Comedian Jimeoin absolutely loves travelling the Australian coastline with his family over summer.
“I cherish January. January 2020 was different as I had to cancel the first two gigs for the first time ever, due to the bushfires. An omen of the cancelled gigs that lay ahead. This January 2021, I’m travelling with a caravan as the plan was to do the gigs outside in front of the caravan if venues didn’t open.
“If I had to pick one place it would be Fingal Head. They have a rock formation there that looks just like the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland, where I come from. We have a whole tourism industry based on the one in Ireland. It was listed as one of the natural wonders of the world, yet in Fingal Head no one makes a fuss about it. You want to get yourself a visitors centre there and sell postcards and tea towels.”
If you’d like to take Jimeoin’s advice, Fingal Head lies one kilometre south of the NSW-Queensland border. Aside from the miniature Giant’s Causeway, it is also an idyllic surfing and fishing town. The headland and lighthouse, as well as Cook Island, are all worth visiting.
ARIA-winning singer-songwriter Katie Noonan‘s favourite place in all Australia is Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island) on Quandamooka Country.
“This has been my favourite place to travel to since I was a teenager,” she says. “I have written most of my songs there, got married there, renewed my wedding vows there at 10 years (and we plan to do that every decade!) and have had wonderful family holidays there.
“It is also the birth and resting place of one my heroes, iconic First Nations activist, artist and poet Oodgeroo Noonuccal (Kath Walker), the muse for my The Glad Tomorrow album with the Australian String Quartet featuring 10 of her poems.”
The ferry to North Stradbroke is 30 kilometres south-east of Brisbane. The island has an array of resorts, hotels, hostels and bed and breakfasts, as well as camping spots. Visit stradbrokeisland.com to find accommodation for your ideal holiday.
Aussie icon Shannon Noll has travelled all over Australia for his live performances but for holidays, Hamilton Island is a favourite.
“We’ve been holidaying there on and off over the last 10 years and we love it. It has everything you need from great restaurants and a pub to an IGA supermarket in case you want to just have a barbecue in your accommodation,” he says.
The musician adds: “I think it’s important to support the Whitsundays after the destructive cyclone they had a few years ago. We can’t wait to get back there.”
If a laidback holiday is at the top of your to-do list, visit the Hamilton Island Holiday Homes website to find a house that suits your needs. You’ll be firing up the barbecue by the pool, watching the yachts sail Dent Passage and enjoying time with the family before you know it.
Australian singer Christine Anu loves to visit Queensland when she has the chance.
“My favourite place to be in Australia right now is tied in with being with my favourite people. When I get to visit my family in Queensland, we love going to a special place that is close enough for a day trip – Great Keppel Island,” she says.
The island is pure nostalgia for Ms Anu: “The feeling of being there connects me to childhood memories of saltwater, sand and small community family vibes.
“When you get to Shell House, Aunty Marg has such a generous and welcoming spirit, you feel like you’ve just come home.”
If you aren’t lucky enough to have family close by and would like to pop in for more than just a day trip, a stay at the budget boutique Great Keppel Island Holiday Village will have you feeling right at home. Stay in one of a variety of villas, cottages, glamping, camping and even a house. The village provides the perfect launch point for exploring the island and its surrounding reef and getting to know the locals.
Australian model and 2017 winner of The BlockElyse Knowles cannot wait to return to Uluru in the Northern Territory with her own family.
“It’s hard to put the experience into words but when you’re standing on the richness of the soil, it’s as if you can feel its charm and culture radiate through your bones. It is a remarkable place to explore and one that I couldn’t recommend more highly,” she says.
“The best way to explore Uluru is to book a guided tour so that you are led by a local. The knowledge of the guides is deep and endless and their love for country is a pretty special thing to be in the presence of … their love and respect is contagious.”
Seit Outback Australia offers a 10-kilometre sunrise trek around the base trail of Uluru with a local guide. Your guide will tell you many Aboriginal creation stories associated with the Central Australian icon. It’s priced at $177 person and includes a picnic breakfast, transfers and a visit to Mutitjulu Waterhole.
Reality TV star Angie Kent (of Gogglebox and Bachelorette fame) heads to the Hunter Valley wine region when she needs a weekend away.
“It’s one of my favourite places in Australia. Best known for its wine tours and cheese tastings, you can see why I love the Hunter,” she says. “With hundreds of wineries to choose from, I love to relax and spend the weekend exploring the vineyards, the beautiful countryside, whilst also learning about the family history of my favourite winery, Audrey Wilkinson.”
Following the bushfires, and now the devastating effects of COVID-19, the Hunter Valley has bounced back.
“This special part of Australia has overcome these obstacles and continues to share its magical spirit while providing visitors with the best experience possible,” she says.
The Audrey Wilkinson vineyard, atop a foothill of the Brokenback Mountain Ranges, is open for tastings and cellar door sales, as well as to visit the museum, or even stay a night or two. Bookings essential as numbers are limited.