Wildest New Zealand Destinations To Visit With Your Campervan Rental

Big things come in small packages. This adage sums up the experience you’re in for when you go on a thrilling tour of New Zealand’s wildest destinations on campervan rentals. It may be a small country, but it truly packs a wallop! Continue reading “Wildest New Zealand Destinations To Visit With Your Campervan Rental”

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5 Legendary Northern Territory Destinations

The Northern Territory is as cosmopolitan as any of the states of the commonwealth. Despite having certain areas of this state possessing an arid climate, it undoubtedly has something distinct to offer to both regular tourists and new visitors who bring their hired campervans to its brave frontier. Although the state is mostly desert and badlands, it also has oasis prepared and ready for those who know where to look.

For first time visitors of the Northern Territory’s wild country, here is a list of some of the best destinations for your family and friends to enjoy. So before you look out for campervans for hire, read on to learn more about the legendary locations in this rugged northern retreat.

Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park

Perhaps one of the most iconic natural rock formations in the Northern Territory is the Uluru or Ayers Rock. It is a sandstone monolith which has a spiritual and cultural significance to the indigenous people who are steeped in tradition. These tribal communities consider the massive immovable mound and its surroundings as the abode of their ancestors.

What’s fascinating about this area is that the Uluru has a twin. The Kata Tjuta sits firmly parallel on the northwestern side of the Uluru. The Kata Tjuta, which is also dubbed as the “Valley of the Winds,” is a collection of sandstone facades that form a small valley in the middle of the vast desert plain. The name Kata Tjuta literally translates to “many heads,” which somehow accurately describes what these giants looked like to the ancestors of the indigenous people who have marked these solitary giants their home.

Although this area is considered sacred ground, it is also one of the most remarkable national parks of the Northern Territory. The management lets people in the park roughly 30 minutes before sunrise and closes that area by sunset. The reason behind this could be the magical sunrise that can be witnessed as the sun’s rays hit the curves and cuts of the Uluru.

As the sun climbs up the sky, the entire desert plain starts to turn into gold. It was as if the ancient gods have given the Uluru a Midas touch, infecting everything with a shimmering yellow-orange glow. This scenery might even remind a visitor of the adage that “not everything that glitters is gold.”

Darwin City
"Darwin” by Sarah Stewart available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/sarahmstewart/3914405500/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

"Darwin” by Sarah Stewart available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/sarahmstewart/3914405500/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ BY Sarah Stewart

Darwin is the state capital of the Northern Territory. Apart from being the state’s metropolitan centre, it is also a city that has a very significant part in history, particularly in World War II. On 19th Feb. 1942, Darwin’s harbour was bombarded by the Japanese imperial fleet. The enormity of the attack, as well as the devastation, was second only to that of Pearl Harbour.

Apart from that, there are several markers and memorials that were erected in Darwin to commemorate the country’s participation in both World Wars. Among these memorials is the Darwin Cenotaph, which celebrates the bravery of all the men and women who fought in the wars where Australia participated – World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the conflict in British Malaya and Borneo, and the Vietnam war.

Today, the shadow of war’s atrocities have long dissipated. Darwin is brimming with life and the locals’ youthful refreshing glow provide a sharp contrast to the melancholy shades of international conflict. The city is also considered as one of the best fishing locations, not only in the state but in the entire continent, as well.

Truly, Darwin is a model of resilience as it was able to bounce back from war’s bitter blows. The city was able to build from the lessons of the past, turning the metropolis and its surrounds a globally competitive city with a laid back charm.

Katherine Town

A few miles down south, the town of Katherine is a quaint and progressive community that also offers some of the most amazing tourist attractions in the Northern Territory. Nitmiluk (Katherine) National Park is among these popular destinations in Katherine Town.

At the national park, tourists can gaze in amazement at the ancient rock art spread throughout the Nitmiluk Gorge. Nitmiluk has other natural wonders, which would turn a day in Katherine worthwhile. For people who would want to take a dip at warm waters of a hot spring, try Katherine Hot Springs and Mataranka Thermal Springs.

"Katherine Gorge, NT” by Daniel Alexander-Head available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/danielalexanderhead/4687974550/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

"Katherine Gorge, NT” by Daniel Alexander-Head available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/danielalexanderhead/4687974550/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ BY Daniel Alexander-Head

Apart from the gorge and the hot springs, the national park also has wonderful bush paths and picnic grounds where families and friends can bond and appreciate the natural beauty of the surroundings. After a wonderful lunch, you can try your paddling power as the gorge links 4 rivers – Daly, Flora, Katherine, and Roper Rivers.  You can paddle the entire afternoon or simply let the lite current carry you away.

