Ask any international wine buff about Australian wine and you’ll probably see them cringe. Which is usually because when people think of wine and Australia they conjure up images of the cute little “critters” that often find their way onto our bottle stickers.
But there is much more to Australian wine than the cute yellow kangaroo and wombat labels will have you believe, and a visit to Australia’s wine growing regions will open your mind and your taste buds to new adventures.
While Australia’s largest wine regions can be found in South Australia (Barossa Valley) and Victoria (Yarra Valley), if you journey just 2.5 hours North of Sydney you will arrive in the beautiful Hunter Valley.
This region is unique, not only for its hot climate, but can also lay claim to the title of Australia’s oldest wine producing region. Vineyards that were planted in the 1860s still produce wine today with vines as old as 60 years still producing fruit. Put simply, the Hunter Valley is the birthplace of Australian wine.
It was the crack of dawn but Peter and Jeanie Kelly from Murray Offroad Adventures were on time and ridiculously chirpy. All it took, however, was a dash down the Mallee Highway and a quick pit stop at the Hattah General store (Jeanie phoned our coffee order ahead, the star) for those early-morning dozy feels to disappear as the day started to brighten and the temperature began to rise.
The pink lakes of Murray Sunset National Park are truly breathtaking. Endlessly blue skies sit against bright pink waters and sparkling salt deposits; this is one phenomenon you have to see to believe.
Regional Victoria is full of stunning sights and the natural beauty of the Hattah-Kulkyne national park is one of the many examples of that.
In the heart of the Australian bush, the outback park is home to a superb freshwater system of creeks and lakes that connects to the Murray River, and within it lives a whole host of beautiful bird, marine and wildlife.
Although don’t make the mistake of assuming Hattah-Kulkyne is only of interest to binocular toting nature lovers, there is plenty to keep everyone occupied!
Nestled between Byron Bay and Coffs Harbour on Australia’s stunning northern NSW coast is the relaxing seaside town of Yamba. Although it may not receive the same attention of larger cities in the region, make no mistake, Yamba offers travelers a wealth of adventure and excitement rivaling the likes of Sydney and Brisbane.
With stunning beaches, a wealth of outdoor recreation, iconic wildlife, and numerous parks and reserves, there’s a reason Australian Traveller Magazine named it Australia’s number one town! And the best part, is that Yamba allows you to escape the crowds.
Wrapped within 600 hectares of rainforest near famous Angourie surf beach, the luxurious Angourie Rainforest Resort is fast becoming a hotspot for travellers to northern NSW. And it’s one of the best places to base yourself for access to Yamba and surrounds.
You really couldn’t ask for more out of a destination when it comes to things to do in Cairns, Australia. The gateway to Australia’s iconic Great Barrier Reef as well as the massive 110-million-year-old Daintree Rainforest, Cairns overflows with incredible beaches, abundant rare wildlife, picturesque secluded islands, caves, and much, much, more.
Enjoying a tropical climate in far North Queensland, the region showcases some of the best natural attractions Australia has to offer. So why not travel beyond the major metropolitan cities of Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane to embark on a true Aussie adventure in Cairns.
Once you arrive, there is definitely no shortage of epic day trips at your disposal, all within reach of Cairns’ best hotels. When planning your Cairns itinerary, we highly recommend adding the following day trips in the surrounds.
This is a bustling city full of sophistication, culture, fine art & cuisine, though with just as many natural wonders to explore. It’s a hub of city life and cultural activity, though with it’s close proximity to the sea, and beautiful natural surrounds, there are multiple options for the great outdoors.
It’s quirky, and has quickly become the lifestyle capital of Australia. Regardless of your interests, Adelaide has something incredible in store.
We’ve put together the following guide to make your time in Adelaide easy and amazing.
Who says you can’t travel with all the comforts of home? Summer in Australia is fast approaching, and the Gold Coast is the country’s top coastal destination. An iconic Australian beach city famous for surf, sand, and sun.
And when it comes to choosing accommodation, we highly recommend an apartment; something which offers you ample space to lay out after an exhausting (but exhilerating!) day, and facilities that make a beach getaway easy; like your own laundry, kitchen, and a private balcony.
One of our favorites for contemporary self-catering apartments is Ambience on Burleigh Beach, in a convenient beachfront location between Surfers Paradise and Coolangatta.
Fronting what is easily the best beach on the Gold Coast, it’s also a great base for more theme parks than you could ask for, as well as access to Queenslands most beautiful national parks.
As you walk along Hobart’s waterfront, the breeze carries a thousand captivating stories of those who were there before; from convicts, crooks, and captains of industry, Tasmania’s history is made up of a cast of remarkable characters, each with an intriguing story to tell.
Though the best way to immerse yourself in the fascinating world of Tasmanian stories is not at a museum; it’s at the world’s first storytelling hotel.
Nestled on the waterfront of Hobart’s Franklin Wharf, and inspired by the history and colourful characters of Tasmania’s past, MACq 01 is an exciting new luxury hotel, and the perfect base for exploring Hobart and surrounds.
