While Australia’s stunning East Coast undeniably offers some of the nation’s top tourist spots, the underrated West boasts a plethora of incredible locations that ought to be added to your Aussie travel bucket list for 2020!
The largest of Australia’s six states, Western Australia (WA) comprises a third of the country offering so much more than just arid Outback. You’ll find an unparalleled coastline, national parks, wildlife experiences, exquisite wine and food regions and an exciting and ever-sunny urban capital, the city of Perth. A vast state with so much to offer makes picking just ten must-sees no mean feat, though hopefully the following list provides a solid place to start. The two towns kicking off our list recently made it into Australian travel website Wotif’s annual awards top ten places to visit, which is the first time that two WA locations have made the cut!
With its rolling mountain ranges and spectacular coastline, from Torndirrup National Park's surf-pummelled cliffs to Middleton Beach's white sands and the calm waters of King George Sound, Albany in the state’s South West claimed Wotif’s seventh spot. Known as a little slice of Europe in WA, Albany is the western state’s oldest European settlement, shown through its unique heritage architecture and fascinating museums. Situated on the traditional lands of the Minang Noongar and Wagyl Kaip peoples, Albany is rich in Aboriginal history too, with evidence of habitation dating back over 18,000 years, which makes taking a trip to the award-winning National Anzac Centre a must! As well as being an incredible destination for history buffs, Albany offers lots for families too. Hire bikes and cycle to Emu Point, take a dip at the hidden gem that is Waterfall Beach, take a killer whale boat cruise or have the "best fish and chips in WA" at the award-winning Ocean & Paddock!
Walk along the stunning coastline! Photo via @visitalbanywa
2. Margaret River
WA’s premium wine region took spot nine on Wotif’s list and we can certainly appreciate why. Margaret River is the renowned surfing location and wine region of WA's South West with over 135 wineries, making up 3% of Australia's grape production. However, there is more to the beautiful region than simply great wine and surf. Along with fantastic local produce, art galleries, and impressive coastlines, visitors can explore underground caves, hike untouched trails, and bike through towering forests. A few standout activities for us include hiring SUPs and cruising the turquoise waters of Prevelly or Meelup Beach, taking a dip at the famous Injidup Natural Spa or combining two great past times - wine tasting and cycling - by taking a Sip’n Cycle Winery Tour. An awesome one for the kids (big and small) involves hanging about in the treetops at Forest Adventures South West.
Immerse yourself in the magic of the natural spas. Photo via @margaretriver
3. Swan Valley
While we’re on the topic of wine; just north of Perth lies the picturesque landscape famed for being Western Australia’s oldest wine region, with a 32km loop full of food and wine to indulge in! Blending rich Indigenous history with strong European roots, the Swan Valley not only offers an abundance of wineries but also walking trails like no other, historic buildings and some of the finest foods in the state. A few tips from us; take a relaxing boat cruise along the blue waters of the Swan River from the CBD right through to the Swan Valley, or sample some decadent delights from Windarra Honey, Margaret River Chocolate Company or Mondo Nougat! Fun child-friendly activities include hand-feeding roos at the Caversham Wildlife Park, navigating a challenging maze, or playing mini-golf at the Maze, as well as plummeting down an inflatable slide at Outback Splash!
Take a walk through the vines. Photo via @westernaustralia
4. Rottnest Island
A trip to WA wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Rottnest Island; a picturesque island with a laid-back atmosphere, stunning scenery including the world’s most pristine beaches and bays and some incredible marine life. One of the main attractions of this sunny little island are the quirky little marsupials, the quokkas! If you’re wondering how to get around Rottnest Island, bikes are the transport of choice and can be hired or brought along with you by ferry for a small fee. The island is only 11km long and 4.5km wide making it easy to explore with a number of great trails to follow. As well as relaxing, swimming or snorkelling at one of Rottnest’s beaches, or exploring the island on foot or two wheels, you can climb the Wadjemup Lighthouse for the ultimate views across the whole island. From September to May explore the world beneath the waves on the Underwater Explorer!
