Not in it for the food and wine? Australia still has many worthy attractions for non-foodie travellers, writes Bella Williams
WHITSUNDAY ISLANDS, QUEENSLAND
WHAT: 74 mostly uninhabited islands,
WHERE: Between the northeast coast of Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef
WHY: The Whitsunday Islands lie along a massive stretch of coral, with piercing blue waters teeming with marine life. Explore the islands by yacht, or base yourself on Hamilton Island and head out on a boat trip to take in the diverse reef life.
TOP TIP: Don't miss a trip to Whitehaven Beach, frequently named one of the world's best stretches of sand.
WHAT: A glide over the city in a hot-air balloon
WHY: Take to the skies at dawn and watch the sunrise over the parks, lakes and government buildings of the Australian capital. Balloon Aloft sunrise rides take off daily and conclude with a champagne celebration. Tours meet at the Canberra Hyatt in Yarralumla, and end with a gourmet breakfast at the Hyatt hotel.
TOP TIP: Don't forget your camera.
SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES
WHAT: A fun family day trip
WHERE: Taronga Zoo
WHY: Sydney is a popular destination for Kiwis for food, wine, shopping and sightseeing, but if you've got the kids in tow you'll want something fun for all ages. The ferry will deliver you across the harbour, right on Taronga Zoo's doorstep, where you can meet Australian native animals, as well as exotic species from around the globe — the views back to the Sydney CBD are pretty good too.
TOP TIP: Use an Opal card for affordable travel on public transport, including ferries. If you're travelling on a Sunday, you'll pay no more than $2.80 — fares are capped, no matter how many journeys you make.
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ULURU, NORTHERN TERRITORY
WHAT: Australia's natural landmark
WHERE: 335km southwest of Alice Springs
WHY: The hulking monolith that bulges from the vast Outback desert is a sight belonging on any traveller's must-do list. A Unesco World Heritage Site, Uluru is sacred to the Pitjantjatjara Anangu — the Aboriginal people of the area. The large sandstone rock formation can only be explored with a walk around the base after climbing was banned. A circumnavigation will still provide many interesting sights, including waterholes, caves and ancient rock art.
TOP TIP: Visit at dawn or dusk to witness the changing colour of the rock.
GREAT OCEAN ROAD, VICTORIA
WHAT: A 243km stretch of road along the southeastern coast of Australia.
WHERE: Between Torquay and Allansford.
WHY: Known as one of the best road trips on the planet, highlights include the Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, London Arch, Bay of Islands and more. An abundance of beaches and wildlife will have you stopping frequently along the route.
TOP TIP: Make the most of the many accommodation options along the way — there's so much on offer, take your time to see it all.
WHAT: The capital of Australia's island state
WHERE: On the River Derwent, backed by Mt Wellington.
WHY: Tasmania's capital city offers a blend of heritage, scenery and culture, the latter of which is best represented by Mona — the Museum of Old and New Art. It's the largest privately-funded museum in the Southern Hemisphere, with a diverse range of artworks from the collection of David Walsh, a Tasmanian professional gambler and businessman.
TOP TIP: Mona hosts two annual festivals — coming up is January's Mona Foma, which unleashes an eclectic mix of music and art.
ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
WHAT: The Festival City
WHY: South Australia's capital has worn many titles in its time but in recent years it's become best known for festivals.Mad March satisfies eager festival goers, with hundreds events across the city - events including WOMADelaide, the Adelaide Festival and Fringe will go ahead in 2021, but in a different format. There's also a year-round roster of interesting events including OzAsia, the Edinburgh Air Show, the Handpicked Festival, as well as night markets and moonlight cinemas.
TOP TIP: The city's festival calendar steps up even more after Christmas.
PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
WHAT: Rottnest Island
WHERE: A 25-minute ferry ride from Fremantle, or 90 minutes from Perth's Barrack St Jetty.
WHY: An island getaway just 19km off the WA coast, Rottnest is a protected nature reserve, with a casual atmosphere and Mediterranean-style climate. Home to the quokka — a small marsupial that looks like a mini-wallaby, the island also boasts secluded coves, white-sand beaches, and top-notch snorkelling.
TOP TIP: Be cautious, the Quokka is super cute but it has a salty side. Give it some space.
Please check the latest border restrictions in each state and territory before travelling, for more information visit australia.com