The 5 Best Places to Buy Property in Australia

Australia is known for its friendly people, sandy beaches, the famous Great Barrier Reef, warm temperatures and unique countryside. It is one of the least densely populated countries in the world and there may be no better place than right here to buy property. Cities throughout the country have hit affordable prices and are now seeing positive growth in terms of infrastructure and tourism, meaning that these bargain deals are about to get a whole lot more expensive in the coming year. If you have ever wanted to own a second house, retire here or simply invest; these five places are currently among the best place to buy property in Australia:

5. Brisbane

If you are looking to buy investment property in Australia, Brisbane has been dubbed the hottest place to do so. One of the reasons is because Sydney and Melbourne are already fairly over-saturated. Although tourism has remained slow in Brisbane in recent years, it is being predicted that these numbers are about to climb, especially with the predicted boom in Chinese tourists.

The boost in Chinese tourists, helped by the falling Australian dollar will bring more tourism workers to this area, who will need somewhere to live, thus making it a great time to invest. Did we mention it’s also absolutely stunning and the warm winters even draw visitors from the cooler areas of Australia?

Andrii Slonchak / Shutterstock.com
Andrii Slonchak / Shutterstock.com

4. Cairns

This Northern city with its tropical climate is a hot spot for foreign tourists, and just happens to be one of the best cities to buy property in. Chinese tourism is about to play a big part in making this city even more popular as its airport is the closest in the country to many major Chinese cities. Cairns also happens to be the main starting point for visitors to the Great Barrier Reef. What this means is a lot of demand for rentals, from both tourists and tourism workers.

Because this city has not seen a lot of development over the past decade, rental demands are at an all time high. On the other hand if you are looking to buy a second home for yourself, as a retirement home or otherwise, this is also the perfect place to do. Surrounded by world-class golf courses, deserted beaches and some of the friendliest people in the country; there really isn’t a reason why everyone shouldn’t invest in property in Cairns.

Cairns

3. Bribie Island

If you are looking to spend your days playing golf, relaxing on the beach and being surrounded by gorgeous national park; Bribie Island is the perfect place to buy property. Bribie Island is the smallest and more northerly of three major sand islands forming the coastline that shelters the northern part of Moreton Bay in Queensland. With the average age of residents here being 55 years old, it is perhaps the perfect retirement destination.

It is somewhat off the tourist radar, which means a great community of locals and enough activities and amenities to keep everyone happy. One can live in a golf course estate here, complete with a 3-bedroom house, with a marina berth for your boat and a double car garage for under $400,000. Quite the steal for a piece of paradise. Did we mention it’s really easy to retire over here, as long as you have no criminal record that is.

Martin Valigursky / Shutterstock.com
Martin Valigursky / Shutterstock.com

2. Gold Coast

It is 57 kilometers of stunning coastline bordered by lush hinterland, and investing in property is what you should be doing when it comes to the Gold Coast. A high rate of population growth combined with low property prices means that there are some great buying opportunities right now. Tourism is now returning to the area with the strong American dollar and two major five star hotels are being built right on the beachfront.

Whether you are buying to rent or buying to live here, now is the time when the prices are low and the demand is growing. Experts are recommending that buyers look for houses that are close to transport, facilities and water. With the addition of 5,000 jobs coming to the area when a new hospital opening, the demand for housing here is only to grow as the year goes on.

Martin Valigursky / Shutterstock.com
Martin Valigursky / Shutterstock.com

1. Sunshine Coast

This coastal city has struggled in recent years but is now well on its way to a full recovery experts say, which means buying here now could offer big rewards in the future. Thanks to infrastructure spending and improved affordability this city is committing to building a strong future for residents and future generations.

This tourism center attracts over 3 million visitors a year with its unbroken stretches of beaches, national parks and attractions like Underwater World Marine Park and Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo. Buying investment property here is recommended as major projects are drawing families to the Sunshine Coast, who once here, rarely ever want to leave.

