My Aussie travel bucket list…

Victorian High Country

I’ve decided that we need to see more of Australia. Maybe we’ve reached that age – the whole adventure before dementia thing.

The problem with travelling in Australia is cost. It’s bloody expensive to fly from one side of the country to another. It’s cheaper to go to Bali than Broome – and a lot cheaper to stay and eat once you’re there. The other alternative – doing the long lap, or extensive road trips – requires time…and lots of it…which is why it’s often not feasible until retirement.

Just lately I’ve been having a few strange fantasies – no, not that sort of fantasy, but the sort that involves 4WDs, camping and shopping trips to places like BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing).

The thing is, I don’t think I’m the camping type. I like the idea of camp cooking – and still intend writing the definitive outdoor cookbook – and I like the idea of exploring new areas. But I’m a girl who likes her comforts – and her sleep – so camping or caravanning is probably not going to be my thing.

Knowing all of that, and despite all of that, I’ve come up with my Aussie Travel Bucket List. As with all bucket lists, it can be added to (or subtracted from) at any time. Here goes….


Lady Elliot Island. This island, off the coast of Bundaberg is part of the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. The accommodation is a tad more basic than the vast resorts further north, but the attraction for me is the sea turtles and the rays.

North Stradbroke Island Just off the coast of Brisbane there has to be a reason why my instagram feed is so full of pics of Straddie…

Cocos (Keeling) Islands. This place has been described as like the Maldives but an Australian territory. Stuck out in the middle of the Indian Ocean about halfway between Perth and Sri Lanka, there’s little in the way of tourist infrastructure, but it looks like the perfect place to escape and chill. If I was going to write a character that needed a hide-out, I think I might send them here.

Kangaroo Island. For the nature, the landscape and the foodmostly for the food.

Fraser Island. I’ve wanted to come back here ever since we did a day trip while on honeymoon back in 1994. We’ve booked to spend New Years Eve here.

Lord Howe Island. This place was described by David Attenborough as being so extraordinary that it’s almost unbelievable. That’s why.

Tasmania. I’m including Tassie on the list because we haven’t been there since early 1997 and after seeing a friend’s pics I want to go back – for the wilderness and the history. Oh, and Bruny Island while we’re there – for the food.

Western Australia

Due to work, I’ve visited Perth a few times – and had a great long weekend knocking about the Margaret River and Busselton with a friend. There’s so much more to see though. Albany is apparently worth a visit and the turquoise waters of Esperence is definitely on the list, following which I’d go across to Middle Lake – just 70 nautical miles off the coast – to see the fabulously pink Lake Hillier.

Nigaloo Reef and swimming with the whale sharks there have long been on my bucket list, as has camel riding at sunset on Cable Beach at Broome. From here, The Kimberley also calls.


Regular readers know how much I adore Melbourne. I also love Gippsland, the Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula. We’ve checked out gold country wine country, spa country and the high country.

Craig’s Hut

After watching the Masterchef Heston roadtrip last season, I’d like to do the Silo Art Trail in the Wimmera Mallee region and have a look around Swan Hill, Mildura, and into the Murray basin.

Oh, and I’d like to do the Great Ocean Road.

South Australia

I’ve been to Adelaide a few times – mostly for work – but would like to explore the wine regions. Adelaide Hills, the Barossa, Clare Valley – they do wine and food destination tourism extremely well, and hubby is very partial to a South Australian red.

Wilpena Pound and the Flinders Ranges. The landscape looks fabulous. That’s why.

Northern Territory

Uluru, of course, because I think you have to. Also Kakadu for the sheer size, and the culture.


We’re talking about doing a roadtrip to Cairns. It’s 1600kms from the Sunshine Coast, so that’s a lot of driving. Of course from here is access to The Great Barrier Reef. I don’t think I need to say much more about this other than to say I also want to go to Whitehaven Beach with the white silica sand.

If the opportunity presented, I’d be interested in seeing Longreach, but at 1200kms away – much of it through miles and miles of not a lot – it’s not making the bucket list.

Closer to home there’s also Bundaberg, 1770, and Hervey Bay I’m keen to have a look around.

New South Wales

Why isn’t there anywhere from NSW? Mainly because I’ve lived in NSW for all but the last few months of my 50 years. I’ve lived in Sydney, Canberra, the Hunter Valley, the Blue Mountains, and a little town near the Victorian border called Bombala. My father’s family is from Tumbarumba also down south. I’ve covered the entire coast, travelled inland as far as Lightning Ridge, and explored the Snowy Mountains.

Have you been fortunate enough to see much of this fabulously huge country? What’s on your Aussie travel bucket list?

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Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

38 thoughts

  1. Good to see Fraser Island on the list.

    I’ve not seen a lot of those places and you’re right… travel is v.expensive here cos of the distances. I fantasise about the #vanlife thing and imagine myself driving about in a converted school bus or similar but… I’d need a good bed, shower (or bath!) and a toilet of my own. And I wouldn’t want to have to clean up after the latter, so I’m thinking I’m pretty much stuck with hotels and the like!

    1. Yeah, it’s the toilet thing that gets me too. We worked out how manny nights we’d need to spend on the road to make the cost of a caravan break even.

    1. I so agree with Esperance’s place on the WA list. A friend went a few years ago & her photos of the turquoise waters blew me away.

