It's been a great Australian tradition to take the family away camping or caravaning in the school holidays, and Australian caravan parks are embedded in the Australian psyche of thousands of Australians as a childhood memory of timeless, lazy days by the beach, the smell of open fires and camp cooking, sing-alongs and walks in the bush... Aussie caravan parks have a unique atmosphere that is laid-back and friendly with a certain humble, rustic innocence that makes them a firm favourite for families and back packers alike when it comes to low-cost holidays that are a real, refreshing break from the daily grind.
There is a great caravan park with a difference, hidden on the south side of the Richmond River at the beachside town of Ballina, on the Far North Coast of New South Wales, only a half an hour from Byron Bay - the Ballina Beach Village.
Position is everything when it comes to great holiday locations and Ballina Beach Village has it all, the wide graceful Richmond River, abundant in great fishing on one side, absolute deserted beach frontage on the other, and pristine national park behind - it makes for the perfect getaway on a budget, and is especially well set up for a wonderful family holiday.
Heading south on the Pacific Highway out of Ballina, the Big Prawn is an iconic local landmark and the turn to Ballina Beach Village is left at the next roundabout, for half a kilometre to the Burns Point Ferry.
Let's hope they never build a bridge here - taking the old style car ferry makes you feel like you are leaving the world behind, and you immediately feel time shift down a gear, as you watch the pelicans gliding on the Richmond River against a backdrop of mangroves and fishing boats. Take the next left when you drive off the punt (don't forget to pay the ferryman -it's $4.80 for a car) and head along a good bitumen road past some isolated holiday houses and cane fields and out towards the beach.
Ballina Beach Village is the last on the right and is well sign posted, but you'll see the colourful flags along the road as you approach.
Owners Rikki and Bernhard Grinberg are there to meet and greet and they are a delightful, interesting and cultured couple with a grand vision for making Ballina Beach Village the best little caravan park in the Known Universe.
Experience the glamour of Noosa with a chilled view from historic accommodation at Halse Lodge
Halse Lodge is the closest hostel accomodation in proximity to the main beach of the very glamorous Noosa heads. Halse Lodge hostel in Noosa is set amidst a gorgeous Queensland tropical canopy to a beautiful daytime wild bird soundtrack. Charming and historic, the rustic Queenslander building sits atop a hill of dense tropical rainforest, just by the main roundabout to town, with pathways leading just 50 meters to the beach or lake canals. High-end shopping & dining along the main strip and cinemas are all nearby.
On arrival, if you are not greeted by the Halse Lodge helpful staff with giant relaxed Noosa smiles (see pic below,) then a giant relaxed lizard (see pic above) will likely say hello, often perching himself in the sun for your holiday instagram opportunities. Parking is free for Halse Lodge guests, which you will soon learn is the biggest bonus as good parking spots are hard to find around town in peak season.
After check-in to your private room or group dorm, a scheduled group tour of the hostel at the info session with a free drink is on offer. The hostel has a popular ping-pong table, bar and restaurant. Plenty of hostel activities are nearby such as stand-up paddle boarding or a glamorous gondola ride through the mansions along Noosa's canals.
Walking around the hostel building is instantly relaxing. So much rustic character exists on the giant wooden verandahs. Happy holidaymakers of all ages will likely be smiling against the sunny tropical bushland ambience, palm trees reaching inside though open verandah gaps. Once a guest-house run by the Anglican church, current décor utilizes history with a colourful design; church pews are covered in trendy bright cushions, and scattered basket chairs sit by stained glass windows. The building is under the umbrella of an enormous signature mango tree.
Your sleep is guaranteed because of a handy noise curfew, 11pm. Dorms are high ceiling tidy rooms with few beds – also great for sleeping. The public bathroom area is pleasant, clean, airy and large. If you are lucky enough to book a private room, it has a lovely freshly made summer bedspread with bedside tables, cupboard space, an abundance of shiny mirrors, modern lamp, two wooden chairs, and enough shelving to unpack your entire suitcases, plus plenty of clothes hanging space. Fans move the fresh beach air around rooms, and a stained glass window shows off that giant mango tree mixed in with palms tropical scene.
