Adelaide Fringe, Ballina flights, Canberra Beer and Cider Festival: plan your early 2020

Where to next? Get planning before the year gets away on you. Picture: Shutterstock
Where to next? Get planning before the year gets away on you. Picture: Shutterstock

It's been 15 years since Qantas's last service from Sydney to Ballina. But just this week, Australia's favourite airline announced it would be resuming flights between the two cities. The daily return flights will commence from 29 March 2020, adding more than 36,000 seats to the route each year. Flights will be operated by 50-seat Q300 aircraft. Fares are available to book at and through travel agents. Ballina is Qantas's 12th destination in NSW after Sydney, Albury, Armidale, Coffs Harbour, Dubbo, Lord Howe Island, Moree, Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Tamworth and Wagga Wagga. The new flights add to Jetstar's services to Ballina, with the low-cost carrier already operating direct flights from Sydney and Melbourne.

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Surf's up

Australia's first urban surf park has opened, attracting surfers from all around the country to try this new facility at Tullamarine near Melbourne Airport. At 2.2 hectares, Urbnsurf is larger than the Melbourne Cricket Ground and caters for surfers from beginner to experienced. The diamond-shaped lagoon churns out over 1000 waves per hour that range from softer beginner swells to fatter waves for more intermediate surfers. The park also offers surfing lessons - perfect for those that might find the ocean daunting. After your session, you can always relax in the hot tubs, grab a bite at Three Blue Ducks or hang out on the lawn.

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Grab a pint at the Canberra Craft Beer & Cider Festival

For beer and cider lovers, the Canberra Craft Beer & Cider Festival returns to the city on 21 March. Held at the state-heritage-listed Mercure Canberra at the bottom of Mount Ainslie, the festival showcases the capital's burgeoning brewing scene. Along with food from local providores and live entertainment, you'll meet some of the experts - a record 250 brewers will be at the event. Attend one of the beer and cider food-matching lessons or special guest speaker sessions. Along with local brewers, some will be coming from interstate, including Lord Nelson, Grand Ridge, Pirate Life and Modus Operandi, alongside specialist cideries, such as Alpine Cider and The Apple Thief. There is a 2020 festival package that includes an overnight stay with breakfast for two at the Mercure Canberra, a four-pack of Sydney Brewery beers, festival entry and five tasting tickets. The package is $224 per room per night.

Adelaide Fringe's 60th birthday

A festival full of weird and wacky dance, theatre and art, the Adelaide Fringe is celebrating its diamond anniversary with a full line-up of local and international artists. One of the highlights will be the Yabarra: Dreaming in Light installation, which tells a Dreamtime story through light technology. It will be held at the Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute. There will also be a month-long mass karaoke session, the Giant Sing Along. Singers can belt out some 50 classic hits through auto-tuned microphones. Adelaide Fringe runs 14 February to 15 March, and there will be 1210 events held throughout South Australia.

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Share your travel tips

Don't keep the top tips to yourself. Picture: Shutterstock

Don't keep the top tips to yourself. Picture: Shutterstock

Prescription ready

If you're bringing medications, it is highly recommended that travellers carry a doctor's letter with them and also to photograph their scripts. Also, always pack your medication in your carry-on to avoid having to stress if your suitcase is delayed getting back to you.

Kev Cummins

Cruising with babes

When cruising with a toddler, take a stroller. It was a huge help when my son was young. Ships are wheelchair-friendly, meaning strollers can also go pretty much anywhere.

Angela Taylor

Solo traveller safety

My sister takes a door jammer when she travels alone, so she feels safer sleeping. Try to arrive during daylight so you'll be able to find your hotel more easily and see what kind of area you're staying in. If you don't like it, you'll have time to make other arrangements.

Cathy Steel

Maximise your tourist perks

If you are planning your own travel arrangements, always visit the local tourism office website. They often have discounted rates for transport and entry tickets to attractions. Some have to be pre-purchased before entering the country.

Sarah Hamilton