Float in crystal clear waters. Photo via @rottnestaustralia
5. The Kimberley
A region full of natural wonders not to be missed. The Kimberley, which is located in the northernmost part of Western Australia, consists of small country towns, dramatic coastlines, and World Heritage Sites such as sandstone gorges and incredible waterfalls. We could write an extensive list of places to see in The Kimberley but we’ll narrow it down to a few favourites. Firstly, Broome with its camel-riding on Cable Beach, Malcolm Douglas Crocodile Park, Roebuck Bay, and SSJG Heritage Centre is known as one of Australia’s top tourist destinations for good reason! If exploring waterfalls is a must, you really are spoilt for choice in The Kimberley. Marvel at Mitchell Falls in the Mitchell River National Park or Fortescue Falls in WA’s second-largest national park, Karijini. Take a boat ride or seaplane ride along the wonder that is Horizontal Falls and for the adventurers among us, four-wheel-drive along the Kimberley's Gibb River Road or stay at remote wilderness camp Kooljaman run by the local Bardi people, amidst the rugged red cliffs, white sands and pristine waters of Cape Leveque.
Appreciate The Kimberley's rugged beauty. Photo via @thekimberleyaustralia
6. Ningaloo Reef
There is nowhere quite as spectacular in Australia as Ningaloo Reef. The lesser-known and therefore quieter but equally as impressive as its Eastern counterpart, (the Great Barrier Reef) Ningaloo is a World Heritage Site that will leave you awestruck. A breathtaking 300km stretch of unspoiled underwater paradise renowned for its amazing shark diving, snorkelling with Manta Rays and turtles or swimming at Turquoise Bay. A 13-hour drive (or 90-minute flight) from Perth, Exmouth is the closest town and main gateway to the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area. Exmouth is also home to the amazing Cape Range National Park and Charles Knife Canyon where hiking, camping, and scenery appreciating are second to none. A bit further South is Coral Bay where the Ningaloo Reef is closest from the shore, just 500 meters away, and is a small, laidback location where exploring the reef, quad bike trekking, fishing, boat tripping, diving and enjoying a meal and a beer at Bill’s alfresco bar make it a perfect destination for nature lovers and adventurers alike.
See the reef a stone’s throw from the shore. Photo via @visitningaloo
A dynamic and sun-soaked metropolis set on the banks of the picturesque and winding Swan River, Perth is renowned for its water sports, awesome beaches, gourmet eateries, quirky galleries, and hip boutiques. One of the most isolated capital cities on the planet yet often voted as one of the most liveable, Perth exudes a relaxed, natural charm. Choose from one of many family-friendly sheltered inlets or beaches such as Como and Cottesloe, or for the keen surfer, the best breaks can be found at Trigg Point and Scarborough. There are many picturesque suburbs to explore by foot or bike and delicious places to fuel up along the way. Nature lovers will delight in Kings Park and Botanic Garden, being a tranquil escape from the CBD and one of the largest inner-city parks in the world. Here you'll find stunning city views atop Mount Eliza and walking trails aplenty, including the Lotterywest Federation Walkway suspended in a canopy of Eucalyptus trees.
Take in incredible city views from Kings Park. Photo via @cityofperth
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The 2019 Kings Park and Botanic Garden Festival is kicking off on Sunday! The Festival is packed with events and activities for garden gurus, wellness devotees, keen conservationists, culture cravers, families and wildflower enthusiasts. Dozens of free guided walks, outdoor exhibitions, acoustic musicians and roving performers, science talks and other activities will take place, against a backdrop of colourful wildflowers. With Instagrammable spots around every corner, iconic WA species including kangaroo paws, waxes, Qualup bells and carpets of pink everlastings are just some of the 3,000 plant species growing in Kings Park. The Kings Park Festival runs from 1 – 30 September. Learn more at @kingsparkandbotanicgarden 📷 @danniexdough
If you like the relaxed vibe of Perth, then you’ll undoubtedly love the laid-back artistically inclined historic port town of Fremantle. A short drive from Perth city where so much local goodness can be found, from eclectic pieces of art, jewellery, and fashion to delicious organic foods and locally brewed beer. Check out what local producers have to offer at the Fremantle Markets or take a walk down Fremantle’s legendary ‘Cappuccino Strip’ where you can sip wine whilst watching street performers or enjoy live music from the towns many restaurants, cafes, and pubs. A trip to the fascinating Fremantle prison, one of Western Australia’s most significant cultural attractions, is a must, as is the Western Australian Museum’s Shipwreck Galleries. The Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour is another favourite with delicious seafood restaurants aplenty, and of course the Little Creatures brewery, the birthplace of their world-famous craft beer.
