All you need to know about cheap flights to Australia
With so many cheap flights to Australia to choose from nowadays, your biggest challenge will be making your mind up about where you want to go. The most budget-friendly Australian airports to fly to from Ireland include Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Laid-back Perth is Australia’s sunniest city and where you’ll find some of the best beaches down under. It’s also the gateway to the picturesque town of Margaret River, famed for its wineries and boutique breweries. Vibrant Sydney is chock full of both character and iconic Aussie landmarks like Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and, of course, Bondi Beach. Australia’s sporting capital, Melbourne, hosts the Australian Open Tennis tournament in Melbourne Park, while just opposite you’ll find the world-class Melbourne Cricket Ground stadium or MCG.
The best time of year to fly to Australia
Australia is worth visiting any time of year, but if you’re looking for a good deal on flights, the best bargains are generally to be had during late spring and late autumn, in other words October–November and April–May. Summer falls between December and February and is usually the busiest and most expensive season for flights and accommodation. Annual highlights in the country’s cultural calendar include the Perth International Arts Festival, which takes place during February and March, and Canberra’s National Multicultural Festival, also celebrated in February. The Sydney Festival runs throughout January with amazing displays from the best of the world's performing and visual arts, while the renowned Melbourne International Arts Festival is held annually in October.
How do I get to Australia?
Although there are no direct flights to Australia from Ireland, a range of airlines offer connecting flights from major Irish airports. There are a number of one-stop routes available from Dublin, while from most other Irish airports you’ll need to take at least two connecting flights. From Dublin, the most popular flight options to Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane include Emirates or Qantas via Dubai, or Etihad or Virgin Australia via Abu Dhabi. From Cork and Shannon, one of most convenient options is to fly to London Heathrow, Manchester or Amsterdam with Aer Lingus, then continue onward with Singapore Airlines via Singapore. The easiest option from Kerry is to fly via Dublin and then onward via Dubai or Abu Dhabi, and if you’re coming from Knock Airport, you can either fly to London Gatwick with Aer Lingus and then continue with Emirates via Dubai, or route yourself through Birmingham and New Delhi with Flybe and Air India.
Getting from the airport to your destination
The most convenient method of transport from Australia’s main airports is by taxi, with fares from Perth, Sydney and Melbourne airports to the city centre costing in the region of AU$50–AU$70. Public transport is also readily available and very reliable. Perth Airport runs the handy Connect Shuttle bus service to several locations in Perth, while Sydney Airport is directly connected to the city centre by the Airport Link train, which has frequent services and takes less than 15 minutes. Melbourne Airport’s SkyBus shuttle departs for the city centre every 10 minutes, and there’s even the possibility of a free hotel transfer service when you reach Southern Cross Station. Brisbane’s Airtrain connects the airport with the city and also with the Gold Coast. If you prefer to drive yourself, you’ll find the usual well-known car rental companies at all airports.
Experience the breathtaking beauty of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef
One of the seven wonders of the natural world, the Great Barrier Reef is visible from space and larger than the Great Wall of China. A snorkelling or scuba diving trip will allow you to get up close and personal with the reef’s coral and marine life in glorious technicolour, but that’s not the only way to enjoy its beauty. Take a glass-bottomed boat tour and admire the psychedelic coral reefs as you glide along, or indulge in a cruise on a luxury catamaran. From above, you can soar through the sky overhead in a hot air balloon or enjoy spectacular views on a helicopter ride.
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