Travel is all about being in the moment, says this writer and reviewer, who is making plans to live large and soak up all the amazing encounters Australia has to offer.
Heart Island Pontoon
Hamilton Island, Queensland
A heart-shaped reef in the middle of a turquoise sea... There are many ways to “do” the Great Barrier Reef but I plan to do it in unique (and luxurious) style. Tucked in the pristine Whitsunday Islands and accessible only by helicopter from privately owned Hamilton Island, the sweetly shaped Heart Reef last year welcomed a split-level floating destination known as Heart Island Pontoon, which doubles as a helipad and caters only for six. I’m dreaming of being whisked from bucket-list resort Qualia over the ocean panorama to swim, boat and generally laze about in the crystal-clear lagoon. I might even wave to the sightseeing flights overhead.
Pictured top. Image credit: @saltywings
Bay of Fires, Tasmania
Sometimes all you need is to disappear into nature. Resetting among the rugged beauty of Tasmania’s Bay of Fires will be just the ticket thanks to the Wukalina Walk, a four-day hike owned and operated by the Palawa, the local Indigenous community, which weaves through coastline, grassland and rocky terrain rich with the stories, history and food of the traditional owners. Secretly I’m also thrilled that communing with the great outdoors doesn’t mean forgoing the aesthetically pleasing comforts of the stunning camps, featuring domed sleeping pods crafted from local timbers.
Uluru, Northern Territory
I’ll admit it. I wept (quietly) watching the sunset anoint the ancient majesty of Uluru in glowing stripes of orange, pink and yellow. The natural show, enjoyed with a glass of sparkling, is the spectacular curtain-raiser for Tali Wiru, an unforgettable open-air dining experience on a dune overlooking the 550-million-year- old rock and the distant domes of Kata Tjuta. It’s an Indigenous-themed evening of excellent food – native ingredients are given the fine-dining treatment – along with astronomy and music. Bumping back along the track to luxury lodge Longitude 131° is no anticlimax, especially when the world’s cosiest swag awaits, unfurled on your private deck for a stargazing nightcap.
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