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Tourism trends 2020: wellness and fitness

Tourism trends 2020: wellness and fitness

With greater numbers of Brits embracing a healthy lifestyle, it’s no surprise the tourism trends for 2020 and beyond are all about wellness tourism. Wellness retreats and fitness-based trips are an increasingly popular choice for holiday-goers looking to de-stress, rejuvenate, get inspired or achieve weight loss.

Experts from the diverse range of travel companies exhibiting and some of the expert speakers from Destinations: The Holiday & Travel Show, the UK’s leading and longest-running travel event, have shared their recommendations.

Here’s their pick of what’s happening across tourism trends now.

 

Tourism trends 2020 means more of us are hiking the world's most beautiful rainforests like here in South America

 

Talking tourism trends 2020

Lares and Inca Trail Trek

Michael Witt from Kusa Treks, tells us that as far as tourism trends go:

“We offer a variety of fitness-based itineraries that enable our clients to improve their physical strength while also giving back to the communities of Peru.

An example of this is our Lares and Inca Trail Trek, which combines two incredible hikes into one. The Lares Trek takes visitors to remote villages in the Andes where they will hike 15 miles over two days, reaching an altitude of 15,000 ft!

You’ll then have the opportunity to donate school supplies and toys to local villages where they will share meals and play games.

The third day is spent hiking 8 miles on the world-famous Inca Trail, during the hike, our guide leads everyone on a trail restoration project.

Finally, on Day 4, the group will reach Machu Picchu, where holidaymakers will have a professionally guided tour of one of the World Wonders.”

Go hiking in Peru and boost your physical and spiritual wellness

Sacred Valley Yoga Retreat

Michael Witt continues:

“This trip offers an escape to a beautiful lodge deep in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. At the lodge visitors are led by professional instructors through various yoga and fitness classes during their stay. In between classes clients can choose from various “volunteer” activities that benefit the surrounding area and communities, or they can choose to take short tours of the surrounding area.

These tours include horseback riding, paragliding, ATV tours, day hikes and more. Throughout the trip, fabulous meals are served with a range of healthy and nutritious snacks and supplements to help aid fitness.”

Tourism trends 2020 will see more people flock to yoga experiences

SwaSwara in Gokarana

Vimal Matthew, Head of Operations at Authentic India Tours, says:

“The SwaSwara in Gokarana wellness retreat is located on the pristine Om Beach.

Crafted in colours of the Earth, and in harmony with the land that nurtures her, SwaSwara is designed for holistic and transformational experiences; a space where the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda and Yoga embrace you to rejuvenate body and spirit.

The programmes here blend the healing powers of Ayurveda, yoga, meditation and art to offer a rejuvenating holiday experience.

The goal is to offer a life plan for the ‘reconstruction’ of mind and body to bring about balance and harmony within.”

 

Kalari Kovilakom

Vimal Matthew continues:

“Kalari Kovilakom is located near Kollangode in the Palghat District of Kerala by the majestic Western Ghat mountain ranges. The 200-year-old palace of Ayurveda is certified and accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare (NABH) so that history meets natural tranquillity.

The treatments provided are strictly according to the tenets of ancient Ayurveda. CGH Earth took over the reins of this palace and converted it into a traditional Ayurvedic healing facility, while keeping its historic legacy intact.

Kalari Kovilakom is set within the palace grounds of the old Vengunad kingdom and offers 19 well-appointed suites with modern amenities and a clinic with 12 treatment rooms. The living spaces and gardens here complement the healing process, with their nurturing and warm environment.”

Cocooning in the forests of Finland are a big tourism trend for 2020

Arctic Cocooning

Linda Harris at Scott Dunn, says of upcoming tourism trends:

“An increasing demand for alternative and boundary pushing wellness practices sees Scott Dunn offering tailormade tours to lesser-known parts of Finnish and Swedish Lapland.

Arctic Cocooning sees guests become immersed in the Finnish Forests, wrapped in an insulated cocoon and soothed by the gentle swaying of the trees and pure Arctic air. A specialist guide takes guests through mindful breathing practices that leave them feeling de-stressed and motivated.”

Swedish Lapland

Linda Harris adds:

“In Swedish Lapland, Scott Dunn will feature the highly anticipated Arctic Bath hotel.

