Written by Jenny Mikkelson, Vice President of Travel Beyond
Before my Fall 2013 trip to Australia, the continent was both familiar and foreign to me. I’d planned trips to Australia for years, and I was confident in my knowledge of the more popular Australian circuits. Returning clients always raved about the beauty and excitement of Australia. Yet after spending a month exploring Australia, I realized the continent had so much more to offer to travelers than I previously thought.
During my trip, I visited Australia’s most famous cities, like Sydney, Darwin and Cairns, to experience firsthand some of the “must do” activities. I braved the bridge climb in Sydney, an adrenaline-filled experience to check off the bucket list, and went snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef. Yet it was the experiences away from the cities that I enjoyed most in my trip to Australia. Like Africa, Australia has incredible, luxury properties in wilderness areas hosting unique wildlife, scenery and attractions.
In Wolgan Valley, located in the Blue Mountains, I marveled stunning scenery and enjoyed a wildlife safari to see wombats, kangaroos, wallaroos and wallabies in their natural environment.
I swam in a billabong (waterhole) in the oldest rainforest in the world—the Daintree Rainforest—and walked through the forest with a local woman who entertained us with local stories and cultural explanations.
A river cruise to see crocs, stargazing, airboat riding and a game drive were some of my many highlights at a private reserve near Kakadoo National Park.
My first activity on Kangaroo Island included a stop at the beach to see sea lions, reminding me of the Galapagos Islands. I visited an animal rehabilitation center, where I got to feed kangaroos and pet a koala bear. I slept in a gorgeous property on a secluded cliff overlooking a beautiful remote beach, a view that physically took my breath away when I arrived.
These examples are just a few of many incredible memories in Australia. When I returned from my trip, a coworker asked me for my favorite three experiences in Australia, and I couldn’t narrow it down. “Only three?” I asked her. “Can I list five?”
All in all, I found Australia enchanting. The continent has so many unique experiences to offer travelers, from the glamour of Sydney to the relaxing wilderness areas. I’m excited to recommend a walking safari to any adventurous clients who want to sleep out under the stars, and there are many “safari-like” experiences which I look forward to recommending for past clients who have gone on safari in Africa.