With international travel impossible ahead of time, many Australians are finally starting to find their own country.
Although the basket list has been reorganized to prioritize places like Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef and Sydney Harbor, there are many lesser-known destinations that are just as valuable. And they don’t all feel “Australian”. Apart from scratching the itch overseas, these spots will also be a lot cheaper than international flights, even by pre-pandemic standards.
Where you want to go: Southern France
Where to go now: Tasmanian lavender fields
Images of gentle Provence hills covered in dusky purple flowers have graced calendars and postcards long before the Instagram era. But the magic of this lavender field lies in its ability to engage more than one of the senses. As they explode with color each summer, the flowers rustle gently in the breeze and give off a soothing fragrance.
You can smell purple mist closer to home in a Tasmanian lavender plantation; the biggest, Bridestowe, conveniently located near Launceston, although you’ll also find ranches around Hobart. Here every summer rows of flowering bush curve toward the sheer mountains of the island’s interior.
Where you want to go: on safari in Tanzania
Where to go now: open shelters
Turning the sun rising over the dusty plains of western New South Wales into a Pride Rock moment takes a great deal of imagination, but it’s a lot easier when you can hear the lions roaring in the background.
Wildlife on Taronga West Plains it seems to think that Dubbo’s wide open space and dry climate make it a plausible proxy for the savanna in southern Africa. And while there are no guarantees of animal sightings in the wild, this outdoor sanctuary offers instant gratification; You can see the Big Five in a matter of hours and then sleep under a mosquito net next to a savanna inhabited by giraffes, zebras and rhinos. For a more budget-friendly option, there are many affordable hotels in town. A similar experience (without accommodation) can also be had in South Australia at Safari Monarto and Victoria on Werribee.
Where you want to go: Maldives
Current destination: Cocos (Keeling) Islands
You don’t have to book an international flight to visit the coral atolls covered in palm, cooled by trade winds and surrounded by the blue waters of the Indian Ocean. It is technically a territory outside Australia, culturally Cocos (Keeling) Islands is their own entity – Cocos Malay is the main language and Islam is the dominant religion. And since the accommodation is in bungalows rather than in closed resorts, You will have the opportunity to observe the local way of life.
With a population of only 600 and Perth a four-and-a-half hour flight away, secluded beaches are more than just claims made by tourist literature. You are unlikely to find crowds on the white sands of Cossie Beach. Explore the sand and you’ll also find great diving, fishing and kite surfing activities. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, visitors to the Cocos Keeling Islands must spend at least 14 days in Western Australia before arriving, although there is no requirement to quarantine or isolate once you arrive.
Where you want to go: Iceland
Where to go: Seeing the Aurora Australis in Tasmania
Every year thousands of tourists travel to the icy lands of the north to see green, purple and red pirouette ribbons crossing the sky in majestic celestial dances. But the aurora borealis also has a southern counterpart.
It is difficult to predict exactly when the southern lights will appear (there are many Facebook groups with the latest information), but you can maximize your chances by choosing a night with a new moon and clear sky. Then find a spot with an unobstructed view of the south and minimal light pollution, and wait. For places near Hobart, go to Southern Arm, 40 minutes drive from town. Or pull your thermals and go south as far as the path that takes you, to Cockle Creek. Put up the tent Bruny Island is also a great way to maximize your chances.
Where you want to go: Amazon
Where to go now: Daintree
Australia and South America were part of the same landmass and the Daintree rainforest has been around since then. In fact, they’re about 10 million years longer than Amazon.
While you won’t be confused with the Amazon, crossing the muddy, crocodile-infested Daintree River will take you to 180m year old rainforest where some of the buildings are dwarfed by the surrounding greenery.
Road signs warn drivers to slow down cassowary vehicles and trails that cut through impenetrable vegetation indicate plant species that have not changed in millennia. And if you’ve always wanted to live in a tree house, there are lots of options.
Where you want to go: Singapore’s hawker center
Where to go now: Darwin Market
More than just a place to fill your stomach, Singapore’s hawkers chronicle the Lion City’s multicultural history in edible form. Midway between Singapore and Sydney, they find more sluggish tropical resonance in Darwin’s many markets where you can find many Cambodian, Filipino, Thai and Vietnamese flavors. But rightfully, it is the most arousing fusion dish.
Darwin’s title of best laksa is hotly debated (it even exists Laksa Festival). But the queues every Saturday in the open air of Parap Village demonstrate the consensus that it’s a breakfast meal to suit (best washed down with a fresh tropical fruit shake).
Where you want to go: Atacama Desert
The destination now: Mungo Lake
There is something enchanting about the remote landscape of Chile’s highland desert, but you will likely find enlightenment in Mungo National Park. Ancient sand dunes have been destroyed by the elements and turned into gardens of abstract sculpture. But not always desert. Before the last ice age, the lake was full and inhabited a large number of wildlife, along with humans.
When two burial rituals that were more than 40,000 years old were found nearby, they were rewrite European understanding of Australian history. Today, the vast expanses of clay appear striking and lonely, but the prunes and millennia of footprints are a reminder that this landscape is rich in stories as well as natural beauty.