Australia is out there waiting

Time to get out and see Australia.

TURN right or left to head north or south, and Australia is waiting, from the Great Barrier Reef to the Blue Mountains and charming villages to world heritage wilderness.

Paul Brockhurst of CT Travel plans to take his luxury touring coach in both directions at the end of the year, having planned itineraries packed with fascinating history, wining and dining and surprise places you may not have heard of but will be thrilled to find.

Head south for 11 days from November 26, to explore the Central Coast, Hunter Valley and the majestic Blue Mountains of New South Wales. It’s the right time of year to catch the Christmas Lights Spectacular at the Hunter Valley Gardens.

Or turn north to the Fraser Coast, Bundaberg and the southern Great Barrier Reef for five days from 14 October.

There’s plenty to do while based in Bundaberg for four nights.

Sail in a luxury catamaran to Lady Musgrave Island and see marine life and colourful coral from a glass bottom boat or take a walk around this tiny coral cay.

Ride the Sugar Cane Railway at the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens. The Hinkler Hall of Aviation brings the aviator’s remarkable story to life.

A trip to the famous Bundaberg Rum Museum and distillery is a must, while the Bundaberg Barrel Brewed True Brew experience shows how a simple root is turned into a famous ginger beer before offering a sample of the 14 flavours.

Further north is Agnes Waters and Seventeen Seventy where wide sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters rule.

A Macadamias Australia Farm tour and a stop in Maryborough round off the trip home.

“The comfortable touring coach has big windows to sit back and enjoy the views along the way,” Paul says. “And there is a lot to see as we head south.”

First night is in Coffs Harbour before heading on to Port Macquarie and Bulahdelah before crossing the range to the Hunter Valley.

In Cessnock, gateway to the country’s oldest wine region, the Marthaville Arts and Cultural Centre is based at an old sawn-timber house, now home to an extensive range of locally handcrafted arts and crafts and a famous morning tea.

Rural Wyong has Alison Homestead, set on 2ha of land where, in 1825, it became the nation’s first land grant. Norah Head Lighthouse, built in 1903, was the last manned lighthouse in the State and the last major colonial light station constructed in NSW before control of coastal lights was passed to the commonwealth.

Bound by water on three sides, The Entrance is the main marine mouth connecting Tuggerah Lake to surrounding beaches and Forresters Beach is the perfect base for day trips.

Cruise to Broken Bay Pearls, the only pearl farm on Australia’s East Coast, and its oyster leases on the scenic lower Hawkesbury River. Follow the story of the Australian pearl from ancient beginnings to modern farming and see an immersive pearl grading session.

Confectionary producers Nougat Limar, Bon Bon Fine Chocolate and the Sydney Marshmallow Company have a tour of their Chocolate and Nougat Factory.

Set in peaceful surroundings at West Gosford, the Henry Kendall Cottage and Historical Museum was once the home of the pioneer poet, while Mount Penang Gardens has 12 themed garden rooms set on and around a sculptural plateau.

Firescreek Botanical Winery is a lush farm and garden producing award-winning wines from a variety of fruit and botanicals. It offers a wine tasting with a twist – four Firescreek Botanic Wines paired with handmade chocolates.

Join the Riverboat Postman cruising the magnificent scenery of the lower Hawkesbury, delivering mail to isolated settlements along the waterways while learning about river life.

Capture the best of the magnificent scenery of the Blue Mountains from Govetts Leap and Echo Point lookouts, and ride the Scenic World Railway, take the cableway to the forest floor and the Skyway high over the canyon.

Lithgow’s Eskbank House built in 1842, was one of the first house museums in NSW when it opened in 1966.

A museum on the site of the original Commonwealth small arms factory tells the story of British influence and houses a comprehensive collection of experimental weapons. In later years, the factory made sewing machines, sheep shearing handsets, handcuffs and other commercial items.

The Bylong Valley Way, part of the Greater Blue Mountains Touring Route, has an engaging mix of stunning scenery and sleepy town on the way to Muswellbrook.

Head home through Tamworth, Armidale and Glen Innes, and the scenic Washpool Park to Grafton and Ballina to tick off some more NSW regions.

“There’s so much to see in both directions but we have captured a fine mix of it all,” Paul says.

Visit or call 5391 1648.

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