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Travel NSW Northern Rivers

IMPROVING ACCESS FOR ALL AT CASINO AND GRAFTON TRAIN STATIONS

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IMPROVING ACCESS FOR ALL AT CASINO AND GRAFTON TRAIN STATIONS

Grafton and Casino train stations will be more accessible for commuters with a $6.3 million upgrade to start this week.

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway said a contract had been awarded to Van Mal Group to improve accessibility at the two train stations.

“The Liberal and Nationals Government is building the infrastructure that matters to make daily life easier for people living in the bush,” Mr Farraway said

“This upgrade will provide better services for public transport customers by delivering accessible, modern, secure and integrated transport infrastructure.

“At each station we are providing more accessible car parking spaces and installing a new accessible kiss and ride zone at the front of the station making it easier for pick up and drop off.”

Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis said the upgrades would include modified waiting rooms and ticket counter, upgraded amenities including ambulant toilets along with improved signage and lighting for customers.

“Living in the bush doesn’t mean we should compromise on the infrastructure that makes our daily lives easier,” Mr Gulaptis said.

“At Grafton we will provide a new accessible ramp between the main entry and the platform, upgrade the main entrance stairs to a pedestrian entry ramp, relocate taxi bays and put in new tactile indicators along the platform.

“At Casino we’ll also upgrade existing paths and ramps around the station precinct, regrade sections of the platform and install new tactile indicators.

“This work will improve the customer experience for all commuters, particularly those with disabilities or limited mobility.”

The $6.3 million budget for upgrading the two stations is funded through the NSW Government’s Transport Access Program, which delivers a better experience for public transport customers across NSW by providing accessible, modern, secure and integrated transport infrastructure.

For more information about the Transport Access Program, visit https://www.transport.nsw.gov.au/projects-tap

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Island-Hopping in Greece

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Island-Hopping in Greece

 

Greece, with its sun-kissed beaches, turquoise waters, and rich history, is the epitome of a dream destination. Island-hopping in Greece offers an unparalleled experience of exploring stunning islands, each with its unique charm. From the vibrant nightlife of Mykonos to the serene landscapes of Santorini, the Greek islands have something for everyone. This guide will provide you with essential information to plan your island-hopping adventure, including the best time to visit, ways to get around, planning your itinerary, quick travel tips, and a budget breakdown.

The Best Islands to Visit

Cyclades Islands

When you picture Greek islands, chances are you’re picturing the Cyclades. Everything about this group of islands in the Aegean Sea is iconic—from the blue-domed churches to the stunning sunsets. Santorini and Mykonos are the most famous, but don’t miss the charm of islands like Paros and Naxos.

Ionian Islands

Located west of mainland Greece in the Ionian Sea, this group of islands is known for its lush vegetation, natural beauty, and cosmopolitan vibe. Corfu, Kefalonia, and Zakynthos are top picks, offering a mix of history, culture, and stunning beaches.

Saronic Islands

Situated in the Saronic Gulf, this island group is the closest to Athens. It is one of the most diverse groups, with a range of rich history, neoclassical architecture, monasteries, and churches. Hydra and Spetses, two of the most popular islands in this group, are car-free, adding to their charm.

Dodecanese Islands

The Dodecanese, influenced by Italian rule until 1948, boast picturesque landscapes and quaint villages. Rhodes and Kos are the largest and most well-known, but smaller islands like Symi and Patmos offer serene beauty and rich history.

Sporades Islands

Made up of four main islands and several smaller uninhabited ones, this group is located almost in the centre of the Aegean Sea. Skiathos and Skopelos are famous for their stunning beaches and lush landscapes, making them ideal for a relaxed family holiday.

North Aegean Islands

With wild and rugged landscapes and traditional architecture, this group of islands represents an authentic side of Greece. Chios, Lesvos, and Samos are perfect for those seeking to explore less-touristy destinations.

The Best Time to Visit

The ideal time for island-hopping in Greece is from late April to early October. During this period, the weather is warm, the sea is perfect for swimming, and the islands are bustling with activities. July and August are peak tourist months, which means higher prices and crowded spots. For a more relaxed experience, consider visiting in May, June, or September. These months offer pleasant weather and fewer crowds, allowing you to enjoy the beauty of the islands without the hustle and bustle of peak season.

