Adelaide Driving Holidays Melbourne Regions South Australia Tourism

Driving from Melbourne to Adelaide

When you fly somewhere, it’s all about getting to your destination as quickly as possible. You step on a plane at one end and leave the plane at the other end. Whereas when you drive to your destination, you get to see and experience what is along the way, and maybe even take a detour or two.

When driving between Melbourne and Adelaide, there are a quite a few route options available, however we will cover three here – the most direct, along the coast and the route up north.

3 different driving routes from Melbourne to Adelaide.

1. Direct route – Western Highway & Dukes Highway

Western Highway.

The inland route is the quickest and shortest, thus it is also used by road transport operators moving goods between Melbourne and Adelaide.

Follow the Western Freeway out of Melbourne, and maybe get off the freeway and visit Ballarat – Victoria’s third largest city which has a rich history dating back to its prosperous days during the Gold Rush era.

Nature lovers will want to turn off the Western Highway at Ararat and detour to Halls Gap which lies within the famous Grampians National Park. There are waterfalls to discover, challenging hiking trails, stunning mountain views, lots of native wildlife and rich Aboriginal heritage that dates back many thousands of years.

Approximately 440 kilometres from Melbourne, the Western Highway crosses the state border into South Australia and the road becomes known as the Dukes Highway.

Follow the Dukes Highway to Tailem Bend – an attractive road junction town which overlooks the lower reaches of the mighty Murray River.

Follow the Princes Highway to Murray Bridge – also set on the Murray River and home to a large fleet of houseboats.

A 75 kilometre drive along the South Eastern Freeway will then take you into Adelaide, concluding the 726 kilometre road trip.

2. Along the coast – Great Ocean Road

Great Ocean Road.

Water lovers with time to spare should take the coastal route to Adelaide. It adds about 300 kilometres to the journey and significantly extra time due to some section of windy roads and passing through many coastal towns.

Follow the Princes Freeway out of Melbourne to Victoria’s second largest city of Geelong, which overlooks Corio Bay. From there, head south to Torquay which is the official start of the internationally recognised Great Ocean Road.

The Great Ocean Road is a spectacular coastal drive where you can enjoy panoramic coastal scenery, see stunning rock formations such as the 12 Apostles, explore lush rainforests and visit seaside communities which welcome travellers and holidaymakers.

The Great Ocean Road ends at the city of Warrnambool. Head west along the Princes Highway to the historic fishing village of Port Fairy and onto the deep sea port of Portland which was the site of Victoria’s first permanent settlement. Leave the highway at Portland and follow Portland – Nelson Road to the town of Nelson – a small village set on the majestic Glenelg River, within a stone’s throw of the state border with South Australia.

Follow Glenelg River Road across the border and to the large regional city of Mount Gambier. This geological hotspot is famous for its Blue Lake and stunning sinkholes. Take a 28 kilometre detour down to the coast to Port MacDonnell – once a busy shipping port, but now a quiet and charming village.

After leaving Mount Gambier, turn off the Princes Highway at Millicent and travel along the Southern Ports Highway to explore the coastal holiday towns along South Australia’s Limestone Coast. Check out Beachport, the ever popular holiday town of Robe and also Kingston SE with its Big Lobster.

Rejoining the Princes Highway, the coastal route traverses the Coorong National Park – internationally recognised wetlands with salty lagoons and gorgeous sandy beaches. Pass through Meningie, which is set on the shores of Lake Albert, before reaching the Murray River at Tailem Bend and completing the final leg of the journey to Adelaide.

3. Up north – Calder Highway & Sturt Highway

Murray River at Mildura.

In complete contrast to the coastal route, the northern route traverses the more remote parts of Victoria and South Australia, adding around 200 kilometres to the journey.

Follow the Calder Freeway out of Melbourne and through the Macedon Ranges to Bendigo. Like Ballarat, this city thrived during Victoria’s Gold Rush days, leaving a lasting legacy of opulence and wealth.

Heading out of Bendigo on the Calder Highway takes you through a number of rural communities and through Victoria’s vast Mallee region which is home to huge farms that grow grain and other crops.

The Calder Highway ends in the far north-west corner of Victoria at the city of Mildura. Set on the Murray River and one of the warmest spots in the state, Mildura is a popular holiday destination, particularly for those who enjoy water activities on the river, and it is surrounded by vast wineries and fruit farms.

From Mildura, head west along the Sturt Highway, across the state border into South Australia, arriving at Renmark. Renmark is the gateway to South Australia’s Riverland region, with its Mediterranean climate creating a rich fruit growing area with irrigation provided by the Murray River. Visit the attractive river-front towns of Berri, Loxton and Waikerie.

The Sturt Highway continues west and passes through the northern section of the Barossa Valley at Nuriootpa. The Barossa Valley is, of course, one of Australia’s most famous wine region where you will find the biggest names in the wine industry.

From Nuriootpa, it is a 72 kilometre drive to Adelaide, however you may want to take the more scenic route along Barossa Valley Way through the charming grape growing towns of Tanunda and Lyndoch.

