Bodysurfing at the beach, the sound of cicadas, sausages grilling on the barbie: the Aussie summer holiday is a sacred tradition. And there’s no better place to celebrate a long hot summer than at these five great destinations.
The lovely town of Lorne on the Great Ocean Road is the perfect place for a two-speed holiday. When you’re feeling energetic, you can visit the nearby Erskine Falls, take in an exhibition at Qdos Arts or enjoy a spot of window-shopping. If you wake up feeling lazy, however, just find yourself a sunny spot on Lorne’s 1.2 kilometre-long beach, or throw in a line from the pier and wait until a hungry trevally or whiting takes the bait.
Don’t miss: the spectacular limestone spires of the Twelve Apostles are just a 90-minute drive away.
Maria Island, Tasmania
Just an hour from Hobart, Maria Island is a paradise for hikers, with its deserted beaches, dramatic cliffs and convict sites. The car-free island is also home to wildlife such as wallabies, kangaroos and wombats. As there are no shops, campers need to BYO everything. Alternatively, sign up for the four-day Maria Island Guided Walk, a wonderful way to explore this remarkable island.
Don’t miss: one of Maria’s most spectacular short walks is the two-hour loop from Darlington to Fossil Cliffs.
The perfect sweep of sand that is Mooloolaba Beach is just one of the attractions that draw holidaymakers here from across the country. Kids love visiting Australia Zoo (a 25-minute drive away) and the Underwater World SEA LIFE aquarium, while adrenaline junkies head straight to the kitesurfing schools. Other highlights include the acclaimed cooking classes at Spicers Tamarind Estate in Maleny in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, and the Maleny Botanic Gardens.
Don’t miss: Spirit House in nearby Eumundi is one of Australia’s best regional restaurants, with a setting that is as memorable as the food.
Coffin Bay, South Australia
At Coffin Bay, it’s all about the ocean. The calm waters of this lovely bay are great for swimming, sailing and stand-up paddle boarding: keep an eye out for pods of wild dolphins. Anglers head for the surrounding channels and inlets, which offer plenty of spots to throw a line into the water. Alternatively, Coffin Bay National Park has plenty of great hiking trails, as well as an exhilarating 4WD sand-dune track to Gunyah Beach.
Don’t miss: Coffin Bay is known for its superb seafood, especially its oysters, rated as some of the best in Australia.
Fringed with white-sand beaches and sheltered by a lush World Heritage-listed rainforest, the northern NSW town of Kingscliff has a spectacular setting. After a day spent hiking through verdant forests filled with Bangalow palms and towering strangler figs or visiting the towering silhouette that is Mt Warning, Kingscliff’s acclaimed restaurants offer plenty of opportunities to sate your appetite.
Don’t miss: head to Nightcap National Park, a 90-minute drive inland, to discover the magnificent Protesters Falls.