This feature is brought to you by Qantas, who are proud to play a part in bringing travellers together with the people they love from around Australia and across the globe.
The new Qantas safety video takes us on a whirlwind tour of this amazing country – all the highlights of its cities, beaches and beautiful outback destinations.
In line with its release, we’ve put together a guide to the 16 bucket list-worthy Australian destinations featured in the video. Ready to start exploring this wide, sun-kissed land, from the iconic pier of Melbourne’s St Kilda to Perth’s sprawling, lush Kings Park? Fasten your seatbelts (get it?); let’s do this.
St Kilda Pier, VIC
With palm trees, panoramic views of the city and a widescreen sunset just over your shoulder, St Kilda Pier is as lovely a spot as you can find in Melbourne. The iconic stretch of boards ends at a historic kiosk, standing exactly where it has been since 1904. In between, you’ll find folks dropping idle fishing lines, couples walking hand-in-hand and kids with ice-cream smooshed all over their faces, not to mention a colony of fairy penguins that calls St Kilda home.
Don’t miss: Matcha Mylkbar is a vegan cafe that champions the super-hyped Japanese green tea throughout its menu. It’s perfect for your holiday food Instagram fix.
Hunter Valley, NSW
Just two-hours from Sydney, the Hunter Valley is a dreamy destination for wine and food lovers; a lush landscape of rolling green hills and hidden cellar doors. A year-round calendar of foodie festivals complements a fixed set of acclaimed restaurants in the region, and for entertainment visitors can wind their way between historic homesteads, local markets and the occasional major concert event. For a truly lovely view, hop into a hot air balloon at dawn. It’s the best way to see Hunter Valley vines and the rich earth beneath.
Don’t miss: Usher Tinkler is a boutique winery and charcuterie in a renovated church that was built in 1905. Go for the fine meats and cheeses, stay for the panoramic views over the valley through the floor-to-ceiling windows.
Gold Coast, QLD
Beautiful one day, glorious the next, the Gold Coast offers quintessential Australian delights, with its golden beaches, balmy weather and perfect Pacific waves. When you’re done riding the break at Surfers Paradise or paragliding on Main Beach, the action kicks on at the Gold Coast’s epic theme parks. Warner Brothers Movie World, Sea World or the Outback Spectacular provide endless days of fun. For nature buffs, the lush hinterlands are ready to explore, rainforest walks, waterfalls and the Gold Coast Glow Worm caves in Springbrook National Park.
Don’t miss: The Currumbin rock pools are a set of (not-so-)secret swimming holes just a 40 minute drive south from the city. Drive back up along the coastal villages like Miami and Burleigh Heads for small, independent cafes, markets and shops.
Docklands Melbourne, VIC
Nestled around the water that laps at the city’s eastern fringe, Docklands Melbourne is a growing hub of food and cultural delights. Ride the Melbourne Star for a bird’s eye view of the city or visit the O’Brien Group Arena to get your skate on, then pop down to the boardwalk for a romantic dinner on the water. History buffs can check out the Enterprise Ship Trust or the Victoria Police Museum, while those on the hunt for action can enjoy a boat ride on Victoria Harbour.
Don’t miss: Docklands is the perfect spot to hire a kayak and discover Melbourne from the mighty Yarra River.
Sydney Harbour, NSW
Sydney Harbour is the gleaming jewel in our urban tourism crown. It is, hands down, the most spectacular sight this Australian city has to offer, and the old coat hanger and Opera House are only the beginning. Once you’ve clambered down from your climb atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge, you can pad around the hidden laneways and bars nestled in The Rocks, or take a thrilling and scenic ride at Sydney’s Luna Park. Cruise the coast to find one of many picturesque coves or hop a ferry across to Manly – a sweet spot for a swim. Maybe a day on a yacht is more your speed? Rest assured, the Harbour has plenty of them. With hundreds of kilometres of shoreline, secret islands, luscious parks and sleek wharfs to explore, Sydney Harbour is the grand dame, the gift that keeps on giving.
Don’t miss: Curled along the waterfront, Opera Bar provides jaw-dropping views over a wine at sunset. It’s a great spot to start the night.
Cape Banks, NSW
Located 17 kilometres from Sydney, Cape Banks is on the northern headland that frames Botany Bay, the furthest tip of Botany Bay National Park. Gentle green hills covered in summer wildflowers roll down to the turquoise Tasman Sea, where sandstone and exposed rocks tumble into the ocean. It’s a gorgeous, lonely place for a nature hike, with winding paths and bridges carrying you through the scrub, down to the beach where at least one ship had laid its weary bones.
Don’t miss: Visit the shipwreck SS Minmi, the picturesque Coast Cemetery or the old fort used in two world wars that keeps a watchful eye on the east.
Kings Park, WA
A 400-acre expanse overlooking the Swan River, Kings Park is home to a botanic garden that holds more than 3000 species of Western Australian flora. From wild bush paths to beautifully manicured lawns, it offers myriad walks and picnic spots, not to mention stunning views. From up on a hill, or beneath the lemon-scented gums, you can drink in the city skyline and Perth’s majestic expanse of water.
Don’t miss: To feel like you are on top of the world, you can scale the Federation Walkway – a treetop passage that climbs to 16 metres and showcases art by the Nyoongar, the local Indigenous people.
