4 Jan 2019
We've had a look at the best places to visit in 2019 across Australia. We couldn't number them - it's impossible to choose favourites! From the most exciting festivals to the freshest seafood you've ever had, these are the holidays to look forward to in the new year.
Capricorn Coast, QLD
What do you say to ancient limestone caves, islands with secluded beaches, and award-winning steak? This stretch of Queensland’s Southern Great Barrier Reef has an adventure waiting for every holiday-maker, from the laidback to the ultra-curious. Set out on a catamaran on Keppel Bay with Sail Capricornia for a day cruise with snorkelling and beachcombing, or a breathtaking sunset experience (complete with a cheese platter). Prefer to have two feet on the ground? Surround yourself with adorable wildlife at the Cooberrie Park Wildlife Sanctuary and meet koalas, kangaroos, parrots and lizards. Nearby activities aside, our parks are enough of a destination to have a packed itinerary. Our lush Discovery Parks – Rockhampton now has a brand new waterpark and Discovery Parks – Coolwaters, Yeppoon has a BMX track, resort-style pool, waterpark, and location where bushland, a calm lake, beachfront all meet.
Garden of Unearthly Delights; South Australian Tourism Commission
The free-settler capital likes to toot their own horn to anyone who will listen – but once you visit, you just get it. Between February and March, performers from around the world descend on the city; you can find them twirling, yodelling, and flipping at Adelaide Festival, WOMADelaide, and Adelaide Fringe. When you’re not checking out the street art and tasting produce at the Central Markets, escape to the edges of the city. Hahndorf, Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement is alive and well. We suggest you add three essential activities to your agenda around here: meeting fairies, eating bratwurst, and picking fresh strawberries. What else lies on the outskirts? This may be controversial, but we’re ready to say it: you’ll easily find some of the best wine regions in the world. The Mediterranean climate of McLaren Vale and the Barossa Valley make their dry reds impossible to pass up on, and the cool temps up in the Adelaide Hills offer refreshing white varieties that are an ideal companion on a blistering summer’s day.
Soon, you'll be convinced it's way more than just the city of churches.
One look at those boabs and you’re hypnotised. The east Kimberley is one of the most jaw-dropping natural beauties you’ll ever get the chance to see. If you’re searching for an experience - and not just a holiday - this region is unlike any other. Zebra stone, only found in this sliver of Australia, is a distinctive rock with red and white bands. The age of this rock has been placed at 600 million years (i.e. really, really old). You can find some zebra stone trinkets to take home at Kimberley Ornamental Stonecraft. Didn’t come here to just sit and look at gems? Dive into adventure at Lake Argyle. You can greet the freshwater crocs and rock wallabies on a boat ride. Or, venture up into the skies for a flight over the Bungle Bungle Range – a landscape of orange and black sandstone domes.
Cradle Mountain, TAS
Overland Track, Barn Bluff; Emilie Ristevski & Tourism Tasmania
Tick off a coveted, World Heritage Listed destination: Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park in north-western Tasmania. This setting could easily be the background to a children’s story book: snow-capped mountains, fluffy wildlife, and dense with greenery. Are you ready to dine with the devil? Devils@Cradle, a Tasmanian devil wildlife sanctuary, offers guests the opportunity to book an exclusive tour. You’ll meet the devils themselves, wander through rainforest, roast marshmallows around a campfire, and eat some delicious local fare. But what would this holiday be without getting lost in nature. For the sight-seers, the famous Dove Lake Circuit is dotted with unbelievable picnic spots. For adrenaline junkies, abseiling the canyons is a must. And for the cowgirls and boys, climb through alpine eucalypt and myrtle forest on a horseback ride.
Dark Mofo; Jarrad Seng & Tourism Tasmania
With direct flights from most Australian capital cities, you really have to book in a long weekend in Hobart. This fishing town has transformed into a wish list location for lovers of quality whisky and edgy art. After you have your fill of fresh-baked croissants and local jams at the Salamanca Market, take the ferry ride over to the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA). You don’t need to be an art historian to appreciate this quirky museum - just have an open mind. If you’re after a froth when the day’s done, you’ve come to the perfect place. Sip your poison at one of the many breweries in this city: Shambles, Hobart Brewing Co and Cascade, to name a few.