Browse the famous markets. Photo via @visitfremantle
Another of WA’s spectacular destinations is Esperance, on the Southern Ocean coastline, approximately 720km from the state capital Perth. A great way to check out this beautiful region is to take a road trip from Albany through to Esperance, which is 483 km of beautiful beaches and wonderful national parks. When in Esperance, the Great Ocean Drive provides an awesome winding Cliffside route to all the best beaches in the area and another of WA’s fascinating museums, The Esperance Museum, is a great place to learn about the area’s rich history. National Parks, Cape Range, and the further out, more rugged Cape Arid, are incredible, with the first being home to stunning white sand beaches such as Cape Le Grand Beach and Lucky Bay, where friendly kangaroos hop along the shoreline. If time permits, we suggest taking a short scenic flight or one hour cruise to Middle Island, where you can see the extraordinary bubble-gum pink Lake Hillier, juxtaposed against the deepest blue ocean.
Don’t be tempted to take a sip! Photo via @westernaustralia
10. Pinnacles and Cervantes
Rounding out our list we've chosen another natural phenomenon, to be found in the Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park. Roughly 200km north of Perth, the 4ft limestone formations of the Pinnacles present an almost other-worldly landscape to explore. As well as walking on the moonscape that is the Pinnacles, we recommend surfing giant sand dunes and just outside of the desert, taking a trip to the sandy beaches of Hangover Bay and pristine waters of Jurien Bay Marine Park. Spending time in the town of Cervantes is also a must, ensuring that you sample the area’s famous seafood delicacy of lobster, and journey to the Thirsty Point Lookout that offers panoramic views of the ocean and sand dunes below. Head slightly north to Jurien Bay where you can get up close with sea lions!
Wake up and walk on the moon. Photo via @westernaustralia
We hope our list gives you some food for thought! The easing of restrictions could present the perfect opportunity to pack up the car, camper or RV and hit road, ticking off as many spots as you like on the way. There are many benefits to having your accommodation and wheels all in one, and to make your journey a little easier, pack a Scrubba wash bag for self-sufficient laundry on-the-go! Browse the Scrubba wash bag range to pick up the ultimate gear for your next WA adventure.
Not too long from now you just might get to travel outside again. When that happens why not consider the oldest state in Australia.
Named by Captain James Cook himself in 1770 the state contains some of the best flora, fauna and fun the country has to offer. We’ll skip over the obvious ones, such as Byron Bay, Snowy Mountains and the Hunter Valley. So, here are ten of the best places we can recommend you plant a foot or a tent once lockdown ends.
1. Mungo National Park
Mungo National Park is a world heritage listed wonder located in the middle of NSW just north of the also fabulous Mildura. Its rich in Aboriginal history and is perfect for a walk, picnic or a little bit of camping. It also happens to be the home of the Mungo Lady and Mungo Man. If you’re into Indigenous history the park is home to some of the oldest human remains ever found in the country.
2. Kangaroo Valley
300kms south of Sydney and filled with kangaroos, if you place yourself in the right place and right time, kangaroo valley is has all there is to do. Kayaking, camping, music and food is just the beginning. There are some b&b’s and camping spots are on hand to make your adventure as comfortable as you care to make it. Bendeela is a popular spot for camping on the green banks of the Kangaroo River where even a little bit of fishing is on offer to help you pass the time while the odd bare nose wombat passes by.
3. Warrumbungle National Park
Have you ever heard of a Dark Sky Park? You have now. Warrumbungle National Park. Is Australia’s only Dark Sky Park – that means it’s a park located far enough away from a cities lights to be dark enough that more stars that can be seen from most other packs. It was designated in 2016 by the international Dark Sky Association and is now famously the best place to see the Milky Way.
4. Morton National Park
With 11 plus walking trails, cycling, waterfalls and Grand Canyon style lookouts Morton National Park is a one stop shop for any type of outdoor enthusiast. It has something for the young and old with gentle walking trails and scenic waterfalls or even mountain biking for those who are happy to go with the larger bumps. There’s tonnes of camping nearby so no need to fork out for a hotel if you’d like to stay in the great outdoors. It does cost a whopping $4 per car per day, which means someone in the car will have to forgo their midmorning coffee or hot chocolate, but I we’re sure you’ll find it worth it.
5. Lord Howe Island
Although currently closed Lord Howe Island is a paradise in waiting for when lockdown ends. Consisting of over 2000kms of coastline and countless kangaroo’s the island has the feel of a resort in the surrounding of national park. There’s swimming, surfing, snorkelling, scuba diving and for the vitamin-d deficient, sunbathing. Camping is not permitted unless you’re a resident of the island as a way to help maintain its pristine surrounding as a way to maintain its World Heritage listing, but there are plenty of fantastic places to stay that’ll make it hard for you to leave.
