Emma Gorge, El Questro Wilderness Park, Kimberley Region, Western Australia
Global ambassador and actor Chris Hemsworth discusses his top 5 Australian bucket list experiences.
By Allie Metz
Published 1 March, 2017
"Growing up in Australia you can sometimes take it all for granted, I certainly did, but after being away for 10 years and coming back, exploring some of most beautiful places I've ever seen reminded me how unique and impressive Australia is and how lucky we are.”
Chris takes us through his top 5 Australian bucket list experiences:
“The Kimberley is an incredibly special spot where you feel completely off the grid, and when you see things like crocs, buffalo and other wildlife you immediately think of the Australian outback. But other things in the Kimberley were just as surprising. The fishing; [the] sunset dinners where you see millions of stars; and even dinner spent barefoot on the sand dunes. It's incredible.”
The gateway to a Kimberley adventure is the outback beach town of Broome. The dry season (April to October) is the best time to visit, with direct flights available from Perth, Sydney and Melbourne. Start your adventure with a camel ride along Broome’s Cable Beach before heading off on a 4WD adventure along the Gibb River Road. If you’re looking for luxury in The Kimberley, stay at El Questro Wilderness Park, Berkeley River Lodge or book one of the many options for cruising the region. Don’t forget to visit some of the area’s historic Aboriginal communities for an even deeper connection to this incredible corner of the world.
The Great Barrier Reef
“The Great Barrier Reef is one of those places you must visit, whether you love the water or just want to see one of the great wonders of the world. We stayed at Hayman Island which was a real highlight… We had an afternoon on Whitehaven Beach which was absolutely stunning. It was the whitest sand and crystal clean water that I'd ever seen, and the Whitsundays is the perfect spot to just unwind and relax.”
There are several main hubs from which you can experience The Great Barrier Reef. Fly direct to Hamilton Island from Brisbane, Cairns, Sydney or Melbourne. Alternatively, fly to Prosperine Airport near Airlie Beach and take a ferry or helicopter to the Whitsunday Islands. There are countless ways to experience the reef, from sailing to snorkelling and diving. Take a helicopter over Heart Reef and stop for a picnic on a secluded beach. Day trip to Whitehaven Beach to explore the white sands of this uninhabited island. Experience the excitement of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week in August, or just relax in luxury at qualia or Hayman Island.
“Uluru just kept surprising all of us. You wouldn't think story telling is big in the middle of the desert but there was also a really cool art installation called Field of Light. The colors at sunrise were amazing, but it's basically a light installation with over 50,000 solar powered rainbow flowers spanning the size of four football fields.”
The easiest way to reach Uluru is to fly direct to Ayers Rock airport. Alternatively, fly to Alice Springs to immerse yourself in outback culture before making the five hour drive to your destination. Take in the changing colours of Uluru with a sunset tour. It’s an unmissable experience that can be had on the back of a camel, from the back of a motorcycle or on board an open-top bus complete with three course dinner. Go to sleep with the ultimate view when you stay at Longitude 131. Be sure to take time to see the Field of Light installation, on until 31 March 2018. This award-winning exhibition features more than 50,000 solar-powered stems lighting up the earth around Uluru as the sun goes down.
Wildlife and Surfing
“I'd say next on my bucket list, [is] to go diving with the whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. And Kangaroo Island in South Australia is famous for its wildlife but also has great surf beaches.”
At 260 kilometres (162 miles) long, Ningaloo Reef is the world’s largest fringing reef. It’s home to several species of turtles, tropical fish, manta rays, humpback whales and the elusive whale shark. Fly to Learmonth Airport in Exmouth between April and July to swim alongside these gentle giants. You can also find many chances to get close to native wildlife on Kangaroo Island, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. Surfers will love the chance to test their skills on one of many uncrowded surf breaks that surround the island. To reach Kangaroo Island, take a 30 minute flight from Adelaide or drive to Cape Jervis, 90 minutes south of Adelaide, and take a short ferry ride.
“I'd also love to see more of the outback and the indigenous culture, including some of the beautiful remote regions of Northern Australia. I grew up in an Aboriginal community, but I was very young at the time so I'd love to revisit those areas.”
With a history more than 50,000 years old, Australia’s Indigenous communities have a rich culture that is deeply connected to the land. Head to the wild and spiritual Arnhem Land (your tour operator will gain access to the region on your behalf) to learn about Aboriginal art and history; connect to the land as you forage for native foods; or take to the water for some of the world’s best fishing. One hundred kilometres (62 miles) north of Darwin, meet the welcoming locals of the Tiwi Islands. Cultural and wildlife tours will give you insight into the history and culture of the local people, and if you visit between October and March, make sure you catch an Australian Rules Football match.
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