Local Aboriginal Elder, Australia

Australia Holidays

Australia is a vast and diverse country, surrounded by the Indian and Pacific oceans. Known for its massive swathes of outback, spectacular coastlines, national parks and urban landscapes, a finely tuned holiday itinerary is essential in order to enable you to see the highlights as well as the lesser-known experiences and attractions in the time that you have.

Why we like Australia

A holiday to Australia combines all the facilities and sophistication of a modern-day nation with a huge and extraordinarily beautiful wilderness area. One day you can sit and enjoy a production in the plush interior of the Sydney Opera House and the next be sitting around a campfire as Aboriginal tribesmen perform a dance that has been passed down through generations. Good food and delicious wine all add to what is always an adventure.

What to expect on your Australian holiday

  • Personalised private touring with expert guides and drivers
  • Preferred rooms at the very best hotels
  • Firsthand, sophisticated destination knowledge and recommendations
  • Around-the-clock support in each destination during the trip
  • Unique, insider travel experiences

Australia is bursting with adventure and is an exciting playground offering plenty to appeal to all ages. Aside from the ubiquitous sheep and cattle stations, there are tropical rainforests teeming with wildlife, remote islands where the underwater world is even more magical than that above, arid deserts that support kangaroos and emus and an indigenous population rich in ancient traditions and culture. The extensive coastline ranges from dramatic and rugged to idyllic sandy beaches, wild mangrove lined swamps and hundreds of islands with the waters rich in life, from crocodiles to penguins, whales and turtles.  

For the most part, we recommend staying on private homesteads or in bush camps and lodges although there are private islands and plenty of boutique hotels as well, depending on preferences.

Some ideas for an Australian holiday

  • Sample bush tucker, search for the Tasmanian Big Five and walk on deserted island beaches in Tasmania
  • Cruise the northern coast from the comfort of a small luxury expedition boat.
  • Walk the base of Uluru in the company of an Aboriginal elder.
  • Go bird watching on the Mary River floodplains on the edge of Kakadu National Park.
  • Explore Australia’s wilderness through an African style flying safari staying in a combination of remote lodges and private homes.
  • Go diving or snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef from a luxury resort.
  • Swim with sea lions, picnic with kangaroos and explore the outback in Southern Australia.
  • Cross the country by train onboard the Ghan or the Indian Pacific

Featured Property - Arkaba

Read about Arkaba Station here.

Beyond the ordinary

  • Escape the modern world for a few days and explore on foot on one of Australia's great walks - a wonderful insight into a more hidden Australia. 
  • Take a float plane from The Islington, Hobart and fly into the Freycinet Peninsula. Stay at Saffire Lodge and pick fresh oysters from the seabed.
  • Swag out for the night for a truly Australian experience.
  • Be one of only 400 visitors on Lord Howe Island - a magical and prehistoric world.
  • Swim with whale sharks or humpbacks on the Ningaloo Reef

OUR AUSTRALIA EXPERTISE

Amy and Clare know and love Australia and their expertise is augmented by our partners in Australia who are consistently able to pull the most amazing itineraries and adventures out of the hat. No two holidays to Australia are ever the same and each one is crafted and changed until it exactly meets your requirements. Then we add a few surprises to make it all the more special.

Australia FAQs

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Do I need a visa to travel to Australia?
A visa is required for British Nationals travelling to Australia. Visitors must apply for an ETA or an eVisitor visa in advance which is easy to do online. Your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay and must contain at least two blank pages, side by side. 
How long is the flight from the UK to Australia?
Qantas now fly direct from London to Perth - the first non-stop passenger flight for this route which takes between 16 and 18 hours dependent on headwinds. Most other airlines fly via cities such as Dubai, Singapore, Bangkok or Hong Kong, taking around 23 hours in total. 
When is the best time to travel to Australia?