6. Outback NSW
Yes, Outback is a place. To get your taste of the Australian outback you simply need to go to Outback, the very large region of the state in the upper left quadrant of the state. Full of indigenous history you can trek into the region through its rugged 4x4 trails. Home to not one but three national parks you’ll see big red kangaroos and emus racing across the rich and rugged landscape. The skies are mostly crystal clear making it perfect for camping out under the stars. The best gateway to get there is through Dubbo, east of Sydney.
7. Bouddi National Park
A little-known gem located near Gosford and south of Sydney, is Bouddi National Park; it’s 1,532 hectare park with a temperate rainforest (also known as a moss forest), the ocean tucked below steep cliffs, walking trail, fishing, and whale watching. It’s perfect for camping on a weekend or weekend getaway. The icing on the cake? Its only 90mins from Sydney!
8. Birubi Beach
Just north of Newcastle is Birubi Beach – a great place to holiday, especially with kids. Home to some massive expansive sand dunes that will keep them occupied for days. Teenagers can sandboard. Adults can ride camels. Those who prefer the smell of petrol, there’s 4WD Safaris or even quad bikes. The ocean is only a few footprints in the sand away so learning to surf is option for the those looking to push their heart rate through the roof. The road there can lead you a million directions but regardless you’ll always end up in the right place.
9. Booderee National Park
From beaches to birdwatching this gold nugget of s destination hidden in the Jervis Bay region of NSW has everything you’re probably looking for with a host of outdoor activities. Like most campgrounds in coastal Australia there’s fishing, swimming, snorkelling, but at Booderee there’s boating. On the surface you’d think boating and camping went almost hand in hand, but in reality, finding a great place to camp with a better place to float your boat is much harder than expected. Its recently invested $750,000 to redesign and update the wharf making it not only vastly better than what is currently there, but most importantly, safer.
10. Kanangra-Boyd National Park
Just 180 km from Sydney is one of NSW greatest national parks. There’s no shortage of luscious greenery and gorgeous, not to mention cute, Australian animals. Part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area the scenery is nothing short of spectacular. Massive sandstone cliffs line the horizon above the trails that wind in-between the forests below. The fire trails can be accessed by walkers, but cyclists will get the most out of them with a mountain bikes. It’s got same great fishing for those who love trout and if you are there in the summer months canyoning is both possible and popular.
We hope that our list gives you some food for thought! The easing of restrictions could present the perfect opportunity to pack up the car, camper or RV and hit road, ticking off as many spots as you like on the way. With social distancing and heightened hygiene being the new normal, having your accommodation and wheels all in one definitely has its appeal, and to make that journey a little easier, why not pack a Scrubba wash bag for self-sufficient laundry on-the-go! Browse the Scrubba wash bag range to pick up the ultimate gear for your next NSW adventure.
Lockdown restrictions and social distancing have become the new norm of today and has us dreaming about all the places we cannot go to. At the moment, COVID19 cases are declining and within the next couple of months we may see interstate domestic travel reopen state borders. With no overseas travel in mind till at least another 12 months, Tasmania is a state that should be added to your domestic travel bucket list.
The smallest state out of the six states, Tasmania is 240 km off mainland Australia. Our largest island has simply so much to explore with shorter driving distance between towns and there is a large chunk of places that have remained untouched. Tassie is the state for those looking to explore the natural beauty of Australia with 40% of the land mass being made up of national parks and nature reserves, including some world heritage listed sites. This state also has small and vibrant cities, plenty of hiking trails, famous beaches, lakes and even snow capped mountains that remind us of a mini New Zealand. While we are all teaming up to do our part to flatten the curve, we’ve put together a list of 10 beautiful spots to visit in Tasmania when it is of course safe to do so.
Launceston is known as the second biggest city in the heart of Northern Tasmania that offers an abundance of culture including culinary food and wine, museums and boutiques. A fifteen minute walk from the city centre will take you towards the South Esk river that runs along the natural beauty of the Cataract Gorge. To find the best view of the Gorge, we suggest walking across the main bridge or taking a ride on the world's longest single span chairlift. Launceston is also reasonably close to a few countryside areas and is a great place to drive around and spend the day at places like Bridestowe Lavender farm. This lavender farm is the biggest lavender farm in the southern hemisphere which is best to see at full peak between the hotter seasons of December and January. Take a stroll through the many rows of violet fields to capture the most aesthetically pleasing insta shot or check out the gift shop to pick up pretty much anything lavender scented from ice-cream, skincare and honey. It seems like a dream place for lavender lovers!
