101 ways to holiday in Australia: Discover new ways to travel

You already know how lucky we are to live in Australia. You know how much there is to see and do here. You know it’s home to travel experiences comparable to anywhere in the world.

But you don’t want to hear that, according to a recent survey by Urban List.

Most of you are familiar with our iconic landmarks and even if you haven’t visited them, they’re depicted in so many places that it’s possible you feel you’ve already been there.

While that may not be fair, it’s understandable.

The report reveals how travelling in Australia is not about the hotspots, but about going down the road less travelled.

“While the industry is leaning heavily on wide-angle landscapes and cuddly fauna, consumers are getting much more specific about the culture and experience,” the report reads.

Researchers also found that comparing Australian experiences and landscapes to those you can find overseas is the wrong way to inspire Aussie travellers. This leads some to think they’re ‘settling’ on anything they do in Australia.

The answer?

Embracing Australia’s unique and distinctive landscapes, culture and heritage frames domestic travel as a new and exciting experience rather than second best.

“Together, we need to override the inertia – moving Australians to overcome our decades-old cultural cringe, to unpack a deeply entrenched second-best psyche and undo preconceived notions that what’s going on ‘over there’ is more culturally enriching and worthy of our precious resources: time and money,” said CEO and founder of Urban List, Susannah George.

“And to do that we need to convince Australians that our destinations aren’t just places. They are cultural experiences every bit worthy of their investment; experiences that are at their very best in this moment – uncrowded, safe, restorative and inspiring.”

Tourism Australia’s 101 ways to holiday in Australia includes its share of ‘iconic’ experiences, as well as a whole host of ideas you may never have seen nor heard of before.

We’ve already covered the food and drink must-dos, how to connect with Aussie wildlife, where to get your art and culture fix, how to do something epic and 11 natural wonders you’ll find down under.

Here, we count down the top 28 new ways you can see Australia. Whether by car, camel, coast, kayak or superyacht, you’re bound to find a new way to experience something new in the place you call home, be it in your own town, state or across borders.

1. Holiday in Australia like a tourist
Each year, millions of people from across the globe make the journey to Australia on their dream trip. And those experiences they’re dreaming of? They’re right in your backyard. It’s time to explore Australia’s world-famous destinations – and the unforgettable sights and experiences that come with them.

2. Walk the coastline
With 35,877 kilometres (22,292 miles) of coastline, Australia was made for coastal walks – and no two trails are the same. You might find yourself trekking along a white sandy beach, or through lush rainforest. Take a day hike, or make it a multi-day adventure.

3. Take a solo trip
With friendly locals, luxe accommodation and endless activities on offer, Australia is a great destination for solo travellers. Make new mates along the way by booking a tour or class, or simply enjoy the solitude. You don’t have to look far to find seclusion on Australia’s many beaches and walking tracks.

4. Go on an epic road trip
From expansive outback drives to roads that hug the coastline, there’s no better place for a road trip than Australia. Answer the call of the open road on one of the country’s iconic routes, or find a hidden gem you’ve never experienced before. Be sure to stop into local visitor centres to get the best tips on roadside stops, picnic spots and incredible lookouts.

Read more: Embracing Tasmanian winter

5. Island-hop by boat
Australia is sometimes called the ‘island continent,’ and it’s a fitting name when you consider the 8222 fringing islands that dot its shores. Whether by tiny fishing boat or luxury superyacht, paradise seekers can island-hop along Australia’s shores to find endless beaches and colourful reefs to snorkel.

6. Or, travel by board or kayak
Paddleboarding and kayaking are great ways to explore Australia’s many rivers, reefs and harbours. There are plenty of tours to choose from that will bring you to exclusive spots that boats can’t reach.

7. Explore on a camel’s back
While camels aren’t typically associated with Australia, camels are intrinsically entwined in the history of the Australian outback. Discover Australia’s outback from a new perspective with day tours or multi-day treks, or head to the coastline in places like Broome and Port Stephens and catch the sunset atop a camel’s back.

8. Explore snowy landscapes
Australia’s ski resorts receive their fair share of skiers and snowboarders each winter season, but this isn’t the only way to experience Australia’s snowfields. Try your hand at snowmobiling, dog sledding, tobogganing, snowshoeing, fat biking or tubing. And don’t forget to come back to these snowy regions in the off-season to enjoy hiking, mountain biking or kayaking.

9. Go off-road with a 4WD safari
Think all road trips are the same? With untamed beaches, giant sand dunes and freshwater lakes, 4WD tours offer a chance to journey into some of Australia’s most remote and challenging landscapes. Leave everything up to the professionals and arrange a private trip, or choose from various 4WD safari tours around the country.

Read more: Australia’s best nature escapes

10. Soar the skies in a hot air balloon
Floating gently in a hot air balloon is an awe-inspiring experience. A hot air balloon tour will give you a stunning birds-eye view of vineyards, hinterland and mountain ranges. If heights aren’t your thing, there are a handful of hot air ballooning festivals across Australia each year, so you can appreciate the magic with your feet on the ground.

