REA­SONS TO STAY AT HOME

Add th­ese Aussie ex­pe­ri­ences to your 2019 hit-list

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - WISHLIST BEST OF AUSTRALIA - PAUL EWART

VIC­TO­RIA MAKE TRACKS

The re­sult of more than $30 mil­lion of fund­ing, the highly an­tic­i­pated Grampians Peaks Trail can be done in its en­tirety (160km over 13 days and 12 nights) or in smaller, more man­age­able sec­tions. Show­cas­ing an­cient land­scapes rich in Abo­rig­i­nal cul­tural her­itage, the walk will con­nect some of the Grampians’ most spec­tac­u­lar peaks when it’s com­pleted in Septem­ber.

VISITGRAMPIANS.COM.AU

TAS­MA­NIA AVOID FES­TI­VAL FOMA

If you’re a fan of Tas­ma­nia’s bound­ary-push­ing MONA FOMA (aka MOFO), don’t miss out on the five-day event next year, set to be the big­gest and best yet. Or­gan­ised by the famed Mu­seum Of Old & New Art (MONA), the Ap­ple Isle Fes­ti­val of Mu­sic and Art – its full ti­tle – will re­lo­cate all the ac­tion from its pre­vi­ous home in Ho­bart north to Launceston, Tas­ma­nia’s sec­ond largest city. With an A to Z of mu­si­cal per­for­mances from clas­si­cal and opera, to hip-hop and rock, the eclec­tic pro­gram also in­cludes dance, the­atre, vis­ual art, food, wine and beer tast­ings. Head­line acts for 2019 in­clude Neneh Cherry, Un­der­world, and Mel­bourne-based songstress Court­ney Bar­nett.

In ad­di­tion to the venue change, next year’s MOFO also marks the cul­ture car­ni­val’s 10th an­niver­sary.

MOFO.NET.AU

VIC­TO­RIA GET A TICKET TO HOG­WARTS

Can any­one re­mem­ber a world be­fore Hog­warts and quid­ditch? Author J.K. Rowl­ing’s tales of Harry Pot­ter have re­sulted in the sale of more than 450 mil­lion of her books, in ad­di­tion to spawn­ing a multi­bil­lion-dol­lar movie fran­chise, theme parks and, most re­cently, the very suc­cess­ful Harry Pot­ter and the Cursed Child stage show. Head­ing to Aus­tralia af­ter sell­out runs in Lon­don and New York, ticket sales have al­ready bro­ken Aus­tralian records.

The two-part play, fea­tur­ing an al­lAussie cast, will de­but in Mel­bourne’s Princess The­atre in Jan­uary.

HARRYPOTTERTHEPLAY.COM

SOUTH AUS­TRALIA/ NORTH­ERN TER­RI­TORY HOP ON THE ‘GHANIVERSARY’

Since its 1929 de­but jour­ney from Ade­laide to Alice Springs, The Ghan has be­come one of the coun­try’s great­est rail jour­neys. The home­grown equiv­a­lent of the Ori­ent Ex­press, the 2979km, 54-hour train ride heads straight up the Red Cen­tre from Ade­laide to Dar­win (and vice versa). To cel­e­brate its 90th an­niver­sary, The Ghan is or­gan­is­ing 90 days of spe­cial events through­out June, July and Au­gust.

GREATSOUTHERNRAIL.COM.AU

WEST­ERN AUS­TRALIA NAB A QUOKKA SELFIE IN STYLE

The home of the quokka-selfie, Rot­tnest Is­land has seen a surge in vis­i­tor num­bers thanks to the countless tourists vis­it­ing with the sole goal of a photo with one of its res­i­dent furry crit­ters. Close to 8000 snaps were posted last year alone and as a re­sponse to this slew of self­iehun­gry In­sta­gram­mers a new prop­erty – the first devel­op­ment on the is­land in more than 30 years – will cater to the masses when it opens in Jan­uary. Com­pris­ing 83 eco-tents, Dis­cov­ery Eco-Vil­lage also fea­tures a re­sort pool and lux­ury din­ing.

Just don’t for­get your selfie stick.

DISCOVERYHOLIDAYPARKS.COM.AU

NEW SOUTH WALES CEL­E­BRATE 30 YEARS OF BLUES­FEST

Eas­ily By­ron Bay’s most iconic fes­ti­val, Blues­fest is turn­ing 30. Held over the Easter long week­end, the fes­ti­val show­cases more than 200 per­for­mances over five days and the an­niver­sary show is set to be the big­gest yet, with some of the event’s most pop­u­lar artists re­turn­ing,

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