Say g’day to Australia as it reopens to the world. Now’s the time to take that extended trip Down Under and experience one of the most unique destinations on the planet. With endless natural beauty, adventure opportunities and refreshed cultural attractions, there’s so much to see and do in a country almost the size of the United States. Find out why Australia is consistently rated one of the world’s best places to visit thanks to its laid-back lifestyle, gorgeous scenery and exhilarating activities.
High on the list of most visitors’ to-do lists is a visit to the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland. There are several ways to explore the world’s largest reef, and a travel agent can help you sort through your options at all price points. For the perfect romantic gesture, book a seaplane to fly over Heart Reef, a natural coral formation shaped like a heart and best viewed from above. Other maritime options include a live-aboard dive ship or a high-performance catamaran where you can snorkel or dive in a kaleidoscope of color and brilliance. With an average of 2,800 hours of sunshine annually, Australian beaches are some of the best places in the world to surf, swim and sunbathe. For an unforgettable wildlife encounter, check out the selection of guided tours to locate exotic animals in their natural habitats: kangaroos, koalas, wombats and one of the planet’s largest birds, the emu. Offshore, you can find wild dolphins, playful sea lions and giant whale sharks. The Northern Territory is steeped in Aboriginal culture and the ideal location for a guided bushwalk through vast flood plains, towering escarpments, sacred areas and Aboriginal rock art sites.
Australia is fortunate to have some of the world’s most distinctive natural environments and an astonishing 20 UNESCO World Heritage sites. Ancient monuments are scattered among Australia’s coasts and desert interior offering a variety of ecosystems in one vast country. Get to know quirky Alice Springs before you continue onward to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park to encounter the phenomenal rock formation called Uluru. Learn the history and traditions of Aboriginal culture in Australia’s Red Center while you circle the largest sandstone monolith in the world. Venture further through Australia and into Victoria for the Great Ocean Road, home to the breathtaking set of natural stone figures known as the 12 Apostles and dramatic Thunder Cave, formed over 20 million years ago. Stop at the coastal town of Aireys Inlet for lunch at the charming A La Grecque restaurant serving grilled fish, fresh prawns and Mediterranean-inspired mezze dishes.
After a pause in tourism, new outdoor activities, dining experiences and renovated accommodations have opened and are ready to welcome guests. Major events are back for 2022 like the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, known for showcasing some of the world’s top chefs, this time celebrating its 30th anniversary. The Brisbane to Byron Food Trail is a three-day foodie’s dream with lavish dining experiences and seafood-led menus. Take a spin through Sydney’s trendiest spots like Glebe Market, the fashion scene in upscale Double Bay and the rooftop bar at The Glenmore. Nature lovers should plan to visit Cradle Mountain located in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, which recently received a $20 million upgrade and redevelopment of its parks. Every step of the way, outfitters are ready to take you on the adventure of a lifetime whether that means surfing, kayaking, cave exploration or a sunrise hot air balloon ride. Now is the time to go big and Australia is the perfect destination for an epic journey.
by Amy Mutscher – Travel Leaders Network