Wild, beautiful and cosmopolitan
Wild, beautiful and cosmopolitan
Few people grasp the scale of this country until they visit. Perth to Sydney is a 5 hour flight and Sydney to Cairns is a 3 hour flight. With this in mind careful planning of a trip is essential and “doing” Australia in 2 to 3 weeks is just not possible! As Premier Aussie Specialists (as awarded by Tourism Australia) we will take the time and care to make sure you get the most out of your holiday according to your interests rather than trying to pack too much in, leaving you in need of a holiday when you return!
The classic first time visit is 'Sydney, Reef & Rock' starting in Sydney, experiencing all this great city has to offer, then a flight to Alice Springs or Uluru to tour the red centre and then fly on to Cairns, gateway to the barrier reef. This can be done in around 2 weeks give or take stopover requirements. There is quite a choice of stopovers on the way to Australia, just bear in mind that some airlines offer discounted rates on domestic flights if you travel with them internationally, this can present quite a saving if you have a multi stop itinerary. You may prefer a coastal selfdrive and Cairns, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide all have lovely routes between the cities that vary from 1 – 2 weeks.
It is worth getting out of the cities as the surrounding countryside is great for walking, wine tasting and wildlife. Hunter Valley and the Blue Mountains outside Sydney, Philip Island & Great Ocean Road outside Melbourne, Barossa Valley & Adelaide Hills outside Adelaide, Gold Coast & Lamington National Park outside Brisbane. You could easily fill a 2 week trip just basing yourself in one of the major cities.
Tasmania combines nicely with Sydney and/or Melbourne, from the history of Hobart and Port Arthur through the wilderness of Strahan and Cradle Mountain round to the stunning beaches at Freycinet there is something for everyone. There are also some fabulous 3 - 4 day walks which can be taken guided or self guided.
South Australia offers some great outdoors experiences – the Flinders Ranges, living underground at Coober Pedy or cruising the Murray River but a must is Kangaroo Island. Just a short flight or a ferry ride from Adelaide this island teems with wildlife. I thought our guide was on a wind up when he sent us for a short bush walk while he prepared lunch - "see how many koalas you can spot”. Well, we lost count at 40 something! You can take a day trip but we would really suggest an overnight stay to give you a chance to get to both ends of the island.
Over to Western Australia and starting in Perth, another great city and a cruise on the Swan river down to Fremantle is a great way to start your visit. Heading south you reach the Margaret River, a food and wine lovers paradise, definitely worth spending a couple of days down there. The coastal drive from Perth going north takes you towards Exmouth, Shark Bay and Monkey Mia where the wild dolphins come in to feed every day. The Ningaloo reef off this western coast is thought by many to be better than the Great Barrier Reef and if you time it right you may even get to swim with whale sharks.
The north west corner of Australia and the Gibb River Road is only really accessible between May & September, if you fancy a real outback experience this area is just stunning. The Kimberley coast line is abundant in Aboriginal rock art and best viewed from zodiacs. A number of cruise ships operate in this region between April & August. Darwin is the gateway to the Kimberley and also Katherine, Litchfield & Kakadu National Parks, most famous for the huge saltwater crocodiles. Again this is really best from April – September as it can be very humid the rest of the year.
Australia has some classic rail trips, The Ghan runs right through the middle of the country between Darwin and Adelaide with an option to stop in Alice Springs. The Indian Pacific runs from Sydney to Perth and the journey can be split in Adelaide. There is also the Sunlander and Queenslander running down the East Coast. A journey by rail really gives you a better idea of the size of the country and is a great way of getting around.
Whether you choose to travel independently, on an escorted tour, by camper, by car, by train or take a coastal cruise planning is the key to a successful visit to Australia. There is so much to see and do that you really have to narrow down to your specific interests and the longer you can go for the better.
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