Checking out Austria like a regional in delightful towns unknown to most American tourists

Checking out Austria like a regional in delightful towns unknown to most American tourists

Vienna has its standard cafes, extravagant palaces and locations for its legendary classical-music scene. Salzburg draws in a crowd with all those churches and castles. But within simple striking distance of both big-name tickets are delightful corners of Austria where English-speakers are unusual, crowds are thinner and the gemuetlichkeit is prevalent.

I have an inside track. My expeditions of the country’s lesser-known delights have been led by my Austrian-born mother and cousins who have actually lived in Upper Austria since birth. During my stays there, they’ve squired me on frequent day trips to a multitude of spots unfamiliar to most American travellers but well-liked among Austrians. By the end of my most recent visit, I had actually developed a top-three list: The day spa village of Bad Schallerbach, the Lake District town of Gmunden and the Alpine town of Kaprun.

On a balmy Friday night in late September, I tossed open the large-scale windows in my street-front hotel to the captivating noises of conventional Austrian folk music. Bad Schallerbach residents sat at the outdoor cafe offering all day breakfast, drinking steins of beer, chuckling and talking as an accordion played in the background. The scene was the really meaning of the difficult-to-translate gemuetlichkeit, an Austrian state of being that communicates friendliness, good cheer and relaxation.

The town of about 4,000 homeowners includes just a couple of blocks of shops and restaurants, yet it is visited by more than 400,000 individuals each year, almost all Austrian, German and Czech. Some come for the shows: For more than Twenty Years, it has hosted a series of live shows (70 are scheduled for 2017) showcasing genres as disparate as klezmer and classical.

However the majority of the visitors make the journey for the waters. Since 1918, the town’s natural sulphur springs have brought in those looking for a treatment. Most recently, with an infusion of public dollars, it has morphed into Eurothermen Resort, a huge spa-themed centre situated in the midst of a 22-acre arboretum along the Trattnach River.

Anchored by a glamorous 150-room hotel linked to the medical spa by means of a covered sidewalk, the resort is a series of indoor and outside pools with magnificent pool surrounds, warm springs, waterslides and relaxing locations so comprehensive that a first-timer quickly can get lost.

On a Tuesday afternoon in early fall, one end of the resort, called Tropicana, and hosted a group mainly of young adults bellied up to the swimming pool bar with Caribbean-style drinks in hand. Off to the side, a few individuals lounged in smaller specialty pools instilled with salt, iodine, selenium and sulphur. Covered with a towering retractable glass roofing system and dominated by an indoor-outdoor swimming pool, Tropicana likewise sports a 5,000-gallon tropical fish aquarium, sandy beaches and big plastic palm trees that, if you squint, might pass for the genuine thing.

At the resort’s other end, a number of blocks away, families with screeching children occupied Aquapulco, a pirate-themed water park with 5 slides and an array of sprays, pails and fountains. In between Tropicana and Aquapulco were more pools. In one, called Colorama, visitors swam laps underneath a 16-yard-wide movie screen while listening to an undersea music system. Another large pool was populated by those who choose swimming in the buff.

Those who like dry heat went to an area called AusZeit das Sauna-Bergdorf (Break at the Sauna Mountain Town), which has more than 40 sauna-related facilities, consisting of the women-only Dirndl Health club and one set in the world’s largest cider barrel. Sprinkled throughout the resort were lunching couples, households resting under infrared heating systems, ladies heading into the massage location and older visitors waiting at the Physikarium health centre for supervised medical treatments.

Adjacent to the resort, the free-access parklands offer a break from the day spa crowds with a beautiful landscape design Botanica Park is a peaceful sanctuary that attracts a mix of joggers, parents pushing strollers, pet dog walkers and plant lovers. During an afternoon run, I stopped regularly to take a look at the numerous gardens, including one that focuses on medical plants and another that provides a place to meditate. Walking back to the hotel, I wandered past an atrium where a traditionally garbed Bavarian brass band was performing for wine-sipping employees of a local organisation – gemuetlichkeit defined on a common afternoon in Bad Schallerbach.

