Three Ways to See Australia

Planning a visit to Australia can be daunting given its size and scale. Here are itineraries for families, faithful visitors and foodies.

Contact Indagare for assistance planning a trip to Australia. Our specialists can match you with the hotels that are right for you, plan great meals and activities, introduce you to our favorite guides and arrange for special access.  

Australia for Families

Australia’s anchor attractions are (in shorthand) the Bridge, the Rock and the Reef. Start with the Bridge—that is, Sydney’s Harbour Bridge. The icon is used to identify Sydney as the best first stop on an itinerary. Here, travelers should book a boat charter one day and visit Sydney’s beaches another: waves await surfers in Bondi, while the best family spot is the well-manicured Bronte. A popular trail that links the two is a fun way to experience both.

Related: Why Go Now: Australia

Next, the Rock. Head to the Red Center of the country, and check into Longitude 131°, the most luxurious lodge in the region and a perfect base from which to explore the two huge rocks, Uluru and Kata Tjuta, that are the area’s main draws. More than 500 million years ago, they were part of a large mountain range in Western Australia but were washed down the river when the area flooded and deposited where they are today. The rocks—whose tips alone are visible, with about two-thirds of their mass buried in the earth—have a strong cultural and historical significance for the Aborigines. Popular activities here include stargazing, nature walks, skydiving, biking and learning about aboriginal culture.

Finally, the Reef. Enjoy snorkeling and water sports in the Whitsunday Islands, an ideal base from which to explore the Great Barrier Reef. Stay at a remote retreat—Indagare can advise on which is right for you—from a lush island paradise to a romantic beachfront hotel—and mix active water activities with downtime, including spa treatments and beach picnics.

Related: Behind the Scenes with Indagare: Australia and New Zealand

Of course, Australia has attractions beyond the big three, not least its unique wildlife. If you have time, visit Kangaroo Island, in South Australia. Acclaimed as Australia’s Galápagos, it boasts nature reserves filled with indigenous oddballs like kangaroos, koalas and wombats. You can also purchase a sweet souvenir—honey produced by the world’s only colony of Ligurian bees, which make their home here.

Australia for Devoted Fans

After doing the classic Australia circuit, you’ll still have a lot to explore on your second and third visits. Return travelers should start in the Outback with a seven-day road trip through Western Australia, beginning in Broome and ending in Ningaloo Reef. This route takes you through isolated but thrilling territory—stop at 80-Mile Beach to collect sand dollars—and concludes at the massive, pristine coral reef (161 miles in length).

Related: Seven to Know: Australia

Next, visit Coober Pedy, a fascinating town located in the South Australian outback, in one of the finest opal-mining regions in the world (come ready to browse the local jewelers). The weather is so hot that locals used mining bores to carve out caves as homes. In fact, even the Desert Cave Hotel is entirely underground. Golfers should try out the local course, whose greens are made from sand and oil.

Related: How to Have a Luxurious Vacation in Australia for Less

The second-to-last stop should be Tasmania and the funky Museum of Old and New Art (MONA). Founded by collector David Walsh and located on the Berriedale peninsula, it presents edgy shows consisting largely of works drawn from Walsh’s vast contemporary art holdings.

Related: Tasmania Today: Seven to Know

Canberra has long been dismissed as a sterile metropolis conceived solely to resolve the spat between Melbourne and Sydney over which should be country’s capital. But that perception is changing, thanks to the regeneration of the city’s Brooklyn-like Braddon neighborhood. The coolest place to stay is Hotel Hotel, on which 60 local artists collaborated to design every detail, from the key cards to the water pitchers.

Australia for Gourmets

Blessed with a multitude of land- and ocean-based microclimates, Tasmania is known for its excellent produce, including stone fruit; products, like sparkling wine; and fish, such as tuna, much of which is earmarked for Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji market. Taste some top-tier bubbly at Jansz Tasmania winery, or sign up for a class at the Agrarian Kitchen cooking school, where you’ll spend the morning foraging and the afternoon cooking what you’ve found. To enjoy local ingredients without any effort, overnight at the Saffire Freycinet Lodge and order the tasting menu.

Related: Top Tables Sydney

Famously relaxed about almost everything, Australians are very serious about coffee. Melbourne, where most of the Italians arriving in the country after World War II settled, is the spiritual home of long blacks and flat whites. Start your java quest at Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar, which claims to have the first espresso machine to operate in the country.

Take the edge off of all that caffeine in Sydney, where a proliferation of closet-sized craft cocktail bars are taking over a drinking scene that was once dominated by rowdy pubs. Favorite spots include Bulletin Place, whose menu is revised daily according to what is best, and the futuristic PS40, a Rube Goldberg–like factory/bar known for its house-bottled soda.

Related: Two Weeks in Australia

Cap off your trip with a visit to the Margaret River wine region, known for its Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay and home to more than 150 wineries that have sprung up since the first one opened, in 1967. A can’t-miss experience is a meal at Danny Angove’s bistro at Leeuwin Estate.

Contact Indagare for assistance planning a trip to Australia. Our specialists can match you with the hotels that are right for you, plan great meals and activities, introduce you to our favorite guides and arrange for special access.  

Published onJanuary 18, 2018

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