AUSSIE ES­CAPE

Travel pre­sen­ters Jen­nifer Adams and part­ner Clint Bizzell rec­om­mend four Aus­tralian hotspots for an ad­ven­tur­ous kind of hon­ey­moon.

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Four Aus­tralian hotspots for an ad­ven­tur­ous hon­ey­moon

LORD HOWE IS­LAND

Known as the ‘last par­adise’, Lord Howe Is­land, 660 kilo­me­tres off the New South Wales coast, is said to be the most beau­ti­ful is­land in the Pa­cific. If you visit, you’ll be one of only 400 guests al­lowed on the is­land at any one time in or­der to pro­tect the pris­tine en­vi­ron­ment and un­hur­ried life­style. There are no cars, and the pri­or­ity is to re­lax and en­joy the abun­dance of ac­tiv­i­ties and ad­ven­tures that na­ture has to of­fer. Hik­ing one of the is­land’s peaks, Mount Gower, is one of the world’s great walks. Down at sea level, fish­ing, surf­ing, sail­ing and scuba div­ing al­low you to take ad­van­tage of the in­cred­i­ble ma­rine en­vi­ron­ment with crys­tal‑clear waters, co­ral reefs which are among the best in the world, and more than 60 dive sites. WHAT TO DO ✤ Go catch a fish! With no com­mer­cial f ish­ing and an en­vi­ron­ment sur­rounded by ma­rine park, Lord Howe Is­land is leg­endary as a fish­ing des­ti­na­tion. ✤ Snorkel some of the best co­ral reefs in the world, just me­tres from the shore, or visit one of the many dive sites. ✤ Take your pick from a range of ac­com­mo­da­tion, from lodges to lux­ury houses, know­ing it will never be crowded. EL QUESTRO WILDER­NESS PARK This des­ti­na­tion doesn’t dis­crim­i­nate. Lo­cated in the Kimberley re­gion, El Questro Wilder­ness Park boasts more ac­tiv­i­ties than a theme park, of­fers a level of ac­com­mo­da­tion for ev­ery bud­get and taste, and doesn’t hold back on beauty.

Ap­prox­i­mately an hour from Ku­nunurra, the eastern gate­way to the Kimberley, El Questro can be ac­cessed by two-wheel drive and of­fers a true wilder­ness ex­pe­ri­ence with as much com­fort as you wish. With ac­com­mo­da­tion rang­ing from camp­sites and per­ma­nent eco-tents to a lux­ury home­stead, El Questro cre­ates its own hol­i­day com­mu­nity.

Hike to spec­tac­u­lar Emma Gorge, a swim­ming hole be­neath tow­er­ing cliffs, or dis­cover tran­quil Cham­ber­lain Gorge. With vast Kimberley land­scapes best ex­plored on horse­back, fish­ing spots best reached by chop­per, and nat­u­ral ther­mal springs where you can soak your cares away, El Questro teems with op­tions to ex­plore one of Aus­tralia’s last fron­tiers. DID YOU KNOW? ✤ El Questro ex­tends ap­prox­i­mately 80 kilo­me­tres north–south and 60 kilo­me­tres east–west, a to­tal of around 400,000 hectares. ✤ Ar­eas of the prop­erty are yet to be dis­cov­ered. Take a he­li­copter tour and un­cover a new gorge or water­fall.

FR­EYCINET NA­TIONAL PARK

No mat­ter where you look, a pic­ture­post­card scene is be­fore you in this stun­ning na­tional park. Po­si­tioned spec­tac­u­larly on Tas­ma­nia’s east coast, the park oc­cu­pies much of the Fr­eycinet Penin­sula and is blessed with nat­u­ral fea­tures in­clud­ing the Haz­ards – pink and red gran­ite moun­tains – and Wine­glass Bay, voted one of the world’s best beaches sev­eral times.

