Pack your bag for these 11 unique Australian experiences
From little-known geological anomalies to luxury digs that have just opened, consider adding these destinations to your must-see list and experience a new twist in tourism that contributes to protecting and bringing to light a new constellation of natural and cultural treasures.
Wrap the sand in your toes along the beaches of Esperance, WA
For a country of sun-worshippers, it’s no surprise the two-year lockdown has become an unofficial, low-key search for Australia’s best beach.
And if Instagram likes are any indication, the top prize appears to have gone to the remote town of Esperance, along Western Australia’s desolate south coast, more than 400 miles south- east of Perth. Esperance not only took first place, but also second and third.
That’s because the sprawling city of 15,000 boasts three very different beach experiences in its surroundings.
The talc-white sands of Twilight Beach and Lucky Bay form vast white landscapes – with the addition of friendly kangaroo footprints. Hellfire Bay, overlooking a distant offshore archipelago that is home to a thriving colony of seals and sea lions.
A bonus prize goes to Lake Hillier, which isn’t a swimming beach, strictly speaking, but another spectacular body of water, tinged pink due to its high salinity.
Check into one of Melbourne’s exciting new hotels
Despite all the logistical hurdles it has faced over the past two years, Melbourne’s hospitality scene has emerged from the pandemic completely revitalized, with half a dozen high profile openings easily.
Several, including the kaleidoscopic W (pictured) and the luxurious new Ritz-Carlton Melbourne, with its opulent 80th-floor lobby overlooking the city, are in the central business district.
Slightly beyond the city center, Four Seasons will soon anchor a gleaming new tower along Southbank, and hip Australian hotelier Ovolo has just opened in upmarket South Yarra on trendy Toorak Street. Road.
Admire the ancient rock art of Arnhem Land
A vast and sacred realm for the Indigenous peoples of northern Australia, Arnhem Land requires entry permits issued by the governing Aboriginal Trust.
This is part of a concerted attempt to protect its monolithic rock art sites and marine reserves from overtourism.
Get a permit from responsible tour operators like Venture North or Lords Safaris, and spend most of the week exploring sights like Mount Borradaile – with its intricate anthropomorphic rock art carvings – and the national park’s jutting tropical fjords of Garig Gunak Barlu, whose deep, rolling coves are home to tuna, sharks and a gigantic trevally known as the trevally.
Base yourself at Venture North’s zero-waste Cobourg Coastal Camp, where glamping tents are dotted along the edge of a cliff with sweeping views of the peaceful marine park below.
Enjoy a Sydneysider weekend in the south
Like citizens of every other major city in the world, Sydneysiders escaped the big smoke as the working week grew more amorphous.
Most of them flocked south, buying up beach shacks along the coast in booming New South Wales towns like Kiama, Jervis Bay and Shoalhaven.
Follow the crowds and hang your hat in one of the new cabins at Jackson Ranch, three and a half hours from Sydney, where the forest meets the sea, or charter Dovecote (pictured), a luxury coastal farm stay with striking geometric details.
Try a variety of indigenous flavors at Paperbank Camp’s Gunyah Restaurant, where foraged regional produce comes together in multi-ethnic dishes ranging from duck and French desserts to Asian greens and rice.
In the evening, stroll along the beach, where bioluminescent plankton tints the dark, crashing waves a shade of Yves Klein blue.
Fly over the Bungle Bungles of Western Australia
Like a thousand little Ulurus, all nestled in the heart of the Outback, the Bungle Bungles tell a unique story of primeval ravines carved out by ancient rivers and the wind.
Today, the stone mounds are only explored by a fifth of the number of visitors who visit Uluru’s famous red rock domes.
They reveal hidden caves and rocks, but are best explored from the air on a scenic helicopter flight. Get dropped off by helicopter at El Questro or Berkeley River Lodge, two lavish adventure lodges that will help you explore more of the vast Kimberley
Road trip on Tasmania’s quiet and unspoilt east coast
Australia’s most scenic road trip doesn’t take place on the mainland at all, but connects some of Tasmania’s otherworldly seascapes.
