Australia by Bike – It Makes Sense!

 

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, Australia exerts a powerful allure. It’s a wonderful and unique continent – one with many fantastic cities, wonderful beaches, amazing sights and a stunning culture and history. Visiting Australia gives a wonderful insight into how the continents of the world developed, and there is nowhere with so many utterly unique animals and plants on the planet. It’s a friendly place, too, with a warm welcome in the cosmopolitan and lively cities, and it has its own pace of life that is a far cry from that we may be used to. What’s the best way to tour Australia?

We reckon it must be by motorbike, as the largely unpopulated interior, with its astonishing roads and vast deserts, is just ripe to explored by anyone with a desire to further their knowledge of new places. Of course, you need to make sure your bike is up to scratch and ready for the job. It is worth remembering that, until relatively recently, visiting Australia was too expensive for most – unless you went on a one-way trip – but nowadays a flight can be had for a few hundred dollars, and the tourist industry is one of the biggest sources of income in the country. So, about that bike!

Essential Maintenance

Travelling between cities in Australia can mean covering very, very long distances in often harsh conditions, so you need to be prepared. The weather can be very hot, so you need to be equipped for that, and you also need to make sure your bike is going to be reliable. It will need a full service before you set out, and we recommend you check out BikeBandit.com for the very best in quality parts and accessories for a full range of bike parts from known brands.

They will help you find the best motorcycle tires for the journey you are about to embark upon, with brands such as Pirelli, Dunlop and more in stock, and all at excellent prices. You will find their service to be friendly and approachable, and their delivery times to be excellent. If, by any chance, you are taking a road trip by car with an off-road bike in tow, Australia is a great place to go, so you should also check out their choice of Honda dirt bike parts and other brands, to make sure you are fully prepared.

Touring Australia

There is plenty to see and do in Australia, and it is worth planning your route in advance as it is a deceptively big place! Visit the wonderful city of Sydney, with its iconic bridge and Opera House, or the friendly and cosmopolitan city of Melbourne, which has a young and lively vibe. And don’t forget to visit the Aboriginal sites and learn the unique aspects of Australian culture. Travelling by Bike is a very enjoyable experience, but remember to stay safe, as you could find yourself a long way from civilisation in this amazing continent.

4 Ways to Make Your First Trip to the Outback More Enjoyable

 

Perhaps one of the most strikingly strange facts about Australians is that not everyone has had the pleasure of visiting the outback. Whilst most people around the world think of Australia, itself, as consisting of ranges where kangaroos roam freely amidst a number of other ‘jungle’ type creatures, the fact is, even Australians look forward to their first trip to the wilds within their own country.

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Why is this so surprising? It would be like saying all Americans have visited the Grand Canyon or all Brazilians have spent time in the tropical rain forests. If this is your very first trip to the outback in the interior regions of Australia, here are four ways to make that very first trip more enjoyable.

1) Buy Rugged Luggage for the Rugged Outback

Before you go any further, the thing to be aware of is that you will probably be spending much of your time in camps where you’ll be roughing it. Why even bother going to the outback if you intend to find the closest hotel to spend your nights in. You won’t get very far inside if you do that! When you pack your clothes, make sure your luggage can handle lots of knocking about. Also, it needs to be as lightweight as it is sturdy. Luggage Direct, for example, sells lots of bags that are made for the great outdoors and built to withstand knocks, bumps and extremes in heat and cold.

2) Choose Your Vehicle Wisely

You will probably not be spending all your time with a guide because that could get quite costly and you do want a bit of privacy on your journey into those seldom seen territories. Yes, a guide is good for a while, but plan to spend some time on your own which means a 4 Wheel or All Wheel drive is a must. Once you’ve seen the roads, or lack of roads in some cases, you’ll understand why your vehicle needs to be equipped to go through literally any type of driving terrain.

3) Camping Gear

Again, why would you bother going to the outback only to stay in a 4 star hotel? Yes, those are nice at the beginning and end of your excursion into the vast unknown, but when touring the outback for your very first time, you’ll want to spend the bulk of your time as close to nature as possible. The list of what you’ll need is going to be a bit long, so spend ample time researching what to bring so that you can cook by the fireside and stay warm/cool in your tent. Camping gear also means bringing along such things as a first aid kit and any insect repellents you may need to keep those little pests away. If anyone in your group has allergies to any kind of insect bite, an EpiPen, brand or generic, or two would be a wise addition.

