The Land Down Under — famed for its bustling cities, Great Barrier Reef, Ayers Rock and wide-open Outback — doesn’t lack for impressive statistics. The country lays claim to 60 wine regions, more than 10,000 beaches, 19 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the widest array of marsupials in the world (kangaroos, Tasmanian devils, koalas) and so much more, including adorable platypus.
Opportunities for activity abound. You can bike to lighthouses, climb bridges, hike amid granite rock piles, spot kangaroos, swim with whale sharks, feed Tasmanian devils, cuddle koalas…. And that’s just the beginning. Gray & Co.’s private active trips curate the best of the country, including luxury accommodations and one-of-a-kind experiences.
Home to more than four million residents, Sydney boasts a dramatic, sprawling position along the country’s South Pacific coast. Here, locals and travelers alike enjoy the beautiful beaches, bustling neighborhoods and iconic landmarks. From a base at the Park Hyatt, travelers can be serenaded at the Sydney Opera House; climb to great heights on the Sydney Harbour Bridge; meander through the many museums, parks, galleries and shops; cruise on a private yacht at sunset; enjoy coastal walks; and marvel at the surfers at Bondi Beach. For an easy but lively daytrip, board a helicopter to the Blue Mountains Region, located west of the city and known for its rugged and dramatic landscapes of mountains, rock formations, eucalyptus forests, waterfalls, hiking trails and charmingly artsy villages.
Head south for a visit to the island of Tasmania, who 18 National Parks offer breathtaking hiking and some of the cleanest air on earth. On the edge of Freycinet National Park sits Saffire Lodge, an ultra-luxe property whose proximity to the famous pink-granite Hazard Mountains makes for stunning views. Unique activities here include trying your hand at beekeeping, shucking oysters straight from the marine farm, hiking to Wineglass Bay, biking through forests, paddling the calm waters of Muir Beach’s wetlands, shooting clay pigeons, boating to private beaches and encountering resident Tasmanian devils.
From Tasmania, it’s a short flight to Kangaroo Island, a third of which is covered by national parks and other conservation areas. It’s an incredibly safe haven for wildlife, including the eponymous ‘roos, as well as sea-lions, wallabies and more. Stay at Southern Ocean Lodge, perched on a cliff overlooking the Southern Ocean, and get ready for cocktails with kangaroos and evening wildlife safaris.
Jet back to mainland Australia to the Barossa Valley, one of the country’s richest and best-known winemaking regions, famed for its shiraz and riesling varietals. While based at Relais & Châteaux’s Louise Hotel, you’ll enjoy some Gray & Co. favorites: biking through vineyards, meeting with winemakers and long walks through the countryside.
A short private flight will bring you to the Flinders Ranges. For this Outback experience, you’ll be based at Arkaba Homestead, a former sheep station that dates back to 1851. A stay at this property will give you great insight into the depth of Australia’s geological history, rich birdlife and unique mammal species. It is here that David Attenborough originally came when filming his nature documentary series First Life.
An active trip to Australia wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Great Barrier Reef to snorkel or dive the world’s largest coral habitat — home to more than 1,600 species of fish. Our top picks for how to do it? Set out underwater exploring from Qualia, a resort on Hamilton Island, or Lizard Island, among the remotest of reef retreats.
If time permits, Gray & Co. also loves Western Australia. There, you can bike and taste phenomenal wines in the Margaret River Valley, dive with whale sharks on Ningaloo Reef, then bathe in thermal springs and explore Aboriginal rock art in the Kimberley region.
What they say
“Cari Gray does nothing but meticulously construct one of kind, perfect itineraries with every facet tailored to the likes of the individual traveler.”
February 21, 2019