The Mornington Peninsula, so close to Melbourne yet inwardly miles away, is a city dweller’s paradise.
The small patch of land that makes up the Peninsula juts out into the Bass Straight dividing Port Phillip Bay and Western Port Bay. This sliver of land has more to offer travellers than its size suggests.
Being surrounded almost entirely by water means the area is a fantastic place to explore some of Australia’s best coastline. There are some impressive coastal walks around Sorrento and Rye where you can while away the hours and get lost in the sound of the ocean.
The Peninsula Hot Springs are the perfect place to relax and unwind. The hot springs that warrant this haven its name are the first natural hot springs in the state. Soak up the natural minerals of the springs while taking in the impressive 360 degree views of the surrounding countryside and feel your tensions melt away with the steam.
If food and wine is your thing then a weekend escape to the Mornington Peninsula will be your new vice. The Peninsula is a foodie’s paradise and the wine that’s produced by the numerous vineyards littered throughout the Peninsula’s centre are the perfect accompaniment. Indulge in a self tour of the region with one of the food and wine trail maps on offer and get lost in gourmet bliss.
The Daintree region of Tropical North Queensland is a destination where nature takes centre stage. Here you will find the oldest rainforest on Earth, a myriad of creatures big and small, including the unusual cassowary, beaches nestled against rainforest, and an entire other world to explore under the water.
Cape Tribulation, at the northern end of the Daintree region, has an astounding number of walks and hikes that allow you to take in the natural wilds of the area. The rainforest dominates here and the wildlife contained within it is a true highlight. Alongside the hundreds of species of flora and fauna that decorate the rainforest you’ll find the region’s most fascinating resident, the crocodile.
Take a walk on the wild side and venture down one of the walking trails that lead to creeks where you can sit and wait for one of these elusive giants to make an appearance. Or, take a tour along one the Daintree River in search of the ancient reptiles and learn more about their habitat and history in the area. You may even spot some of the 430 species of striking birdlife who call the Daintree home.
Australia’s shining star, but don’t tell the East Coast.
Broome and its surrounds are deserved of ‘shining star’ status due to the innumerable stunning natural landscapes that call this part of Australia home.
Cable Beach, known the world over as one of the most beautiful stretches of sand in the world, is one such landscape. The whiter than white sand nuzzles up to turquoise water for a (looong) stretch of 22km. The beach is postcard perfect and can be enjoyed from the shore, amongst the cerulean waters of the Indian Ocean, or from atop a camel as it saunters down the beach at sunset.
Be sure to take time away from the beach to explore the beautiful surrounds as well. You could get lost for days exploring the impressive Kimberley region and its hidden gems. Also noteworthy is the spectacular coastline at Dampier Peninsula and the natural spectacle that is Horizontal Falls.
Pearls have a long history in Broome, and are still exported around the world today. Venture to one of the pearl farms to learn about the history of pearling and the lengthy process of crafting these spectacular iridescent jewels. You may even find a gem to call your own at one of the many jewelry stores that fashion them.
The Sapphire Coast, an alluring name and even more alluring landscape.
The numerous towns that are sprinkled along the coastline, almost mid-way between Sydney and Melbourne, are each more picturesque and charming than the last. Why this region doesn’t receive more attention is baffling, though I’m sure the lucky locals who call this paradise home aren’t overly concerned.
The Sapphire Coast has a surprisingly large art scene with locals crafting up everything from photography displaying the gorgeous coastal scenes from the area to unusual sculptures of every size and shape. There are more than a few galleries and studios to explore, many of which you will find on the Coastal Road Art Trail.
Find your Zen in Eden, the aptly named town at the very south of the Sapphire Coast. Here – and at many other locations along the coast – you can walk the coastline on raised boardwalks, marvel at the jaw dropping views from cliff tops, and sink your feet into pristine sands.
The region has a fascinating whaling history that is well worth learning about at the Eden Killer Whale Museum. It’s said that the local aboriginal people had a hunting relationship with a pod of resident orcas, or killer whales, who called the bay at Eden home in 1800s and 1900s. The story goes that the killer whales would signal to whalers when baleen whales were in the area, then herd the whales into the path of whaling boats in-wait.
Noosa has long been a playground for holiday makers seeking respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. While this premier beach town is known as a boutique holiday destination there is actually something here for every type of holiday maker.
The beaches at Noosa are the, perhaps obvious, main attraction. Understandably, considering the crystalline bays and golden crescents of sand that are dotted throughout the Noosa National Park. And the further into the park you go the less people you will encounter, making the farther bays of Ti Tree and Granite a solitude-lover’s paradise.
The National park itself has some lovely trails to explore its depths and one path, the aptly named Coastal Track, which hugs the coastline all the way from Hastings Street to the dramatic cliffs of Hells Gates.
The number of restaurants and cafes that call Noosa home is almost embarrassing, with the majority of them lining the popular waterfront streets of Hastings Street and Gympie Terrace. Venture further afield, however, and you’ll be rewarded with a host of equally impressive eateries, with the Noosa Junction top of mind when it comes to slightly less touristy storefronts.