Surf the Waves at Red Bluff
On the southern tip of Ningaloo Reef, just over 1,000 kilometres north of Perth, is a rugged and raw surf site that’s been drawing diehard wave riders for decades. Those willing to make the trek to this remote patch of Western Australia will be rewarded with lunar landscapes, turquoise water, and killer left-hand barrel waves. Camping is common, but indoor accommodations can be found in Quobba Station. Though crowds are minimal, the wildlife here is abundant: Dolphins and turtles are plentiful in the water; while kangaroos and goats roam further inland. During winter months, whales swim close enough to be visible from shore.
Get Your Culture Fix in Canberra
Museum junkies, rejoice! The nation’s capital offers an embarrassment of riches when it comes to civic pride and nation-defining artefacts. The hard part will be deciding which places make the cut if you’ve only got a weekend to spend: the Australian War Memorial, National Portrait Gallery, National Film & Sound Archive, National Museum of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, and the old and new parliament houses are all great places to get started. A lesser-known attraction still worthy of a visit is the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, a protest site that dates to the 1970s. When you’ve had your fill of civics and history, you can head to the artificial lake in Canberra, where you can rent paddle boats or grab lunch.
Sip Wine in Tasmania
Discover what artisanal wine hunters have known for years: Tasmania’s wine industry is blossoming, and more than 250 vineyards now dot the island state. The viticulture association Wine Tasmania has outlined four wine routes for oenophiles to drive themselves, taking you past better-known vineyards worthy of a lengthy visit. The farmland north of Launceston boasts similar climatic conditions to the Champagne region in France. Additionally, the volcanic terroir around Devonport produces a fantastically peppery pinot noir. The soil surrounding the Derwent, Coal and Huon valleys produces beautiful cold-climate whites. And on the east coast, Tasmania’s newest wine region is home to deep, earthy reds.
Swim With Crocs in Darwin
Getting up close and personal with underwater creatures is a surefire way to get your adrenaline pumping. Sharks and dolphins are common elsewhere, but only in Darwin can you get nose to snout with a saltwater crocodile. At Crocosaurus Cove, in the centre of the city, a so-called Cage of Death lowers gutsy visitors into the underwater enclosure of an adult crocodile. After you survive the 15 minutes of nail-biting adventure, fuel up at the Parap Village Market, a bustling, compact outdoor market focused on southeast Asian cuisine. Another can’t-miss aquatic activity in Darwin: Aquascene runs a fish-feeding frenzy at high tide, where groups can hand-feed swarms of catfish, milkfish and mullet.
Get Boisterous in Brisbane
Don’t worry about packing your formal wear—Brisbane with its laid-back atmosphere means you can feast on live music, lively clubs and noteworthy eats all while keeping the dress code casual. To get your weekend started with a bang, head to the Fortitude Valley. The epicentre of Brisbane’s nightlife, this neighborhood is crammed with pubs and clubs featuring everything from local jazz singers to international DJs. Near downtown, you’ll find a spate of newly opened brewpubs. While away your daytime hours at the famous Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Or, depending on the season, you can cheer your favourite cricket or football team during a rollicking game at the Brisbane Cricket Ground (known locally as the Gabba).
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