Your travel DNA: Getting up close and personal with Australia’s cutest animals
You may like: Rottnest Island, Perth. It is home to many spectacular beaches, bays and coral reefs, but those in the know make a day trip here to look out for the island’s photogenic residents — quokkas.
These marsupials look like they are smiling when you whip out your smartphone, so snap away when you can spot one (but don’t feed or pet them — it’s not permitted). Even celebrities like Chris Hemsworth have been known to pose for wefies with them!
You may like: Phillip Island, Melbourne. This idyllic spot is where you will find more than 32,000 Little Penguins, a species native to Australia. Standing at just 33cm in height, they emerge from the ocean at sunset after having swum up to 100km, and waddle home across the beach to their nesting boxes.
Visitors taking part in the aptly named Penguin Parade sit on the boardwalk with bated breath — it gets cold in winter, so bring a thick sweater and buy a hot coffee — to wait for that magical moment when the little amphibians surface from the waters in masses. Phillip Island is a must-visit for kids and kidults alike if you are in Melbourne, which is only a 90-minute drive away.
You may like: Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Gold Coast. You may know the usual native wildlife suspects like koalas, wombats, crocodiles and kangaroos but Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary houses many more animal species, including lemurs, dingos, emus, the Tasmanian Devil and binturong.
There’s a lot to do here, from watching feeding sessions to taking part in behind-the-scenes tours and even visiting the Wildlife Hospital, one of the busiest animal hospitals in the world. You may even watch an animal surgery take place or see how animal rehabilitation works.
You may like: Pebbly Beach, New South Wales; Lucky Bay, Western Australia; Cape Hillsborough, Queensland. Catch a glimpse of Australia’s famous kangaroos at these locales. At Pebbly Beach, a popular camping area, the wild marsupials can be spotted at Murramarang National Park.
For those travelling through Esperance, Lucky Bay is a 45-minute drive away. It’s sometimes known as Australia’s whitest beach, which may explain why even kangaroos come here to lounge on the sand.
In Queensland, Cape Hillsborough National Park offers a memorable view of kangaroos and wallabies having their breakfast of seaweed and mangrove seed pods on the beach at sunrise.
Your travel DNA: Going on trail walks as old as the Ice Age
You may like: Bay of Fires Lodge Walk, East Coast Tasmania. Be enchanted by sweeping landscapes, wildlife, white sand beaches and orange lichen-covered headlands that have pretty much stayed the same for thousands of years.
One popular activity is the Bay of Fires Lodge Walk by the Tasmanian Walking Company, which will take you on a four-day, 33km hike, complete with a kayaking experience and a beach walk.
You may like: Namadgi National Park, Canberra. Part of the Australian Alps mountain range, this protected park boasts a rich Aboriginal history of the Ngunnawal people. Archaeological sites here show proof of life from at least 21,000 years ago.
Hike along Yerrabi Walking Track or Yankee Hat Walking Track, and you might be rewarded with glimpses of rock art and remnants from campsites that hail all the way from the last Ice Age.
You may like: Kangaroo Island, South Australia. When an island is known for being “the zoo without fences”, you know you will be in for a wildlife treat. Despite its name, Kangaroo Island is also home to koalas, sea lions and echidnas within its 509km of coastline.
Take your pick from more than 19 walking and hiking trails that take as little as 30 minutes or up to eight hours. On these, you might come across early settlement heritage sites (Tadpole Cove Walk in Cape Gantheaume Conservation Park), artwork (Kangaroo Island Sculpture Trail) and native birds (Timber Creek Walk).
You may like: Blue Mountains, New South Wales. The Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area is a popular destination for those in Sydney as it is just a two-hour drive away.
Well-marked bush walking trails will lead you to streams, valleys, waterfalls and cliffs. And if you have more time to spare, take a three-day hike on the original 1884 horse track from Katoomba to Jenolan Caves.
Your travel DNA: Wining and dining on the freshest produce
You may like: Attica in Melbourne. Even if you have eaten your way through many restaurants around the world, you probably haven’t seen a menu like the one at this The World’s 50 Best List regular with menu offerings such as smoked apple juice, Wattleseed Tiramisu, Murnong Bread and Honey Ants “Natural”.
Helmed by award-winning chef-owner Ben Shewry, the restaurant uses native ingredients such as bunya nuts, finger limes and herbs mostly grown on the nearby Rippon Lea Estate.
You may like: Margaret River, Perth. Australia’s most notable wine region is chock-full of wineries and farms, so expect some of the most rewarding food and wine tours here.
Whet your appetite at the many farmers’ markets (open on weekends) and cheese and chocolate shops, hop onto a winery or vineyard tour, and end your day with a good night’s rest at a farm cottage or spa retreat. Even the most jaded wine lover will find the niche tours and activities refreshing, like those specialising only in biodynamic wines or Chardonnay.
You may like: Pennicott Wilderness Journeys, in Tasmania. Since 1999, this iconic company has been organising cruises unlike the conventional ones you know.
