Happy #strayaday, kids.
According to Conde Nast Traveller, Australia is 2016’s top destination.
It’s the year to finally explore our own country. Forget a Euro trip, forget skiing in Japan, forget your dirty 30 in Vegas (although these are all AWESOME) and make some time this year to check out our insanely unique homeland.
So without further ado, my top 10 suggestions (in no particular order) to get you inspired to traverse the land down under.
1. Great Barrier Reef & the Whitsundays
I’m ashamed to say I’ve never been to tropical north Queensland to see Australia’s very own natural wonder of the world. It stretches over 2,000 kilometres in length and the incredible 74 islands that make up the Whitsundays are conveniently located right in the middle of the action.
If you can’t make it this far north, the incomparable Stradbroke Island (pictured below) and Moreton Island are a pretty damn good compromise!
Byron and the surrounding region is BAE. Trust me, you won’t believe the perfection of this place until you go there yourself. If you want to escape the crowds flocking to Byron daily, head to Lennox Head, Broken Head or Whites Beach for a sleepier, but no less beautiful experience. If you do end up here, make sure you schedule in a sunrise hike up Mt Warning on a clear day for a morning you won’t forget. Best chance of whale watching from the shore is between June and October!
If you don’t make it to Byron, the Gold Coast isn’t a bad substitute. Head further south for beautiful beaches and a taste of the good life.
3. The Great Ocean Road
This incredible stretch of road is famed throughout the world for good reason, but it’s biggest drawcard, The 12 Apostles, are allegedly dwindling to just eight. They are spectacular, so get there before they’re gone! If you can’t make it this far south, consider Queensland’s Great Beach Drive.
4. Lord Howe Island
You don’t need to go to Polynesia to see insane tropical islands – Lord Howe Island is in pristine condition and sits just off the coast of New South Wales. Only 400 visitor are permitted there at any time so get organised and jump on this one immediately to reserve your spot.
5. The Red Centre
Uluru remains one of Australia’s most iconic and symbolic landmarks. Schedule in a couple of extra days here and explore Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon as well. This place brought me great joy in 2014. GO THERE.
6. Sydney’s Coastline
This city is insanely beautiful, and its coastline is just breathtaking. Forget the Sydney Opera House and check out what it’s beaches and ocean pools have to offer, from Bondi to Coogee to the incredible Figure 8 Pools.
Where do I start? Australia’s island state is completely mindblowing. I’d recommend packing hiking and camping gear and renting a van to hit every gorgeous spot you can find. To start with, Freycinet National Park, the Three Capes Track and Cradle Mountain.
8. Rottnest Island
I avidly seek out amazing Australian experiences on Instagram and the water on Rottnest Island is currently blowing my mind. I don’t know anything about the place except it has my name on it. Please feel free to fill me in in the comments!
9. Ningaloo Marine Park
Where else in the world can you swim with the biggest fish in the world in their natural habitat? Even with my pretty overwhelming fear of sea creatures any longer than my arm this looks like something that needs to be inserted into my memory bank ASAP.
10. Kangaroo Island
According to South Australia Tourism, it’s where the wild things are. Whether you’re after sea lions, penguins, or (believe it or not) kangaroos, more than 30% of the island is dedicated to conservation efforts and protected national parks.
Where have I missed? Let me know in the comments below!