When it’s grey and grisly in England, Australia is beaming with summer sunshine. It also has some of the best beaches to be found anywhere in the world. So you can see the sights of sophisticated Sydney, or walk on the squeaking white sand of Noosa on the Pacific Coast or drive along 75 Mile Beach.
You can wander through a rainforest teeming with wildlife – like possums and noisy birds – in Southern Queensland, or take a trip to Hamilton Island and explore the vivid undersea world of the Great Barrier Reef.
Fly to Sydney, regarded as one of Australasia’s premier destinations. Small wonder; this scintillating city offers you wide-ranging cultural opportunities, sizzling restaurants and bars, outstanding architecture, the harbourside and any number of different experiences. Like strolling past the Opera House and around Circular Bay, taking photographs at every other step. You can take a half day introductory city tour, then catch a ferry to Manly and Darling Harbour – the trip takes you beneath Sydney Harbour Bridge – or wend your way to world-renowned Bondi Beach for swimming and surfing lessons.
Stay: Four nights in a two bedroom suite at Quay West Suites.
Noosa’s beach is flawless. Squeaky, fine white sand stretching for miles (actually over 30 miles) along the edge of the warm Pacific Ocean. The town isn’t bad either, and you’ll be staying just a couple of minutes from Hastings Street with its great shops, specialist surfing outlets, relaxed cafés, busy bars and fine restaurants. Beyond both beach and town are the interesting bush walk trails of nearby Noosa National Park, with Australia Zoo a short drive away. Fraser Island, 75 Mile Beach and Cooloola National Park are also unforgettable.
Stay: Three nights in a two bedroom apartment at The Outrigger.
Lamington National Park
‘I’m a Celebrity’ was actually filmed here, in the Southern Queensland rainforest. But instead of celebrities you’ll meet wildlife including pandemelons, frogs, possums and a vivid array of birds. The drive from Noosa takes you 3000 feet up into this World Heritage National Park; the perfect venue for nature walks, scenic lookouts, 4×4 trips, treetop walks above the rainforest and night expeditions to find glow worms and nocturnal creatures.
Stay: Three nights in a two bedroom canopy suite or mountain villa at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Resort.
Hamilton Island/Great Barrier Reef
Drive to Brisbane and catch a flight to Hamilton Island, gateway to the 74 idyllic tropical islands that make up the Whitsundays. Hamilton has all the restaurants, entertainment, amenities and activities of a full-on resort – combined with warm waters, great flora and fauna and ready access to the colourful undersea world of the coral reef. All of which make it a relaxed place for snorkelling and diving in one of the most revered marine sites in Australia, with trips out to Whitehaven Beach and various points on the Great Barrier Reef.
Stay: Four nights in a family room overlooking the ocean at the Reef View Hotel. Or upgrade to a deluxe villa in the new Yacht Club.