As global travellers, Australians are intrepid. Yet we’re often too preoccupied travelling the globe to truly take the time to explore our own backyard. With international travel on pause, and domestic travel restrictions beginning to ease, there’s never been a better time to discover your homeland. Soothe your wanderlust and satisfy your need to roam at home, with these unique, travel editor-approved Australian destinations.

1. canberra, ACT

WHERE TO STAY

Ovolo Nishi – Ovolo Nishi will take your breath away as soon as you step inside the front door. From the brain child of Hong Kong based businessman and entrepreneur, Girish Jhunjhnuwala in 2002, the Ovolo Group has been providing designer stays across Australia, Hong Kong and soon to open, Indonesia. With a highlight on boutique stays brimming with design features, Ovolo Nishi is found in the heart of Canberra’s arts and culture district – just a 15 minute walk from the National Museum of Australia. Celebrating design in all its forms, the boutique stay serves as both a gallery and hotel and overlooks Lake Burley Griffin.

In addition to 85 guest rooms, a library, state of the art gym, meeting and event spaces; book direct and Ovolo’s signature, The Perks, are always included. From breakfast, super-fast Wi-Fi, to the first round of drinks during social hour and inclusive of your in-room mini bar.

Lending an extra luxurious experience to Ovolo Nishi, the space houses Monster Kitchen & Bar, driven by responsibility, sustained by seasonality and inspired by regionality with a refined menu offering; an innovative approach to the bustling Canberra dining scene. From October 29, Nishi as well as Ovolo restaurants and bars across Australia and Hong Kong will go vegetarian for 365 days. Monster Kitchen & Bar welcomes new Executive Chef, Paul Wilson, where he will also oversee the restaurant as it grows its own produce and focusses on food preservation.

Ovolo is the first hotel group to make such a bold and exciting commitment globally.
Get acquainted and book direct, here.

WHAT TO DO

Cockington Green – Roughly nine kilometres from the city, Cockington Green is a picturesque field of meticulously cared-for gardens. A must-visit destination for self-confessed green thumbs and families alike, the English-inspired garden is complete with tiny buildings from around the world.

The Hive – The Hive in the heart of Canberra has quickly established itself as a go-to shopping destination for unique arts, crafts and homewares. The retail space also celebrates local talent by hosting regular exhibitions that feature new and emerging artists.

Jet Flight Simulator – And something for the adrenalin chaser, Canberra plays host to a jet flight simulator where visitors can virtually fly a Boeing 737. There are 22,000 virtual airports available to land in, and different weather conditions to experiment with for the ultimate challenge.

WHERE TO EAT

The Cupping Room – At the helm of The Cupping Room, reigning World Barista Champion Sasa Sestic knows how to serve a good coffee and for the self-confessed coffee snob visiting Canberra, there is no better place to get your cold brew, long black. And stay a little longer for the café’s celebrated menu which was immortalised into a cook book in 2016.

Pastissez Dubbed as the inventors of the ‘freak shake’ which took the social media world by storm in 2016, Pastissez has become a foodie destination since for its delicious brunch menu and delectable desserts – this is certainly one for the sweet tooths.

READ: TRAVEL GUIDE TO SOUTH AUSTRALIA

 

2. Byron bay, nsw

WHERE TO STAY

Bayshore Bungalows

In recent years, Byron Bay’s bohemian vibe, turquoise water, surf and white sands have become a treasured escape for both big city travellers and those from inland country towns. The secluded hideaway of Bayshore Bungalows is situated only a short stroll from the stunning seascape of Belongil Beach, yet removed from the hustle and bustle of Byron town within close proximity of Byron’s Arts and Industrial precinct, the world’s first solar powered train into the main township and all that Byron has to offer.

With rest and relaxation at the forefront of Bayshore Bungalows, the property offers six well appointed one bedroom and seven two bedroom bungalows, all self catering, equipped with full kitchens and warm, sophisticated beach decor. The resort-style accommodation boasts personalised service, tennis court, lagoon style swimming pool and BBQ area.