Best Way to Get Around

Ferries: The most popular and scenic way to travel between the Greek islands is by ferry. The Greek ferry system is extensive and well-connected, making it easy to hop from one island to another. Companies like Blue Star Ferries, Hellenic Seaways, and SeaJets offer regular services. It’s advisable to book tickets in advance, especially during peak season.

Flights: For longer distances or timesaving, domestic flights are available between major islands and Athens. Airlines such as Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air offer frequent flights.

Rental Boats: For a more personalized experience, renting a boat or a yacht can be a fantastic option. This gives you the freedom to explore hidden coves and less accessible islands at your own pace.

Local Transport: Once on the islands, getting around is easy with local buses, taxis, or by renting scooters, ATVs, or cars. Scooters and ATVs are particularly popular for their affordability and convenience.

Quick Tips Before You Travel to Greece

  • Visa and Documentation: Ensure you have the necessary visa and travel documents. EU citizens can travel freely, while others may need a Schengen visa.
  • Currency: The currency in Greece is the Euro (€). ATMs are widely available, and credit cards are accepted in most places, but it’s advisable to carry some cash for smaller establishments.
  • Language: Greek is the official language, but English is widely spoken, especially in tourist areas.
  • Health and Safety: Tap water is safe to drink in most places, but bottled water is recommended on some islands. Healthcare facilities are generally good, but it’s wise to have travel insurance.
  • Packing Essentials: Pack light, breathable clothing, swimwear, sunscreen, a hat, comfortable shoes, and a light jacket for cooler evenings. Don’t forget your camera to capture the stunning landscapes.
  • Local Etiquette: Greeks are known for their hospitality. Learn a few basic Greek phrases like “Kalimera” (Good morning) and “Efharisto” (Thank you) to show appreciation.

Budget for Each Day

Your daily budget for island-hopping in Greece can vary based on your travel style. Here’s a breakdown for a mid-range traveller:

  • Accommodation: €50-€100 per night for a comfortable hotel or Airbnb.
  • Food and Drinks: €30-€50 per day for meals at local tavernas and cafes.
  • Transport: €10-€30 per day for local transport (buses, taxis, scooters) and inter-island ferry tickets.
  • Activities and Entrance Fees: €10-€30 per day for visiting attractions, museums, and guided tours.
  • Miscellaneous: €10-€20 per day for souvenirs, tips, and other expenses.

Total daily budget: €110-€230

For a more budget-friendly trip, consider staying in hostels, eating at budget-friendly eateries, and taking advantage of free attractions and activities.

Get Hoping!

Island-hopping in Greece is a magical experience that offers a perfect blend of adventure, relaxation, and cultural enrichment. With careful planning and a sense of adventure, you can create unforgettable memories exploring the stunning Greek islands. Whether you’re soaking up the sun on a pristine beach, exploring ancient ruins, or savouring delicious Greek cuisine, each island has something unique and enchanting to offer. So pack your bags, set sail, and let the beauty of Greece captivate your heart.

 

For more travel news, click here.

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How Powerful Is an Australian Passport?

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How Powerful Is an Australian Passport?

 

The Australian passport is often regarded as one of the most powerful travel documents in the world. This reputation is well-deserved, given the significant freedom and advantages it offers its holders. But what makes the Australian passport so powerful? Let’s explore the various aspects that contribute to its strength and the benefits it brings to Australian citizens.

Global Mobility

One of the primary indicators of a passport’s power is the number of countries its holders can visit without needing a visa. The Australian passport is consistently ranked highly in global passport indexes, often placing within the top ten. As of 2024, Australian passport holders can travel to over 180 countries either visa-free or with visa-on-arrival privileges. This ease of access simplifies international travel, making it more convenient for Australians to explore the world for leisure, business, and education.

Visa-Free Access

Visa-free access means that Australian citizens can enter a country without obtaining a visa beforehand. This benefit is available in many desirable destinations across Europe, Asia, the Americas, and Africa. For example, Australians can travel to the United Kingdom, most of the European Union countries, Japan, South Korea, and many others without a visa. This not only saves time and money but also eliminates the often tedious visa application process.

Visa-on-Arrival and Electronic Travel Authorisations (ETAs)

In addition to visa-free access, Australian passport holders enjoy the convenience of visa-on-arrival and ETAs in several countries. Visa-on-arrival means that Australians can obtain a visa upon arrival at their destination, often through a straightforward process at the airport or border. ETAs, like those required by the United States and Canada, are electronic authorisations that can be easily applied for online before travel. These options further enhance the flexibility and ease of traveling with an Australian passport.

