Hamish & Zoe's Australian Travel Bucket List
Two of Australia's most iconic homegrown personalities, Hamish Blake and Zoe Foster-Blake share the top destinations on their Australian travel bucket list. Start planning your next holiday with one of the couples must-visit places below.
The top five places on Hamish Blake's bucket list
"Bay of Fires, Tasmania. Have had mates who've raved about the natural beauty. I also love that it's a little tricky to get to, so it's quieter. I think those spots are always worth it." – Hamish Blake
In Tasmania, find crystal-clear waters, white sandy beaches and striking orange lichen-covered boulders in the Bay of Fires. Extending along the coast from Binalong Bay to Eddystone Point, explore this remote and breathtaking landscape on your own or a four-day guided Bay of Fires Lodge Walk. Or for those pressed for time, hop aboard The Gardens afternoon cruise to see the southern reaches of the Bay of Fires, which at certain times of year is home to whales, fur seals, sea lions and dolphins. Back in the town of Binalong Bay, settle in for a feast at Lichen restaurant and cafe and be sure to drop past Lease 65 Oyster Farm for a freshly shucked entree.
"The Kimberley, Western Australia. Have never been and simply can't wait. My wife is big on finding an oasis to swim in. I know her dream waterhole is out there." – Hamish Blake
Two billion years of natural history are on show along the isolated Kimberley coast in Western Australia. The geology alone is mind bending, with ochre rock formations created during intense movements of the earth, twisted by time and eroded over millennia. Waterfalls blow fine mist over clifftops, giant boab trees stand like proud sentinels and Aboriginal rock art hides in the crevices. Among all this age, there's the most sought after commodity: peace, best achieved while reclining on the deck of a cruise boat. Multi-day tours, all covering roughly the same itinerary, depart from Broome, Wyndham (via Kununurra) and sometimes Darwin.
"Bruny Island, Tasmania. Love a bit of rugged coast and Bruny does rugged well from what I hear and my intensive googling." – Hamish Blake
While it's easily accessible from Hobart, Tasmania by ferry crossing, Bruny Island provides a true wilderness experience. Popular as a weekend destination for beach goers and foodies, it is also home to a rugged, relatively untouched landscape that is both dramatic and beautiful. Explore it all with great walking tracks and pristine swimming, surfing and fishing beaches. Also be sure to take advantage of the island's flourishing fine food and wine industry. Visit Bruny Island Cheese Co. to sample traditional European cow's and goat's milk cheeses. Call into Australia's southernmost vineyard, Bruny Island Premium Wines, for a glass of Pinot Noir with lunch. Or make yourself a picnic at Bruny Island Berry Farm, at Adventure Bay on South Bruny Island.
"Kangaroo Island, South Australia. Have always wanted to visit, and after the bushfires I'm even more motivated to go and show some love to a very special part of Australia as they recover." – Hamish Blake
Almost half of Kangaroo Island, off the coast of South Australia, was affected by bushfires. But there is still plenty of beauty to behold here, with the majority of populated areas being untouched. You can swim with wild dolphins at Kangaroo Island Marine Adventures, sample organic Ligurian honey at Island Beehive or taste wine at cellar doors across the island, among many other experiences.
Since the fires, ecotourism venture Exceptional Kangaroo Island has partnered with local charity Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife to take guests to the largest tract of untouched bushland on the western end of the island.
This hands-on full-day tour allows travellers to actively take part in conservation efforts to regenerate the island's vast wilderness. Travellers can participate in wildlife surveys and check fencing and motion cameras while getting a close understanding of the endemic sooty dunnart (an endangered tiny carnivorous marsupial), followed by a gourmet picnic lunch in the bush. Efforts are rewarded with a guided tour of Flinders Chase National Park to explore nature's gravity-defying sculpture, Remarkable Rocks, as well as Admirals Arch – home to a large colony of fur seals.
