Happy Thursday Hidden Gem Travel community! I’m writing this newsletter on the last Sunday of summer and loving the cool morning temperatures and bright sunshine. In the background, I just heard a news story about a town in Portugal where a vat broke in a distillery allowing red wine to flood the streets. As they do, people are creating hilarious memes and offering to travel to Portugal with straws to help with the clean-up. It’s good to start the day with a smile and a chuckle.
I mentioned last week that I aim to inspire you to think beyond classic European destinations for your 2024 vacation. If you have more than one week, I highly recommend Australia. I’ve traveled down under twice and while the flight is long, the reward is sweet! Our seasons are opposite those of Australia, just something to keep in mind.
Read on for the scoop about Australia, and some teaser information for your trip…
Australia offers something for everyone – culture, natural wonders, unique wildlife, soft adventure, and dynamic cities, and a fantastic culinary scene. It’s a big country (the 6th largest in the world), so you must follow a focused itinerary; there are many decision points in the planning process.
Below are a few of the most popular inclusions to an Australian itinerary.
💎Hidden Gem Tip: Did you know that Australia is considered a top food and wine destination??
Sydney & Environs
We begin with iconic Sydney and three sights you’ll want to experience (there are so many more):
Sydney Opera House: This iconic building is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Australia. Located on the water in the heart of Sydney, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walking up to the opera house on a sunny day is a bucket list check I’m thrilled to have done twice. Take the tour and see a show – opera, theater, or whatever they’re offering while you’re there.
Bondi Beach: Located in Sydney, this is one of Australia’s most famous beaches. It attracts millions of visitors every year and offers white sand, surfing, and fantastic people-watching. Hidden Gem Tip – take the ferry to the Manly beach area to hang with locals, watch the surfers, and swim in a pool that’s almost embedded in the ocean.
The Blue Mountains: This mountain range offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape – it’s Australia’s version of the Grand Canyon. You can visit easily from Sydney like I did!
Great Barrier Reef & Uluru
A flight from Sydney…
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park: This is the world’s largest coral reef system and home to thousands of marine species. It’s a flight from Sydney and takes around 4.5 hours by plane.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park: This park is located in the ‘Northern Territory’ and is home to Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas). These are two of Australia’s most iconic natural landmarks. The flight from Sydney is a bit over 5 hours. Learn more about Uluru (videos and more) at the link here: https://inspires.to/s/12XrsVe6/uluru-a-sacred-landscape-in-australias-red-centre
Combine these experiences in Family Adventure: Koalas, Reef & Rainforest or for Couples: Australia’s Wine, Rail & Culture itineraries.
If you’re based in Melbourne…Phillip Island: Less than 2 hours from Melbourne, Phillip Island and is home to a variety of wildlife, including penguins (catch the penguin parade!), seals, koalas, and more.The Great Ocean Road: This 242 km road stretches along the south-eastern coast of Australia and offers stunning views of the ocean and surrounding landscape. You can start your road trip in Melbourne — watch out for kangaroos crossing the road! The Twelve Apostles rock formations are the most famous sight, and there’s also fantastic golf and wine tasting in this area.While in Melbourne, how about a moonlight hot air balloon ride over the city?Let’s get you to Australia! I’m a certified ‘Aussie Specialist’ so able to help with any itinerary. Wishing you unforgettable travel adventures,Susan
Make your own Wanderlist for 2024! As a reminder, Wanderlist is an online portal where you can research, explore, and create shareable lists of destinations and experiences. Share your list with me so I can make it happen for you. Check it out here: https://bit.ly/wanderlisthgtc