An ultra-exclusive $45 million project, doors have only recently opened on what is Hobart’s hottest new boutique hotel.
As far as wildlife experiences go, Australia is known for having unusual wildlife, and Australian animals are unlike any found elsewhere in the world!
From kangaroos and koalas, to the platypus and Tasmanian devil, Australia has a huge range of wonderful wildlife and exotic species which provoke a sense of wonder and awe throughout the rest of the world.
But most tourists to Australia head straight for the big cities – and you’re unlikely to find a Kangaroo jumping down Bourke Street, or Penguins at Bondi Beach. So for those who want the chance to experience Australian wildlife, day trips are the best way to see them up close!
With plant species found nowhere else on earth and numerous endemic subspecies of Australian fauna, Kangaroo Island is truly a magical destination much like the Galapagos. Its isolation from mainland Australia has created an oasis for native wildlife where they are protected from the devastating impacts of foxes and rabbits.
The island has retained over fifty percent of its natural habitat with over a third protected under national parks or reserves. A trip here means getting up close and personal with koalas, kangaroos, echidnas, glossy black cockatoos, seals, and more.
The sheer amount of wildlife you will see is almost unbelievable and in my opinion one of the best places in Australia where you can see such a large variety of iconic Aussie animals living in the wild.
Kangaroo Island’s incredible landscapes and wildlife are just the beginning though. It is an outdoor recreation dream offering horseback riding, sandboarding, caving, kayaking, and quad biking. Add the finest in food and wine along with luxury accommodation and you’ve got the complete package.
As The Economist’s most liveable city for the seventh year in a row, Melbourne is the place to be (plus, you won’t find a better coffee anywhere else in the world!).
Aside from the well-known Federation Square, MCG and Botanical Gardens, there are many other incredible areas to explore, and today we highlight the Docklands and Geelong as our two top picks for families.
For Australian residents, Spirit of Tasmania is giving away 6 themed Tasmanian adventures, and all you have to do is take their Spirited Adventurer quiz!
There are 6 types of Spirited Adventurer, and I’m the nature type. But others who are drawn to Tasmania include the foodie fanatic, the wine taster, the culture buff, the bushwalker, and the thrill seeker – take the Spirit of Tasmania’s Spirited Adventurer Quiz to find out which one is you … and win!
Kettering is a hidden gem of a town located in Australia’s island state of Tasmania. Tasmania, land of the ferociously cute devils, incredible cuisine, and talented artistry, has really exploded onto the tourism radar with the Hobart region seeing some of the greatest influx of holiday makers.
Just 20 to 30 minutes south of the hustle and bustle of Tasmania’s capital of Hobart lies Kettering. A town fit for artists, sailing enthusiasts, and anyone looking for ultimate relaxation in an incredibly beautiful landscape. And the Cove Kettering offers luxury accommodation for your stay.
Deal Alert: Save up to 54% off your stay at the Cove Kettering with package deals from Luxury Escapes.
Having just driven 20,000km around Australia (that’s the same distance as flying London to Sydney) in an battered, old Landrover, I can definitely attest to this country’s Instagrammability … if this is even a word!
Yes when you’re living out of a tent on a roof, surrounded the beauty of Australia every day, you realise just how perfect this place is if you want to snap some amazing travel shots.
With stunning scenery and vibrant visuals, the Land Down Under is so diverse and has so many unique sights, that it really is the most #instaperfect country in my opinion.
So check out these 8 places I’ve selected as the most instagrammable in Australia and start getting your friends jealous now!
Melbourne has earned a fantastic reputation for being a fun and friendly cosmopolitan city. Not only is there an endless amount of excitement to be had in wandering amidst the alleys and laneways, but Melbourne has also been christened the culinary capital of Australia too!
So if you’ve got a limited amount of time in this thriving metropolis, what are the key things to check out?
Queensland is known for its year-round warmth and its picturesque beaches drenched in sunshine, and nowhere is the quintessential Australian image more fitting than on the tropical islands found just off the state’s coast.
But once you start planning your trip you’ll realize it can be difficult to know which island – or islands – to visit. They’re all exciting in their different ways and offer a wide variety of experiences – from observing natural wonders to getting involved in unique and an action packed itinerary.
To help you with your decision, we’ve developed a snapshot of some of QLD’s most popular islands, highlighting what you’ll find at each one.
Sydney has to rank as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It’s a thriving cosmopolitan city with a breathtaking harbor, superb nature, world-class food and a buzzing nightlife. Culturally vibrant with a rich history, there is just so much to see and do!
We all know the main landmarks, the Opera House, Harbour Bridge, etc…but as a visitor how do you experience the real, local side of Sydney?
If you’re lucky, you’ll have a local friend to take you around. However, for the majority of visitors to Sydney that aren’t so lucky and still want to experience the city with a local, there is a new ridshare service just launched in Sydney that’s making waves called toodooloo.
