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Sunday, 01 March 2015 00:00

Australia's East Coast Beauty

Written by  Lisa Loverro

Asia-Australia
With a vibrant mix of cultures, innovative experiences and a thriving arts scene, Australia has long drawn visitors from around the globe. While the Australian culture defines itself by its Aboriginal heritage, its tourism attractions range from outdoor adventure, wine tasting and opera to city exploration and wildlife viewing. The beauty of Australia lends itself to just about any type of vacation paradise.

For a brief overview of last year’s visitor information, recent numbers show that there were 6.8 million visitor arrivals for the year ending September 2014; an increase of 8.2 percent relative to the previous year. In September 2014 alone the number of visitors was estimated at 517,500, with an increase of 6 percent from the previous year. The United States accounted for 35,000 of those visitors in September 2014.

One of the most popular vacation experiences when visiting Australia is exploring its East Coast. The scenic drive of the East Coast allows for a fabulous road tripping adventure to explore fishing villages, beach towns and a multitude of accommodations. Stretching from Sydney up to North Queensland, your clients will have the opportunity to visit Byron Bay, on the eastern-most point in the state of New South Wales, or snorkel with underwater sea creatures off the shores of Heron Island in Queensland. The East Coast has more of a proper infrastructure than the West Coast, making it ideal for the first time traveler to Australia. Most visitors will fly into Sydney (via non-stop on Qantas (www.qantas.com/au) from Los Angeles) and begin their adventure from this point.

WHAT TO SEE
To begin, a visit to the Opera House to hear the symphony should be on their itinerary, along with dinner in the Rocks district (a historic neighborhood that caters to tourists). Brunch at Bondi Beach and a walk over the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge should be included, along with a possible day trip out to the Blue Mountains located about 30 miles from Sydney.
Traveling up the Pacific Highway from Sydney, there are plenty of low-key, local beaches to take advantage of for a day of sun bathing. One of our favorite spots is Soldiers Beach at Norah Head where your clients can stop for a drink at the Soldiers Beach Surf Club for sunset viewing. Continuing along the highway, the Hunter Valley wine region, Australia’s oldest wine growing region, offers a perfect day of wine tasting to sample varietals from Shiraz to Semillon. Just about an hour north of Hunter Valley is the hipster town of Newcastle. In addition to art galleries and restaurants, Newcastle has a great night market where you could easily spend 4-5 hours. With artisanal food stands and handcrafted beer, it’s a gem of a town and guaranteed to satisfy any foodie. Farther north, Byron Bay, famous for its endless beaches, boasts reliable surf breaks, trendy restaurants and a hippy vibe that is sometimes hard to find in Australia.

QUEENSLAND & BEYOND
Once in Byron Bay, your clients are just a quick drive to the state of Queensland, the second largest and third-most populous state in Australia. From the Great Barrier Reef to vibrant cities, the options here are endless. The capital of Queensland is Brisbane, another sophisticated city filled with shopping, restaurants and nightlife. For a fun-filled day trip from Brisbane, a visit to Moreton Island, via a quick catamaran ride, is a perfect way to experience the surrounding natural landscape. Moreton Island is one of the world’s largest sand islands consisting primarily of national park. Here your clients can explore the beaches and lagoons through one of the many walking trails on the island. There’s plenty more to do and see along the magnificent East Coast of Australia, far too many to list.
For more information visit www.australia.com

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