A rising number of Australians are choosing to holiday at home instead of jetting off to far-flung destinations, creating a boom in tourism as travellers spend upwards of $51 billion every year on domestic getaways.
So how well travelled are you when it comes to The Lucky Country? How many holes are there in your Aussie bucket list?
We’ve compiled a list of just a few must-sees and hidden gems on your doorstep that you could enjoy in a week or even a long weekend. So if you’re time-poor or just need to unwind on a luxury mini-break, check out our eclectic list of Aussie escapes.
Hyams Beach – NSW
Only three hours south of Sydney and famous for having the whitest sand in the world (just ask the folks at Guinness World Records), Hyams Beach is a pristine escape from the city and the perfect beach getaway for busy families.
Visitors can hire cottages just steps from the beach and from the amenities, which consist of a single shop, or choose to camp amongst tame kangaroos and King parrots at Green Patch camping grounds.
So, if you want to escape the bustle of the city, then the crystal clear waters of Hyams Beach could be just what you need.
We recommend visiting either side of peak season in the spring or autumn when the beach is a little quieter. Although the water might be slightly cooler too!
Hamilton Island – The Whitsundays – QLD
It may not be one of Australia’s best-kept secrets but Hamilton Island is world famous for a reason. Nestled among the Whitsundays on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef, the island is a cosmopolitan reef escape with beautiful beaches, luxury accommodation and a wide array of incredible watersports available to visitors.
Hamilton Island is a car free destination so you can traverse the sights in one of the island’s golf buggies and explore at your own pace.
If snorkeling, sailing, rafting and dining in a range of fantastic restaurants sounds like your kind of holiday then why would you go anywhere else in the world when Australia has the best on our front doorstep?
Try and see the sunset at either One Tree Hill or Bommie Deck for a truly unmissable experience.
Bruny Island – Tasmania
Easily accessible from the wonderful capital of Hobart (which could have it’s very own spot on the list), Bruny Island is one of our most southerly, remote and quintessentially Australian destinations.
Split in two by an isthmus known as ‘The Neck’, Bruny Island is host to an incredible collection of wildlife with amazing walking tracks, swimming beaches and options for self-contained accommodation. It’s the ideal hideaway for travellers looking to digital detox, get back to nature and enjoy the unique Tasmanian scenery.
Tasmania is fast becoming one of Australia’s finest areas for wine production and Bruny Island contains some excellent tours of our southernmost vineyards.
Ningaloo Reef – WA
Ningaloo Marine Park is a World Heritage-listed site found half way up the West Australian coastline. Ningaloo boasts the world’s largest ‘fringing reef’ and at 260 km long, it teems with an incredible array of life from sea turtles and manta rays to humpback whales and even the incredible whale shark.
Swimming alongside these gentle giants is the experience of a lifetime, or you can fly over a pod of humpback whales and get a bird’s eye view of the wildlife that can be seen right at the surface from a new, exciting perspective in a microlight tour.
Exmouth sits at the gateway to this unbelievable national park and reef adventure and it’s a great jumping off point, with shops, restaurants and bars so you can stock up or relax before your next great adventure.
The Kimberley, Western Australia
Another one for the escapists, The Kimberley is one of Australia’s most remote and untouched areas.
Whether you’re spotting freshwater crocs in Windjana Gorge or taking a 4WD up the Gibb River Road. The Kimberley is the ultimate destination for those who love to go head-to-head with the terrain and see sights that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
For the slightly more luxurious traveller, there is the option of El Questro Wilderness Park. This former cattle station provides an experience of the outback that is both controlled and ecological. Travellers can book tours, hikes, horse riding and a host of great experiences with accommodation ranging from fully equipped campsites to luxury eco-resorts.
The Kimberley has two seasons – wet and dry. This makes for two very different travel experiences. The dry season from April to October is cooler and more temperate and all the roads should be open.
The Barossa Valley – SA
It’s just 25 kilometres long and yet it produces 21% of Australia’s wine and the Barossa Valley has five-star retreats at every turn. Might it even be worth renting a convertible for the weekend to really take in one of the food and wine capitals of Australia?
And because it’s only 70 kilometres from Adelaide this is the perfect romantic mini-break where you can explore winding country roads and cellar doors at your own pace then relax in a luxury hideaway before returning to the real world, relaxed and refreshed.
Self-drive itineraries are available, including the Epicurean Way road trip and River and Wine drive which can be followed from either Sydney or Melbourne.
Phillip Island – Vic
Another great option for a family getaway, Philip Island combines spectacular beaches and incredible wildlife, from penguins and seals to humpback and killer whales off the Bass Coast.
Also renowned as a consistent and varied surf spot, the island has a lot to offer groups of all ages and interests. And after you’re hiked and surfed out there are breweries, wineries and a wide range of awesome restaurants to visit.
Philip Island is even home to its own Grand Prix circuit. So once you’ve seen those little penguins, there are heaps of options for the discerning petrol-head to take advantage of.
The island is famous for its international motorcycle and car racing events so make sure you consider that in advance when you’re booking your trip so you don’t miss out or conversely, end up in pole position at a race you hadn’t planned on!