Words to the wise: A solid trip to Australia should be a bit longer than your average spring break—no shorter than 10 days if you can swing it—and if you're ready to take your Epic Trip this year, now is one of the best times to visit our friends down under. It's almost harvest time in Oz, so it's a wine-lover's dream. And for everyone else, there's the famously gorgeous beaches, curious wildlife, and easy-to-meet locals. Here's how to enjoy your spring break in Australia, no matter what your interests.
For Surfers, Hikers, and Adventurers: New South Wales
You might know New South Wales's most famous city, Sydney, but not know much about the rest of Australia's southeastern state. For those who are into hiking and peeping amazing wildlife, the Blue Mountains are a must. Luxury lovers shoud stay at Emirates One & Only Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, where you're smack-dab in the middle of the stunning UNESCO World Heritage area. You can explore the mountains by a private horseback ride or guided nature tour, which the resort can arrange for you. The property also offers the kid-friendly "Junior Ranger" program, where your little ones will look for fossils, learn bush survival techniques, and make arts & crafts.
Beach bums should head to Bondi, a Sydney suburb and one of Australia's surfing meccas. It's got bohemian vibes, chill cafés, excellent shopping, and top-notch people watching. Bondi has scenic oceanside bushwalks (the Aussie word for 'hike") and it's home to one of the most Instagrammable places in the world, the Bondi Icebergs Club pools. Plus, it's developed a great food scene in the past couple years.
For Food and Art Lovers: Melbourne
Before Sydney's great food resurgence, Melbourne was the go-to food-lover's destination in Australia. Home to a high volume of the country's most acclaimed restaurants, an obsessive coffee culture, and great cheap eats, you'll have a difficult time choosing your meals (and snacks) when you're in Victoria's capital. Die-hard food obsessives must visit Attica, chef Ben Shewry's masterpiece of a restaurant—one of those places where big-name chefs around the world go to geek out. On any given night, you might be served a tiny wallaby-blood pancake or salted red kangaroo scented with bunya bunya, a coniferous tree native to Queensland, Australia. It's not just about serving cuddly-looking animals in delicious ways, though: Shewry is most famous for, above all things, a simple potato "cooked in the earth it was grown." The newly extended tasting menu features 21 small courses of dishes crafted from foraged and locally sourced ingredients. Vegetarians need not fret—Attica offers a veggie-friendly tasting menu, too.
Melbourne is home to a myriad art museums and galleries, but its most notable contribution to the art world is the city's sanctioned graffiti murals. While most cities frown on this kind of artistic expression, Melbourne has embraced the medium with multiple approved graffiti zones for colorful murals. Here are some of the best places to see this unique public art.
For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, take your rental car for a daytrip from Melbourne on the Great Ocean Road, a 151-mile stretch along the coast of Victoria. Pull over to check out the Twelve Apostles, a cluster of stunning rock formations jutting out of the sea. You won't need many filters to make that photo shine.
For Oenophiles: Adelaide
Fact: The city of Adelaide borders many of Australia's major wine-producing regions, so it's an obvious home base for those seeking the country's best tasting experiences. McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills, and Barossa Valley are just a few you should taste through, producing a wide range of varieties including riesling, semillon, chardonnay, grenache, sirah, and nero d'avola.
You don't even have to leave the city for a taste of the regions' best wines. The Tasting Room at East End Cellars features phenomenal Australian wine flights paired with local meats and cheeses. They also have wines from around the world, so you can compare that South Australian chardonnay with one from Bordeaux—and see if you can tell the difference (we bet you can't).
One of South Australia's most unique experiences is Kangaroo Island—a sanctuary for wildlife and natural vegetation that's right off the state's coast. Roughly the size of Long Island, the area houses plenty of parks for you to spot kangaroos, seals, wallabies, and koalas in the wild. Luxury travelers can get there easily by chartering a plane between their resort stays, a brand-new service from Air Adventure.
© 2016 AFAR Media