–.

We stacked into 2 automobiles at my cousin’s home in the small village of Krenglbach for the 40-minute drive to Gmunden, among many scenic lakeside towns that grace Austria’s Salzkammergut area. We’re not strangers to this historical resort town that rests on the northern end of crystal-clear Traunsee (Lake Traun). Repeated visits never get old with the pledge of a long hike along postcard-perfect routes stressed with lovely prepared meals from the waterside coffee shop. On a recent unseasonably warm day in early October, sailboats drifted previous Schloss Ort, an island castle founded in 1080 and linked to the mainland via wood bridge. The Gisela, a 145-year-old brought back paddle steamboat, ferried sightseers along the lake. A backdrop of cornflower-blue sky and towering mountains controlled by the unique and boulder like 5,500-foot Traunstein transformed the view into something right out of “The Noise of Music”.

After drinking amongst the fanciful scenery during a walk along the quiet eastern edge of the town’s waterside, we moved towards its latest attraction, the Grunberg Mountain cable cars, which began running in summertime 2014.

Backpack-equipped hikers gathered at the bottom of the 3,300-foot mountain while we took the simple method up through among the two 60-person cable cars.

Throughout our climb, a sweeping view of Upper Austria unfolded, eventually providing us far-off take a look at the cities of Linz and Wels. Right there, below us, there was glamorous lakefront houses turned into doll houses.

Atop the mountain, children zoomed down a long, red slide that begins at a lodge-style dining establishment and ends at a play area. As their moms and dads drank tough beers and tucked into plates of schnitzel, the kids raced along the play area’s zip wire and rope walk. A couple of backyards away, brave adventurers lined up to ride the Gruenberg Flitzer, a toboggan-on-a-rail that heads straight down for nearly a mile prior to returning by means of a roped ski lift.

But these man-made amenities play second fiddle to the star of the program, the surrounding mountains. There are lots of walking-stick-equipped hikers, including a few using standard lederhosen, traversed in the miles of trekking courses that link Grunberg Mountain to Laudachsee (Lake Laudach). More proficient hikers dealt with the difficult climb to the Traunstein.

Sated by a hearty lunch of wursts and beer, we once again took the simple way off the mountain via cable car. A hike down would have made us another hour or 2 of idle gemuetlichkeit over strudel and coffee at one of the town’s cafes. Next time, we’ll walk.

Fifty miles southwest of Salzburg, in the heart of the Austrian Alps, the surrounding towns of Zell am See and Kaprun draw more than 500,000 travellers each year. The extensive ski network, using more than 81 miles of runs, draws lovers of winter sports from around the globe. In summer season, visitors pertain to hike, bike and boat.

But my mother yearned to once again check out a close by, far-less-known sight that had caught her imagination years earlier – the Kaprun dams and mountain tanks. While created to offer electricity to the Salzburg area, building of Austria’s variation of the Hoover Dam had an unintended effect: It created simple access to a location that is teeming with natural appeal.

The two dams and adjacent tanks – Mooserboden and Wasserfallboden – have a dark history. Begun by the Nazis in 1938, the initial phases were developed by thousands of prisoners of war and oppressed employees under terrible conditions; the main employee death tally is 120, however a lot more might have perished. After the war, the dams were finished, first by German and Austrian POWs, then by workers including my uncle. Declared as an ideal example of post-war restoration, it wasn’t up until years later that the function of slave labour was acknowledged.

On a blue-sky, puffy-white-clouds day, we took the drive to Kaprun. Pulling into an inauspicious parking garage after more than two hours and after that walking a few yards to catch a bus outside a gift store, I was underwhelmed. What could my mother be raving? A number of minutes into the very first bus ride, I began to get it.

