Let 2019 be a year of exciting firsts, as you add to and tick off destinations on your ever growing travel bucket list. There are so many amazing locations to discover in Australia, you are truly spoilt for choice. Inspiring Journeys have put together a list of their top Australian destinations for 2019 travel, to make your life easier as the craziness of the year takes hold.
Step into the oldest tropical rainforest in the world. Located in North Queensland, the Daintree Rainforest is estimated to be over 150 million years old and is home to more unique flora and fauna than any other rainforest.
Described by David Attenborough as ‘the most extraordinary place on earth’, the best way to learn about rainforest species, bush tucker and natural medicines is with an Aboriginal guide. The traditional custodians of the region, Kuku Yalanji, will welcome you to their homeland on an award-winning tour and reveal the secrets of the forest.
Meet the mammals, birds, frogs and ferns at the only point where two World Heritage-listed sites merge. Rare animals like the iridescent electric blue Ulysses Butterfly and Australia’s largest tree kangaroo, Bennett’s, can be found among the biggest tropical trees on the planet. Learn how to hunt for mud crabs in the mangroves – ever-elusive thanks to their 360 vision – and discover how 18 indigenous groups survived here for over 9000 years.
The magical experience is deep-rooted in natural history and cultural insight. The Daintree National Park features a complex web of Indigenous walking tracks which connect destinations, places of cultural importance, and natural resources. Many of these traditional trails have become the roads and paths you follow today. When you embark on a guided tour of the Daintree Rainforest, you don’t just reconnect to nature but become immersed in indigenous legend, customs and knowledge.
Enjoy a dining experience like no other, the menu pays homage to the native flavours of Australia. Chefs whip up delicacies like smoked kangaroo with pepperberry yoghurt, braised crocodile with a fragrant herb salad, and for a mouthwatering crescendo, cheesecake made from desert limes.
Set against the backdrop of a glowing orange landscape, Uluru stands proudly on the horizon. Enjoy canapes and sparkling wine as the landscape changes under a setting sun. Listen to a didgeridoo as dusk settles on the desert and devour a 3-course bush tucker inspired meal with wines and beers topped up by attentive staff. This is not just a dinner but a cherished lifelong memory.
As the night sky twinkles to life, experience a guided tour of constellations, planets and galaxies. Celestial objects beam through the desert’s flawless sky, unblemished by light pollution. The Milky Way shines, radiant and limitless. With each upward glance, vivid stars appear out of the darkness, luminous and spectacular. The atmosphere of an evening on a 5 day small group tour of the Red Centre will remain with you forever.
Plunge into the cool waters of Gunlom Falls, one of Kakadu's ancient secrets. Located on Waterfall Creek in World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park, in Australia’s Northern Territory, discover a delightful combination of cascading falls and natural pools.
From the top, take in the panorama across the surrounding hills and woodland while relaxing in nature’s crystalline infinity pool or enjoy a leisurely stroll through native bush to the main pool at the foot of the seasonal falls. The emerald waters are spellbinding and the pool huge - you’ll have plenty of room to swim or float around. Depending on the time of year, your experience may be accompanied by a thunderous roar or percolating trickle as the water makes its way downstream.
There are plenty of facilities at the Gunlom Falls, including a BBQ, toilets and a picnic area shaded by tall gum trees. If you don’t feel like having a dip, take one of the short trails and marvel at the myriad of birdlife. Gunlom is in southern Kakadu – a lesser-visited section of the park – which makes it all the more serene.
You’ll come to understand why ‘Great’ features in its name. The vivid blue-green hues, coral cays, and paradise islands sprinkled along a 2,300 kilometre (1430 miles) stretch of the Coral Sea will have you gasping in disbelief.
To easily access the reef, set sail from Port Douglas – a charming beach town in tropical North Queensland where the rainforest rolls into the sea. Enjoy a smooth and relaxing ride in the technologically advanced Quicksilver Wavepiercer to Agincourt Reef. Situated on the outer reef, the special ribbon reefs run parallel to the Continental Shelf and are recognised as one of the most pristine ecosystems in the world.
Snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef is extraordinary. As you explore the largest living organism on earth, it feels like visiting another realm. Swim with six species of turtle - just one of the reef’s ‘dinosaurs’ having lived there for 150 million years old. The reef is home to 10% of the planet’s fish, so you can easily find Nemo along with over 1,500 other fascinating species in different shapes, sizes and colours. Just another reason why the Great Barrier Reef truly is great.
Sydney Harbour is one of the world’s most recognisable landmarks. The sails of Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and the sparkling blue water. One of the best ways you can experience the stunning surrounds is on board a luxury sailing yacht. Get up close to the famous architecture of the harbour, marvel at the multimillion-dollar waterfront homes and take in the iconic city skyline.
An experienced skipper will show you the ropes. Take the helm for a while, work the grinders or sit back and relax as you take in the views. Cruise past bays, beaches and coves. Sail beneath the bridge, seeing it from a new perspective. There’s a reason sailing Sydney Harbour features on every Australian bucket list and it should be a rite of passage for locals and international travellers alike.