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People often refer to the 'romance of travel'. It's an old adage that brings to mind the glory days of travelling in style, probably dressed to the nines and comfortably reclined with the world gliding by at a pleasing speed.
In such a state, you might just turn to your companion and say something charming like, “I would like to travel the world with you twice. Once, to see the world. Twice to see the way you see the world”, as the oft-quoted 'Anonymous' once said.
However, as anyone who's been stuck in a mile-long immigration queue with hundreds of other scruffy passengers recently disgorged from an enormous aircraft after a sleepless overnight flight, travel can also be very unromantic.
But, when you do think of romantic places to visit, what or where comes to mind? Paris? Santorini? Cinque Terre or Venice? The Maldives? Maybe Maui or Bora Bora?
What about closer to home? Where are Australia's most romantic destinations? With Australians being encouraged to #HolidayHereThisYear, we asked some ATAS accredited travel agents to spill the beans on their most romantic places here at home.
Image: The view over Catseye Beach, Hamilton Island. Credit: Hamilton Island.
"Hamilton Island is without a doubt one of the most romantic getaways you can experience," says Jacqui.
Jacqui jumped on a pair of extremely well-priced, non-refundable airfares to the island, and promptly set about finding some equally good value accommodation for a romantic getaway with her husband.
Qualia Resort on Hamilton Island. Credit: Qualia Resort.
"What I saved in flights was short lived, as I quickly realised that the only available accommodation was at the world-renowned, seriously luxe Qualia. Despite the premium price-point, this reasonably price-sensitive guest thinks it was worth every penny," adds Jacqui.
"We stayed for just four wonderful nights, and felt like we had a month away. It was so relaxing, and the fab resort-supplied golf carts allowed us to explore the island's beauty in our own time. Almost daily we stopped to watch weddings at the top of the hill with the beautiful ocean as a picturesque back drop.
Resort golf carts on Hamilton Island. Credit: Jason Loucas/Hamilton island.
"We enjoyed romantic dinners, sunset cruises, to-die-for spa treatments, fabulous food, jet ski adventures and all the activities we could hope for. Australia is rugged, beautiful and definitely romantic," says Jacqui.
Nicola Caygill, Director at ATAS accredited Micro-Cruising in Sydney is also a Whitsundays romance fan.
"A few days cruising the warm Whitsunday waters around uninhabited islands with the right person aboard a comfortable chartered vessel is just the ticket for romance," she says.
Demi Davis, Travel Specialist at ATAS accredited Spencer Travel Southside in Sydney found her romantic hot-spot in a bubble-tent in the Blue Mountains' stunning Capertee Valley, roughly midway between scenic Lithgow and the renowned wine region of Mudgee in NSW.
Outdoor bath and bubble-tent in the Capertee Valley. Credit: Demi Davis.
"We loved how it was away from everything. it gave my partner and I the best way to completely tune out the city life," says Demi.
Capertee Valley 135 kilometres to the north-west of Sydney. The Capertee Area's original inhabitants were the Wirdajuri people, and it was first traversed by European explorer James Blackman who explored the area through to Mudgee in 1821.
Bubble-tent seclusion overload. Credit: Demi Davis.
"The bubble-tent offered the perfect way to relax surrounded by nature. I found myself daydreaming in the sunlight and, of course, drifting off to sleep at night literally beneath a blanket of stars," Demi recalls fondly.
Noosa Main Beach boardwalk. Credit: Visit Noosa.
"I love Noosa," says Leanne. "The relaxed, upmarket coastal vibe is special, and Netanya Noosa is perfectly located on Hastings Street with direct access to the beachfront and Noosa's fine eateries," she adds, describing her preferred Noosa lodgings.
The pool at Netanya Noosa. Credit: Netanya Noosa.
"A 'one-bedroom beachfront rooftop terrace apartment' might be a mouthful, but it's a fabulous place from which to enjoy everything Noosa has to offer. The private rooftop Jacuzzi overlooking the beach is especially romantic," adds Leanne.
Further south, Leanne also suggests romance seekers take a look at an iconic, glamorous hotel property on the Gold Coast Broadwater.
"Located away from the hustle and bustle of Surfers Paradise on an exclusive waterfront setting is Palazzo Versace Gold Coast.
Poolside at Palazzo Versace, Gold Coast. Credit: Palazzo Versace.
"Perfect for couples, Palazzo Versace's famed day-spa offers therapeutic pools and a range of romantic couples’ massage treatments. And for an intimate dining experience, Vanitas offers wonderful Italian fine dining," advises Leanne.
Tasmania is in the midst of a tourism boom, driven by wonderful food and wine experiences, outdoorsy activities and the remarkable MONA, and landmark festivals like Dark Mofo and MONA FOMA.