The view over Wine­glass Bay from the Haz­ards is al­most bet­ter than be­ing on the beach it­self; the cres­cent of turquoise wa­ter meet­ing the white sand and gran­ite moun­tains is instantly recog­nis­able from iconic pic­tures. And the walk­ing trail to get there, and many other trails, fol­low in the foot­steps of the penin­sula’s orig­i­nal in­hab­i­tants, the Oys­ter Bay tribe of Tas­ma­nian Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple.

Be­yond Wine­glass Bay are the equally stun­ning Bryans and Cooks beaches fac­ing Great Oys­ter Bay, and there is no short­age of se­cluded coves to es­cape to.

Fish­ing, snorkelling, rock climb­ing and tak­ing a scenic cruise are per­fect ways to spend your days in Fr­eycinet Na­tional Park.

And with lux­u­ri­ous lodges and in­cred­i­ble din­ing in the area, the penin­sula fully in­dulges all the senses. WHAT TO DO ✤ Take a four-wheel- drive trip to the Cape Tourville Light­house for truly in­cred­i­ble out­looks. ✤ Hike on any num­ber of bush­walk­ing trails for dif­fer­ent views of the na­tional park, and meet the res­i­dent wildlife along the way. ✤ Kayak across the turquoise sea for a spec­tac­u­lar view back to land.

DAIN­TREE RAIN­FOR­EST & CAPE TRIBU­LA­TION

An en­dur­ing re­minder of the power of na­ture, the Dain­tree Rain­for­est is a liv­ing trea­sure, sur­viv­ing and in­deed flour­ish­ing in the coun­try’s far north as if time had stood still around it.

The old­est liv­ing rain­for­est on Earth at around 140 mil­lion years old, the World Her­itage-listed site is about 12,000 square kilo­me­tres of dense jun­gle with mag­nif­i­cent prim­i­tive species and rich bio­di­ver­sity. Trop­i­cal rain­for­est meets eu­ca­lypt for­est, wet­lands and man­groves, and this in­cred­i­ble re­gion is the only place in the world where two World Her­itage sites meet: the Dain­tree grows all the way to the Great Bar­rier Reef on the coast.

The Dain­tree’s tra­di­tional own­ers are the Eastern Kuku Yalanji Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple, for whom the land­scape holds sig­nif­i­cant spir­i­tual value. Part of the an­cient rain­for­est is pro­tected within Dain­tree Na­tional Park, and is drained by the Dain­tree River, a cruise along which re­veals the jun­gle habi­tats of a vast ar­ray of birds, rep­tiles (in­clud­ing large croc­o­diles) and other wildlife.

Cross the river on the cable ferry and en­ter the won­der­land of Cape Tribu­la­tion, a head­land within the rain­for­est made fa­mous as the site where Cap­tain James Cook’s En­deav­our hit the reef in 1770, caus­ing se­vere dam­age. To­day it is a place where vis­i­tors can ex­pe­ri­ence stay­ing overnight in the jun­gle and en­joy un­spoiled beaches framed by the rain­for­est. But it is still very much an off-the-beaten-track des­ti­na­tion where na­ture is king. DID YOU KNOW? ✤ The rain­for­est con­tains 30 per cent of the frog, rep­tile and mar­su­pial species in Aus­tralia and 65 per cent of the bat and but­ter­fly species. 18 per cent of bird species and more than 12,000 species of in­sect can all be found in the area, which com­prises 0.1 per cent of Aus­tralia’s land mass. ✤ The four-wheel- drive Bloom­field Track goes from Cape Tribu­la­tion to Cook­town, cross­ing creeks and ven­tur­ing through pris­tine jun­gle ter­rain with the roar­ing Bloom­field Falls as the ul­ti­mate re­ward.

“Kayak­ing on Coles Bay felt like we were pad­dling in a post­card; we were treated to the deep­est blue sky with the sun light­ing up the Haz­ards.” - Jen and Clint

Na­tional trea­sures Left: Fr­eycinet Na­tional Park’s Wine­glass Bay. Right: the Dain­tree Rain­for­est is the old­est on earth.

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