"Lord Howe Island, New South Wales. I guess I'm just collecting islands now? But Lord Howe must be visited. Again, I'm going heavily off mates and Google but I love trying to find pristine environments and from what I gather, it does not get much more pristine." – Hamish Blake
An hour's flight from Sydney or Brisbane, Lord Howe Island is a World Heritage-listed Island paradise where shoes are optional and the lifestyle is laidback. With only 400 visitors allowed on the island at any time, and just 300 permanent residents, Lord Howe Island is one of Australia's best-kept secrets. Here you can swim with turtles at Old Settlement Beach, feed the fish and snorkel with baby Reef sharks at Ned's beach, or take an eight-hour guided trek up Mount Gower, which is considered to be one of the Great Walks of Australia.
A worthwhile experience is booking a snorkelling or diving tour with an operator such as Pro Dive Lord Howe Island to see some of the more spectacular snorkel and premier dive sites such as Ball's Pyramid. This is a must for all experienced divers and the boat ride alone is worth it just for the spectacular views. And for those that don't like to get wet, there is also a two-hour glass bottom boat tour available with Lord Howe Environmental Tours. For the kids, plan a trip to the calm, clear waters of Ned's Beach.
The top five places on Zoe Foster-Blake's bucket list
Two billion years of natural history are on show along the isolated Kimberley coast in Western Australia. The geology alone is mind bending, with ochre rock formations created during intense movements of the earth, twisted by time and eroded over millennia. Waterfalls blow fine mist over clifftops, giant boab trees stand like proud sentinels and Aboriginal rock art hides in the crevices. Among all this age, there's the most sought after commodity: peace, best achieved while reclining on the deck of a cruise boat. Multi-day tours, all covering roughly the same itinerary, depart from Broome and Wyndham (via Kununurra).
Often described by travellers as a journey to 'the centre of the earth', Karijini National Park in Western Australia has some of the world's most impressive freshwater pools. Hike through the Hancock Gorge trail to Kermits Pool where a private watering hole nestled between narrow passages and rugged rock faces awaits. Base yourself at the nearby Karijini eco-retreat and spend your days exploring various trails that will lead you to more hidden gems.
The 2,300km (1,430 miles) Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system in the world. Giving visitors the opportunity to swim, snorkel, dive or sail the living masterpiece. Whether you explore the stunning Whitsunday Islands, trek the ancient Daintree Rainforest or relax on luxurious tropical islands resorts such as Orpheus Island Lodge or Elysian Retreat, a day on the reef is all about the unforgettable nature that surrounds you.
Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel experience offers guests a rare opportunity to explore the Great Barrier Reef accompanied by Aboriginal guides from the region, whose traditional ownership of sea country stretches from the Frankland Islands south of Cairns to Port Douglas in its north. Departing from Cairns, guests will embark on a day-long adventure of guided snorkel tours and learning about the ancient relationships between man, marine creatures and the ecosystem they've shared for tens of thousands of years.
In the northwest coastal region of Western Australia, find Ningaloo Reef. The best destination to get up close and snap a picture of worlds the biggest fish, the whale shark, the reef is also home to a plethora of other sea creatures including turtles, tropical fish, dolphins and colourful coral garden. Join a tour in Exmouth or Coral Bay and pick a boat with its own spotter plane for best results. The Exmouth Visitor Centre can provide you with the many tour options available.
After a day out on the water, look to the luxe glamping hideaway of Sal Salis. With the reef only a few steps off the beach, each of its 16 safari tents are fitted with hard floors, a real bed, eco ensuite and sun-heated shower. However, perhaps the best part of the experience is the chef-created canapés at sunset, followed by dinner beneath the stars which is included in the cost.
You can feel a powerful presence the moment you first set your eyes on Uluru. The stunning colours of this 348-metre high monolith transform with the time of day – and there are over 100 activities and experiences on offer. One not to miss is the Sounds of Silence four-hour dining experience served on a viewing platform overlooking the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. After one of Australia's most spectacular sunsets, guests dine as a storyteller shares the tales told in the stars above. Then visit Bruce Munro's Field of Light, crafted from more than 50,000 solar-powered stems crowned with glass spheres lighting up the night's sky. The spheres illuminate the red deserts night sky with changing colours from brilliant violet, ochre, blue and white.
Image: Vivoone Bay, Kangaroo Island