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Many of us that had overseas travel plans for 2020 are feeling terribly let down about the prospect of no overseas travel this year. The Coronavirus pandemic has made it impossible for we Australians to travel abroad and we’ve even had restrictions on interstate travel within our own country. With this in mind I’ve created a list of the best Australian overseas travel swaps that you can visit during the overseas travel ban. So just close your eyes and pretend you’re in Europe of wherever else in the world!
You don’t need to travel overseas for good snow skiing or snow boarding. Australia’s largest and most popular snow holiday destination is located in the Australian Snowy Mountains, in New South Wales. Perisher boasts 47 lifts, an array of ski runs and terrain parks, extensive cross-country skiing trails and Tube Town, a fun snow-tubing park across an amazing four ski areas; Perisher Valley, Blue Cow, Smiggin Holes and Guthega.
Apres ski Perisher offers a range of restaurants, cafes and bars with mountain vistas. Accommodation options include hotels, apartments, lodges and very convenient ski-in ski-out chalets.
If you want to sample the best in authentic Italian cuisine and culture head to the cultural precinct of the Italian community of Melbourne situated in Lygon Street, Carlton. Stroll along leafy Lygon Street in the heart of Carlton and discover Little Italy – the place where Melbourne’s famous cafe culture was born.
But it’s not just about great Italian restaurants, the area also offers good quality Italian meat, cheese, coffee, olive oil, wine, bread and gelato all within a couple of blocks’ radius. Or otherwise head to the Victoria Markets in the CBD for fresh homemade Italian fare including a traditional pasta shop, delicatessen and Italian restaurants.
We have our very own Waikiki Beach on the Gold Coast in Queensland. With an average of 283 days of sunshine every year it’s almost always summer in Surfers Paradise. The beachfront is lined with high-rise condos, there is a walking or cycling path, the sand is golden and soft, the sea water temperature rarely drops below 20 degrees C and the waves are perfect for surfing or body boarding.
Plus there is an array of fantastic tourist attractions, fun theme parks, water sports galore, world class restaurants and shopping all available in Surfers Paradise.
A paddlewheeler trip down the Murray River can be just as romantic as a river cruise down the Danube or Rhine River in Europe. A Murray River Cruise departs from either Adelaide in South Australia or Echuca in Victoria and varies from 1 to 7 nights. The cruise is 5 star all the way with comfortable cabin accommodation, all meals included and guided nature tours.
The mighty Murray River, the world’s fourth longest river, twists and turns from the Snowy Mountains in NSW, along the Victorian border and into South Australia, where it meets Lake Alexandria. You will witness the untouched beauty of the Murray River and the historic towns located along the way from the comfort of your own balcony.
South Australia has its very own little Germany in the villages and vineyards in the Barossa Valley only a short distance from Adelaide. The stone cottages and Lutheran churches throughout the region are testament to a 19th-century wave of German settlers. The town of Hahndorf is the areas oldest German settlement that still has a strong German flavour most evident in the shops, cafes and restaurants that line the bustling main street.
The Barossa Valley is one of the world’s greatest wine growing areas, with more than 150 wineries and 80 cellar doors. It is home to the biggest names in Australian wine but is also renowned for its seasonal produce, artisan food producers and award-winning restaurants.
Want to be seen as one of the “beautiful people”? Strut your stuff along the promenade of Bondi Beach in Sydney – Australia’s own French Riviera. There are many beachside cafes, hip bars and restaurants to tempt your tastebuds or places to just sit and people watch. There’s every chance you’ll spot a celebrity or two!
Get your runners on and take the picturesque 6 kilometre Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk that is carved into the sandstone cliffs and has uninterrupted views of the ocean. Or swim some laps at the famous Bondi Icebergs ocean pool at the southern end of the beach.
If you enjoy the cooler temperatures of the highlands head for Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair in Tasmania’s west wilderness region. With its ancient rainforests, glacial lakes, icy streams and alpine heaths you would think you were in the English Highlands.
Lake St Clair is a walkers’ paradise, with leisurely lakeside strolls and longer forest walks for those who like to hike, or spend the day tackling Cradle Mountain’s summit. The vegetation is rich and diverse including grassland, rainforest and many ancient plants, plus the forests provide a rich habitat for wildlife.
Always dreamed of sailing around the Aegean Sea surrounding the Greek Islands? Charter your own yacht and sail around the 74 islands that make up The Whitsundays in North Queensland. Departing from Shute Harbour in Airlie Beach you can either be your own captain and explore the islands at your leisure, or consider hiring a skipper to take care of the yacht while you sit back and relax.
Sailing around the Whitsunday Islands you will get to explore secluded island bays, picnic at untouched beaches, hike up to the top of islands with amazing views, snorkel over colourful coral reefs teeming with marine life and bask in the sun on deck of the yacht.
Want to immerse yourself in a vast rainforest amongst incredible flora and fauna? The Daintree Rainforest situated north of Cairns in Far North Queensland encompasses an area of approximately 1,200 square kilometres and is brimming with wildlife and rainforest vegetation.
The Daintree offers experiences for every taste and budget, whether you want to fill your days with adventure or slow down and soak in the amazing tropical ambience of the rainforest. Take an eco cruise down the Daintree river and spot the unique birdlife, wildlife and resident crocodiles sunbaking on the banks. Explore the rainforest on a variety of different trails with or without a guide and go zip-lining above the canopy of the dense forest.
Experience an epic road trip, that is comparable to the Amalfi Coast in Italy with breathtaking scenery at every curve, on the Great Ocean Road south west of Melbourne. See the towering 12 Apostles, London Bridge, Bay of Islands, Loch Ard Gorge and the Grotto; take in iconic surf breaks; immerse yourself in pristine rainforest and misty waterfalls; and get up close to native wildlife.
Take your time to explore the vibrant seaside towns along the coastline and take in some of the region’s cultural highlights, from galleries and museums to music festivals, markets and surf shops.
Scuba diving and snorkelling at one of the famous diving spots in the world can be found in our own backyard at the largest tropical coral reef along the north east coast of Australia. The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest and healthiest coral reef system, made up of nearly 2900 individual reefs, 600 continental islands and 300 coral cays.
Some of the best diving spots are located at: Agincourt Reef 72 km from Port Douglas; Ribbons Reef on the Northern Great Barrier Reef; Osprey Reef from out of Cairns or Port Douglas; The Whitsundays; and Heron Island 80 km from Gladstone.
Dying to escape to a tropical island with coconut palms, crystal clear blue water and white sand between your toes? Australia is renowned for having some of most beautiful islands in the world. Depending on which state you’re in select from Rottnest Island in Western Australia, Phillip Island in Victoria, Lord Howe Island in New South Wales, Bruny Island in Tasmania, Tiwi Islands in Northern Territory or Kangaroo Island in South Australia.
Off the coastline of Queensland you are spoilt for choice with a large selection of island paradises off the coastline, including: North Stradbroke, Fraser Island, Great Keppel Island, Magnetic Island, The Whitsundays, Lady Musgrave, Heron Island, Fitzroy Island, Bedarra Island and Lizard Island, to name a few.
I hope I’ve given you some inspiration to travel in Australia. We do live in an amazing country and there’s plenty of it to explore. Although we may not have the history and culture of overseas travel destinations it still has loads of natural attributes to enjoy and some wonderful sophisticated, multi-cultured cities to embrace.
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.