4) Mobile Communication and Backup Batteries

Also, besides a really good GPS system which you may or may not have as an app on your mobile phone, don’t forget to bring the best phone you can along with ample backup batteries in case you are unable to find a way to recharge. With the cost of solar mobile phone and laptop charges having come way down in recent years, this is something you may want to invest in. It’s better to plan for the best but to be prepared for the worst. (Does Murphy’s Law follow you wherever you go? If so, plan extra well!)

Finally, and as an added tip, spend a lot of time reading up on such things as endangered species you are likely to encounter. Whether or not you’ll be on a hunting expedition, some of these creatures are highly threatened by human proximity and though you may think they are cuteness personified, don’t feed them or try to interact with them. The closer they can stay to their natural habitat, the better off they’ll be in terms of survival. Just don’t forget to bring a camera! This is a trip of a lifetime and one you’ll want to capture for those Kodak moments that only come once in a lifetime. Enjoy your trip and above all, plan well and stay safe.

Australian Sports – The Essentials You Need To Know Before Visiting Down Under

Aussie Rules at the MCG.” (CC BY 2.0) by smjbk

Are you planning a sporting holiday to Australia? Firstly, you’ll want to make sure that you are fully versed in the ways of Australian sport, otherwise you might look like a bit of a drongo. The two main team sports Down Under are Australian rules football and rugby league, and Aussies take them super seriously – so you should, too. The NRL (National Rugby League) and AFL (Australian Football League) seasons run pretty much parallel to one another, so if you visit between March and October you can check out games from both leagues. Here is a quick and simple guide to the two sports.

Rugby League

Although Australia is famous on the world stage for rugby union, within the country league pulls in much larger audiences: the Grand Final last year was watched by over four million people. The NRL features 15 teams from Australia and one from New Zealand. It follows a normal league structure for the most part, with the highest-ranked team on the ladder being named Minor Premiers at the end of the campaign. After the league table has been decided, the top eight teams then battle it out in a knockout tournament which culminates in the Grand Final.

Last season, the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks overcame favourites Melbourne Storm to win their first ever Premier title in a thrilling 14-12 Grand Final. Although the Storm finished top of the league, they didn’t win the most coveted prize. The fact that many teams have the opportunity to win makes this league all the more exciting.

To really get into the matches it would make it more interesting to put some bets on, especially if you don’t already support a team. NRL tips sites will give advice on everything from which teams are better placed to win to which players are most likely to whinge and throw a strop. Anthony Milford is one “sook” to watch out for at the moment, and if opposition fans are to be believed, the Brisbane Broncos man will often try and milk a penalty.

One of the biggest rugby league events of the year is the State of Origin series. This is regarded by many as the highest level of rugby league competition in the world, and features all-star teams from New South Wales and Queensland. The best-of-three series will start at the end of May this year and finish in early July. Queensland are the current holders, and have dominated since 2006. Since then, New South Wales have only won once, in 2014. Players play for the state in which they played their first ever professional rugby game.   

Australian Rules Football

There’s only one sport that Aussies love more than rugby league, and that’s Aussie rules. The game is played on a massive oval field, which is usually a modified cricket ground. The Grand Final each year, for example, takes place at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground and last season almost 100,000 people went to watch the Western Bulldogs beat Sydney Swans in an exhilarating end-to-end tie. There are 18 players on each side, and they must move the oval-shaped ball around by kicking, handling, or running with it. If the latter, though, they must intermittently touch or bounce the ball on the ground. The primary objective is to score more goals than the other team, by kicking the ball between the tall goal posts.

There are 18 teams competing in the AFL this season, and it starts on the 23rd of March with the Grand Final taking place on 30th September. The league follows a similar structure to NRL, and every team plays each other over 23 rounds of normal fixtures before the top eight teams in the ladder take part in a finals series which culminates in the Grand Final. Identically to NRL, the winners of the Grand Final are crowned the Premiers, and the top team on the league ladder is awarded the title of Minor Premiers.

Cricket and Soccer

Apart from the two absolutely epic sports listed above, Australia is well-known for being one of the best nations when it comes to cricket. This year, the Aussies will host the Ashes series against England in one of the oldest and most famous grudge matches in the sport. England are the current holders of the iconic urn but Australia will be looking to reassert their dominance over the Poms. England have only won once on Australian soil since 1987 so Australia will be confident of retrieving the urn.

