My Big Australian Bucket List

I know I keep going on out about it but gosh this place is big. I was lucky enough to have explored a lot of this island continent on my gap year and since becoming a travel blogger but it seems that every time I go on Instagram or open a travel magazine I discover another beautiful corner I long to see.  I’ve vowed to see more of Australia over the coming months (years) and thus compiled this bucket list of staggeringly beautiful destinations as well as some super cool places to stay in them.

Be prepared to have your mind blown by spell-binding pictures!

Destination: Tasmania

See: Tasmania has been well and truly on the Aussie tourism radar since Lonely Planet named it as one of the world’s top ten regions to visit in 2015. A few searches on Google and it went straight to the top of my bucket list. Highlights include Wineglass Bay, The Bay Of Fires, Cradle Mountain.

Who wouldn't want a sip of this? Wineglass Bay Tasmania

Who wouldn’t want a sip of this? Wineglass Bay, Tasmania

Stay: Launched late last year, Pumphouse Point is an 18-suite hotel hidden inside an abandoned electrical station. Rooms are split between The Shorehouse (on land, obvs) and The Pumphouse, which sits 250 metres into a lonely lake in a World Heritage-listed wilderness. Wow moments were made of this.

Pumphouse Point Lake St Clair

Pumphouse Point, Lake St Clair, Tasmania

Destination: The Kimberley

See: The Kimberley is a vast yet little known corner of Western Australia, which happens to be larger than 75% of the world’s countries! (How crazy is that?!) This sunburned corner of the country is home to rugged gorges, vast desert and dazzling waterfalls. High on my wish list is a camel ride through the desert at Broome and a drive to the beehive-shaped Bungle Bungles of Purnululu National Park.

The Kimberley, Western Australia - image by australia.com

The Kimberley, Western Australia – image by australia.com

Stay: Not your average caravan park – Lake Argyle comes with the best infinity pool in The Kimberley!

Infinity Pool at Lake Argyle Caravan Park

Infinity Pool at Lake Argyle Caravan Park

Destination: Esperance

See: At the bottom end of Western Australian is one of Australia’s whitest beaches (Lucky Bay) and some mind-boggling pink lakes. Pink Lake (7 kilometres from Esperance) is set against a backdrop of some of Australia’s most stunning coastal scenery. In the right weather conditions, the lake turns a soft shade of pink due to the high concentration of algae in the water.

Lake Hillier, Middle Island, Esperance, WA. Image by australia.com

Lake Hillier, Middle Island, Esperance, WA – image by australia.com

Stay: Somewhere near Lucky Bay with these fellas!

Lucky Bay - image by visitesperance.com

Lucky Bay – image by visitesperance.com

Destination: Uluru

See: I visited the Red Centre in 2012 whilst working on a project for Flight Centre and it was the most incredible experience. I’d love to return with my Aussie other half, who has never been to the Northern Territory nor seen that majestic rock. I’d love us to visit King’s Canyon, Kakadu National Park and drive from Alice to Uluru to watch the sunset at that truly magical place.

Uluru

You never forget your first glimpse of Uluru

Up close with Uluru

Getting up close with Uluru in 2012

Stay: Standing at the gateway to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Longitude 131° is the closest accommodation to Uluru, and with its eco-smart fire pits and bespoke Baillie beds it’s one of the most luxurious places you can stay in the Outback. I can only imagine how incredible it must be to wake up and see such a sacred icon from your bed.

Update: I went back to Uluru with Justin. You can read all about it here. We stayed here.

Longitude 131° at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Longitude 131° at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Destination: The Whitsundays

See: I sailed the Whistsundays during my gap year in Australia but they are so beautiful I want to go back for a second look. In particular I want to revisit the spectacular Whitehaven Beach – 7 kilometres of squeaky pure sand – and do some more snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef.

Update: I did it! Read all about it here. I stayed here.

Whitehaven Beach, The Whitsundays

Whitehaven Beach, The Whitsundays

Stay: Luxury hotel group One & Only gave this perfectly positioned property on Hayman Island an $80-million refurbishment. That pool was made for posing (and sunset watching!).

