It may take over a day to reach Australia from the UK (even with the first ever non-stop passenger flight taking off in 2018), but the journey is more than worth it. From the moment you step off the plane, you'll be captivated by one of the most wildly beautiful destinations on Earth, with a quirky spirit all of its own and plenty of unusual places to stay!
Known mostly for its breathtaking beaches, deep red-hued outback, diverse wildlife, friendly people and colourful cities, there plenty to discover in the land of perpetual sunshine. Sydney, of course, is any traveller's paradise, complete with spectacular sands and a world-famous opera house (known as ‘the Coathanger' by locals) - an architectural icon found on the prestigious list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Meanwhile, hip Melbourne is the second-largest city, boasting a thriving arts and foodie scene just 15 minutes away from surfers' paradise Bondi Beach, while Brisbane and Adelaide are all full of friendly spirit (and plenty of pubs!) The capital, Canberra, is rich in indigenous culture, while booming Perth is where it's at. Oh - and not forgetting Darwin, rich in tropical-style beauty.
If you're a fan of David Attenborough or Bear Gryllls, you couldn't be in any better place. Teeming with expansive rainforest, rocky outcrops and deserted islands, all kinds of life can be found here, from kangaroos and crocodiles, dingoes, wombats and platypuses...not to mention almost a thousand species of birds! A Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, Daintree National Park is among the most ancient ecosystems on Earth, full of biodiversity.
Kakadu Mountain Park, covering almost 20,000 square kilometres of wilderness, is the largest national park in the country. Blue Mountains National Park, filled with eucalyptus trees, is a wondrous day trip from Sydney, while deep-red Uluru (formerly known as Ayers Rock) is one of the most Instagrammed national wonders around - found at the heart of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Take an Aboriginal guide-led tour to really get under the skin of these sacred places.
The magnificent Great Barrier Reef is visible from outer space, and one of the largest living structures on Earth - a must-visit for any keen snorkeller! Why not take a trip to the Whitsunday Islands while you're there, for that unmistakable feeling of paradise.
Not simply the land of sizzling barbecues, you're spoilt for choice with local wine, coffee and cuisine in the Land Down Under - and of course, for beaches! Cable Beach, complete with infinite white sands and clear turquoise water, is one of the best, while the windswept Seventy Five Mile Beach is fantastic for adventures! The dramatic Gold Coast, of course, is truly awe-inspiring, set south of Brisbane and full of fascinating water wonders.
A perennial ‘bucket list' destination, say G'day to Australia just once, and we don't think you'll ever want to say goodbye!
Image credit: Saeed Sourati