Soccer is also becoming hugely popular Down Under, and the top teams compete in the A-League. It has only been going since 2004, but teams like Brisbane Roar and Manchester City’s sister club Melbourne City are helping to bring the competition to global audiences.

You are now almost prepared to watch some Australian sports. All you need to do is find some Aussie mates to head down to the game with. Just spark up a barbie and crack open a few Victoria Bitters and they’ll surely come to you.

Top Australian Road Trips for Summer 2017

In the past couple of years, cheap airfare prices have given road trips the run for their money. And while nearly one in four Australians are regularly flying to domestic destination, self-drive holiday is still the king.

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Despite the recent growth in air travel, the vast majority of people would rather still have a classic road trip and get to their destination by car. As a matter of fact, roughly 72% of Australians still prefer self-drive holidays to flying, according to data provided by Tourism Research Australia.

As you can see, Australians simply love a good holiday road trip. More than 900,000 kilometers of highways and roads take you through some spectacular scenery, fantastic mountains and of course, endless plains. So if you’re planning a trip this summer, here is a short list of road trips to fill your vacation with new adventures.

Grand Pacific Drive, New South Wales (70 kilometers)

Most roads you drive because they are the closest route to get somewhere, but there are some peculiar roads people drive simply to have fun like the far-reaching curves of Sea Cliff Bridge on Grand Pacific Drive. The coast-hugging route offers you a number of places to stop for a swim and grab a few bites of fish and chips by the sea side. And if you own a convertible, here you have a perfect opportunity to drive for a couple of hours and get immersed in the beautiful environment.

Great Beach Drive, Queensland (200 kilometers)

If you want to have an ultimate summer road trip, grab a hat, few towels and a bottle of sunscreen and hit the beach on one of the best coastal highways in Australia. The road is actually just above the water mark on the beach, and you can also pull over wherever you wish and take a swim. The Great Beach Drive also offers a number of camping spots, so you’ll have a chance to have fun with your whole family and explore the local scenery.

The Murray, Victoria (620 kilometers)

Who told you that some of the best beaches in Australia have to by the sea? If you want to go against the grain, you should sit in your car and follow the Murray River to discover some the best sandy river beaches on the continent. And the best thing about it is that you won’t have to deal with all of those costal crowds, and you’ll be able to fully concentrate on your family. And don’t worry: if you experience any difficulties with your car along the way, companies like RoadsideVIP have mechanics all over the country that can solve all your problems in an hour or so.

The Great South West Edge, Western Australia (1130 kilometers)

Normally, winters are rather rainy in Western Australia, so summer is definitely the best time for a trip along the coast. If you select the Great South West Edge, you’ll have the opportunity to go underground and look through the caves beneath Margaret River, climb some of Australia’s tallest trees and watch professional surfers ride the continent’s best waves. Even though you don’t actually need a 4WD to explore the coastline, it can still take you to some remote, rarely-visited national parks, where basically nobody goes.

Conclusion

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So finally, why do so many people travel by car instead of simply taking a two-hour flight and arriving to their destination far more quickly? In spite of the availability of in-vehicle DVD players, smartphones, tablets and other devices, most people still think that a road provides a great opportunity to talk more and bond with their children.

Last year, a survey of more than 1,000 Australian citizens, commissioned by Jax Tyres revealed that around 66% of people cite road trips as some their “fondest family memories.” And while we all know that traveling with children can be frustrating at times, the survey also revealed that only 15% of people got into arguments with their families during a trip.

It’s true that some people simply want to escape their mundane daily routines and unwind for a few weeks each year. However, the family road trip will always be a popular holiday option, because people would rather have a genuine family experience while creating lasting memories in the process, rather than spending a few uninteresting weeks overseas.

Hidden Australian Gems You Have to Discover in 2017

On a yearly basis, a lot of people visit Australia. For instance, just last year, almost 8.2 million people have visited the content, which is an increase of more than 11% compared to 2015, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

If visit a couple of more popular travel sites about Australia, and compare their “must see; lists, you’ll quickly see that they are all quite similar. Obviously, you have The Great Barrier Rift, Uluru and the inescapable Opera House in Sydney. Don’t get us wrong, these are all fabulous destinations, and they are definitely worth a visit – but is that all Australia has to offer?

No, of course not.