International Reputation and Security

Australia’s strong diplomatic relationships and its status as a stable, developed country contribute significantly to the power of its passport. Australian citizens are generally perceived positively abroad, and the passport itself is viewed as a secure and reliable document. The rigorous standards and security features implemented in Australian passports reduce the risk of fraud and misuse, reinforcing trust in the document.

Consular Support

Another critical aspect of the power of an Australian passport is the extensive consular support available to its holders. The Australian government maintains a robust network of embassies, high commissions, and consulates around the world. These diplomatic missions provide vital assistance to Australians abroad, ranging from emergency support and legal aid to help in case of lost or stolen passports. This support network ensures that Australian citizens can receive help and protection no matter where they are in the world.

Dual Citizenship

Australia allows its citizens to hold dual or multiple citizenships, which can enhance the power of the Australian passport. This flexibility enables Australians to benefit from the advantages of holding additional citizenships while retaining the privileges of their Australian passport. Dual citizenship can open up even more travel opportunities and access to various rights and services in other countries.

Access to Regional Agreements

Australia is part of several regional agreements that further boost the power of its passport. For instance, the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement allows Australians to live and work in New Zealand indefinitely without a visa, and vice versa. Similarly, Australia’s participation in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Travel Card scheme facilitates streamlined travel for businesspeople within the APEC region, offering expedited immigration processing and multiple entry privileges.

Quality of Life and Global Opportunities

The strength of the Australian passport also reflects the high quality of life and opportunities available to its citizens. Australia consistently ranks highly in global indices for quality of life, healthcare, education, and economic stability. This positive international standing enhances the desirability of Australian citizenship and, by extension, its passport.

Conclusion

The Australian passport’s power lies in its extensive visa-free and visa-on-arrival access, its security and international reputation, and the comprehensive consular support available to its holders. Coupled with the benefits of dual citizenship and regional agreements, the Australian passport offers a significant degree of global mobility and convenience. For Australians, this translates into the freedom to travel, work, and live in numerous countries around the world with relative ease. Whether for leisure, business, or education, holding an Australian passport opens up a world of opportunities and experiences, making it one of the most powerful passports globally.

This is a guide only. For more information, head to the Australian Passport Office Official Website.

 

For more travel news, click here.

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Ballina Wins Silver at NSW Top Tourism Town Awards

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Ballina Wins Silver at NSW Top Tourism Town Awards

 

The Ballina Tourism Team is thrilled to announce that Ballina has been awarded silver at the prestigious NSW Top Tourism Town Awards, hosted by Business NSW and the NSW Tourism Industry Council.

Competing against notable towns such as Newcastle, Kiama, Orange, Shellharbour, Murwillumbah, Ulladulla, Bathurst, and Grafton, Ballina’s achievement was announced at the Local Government NSW Destination and Visitor Economy Conference in Wagga Wagga on Wednesday, May 29, 2024.

This award showcases Ballina’s vibrant appeal and acknowledges the dedicated efforts of all who contribute to the town’s thriving tourism industry.

Alanah Ward, Team Leader of Visitor Services, shared her enthusiasm, “After an intense competition among nine finalist destinations, which included public voting and the submission of a comprehensive four-day itinerary, editorial article, destination video, and detailed marketing campaign materials, Ballina stood out in the category for towns with a population over 5,000 residents along with Kiama, who took out the gold award.

This award recognises towns across New South Wales that exhibit a strong commitment to tourism and deliver an exceptional visitor experience.”

Mayor Sharon Cadwallader expressed her pride, stating, “Winning the silver award is a remarkable recognition of the dedication and passion our community pours into making the Ballina Coast and Hinterland an engaging and inviting destination. This award is a celebration of our vibrant town and everyone who helps make our visitors’ stays memorable. We are thrilled to have this award and are motivated to keep the momentum going!”

This award highlights the spirit of community and the significant role that tourism plays in supporting local economies. It is a testament to Ballina’s vibrant charm and the collective efforts of all those who contribute to enhancing our visitors’ experiences.

“The Ballina Tourism Team extends a heartfelt thank you to everyone who voted for Ballina as the NSW Top Tourism Town. We urge everyone to visit and explore the wonders of the Ballina Coast and Hinterland,” invited Ms. Ward.

 

For more local Ballina news, click here.

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