Six reasons to travel overseas with Cross Country Tours

Central European Cruise

When you’re planning to travel overseas, it can be hard to tell the difference between one tour provider and another. At Cross Country Tours, our passengers tell us they choose us for international travel because of ‘peace of mind’, ‘friends made on tour’ or because we’ve ‘taken care of everything’.

To help you see all of our group international tours in one place, we’ve just released our touring catalogue for 2018-2020. And of course, if you have a specific destination in mind for your independent travel, we can help with that too.

Here are six reasons to join a Cross Country Tours international tour:

1. Group travel overseas – travelling with friends

You can enjoy the ultimate experience of different cultures, amazing architecture and natural wonders—and we’ll take care of the rest.

There’s nothing quite like travelling with friends and with Cross Country Tours, you’ll be exploring the world with like-minded travellers.

Once together at our international destination, our Cross Country Tours host will connect you with fellow travellers to make getting to know others stress free. We’ll also provide you with options in each location if you’d like to explore your destination with a group.

2. Your connection to home

Cross Country Tours is your connection to what’s happening back home. If a need arises while you’re travelling, such as luggage, insurance or medical concerns (either at home or away), our Cross Country Tours host will work with our office team to work towards finding a resolution.

3. Hand picked destinations

All of the destinations in our touring catalogue have been visited by one of our experienced team members to ensure a great experience. We know the key sights and attractions to look out for, but most importantly, we’re looking for exceptional, caring service from our international suppliers.

4. Prices and inclusions

When you travel with Cross Country Tours, you can rest assured that our prices include all airfares, taxes, accommodation, tips and gratuities, meals and attractions as listed on the itinerary. This means our tours are affordable because there’s no unexpected costs. We’ll also give you an idea of how to budget for spending money in various locations on the tour, if needed.

5. Getting to and from the airport

We’ll take care of your transfers to and from the airport from the Greater Brisbane area, the Hunter, the Central Coast and Sydney.

6. Information sessions

Prior to your tour departure, you’ll be invited to an information session, getting you excited about your tour, and helping you to be prepared with what to bring and what to expect throughout your journey with us.

Click here to download our international touring catalogue.

Creativity brings new life to the outback

Sheep Hills Silo Art

While New South Wales, parts of Queensland and north western Victoria face some of the worst drought in Australia’s history, some rural and outback towns are supporting their towns by attracting tourists to their region.

A new wave of creativity revitalising outback towns is giving a boost to local economies, particularly in Victoria’s west, where tourists can visit Australia’s largest outdoor gallery.

Stretching over 200km and through six country towns, disused grain silos have been given a makeover by local and international artists on their concrete canvases that reach the sky.

Brim Silo Art

Celebrating sport, farming, indigenous people and country life, Victoria’s Silo Art Trail is a recent addition to the towns between Rupanyup and Lascelles, with the trail completed in 2017.

All Australian Journeys driver and hostess team Keith and Rose have personally followed the silo art trail through outback Victoria, with Keith providing the photos for this article and AAJ’s itineraries.

‘After seeing photos and reading articles on the Silo Art Trail, we thought we truly understood what they were about, but it wasn’t until we stood in front of them that we saw the enormous project undertaken by the artists,’ said Rose.

‘No photo does them true justice, it is not until you actually see the height of each silo and the curvature of each silo and reflect on how difficult they would have been to paint that it becomes apparent how much work has been put into them,’ said Keith.

Patchewollock Silo Art

Further north in Victoria, Swan Hill Pioneer Settlement has restored an authentic 19th century village, with working bakery, general store, blacksmith, music shop, print shop and Kaiser Stereoscopic Theatre. But it’s the first of its kind ‘Heartbeat of the Murray’ Laser Light Show that is wowing visitors to the village.

And in the small Victorian town of Boort, you can meet the ‘Spanner Man’, who creates larger than life sculptures entirely from spanners—antique, new and everything in between.

Boort Spanner Man Frill Necked Lizard

A farmer for more than three decades, when John Piccoli leased his farm, he began making sculptures with boxes of spanners from his shed. He has made more than 100 sculptures from over 100,000 spanners.

Join All Australian Journeys in April 2019, as we follow the Silo Art Trail through Victoria, explore the Swan Hill Pioneer Settlement, learn of the Chinese experience of the gold rush at the Gum San Chinese Heritage centre in Ararat, cruise the Murray River on a historic paddlesteamer and visit the Spanner Man in Boort.

Read the itinerary or get in touch to book.

Take your time

Peterborough SA

Today is the best time of your life. It’s the time to immerse yourself in new experiences, focus on wellbeing and enjoy the freedom of escaping the everyday routine.

But a warning: sticking to your list of must see destinations can be a challenge.

With each journey you take, another experience, another place, sight, sound or flavour will sneak onto your list.

So our solution: throw out the list.

Simply take a well deserved break and follow today’s inspiration. There’s always something new to discover on an All Australian Journeys holiday. Our full service holidays will awaken your curiosity and enlarge your world.

Our team are experienced in planning, booking and guiding you to memorable experiences that will fuel your desire for more – more destinations, more experiences, more friendships.

So where do you want to go?

How to get to Vivid 2018

Vivid Tours 2018

This year, vivid is celebrating its 10th birthday, and it’s sure to be a huge celebration of light, sound and ideas. We want to make sure all our customers can get to Vivid this year, so we’re offering several different options for your Vivid experience. All of our tours include coach travel from Newcastle and Maitland and a cruise on Sydney Harbour to get the best view of the lights around Circular Quay.

