Angie’s Top 5 Places to Visit in Australia

October 2, 2019  By: Angie

Many of our past travelers regularly turn to us for all of their global travel planning needs as they know they will receive the same expertise, attention to detail and personalized service they’ve come to expect and love from AAC. It is with that in mind that we created our Out of Africa travel portfolio. Our destinations range from the wildlife-rich Galapagos Islands to the icy ends of the earth in Antarctica. We’ve chosen places that dovetail nicely with Africa, that have fascinating wildlife or that have found a place in our hearts. One of those destinations is Australia. Read on to learn more about Journey Specialist Angie’s Top 5 Places to Visit on the continent…

Australia is a melting pot of experiences – from the bush to the beach, to the red sand deserts and endless horizons. My travels through Australia have taken me along winding coastlines, through tropical rainforests and on breathtaking treks through canyons and bushland. There is something for everyone!

On a family adventure, we zip-lined through the Daintree Forest, marveled at the vibrant colors of the Great Barrier Reef and climbed the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Round two was a romantic getaway for two – we sipped fine wine in the Barossa Valley, enjoyed the sun and the sea with gorgeous view across the Whitsunday Islands and re-connected with nature on one of the many Great Walks. Round three – just for me! I tracked through Cradle Mountain with like-minded travelers and exchanged ‘G’days’ with friendly and colorful locals.

With so much to see, do and experience – no duration of time is ever long enough; however, below are some of my stand-out Aussie moments!

Freycinet and East Coast, Tasmania

A place where the aqua and turquoise waters of the ocean meet and provide contrast against the reddened sea-smoothed rocks that line the beach.

Stunning landscapes paired with fine wine and the world’s best seafood…what’s not to love? This region also plays host to one of Australia’s best luxury lodges – Saffire Freycinet Lodge. A stay is a truly exclusive experience and the perfect place to indulge. There are also some fantastic and unique activities on offer, such as connecting with nature while strolling along the beach with an indigenous guide to gain a deeper of the history of the region, visiting a working oyster farm or walking up to Wineglass Bay lookout.

Feeling adventurous? We loved our guided quad bike tour through eucalypt covered hills, through valleys and with a pit stop on a pristine hidden beach!

Photo courtesy Qualia
The stunning pool view from Qualia

Hamilton Island, Whitsundays

In a world without social media, the Whistunday Islands would be exactly where you would want to send that picture-perfect vacation postcard from! The 74 Whistunday Islands are close to the Great Barrier Reef and showcase dense rainforests, hiking trails, white sandy beaches and crystalline waters in every shade of blue.

Feeling a world away, a stay at Qualia is all about toes-in-the-sand, afternoon naps in the sun, a stroll along the beach and a dip in your private plunge pool. When not kicking back and taking in the views from your pavilion, head out on a scenic helicopter or seaplane, snorkel the Great Barrier Reef or enjoy sunset cocktails as you sail through the islands.

Photo courtesy Shangri-La Sydney
Night view of Sydney Harbor courtesy Shangri-La Sydney

Sydney

Sydney’s city lights glow by night, and by day you’ll find yourself learning how to surf at one of the world class beaches, cuddling a cute koala at Taronga Zoo or exploring Sydney’s iconic landmarks such as the Opera House or the world-famous Harbor Bridge.

My favorite time of the year is May during Sydney’s ‘Vivid’ festival, which brings together light, artists, music makers and brilliant minds. The whole inner-city lights up in a celebration of creativity!

Insider tip: My favorite place to stay is the Shangri-La Hotel Sydney. It’s a little slice of heaven!

Photo courtesy Emirates One&Only
Resident wildlife at the Emirates One&Only

Wolgan Valley, Blue Mountains

Just a short and scenic drive from Sydney, the Wolgan Valley is a great escape!

As we drove through the rugged mountains, we were spoiled with scenes of steep cliff faces blanketed by deep green eucalyptus forests. Arriving at Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, which is tucked away in a 7,000-acre conservancy, your instant reaction is ‘wow, just wow!’ This is a nature lover’s dream! The conservancy is home to wombat and wallabies, and days end with the sounds of kookaburras ‘laughing.’

From the lodge you can enjoy guided nature walks; signature wildlife and sundowner tours when the native animals become more active; explore the creeks, hills and ridgelines by horseback; or enjoy a romantic picnic.

Photo courtesy Andrew Brien
Photo courtesy Andrew Brien

Uluru

There is nowhere on Earth even remotely like Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Uluru, or Ayers Rock, is sacred to indigenous Australians and is thought to have started forming around 550 million years ago. The landscape is out of this world with its red earth tones in contrast to bright blue skies, but what is very special about this region is its cultural landscape and significance.

One of the best ways to appreciate Uluru is on foot. Travelers can journey through the spirited heartland with guided walks through Walpa Gorge, to a natural amphitheater on the Valley of the Winds walk or on the Uluru base walk. Dining outside gives you the chance to discover the wonders of the night sky. Nature is at its finest and most impressive at Uluru.

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