Every traveller has their own bucket list of adventures they dream of seeing and doing, and planning a family holiday or trip as a couple could become difficult. But what if there was a country where you could indulge in the wine-country in the morning, head to pristine beaches for a lunchtime swim then try a bungee jump or trip to the zoo in the afternoon before taking in a breathtaking landscape or cityscape as the sunsets? Would that be able to tick off everyone's travel bucket list? Sound to good to be true? Welcome to Australia!
We list our top 5 must see places in Australia, for the family, for the food connoisseur, for the adrenalin junkies and for the romantics, Australia has something to offer every traveller!
Take a look at some of our favourites below!
5 for the Family
1. Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay, New South Wales. Visit the beach that is in the Guinness Book of Record for the whitest sand in the world. The beach has little swell, other than a gentle shore break, making it a safe family beach and at the north end of the wide two kilometre shoreline is a rock platform with its own sandy beach - and a top snorkelling spot.
2. Kayak with dolphins in Byron Bay, New South Wales. Imagine the thrill of getting up close with dolphins, whales (May to October) and turtles at Byron’s beautiful marine park, whilst learning about local history and listening to local Indigenous stories.
3. Australia Zoo near Beerwah, Queensland. Spend the day at Australia Zoo, Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin's living legacy. The zoo's many shows and demonstrations include the famous crocodile feeding, snake handling, entry to the Wildlife Hospital and an opportunity for an up-close and personal wildlife encounter.
4. Kuranda Scenic Railway. This famous railway winds its way from Cairns to Kuranda, the village in the rainforest and passes spectacular waterfalls and into the stunning Barron Gorge. Once in Kurunda there are the Koala Gardens, Birdworld, Butterfly Sanctuary, Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park and the skyrail to keep the kids (and adults) entertained plus heritage markets to pick up some great souvenirs.
5. Pan for gold, Ballarat, Victoria. Set on 25 acres of an original mining site, Sovereign Hill goldfields is an 1850’s living museum town with shops, gold diggings and underground mines to explore. There’s also coach rides, gold panning, a spectacular gold pour, theatre shows, sweet making and musket firing demonstrations all held by the in-costume staff.
5 for the romantics
1. Peninsula Hot Springs in Fingal, Victoria. Voted ‘Best Luxury Mineral Spa’ in the 2014 World Luxury Hotel Awards the 17-hectare property offers 20 different styles of relaxation, including thermal mineral spring pools, an underground sauna, cave pools, Turkish steam baths and a hilltop retreat. Up the romance with a private tour visiting the Mornington Peninsula wineries and hot springs.
2. Hot air ballooning. Sunrise, sunset, cityscapes, azure beaches or rolling vineyards, Australia offers hot air balloon rides in a variety of locations that ooze romance.
3. Night at Field of Light by camel. This spectacular light installation made up of 50,000 glass spheres by artist Bruce Munro is situated next to Uluru. Enjoy an evening of fine dining listening to the sounds of the didgeridoo with canapés and chilled sparkling wine as the sun sets topped off with a camel ride to the Field of Light. This work of art has been extended for another season, until 31 March 2018. Booking is essential.
4. Sydney Tower at Sunset. The Sydney Tower Eye Observation Deck is open 7 days a week 365 days a year. Take a skywalk up and watch the sun go down from the viewpoint or book a dinner at the iconic Sydney Tower, 360 Bar and Dining, a culinary experience with revolving views of Sydney’s skyline.
5. Heart Reef. This naturally-formed “heart” shaped reef island is approximately 80km off the coast of Airlie Beach, Queensland. It may sound cliché but this island is popular for proposals and with an azure sea and stunning coral colours it offers the ultimate travel snap of the Whitsundays - no Photoshop needed. Whether you take a helicopter ride or take a yacht to Whitesundays romance abounds in this beautiful natural setting!
5 for the adventurer
1. BridgeClimb, Sydney Harbour Bridge. Climb to the top of the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge, 134m above sea level, right in the heart of Sydney Harbour with uninterrupted panoramas of the city and surrounds.
2. Swimming with whale sharks. Every year from April to July, the world’s biggest fish, the whale shark, congregate along the Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia. The chance to snorkel with these gentle giants is the opportunity of a lifetime.
3. Zipline through the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest and get up close to native Australian wildlife on a fun-filled day trip from Cairns, Palm Cove or Port Douglas. Spend the afternoon soaring over the treetops on a zipline adventure, where you’ll take in views of the rainforest below.
4. Bungee jumping, Cairns. Leap into an adrenaline-fueled adventure with a bungee jump or Minjin Swing at the Cairns Bungy Tower, located in lush rainforest with views of the Coral Sea and the Great Barrier Reef.
5. Crocodile diving. Swim with Crocodiles in the Cage of Death in Darwin! You will be underwater in an acrylic cage surrounded by huge swarming saltwater crocs. The only question is... do you dare?
5 for the gourmet
1. Bruny Island gourmet tour. Enjoy the bounty of Bruny Island in Tasmania, by meeting local producers of premium cheeses, oysters, berries (in season), wine, whiskey and chocolates. The island’s also boasts stunning scenery with white-sandy beaches and privately owned reserve is home to rare white wallabies.
2. Barossa Valley is a short drive from Adelaide and with over 80 cellar doors and 150 wineries, including Jacob’s Creek, Penfold’s, Wolf Blass and Grant Burge, you’re not lacking in options. It’s also home to beloved Aussie cook Maggie Beer’s farm shop and the scenery along the 57-kilometre Barossa Scenic Heritage Drive is simply stunning.
3. Go Local with unique Australian food like Kangaroo Meat or the big banana. It's more than 40 years since Coffs Harbour's Big Banana stamped itself on the Australian psyche and these simple frozen, chocolate-coated bananas on a stick are still bliss.
4. Reynold Poernomo became a household name during Season 7 of Masterchef Australia as the dessert king. Since leaving the show, Reynold has pursued his dream of opening a dessert bar called KOI in Sydney with his brothers, where he flexes his creativity by creating awe-inspiring sweet treats daily.
5. Cicada Lodge is an Aboriginal-owned property on the banks of the Katherine River. The eco lodge introduces guests to some of the traditional arts and way of life and incorporate native Australian foods, into a contemporary menu – think ingredients such as bush bananas and freshwater prawns.
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