Although Sydney and Melbourne are vibrant, beautiful, interesting and cosmopolitan cities well worth seeing, Australia has so much more to offer beyond its two largest metropolitan areas. The country is enormous, roughly the size of the continental USA, and has just about every climate and terrain possible, including tropical rainforests, red deserts, rocky outcrops, snow-capped mountains, the largest coral reef in the world, stunning beaches and green valleys, to name a few. Australia is a wild, untamed continent, and you do not have to travel far to experience breathtaking scenery. As you plan your next Australian itinerary, here are four destinations to consider, once you have soaked up city life Down Under.

The Blue Mountains

Ocean AustraliaLocated just two hours’ drive west of Sydney, The Blue Mountains is one of New South Wales’ most popular regions to visit. The area gets its name from the blue haze that exudes from the oil found in eucalyptus trees. The Blue Mountains are known for beautiful sandstone cliffs and valleys, forming eight connected nature reserves. Enjoy great hikes and many active/adventure options, charming small towns, terrific dining, and fantastic vistas. The highest elevations are around 3,000 ft. over sea level, so the temperature is always cooler than Sydney. The best place to stay in the Blue Mountains region is Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, the all-inclusive resort set in a private, 7,000-acre wildlife reserve of forests and open grasslands surrounded by majestic sandstone mountains. I highly recommend at least two nights’ stay to get a taste of all that the property has to offer. The resort features 40 free-standing, one, two, or threebedroom villas with private pools. The resort offers various dining venues, swimming pool, spa, tennis. During your stay, enjoy horseback riding, hiking, night safaris, and conservation activities. Contact for sales support.

DON’T MISS: A private dinner…under the stars.

AustrailaTo understand Australia, you must visit its ‘Red Centre’, the spiritual heart of the Outback and home to Uluru (Ayers Rock), Kata Tjuta (The Olgas), and ancient Aboriginal cultures. The #1 choice in Uluru is staying at Longitude 131, an iconic and unique lodge set on a rise, and made up of 16 tents. This all-inclusive property offers outstanding guides, attentive service, and excellent dining, as well as a wide range of unique experiences in the region. I loved the walks around Uluru, hiking through the “Valley of the Winds” at Kata Tjuta, and seeing the world’s largest monolith change color throughout the day. Longitude 131 is without peer, and every tent offers views of Uluru from your beds – either inside your room or outdoors on the terrace, where you can spend the night by a fireplace. For reservations at Southern Ocean Lodge and Longitude 131, contact Kim Douglas at


DON’T MISS: Having drinks and canapes at sunset – with kangaroos jumping around
DON’T MISS:Swimming with turtles at low tide in Casuarina beach.

The Great Barrier Reef, Australia’s best-known natural landmark, is 1,200 miles long and the largest expanse of coral reef in the world. Within the marine park there are thousands of reefs nd islands, teeming with 1,500 different species of fish. You could do a ‘day trip’ from, say, Cairns or Townsville to see the reef, but – nothing compares to staying on the reef itself. In this region, I recommend Lizard Island, the premier, all-inclusive resort on the reef, one hour’s flight from Cairns. Lizard Island offers 24 unspoiled beaches, excellent snorkeling and diving, spacious and recently refurbished rooms and suites, and one villa. The setting of Lizard Island is unmatched, as you have all the facilities of a large resort, while being able to get to the outer reefs in minutes. The resort offers an endless range of activities, both on and off the island. snorkeling over giant clams, kayaking on glass-bottom boats, hiking to the island’s highest mountaintop, spending the day on the outer reef, or just lazing on the beach. I was impressed with the dining on property, but most of all with the staff – a team of 100 caring professionals. Contact Mike Smith for sales support at

For travelers interested in wildlife and active/adventure options, head to Kangaroo Island, Australia’s answer to the Galápagos and a natural wonderland of seals, koalas, birds, and of course- thousands of kangaroos. The best place to stay on the island, by a mile, is the Southern Ocean Lodge, about one hour’s drive from Kingscote airport, and surrounded by nature reserves. Southern Ocean Lodge is an all-inclusive luxury resort built on a cliff overlooking the ocean, in a breathtaking setting. Rooms are spacious, modern, and comfortable, and have views of the sea. Dining, service, and excursions at the lodge are top notch. During your stay, hike the coastal clifftop trail from the property, visit the amazing Remarkable Rocks, follow the boardwalks from the resort for wonderful vistas, kayak, swim, go on a KI Food Safari, visit Seal Bay, or arrange bespoke outings through the hotel.

The Blue Mountains

By Ignacio Maza, Executive Vice President, Signature Travel Network

PRO TIPS: Book way ahead, as demand is strong – especially for lodges.
For information on Luxury Lodges of Australia, contact Libby Cooke at
For custom-tailored itineraries and experiences in Australia, contact Stuart Rigg at, the outstanding destination specialist based in Sydney
Getting started? Visit Tourism Australia’s great website at
For more images and advice regarding Australia, follow me on Instagram at @ignacioamaza


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