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How to plan an unforgettable Australian Holiday

Travelling Down Under? Here's your guide to making it the most memorable holiday.

By Amy Bryant

The Australian experience extends beyond urban and outback adventures, gastronomic flavours and beachside havens. There is an incredible variation of landscape and culture across the continent, but planning the perfect first trip doesn’t have to be an overwhelming experience. Let your interests guide you as you plan an unforgettable adventure discovering some of the country’s top destinations, events and experiences. Here are some tips and itineraries to inspire your first trip Down Under.   

Food fanatics

Star of Greece, Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia

Australia has a creative and dynamic culinary culture that is thriving and continuously evolving. While the quintessential food emblem will forever be the barbecue, Australia’s has grown into an exciting hotbed of delicious and inventive cuisine. This bucket list foodie guide, will take you fine dining in South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula, adventuring on a Margaret River Gourmet Escape and ticking Australian bush tucker off your must-try food list.

Or discover this 14-day dining and wilderness itinerary. It will guide you to some of the best food and wine experiences across the southern parts of Australia, tasting your way through Melbourne’s vibrant café and restaurant scene, through Regional Victoria’s boutique food and wine treasures and onto the unsung heroes of Adelaide and Tasmania.

Across Australia there are a variety of exceptional wine regions. From the country’s oldest producing wine region, the Hunter Valley, to the rolling hills of Barossa Valley, wine enthusiasts will be captivated by the stunning landscapes of Australian wineries and impressed by the unique varietals available to taste at exquisite cellar doors. Read the guide to Australia’s ultimate winery experiences, and check out these boutique vineyard retreats for a tranquil overnight escape. If beer is more your choice then this guide to Melbourne's culture of craft beer will take you on a discovery of the local craft breweries in the city.

Culture junkies

First Peoples - Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Melbourne Museum, Melbourne, Victoria

Although Australia is a relatively young, modern country, it also has the world's oldest living culture. The result is a country that offers visitors the chance to discover the history, art and culture of Aboriginal Australia alongside an incredible array of modern museums, art, theatre and musical events. Encounter Australian icons through the world's oldest and youngest culture on this 10 day Sydney, Rock and Reef itinerary. The combination is a classic Australian vacation experience, offering a fantastic mixture of city, outback and coastal trips in some of the most stunning parts of Australia.

A visit to Australia’s capital is worth a visit for any cultural buff. Canberra is a vibrant hub of arts, history, politics and science, and is only a 3 hour drive from Sydney. This 3-day itinerary of Canberra showcases the highlights of the city’s cultural precinct, including Parliament house, the Australian War Memorial and National Gallery of Australia.

There are a diverse range of cultural offerings across all Australian states. This comprehensive guide to cultural attractions features where to watch theatre and musical performances, admire contemporary art, book festivals, and immerse yourself in the stories of Australia’s rich history.

Animal lovers

Gold Coast, Queensland

Australia is home to more than one million species of plants and animals, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. Among the most well-known of these are the koala, wombat, kangaroo, kookaburra and platypus. Read the guide to meeting Australia’s cutest animals so you can get close and cuddly with the native creatures. You can hold a koala on the Gold Coast, spot sea lions on South Australia’s Kangaroo Island and come face to face with a Tasmanian devil in Hobart.

Below the water’s surface discover Australia’s spectacular marine life. This guide to swimming with sharks, whales and giant cuttlefish will take you on a nautical journey. Swim with humpbacks along Western Australia’s Ningaloo Reef and flip your feet next to giant cuttlefish on a tour of South Australia’s Supper Spencer Gulf Marine Park.

Beach seekers

Noosa Main Beach, Noosa Heads, Queensland

Discover white beaches, coral reefs and World Heritage-listed sites as you spend ten days exploring Australia’s coast. This 10-day coast to coast trip will have you crossing the country to take in Australia’s iconic Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, before heading to Western Australia to see the breathtaking Ningaloo Reef, one of Australia’s best kept secrets.

Australia boasts some of the best beaches in the world, from the iconic Bondi Beach, to the Great Ocean Road, the ultimate beachside holiday is here Down Under. Check out this guide to Australia’s beaches and read this list of eleven most popular surfing beaches to find out which beaches suit you best. For celebrity advice, Chris Hemsworth has revealed the ultimate Australia coastal trip to add to your Australian holiday inspiration.

Byron Bay is one of Australia’s iconic coastal townships, however Australia has plenty of secret beach towns you can escape to. Explore the quiet coastal shores and enjoy local hospitality in destinations like Northern Queensland’s Palm Cove, Nelson in Victoria and South West Rocks in New South Wales.

Adventure buffs

Gordon Dam, Strathgordon, Tasmania

In addition to relaxing on stunning beaches, Australia also offers adventure junkies a chance to get their hearts pounding. Traversing Australia from top to bottom is an incredible experience and is easily achieved in two weeks. This 14-day voyage combines two very different areas, World Heritage-listed national parks, stunning natural scenery, beautiful wineries, and an epic train journey through the mythical outback from Darwin to Adelaide. 

Kick your adrenaline into action with an activity off this list of seven adrenaline rushes found only in Australia. Abseil down the world’s highest dam in Tasmania, walk amongst some of the world’s tallest trees in Western Australia, and climb the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Australia’s national parks, rainforests and spectacular coastlines and are an adventurer’s playground. This guide to Australia’s greatest road trips will inspire you to hit the open road and explore epic places like the Flinders ranges, Uluru, the wild Kimberley region and the Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road.

A fantastic way to experience Australia’s great outdoors is to camp in it. From base camping to chick glamping, there are a range of experiences to try from this guide to the country’s top camping spots.

A family affair

Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland

If you are travelling with children then this ten-day guide is your go-to for the ins and outs of experiencing the best of the country without breaking the bank. The budget itinerary is not short of adventure, taking you from Sydney all the way to tropical Cairns, with a few stops along the way including the beautiful beach town of Byron Bay.

For some epic fun the children will love, take a trip to the Gold Coast. This 3-day itinerary will excite not only the young ones but parents as well. It will take the whole family surfing, rollercoaster riding and rainforest four-wheel driving. The itinerary makes time for relaxation, including some of the Gold Coast’s best spas, laidback cafes and shopping destinations.

Wanting to explore one of Australia’s pristine islands with the children? Then check out this guide to choosing which islands are best suited for a family experience. There are many with fantastic beaches and incredible Australian wildlife ideal for visitors of all ages.