Where Australia can seem like Central and Northern Europe
Australians may not be able to travel overseas at present but that doesn’t mean missing out on some exceptional travel experiences here in Australia. Travellers can RoamAtHome and still feel like they are having an overseas adventure.
If you had you plans to visit Central and Northern Europe and now those are cancelled, here is where you can swap it out and discover the same, if not better, in Australia’s back yard.
Swap sailing the Greek Islands for the Whitsundays – Australia’s picture perfect island destination
Experience luxury by sailing through the Whitsunday Islands (QLD)
It’s hard to beat the romance of sailing through the Whitsunday Islands. Think spectacular sunsets, clear moonlit nights, secluded beaches and pure air. You can sail, swim, snorkel and dive at sheltered anchorages such as Blue Pearl, Butterfly and Hook Island bays. Visit Whitsunday Island and walk the pure white, silica sands of Whitehaven Beach. Several cruise companies will provide you with all that you need, including Sailing Whitsundays, Aquarius and Prosail. Alternatively, be the captain of your own ship on a “bareboating” holiday, in which you hire a boat and sail yourself around the Whitsunday Islands without a crew. Most bareboats sleep between six and 12 people – all you need is a drivers licence and common sense, and after a thorough briefing, you are free to explore the sights and resorts of the Whitsundays.
Swap a European food adventure for one of the many world-famous Australian wine regions and eat and drink your way through the Epicurean Way (SA)
The Epicurean Way seamlessly links together the four iconic wine regions of McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills, Barossa and Clare Valley, and offers an unparalleled experience in Australia. Local produce, together with a superb array of wines and spectacular scenery all come together on this four day food and wine drive, perfect for foodie friends – and a few “siestas” in between! Some of the wineries you can visit along the way are listed as among the ultimate winery experiences in Australia and include d’Arenberg, Seppeltsfield and The Lane Vineyard.
Kick back in the Margaret River (WA)
The Margaret River region is known around the world for its top quality wines and food. While the region produces less than three per cent of Australia’s wine, it accounts for more than a fifth of its premium wine. There are more than 120 world-class wineries to explore, including Vasse Felix (re-opening 25 June), Leeuwin (re-opening 3 July) and Voyager Estate, and opportunities to not only try fine wines, but get beyond the cellar doors. At Vasse Felix, every aspect of the winemaking process is controlled within the estate, allowing every batch to be carefully crafted. Visit the cellar door to sample a selection, or book an in-depth tasting experience in the exclusive vault.
Escape the city to the Hunter Valley (NSW)
Known for its unique expression of semillon, the Hunter Valley in New South Wales is the oldest wine region in Australia. Just under 3.5 hours from Sydney by car, the Hunter is home to some of Australia’s most famous winemaking families, like Tulloch and Tyrrell. At Audrey Wilkinson, visitors can expect to taste rich semillon and earthy shiraz as they enjoy a view of the expansive valley dotted with vineyards. Tyrrell’s Wines offers a daily winery tour that takes guests behind the scenes of one of the region’s oldest estates as well as premium private tastings.
Head inland to the Yarra Valley (VIC)
Transport yourself away on an inland road trip through Victoria’s picturesque Yarra Valley, where you can enjoy sublime local wines along the way. Be sure to check out Giant Steps for a delicious cellar door tasting. Although the region is known for food and wine, Healesville is worth a stop to check out some of the region’s most talented artists. As the French have long established, pairings don’t get much better than a fine wine and accompanying painting.
Cool down in the Canberra Wine Region (ACT)
A cool climate, varied vineyard elevations and different soil types have made the Canberra District Wine Region an ideal spot for winemaking. Sangiovese, riesling, chardonnay, pinot noir, merlot, shiraz, tempranillo and rare varieties such as grüner veltliner are all produced in this region. Home to 140 vineyards and more than 30 boutique cellar doors, a visit to the wineries is a perfect way to spend an afternoon. Wineries such as Four Winds Vineyard, Clonkilla and Helm Wines are open and are taking bookings. Be sure to check opening times and capacity requirements.
Experience the wonder of the Northern Lights
Head south for the magnificent Aurora Australis (TAS)
Like its Northern Hemisphere counterpart, the Southern Lights (Aurora Australis) illuminate the night sky with flickering shades of green, blue, purple and red. The Southern Lights can be viewed all year round – although most commonly during winter, May to August, and during the spring equinox in September. Aurora Australis is visible from several spots across the country, but your best chance of witnessing this phenomenon is from Australia’s southernmost state – Tasmania. Head to Bruny Island, Satellite Island, Bathurst Harbour and Cradle Mountain for the beautiful low-light conditions you need to spot the glimmering light show.