Allow four days to travel from Freycinet National Park, a winding peninsula of crescent beaches that juts into the sea like a dragon’s tail, to the rocky shores of Binalong Bay. Essential stops include The Hazards, a small mountain range, where you have to climb to the summit of Mount Amos for a panoramic view of the perfectly circular Wineglass Bay, the most photographed beach in the region.
The wide, crowd-friendly, crowd-free beaches lie before you; pass the village of Bicheno and you’ll reach the Bay of Fires – poetically named for the flaming pyres that the extinct Aboriginal population lit along its shores.
The name is still apt: nowadays it’s flanked by huge granite boulders that have been turned orange by the encroaching lichen, making them look like a coral reef that has migrated to shore.
Slow down for small town living in Mudgee, NSW
An emerging, award-winning wine scene helps put Mudgee – an 1850s Wild West-style gold mining town in the Blue Mountains, three hours northwest of Sydney – on the map, but so is the Warrakirri Dining Experience, 100% Aboriginal ownership (illustrated) which has made the township an essential stop on any foodie’s itinerary.
The five-course, four-hour meal highlights not only endemic ingredients like crocodile, gum leaf and rainforest fruits, but also live music and storytelling.
The result is an elevated bush tucker, with dishes like dukkah-crusted kangaroo and pan-seared lime barramundi.
Follow in the footsteps of Aboriginal explorers in WA’s Francois Peron National Park
It’s impossible to get a sense of a 25,000-year-old culture in a single day. But you can try, on a quick tour with Wula Gura Nyinda, a tour company run by Darren “Capes” Capewell, a descendant of the nomadic Malgana people who once roamed the rugged Peron Peninsula.
Fly on a regional flight from Perth and choose how fast you embark on a wide range of activities, from short hikes and kayaking to soaking in an artesian hot spring and board game sessions. didgeridoo.
What sets the routes apart is not how fast or slow you ride, but the captivating tale of Capes from local mythology and the use of traditional ‘Songlines’ navigation – skills that bring a reverence for the sleeping land hard to find since the arrival of Europeans.
Glide under the waves in a submarine off the coast of Queensland
The Great Barrier Reef is getting all the attention – good and bad, given the widespread coral bleaching and dwindling marine life in recent years.
But a little further south on the Sunshine Coast, near Brisbane, there’s a new, family-friendly way to see the sea, even for those who aren’t PADI certified.
New operator Down Under Submarines gives families a new – and blue – perspective of our planet, with a submersible craft that can descend 30 meters below sea level (that’s as far as advanced recreational divers are allowed to go). go).
Up to 27 passengers can make the trip at a time, coming face to face with some 175 species of reef fish, vibrant corals, turtles, stingrays and sharks, all visible from oversized portholes.
Sip premium wine and cider in South Australia’s Clare Valley
While South Australia’s Barossa Valley is perhaps the state’s best-known wine region, don’t overlook the dry, mineral Reislings and fruity ciders of the Clare Valley. The area is just 90 minutes further from Adelaide – just enough to encourage intimate, crowd-free tastings at places like Grosset, which serves biodynamic pours from an old stone building that was once a butterhouse.
Spend the night nearby at Bungaree Station, a mid-19th century sheep ranch that has been lovingly converted into a family hostel.
Back near Adelaide, spend an extra evening (or five) at the brand new Sequoia Lodge, which is vying to be South Australia’s most luxurious stay with an ambitious culinary program and treetop views from glass and wood chambers.
Visit a revolutionary new museum in Perth
In stark contrast to the crimson brick of Perth’s historic city centre, Western Australia’s newest and finest museum, Boola Bardip, continues the city’s bid to return land to its original custodians – the Whadjuk Nyoongar people.
The museum’s name roughly translates to “many stories” in the local language, and its galleries highlight the incredible diversity of culture found throughout Western Australia.
A permanent exhibit includes a prehistoric version of a mineral hall, paired with artwork that explores how Indigenous communities think about the origins of creation; others revolve around contributions to greater Australian society and feature cultural artefacts from antiquity to modern times.
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