Sunset on 2023: Highlights from a Year of Unforgettable Australian Travels

As we sat back to reflect on our favourite travel in 2023, we quickly realised that it had been a busy year. We had hoped to get back to Tassie but that didn’t happen.

We did however get to Broken Hill, Cairns, Canberra, the Great Ocean Road and Darwin. We also did a campervan relocation between Adelaide and Alice Springs and spent some time in southeast South Australia and western Victoria.

It’s no wonder we couldn’t fit Tasmania in this year! It is also hard to narrow down our favourite 10 or 12 stories.

Maybe because it is our most recent trip, but a highlight was staying in Apollo Bay and exploring the coast and Great Otway National Park. The wetlands and national parks around Darwin didn’t disappoint either.

If there was one spot that surprised us it was Canberra. There is a huge amount to do there. A week wasn’t nearly enough. It really is a place that has something for all travellers from couples to families.

So onto our top spots for 2023. They represent the highlights of our travels and some stories we continue to get feedback on. We hope they inspire you as you plan your travel for 2024.

Fitzroy Island Turtle
Green Turtle at Fitzroy Island

Can you still go snorkelling from Cairns?

We spent a fantastic couple of weeks around Cairns and Mission Beach catching up with family. Unfortunately, Cyclone Jasper has made the end of 2023 pretty miserable for North Queensland – but they are open for business and look forward to seeing you!

Our daughter and her husband work on the Great Barrier Reef as dive photographers and guides and have reported the reef was only mildly affected. So, if you are planning a trip to Cairns, don’t be put off by recent weather events. There is still amazing snorkelling.

Most islands and reef operators are good to go. If you are not sure how to go about experiencing the Great Barrier Reef, check out our reef guide and get those tours booked for next year.

Great Ocean Road Victoria
Great Ocean Road

The Best Base for Exploring the Great Ocean Road

It has been a while since we spent much time on the Great Ocean Road, so we had a lot of fun re-discovering all the amazing scenery along this stretch of coastline.

We stayed at Apollo Bay for a week, and it was the perfect base for getting to lots of walks, waterfalls and beaches. From Wye River and Kennet River, Beauchamp and Hopetoun Falls to Wreck Beach and the 12 Apostles, you can get to it all from beautiful Apollo Bay

Check out our guide to the best things to do in Apollo Bay and day trips from there.

Or, if you are on the move, we have a guide for the road trip between Apollo Bay and the 12 Apostles. It is not a big drive, but there is heaps to see and do along the way!

Yardie Creek Walk
Yardie Creek

Our Favourite Road Trip in Australia – Perth to Exmouth

Speaking of road trips, and to pre-empt one of our trips planned for next year, if you haven’t done the drive from Perth to Exmouth put it on your bucket list, it is a beauty. We have done it a few times and love it.

With the daughter mentioned above moving to Exmouth next year we have an excuse to go back. Now is the time to plan this amazing drive along the Coral Coast that includes Jurien Bay, Shark Bay, Coral Bay and Exmouth.

Read our guide and get your accommodation and tours booked now!

Fitzroy Island Snorkel with Turtle
Snorkel with Turtles

Where can you Swim with Turtles?

It is probably no secret by now that we like getting in the water, and this turtle tour round up we did early in 2023 has been one of our most popular stories of the year.

There is nothing like watching a sea turtle gracefully swim through the water or munch on some sea grass and there are plenty of places around Australia to have this fantastic experience.

Read where you can swim with turtles.

Canberra Walks
International Flag Display 

Fun Things to do in Canberra

We came home from Canberra exhausted. There is so much to see you can fill day after day with amazing experiences. From national institutions like Old and New Parliament House, the National Gallery, Royal Australian Mint and the incredible National Museum of Australia to beautiful walks and gardens there is something for everyone.

We had some friends just come back from Canberra and they loved it too. It is a great travel destination for families – Questacon, the National Dinosaur Centre…. There is so much!

Read our guide of things to do in Canberra and see why you should put it on your To Do List.

Mary River Crocodile
Mary River Crocodile

Darwin Day Trips

We loved our quick trip to Darwin. Much like Cairns, it is a great city for day trips. Our highlight was the billabong cruise in Mary River National Park but there is a stack you can do from your Darwin base even if you haven’t got a car.

As well as our day trip guide, check out our other stories from Darwin if you are planning a trip to the Top End next year.

99 Bends
99 Bends Road

Hobart to Strahan Road Trip

Even though we didn’t make it to the Apple Isle this year, Tasmania is one of our favourite holiday spots. It might be Australia’s smallest state, but it always amazes us how much there is to do there.

There are lots of beautiful drives around Tasmania and one of our favourites is the road trip from Hobart to Strahan. It is a drive you could do in half a day, but there is so much to do along the way, you could allow a week or more. Read our guide for everything there is to do between Hobart and Strahan.

Jervis Bay Sea Kayaking
Jervis Bay Sea Kayaking

Home to the Best Beaches in Australia?

One of our most popular destination guides this year was for Jervis Bay. There are some of the most beautiful beaches in Australia here, but there is so much more to do as well.

Yes, you can see some of the whitest sand in Australia at Hyams Beach, but there are botanic gardens to explore, dramatic cliff walks to do and snorkellers and wildlife lovers have plenty of marine life to enjoy.

Little Blue Lake
Little Blue Lake Mount Gambier

What can you do between Adelaide & Mount Gambier?

A couple of local choices to finish with, one of our favourite road trips in South Australia is between Adelaide and Mount Gambier. But which route do you take? You can go inland through the Coonawarra wine region or follow the Coorong along the coast.

We have put together a guide for both routes and what you can do along the way. We also suggest a combo itinerary that includes the best of both drives.

d'Arenberg Cube
d’Arenberg Cube

McLaren Vale Wineries

This was a tough assignment, but we have done the hard work for you! If you are planning a trip to the magnificent McLaren Vale wine region this summer, we have put together a guide of the best wineries to have lunch in McLaren Vale.

Things to do in Alice Springs
Rock WallabyAlice Springs
South Mission Beach
South Mission Beach

A Few Special Mentions…

We did so much this year we couldn’t include everything so here are a few of quick mentions you might enjoy looking at as you think about your travel for 2024…

Planning a Central Australia trip?

Explore the Cassowary Coast:

Want to learn more about the Great Ocean Road?

If you are planning an outback adventure:

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1 thought on “Sunset on 2023: Highlights from a Year of Unforgettable Australian Travels”

  1. Capturing the essence of Australia’s breathtaking landscapes, the sunset of 2023 marked the finale of an unforgettable year filled with awe-inspiring travels. From the golden hues of the Outback to the coastal splendor of the Great Barrier Reef, each sunset painted a unique canvas of memories. The beauty of Australia’s diverse terrains truly unfolded in the warm glow of these sunsets, creating a kaleidoscope of moments etched in the hearts of those fortunate enough to embark on this extraordinary journey


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