The X Factor winner Isaiah Firebrace is not hiding behind a mask when it comes to his favourite Australian destination, Western Australia.
“It has some of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen in my life. The weather is amazing and every time I am in Western Australia it feels like the sun shines brighter than on the east coast,” says the singer.
Mr Firebrace feels connected to the land and sea. “It feels sacred and spiritual,” he says. He counts himself lucky to have been able to swim in the Ningaloo Reef with the whale sharks, whales and other marine life.
Unable to pick just one part of WA, Mr Firebrace says: “Cable Beach in the north is incredible, I am a huge fan of watersports and the jet skiing was so much fun.”
Conquer your fears and tick swimming with sharks off your bucket list on a tour with Ningaloo Whale Sharks, priced from $200. If you would rather jump on a jet-ski and chase an adrenaline rush, check out Ultimate Watersports at Cable Beach and Exmouth.
Australian restaurateur and chef Luke Mangan has a soft spot for the island state, particularly its oysters.
“Tasmania is the perfect place for a good old-fashioned road trip. There are so many fantastic restaurants and wineries where they craft all their dishes from locally grown ingredients,” he says.
“I always find new spots and experiences to explore and fall in love with.”
He recommends Freycinet Marine Farm as “who wouldn’t love putting on a pair of waders then shucking and tasting oysters in the waters where they are farmed?”
The oyster farm experience and a guided walk to the Wineglass Bay lookout are both included in a stay at luxury lodge Saffire Freycinet. The “Stay 4, Pay 3” promotion, available for stays December 2020 to June 2021, includes all meals, drinks, spa credits and tours.
During her time as a presenter on Getaway, Catriona Rowntree travelled the globe visiting the best the world has to offer. But when asked about her favourite place, she reminisces about the northern Sydney shores where she grew up.
“We spent our holidays with cousins on Scotland Island and still return to this glorious stretch of water so close to the superstar city of Sydney. Pittwater always makes me smile,” she says.
“The sparkling waters of Pittwater keep wandering into my daydreams. Memories of fishing off the polished deck of a Halvorsen boat, exploring quiet coves (getting sand banked, whoops!) and leaping into the water off piers,” she says.
The 1958 MV Kangaroo is the last remaining Halvorsen 36-foot cruiser available for hire in Sydney. See mv-kangaroo.com.au.
Award-winning chef Curtis Stone no longer calls Australia home, but Western Australia has a special place in his heart. “I love travelling through Western Australia,” he says.
The chef has dedicated one of the seasonal menus at his LA restaurant, Maude, to Western Australian produce.
“Margaret River is one of the best wine-producing regions in the world, the Kimberley region is magnificent and the sacred and protected Aboriginal villages on the Ningaloo Reef are a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” says Mr Stone.
If you would like to try your hand at spearing a crab, head out on a tour from Kooljaman at Cape Leveque. You’ll learn about the history of the region and hear Dreamtime stories of the Bardi before catching yourself a mud crab and fish dinner and cooking it on the beach.
Best known for her role as Cassie Turner on Home and Away, Sharni Vinson grew up on the beaches of Cronulla and feels at home by the shore.
“Ever since I was a little girl I’ve always dreamed of living on an island similar to the one in the film Blue Lagoon,” she says.
Hayman Island in the Whitsundays, Queensland, takes the cake for Ms Vinson.
“I love the peace and serenity,” she says.
“From its turquoise warm water, coconut palm trees, private beach villas, botanical gardens and mountainous backdrop to its native Australian wildlife and wondrous Great Barrier Reef, Hayman Island really is a dream come true.”
The luxury resort can be visited on both overnight stays and day trips for activities such as diving, tennis and helicopter rides. Many activities are included in a stay on the island and others start from just $10.
Ex-Bachelor Sam Wood had his fairytale-like happy ending play out in Byron Bay in 2018 and it now holds a special place in his heart.
“It has always been my favourite place in Australia. I just love where the bush meets the ocean and I have such strong, happy memories there as it’s where Snez and I got married,” he says.
He spent the morning of the wedding running through rainforest to Byron Lighthouse and then swimming in the ocean while wife-to-be Snezana Markoski was getting ready with friends.
Their ceremony and reception was held at Fig Tree, a restaurant perched on a Byron hilltop with views across the hinterland.
The family-owned restaurant has a true paddock-to-plate ethos in its seven-course degustations. Fig Tree is open Friday to Sunday and also offers overnight stays in luxury accommodation.