Australia is huge and as such, there is no one time of the year that is best to visit as the weather varies greatly from region to region. In brief, below is our advice on the very best time to visit specific regions. Travel outside of these times is of course possible:

October to March is great for:
Sydney and New South Wales 
Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road
Perth and Margaret River 

October to May is great for:
Adelaide and South Australia 
Tasmania
April to September/October is great for:
Queensland
Ningaloo Reef

June to September is great for:
Northern Territories including the Red Centre
The Kimberley

How much time would you recommend for a holiday to Australia?
Most people who travel with Steppes Travel spend on average a minimum of three weeks in Australia. The country is huge and travelling distances are great so anything less can become a little rushed, especially when taking into account the international flights. 
What wildlife could I hope to see on a holiday to Australia?
Australia is rich in wildlife and much of it is unique and endemic to the country. Expect to see kangaroos aplenty as well as other marsupials including wallabies, koala and wombat. Mammals include dingo as well as quoll and Tasmanian devil, both of which are notoriously shy and best seen in Tasmania. Another unusual animal group for which Australia is unique are monotremes or egg-laying mammals such as echidna and duck-billed platypus. Home to over 800 species of bird including an array of colourful parrots, penguins, kookaburra, emu and the prehistoric-looking cassowary plus a range of seabirds. Snakes, crocodiles and turtle also make Australia their home and that is before we even touch on the oceans surrounding the continent which are rich in life, both big and small, from clownfish to whales. 
What are the rules on tipping in Australia?

On the whole, tipping is not the norm in Australia and is only now becoming more popular in some of the more expensive restaurants and bars. Tips are only usually made in cases of good service by the locals for around 10% of the bill, but this is, of course, discretionary and a personal choice.

What is the best way to travel around Australia?

Self-drive is hugely popular in Australia, with easy roads and plenty of places to stop off at during those longer journeys. For long distances, internal flights are the best way to travel without being too time-consuming. There are also lovely train journeys available between Darwin and Adelaide and Perth and Sydney. When in the city getting around on foot is the best way to explore, and is inevitably when you will come across those hidden gems. If self-driving we advise avoiding driving late at night, as this is when many native animals become active which can make driving quite dangerous. 

I keep hearing about 'stinger season' in Australia - what is this?

Stinger season is a time of the year when coastal areas of Australia are affected by the arrival of stinging jellyfish. This generally happens in tropical north Queensland between November and March, during which time swimming from mainland beaches and islands inside the reef is not recommended unless wearing a stinger suit. Islands such as Lizard Island which is outside of the reef are generally okay.

Is it possible to travel by train in Australia?

There are a number of nice train journeys possible in Australia which make a lovely addition to any holiday and offer a nice alternative way to cover some of the vast distances while also taking in so much more of the country. The Ghan is an iconic journey over three days between Darwin in the far north of the country and Adelaide in the south, passing through Alice Springs in the Red Centre. The Indian Pacific route crosses the country from Perth to Sydney and vice versa over four days. Service levels on both of these journeys range from a standard reclining seat known as Red Service to Gold Service and Platinum Service, the latter two offering comfortable overnight sleeping accommodation. Meals and sightseeing are included.

Are there any specific vaccinations I need for travel to Australia?
You should always check with your GP before travel and ensure you are up to date with basic vaccinations such as tetanus, however, there are no mandatory injections required for entry into Australia. Australia is also malaria free.
How strong is the sun in Australia?

Australia is known for its extremely hot summers, and it can take only 15 minutes in the sun for skin to burn. Even on cloudy days, the suns rays are still very strong and protection is needed. Make sure you bring a high factor, water-resistant sun cream, wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and some form of cover-up. We always advise avoiding the sun during the middle of the day when it is at its most intense, and making sure you drink plenty of fluids to keep hydrated.

What local food should I try in Australia?

Australia does not have one specific national dish, but a number of different dishes throughout the country varying from state to state. With its close proximity to Asia, and even closer one to the sea, Australia is the perfect place to try the combination of local and Asian dishes included Salt & Pepper Squid, which is fast becoming a popular choice.

Holidays

Australia - Tasmanian Wildlife with Sue Flood

wildlife group tour

Australia - Tasmanian Wildlife with Sue Flood

Tasmania is a photographer's dream with breath-taking landscapes, habituated wildlife, incredible...

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Australia - Highlights of Australia

Highlights of Australia Holiday

Australia is a huge country, yet with so much on offer, there are still a few sites that remain i...

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Australia - Arnhemland & Kakadu

Arnhemland & Kakadu

Australia is a vast country with some truly spectacular scenery, untouched by man for millennia. ...

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Australia - South Australia & Kangaroo Island

South Australia & Kangaroo Island

Often less visited that some areas of the country Southern Australia is a land of extreme contras...

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Australia - Ultimate Tasmania

Ultimate Tasmania

This holiday to Tasmania really does show off the best of this beautiful island state. The charmi...

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Australia - Perth & The Ningaloo Reef

Perth & The Ningaloo Reef

Spend time exploring the laid-back city of Perth before heading north to the Ningaloo Reef, home ...