Australia, as a travel destination, has everything that a tourist can ask for in a holiday spot. Every year, millions of visitors, from America, Europe and other parts of the world make a beeline to experience this vast country’s unique landscapes, pristine ocean beaches, food and wine.
It may look small on the map, but Australia is pretty massive and equally diverse. However, with a low crime rate, combined with a political system which is very stable, makes the country rather safe and easy to travel about in.
In case you happen to be one of the chosen few, intending to head to this fascinating continent, here are some tips pertaining to travel safety which will ensure that your holiday is not only enjoyable but safe as well.
Made up of 74 island wonders in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsundays are the most beautiful part of Queensland’s tropical coast. Four of the islands have resorts but most are uninhabited, characterized by dense rainforest, hiking trails, and secluded white sand beaches which offer back-to-nature beach camping for the adventurous.
There are plenty of reasons to visit the Whitsundays, though this is one of those destinations where you don’t really need one; a true paradise, and the ultimate in adventure and relaxation, with great cocktails and incredible local seafood!
A busy coastal city that hosts the Spirit of Tasmania ferry on its voyage to and from Melbourne, Devonport is Tasmania’s gateway to the North West. But after after disembarking the Spirit, most passengers scatter to other destinations on the island and Devonport slips back into obscurity.
Which is a shame for a town with such a stunning location; one with river, ocean and mountain views, and beautiful beaches which form a coastal trail that most tourists miss; a central base in terms of access to some of Tasmania’s best natural places, including Cradle Mountain and Narawntapu National Park – a place where the world is still wild, and a region that’s home to awe inspiring scenery, and the world’s cleanest air.
So upon disembarking the Spirit we weren’t in a rush to drive south as most do. We were ready for wineries, walking and wilderness; ready to dive into food trails, classic coastal drives and beautiful nature reserves. Instead of following the procession of cars bound for Hobart, we drove off the ferry and turned left.
We drove a minute up the road, and checked into Discovery Parks Devonport – a fully furnished cabin style apartment with ocean views would be our base for discovering Tasmania’s incredible North West.
Tasmania lies roughly 400 km from mainland Australia however it seems like a world away; a magical destination where you can escape the crowds of Australia’s main cities, and access vast wilderness and astounding natural wonders like no-where else in the world.
There’s a relaxing pureness about this small island State, and its towns transport you back to simpler times where modern stresses cease to exist. It definitely offers all the modern conveniences you could hope for, but has somehow managed to maintain its unique culture and charm. Managed to preserve it’s World Heritage Areas, wildlife, beautiful landforms, natural and cultural history, and brought them into modern times.
But it’s difficult to really experience all Tasmania has to offer without a car, so there was no question about how we would get to the Island of the Devil; we would journey overnight from the mainland on Spirit of Tasmania. By transporting ourselves along with our personal vehicle and all our gear we were assured of getting the most rewarding experience Tassie could offer.
When you stay in the center of a city there are certain things you come to accept. Sacrifices you make for the luxury of staying in the most central location. Like the idea that you’ll likely wake up in the morning to the sound of an urban landscape. And potentially land a room with a carpark view.
But when we saw photos of Crowne Plaza Canberra, it painted a completely different picture of what we had come to expect. Like falling asleep in the heart of the CBD but waking up to breathtaking parkland views. And cracking your window to welcome the morning song of King parrots and Sulphur crested cockatoos.
And while Australia’s capital largely caters to politicians and business travel, leisure travel in Canberra is on the verge of a supersonic boom.
The Great Ocean Road is considered to be one of the most scenic drives in the world, and is certainly a jewel in the crown of Australian tourism. Its stunning coastal road hangs precariously on soaring sea cliffs and winds between pretty towns and beaches, all set against the backdrop of the Great Otaway National Park, the site of Australia’s few temperate rainforests.
Though for one of Australia’s most popular tourist destinations, most visitors to the area sadly see very little, and most of that through a coach window. But you won’t see the best sights from your car.
Much more than a scenic highway, this region is home to a myriad of coastal tracks, rainforest trails, and hikes which connect historic seaside villages, taking in ocean views and dramatic waterfalls. If there’s one thing for certain, the best way to discover the Great Ocean Road is to walk.
It was a welcome retreat returning to our cabin at Discovery Parks after an exhaustive day of activities. We had traveled for a relaxing break by the lake, however found ourselves seduced by the Snowy Mountains and its wealth of outdoor recreation.
We flicked on the TV and collapsed into the couch – the weather would be sunny tomorrow too. There was the choice of bushwalking, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, horse riding, visiting the National Park, or water-sports on the lake.
Personally though, I was keen to dedicate a day to something people don’t often travel to do – searching for relics from the old town of Jindabyne; an alpine town at the bottom of a lake.
Swallowed by flood water in the 1960s when the Snowy River was dammed as part of the Snowy Mountains Scheme, the town was abandoned and rebuilt on higher ground. The ruins have been submerged for over 50 years, though occasionally when lake levels are low, out from the depths comes the remnants of the old Catholic Church. Unbelievable to imagine the remains of a whole town beneath your water skis!