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Some of Australia’s most beautiful locations are the hidden gems that are just waiting to be discovered by travelers ready to escape the well-known busy tourist trails.

·        Esperance

If you’re a person who wants to get away from it all, then you have to patient, because Esperance is definitely not easy to get to. For starters, you have to fly into Pert and drive north for almost nine hours before you reach your destination. But trust us – this is just part of Esperance’s charm, and it’s worth it.

There, you’ll find some of the most stunning white sand beaches in Australia, and there’s a thirty-mile drive that circles around the area. You also have the Recherché Archipelago (a.k.a The Bay of Isles), which consist of more than a hundred islands, not far into the ocean.

·        Hyams Beach

Don’t worry, if you want to visit this beach, you don’t have to travel for a half-a-day. Hyams is located just three hours from Sydney, and it offers everything from beautiful beaches and kayaking to snorkeling and rock poles to explore. Nearby, you have a couple of small towns full of shops, cafes and other amenities.

And if you’re a hiker, you’re in luck, because Hyams Beach is actually located inside the Booderee National Park that has nice walking trails and breathtaking views. If you visit the beach in just the right time, you’ll be able to see dolphins and even a few whales.

·        Arnhem Land

For those of you who are interested in the native Aboriginal culture, and want to experience their way of life to the fullest, Arnhem Land island communities are a must. But we have to warn you, there are no accommodations in the Arnhem Land, and you’ll have to get a camping permit if you want to stay for a few days.

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But once you arrive, you’ll be treated to warm hospitality of the natives, and you’ll have a chance to witness some of Australia most elusive wildlife, so it would be a smart idea to pack a good time lapse camera. Finally, make sure to visit the biggest Aboriginal art gallery in the world on Elcho Island.

·        Montague Island

Just south of Sydney (on the way to Melbourne), located within the Batemans Marine Park, you’ll find this tiny island, which also doubles as a wildlife refuge. Montague Island is great if you’re traveling with your family, because the young ones will be able to see some rare animals and enjoy the costal scenery.

A historical lighthouse is located on the island as well, and if you want to spend the night on Montague, you’re in luck, because the place offers overnight accommodations. If you chose to stay, make sure to check out the two-day Eco Tour, which allows tourists to participate in the conservation efforts of Montague’s penguin colony.

Final Thoughts

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Every state in Australia boasts hidden gems that will surely amaze you – you just need to look hard enough. Once you visit one of these gems, make sure to ask the locals for their favorite spots. And just don’t be afraid to dig a little bit deeper to find even more destinations that aren’t mentioned on your average travel site.

Affordable Destinations for Your 2017 Vacation

With so much information available online, finding bargain destinations to travel to has never been easier. The destinations presented below are among the cheapest, offering the most beautiful and spectacular sights and experiences.

Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is located on the eastern part of the island of Hispaniola. The main tourist attractions here are the capital – Santo Domingo and the areas around Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, and La Romana. This beautiful Caribbean country is a captivating blend of gorgeous natural beauty, culture, and history. The Dominican Republic is home to breathtaking jungles, wonderful sunny beaches, vast coral reefs and amazing waterfalls.

Compared to some other Caribbean destinations, the Dominican Republic is still very affordable in general. It offers all-inclusive resorts at surprisingly low cost.

Greece

This charming Mediterranean country is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and because of its economic difficulties, the cost of holidaying there is pretty low. With over sixty beautiful islands, astonishing historic sites, and golden sandy beaches, Greece is much more than just a tourist destination.

Besides the capital, Athens, top things to see in Greece include Mount Athos, Delphi Theatre, the Meteora Monasteries, and the island of Santorini. You can take the advantage of layby holidays and early bird specials, and set off on an amazing journey to astonishing Greek islands like Mykonos, Rhodes, Corfu, or Crete.

Mexico City

One of the most fascinating cities in the world, Mexico City offers an incredible number of beautiful parks, museums, ancient pyramids, astonishing architecture, and delicious food from every region of Mexico. The city’s top tourist attractions include the historic city center, National Museum of Anthropology, National Library of Anthropology, Museo Casa de León Trotsky, Palacio de Bellas Artes, Frida Kahlo Museum, Diego Rivera Studio, and much more. Also, Mexico City is surprisingly safe and tourist-friendly for a city of more than 20 million people.

Despite everything it has to offer, Mexico City is a very cheap destination. You’ll be able to wine and dine in top restaurants, stay in wonderful hotels, visit all the cathedrals and monuments, without having to pay too much.

