Australia – 9 good reasons to holiday at home!

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Two of Australia’s favourite personalities, comedian Hamish Blake and author Zoe Foster-Blake, share nine of their ‘must see’ Australian destinations. Uluru, Ningaloo Reef and the Great Barrier Reef feature, but so too does Kangaroo, Bruny and Lord Howe Islands, along with Karijini and the Kimberley in West Australia.

1. Bay of Fires, Tasmania

Hamish says, “My mates have raved about the natural beauty . I also love that it’s a little tricky to get to, so it’s quieter. I think those spots are always worth it.”

In Tasmania’s Bay of Fires region you’ll find crystal-clear waters, white sandy beaches and striking orange lichen-covered boulders. Extending along the coast from Binalong Bay to Eddystone Point,  you could explore this remote and breathtaking landscape on your own, with an Indigenous guide on the four-day Wukalina Walk or a four-day guided Bay of Fires Lodge Walk. Or, if you’re short on time, hop aboard The Gardens afternoon cruise to see the southern reaches of the Bay of Fires, where you may just be lucky enough to see whales, fur seals, sea lions and dolphins. Back in the town of Binalong Bay, settle in for a feast at Lichen restaurant and cafe and be sure to drop past Lease 65 Oyster Farm for a freshly shucked entree.


Walking the Bay of Fires beaches on the Wukalina Walk. Credit Fiona Harper

Walking the Bay of Fires beaches on the Wukalina Walk. Credit Fiona Harper

2. The Kimberley, Western Australia

Two billion years of natural history are worth waiting for on WA’s remote Kimberley coast. The geology alone is extraordinary, with ochre rock formations created during earthly movements, twisted by time and eroded over millennia. Waterfalls blow fine mist over clifftops, giant boab trees stand like proud sentinels and Aboriginal rock art is concealed in craggy crevices and beneath overhangs. Among all this age, there’s the most sought after commodity: peace, best achieved while reclining on the deck of a small expedition cruise ship cruising the Kimberley coast.


Kimberley rock art is estimated to be up to 60,000 years old. Credit Fiona Harper

Kimberley rock art is estimated to be up to 60,000 years old. Credit Fiona Harper

3. Bruny Island, Tasmania

Located south east of Hobart and easily accessible from the town of Kettering, Bruny Island provides a true wilderness experience. Popular for beach goers and foodies, Bruny Island is also popular with nature-lovers and hikers. The island landscape is rugged and relatively untouched that is both dramatic and beautiful. Spend your days exploring the walking trails, and swimming, surfing or fishing at beaches you’ll likely have all to yourself. Indulge in Bruny Island’s flourishing fine food and wine industry. Highlights include  Bruny Island Cheese Co. for traditional European cow’s and goat’s milk cheeses, Australia’s southernmost vineyard, Bruny Island Premium Wines, or make yourself a picnic at Bruny Island Berry Farm, at Adventure Bay on South Bruny Island. 


Bruney Island is a foodie and adventure lovers’ dream holiday destination. Credit Fiona Harper

Bruney Island is a foodie and adventure lovers’ dream holiday destination. Credit Fiona Harper

4. Kangaroo Island, South Australia

Almost half of Kangaroo Island was affected by bushfires last summer, though much was untouched, and the island’s beauty is unchanged. The lure of seeing wildlife in its natural habitat remains one of the best reasons to visit Kangaroo Island. You can swim with wild dolphins at Kangaroo Island Marine Adventures, then sample organic Ligurian honey at Island Beehive and taste wine at cellar doors across the island, all in one day!  With little traffic, King Island is a great place to explore by bike, with many hotels and accommodation providers making bikes available

Since the bushfires, ecotourism venture Exceptional Kangaroo Island has partnered with local charity Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife to take visitors to the largest tract of untouched bushland on the western end of the island.  On this hands-on full-day tour you could actively take part in conservation efforts to regenerate the island’s vast wilderness. Opportunities exist to participate in wildlife surveys, check fencing and motion cameras while getting a close understanding of the endemic sooty dunnart (an endangered tiny carnivorous marsupial), followed by a gourmet picnic lunch in the bush.  Efforts are rewarded with a guided tour of Flinders Chase National Park to explore nature’s gravity-defying sculpture, Remarkable Rocks, as well as Admirals Arch – home to a large colony of fur seals. 


Enjoy Kangaroo Island’s natural beauty on a bike. Credit Tourism Australia

Enjoy Kangaroo Island’s natural beauty on a bike. Credit Tourism Australia

5. Lord Howe Island, New South Wales

Jun one hour’s flight from Sydney or Brisbane, Lord Howe Island is a World Heritage-listed Island paradise where shoes are optional and the lifestyle is laidback. With only 400 visitors allowed on the island at any time, and just 300 permanent residents, Lord Howe Island is one of Australia’s best-kept secrets. Here you can swim with turtles at Old Settlement Beach, feed the fish and snorkel with baby Reef sharks at Ned’s beach, or take an eight-hour guided trek up Mount Gower, which is considered to be one of the Great Walks of Australia.