Escape and book your special stay in Byron now – (Book direct online with the promo code ‘GRAZIA’ to take advantage of our ‘Book for 5 nights, Pay for 4’ Deal). 
(Refer to the website for pre-payment terms and conditions.)

WHAT TO DO

Byron Bay Markets – Held on the first Sunday of every month (book accordingly), soak in the art and culture from local sellers for a morning not to be missed. From ceramicists to fashion designers, antique collectors and jewellery makers, the region’s markets showcase the creative spirit of the Byron Shire.

Bisque Traders From the creatives behind Bisque Traders, the Brauer Family aim to educate customers on purchasing less and choosing quality. The result is an ethically-sourced homewares and fashion boutique which plays hero to a relaxed and unstructured global style.

Spell Byron Bay – Adored by those who don the bohemian-inspired silhouettes, Spell & The Gypsy Collective is a loved and internationally recognised local brand. And where better to get acquainted with the styles than in the local flagship store in the heart of Byron Bay.

Byron Solar Train The once abandoned Byron Bay train tracks have been reinvigorated with a world-first solar train. Running in a return circuit from the northern beaches to the town centre, lounge on the vintage chairs as you pass through littoral rainforest, endangered coastal wetlands and over the stunning tea tree Belongil Creek, part of Cape Byron Marine Park.

 

WHERE TO EAT

FolkHidden away at the Byron Bay Holiday Park, the tiny café should not be underestimated as it is seen buzzing throughout the day. While the interiors are described as every Instagrammer’s “dream”, the ethical, plant-based menu speaks for itself.

Bayleaf Café – With a strong focus on harnessing the best produce from local suppliers, a trip to Byron Bay is believed to be incomplete until you visit Bayleaf Café. Self-dubbed as “hypnotic”, there is something to discover in every corner of the foodie hub, with the menu designed for carnivores and vegetarians alike.

 

3. tasmania

WHERE TO STAY

Whale Song Shack Sitting on the shore of the Tasman Sea, Falmouth is home to some of the most picturesque coastline in Australia. In addition, it is also home to Whale Song Shack, a revived shelter originally built by a 1980s fisherman. Now boasting extensive private decks and fire pit, visitors are given front-row access to the natural wonders of the ocean.

With a drink in-hand, watch whales migrate, yachts pass by, gannets dive for fish and fishing boats haul their catch. Inside, Whale Song Shack combines rustic beach decor with luxurious interiors. Natural light floods through large windows which frame the outside scenery, while unique nooks and crannies allow for a peaceful escape to read a book.

The cottage includes two bedrooms for a maximum of four people and includes a full kitchen, outdoor bath, washing machine and an array of bathroom amenities.  In proximity are local attractions including the Bay of Fires, Freycinet National Park, Bicheno and St Helens.

 

WHAT TO DO

Hollybank Adventures – Just a brisk 20 minute drive from Launceston, Hollybank Rainforest promises adrenaline pumping adventure. As the name suggests, Australia’s only forest adventure destination houses an array of activities including ziplines, segways, tree ropes and mountain biking. In addition, there are picturesque picnic spots and scenic walking paths.

Coal River Farm – A visit to the island state of Tasmania is not complete without a food tasting. For visitors looking for a more slow-paced adventure, Coal River Farm allows you to pick your own berries and fruits (when in season), view and taste the cheeses and chocolates from expert connoisseurs and spend time around the farm animals before eating at the onsite restaurant.

Mt Wellington and Kunanyui Summit – Just 20 minutes from Hobart, Mt Wellington and Kunanyui Summit boasts the best lookout views over the island’s capital. The viewing platform opens up to the overwhelming World Heritage Wilderness area below. Entry is free and in addition, the Mount Wellington Explorer bus makes it easy for visitors to get to the top of the mountain.

WHERE TO EAT

Conservatory – Renewing a former greenhouse, the Conservatory is a “glorious emporium of food, wine and whiskey”, while locals call it “that white building on the way to Devonport” nevertheless, an icon. In proximity to the ferry landing for travelling Melbournians, the eatery boasts artisanal goods showing off the very best of Tasmania’s food offering.

