The sun is shining, the heat is on, and many Australians are loading up the car or caravan, pumping up the summer tunes and making great memories for their summer holiday adventure! Our great Aussie backyard has a ton of amazing places to explore across the country, from day trips to getaways, lush rainforests to world-class beach resorts and so much more. So get ready to slop on some sunscreen and slap on a hat: Australia is the place to be.
If you want some friendly expert advice from a travel agent you can trust to deliver personalised advice on the best summer holiday destinations in Australia, just pop over to our comprehensive directory of travel agents who have undergone ATAS accreditation. (And for on why you should choose an ATAS-accredited agent, click here). And of course, please follow all COVID-19 safety restrictions in your area and your destination to stay safe and do your part in keeping others safe.
Without further ado, let’s virtually explore Australia’s summer holiday destinations together!
Just under an hour from the beachside glitz and glamour of Surfer’s Paradise, you’ll find a wholly different world: the lush green rainforest of the Tamborine Mountain plateau, located in the Gold Coast Hinterland (but with such tranquillity and beauty, feeling more it’s located firmly in a fairy tale). The elevation of the Park keeps the temperature cooler, making it a great summer getaway. We love the quaint little town with a strong cottage industry where you can enjoy delicious food and wine and pick up some lovely knickknacks, as well as country markets and some seriously romantic B&Bs. There’s also breathtaking scenery, bushwalks, lookouts, cascading waterfalls, birdlife, a lovely botanic garden, and plenty of picture-perfect picnic spots. You’ll also find a great conservation project: a colony of cave-dwelling glow-worms! Whether you’re a single traveller, in the mood for romance or visiting with the family, there’s plenty for everyone here. And if you’re loving the rainforest vibes, pair it with a trip to Springbrook National Park and Lamington National Park for more of what makes the Hinterland so special.
Cleland Wildlife Park and Waterfall Gully Hike
Just 8 km out of Adelaide, you’ll find Cleland Conservation Park, home of Cleland Wildlife Park, Waterfall Gully and the summit of Mount Lofty. It’s also home to the self-guided Waterfall Gully Hike, which connects all three and takes about 1.5 hours one way. It’s a Grade 4 hike, with steep terrain, but if you’re up for it, it’s seriously worth doing. Start at the scenic Waterfall Gully, home to the largest of the Park’s seven waterfalls and some seriously lush, gorgeous scenery. Next, follow this trail past Davenport Ridge until you get to the summit of Mt Lofty (710m), with its gorgeous panoramic views of the Adelaide plains and Gulf St Vincent.
While you’re enjoying the Park, you won’t want to miss the 35-ha Cleland Wildlife Park, home to 130 species of Aussie wildlife including cuddly koalas and relaxed roos. There’s a whole lot of free-roaming animals here, making it a great spot to see how they act in a natural setting; you can often get a few pats in, too! And it’s also the starting point of Steub Trail, a more manageable hike over undulating terrain that makes a great alternative way to reach the mountain summit.
Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs
About 90 minutes from Hobart, Hastings Caves State Reserve and its thermal springs are located in Tasmania’s scenic Huon Valley. Accompanied by a Parks and Wildlife Service guide, you’ll journey through a unique, ancient yet ever-changing ecosystem; from caving in the labyrinth-like chambers of Australia’s largest dolomite cave system and witnessing spectacular underground geological formations, to bushwalking through lush forests; and of course, bathing in the soothing warm waters of the thermal spring that remains a consistent 28 degrees, making them a perfect relaxation attraction year-round.
The State Reserve has two easy and wheelchair-accessible walking trails, with abundant native flora and fauna – you might even spot a platypus if you’re lucky! It’s a lovely spot to get in touch with nature, and enjoy a picnic or BBQ in the wonders of nature.
The aptly-named Mount Beauty is located in VIC’s high country, at the bottom end of the stunning Kiewa Valley and deep into the Alpine National Park, situated right at the base of Mount Bogong (the largest mountain in Victoria). About half an hour’s drive from the lovely tourist town of Bright, Mount Beauty boasts some seriously spectacular scenery: lakes, forests and snowfields offer fabulous backdrops to your family snaps.
You’ll also find local boutique farms, wineries and breweries to whet your appetite for great Victorian produce and fare, and there’s plenty of fun activities: hiking, biking, camping, horseback riding and fishing.
Hamilton Island is a legendary slice of paradise that attracts celebrities from around the world, honeymooners seeking a perfect tribute to their romance – and families looking for plenty of fun. The most recognisable of the four resort islands in the Whitsundays offers pampering, resort lifestyle and delicious fine dining, while adventurous types will find plenty to do in and around the waters of the 74 islands that make up the archipelago. From fishing to sailing, kayaking to scuba diving, you’ll never get bored: do as much or as little as you like on your dream holiday.
For more great advice on how to #holidayherethisyear and enjoy the Aussie summer holidays in style, visit Tourism Australia’s guide to things to do in Australia’s summer. And if you’d like more insight and inspiration from the ATAS team, visit our blog for articles like: