Anne Majumdar

In a country blessed with more than 10,000 jaw-dropping beaches, it can hard to decide where to go on your holidays.

Ok, so we’re talking first world problems here, but when you’ve only for four weeks of precious vacation time each year, you want to make sure that those holibobs are going to hit the spot.

Here’s our pick of the top holiday spots for this summer and beyond – just don’t forget your sunscreen!

 

Darwin

Image credit: Business Events Australia

Image credit: Business Events Australia

Not for the faint-hearted, the summer months in the Northern Territory capital can be somewhat steamy to say the least.

But for the more adventurous, a visit to Darwin during the wet season can yield great rewards with the city flanked by two stunning national parks. Torrentially spectacular waterfalls, vibrant wildflowers and frisky wildlife take over the area where you are never very far from nature.

Stick to the coast though. Here the ocean helps moderate the temperatures to an extent – head further inland and you’ll notice the difference.

 

Sydney

Image credit: Sydney.com

Image credit: Sydney.com

Of course the New South Wales capital made it onto the list with its spectacular beaches and iconic landmarks. But the real clincher this summer is the Sydney Festival.

This year’s event is made up of 150 events of which 73 are free – bargain-lovers rejoice! Between January 7 and 29, 454 performances will take place across 46 venues, featuring 1021 artists from 15 countries.

This year’s program focuses heavily on the senses, with a series of events designed to deliver sensory enhancement or deprivation – get ready for tactile performances, an exploration of smell and imaginative use of sound.

 

Melbourne

Image credit: ATP World Tour

Image credit: ATP World Tour

Not one to be left behind, Melbourne too has its own unique allure during the summer months.

We’re talking Australia’s answer to Wimbledon – the Australia Open. Taking place from January 16 to 29, the annual event adds a new vibrancy to the dynamic city.

Even if you don’t want to fork out for tickets, or if you’re not a fan of the racquet sport, you can still soak up the buzz by attending the free AO Festival which features some of Melbourne’s best eateries, live acts and, of course, live screening of all the on the court action.

 

Sunshine Coast

Image credit: Tourism Sunshine Coast

Image credit: Tourism Sunshine Coast

This year, this pretty little stretch of Queensland coastline celebrates 50 years of being known as the Sunshine Coast.

It’s the perfect time to pay the region a visit before the word gets out. In 2020, the ribbon will be cut on a expanded international airport which is expected to significantly boost tourism numbers to the destination. Great news for the area, but less exciting for those keen to find an isolated spot on the sand.

Foodies also have an annual excuse to hit buzzing Noosa – the food festival which this year runs from 18 to 21 May. The opening cocktail party is already a sell-out – a sure sign that this year’s gastrofest is going to be a biggie.

 

Launceston

Image credit: Destination Launceston

Image credit: Destination Launceston

Hobart has ranked highly on travellers’ hotlists ever since the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) burst onto the scene back in 2011. But it’s certainly not the only place in Tassie worth a look. At the other end of the island is Launceston with its serene lavender farms, dramatic gorges and rich history.

The warmer months also bring with them a range of outdoor events from live music to the Tasmanian Breath of Fresh Air Film Festival and finishing up with the Junction Arts Festival in early spring.

 

Coral Bay

rock-sail-1313999_1280

There has been much talk about the demise of the Great Barrier Reef in recent times, even Leonardo DiCaprio has weighed in on the debate. So, if you’re in search of pristine reef just metres from the powder sugar sand, head west instead to the Ningaloo Reef.

Around 1,200km north of Perth, you’ll find this super-chilled little village beside the bath temperature turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean.

Here you can swim with mantarays, turtles, dugongs and dolphins all year round, and between the months of March and August with whale sharks.

 

What are your hot holiday tips for a domestic holiday this year?