The restaurant at Halse Lodge has considerate prices, and creative charm gives a lovely ambience. Approximately 80% of customers dining will be non-guests. A sign with large chalk handwriting at the base of Halse Lodge temps the locals, showing off their delicious daily specials, when you seat yourself amongst the colouful cushions, tungsten lights and music for a fine meal, you'll know why.
The Palazzo Versace is a truly sumptuous, luxury olde worlde hotel located on the Southport Spit, at Main Beach on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Situated next to a high end shopping area with cosy little restaurants overlooking the waters of Southport.
Concierges will greet you as you enter the main reception area with a huge crystal chandelier overhead in the domed ceiling... glance around at bold ornate italianate styling, listen to a smart young pianist serendading romantic classics on the grand piano, and be at the service of friendly international staff in starched uniforms flitting about looking highly professional. The large circular stone entrance has a grand feel of pomp and circumstance as you are greeted by valet parking and that certain quiet prestige. A wonderful mix of well-heeled, cultured people from all over the world will be lounging around looking dressed for success, with apparently the occasional celebrity thrown in. Stand amist a statement of opulence and look out to a large artificial beach backdrop through floor to ceiling glass walls as your view.
Just saying you are staying at the Versace hotel gives a bit of klout, the hotel has such history and is symbolic of old wealth and decadence to many. Although much of the furniture and fittings are perhaps "over the top" to some, and reek of an age when wealthy people flaunted their wealth, the Palazzo Versace is unashamedly celebrating class and the finer things in life - so why not just go with it!
There’s a rich history embedded in the old timber walls of the Royal Mail pub in Goodna, just outside of Brisbane – and a lot of music! 26 years of live music in fact!
It’s seems only fitting that ‘The Mail’s’ began as a stopping off point for travellers, a history that is still continuing today, as this Grand Old Pub is an essential stopping off point for touring Blues n Roots musicians from across the country! Andrew Café, the hotels owner for the last 26 years, together with his loyal patrons and staff, have now established themselves around the nation as one of the best live Blues n Roots venues in Australia.
The old building is essentially unchanged from it's original rustic heritage. The walls are adorned with a random selection of old posters and farm paraphanalia and dusty musical instruments, an old red phone booth out the front, and a great beer garden out the back. You'll find a colourful cross section of local personalities always ready for a yarn - bikers, road workers, hippies, Aussie's of all shapes and sizes. It's a set from an Australian road movie. The pub serves traditional pub food, steaks , burgers, simple with all the trimmings. There's old style pub accommodation upstairs - clean and simple. It's music that brings everyone together at the Royal Mail and there's live music on all weekend and a jam night during the week. This pub just goes off!
Emmet's Takeaway Cupcake and Espresso Bar in Queensland's Noosa had people lined up for miles at 7am over the summer, so I had to try the coffee too.
I'm the kind of person who doesn't need a coffee to wake up in the morning. Except that is, if I'm on holiday. There's something magnificent about starting the day in a new location just as the locals do. So I always try to find the spots where people who live in the area hang, as this will give me an indication of life and character in the area, and that's what I love embracing. In Noosa, a town famous for it's beach culture, I found Emmet's Takeaway Cupcake and Espresso Bar just near my accomodation at Halse Lodge. I was walking to the beach at about 7am and saw a long line of people waiting. That's the right indication the coffee is good. Emmet's Takeaway Cupcake and Espresso Bar is a family run tiny coffee bar set up on the exterior of a surf shop. I'm sold, 'You had me at ..surf shop.'
The baristas are related, and will chat to you about what to do in Noosa and surrounding area while they perfect the art of the coffee you have ordered. They like to talk about hte cupcakes on offer, which look pretty amazing, but too early for me to taste at 7am, so I'll have to return.