Explore Awe-inspiring Australia

19 March 2019

With exciting cosmopolitan cities, fantastic weather, a famously beautiful coastline, friendly locals and a wealth of natural attractions, Australia will delight and amaze, whatever your interests may be.

Stretching from the Indian Ocean in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the East, Australia is divided into six states and two territories, each with amazing sights, sounds and scenery to enjoy.

Here are just a few of the incredible things to see and do whilst you’re in this most fascinating of countries.

Western Australia

Australia’s largest state encapsulates the entire west coast and is best known for its spectacular landscapes. The stunning Bungle Bungles is a collection of tiger-striped sandstone domes which are best viewed from above, and the acclaimed Margaret River wine region offers a beautiful balance of fine wines and glorious beaches.

The state’s lively urban hub of Perth has plenty to keep you entertained, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Freemantle Prison and a wealth of award-winning restaurants and stunning rooftop bars.

If you want to do something different in Australia, then WA is the place to be. Swim with giant whale sharks off Ningaloo Reef, ride a camel along the extraordinary Cable beach as the sun sinks over the horizon or walk through the canopy of the rainforest at Walpole’s Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk.

You won’t want to miss laidback Rottnest Island, where you can grab a selfie with Australia’s most photographed marsupial – the quokka. These furry, cat-sized animals are super-friendly and tend to smile for the camera.

Queensland

No visit to Queensland would be complete without exploring the Great Barrier Reef! Stretching over 2,000 kilometres, this is the world’s largest coral reef and it’s home to a plethora of beautiful marine life. Whether it’s snorkelling, scuba diving or an aircraft tour, you’ll find plenty of ways to discover this incredible natural wonder.

For beach lovers, head to the paradisiacal Whitsunday Islands and the exciting Gold Coast, a haven of entertainment that’s home to the iconic Surfers Paradise as well as thrilling theme parks, including Warner Bros. Movie World and Wet’n’Wild. 

For something a little different, whale watching tours are available on the sheltered waters of Hervey Bay from July to November or pay a visit to Daintree Rainforest, the world’s oldest tropical rainforest.

For a culinary experience, try a tour of the wineries at Mount Tamborine and Maleny, taste local beers at one of Brisbane’s breweries or feast in the forest at Julaymba Restaurant & Gallery on the Daintree River.

New South Wales

New South Wales really does have it all, from cosmopolitan cities to majestic mountains. In the state capital of Sydney, visit the iconic white-sailed Opera House, whilst thrill seekers won’t want to miss the BridgeClimb, where you’ll be guided up to the top of the legendary Sydney Harbour Bridge for stunning panoramic views across the city.

In the north-east of the state, you’ll find the popular coastal retreat of Byron Bay, where you can learn to surfboard or simply admire the stunning scenery.

The spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Blue Mountains offers excellent hiking opportunities, spectacular scenery and quaint towns and villages.  Take a walk to the foot of the Three Sisters rock formation on the 998-step Giant Stairway, glide between clifftops on the Scenic Skyway cable car or visit the mountains’ picturesque villages of Leaura and Blackheath for antique shops, quirky cafés and fantastic restaurants.

New South Wales is also home to the Hunter Valley wine region. A convenient two-hour drive north of Sydney, sample a diverse variety of wines and delve into delicious tasting menus at one of the many acclaimed restaurants.

Victoria

Victoria is home to Australia’s cultural, shopping and sporting capital of Melbourne. This laidback metropolis is the place to take in some of the country’s key sporting events such as the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix and the Australian Open. Alternatively, take a ride on one of the city’s signature trams. The burgundy-coloured City Circle tram is free and it’s a great way to get your bearings as well as explore the inner city.

Just 80 minutes outside of Melbourne, you’ll find the Daylesford Macedon Ranges region, where you can invigorate body and mind in the natural mineral springs and soak in thermal waters at one of the luxurious spa and wellness retreats.

For something a little more adventurous, discover the history and culture of the Goldfields region. Visit the recreated goldmining town of Sovereign Hill, which brings to life the highlights of Australia’s 1850s gold rush era.

One of the things that you definitely shouldn’t miss during your time in Victoria is an incredible coastal drive along the Great Ocean Road. Starting in Torquay and stretching all the way west to Allansford, discover natural phenomena such as the 12 Apostles sea stacks, the Gibson Steps and the London Arch.

