Victorian High Country
With its enticing mix of history, adventure and culinary temptations, Victoria's High Country is a wonderful place to spend some time. The Great Dividing Range – Australia’s eastern mountain spine – curls around eastern Victoria from the Snowy Mountains to the Grampians, peaking in the spectacular High Country.
The Coromandel Peninsula juts into the Pacific east of Auckland, forming the eastern boundary of the Hauraki Gulf. Although relatively close to the metropolis, the Coromandel offers easy access to splendid isolation. Its dramatic, mountainous spine bisects it into two very distinct parts. The east coast has some of the North Island’s best white-sand beaches.
The reputation of this famous beach town precedes it to such an extent that first impressions may leave you wondering what all the fuss is about. The beaches are great, but there are spectacular beaches all along this coast. What makes Byron special is the singular vibe of the town itself.
Once a Hawaiian royal retreat, Waikiki is riding high on a new wave of effortlessly chic style these days. No longer just a beach destination for package tourists, this famous strand of sand is flowering, starting with a renaissance of Hawaiian music at beachfront hotels and resorts.
Great Barrier Reef
Each year, more than 1.5 million visitors come to experience this World Heritage–listed area that stretches across 2000km of coastline. Diving and snorkelling are just some of the ways of experiencing this wonderfully rich ecosystem. There's also sailing, scenic flights and a world of DIY options for exploring the reef’s gateway towns and stunning islands.
Mornington Peninsula & Phillip Island
More a playground for locals than a lure for foreign travellers, Mornington Peninsula is a string of holiday communities that curls around Port Phillip Bay’s eastern half. At the tip of the peninsula, a world of rugged ocean surf beaches, sublime links golf courses and coastal bushwalks opens up.
Getting out of the city for a day, a weekend or longer is easy – the question is not why, but where to first? Should you spend a day tripping from one winery to the next in the Yarra Valley? Disappear into the tall forest with a pair of walking boots and a keen eye for native wildlife? Indulge in some of Victoria's finest regional produce? Or pamper yourself with a massage an.
Kihei & South Maui
Sunsets are a communal affair in South Maui – just look at the throngs crowding the beach wall at Kamaʻole Beach Park II in the late afternoon. It’s a scene repeated up and down the coast here every day. Dubbed Haole-wood for its LA-style strip malls and white-bread resorts, the region is a bit shiny and overbuilt.
Surfers Paradise & Broadbeach
Some say the surfers prefer beaches elsewhere and that (except for the beautiful beach) paradise has been tragically lost, but there’s no denying that this wild and trashy party zone attracts a phenomenal number of visitors – 20,000 per day! Party people come here for a heady dose of clubs, bars, malls and maybe a bit of beach-time when the hangover kicks in.
The 'Snowies' form part of the Great Dividing Range where it straddles the NSW–Victorian border. They include the highest mountain on the Australian mainland, Mt Kosciuszko (koz-zy-os-ko), at 2228m. This is Australia's only true alpine area; snow falls from early June to late August. Summer is also a very pleasant time to visit.
Noosa is a swanky resort town with a stunning natural landscape of crystalline beaches and tropical rainforests. Designer boutiques and smart restaurants draw beach-elite sophisticates, but the beach and bush are still free, so fashionistas share the beat with thongs, board shorts and bronzed bikini bods.