  2. I would love to see more of our beautiful country says she who is off to Spain in two weeks. However, I visited the Adelaide Hills and Barossa earlier this year and it was gorgeous. Brooke, Margaret River and Tassie are on my list ATM. Thanks for the post

  3. I pretty much have a mental post like this in my head! I’m really torn. I like the idea of cheap travel which basically means camping but I don’t like driving much and I’m terrified of winding hilly roads. I could probably deal with the camping stuff because there’s so much easy set up, self inflating mattress type stuff. But then I don’t know what to do about bringing a dog (a dog with type 1 diabetes at that, so we must have a fridge for insulin) and then it all just gets in a too hard basket frankly.
    I listen to a few US based travel podcasts and I sometimes feel a bit jealous of how easy and cheap (and free!) camping and such things are there.

    1. I don’t like driving either – have got quite anxious as I’ve got older. Thankfully, though, hubby does like to drive & we have a 19 year old at home happy to look after the dog – and get some space from us.

  4. Wonderful list, Jo. I hope you’ll be able to tick off many places on your list. I had similar distance, time and cost issues to travel across Canada (plus winter!). By breaking my list down into smaller chunks to suit my time and budget, I’ve been able to visit eight out of ten provinces, some several times to explore different areas, by planes, trains, buses, ferries, and automobiles.

    1. We’ll be ticking a couple off by the end of the year (Fraser Island, Bundaberg & Hervey Bay). The great thing is that winter is the best time to visit Uluru and Broome/ Kimberleys, and summer is for much of my list, the worst time to travel e.g. you can’t swim up north in the summer because of the stingers.

  5. I’ll put my hand up to volunteer to help you tick off this list (especially the islands)!! I’ve seen a lot of Queensland, including the islands around the Great Barrier Reef. Went to Tassie in 2015 but didn’t get to Bruny Island – so must go back. I really want to go to the NT and see Uluru (is there a cool time of year up there to do that?). I’m going to Perth for the first time ever in October (can’t wait) – just a short visit though. I haven’t seen anything of WA or SA or NT. I’ve seen a bit of VIC but would love to do the Great Ocean Road and see the Mornington Peninsula. I’ve seen quite a bit of NSW (rellies there) but always more to see. I’m off to Canberra in 2 weeks for Floriade with a girlfriend. It will be my 2nd visit there. There are SO many places in Australia I’d like to see … all the little country towns and coastal places. Not sure if I’m a camper or not. Love the romantic notion of it but like you – like my sleep and creature comforts! 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

  6. I am so not a camper nor a caravanner and neither is my hub. His health and I guess now mine are reasons we have not travelled much at all. He definitely needs home comforts. BUT we actually talked about doing a short flying trip to the Red Centre some time. Money is also an issue for us as we need every last dollar to eventually buy us a permanent house AND, now we have already been impacted by me health, quite a few dollars for emerging medical needs…and who knows what is ahead. Your age is the ideal time to start doing these trips and I would be doling what you can when you can! We saw a helluva lot of country NSW in our first 8 years of teaching and there are no places here we wish to see because we have always holidayed north or south coasts too. D xx

  7. I’m in WA and everywhere is a long (and expensive) way away – even Broome! We thought about Qld for a holiday but changed our minds and we’re going to Rottnest in December – really close by and I’ve never been there – it looks beautiful and I have to meet a Quokka before I die 🙂 I’m pinning your list for later though.

  8. I have indeed! We travelled Oz with our caravan and two small children in 2001. We ran out of time to do the north west of WA/top of NT, and we also didn’t get to western Queensland so would love to do those. And caravanning doesn’t have to be primitive or roughing it, we were quite civilised 😉

    1. I love stories like yours. The idea of doing it with 2 small kids though… as long as I have a queen size bed & a flushing toilet under the same roof things are relatively civilized. Oh, and quiet. I need quiet… man, I’m high maintenance !

  9. What a great bucket list – can I adopt it!?! Guess I just have to come and visit Australia some day and stay for a loooong time 🙂 !! I love travelling and a trip to Australia is on my bucket list for sure and I will add your bucket list too 🙂 !!

    Anna Karin

    1. You’re absolutely welcome to borrow it…but I’d add some extra places on there for you from NSW too…Sydney, Byron Bay, Bellingen, Sooth Coast, Blue Mountains, Orange…I could go on…

    1. I knew there was one wine region I forgot – unforgivable! You must go to the South Coast – it’s just gorgeous. I can’t believe that the last time we went to Tassie was over 20 years ago. Where have those years gone?

  10. The trouble with us in Western Australia is it is so far from the Eastern States. And Western Australia is a BIG state to see. I am lucky to have seen a lot of it, but I’m certainly not done with Australia. If you come back to the west and go to Albany you must go to Denmark. It is absolutely gorgeous, especially the Karri trees. Happy travels. And thank you for stopping by my blog this week.

    1. Oh I’ve seen pics of that place – it looks fascinating. Another friend is currently visiting York – which also looks lovely.

  11. Love your extensive bucket list for travel in Australia. We have been road tripping around Australia for nearly a year. Yet, so many places you have mentioned on your list we haven’t seen, and would love to. Currently my main bucket list destination is Tassie. After all our travels I am now of the view whatever we see in this great land is a bonus. 🙂

  12. Can certainly sympathize with the cost of travel. It is more expensive to fly across Texas than it is to fly to a number of bordering states. Was particularly frustrating considering both of my daughters lived about as far across Texas from me as possible.

    Hope you are able to hit the islands and Queensland. Those pictures strike my fancy most. But all of Australia seems to b pretty gorgeous.

    1. There’s certainly a lot to see – but then there is in the US too…& huge distances as well. Have a fabulous weekend…

  13. Wow, what a fabulous list Jo. There are quite a few places on there I’d love to explore as well. I’m with you on the camping and caravanning thing – it’s not really for me, I like my comforts too! #TeamLovinLife

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