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Australia - Combined Australia & Tasmania Holiday

Combined Australia and Tasmania Holiday

This fantastic and varied itinerary incorporates Sydney, a visit to the World Heritage listed isl...

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Australia - Ultimate Kimberley Cruise

Cruise Western Australia

This 14 day expedition cruise on board True North explores the magnificent Kimberley coast w...

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Australia - Family Australia

Family Holiday to Australia

This 14 day family holiday to Australia combines the wilds of Kakadu and Arnhem Land with beautif...

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Inspiration

Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Tasmania, Australia

Baillie Lodges to open in Tasmania

The creators of renowned luxury lodges Longitude 131, Southern Ocean Lodge and Capella Lodge are to open a new wilderness retreat on the rugged coast of south-east Tasmania.
Remarkable Lodge will be built using natural materials with 20 suites, a spa and swimming pools. Architects will make the most of the panoramic views towards the Tasman Sea and surrounding wilderness. Completion is expected to be in 2020.
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Ayers Rock, Uluru, Australia

Visitors to be banned from climbing Ayers Rock

As of October 2019 the iconic landmark of Uluru (Ayers Rock) will be off limits to climbers. 
The Aboriginal people to whom this site is sacred have been calling for a ban on climbing the rock for many years and now, exactly 34 years after the Unesco World Heritage Site was handed back to the Aboriginal people, this ban will be put in place. Visitors will still be able to walk around the base of the rock and of course enjoy the magical colours at sunrise and sunset.
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Field of Light by Bruce Munro, Uluru, Red Centre, Australia

Field of Light illuminates the Uluru desert

Over 50,000 stems topped by frosted-glass spheres light up once darkness descends over the desert.
The Field of Light art installation, by internationally acclaimed artist Bruce Munro, was dreamt up when he first visited Uluru in 1992. It has now come ‘home’ to the place that inspired it having first been shown at the V&A museum in 2004 and subsequently in varying forms around the UK, in the US and Mexico.

This solar installation is powered by 36 portable solar panels and is made up of spheres, stems and cables of varying colours that appear to sway in the quiet night. Pathways lead visitors into the artwork which is spread over an area of about 49,000 square metres.

Guests at Longitude 131° will experience the Field of Light as part of their signature experiences program. 

This magical artwork has been extended and will now be on show at Uluru until 31 December 2020.
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Wild Flowers, Kimberley, Western Australia, Australia

Non Stop Flight UK to Perth

This year Qantas Airlines began operating the longest commercial flight in the world - Perth to London in 19 hours.
These direct flights to Perth make it the most accessible city in Australia with the shortest flight time from the UK. Winter in Western Australia between June and November offers a different reason to visit the region with wild flowers carpeting the region and the food and wine experiences hitting a high. Truffle hunting throughout August and the Margaret River Gourmet Escape in November showcasing the wonderful produce of the region and leading wine experts and chefs attending.
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Kangaroo, Australia

New direct flights into Kangaroo Island

New direct flights are now operating during Australias summer season from Melbourne into Kangaroo Island.

Currently it is only possible to access this rugged island by ferry or flight from Adelaide, however, the island's airstrip has been extended enabling flights from other major cities to access the island. Kangaroo Island is a wonderful addition to any holiday and offers some of the best wildlife viewing in the country.

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Diplodocus, Dinosaur Print, The Kimberley, Australia

World's largest dinosaur footprint

The remote Kimberley coastline is home to a newly discovered dinosaur footprint measuring some 1.7 metres. Thought to be the print of a giant herbivore, probably standing at around 5.3 to 5.5 metres at the hip, this huge print is one of a collection of diverse impressions embedded into the sandstone rock and only visible at low tide. 
The Goolarabooloo people are the ancient custodians of this land and were aware of the prints, so when the land was selected as a site for liquid natural gas processing back in 2008, they contacted Steve Salisbury, a vertebrate palaeontologist at the University of Queensland who investigated and reported his findings to ABC News. Board the True North for a luxury cruise to explore this magical and ancient land.
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Client Reviews

Rainbow Lorikeet, Perth, Australia
"Everything was extremely...
...well managed and organised."
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Lynda Macdonald

Australia
Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Cape Hillsborough, Australia
"Clare Birch was very knowledgeable...
...and helpful in organising this trip."
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Anne Heaney

Australia
Quokka, Rottnest Island, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
"We were really happy with our second Steppes trip and are hoping to book another next year!"

Mrs Moya-Anne McGough

Australia
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(via Dubai)

Holiday Ideas in Australia

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