Activities Attractions Caravanning Driving Holidays Road trips

Plan your Aussie getaway after the coronavirus pandemic

Australians are living through a period unknown to most – a period where things we take for granted are restricted or no longer permitted. Travel across some state borders is regulated, cafes and restaurants can no longer serve dine-in customers, many attractions are closed, events are postponed and entertainment severely limited. Our leisure activities have been heavily curtailed as part of necessary efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The traditional Easter and school holiday activities, where people get in the car for a road trip or board a plane for a distant destination, are on hold, with people told to instead stay at home this Easter.

Like all pandemics, coronavirus will not last forever. That means lovers of travel can use this time to plan their next getaway when travel restrictions are lifted.

With many communities across Australia having been badly affected by recent drought and bushfires, and now battling the economic shock of the coronavirus shutdown, these communities will be crying out for visitors once things get back to normal. Of course, it is not just communities that service travellers as they criss-cross the country along highways and byways that have been badly affected – also Australia’s major cities and world-class tourist attractions have been impacted.

Support Australian tourism, so once the coronavirus restrictions are over, you can plan your next getaway within Australia rather than dashing overseas.

There is no better way to see Australia than with a road trip.

Travel Tracks Australia (also on Instagram @traveltracksaus) is launching their Aussie Road Trip Itineraries ebook, which is packed with 37 road trips from all over Australia. There are 5 trips in Victoria – Great Ocean Road, Great Ocean Walk, Grampians, Phillip Island and Yarra Ranges. Get inspiration to start planning your next getaway when restrictions ease up.

The Aussie Road Trip Itineraries ebook is now completely free to readers of this blog when you enter in the discount code of TRAVELVICTORIA at the check-out. Get the ebook for free now.

Start reading today and plan your next getaway around our great country!

Advertising Business False billing Scams Websites

Amanda Stichbury, Accommodation Find, Internet Find and Special Days false billing scam continues

Amanda Stichbury final notice - Office of Fair Trading Queensland

Many business owners, particularly those in the travel and tourism industry, will be familiar with the long running false billing scam perpetrated by Amanda Stichbury – director of the companies Special Days Pty Ltd, Accommodation Find Pty Ltd and Internet Find Pty Ltd.

How the scam originally functioned was that business owners would receive what looked like a renewal invoice in the post or via email for advertising on websites which they never ordered. Some of those websites had similar names to official government or tourism websites, which was a source of great confusion to many receiving the bills.

While the actual advertisements did exist on the websites stated, they were not authorised nor ordered by most of the business owners.

In 2014, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in Queensland achieved successful court action against Amanda Stichbury after many years of business owners being inundated with bills for advertising they never ordered. Amanda Stichbury and her companies were fined almost $20,000 with convictions recorded. At the time, the OFT described the business activities of Amanda Stichbury as being “based almost entirely on deception” and “preying upon time-poor businesses“.

In 2017, Amanda Stichbury was fined a further $50,000 and convicted on a total of 166 charges in relation to sending invoices for unsolicited services and for making false and misleading representations. This related to businesses receiving notices stating their existing listing on certain websites had expired and they would need to renew them. These notices implied a previous business relationship which was false.

In 2019, the Office of Fair Trading in Queensland yet again successfully prosecuted Amanda Stichbury in the Federal Circuit Court for “breaches of the unsolicited consumer agreement provisions“. An injunction has been issued against Amanda Stichbury which permanently prevents her from directly or indirectly engaging in this conduct in the future, anywhere in Australia. Should she breach this injunction, she may be jailed.

The acting executive director of the Office of Fair Trading in Queensland, Craig Turner, slammed the long running business practices of Amanda Stichbury, declaring that “behaviour like Ms Stichbury’s has no place in Australia.”

Despite the recent court action, tourism businesses around Australia are still receiving emails originating from Amanda Stichbury and her companies. The latest is from Accommodation Find ( claiming that a business listing has been deactivated, thus resulting in lost bookings, and requiring it to be reactivated. This process leads to a page with typically outdated information about a business and a request to update it. It appears there is then a $99 annual fee to pay, however businesses that don’t claim their listing don’t appear to get removed. See below for an example of such an email.

If you receive an unsolicited request to claim a listing you never ordered and then to pay for it, you can lodge an official complaint with the Office of Fair Trading in Queensland at

False billion scams are of course not new – they have been going on for many years in Australia, costing businesses many millions of dollars. A number of perpetrators of false billing scams are so successful that court fines are simply treated by them as one of the basic costs of doing business, with revenue far exceeding any fines they may receive over time.

A collection of some Special Days Pty Ltd, Accommodation Find Pty Ltd and Internet Find Pty Ltd websites are listed below. Businesses may receive unsolicited listing renewal requests from any of these.