2. Tamar Valley
The Tamar Valley is one of the many wine growing regions in Tasmania that produces cool climate wines, cheeses and other dairy products on the market. The valley is located on both sides of the Tamar River that flows from Launceston to Bass Strait. If you're interested in arts or writing, we highly suggest booking a trip in September to see the Tamar Writers festival, it is a biennale festival that occurs over three days. The most convenient way to see any of the thirty wineries is by car so you can get across each side of the river. One cellar door that is on our list is Clover Hills Winery, they specialise in sparkling wines such as pinot grigio and sauvignon blanc. Enjoy some wine tastings with artisan cheeses, relaxing outdoors on a bean bag cushion. Now that sounds like a place to visit once the restrictions ease!
Take a sip and admire the views. Pic via @tamarvalleytasmania
3. Bay of Fires
Another natural beauty not to miss is Bay of Fires, a scenic coastline stretched across 30km from Binalong bay to Eddystone Point. This bay is home to some pretty unique natural granite formations that consist of orange and reddish tones caused by a natural reaction from lichens. These rocks can be seen anyway along the bay with their forms varying and some even have moss growing over them. A common misconception is that the name originated from the famous rocks but instead it was named after an explorer who discovered the area due to the Indigenous Australians lighting fires on the sand. Bay of Fires has more than just beaches. Make sure you check out the many walks, waterfalls, oyster farms and even see a lagoon.
Gaze at the sunset. Pic via@bayoffirestasmania
Strahan is a small harbour town situated along the rugged west coast of Tasmania. It is a little less accessible than the other areas on our list as it does take around four to five hours to get to from the city of Hobart but it shouldn’t be overlooked on your road trip. Strahan is the only town located along the enormous Macquarie Harbour with Hogarth falls only a short distance from the town centre. The walking track is twenty minutes each way and has safe walking paths suitable for a family outing. A few standout activities include the steamship train, yacht charters, seeing the oldest pine mill in the world, sand dunes and chances to 4WD off road. Last but not least, you will need to dedicate a whole day going on a river cruise along the famous Gordan River. The all day cruise passes also passes along a convict island and UNESCO world heritage listed Franklin-Gorden national park.
Cruise along the famous Gordan River. Pic via @strahanvillage
5. Freycinet National Park
Another spectacular Tasmanian destination is Freycinet National Park, which is located along the east coastline of the Island. It’s home to Wineglass bay, one of the top rated beaches in the world thanks to the clear blue coastline, white sandy beach and the pink granite mountains that surround this place. The small fee is worth it when you get to see this stunning park in its glory. The best way to see Wineglass bay is taking a scenic drive or alternatively choosing a few hikes to accomplish. We suggest going early to beat the crowds and see the magnificent sunrise. If staying in the national park is on your bucket list, you can only stay at Freycinet Park Lodge which offers chalets that overlooks Oyster Bay and the Hazards Mountain ranges. A popular place to stay outside of the park is a small town called Coles Bay that has a few shops and cafes to venture to.
Walk along the stunning coastline. Pic via @freycinetnp
A firm place on our list, the charming capital is home to many cultural and natural activities. Hobart is often known as one of the quieter capital cities although unlike other cities, it is surrounded by the breathtaking views of Mount Wellington. One of the best free activities to do in Mount Wellington is to capture photos of the bay, city waterfront and the hills. Make sure to pack a jacket and beanie as it is very windy and can get to 5℃ even when the CBD below is 25℃. Don’t fret if you forgot your jacket as there is an indoor observation deck. If you're lucky to be visiting on a Saturday you should check out the world renowned Salamanca Market along the stretch of historical buildings in the CBD. With over 300 stalls, it is a great place to mingle with the locals, pick up an authentic souvenir, support local farmers, artists and of course the delicious food stalls. If you're an art fanatic or have never been to a gallery, MONA in short for the Museum of Old and New Art is the largest public funded gallery in the Southern Hemisphere. Having only begun in 2011, this gallery has come up in conversation as not only one of the best Australian galleries but also the very best in the world. Mona is only twenty minutes away with car and scenic ferry options. Not only does the artwork push boundaries, the architecture of the building is also a wonder in itself. Underground with three levels of art in a cave sounds like an experience not to forget.