For Charlotte Wadsworth, Corporate Travel Manager at ATAS accredited Sanford International Travel in Sydney, Tassie is also home to one of Australia's most romantic places—Cradle Mountain.
Cradle Mountain. Credit: Charlotte Wadsworth.
"Cradle Mountain is breathtakingly beautiful. Think luxurious accommodation with hot tubs, surrounded by picturesque landscape and nature walks suitable for all ages. There are the incredible blooms of Australian native flora, and gorgeous fauna," Charlotte recalls.
The Cradle Mountain romance was taken to new heights for Charlotte when she said a big, fat Yes! to a wedding proposal at the summit.
All smiles after a successful proposal on Cradle Mountain. Credit: Charlotte Wadsworth.
"It's one of the best places I've been," quips Charlotte.
The team at ATAS accredited Globetrotter Corporate Travel in Perth also has a thing for the Apple Isle.
Head of Globetrotter Lifestyle Travel, Jodee Sorrell shares that Lake St Clair—at the southern end of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park—made her romance list. Its secret sauce? Cosiness.
Lake St Claire, Tasmania. Credit: www.pumphousepoint.com.au
"The forest-fringed Lake St Clair—Australia's deepest lake—is a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Hobart, and with it comes cosy fires and frosty mornings with your loved one. Enjoy a relaxing day drifting along the lake on a canoe while being surrounded by snow-capped peaks. At night, enjoy Tasmania’s amazing fresh produce and enjoy a night full of wine, cheese and cured meats," says Jodee.
Petrina Frankham, Travel Specialist at ATAS accredited MTA Travel says that, after much consideration, she too is in the Tassie romance camp.
Tassie delights. Credit: Petrina Frankham
"Tasmania—all of it—is the most romantic place I’ve visited in Australia, and I've seen a lot of it over the years," says Petrina.
"It has the perfect mix of scenery, wineries, cheese, food and culture with a beautiful nostalgic vibe. And, at the end of the day, being able to enjoy the rustic charm of a fireplace and sharing stories with someone you love over a glass of pinot noir accompanied by a platter of delicious local delights exudes romance. Bellissima!", she exclaims.
Tasmanian snap shots. Credit: Petrina Frankham.
Michelle Hartland, Managing Director of ATAS accredited Champagne Travel in Mandurah, Western Australia, plants the romance pin right in the country's deep red heart, recalling her own unforgettable outback experience.
Feeling the romance of the Red Centre. Credit: Michelle Hartland
"As the sky changed colours and the sun set over Uluru, we enjoyed a true experience of outback Australia. Immersed in complete silence with a rug and enjoying a candlelit dinner under the night stars, our Sounds of Silence experience was one to remember," says Michelle.
"After dinner, we viewed the Southern Cross with an Astronomer leading us on an amazing star gazing journey. I never realised quite how bright the stars were in outback Australia. It's something I'll never forget—it was so romantic," she adds.
The stunning Red Centre. Credit: Tourism Australia.
The Globetrotter Corporate Travel team also included the Northern Territory's Red Centre in their list of Australia's most romantic places.
"Millions of years in the making, you just can’t beat the breathtaking landscape of the Red Centre. This is an unspoiled wilderness where you can relax and connect with Australia's ancient landscape and culture—a divine experience to enjoy with your loved one," says Head of Globetrotter Lifestyle Travel, Jodee Sorrell.
"Watching Uluru changing colour at sunrise and sunset is a sight to behold, and something special to experience with your significant other," she adds.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the ATAS accredited Globetrotter Corporate Travel team also give a region closer to their hometown of Perth the romance seal of approval—the Margaret River Region.
Sugarloaf Rock, Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. Credit: Tourism Western Australia.
They point out Bunker Bay and Injidup as particularly romantic.
"Bunker Bay boasts long stretches of calm ocean kissing white sand along uncomplicated coastal landscapes that effortlessly deliver a sense of relaxation and romance. Enjoying an evening dip in some of Australia’s best beaches or taking in the coastal view from a bungalow surrounded by untouched bushland with bubbles in hand is an experience worthy of a honeymoon or romantic escape," says Jodee Sorrell.
Pullman Bunker Bay Resort, Margaret River Region. Credit: Tourism Western Australia.
And it's the secluded luxury retreats, dramatic coastline, natural rockpool formations and wild ocean waves that fuel the romance of Injidup.
"Injidup offers exclusive experiences where you can be at one with nature and your loved one. The jewel-blue water and creamy white sand make you feel like you're on your own little island," she adds.
On the Cape to Cape track towards Injidup beach. Credit: Tourism Western Australia.
Looking for more insights from ATAS-accredited travel agents? Try these on for size: Long Layovers—A survival Guide; ATAS Accredited Agents share their experiences of travelling solo; and their top travel tips for 2020.
ATAS travel agents recommend that Australia passport holders register for travel alerts before they travel.
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