Destinations

Ten uniquely Australian travel experiences

From a former cattle station gone luxe to a property literally on a lake, here are some of Australia's most unique travel experiences.

By The Gourmet Traveller team
Arkaba Homestead, South Australia
From swimming with whale sharks in to a bubblegum-pink salt lake on a remote island off WA's southern coast, Australia is abundant with unique sites and experience that represent the awesome beauty of this island continent. Yes, these far-flung and regional destinations are wild, rugged and sublime, but thankfully you can experience them in luxury (and leave the camping gear behind).
We've selected ten uniquely Australian travel experiences that'll pique your interest, whether you prefer to explore the expansive Australian Coast or check out outback areas such as the Kimberley.
Lizard Island, QLD
Lizard Island might just be Australia's most enchanting tropical island, plus it's right by the spectacular Great Barrier Reef. As expensive as it is exclusive, Lizard Island offers 40 shorefront suites, a new two-bedroom villa perched over the Coral Sea, and VIP access to the World Heritage-listed wonders of the reef.
Lake Hillier, WA
One of the most spectacular lakes in the country, Lake Hillier is located on the edge of Middle Island in the Goldfields-Esperance region and dazzles with its candy-pink hues. It is remote, though, so it's best to bundle this trip with a venutre around Western Australia's Great Southern region. The bubblegum pink lake is best seen via helicopter or on a luxury cruise and is guaranteed to impress as one of the most unique travel experiences you'll ever experience.
Cicada Lodge, NT
Fly with indigenous Jawoyn guides to rarely visited, 40,000-year-old rock art sites. Feast on native foods such as bush bananas and freshwater prawns. Canoe the ancient waterways of the Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge, then bed down beside its sandstone flanks in this 18-room lodge with all modern comforts in the heart of ancient land at Cicada Lodge.
El Questro Homestead, The Kimberley Photo: Timothy Burgess
El Questro Wilderness Park, WA
This former Kimberley cattle station has a 400,000-hectare backyard brimming with waterfalls and gorges, majestic boabs and wilderness walks through the heart of the Australian outback. Accommodation suits all classes of adventurer, from $3,000-a-night homestead suites to camping beside the Pentecost River. Don't mind the crocodiles.
Pebbly Beach, NSW
A beach picnic with kangaroos for company? Only in Australia, and only at Pebbly Beach in the Murramarang National Park, 275km south of Sydney. Book one of the 20 coastal campsites for front-row access to the grassy foreshore and its resident eastern greys, and fill the days with swimming, hiking, fishing and barbecuing.
Pumphouse Point, Tasmania Photo: Pumphouse Point
Pumphouse Point, TAS
In the morning mists, the Tasmanian Hydro pumphouse hovers above Lake St Clair like an Art Deco apparition. There's much to admire about Tasmania's latest standout property, with World Heritage-listed wilderness at your back door, open-fire comfort indoors, hearty meals and the thrill of being in the one of the world's most primitive beauty spots.
Great Ocean Road, VIC
Yes, the views are spectacular and the Southern Ocean spray is a bracing tonic to 21st century life. But the Great Ocean Road's arresting panoramas and windswept coastline are just part of its attractions. There's also great eating and drinking along the route and unique accommodation - try Pebble Point's luxury tents or commune with rescued joeys at the Cape Otway Centre for Conservation Ecology.
Arkaba Station, SA
Experience ultimate isolation at former sheep station Arkarba in the remarkable Flinders Ranges, where just 10 guests have 26,000 hectares to roam on four-day walks between Wilpena Pound and the restored 1851 homestead. There's rich wildlife and dramatic landscapes, excellent camp catering and the most luxurious, starlit swags ever seen in the Australian bush.
Ningaloo Reef Photo: Live Ningaloo and Jacob Hill
Ningaloo Reef, WA
The biggest attractions of this 260km fringing reef off the mid-north coast of Western Australia are whale sharks; hundreds arrive to feed in the krill-laden waters each year between April and July. While swimming alongside six-metre mammoths is a heart-stopping experience, Ningaloo's submarine wonders extend to humpback whales, manta rays, dugongs and turtles.
Spa Country, VIC
European migrants in the 19th century were the first to discover the restorative qualities of the mineral;that bubble from the ground in central Victoria. Today the twin resort towns of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs brim with spa retreats, grand gold-rush architecture and fine dining with a distinct Swiss-Italian accent thanks to the area's earliest settlers.
Still not sure where to go? Check out our Gourmet Traveller Wild Luxury interactive experience. to discover your next holiday destination.