Set within an extraordinary timber structure, which floats in the middle of the Lule River, guests will experience Arctic Wellness rituals with a giant ice-bath at its core. Guest activities will be tailored to explore the pristine natural surroundings under the Northern Lights.”

Cycling holidays are ever more popular as a wellness travel escape

Exodus Walking and Cycling Holidays

Jenny Cox, Product Manager at Exodus, says:

“Exploring destinations under your own steam, on foot or by pedal power is not only low impact on the environment but it enables you to escape the crowds and reach places where vehicles can’t.

 

 

On a walking holiday you can venture where there are no roads and often limited signs of civilisation. Breathe in the fresh air, disconnect from the modern world, and take in the natural beauty of the landscapes around you. It may sound like an oxymoron but I always find active holidays more restful: think ‘active body, restful mind’.

After burning all those calories in the great outdoors you’ll be sure to have a contented night’s sleep.

At Exodus Travels, we offer walking and trekking holidays across the globe at a range of activity levels, so whatever your budget or fitness level, there’s a trip for you.

Enjoy home-made picnics on our week-long Walking in Mallorca Holiday, sleep under star-strewn skies in Jordan on our Petra & Wadi Rum Desert Trek, camp in Central Asia’s celestial mountains on our Challenging Kyrgyzstan: Tian Shan Gorge Trek, or take on a summit and lay your claim to the ‘roof of Africa’ on one of our Kilimanjaro climbing routes!”

Tourism trends 2020 explore the rainforests in the Carrebean

Caribbean Island Walking – Dominica

Caroline Phillips, Product Manager for Walking & Trekking at Explore Travels, says:

“Discover the rainforests, mountains and hot springs of the Caribbean’s ‘Nature Island’ on this unique trip. Hike to the Boiling Lake, one of the world’s largest hot springs, swim in Middleham Falls and walk the Syndicate nature trail.

Explore’s first walking tour in the Caribbean, this trip covers most of the island, taking in coastlines, volcanoes and colourful hillside houses.”

 

House sitting Australia guide

House sitting Australia guide

In response to readers’ questions we’ve produced a house sitting Australia guide. While Cooper and I have our sitting experience in the UK and Europe (so far), we are Australian, and happy to offer insight into an incredible destination.

If you dream of spending time Down Under, house sitting in Australia is a great option. Here we’ll share with you options on what sites to use, and where to go in Australia as a house sitter.

Meet our Aussie animals while house sitting

 

What is house sitting?

House sitting is where you take care of someone else’s house – and often, pets – in exchange for free accommodation. Some people do get paid to house sit, but many do not. You can house and pet sit anywhere in the world, and it’s a great way to see new places and supplement accommodation costs.

You do need to take the ‘job’ seriously, especially if you’re taking care of pets. We always leave a property as we’ve found it, if not in better shape! Discover how we got started, and house sitting tips.

Sign up for our e-news for an exclusive FREE guide

You might end up in Melbourne while you're house sitting in Australia

 

Why house sitting in Australia?

House sitting Australia wide gives you a real chance to see our beautiful country. If you’ve ever tried to plan a trip to Aus, you’ll quickly have discovered how vast the country is. Also, for most people Australia is a long way to go – so you want to have a bit of time to stay and travel, if possible. With all that travel as an expense, house and pet sitting in Australia can save you money on accommodation. An added bonus is that you might end up discovering an amazing place that you wouldn’t have if you’d not been assigned a house sit there.

We find it’s a good idea to not get too attached to a particular outcome when applying for house sits. Don’t just aim for Sydney, for example. Search for what’s on offer in the State of New South Wales, and then you can travel to Sydney around your house sit.

Similarly, see what’s available in some of our other gorgeous big cities like Brisbane (such a GREAT place these days), and the Gold Coast in Queensland.

Travel visas to Australia can be granted for up to a year, and house sitting in Australia allows you to ‘go slow’ – take your time in a place, immerse yourself in the Aussie lifestyle. There’s no better travel experience than this, and house sitting gives you an economical way to do it.

House sitting is particularly great for not just retirees, but also for those who work for themselves, freelancers and digital nomads.

House sitting Australia guide

 

House sitting Australia – considerations

If you want to travel this way in Australia, a few important things you should consider:

Transport:

As mentioned, Australia is huge. Our cities can be spread out, and the space between towns and cities can be vast. How do you plan to get around when travelling in Australia? Will you be taking the bus or train long or short distances? Will you hire a car, or buy a cheap one? Access to your own transport options will determine where you go. It’s very hot here, sometimes you simply can’t hike for hours to get from one place to another. Plan your travel – and your house sitting commitments in Australia – accordingly.

