Extraordinary Australia holidays
Australia, or the Land Down Under as it’s commonly known, is a giant of a country. Sandwiched between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, it’s the world’s biggest island, stretching almost 4,000 kilometres from its east to its west coast. Holidays to Australia promise experiences almost as big as the country itself, whether that’s snorkelling over the Great Barrier Reef on an independent tour, driving the Great Ocean Road on a self-drive road trip, watching the sun rise or set over Uluru on an escorted tour, or taking in the iconic view across Sydney Harbour on a city break, flanked by the Opera House and Harbour Bridge on either side.
Australia and beaches go hand in hand, with Sydney’s famous Bondi Beach vying for ‘most famous’ with titans like Byron Bay on the Gold Coast and Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays. Between these (and hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles apart), Australia’s coast is studded with cool, free-spirited cities like Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth, whose culture, mood and architecture are as progressive as they come.
Head inland though, and you soon find yourself in a whole different world. A whopping 70% of Australia is Outback - wide red desert interspersed with bush and scrub that has hardly changed in millennia. This otherworldly landscape offers up sights such as Kakadu National Park, Uluru and Kata Tjuta, where you can experience the rugged pioneering spirit and spiritual stories that have shaped our view of Australia for hundreds of years.
Whether you explore Australia on one of our independent or escorted tours, choose one of our handpicked hotels or take the ultimate road trip on a self-drive holiday, you’re guaranteed a trip to remember.
There's so much to see on holidays in Australia, you'll need to allow plenty of time to explore. It’s a vast country, with different climates and time zones, so it’s a good idea to think about what sights, cities and experiences are on your ‘must do’ list. Our range of holidays includes escorted and independent tours and self-drive itineraries, as well as carefully selected hotels in some of Australia’s key cities and locations.
Taking up nearly a third of the continent, Western Australia's vast interior is a land of dusty outback tracks, while around the edge white sandy beaches are lapped by the Indian Ocean. It’s capital city, Perth, is one of the most isolated in the world, and sits in the greener climes of the Southwest. This is where you'll find the Margaret River wine region and several top surfing beaches.
The Northern Territory occupies a central section of Australia, with it's coastal capital, Darwin, just across the water from Indonesia. Alice Springs lies in the interior, with Uluru, or Ayers Rock, rising up dramatically in its southernmost corner. This region is one of the richest in indigenous history and culture.
The steep cliffs of South Australia's Great Australian Bight provide shelter for marine wildlife, as well as some spectacular sea views. In this region you'll find the sedate capital city of Adelaide, and the nearby Barossa Valley vineyards. Kangaroo Island sits just off of the coast and the whole region has a wealth of national parkland and conservation areas.
Home to many of Australia's big-hitter sights, Queensland is quite simply dazzling. The Great Barrier Reef stretches out beneath its turquoise waters, while the tropical Daintree Rainforest claims the northeastern coastline near Cairns. To top it all off, Queensland's stylish capital city, Brisbane, is flanked by the perfect beaches of both the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast.
This is where the majority of Australia's population lives, and with good reason. Sydney is a true gem of a capital, with breathtaking views and both the beach and the Snowy Mountains on its doorstep. The surfer town of Byron Bay lies to the north while the vineyards of Hunter Valley are a road trip away from the capital, just beyond Wollemi National Park.
It is a testament to the vast size of Australia that great swathes of this (relatively) small and populous region of the country are dedicated national parkland. Here you can cruise the jaw-dropping Great Ocean Road, dine in cosmopolitan Melbourne or go wildlife watching on Phillip island. For wine tasting on your holidays in Australia, head to the Yarra Valley, and for gourmet food, well anywhere will do - Victoria is a true foodie paradise.
Across the Bass Strait from Victoria, Tasmania is a large island occupied mainly by untouched wilderness and protected reserves. Its dark past as an isolated penal colony can still be seen in Hobart and Port Arthur, but today it's a place to come and enjoy the natural world, as well as a unique arts and dining scene.
Australia’s seasons are opposite to ours, with summer falling between December and February. As the only country that is also a continent, the temperature varies from one place to another - so expect variety during your Australia holiday if you’re travelling coast to coast. The southerly coastal cities are cooler and less humid than the north but still boast temperatures of around 30°C on average in the summer, while in winter the thermometer rarely dips below 10°C.
In general, tipping is less widespread in Australia than in the USA and Europe, and service charges aren’t usually added to the bill, but you may like to leave a small tip for service when eating out independently.
Sydney and Melbourne are 10 hours ahead of GMT, Alice Springs is 9½ hours ahead and Perth is eight hours ahead of the UK.
There’s no getting away from it, Australia is a long way away. From London to Perth it takes from 18 hours 50 minutes and if you’re heading to Melbourne via Singapore or Dubai it typically takes around 23 hours 35 minutes.
Australian visas are issued as an ‘electronic travel authority’ so no visible visa is applied to your passport. They are currently valid for a stay of up to three months but requirements can change so please check before you travel by visiting CIBT visas or GOV UK.
With the widest choice of holidays and travel experiences than ever before, you can now personalise your trip so you are in complete control. All this is backed up by the high-standards and service you’d expect from Saga.
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