Long a local Aussie haunt and a treasured destination for me, Byron Bay in New South Wales is a place I could return to again and again. The town has a relaxed atmosphere and offers pristine beaches, independent shops and cafes, stylish hotels, galleries and artists' studios as well as surfing, yoga, and an alternative, bohemian vibe. Sea turtles and migratory whales frequent the waters and there's a walk near the lighthouse that brings you to the most easterly point of the Australian continent. If you watch the sunrise here, you're the first to see it in Australia.
Ariel, Australia Specialist
I was born and raised in rural New York and got my first taste of adventure by participating in an exchange program to Japan. I then studied in Spain and Peru before getting my degree in Spanish and Human Rights Law from UMass Amherst.
After graduating, I moved to Australia to work with universities sending students on exchange programs. I was based on the Gold Coast in Queensland but had the opportunity to explore all the best travel spots across the country and can proudly say I am now fluent in Australian slang.
I have visited many places around the world but always find my way back to Australia because of the special place it holds in my heart. During my free time, I love to spend time with my rescue dogs and relax in coffee shops with a good book.
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Set right on the esplanade by the beach, The Reef House in Palm Cove is a colonial-style hotel with a relaxed, beach-house atmosphere. Bright pink bougainvillea tumbles down the walls and the tropical gardens contain three swimming pools. Inside, the bright, contemporary rooms all have private patios or balconies and some have full-size verandas or private hot tubs. Sitting on the terrace you can enjoy a drink and dinner to the sound of waves crashing on the shore before witnessing some of Australia's best sunsets. You'll also get two spas, complimentary bike hire, art boxes and fishing rods complete with tackle.
I'll never forget when…
There is something very special about seeing the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House for the first time. To me it felt very personal and served as tangible evidence of achieving a life dream. To be on the other side of the world, to experience this beautiful country and to see such an iconic sight really spoke to me. Once you've soaked up the view you can wander around The Rocks, a heritage listed area with cobblestone walkways, quaint cafes and a rich history. Grab a coffee and watch the sun rise over the peaks of the Opera House for a life-long memory.