See the city from above at Mount Wellington. Pic via @hobartandbeyond
A trip to Tasmania isn't complete till you take a ferry from Hobart to Bruny Island; an island that is renowned for its wildlife, southern lights, seafood and handmade treats. For many travelers the Northern Lights in Norway are on top of many bucket lists, but little do people know that there are Southern lights. The Southern aurora lights can be seen throughout the winter months and Bruny Island is one of the prime locations to witness this.
One of your first stops needs to climb the many stairs to the insta famous “The Neck Lookout”. This lookout point has land connecting both the North and South of the Island with two beaches surrounding each side. From above, you may be lucky enough to spot penguins waddling along the beach or even spot a native albino wallabies. While on the island make sure to eat at a few local businesses such as Get Shucked Oysters (they even offer a drive thru service), Bruny Chocolate Factory, Bruny Cheese and Beer Company and the Bruny Berry Farm.
See rare glowy blue waters along the coastline. Pic via @brunyislandau
8. Cradle Mountain- St Clair National Park
For a wilderness escape with views that make you feel like your in New Zealand, surround yourself in one of Australia’s hidden gems. Cradle mountain is nestled in Tasmania and is 1000 metres above sea level. This area has snowy cold weather all year round even in the typically hot Australian summer. Due to the chilliness, we would recommend booking a lodge in the world heritage listed Cradle-Lake Clair National Park. The best way to venture out is by going on short walks such as the enchanted walk or the waterfalls walk, just outside your doorstep. The enchanted walk only takes about twenty minutes and is perfect for seeing wild animals and native flora such as wombats, wallabies, moss trees and glistening streams. No cars are allowed to travel around Cradle mountain with the exception of the daily shuttle buses. Due to the lack of cars, this area is very quiet and offers you a peaceful trip. A unique dining experience can be found at Devils cradle, which is a sanctuary for Tasmanian devils where you can learn more about these animals
Visit the picturesque snow capped mountains. Pic via @cradlemountainhotel
9. Port Arthur
The Port Arthur Historic Site is located along the Tasman Peninsula and will take you back to 19th century colonial history. Port Arthur is an open air museum that spans across forty hectares with plenty of space to roam around and explore the history of this convict penal settlement. It’s hard to think that such a picturesque and seemingly peaceful area would be home to thousands of the worst criminals. This heritage listed location has more than thirty buildings that include an old penitentiary, church, insane asylum and the hospital. The entry ticket you pay is quite generous including a forty minute walking guided tour, twenty-five minute harbour cruise to the Isle of the dead and access to all the exhibitions on offer. If you don’t mind getting spooked, you can take their lantern- lit haunted night ghost tour! Explore the early history of Australia. Pic via @portarthurtassie
10. Tasman Peninsula
After completing a visit to Port Arthur you should definitely explore the rest of the Tasman Peninsula.The easiest way to get around the peninsula is by car, allowing you to easily visit a few places in one day. You should check out a few lookout areas such as the Tasman Arch, Devils kitchen, Remarkable Caves and Waterfall Bay. These places are known for their interesting rock and cliff formations caused by sea erosion.The Peninsula has some adventurous walking tracks at Cape Hauy. This 8.8k walking trail starts at Tasman Bay National Park and ends at Fortescue Bay. If visiting both the Tasman Peninsula and Port Arthur, we suggest to stay in a camping spot located a part of the Coral Mines Historic reserve as it runs along the Saltwater River.
Hike along the Cape Hauy track to view this wonderful natural element. Pic via @tasmanpeninsula
We hope that our list gives you some food for thought! The easing of restrictions could present the perfect opportunity to pack up the car, camper or RV and hit road, ticking off as many spots as you like on the way. With social distancing and heightened hygiene being the new normal, having your accommodation and wheels all in one definitely has its appeal, and to make that journey a little easier, why not pack a Scrubba wash bag for self-sufficient laundry on-the-go! Browse the Scrubba wash bag range to pick up the ultimate gear for your next TAS adventure.
Australian Capital Territory (ACT) became one of the first state/territories to have no active coronavirus cases. Restrictions have now started to ease, allowing gatherings of ten people, sports training, and outdoor recreational activities such as hiking and fishing. Camping and overnight stays will soon be added to that list!
The smallest territory in Australia, ACT is situated in between Melbourne and Sydney and is home to the national capital of Canberra. Commonly known as Australia’s “Bush Capital”, ACT is a landscape made of hills, rugged plains, plenty of trees and a planned capital city. On many occasions Lonely Planet picked Canberra as the 3rd best city in to travel in the world. Most people would find it surprising that this city would beat its rivals in Sydney and Melbourne. Our top 10 places in ACT to visit include a bit of something for everyone from museum hopping to nature and wildlife activities.
