7 ways to get back to nature in Australia

It should come as no surprise that a country as huge as Australia is brimming with natural diversity – and by travelling with Audley, you can experience the very best it has to offer.

Team Wanderlust
22 February 2023
Promoted by

1. Visit Kangaroo Island

For wildlife-lovers, destinations don’t come much more appealing than Kangaroo Island. The name conjures up images of a giant nature reserve colonised by iconic Australian animals – which, as it happens, is pretty accurate. More than a third of this spectacularly varied island is protected land, playing home to everything from koalas, platypuses and echidnas to penguins, fur seals and – yes – plenty of kangaroos. You might even be lucky enough to spot migrating southern right and humpback whales. They don’t call it the Australian Galapagos for nothing.

It sits just off the coast of South Australia, and as the third-largest island in the country (only Tasmania and Melville Island are bigger), it can be explored at length. The wild, wave-bashed coastline stretches for some 450km, with some superb options for bushwalks – or you may prefer to just indulge in the classic Aussie trilogy of good food, good wine, and peerless wildlife.

2. Discover endemic wildlife in the Northern Territory

The Northern Territory is a place apart. The distances are longer, the temperatures are higher, and the sense of adventure is that much more pronounced. It has its own distinct, tropical character – and its own distinct, tropical wildlife. Nowhere showcases this better than the rugged wilderness of Kakadu National Park, where broad escarpments, thundering waterfalls and seasonal flood plains cover more than 20,000 sq km.

The birdlife is abundant – around a third of all Australian species are found here in the park, among them white-bellied sea eagles and iconic jabiru storks – and wallabies are a common sight in the woodlands, but the headline draw are Kakadu’s fearsome saltwater crocodiles. On Audley’s Yellow Water Nature Cruise, you’ll glide through paperbark forests and swampland to see these awe-inspiring prehistoric beasts in their natural habitat, and on sunrise and sunset sailings there’s an almost symphonic quality to the range of wildlife and the depth of the scenery.

3. Swim with whale sharks in Ningaloo Reef

Coming face to face with a whale shark is not easily forgotten. These gentle giants are harmless, and are technically fish rather than sharks, but with some of them measuring close to 12 metres in length, they represent one of the planet’s most incredible underwater species. To witness their spotted bodies looming towards you out of the blue is a privilege – and with Audley, you can do just that.

From late March to early July each year, these remarkable creatures are drawn to the nutrient-rich waters of Western Australia’s Ningaloo Reef. On a dedicated adventure from the dive centre at Exmouth, your spacious modern vessel will cruise out to sea to bring you closer to the reef – and, of course, to the whale sharks. It makes for a sensational day on the water, where you’ll not only learn about the creatures themselves, but have the chance to swim or dive alongside them.

4. Hike the Bay of Fires

The clear blue waters and long white beaches of Tasmania’s eastern coastline are a pleasure to behold at any time, but when you factor them into an epic four-day walk, the attraction becomes even greater. On Audley’s Bay of Fires hike you’ll walk from lodge to lodge, taking in wild coves, secluded dunes and eucalypt forests as the landscapes unfold around you. You can expect to see wombats, wallabies, endemic birds – and if your luck’s in, even Tasmanian devils.

But the experience is about more than the flora and fauna. The hike combines the great outdoors with a generous dose of luxury, so your small guided group will also be treated to comfortable accommodation, local wines, Tasmanian seafood, freshly cooked meals, afternoon tea – and even spa treatments to soothe those tired feet. You’ll cover around 20 miles (33km) altogether, so it’s more about relishing the trail than rushing through it.

5. Immerse yourself in nature in the Blue Mountains

Some cities get all the luck. Not only does Sydney have world-class beaches, a cutting-edge cultural scene and one of the most spectacular harbours on the planet, it also sits less than two hours away from the majestic Blue Mountains. Taking its name from the bluish haze that hangs over its millions of eucalyptus trees, this UNESCO-listed range is a vision of woolly peaks and plunging canyons, a place where walking trails snake through secluded gorges and pinnacles of rock spear overhead.

It’s among these quiet valleys that you’ll find one of Audley’s top accommodation options: the Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, a secluded luxury getaway surrounded by ravishing mountain scenery. Its 40 suites all come with private deck areas and swimming pools, while its dining options showcase local produce and fine wines. Guests can also take part in conservation activities.

6. Discover the Daintree Rainforest

It’s not every day that you get the chance to marvel at the oldest tropical rainforest in the world. The steamy Daintree Rainforest has been cloaking the northeast corner of Australia for around 180 million years, and its levels of biodiversity are staggering – birds, butterflies and crocodiles are all here in numbers. Sir David Attenborough has called it ‘the most extraordinary place on Earth’, and by travelling here with Audley, you’ll see exactly why it matches the hype.

On a scenic helicopter flight, you’ll get a bird’s eye view of the Daintree’s towering palms and cycads – an infinity of tropical green rolling over the hills and coast – and that’s not all. This is also the only region on the planet where UNESCO-listed rainforest meets UNESCO-listed reef, and your sky-high adventure also takes you over the spectacular Great Barrier Reef, which sits just offshore.

7. Take in wilderness views at the Grampians

Australia keeps some of its most spectacular attractions hidden in plain sight. Around three hours west of Melbourne you’ll find the Grampians National Park, a super-sized spread of waterfall-veined mountain panoramas. The landscape here has exerted its pull on people for tens of thousands of years – the area is traditionally known as Gariwerd, and its deep spiritual significance is evidenced by playing home to one of the largest numbers of ancient Aboriginal rock art paintings in the country.

By exploring the Grampians with Audley, you’ll also enjoy the various other elements that make this such an absorbing corner of the map. Its hiking trails and wildlife are both widely famed, with emus and kangaroos among the local residents, and if you’re here in spring you’ll witness a riot of wildflowers carpeting the slopes. Kayaking, fishing and canoeing are all on offer too – or you can choose to absorb the park on a gentle scenic drive.

Make it happen

Audley can make your dreams of visiting Australia a reality. Audley’s specialists will help you connect with Australia’s Aboriginal and Indigenous people, who remain the guardians of the oldest continuous culture on the planet. It’s chosen experiences that are authentic, respectful, and responsible — whether you’re exploring rock-art galleries with your Kuku Yalanji guide in Queensland, or learning about traditional Koori bushtucker in New South Wales.

Explore More

More Articles