As the old saying goes, the grass is always greener, and when it comes time to pack your bags, spread those wings and hit the airport runway, that saying has never been truer. Too often travellers flee for foreign faraway lands in search of inspiring adventures, once-in-a-lifetime moments and epic travel tales to tell, but the truth is: our own backyard is full of them! There really is nowhere like Australia. So keep your next holiday homegrown and start ticking off these quintessential Aussie bucket list experiences.
Follow in the footsteps of Afghan cameleers, by rail, on a modern-day journey through Australia's red and dusty heart. Over two nights and three unforgettable days, the Ghan trails through the iconic Red Centre, past Uluru and through Alice Springs on its meandering route from the green hills of Adelaide to the northern reaches of tropical Darwin. Wake up to striking red earth and clear blue skies out your window, step off to explore on iconic off train excursions and lap up the creature comforts on board.
The best views in Sydney will make you work for it, but you can bet every step up those iconic arches is worth the workout. Conquer step after step in time to see the iconic Sydney skyline swathed in golden midday hues, watch the sky transform into a purple haze as the sun dips below the horizon, or climb beneath a blanket of stars and turn your head to admire the city twinkling beneath you. The only way to catch this world class view is on the official Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb.
It may be the country's biggest national park, but for all its size Kakadu is most impressive for the insight it offers into the ancient heart of Australia, as nurtured by the Aboriginal custodians who long held a spiritual connection with these magical lands. Explore rock art galleries up to 50,000 years old, hear Dreamtime stories and learn about Aboriginal culture direct from the Bininj/Mungguy people. Witness the migration of birds in the iconic wetlands, try authentic local bush tucker and discover rugged escarpments, lush rainforest, thundering falls and sparkling waterholes.
The world's largest coral reef and one of the seven wonders of the world, there's no doubt that the famed Great Barrier Reef is best admired through a pair of brightly coloured goggles. Dive in with a snorkel or strap on a tank and scuba dive to not just look, but to be at one with this majestic ecosystem. Swim alongside colourful schools of fish, sea turtles, dolphins and perhaps even whales, glide past intricate corals and discover any number of wrecks. Trailing along most of the Queensland coastline, experience these world-class wonders anywhere from Bundaberg to the Whitsundays and Cairns.
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The call of Cradle Mountain quickly captures the hearts of hiking enthusiasts, nature lovers and those suffering from a serious case of scenic wanderlust. One of Tasmania's most revered sights, the only way to truly soak up the alpine vistas, ancient glacial lakes, waterfalls and heathland dotted with wildflowers is on foot. Tackle one of the trails that navigates the spectacular beauties of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park over a number of days, or opt for the day-long journey straight to the panorama-laden summit.
Travel by way of your stomach with a gastronomic tour of the many decadent flavours, cheesy textures and palate-pleasing pours that have made the Margaret River Wine Region so indulgently savoured. From Camembert and chocolate to fresh produce and home-made quince, this is a region best eaten, from the roadside stalls and cellar doors to the fancy white linen restaurants. Better yet, it all comes with an incredible side of scenery that extends beyond misty rolling vineyards to enticing moody caves, craggy coastal cliffs and tall green forests.
Uniquely Australian, wildly beautiful and surprisingly diverse, Kangaroo Island is one of Australia’s great wilderness destinations, lapped at by clear blue waters not far from Adelaide. Less than 5000 people and very large population of native Australian animals call the island home, where soaring cliffs, dense bushland, towering sand dunes, granite rocks and stark white beaches weave their way across the rural landscapes over 155 tantalising kilometres. Whether for a day or a week, Kangaroo Island makes for an unforgettable Aussie escape.
This stunning coastal route has a big reputation, but you can bet the scenery is even bigger. Between the glistening coastal bays, dramatic rocky outcrops and the beautifully quaint little towns awaits a myriad of natural highlights sure to take you aback, so hold on to the lookout handrails. The Twelve Apostles, London Arch and the Bay of Islands drop many a jaw, but truly, the list is long. From the lush ferns tickling the edges of waterfalls in Otways National Park to the clifftop tracks and gorges weaving their way through Port Campbell National Park, this is the highway to Mother Nature's heaven.
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