1. Lake Burley Griffin
Lake Burley Griffin is a large artificial lake in the heart of the city centre of Canberra. The lake was named after an American architect who won a competition to design Canberra in the 1920s. It took several years for the lake to be completed with both wars and drought affecting the process. Lake Burley Griffin is surrounded by museums, federal buildings, restaurants and walking trails. The best walking trail is the ‘Bridge to Bridge Trail’ which is a 5km walk that can be accessed from either Kings Avenue Bridge or Commonwealth Bridge. If you are not interested in walking around the lake hire a Segway and go on a tour or start your day drifting in a hot air balloon.
Sit along the banks and stare at the mesmerizing Lake Burley Griffin. Photo via @visitcanberra
2. Australian War Memorial
The Australian War Memorial is lined up perfectly within the parliamentary triangle of Canberra and it is a place that all Australians should visit. AWM is a place to help us remember the soldiers who sacrificed their lives fighting in all the wars Australia has faced. The memorial is divided into three sections: Commemorative Area (Shrine) including the Hall of Memory with the tomb of the unknown soldier, The Memorials Galleries, the Research Centre (holds important records) and also features an outdoor sculpture garden where everyone is welcome to have a picnic. The entry to AWM has always been free with volunteers running guided tours running hourly. Depending on your interests you may want to visit over two days so that you can see and read everything. We also recommend listening to the Last Post Ceremony which is held five minutes before the memorial closes every day.
Stroll through the hall of memory. Photo via @visitcanberra
3. Namadgi National Park
A forty-five-minute drive South of Canberra is the breathtaking Namadgi National Park, which makes it a great first port of call when heading out of the city. Namadgi covers a large portion of ACT’s land mass with 40% of the territory consisting of water and nature reserves. The Brindabella Ranges in the national park is located along the Australia Alps, where you may even get the opportunity to see snow. One tour that is a must-see is Dharwa Aboriginal Culture Tour which is a 4WD tour that runs for six hours. On the tour you will see aboriginal culture sites and learn about the significance of the Yankee Hat rock art site, bush foods and the native wildlife. Unfortunately, after the recent summer bushfires, 80,000 hectares of land in the Oral Valley were affected. Since then, sections of the park have remained closed so that ACT Parks & Conservation can remove any hazardous trees. These sections should hopefully be reopened within the next few months and there are still plenty of untouched places to see. Once the restrictions have been lifted let’s go out and support this national park and local tourism.
Check out the spectacular views that Namadgi has to offer. Photo via @stefandemontis
4. Quastacon: The national science and technology centre
Questacon is the national science and technology centre of Australia which can be found in the Parliamentary Triangle of Canberra. The centre is owned by the Australian government and is responsible for promoting an interactive way of learning about science and technology. This museum is suitable for all ages with two-hundred exhibits spanning across eight gallery spaces you will explore science through music, art, gravity and electricity. A few permanent exhibits not to miss are the 20 feet free-fall slide and the earthquake simulator which feels very real! Quastacon is only a short walk away with affordable entry prices that include a free live science show, makes it an ideal plan in any ACT itinerary.
Get your Science fix at Queaston. Photo via @questacon.
5. Mount Ainslie Lookout
Where bushland meets the city, get the best of both worlds at the Mount Ainslie Lookout. It is simply the best location to get panoramic shots of Canberra with plenty of ways to get there from walking, cycling or driving. There are a couple of different walking trails with both pedestrian and cycle paths, to get to the highest peak it generally takes thirty to forty-five minutes. One of the best walking trails is “Mount Ainslie Kokoda Summit” which starts behind the war memorial, this trail has plenty of signposts along the way with interesting facts about the city. These views are a breath of fresh air with no skyscrapers like Melbourne and Sydney!
See the famous Parliamentary Triangle from above and the nature that surrounds Canberra at sunset. Photo via @visitcanberra
6. National Gallery of Australia
The National Gallery of Australia also referred to as NGA is public art gallery that represents both local and international artworks. NGA is in the heart of Canberra’s city centre and is directly across from the Portrait Gallery. The National Gallery is public funded which means entry is free for the sculpture garden and their permanent collection except for speciality exhibitions. NGA offers free educational tours that include an overview of the space, art collection and promotes inclusiveness with tours catered for those with dementia or special needs. Artworks included in their impressive permanent collection range from Australia art, aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, European and American artworks from the 19th century Modern Art Movement. Currently the galleries and museums are still closed across Australia, however you can still see many of these work in a free virtual tour. Since overseas travel plans are put on hold, galleries can still be the best way to enjoy culture and history. If you don’t have enough time to explore around the gallery, we suggest to explore the impressive landscape architecture in the outdoor sculpture garden!
