Australia is a vast, exciting country and boasts astonishing natural beauty, relaxed beachside cities, diverse cuisine, and plenty of active pursuits – ideal for a perfect luxury holiday. Whether you want to relax on a beach, hike through the bush, dive in the ocean, or just taste your way round the wine region, holidays to Australia can be as fun-packed or relaxing as you want them to be. There are plenty of ways to explore this hugely diverse country, including romantic railway journeys, self-drive tours or group coach trips. All you have to do is pick the one that suits you best.
Things to do
Explore the Outback
Whether you’re interested in wildlife, rock art, photography or local culture, don’t miss the chance to explore the breathtaking horizons and open skies of the real Australia. Breathtaking Uluru (Ayers Rock) is best viewed from the air on a helicopter tour, or by early morning hot air balloon ride. You’ll have panoramic views of the outback bushland bathed in the dawn light, which is certain to remain with you forever. If heights aren’t your thing, you can join a motorcycle or 4WD outback tour, but make sure you also get out on foot to appreciate the vast open spaces, and the ever-changing colour of the rocks against the sky.
Great Barrier Reef
One of the seven wonders of the natural world, The Great Barrier Reef is said to be the only natural phenomenon that can be seen from space. Stretching more than two thousand kilometres along the Queensland coast, its star attractions are under the water’s surface, and include tropical fish, sharks, whales and a huge variety of coral. As well as diving, snorkelling and swimming, there are a range of other experiences that allow you to get up close with the marine life without actually getting wet. From glass bottomed boats to sailing trips with experienced naturalists, hikes along the beaches and even a living coral reef aquarium.
With a characteristically laid back vibe, Australia’s beachside cities offer plenty of places to eat, drink, and relax. They also boast an eclectic mix of colonial architecture and modern buildings, and a great way to explore them is to wander around on foot. Don’t miss a boat cruise on Melbourne’s Yarra River or a visit to Brisbane’s south bank district. As one of the world’s most exciting and diverse culinary destinations, with influences from Europe, South East Asia and beyond, you’ll also find Australia boasts some of the best cuisine anywhere in the world. This combined with wonderful wines makes Australia a gastronome’s delight. Whether you choose to explore Perth’s suburbs or Sydney’s iconic harbour, you’ll find Australia’s cities diverse, exciting and unique.
Where to Stay
Start with New South Wales and Australia’s most iconic city, Sydney, with its attractive harbour, Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Sydney has a relaxed, ocean-side vibe where outdoor living is celebrated in all its forms. Travel further inland to the Hunter Valley for some wine tasting, or the Blue Mountains where you can spend a few hours reconnecting with nature on a hike or cycling trail. Nature-lovers should opt for Queensland, for The Great Barrier Reef, one of the world’s greatest natural marvels, the enchanting Fraser Island and the exuberant city of Brisbane.
Further south, in the state of Victoria, you’ll find Melbourne, one of Australia’s friendliest cities, with fabulous food, great shopping, architecture and nightlife – be sure to visit Queen Victoria Market, the largest open air market in the Southern Hemisphere. Take the Great Ocean Road and experience one of world’s most scenic drives before venturing into the national park. For those who want to head into the Outback, Adelaide is the ideal base. This picturesque city with its elegant architecture, beautiful Botanic gardens, museums and libraries is the gateway to the outback, with its striking rugged landscapes and ancient aboriginal rock art. As you venture upwards into the Northern territories, discover Alice Springs and the breath-taking Uluru (Ayers Rock) and the stunning views this region offers, before moving onto Darwin with its indigenous history and cultures.
For deserted beaches, glacial lakes, rainforests and mountain streams, head to Tasmania, an unspoilt wilderness that’s perfect for a few days of exploration and quiet contemplation. Finally, opt for vibrant Perth in Western Australia for a chance to explore the Swan Valley vineyards and the charming port of Freemantle, as well as the red and gold outback where you’ll get to explore more of Aboriginal history and culture.
Flight time from the UK (London): Approximately 21 hours.
Entry details (for British passport holders): An electronic visitor visa is required for all travel to Australia. Travellers can obtain an eVisitor visa direct from the Department of Immigration & Citizenship or an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) via their travel agent or airline. Charges apply. Your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay. However if you are transiting other countries enroute to/from Australia a minimum 6 months validity may be required. Before you depart, check the latest travel advice at www.fco.gov.uk.
Time difference: GMT +8 hours(West Coast), +10 hours (East Coast)
Currency: Australian Dollar.
Here to help:
If you have prebooked a private or shared transfer, or hired a car, the details will be in your travel documentation. It will also contain the contact numbers for the local and UK support office should you need assistance whilst you are away.
Best time to go:
Australia’s location in the Southern Hemisphere means that the seasons are reversed, with summer taking place between November and February, and winter between June and August. If you're looking to holiday in the April-June months, then Tropical Northern Queensland is ideal. Slightly less developed than other areas of Australia, this location has maintained its distinct regional character and is home to a number of natural wonders. The winter can get fairly cool at higher altitudes and in the south, but it never really gets really cold, so Australia really can be a year round 5 star holiday destination. The size of the country also means it’s subject to climactic variations, with the South generally being colder than the northern territories, although these are not too extreme. Expect bright sunshine, low rainfall and friendly people during your Australia holiday.