Vietnam

Although Vietnam is one of the cheapest locations you can travel to, it has a lot to offer. Vietnam is a land of impressive landscapes and forested mountains in the north, and beautiful sunny beaches in the south. Here, you can choose between modern cities and colonial towns, archaeological sites and beautiful islands. Some of the best places to visit in Vietnam include Ha Long Bay – the astonishing bay of rocky outcrops and turquoise water, the city of Hanoi, the beautiful old city of Hoi An, and the quiet mountain town of Sapa.

Vietnam is a super cheap destination. You’ll find plenty of budget-friendly things to do there. You can go hiking on some of the long-distance hiking trails, explore the natural beauty of Central Highlands, cruise along Halong Bay, or simply enjoy exploring Ho Chi Minh’s beautiful streets. If you love cooking, you can learn how to prepare local dishes by joining a cookery class.

Of course, there are other bargain destinations you can visit in 2017. For instance, the Balkan countries like Bulgaria, Serbia, or Montenegro have so many interesting things to offer to travelers with a low budget. Even some other Southeast Asian countries like Cambodia, or Thailand deserve to be on this list. No matter where you choose to go, remember to make reservations in advance, which will reduce the overall price. And if you choose to travel to one of these destinations, you will see some breathtaking views, while spending next to nothing.

6 Most Relaxing Vacation Destinations

While some vacations are supposed to be wild adventures (mountain biking through the Highlands of Scotland) or family fun (visiting Walt Disney World), other destinations focus only on relaxation and rest. If you want your next vacation to be peaceful and filled with wonderful, natural landscapes and sunny beaches, head to one of these fantastic vacation spots.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica has many great spots for disconnecting from the stress of everyday life. You can enjoy surfing, kayaking, horseback riding, or just take a massage in open air bungalow with an oceanfront view. If you’re nature lover, you can explore the beautiful Costa Rica’s rainforests, or you can simply relax on one of the hidden and stunning beaches on Costa Rica’s spectacular coastline.

Ireland

Ireland’s rural charm will definitely put you in a relaxed frame of mind. This country is the perfect place to take a spa resort vacation, or you can simply rent a car and enjoy a peaceful coastal drive. The Irish countryside is just beautiful and largely unspoiled, with eccentric old villages, where time seems to move more slowly. Combine this with a lively pub life, and you’ll find Ireland one of the best destinations to de-stress and relax in the world.

Malaysia

If you’re looking for a really relaxing getaway, one of the best places on earth is definitely Malaysia. Full of opportunity for enjoyment and exploration, Malaysia is the perfect place where you can just switch off for a few days. You can hike or backpack through the countryside, or find some peace at one of Borneo’s tranquil coastal resorts. Malaysia is considered one of the world’s top relaxing destinations, so no wonder the experts from Heath Group advise those who are under stress to go to this beautiful country.

Iceland

Iceland is full of spectacular natural phenomena like gushing waterfalls, beautiful volcanoes, and gorgeous landscapes. You can explore the wildness and nature of this stunning island, drive along the magnificent Westfjords, visit spectacular sites like Snæfellsnes or Tjörnes Peninsula, go for a horseback riding tour in South Iceland, or take a relaxing bath at the Mývatn natural geothermal baths. Iceland’s mineral-rich waters are very healthy and thought to have healing properties. Combine that with the rich culture of Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, and you can’t choose a better location for relaxing and enjoyment.

Vietnam

Yes, Vietnam! This beautiful country has so much to offer including stunningly beautiful forests, incredible rivers, and sunny beaches. There are endless activity options such as boat tours to ancient Vietnam towns or exploration of old fishing villages with warm and crystal-clear water. Some of the top destinations to visit in Vietnam include the ancient city of Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, and Hoi An, famously known as the Venice of Vietnam because of its carefully carved canals.

New Zealand

Blessed with diverse and naturally beautiful landscapes, New Zealand is another vacation destination. Wild and rocky beaches, lush vegetation and unique coastline, incredible rainforests and mountains – that’s what makes New Zealand such an extraordinary vacation spot. You can enjoy jetboat rides, river rafting, hiking and biking, or go bungee jumping. Queenstown, for example, can be your perfect destination for wine tasting in nearby vineyards, or you can visit an authentic Maori village and participate in native sings and cultural shows. Aside from that, you can enjoy a thermal pool spa therapy or take a walking tour to discover the wonders of this mystical city that sits squarely on the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Of course, there are other places worth mentioning. However, this list should be a good start in your search for a quiet vacation where you can finally enjoy relative peace and quiet.