Josef Cromy WinesSitting just at the base of the vineyard at Relbia, south of Launceston, Josef Cromy Wines is a state-of-the-art winery. From going behind-the-scenes into the winemaking, tastings and a reconsidered dining experience from Head Chef Nick Raitt, the hatted hospitality venue promises a luxury highlight on local produce.

Stillwater, LauncestonStillwater is set in a beautifully restored 1830s flour mill beside the picturesque Tamar River in Launceston. Led by Executive chef Craig Mill, the restaurant houses contemporary seasonal menus from Tasmanian crustacean and seafood to Flinders Island salt-grass lamb and local Tasmanian wine.

Please visit government websites for further information on travel restrictions and state rules before booking

 

4. fremantle, wa

WHERE TO STAY

Silver Street Studio – From an artist’s studio to a gallery and sculptor and ceramists’ space, Silver Street Studio has been a hub for creative solace for over 24 years. Now, the rustic space has been converted into an eclectic residence which shares the owner’s love of art and travel. Built from large local limestone blocks rescued from a former Fremantle church, one hundred-year-old wharf timbers from Robs Jetty, and even a turret from the old Swanbourne Hospital, the building speaks to local history, contemporary art, interior design and old-world charm.

The experiential stay begins immediately upon arrival where guests enter the courtyard garden through a small ‘hobbit’ door within a large ‘medieval’ gate. You’re welcomed with a bottle of fine Vasse Felix ‘red’ and Margaret River cheeses, and a hamper showcasing some of the best produce from Western Australia.

The Fremantle accommodation houses a well-equipped kitchen, dining setting, lounge area, an a bedroom on the second level, complete with a queen size bed. A mezzanine walkway connects this space to the bathroom/dressing room which opens onto the north facing balcony. In proximity to a number of shops, restaurants, cafés and the yacht club, the downstairs storeroom houses two bicycles for guests to use around Fremantle and for exploring the coastal heathlands.

 

WHAT TO DO

Stand Up Paddleboarding – Thanks to many calm waterways and coastal areas around Fremantle, Stand Up Paddleboarding has quickly gained popularity among beginners and experts. Exercise and enjoy the sun and sea at the same time with Stand Up Surf Shop. Private lessons, hire and skill programs are all available.

Rainbow Sea ContainerCreated by prominent Perth artist Marcus Canning,‘ Rainbow’ was installed between the bridges at Beach Reserve overlooking the Fremantle port in 2016. At 9-metres high and 19-metres long, and tipping the scales at 66 tonnes, the artwork is constructed from nine recycled sea containers joined to form an arch. It overlooks the Swan River as well as the container port from which it draws part of its inspiration as a universal symbol of hope and acknowledgement of Fremantle’s artistic as well as maritime heritage.

Rottnest Island Quokkas – When visiting Fremantle, one of the most anticipated activities is taking a ferry to Rottnest Island to see the Quokkas. The Australian marsupial bears a sweet smile and will allow a selfie for the ultimate photo op. Take a bike around the island or embark on an informative walking tour.

WHERE TO EAT

Little Creatures Brewing – You know the name so why not visit the home of Little Creatures. Nestled on the water’s edge in Fremantle, you can join a brewery tour completed with a guided tasting of the full range of beers. There’s no better way to enjoy the Perth sunshine.

Nobu Perth – As one of the world’s most recognised Japanese restaurants – particularly thanks to its innovative style on the cuisine – Nobu must not be missed for sashimi lovers. Esteemed Chef Nobu Matsuhisa brings his reputable fusion of traditional Japanese cuisine with South American flavours to create the unique dining experience.

 

5. port douglas, qld

WHERE TO STAY

Niramaya Villas & Spa – As if you’ve stepped into a tropical paradise on some overseas island, Niramaya Villas & Spa in Port Douglas, Queensland provides a luxury escape within your very own backyard. The villas which range from one to five bedrooms are fully self-contained and set amongst 15 hectares in Australia’s tropical north, is the ultimate destination for peak ‘zen mode’.

