Your virtual state-by-state guide to travelling Australia.
The message to Australians is clear: there should be no travelling.
Packing up the car and hitting the road to relocate to your holiday home with family or friends is a tempting proposition, but the Prime Minister delivered a sobering reminder recently, urging all Australians to stay home or risk the “horror scenarios” we’ve seen unfold overseas emerge here if physical distancing guidelines are abandoned.
Most states and territories have new laws in place that can see you slapped with a hefty fine and up to six months in prison for leaving your home without a ‘reasonable excuse’ – and a holiday isn’t one of them.
We need to continue to do our bit to flatten the curve and embrace staying at home. To help you make the most of it we’ve rounded up the best virtual trips you can take through Australia while you’re at home – and how to start planning the real deal for later in the year.
Wining and dining your way through South Australia will have to wait, but you can still travel throughout the state online, thanks to the launch of SATV. Each week you’ll find fresh video content filmed throughout the COVID-19 lockdown period and a steady stream of Facebook Live videos to consume from the comfort of your living room.
Take a virtual journey through the state’s Riverland, Fleurieu Peninsula, shark cage diving in Eyre Peninsula, Lake Bumbunga and the Barossa – best enjoyed with a glass or two of SA wine. Watch chef Duncan Welgemoed from Africola reveal his famous Chicken Tea Sandwich recipe (a must-make this weekend), kick off your own Happy Hour at Lot 100’s virtual bar with this guide to making a classic Tom Collins cocktail, and take a guided tour of the universe with Doug Sprigg from Arkaroola’s Astronomical Observatory.
Start making a road trip plan through SA:
Beautiful wineries, incredible eateries and stunning scenery are just a few of the highlights you’ll experience on a road trip through South Australia.
The state was hit hard by the devastating bushfires this past summer and the losses have only been compounded by the effects of the current pandemic, but we’ve got the ultimate 7 day road trip itinerary for you to use as a springboard to your own adventure. Spend some time this weekend making a road trip plan that takes in Adelaide, the state’s incredible wine regions and a visit to Kangaroo Island.
New South Wales
Were you planning on taking off on a road trip through some of the state’s best wineries? Well, now it’s time to embark on a virtual tasting tour of NSW’s cellar doors and bars, including wineries from the Southern Highlands, Orange, the Hunter Valley, and more.
Jeff Aston of Tractorless Vineyard in the Southern Highlands is running tasting sessions on Facebook Live, tasting guides on YouTube and selling tasting packages of 50ml samples of 10 wines online. While brothers Ed and Dave of Printhie Wines in Orange are selling virtual wine packs and live streaming their wine expertise every Friday at 4pm on Facebook and Instagram.
Make your way over to the Hunter Valley and visit Ben Ean Winery to place an online order and book a Skype date with the cellar door staff for a virtual wine tasting, Stuart Horden and Kate Sturgess of Brokenwood are offering virtual wine tastings, Keith Tulloch will take you through a lineup of his handcrafted wines each week on ‘At Home with Keith’, and order M&J Becker Wines for live tastings with Meagan and James every Saturday at 6.30pm.
Sydney’s inner-west bar, Golden Gully, has flipped its offering completely online and rebranded to Virtual Gully. The bar is open 5-9pm Wednesday to Sunday and is delivering bespoke cocktails to Sydneysiders, offering a Netflix + Wine pick-up pack and private one-hour sessions with Dan and Rach’s Virtual Happy Hour.
Make sure you also prepare a sufficient amount of cheese and charcuterie platters to complement all that drinking and turn the weekend into a feast for all the senses.
Start making a road trip plan through NSW:
There is no shortage of beautiful road trips to take through NSW: spend 8 days travelling from Tweed Heads to Eden, embark on the Darling River Run road trip, drive slowly from Sydney to Byron Bay or just take a shorter long weekend route through the Blue Mountains and surrounds.
Similarly to parts of South Australia, the NSW South Coast was left devastated by the recent bushfires and locals will be ready to welcome visitors back with open arms at the end of this pandemic. You can follow along on our 8 day road trip itinerary through these towns and make a plan to visit as soon as you can.