South Australia

Known as the Festival State with many major events taking place throughout the year, South Australia has plenty to see and do.  The vibrant capital city of Adelaide is home to the Art Gallery of South Australia, the Oval RoofClimb and amazing street art. Visit between February and March to experience a month of cabaret, circus and comedy at the Adelaide Fringe Festival, while in late April and early May the focus is on local food and wine when Tasting Australia comes to the state.

Head out of the city and experience the vast dry grassy plains, dazzling red dirt, desert countryside and rugged hills of the South Australian outback, which is patrolled by emus, kangaroos and wedge-tailed eagles.

You should also check out South Australia’s rugged coastline, with its dramatic clifftop scenery and remote surfing sports, popular beaches and a sparkling sea that frequently welcomes whales and dolphins.

South Australia is also one of the world’s premier wine producing areas, featuring more than 200 wineries and 18 major winemaking regions.

Tasmania

The island of Tasmania is both intimate and beautiful, and it's capital city of Hobart offers a diverse range of activities and experiences for visitors to enjoy. Drink in the incredible views from Mount Wellington, visit the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens or explore one of the several UNESCO-listed penitentiary buildings, which tell the story of almost 50 years of convict life in the 19th century. The most notorious settlement can be found in Port Arthur, and if you’re feeling brave, stick around for the nightly ghost tour!

Nature lovers can get up close and personal with the state’s emblematic animal, the Tasmanian Devil, in one of the many wildlife parks. Take a night tour at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary and you’ll get to feed the devils in a tug-of-war game or join a Devil Tracker on the Tasman Peninsula to help monitor wild populations.

If flora is more your thing, visit in October for the Bloomin’ Tulips festival – an annual celebration of the beautiful, colourful and charming tulips that adorn the island’s Table Cape.

For foodies, don’t miss the Tasmanian Seafood Seduction trip. This day-long tour towards the coast of southern Bruny Island gives you the chance to harvest oyster and feast on barbecued crayfish and abalone caught by your guide.

Australian Capital Territory

Home to the country’s capital of Canberra, explore the world’s largest collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artworks at the National Gallery of Australia, learn about the war experiences that helped shape the nation at the Australian War Memorial and gain a deeper understanding of the country’s social and political history at the Museum of Australian Democracy.

Canberra also has a flourishing foodie scene, where you can enjoy everything from fine dining and tapas to cheap eats and casual fare.

The cool climate and differing soil types make the Australian Capital Territory an ideal spot for winemaking. Home to 140 vineyards, a visit to one of the wineries is the perfect way to spend an afternoon.

You can also gain a different perspective of the surrounding area by taking a hot air balloon ride over the city of Canberra at dawn. Thanks to its open spaces and beautiful parkland areas, floating over Canberra is one of the world’s few city ballooning experiences and can be enjoyed year-round.

Northern Territory

Home to the Red Centre, with its extraordinary landscape of desert plains, weathered mountain ranges, rocky gorges and some of the most sacred sites in Aboriginal culture, no trip to Australia would be complete without visiting the fascinating Northern Territory.

The most famous landmark here is undoubtedly Uluru, a giant sandstone monolith and a sacred place for the Aboriginal people. Walk around the base and learn about the history of the Red Centre with an Aboriginal guide, take a helicopter ride over Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park or see it from the back of a camel on an early morning safari. For a truly unforgettable travel experience, enjoy fine dining on an Uluru Sunset Tour and watch the rock change colours as the day draws to a close.

For the more adventurous, head to Litchfield National Park, which has great hiking opportunities and clusters of weathered sandstone pillars at the Lost City. It’s also a great place for a refreshing dip with several stunning waterfalls and the popular Buley Rockhole, a series of cascading swimming pools with stunning crystal-clear waters.

In the hip coastal capital of Darwin, check out the lively Mindil Beach Sunset Market, which runs on Thursday and Saturday evenings from April through to November. The markets feature street performers, rides for children, live music, craft stalls and an eclectic range of Asian and Australian food.

A year-round destination

There really isn't a bad time to visit Australia as the temperatures even in winter are mild. However, in the summer (December to March), you can expect Southern Australia to hit temperatures in the high 30's. Spring (September to November) and Autumn (March to May) are generally considered pleasant, and for Northern Australia, the best time to visit is April through to September when it is at its driest.

If you’re ready to discover awe-inspiring Australia for yourself, contact your Travel Counsellor and take advantage of exclusive benefits including full financial protection and a 24-hour duty office ready to support you before, during and even after your trip.

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