Budget:

How much money do you want to spend while travelling in Australia? There are very expensive destination here, like Sydney. But if you head to lesser known towns or cities, you’ll find cheaper cost of living and travel options. Determine how long you’ll be here, where you want to go, and consider ways you can save or spend money.

When you’re on the ground in Australia, there are plenty of tour operators who advise those with a lower budget on bus or train deals for getting around. Smaller towns or cities like Cairns also offer visitors on a budget more deals for entertainment and excursions that won’t break the bank. Get on Aussie forums or ask questions of other Australians for advice and local tips before you travel.

Trip type:

We’ve got everything in Australia, from the city to beach, Outback, rainforest and desert. What would you like to see? Do your research and aim for house sits in destinations where your wanderlust can be quenched.

Remember – Australia is huge – so you’re best to place yourself in an area that’s in your heart to see. That said, there’s something to be said for being open to new experiences and surprises. I’ll leave that one with you.

House sitting Australia guide - do kangaroos really jump down the street

 

About Australia

There are six states in Australia:

  1. New South Wales
  2. Queensland
  3. South Australia
  4. Tasmania
  5. Victoria
  6. Western Australia

and two territories:

  1. Northern Territory
  2. Australian Capital Territory

 

At a glance

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is where our national capital, Canberra, is located, and it is the centre of government. New South Wales (NSW) is Australia’s most populated state, and our oldest. This is where Australia was originally settled by the British, as a penal colony on the shores of Port Jackson where Sydney now thrives as the country’s largest city. Our home state, Queensland (QLD) is Australia’s second-largest (in size). Here you’ll find the world-famous Great Barrier Reef, unique rainforests and extraordinary islands. You’ll love Queensland – and our capital Brisbane – if you enjoy warm weather, outdoor and water activities.

On the other side of the country from Queensland is Western Australia (WA), Australia’s largest state. Here you can explore vast deserts and secluded, sublime coastlines – miles and miles of untouched serenity. The state’s capital is Perth, a popular destination for travellers from all over the world.

Victoria (VIC) is the smallest of the mainland states in size but is home to Australia’s second most populated (but arguably coolest) city, Melbourne. Fashion, art, coffee and culture – Melbourne has it all, and all visitors love it! This lovely state is full of beautiful coastal and country scenery too.

Wine lovers, head to South Australia (SA) in the southern central part of the country. Adelaide, the capital city, is a foodie paradise, and a great base for exploring surrounding wineries, the Flinders Ranges and wilderness hotspot Kangaroo Island.

At the top of Australia, you’ll find the Northern Territory (NT). Darwin, on the northern coast and Alice Springs further inland, are the most well-known destinations up here. You will have heard of the famous rock, Uluru too – it’s here, at almost Australia’s geographical centre.

From the top to the bottom of Australia – discover beautiful Tasmania (TAS) which is separated from the mainland by the Bass Strait. Tasmania’s capital, Hobart, was founded in 1804 as a penal colony, and is Australia’s second oldest capital city after Sydney.

 

👉Find out more about Australia’s states and territories.

House sitting Australia guide - the real experience

 

Top sites to try if house sitting Australia is on your travel bucket list

There’s a number of options you can try if you’re looking for house sitting jobs in Australia (or if you’re looking for house sitters), but the top sites we know of are:

  1. TrustedHousesitters is who we book our house sits through.
  2. Mindahome
  3. Aussie housesitters
  4. Housesitters.com.au
  5. Happy housesitters
  6. Mad Paws

 

👉Find out more in our video guides

 

Our advice on what to look for in house sitting sites:

We have been house and pet sitting for about six months now, and plan to do more. But we did our research for at least a year before deciding to sign up for a service. In my experience, here’s how I recommend you assess a site before planning your dream trip (to make sure it IS a dream trip).

Professional look and brand feel:

This might be stating the obvious, but there’s no excuse for a lazy website these days. Look for professional design and easy user experience. I believe it shows care and that there’s likely to be a team of professionals behind the brand. I’d also be looking to see how easy it is to find basics like FAQs, details on how your details and security is managed.

