Domestic Travel

Shannen Findlay

4 unbelievable destinations you need to add to your bucket list

Have you been dreaming of an escape from the everyday but can’t afford a return flight to Europe? There could be an easy solution for us Aussies that provides an equally enriching travel experience – exploring our own backyard.

Australia and New Zealand are both home to some of the world’s most magical and natural landscapes, fascinating cultures and flourishing wildlife. What better travel-rich getaway is there than one right in your own backyard?

Here are our top four unmissable destinations that you need to add to your bucket list today.

1. The Extraordinary Red Centre

Australia is known for many iconic travel experiences, but most of all, for its legendary outback.

Never visited this part of Australia? Well, you’re in for treat. From wandering through the rugged Flinders Ranges with its dusty red roads and immense ancient cliffs, to the world-famous Ayers Rock – which is over 550 million years old – the Northern Territory is home to some magnificent landmarks.

Wilpena Pond is another destination that should be on your must-see list. Also known as Ikara, the iconic natural amphitheatre has existed in the Flinders Ranges for tens of thousands of years.

At the heart of the Red Centre is, of course, our very own capital of the outback, Alice Springs. The friendly town has a myriad of things on offer for travellers to sink their claws into, including food, art and culture.

Some lesser-known places of interest include the Earth Sanctuary World Nature Centre, where you can enjoy home-cooked meals, and the Devil Marbles Conservation Reserve, which is home to iconic and massive granite boulders also known as Karlu Karlu, and were formed over millions of years. Standing over six metres high, they can be found in the valley, and are believed by the Warmungu Aboriginal people to be the petrified eggs of the Rainbow Serpent.

Those looking to explore the magic of the nation’s rural landscape must add this 15-Day Outback Adventure Guided Holiday to their bucket list. Book by 31st July 2019 and Fly FREE

2. Tasmanian Wilderness

We envision the Apple Isle as a unique untamed natural paradise at the remote edge of the earth – a land of hidden valleys, prehistoric rainforests and craggy coastlines that every Australian needs to experience at least once in their lifetime. While it may be small in size, Tasmania is home to unique cultures, exceptional food and a variety of exciting activities to exceed the expectations of those seeking both a leisurely escape from the everyday or an adventure filled getaway.

Food and wine lovers will rejoice when they are invited to indulge in local cheese, renowned wines and gourmet produce at Ashgrove Tasmanian Farm and Josef Chromy.

While Australia’s largest island is a delight for food lovers and is famous for its wine and cheese,  another spot that is considered one of Tassie’s most beloved attractions is the tiered cascade of Russell Falls. The easy track to this stunning natural wonder is a perfect stroll to take in the morning light, and those with a penchant for mesmerising photographs will especially marvel in the waterfall’s beauty.

Discover the natural freshwater lake, Lake St Clair, which is part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Carved out by ice over the last two million years thanks to several glaciations, it still remains as Australia’s deepest lake.

Adventure seekers can also explore the Wall of Wilderness – a monumental sculpture standing at three metres high and made from a rare Huon pine, experience the Tasmanian wilderness by embarking on a Gordon River cruise, or tackle mountain terrain on the world-famous Overland Track in the Cradle Mountain National park.

Wanting to explore the best of Tasmania but prefer to leave the trip planning to the experts? Experience the best of idyllic Tasmania on a 12-Day Guided Holiday. Book by 31st July 2019 and Fly FREE.

3. South Island New Zealand

If you have never been to New Zealand, it is purely a sight to behold. Home to incredibly diverse and unspoiled scenery, unique culture and wildlife – and famously friendly locals – it is undoubtably one of the most spectacular places on earth.

While it is a popular destination to embark on a self-driving holiday, there are guided tours available if you’re not keen on hiring a car, van or Winnebago. Why not leave it to the experts to show you around their favourite must-see sights and off the beaten track hidden gems.

While both the North and South Islands feature mesmerising and culture-rich experiences and spectacular landscapes, the South Island is home to an unbelievable series of spellbinding natural wonders to take in and share with fellow travellers.  Arguably one of the most famous and spectacular of these is mighty Milford Sound, a fiord that spans the perimeter with towering peaks, cascading waterfalls and flourishing wildlife. We promise you will be blown away by the ‘eighth wonder of the world.’

Another natural formation on the South Island that will take your breath away is the spellbinding beauty of the Franz Josef Glacier, around five hours’ drive north of Queenstown. Say yes to the adventure of a lifetime when you choose to embark helicopter ride over the glaciers as an optional experience and discover some of the largest glaciers in the Southern Hemisphere from above.

For food lovers, did you know that Central Otago in Queenstown is not only renowned for its great-tasting wines? It is also the setting for many orchards, which you can happily explore at your own leisure.

Those looking to explore the majestic North and South islands of New Zealand must add this 18-day Guided Holiday and let the Guided Holiday experts take care of the rest. Book by 31st July 2019 and Fly FREE.

4. Scenic Great Ocean Road

The journey along Victoria’s Great Ocean Road is one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives and is an experience that sits high on many traveller’s bucket lists. It begins just an hour and a half’s drive from Melbourne and then stretches for 243 kilometres between Torquay and Warrnambool with amazing views the whole way through.

This spectacular road winds between lush green farm land and the rugged southern coastline of Australia. Designed to connect remote and previously isolated settlements along the coast, this engineering masterpiece was built by returned soldiers between 1919 and 1932 in memory of the fallen soldiers of WWI.

Sprawling along the Victorian coast, the Great Ocean Road’s 243km stretch is home to breathtaking coastal attractions, quaint seaside beach towns, as well as the famous limestone stacks formed by thousands of years of erosion that are the Twelve Apostles.

There is a huge array of sights to explore along the way, including the famous Bells Beach, scenic lookouts and picturesque coastlines while letting the road lead you through a string of gorgeous towns including Anglesea and Apollo Bay through to the city of Warrnambool. Many tourists make a pitstop here to visit the mystifying and secluded Blue Lake, and if you’re travelling between June and September, you’re in luck as it is whale-watching season.

Those looking to add more adventure to The Great Ocean Road drive must add this 7-Day Guided Holiday, which starts in Adelaide and travels all the way down to Melbourne. Book by 31st July 2019 and Fly FREE.

When you book with the Australia and New Zealand travel experts AAT Kings, receive FREE return flights on selected Guided Holidays – an exceptional offer with selected travel dates right through to March 2020.

This is sponsored content brought to you in conjunction with AAT Kings.