Australia’s ancient landscape, rich Aboriginal culture, exotic wildlife and attractive, multicultural cities combine to make this the world’s most fascinating (and only) island continent. The sheer size of Australia, diversity of ecosystems and larger-than-life natural attractions offer a wealth of choices for travelers looking for an entirely unique and easy-to-manage destination.
When to go: Warm sunny weather can be found throughout the year, depending on the destination. Australia’s seasons are the reverse of the northern hemisphere so their winter months—May – September are the best time to visit the tropical north and Red Centre, as the days will be cooler and drier. The southern areas of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Tasmania are most pleasant October – April. Visibility and weather for the Great Barrier Reef is generally best April – November.
Food & Wine
Great Barrier Reef
Home to more than 1,500 kinds of colorful fish and hundreds of coral species, this World Heritage Site is a must for snorkelers and divers. 1,240 miles long and larger in area than the U.K., it also contains the world’s largest marine park.
This island group offers direct access to the Reef, where the average visibility is 50 – 75 ft. Book a day or multi-day sail to explore it’s many coves and dazzling white-sand beaches (including renowned Whitehaven) or stay on one of the 6 inhabited islands.
A popular jumping off point for the Great Barrier Reef and other day trips to Fitzroy and Green Islands, the mountain village of Kiranda, the rainforest and points north.
An hour’s drive north of Cairnes, this former fishing village is where the Rainforest meet the Reef and makes an excellent base to explore both locations. Its Four-Mile Beach spans the length of the town.
A tropical rainforest dating back 135 million years, it contains flora and fauna found nowhere else, including 13 of the 430 species of birds. Visit with a Kuku Yulanji aboriginal guide and learn about the sacred healing powers of many plants, or cruise the Daintree River and see crocs resting on its banks.
Explore the world’s largest sand island—a 75-mile stretch of empty, white-sand beach, cliffs, and rainforest. View the wildlife (turtles, whales, dingoes), swim in crystal-clear Lake McKenzie – one of 40 on the island. Camping to high-end accommodations are available.
The natural harbor which drew the first European convicts, continues to draw admirers from around the world. Don’t miss its sun-kissed beaches and iconic structures— the Opera House, and adjacent Royal Botanical Gardens, the Harbour Bridge, the first settlement of ‘the Rocks’, and Circular Quay—departure point for ferries and all manner of commuter and leisure watercraft. Sail the harbor, climb the bridge for a view like no other, take a surfing lesson on Bondi Beach or sit back and enjoy the welcome of Sydneysiders who feel blessed to live in this splendid city.
The Blue Mountains
Just an hour west of Sydney lies a ridge of rugged sandstone cliffs that for many years proved impenetrable to the early explorers. Today, it’s an easy drive or scenic rail journey to hike and picnic among forests of eucalyptus and gum trees, dine well in historic towns, and enjoy the many spectacular viewpoints over the ridges and valleys.
A surfer’s hangout in the ’70s it became the center of Australia’s bohemian culture. Visitors enjoy a relaxed beachside town, filled with music and other festivals, where there’s always something going on. Visit rainforest retreats or stay in a range of modest to deluxe accommodations in a magnificent setting.
Discover Australia: The Best of the Land Down Under
Culinary and Wine Trails of Tasmania & Southern Australia
Beach Hopper & Reef Explorer
We believe that to travel responsibly, a portion of our tour cost should benefit communities in need. For this trip, our donation will go to a non-profit organization we support that is having a very positive impact around the world: Great Barrier Reef Foundation—working to solve the most complex and challenging problems facing the survival of the Great Barrier Reef. You can learn more about our commitment to responsible travel in our Responsibility Pledge.