1. Island hop on your own private yacht (it’s affordable!)
The Whitsunday Islands offer some of the world’s finest sailing, with mostly perfect winds, calm seas, beautiful scenery and 74 islands to hop through (69 of which are uninhabited). It’s called bareboating: hiring a boat, stocking it with provisions and friends and sailing off into the sunset.
2. Ride a luxury train across the continent
Named after the Afghan camel drivers that used to roam Australia’s centre, this unforgettable train journey takes in 2979 kilometres (1851 miles) of tropics, the mountains of the Flinders Ranges, scorched desert, Katherine Gorge and the Red Centre.
3. Enter another world at the Pinnacles
On the Turquoise Coast of Western Australia, 250 kilometres (155 miles) north of Perth, you will find the Pinnacles Desert, where hundreds of ancient limestone pillars look like extraterrestrial tombstones.
4. Take a foodie road trip around Tasmania
Start with a breakfast of fresh doughnuts and bagels at the Farm Gate Market in Hobart then spend a few days feasting through Tasmania. There is lots of local produce to sample, with rarely more than an hour’s drive between gourmet towns and stores.
5. See the Sydney Harbour New Year’s Eve fireworks
One of the first places in the world to welcome the new year, Sydney Harbour puts on a spectacular show. The fireworks at 9pm and midnight on New Year’s Eve are not to be missed, with pyrotechnics from the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the Opera House, and light shows and more fireworks from barges on the harbor.
6. Cruise the Kimberley
7. Ride the roller-coasters and water slides on the Gold Coast
For fun, not much beats the Gold Coast’s theme parks, offering huge thrilling rides, water slides and wildlife. You can bundle Dreamworld with WhiteWater World next door, or buy a combination pass for Sea World, Warner Bros Movie World and Wet’n’Wild.
8. Dine under the stars at Uluru
In this unforgettable, intimate dining experience overlooking Uluru and the distant domes of Kata Tjuta, you’ll watch the sun set to the sound of a didgeridoo, sit on top of a dune to savour a degustation feast under the many stars (while learning all about them), then listen to Dreamtime stories by the campfire
9. Enjoy a gourmet feast by the beach in Margaret River
The annual Western Australia Gourmet Escape (held each November) is one of Australia’s largest food and wine festivals, celebrating the delights of Western Australia with delicious food and wine, pop-up events, cooking classes and celebrity chefs.
10. Dive with great white sharks in Port Lincoln
Being underwater with a great white shark (even if you are in a strengthened aluminium cage) is an adventure to tell your friends about.
11. Stay in a unique, luxury Australian hotel
Many of Australia’s luxury lodges and resorts offer unique experiences. Longitude 131 is an intimate wilderness camp with just 15 luxury tents in the heart of Australia, amanda young arnautovic, where you can enjoy spectacular views and the wilderness of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, bespoke safaris and gourmet meals.
12. Watch turtles hatch in Queensland
Watching baby turtles hatch, then make their disorientated run into the sea, is a very special bucket list experience. One of the most popular places to see marine turtles nest in Australia is at Mon Repos Conservation Park, near Bundaberg in Queensland.
13. Drive the Great Ocean Road
Hire a car in Melbourne and journey along the stunning Great Ocean Road. See the famous surf spots Torquay and Bells Beach, the many kangaroos on the Angelsea Golf Course, the laid-back town of Lorne, and the spectacular rock formations of the 12 Apostles.
14. Explore Tropical North Queensland
From Cairns up to Cape Tribulation, there’s a lot to explore in the space of just a few hours’ drive. Head out for a full-day excursion to snorkel or dive the incredible Great Barrier Reef, departing either from Cairns or the relaxed resort town of Port Douglas.
15. Hit the ski slopes
Australia may be best known for its beaches, reefs and outback, but it’s also home to the third longest land-based mountain range in the world. The Great Dividing Range offers up hiking trails and vistas from end to end, but towards the southern end of the range you’ll find some great places to shred an Aussie ski slope.
16. Visit Lord Howe Island
17. Drink in Melbourne’s laneways
There are dozens of charming small bars hidden in the many colourful laneways of Melbourne’s inner city, offering a great way to enjoy local food, drinks and people.
18. Fly over Lake Eyre in flood
Lake Eyre contains the lowest natural point in Australia, and on the rare occasions that it fills, is the largest lake in Australia, covering 9500 kilometres (5900 miles).
19. Hot air balloon above Australia’s capital
Canberra is renowned among international balloonists as one of the best places to balloon, with calm conditions, green scenery and the view of Lake Burley Griffin mixed with interesting architecture, monuments and sculptures, as well as multiple take-off and landing areas.
20. White water raft the Franklin River
The Franklin River, on Tasmania’s wild west coast, is pure nature, yet it’s never more than 150 kilometres (93 miles) from Hobart.