Field of Light, Uluru, NT
Thought we couldn’t improve the wow factor of the Red Centre? Think again. Internationally acclaimed artist Bruce Munro has installed 50,000 delicate light stems at the foot of Uluru, which glow and pulsate with undulating light as night falls on the desert. Titled Tili Wiru Tjuta Nyakutjaku or ‘looking at lots of beautiful lights’ in local the Pitjantjatjara language, the artwork covers an area the size of seven football fields. You can dine by its light, explore it by camel or wake to see the glowing buds blend slowly into dawn.
Don’t miss: Watching the sunrise over Uluru is one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences. The red rock moves through all shades of its hue as the daylight breaks. The Talinguru Nyakunytjaku viewing area is the best spot to watch from. Follow the walking track to find your own perfect spot.
Mt Ainslie, ACT
There’s no better way to appreciate the stately grace of our capital than from the top of Mt Ainslie, the looming peak of the Canberra Nature Park. Walter Burley Griffin, who designed the town, said that Canberra was an irregular amphitheatre and Mt Ainslie the top gallery, from which you can look across Lake Burley Griffin to mighty Parliament House. Aside from the beautiful city view, there are plenty of bushwalking trails on the mountain, including The Kokoda Track, which is peppered with monuments to our lost and valiant soldiers.
Don’t miss: The Versailles: Treasures from the Palace exhibition is currently on at the National Gallery of Australia until April 2017. The epic exhibition displays personal items from French royalty, from Louis XIV to Marie Antoinette, giving an insight to this fascinating period of history.
Tangalooma Moreton Island, QLD
Moreton Island lies on the coral sea off the southeast coast of Queensland, a lush sub-tropical paradise that is 95 percent national park. Located on the west coast of the island, Tangalooma is a former whaling station that today draws visitors because it is home to a wild dolphin feeding program. Wade into the water up to your knees and the friendly mammals will swim in to meet you – a once-in-a-lifetime type of deal that will be hard to forget. If you’re a diver, the wrecks around Tangalooma are also very impressive, while the rest of the island is a rugged diamond for campers and 4WD cars.
Don’t miss: Two words: Sand tobogganing. Yes, it’s as fun as it sounds.
Mindil Beach Market, NT
On Mindil Beach Reserve, under swaying coconut palms, some 300 small business owners gather each Thursday and Sunday during the dry season to ply their wares. Darwin’s damp heat, the sunset and the breezy outdoor vibe have made the Mindil Beach Market a popular destination for both locals and visitors, with food, entertainment and tours on offer, as well as artisan goods. Want recycle truck canvas? Australian opals? Maybe a tarot reading? Go for a wander under the palms, Mindil Beach will provide.
Salamanca Markets, TAS
Deep down south, by the Hobart docks, the Salamanca Market has its own unique rhythm. Exploding from the historic buildings of Salamanca Place, the weekly event welcomes arts and artisans from all over the island. From hand-crafted leather goods to goat’s cheese and honey, the very best of Tasmania produce is yours for the purchasing. When you’re done, you can hop on the nearby ferry to MONA, which will blow your mind.
Don’t miss: Have a drink at Preacher’s, one of the most fun bars in Hobart, made all the better by its unique drinking space: a stationary, full sized old-school bus fitted out with tables, chairs and fairy lights in the backyard.
Cape Hillsborough, QLD
Tiny wallabies and Eastern Grey kangaroos are wont to hop through the shallows in Cape Hillsborough National Park, a stunning stretch of wilderness where the rainforest meets the sea. Rising from electric blue waters are jagged volcanic rocks that are eerily beautiful, while inland the rainforest teems with life, from blue butterflies to birds. Just 50 kilometres north of Mackay, it feels like the end of the world.
Don’t miss: If you can tear yourself away from Cape Hillsborough, head an hour inland to the Finch Hatton Gorge for a natural world defined by waterfalls, freshwater swimming holes and tropical flora. Here, you can try to spot platypus or zipline through the treetops.
Mt Hotham, VIC
In the heart of the Victorian Alps, on the Great Dividing Range, Mount Hotham is where snow lovers flood for a monster ski season. With perfect downhill runs, cross country paths and ski jumps for the wildly ambitious, Mount Hotham boasts the best snowfall in Australia, though the summers are lovely too. Bike the cool mountain paths on a hot summer’s day to find hidden waterfalls, fields and streams, plus golden mountain views. Fishing and horse riding are also on offer, if sitting still takes your fancy.
Don’t miss: At an altitude of 1550 metres, Blizzard Brewing Company is Australia’s highest brewery. Stop in for one of their Powder Pale Ales or Summit Stouts.
Barossa Valley, SA
Rich earth and deep red grapes define South Australia’s preeminent wine region, a land of patchwork fields, stone cottages and long-established culinary excellence. With over 80 cellar doors and 150 wineries, time is best spent tasting in the Barossa, but there are plenty of distractions in the valley if you need a break.
Don’t miss: Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop is a huge favourite, with all manner of food magic there to sample and buy, while the Whispering Wall, a natural rock formation, will carry your secrets 100 metres, end-to-end.
Port Lincoln, SA
The ‘Seafood Capital of Australia’ is home to a huge tuna fishing industry, home to Australia’s largest commercial fishing fleet and the fishermen who make the sea their home. A sleepy, sun-kissed kind of place, visitors make Port Lincoln their base to explore the national parks of the beautiful Eyre Peninsula. For more adventurous souls, there is cage diving with sharks or a swim with the slightly less terrifying sea lions.
Don’t miss: Take in the spectacular ocean views from the rugged coastline of Lincoln National Park. White sand beaches and sheltered campsites abound.