Ahh, Australia. This sunny destination, also known as Oz or the land Down Under, seemingly has it all, with its host of cosmopolitan cities ranging from Sydney to Melbourne, it’s spectacular sandy beaches and great surf, and of course, the adrenaline-inducing wilderness of the outback.
A place where you’ll never have to look far for a little luxury, Australia is awash with fine hotels and restaurants. And, with a wealth of iconic sights to explore – from Ayer’s Rock to the stunning Sydney Opera House, and of course, the incredible Great Barrier Reef, you could easily while away a few weeks, months or even years exploring this intriguing county.
Wildlife lovers will delight in delving into the underwater world, but there’s plenty of wildlife to watch out for back on land, too. From koalas to kangaroos, there are plenty of native animals of the cute and cuddly variety to be found in Australia’s forests and outback – but with crocodiles, snakes and spiders aplenty too, it pays to be prepared for some slightly less pleasing sights, too!
If you’re planning on heading to Australia any time soon, then be sure to get your visa sorted in good time.
If you are from one of the 28 European Union member countries or 7 European countries allowed to use an ETA to access Australia, the process can be quite straightforward. The e-Tourist Visa Australia (ETA/eVisitor) is obtained by making an online application, which requests authorisation to enter Australia for a short duration of time. If you have no means to access the application form online, AU border agencies and travel agents and airlines can help.
Once the Australia tourist visa has been issued from australiaonlinevisa.org, it allows visitors to stay for up to 3 months at a time. You can do this as many times as you like until your visa expires 12 months after date of issue.
Where to go and stay
Nestled amongst the flora and fauna close to Kakadu National Park, this unique yet utterly opulent bushcamp promises you an unforgettable experience from start to finish. Featuring just nine safari bungalows and set in the remote and beautiful wilderness, it’s definitely a place for wildlife enthusiasts – and, if you’re looking to get away after a hectic few days exploring the city then this is the place for you.
Facilities include a swimming pool, outdoor deck and an atmospheric indoor dining area, and if you’re keen to immerse yourself in the great outdoors then you’ll get to enjoy air-boating on floodplains and safari drives to spot local wildlife.
Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland
If pristine sandy beaches and sheer seclusion are what float your boat, then head to Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef. With not one, but 24 white sandy beaches to choose from, plus over 1,000 hectares of national park, the real star of the show here are the azure waters of the Reef. You’ll be able to while away many a day snorkelling or scuba diving in a world that is teeming with life, with a plethora of colourful marine life to see that you’d be hard-pressed to spot anywhere else in the world.
Lizard Island has a choice of private villas or suites to choose from, where luxury and five-star service are both guaranteed. In addition to reef and water activities, secluded picnics on private beaches, superb dining in the expansive main lodge and indulgent spa treatments make this a well-rounded experience and the lavish sunny getaway of dreams.
Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island
Dubbed the Galapagos Islands of Australia, Kangaroo Island is just a short hop by plane from Adelaide. Over a third of the island is made up of protected nature reserves, home to native wildlife including sealions, koalas and numerous bird species. Flinder’s Chase National Park, in the West, is renowned for its striking rock formations and penguin inhabitants, making it well worth a visit.
When it comes to accommodation, Southern Ocean Lodge should be your first port of call. Here, you can enjoy lavish suites featuring bespoke furnishings, sunken lounges and private terraces boasting spectacular ocean views. In the evenings, enjoy a fine dining experience in the hotel’s on-site restaurant, or relax with a cocktail at the bar.
Lake House, Victoria
Just under an hour and a half from Melbourne, the small luxury hotel of Lake House can be found nestled on the shore of Lake Daylesford. Renowned for its spectacular fine dining restaurant, it attracts foodies from the world over to sample its next level cuisine. It’s also a dream for wine lovers, with over 10,000 bottles in its basement to choose from.
Set amongst sprawling grounds spanning over six acres, a wander through the hotel gardens will take you right down to the lake itself, where you can gain immediate access to the neighbouring Wombat Forest. An outdoor paradise for wildlife lovers, here you can spot a range of animal species including koalas, kangaroos, wallabies and of course, wombats. Don’t forget your binoculars, as with over 150 species of birds to look out for, there is plenty to keep you entertained.
Back at the hotel itself relax in the opulent on-site spa and enjoy a treatment or two to round off the day. Surrounded by waterfall-fed streams, it’s a dreamy setting, and the perfect place to unwind.
With so many places to visit in Australia, choosing just one might prove a challenge – but with glorious weather, an abundance of flora and fauna and pristine sandy beaches to enjoy, it’s a dream destination where luxury is never far away.
Image credit at the very top of the article: IngusKruklitis/Bigstock.com