The very sexy pool at One & Only Hayman Island. Image by australiantraveller.com

The very sexy pool at One & Only Hayman Island – image by australiantraveller.com

Destination: Jervis Bay

See: This one isn’t so far from my Sydney base. In fact I’ve driven past Jervis Bay previously but never had the chance to stop and admire the white sands of Hyams Beach. It’s just 2.5 hours drive from Sydney so hopefully I’ll tick this one off someday soon.

Stay: I’m dying to stay at Paperbark Camp, a ‘glampsite’ which combines unique luxury tented accommodation with good food and friendly service (including a warm welcome from the resident ‘roos, I’m told).

Deluxe Safari Tent at Paperbark Camp

Deluxe Safari Tent at Paperbark Camp

Destination: Hunter Valley

See: Also close enough to Sydney to make me feel bad for not having been already is the famous wine region of Hunter Valley. My research tells me the region is not only great for wine lovers but also offers incredible rural scenery and a big foodie scene too.

Stay: I recently discovered the luxury Spicers Retreats and it transpires they have one nestled amongst the vineyards of the Hunter Valley. I can imagine it been a really cosy and indulgent place to snuggle in during the winter months.

Spicers Vineyards Estate, Hunter Valley

Spicers Vineyards Estate, Hunter Valley

Destination: Byron Bay

See: I have actually been to Byron Bay but I was ill at the time and saw not much more than the local doctors surgery. I’d love to go back and soak up the surfer vibes, shop the cool boutiques (especially the gypsy-esque designs of Spell Byron Bay) and explore the health food scene.

Stay: I’d love to indulge in daily yoga and rainforest walks at the multi award-winning The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa.

Update: We went back to Byron too. Find my stylish guide here. We stayed here.

Rainforest walks at Byron at Byron Resort and Spa

Destination: The Ghan 

See: This last one is not exactly a destination but rather a journey I’d love to take from one end of Australia to the other. The Ghan is a passenger railway which runs from Darwin to Adelaide (its name honours the Afghan camel drivers who used to traverse the region) and takes you right through the centre of the country. The journey takes 2 days in either direction but you can extend your trip by taking off rail adventures in Katherine, Coober Pedy and Alice Springs.

Journey through the centre of Australia on The Ghan

Journey through the centre of Australia on The Ghan

Places I’ve been to and loved that you might like to add to your Aussie bucket list:

Fraser Island – drive on the beaches of the world’s largest sand island and bathe in crystal clear lakes.

Port Douglas – where rainforest meets barrier reef.

Noosa – a gorgeous resort on the Sunshine Coast. I had surf lessons here – lots of great memories even if I was terrible at it.

Drive the Great Ocean Road – incredibly scenic drive with some interesting rock formations (i.e The 12 Apostles and London Arch) along the way.

See the cities – of course, Australia’s cities have much to offer too. My favourite include Sydney (obvs), Melbourne, Brisbane, Darwin and Perth.

So that’s my big bad Australian bucket list. I think it will take me a good few years and some big bucks to get through it. Is there anywhere you think I should add?

Tips For Travelling Australia

25 Comments

  • Megan says:

    I stayed at Pumphouse Point in May. It is amazing! I’m hoping to go back in the summer. You will love Tassie – the food scene here especially is going off!

    • Jayne Gorman says:

      I know I’ve been saying this for a year but I do intend to make it to Tassie some day soon. Everything I read (including your blog) makes me desperate to visit!

  • zoe woodend says:

    Will be my first time in Perth in December, any recommendations? Rottnest is on my list…..

    • Jayne Gorman says:

      You must see Cottesloe Beach – so stunning. Fremantle is cool, I did a night prison tour there but I have a feeling the prison is now a YHA hostel! Also Kings Park has beautiful views of the city, a very pretty perch for a picnic.