READ ABOUT Dani Rourke’s love of LHI

A worthwhile experience is booking a snorkelling or diving tour with an operator such as Pro Dive Lord Howe Island to see some of the more spectacular snorkel and premier dive sites such as Ball’s Pyramid. This is a must for all experienced divers and the boat ride alone is worth it just for the spectacular views. And for those that don’t like to get wet, there is also a two-hour glass bottom boat tour available with Lord Howe Environmental Tours. For the kids, plan a trip to the calm, clear waters of Ned’s Beach.


Hiking on Lord Howe Island is an extraordinary way to see the island’s natural beauty. Credit Pinetrees Lodge

Hiking on Lord Howe Island is an extraordinary way to see the island’s natural beauty. Credit Pinetrees Lodge

6.Karijini National Park, Western Australia

Often described by travellers as a journey to ‘the centre of the earth’, WA’s Karijini National Park has some of the world’s most impressive freshwater pools. You can hike through the Hancock Gorge trail to Kermits Pool where a private watering hole nestled between narrow passages and rugged rock faces awaits. Base yourself at Karijini Eco-retreat and spend your days exploring various trails that will lead you to more hidden gems. 


Karijini Eco Retreat. Credit Karijini Eco Retreat and Tourism Australia

Karijini Eco Retreat. Credit Karijini Eco Retreat and Tourism Australia

7. Great Barrier Reef, Queensland

At 2,300km long, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system in the world. Swim, snorkel, dive, sail or view this living masterpiece from the air – whichever way you see the Reef is bound to leave lasting memories. Whether you explore the stunning Whitsunday Islands, trek the ancient Daintree Rainforest or relax on luxurious tropical islands resorts such as Orpheus Island Lodge, eco-oriented Elysian Retreat where the entire resort is run on solar power, or keep it simple and pitch a tent on Lady Musgrave Island where there is no infrastructure beyond compositing toilets and beachside camping sites where turtles come ashore to nest, the Great Barrier Reef is all about nature.  

Learn about Indigenous culture and First Nation’s connection to sea country with Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel  where Aboriginal guides, whose traditional ownership of sea country stretches from the Frankland Islands south of Cairns to Port Douglas in its north, share their stories. Departing from Cairns, you will enjoy a whole day adventure on the Great Barrier Reef with guided snorkel tours while learning about the ancient relationships between man, marine creatures and the ecosystem they’ve shared for tens of thousands of years.


Camping on Lady Musgrave Island, where days revolve around the rising tide and setting sun. Credit Fiona Harper

Camping on Lady Musgrave Island, where days revolve around the rising tide and setting sun. Credit Fiona Harper

8 Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia

Midway up the West Australia coast, offshore from Northwest Cape and between Exmouth and Coral Bay lies Ningaloo Reef. The best destination to get up close and snap a picture of worlds the biggest fish, the whale shark, Ningaloo Reef is also home to a plethora of other sea creatures including turtles, tropical fish, dolphins and colourful coral garden. Join a tour in Exmouth or Coral Bay and pick a boat with its own spotter plane for best results.

Bed down at luxe glamping hideaway of Sal Salis. With an enviable beachfront setting and Ningaloo Reef only a few steps off the beach, each of its 16 safari tents are fitted with hard floors, a real bed, eco ensuite and sun-heated shower. Don’t miss sundowners as the sun sets over the Indian Ocean followed by dinner under the stars. It doesn’t get better than this.

Check out the Exmouth Visitor Centre for more information on visiting Ningaloo Reef.

9 Uluru, Northern Territory

Uluru seems to exude a powerful presence from the moment you first set eyes on its ochre-hued flanks. The stunning colours of this 348-metre high monolith change throughout the day as sunshine and shadows cast the rock with shades of light. With over 100 activities and experiences on offer at Uluru, don’t miss the Sounds of Silence, afour-hour dining experience served on a viewing platform overlooking the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. After one of Australia’s most spectacular sunsets, enjoy hearing stories about the universe above as you dine beneath the stars. Bruce Munro’s Field of Light, is crafted from more than 50,000 solar-powered stems crowned with glass spheres lighting up the night’s sky. The spheres illuminate the red deserts night sky with changing colours from brilliant violet, ochre, blue and white creating a magical scene.

About the author: Fiona Harper is a Queensland-based travel writer – follow Fiona at Travel Boating Lifestyle


Every Australian should see Uluru at least once. Credit Tourism Australia

Every Australian should see Uluru at least once. Credit Tourism Australia


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