Australia: The best places to visit in 2024
This article is brought to you by AAT Kings.
Rock the Cradle
Cradle Mountain, Lutruwita/Tasmania
This mystical, wild wonder sits in the heart of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, with its moss-covered ancient rainforests, dramatic river gorges, soaring peaks and glacial lakes. Walk around Dove Lake, with its stunning vistas looking back to the jagged peaks at Cradle Mountain. Here you might see an array of wildlife including Bennetts wallabies, echidnas and pademelons, as well as wildflowers that bloom in summer. Reflect at Waldheim Chalet, once the home of Gustav and Kate Weindorfer, who were pivotal in the park’s establishment.
Discover Cradle Mountain on the AAT Kings 13-day Perfect Tasmania itinerary.
Sealed with a kiss
Kangaroo Island, South Australia
Excitement will build on the ferry ride to Kangaroo Island, an unfiltered, untamed jewel of nature. Admire the stark, sculptured Remarkable Rocks and neighbouring Admirals Arch with its long-nosed fur seals. Learn about the colony of Australian sea lions at Seal Bay Conservation Park, see koalas in the wild and help with bushfire recovery. At the Kangaroo Island Brewery, built with recycled materials, taste craft beers made with rainwater collected from the roof. If you don’t like beer, sip wine or cider.
See Kangaroo Island’s amazing wildlife and try some delicious craft beer on AAT Kings 11-day Tastes of Southern Australia tour.
Cradle Mountain, Tasmania, from above; Kangaroo Island Brewery, KI, South Australia. Image credits: Jason Charles Hill; Josie Withers
Wine and vines
The Barossa, South Australia
As summer winds down into autumn, head for the hills… the Adelaide Hills, as well as the renowned Barossa. While heavenly for wine connoisseurs, this part of South Australia is gorgeous, with its vine-covered slopes and scenic vistas. Stop in charming Hahndorf, the oldest German settlement in Australia, known for its bakeries, and quaint shops. Dive into these local flavours and tastes over lunch at Lambert Estate, a family-owned and -run vineyard nestled among the vines and trees in Angaston.
Indulge in the Barossa’s award-winning wines on the seven-day AAT Kings Great Ocean Road and Kangaroo Island Escape tour.
What lies beneath
Coober Pedy, South Australia
This outback gem doesn’t look like much from above ground, but venture under the earth’s surface and you will strike it rich, in more ways than one. Australia has 95 per cent of the world’s supply of commercial opal and the largest percentage still comes from the 70 opal fields around Coober Pedy. Due to the heat, many locals live underground. Try your hand at fossicking for opals, explore the town, head out to Indigenous-owned Kanku-Breakaways Conservation Park, and visit perhaps the most unusual golf course in Australia.
A town unlike anywhere else in Australia, Coober Pedy is part of the eight-day South Australian Outback Adventure tour.
A kangaroo spotted in the vineyards in the Barossa Valley, South Australia; Coober Pedy, South Australia. Image credits: Tourism South Australia
Uluru, Northern Territory
There are some places that stir your soul, warm your heart and inspire the thirst for knowledge. Uluru – home to the Anangu people, who have called the region home for millennia – is one such place. See the world’s biggest monolith in different lights – see it at sunset, then rise in the silence of the pre-dawn to explore the base of this serene place at sunrise. Take to the skies for an aerial sightseeing tour, or perhaps book into Bruce Munro’s exceptional Field of Light.
Feel connected to Australia’s heart on this 11-day Northern Territory Explorer tour.
Karijini National Park, Western Australia
The cooler months are a perfect time to pay homage to the wonders of Karijini National Park, part of the Hamersley Range. You will be left speechless as you take in the striking red escarpments, waterfalls and tranquil sculpted gorges, all created over billions of years. Venture into the park for a day, pausing your exploration to swim in pristine waterholes, from which you can admire nature’s finest work. After dark, look up to see a starlit sky untouched by ambient light.
Discover hidden nooks and waterholes, just begging you to swim in them on the 13-day AAT Kings Wonders of the Pilbara and West Coast tour.
