Road, rail, bus, boat and beyond: the best ways to see Australia

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There’s no wrong way to see Australia. In fact, irrespective of which mode of transport you choose, touring our sunburnt country is bound to be a winner.

In the air
Budget airlines offer domestic fares from as little as $29, so it’s no surprise that many travellers prefer to hurry their way to their final destination.

However, there are more ways to fly than in a commercial jet – and you don’t have to travel across the country to have a memorable adventure, either.

We know there are quite a few thrill-seekers out there hankering to hover in a hot air balloon. Or how about those who said that paragliding, skydiving, or perhaps a joy flight in a vintage aerobatic biplane would be the ultimate thrill?

helicopter over great barrier reef

Helicopter rides are also a top buzz. What better way to see places such as Kings Canyon, Uluru, The Twelve Apostles, Sydney Harbour or any other Australian landmark?

On the road
For those of you who like to keep your feet, or in this case, wheels, firmly on the ground, Australia is home to some of the most beautiful road trips in the world. Maybe you’d like to hit the road behind the wheel of your dream car or the handlebars of a Harley Davidson? Or, if you’d prefer to hand over the wheel and admire the passing scenery, then a luxury coach tour could be for you. Our good friend Lee Atkinson is the Australian road trip pro and she’s bound to have a tip (or twenty) for your ultimate driving holiday.

outback way lee atkinson

Photo © Lee Atkinson

Riding the rails
Riding the rails from Adelaide to Darwin (or vice-versa) via Alice Springs on The Ghan is the rail tour most desired by baby boomers, but there is a stack of other track tours to consider. Take the Indian Pacific cross country either way from, as the name suggests, the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, through the Blue Mountains and historic townships then along the Nullarbor Plain. Or punch a ticket for The Spirit of the Outback ranging across the Queensland outback from Brisbane to Longreach. The Overland will take you from Melbourne to Adelaide and surrounding regions. You could also check out the Sunshine State’s most popular coastal destinations on the Tilt Train, and for those further south, hitch a ride on one of NSW TrainLink’s XPTs from Brisbane all the way to Melbourne.

Waterborne breaks
Cruising the Kimberley is ever-so-popular with many Australians. The Kimberley is three times the size of the UK and with all those bays, tributaries and the chance to cruise beneath ancient waterfalls, such as Kings Cascade, it’s hardly surprising so many are flocking to sail the wonderful northern coastline of Western Australia.

On the open ocean, a three-day sample cruise is a great way to discover whether you can handle a longer voyage or to test a new ship. Or for a longer expedition, the saltier sailors out there may have a circumnavigation of Australia on their wish list. Such voyages take between 28 and 33 days and, for the best weather and conditions, you should book your cruise for October or February/March.

cruising the kimberley

However, you don’t have to board a big boat for a wondrous water experience. Why not try jetboating or sail a catamaran or luxury yacht? With our stunning coastline, harbours and a plethora of ports punctuating our island home, there’s almost no place you can’t visit from a big (or small) boat.

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?

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