Aussie destinations to bowl you over
No-one likes being stumped – not while playing gully cricket, not while your favourite batter is at the crease, and especially not while trying to figure out where you should travel to next. Luckily, Australia has something for everyone. Here are eight Australian destinations sure to bowl you over.
Bondi, New South Wales
As one of Sydney’s most popular golden-sand beaches, Bondi Beach needs no introduction. This stretch of sand comes alive with the sunrise, and the party continues all day and well into the night. As you walk to the beach, chances are you’ll see surfers riding the waves, swimmers getting their laps in at the Bondi Baths, and plenty of people soaking in the sights and sounds (and sun) from their towels on the sand. You can dip your toes into a true-blue Aussie way of life and sign up for a surfing lesson here; there are plenty of accredited schools along the main stretch that’ll show you the ropes. Grab a bite at the iconic Bondi Icebergs, one of the country’s oldest swim clubs, or walk the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk, a six-kilometre (3.7-mile) trail that links four beaches. In the afternoon, sit down for a drink at Coogee Pavilion.
Wineglass Bay, Tasmania
Lounging on one of the top ten beaches in the world should be a definite addition to your Aussie bucket list. Tasmania’s Wineglass Bay is situated within Freycinet National Park, just a one-hour drive from the capital city of Hobart. A crescent-shaped bay with clear blue waters, hugged by the peaks of the Hazards range – you could spend hours taking Insta-worthy photos here. A cruise along the waters is one of the best ways to get up-close with the bay and its highlights. Spot wildlife and gaze up at the soaring granite cliffs as you learn more about the region and its history.
Australia’s colourful lakes
You can never get enough of Australia’s coast, but for something a bit different, head towards Western Australia and its colourful lakes. The bubblegum pink lakes of Australia’s Golden Outback are an astonishing site, and will make a great addition to your Instagram feed. The most famous of the pink lakes is Lake Hillier, near Esperance, an eight-hour drive or short flight from Perth. In this region, you can also visit Lake Ballard near Kalgoorlie, a salt lake that features a permanent art installation of 51 statues. Down in South Australia, you can visit the bright pinks, blues and greens of Lake MacDonnell in the Eyre Peninsula, or even see the world’s largest ephemeral lake, Lake Eyre. Whether there's water or not, it is a phenomenal sight best taken in on a scenic flight.
Kangaroo Island, South Australia
If you are looking for up-close encounters with Australia’s intriguing wildlife, Kangaroo Island should be a top pick. Located a quick 40-minute flight from Adelaide, over a third of this island is a conservation park that is home to everything from kangaroos and koalas to short-beaked echidnas and tammar wallabies. You’ll find all of this in beautiful surrounds, including natural structures like Admirals Arch and the Remarkable Rocks. Kangaroo Island also provides opportunities for a luxurious retreat, whether it's staying in an award-winning lodge set atop coastal shelves, treating yourself to a massage at a cliff-top spa, or sampling the delicate flavours of marron – a type of crayfish – paired with some of the country’s best produce, gins, wines and brews.
Daintree Rainforest, Queensland
Trek through lush jungle amid ancient ferns and green vines as you spy animals and plants that are found nowhere else on the planet. This is the Daintree Rainforest, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site. Here you can fly through the canopies of an age-old forest on a zipline for a bird’s-eye outlook of the land below, or cruise down the Daintree River towards Cape Tribulation, where the Great Barrier Reef meets the rainforest. You'll also find plenty of lodge and luxury accommodation. This is truly a magical place – it’s no surprise it served as inspiration for the movie Avatar.
If you are visiting in the Australian winter (June – August), don’t miss a trip to Victoria’s snowfields. From skiing and snowshoeing to cutting through the powder on a snowmobile and skidding down slopes on a toboggan, there’s plenty for an adventure-lover to pick from. While you’re here, go on a dog-sledding experience; it’s one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the beauty of the Alpine scenery. You will get a chance to test out your mushing (dog sled driving) skills before spending some time cuddling with your new four-legged friends. But if you'd rather stay cosy indoors, you can opt for a wilderness retreat, where you’ll enjoy being curled up in front of a warm wood fire with cheese fondue.
Vlasoff Cay, Queensland
If you want to step off the beaten path towards something secluded and remote, consider Vlasoff Cay. This private sand island is surrounded by the vast blue ocean and appears only at low tide, making it a unique spot for an intimate picnic. You can get here on a helicopter or take a chartered boat from Cairns and settle onto the sand with a delicious picnic lunch and a bottle of bubbly. The island is yours to explore, making it the perfect mix of leisure and adventure.
Uluru, Northern Territory
Laying your eyes on Australia’s Red Centre for the very first time is an unmatched moment. Uluru soars up from the desert, standing 348 metres (1,140 feet) over the plains that surround it. For an immersive experience, sign up for a guided tour to learn about the history and stories of this sacred land, and discover the details that give this great rock its character. You can also go on a helicopter ride over the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, or watch the sunset colours paint Uluru in varied hues as you savour a delicious meal at a Sounds of Silence dinner. However you decide to experience it, one thing is clear – Uluru is a destination you don’t want to miss.
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
Canberra is Australia's cool and quaint capital city. From a hot air balloon, you can take in the vast sprawls of the Australian hinterlands. Float into the skies at sunrise and sail over the city, enjoying views over the capital’s prime attractions like Lake Burley Griffin, the Parliament House and the National Arboretum. Canberra isn't the only Australian city to offer an unforgettable ballooning experience, either. South Australia’s Barossa Valley has spectacular views over the vineyards, while the Yarra Valley near Melbourne is perfect for a hot air balloon ride followed by a Champagne breakfast.
Heart Reef, Whitsundays, Queensland
When a heart just pops up in nature, you have to check it out. Heart Reef is a naturally formed coral heart found in Hardy Reef in the Whitsundays and was first spotted by an Air Whitsunday pilot flying overhead in 1975. It may have popped up in your Instagram feed once or twice (especially if there was a romantic proposal involved), and though it might look remote, it’s not difficult to get that ‘Gram worthy shot. Its protected nature means that the only way to see it is via a helicopter or light plane flight over – that’s also the best way to get a photograph (or five) of this romantic location. You can combine the flight with a tour of other incredible sights in the Whitsundays, like Hill Inlet and Whitehaven Beach.