Website videos, testimonials and social media:

If you’re ready to take the next step and commit to a house sitting site, whether you want to travel to Australia or elsewhere, delve deeper to see what you can find. Are there videos the brand has produced to show what they do and how far they reach?

Another simple tip is to take a look at how they present on social media – are there recent posts, reviews, a presence, even? This all goes a long way to show the legitimacy of the brand, its offering, and the people using its service.

House sitting Australia guide - stay in Sydney

 

You get what you pay for:

I come across a lot of ‘forum’ looking sites, or ‘shout outs’ on Facebook. If you’re going to negotiate with a stranger online for a free deal, good luck to you. A lot of people have mentioned to us that they were considering putting a call out on Facebook, for example, or applying for jobs they’d seen on there or a free site.

All because they don’t want to pay a subscription fee. In my opinion this is highly risky – you could end up anywhere!

Look at reviews on sitters and house sits:

If you go down the route of paying for a service, which I highly recommend for your own security, take the opportunity to look at reviews. Just like you would on Airbnb or Tripadvisor, you can gain a lot of insight be looking at what people have written about a house sit, or a sitter. If there are gaps, that may be a sign you should take too.

And please don’t forget the old rule: if something seems too good to be true, it probably is!

Subscribe to the service’s e-news:

If you’re interested in house sitting Australia or internationally, and you’ve identified a service to use, sign up for their e-news. This call to action should be easy to find on their website, and their newsletters will give you more insight into how active the brand and its users are!

Paid vs free

I’ve found a few sites that are either totally free or that charge sitters but not home owners. This doesn’t sit so well with me. House sitters should have the same protection as home owners, and in my opinion I think if both parties are willing to pay for a service then that for the most part legitimises those services.

Paid services usually mean more security checks too, on home owners and house sitters. Nothing’s ever perfect, but you can set yourself up for the best chance at an awesome experience. Invest the time and a little money into this – we believe it’s worth it.

 

If you have other views or questions, do let us know in the comments. Or better yet, join our dedicated house sitting group on Facebook – join here

 

Find out more practical tips about house and pet sitting as you travel the world- subscribe right here for our free info series

 

 

 

House sitting Gold Coast – a surfers state of mind

House sitting Gold Coast – a surfers state of mind

House sitting on the Gold Coast is for many a total Aussie beach-side dream! The Gold Coast is a place Cooper and I consider home – let us show you how to experience it too.

The city is beautiful with many different waterfront suburbs you can explore. If you’re coming to Australia, don’t skip Queensland, how regrettable.

Here’s a quick guide to house sitting Gold Coast and why you might want to apply to come here now!

House sitting Gold Coast – where to start

We’ve been booking our house sits around the world with TrustedHousesitters and we’ve had a wonderful experience so far. It’s taken us to different parts of the UK and Europe.

And you can come to Australia too!

Find out how we got started with house sitting.

 

 

How to get house and pet sitting jobs

Scoring house and pet sitting jobs can be competitive. But with a little bit of strategy you’ll be on the right track and headed for your dream destination in no time.

Here’s our top tips to get you started:

 

We’ve also produced a guide to dog care if you’re keen to take care of fur babies, like we are. Have a read here

 

House sitting Gold Coast

 

About the Gold Coast

The Gold Coast offers you the best of beach side paradise and also Hinterland rainforest. There’s plenty to see and do on the Gold Coast. Learn to surf, go shopping, people-watch while enjoying a coffee. Gold Coasters enjoy an active lifestyle, so if you enjoy the outdoors, this might be the place for you. To find out more about what’s going on in Australia’s sixth largest (and one of its fastest growing) cities, have a read of local magazine, Get it

Capital city Brisbane is just up the road. Here’s a snap shot on how to house sit in Brissy too.

 

Where to stay on the Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is an aspirational destination and there’s no doubt you’ll love it. Sandy white beaches, cool restaurants and plenty to see and do – you’re spoilt for choice. Transport links have improved vastly over the past five years too, but some areas are still not that well connected.

If you do not have a car I’d suggest basing yourself somewhere along the new tram line that runs from Helensvale into Surfers Paradise. Or, along the train line that runs between Brisbane, Helensvale and Coolangatta.

Our favourite suburbs on the Gold Coast include Coolangatta, Burleigh, Varsity Lakes, Broadbeach, Surfers Paradise and Nobbys Beach.

