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Jan 7, 2021 | SOAR Magazine, Elevated Lifestyle

Australia is not just a country, but a continent. Diversity defines Australia from its wildlife to its culture to the endless variety of outdoor adventures. 

 

Australia offers far more than barbeque and biodiversity. Home to 26 million Aussies spread across three million square miles, the Commonwealth is a mega-diverse country. The immense size of the country provides varied landscapes with deserts in the center, tropical rainforest in the northeast, mountain ranges in the southeast, remote uninhabited sandstone cliffs in the west and 21,000 miles of coast all around. It is all at once the Earth’s smallest continent, yet the biggest island. 

The multicultural and multiracial makeup of Australia are reflected in the food, lifestyle, art and cultural landscape. The land was inhabited between 50-60,000 years ago by Aboriginal people, and colonized by Europeans beginning in the 1600s. The United Kingdom eventually granted independence in 1901, forming the Commonwealth of Australia. Over the course of 100 years, Australia transformed from a rugged penal colony to a highly-developed and urbanized nation. 

It goes without saying that those traveling to Australia should appreciate wildlife and the outdoors. Many native animals are only found in Australia, including 800 species of birds, 4,000 species of fish, and 50 types of marine mammals. Koalas, kangaroos, and wild dingoes might take the spotlight, but Australia teems with unique wildlife if you know where and when to look. 

While travel to the country is currently off the table, now is the perfect time to plan your adventure. Plan ahead with help from our friends at EMBARK Beyond and when the time is right, take off for a picture-perfect tour across the continent. 

With the growth of our long-range fleet, in the summer of 2020, Jet Linx expanded our authorized areas of operations to include Australia. Private air travel from Your Personal Jet Company is the perfect way to explore the vast beauty of Australia in safety and comfort. 

Tasmania

 

Separated from the mainland by the Bass Strait, Tasmania serves as home to plants and animals not found anywhere else on Earth. Solitary beaches, rugged highlands, rainforests and alpine wilderness can be found in the many parks that compose 40% of the island. Tasmania is a place of wild and beautiful landscapes with a relaxed island lifestyle and wonderful food and wine. 

While nature lovers and animal enthusiasts flock to the island to catch a glimpse of rare species and breathtaking landscapes, Tasmania also offers urbanites a chance to enjoy themselves. Hobart, the capital city, is the financial and administrative hub of the island but is also well-known for its art, food and brewery scene while offering a range of upscale accommodations for those that need pampering after a day exploring. 

For those wanting to enjoy the natural beauty of Tasmania, head to any one of its incredible national parks. Freycinet National Park is on the east coast of Tasmania – 

a peninsula defined by a granite mountain range known as the Hazards. Nothing beats the panoramic views over Wineglass Bay at sunset. Catch a stellar view from the Visitor’s Platform or hike to the top of Mt. Amos for a very memorable moment. Honeymoon and Sleepy Bays also form secluded coves, a wonderful setting for a romantic couple’s hike. 

Cradle Mountain National Park is home to abundant wildlife and excellent opportunities for hiking. The craggy profile of Cradle Mountain is mirrored by the pine-fringed Dove Lake below. Out on the trails, you’ll more than likely see the full collection of Aussie cuties – echidna, pademelons, wallabies, wombats and, if you’re really lucky, the elusive platypus. 

Bay of Fires is a magnificent wilderness coastline that sits at the edge of Mt. William National Park. The dramatic landscape, ecology and wildlife are best explored with Tasmanian guides as the fascinating environment is best understood through the lens of experts. The name comes from the brilliant orange lichen that grows on the granite boulders lining the bay. This popular conservation reserve is actually a string of breathtakingly beautiful beaches, interspersed by lagoons and rocky bluffs. Combined with the powder-white sand and turquoise waters, this ideal setting is a spectacular place to soak in the sensational views and experience a dreamlike walk along the beach. 

If you’re hoping to see a kangaroo, Mt. William National Park is your best bet. This area is home to the largest population of eastern gray kangaroos in the state, as well as echidnas, brush-tail possums, wombats, Bennetts wallabies and Tasmanian devils. Birdlife too is abundant, with over 100 species occurring in the park, including many varieties of sea and shore birds. If bird watching and wildlife viewing are high on your to-do list, this national park is a must. 

 

Sydney

 

Australia’s oldest and largest city serves as a perfect launching point for any trip. Sydney offers world-class architecture, museums, and options for dining, shopping and exploring. The Opera House and Sydney Harbor Bridge are unmistakable landmarks that all visitors should see with their own eyes. There are also great beaches for surfing (Bondi and Manly) or waterfront strolls. A regatta tour along the famed harbor serves as a treat for many, especially families or larger groups. 

The city’s location offers tourists the ability to take wonderful day trips. The Blue Mountains and Hunter Valley wineries offer family-friendly excursions but allow you to return to your luxury accommodation by end of day. Sydney is known for numerous dynamic neighborhoods, all with their own distinct characteristics. Chippendale bubbles over with creatives and serves as a very hip part of Sydney. You’ll find artists working in converted warehouses, underground cocktail bars and interactive wine halls. Visitors should not miss the holy trinity of Sydney dining in the area: Automata, Ester and LP’s Quality Meats. If you only eat three meals in the city, make sure it comes from these spots. 

If you’re looking for a more refined, posh neighborhood, head to The Rocks. As one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, the sandstone alleys open up to beautifully restored homes. Even a walk through the neighborhood, which features a backdrop of the Opera House and Sydney Harbor Bridge, offers European charm. This is where you’d come for gourmet street food, artisanal wares and more cafes than you can shake a double-shot soy macchiato at. Coffee aficionados should head to Cabrito Coffee and for lunch shop the variety of global cuisine on offer at Streets of Barangaroo. For dinner, grab a fancy French meal at Hubert. 

