By Darren Stones
Travel Bites Winter 2010 informs as to what’s coming up, what’s going on, and what’s to see around Australia. From golf in the outback, to listening to politicians waffling – there’s something for everyone.
New South Wales
Grenfell – For a taste of good old-fashioned Australiana, the 53rd Grenfell Henry Lawson Festival of Arts will held during the long weekend of June 11-14, 2010. Highlights include art and photography exhibitions, woodchop, street procession, car show, guinea pig races, poetry on the boards, buskers, kids’ rides, entertainment, and billy tea and damper. Phone: (02) 6343 2855.
Torquay – Located at the start of the Great Ocean Road, Torquay is a popular weekend or day trip destination for Melburnians. A beaut seaside location for recreational pursuits such as: walking, fishing, surfing, kite surfing, and para gliding. Visit Surf World museum – the world’s largest surfing museum. Lunch and dinner is served at the Torquay Hotel Motel, which has 10 newly refurbished motel units. Phone: (03) 5261 2001. http://www.torquayhotel.com.au/
Hervey Bay – The Hervey Bay Whale Festival celebrates the return of the humpbacks as they migrate south from northern Queensland to the Antarctic. Each year they put on a tail-slapping show in the bay for tourists from around the world. The festival is sponsored by Queensland Events and highlights include: Blessing of the fleet, street parade, carnival, entertainment and fireworks. Phone: 1300 794 929. http://www.herveybaywhalefestival.com.au/
Monkey Mia – See hand-feeding of bottlenose dolphins in their natural environment on the Coral Coast at Monkey Mia. You may get the opportunity to feed the dolphins under the supervision of a national park ranger, and there’s up to three feeding times between 7:30am to 12:00pm. Entry fees apply, and bring your camera. Call the Department of Environment and Conservation Monkey Mia Office on (08) 9948 1366. http://www.sharkbay.org/
Coober Pedy – Consider a trip along the Stuart Hwy to Coober Pedy. This outback town has unique homes, shops, accommodation and museums located underground. For those who like to play a round, The Coober Pedy Opal Fields Golf Course features crushed rock fairways. Amazingly, the club has reciprocal rights with St. Andrews in Scotland. During summer months, players use luminous balls for rounds played after dark. Phone: (08) 8672 5555.
Uluru – When it comes to icons in Australia, Uluru would be the most recognisable. Rising 348 metres, the monolith is regarded by its traditional Aboriginal owners – the Anangu people – to have great significance. The Anangu people request that visitors don’t climb the rock and kindly suggest listening to everything, and enjoy the guided walks and interpretative attractions on offer. Entry fees apply. Call the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre on (08) 8956 1128 for details. http://en.travelnt.com/
Port Arthur – Nominated for World Heritage listing, the Port Arthur Historic Site is one of Tasmania’s most popular tourist attractions. Located 100km from Hobart, it’s recommended to allow a full day to experience the precinct. Activities include: 20 minute harbour cruise, a guided tour which is included in the entry price, and ghost tour. The Visitor Centre contains the Port Café, Felon’s Bistro, gift shop, and interactive experiences. Phone: (03) 6251 2300 or Freecall 1800 659 101. http://www.portarthur.org.au/
Australian Capital Territory
Canberra – Parliament House is not just for politicians, swinging voters are welcome to visit and listen to the verbal jousting during Question Time. Tickets can be booked for Question Time by telephoning (02) 6277 4889 before 12.45pm on the day required. The Queen’s Terrace Café is ideal for a snack, and the Parliament Shop stocks souvenirs. Free public tours are conducted at 10:00am, 1:00pm and 3:00pm each day. Visitor information desk is attended 9am-5pm every day. Phone: (02) 6277 5399. http://www.aph.gov.au/