You’d think that two years of being unable to leave the country would have propelled most people to frantically book the first international trip they could once the borders were open. Pack their bags for Asia, Europe, America, wherever they could!
But, instead, something else happened.
People wanted to explore Australia. Their metaphorical backyard. Perhaps regretting that they hadn’t ever really taken full advantage of the incredible holiday spots we have across the country.
I was certainly in this camp – and since lockdowns ended, I’ve been making it my mission to see as much of Australia as possible. And there’s been a lot of perks to that, guys. There are plenty of options over hopping on an expensive (and incredibly long) international flight. You don’t have to worry about international data charges on your phone. There’s no language barrier. And, I don’t mean to brag, but DAMN we have some incredible places to visit in Australia.
So many goodies in fact, that it was near impossible to pick my favourites for you.
But I did it! Took a lot of thought and some pretty brutal decisions, but it’s done. So please may I present you five of the most unique Australian experiences you’ll want to book immediately.
You can thank me later.
Hop aboard the Indian Pacific.
From Sydney to Perth (and all the best stops on the way).
Now, hear me out here: Trains are perhaps the most under-utilised mode of transport on holidays.
I’m not sure why, because they are so damn handy, and if they are as fancy as the Indian Pacific, they are a real delight to stay aboard while you tick off your travel wish list.
I’ve actually had my eye on Journey Beyond’s Indian Pacific for a while – with the plan to surprise my partner with a train journey that takes us from Sydney (where we live) to Perth. The flight to Perth is usually a painful six-hour one, but suddenly when you swap it to an all-inclusive four-day, three-night adventure, then it sounds like a good time.
Stopping off at the Silver City of Broken Hill, Adelaide, Cook, Rawlinna and finishing up in Perth, you can only imagine the sights and activities you’d experience off the train, as well as the incredible views you get to soak up from the comfort of your carriage.
And, speaking of the carriage, have you seen inside the Indian Pacific?! It’s GORGEOUS.
While you’re onboard, you are also treated to the finest, all-inclusive cuisine from across Australia – so you can taste your way across the country while it’s flying by you from your window.
I think it’s such a adventurous and unique way to travel with all the bells and whistles built into the price, and it feels like such a stunning way to soak up the country we’re lucky enough to call home.
Be blown away by the Blue Mountains
Blue Mountains, NSW.
Ask anyone who’s ever been to the Blue Mountains, and they’ll tell you that there’s something quite mystical about the place. It’s obviously an area of insane natural beauty, but it’s also a spot that feels like it’s trying to tell you something. That there’s more to what you see. That there’s magic in the air.
If you have time, definitely lock in a hike (preferably one that passes by one of the many waterfalls in the area), but if you’re in a rush head to the Three Sisters Lookout and just stare. For as long as you can.
You’ll leave feeling more relaxed than you thought possible.
Get into the Gold Rush
If there was ever a time in modern Australian history that gets me rather excited, it’s the glitz and literal gold of the gold rush era. In case you’re not across it, in 1893 Paddy Hannan discovered Australia had heaps of gold just lying in the ground waiting to be snatched up.
So that’s what he started doing. And, of course, word got around that gold was being dug up in Australian soil and so everyone then tried to get into the action.
We’re so lucky that this is a time in history that has been pretty well preserved, with Hannan’s North Tourist Mine open to the public so you can see the tools, techniques and all the behind-the-scenes intel from this fascinating time period.
It’s such a good spot to visit that the Indian Pacific (travelling from Perth to Sydney) stops off here after rolling through Kalgoorlie, so guests can snoop around the mines and enjoy a stage show from a local theatre company that really brings the history to life.
Swing by Little Germany
Not many people know this, but tucked away in the hills just outside Adelaide city is a tiny German town called Hahndorf. As I’ve lived in Germany for a number of years, when I found out about this place I simply had to go and see it for myself.
When I took my first step into Hahndorf, I shuddered. It was truly like I was back in the town I grew up in. The architecture mirrored the villages I fondly remembered. The restaurants serve up hearty plates of the delicious German nosh I’ve been missing and little trinkets are sold in the local shops that I was used to saving my pocket money up to by in Deutschland.
It is a stunning, quaint and adorable spot to visit when you’re in South Australia. And you simply must eat as many bratwurst as you can while you’re there!
Have a swig (or seven) in the Barossa Valley.
Barossa Valley, SA.
Who doesn’t love a vineyard? *Waits for response, but is just greeted with sweet, sweet silence*
Well, the Barossa is home to some of the best and tastiest grapes, with the whole area dotted with wineries big and small. So you can treat yourself to a tour of wine giants like Jacob’s Creek, or spend an afternoon tasting the boutique tipples from Rusden Wines’ tiny cottage cellar door.
It’s rather special getting to literally drink the fruits of the land you’re on – and speak to the masters behind every bottle.
Explore Journey Beyond’s Indian Pacific, the all-inclusive train holiday taking you between Sydney, Adelaide and Perth in comfort and style.