Have you ever dreamed of an escape to the Land Down Under on a carefree vacation? It is a land renowned for its untamed nature, vibrant cities and easygoing attitude of welcoming citizens. However, be mindful of the fact that the Australian continent comes with steep prices in every respect, and be financially prepared before you embark for its shores.
Going to the far side of the world seems like the ultimate escapade and, if you know exactly what you want, you can turn this fantasy into reality. We’re here to give you some ideas on where to go exploring once you get there. Whether you’re heading down to Aussie on a working holiday, a gap year, or just a good old fashioned holiday, here are the ten best summer holiday spots in Australia for your consideration.
10. Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
If you ever thought about visiting Australia, why not start off with the continent’s capital? With its expansive and meticulously planned cityscape, Canberra is bound to be one of the quaintest yet most breathtaking urban areas you have ever visited.
You really have to spend some time on its streets to truly appreciate the lengths to which urban planning and design has gone to create an aesthetically pleasing modern metropolis that harkens back to classical Greek architecture.
As far as the summer activities go, it boasts an enormous artificial lake smack in the middle of the city, known as Lake Burley Griffin. The lake area is brimming with aquatic activities but, if you wish to take a dip in the salty waters, you are just a few hours away from the prime-time beach areas. Also, if you are in the mood for a daily excursion to Melbourne or Sydney, they are both five to six hours away.
9. Torquay, Victoria
Also known as Victoria’s surf capital, Torquay is a seaside resort which is immensely popular with people of all generations. Located just outside of Port Phillip Bay which conceals the skyscrapers of Melbourne, it is renowned for its azure beaches with relentless waves that lure brave surfers in from all corners of the world.
However, Bells Beach is not everything this location has to offer. There is also the world’s biggest surf museum, Surf World, the Surf Coastal Walk that spreads for 44 kilometers and connects Torquay with Anglesea, as well as many more summer related activities, restaurants, resorts and interesting places to stay.
8. Gold Coast
If a moniker of summer vacation paradise was to be pinned on a specific city, the Gold Coast would be the first candidate by far and wide. With attractive beaches, colorful aqua parks and world-class entertainment infrastructure around every corner, the Gold Coast has it all for every summer-loving enthusiast.
Theme parks and play areas for children give way to sleepless night clubs that pulse throughout the night and for those who enjoy untamed nature, ancient rainforests and waterfalls are only a short drive away.
7. Fraser Island, Queensland
Around 250 kilometers north of Brisbane, you will come across the impossibly beautiful location known as Fraser Island. The most amazing aspect of this is how wild most of the beaches look. This is truly an “off the beaten path” spot that is also renowned enough to garner a following. Yet, no matter when you decide to visit, there is no excess of the crowds, which is a welcoming change of pace for anyone who is a seasoned vacationer.
The white sands blend into the crystal clear waters that are abundant with diverse marine life. Fraser Island is truly, in every sense of that word, a “getaway” location that offers an array of aquatic activities such as kayaking, waterskiing, cruising and (of course!) surfing. If you can, rent an impromptu house or a room in Hervey Bay, the central hub of Fraser Island where most visitors flock to enjoy themselves.
6. Great Barrier Reef
Have you ever imagined a tropical paradise that is a perfect place for dreamlike underwater excursions? The Great Barrier Reef is one of the top destinations for scuba divers and underwater explorers in the world. It boasts the largest barrier reef system in existence, with more than 2,900 coral reefs that build into impossible beautiful islands lagoons. It is located in the appropriately named Coral See, right off the coast of Queensland.
Additionally, just like the shallows off Fraser Island, it is a perfect spot for those of you who want to get close and intimate with endemic marine life. The Great Barrier Reef has one of the most diverse aquatic biospheres in the world, as millions and millions of living organisms flocked here over eons to create this staggeringly gorgeous location.
We will not concentrate on any particular location in Tasmania, and rather treat the biggest Australian island as a spot of its own. Right off the south-west corner of the grand continent there is a sizeable chunk of land that looks as if it was chipped away from its “big sister” Australia. Tasmania remains one of the best preserved wild islands in the world, with an amazing ecosystem that is only rivaled by its beautiful vistas.
Traveling across it is an unforgettable experience and it is quite easy to compare it to New Zealand when it comes to landscapes that can take your breath away. However, it is not all forests, lakes and mountain passes – the island’s capital Hobart is one of the hottest tourist locations right now due to the outstanding assortment of restaurants and quaint bed and breakfast rentals.
4. Sydney, New South Wales
Of course, we cannot talk about holiday summer spots in Australia without mentioning its biggest and most popular (not to mention – most iconic) city – Sydney. Sydney is a perfect city for those of you who enjoy the hectic urban rhythm, diverse cityscape and streets filled with verve. Take a tour of some of the most legendary tourist spots in the world – Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge, Tower Eye, Bondi Beach, etc.
The downtown, locally known as the central business district, is surrounded with quaint docks and it offers great accommodation in the vicinity, including Holiday Inn Darling Harbour and other high-grade hotels. These are bound to satisfy the taste of even the most grumpy and demanding visitor.
3. Alice Springs, Northern Territory
Spending your summer holiday on a beach is a cliché done to death. If you are in the mood to spice things up a little bit, Alice Springs is just the place for you. Located in the heart of the Australian wilderness (also known as the bush), Alice Springs lies a whopping 1,500 kilometers away from the nearest major city. The surrounding area is a mesmerizing amalgamation of desert topography.
Slippery slopes, cavernous gorges and endless desert landscapes coupled with incredible native history guarded by the Aboriginal communities will make for an unbelievably unique summer vacation. If you are all pumped up for a hiking adventure, visit Kings Canyon and Kata Tjuta.
2. Broome, Western Australia
Now here is another “off the beaten path” pick for you. Broome is a coastal town which is relatively popular among tourists, but not nearly enough to give you sheer social anxiety. It is located near the north-western tip of the continent, circa 2,240 kilometers north of Perth.
If you are in the mood for an easy going vacation, this is the place for you. 25-kilometer-long Cable Beach is the hotspot of summer activities. Apart from your regular aquatic outings, you can also hop on for a session of camel riding at sunset. Yes, you have read it right. However, caution is required from November to March for avid swimmers – box jellyfish tend to swim in the shallows.
1. Darwin, Northern Territory
Right at the tip of the continent lays the city of Darwin, one of the most diverse and “international” cities in the Northern Territory. After you have pinpointed it on a map, it becomes quite obvious why – its proximity to the Indian Ocean, the south-western tip of Asia and a slew of island countries such as Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and the Philippines, turned it into a diplomatic hub of Australia.
This is one of those coastal towns you should visit to have one of the most amazingly multicultural experiences, especially if you are a highly sociable person. You might get a chance to meet people with insanely diverse backgrounds and enjoy a lot of events and festivals such as Territory Day, Seabreeze Festival and Darwin Festival.
There is something alluring about the possibility to whisk your friends and family away for a sunny adventure on the precipice of the world. With white sands between your toes and azure waves crashing against your ankles on a vast beach that seems to be going on forever, you will feel you are only one step away from the primordial spirit within each of us, and yet you will never be too far away from a classy restaurant or a luxurious hotel room with a picturesque view.
Summer in Australia, at the very edge of the Pacific is much more than a season-bound vacation. It is an experience of a lifetime.
Olivia is psychologist and entrepreneur from Brisbane. Mother of two beautiful children and proud owner of two silly boxer dogs. She is passionate writer, a traveler and conscious consumer, seeking healthy and sustainable products to incorporate into the lives of her family. Her motto is “Be the change you want to see in the world”. She is a regular contributor at www.highstylife.com