    • Catherine says:

      Hey Zoe,

      (Jayne hope you don’t mind me jumping in here!), I used to live in Perth and went to school there, so I go back every year to visit fam&friends and have lots of tips and recommendations on my blog! You can find my Perth posts here if you’re interested. I also have a few on Rottnest.

      Hope they help! Drop me a tweet or email if you need any more advice!

      C x

  • Talia says:

    I left Australia 6 months ago, and just agreed to stay in the UK for another 18 months… Now I’m almost about to regret the decision! I’ve only been to a few of these places, and the rest are going on my bucket list as well! So tempting…

  • Yeah, I’m gonna need to go back to Australia. Great list.

    http://www.adventurousappetite.com

    • Jayne Gorman says:

      Ha, I need to get exploring don’t I. I wrote this as a reminder not to take my location for granted!

  • These all look absolutely incredible! I was never that fussed about visiting Australia as it seems like a real distance to travel from the UK for not that much of a culture shock (in comaprison to Asia, Africa, South America etc.), but travel blogs are thankfully making me see how beautiful the country is! I need to get over there now!

    Danielle | http://www.escapingessex.wordpress.com

    • Jayne Gorman says:

      It’s such a vast and diverse country with so much beautiful dramatic scenery and years of ancient culture, let alone the modern day food and leisure scene. I get what you mean but I think many underestimate it. Come visit 🙂

  • I grew up near the Hunter Valley and recommend it to anyone who asks where they should travel down under. Its such a lovely part of the world but its also a really easy weekend away for Sydney based peeps.

    Never considered the Ghan but I could see it having a certain appeal, its not really countryside you would see everywhere

    • Jayne Gorman says:

      We must go to the Hunter Valley soon. You so often forget to explore what’s on your own doorstep but it sounds like we shouldn’t miss this area.

  • Jodie Young says:

    I want to stay in all of the places you’ve listed but mostly the one in Kimberley with that amazing infinity pool. Am excited to read about these adventures when you do get to tick them off!

  • Alice says:

    I this post has made for wonderful Sunday daydreaming!

  • Hi Jayne,
    Visit Julia Creek – I can honestly say that when I stayed in this little Queensland outback town, it had the most incredible feeling of love and for the first time (and only time) I thought about making a home in a place which was in the middle of nowhere – with just one main road running through it.
    It’s also where I saw the Goldfish bowl we live in,for the first time. As I looked up to the gazillion stars in the night sky, holding my young daughter’s hand and contemplated how small we truly are and the wonders of the universe.
    A truly magical place
    🙂

  • Helen Tarver says:

    I loved Booker Bay up on the central coast, just an hour or so out of Sydney on the train. Fantastic coffee shop, Coast, to pass some time in, especially for brunch. And a hokey pokey chocolate ripple muffin. And visiting Uluru was the most magical experience, from the sunrise walks to the sunset dinner and star talk.

    But breakfast at Bills in Surry Hills was definitely on my food bucket list for that trip, and did not disappoint.

    I’m just thinking I should start another Australia bucket list. And a return trip to Bills would definitely be on it.

    • Jayne Gorman says:

      I’ve never heard of Booker Bay but you’ve made me want to look it up. Thanks for the tip 😉

      And I agree Bills is great, an Australian foodie bucket list would be awesome!

  • Catherine says:

    Lucky Bay is breathtaking, we went shortly after we moved there in 2007, and it was just incredible! Sadly didn’t see any kangas on the beach, but the water is the clearest I’ve ever seen and the sand is so clean and pure that it squeaks!

    I’d love to visit the Whitsundays and do The Ghan!

    C x | Lux Life

  • Tabitha says:

    These look absolutely amazing! Definitely going back to this post once my sister and I get into the specifics about our year in Australia. Can’t wait to read more, great blog!

    • Jayne Gorman says:

      Thank you! I remember how I excited I was to plan my first Aussie trip. Let me know if I can help with any tips. J

  • Jenelle says:

    Let us know next time you are back in Perth and I’ll meet you for coffee and share some of the best spots!
    xx Jenelle
    http://www.inspiringwit.com/

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