With international travel off the agenda for the time being, now is the time to relish the opportunity to explore our own backyard. Who needs to jet abroad when we have so many gems right here? Tick these great experiences off your bucket list…
Australia’s red centre brings visitors from all over the world (at least, it did pre-COVID), but how many Australians can actually say they’ve seen Uluru? If you haven’t, you should. Steeped in natural beauty and history that spans tens of thousands of years, Uluru is truly a wonder to behold – and with tours that offer sunset dinners or adventure hikes around the area, there’s something for everyone.
With rainforests, beaches and delicious local delicacies, Cairns just about has it all – except cold weather, that is. Queensland’s northernmost city always feels tropical with highs of 26 degrees through June, July and August. Better yet, winter is Cairns’ dry season, so you’ll be treated to temperate sunny days while you take to the skies in hot air balloons, explore the region via train, snorkel the Great Barrier Reef and splash about in waterfalls.
This sprawling reserve in the Northern Territory is home to some 2000 plant species and countless wildlife – it’s a nature lover’s dream. Here, you’ll encounter saltwater crocodiles, flatback turtles and plenty of bird life as you navigate landmarks like Jim Jim Falls and the rock art of Ubirr. There’s no place in Australia – let alone the world – quite like it.
It’s the world’s oldest tropical rainforest, standing proud in Far North Queensland for an estimated 180 million years. Yes, you read that right! Once home to Diprotodons and thunderbirds, and now to cassowaries, quolls and birds and reptiles of all kinds, the Daintree is a natural oasis just waiting to be explored – preferably by river cruise, followed by a delicious meal.
It goes without saying that Queensland’s Whitsunday Islands are a must-visit destination for Australians and international visitors alike, but there are a few lesser-known attractions that will keep you coming back time and time again. Of course snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef should be on your list, but what about the underwater artworks on the Ngaro Sea Trail, or the secluded paradise that is Long Island?
It may be the capital city with the smallest population, but Darwin has a lot to offer if you’re looking for a warm winter getaway. Fishing, food and festivals abound in the Northern Territory’s capital, but venture beyond the city and you can also adventure the national parks and rugged coastline nearby. Looking for something a little more lowkey? Darwin is rich in history, spanning tens of thousands of years. Even when the heat intensifies, you’ll find it hard to leave.
Beloved by adventurers and poetry fans alike, the Snowy Mountains are a must-visit destination both in summer and in winter. In the cooler months, the snow-capped mountains are a favourite for skiers and snowboarders, with some of Australia’s top ski resorts – Perisher, Thredbo and Charlotte Pass – all to be found in the region. And while there is plenty of fun to be had on the slopes, the surrounding villages offer ample opportunities to shop, dine and unwind in après ski style. In summer, the snow melts away to reveal lush greenery and picturesque landscapes.
Beautiful Byron Bay is known worldwide as one of Australia’s ultimate seaside destinations, and after a stroll through its vibrant streets, a dip in the crystal water of its beaches or a poke around the eclectic markets, it’s not hard to see why. Whether you’re catching a live act at the Byron Beach Hotel or enjoying being the easternmost person on the Australian mainland at the Cape Byron Lighthouse – even if it’s only for a moment – there is plenty of fun to be had in this iconic surf town.
Tasmania is enjoying its time in the spotlight right now, and for good reason. With world heritage sites – both manmade and natural – and plenty of cultural and historical sites to see, Tasmania is a haven for history lovers. But that’s not all – It’s also home to a bevvy of wineries, opportunities for adventure and even surf spots to brave, you’ll want to come back again, and again, and again.
Winding from Brisbane to Birdsville, the Warrego Way is a must-travel for those hoping to experience Outback Queensland. Travel from Toowoomba to Dalby, the rambling Warra Hotel and the replica historical village in Miles, then see Roma, home to big sky country. Travel onto Charleville, looking skyward at the Cosmos Centre and the Royal Flying Doctor Service, then downward to find opals in Quilpie. When you finally make it to Birdsville, climb ‘Big Red’ and watch drivers tackle the steep and sandy tracks. Enjoy a beverage and some shut eye at the historic Birdsville Hotel – but not before visiting the ghost town of Betoota.