Lift the dusty lid on the treasure chest that is Australia. Inside you’ll find a 60,000 year-old indigenous culture; phenomenal natural landscapes; and a melting pot of mouth-watering cuisines. Well-heeled gourmands will love the restaurants and hip bars of cosmopolitan Melbourne and Sydney. Don the oilskin for a trip to Man From Snowy River country in southern NSW. Roll out the swag at Carnarvon Gorge in the arid heart of Queensland, and slumber under a blanket of stars. Dip into the gloriously warm waters of Queensland’s tropical islands, or admire the colourful evening metamorphosis of Uluru. Spend some time on home soil in Australia. As Dorothea Mackellar declared - you’ll love her far horizons, you’ll love her jewel-sea!
NEW SOUTH WALES
A perfect start to your exploration of NSW starts in Sydney. Celebrate the holy trinity of beach, beer and barbecues at Sydney’s beautiful Bronte. Head to Nielsen Park for a swim at Shark Beach and admire the gothic splendour of sandstone mansion Greycliffe House. Quench your thirst and take in the glorious views from the Opera House bars, before you move inside to swoon over Puccini’s finest operas.
Dreamers and drifters will love Byron Bay. Start the day with a dip at Watego’s just under the lighthouse, Australia’s most easterly point. Further inland, check out Coonabarabran’s Diprotodon (giant wombat) fossils, and go stargazing at Siding Spring Observatory. Head to Lake Mungo where 40,000 year-old remains of Mungo Lady and Mungo Man were unearthed. Take in a concert amongst the stalactites at Jenolan Caves; and in the Blue Mountains, learn the Indigenous story of how the Three Sisters came to be.
Our Picks for New South Wales
Blue Mountains & Hunter Valley - 5 days from $629
Pacific Coast Explorer - 6 days from $789
South East Splendour - 5 days from $589
Ultimate Aussie Adventure - 7 days from $1985
If you’re feeling penned in by city life, the Northern Territory is the perfect antidote. Enjoy the mixing pot of vibrant Darwin, and check out Kakadu – Australia’s largest national park. Here you’ll be staggered by phenomenal Aboriginal rock art and wetlands positively exploding with wildlife. Head South to Uluru and Kata Tjuta (the Olgas). Meaning ‘many heads’ these dome shaped red rocks rise to 546 metres above the ground, and are a place of deep spiritual significance to indigenous people.
In Alice Springs, jump on a mountain bike and hit the extensive trails winding through stunning red central desert landscapes. Learn about the heroic Royal Flying Doctors and Nurses, and how kids on remote stations study through School of the Air. Escape the heat inside the shady gorges of the lesser explored East MacDonnell Ranges – where rock art, petroglyphs (prehistoric carvings) and shelter sites abound. Here you can get your fill of wild living with remote camping, gorgeous swimming holes and outstanding walking.
Our Picks for the Northern Territory
Highlights of Kakadu (The Ghan) - 6 days from $3049
Complete Territory Adventure - 17 days from $6039
Red Centre Discovery - 7 days from $1135
Gibb River Road Self Drive - 9 days from $2155
Throw on your thongs and pack your cossie. Now you’re ready for a trip to tropical Queensland! Spot colourful cassowaries - a living link to the dinosaurs, in the magnificent Daintree rainforest. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the Barrier Reef on a snorkelling trip. For an amazing self-drive family holiday, head inland from Cooktown to Lakefield National Park where the landscape is adorned with ancient anthills and phenomenal rock art of the Quinkan Country.
Urban trippers will love cosmopolitan Brisbane and its exciting new Cultural Precinct; whilst the style counsel can head to Noosa for some glammed-up sun worshipping. If money’s just fun tickets, chopper in to the Great Barrier Reef’s Orpheus Island, or get some barefoot luxury on Bedarra Island. A favourite with families, stay on Hamilton Island and rev up the golf buggies for your fill of tropical treats and plenty of family fun. Head out west to Longreach to catch a rodeo, and make sure you check out the Stockman’s Hall of Fame while you’re in town.
Our Picks for Queensland
Rainforests & Waterfalls - 3 days from $399
Sand, Sailing & Dreamtime - 12 days from $1839
Movie World, Sea World, Wet n Wild - 7 day ticket $94
Dreamworld, WhiteWater World - 7 day ticket $109
Ultimate Whitsundays - 5 nights from $689
Coral Expeditions Cruise ex Cairns - 3 nights from $1596
Where else can you watch Southern Right Whales play from your vantage point atop massive limestone cliffs, on the fringe of the Nullarbor? Or take in the scale and magical colours of Lake Eyre in flood - a haven for birds and fish that magically appear from the desert? While you’re exploring South Australia, chill out in the curious underground ‘dugout’ dwellings at outback opal mining town Coober Pedy. Sand board down Kangaroo Island’s dunes, and check out wild sea lions and the artisanal foodie scene while you’re there. Pitch your tent somewhere in the wild expanse of Wilpena Pound.