Find out more about what to do on the Gold Coast.

 

Before committing to a sit, ask a few questions like:

a) Is the house sit in the city, or outside of the Gold Coast? What suburb are they in?

b) What are your nearest transport links, how long does it take to get to your nearest shopping centre, beach or central area with things to do; and how much does that cost?

c) If you don’t have a car, how easy is it to get groceries?

d) Where would you take your dogs to play (if you’re caring for dogs)?

e) What is there to do in the area if you want to go exploring?

f) If you need to work while you’re house sitting like we do, what’s the internet connection like?

If the answers to these questions satisfy your needs, you’re likely to be good to go. That said, any reservations (in particular if you’re without transport), be mindful about where you are signing up for. Don’t get stuck somewhere that’s difficult to get around.

You may like to walk places, but also remember Australia gets HOT, so an hour’s walk somewhere might not be viable.

 

Always check reviews on a house sit if there are any. And do please feel free to drop us a line in the comments if you would like any advice.

 

 

House sitting Brisbane – live in the Sunshine State!

House sitting Brisbane – live in the Sunshine State!

House sitting in Brisbane is a wonderful way to get acquainted with Queensland’s beautiful capital city. Cooper and I lived here a long time ago, and I went to Uni here. The city has really grown up since then. Don’t skip Queensland if you’re coming to Australia, whatever you do 🌞

Here’s a quick guide to house sitting Brisbane and how to make it work for you.

House sitting in Brisbane – where to start

We’ve been booking our house sits around the world with TrustedHousesitters and have had a wonderful experience so far. It’s taken us to different parts of the UK and Europe.

And you can come to Australia too!

Find out how we got started with house sitting.

 

 

How to get house and pet sitting jobs

This business is competitive, but if you are armed with a strategy, you’ll be booking house sits in no time.

A side note: most sits do not pay. This is an exchange for free accommodation in return for you looking after pets and homes as if they are your own.

Top tips to get you started:

 

👉Our guide to dog care might be of interest to you too. Have a read here

 

House sitting Brisbane - live in the Sunshine State!

About Brisbane

Brisbane doesn’t disappoint. It’s a contemporary city that sprawls along the beautiful Brisbane river.

The city is stylish and pretty. It’s brimming with great shopping, restaurants, theatre, shows, and fitness options too. We love walking all the way along the river – there are now dedicated pathways you can take around the city. It’s our favourite way to spend time.

Find out more about what’s on in Brisbane.

The nearest beaches are on the Gold Coast – you can also look for house sits there!

 

Where to stay in Brisbane

Brisbane is spread out. It’s a capital city though, and as such, the transport links are decent if you don’t have a car. The buses and trains aren’t as frequent as some places in the UK or Europe, but that’s to be expected.

Our favourite suburbs in Brisbane would be those in the inner city. If you’re lucky enough to find something within walking distance of the river, or Southbank, you’d be set. But, Brisbane is a lovely, interesting and multicultural city where you can make a home just about anywhere.

 

House and pet sits can be almost anywhere in a city. We’d suggest asking a few questions first:

a) Is the house sit in the city, or outside of Brisbane? What suburb are they in?

b) What are your nearest transport links, how long does it take to get to your nearest shopping centre or Brisbane city, and how much does it cost?

c) If you don’t have a car, how easy is it to get groceries?

d) Where would you take your dogs to play (if you’re caring for dogs)?

e) What is there to do in the area if you want to go exploring?

f) If you need to work while you’re house sitting like we do, what’s the internet connection like?

If the answers to these questions satisfy your needs, you’re likely to be good to go. That said, any reservations (in particular if you’re without transport), be mindful about where you are signing up for. Find yourself a house sit where it’s easy to get around both the area and city.

Always check reviews on a house sit if there are any. And do please feel free to drop us a line in the comments if you would like any advice.

 

 

Elephants and Thailand wildlife: conservation efforts making a difference

Elephants and Thailand wildlife: conservation efforts making a difference

Tourism Thailand has announced wildlife conservation and care for animals like elephants and dogs is improving. This is music to the ears of animal advocates.

Organisations and individuals have made great strides to improve the state of Thailand wildlife.

On this, the media release stated:

“… a priority for authorities is preserving Thailand’s remaining forest cover and returning some developed areas back to a wild state.”

