Expect the unexpected in Australia. The world’s oldest cultures share the country’s vast plains and blue waters making for varied and stimulating holiday experiences.
Trace the outlines of rock art more than 20,000 years old, visit the sacred site of Uluru, walk the streets of Australia’s most forward-thinking city, Perth, and float in the impossibly blue waters of Rottnest Island. In short, explore the diverse beauty of the Red Centre and Western Australia’s capital on a trip of a lifetime.
With more sunny days than any other Australian capital, Perth on Australia’s west coast is brimming with urban villages, a great small bar scene and fantastic beaches.
One of the world’s biggest city parks – Kings Park – can be found in the heart of Perth. Boasting more memorials, statues and honour avenues than any other park in Australia, it is rich in Aboriginal and European history. The Western Australia Botanic Garden is a prime reason Kings Park has an international reputation for scientific research, horticulture and conservation. Enjoy panoramic views of the Swan and Canning Rivers and wander the Bushland walk trails.
Cottesloe Beach is the favourite seaside destination for Perth locals. With more than a kilometre of white sands, a fantastic choice of eateries around Marine Parade and Peters Pool at the north end for snorkelling, you decide how best to spend your beach time. In March the sands become an outdoor art gallery when the annual Sculpture by the Sea exhibition hits town.
New World wines are shaking off their old reputation and have a growing following. You can check it out for yourself with a trip to Swan Valley on Perth’s outskirts. Home to 40 vineyards and 6 boutique breweries, 2 distilleries and 3 cideries, you can sample the tipples on a number of trails: Fine Wine, Cider & Ale, Wine & Art, and more. There’s no need to worry about drinking and driving either with the Swan Valley Explorer (hop on/hop off) bus looping its way through the valley.
A short ferry ride from Perth’s coast is Rottnest Island, with six major habitats – coastal, salt lakes, swamps, woodlands heath and settled areas – and a limestone coral reef surrounding it. The unique landscapes of the island are home to Quokkas, the ‘rats’ that gave the island its Dutch name (rats’ nest), who provide a superb Instagram opportunity.
Learn about the island’s history at the Rottnest Island Museum, snorkel the reef, hire a bike and traverse the island or if you prefer to walk you can join one of the free guided walking tours, climb the Wadjemup Lighthouse for incredible views or ride the train to Oliver Hill where you can inspect the restored WWII gun position and maze of underground tunnels.
Whether you enjoy a day trip or longer stay on the island, Rottnest is a great diversion from the city.
From Perth to Uluru
For the adventurous, why not head inland by 4WD from Perth to explore Australia’s Red Centre. The 2,000km+ route takes in the Great Eastern Highway and Great Central Road – part of the Outback Way – and is affectionately known as Australia’s Longest Shortcut! If you do choose this exciting route, it’s good to know there are fuel stops and campsites every 250-300km nowadays. You’ll also need permits to travel the Great Central Road as you’ll be passing through Aboriginal reserves and communities. But what a road trip!
The Red Centre
One of Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Regions 2019, the Red Centre’s rocky gorges, mountains, desert plains, settlement towns and Aboriginal religious sites are waiting to be discovered by you.
Alice Springs is the outback’s most cosmopolitan town and is a great base for exploring the Northern Territory’s outback and Aboriginal culture. Its origin was as part of the Overland Telegraph Line that linked Darwin to Adelaide and you can visit the Telegraph Station Historical Reserve where the first settlers made their home.
Just outside the town is The Kangaroo Sanctuary, of Kangaroo Dundee fame, which is open for tours every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evening. You can also start the Larapinta Trail through the West MacDonnell Ranges which runs from Alice (as it’s known by locals) to Kings Canyon, and is one of the world’s greatest long hikes at 12-20 days.
Possibly the most famous landmarks in the Red Centre are the Aboriginal religious sites of Uluru and Kata Tjuta. The ancient rock formations rise out of the dusty land and appear to change colour as the sun moves across the sky. Hike or take a camel ride around either formation, watch the sun rise or set, and learn about their significance in Aboriginal culture.
Aboriginal people have lived in the area for at least 30,000 years and they believe that the landscape was created at the beginning of time by ancestral beings – Uluru and Kata Tjuta provide physical evidence of feats performed during that creation period.
Visit the Cultural Centre in the Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park to learn more about the Aboriginal culture and pop into Walkatjara Art, the Mutitjulu Community’s Art Centre to see artists at work and learn about the stories behind the paintings.
The magical centre of this immense country is an experience not to be missed.
For more Australia holiday ideas and bespoke itineraries with fantastic immersive experiences, CLC World Members can rely on ABTA registered CLC World Travel for inspiration and years of expertise. Whoever you book with, Australia holidays are certain to excite and astound.