On a narrow roadway through rough-strewn rock tunnels, some so narrow that I might have touched the walls through an open window, we were first dropped off at the area’s base camp, near to the 4,000-foot mark. From there, we lined up for a standing spot on the open platform of the Larchwand, Europe’s longest diagonal outside elevator.

And when launched from that, we got in yet another bus, which went through more tunnels and previous imposing mountains, the practically artificially blue Wasserfallboden and steep hills dotted with goats, horses and cows.

When we lastly arrived at the leading dam, which sits at 6,700 feet, the panorama unfolded. Snow-capped mountains above the tree line, lower conifer-covered rolling hills, fields of wildflowers, an only boat plying the virescent Mooserboden reservoir, a group of schoolchildren hiking in the distance all integrated to create an unreal background of beauty.

We walked along the dam before visiting the mountaintop restaurant for more wursts with a view, investing a leisurely afternoon recollecting with my 92-year-old mother about her childhood in pre-World War II Austria. Threadbare clothing were bide far from sis to sister; bales of hay were their beds; the outhouse appeared miles away throughout ice-cold winter seasons; and there was never ever a time when they weren’t hungry.

But she doesn’t remember her childhood as being particularly sad. They were constantly surrounded by beautiful landscapes and Austrian gemuetlichkeit.

More at http://napavalleyregister.com/travel/exploring-austria-like-a-local-in-delightful-towns-unfamiliar-to/article_98627239-0f41-5dc1-9bdf-6a7be90e7888.html

Delafield restructures tourism spending

Delafield restructures tourism spending

City of Delafield– The reorganization of the city’s tourist promotion program may result in the hiring of a previous chamber of commerce executive as the city’s new tourism director.

City Administrator Tom Hafner and City Lawyer James Hammes are working on the information of the reorganization, inning accordance with Mayor Michele DeYoe.

DeYoe described that city authorities have chosen not to restore a contract with the Delafield Chamber of Commerce

Rather, the city will take control of tourist and landscaping design costs and possibly name previous Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Deborah Smith as the city’s new tourism director, according to DeYoe.

The chamber was accountable for offering administrative support and assistance to the city’s promotion and tourism council, according to the agreement with the city.

The executive director of the chamber likewise worked as tourist director and offered personnel support for the tourist and promotion council, which is appointed by the common council.

A brand-new state law and Smith’s recent resignation as chamber executive director triggered the city to change how it will promote tourist, according to the mayor.

Since the city will be needed to invest more loan on promotion and tourist, the city desires more direct control over how and where that cash is invested, DeYoe said.

Inning accordance with City Administrator Tom Hafner, the city is anticipated to receive about $450,000 in hotel/motel room tax revenues.

Prior to the new state law, about 25 percent of that loan– about $112,500– would have been invested by the city on tourist, and the remaining $337,500 would have gone into the city’s general operations fund.

Nevertheless, the new law requires the city to increase to invest about $163,000 on tourist and can keep about $286,000 for the general operations fund.

To make up for nearly $40,000 in lost general fund revenues, the city may allocate some tourism cash to spend for city expenditures that are related to tourism such as signs, landscaping, lake upkeep, and financial obligation service on tourism-related capital jobs, according to Hafner.

DeYoe said she wants to retain the existing members of the tourist and promotion council.

“We are going to require someone to run the day-to-day operations of tourism promotion, and the members of the tourism council want Deborah Smith,” DeYoe said.

Smith is the partner of Alderman Chris Smith, who managed DeYoe project when she was chosen mayor in 2014.

The tourism council was arranged to go over working with an interim executive director during a conference set up for Wednesday early morning, after the Lake Nation Press reporter’s due date.

However, DeYoe acknowledged there is concern whether the tourist council has the authority to employ an interim or irreversible executive director or whether it need to be done by the common council.

With the exception of the cops commission and the library board, commissions and committees designated by the common council usually do not have working with authority.