1. Choose one of our day tours

Our day tours have pickup locations throughout Maitland and Newcastle and you can enjoy a relaxed, luxury coach journey to Sydney with a friendly group, enjoying Robert’s Famous Afternoon Tea enroute to your Vivid 2018 experience. Click here for our Vivid day tours.

2. Vivid Overnight Packages

If you’re near Coffs Harbour, Nambucca Heads, Kempsey, Taree, Wauchope or Wingham and can get to the XPT rail line, why not consider one of our overnight packages? Use your rail pass to travel by rail to Maitland where we’ll meet you, join you on one of our tours and then provide you with overnight accommodation and hot breakfast in Maitland before your return home the following day. Give us a call to find out how.

3. Outside Sydney? Extend your experience!

If you’re based in Brisbane, Queensland or live outside Sydney and the Central Coast of New South Wales, it’s still possible to experience Sydney as it transforms for Vivid. We can arrange for you to join one of our day tours, (or extend your stay with several day tours), flights and accommodation – just get in touch on 1300 631 383 and chat to one of our consultants.

What to pack: a handy guide for your next holiday

What to pack for your next holiday

Few things are as exciting as planning a holiday—the research, must see destinations and the anticipation of new adventures and relaxing experiences. The same can not be said for packing. One of the last things on the ‘to do’ list before a holiday, packing is a necessary chore to get you where you want to go.

So here’s our handy guide to make packing a little easier, saving you space in your bags and time on your holiday.

Pack what you can manage

Remember that airlines and tour operators will have size and weight restrictions on your luggage, so it can be a good idea to weigh your bags before you leave. All Australian Journeys request a limit of 5kg for carry on bags and 20kg for suitcases stored under the coach.

However, the best rule of thumb is to only make your bags as heavy as you can lift. While there will often be staff around who are willing to help unload your bags, in most instances it is the passenger’s responsibility to be able to transport their bags to and from hotel rooms and coaches.

These are the essentials

Resist the temptation to pack an outfit for every possible occasion. Not only will your bags be heavy and full of clothes that you’ll probably never wear, you’ll spend a lot of time searching through your bags every day. Here’s what you should always have in your bag:

  • clothes that are casual and lightweight and don’t need ironing
  • one smart outfit
  • two pairs of shoes only—this is where weight quickly adds up!
  • travel sized toiletries to save space, weight and always wrap in a plastic bag in case of spills
  • a universal power adaptor so that you can plug in or charge your phone, camera, shaver…
  • a wide top plug for sinks so that you can do essential clothes washing in your hotel room.

Packing cheats

  • Roll your clothes—this saves space and they tend to crease less
  • Bring 3-4 pegs—not just for overnight drying of clothes, pegs are handy to hold together curtains and stop the morning sun from waking you up early on your holiday 
  • If you do wash in your ensuite, wrap wash clothes in a clean dry towel and step on it to get as much moisture out as you can before hanging
  • If travelling as a couple—or with a good friend—split your belongings between your cases, just in case something does happen to one of your bags

Take a journey to the remote landscape of outback Australia

Menindee Lakes

The landscape of western New South Wales and south western Queensland is another world away from the coastal roads of the Eastern Seaboard.

From 360 degree panoramic views of the surrounding open red dirt plains, to the stony gibber desert, to bushy forested regions, to the outbreaks of wildflowers after the wet season, the outback country on the new All Australian Journeys tour Menindee Lakes and Cameron Corner is perfect if you’re looking to experience the remote wilderness that Australia is famous for.

AAJ on road team Lionel and Sue Baker love to get away and experience the vast scale of Australia’s outback.

‘The landscape is just so different to what you’ll experience on the east of the Great Dividing Range,’ said Lionel.

Sue adds, ‘The culture of the people is different too—it’s like time has no meaning, you just take the time you need to get where you’re going.’

Sue and Lionel agree that a spirit of adventure is a must for this tour, where highlights include the geological outcrops, animal and plant life of the Sturt National Park. Emus and kangaroos are plentiful on the southern side of the Dog Fence, the world’s longest fence, but cross through the gate and the landscape changes.

There are some character pubs along the way, where the locals gather to share their stories.

While you’re remote, help is never far away. Lionel says that everywhere in the outback supports the work of the Royal Flying Doctor Service. ‘At Cameron Corner, they can get an RFDS plane out to you in just 90 minutes.’

Sue says that while the journey is remote, it’s much more comfortable than you might experience if travelling as a grey nomad. The comfort of the air conditioned coach, and the accommodation chosen along the way, means you get to enjoy relative comfort—even though in some places accommodation is in cabins with outdoor amenities.

A new addition to this holiday for All Australian Journeys is Menindee Lakes in western New South Wales, where the Darling River flows into three lakes. When the lakes are full, birdlife is prolific.

Travelling in July, Sue recommends packing for all seasons. ‘Pack a jacket or windshield as the western winds can be cold. But you’ll also need summer clothing for some warm days.’

Celebrating over 50s: three tips for making the best of today

Friendships

1.      Spend time with others

Spending time with friends and family can of course reduce loneliness and stress but will also keep you honest and increase your feeling of safety and security.

And there’s nothing like a laugh with a good friend to make your day more memorable.

2.      Keep learning

Research shows that keeping mentally active can increase your brain’s vitality and even generate new brain cells!

Whether it’s a daily Sudoku or seeing new places, going to shows, learning new skills or uncovering history, the moral of the story is to keep learning!

3.      Be active

Being physically fit can mean different things to different people—if you’re a weight lifting superstar—keep it up! But being active can be as simple as getting your body moving for 3x 10 minute blocks per day. Start small and keep it gentle to begin with.

Take a walk with a friend, go swimming or perhaps a tour with your favourite coach and holiday company?