Summer is finally here, bringing the freedom to explore every shimmering beach, lush forest, and vibrant city our island has to offer.
When it comes to summer holiday destinations in which to spend sun-drenched days and balmy nights, we Aussies are spoiled.
Here are seven of the best.
1. Wineglass Bay, Tasmania
Nothing says summer like chilling on one of the top 10 beaches in the world!
Relaxing by name and nature, Wineglass Bay is an untouched haven within the Freycinet National Park, a two-and-a-half-hour drive up from Hobart.
Here, the ocean is unbelievably glassy and invitingly cool – especially if you approach on foot, a one-hour trek from the car park with stunning vistas of the crescent-shaped bay below.
You can also fly, sail or water taxi here to swim or kayak through the azure waters, rock climb, or sleep on soft white sand.
You can even stay the night at the small campsite!
2. The Gold Coast, Queensland
World-famous as one of Australia’s major holiday capitals, the Gold Coast has something for everyone.
Its spectacular coastline boasts stunning beaches and ancient rainforests; and with exciting theme parks, award-winning vineyards and high-energy nightlife, it’s a playground for all ages.
While Surfers Paradise is iconic, Burleigh Heads to the south offers a more relaxed, family-friendly pace with laid-back beaches, picturesque parks, and funky markets.
If you’re looking to adventure further afield, the sub-tropical Hinterland, 30 minutes from the ocean, is the perfect spot to stretch your legs at a World Heritage-listed national park.
3. Coral Coast, Western Australia
Boasting 1,100 kilometres of pristine coastline, this is one for everyone’s bucket list, and the best way to experience it is by road trip!
Travelling North from Perth, stop to feed wild dolphins at Monkey Mia before heading to the ancient 186,000-hectare Kalbarri National Park, home to 400 million-year-old gorges.
Next, continue to Exmouth – the perfect place to stay a while.
Here, crystal clear bays caress squeaky clean sand, the food and wine scene is excellent, and the Ningaloo Reef invites you to swim with humpback whales or dive with more fish than you can imagine.
4. Darwin, Northern Territory
Summer in the tropical Top End is a magical time of year – especially in the Northern Territory’s vibrant capital.
A sparkling harbourside city, Darwin offers the intersection of indigenous culture, natural history and vibrant modern Australia.
Take a stroll around the local markets, learn about WWII, or see world-renowned Aboriginal art.
It’s also the gateway to ancient lands, so take a drive, chopper or flight out to view the majestic falls of Kakadu.
Darwin also boasts a gourmet food scene, so claim your waterfront seat for a spectacular sunset and enjoy world-class dining as awe-inspiring storms illuminate the colourful night sky.
5. Dorrigo, New South Wales
With its beautiful beaches and laidback vibe, Coffs Harbour has garnered quite a reputation as a wonderful summer holiday spot.
But just one hour’s drive inland lies a hidden bonus – the small rural town of Dorrigo.
Nestled along ‘Waterfall Way’, Dorrigo National Park offers a vibrant rainforest escape from busy beaches and bustling cities.
A must for birdwatchers, this World-Heritage listed site is home to some 150 species, as well as marsupials, lizards and frogs.
Take the skywalk high above the canopy overlooking the coast – when the beach starts calling, it’s just a short drive back to Coffs’ for a seaside sunset dinner.
6. Mount Gambier, South Australia
Want to discover prehistoric lands and explore some of South Australia’s most striking scenery?
Set Mount Gambier as your destination and prepare for the unforgettable holiday experiences of the Limestone Coast.
Venture into the past by going underground in Engelbrecht Cave, see the Cave Garden waterfall, or lose yourself in the unique Umpherston Sinkhole Gardens.
Take the trail around spectacular Blue Lake, and find respite from the summer heat with a dip in Little Blue Lake – a volcanic sinkhole.
Then, finish each day with awe-inspiring views of the crystal-clear night sky at one of the region’s many relaxing campsites.
7. Townsville, North Queensland
The sun never really sets on Townsville, a laid-back city in North Queensland, equidistant between Airlie Beach and Cairns.
Here, you can swim in a protected rockpool before wining and dining at the Strand precinct, a family-friendly beachfront hub, alive with bars and a kid-friendly water park.
Take the short drive to swim in natural creeks at Paluma Range National Park or summit Castle Hill at dusk to see the city light up below.
Plus, a mere 20 minutes away by ferry lies gorgeous Magnetic Island, home to hidden secluded bays, lush bush and a vast array of native animals.
It’s time to come alive, explore our country’s hidden gems, and come back relaxed with a mountain of summer holiday memories that will last long after your tan has faded.
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