The adventurers of old marked an end to the age of discovery by saving their greatest find until last. Australia is a world unto itself in more ways than one.
Nurturing six different climates, from tropical Cairns to temperate Tasmania, no other country boasts such a diverse landscape, but in fairness to other countries, none of them also happen to double up as a continent either. To give you some perspective, you could fit all 28 countries of the European Union inside Australia and still have enough space to fit the huge subcontinent of India with room to spare. With so much to discover on your Australian adventure, it can be difficult to narrow down exactly where you’d like to explore, and that’s where we come in – prepare to be inspired.
From the rainforests of its tropical tip to the bars of bustling Brisbane, variety really is the spice of Queensland living. One of the best ways to acquaint yourself with the tropics of Cairns is by staying in one of our fabulous tree house retreats at Silky Oaks Lodge. Deep in the jungle, serenaded by the tranquil trickle of the Mossman River, these luxury lodges are the ultimate way to unwind from the trappings of the modern world. Venture eastwards to the coast and, with a little help from some scuba gear, you’ll discover the colourful watery world of the Great Barrier Reef, home to the green sea turtle and over 1500 species of fish.
New South Wales
Featuring iconic Sydney, the beautiful Blue Mountains and the Hunter Valley region with its dozens of wineries, New South Wales is very different to old South Wales. You’re probably well aware of the city sights like Sydney Opera House, guided walks over Harbour Bridge or the famous Bondi Beach, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. We can sum up Sydney’s sheer amount of experiences with one of our favourite Australian sayings – it’s fuller than a centipede’s sock drawer. Southwest of Sydney lies a state within a state. Australian Capital Territory is home to (you guessed it) Australia’s capital city, Canberra, which is a fantastic place to familiarise with the country’s political history and its largest inland city.
Australians might be famous for their colourful use of fruity language but South Australia is the home of our favourite four-letter word – wine! The birthplace of Jacob’s Creek, more than half of all Australia’s wine is produced here, making it a perfect place to enjoy our Best of Barossa Valley wine tour to the northeast of Adelaide. When you’ve finished your tour of top tipples, Adelaide is well placed to show you exactly why it was ranked as Australia’s most liveable city for three years running. Its reputation as a hub for arts and entertainment is evident as soon as you step foot on its streets and its close proximity to Kangaroo Island makes it a perfect base from which to discover the country’s famous marsupial wildlife. A stay at Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island is highly recommended.
Originally part of New South Wales, Victoria may be the smallest of Australia’s mainland states but it attracts over 600,000 visitors from overseas every year. Its national parks are another great place to see kangaroos and koalas and an excursion to Philip Island offers the famous dusk parade of fairy penguins. Speaking of things you usually associate with snow, a little known feature of Victoria is its snow-capped Australian Alps, which also spread into New South Wales and are great for skiing in winter (our summer). Of course, no trip to Victoria would be complete without a visit to the state’s capital, Melbourne, where we highly recommend you experience The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant.
The biggest and oldest of Australia’s states, Western Australia is over ten times the size of the UK with over thirty times fewer people. It may then come as a surprise that more Brits choose to settle here than any other part of Australia. The vast majority of them live in Perth, known to some as ‘the city of light’. Perth earned this nickname after John Glenn, the first American astronaut to orbit Earth, passed over Australia at night time. In recognition of Glenn’s presence above them in space, Perth’s residents all switched on their lights at the same time, making the city shine so brightly it could be seen from space. Further north is the opportunity for a glamping experience like no other by staying in one of our Sal Salis luxury tents, close to Ningaloo Reef.
The Northern Territory is home to the timeless terrain of Kakadu National Park, a protected wildlife area almost half the size of Switzerland. This is the place to spot crocodiles and gain a sense of what Australia was like for its aboriginal inhabitants thousands of years ago. Head south into the heart of the outback and you’ll reach what is perhaps one of Australia’s most iconic landmarks – Ayres Rock. Just past the secluded sanctuary of Alice Springs, abruptly poking out of its surrounding flat plains, Uluru, as it was known to the aborigines, is a very sacred site to its original inhabitants. If you’re visiting here we suggest that you stay in our fantastic Longitude 131 resort, where you can peer up at the Southern Hemisphere’s stars from the comfort of your five star luxury tent.
Last, but by no means least, is Tasmania. This large island, 150 miles off the coast of Victoria, has its own unique appeal. Most Brits will be familiar with its iconic Tasmanian devil, which is really much cuter than it sounds or smells. The majority of residents live in the island’s capital city, Hobart, which has a reputation with foodies for its locally sourced seafood dishes. Tassie has a wealth of natural attractions, from the serene surroundings of Dove Lake in the central highlands, to the beaches of Wineglass Bay. If you’re thinking of a Tasmanian trip, nowhere will you lap up greater luxury than if you stay in one of our Saffire Freycinet lodges in Coles Bay, overlooking the beautiful Freycinet National Park.
So, there you have Australia in a nutshell and we’ve barely scratched the surface. Obviously, the best way to discover down-under is to explore it for yourself. What are you waiting for? Your Australian adventure awaits.