Relax under a palm tree on a tiny island, soak in thermal hot springs with views of snow-covered mountains and explore a vast, red desert in this continent of extremes.
When you plan a getaway on one of these Southern Hemisphere islands, you’ll have the chance to enjoy spectacular stretches of sand, bushwalks through forested hinterlands and Polynesian cultures.
Australia is much too vast to be called “just” an island—it’s a huge country filled with sophisticated cities and beautiful landscapes. In Melbourne, watch cricket and footy matches, sip coffee in cool graffiti-filled laneways, tour the Royal Botanic Gardens and sample Yarra Valley wines.
On the southern shores, the Great Ocean Road is one of the world’s most celebrated scenic drives. Visit Bells Beach, home of world-renowned surf tours, and drive on to see the 12 Apostles natural rock sculptures rising dramatically out of the sea.
Head northeast to the capital city, Canberra, to see impressive government buildings, monuments and galleries. Continue on to Sydney, which you’ll know for its striking Opera House and Harbour Bridge, but don’t forget about the beautiful beaches, Taronga Zoo, Hunter Valley wine region and loads of world-class museums.
The Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast are known for surfing—see for yourself in the appropriately named Surfers Paradise. Nearby Brisbane is a sophisticated city straddling a winding river. Enjoy the koala sanctuary and venture into the hinterland wilderness.
Visit Port Douglas and Cairns in the far north to see the Great Barrier Reef, ideal for snorkelling, diving or viewing colourful fish and coral from a glass-bottom boat. See water dragons, cassowaries and other animals at the Wildlife Habitat and exotic birds in the Daintree Rainforest.
Fly west to enjoy other incredible adventures, including the giant red rock of Uluru, the Barossa Valley wines of Adelaide and food and wine tours of Perth.
Even more adventures await across the Tasman Sea. On New Zealand’s North Island, head to Auckland to sail its lovely harbour and appreciate the multi-ethnic culture and food. Drive to Rotorua to experience the sulphur springs, cooking corn on the cob over the hot steam eruptions or relaxing in a natural hot tub. Continue to the southern city of Wellington, the capital, to enjoy a beautiful harbour surrounded by cultural attractions.
The country’s South Island has Mount Cook, glaciers, fjords and blue-green lakes that served as fantasy film settings for The Hobbit. Stroll through the botanic gardens in Christchurch, then visit the Canterbury Museum to admire its unique treasures. Queenstown is on the bucket list of every adventure seeker, with plenty of opportunities for skiing, rock climbing and bungee jumping.
Elsewhere in the South Pacific, explore islands that were described by author James Michener as having “endless ocean” with “coconut palms nodding gracefully” and “lagoons, lovely beyond description.” Find this beautiful scenery in Fiji, Samoa, the Cook Islands and French Polynesia. Learn about the Polynesian explorers who once sailed the high seas in outrigger canoes—or just soak up the sunshine on the legendary beaches. It’s your holiday.