Get inspired at the National Gallery of Australia. Photo via @nationalgalleryaus
7. Jerrabomberra Wetlands Nature Reserve
Jerrabomberra Wetlands Nature Reserve is along the Monogloo River valley in Canberra. It should not be overlooked on your trip as the paths from Lake Burley Griffin make it accessible. The wetlands naturally formed in 1964 when the lake flooded over the swampy creek area and is an important place for migrating Japanese birds along with other wildlife. A few activities that you could do in this area include bird watching, walking trails or even spot a World War 1 trench. Due to the biodiversity and indigenous cultural significance of this land, it is on the Australian heritage list and is conserved by ACT Parks. Jerrabomberra is a beautiful place for nature lovers it should be added to your trip itinerary.
Be one with nature and explore ACT wetlands. Photo via @jerrabomberrawetlands
- Old and New Parliament House
Canberra may have a reputation for being Australia's "dull" political capital, but its rich history and numerous interesting museums mean that it's far from it (in our opinion!). Australia had the tough decision of picking a national capital between Sydney and Melbourne both wanted the prestigious title. It was settled by building a whole new city that would feature key federal buildings set up like Washington DC. Both old and new Parliament Houses provide an insight into the unique Australian pollical system and have free guided tours, iconic architecture and Australian Art surrounding the buildings. It is achievable to see both in one day as the new Parliament House is situated directly behind the old Parliament House. Since the old Parliament House is not in federal operation, you can access areas such as the prime minister’s office. At the new Parliament House, you can tour around major debating rooms including the house of representatives and take a lift to see the rooftop views. A visit to ACT certainly would not be complete without visiting these iconic buildings.
Check out the illuminated Parliament House during festival seasons. Photo via @visit_australian_parliament
9. Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
Tidbinbilla is another Australian heritage-listed nature reserve which lies just 40km south-west of Canberra. Adjoining to Namadgi National Park, this bushland landscape consists of the Tidbinbilla mountain ranges, sheltered streams and eye-catching granite tors. Getting into the nature reserve is quite affordable with both annual and day passes available with the entry funds going straight to preserving the reserve. This nature reserve is home to a wonderful array of Australian wildlife which is the reason why it is one of the leading eco-tourism attractions in ACT. Notable places not to miss along the twenty-two walking trails are the discovery centre, natural discovery playground for kids which has a zipline ride and significant aboriginal sites such as Birrigai Rock Shelters. For adventurous hikers we suggest not to miss the magnificent views at the top of the peak on Gilbrata Peak Trail. Explore the reserve by car, on foot or by mountain bike with plenty of places to set up camp.
The natural beauty of Tidbinbilla from above. Photo via @darncusack.
10. Mount Majura Vineyard
Sitting on top of the Majura Valley is a boutique winery just outside the doorsteps of Canberra. Mount Majura Vineyard specializes in cool-climate wines such as Shiraz, Riesling, and Spanish varieties such as Tempranillo. The ancient limestone surface makes the soil less acidy and is the only vineyard in Australia able to grow this wine. There is no restaurant at the vineyard, however the cellar door experience is not to be miss with wine tasting and artisan cheese platters in an alfresco style seating. To get a more in-depth experience free guided tours are available with no booking required. If you are looking for an adventurous way to see the valley go sky diving or stay the night glamping.
Spend the perfect day trip admiring the outdoors with some great wine. Photo via @thecanberraedit
We hope that our list gives you some food for thought! The easing of restrictions could present the perfect opportunity to pack up the car, camper or RV and hit road, ticking off as many spots as you like on the way. With social distancing and heightened hygiene being the new normal, having your accommodation and wheels all in one definitely has its appeal, and to make that journey a little easier, why not pack a Scrubba wash bag for self-sufficient laundry on-the-go! Browse the Scrubba wash bag range to pick up the ultimate gear for your next ACT adventure.
Each year it seems to get harder and harder to find the perfect Christmas gift for our adventure-loving friends and family! Does the thought of spending hours brainstorming and trawling through the shops leave you feeling a little overwhelmed? Fear not, Scrubba is here to help! We've narrowed it down to ten awesome gear picks that'll be sure to put a smile on the face of the outdoor enthusiasts in your life this Christmas.
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