Accommodation Adelaide –
Accommodation Airlie Beach –
Accommodation Australia –
Accommodation Broome –
Accommodation Cairns –
Accommodation Find –
Accommodation Gold Coast –
Accommodation in Bendigo –
Accommodation Melbourne –
Accommodation New Zealand –
Accommodation NT –
Accommodation Perth –
Accommodation Search –
Accommodation Sunshine Coast –
Accommodation Sydney –
Accommodation VIC –
Aged Care Find –
Attractions –
Attractions Brisbane –
Attractions Melbourne –
Attractions Perth –
Australia Private Schools –
Brisbane Private Schools –
Broome Tourism –
Builder Melbourne –
Byron Bay Accommodations –
Caravan Park Accommodation –
Car Rental –
Childcare –
Childcare Sydney –
Click Find –
Church Find –
Coolangatta Guide –
Dentist Find –
Dentist in Melbourne –
Education Directory –
Education NSW –
Education QLD –
Education VIC –
Education WA –
Find Chemist –
Golf Find –
Great Ocean Road Tourism –
Hairdresser Find –
Holiday Gold Coast –
Hotel Find –
How Local –
Hotel VIC –
Lightening Ridge Tourism –
Mackay Tourism –
Melbourne Accountant –
Melbourne Hairdresser –
Melbourne Schools –
Melbourne Tourism –
New South Wales Tourism –
Perth Private Schools –
Pubs and Clubs –
Pubs Melbourne –
QLD Tourism –
Redcliffe Tourism –
Restaurant Brisbane –
Restaurant Find –
Restaurant Gold Coast –
Restaurant Guide –
Search Accommodation –
South Australia Guide –
Sunshine Coast Tourism –
Sydney Private Schools –
Sydney Tourism –
Tourism Adelaide –
Tourism Brisbane –
Tourism Caloundra –
Tourism Canberra –
Tourism Cairns –
Tourism Gold Coast –
Tourism Guide –
Tourism Listing –
Tourism Tas –
Tourism WA –
Townsville Tourism –
Travel Agents Melbourne –
Travel Guide –
Vet Australia –
Vet Melbourne –
Victoria Tourism –
VIC Tourism –
Whitsundays Accommodation –
Whitsundays Tourism –


Fake biller Amanda Stichbury issued final notice
Queensland Office of Fair Trading

Fake biller Amanda Stichbury allegedly fleecing businesses again
My Business

Companies referred to in the Queensland Office of Fair Trading court action

Special Days Pty Ltd
ABN – 37 086 159 211
ACN – 086 159 211

Accommodation Find Pty Ltd
ABN – 18 086 159 195
ACN – 086 159 195

Internet Find Pty Ltd
ABN – 68 162 430 159
ACN – 162 430 159

Contact phone number of these companies – 1300 656 789 and/or 1800 199 863.

Accommodation Bookings Holidays Travel

Booking accommodation direct – is it really cheaper?

Over the last few years, there has been a push in the Australian travel and tourism industry to encourage travellers to book their accommodation directly with the property owner or manager, rather than through an online booking agent. The advantages in doing so include:

  • Cheaper rates
  • Dealing directly with the provider makes it easier to reserve a particular room, satisfy any special requirements you may have, and handle cancellations or rescheduling directly
  • Instead of booking commissions (typically between 15 to 30 percent) being paid to overseas online travel agents, those commissions are retained by property owner, thus helping the local economy
  • Those booking direct may receive bonuses to reward them for this, such as free breakfast or free vehicle parking.

While booking accommodation directly has many benefits, let us consider just the cost of the room and conduct a small experiment with online booking rates. Note that booking over the phone directly with a property may offer better rates, but for the purposes of this experiment, we shall limit ourselves to online booking only, either directly with the property’s own reservation system or an online travel agent like

We shall try booking three very different holiday properties in Victoria on a weekend for two nights, from Friday 17th May to Sunday 19th May. We have chosen:

  1. A 5-star Melbourne city hotel with luxury rooms
  2. A family beach resort that offers holiday apartments
  3. A romantic mountain cottage retreat for couples

Luxury hotel – The Langham Melbourne

The Langham Hotel in Melbourne is one of the city’s most exclusive hotels and is consistently ranked by Tripadvisor as one of the top places to stay in the city, where opulence meets unparalleled service. It is situated in Southbank, across the Yarra River from Melbourne’s CBD.

Choosing a superior king room for two adults, we were quoted a total of $740 ($370 per night) when using the hotel’s own reservation system on their official website. Choosing to book the same room via gave the exact same quote – $740.

The verdict: same cost whether booking online direct or through an online travel agent.

Online booking at The Langham Melbourne using
Online booking at The Langham Melbourne using their own reservation service

Family beach resort – Silverwater Resort

One of Victoria’s most loved beach holiday destinations is Phillip Island. It is close enough to Melbourne to be within an easy drive, and far enough out of the city to feel like you are really on holiday.

The gateway to Phillip Island is the tourist town of San Remo, which is located at the start of the bridge which goes across the water to Phillip Island. There are several cafes, restaurants and hotels in the town, and some lovely beaches in the area. However, the town is most famous for the daily pelican feeding on the main beach, near the jetty.

One of the most family friendly places to stay at San Remo is Silverwater Resort. Spread out across this large property are 170 resort rooms and self-contained apartments. The resort’s many on-site facilities include an indoor and outdoor pool, tennis courts, jumping pillows, games room, gymnasium, extensive grounds to explore and a bar and restaurant.

We have chosen a two bedroom apartment for a family of four – 2 adults and 2 children. Going through the reservation system on the resort’s official website, the total cost for two nights was quoted at $526. Using, this was reduced down to $518.

Why is there an $8 difference? If you use an online booking website, they generally absorb credit card fees. However, if you book direct with Silverwater Resort, they charge you the credit card fees on top of the cost of the accommodation which is priced at the same rate at It is quite surprising that Silverwater Resort is happy to give 15 to 30% of their revenue (between $77 and $155 for this specific booking) to, yet if you bypass the booking agent and book directly with them, thus meaning the resort gets to keep the $77 to $155 booking fee, they actually penalise you for this act of generosity and make you pay an $8 credit card fee.

