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Australia Coast To Coast: Ultimate Travel Guide For First-Time Visitors

With its iconic attractions, its weird and wonderful wildlife and an enviable ‘beach and barbecue’ lifestyle, Australia is consistently voted the world’s most desirable destination by UK travellers.

It’s a colourful country too, and you’re sure to enjoy discovering the blues and turquoises of the Great Barrier Reef, the deep red soils of the Outback, and every imaginable shade of green in its tropical rainforests.

 

New South Wales

Climb to the summit of Sydney Harbour Bridge for stunning views of the Opera House. See the early morning mist rising from eucalyptus trees in the beautiful Blue Mountains National Park. Hang out with the surfers on the uncrowded white-sand beaches of Byron Bay.

 

Top Experiences:

  • Step into your grey jumpsuit and safety harness and climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge; an achievement which rewards you with stunning views over one of the world’s most beautiful natural harbours.
  • Port Stephens lies just a couple of hours north from Sydney and its calm, sheltered bay is a jumping off point for whale watching cruises (May-Nov).

 

  • Bondi Beach is the home of Australian surf culture, and there’s no better place to take a few lessons. It’s also home to the famous Aussie surf lifesavers.
  • Darling Harbour is the place to take the little darlings, as they’ll love the Sydney Aquarium and Sydney Wildlife World.
  • The bohemian seaside town of Byron Bay is where many Australians come to escape the rat race.
  • Sydney Opera House is world-famous, but you might be surprised to learn that in addition to opera, it hosts everything from ballet, classical music, dramatic plays and rock concerts.

 

  • Spend a couple of nights in the Blue Mountains to give yourself time to enjoy some of the many wilderness walks.
  • Although increasingly recognised for its olive growing and cheese production, the Hunter Valley is synonymous with wine.

 

Northern Territory

Keep a look out for crocodiles on a wetlands billabong cruise in Kakadu National Park. Hike through the strange but beautiful red rock formations of Kings Canyon. Learn of ancient Aboriginal traditions at Uluru, then watch the mesmerising sunset.

 

Top Experiences:

  • Be enchanted by the mesmerising Field of Light — a stunning exhibition by internationally acclaimed artist Bruce Munro of 50,000 slender stems crowned with radiant frosted-glass spheres gently shimmering against the silhouette of Uluru.

 

  • To appreciate the vast distances and open spaces of the Northern Territory, take a ride on the Ghan, a legendary rail journey that follows the route of the old Afghan camel trains that once linked these remote settlements.
  • Nitmiluk National Park protects a stunning series of 13 gorges, the Katherine River and is best experienced on a cruise — an ideal day trip or longer tour from Darwin.

 

  • The Northern Territory is rich in Aboriginal culture, and understanding a little about the different tribes and rituals is a vital part of any visit here.
  • The vast wetlands of Kakadu National Park, located to the east of Darwin, offers amazing waterfalls and wildlife spotting.

 

Queensland

Combine the action-packed playground of Surfers Paradise with bushwalking in the Gold Coast Hinterland. Cruise the beautiful Whitsunday Islands, or relax on the silica sands of Whitehaven Beach. Enjoy diving or snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef, one of nature’s finest spectacles.

 

Top Experiences

  • Diving at the Great Barrier Reef, one of nature’s greatest wonders, and coming face-to-face with a giant maori wrasse.

 

  • Head for the Gold Coast, where the theme parks make this Australia’s answer to Florida. Kids of all ages will love Warner Bros, Movie World, Sea World and Dream World.
  • Recapture the golden age of rail as you glimpse Queensland’s stunning coast from aboard the prestigious Spirit of Queensland train.
  • Fraser Island, on Australia’s Nature Coast, is the world’s largest sand island, and boasts an amazing variety of wildlife including lizards, pure-breed dingoes and native birds.
  • Australia’s third-largest city Brisbane boasts a near-perfect climate and all the benefits of a modern, cosmopolitan lifestyle

 

  • Perfectly situated in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, amongst Queensland’s 74 Whitsunday Islands, Hamilton Island offers a tropical experience like no other.

 

Western Australia

Explore cosmopolitan Perth, and enjoy a spot of indulgent wine tasting at world-famous Margaret River. Hand-feed friendly bottlenose dolphins at Monkey Mia – a unique wildlife encounter. Take a thrilling 4WD tour into the vast Outback scenery of The Kimberley.

 

Top Experiences:

  • From April to July at Ningaloo Reef, follow the whale shark by boat, then jump in the ocean and snorkel just inches away.
  • Recharge your batteries in the seaside resort of Broome, before exploring the rugged wilderness of The Kimberley region, either independently or on a guided 4WD tour. Vast and remote, this is Australia’s last true frontier.

