Discover the incredible and diverse destinations of Australia for yourself.
By Amy Bryant
Brian Dundee and Wally Jr. took the world on an adventure to many of Australia’s iconic destinations, offering a glimpse into the vast and beautiful landscapes waiting to be explored. Now it is time for you to experience some of what they found. From adventures across the vibrant and rugged outback to immersing yourself in the gourmet food and wine scenes that span the country, use their journey to inspire your own incredible holiday to experience the best of Australia.
The outback – Indigenous Experiences
Brian Dundee’s arrival in the Australian outback showcases what the country is perhaps best known for. But the outback is a vast and varied region that is much more than red dirt. It is incredibly diverse and colourful – and not just in its landscape. It is also the cultural heart of the world’s oldest living culture. Explore the ancient land of The Kimberley, with its impressive canyons, vast national parks and the remarkable domes of the Bungle Bungle Ranges. Broome is the gateway to the Kimberley and is a five hour flight from Sydney. Here you can immerse yourself in an Indigenous experience, join Traditional Owners as they lead you on the Kimberley Wild Tour, an extraordinary adventure exploring the lifestyle of the Salt Water people along the Dampier Peninsula.
Two hours north, is the Kooljaman region, where you can stay amongst the Djarindjin and Ardyaloon Aboriginal communities in cabins or safari tents at Cape Leveque. Here you can join a cultural tour to connect with the land while learning about surviving on bush tucker, mud crabbing and fishing, and the origins of bush medicine.
The nature - Kakadu National Park
As Brian Dundee introduced himself from atop Lawn Hill Gorge, the world got a taste of the lush waterways that dot the country. This spot is just one of Australia’s incredible gorges waiting to be explored. Kakadu National Park, a three hour drive east of Darwin, is home to some of the country’s most spectacular gorges, caves and waterfalls. Here, you will find incredible vistas, refreshing swimming holes and ancient Aboriginal rock art. The rock art galleries in Kakadu are at Ubirr and Nourlangie sites, depicting paintings of animals, x-rays and figures that date back 20,000 years – some of the oldest on record.
Discover Kakadu’s spot of tranquility at Gunlom Falls, a series of emerald pools that overlook the park’s spectacular sweeping hills and lush woodlands. It’s also a perfect spot for a picnic and a relaxing dip. You can explore the best of Kakadu National park on a 5 day return road trip from Darwin through Litchfield. The 550 kilometre (341 mile) drive along Nature’s Way will take you across breathtaking landscapes of striking gorges, wetlands, tropical flora and remote outback towns. Alternatively, if you want someone else to do the driving, join a guided tour through Kakadu, Arnhem Land and Cobourg Peninsula with operators, Venture North.
Ocean wonder - The Great Barrier Reef
Were you captivated by the vast stretch of Australia’s shorelines that Brian Dundee and Wally Jr. explored? The one you witnessed was Mission Beach, Queensland’s ultimate aquatic playground and adventurous coastal town located just two hours south of Cairns, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. It’s 14 kilometres (8.7 miles) of stunning coastline and the perfect spot to relax on white sands, discover unique local wildlife and explore sublime rainforests.
The Great Barrier Reef offers visitors some of the world’s most unforgettable nautical adventures. The natural wonder runs 2300 kilometres (1430 miles) down the north east coast and is filled with a huge range of exotic marine life. Explore the coral gardens by snorkelling, or glide along the surface in a kayak in search of dolphins and turtles with tour guides operating out of Cairns and Port Douglas. Stay the night on one of the reef’s secret islands like Lizard Island, just a short, scenic flight from Cairns. For turtles, head to Fitzroy Island, located just a 45 minute ferry from Cairn’s mainland. Here there is a turtle rehabilitation centre as well as family-friendly resorts situated amongst the tranquility of coral beaches, rainforest and mangroves. Another gateway to the Great Barrier Reef is Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays, about an hour and a half flight from Cairns, where you’ll find the white-sand beach of the famous Whitehaven Beach and luxury accommodation such as qualia on Hamilton Island.