The small print on the booking page explains the credit card fee if you book online directly with the property. “Payments made with with Visa or Mastercard will incur a 1.5% surcharge, and Amex will incur a 3% surcharge. This surcharge is not displayed on your reservation it is added automatically when your credit card is processed.”

The verdict: go through for a better rate than booking directly, due to the credit card fee.

Online booking at Sliverwater Resort using
Online booking at Silverwater Resort using their own booking system

Mountain retreat – Forest Edge Cottage

For those looking for seclusion and privacy in the mountains, but not too far from Melbourne, then Mount Dandenong is a great choice. Less than an hour’s drive from the city centre, the lush Dandenong Ranges are home to a number of romantic holiday cottages and we have chosen Forest Edge Cottage which is part of the Merrow Cottages group. This private holiday rental is suitable for couples and is an excellent weekend getaway.

The managing booking agent for this property quotes a weekend stay at $620 ($310 per night). However, the rate on is significantly more, coming in at $700 for the weekend, or $350 per night.

The verdict: book direct with the property for a much better rate than with online booking agents.

Onlike booking at Forest Edge Cottage using
Online booking at Forest Edge Cottage using their direct booking manager.

The verdict

Whether you book online directly with the property, or whether you use a third party online travel agent booking service like, the cost may sometimes vary. This depends specifically on the accommodation property chosen. Booking directly with the property may be cheaper in some cases, but in other cases it actually may be slightly dearer.

To encourage direct bookings, we urge all property owners to ensure those booking through their official website and booking system are offered the same or cheaper rates than they advertise through third party online travel agents.

Regions Tourism

Tourism regions in Victoria

The state of Victoria is divided into 12 tourism regions which group together areas of similar geography, environment, history or culture.

Regions of Victoria
Victoria’s 12 tourism regions

How are region boundaries defined?

In general, tourism regions consist of several local government areas (also known as local councils or municipalities), with region boundaries following the lines of municipal boundaries. There are a small number of exceptions to this rule.

  • Phillip Island region. This covers only part of the Bass Coast Shire. It includes only Phillip Island and the mainland town of San Remo which is directly linked to the island by a bridge.
  • Gippsland region. This excludes the part of the Bass Coast Shire that is included in the Phillip Island tourism region.
  • Yarra Valley & Dandenong Ranges region. This includes the far southern part of the Murrindindi Shire which is closest to Melbourne, covering the areas around King Lake, Narbethong, Marysville and Buxton.
  • High Country region. This excludes the southernmost part of the Murrindindi Shire which is part of the Yarra Valley & Dandenong Ranges region.

Tourism regions and their local councils

Tourism regionLocal councils in this region
1. Melbourne & SuburbsBanyule, Bayside, Boroondara, Brimbank, Casey, Greater Dandenong, Darebin, Glen Eira, Hobsons Bay, Hume, Kingston, Knox, Manningham, Maribyrnong, Maroondah, Melbourne, Melton, Monash, Moonee Valley, Moreland, Port Phillip, Stonnington, Whitehorse, Whittlesea, Wyndham, Yarra
2. Daylesford & Macedon RangesHepburn, Macedon Ranges, Mitchell, Moorabool
3. Geelong & The BellarineGolden Plains, Greater Geelong, Queenscliff
4. GippslandBass Coast (part), Baw Baw, East Gippsland, Latrobe, South Gippsland, Wellington
5. GoldfieldsBallarat, Central Goldfields, Greater Bendigo, Loddon, Mount Alexander, Pyrenees
6. GrampiansArarat, Buloke, Hindmarsh, Horsham, Northern Grampians, Southern Grampians, West Wimmera, Yarriambiack
7. Great Ocean RoadColac Otway, Corangamite, Glenelg, Moyne, Surf Coast, Warrnambool
8. High CountryAlpine, Benalla, Indigo, Mansfield, Murrindindi (part), Strathbogie, Wangaratta
9. Mornington PeninsulaFrankston, Mornington Peninsula
10. MurrayCampaspe, Gannawarra, Greater Shepparton, Mildura, Moira, Swan Hill, Towong, Wodonga
11. Phillip IslandBass Coast (part)
12. Yarra Valley & Dandenong RangesCardinia, Murrindindi (part), Nillumbik, Yarra Ranges

Tourism region anomalies

While tourism regions are generally defined along local government boundaries, this has created some anomalies when it comes to grouping locations of similar history or culture together.

Consider the town of Clunes. It was the site of Victoria’s first registered gold strike which triggered the famous gold rush of the 1850s and 1860s, resulting in great prosperity and attracting world-wide attention. Clunes is located in the far western corner of the Hepburn Shire, thus putting it into the Daylesford & Macedon Ranges tourism region. Surrounding Clunes on three sides is Central Goldfields Shire, Mount Alexander Shire and City of Ballarat – all of which are in the Goldfields region. It seems odd that the birthplace of gold in Victoria is excluded, by the smallest of margins, from being part of the Goldfields region which encompasses important surrounding towns and cities of the gold rush days like Ballarat, Castlemaine, Maldon, Maryborough and Bendigo.

Clunes – the birthplace of Victoria’s gold rush, yet not in the Goldfields region.

