by Tracey Johnstone
DISCOVER Australia a different way, transporting yourself along the waterways and highways to the many corners of this magnficient country using transport that isn't the norm but still offers an exciting experience.
You might have to use a car, coach, plane, cruise ship or train to get to your newest destination, but once there why not book yourself on cargo ship, houseboat, motorcyle, or go cycling or walking tour. Better still, why not try a combination of these experiences.
Cargo ships, no need to dress up
The only booking agency around for cargo ship cruising in Australia seems to be Freighter Expeditions. They offer a weekly experience on board the 28-passenger, 80 metre ship Trinity Bay which works between Cairns and Thursday Island. The working ship delivers supplies to isolated communities located inside the Great Barrier Reef.
Freighter Expeditions also offers a trip on the MV Malu Titan which sails from Horn Island for a seven-day round trip, departing on a Sunday. This ship has only five cabins.
Well, you can't actually travel around Australia on a houseboat, but you can try hiring one in different locations during your tour. Here are some places where houseboats are available for hire -
About two hours drive from Melbourne in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range is Lake Eildon with 540km of shoreline, bays and coves to discover.
Just outside of Sydney, head north to the Hawkesbury River where there are at least eight houseboat hire businesses on the stunning waterway. .
Discover Walpole on West Australia's far south coast where the tranquil waters of the Frankland and Deep rivers will help calm your travelling soul
There are actually a surprising number of companies offering guided and self-guided motorcycle tours, and rentals for touring. Here are just a few.
The Victorian business Scenic Wheels has discovery tours plus short and long-term rentals of new and late-model BMWs.
BikeRoundOz does several tours plus rentals in Australia for touring on sealed roads and off-road, short and long distances. They have offices in all capital cities.
Southern Cross Motor Bike Tours are in Darwin. They offer small group guided tours to locations "where no other operator can".
Do the distance at leisure and by a healthy method; go cycling. Better still, load your bike up on the back of your car or caravan and stop in interesting places.
Only natural sounds to savour
Sometimes it's the best way to discover a new place. Simple to do, cheap, healthy - with a friend, group or on your own. Often the tours don't require you to be a mountain climber: you just need to enjoy the great outdoors.
Check out the east-coast company Park Trek. They specialise in small group walking holidays,.
The small-group Australian Walking Holidays team can take you on the Larapinta Trail, Overland Trackand many more fascinating trails.
Great Walks of Australia offers guided day and multi-day tours through Australia's World Heritage listed national parks
Get fit while touring
Cycling Tours has small-group guided and self-guided tours across some fantastic locations. Each tour includes accommodations, luggage transfers, vehicle support, airport transfers, GPS navigation and cycling equipment.
Australian Cycling Tours has guided and self-guided tours in Victoria and NSW, plus long distance tours, with everything down to the last detail looked after.
The Melbourne company All Trails organises fully supported tours in various locations around Australia.