this stunning stretch of coastline basks in Australia’s most temperate weather making it a relaxing holiday destination in any season.
Its beaches, from Noosa in the north to Caloundra in the south, are some of the best in the country, arcs of golden sand lapped by the revitalising waters of the Pacific Ocean.
And its hinterland, incorporating such natural wonders as the Glasshouse Mountains and the Blackall Ranges, will rejuvenate the most jaded of travellers.
If you enjoy the ambience of an open-air market, then the Sunshine Coast has some of the best, including the famous Eumundi Markets.
And at Australia Zoo you’ll have a chance to get close to some of our more exotic residents.
Though only 100km from Brisbane, and an easy trip by road or rail, the Sunshine Coast boasts its own airport at Maroochydore with direct flights from Sydney and Melbourne.
Easy to get to, even easier to love, the Sunshine Coast is, indeed, naturally refreshing.
All the Sunshine Coast Holiday Parks are conveniently located, allowing guests direct access to sun, sand and surf.
Whatever your interest - swimming, surfing, boating, fishing, bushwalking or just kicking back on the beach, there’s a park that’s the right fit for you.
It doesn’t matter if you are a camper, a caravanner, or prefer the luxury of a villa our parks will take the hassle out of your holiday.
Sunshine Coast Holiday Parks – naturally relaxing.
For more information about Sunshine Coast Holiday Parks, click here.
Four-star caravan park a short walk from Gold Coast theme parks, is the latest addition to the Big4 holiday chain.
Owner Theo Whitmont, who has owned three Big4 holiday parks in the past, purchased the Gold Cost Holiday Park three years ago and has invested significantly in upgrading the existing facilities and adding new accommodation including 11 luxury villas.
Nestled on 32 landscaped acres, the four-star park offers plenty of wide open spaces and grassy areas for family activities. It’s also home to an impressive range of facilities including a resort style pool with a 1.5 story waterslide and poolside cabanas, spa, giant inflatable screen for outdoor movies, BMX track, tennis court, pedal cars, onsite restaurant/cafe and jumping pillow.
The park offers a range of accommodation options including ensuite and powered riverfront sites, villas and cabins; a valet parking service including a golf buggy ride to your cabin or site, while kids’ activities including interactive wildlife talks, cooking classes, craft making and face painting are available during the school holidays.
“We’re the only holiday park on the Gold Coast where you can bring your dog, walk to the theme parks, camp by the riverside and see native wildlife including koalas and kangaroos right outside your tent or cabin,” said Whitmont.
“We have created a really unique offering and we believe that’s why people often extend their bookings and keep coming back.”
The park is also close to the busy Harbour Town shopping district, while the beach is a 10 minute walk and picturesque Mt Tamborine a 20 minute drive away.
The Gold Coast Holiday Park joins three other Big4 parks in the Gold Coast region, including the award-winning Treasure Island Holiday Park.
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