11. Hike in a national park
Parks Australia looks after Australia’s natural treasures – including six national parks – but that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the beautiful parks you can hike, bike and explore. Within thousands of reserves, conservation zones and protected areas, there are jaw-dropping gorges, ancient mountains, Aboriginal rock art and wildlife just waiting to be discovered.

12. Take the ferry
Sydney Harbour’s ferries are a part of the fabric of the city, and they’re not just for the locals. Riding a ferry is a great way to see the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge up close, and every so often passengers are treated to wildlife shows of splashing dolphins, seals and even whales.

13. Join a city walking tour
See your own city (or a new city) in a new light with a guided walking tour. Local guides will uncover the often not so well-known history and culture of the city, and there are even tours catering to specific interests, such as Aboriginal heritage, street art or craft beer.

14. On two wheels
Those who prefer two wheels can take advantage of Australia’s vast network of well-maintained roads, which are perfect for a motorbike trip. Grab your helmet, fill up the tank and set off on a city escape, coastal getaway or outback adventure.

15. Surf the waves
With waves for beginners as well as seasoned surfers, Australia boasts some of the world’s best surfing spots. If you’re a novice, book into a surfing lesson and learn the way of the waves.

16. Fall in love with train travel
There’s a certain nostalgia associated with train travel, and it’s not just the romantic scenes you’ll see out the window. Board one of Australia’s iconic trains and see some of the country’s most beautiful landscapes from the comfort of your cabin.

Read more: West Coast Wilderness Railway

17. Jump aboard a river cruise
Australia has some mighty rivers, some even stretching up to 2500 kilometres (1553 miles) in length. Board a river cruise to discover the rich history, nature and wildlife that surrounds Australia’s river systems.

Read more: Cruising a Tasmanian treasure

18. Connect with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
No Australian adventure is complete without an opportunity to connect with the vast history of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The Discover Aboriginal Experiences collective offers an extraordinary suite of authentic and meaningful journeys, from one-hour tours to multi-day odysseys, which provide a window of insight into this ancient community.

19. Pitch a tent
Spend a few nights under the stars to soak up all that Australia’s great outdoors has to offer. You can pitch a tent for a rugged camping experience, or add a little bit of luxury with glamping, caravanning and tiny-home options.

20. Fill your esky on a recovery road trip
There are many ways to support Australia’s recovery from the 2019/2020 bushfires. Plan a recovery road trip and be sure to stop into local businesses and communities that are getting back on their feet.

Read more: Small Victorian towns well worth a visit

21. Put the pedal to the metal
For an active and eco-friendly day trip, jump on a bike and head out on one of the old rail trails or scenic cycleways that snake across the country. You can quench your thirst at a winery, brewery or distillery along the way. For a more thrilling experience, tackle a mountain bike trail.

22. Go off-grid
Australia is one of the world’s biggest and least densely populated countries. It’s vast and open spaces make it ideal for escaping into nature. Consider an off-grid glamping tent, a solar-powered eco-resort or a luxury lodge in the wilderness. Plus, you don’t have to go far from the city to relax and recharge.

23. Breathe in the fresh air on a farm stay
Learn about generations of agriculture and enjoy the country lifestyle with a traditional farm stay. Kids will love the resident animals; they may even get to help with farm chores. If you’re a foodie, consider one of the country’s eat-and-stay accommodation options, where chefs use produce grown on the property to cook in their kitchen.

Read more: Outback Queensland station stays

24. Walk into wellness
Great Walks of Australia is a collection of multi-day guided walks that offer a restorative connection to nature. Each walk is done with a dash of eco-luxury comfort, complete with nightly accommodation, delicious meals and experienced guides.

25. Find where luxury meets sustainable travel
In some of the most stunning corners of the country, sustainability and luxury go hand-in-hand. Australia’s Luxury Lodges collective boasts independent lodges championing a diverse range of sustainable practices. Many of these stays also give guests the chance to contribute to local environmental preservation and regeneration efforts.

26. Charter a superyacht
Offering luxury, freedom and completely customisable experiences, chartering a superyacht just might be the ultimate way to discover Australia. On a superyacht, you’ll have access to some of the world’s most pristine natural environments, as well as impeccable service and world-class food and wine.

Read more: Cruisers turn to superyachts to satisfy their cruise cravings

27. Stay in Insta-worthy accommodation
For those in search of a new kind of stay, there are a number of one-of-a-kind accommodation offerings popping up all over Australia. Whether it’s a bubble tent, adult-sized treehouse or a tiny house, you’ll enjoy a night as tranquil as it is picturesque.

28. Stay in Aboriginal-owned accommodation
If you want to immerse yourself fully in Australia’s remarkable and remote landscapes, there’s no better place than at a unique Aboriginal-owned stay. Connect deeper with the destination as you enjoy a wilderness retreat, safari tent or architecturally designed hut.

How many of these experiences have you experienced? How many would you like to have? Which ones do you think should be added? What’s been your most interesting holiday or way you’ve travelled in Australia?

Article edited from 101 ways to holiday here this year originally published on www.australia.com.

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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