Sunshine Coast Hinterland

10 Best Places to Learn to Dive the PADI Way

If you want to learn to dive the first thing you need to do is locate a reputable dive instructor. The gold standard in dive education is PADI which stands for: The Professional Association of Diving Instructors. PADI is the world’s leading scuba diving training organization and has courses for ages eight and up with certification courses for those age 10 and up. You can locate PADI-certified instructors and facilities in landlocked cities, YMCA’s and dive shops all over the world. If you are going to learn to dive why not do it in a place that you will always remember and take some time to also enjoy the surroundings. When planning your next vacation, why not also learn to scuba dive and give yourself another reason to look forward to that next adventure. We have compiled a list of some of the best places on earth to learn to scuba dive the PADI way while also experiencing a great vacation.

10. The Bahamas

The Bahamas is a popular destination and easily accessible for most Americans. There are several dive centers on the island including Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas. Stuart was a stunt diver in the James Bond movie “For Your Eyes Only”. After earning a reputation as a top-notch underwater stunt coordinator, he saved his money and in 1987 bought a dive boat. Subsequent stints in various resorts and his role as the go-to film underwater coordinator led Stuart to open a dive center. Offering various PADI certification classes and divemaster courses Stuart also takes certified divers on shark dives, has a kid’s certification course, and even has an underwater wedding venue if you want to have the wedding experience of a lifetime. When not diving, the Bahamas offers great beaches, nightlife, boating, fishing, the world’s deepest blue hole, and the third-largest reef in the world. A wild horse preserve, various nature preserves, and great weather. What more could you ask for?

9. Scotland

Scotland you say? Scotland doesn’t necessarily come to mind when you think of scuba diving. For wreck divers, those that enjoy exploring sunken vessels and such, then Scotland is the perfect choice to learn to dive. Scapa Scuba is located in Orkney and the only dive shop in the area. Courses in open water diving, rescue diving and more are offered. One reason Scotland is an ideal place is that at the end of WW1, in 1919,  the German Navy scuttled 52 ships at Scapa Flow and this makes for what is today one of the world’s best wreck dives. When not diving, explore some of the Neolithic remains in the area that date back over 5,000 years, a cathedral founded by Vikings or visit some of the nearby towns.

8. Greece

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Learning to dive in Greece has two advantages, the opportunity to learn to dive while enjoying the Aegean Sea and, well, the fact that you’re in Greece. One of the places you can learn to dive is the Atlantis Diving Center, located in the Halkidiki region. The Halkidiki region is in the Northern part of Greece and consists of three peninsulas jutting out into the Aegean Sea. Here the dive sites offer underwater caves, reefs and a variety of sea life. When not diving you can visit unique historical sites such as Mount Athos which holds monasteries and has been continuously inhabited for 1800 years. Visiting Mount Athos is restricted to a certain number of visitors per day, males only and special permission has to be obtained. The city of Thessaloniki is nearby and offers a mix of old-world charm with modern city.

7. Spain

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Costa del Sol is known for luxurious resorts and hotels, beautiful beaches, fine dining, and vibrant nightlife. Simply Diving, in Malaga Spain, has been operating in the area since 1999 and has a cadre of international instructors. The 5-star dive center has classes ranging from beginner to night diver, underwater photography, divemaster, and instructor training. Some of the dive sites visited are Gibraltar, the site of war vessel wreckage, and La Costa Tropical, Europe’s first-ever National Marine Park. When you’re not diving you can enjoy any of the popular tourist destinations in Spain. If you want to escape the tourist areas for a few days then head inland and visit one of the many small villages and towns where you can enjoy hiking and cycling through the countryside surrounded by olive groves and fields.

6. Peru

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Located in the northwestern part of Peru, the town of Mancora is a popular beach resort destination and home to the Spondylus Dive Center. Spondylus was the first PADI-certified dive school in Peru and has all types of courses for children and adults. Popular dives include El Ñuro Beach where you can get up close to different marine life such as sea turtles, octopus, moray eels and different species of fish. Abandoned oil platforms have turned into artificial reefs and make for a unique experience also. For those that just want to have a fun day, a snorkeling tour can be arranged. Also, a day trip to the nearby Amotape Hills National Park provides the opportunity to do some river rafting and hiking. Mancora, known for being a popular beach and surf destination, has been likened to some of the popular Thailand beaches before they became overcrowded with tourists.

