Sophisticated, cultured, neat-casual − this is the self-image Adelaide projects, a nod to the days of free colonisation without the 'penal colony' taint. Adelaidians may remind you of their convict-free status, but the stuffy, affluent origins of the 'City of Churches' did more to inhibit development than promote it.
Surrounded by the soaring indigo heights of the Remarkables, crowned by Coronet Peak, and framed by the meandering coves of Lake Wakatipu, it’s little wonder that Queenstown is a show-off. The town wears its ‘Global Adventure Capital’ badge proudly, and most visitors take the time to do crazy things they’ve never done before.
The West Coast
Hemmed in by the wild Tasman Sea and the Southern Alps, the West Coast is like nowhere else in New Zealand. The far extremities of the coast have a remote, end-of-the-road feel, from sleepy Karamea surrounded by farms butting up against Kahurangi National Park, to the southern end of State Hwy 6, gateway to New Zealand's World Heritage areas.
Despite its somewhat grand name, this compact area is an unassuming kind of place reflecting the series of lakes that hug the coast all the way from Port Stephens to the regional centre of Forster-Tuncurry. The joy here is forsaking the highway for leafy roads through national parks.
Taranaki & Whanganui
Halfway between Auckland and Wellington, Taranaki (aka 'the 'Naki') is the Texas of New Zealand (NZ): oil and gas stream in from offshore rigs, plumping the region with enviable affluence. New Plymouth is the regional hub, home to an excellent art gallery and provincial museum, and enough decent espresso joints to keep you humming.
Devonport & The Northwest
Tasmania's northwest is the island in a nutshell - wild and untramelled in places, quietly sophisticated just about everywhere else. In the far northwest in particular, there are so many candidates for the title of Tasmania's most remote corner, from the dense and ancient rainforests of the Tarkine wilderness to remote beaches swept by the cleanest air on earth.
Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest UNESCO World Heritage sites, and starting point for serious 4WD treks into Cape York Peninsula's vast wilderness, Cairns (pronounced ‘Cans’) depends on tourism for survival. For many, it marks the end of a long journey up the east coast; for others, the beginning of an Aussie adventure.
Taupo & the Central Plateau
From river deep to mountain high, New Zealand’s geology takes centre stage in this diverse region – and boy, does it shoot for the moon. Much of the drama happens along the Taupo Volcanic Zone – a line of geothermal activity that stretches via Rotorua to Whakaari/White Island in the Bay of Plenty.
South Coast of Perth & West Coast Australia
Standing above the waves and cliffs of the rugged South Coast is an exhilarating experience. And on calm days, when the sea is aquamarine and white-sand beaches lie pristine and welcoming, it's an altogether different type of magnificent. Even busy summer holiday periods down here in the 'Great Southern' are relaxed.
Fraser Island & the Fraser Coast
Nature lovers, rejoice! World Heritage–listed Fraser Island is the world’s largest sand island, a mystical, at times eerie, land of giant dunes, ancient rainforests, luminous lakes and wildlife including Australia’s purest strain of dingo. It's truly unlike any other place on earth.
Goldfields & Grampians
History, nature and culture combine spectacularly in Victoria’s regional heart. For a brief time in the mid-19th century, more than a third of the world’s gold came out of Victoria and, today, the spoils of all that precious metal can be seen in the grand regional cities of Bendigo and Ballarat, and the charming towns of Castlemaine, Kyneton and Maldon.