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!
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.
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.
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.
Stay: Not your average caravan park – Lake Argyle comes with the best infinity pool in The Kimberley!
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.
Stay: Somewhere near Lucky Bay with these fellas!
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.
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.
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.
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!).
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?