If you plan to visit in May, July or August, you can end your tour at Katherine by joining in the festivities. The locals are known for orchestrating magnificent parties and festivals that bring out the best in their deceptively sleepy suburbs.

Alice Springs

As you move deeper into the heart of the Northern Territory, visit Alice Springs for an immersion to more festivities! The town is known to host several local events all year round. This could be due to the climate that the town experiences most of the year. That’s what gives them a sunny disposition! The town is also the “most popular outback town” in Australia, perhaps to their jovial nature.

Apart from the festivities, Alice Spring is famous for their art galleries. These centre’s of culture and the arts feature pieces made by contemporary artists and even ethnic people from a distant past. Marvel at the diverse collection they present on display to regular tourists as well as first-time visitors. Even the buildings feature modern to contemporary architectural design.

The town is home to gorges and waterholes that would tell you that this is certainly the outback Australia is widely known for around the world. Of course, certain wild endemic species in the country could also be observed in a safe distance at the Alice Springs Desert Park.

After around at the town, you could have dinner in any of the fantastic restaurants in the community as Alice Springs is home to a variety of cafés, bars, restaurants and even casinos that would certainly make your tour even more memorable. Surely, you would never run out of luck, when you’re in Alice Springs.

The Old Ghan

"The Ghan” by Roderick Eime available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/rodeime/7559529708/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

"The Ghan” by Roderick Eime available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/rodeime/7559529708/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ BY Roderick Eime

Perhaps one of the best ways to explore the rugged beauty of the entire Northern Territory is through the epic Old Ghan. The railway service stretches from South Australia’s capital, Adelaide, up to Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. The train service, fondly called by the locals as “The Ghan” has been making stops to these destinations since the 1980s.

The legendary train service was named after the cameleers who resembled Afghan caravan riders who opened the country’s Red Centre to trade and commerce. Eventually, communities grew in this arid countryside; much of it development being owed to these cameleers. Thus, the Old Ghan even takes the camel with a rider as its official seal in honour of these original frontiersmen.

The Ghan offers several packages that would certainly fit the budget of any tourist wanting to take a memorable ride to one of its carriages. You can book a dinner at the train and take pictures at the brilliantly restored 1930s themed railway station in Alice Springs to cap the fantastic evening. The station also has several souvenir shops opened as well as tea rooms for people who simply want to take in the aged elegance of the railway that once served as a commercial artery of the country.

As we wind down this list of places to visit in your first tour of the Northern Territory, put into mind that it’s always up to you where you’d wish to begin your journey at one of Australia’s most rugged and arid terrains. Many unexpected treats await you in all of the amazing destinations mentioned earlier.

These are the oasis the would quench your wanderlust while you’re in the Northern Territory.

Hire a campervan to complete your journey to the vast outback. Always remember that at each destination, communities bursting with life are ready to greet you as you complete your tour in the continent’s legendary heartland.

Where do you plan to go first in the Northern Territory? Share your itinerary on our Facebook and Twitter pages and connect to other travellers in Australia and the world.

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10 Places You Shouldn’t Miss In Victoria

Victoria may be the second smallest state in Australia, but it sure is big when it comes to tourism. Each year, it receives 11 million domestic visitors and more than 600,000 international tourists.

Getting around Victoria is also much easier than other states, because of its interconnected roads. Renting a campervan or a motorhome will not only save you money, it will also help you cover most destinations the region has to offer.

Starting point- Melbourne

There is always something in Melbourne to please anyone. The capital city of Victoria is known for its live music, dining experience and a strong sense of artistry. It is in this city that you can pick-up your campervan or motorhome. While in Melbourne, don’t miss the free city tram ride that goes around the CBD.

Melbourne_CBD

“Melbourne CBD” BY Jorge Láscar via www.flickr.com/photos/jlascar/5374541709 under a Creative Commons Atribution 2.0 Generic. See full license terms at creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ Jorge Láscar

Head to the Queen Victoria Market and stock up on food for your journey. The market’s vibrant and exciting mix of cultures reflects the energy of the city. The marketplace is also close to many dining places that can cater to everyone’s taste.

From Melbourne, go to these 10 places you should not miss in Victoria.

1. Phillip Island

Phillip Island, a sanctuary for thousands of little Penguins, is just less than 2-hours drive south of Melbourne. Be sure to visit this place at night and see these little creatures march in what is known as a “Penguin Parade.”

Other things you can do are visit the Koala Conservation Centre and explore the island’s rugged coastline. The island also has a superbike circuit that hosts international-level competitions.

2. Melbourne Cricket Ground

The “G” is the Mecca of cricket in Australia and is a must stopover when you are in Victoria, especially if your favorite team is playing, whether it is cricket or Australian Rules Football.