Enjoying Your Trip on a Budget

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For those who are trying to enjoy their trips abroad, Hotels.com can be a real life saver. You definitely want to consider different ways that you can reduce your expenses on your trip to Australia, if only so that you can make sure you have enough funds to go back and visit again. When you are in the planning stages of your trip, you should definitely think about reserving hotels that are within your budget, but do not let that keep you from having a good time.

Hotels.com’s new partnership with Groupon can help you book fantastic hotels that provide an amazing experience, while still giving you the ability to save money. The way they do that is by offering regular discounts. Right now, you can score 10% off, $50 off, 50% off, and even an entire night for free. Those are just the coupons available today; Hotels.com and Groupon are constantly updating the available coupons, so you should definitely check back regularly as your trip approaches, and even while on your trip. If you keep a close eye on Hotel.com’s Groupon page, you are likely to find some really amazing deals for your hotel stays on your trip.

When you are planning an amazing trip to Australia, you do not want to let money matters dictate what you are able to do and see on your trip. If you are starting to experience a little bit of constrictions due to a tight budget, you should definitely be looking for ways to save money. You do not have to cut back on fun activities to save money, though. Cutting out fun activities is really a poor way to save money: you are turning your long-planned trip to one of the most interesting countries in the world into merely an exercise in self-restraint. Rather than try to see how much fun stuff you can avoid in Australia, see how much you can do while spending less. By using Hotels.com’s new partnership with Groupon, you can still enjoy everything you had intended to in Australia, and more, but come out ahead on your budget.

5 Trips for Travelling in the UK This Winter!

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Whether you’re Australian or simply living in the good old UK, there are certain tips you need to bear in mind in order to have a good time of it in Blighty. The country isn’t renowned for its salubrious weather (believe me – I’ve lived there for 32 years), but this doesn’t dent the amazing cultural wonders the nation has to offer.

So no matter if you’re heading to London, Liverpool, Manchester, or Nottingham, these are the travelling tips I can recommend to ensure you have a fantastic stay in this enthusiastic and friendly country.

  1. Drive anywhere!

As with when I visit another country, I often forget how much bigger many nations are! The UK is a small island – in England you can realistically drive anywhere within one day. If you’re going by public transport, a trek from London to Manchester takes barely 2 hours by train. You could even get a super cheap Mega Bus – it takes 5 hours but with prices at around £10 you can’t argue!

So, the important thing to remember is you can journey wherever you want to in the UK. Don’t be afraid to head to the Scottish Highlands, England’s southern quarters, Liverpool, Manchester, or Newcastle. It’s one of the joys of visiting the UK – fantastic culture within easy reach!

This cheap travelling guide is an excellent starter point to keep costs down. The best piece of advice – book tickets well in advance!

  1. Fit the right tyres!

If you’re driving around, make sure you’ve got the right tyres fitted to your vehicle. If you’re driving a car, for instance, a set of new compounds is always a good idea.

Whether it’s Avon, Bridgestone, or Continental tyres, you can get a set of brand new winter tyres, for instance, and find maximum grip of Britain’s rain hit roads. That’s right – rain. Snow is pretty scarce in the UK, with early morning ice and frost more commonplace than bouts of wintery snow. This winter driving advice from the Auto Express will help you to get to grips with what’s needed!

  1. Master some basic vernacular

The UK is filled with all manner of different dialects. In the North West alone, you’ll pass from a Liverpudlian to a Mancunian accent in 1 hours driving time. Further south, there’s cockney slang and a very different London accent. If you’ve seen Peaky Blinders, you’ll also know in Birmingham there’s the fabulous and friendly Brummie accent.

Needless to say, it can be confusing if you’re a newcomer. You can quite easily take to the internet to earn the different accents, but this 5 minute guide from Metro is a great place to start, me duck.

  1. London isn’t the only place to visit

Whilst London is fantastic, it’s also expensive and relentlessly busy. You may want to see Buckingham Palace and the London Eye, but it’s important to remember the rest of the UK offers just as rich a cultural history at a much cheaper price.

