We are a country of individuals who pride themselves on a passion for travel. Living abroad is almost a rite of passage, and we venture far and wide on our explorations of the earth. This doesn’t detract from our love for our country, but sometimes it is easy to forget what a vast and varied wonderland we are lucky enough to live in.
We hope these home-grown travel experiences will put a smile on your face as you are reminded of all the joys that Australia has to offer. Borrowed from the poem ‘My Country’ by Dorothy Mackellar, these lines have inspired us to embrace the beauty of our own back yard.
A land of sweeping plains
The Australian Outback is unique in its lively emptiness. Sunbaked shrubbery stretches out forever under a violently blue sky, and the cicadas burr in a constant chorus. A trip through the Red Centre on The Ghan railway is considered one of the world’s bucket list train journeys, and brings you closer to Australia’s most captivating landscapes than any other holiday can dream of. Sit back and sip on Shiraz as the sweeping plains of South Australia slowly melt into scrubland - it’s just the beginning of your adventure, which will conclude in the heart of The Top End.
Ragged mountain ranges
When you’re standing on the rainforest-encased peak of Mount Warning, it becomes suddenly and magnificently clear that you have climbed to the top of an ancient volcano plug. The mountains of the Tweed Range make up only a portion of the volcano’s colossal rim, a perspective which blows the mind when you see it for yourself. Mount Warning is the first place that sees the sun rise in mainland Australia, and a pre-dawn trek up to the nubby summit is one of those soul-affirming experiences that everyone should undertake once in their lives.
The Flinders Range of South Australia is more on the ‘ragged’ side, with its arresting, red stratifications and immense natural fortresses, but perhaps the most enchanting of all is the Bungle Bungle Range of Western Australia. The tiger-striped conical rock formations are best seen from the air, but any view of this otherworldly landscape is sure to spark a sense of wonder in your heart.
We are a country that is spoiled by heavenly beaches, but the aquamarine waters of Hill Inlet are hard to top. The view from the lookout is well worth the short climb, and you can’t help but be spellbound by the swirls of dazzling white sand and vibrant water.
It’s not just the tropics of Queensland that boast blissful beaches. Bondi Beach is nestled right against the thriving city of Sydney, yet the water glows with a blue-green purity in the sunlight. It’s a gorgeous complement to the trendy bustle of Bondi’s streets; a place where the best of two worlds invites you to play.
The Blue Mountains were named for the hue that tints their slopes when viewed from a distance; the result of light refracting off the fine mist discharged by the vast forests of eucalyptus trees. The range is a bushwalkers’ paradise, with scenic trails that meander past native flora and spectacular waterfalls towards breathtaking outlooks. Don’t miss out on a stroll through the streets of Katoomba, which is rich with heritage buildings and boutique shopping opportunities.
The hot gold hush of noon
This is not a place, but a sensation that is surely known by everyone who has ever called Australia home. At noon, the sunlight beats down as if it can never love the land enough, and all living things slow down to accommodate the power of its embrace.
An opal-hearted country
Coober Pedy and the surrounding region supply the majority of the world’s opals, but the town offers much more than just these exquisite, milky gems. Savvy locals learned that burrowing their homes out of the hillside was the best way to escape the scorching heat, and you can tour these ingenious dwellings or stay the night in an ‘underground’ hotel.
Explore the spectacular landscape of Breakaways Conservation Park, wander the halls of an underground museum, then head to the Coober Pedy Opal Fields Golf Club to play a round of night golf on the completely grassless course. Glowing balls and flag sticks ensure you can still go for a round while escaping the merciless heat, but you need to book in advance with a minimum of four players.
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The Kimberley Rocks of Ages
The rock making up the cliffs is old, so old, it predates life on earth. Let that sink in for a moment.
“I can’t see any fossils in any these rocks,” I ask my guide Carly.
“These rocks were formed before there was anything to fossilise,” she replies plainly.