The wineries - Mornington Peninsula
Wally Jr. wasn’t exaggerating when he told Brian Dundee that Australia produces some of the finest wine in the world. They were sipping pinot noir at Montalto Winery in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, one of the many fantastic wine regions you can visit just an hour drive from Melbourne. Visit Montalto Winery and dine amongst the vineyards at the estate’s French inspired restaurant, followed by a walk along the outdoor sculpture trail. Mornington’s oldest and largest winery, Dromana Estate is worth the visit for its charming landscape, and a cellar door that offers a diverse wine tasting experience. Take a drive through the famous wine region of Red Hill, home to fantastic estates like Polperro Winery, Port Phillip Estate and Mont Rouge Estate, as well as the Red Hill Brewery.
There’s more to explore on the Mornington Peninsula, like a nature walk through the Indigenous bushland of the Endeavour Fern Gully, and relaxing experience at the steamy Peninsula Hot Springs - an outdoor sanctuary with revitalising natural thermal pools.
Head southwest towards the region’s picturesque beach holiday towns of Portsea and Sorrento, located along the peaceful bay front area of Port Phillip. Relax along the beaches, dine at the cosmopolitan cafes and restaurants, or get exploring the ocean by catching a dolphin cruise, going on a fishing trip and snorkelling round the bay. Mornington is also Australia’s top golf destination, boasting twenty diverse courses across the region, Stay at one of the luxury golfing resorts, or check out the peninsula’s accommodation options here.
The restaurants - Sydney
Sydney’s food and wine scene is deliciously diverse and creative. When Wally Jr. revealed the true purpose of their adventure, the boys were seated for a meal at Quay, one of Australia’s most awarded restaurants. With unbeatable views of the Opera House, this must-visit culinary stalwart is just one of the best spots in Sydney to enjoy an unforgettable meal. A great guide to more of Sydney's huge range restaurants and dining precincts can be found here and here.
In addition to fabulous dining experiences, Sydney has so much to offer. Just behind Quay, is the heritage area of The Rocks. Wander down the little lanes and explore the boutique shops, pubs and cafes, and afterwards walk over to the Museum of Contemporary Art and immerse yourself in modern artworks and sensory exhibitions. Wander over to the Sydney Opera House, followed by a stroll through the beautiful Botanic Gardens with brilliant views of the Sydney Harbour.
Discover some of Sydney’s best beaches including the famous Bondi Beach, and take the coastal walk from Bondi to Bronte beach. In the afternoon, explore Sydney’s inner city neighbourhoods, like the pretty Parisian-esque Potts Point, the funky historic area of Darlinghurst and the hip area of Surry Hills. These neighbourhoods are dotted with various cheap eats and fine dining restaurants, boutique shops and galleries. Afterwards, wind down the evening with a drink to the backdrop of breathtaking city views at one of Sydney’s many rooftop bars, or go underground in Sydney’s best speakeasy bars.
The wildlife - Kangaroo Island
Australia’s nature and wildlife is unique to anything else in the world. The fluffy kangaroos that Brian Dundee and Wally Jr. spotted on the clifftop live on the aptly named Kangaroo Island, which is also the perfect place to spot koalas, sea lions and other native animals. Kangaroo Island is located 210 kilometres (130 miles) from South Australia’s capital city, Adelaide. To get there from Adelaide, drive just over 1.5 hours south to Cape Jervis, where you can catch a two hour ferry to the island. The landscape is a striking contrast of nature reserves, coastal beauty and full of immersive gastronomic experiences.
Visit the Seal Bay Conservation Park where you can stroll along a stunning coastline inhabited by endangered Australian sea lions. Then take the one hour drive west to Flinders Chase National park and witness the great orange covered granite boulders called Remarkable Rocks, and the stalactite-covered eroded rock bridge, Admirals Arch. Kangaroo Island has a rich culinary scene that lure visitors to its fantastic gourmet foodie experiences. Tempt your taste buds with a dinner curated by local chefs, tour the island’s vineyards and sample fine seafood and world-class gin. Stay in the world’s fourth best hotel, the breathtaking Southern Ocean Lodge that stretches across the coastal wilderness, or at one of the many great accommodation choices available on the island.
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