Aussies are always itching to get out and explore. Lucky for us, there are so many incredible travel experiences found on our very own shores.
We really are spoiled down under. From dinosaur trails and outback art to lush rainforests and natural mineral springs, there’s plenty to tick off your bucket list with these wonderful travel experiences.
Dine, wine and dive on the Limestone Coast
This beautiful, utterly underrated area of Australia is home to some of the country’s most incredible sinkholes for swimming, cave scuba-diving and snorkelling. It’s also home to fairytale-like sunken gardens, and there is history galore in nearby Penola, where Mary MacKillop lived and founded a school to provide free education for the children in the area. Right next door is Coonawarra wine country, where the dining and accommodation options are as fine as the wine and cellar door experiences on offer.
Go on a dinosaur tour in the Outback
There are plenty of dino hotspots in Outback Queensland, so why not make a road trip of it and soak up the local hospitality, sunshine and big blue skies while you get to know some of the most interesting creatures to have ever roamed this earth. After exploring Winton’s multimillion-dollar Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum, with its outdoor canyon of life-sized dinos, and checking out the Eromanga Natural History Museum, where you can meet Cooper – the largest dinosaur ever discovered in Australia – you’ll look at the Queensland outback in a completely different way.
Get into art and the outback in Broken Hill
There are more than 35 galleries in which to get an art fix in Broken Hill, and the outdoor sculpture park in the Living Desert Reserve is a must-see at sunset or sunrise. Broken Hill is a lovely community with an eclectic range of accommodation offerings, and anyone who comes to town has to stop at the pub made famous by The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: the Palace Hotel. It’s a gateway to the outback, and a couple of hours up the road will take you to the beautiful, culturally rich Mutawintji National Park and the weird and wonderful town of White Cliffs, where everyone lives underground.
Go swimming with sharks and sea lions in Port Lincoln
Get up close and personal with one of the ocean’s most impressive apex predators – the great white shark – in a cage dive that will have you marvelling at the majestic nature of this often misunderstood creature. Then splash around with playful sea lions, who love showing off to us humans, and are known for putting everyone under a spell with their big puppy dog eyes. While you’re in town, indulge in some seafood straight from the boats, or go for a spot of fishing yourself. Port Lincoln isn’t called the nation’s seafood capital for nothing!
Explore the art and history of the Tiwi Islands
A 2.5-hour ferry ride from Darwin can have you in the fascinating Tiwi Islands, where the locals are always keen to show you around their homeland, and explain their way of living and their unique approach to art and design, which dates back tens of thousands of years. The Patakijiyali Museum is well worth checking out, as it’s a treasure trove of local history that can’t be found anywhere else. Some scenes from the comedy movie Top End Wedding – starring Miranda Tapsell – were filmed in the quirky church near the beach, which is also a showcase of Tiwi art.
Meet Tassie devils and dine on fresh oysters in Freycinet
There are so many wonderful things about our smallest state, as it punches way above its weight in art, history, outdoor activities, food and wine and everything in between. But while you’re in Tasmania, you have to meet the Tasmanian devil face-to-face in one of the many animal reserves that are working on saving one of our most treasured native animals. And why not do that in one of the prettiest parts of Tassie – Freycinet? Here you can also indulge in a marine tour, where you’ll be treated to some of the state’s finest sparkling wine while tucking into oysters straight off the lease.
Touch the tip of Australia on Cape York
Pajinka is the Indigenous name for The Tip – the most northerly point of Australia at the top of Cape York. You don’t need your own 4WD to do it, but if you have one, this region is a bucket-list destination that you have to see to believe. The journey there is half the fun, as it’ll no doubt be loaded with friendly locals, rivers and swimming holes, crocodiles, some of the most stunning beaches in the country, and great local tucker. Bamaga, which is a two-hour flight from Cairns, is part of Queensland’s Northern Peninsula Area (NPA) and a great place to base yourself.
Marvel at the majestic Daintree Rainforest, backdropped by the reef
As far as travel experiences go, the drive up the Captain Cook Highway from Cairns, en route to the Daintree Rainforest, has to be one of the most exhilarating road trips in Australia. The highway hugs the undulating coastline, beautifully sandwiched between the World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest and Great Barrier Reef. To the east, the massive expanse of ocean glitters like a field of sapphires and diamonds, while to the west brooding rainforest cloaks the towering mountainsides. Way down the line past Port Douglas, Cape Tribulation juts into the sea like a gigantic half-submerged green turtle, the fine line of white sand forming its soft underbelly.
Relax, unwind and indulge in Daylesford
If it’s wellness and rejuvenation you’re looking for, you can’t go past Daylesford and the neighbouring village of Hepburn Springs, tucked into the Macedon Ranges north west from Melbourne. The region is known for its natural mineral springs, and you can take your pick of luxurious treatments and massages at the renowned day spas, or simply submerge your body in the calming warm water and wallow. Once you’ve dried off, the towns are alive with top-notch restaurants, vibrant country pubs, wine bars and upmarket accommodation. Wander the heritage streets, browsing the boutiques for trinkets and homewares, or get the blood pumping with a walk up Wombat Hill to the striking Convent Gallery. Rather stay by the water? Head to picturesque Lake Daylesford for a picnic by the shore.
Take in the wonders and wilderness of King Island
You can’t go to King Island without falling in love, for many reasons. It’s a working agricultural island that’s a foodie heaven, with a focus on organic, sustainable food production and some of the best cheese and beef you’ll find anywhere. It has a thriving arts community, with locals and visitors supporting each other. It’s a nature lover’s paradise due to its pristine environment, and a bird watcher’s haven thanks to so many wonderful species that can be viewed in secluded spaces where there are never any crowds. It has surfers hooked due to the awesome breaks and uncrowded beaches, and it’s the pièce de résistance for golfers, being home to one of the world’s top golf courses with one of the world’s most sublime views.
Can’t get enough of these unique travel experiences? Click here to discover which Aussie rivers are just waiting to be explored.