For many, a holiday means driving to the airport and hopping on a plane. Four billion of us around the world took a flight in 2017, more than ever before. But here in Australia, we are the lucky ones; we don’t need to fly away.
Pledge to spend your dollars at home in 2019, and do your bit to reduce the carbon footprint of long-haul air travel.
Here are some hotspots recommended by our state tourism boards for 2019. You may just discover a new favourite place in your own backyard.
NSW – THE CENTRAL COAST
If you haven’t visited the Central Coast in a while, you’re in for a shock. Beloved institutions have undergone a revamp, with the area attracting celebrities and Sydney sea-changers in droves.
With gorgeous beaches, pretty waterways and plenty of national park to get lost in, who could blame them?
The Woy Woy Fisherman’s Wharf, once a fishmonger serving 300 parcels of fish and chips a day, has just had a complete refurb. A sleek glass-walled restaurant now serves kingfish sashimi, spicy tomato pippies and Singaporean-style blue swimmer crab alongside classic battered fish, calamari and scallops.
Just next door, at the newly renovated Bayview Hotel, restaurateur Rupert Noffs and chef Matty Bennett have arrived from Manhattan. They’re serving Asian fusion food at their Lucky Bee restaurant upstairs in Frankie’s Rooftop Bar. The nearby Boathouse Hotel Patonga has also recently reopened, with accommodation promised for the near future.
SA – EYRE PENINSULA
This picturesque triangular peninsula is loved for its water activities. Swim with colourful giant cuttlefish in Whyalla, the only place in the world to see them congregate en masse at the shores for breeding.
It’s also the only place in Australia where you can swim with great white sharks in a cave dive, or you may prefer to swim free with sea lions off the coast of Port Lincoln.
For seafood lovers, the seaside town of Coffin Bay is your paradise, with stunning beaches, crystal clear waters and the chance to eat freshly shucked oysters straight out of the sea. Oyster Farm Tours is building Oysters HQ, a beautiful deck that will look out onto the water.
QLD – BRISBANE
The Queensland capital is on fire with growth and optimism, with 18 new landmark hotels and a host of new dining facilities.
Highlights are Mr Percival’s overwater bar at Howard Smith Wharves, traditional Greek sharing plates at Hellenika at The Calile Hotel in Fortitude Valley and the Three Blue Ducks, which recently expanded into the city from Bronte and Byron Bay, with views over the Brisbane River.
TAS – LAUNCESTON
Launceston is a quiet country town transitioning into a major cultural and foodie destination.
There’s a growing number of new vineyard cellar doors and fabulous new restaurants, combined with established food events like Festivale, Effervescence and the weekly Harvest Market Community farmers’ market. All up, it’s a burgeoning scene of vibrant and creative artisanal producers.
Chic new hotels have followed, with The Silo Hotel stealing the glory.