Uluru and The Red Centre
Experience the deep red colours of dusk and the subtle orange of dawn displaying the outback and the sacred sites of Uluru…
Massive swathes of outback rub shoulders with tropical rainforests teeming with wildlife, vibrant cities, remote islands, and an indigenous population rich in ancient traditions and culture. Superb food and world-class wine only add to any adventure.
The extensive coastline ranges from dramatic and rugged to idyllic sandy beaches, from wild mangrove-lined swamps to scattered islands – all with waters rich in crocodiles, penguins, whales or turtles. A finely-tuned holiday itinerary is essential in order to see the highlights as well as the lesser-known experiences and attractions.
Our thoughts go out to all the families and communities impacted by the recent bushfires across Australia. Many areas of the country were unaffected and Australia remains very much open for business. This short and engaging video, so typical of the Aussie spirit, showcases the resilience and welcoming nature of the Australian people.
A holiday to Australia can combine all the sophistication of a modern-day nation with a huge and extraordinarily beautiful wilderness area. On one day, you can enjoy a production in the plush interior of the Sydney Opera House and, the next, sit around a campfire listening to Aboriginal Dreamtime stories. Self-drive, travel by train, cruise the coastline or explore on foot – all are possible and all add another dimension. It’s simply perfect for an adventure with the kids, seeking out romantic boltholes, going in search of wildlife or getting off-grid.
Accommodation in Australia is extremely varied, ranging from private homesteads to bush camps, and from luxury lodges to private islands. There are also plenty of boutique hotels bringing refined luxury with a unique streak. Here are a few of our tried-and-tested favourites.
Our experts have created and curated these holiday ideas to get you started. Take the time to search through them and find something that is the spark for your unique adventure.
A selection of activities and experiences you could consider including in your holiday to Australia.
Join like minded people to assist in land rehabilitation activities in areas worst affected by bushfires. Unite with Steppes Travel in supporting the Koala Clancy Foundation – enjoy wildlife encounters whilst engaging in meaningful conservation projects such as tree planting, habitat maintenance and wildlife counts of species affected by the fires.
Meet playful sea lions at Bairds Bay on the Eyre Peninsula in Southern Australia.
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 to the skies by helicopter or hot air balloon to witness the true vastness of the Red Centre.
Stay at Sal Salis and swim with whale sharks or humpbacks on the Ningaloo Reef.
Join in with conservation efforts from relocating koala to tracking feral cat, identifying manta ray and monitoring camera traps.
‘Swag’ out under the stars for the night, a truly Australian experience.
Snorkel or dive in the ultimate underwater world on the Great Barrier Reef.
Gain access to remote parts of Arnhem Land, home to a thriving Aboriginal culture and ancient rock art.
A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.
It was my passion for languages that first encouraged me to leave the UK behind and grab my rucksack. Since then, it’s been a mixture of intriguing cultures, jaw-dropping landscapes and the wonder of seeing animals in their natural habitat that sees me continuously extending my travel wish list.
Amy Waters at Steppes was excellent. She was totally responsive to any questions and really listened to our wishlist to build a fantastic itinerary which more than met our expectations.
Amy was exceptionally knowledgeable and helpful and with a good sense of humour. Our holiday would not have been as successful and enjoyable without her guidance and input.
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.
Australia is known for its extremely hot summers, and it can take only 15 minutes in the sun for the 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, a 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.
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.
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.
From the breathtaking underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef to watching the sunset over the red sandstone monolith Uluru, Australia has an infinite list of things to see and do. Sydney is a buzzing city with fantastic restaurants, busy Harbour and Opera house, and miles of sandy beaches. For those who are looking to get away from it all and enjoy some of the country’s local produce, then the scenic Hunter, Barossa and Yarra Valleys are the perfect place to unwind and enjoy the fantastic wines on offer.
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.
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 inevitable 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.
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.
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.
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 the 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.
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