For instance, the Tasmanian Seafood Seduction will have you savouring juicy, briny oysters while your guide dives into the waters to bring up abalone and sea urchin for your lunch. You can also eat your way across Bruny Island and meet the island’s food producers who churn out premium fish and chips, award-winning cheeses and handcrafted whisky and fudge.
You may like: Karrke Aboriginal Cultural Tours or RT Tours Australia, Northern Territory. Both introduce you to the region’s indigenous culture and include bush barbecues fired up with Mulga wood and talks on seasonal bush tucker food like native foods such as bush tomato, wattle seed, quondon and more.
Your Travel DNA: Seeing the country on a leisurely road trip
You may like: Driving from Brisbane to Southern Queensland Country. Your foodie road trip can include stopovers at some of Brisbane’s up-and-coming restaurants and cafes, such as Detour which does emu tartare, or Gauge which uses local produce and boasts a changing wine list.
For more variety under one roof, head to arts precinct Fish Lane — one of its newest F&B tenants is Southside which serves Pan-Asian cuisine — or Australia’s largest artisan food and drink incubator Wandering Cooks.
Next, do a hot air balloon ride in the Scenic Rim or visit wineries on Tamborine Mountain. Save some time and energy for Southern Queensland Country — an idyllic countryside getaway that is an hour-and-a-half’s drive from Brisbane — where you can pop by an apple farm, ride horses and learn more about historic townships.
You may like: The Grand Pacific Drive. Starting from Sydney and ending at Jervis Bay, this two-day trip will take you past beaches, rainforests, waterfalls and more. Add the Symbio Wildlife Park for its population of kangaroos, koalas and dingo puppies to your itinerary, as well as tick Darkes Glenbernie Orchard off your bucket list — this family-owned estate lets you pick apples and other fruit.
The coastal journey will also bring you over the Pacific Ocean to the charming seaside town Kiama located on the Grand Pacific Drive. Here, be wowed by the stunning Kiama Blowhole. First discovered in 1797, the natural sea cliff cavern is one of the biggest blowholes in the world, spouting seawater 20m or more into the air. To spot seals, dolphins, penguins and migrating whales, detour to Jervis Bay Marine Park.
You may like: Driving on the Great Ocean Road. Australia’s most famous coastal road trip starts from Melbourne and soon offers you an ever-evolving change in scenery. Of course, you will want a shot of the famous 12 Apostles — limestone stacks rising from the Southern Ocean.
Other under-the-radar photo ops include deserted beaches, some of Australia’s highest sea cliffs and gorgeous waves at Bells Beach. Then, recharge at a cellar door, pick your own berries on farms and swim with dolphins at Queenscliff.
You may like: Driving from Perth to Esperance which is home to white-sand beaches, gorgeous blue waters and a pink lake. The town has a very popular natural landmark, Lake Hillier which is a lake in the colour of bright bubblegum pink. You can view the lake from a boat or by air.
A stopover at award-winning wine region Margaret River is a must as the internationally acclaimed region is more than 50 years old and has almost 100 cellar doors. Fun fact: Margaret River grows only two per cent of Australia’s grapes, yet it produces 20 per cent of the country’s premium wines. Spend the day going around iconic wineries like Vasse Felix and Leeuwin Estate before enjoying a meal at Colony Concept which pays homage to, yes, honey.
But make some time, too, for other attractions such as the former milling town of Pemberton — its Karri forests are the perfect playground for myriad outdoor activities including bush walking, canoeing and mountain biking on the world-famous Munda Biddi trail.
This road trip is a treat for flower lovers, especially. For example, Perth’s Kings Park has 12,000 wildflower species, each in a different vibrant colour, while the Julimar Conservation Park has orchids galore. Tip: Wildflower season is between June and November, so plan your visit accordingly.
And if you want to hang out with kangaroos on sandy beaches, Cape Le Grande National Park is the place to be at.
You may like: The Great Eastern Drive along Tasmania’s east coast. Take in the sights of seaside villages and hinterland towns, and enjoy waterfront dining on the freshest seafood produce as well as quiet stretches of beaches that will make you feel like you are on your own private strip.
Maria Island is a wildlife paradise with wombats, wallabies, geese, penguins and the Tasmanian devil. Fun fact: The Great Eastern Drive passes four of the state’s 19 national parks, including the oldest one — Freycinet National Park.
Your travel DNA: Enjoying touring in luxury
You may like: Luxury Lodges of Australia. Experience the great outdoors and Mother Nature — without roughing it out!
Luxury Lodges of Australia offers high-end lodge and camp accommodation coupled with activities and experiences all across the country, from Kangaroo Island in South Australia to Queensland’s Northern Outback. Choose from almost 30 exclusively-curated itineraries that include visiting an oyster farm and going on a truffle hunt.
You may like: Ultimate Winery Experiences. You don’t know wine country until you sign up for this.
Depending on the region you are in, Ultimate Winery Experiences features tipple-centric activities like vineyard visits, wine-making master classes, wine and cheese tasting sessions, private gourmet picnics, forage-and-dine tours and wine sampling… direct from the barrel and from your birth year.
Feeling excited yet about planning a trip to Australia? Click here for lots of holiday inspiration and to help you plan your Australian getaway when the time is right.
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