It feels like it’s been off-limits for decades, but from today (February 21st), fully vaccinated tourists can travel to Australia without needing to quarantine.
But even though doors have been closed, the country hasn’t been standing still. From adventurous new walking trails to glamorous hotel launches, there are plenty of new things you can look forward to discovering on your next visit…
1. Sydney has welcomed its first six-star hotel
Live life large in the city’s most extravagant hotel to date, housed in a building tickling the skyline.
Featuring a vast spa, harbour views and a combination of rooms and villas, Crown Sydney will also host a selection of top food and drink venues – including Oncore by Clare Smyth and Nobu. Visit crownsydney.com.au
2. A collection of new tours allows travellers to connect with Australia’s First Peoples
The history of Australia’s indigenous communities is long and rich.
In the last few years, land has been rightfully returned to its original custodians: in 1993, Uluru was officially recognised by its First Nations name, while Daintree Rainforest in northern Queensland was returned to the Eastern Kuku Yalanji people in 2021.
Focussed on engaging with local communities and ensuring they benefit directly from tourism, Intrepid Travel has launched a new collection of Aussie adventures with tours led by local storytellers, artists and experts of the land.
The five-day Larapinta Trail explores a hiking route through the Red Centre’s West MacDonnell Ranges, while guides share Dreamtime stories. Accommodation is swag camping under the stars. Visit intrepidtravel.com
3. There’s a chance to eat, sleep and drink in some of South Australia’s quirkiest spaces
Although borders have been closed for nearly two years, Adelaide has been busy opening new hotels. Hotel Indigo Adelaide Markets, Eos by SkyCity and Sofitel have launched in the city, along with several quirkier options out of town.
Most striking of all is Kapunda’s regional train station, built in 1860 and transformed into a seven-bedroom Airbnb. Cook in the former ticket office, or book a private chef and dine on the 100 metre-long platform. Kapunda is less than hour’s drive from some of the world’s best wineries in the Barossa and Clare Valley. Visit airbnb.co.uk
4. You can see the world’s largest coral reef from a new perspective
Spanning 1,429 miles along Australia’s east coast, the Great Barrier Reef is home to a multitude of weird and wonderful creatures. There’s enough to occupy a lifetime of snorkelling and diving adventures – but you don’t need to get wet to see it all.
A new day-trip experience, Journey To The Heart, allows guests to view the iconic Heart Reef from above on a scenic flight, the grand finale of an aerial trip above the Whitsundays.
While on Lady Musgrave, in the southern sector of the reef, guests can explore the technicolour underwater world in a submerged observatory, and spend the night glamping on a pontoon. Visit ladymusgraveexperience.com.au
5. It’s possible to hike through centuries of rock art
Winding through The Grampians, one of the country’s most important indigenous sites, the new 160km Grampians Peaks Trail launched at the end of 2021. Spend 13 days trekking through mountains, abseiling down rocky outcrops or canoeing along rivers.
More than 80 per cent of Victoria’s rock paintings can be found in this area, along with ancient oven mounds and stones once used to make tools. Walk through the area on a guided tour, learning about the significance of the landscape in Aboriginal Dreamtime stories, and the importance of the site. Visit visitgrampians.com.au/see-do/get-outdoors/grampians-peaks-trail