5. Guatemala

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When you sit back and hear other divers talk about where they got certified you may hear of a tropical beach paradise, but you can have a different story. Lake Atitlan in Guatemala is off the beaten path for tourists and is one of the best-kept secrets among travelers. Surrounded by colorful Mayan villages the lake is located in the highlands and is the deepest lake in Central America. Formed by volcanic eruptions the region is part of the “Ring of Fire” around the Pacific Ocean. ATI Divers run courses at the lake where you can dive among volcanic formations such as cliffs and overhangs. When you’re not diving you can experience the non-commercialized area of authentic Mayan villages where the women still wear traditional dress. Take a couple of day tours while you are there and you will have a story to tell about where you got dive certified.

4. India

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India has a coastline of over 7,000 km so the chances of finding a good dive instructor are pretty good. One of the best places to learn to dive and also have a great vacation is the Andaman Islands located in the Bay of Bengal between India and Myanmar. Dive India offer courses from open water to instructor training. Diving among pristine reefs while also offering dives to locations far off the beaten path, Dive India is a good choice to learn to scuba dive. During your downtime, you can learn a little about the history of the area. A popular destination is the Cellular Jail in Port Blair. The jail was built by colonial British and used to house political prisoners during the era. You can also take an island hopping tour, or just enjoy the many beaches.

3. The Philippines

paul cowell / Shuttestock

The Philippines is comprised of over 7,000 islands so you might think they have a few places to learn to dive and you would be right. With all of the places and options, the prices for learning how to dive have a wide range. One of the cheapest places is also one of the best places. Dumaguete is located in the province of Negros Oriental, the largest city in the province. Liquid Dumaguete is a 5-star PADI resort that not only offers courses but runs a resort on location. Why Dumaguete for diving? The reason is that it’s close to APO Island which is probably the most famous and best diving site in the region. Hard corals, schools of fish, sea turtles and an abundance of other sea life are encountered. Other popular dive site destinations are also available. The other reason Dumaguete is a great location is when you’re not diving the city awaits with all the hospitality of the Filipino people.

2. Thailand

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Thailand, the home of crystal clear blue water, white sand beaches and wild parties. Thailand is also the home to some of the best diving in Asia. Located on Koh Tao Island you will find the Crystal Dive Resort one of only a few 5-star PADI certified dive shops in the region. From beginner courses, refresher courses, and specialized training, Crystal Dive Resort offers everything you need to get certified. With 16 dive sites around the island you can experience all types of diving. You may want to take a day dive to Shark Island where you could spot reef and leopard sharks. Don’t want to encounter a shark? You might want to try the area around the Japanese Gardens where there is little current and a fairly shallow reef populated with various tropical fish. Being an island, the majority of activities revolve around diving, hanging out on the beach, or fishing, but there is always the nightlife. After spending the day diving you might want to take a plunge into the famous Thai nightlife.

1. Australia

Australia is home to the Great Barrier Reef, the largest living thing on earth. Selected as a World Heritage Site and visible from outer space the Great Barrier Reef is undoubtedly the most famous dive spot in the world. Where better to earn your PADI certification and also have the chance to see and experience such a wonder? From 30 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises to the more than 1500 species of fish, this is why Australia is our number one pick.  Various sea turtles and coral species make for what has to be the most memorable dive of a lifetime. Pro Dive in Cairns is a 5-star PADI dive center and has been in operation since 1983. Pro Dive offers all the classes needed to get certified and for the more experienced, they have extended dive tours. Using their state-of-the-art dive vessels that have Wi-Fi onboard and comfortable quarters you can have an extended trip of three to seven days and hit all the great dive spots. Cairns is considered the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef but its tropical climate and laid-back atmosphere also make for a great vacation destination.

8 Awesome Markets in Australia

In a country/continent as big and diverse as Australia they’re able to grow, produce and make many products themselves year round. The best place to find fresh home grown produce and unique local products is by visiting one of the many markets that take place all around the country in cities big and small. No matter where you are in the country there’s bound to be a market held close by. To help get you exploring here are 8 awesome markets in some of the major cities around Australia:

8. Capital Region Farmers Markets –Canberra, ACT

Held every Saturday from 7:30-11:30am at EPIC (Exhibition Park in Canberra), it’s worth the drive out to these markets which feature the freshest produce in the capital sold by local producers. You’ll find fruits, vegetables, baked goods, meat and seafood, nuts, gourmet foods, flowers and plants all from local area growers. Come for breakfast and be sure to grab a flat white from the coffee stand and a sizzling sausage from The Brathaus.

