10 Australian experiences every traveller should include

One of the world’s most desirable destinations was off the travel radar for so long, many of us are yearning to discover or rediscover it. But with such a vast and diverse country to explore, it’s difficult to know where to start. We’ve looked at some of the must-sees and -dos in this thrilling part of the world....

10 Australian experiences every traveller should include

Beach hop along the west coast

Beach hop along the west coast

The west has some remote, wild beaches best sought out on a leisurely road trip. Some are within easy reach of Perth with its direct flights from the UK, including those of Rottnest Island or Scarborough. Alternatively, the Margaret River region with its famous wineries (see below) has some superb stretches, and the Great Ocean Drive links West Beach, Fourth Beach, Nine-Mile Beach and Twilight Beach.

Catch a football game at the MCG

The world’s biggest cricket stadium, the Melbourne Cricket Ground has also been the home of Australian football since 1859. Catch a match here and you can also visit the Australian Sports Museum and take one of the fantastic stadium tours.

Watch sunrise at Uluru

Sacred to indigenous Australians, this sandstone monolith in the heart of the Red Centre in the Northern Territory is at its most spectacular at dawn, when the first rays of light hit the rock. Access is by pre-booked tickets to the Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park.

Snorkel the Ningaloo Reef

This World Heritage Site in north-western Australia is one of the planet’s largest, healthiest fringing reefs, with coral gardens as spectacular as those of the Great Barrier Reef. It’s perfect for snorkelling for those with moderate to high fitness and abilities.

Wine and dine throughout Margaret River

Home to some of Australia’s best wine producers (offering tours and tastings), this part of western Australia is also filled with creative chefs, working farms to visit, fruit-picking sites, farmers’ markets and cooking schools, for a fully immersive foodie experience.

Watch the penguins come ashore on Phillip Island

Day-trip distance from Melbourne, this stretch of sand is home to the world’s biggest colony of little penguins (Eudyptula minor). Come in the evening to stand on a viewing platform or boardwalk and watch them waddle from the ocean to their burrows. Ranger tours are also available.

Hike Cradle Mountain in Tasmania

A gorgeous climb for experienced hikers, this 12.5km route in the pristine Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park generally takes around seven hours. In the heart of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, Cradle Mountain has spectacular wildlife including Tasmanian devils, quolls, platypus, echidna, wombats and the black currawong.

Take a swim at Bondi Icebergs, Sydney

At the southern end of Bondi Beach, this tidal pool (its unheated water is taken directly from the ocean) is part of an Australian winter swimmers’ club established in 1929 but is open to everyone all year round. There’s also a small museum, an Italian restaurant and a bar.

Escape the heat at Streets Beach, Brisbane

Australia's only beach in the middle of a city, this artificial swimming beach overlooking the Brisbane River and Central Business District is a sparkling blue lagoon giving blissful respite from the temperatures of the Queensland capital. 

Visit Daintree National Park in search of a cassowary

North of the diving mecca of Cairns, the oldest rainforest on the planet, dating back 135–180 million years, is home to the ‘world’s angriest bird’, the large, flightless, horned-headed cassowary, which might be encountered as you drive. Failing seeing one in the wild, Port Douglas’ Wildlife Habitat is a good second-best.

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