Another anomaly is with the north-eastern Victorian town of Rutherglen, famous for being in the heart of one of Victoria’s most important wine producing areas. It lies less than 10 kilometres from the Murray River, but because it is in the Shire of Indigo, it ends up in the High Country region. This has the effect of creating an unusual situation where the Murray region is split into two distinct parts – a large section from the state border west of Mildura to Yarrawonga and then a smaller area around the north-eastern corner of Victoria that includes Wodonga and Corryong.

Rutherglen – just a stone’s throw from the Murray River but not in the Murray region.
Activities Advertising Attractions Business Dogs Events Restaurants Tourism Web promotion

Free listings for tourism businesses and events in Victoria

Tourism businesses and event organisers may spend a significant amount of money and time on promotional activities, but did you know there are many high exposure opportunities on the internet where they can be promoted for free?


There is always plenty going on in Victoria.  From community festivals to markets, concert, sports tournaments, shows and international events, there is always something happening, no matter what day of the week or time of the year it is.

Promoting events can be a costly and time consuming exercise, but when it comes to exposure on the internet, Victoria 365 should be your first priority. This website presents a huge collection of events that are happening 365 days a year in Victoria.  All listings are free of charge and there are self-serve facilities so you can instantly register and update your listing as often as you like.  Simply go to the list your event page to get started.

One of the exciting features of Victoria 365 is that your listing is stored in the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse (ATDW).  This national database is used as a source of content by over 100 distributor websites, which means that not only is your event featured on Victoria 365, but it will also appear on other websites which publish event information without you having to do a thing.  It offers a fantastic opportunity for wide exposure on the internet for minimal effort and zero cost.

Victoria 365

Dog friendly restaurants and cafes

Australians love their pets, and dogs are the most common of them all.  It is estimated that there are close to 5 million pet dogs in Australia, with around 40% of households owning a dog.

As Australia becomes more dog-friendly, people are increasingly taking their pooches with them when they leave home, providing company and sharing a common experience.  Whether it is a coffee or meal at a cafe, a trip to the beach, or even a holiday away from home in dog-friendly accommodation, dogs are being welcomed in more and more places.

If you operate a dining establishment in Victoria that has areas where dogs are permitted, you can list your business for free with Dogs On Holidays.  That website is a comprehensive guide to enjoying Victoria with you dog and includes listings of dog-friendly accommodation, restaurants, beaches, parks, activities and events.  While the accommodation listings require a small cost to list, all restaurant and cafe listings are completely free of charge.  It’s a great way to gain good exposure for your dog-friendly business.  Simply fill in your details on the advertising page and your listing will be published promptly.

Dogs On Holidays

Tourist attractions, tours, wineries, markets, restaurants and pubs

Visitors to Victoria are spoilt for choice when it comes to finding interesting things to see, enjoying fascinating experiences and indulging in the amazing food and wine that Victoria is renowned for.

Many businesses which cater for tourists, day-trippers or visitors are able to be listed for free with Travel Victoria.  The Travel Victoria website is a valuable resource and features many thousands of listings including tourist attractions, scenic tours, cruises, wineries, breweries, markets, restaurants, cafes, pubs, farm gates, public sporting facilities and accommodation.  All listings (except for accommodation) are free, and submissions for inclusion can be made on the advertising page.

Travel Victoria

Attractions Events High Country Holidays Road trips

Beechworth – the place to be this Easter!

Beechworth is quickly becoming a trending holiday destination for Victorian families. There’s little wonder why, with the town known for its picturesque views, scenic bike paths and country atmosphere.

Located 270 kilometres or a three hour drive north-east from Melbourne’s CBD, Beechworth plays host to many fun events for the whole family during the 2018 Easter holiday period. Enjoy sun filled warm days, cooler evenings and the first peek of the autumn colours.

If you are heading to Victoria’s high country during the 2018 Easter school holidays, make sure to check out some of the events listed below that are happening in Beechworth and nearby Yackandandah.

High Country Hops Festival: 24 to 25 ​March

The High Country Hops Festival is a growing event that showcases the wonderful brew ers of the North East region and its famous locally grown hops. Held at Bridge Road Brewery in Beechworth, the event promises to be fun for the whole family, with jumping castles and a petting zoo for the kids, and unique beer tastings for the adults.

More info: Facebook event

Hive to Home at Beechworth Honey: 24 March

Discover the fascinating world of bees in this immersive hive-to-home experience near the historic town of Beechworth. Part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, ticket holders will be invited to become a “beekeeper for the day” and explore an active beehive site, where you will get a hands-on honey extraction experience before being treated to a picnic morning tea.

More info: purchase ​tickets here

Yackandandah Folk Festival: 23 to 25​ March

Get ready to listen to some international and local folk acts and join the greenest festival in Australia at the Yackandandah Folk Festival​. This festival is perfect for all ages and is sure to have the whole family up and dancing.

More info: festival website

From the Hive – Swarming to Yackandandah Art Exhibition: 23 March to 5th of April

The latest exhibition at Yackandandah’s Turntable Gallery features work by artist Marjike Gilchrist. Gilchrist is known for her mixed mediums paintings, which involves using a combination of beeswax, resin and pigment.