DeYoe stated City Attorney Hammes is researching how the new tourist program could be structured and who will have the authority to employ personnel and enter into contracts.

More at: http://www.lakecountrynow.com/story/news/local/lake-country-reporter/2016/12/20/delafield-restructures-tourism-spending/95664130/

It’s Gumboot Season In The Yarra Valley

It’s Gumboot Season In The Yarra Valley

During the cold season, have you ever thought about going out into the Yarra Valley to indulge in some beautiful wine and food that is on offer but the cold weather has turned you off? Well this winter, it is time to just put on a warm jacket and slip on some gumboots and get moving on an adventure to the Yarra Valley.

Wine Yarra Valley has joined up with a number of local Yarra Valley wineries to offer a range of winter promotions for the month of July for the Yarra Valley Gumboot Season

The catch is, if you wear your gumboots to selected wineries, you get a special cellar door discount of 15% or more on all wine purchases. So if you are heading out on a Yarra Valley wine tour, then be sure that you don’t forget your gumboots.

Richard Howden, chief executive of Wine Yarra Valley, said that some places were going to be hosting a range of games like guessing how many corks are in the gumboot or tossing the gumboot into the empty wine barrel, where as others are just hosting some wine barrel tastings.

“The whole idea is to have something a bit quirky and a bit different. Over winter it is pretty cold and sometimes a bit wet but we are saying rug up, put your coat on, your gumboots on, because most of the cellar doors have something going on,” Mr Howden said.

Visit wineyarravalley.com.au to view a list of the participating Yarra Valley vineyards and all the information on the number of specials that are on offer.

“Don’t just stay at home over the winter time.”

To read more, visit http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/outer-east/yarra-valley-gumboot-season-sees-plenty-to-do-at-local-wineries/news-story/fd88d0f33ad4a1384c648688b2635577

Several Pointers To Make Sure You Have The Best Great Ocean Road Experience

Several Pointers To Make Sure You Have The Best Great Ocean Road Experience

holiday-pool-1545181-1280x9601. Stop in the towns along the way

Along the Great Ocean Road are dozens of towns which provide places to stay like Lorne accommodation, with various experiences for individuals to check out. If you like surfing head down to Torquay’s Bell’s Beach where the yearly Ripcurl Pro is held during the Easter weekend. If trekking is more your specialty Anglesea offers a variety of beach and cliff hikes which all end with beautiful views down the coast. Most likely you are a foodie then Lorne is the location to check out with fresh seafood coming directly from the water and onto your plate at a choice of restaurants– scrumptious!

There’s more to the towns through; whether it be the chilled, hippy vibes of Anglesea or going fishing with the residents in Apollo Bay, by slowing your journey down not only do you get to take your time to actually experience the towns and coastline you’re driving through, but by stopping frequently you get to switch off and unwind which permitting your mental concentration to have a break from driving which leads to much safer driving when back on the road.

2. Do not attempt and do it all in one day

In spite of getting up in Torquay early and ready to make the drive to Warrnambool in one day we didn’t consider the time we had actually want to invest exploring. We had not sought advice from a map– so we didn’t know about things like the Airey’s Inlet Lighthouse up until it is pointed out mid-trip, and by the time we had actually hit the Great Otway National Park the bad weather had begun to come in leaving us in a predicament without seeing the Twelve Apostles and London Bridge, so Apollo Bay accommodation was on the cards

We stopped in every town, and at everything that captured our eye. If you take a trip like this then my suggestion is to stay overnight in Apollo Bay or Port Campbell. This enables you plenty of time to check out the towns and activities in the township, in addition to getting lots of rest to guarantee you stay safe when driving the Great Ocean Road.

Atlanta Food and Wine Festival Introduces Pop-Up Vineyard

Atlanta Food and Wine Festival Introduces Pop-Up Vineyard

Atlanta Food & Wine Festival has introduced a new addition. Known as ‘Vineyard In The City’, it features rows of wine grapes and outdoor tastings among the vines.

