No passport is required for these fresh city and regional experiences
Australia. There’s nothing quite like it. Aussies are spoiled for choice when it comes to tourism operators and experiences in our own back yard. Here’s what we can expect from our journeys Down Under in 2018.
A HOT HOTEL
It’s been two decades since the Queensland capital has opened a fivestar hotel, but that all changes in March with the arrival of W Brisbane. This property will feature 312 stylish guest rooms, a 24-hour wired business centre, spa, state-of-the-art workout facility, indoor heated pool, and three restaurants and bars.
Go west in NSW and experience the new $5 million Broken Hill Outback Resort opening in March. Sleep in a range of accommodation from cabins, caravan sites and camping at the historic Mt Gipps Hotel. Situated 12km east of Broken Hill, this 1890s hotel is being renovated and will include a bar, restaurant and reception area.
The first of its kind in Australia, the Great Tasmanian Traverse will take guests on a 39-day walk of the state’s most iconic adventures.
Specialist walking operator Tasmanian Expeditions will combine five of its most popular adventures: Penguin to Cradle, The Overland Track, Frenchmans Cap Trek, Franklin River Rafting, and the South Coast Track, and departs in February.
LIFE IS SWELL
Remote Christmas Island is poised to welcome some much-needed accommodation to its stable with the opening of Swell Lodge, in May.
This new luxury eco-lodge, inside Christmas Island National Park, will comprise eight chalets, a lounge area and small restaurant.
A NEW WAVE
Australia’s first surf park will launch at Melbourne Airport in early 2018 giving amateur and expert wave riders the opportunity for year-round swell. URBNSURF Melbourne will use cutting-edge wave-generation technology and LED lagoon lighting for night and day surfing.
Expect a fully equipped pro-shop for board and gear hire, a licenced cafe, beach cabanas, playground and training programs for all abilities.
SNAP THE NT
Capture the beauty of Kakadu on a six-day photography tour with acclaimed landscape photographer Peter Walton and World Expeditions. This trip, which leaves Darwin in May, will focus on the “artistry of photography” and composition, lighting, focus/interest points, and choosing the right lens.
You’ll also learn how to use software to give your photographs an artistic finish, while staying in hotel accommodation along the way.
LIFE’S A BEACH
Perth’s popular Scarborough Beach will unveil a $100 million facelift in early 2018 with a foreshore redevelopment which includes a beachside swimming pool, cafes, restaurants, kiosks, public art and a skate park.
A CURIOUS CUBE
Head to South Australia’s McLaren Vale to experience the d’Arenberg Cube, a five-storey multi-function building, due to open in late 2017. Boasting 16 umbrellas on its glass roof, the building will showcase wallto-wall artwork, a wine inhalation room, two virtual fermenters and sensory wine experiences.
Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin will be the first location outside of Europe to experience GoBoat, a self-drive sustainable, electric picnic boat.
Operational by late 2017, these boats carry up to eight people onboard as they tour the ACT’s signature waterway.
ART DECO DELIGHT
A former Brisbane banking chamber will open its doors as the Adina Apartment Hotel in February, reviving the heritage and history of George St. This sandstone-clad building, which finished construction in the 1920s, will comprise 220 rooms, a restaurant and bar, ground-floor pool and conference facilities.
Tasmania’s much-loved Freycinet Lodge is receiving a facelift with six new suites and nine new accommodation pavilions as well as a lift and accessible suite in the main lodge building. The six Hazards View Suites will offer guests views of the Hazards Mountains and are due to open in mid 2018.
The Coastal Pavilions are now open for bookings from March 15.
WALK LIKE A GODDESS
Introduced to the market this year, but set to depart next year, World Expeditions’ first Larapinta Goddess Walk will launch in April. This threeday trek is designed for adventurous women seeking the beauty of the Northern Territory’s Larapinta Trail while harnessing their inner yogini. Enjoy morning yoga and meditation sessions offered before wandering this Red Centre trail.
URBNSURF WILL USE CUTTING-EDGE WAVE-GENERATION TECHNOLOGY FOR NIGHT AND DAY SURFING
HOT AND COLD
The Peninsula Hot Springs, on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, will launch seven new pools and an amphitheatre for concerts, talks, demonstrations and wellness activities in early 2018. A highlight of the redevelopment is the “fire and ice” experience where guests can try hot/cold therapy in two large saunas, an ice cave, and plunge pool.
Tasmania’s first indigenous tourism attraction will launch in January with the Wukalina Walk. This four-day experience, in Mt William National Park, is described as a “museum of the Palawa people” and visitors will be treated to the stories of Tasmania’s traditional Aboriginal people, while sleeping in timber tents and a lighthouse keeper’s cottage.
ANCHOR AT PORT STEPHENS
The Anchorage at Port Stephens, 2.5 hours north of Sydney, has undergone a massive renovation due for completion at the end of 2017. All rooms in this luxury Hamptons-style accommodation have been revamped and refurnished; an infinity pool has been built and the original pool has been updated; Spa Lucca is brand new as is Hemingway’s Bar.
Local distilling is set to make a comeback to Victoria’s Bellarine area after a 30-year hiatus with the opening of The Whiskery in early 2018. You’ll find this distillery on a 2.8ha historic site, which was a former Cobb & Co watering hole.
Serving its own whisky and gin, sip locally-produced wine, cider and beer, and dine on grazing plates of gourmet fodder.
Perth’s new 60,000 seat sporting stadium, due to open in January, is being hailed as a major sporting and entertainment venue.
Check out its calendar of events for a chance to christen this new cultural cauldron complete with “fans first” technology such as full 4G Wi-Fi coverage, more than 1000 TV screens, 50 food and drink outlets and a kids’ activity zone.
A highlight of the Sydney Zoo, due to open next year, is the animals won’t be caged, allowing a safari-style experience for visitors.
The $36 million zoo, in the Bungarribee Precinct, will hold 30 exhibits and a variety of species including exotic and Australian animals.
THE MANE EVENT
South Australia’s Monarto Zoo is set to roar into life in late 2017 when it launches its Lions 360 Experience.
Courageous visitors will walk through a tunnel and come within a whisker of one of Australia’s largest lion prides in the heart of their den.
COME A WALTZING MATILDA
Paying tribute to Australian poet Banjo Paterson, and reopening after it was destroyed by fire in 2015, Winton’s Waltzing Matilda Centre will relaunch in time for its 20th anniversary in April. Visit this Outback Queensland museum, dedicated to the song Waltzing
Matilda, and experience its revival.
DRINK AND SINK
Much-coveted accommodation near the popular Murrumbateman wineries in the Canberra District will open in late 2017/early 2018 with a new hotel from the Abode Group. The 52-room Abode Murrumbateman hotel has received a big cheers from surrounding wineries.
PENINSULA HOT SPRINGS
There’s so much to do in our own back yard, from photography tours in Kakadu (main picture), exploring Murrumbateman wineries near Canberra, trekking in Tasmania and chilling out in Mornington Peninsula’s hot springs.