 

Tourism authority of thailand Thai Elephant cnservation Centre Lampang

Elephants and Thailand wildlife

We haven’t travelled to Thailand, but friends have. They adore the place for its beauty, wildlife and friendly locals. Our fellow travellers share that visitors must be vigilant when researching an ‘elephant sanctuary’ to visit. If you’re here, you should know NOT to visit anywhere that offers elephant rides.

 

Encouraging responsible travel

Elephants have been mistreated here for a long time. Yet the elephant is Thailand’s national symbol. Thoughtless visitors have fuelled the demand for elephant rides and entertainment. This in much the same way as donkeys are used in Santorini Greece for riding up to see the sunset.

Thankfully, ‘aware’ travellers and tourism destination operators are spreading more positive messages about animal welfare and doing the right thing.

 

Land regeneration and poaching

Elephants need large wild areas to thrive. That’s why there is a renewed focus on regenerating the land for them. To counter poaching, the government plans a database of every domesticated elephant’s genetic information.

The plan is to stop poachers from taking wild baby elephants and claiming them as offspring of domesticated elephants. The government is also scrutinising elephant camps for any mistreatment.

Elephant Conservation Thailand wildlife

Elephant conservation efforts

The Thai Elephant Conservation Centre (TECC) has been caring for elephants in a forested area south of Chiang Mai since 1993. Conservation is the key, and TECC operates an onsite elephant hospital and manages a mobile clinic. The TECC teaches visitors to appreciate elephants and has pioneered conservation and research in Thailand.

Phang Nga Elephant Park is a family-run eco-business north of Phuket. Here, visitors interact with elephants in a respectful way. No dancing and circus tricks!

“Public awareness about elephants is the aim. Through human-elephant interaction people learn to respect and practice responsible elephant tourism.”

 

Elephants World in Kanchanaburi and Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT) are also positively contributing to the rehabilitation of animals and reforestation.

 

Dogs in Thailand

The Soi Dog Foundation started in Phuket in 2003 to help the street dogs and cats on the island. The group is active on social media and while some images are hard to see, the awareness is critical to their efforts.

Soi provides a humane and sustainable solution to the stray population and has expanded nationwide. Work includes rescue, sheltering, medical treatment and vaccination of strays.

 

Keeping waterways clean

The UN reports that our global marine environment is in serious trouble. In an effort to reverse the damage, Thailand is also pushing to reduce plastic waste and conserve corals.

Organisations like the Marine Conservation Project, invite volunteers to help in their conservation efforts.

 

Challenges remain, but things are looking up. It’s up to us to remain vigilant. Support, share, blog about the topic, and importantly, travel responsibly wherever you are.

Got advice, an opinion or stories on this subject? Let us know in the comments. 

 

Images and news via Tourism Thailand.
Brisbane to Gold Coast, Australia – travel like a local

Brisbane to Gold Coast, Australia – travel like a local

Cooper and I are both proud Queenslanders and appreciate the value of exploring the south-east, Brisbane to Gold Coast. They are not the same, by the way, but two separate cities. Brisbane is the trendy capital city of Queensland. The Gold Coast is one of the largest and fastest growing cities in Australia. But they are near to each other – Brisbane to Gold Coast by car or train is only about an hour.

While I consider England is a bit like my spiritual home, being back in Aus recently made me remember what’s so special about it, and why you should definitely do the Brisbane to Gold Coast trip.

Brisbane to Gold Coast – a sunny adventure you want to have

I’m most disappointed when people around the world tell me one of two things about why they might not travel to Queensland, Brisbane to Gold Coast or other areas of my stunning home state:

  1. “I don’t think I’ll get to Australia, it’s a bit far and isn’t it just the same as other places, like America, Spain, England…?”
  2. “I went to Queensland a few years ago and found it to be run down, and too touristy.”

Pretty offensive!

But I get the myths, stereotypes and misconceptions.

Please, don’t ever write Australia and especially travel to Queensland off.

Brisbane to Gold Coast – the stunning Brisbane river

I was reminded of how contemporary and cool we are; super friendly people and a sunny vibe.

It’s worth your while. I’m inspired when I meet travellers like Geri Vladeva who dream about visiting Aus,for good reason (and she did so this year, read about her adventures)!

Let’s start again.

Brisbane to Gold Coast – Southbank

Brisbane to Gold Coast: city updates

After being away for four years I noticed some big changes, especially in Brisbane.