This pop-up vineyard was inspired from a similar idea from McGuigan Wine in Dublin. It is nuzzled all the way in the heart of Midtown along 14th street and across from the famous Four Seasons hotel. The nearly 4 acres of green space is also home to a couple of bars, two bocce ball courts, a wildflower meadow and a nice café area. The vineyard doesn’t quite compare to the Yarra Valley wineries that are located in Australia or other holiday destinations like Lorne accommodation, but it is nothing short of captivating. The area will continue to be a lovely destination spot for a number of community events until the end of June.

Just recently, guests of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival were treated to a complimentary tasting event. The chef’s who provided food on-site at the festival for their guests included some one the best chefs in the south. Ryan Prewitt of Peche in New Orleans, Todd Richards of White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails, and James Petrakis from Swine & Sons Provisions, Cask & Larder, and Ravenous Pig, just to name a few.

This outdoor space has got to be the most interesting four-acre bit of land located in the middle of a city. Surrounded by skyscrapers, this vineyard is very unusual to say the least. The guests battled that sticky Southern heat that was in the air and they sat back and took in the incredible backdrop with a wine in hand. The live music and bocce was a great hit and was great entertainment for the guests of the festival.

The pop-up vineyard was such a success that guests hope that the vineyard will be an annual feature. Having a restaurant and winery in the heart of the city is very intriguing. The fascination of having an urban vineyard in a city draws people in and they end up paying closer attention to the wine they drink and develop a deeper understanding and love for the wine they drink.

I can’t wait to see if the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival brings back the pop-up vineyard next year after it being such a hit with event-goers. I’d say that America’s first pop-up vineyard was great success.

To read more about America’s first pop-up vineyard, please visit https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2016/06/atlanta-food-wine-fest-hosts-a-pop-up-vineyard.html

The Number One Must Do Day Tour In Melbourne: The Yarra Valley

The Number One Must Do Day Tour In Melbourne: The Yarra Valley

Are you visiting Melbourne for your next holiday or for a business trip? Do you have a strong love for wine or nature? It would be a shame to come to Melbourne and not take a day tour out to visit the Yarra Valley. It is located just one hour out of Melbourne’s centre to the east, offering pristine holiday accommodation. In the Yarra Valley, you will find some cute country towns, some great markets, a number of microbreweries, and heaps and heaps of wineries.

The Yarra Valley is known around the world for its wine. However, there are a number of other activities you can enjoy if drinking wine isn’t your thing.

Hot Air Balloon Flight

Going hot air ballooning in the Yarra Valley is the perfect way to start the day. You will have a 360degree view of the beautiful region and you will be floating over the gorgeous vineyards and farms and even the native forests. You can take pictures and videos and so you can look back and share the memories for years to come. To finish it off, you can enjoy a lovely breakfast at your chosen winery.

Winery Hopping

There are well over 100 wineries and vineyards in the Yarra Valley and most of them offer wine tasting. Most of the wineries are very easy to access as they are just off the highway. A lot of the high-end wineries have their own restaurant as well so be sure to grab a nice meal when you’re there.

Wildlife at Healesville Sanctuary

Pay Healesville Sanctuary a visit and get up close and personal with the local wildlife of Australia. It is home to over 200 species such as the Australian favourites kangaroos, platypus’s and koalas, just to name a few. It offers a distinct Australian wildlife setting and it helps enormously with saving some species that are some of the most endangered around the world.

If you want to enjoy your visit to Melbourne, it is a great idea to  create an itinerary and make sure you include a Yarra Valley winery tour I can assure you that you won’t be disappointed.

To read more, please visit http://www.stayinnercity.com.au/melbourne-must-day-tours-yarra-valley/

Tips On Travelling The World With No Money

Tips On Travelling The World With No Money

Ever dreamt about travelling the world even though you have no money to do so? It sounds like a pretty impossible dream to most, but it’s not impossible at all.