Have a workout in the gym, or unwind with a few laps in the 30m infinity edge pool. For something more relaxing, you can indulge in a soothing massage or facial in the privacy of your own villa, while a short stroll will take you to the white sands of Four Mile Beach. Close by, the village of Port Douglas promises world-class cuisine and unique culture.

In addition, the resort also includes Niramaya Restaurant & Bar, hot and cold plunge pools, saunas, private gardens, tennis court facilities and bike hire.

 

WHAT TO DO

Glass Bottom Boat Trip Home to the Great Barrier Reef, Port Douglas is a stunning spectacle of wild sea life and colour. But for those who don’t want to swim, glass bottom boat tours or semi-submersible tours are an easy alternative to view the underwater world below.

Culture Experience at Daintree EcolodgeIn another opportunity to reconnect with nature, we suggest taking a few days to experience the Daintree Ecolodge. Believed to be over 180 million years old, and the oldest tropical lowland rainforest on Earth, the Daintree Rainforest, is a complex system. To learn more, there are ‘Culture Experiences’ which feature a ‘Walk Through Time’ guided nature walk and a 4WD cultural and interpretive adventure. The tour includes learning about the Kuku Yalanji rainforest indigenous people, visiting their cultural sites, learning the history of the area, tasting bush tucker, visiting spectacular waterfalls, exploring the coast and possibly trying your hand at some traditional hunting or spear throwing.

 

WHERE TO EAT

Salsa RestaurantOffering the ultimate tropical dining experience, Salsa Bar & Grill is an award winning restaurant in the heart of Port Douglas with a Modern Australian influence. Opened for over 23 years, the reputation precedes even opening the menu. With an international Masters in Cookery, Chef Goran Zonai and his multi-national team use as many local ingredients as possible to bring an abundance of flavour and spectacular eye catching dishes to each and every menu.

Nautilus Restaurant – Nestled into Island Point Hill, Nautilus Restaurant is completely set outdoors protected overhead by lush tropical plants. Self-dubbed as “elegant dining”, the menu is modern Australian cuisine with European and Asian influences.

READ: TRAVEL GUIDE TO SHOALHAVEN, NSW


6. beechworth wine country, vic

WHERE TO STAY

StoneTryst Spa Villas For the full wine country experience, visit Stone Tryst Spa Villas perched on five acres of newly-planted vineyards just one kilometre from Beechworth. With three villas to choose from, each space features contemporary architecture reflective of the surroundings – granite salvaged from the historic property, timber floors and large picture windows.

Specifically designed for couples (but if you’re looking to treat yourself, why not?!) the villas are self-contained with a full kitchen, a deep double spa bath, a double shower, a heavenly bed, Aspar spa products and a Nespresso coffee maker. Each offering has its own unique view but the ‘Villa Granito’ features a solar-heated, private plunge pool adding even more appeal to book a stay.

WHAT TO DO

Indigo Vineyard – There are a myriad of wineries throughout the great Beechworth area. One to visit is Indigo Vineyard, just a ten minute drive from Beechworth, the winery offers structured sit down tastings of up to eight wines while enjoying a tasting plate. In addition, the property allows guests to walk to the creek and picnic on the water’s edge.

Mt Pilot Lookout – With so many short walks on offer, a key highlight is the Mt Pilot Lookout walk. Take a short walk from the car park to the 545 metre summit of Mount Pilot, where you are rewarded with a 360-degree view of the surrounding countryside. On a clear day, Mount Buffalo is easily recognisable on the southern horizon, and provides the perfect photo op at sunrise or sunset.

WHERE TO EAT

Provenance – If you’re looking for fine dining in the heart of Beechworth, Victoria, look not further than family-owned Provenance. Opened in 2009, the restaurant has received many accolades and awards, including two hats in the Good Food Guide for the last 9 years. The restaurant is also currently ranked no. 30 in the Gourmet Traveller Top 100 Australian Restaurants.


Please visit government websites for further information on travel restrictions and state rules before booking

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