Pink hues over Uluru at sunrise, Northern Territory; Karijini National Park, Western Australia. Image credits: Tourism NT; Tourism Western Australia
Kakadu, Northern Territory
Australia is home to some of the oldest art in the world, and you can see some of it on the ancient rock walls of Ubirr Rock, in Kakadu National Park. This mesmerising site houses Aboriginal rock paintings and carvings dating back more than 20,000 years. As for Kakadu, view the eye-wateringly beautiful panoramas from the escarpment or perhaps from a helicopter, see the iconic waterfalls and birdlife, go croc spotting on a Yellow Water Billabong Cruise and connect to the humbling First Nations history.
See the dramatic escarpments, waterholes and abundant wildlife of Kakadu looming large on a six-day AAT Kings Top End Highlights tour.
Coast with the most
Margaret River, Western Australia
Margaret River is blessed with nature’s gifts, from its wondrous coastline known for surf breaks and hiking tracks, to its wildflowers that bloom in Dhilba season (August–September), one of the six seasons of the Wadandi Boodjah. It’s also, of course, famous for its wine. Margaret River’s 200 vineyards produce 25 per cent of Australia’s premium wines, along with incredible fresh produce, from gourmet olive oil to chocolate. In Busselton, stroll along the longest wooden jetty in the Southern Hemisphere, at 1.8kms long. Sample amazing wine and enjoy the spectacular coastal views on a 15-day AAT Kings Western Wonderland tour.
A woman admires Aboriginal rock paintings in Ubirr, Kakadu National Park; Busselton Jetty, Busselton. Image credits: Helen Orr; Tourism Western Australia
Have a blooming good time
Floriade, Australian Capital Territory
September sees an explosion of colour and fragrances, around the banks of Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin and into the suburbs, when Floriade takes centre stage from the goings on at Parliament House. With more than a million bulbs on display, Floriade runs for a month and is the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. You will need plenty of time to take in the many garden beds, displays, market stalls and entertainment, marking a great start to spring.
Be mesmerised by the beautiful bright florals springing to life during Floriade, which can be enjoyed on AAT Kings three-day Capital Blooms tour.
Great Barrier Reef, Queensland
Expand your knowledge of the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef on a fascinating tour that tells the story of the Reef through First Nations’ eyes. Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel conduct tours on the Great Barrier Reef, with their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sea rangers telling the story of the Reef through 65,000-year-old Dreamtime Creation stories. You will cruise to Moore Reef, where you can go swimming or snorkelling in the turquoise water among a kaleidoscope of fish and coral.
Full bloom at Floriade, Canberra; Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel tour. Image credits: Visit Canberra; Tourism & Events Queensland
Glass and a half
Wineglass Bay, Tasmania
One of the most beautiful parts of Tasmania, the Freycinet Peninsula is home to the magnificent Hazards Range, its sawtooth peaks a dramatic backdrop. Even more striking is the mesmerising Wineglass Bay, its curving golden sands and blissful blue water making it one of Australia’s most beautiful beaches. Go for a cruise into Wineglass Bay, taking in the granite coastline, sea caves, waterfalls, and blowholes along the way. Back on land, marvel at the verdant patchwork of Cape Tourville’s forest.
Drink in the Wineglass Bay views on an AAT Kings seven-day Tassie Getaway.
Bridestowe Lavender Estate, Lutruwita/Tasmania
The world’s largest privately owned lavender farm Bridestowe Lavender Estate will tantalise your senses with an astonishing 650,000 plants. Visit this beautiful fragrant farm, that started in 1921 using lavender seeds from the southern French Alps, and stroll through the sea of purple. The lavender oil is free of additives, and is infused into ice cream, teas and jams, with plenty of other lavender products available. Afterwards, visit the Legerwood Carved Memorial Trees, sculpted into WW1 soldiers, and see little penguins in Bicheno.
See a purple lavender dreamscape on AAT Kings 10-day Tasmanian Wonders itinerary.
Wineglass Bay, Tasmania; Bridestowe Lavender Farm, Tasmania. Image credits: Tourism Australia; James Horan
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