Wine lovers of course, can spend an entire holiday perusing the cellar doors of the Clare, Barossa, and McLaren Vale, home to some of the world’s finest wines. Whilst in the Clare Valley, visit eerie Martindale Hall – with its Georgian architecture, grand rooms and stonework – you’ll feel like you’re in a bleak Bronte novel. It’s decidedly haunted and will scare your pants off!
Our Picks for South Australia
Murray River Paddle Steamer Cruise - 3 nights from $926
Adelaide, Kangaroo Island Self Drive - 4 days from $785
Mighty Murray Self Drive - 4 days from $435
Epicurean Way Self Drive - 5 days from $585
Air out the tent and strap on your backpack. Brace yourself for Tassie’s outrageously beautiful wilderness. A walk in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park will acquaint you with fragile cushion plants and pencil pines. Cradle Mountain is world famous for a reason. If you’d prefer a warm bed and delicious meals in a spectacular lodge at the end of each day’s walk, Wineglass Bay is a great destination for some high end pampering.
Of course, it’s not all wild rivers and wet boots. In Hobart, catch the camo-styled fast ferry to the weird and whacky MONA and see its private collection of controversial artworks. Convict built Port Arthur and the Cascades Female Factory remind us of Tasmania’s shady early history. Tassie’s pure water and rich soils produce some of Australia’s finest foods; and the colourful Salamanca Markets are a great place to sample tasty treats before heading out of town to explore. Pull up at a roadside produce stall; throw your coins in the tin, and crunch into the reddest, juiciest apples you’ve ever eaten.
Our Picks for Tasmania
Launceston Experience - 3 nights from $389
Hobart Experience - 3 nights from $505
Grand Circle Self Drive - 10 days from $ 1225
Coastal Explorer Self Drive - 6 days from $765
King Island Experience - 4 days from $1595
Epicureans will love Victoria for the bounty of fresh local produce and superb cool climate wines. Melbourne’s famous for its brilliant restaurants, hip galleries, and underground bars. Have an evening drink on Melbourne’s Yarra River, literally, at a pilon bar under the bridge. Head to the ‘G for a game of footy, or jump on a bike and peddle out to St Kilda. You might be lucky enough to catch a ‘Tram Session’ with up and coming muso’s as they spontaneously spin their sounds on Melbourne’s iconic trams.
After you ‘bend ze knees’, and have your fill of slipping down the snowy slopes of Mt Buffalo, head to the charming town of Bright. Catch a trout in the Ovens River and wash it down with a glass of local cool climate wine. Wind your way along the amazing southern coastline on the Great Ocean Road, and see the surviving limestone rock stacks of the 12 Apostles. If you’re feeling brave, squeeze into your a wetsuit for a quick surf at Bells Beach.
Our Picks for Victoria
Great Ocean Road Self Drive - 5 days from $665
Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk - 4 days from $2095
Phillip Island & Penguin Parade Day Tour - from $119
Grampians Day Tour ex Melbourne - from $130
Melbourne Experience - 3 nights from $495
Discover Victoria Self Drive - 4 days from $519
If you’re not into roughing it, don’t despair. You can see some of the wildest far flung reaches of Western Australia in five star luxury. Catch a giant barra’ from aboard your luxury Kimberley cruise, taking in the stunning untouched Buccaneer Archipelago and King George Falls. Chopper in to the most secluded wilderness lodges of the Kimberley, and enjoy remote outback station life at El Questro and Home Valley Station.
With more than 12,000 native species of wildflowers in WA, you’ll discover spectacular carpets of colour for over 6 months of each year. Catch a ride on a camel train along Cable Beach. There’s nothing quite like sunset at the place where the spectacular Indian Ocean kisses the red sands of the Kimberley. Join an indigenous guide and track down the phenomenal Gyorn Gyorn (Bradshaw) Paintings. Created 60,000 years ago, they are some of the earliest paintings on earth (five times older than the pyramids of Egypt!).
And in the south west of WA, indulge in the epicurean delights of Margaret River’s fine food and wine; climb amongst the tree tops in magnificent 400-year-old tingle tree forests; and catch some world-class waves along the south west coast.
Our Picks for Western Australia
El Questro Homestead - 3 nights from $2954
True North - North Star Cruises - 7 nights from $16995
Sail Ningaloo Dive & Snorkel - 3 nights from $1800
Whale Shark Experience - 3 nights from $939
Great Southern Getaway Self Drive - 7 days from $845
Margaret River Short Break Self Drive - 3 days from $329
Kimberley Quest II Cruise - 7 nights from $9639