 

  • A visit to Western Australia wouldn’t be complete without tasting some of the fine wines from the Margaret River.
  • Perth is a surprising and fastly developing destination; a vibrant and cosmopolitan city and yet with a spaciousness that creates the illusion of a collection of charming villages.
  • From Perth you can take a ferry out to the car-free zone of Rottnest Island. The best way to discover some of its 63 sheltered beaches is to hire a bike, but you can also tour the island by bus or enjoy whale watching (seasonal).
  • Everywhere you turn you’ll find delightful beaches in Western Australia, but perhaps none compare to those around Esperance and Cape Le Grand National Park - deserted white sands which you’re more likely to share with a kangaroo than a fellow human.

 

  • Every day at Monkey Mia, a pod of bottlenose dolphins swim into the clear shallows of the bay to interact with humans, delighting visitors with their intelligence and grace.

 

South Australia

Stroll the leafy streets and parklands of Adelaide, an elegant and cultured city. Spot wild kangaroos, koalas and echidnas amidst the spectacular scenery on Kangaroo Island. Visit the picturesque Barossa Valley, renowned for its award-winning wines and gourmet restaurants.

 

Top Experiences:

  • Take a scenic flight across the Flinders Ranges, stay underground in Coober Pedy and cage dive with Great White sharks on the Eyre Peninsula.
  • Take a scenic flight over Wilpena Pound, a natural amphitheatre formed millions of years ago, in the heart of the Flinders Ranges.

 

  • Hold a Koala in Adelaide Hills, 25 minutes from the city. Visit Monarto Zoo, a thousand-acre open range sanctuary (approx. 1 hour from Adelaide) home to free-roaming giraffes, lions, rhinoceros, zebras and cheetahs.
  • Relax on beautiful white beaches along the miles of stunning coastline on the Fleurieu Peninsula, 40 mins from Adelaide.
  • Enjoy Adelaide’s laneway bars and restaurants. The laneway scene has emerged suddenly and spectacularly to become part of city life.
  • Experience The Coorong National Park, an amazing 100-kilometre peninsula of surf-swept coastal sand dunes protecting saltwater inner lagoons.

 

  • Visit Kangaroo Island, a ‘zoo without fences’, for an up close and personal wildlife experience.

 

Victoria

Make time to discover Melbourne, with its cutting-edge culture, sports, fashion, food and entertainment. Take a self-drive tour along the Great Ocean Road, one of Australia’s finest coastal routes. Enjoy the ‘penguin parade’, as they waddle back to their burrows on Phillip Island.

 

Top Experiences:

  • The world-famous Great Ocean Road snakes along a coastline unrivalled anywhere else in Australia, home to the dramatic Shipwreck Coast and pockets of lush rainforest.

 

  • Underwater Victoria offers a rich diversity of marine life that can be observed in shipwrecks and reefs. For the less experienced diver you can snorkel in Port Phillip Bay but for the more advanced, head to the dive centre of Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula.
  • Don’t miss Melbourne’s superb boutique shopping in the Block. Built in the 1890s, it was designed to resemble a fashionable shopping arcade in Milan.
  • A visit to Australia wouldn’t be complete without watching a local Aussie Rules football match and visiting the spectacular Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

 

  • See the penguins on Phillip Island in the wild at dusk with their rather ungainly waddle as they make their way back to their burrows.

 

Tasmania

Visit historic Port Arthur, which stands as a moving testament to the lives of the first convict settlers. Explore the striking coastal  scenery of Freycinet National Park, on foot or by kayak. Take a cruise on the Gordon River, into one of the world’s last unspoilt wildernesses.

 

Top Experiences:

  • The Gordon River Cruise visits one of the world’s last great wilderness areas. Departing from Strahan, you’ll cruise upriver into the World Heritage-listed Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park.
  • With countless walking trails around Dove Lake in Cradle Mountain National Park, to multi-day treks to the spectacular Bay of Fires, Tasmania lends itself perfectly to being discovered on two feet.

 

  • At Freycinet National Park, you can gaze down on Wineglass Bay’s perfect crescent of sand. If you’re feeling particularly active you can grab a paddle, slip into a sea kayak and glide close to the rocky shores.
  • Spend an afternoon with Taz at the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. Enjoy a guided tour of the Sanctuary and get up close with Tasmanian Devils, kangaroos, quolls, wombats, echidnas and more.
  • Take a visit to the Tamar Valley, with its boutique wineries and vineyard restaurants.

 

  • Whatever else you do in Tasmania, do not miss the chance to visit Port Arthur. This is the third oldest settlement in Australia, a notorious prison built to house the worst convicted offenders.
  • Although called the ‘Tasmanian Devil’ this surprisingly cute animal can be seen at the Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park,only an hour from Hobart.

 

Fancy that? Call now our friendly Australia experts on 0800 707 6229 and head on a dreamy Australia holiday. 

Alternatively, browse our carefully picked selection of Australia tours & holidays here.

 

  • 4th September 2019
  • Martina Gardeva, Digital Marketing Executive