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7. Cairns Night Markets –Cairns, QLD

The Cairns Night Markets and Food Court is world famous and a must do if you’re in northern Queensland. There are 130 stalls selling a wide variety of items but the focus is mostly on souvenirs and other aussie-made goods. Bring your appetite to these markets because the food court has a lot to offer including a few Chinese buffets where you pay for a plate and load up as much as you can. These markets are located on The Esplanade in the city center and are open 7 days a week from 5pm-11pm.

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6. Adelaide Central Markets –Adelaide, SA

The Adelaide Central Markets are located in the heart of Adelaide city center and are conveniently open Tues-Sat. This place is a foodies dream with bakeries, delis, fresh foods, meat and seafood, cafes and more. You can have a meal and then shop for the rest of your week and you’re pretty much guaranteed to find whatever you’re looking for at one of the 80+ stalls. This market is an Adelaide institution and is South Australia’s most visited tourist attraction so make sure you check it out.

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5. Brisbane MarketPlace –Brisbane, QLD

The Brisbane MarketPlace in Rocklea is a unique venue with 2 distinct weekend markets: The Saturday Fresh Market and the Sunday Discovery Market. On Saturdays from 6am—noon you’ll find over 190 stalls selling everything fresh including fruits and veg, meats and seafood, bread and baked goods, gourmet products and deli items plus much more. Then, on Sundays from 6am-noon you can come to the Discovery Market to explore new and second hand items, collectibles, books and more…come early and be prepared to haggle!

brisbane marketplace

4. Perth Home Grown Markets –Perth, WA

Perth City Center is home to many fantastic markets but one that stands out in front is the Perth Home Grown Market happening every Sunday from 11am-4pm in Forrest Place at the Murray Street Mall. The aim of this newer market is to provide the best quality local produce and local made products to the people of Perth. You can expect to find tasty home baked goods, organic teas, oils, pickles, hand crated goods in addition to fresh local produce.

perth home grown

3. The Night Market (Queen Vic Market) –Melbourne, VIC

Never wonder what to do on a Wednesday night again because the Night Market at the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne is the place to see and be seen. These eclectic markets run every Wednesday night during the summer (Nov-Mar) from 5-10pm. It’s the perfect place for food, fashion, bars, music, shopping and more. While at these markets make sure you grab a glass of sangria, it’s legendary.

Photo by Jonathan Khee
Photo by Jonathan Khee

2. The Rocks Markets –Sydney, NSW

The Rocks Markets are nestled in the charming historic area of Sydney’s city center known as The Rocks and run every Saturday and Sunday from 10am-5pm. This quaint open air market consists of vendors lining the streets selling their wares in a very relaxed environment. The main highlights of these markets are the many artisan crafts including one of a kind clothing, handmade jewellery and original art. If you’re looking for souvenirs in Sydney, we suggest skipping the junky magnets and checking out these markets instead as you’re sure to find a timeless treasure.

The Rocks Markets

1. Mindil Beach Sunset Market –Darwin, NT

From the last Thursday in April to the last Thursday in October Mindil Beach is taken over by stalls and pedestrians all checking out the many offerings these markets have. Every Thursday night from 5-10pm and Sunday nights from 4-9pm most of Darwin heads to these unique evening markets which take advantage of the beautiful sunsets of the Northern Territories. Food is the biggest attraction here and you can find colorful cuisine like Thai, Indian, Chinese, Malaysian and more. This market also allows BYO so bring your cooler full of cold ones, grab some food and park yourself to watch the colors as the sun goes down.

sunset market

The 7 Most Beautiful and Underrated Cities in Australia

Australia is a beautiful country that attracts millions of visitors each year. Popular tourist destinations like Sydney and Melbourne offer visitors world-class sightseeing, but there are less popular travel destinations in Australia that are often underrated and overlooked. Take a look at seven Australian destinations that deserve a lot more attention.

1. Adelaide

Adelaide is a picturesque coastal city with a mild, year-round climate and lots of things to enjoy. Its beaches stretch for miles, from North Haven Beach with its boat marina to Sellicks Beach, a popular surfer’s paradise. Adelaide is also a city that’s full of exciting outdoor activities, culture and entertainment. If you like the outdoors, visit one of Adelaide’s 29 beautiful parks, the Adelaide Botanic Garden or the Adelaide Zoo, home to the world’s prized giant pandas. Brush up on culture at Migration Museum and the Art Gallery of South Australia. Enjoy a night out at one of Adelaide’s many restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars, then relax on the banks of the River Torrens while you row a boat and feed the ducks.

