Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham has been encouraging people to “think outside the square” and approach a holiday at home like it’s an overseas one.

“An Australian holiday for an Australian shouldn’t just be about going back to that regular spot at the beach you’ve always gone to,” he recently told the ABC, “but you should really get out, explore our country and book something exciting.”

But can travelling in Australia actually be like an international trip? Well, there are certainly some destinations and experiences that are quite similar to those you will find overseas.

If you’re trying to replicate the atmosphere of a particular country, there are a few places you can head in Australia to get close. Visit Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills to feel like you’ve arrived in Germany. Founded by Prussian settlers in 1839, the town has embraced its heritage and you’ll find German-style pubs, wooden folk art, cuckoo clocks, and bakeries.

The historic Adelaide Hills.

At Innisfail in Queensland, the influences from Italian immigrants make the tropical town feel almost Mediterranean, while the Sydney suburb of Cabramatta could nearly pass for the bustling streets of Saigon. Or head into the NSW Southern Highlands where the pasties, manicured gardens, and morning fog transports you to rural England.

Aside from the cultural influences, the nature of Australia can often evoke the impression of other countries. There’s no need to go to the Grand Canyon in the USA when the Northern Territory has the mighty Kings Canyon with 300-metre-high sandstone walls and a six-kilometre circuit walk along its rim.

Kings Canyon in the Northern Territory.

For a longer hike, head to Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain for a six-day trek. It may not have the same landscape as Europe’s Mont Blanc but staying in huts each night makes it a similar experience. And, until we are able to travel to the South Pacific, you can island hop in the Whitsundays to replicate a tropical holiday in Fiji or Vanuatu.

One of my great pleasures when I travel overseas is to visit wine regions, particularly those famous for a specific variety. In Australia, we can travel the world through our wine – tasting Chardonnay in the Yarra Valley rather than France’s Burgundy, or Cabernet Sauvignon in Margaret River rather than California’s Napa Valley.

Just because an international destination is renowned for something, doesn’t mean we don’t have something similar here. Take a houseboat down the Murray instead of a paddle steamer down the Mississippi; look for native animals on a 4WD tour of Kangaroo Island instead of a safari in South Africa; take a train ride from Darwin to Adelaide instead of across Siberia.

Cradle Mountain in Tasmania.

Growing up in Australia, I think I take many of our landmarks for granted and am often a bit surprised when I see international tourists visiting a building that I walked past to school every day. Yet, when I am in famous European cities, I often pop into churches to admire the architecture and art. Perhaps we can find that sense of wonder by visiting St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne or St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney – or visit some of the grand National Trust properties like Rippon Lea Estate or Saumarez Homestead to get a dose of heritage. And don’t forget that Australia has world-class art collections so, if you are missing standing in a queue to get into the Louvre in Paris or the Uffizi in Florence, just wait outside Canberra’s National Gallery for a couple of hours then walk in to see the excellent exhibitions.

Even specific international landmarks have interesting equivalents that perhaps we overlook too quickly. Instead of visiting Alcatraz Island in San Francisco, explore Fremantle Prison which is now a World Heritage Site. Rather than exploring Gaudi’s Park Guell in Barcelona, head to South Australia’s Umpherston Sinkhole where a garden has been created in a collapsed limestone cave. Or, if you’ve never seen the Pyramids of Giza, you may be interested (or not) in the 15-metre-high Ballandean Pyramid in Queensland, which was constructed with 7500 tonnes of rock in 2006.

Ultimately, though, I think what Simon Birmingham meant when he suggested we approach a domestic holiday like an international one, was that we should be curious and engaged. Take a food tour, visit a museum, join an organised kayaking trip, hire bikes and explore a new neighbourhood. We so often go overseas and search out new things to see and do – yet, here in Australia, there are probably more experiences and sights than you will ever have time to see or do.

Fremantle Prison, a World Class Heritage Site.

Explore Deals


Luxury Queenstown Ski Holiday

Destination: Queenstown

From $655


Charming Candidasa Escape

Destination: Bali


Daily breakfast for two, 1 x 90-minute couples spa treatment with flower bath at Ocean Spa for two, 1 x three-course romantic dinner for two, 1 x selected cocktail for two OR 1 x bucket of small local beer (4 pcs) at Pool Bar/Restaurant, 1 x half-day tour visit to Taman Ujung water palace,

From $1545


Luxury Adults-only Fiji Getaway

Destination: Fiji


4 nights 5-star stay at Sofitel Resort and Spa, Access to the adults-only Waitui Beach Club, Complimentary mini bar, Daily buffet breakfasts, Access to in-room unlimited movies and wifi,

From $2245


7 Nights Deevana Patong Resort & Spa, Thailand

Destination: Thailand


7 Nights in a Superior Garden Wing Room, Breakfast Daily, 30-minute Foot Reflexology and 30-minute Back & Shoulder massage, 10% discount on food (excludes room service), 10% discount on Spa menu ,

From $279


Romantic Sydney Escape

Destination: Sydney


3-night luxury city view apartment at A by Adina Sydney, Daily à la carte breakfast, 3-Course Dining Walk, Hunter Valley Scenic Wine & Dine Day Tour, Sydney Harbour 2-Course Lunch Cruise,

From $2658

Next Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Explore Deals


Escape to Fiji With Bonus Inclusions at the Beautiful Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort

Destination: Fiji


5 Nights in an Ocean View Room, Full breakfast daily, FJD$100 Beverage credit, 2 x 60 minute Bebe Spa Sanctuary massage vouchers, 1 x themed Buffet dinner,

From $1089