Anyone who has visited Queensland over the past 20 or 30 years tends to think Brisbane, Gold Coast and Cairns (some of the best places to go!) are a little dilapidated.

Now however, you’ll find sleek cities, lovely river walks, restaurants, bars, cool spaces to hang out and be active.

I was really impressed.

Head straight for the riverfront walk in Brisbane, or a stroll through Southbank.

And if you’ve not been to Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast in a while, well, it’s totally cleaned-up, and a chic spot to visit.

Pacific Fair down the road at Broadbeach has enjoyed a significant expansion and is a premier shopping destination.

Burleigh on the Gold Coast is still beautiful too, with its glorious beaches and sophisticated restaurants and cafes.

A cultural melting pot of charm

Australia has its own charm, and nowhere is this more obvious than in Queensland.

Multicultural influence is everywhere too, particularly Asian culture.

There’s no shortage of Asian grocery stores and fusion restaurants, including Harajuku Gyoza – a smart Japanese-inspired chain developed by an Aussie foodie fan.

Brisbane city centre boasts a number of food halls dedicated to serving delicious Japanese, Chinese, Indonesian and Korean food. So good!

I was also surprised to find an extraordinary ‘spiritual spa’, meditation, yoga, therapies and crystals space – Chameleon New Age Salon, set across two dazzling floors in the heart of Surfers Paradise.

It was just one of the many unique offerings I found in south-east Queensland and that had me feeling truly proud and impressed.

Brisbane to Gold Coast – Paradise Point on the Gold Coast

Getting around, Brisbane to Gold Coast

Brisbane and the Gold Coast are served by international airports that are now easier to access than ever before.

The Gold Coast has developed the ‘G’ (G: link) tram which means a city that was previously quite inconvenient to navigate if you did not have a car, is now simple to access.

You can take the train from the centre of Brisbane all the way to Helensvale then catch the tram to Surfers Paradise or Broadbeach. Alternatively you can easily transfer to Coolangatta airport (Gold Coast) on this line too.

Brisbane and the Gold Coast (also Cairns) receive countless flights from Asian destinations now, and Queensland is well and truly open for business.

If you buy a Go Card, you can use it on all public transport in Brisbane and across the Gold Coast. It operates like an Oyster card (London) or any other major city transport card. You can add top-up value to it, and by using a Go Card you will enjoy big discounts on your travels, so it’s worth picking one up from one of the many vendors in these cities.

Brisbane to Gold Coast – Brisbane city

Areas to visit, Brisbane to Gold Coast

I was very impressed by Brisbane – it’s a city that’s done a LOT of growing since I last lived here.

The river walk is absolutely beautiful. I’d start down in front of the Stamford Hotel and walk along past the gardens, or go left towards Hamilton. Early morning is the best time to explore and capture great pictures like the one above.

You can use a Go Card on the CityCat (ferry) too, and see the city via the Brisbane river – head one way towards the cruise terminals and Hamilton, or the other way towards my old stomping ground, the University of Queensland.

The Gold Coast – in my mind at least – consists of three major sections.

Coming in from Brisbane you hit the northern end, with its theme parks and serene suburbs like Sanctuary Cove (great for golf or boating enthusiasts) and Paradise Point.

Harbour Town outlet shopping is also in the area, and in recent years features cool additions like Coach, Kate Spade and Michael Kors stores.

Driving further into the city you might like to explore up-market Main Beach (not far from Sea World), the waterfront at Labrador and a stop in Surfers Paradise is a must.

Past Surfers you’ll come to Broadbeach which is a beautiful spot brimming with cool boutiques and eateries, the home to Draculas cabaret restaurant and theatre and an intense shopping experience, Pacific Fair.

Burleigh and beyond is for those who love serious beachfront landscapes – probably my favourite part of the coast, presenting the epitome of our Aussie beach lifestyle.

Brisbane to Gold Coast – along the waterfront coming into Surfers Paradise Gold Coast

 

Australia – it is as sunny and beautiful as they say; full of characters, experience and charm. My home state is far from back-water now.

You’ll find the best of contemporary experiences here, along with an enviable way of life from the rainforest to the surf.

Heading our way for a travel adventure? Let us know in the comments if you have any questions. And of course, if you’ve discovered your own slice of fun in Queensland, we’d love it if you left your recommendations in the comments to help other travellers.