Must-read: 8 day bushfire relief road trip itinerary in NSW
Take a virtual trip to Victoria’s capital city and soak up some of the best experiences on offer from your comfy spot on the couch. A trip to Melbourne is guaranteed to deliver the best culinary and cultural experiences in the state and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how many of them you can have online.
The National Gallery of Victoria is temporarily closed, but it has since made a range of experiences available online on the newly launched NGV Channel. You can take an online tour of the Keith Haring | Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines exhibition, explore KAWS: Companionship in the Age of Loneliness, browse more than 68000 works online, and for a real treat, tune in to its four-part virtual series of Drop-by Drawing.
Dine virtually at Vue de monde, one of Melbourne’s best restaurants, by tuning in to Vue to you and participating in its weekly virtual cooking masterclass. The first in the masterclass series is its chocolate souffle masterclass, and what could be better than eating more chocolate? You can also get your Thai fix from Melbourne’s BangPop online Thai cooking classes.
Walking through the impressive State Library of Victoria will have to wait, but you can download from its massive digital collection of ebooks, journals, photographs, video archives, music and more. Explore the library’s online galleries for past and present exhibitions on display, including the Velvet, Iron, Ashes exhibit (which is what you’d be viewing now if you could be there in the flesh).
Start making a road trip plan through Vic:
Melbourne is arguably the best place to start a road trip through Victoria, but there are a number of not-to-be-missed destinations to add to your road trip plan. Including the great Grampians road trip, the Great Ocean Road three day road trip itinerary and our Mornington Peninsula road trip. There are sadly many parts of Victoria that were also impacted by the bushfires. You can read more here about the bushfire-affected towns around Australia that need your tourism dollars most.
Must-read: the Great Ocean Road three day road trip itinerary.
Escape to the shores of the Sunshine State by building a virtual itinerary of some of the best experiences to be had in Queensland.
Have you always dreamed of hiking Flinders Peak and White Rock in Ipswich? Well, you can get a foretaste of what awaits you thanks to the Ipswich Trekker Project. You’ll find 57 Ipswich locations to explore online – most of which were mapped on foot.
Immerse yourself in the world’s oldest continually surviving tropical rainforest with Skyrail Rainforest Cableway’s live streams of this idyllic world heritage area. There are three streams to choose from: Cairns and Coral Sea, Baron Falls and Barron Gorge.
Stroll along the beach and climb over rocks virtually on Pumpkin Island and stop off at the Capricorn Caves for a sneak peek inside and learn about ancient geographical history, early explorers and special cave acoustics.
Adopt an animal at Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast to help provide funds that support its ongoing fight for wildlife conservation. You can also tune in to An Australian Animal Adventure podcast and listen to Bindi Irwin take you on an enchanting adventure from rainforest to reef, exploring the wildlife of Australia. In the meantime, you can get your animal fix by visiting Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary online and watch live streams of koalas, dingo puppies and reptiles.
Take a dive down below Orpheus Island in North Queensland by tuning in to the underwater live streams in Pioneer Bay and off Rocky Beach to see turtles, blacktip reef sharks and more marine life in action.
Cook up a meal from the Sunshine Coast’s Spirit House. The Asian Thai restaurant and cooking school are sharing a delicious collection of self-isolation recipes for you to make at home. Get its braised pork with sweet soy, cinnamon, star anise and ginger simmering away on the stove for a hearty treat.
Start making a trip plan through Qld:
Prepare yourself for sunnier days ahead by planning a holiday to Queensland in the near future. Head to Cairns and explore the Daintree Rainforest, island-hop through the Whitsundays, hit up the state’s buzzing capital Brisbane, tick off the trip of a lifetime to the Great Barrier Reef, spend a thrill-seeking weekend at the Gold Coast’s theme parks or blend the best of two states and follow the ultimate inland road trip from Sydney to Brisbane.
Must-read: the ultimate inland road trip from Sydney to Brisbane.
In this time of social distancing we’re fairly limited in the ways we can experience the otherworldly beauty of Australia’s island state, but there are a few virtual experiences to keep you going until you can cross the Bass Strait to Tasmania again.
Tasmania’s Overland Track is considered one of the world’s best tracks and attracts Australians and overseas hikers alike. But until you can get there, join Tim and Gill Savage on their podcast, Australian Hiker, as they break down the expectations they had prior to their trip compared to the reality in the episode, The Overland Track: Expectations vs Reality.