More info: exhibition venue – Yack Station

Golden Horseshoes Festival: 30 March to 2 April

The Golden Horseshoes Festival is Beechworth’s biggest event during the Easter period, and prides itself on having something for everyone including an abundance of local music performances, a fun run, markets, a gala dinner and of course an Easter egg hunt.

More info: festival website

Wooragee Easter Monday Market: 2 April

The Wooragee Primary School is holding their annual Easter Monday market fundraiser with over 65 stall sites featuring local craft, cakes and trash & treasure. Open from 10am to 2pm, the market will also be hosting various activities to keep the little ones entertained.

More info: market website

Business False billing Fraud Payment Scams Trademarks

Trademark registration scam from WOTRA – World Organization for Trademarks

Businesses in Australia who have registered a trademark are currently being hit by a scam that originates from a company that calls themselves WOTRA – World Organization for Trademarks.  Their website is located at

An example of one of their letters, which strongly resembles an invoice that requires payment, is shown below.

WOTRA - World Organization for Trademarks

Registering a trademark is not an instant process. The registration is done through the government agency IP Australia.  After lodging an application and paying the appropriate fees, it can take up to 3 months before the trademark can be formally examined and accepted.  If accepted, it will then be advertised in the Australian Official Journal of Trade Marks. There will then be a period of 2 months during which anyone can oppose the registration. If there are no objections after 2 months, IP Australia will then shortly register the trademark for you.

As registering a trademark is usually a very infrequent process people go through, and as trademarks are renewed every 10 years, a number of organisations have sprung up that attempt to take advantage of this and potentially defraud trademark owners of significant sums of money.

One common type of scam occurs when an organisation contacts you before your trademark renewal is sent out to you by IP Australia, offering to conduct the very simple renewal process at cost typically many times more than the cost of doing this yourself.  An example of this is PTMO – Patent & Trademark Organisation.

Another type scam, as perpetrated by WOTRA – World Organization for Trademarks, involves contacting owners of new trademarks during that 2 month period where people can object to your trademark, just before it is formally registered.

How this scam works is that trademark owners are posted a letter which has this sender listed on the envelope:

World Organization for Patents and Trademarks
Budapest 1005

Inside this envelope is a single page letter with the heading “Important Notification Regarding Your Trademark“.  The letter looks very official, listing the trademark owner’s name and address, a colour picture (if applicable) of the actual trademark, the correct trademark number and the correct date that the application was lodged.

The letter strongly resembles an invoice, with a “balance due” and detailed payment instructions.  One could be forgiven for thinking this is a payment required for a trademark to be recognised world-wide, given that it is sent out by the very official sounding “World Organization for Trademarks”.

The particular sample here has an amount due of $2,719, with a note that if it is not paid by the due date, it will be regarded as being “late”, thus a $60 late fee applies, taking the amount due to an eye-watering grand total of $2,779.

In small print on the page is a sequence of very long sentences that includes this:

“…the publishing of the public registration of your trademark is the basis of our offer…we offer the registration of your trademark dates in our private database…the contract is irrevocable and legally binding for one year…this private registration hasn’t any connection with the publication of official registrations, and is not a registration by a government organisation…(this) is not an invoice but a solicitation without obligation to pay…”

So basically you are paying WOTRA – World Organization for Trademarks the very significant sum of $2,719 just to list your trademark’s registration date in their private database which has no benefit other than allowing people to see it on the website  Also worrying is the fact this so-called contract is only for one year, so if you do end up paying, you may end up being billed $2,719 every year.

While WOTRA do say the letter is not an invoice, it does strongly resemble one. There is a “balance due” section, a “due date” listed, and a section devoted to the penalties incurred if payment is late.

Two payment options are listed.  One is by cheque, which is to be sent to:

P.O. Box 221
9002 Gyor 2

Or you can pay by bank transfer:

Beneficiary:  WOTRA Kft.
Bank name:    NHB Bank
IBAN:         HU55 1140 0040 0300 3292 4210 0013
Bank address: 1118 Budapest

If you receive a letter from WOTRA, it is strongly advised that you do not pay the $2,719 they request, as they have nothing to do with your trademark registration.  Having a listing with WOTRA does not in any way mean your trademark is registered for world-wide use.

If you have received an unsolicited letter from WOTRA requesting payment, you are encouraged report it via the ACCC’s ScamWatch page.

For any general questions about trademarks in Australia, refer to IP

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How to get to Wilsons Promontory from Melbourne

Wilsons Promontory

Wilsons Promontory is a peninsula at the southernmost tip of of Victoria that is surrounded by water on three sides and extends into Bass Strait.

The Wilsons Promontory National Park covers around 50,000 hectares of this peninsula, consisting of stunning granite mountain peaks, beautiful beaches, lakes, forests and gullies.  It is home to a large population of wildlife including kangaroos, emus, echidnas, wombats and birdlife.

Within the national park is the small town of Tidal River which has a visitor centre, general store and cafe.

In order to get to Wilsons Promontory, there are a number of transport options available.

By car

One of the best ways of getting to Wilsons Promontory is to drive, so you have the flexibility of stopping at a number of interesting spots along the way.

The driving distance from Melbourne’s CBD to the Wilsons Promontory town of Tidal River is just over 220 kilometres.

