When it comes to vacation destinations, Australia is no shrinking violet. Big, bold and unbelievably beautiful, it’s a passionate showstopper of a country that travelers return to again and again. This country is simply a feast for the senses—from its incredible wildlife, pristine beaches and friendly locals, to its superb wine scene, vast open spaces and vibrant cities. And the real beauty is that you can sample everything that the big Aussie cities have to offer and then discover the natural gems that lie conveniently right on their doorsteps. Here are six Down Under destinations that won’t fail to make you fall truly, madly and deeply in love with Australia…
There’s never a dull moment in the Australia’s shopping, culture and foodie capital, which could explain why easygoing Melbourne has been named the ‘World’s Most Liveable City’ by The Economist for some six years running. Go high-end shopping at Chapel Street’s boutiques, head to hip Brunswick Street for vintage stores, spy funky street art on the side streets off Flinders Lane, grab a coffee and watch the St Kilda cool-crowd go by on Acland Street, or check out the upscale wine bars on Swan Street.
Australia’s cutest attraction can be found at Phillip Island, just a 90-minute drive south of Melbourne. Every night, as the sun slips into the sea, you can see hundreds of Little Penguins waddle up the beach to their sand dune burrows after a hard day’s fishing. You are sure to never forget this crazy-cute ‘Penguin Parade’ of the world’s smallest penguins on the island’s Summerland Beach.
Sydney’s warm weather, world-famous beaches, striking icons and tantalizing dining scene prove irresistible to travelers from across the globe. The city is home to the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Bondi Beach, so you’re never far from the selfie-spot of your dreams. Explore the hip inner city neighborhoods of Potts Point and Surry Hills, beach-hop through exclusive Vaucluse and dine and drink in artsy Chippendale. Take a relaxing stroll through the Royal Botanic Gardens, shop until you drop on Oxford Street, or go surfing at one of the city’s four National Surfing Reserve-registered beaches: Manly, North Narrabeen, Cronulla or Maroubra.
Are you looking for the perfect chill-out destination after some big-city fun? Then look no further than Byron Bay, which lies just eight hours north of Sydney. Famous for its beach-bum culture, lush rainforest, organic food scene and holistic lifestyle, Byron Bay’s vibe seems to be undeniably laid-back. Don’t be fooled though, because it’s also a great place to get the adrenaline pumping with some kayaking, surfing or sky-diving. You can also glide over the beautiful coastline in a hot air balloon—there’s plenty to keep your eyes peeled for, as humpback whales cruise along the coast, dolphins frolic in the bay and storms create rainbows on the mountains.
Blessed with sublime subtropical weather all year round, Brisbane is the undisputed urban gem in Queensland’s crown. Shop for pieces by Aussie designers at Queen Street Mall, stroll through the city’s quaint heritage shopping arcades or venture off the beaten track and escape the hustle and bustle of the Central Business District by taking a stroll down hidden lane-ways to discover cozy eateries and cool street art. And at the end of the day, soak up some incredible views of the city’s skyline as you sip Champagne at Cuvée Lounge Bar in the Sofitel Brisbane Central.
Located just 100 kilometers north of Brisbane, the gorgeous Sunshine Coast basks in some 300 days of glorious sunshine each year. From the majestic Glass House Mountains to the colored sands of Rainbow Beach, this coastline is all about sun-soaked rest and relaxation. With more than 100 kilometers of pristine sandy beaches, it’s a region of endless sands and easy smiles; of lush rainforests and sun-kissed surfers. Surf the breaks at the World Surfing Reserve that is Noosa, shop for treasures under the towering fig trees of Eumundi Market, or sample the trendy nightlife of Maroochydore.
Do you dream of falling in love with Australia? Of seeing a Sydney sunrise? Of people-watching in Melbourne’s coolest neighborhoods? Or watching tiny penguins waddle up a beach at sunset? Yes? Then come with us to Australia. Not only will you have the experience of a lifetime, but you will have a sophisticated itinerary that has been lovingly-created by Indus’ Australia experts. To find out more about our Australia tours, please feel free to contact us at any time.
About the Writer: Vickie Sam Paget
Vickie is a freelance writer and editor based in Vancouver, BC. When she’s not creating dynamic travel or tech content, globetrotting or gazing at the North Shore Mountains, you can usually find her curled up with a good book or sipping a pint of the good stuff in her local Irish bar.