This stadium has been the centerpiece of the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games. Touring the MCG grounds costs $55 for one family while children under five years old are free.

3. Eureka Skydeck 88

Watch Melbourne from a bird’s eye view 88-levels above the Eureka tower. Its viewing deck provides the best platform to see the magnificent city of the south and its neighboring areas.

Their elevators are fast at 9 metres per second and takes only 38 seconds from ground floor to the 88th. The tower’s top ten floors are also plated in 24-carat gold. Now that’s a bling-bling.

Eureka_Skydeck_88

CC_Attribution Steve Lacey

4. Dandenong Ranges National Park

Just less than an hour from Melbourne and you will find yourself out of the city and into the wilderness. The Dandenong Ranges has it all- wildlife, restaurants and great trails. If you bring seeds, you can even feed the Cockatoos, Rosellas, King Parrots and other birds nesting in the area.

Do try also the 1,000 steps Kodoka Walk, which will test out your endurance. The park also has lots of picnic grounds for you to stay and even has horseback riding sessions.

5. Bendigo Art Gallery

Art lovers will surely not miss visiting the Bendigo Art Gallery. It has been named as one of the best in rural Australia because of their well-curated collection of art pieces. Many of the gallery’s collection are British and European Continental 19th-century paintings.

The gallery has also featured top class exhibitions like The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece, the Golden Age of Couture and Grace Kelly: Style Icon, to name a few. Bendigo is also host to the $50,000 Arthur Guy Memorial Painting Prize- the richest open painting prize in the country.

6. The Great Ocean Road

Nothing beats a road trip. And in this part of Oz, one name comes to mind- the Great Ocean Road. Stretching 250-kilometres from Torquay to Warrnambool, the trip will take you to Victoria’s surf towns, hippie communes, famous national parks and bizarre rock formations.

Because there are so many sights to see on this road, not only the Twelve Apostles and Bay of Islands, give at least two days to finish the whole course. Other must-see destinations include the London Bridge (aka the Arch), the Otway Fly and Tree Top Walk (zip-lining is highly recommended) and the Cape Otway Lightstation which has been in operation since 1848. 

Great_Ocean_Road

"Great Ocean Drive, Esperance" by Larry W. Lo available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/trippinlarry/5469027222 under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ Larry W. Lo

7. St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Attend church services or just drop by for a prayer at the St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which is just a walk away from Melbourne CBD. Established in 1863, this century-old church is one of the best examples of Gothic Revival architecture. It was named after the patron saint of Ireland, which reflects the main origin of the local Catholic community.

Dubbed as the Cradle of Catholicism in Australia, it is easy to distinguish because of its bluestone exterior and majestic gardens. The interior is accentuated by the light from ornate stained-glass and an organ with 4,500 pipes.

8. The Great Aussie Beer Shed

Not everyone drinks alcohol, but anyone will appreciate what is waiting for you at the Great Aussie Beer Shed. It is the only museum of its kind in Oz that has a huge collection of beer cans and brewery-related items. It currently has 16,000 beer cans from the country and around the world. Bar signs, modern brewery equipment, old wooden beer bottles also abound in this shack.

Its owner Neil Thomas will personally tour you around the shed and share the story behind his collection. Interested? Visit them at 377 Maryann Road, Echuca.

9. Healesville Sanctuary

Tucked east of Melbourne is the Healesville Sanctuary where you can see most of Australia’s native animals like wombats, dingoes, wallabies, kangaroos and over 200 varieties of native birds.  To get in, adults have to pay $31.60 and children $15.80. Kids get free admission on Saturday, Sunday and school holidays.

The best thing you can do is a platypus. Healesville is one of the only two places that have successfully bred this endemic mammal.

10. Peninsula Hot Springs

When you feel tired from all your travelling in Victoria, we recommend you hit the Peninsula Hot Springs which is less than two hours from Melbourne. You can find them on Springs Lane, Fingal, Mornington Peninsula.

The spring’s natural thermal mineral waters are proven to ease your tired muscles and give you a relaxing feeling. The hot springs have over 20 global-inspired bathing including Turkish steam bath, hilltop pool, reflexology walk and cave pool.

Peninsula_Hot_Springs

"Peninsula Hot Springs, Victoria, Australia" by ThinkGeoEnery available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/thinkgeoenergy/6435576097 under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0. Full license terms at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ ThinkGeoEnergy

These are just some of the places you can visit in the wonderful region of Victoria. If you need to book or rent your campervan or motorhome for your next vacation or road trip visit or call a Cheapa Camper office nearest you.

 

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