Follow the Monash Freeway (M1) away from the city.  In order to get to the South Gippsland Highway, you can either take the South Gippsland Freeway (M420) exit, the Clyde Road (C407) exit, the Cardinia Road exit or the Koo Wee Rup Road (C422) exit.  All of those roads will eventually meet the South Gippsland Highway (M420) where you will need to turn left.  Follow the highway past the turn-off for Lang Lang until you reach the exit labelled Korumburra, Leongatha and Wilsons Promontory.  You will need to take this exit to remain on the South Gippsland Highway (A440), otherwise you will find yourself on the Bass Highway heading towards Phillip Island and Wonthaggi.

Stay on the South Gippsland Highway as you pass through the towns of Korumburra, Leongatha and Meeniyan.  On the outskirts of Meeniyan, turn right onto Meeniyan-Promontory Road (C444) and follow this to Fish Creek where you will need to make a right turn in order to stay on the Meeniyan-Promontory Road (C444).  This road passes through Yanakie, which is located 6 kilometres from the entrance to Wilsons Promontory National Park.  Once inside the park, it is a further 25 minutes drive to Tidal River.

The entire journey normally takes around 2 hours and 50 minutes if driving non-stop, although it is recommended to take at least a short break due to the duration of the trip.

Driving directions from Melbourne to Wilsons Promontory

By public transport

The first step is to catch a bus to Fish Creek.  There is a V/Line bus service which runs between Southern Cross Station in Melbourne and Yarram, stopping at Fish Creek in front of the Fish Creek Hotel and BP service station.  This bus service runs 7 days a week, with extra services on weekdays.  See the V/Line bus timetable to Yarram via Fish Creek.

Once in Fish Creek, a taxi or private transport service will be required for the final 55 kilometres of the journey to Tidal River as there are no public bus services to Wilsons Promontory.  Options include:

  • Butterfly Passenger Service.  This is a private driver hire transport service that is based in Foster and covers South Gippsland.  Operating 7 days a week, Butterfly Passenger Service offers reliable transport between Wilsons Promontory and connecting public transport services. Phone them on 0411 334 236 or visit their Facebook page.
  • South Gippsland Regional Taxis. Based in Leongatha, they cover South Gippsland and can do trips to Wilsons Promontory on request.  Bookings in advance are essential to ensure you have connecting transport from Fish Creek.  Phone them on (03) 5662 4242.

Join a tour

A hassle free way of getting to Wilsons Promontory and exploring its many natural attractions is by joining a guided tour that departs from Melbourne.

Bunyip Tours offer a full day excursion to Wilsons Promontory.  You are picked up from Melbourne early in the morning and return in the evening.  Your tour guide will take you on a number of activities which highlight the beauty of the area.  Enjoy bush walking, bird watching, wildlife spotting and even swimming if the weather and time permits.  See beautiful beaches, huge granite rock formations, eucalyptus forests and warm temperate rainforests.

Wilsons Promontory day tour from Melbourne

For those who want to see more of the area, Bunyip Tours also offer a 2 day Wilsons Promontory excursion which is combined with a day at Phillip Island.  See stunning surf beaches, the Koala Conservation Centre, The Nobbies and of course the famous nightly penguin parade.  Overnight accommodation on the island is provided, then the next morning you are driven to Wilsons Promontory to explore the highlights of the park on foot by joining the regular day tour.

2 day Wilsons Promontory & Phillip Island tour

Coming from Melbourne Airport?

If you are coming to Melbourne by air, see our guide to transport between Melbourne Airport and the city centre.  Once in Melbourne’s city centre, choose from the above options to get to Wilsons Promontory.

Advertising False billing Fraud Scams

Queensland fraudster Amanda Stichbury fined yet again

Amanda Stichbury fined in court

Many people operating businesses in the travel and tourism industries will be familiar with the long-running false billing scams perpetrated by Amanda Jane Stichbury and her companies Accommodation Find Pty Ltd, Internet Find Pty Ltd, and Special Days Pty Ltd.

Many businesses were sent either invoices or renewal letters concerning advertising on her large network of websites.  Most advertisements were never ordered or authorised, so some businesses were tricked into paying the invoices that arrived, assuming it was an ongoing service.

Some of the websites that Amanda Stichbury set up had names that closely resembled names of official government tourism authorities, confusing and potentially deceiving many business owners.  This attracted significant attention from many tourism bodies across Australia who regularly published warnings about the sorts of invoices and renewal letters that Amanda Stichbury and her network of websites were regularly sending out.

In 2014, Amanda Stichbury was fined almost $20,000 for breaching Australian Consumer Law in regards to unsolicited invoices and requests for payments.  However, this didn’t deter her from continuing her existing business model which was recently described by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in Queensland as being “based almost entirely on deception” and “preying upon time-poor businesses“.

In January 2017, Amanda Stichbury was fined a further $50,000 in the Southport Magistrates Court after a lengthy investigation by the OFT.  A total of 166 charges were made, including:

  1. sending another person an invoice for unsolicited services
  2. making false and misleading representations

Businesses across Australia, not just those in the travel and tourism industry, were on the receiving end of unsolicited invoices requesting payment for advertising that was never ordered.  The dodgy invoices included wording which implied an existing business relationship, which was false.