Heading here in winter? See performances at the Dark Mofo festival and visit Bruny Island for Aurora Australis, the Southern Lights.
New South Wales’ south coast is our little secret paradise, tucked halfway between Melbourne and Sydney. Fun bit of history: did you know that Eden was considered as a location for the Australian capital? Our nation’s government could have been right by the dramatic cliffs and killer whales breaching by the shore – the perfect setting for a political thriller! Most of the Sapphire Coast is national park and forest, so bring your hiking boots to meander on magical bush treks and coastal walks. And when you’re this close to water, you know the seafood is going to be top-shelf. As a stop on the Oyster Trail, Wheelers Restaurant in nearby Pambula offers tours of their oyster farm and a café where you can completely indulge on the shucked goods.
If you’re wanting all of the best experiences of the north coast without the crowds in Byron Bay, then Ballina is your perfect match. What’s a coastal holiday without some time spent on the water? Get a surf lesson for you and the kids, try stand up paddle boarding on Lake Ainsworth, go for a swim or hire a boat to take on the Richmond River. Head a little inland to the last remaining section of the big scrub rainforest, and dip your toes into Killen Falls (bring your bathers – the swim is so refreshing!). But our top tip: you have to walk the grounds of the Thursday Plantation. This tea tree plantation is one of the most iconic attractions in the area – and no doubt unique. Enjoy the rainforest walk, tea tree maze, zen garden, and on-site shop (just don’t forget your mozzie repellent).
Rottnest Island, WA
With Discovery - Rottnest Island opening in March - the island’s first new accommodation in 30 years - 2019 is the best time to discover this retreat. This glamping park features 83 fully-furnished eco-tents, resort pool, poolside bar and direct beach access. But don’t just sit there; explore this extraordinary natural playground. Snorkelling is an essential activity here, with limestone reefs and clear lagoons surrounding the island. Little Salmon Bay and Mary Cove are a couple of places to see schools of colourful fish and a variety of coral. When those fins of yours are ready to be back on land, hire a bike and ride past glittering lakes and coastal headlands on the Wadjemup Bidi trail.
Love a festival? Pencil in one of the music, kite or running festivals that take place throughout the year.
Journey along the Bellarine Railway on the Blues Train. Wine, dine and listen to four fantastic blues acts in different carriages along the train. Victoria’s second largest city is home to a number of unique experiences. The Geelong waterfront carousel is a must for families – it’s one of only a couple hundred currently operating in the world. The quirky painted bollards are only a short stroll from here, where you’ll say g’day to bathing beauties, a steam captain and over 100 other figures. For those whose hearts may be bigger than their stomachs, you’ve come to the right place. Hope you have a car handy, because the cool-climate wines of the Bellarine are a delight. Pair it with a plate of locally-sourced produce and seafood - straight from the bay - at Jack Rabbit Vineyard. But a holiday is all about balance, so take yourself to the You Yangs to get some vitamin D and a kick of adrenaline. Mountain biking, horse riding, abseiling and bushwalking among the granite peaks is an afternoon well spent.
Yes, Darwin in dry season is beautiful, but there’s no need to limit yourself – wet season is a gem. In wet season, the waterfalls are absolutely gushing and the national parks are nearly fluorescent green. You might even see a Leichhardt grasshopper, a vibrant orange critter that only emerges at Kakadu National Park when the storms come. Don’t forget: rain or shine, the WWII tunnels and local markets are ready to be explored. But if you do intend on visiting when the weather is a tad more clear, here are a few of our favourite things: cooling off at Berry Springs, catching a flick at Deckchair Cinema, checking out those chompers at Crocosaurus Cove, and feeding fish by hand at Aquascene.
Have a destination that's on your New Year's resolution list? Make it a reality and book today - you never regret a holiday.