Two Tassie boys bring their love of Tasmanian whiskey home to you through their podcast, Whiskey Waffle. You’ll get a virtual taste of the good stuff as they share reviews, entertaining musings and their whiskey adventures. Be inspired to jump on the island state’s whiskey trail as soon as you can.
Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) temporarily closed its doors to the public in March, but a former tattoo-parlour manager named Tim is live-streaming his endurance performance from the gallery between 10am and 4pm daily. You can also order the gallery’s infamous vulva-shaped soap from its online store, as well as book and booze bundles and a range of other controversial gifts.
Start making a road trip plan through Tas:
After all this time spent cooped up indoors you’ll be eagerly awaiting the chance to tick off the 7 best outdoor adventures you can have in Tasmania. The state is a nature-lover’s dream and there are endless driving routes to explore.
The east coast road trip itinerary will take in Maria Island, Wineglass Bay, Freycinet National Park and more, alternatively you can embark on Tasmania’s north east road trip. But for those who want to see as much of the state as possible in a week, the best 7 day road trip itinerary through Tasmania is the only guide you need.
Must-read: the best 7 day road trip itinerary through Tasmania
One of the best ways to immerse yourself in the remote beauty of the Northern Territory is through film.
Spend a couple of hours with Paul Hogan while watching the eighties classic, Crocodile Dundee. Filmed in the Northern Territory’s World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park, the movie introduced our ‘no worries’ attitude to the world while showcasing a handful of the most beautiful destinations within the Territory. You’ll travel through some of the most picturesque spots in Kakadu National Park, including Ubirr Rock, Jim Jim Falls, Gunlom Falls, and sunset soaked shots of the wetlands and floodplains – and let’s not forget the wildlife.
The Australian romantic comedy Top End Wedding stars some of the most iconic Top End destinations. Including Darwin, Tiwi Islands, Kakadu, Arnhem Land and Nitmiluk/Katherine Gorge. The film tells the story of an engaged couple, Lauren and Ned, who are on a mission to find Lauren’s mum, reunite her parents and pull off the dream wedding in just 10 days.
Start making a road trip plan through NT:
The Northern Territory is a road-tripper’s heartland. There are too many iconic drives to do in one trip (not to mention it’s also too bloody big!). Now is the time to start planning, because there’s no such thing as taking a spontaneous road trip through the NT. You can drive from the heart of the Red Centre to an Australian icon with our Alice Springs to Uluru road trip itinerary, take a Top End lap through Darwin, Katherine and back or drive north through the middle from Alice Springs to Darwin.
Must-read: your ultimate guide to travelling Northern Territory.
The vastness of Western Australia cannot be experienced over a weekend, but with the right film you’ll get a small taste of its wild beauty.
Travel the Pilbara region of Western Australia and beyond by watching the 2011 hit film Red Dog. Based on the true story of a very special dog who united a community whilst roaming the Australian Outback, Red Dog will take you to the town of Dampier and Karratha in WA, as well as some side trips to South Australia, Victoria, Vietnam and Hong Kong. If you’d like to travel in Red’s pawprints one day, you can find his statue at the entrance to the town and follow the Red Dog Trail through Australia’s North West.
Another way you can transport yourself to Western Australia is by losing yourself in a good book set in the state. Explore White Point in Tim Winton’s Dirt Music, the mining town of Corrigan in Craig Silvey’s Jasper Jones, Perth in Joan London’s The Golden Age and Janus Rock in M.L Stedman’s The Light Between Oceans.
Start making a road trip plan through WA:
There is an abundance of bucket-list worthy road trips to plan through our western state. This west coast drive from Perth to Ningaloo Reef will take you along WA’s stunning Coral Coast via Cervantes, Geraldton, Monkey Mia and Carnarvon. Or you can embark on the ambitious four part Golden Outback tour, which begins in Perth to Wave Rock, continues from Wave Rock to Hopetoun, then from Hopetoun to Esperance, and the fourth leg will take you from Esperance to Kalgoorlie.
Must-read: a Perth to Ningaloo Reef road trip itinerary