by Anthony Bianco
If you’re planning a trip to Australia this summer, you’ll be spoilt for choice! The large expanse of this land means you can experience a crazy variety of places to visit and things to do – nothing will be the same! The only decision you’ll have to make is where to go!
Here are some ideas so you can start planning!
Reaching north to the Sunshine Coast, south to the Gold Coast, and incorporating Brisbane, the Scenic Rim and Toowoomba, you can spend weeks in South East Queensland discovering what it has to offer, and then tack on a visit down to northern New South Wales! From national parks, cosmopolitan cafes and vineyards to sunny warm days at the beach, South East Queensland and northern New South Wales have summer experiences you’ll never forget.
Many people head to the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast for the beaches and endless days of swimming and relaxing. The Sunshine Coast includes plenty of natural attractions such as sand dunes, freshwater lakes, and mangrove forests. Plus there’s the very chic Noosa if you’re into boutiques and fashion.
The city of Brisbane is also worth a look too. It’s changed a lot in the past 20 years and you’ll be surprised by the cosmopolitan mix of the great outdoor lifestyle, cafes, restaurants and green space. There are plenty of places to relax along the Brisbane River too as locals have embraced a lifestyle around this distinct geographic feature.
The Gold Coast is Australia’s largest non-capital city and rests alongside miles of beautiful sand beaches and rolling surf. The Gold Coast is home to the major theme parks: Sea World, Dream World, Movie World and Wet‘n’Wild Water Park as well as some great day trips such as the surrounding Gold Coast Hinterland. For more ideas, see our pages about the Gold Coast.
An hour and a half drive south of the Gold Coast is Byron Bay, just across the border in northern New South Wales. Cape Byron, 3 km south of Byron Bay, is mainland Australia’s most easterly point.
Byron Bay is more than a surfing destination - it has a bit of a hippy vibe and embraces diversity and hosts many events and music festivals too. Here you will find an eclectic mix of Australians, backpackers and international tourists all getting along and having a great Aussie summer holiday.
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Once you’ve finished exploring the great cosmopolitan city of Melbourne, one of Australia’s best road trips is the Great Ocean Road which starts west of Melbourne in the town of Torquay and finishes up in Nelson. The main attraction are the 12 Apostles which are huge limestone structures sitting in the Great Southern Ocean which have been exposed to the elements for millions of years.
This scenic drive also takes in picturesque towns, national parks, lakes and rivers; famous surfing beaches (Bells Beach) and you can also go whale watching and dolphin spotting.
See more at: https://www.visitgreatoceanroad.org.au/
Cairns and nearby Port Douglas are gateways to the Great Barrier Reef in far north Queensland. Summer is the rainy season (or wet season) in the Tropical North of Australia. However, this won’t dampen your ability to experience what the tropics can offer during this time.
During summer the region comes alive with waterfalls cascading through lush rainforest. There is a cable car - Skyrail – that takes you from the Cairns coast up the mountain range to the village of Kuranda. You can come back down via the Kuranda Scenic Railway if you wish for a change of scenery! There are scenic trips out to Green Island and Fitzroy Island as well as the Great Barrier Reef, and north up to the Daintree Rainforest.
Then take a road trip down to Airlie Beach via places like Mission Beach where you might see the rare cassowary cross the road, Ingham for its strong Italian heritage, and Townsville for a relaxed regional city break.
Once you reach Airlie Beach, the Whitsundays are one of the most popular places in Australia to visit for a good reason – you would have seen the iconic images of the heart shape reef and it’s a great place to relax on the beach, go snorkelling or diving and especially sailing.
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Australia’s best summer weather is located in its smallest and most southerly state, Tasmania. The island state sits on the Roaring Forties latitude and while it is chilly in winter; it has incredibly mild summers.
Established as a convict settlement, Tasmania is home to some of Australia’s most historic sites such as Port Arthur (100 km from Hobart). Many of Hobart’s early buildings were built using convict labour. These magnificent sandstone structures are still in use and include Salamanca Place, now a shopping and dining precinct.
If you’re into national parks and wilderness, you’re spoilt for choice – highlights include Freycinet National Park (there’s nothing like descending down into turquoise Wineglass Bay), Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, and the iconic Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair overland walk if you’re the adventurous type.
Western Australia has its own scenic region in the south west of the state. First of all, there’s Margaret River, or “Margs” for short. This laid back, village-based surfing region is located 277 kilometres south of Perth and enjoys a Mediterranean-style climate.
Margaret River produces some of Australia’s best wines. Most of the wineries in Margaret River are boutique and they operate cellar doors that are open to the public. The food, surf, wine, fresh air and relaxed attitudes make Margaret River a spectacular Australian summer destination.
Other places worth looking at are Albany, Esperance and surrounds where you can climb some of Australia’s largest trees (the Gloucester Tree), and witness some of the bluest water you’ve ever seen.
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If you love wine, Adelaide is your place! South Australia produces about half of all Australia’s wine and has four world class regions on its doorstep – the Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale, Clare Valley and Barossa Valley. Plus there’s the Limestone Coast heading towards Victoria.
If you’re into food, Adelaide has a great choice of eating establishments from cheap eats to fine dining. Otherwise, there are pleasant day trips around to the Fleurieu Peninsula, Victor Harbor, and Kangaroo Island.
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