There are some expenses that you shouldn’t compromise on, such as, it would be stupid to not buy travel insurance and to not make sure that all of your shots are up to date.

This article is going to give you some tips on how to travel the world with no money.

Camping and Couch surfing

Accommodation will be your biggest regular expense. Regardless of where you are in the world, the price of accommodation can add up pretty fast. That’s why couch surfing is really handy. You can use the couch surfing network, which lets you apply to stay in the homes of locals free of charge.

All you are expected to give in return is your company, and a nice gift like a bottle of wine or a native gift from where you are from. This system puts you in contact with the locals and it should be seen in the same light as a cultural exchange.

However, if you are unable to couch surf, camping is always a good option. A lot of countries have free camping laws, which is where you can camp on any unoccupied piece of land, but only as long as you don’t light any fires and you clean up after yourself.

Travelling between cities

hitchhiking-in-hungary-1462955

When you are travelling through Europe or you are trying to backpack around the Caribbean, travelling between the destinations can add up to be very costly.

To get between destinations completely free of charge and not splurge on holiday accommodation, the only option is to hitchhike. Generally, in the poorer countries, it is a lot easier to hitchhike because that is how a lot of the locals get around.

Depending on where you are in the world, you can even hitchhike boats. If you happen to have any skills, you can offer to serve as a member of the crew for when you make your way across the Atlantic or even Pacific. That does require a lot of effort by you but when you are paying nothing for transport, you can’t really complain!

Finding ways to travel between cities can be so thrilling. It’s like you’re just creating your very own tailor made tour!

Working on the road?

There are plenty of options for working on the road if you are after some extra money to help get you by. You can get a job working in bars or hostels.

Europe is quite an easy place to find some work. If you don’t have a problem with ethics, you can work for money under the table.

Working when travelling on the road is definitely a great way to live for free because a lot of places will take money for accommodation and food out of your salary in order to make things easier for you.

Volunteer

Volunteering has become a lot more common over the past decade. You can practically volunteer in any part of the world. There are places for both skilled and unskilled volunteers.

When volunteering, you will be expected to put in a few hours a day of work, which is in exchange for accommodation and food. You may even have the chance to have your role turned into a paid one. When you’re not volunteering and have a bit of spare time, maybe it’s a day off, you can explore the culture and local destinations by going on a half day tour that is available.

Yes, it can be done

Travelling around the world for free can definitely be done as you have just read. But you need to make sure that you plan it well in advance to make sure that it all works.

So… Where are you going to go next?

To read more tips on travelling the world for free, visit http://www.huffingtonpost.com/aj-agrawal/how-to-travel-the-world-w_b_10319590.html

The Great Barrier Reef on a Budget

The Great Barrier Reef on a Budget

With around 7000km of coastline, more than 150 islands and the Great Barrier Reef spanning it all, Queensland is Australia’s most dreamed-about tropical destination. The trouble is, it ain’t cheap. The cost of living in Australia is pretty high, but there are a few hideaways and deals that can make a trip to this incredible destination affordable even on a budget.

 Day trips

Paradise found: an aerial view over Whitehaven Beach in Queenland's Whitsunday Islands. Image by Yoshio Tomii / Getty Images
Paradise found: an aerial view over Whitehaven Beach in Queenland’s Whitsunday Islands. Image by Yoshio Tomii / Getty Images

Green Island is a tiny coral cay with only one resort. Luckily, the resort has restaurants, an ice cream parlour and watersports rentals that are all available to day trippers. It only takes about 30 minutes to walk around the light sands of this beautiful island, so chances are you’ll spend a lot of time enjoying the crystal blue waters and fringing coral reef, or simply lounge the day away on the beach. Great Adventures (greatadventures.com.au) runs the least expensive ferry option at around AU$90 return.

