Australia is back! 10 good reasons to book a vacation in this epic country
How to do
Stay at some of the country’s most exclusive lodges and venues with a 19-day bespoke tour from Hayes & Jarvis (020 8106 2403; hayesandjarvis.co.uk), including luxury stays from Sydney to the island Lord Howe, Uluru, Cairns and Lizard Island. The trip includes a private tour of the Blue Mountains through the Valley of the Cascades, discovering hidden caves and exploring swimming holes. From £18,800 per person; including flights.
If you fancy swimming with cetaceans in ultimate luxury, Pelorus (020 3848 5424; pelorusx.com) offers a six-day charter aboard the exploration yacht Beluga, whose owner, captain and crew have links to the Queensland-based Minke Whale Project. From £52,158 for up to eight people; excluding flights.
Best time to go
Uluru and the Red Center are best in winter when temperatures are cooler (May-September). To see minke whales, travel in June and July.
10. Explore Western Australia
The western state of the country proves somewhat stubborn when it comes to allowing visitors – foreign or domestic. If the rules stay as they are, it will be easier for Sydneysiders to travel to Britain and back by the end of February than entering Western Australia (WA), which still has rules quarantine in place. Still, while you may have to wait to explore the Wildflower State, it’s certainly worth the effort.
Centered on the state capital Perth – easily Australia’s most underrated city – WA accounts for almost a third of the entire continent. Anyone adventurous will love the West Coast, which stretches 1,000 miles along the Indian Ocean, from the Margaret River wine region in the south to Ningaloo Reef and its world famous whale sharks near Exmouth in the north. Along the way, world-class scenery (the Pinnacles Desert with its bizarre limestone formations); wildlife hotspots (Monkey Mia and her bottlenose dolphins); as well as many national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, bays and beaches.
How to do
Responsible Travel (01273 823 700; Responsibletravel.com) offers 16-day driving holidays that take you from Perth to Rottnest Island (with its famous quokkas), Nambung National Park, Kalbarri National Park, Monkey Mia and the Ningaloo Reef before returning to Perth; from £3,830 pp including UK flights.
Best time to go
Hopefully the quarantine will have been lifted by the time the West Coast is at its best in the spring (September-November). At this time of year, you can expect an average temperature of around 23°C, little rain and the world famous wildflowers in bloom.
With contributions from Adrian Bridge, Annabel Fenwick Elliott, Richard Madden, Sarah Marshall and Sarah Rodrigues
Australia will reopen to fully vaccinated tourists with relevant visas (including tourist visas) from February 21 without quarantine.
All travelers will need
- Proof of full vaccination (this currently means two shots; Australia accepts the NHS Covid Pass as proof). At least seven days must have passed since the second dose.
- A negative Covid-19 PCR result taken within 72 hours of departure
- An Australian travel declaration completed 72 hours before departure
Travelers who have a legitimate medical reason for not being vaccinated can apply for a travel exemption. All children under the age of 12 are considered fully immunized for travel to Australia. Provisions are also in place in some states and territories to allow unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children between the ages of 12 and 17 to travel with a fully vaccinated adult.
Quarantine rules will still apply to all travelers to Western Australia. Other state-by-state restrictions are in effect.
Find more of the latest vacation guidelines as the country reopens to vaccinated tourists here.