What better way to celebrate a milestone with your partner in life, a landmark birthday, a wedding or a special occasion with the whole family, than to travel to the destination of a lifetime.
Whether a romantic getaway for two, or an event that calls for you to bring the whole family together, Australia has all kinds of special occasion destinations. Here are six of the best.
Hamilton Island, Qld
Let’s go over your checklist for a special-occasion destination. Does it include a location of unsurpassed beauty with shimmering waters and silken sands? Great. What about a range of lovely accommodation options to suit couples through to a multi-generational brood? Good.
Does your list dictate access to one of Australia’s greatest natural treasures? Incredible wildlife experiences? Plentiful activities and dining options? Alright, we’ve heard enough. We present your ultimate escape: Hamilton Island.
There are few places that feel more special than this idyllic Great Barrier Reef island. Lapped by inviting topaz waters and criss-crossed with nature-laden bushwalks, Hamilton Island is a rightful dream destination. Whether you arrive with just yourself and your romantic lead or the entire family cast for a destination wedding, an event on Hamilton Island finds a true sense of occasion.
From the luxury enchantment of qualia to the boutique and beachfront Beach Club resort, Hamilton Island has your honeymoon or anniversary covered. With a range of holiday apartments and houses perfect for large groups and travelling families also available, you can go big or keep your tropical escape laidback and sandy-toed.
However you choose to celebrate, you can be assured the memory of slipping into clear waters, snorkelling with tropical sea life, and roaming white-sand beaches will remain with you long after your milestone event has passed.
Margaret River, WA
As Perth’s southern playground, the Margaret River region is the consummate host, effortlessly entertaining every type of celebratory holidaymaker – from newlyweds to families and groups of friends.
Whether you come to experience the uncluttered beaches with their surf nirvana breaks and clear waves, the soul-enriching coastal walks, like the Cape to Cape Track, or the world-class restaurants and wineries, this western gem certainly has the goods to make it a special-occasion destination.
Margaret River is a region, a town and a river all at once, and comprises six main towns, each with their own personality and flavour. You can easily get around to visit each over the course of a weekend, but it pays to look into which will suit your event best.
Busselton is great for families: creative Dunsborough sits on the beautiful Geographe Bay and is perfect for nature-focussed stays; while the vine-covered hills around Margaret River cater well to romantic interludes and good-time groups.
Bay of Fires, Tas
Is there anyone Tasmania doesn’t cater to? Our endlessly popular southern island is so accommodating to all comers it’s difficult to single out one location as specific special-occasion territory. But twist our arm and we’ll lead you to the dramatic beauty of the Bay of Fires. That near-unfathomable combination of marine-blue sea with brilliant-orange lichen clinging to coastal boulders elevates this area to bucket-list-worthy.
The 50-kilometre stretch on Tassie’s east coast is just under a four-hour drive from Hobart and winds from Binalong Bay to Eddystone Point. Indeed, the area’s attractions are largely nature-based, so you’ll need to gather here with like-minded companions to truly revel in all this destination has to offer.
The four-day Wukalina Walk comes with an incredible, ready-made special-occasion itinerary. Aboriginal owned and operated, the walk gives a meaningful insight into the Palawa culture of the region.
As you pass through this ancient coast listening to stories of the first inhabitants, you’ll be deeply enchanted by its windswept beauty – an experience sure to leave a lasting imprint and strengthen bonds between your party.
Byron Bay, NSW
If you’ve never attended a wedding in Byron Bay, you’re probably in the minority. This northern New South Wales town is a certified special-occasion destination. And with good reason. Despite its luxe, linen-swathed influencer culture and its high Hemsworth-per-capita quota, this coastal enclave is still a relaxed haven unfairly blessed with sheltered, pandanus-edged beaches.
It’s not just the beach that beckons travellers looking to celebrate milestones and marriages, the lush hinterland also serves as a drawcard. Here you’ll find a proliferation of tucked-away accommodation and pretty villages, such as Newrybar, Bangalow and Federal, each with cottage-y shops and worthy restaurants, such as the much-loved Harvest and The Farm.
In town, dining is also a strong point. Produce-rich Byron has always attracted chefs and you’ll find plenty of excellent, city-sleek diners in town, alongside boutiques peddling a particular beach-tousled style.
Of course, despite its more recent affluence, there are still the original Earth-Mother undertones that keep this hotspot true to itself, so gather your nearest and dearest and set yourself up by the beach at sunset to experience why this town is so endearing.
The beating heart of our nation, Uluru is a destination that is intrinsically special to all Australians. But why not add another layer of ‘special’ to the experience by sharing it with loved ones?
The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is home to that most famous of ancient rocks, Uluru, and the rock formation of Kata Tjuta (which means ‘many heads’ in the local, indigenous Anangu language). Rising out of the red earth, these natural beauties are both otherworldly and entirely mesmerising.
You can experience this incredible part of the country by walking the base of Uluru, watching the sun dip and rise over the formations in a blaze of orange and, for a particularly romantic activity, gazing at the twinkly beauty of the unpolluted dark sky above.
It’s impossible to leave Uluru without gaining a deeper appreciation for the outback and this country, and is undoubtedly a location that will imbue any occasion with more than a little magic.
Flinders Ranges, SA
Sure, South Australia is a magnet for oenophiles on weekend breaks with its many wine regions, but if you’ve never pushed past the vines to discover the state’s accessible outback, you’re missing out.
A five-hour drive from Adelaide or a short Rex flight from the city to Port Augusta will deposit you in the martian-like landscape of the Flinders Ranges. This unique and soul-brightening place is made all the more special by sharing it with your favourite people.
Depending on whom you’re travelling with, you can go as gently or as adventurously as you see fit. There are plenty of 4WD tours, walks and cultural experiences on offer, from the couple-friendly and luxe The Arkaba Walk by Wild Bush Luxury, where you can recover from the day’s hike in glamped-up tents, to the more brood-accommodating Wilpena Pound Resort in the Ikara Flinders Ranges National Park.
If budget allows, don’t miss out on a scenic flight that lays out the rich beauty of the South Australian outback below – it’s an extraordinary way to put an exclamation mark on the end of your special occasion.