As Australia’s state borders open up, it’s the perfect opportunity to rediscover why Australia is a top destination for global travellers. With a land mass 50% bigger than Europe, and boasting breath-taking and diverse landscapes, Australia offers a wide range of bucket-list travel experiences for every kind of traveller.
You can have a tropical island experience in Queensland, taste local cuisine and award-winning wine in South Australia or explore the striking red-centre and discover Australia’s own wonders of the world. We’ve compiled a list of our top 10 international bucket list swaps you can recreate in Australia.
1. Swap the Grand Canyon for Uluru and Kings Canyon
The awe-inspiring natural rugged formations of the Grand Canyon may seem a world away, so why not add Australia’s own majestic wonder, Uluru to your list? The centrepiece of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, the site is best discovered with a locally guided tour at the base of the rock, where you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the rich aboriginal history and cultural importance of Uluru. For the best views, we’d suggest visiting at sunrise or sunset, where you can watch the rock catch a light as the sun hits it.
Just over three hours from Uluru lies another rocky landmark – Kings Canyon. Travellers who are keen hikers can take the six-kilometre circuit around the rim and be rewarded with spectacular 360 degrees views of the fiery red centre.
2. Swap Greek Island hopping for the Whitsundays
Alive with diverse marine life and crystal-clear waters, the Whitsundays is the perfect swap for a Greek Islands holiday. The islands will provide you with spectacular sunsets, secluded beaches and clear moonlit nights. The islands are best explored by sea, where you can swim, sail, snorkel and scuba dive one of the seven wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef.
3. Swap Mexico’s sinkholes and cenotes for Mount Gambier’s
Mexico’s sinkholes and cenotes are some of the country’s most well-known natural attractions, with 20,000 of them across the country. These stunning swimming spots are created when limestone caves in and reveals underground caverns, surrounded by stalactites, with crystal clear often brightly coloured water. These natural sinkholes can also be found in Mount Gambier. Nestled on South Australia’s limestone coast, Mount Gambier’s sinkholes feature plunging gardens, aquatic formations and are dotted throughout the area – ideal for a picnic or a lazy afternoon activity.
4. Swap Scotch in Scotland for Tasmania’s distilleries
While sipping whisky in Scotland may be on your bucket list, Australia’s own Tasmania is known for producing some of the best whisky in the world. Tasmania’s picturesque scenery, lush greenery paired with the cool climate (which is ideal for distilling whisky) makes for a perfect Scotland swap. The island state offers more than 22 distilleries, more than any other state in Australia. Head to the Southern Midlands of Tasmania to visit Belgrove Distillery – one of the only distilleries in the world that grows all its own grain and malts and ferments, distils and barrels on site.
5. Swap the Pacific Coast Highway for the Great Ocean Road
One of the world’s most picturesque and well-known drives in the world, the Pacific Coast Highway from Los Angeles to San Francisco offers stunning coastal views and gorgeous national parks along its 1000 kilometre route. Australia’s answer (and arguably more beautiful) is the Great Ocean Road from Torquay to Portland in Victoria. The 300 kilometre route passes world-renowned beaches, national parks, shipwrecks and of course, the route’s most famous landmark, the Twelve Apostles. The natural limestone stacks are one of Australia’s most popular attractions and make for great photos.
6. Swap African safaris for Kakadu National Park
Safaris in Africa boast the opportunity to witness wild animals in their natural habitat. Australia’s wildlife is just as fascinating and at Kakadu National Park you’re bound to spot some of the country’s most beautiful bird species up close! With the Northern Territory’s vast wilderness as the incredible backdrop, about a third of Australia’s bird species can be found in the area. To see the sky light up and illuminate the wildlife, cruise the unspoilt waterways of the Yellow Water Billabong where you may even spot water buffalo and crocodiles lurking just below the depths.
7. Swap the Maldives for Kangaroo Island
Swap the Maldives for Kangaroo Island’s Antechamber Bay. With the white sand that the Maldives are known for, at Kangaroo Island you can experience deserted beaches, pristine coastline and even spot a dolphin or seal as you float in the crystal-clear water. With accommodation options for every budget, the island gives you the Maldives experience without the long-haul flight or eye-watering price tag.
8. Swap European foodie tours for South Australia’s food and wine regions
While foodies flock to Europe for its melting pot of cuisines and delectable wine, South Australia offers food and wine regions that rival even the best European foodie tours. Home to 18 wine regions and officially named a great wine capital of the world, you’re sure to find a drop that suits your taste. Head to the Barossa Valley for a tour and get a taste for the region’s famous full bodied reds or robust whites paired with mouth-watering food, all locally sourced.
9. Swap the Northern Lights for the Southern Lights
Visit the Northern Hemisphere’s counterpart, the Aurora Australis Southern Lights in Tasmania. Aurora Australis can be viewed all year round, but for your best chance of witnessing the bright sky the colder months (May to August) are ideal. One of the best places to catch a glimpse of the flickering shades of green, blue, purple and red is Bruny Island, the low light conditions make for an incredible viewing experience.
10. Swap the Venice Simplon Orient Express for the Indian Pacific
Although the original historic train journey retired in 1977, the sister train, Venice Simplon Orient Express still runs to the day, following the Orient Express’ original route from Paris to Istanbul. Australia’s answer to the Orient Express? The Indian Pacific, and more specifically, the Adelaide – Perth route. You can jump on the luxurious train in Adelaide and sit back while it takes you across Australia’s Outback. Catch glimpses of the Nullabor Plain; the world’s longest straight stretch of railway track as you journey across the wide expanse of South Australia.