Hamilton Island has the most to offer active types wanting to take a DIY day trip to the Whitsunday Islands. This is where to go for a wannabe resort experience inclusive of white sand beaches, golf, tennis, watersport rentals and tons of restaurant choices – and yes, day-trippers can access all of this. If you’re more of a nature lover, ditch the resort areas and trek on one of the many steep, view-filled walking trails, some that lead to more secluded beaches. To get there, just take a Cruise Whitsundays ferry from Airlie Beach and then, once you’re on the island, the shuttle buses are free.

Big Fury offers one of the better value day cruises in the Whitsundays that will get you out to the famed Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island and snorkelling for AU$130 including lunch. What is Whitehaven Beach? Often called the most beautiful beach in Australia, this is about as perfect and white, with the requisite lapping clear blue water, as you can get. It is worth the splurge.

Lady Musgrave Island day trips depart on the family-run Lady Musgrave Cruises (lmcruises.com.au) from the Town of 1770. Yes it’s AU$190, but you can’t get to a more perfect tropical island paradise on this coast for less money. The uninhabited isle swarms with nesting seabirds and is rimmed by sparkling soft sands and live corals. The trip includes lunch, tea and a semi-submarine tour so it’s a spectacular way to spend the day.

Longer stays

Great Keppel Island is slated to be the next major resort on this coast, but for now it’s a serene paradise of empty beaches, hearty bush walks over steep, forested hills, and some of the best live corals that you can snorkel simply by hiking and swimming there (no expensive boat tour required).

If all this wasn’t enough, there’s plenty of simple, affordable accommodation ranging from the laid-back dorms and doubles at Great Keppel Island Holiday Village (gkiholidayvillage.com.au), to the beachfront Great Keppel Island Hideaway (greatkeppelislandhideaway.com.au) where options include safari tents as well as classier rooms and cabins.

There’s more good news on the food front with kitchens available to guests at both of the above-listed options (stock up on supplies inYeppoon) and a basic supply shop down the road. If you’ve got the cash, dine on tasty and reasonably priced meals or sip a cold beer at sunset over the beach, at the Great Keppel Island Hideaway Bar and Restaurant.

Getting to the island by ferry will cost you AU$55 return on Freedom Fast Cats (freedomfastcats.com), which compared to other island ferry transfers on this coast, is another bargain.

Magnetic Island is a little island with a lot going on. It’s not one of those resort islands (although it has all the natural beauty of one), it’s a place where people really live and work. Eucalyptus-lined trails wind across hillsides that offer views over turquoise waters and dramatic boulder outcrops. You’re likely to pass a dozing koala or three and walk to the tune of bird song. Hike to now-abandoned WWII forts then meander down to Bremner Point around sunset where you can hand-feed wild (and adorable) rock wallabies. Watersports on offer include scuba diving and sea kayaking.

Yes, you could easily visit Magnetic Island on a day trip but staying overnight can be very affordable and gives you more time to explore the many beaches and villages. Bungalow Bay Koala Village over in the beach-bum style hamlet of Horseshoe Bay, feels like a wilderness camp and has its very own wildlife park where you can eat breakfast with the koalas. Camping, dorms and cabins are on offer plus there’s a fun vibe and a pool.

Those wanting a different kind of wildlife should head straight to full-moon partying Base Backpackers on its own little beach near Nelly Bay. Don’t expect much sleep beyond what you’ll get baking in the sun midday. Lots of package deals from the website can make this option an even better deal.

Get to Magnetic Island on either the Sealink (sealinkqld.com.au) or Fantasea (fantaseacruisingmagnetic.com.au) ferries with prices from AU$25 return. Once there you can get a full day bus pass for around AU$7.50, hike everywhere, rent a bike or a little buggy known as a ‘moke’.

Original article found at https://www.lonelyplanet.com/australia/travel-tips-and-articles/best-queensland-island-escapes-for-small-budgets