Other neighborhoods like Darlinghurst and Newtown are chock full of entertainment, with live music, buskers, and Mardi-Gras-style parades. 

 

Melbourne

 

Melbourne, the second-largest city, serves as the thriving arts and cultural capital of the country. As a destination, it makes a great stop for artistic types and anyone looking for a diverse range of dining options. Known for fashion, entertainment, nightlife, sports, and shopping, Melbourne is also home to international festivals (devoted to comedy, beer and wine, food, music, film, theater and dance) and major sporting events, while still boasting an old-world charm. The city itself, laid out in a large rectangle with a lively and cosmopolitan pulse, sits on the northern banks of the Yarra River, about five kilometers from the bay. 

Melbourne is home to distinctly Italian, Bohemian, African and Asian neighborhoods, all offering their trademark flavors and cuisines. Fitzroy serves as the Bohemian neighborhood and acts as a magnet for all things cool and bizarre. Lots of vintage clothing stores and second-hand bookshops line the streets, as well as a handful of unique pubs and endearing dives. 

Carlton is the Italian neighborhood where you’re likely to see men playing cards outside of cafes. Carlton Gardens makes a beautiful spot to enjoy some afternoon gelato, and finishing with a stroll down the leafy terrace-lined Drummond and Rathdowne streets. Carlton is a very quaint and quiet part of the city. 

You can always opt for the Melbourne central business district. This posh neighborhood serves as a hotbed of activity. The shopping precincts of Bourke Street, Queen Victoria Market, the glitzy ‘Paris End’ of Collins Street, the galleries of Federation Square and the arts precinct of Southbank lure elite travelers from all over the globe. 

Footscray is where foodies flock for authentic cuisines ranging from Vietnamese to Ethiopian. The migrant communities that have come to call Footscray home have in turn given back to the suburb with touches of their home countries, which means you can scoop up a goat curry with fresh injera, sip up pho and hunt down the best cannoli in town all on the same street. 

 

Great Barrier Reef

 

Spanning 1,430 miles along Queensland’s shoreline, the Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system and one of the seven wonders of the natural word. With breathtaking beauty, an abundance of diverse marine life, the reef encompasses hundreds of picturesque tropical islands with sun-soaked golden beaches. More than 2,900 individual reefs, 600 islands, and 1,600 species of fish can be found here. The immense size of this wonder leaves people scratching their heads at how best to experience it. 

The Great Barrier Reef offers excellent places to scuba dive and snorkel, with many proper luxury resorts on idyllic private islands to serve as home base for exploring in comfort. First things first – the best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef is from June to October. Temperatures hover in the low 60s to mid-80s, and rainfall is uncommon, which means clearer waters and better diving conditions. 

The cities of Cairns or Townsville both serve as launching points to reach the Reef. Cairns offers the added bonus of the lush Daintree Rainforest, the oldest rainforest in the world and another UNESCO World Heritage site. Townsville boasts 300 days of sunshine per year and sits in the middle of the reef. Visitors enjoy its historic buildings, dive-worthy shipwrecks and the tropical pace of life. Aside from diving, there’s plenty of opportunity for fishing and horseback riding on pristine beaches. 

The Whitsunday Islands are the most scenic and the most well-known in the area and are composed of smaller islands scattered about the area. These include the exclusive island paradises of Hamilton Island, Hayman Island and stunning Whitehaven Beach with its impossibly white sands. Depending on the experience you are looking for, each private island escape will provide endless turquoise seascapes and fabulous access to the Great Barrier Reef’s diving. Lizard Island, Orpheus Island and Hayman Island all offer luxury accommodations surrounded by acres of pristine wilderness. 

 

The Outback

 

The Australian Outback, or rangeland, comprises nearly 80% of the entire continent, spreading across the country like a blanket. It’s difficult to comprehend the vastness of the outback: it’s roughly the same size as the entire continental United States. While most Aussies live within 30 miles of the coast, the interior of the country is wide open. With so much room for exploration, we recommend visiting a few unique places, such as Ayer’s Rock. 

Ayer’s Rock, also known as Uluru, is Australia’s most well-known natural landmark. The large sandstone formation in central Australia draws tourists at all times of the year, but May to September offers the best weather. Only three hours flight from most Australian airports, it is located on a secluded sand dune close to the boundary of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Ayer’s Rock is a popular destination for desert adventures, camel rides, helicopter tours, stargazing and authentic Aussie barbecues. 

Roughly the size of Germany with a population of less than 40,000, the Kimberley region – spread over Australia’s entire north-western corner – is one of the world’s last wilderness frontiers. Here you’ll find prolific wildlife, majestic canyons, freshwater swimming holes and several outback stations, as well as one of Australia’s greatest 4WD road trips. The Kimberley region also contains thousands of tropical forest-topped islands, towering ochre cliffs, flat waterfalls and rock art galleries that scientists believe may be the oldest in the world. Despite the area’s remoteness, it’s also a place of great food, luxury accommodation, friendly locals and one of the most romantic beach towns on Earth. 

The largest gateway to the Kimberley region is the outback beach town of Broome and the nearby 14-mile long Cable Beach. Although extremely isolated, Broome is a thriving town loved for white beaches, tropical weather, magenta sunsets and laid-back atmosphere. 

Also in the Kimberley region, the King George River plunges over an ancient sandstone cliff into tidal waters, creating the truly astounding spectacle of King George Falls – Western Australia’s highest twin waterfalls. The soaring red gorges, ancient sandstone cliffs, plunging waterfalls and hundreds of tiny islands are collectively known as the Buccaneer Archipelago.