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2. Darwin

Darwin is a quiet city on the Timor Sea in the sparsely populated Northern Territory of Australia. With balmy, tropical breezes and beautiful orange sunsets, Darwin offers visitors a calm retreat from other bustling cities. Mindil Beach has open-air markets that feature crafts, pottery and foods from around the world. You can shop for bargains and relax with dinner on the beach while you enjoy a beautiful evening sunset. For sightseeing, Darwin has numerous guided tours that explore nature, culture and adventure. You can visit the local rainforests and outback, learn about the Aboriginal culture, explore a safari or fishing adventure, or take a harbor cruise to Crocosaurus Cove to see Steve Irwin’s beloved crocodiles.

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3. Broome

Broome, located in the Kimberly region of Western Australia, is a quiet, mellow place with friendly people. It isn’t that well-known to most travelers except for backpackers who love the laid-back atmosphere and spectacular scenery, like at Horizontal Falls, a natural phenomenon where tidal currents cause the waterfall to fall horizontally. Cable Beach, with pristine white sand, is famous for an undersea telegraph cable that connects Broome to Singapore. Town Beach, known for the Staircase to the Moon, is famous for dinosaur prints that are 130 million years old and etched in the sand. In Broome, you can shop for rare pink diamonds and pearls, go bird-watching in Roebuck Bay, rent a dune buggy in the outback or ride off into the sunset on a camel.

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4. Tasmania

The beautiful unspoiled landscapes in Tasmania are definitely an underrated attraction. Lake St Clair National Park is home to Cradle Mountain, one of Australia’s most beautiful wilderness areas. It’s a region that’s full of natural landscapes and gorgeous mountain ranges that were formed during the last Ice Age. You can take a walk around Dove Lake where you’ll see waterfalls and strange vegetation. If you’re up for a real adventure, you can take a six day guided walk along the world-famous Overland Track. It includes delicious meals, Tasmanian wine and accommodations in well-equipped huts. Tasmania is an Australian destination that will make you appreciate the real undisturbed beauty of Australia.

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5. Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island is located in the state of South Australia. It’s just a short ferry ride from Cape Jervis or a quick flight from Adelaide. The island is full of natural landscapes and untouched bushland. It’s a natural sanctuary for wildlife and birds. Surrounded by water, Kangaroo Island is great for fishing and whale watching. There are sea lions, penguin colonies, rare birds, wallabies, and lots of free-roaming kangaroos and koalas. The relaxing atmosphere and unique wildlife is a treat for visitors looking for a restful, scenic destination. For another treat, you can enjoy gourmet food at the Kangaroo Festival, along with wines, cheeses, yogurts and authentic Australian cuisine.

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6. Phillip Island 

Located in the state of Victoria, about two hours south-east of Melbourne, Phillip Island offers a look at Australia’s natural beauty. Some of the terrain is rugged with rocky cliffs that line miles of sandy beaches. Other areas contain wetlands, mangrove flats and undisturbed bushland. You can stroll through seaside villages and shop for local treasures or enjoy delicious local seafood dishes. If you like to surf, you can catch a wave at Cape Woolamai, one of Victoria’s most popular surfing beaches. If you’re intrigued by penguins, visit the nearby village of Cowes to watch the Penguin Parade. At sundown each night, these resident penguins walk from the sea to their burrows to go to sleep. How cute is that?

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7. Cairns

Although most travelers know Cairns as the main gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, there’s a lot of things to explore in the city. Cairns has a mild tropical climate and relaxed atmosphere. You can enjoy the beaches while swimming, snorkeling, diving and sailing. The city has a diverse selection of restaurants, cafes and pubs for great food and nightly entertainment. Shopping is endless with world-class boutiques and specialty shops. If you enjoy adventure, Cairns is home to Daintree National Park, the world’s oldest living rainforest. You can explore the rainforest by taking the Kuranda Scenic Railway, a 90 minute ride through the rainforest where you’ll see platypus, crocodiles and colorful parrots.

Filipe Matos Frazao / Shutterstock.com
Filipe Matos Frazao / Shutterstock.com