While the full extent of Amanda Stichbury’s fraudulent operations may never be known, it is reasonable to conclude that incidents that were brought up in court proceedings were just the tip of the iceberg.  Most business owners who identified the invoices and renewals being sent to them as fraudulent simply threw them away and didn’t report it to the appropriate authorities.  Some who did pay wrongly assumed it was for a similarly named organisation they already advertised with and just kept paying.

Executive Director of the Queensland Office of Fair Trading, Brian Bauer, commented on the verdict and fine handed down against Amanda Stichbury by the  Southport Magistrates Court. He said that it:

  1. reflected the serious nature of Amanda Stichbury’s offending
  2. made a clear statement that the behaviour and conduct of Amanda Stichbury has no place in Queensland
  3. served as a warning to others who thought of adopting Amanda Stichbury’s deceptive business model

He also said that the OFT will “continue to vigorously pursue any unscrupulous traders” like Amanda Stichbury who intentionally mislead other businesses.

If you have received a fraudulent invoice from Amanda Stichbury, Accommodation Find Pty Ltd, Internet Find Pty Ltd or Special Days Pty Ltd, you can report it at

Amanda Stichbury “did not appear apologetic”

Despite being fined almost $20,000 and convicted for similar offences in 2014, the Southport Magistrates Court noted that “Ms Stichbury did not appear apologetic for her behaviour” during proceedings in January 2017.  Her lack of remorse contributed to the hefty penalty of $50,000 that was imposed upon her and her companies.

Since 2011, many organisations in the tourism and travel industry have received from their clients copies of fraudulent invoices sent to them by Amanda Stichbury’s network of websites.  The big breakthrough in public exposure came when AccomNews published a series of articles about Amanda’s activities a few years ago:

AccomNews is a leading industry-wide portal providing critical information to those in the accommodation industry and the publisher of the widely distributed monthly Resort News magazine.  Their articles received widespread exposure and resulted in many people coming forward who had also received unsolicited bills and renewal letters for advertising they never ordered.

The increasing number of reports being published on the internet about Amanda Stichbury’s fraudulent activities resulted in bad publicity for her business.  She contacted a number of the more higher profile publishers, demanding they remove their articles about her.  At least one organisation was also threatened with legal action on the basis that the information published about her and her business operations was not only misleading, but was also causing her loss of income.  Ironically, while this may have caused her income to reduce, it actually saved many businesses from losing money themselves once they realised the invoices and renewal letters were a scam.  In fact, the Office of Fair Trading made it very clear after its successful court action that Amanda Stichbury operated a business model that was “based almost entirely on deception“.

Some of the organisations that published information about Amanda Stichbury’s fraudulent activities include:

  1. The Queensland justice system in regards to her significant court fine and convictions in 2014
  2. Several articles by the respected AccomNews publication and Resort News
  3. A media report on Amanda’s activities broadcast on TV by the ABC during The Checkout show
  4. Repeated warnings over many years about Amanda Stichbury’s unsolicited invoices and advertising renewal requests by the government tourism organisations Visit Canberra, Tourism Victoria, Destination NSW and South Australian Tourism Commission
  5. An alert published by the Queensland Tourism Industry Council
  6. A warning from Hosted Accommodation Australia Ltd about bogus invoices originating from Special Days Pty Ltd
  7. The Australian Tourism Data Warehouse (ATDW) who informed its members to discard any request for payment from Amanda Stichbury’s companies and websites as they are “scam invoices”
  8. Copies of fraudulent invoices and renewal notices sent to accommodation providers that were forwarded to tourism organisations and media outlets over many years
  9. Social media postings by businesses who had received unsolicited invoices from Amanda Stichbury and her websites

Amanda Stichbury has attempted to get negative publicity about her business activities pushed down internet search engine results that referenced her name, company names, website names and phone numbers.  This was done by publishing large numbers of web pages with her name in the title or document body in order to dilute any negative page headings that came up.  The snippet below of a Google search for her name shows one negative result swamped by other pages created by Amanda Stichbury.

Search for Amanda Stichbury

In closing, the Queensland Office of Fair Trading warned all businesses to “be vigilant when paying invoices, ensuring the payments are for services that were legitimately provided“.  If this vigilance is exercised, then false billing scams won’t succeed.

Details of the companies prosecuted in court

  • Special Days Pty Ltd – ABN 37 086 159 211 / ACN 086 159 211
  • Accommodation Find Pty Ltd – ABN 18 086 159 195 / ACN 086 159 195
  • Internet Find Pty Ltd – ABN 68 162 430 159 / ACN 162 430 159


“Local fraudster all stitched up”
Queensland Office of Fair Trading
“…Ms Stichbury’s businesses, Accommodation Find Pty Ltd, Internet Find Pty Ltd, and Special Days Pty Ltd, sent unsolicited invoices to several businesses nation-wide requesting they pay for services that were never requested or authorised…Amanda Jane Stichbury pleaded guilty to a total of 166 counts, including sending another person an invoice for unsolicited services, and making false and misleading representations…Ms Stichbury was personally fined $10,000 and three corporations of which she was sole director were fined a total of $40,000…”

“Queensland business owner fined $50,000 after pleading guilty to sending unsolicited invoices”
Smart Company
“…Stichbury was fined $10,000 in the Southport Magistrates Court earlier this month, and her three businesses were fined a total of $40,000…the success and prevalence of such scams are a symptom of a busy society…a successful scam like this can go uncovered for a long time…”