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Christian Baines Senior Content Editor 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Ready to Reconnect With Australia

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Australia is a dream vacation, impossible to fully cover in one trip, with new discoveries waiting each time you return. After two years of pandemic isolation, the land Downunder has carefully reopened its shores to visitors on February 21, 2022. The only question is where to begin!

 

Start the Adventure in Sydney

There’s perhaps no better welcome to Australia than a visit to Sydney. From the view of Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House to a deeper dive into neighbourhoods like The Rocks, Bondi, and King’s Cross, the city offers the perfect intersection of fascinating history and urban beauty. Day trips to celebrated wine regions like the Hunter Valley, wildlife reserves, and the beautiful Blue Mountains offer additional reasons to extend your stay. If there’s one easy-to-reach destination sure to make you fall in love with Australia, it’s Sydney.

Bold Contrasts from Rock to Reef

Two of Australia’s natural icons stand out in a country that has many. Uluru/Ayers Rock is a sacred place to the Anangu people and an unforgettable addition to any Australian itinerary. Take a guided walk around the base of the rock (climbing is now forbidden) before enjoying dinner under the desert stars. Then, visit nearby Kata Tjuta/The Olgas. Formerly a monolith even larger than Uluru, these dome formations are said to be the eggs of the Rainbow Serpent, the great creator of Aboriginal legend.

Just as synonymous with Australia’s beauty is the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of North Queensland. Cairns is the most convenient gateway to snorkelling, diving, sailing, and appreciating this fragile and fascinating living wonder. For a short trip that showcases Australia’s contrasts, Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef, and Sydney make a great Australian trio. 

Australian Culture from Melbourne to the Top End

It’s commonly said that Melbourne is Australia’s cultural capital, with good reason. If you’re looking to catch a world-class show, explore cutting-edge cuisine, roam one of Australia’s top art museums or just get lost amid cafes, laneways, and street art, this is the city in which to do it. It’s also worth taking the trip out to Phillip Island to see the adorable Little Penguin parade, and if you have time, hit the Great Ocean Road to see the awesome Twelve Apostles. Of course, the Melbourne region has been inhabited for tens of thousands of years. An Aboriginal guide can show you a very different, much more ancient side of the city on a walking tour you’ll never forget.

If you want to discover Aboriginal culture in one of Australia’s most beautiful landscapes, it’s worth getting out there to Kakadu National Park, near Darwin. Home to the Bininj and Mungguy peoples, Kakadu is the most spectacular place see to rock art dating back to prehistoric times. You can also look for Australia’s fearsome saltwater crocodiles, along with abundant bird species in a jaw-dropping natural setting. Though the two could hardly be more different, Melbourne and Kakadu both make great additions to any Australian trip.

Finding Luxury in Australia’s Wilderness

Australia’s only island state, Tasmania is another special part of the country, with its own unique wildlife and some of Australia’s best national parks. Chief among these is Cradle Mountain, a wilderness area ideal for a day trip from Launceston, or if you’re feeling ambitious, the six-day trek through the entire park. A lesser-known Tasmanian treasure is Freycinet National Park, along the state’s east coast. With spectacular beaches like Wineglass Bay, it’s a great escape for those needing some secluded luxury in one of Australia’s less touristed areas.

If luxury is your priority, consider the Whitsundays off the coast of Central Queensland. At the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef, these beautiful islands boast exquisite resorts such as qualia, along with near-untouched beaches such as Whitehaven.

South Australia Brings Together Wildlife and Wine

Kangaroo Island is one of the best places to see Australia’s native wildlife in its natural environment. All the familiar Australian native animals are here, alongside a variety of seals and some of the most beautiful rock formations in the country. Kangaroo Island is easily reached from Adelaide, the capital of South Australia and gateway to some of Australia’s most lauded wine regions, including the Barossa Valley.

Best Australia Destinations for Families

A good family itinerary is one that’s light on logistical hassle but big on excitement. With something to offer every kind of traveller, Sydney is an essential stop. You might also want to include a trip to the Great Barrier Reef, with Cairns being the best gateway, thanks to its abundant hotel options. Another great family activity is a day trip to Kuranda in the Cairns hinterland, where you can embark on a rainforest adventure and learn about local Aboriginal culture. Another stop you might want to consider is Brisbane. Queensland’s capital is a great family getaway with both the Gold and Sunshine Coasts on its doorstep. The latter is home to the legendary Australia Zoo, where the Irwin family continues late Crocodile Hunter Steve’s legacy of preserving Australia’s wildlife through education. With crocodile shows and feeding demonstrations, this is one of Australia’s best family days out.

This article has been updated on February 21, 2022.

12 Jan 2022, 9:22 p.m.

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