Liverpool, for instance, is home of the Beatles, whilst Manchester offers football, music, and a vibrant nightlife. Nottingham is home to Robin Hood and, in this one small city, you’ll be able to tour around the centre in a single day.

This guide from Visit England is a great place to start.

  1. Prepare for homely food

The UK is a foodie’s paradise, offering an endless array of worldwide specialities. If you want to check out English cuisine, however, prepare to get hearty!

With the likes of fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, Sunday roasts, bangers and mash, beef wellingtons, and pies, it’s an indulgent place to live but the foods are delicious. Just make sure you keep an eye on your waistline! Despite this, as it’s so hearty it will keep you warm amongst the low temperatures, which is always a big bonus.

By low temperatures, incidentally, I mean it’ll be rainy until around June and July, so be prepared for those spring time chills!

The Most Luxurious Hotels in Sydney

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Park Hyatt Sydney

You can’t really get much better than this hotel in the whole of Australia or New Zealand – and that’s a fact. The Park Hyatt has been voted by Conde Nast Traveller’s magazine as the top hotel in both countries. The ultimate in crème de la crème opulence, it embraces Australian culture which is a nice effect.

The hotel underwent a massive renovation last year and shot to the top of the charts as the most expensive hotel in Oz. Guest service is key to the staff, and you won’t fault the attention to detail that every employee offers guests. Directly opposite one of the most recognisable harbours in the world, this residence offers contemporary luxury with spectacular views. You’ll find spacious rooms and elegant suites with floor to ceiling glass doors that open to your own private balcony, 24-hour butler service and the must-have spa with rooftop pool and sundeck.

The Park doesn’t come cheap though. Expect to pay $800 a night minimum for a standard room upwards to $1,800 for one of the private balcony suites.

Guests can enjoy dining at local favourite restaurants, bars and taking advantage of the private dining facilities on offer. Unlike small American hotel rooms, the Australians know how to do it – each room is at least 40sqm and has the latest technology throughout, specially commissioned wall art, plush carpets, and textured fabrics. It sounds like a home from home but a lot classier.

Shangri-La Sydney

Another hotel to undergo a big transformation is the Shangri-La. The stunning views from the Executive Suites sweep over the Grand Harbour and the Opera House.  The amenities in this hotel are second to none, with free wi-fi, falt screen tv’s, minibars and marble bathrooms. Check out the best indoor pool in Sydney, a lot of thought has went into it and there’s plenty room for the kids to splash around in.

One of the bonuses about the Shangri-La is its unbeatable location – just a 5 minute walk from museums, Circular Quay train station and 1km from the Opera House. You’ll be out and about a lot but you can retreat back to your room. These are a little simplistic side while the suites are fantastic – spacious, earthy toned interiors with large marble bathrooms and spectacular views all around.

A room here will set you back from $400 upwards to $600.

Sheraton on the Park

Prepared to be wowed. Sheraton on the Park has an air of grandeur and sophistication. Nearly all of the rooms in this hotel face Hyde Park (the second best view in Sydney if you can’t get the Harbour view). You can get a room here at a very reasonable rate, just check out the special promotions on the hotels website. Recent deals included a Hyde Park view room for $300 or an Executive Suite for $450.

Although the rooms aren’t as fancy as the Park Hyatt and Shangri-La residences, they’re still very modern and have stunning marble bathrooms and furniture. The grand stairwell is breath-taking and definitely worth taking a snapchat of. It’s all about the attention to detail here too, with native Australian floral arrangements dotted around the hotel and award winning food presentation.

The Sheraton is definitely one to check in to.

The Darling Hotel

Not many have heard about The Darling Hotel, but the editors at Condé Nast Traveller has named this brand new hotel one of the Top 60 Best New Hotels in the World. That’s quite impressive!

So, what’s on offer? There are 171 beautifully decorated rooms and suites which have floor to ceiling windows. Each delicately furnished with all the mod cons and luxuries, you can pay $320 upwards for the pleasure of staying here. Don’t let that put you off though; you can get a hotels.com discount that can help you blag a room for a good deal.

Fine dining is also on offer here with the in house restaurants Sokyo and The Black. However, this could be overlooked given a pleasant location, brand new rooms and an excellent room rate. The 16-room day spa is quite a feature, it has Sydney’s first hammam and offers a variety of relaxing treatments. You won’t be disappointed by staying here – it’s in the perfect location for exploring the city and is close to the best restaurants and shops.

An excellent Sydney pick at a good price!