Planning an overseas trip but don’t know where to go? Indulge in your own backyard a little, to some of our alternatives to popular travel destinations.
Australians are among the world’s most prolific travellers. From the infamous gap year to spontaneous weekends in Bali, it seems that Australians barely need an excuse to pack their things and head overseas. In fact, this culture is so widespread that many young Aussies are leaving their own country untouched. So before embarking on another international adventure, why not discover the wonders of your own backyard?
Want to walk the coastal routes of Cinque Terre? First, check out the Grand Pacific Drive.
The Cinque Terre area contains some of Italy’s best scenery and favourite hiking routes. Renowned for its quaint architecture and breathtaking coastal views, Cinque Terre draws around 2.5 million visitors every year. In fact, this overwhelming popularity has recently forced authorities to limit tourist numbers in an effort to preserve the local culture.
Meanwhile, just an hour south of Sydney is one of Australia’s most picturesque coastal driving routes. The Grand Pacific Drive begins in the Royal National Park and winds 140 kilometres through lush rainforests, along rugged cliff faces and past the charming seaside towns of Kiama, Shellharbour and Shoalhaven. The highlight of the Grand Pacific Drive is the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge. This bridge is a 655-metre-long feat of engineering which swerves out over the ocean, treating its passengers to unrivalled views of the spectacular NSW coastline. One of only seven structures of its kind in the world, the Sea Cliff Bridge also includes a walkway and cycling path, meaning that you too can experience the pedestrian pleasures of Australia’s own Cinque Terre and explore the stunning coastline on foot.
Before climbing Hawaii’s Stairway to Heaven, tackle Australia’s Giant Stairway.
The “Haʻikū Stairs”, or the “Stairway to Heaven”, is a path of almost 4,000 stairs ascending some 650 metres up the Ko‘olau mountain range in Oahu, Hawaii. Although safety concerns mean that the stairway has been closed to the public since 1987, stubborn hikers regularly ignore the warning signs and official guard, entering the stairway illegally to cross the climb off their bucket lists. In 2015, a severe storm also caused major damage to several sections of the stairway, increasing safety concerns among local residents and authorities.
Australia’s very own Giant Stairway can be found in the Blue Mountains, roughly two hours west of Sydney. Combining a mixture of more than 800 metal stairs, natural ledges, and steps carved out of the earth, the Giant Stairway descends about 300 metres into the Jamison Valley. This area is a popular destination among bushwalking and camping enthusiasts, so consider packing some supplies to turn an enjoyable hike into a weekend wilderness escape. What’s more, the Giant Stairway lies just 500 metres from the Three Sisters, one of the region’s most iconic – and mysterious – landmarks.
Want to taste your way through Bordeaux? Treat your tastebuds to a Hunter Valley trip.
Arguably the world’s most famous wine-producing region, the name “Bordeaux” is almost synonymous with fine red wines. Located in the Gironde department in the southwest of France, the city and region of Bordeaux attracts around three-million visitors each year. With around 10,000 estates scattered over 100,000 hectares, Bordeaux is one of the most popular destinations for amateur wine lovers and seasoned oenophiles alike.
Bordeaux’s southern cousin, the Hunter Valley, is Australia’s premier wine-growing region, and is of unparalleled importance to Australia’s wine industry. The region is also a popular holiday destination in its own right thanks to its cool climate, charming villages and scenic landscape of rolling hills and immaculate vineyards. Aside from its fine estates and wineries, the Hunter Valley is also home to dozens of cafés, shops, bed and breakfasts, restaurants and art galleries, making it a wonderful place to visit at any time of year.
Go one better than The Hamptons by escaping to Hyams Beach.
Sprawling across Long Island’s southeastern edge, The Hamptons are something of a beachside playground for the elite. This trendy area is particularly popular in the warmer months when wealthy New Yorkers swarm to its beaches for the chance to soak up some sun, feel the sand between their toes and take a break from the chaos of the city. With a winning combination of atmosphere and location, the beaches of The Hamptons are among the most popular on the United States’ east coast.
If you’re looking for a beachside getaway of your own, it doesn’t get much better than Hyams Beach. It will come as no surprise to those who’ve visited, that Hyams Beach is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as having the whitest sand in the world. What’s more, its incredibly clear waters make Hyams Beach an ideal spot for snorkelling and diving, while the protection of the bay provides opportunities for kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding as well. Although the village of Hyams Beach is home to only 300 residents, it’s clear to see why the beach draws at least as many visitors each month. The surrounding national parks, campgrounds and bushwalking trails add even more magic to this beautiful part of Australia.
The world is filled to the brim with incredible travel destinations. Instead of taking this for granted, explore the landscape of Australia and learn to see your own country through the eyes of an awestruck visitor.