Sydney, Australia & The Great Barrier Reef

LoveLuxeLife.com | Traveling to Sydney Australia | Visiting The Great Barrier Reef | Luxury Travel Blog

I recently visited Australia and was absolutely blown away- I don’t know if a destination has ever exceeded my expectations as much as Australia did!  Everything from the scenery to the people to the food were just incredible.  The country has so much variety and really offers something for everyone, with great cities, incredible beaches, adventure, culture, and a huge food and wine scene.  If Australia isn’t at the top of your travel wish list then it certainly should be!  I am already anxious to get back and explore more of this amazing country.

I started out in Sydney, checking into the Park Hyatt Sydney.  This hotel couldn’t have a more ideal location, set right at the base of the Harbour Bridge and directly across from the Opera House.  In fact every room at the hotel features a balcony with views of the Opera House, and their rooftop pool has stunning views of the Opera House and the city!  While in Sydney a visit to the Opera House is a must.  For the best views of the city climb the Harbour bridge- go around sunset time for the best views.  Then head out to Bondi beach, which has a really fun atmosphere with many locals and is especially popular with surfers.  There is a great pathway where you can walk from Bondi to Brontee with beautiful views all along the coast.  For great shopping and cute cafes, head out to Paddington and Surrey Hill.  For an excellent dining experience in the city, you can’t go wrong with Quay, Rockpool Bar & Grill, ARIA, Spice Temple, and Mad Cow.

Next I flew up to Hamilton Island, the most charming small island surrounded by the Great Barrier Reef.   I called Qualia my home, which has all individual pavilions, most with private pools, spread out along a peninsula on the island.  They have a really nice beachfront restaurant and pool along with a pebble beach, and then they will take guests by boat to nearby private beaches for a day.  Every pavilion has a golf cart, which is the perfect way to explore Hamilton Island.  From here, you can explore the surrounding reefs and beaches by seaplane, boat, or helicopter.  Be prepared to be blown away by the stunning shades of blue water and especially by Whitehaven Beach!

The next stop on my Australian adventure was the Blue Mountains.  This area is set about 3 hours inland from Sydney, which you can reach by car or helicopter.  I stayed at One&Only Wolgan Valley which is set in a valley surrounded by the gorgeous Blue Mountains.  I absolutely loved this hotel!  There are just 40 suites, all with a private pool and outdoor deck area. The lodge includes your meals and most beverages and the food is exceptional.  Many activities are included as well.  A few highlights from my stay were a horseback ride through the valley where we rode past mobs of kangaroos and wallaroos, learning about the native aboriginals that lived in the area, and then the wildlife sundowners tour where we saw a number of animals including one of the incredibly rare Albino Wallaroos!

The last stop was Kangaroo Island, a small island off the southern coast of Australia, and one of the most special and unique places I have ever visited.  The island has just 4,500 people and then 200,000 kangaroos, 500,000 wallabees, and 15,000 koalas!  I stayed at the fabulous Southern Ocean Lodge, which was perfectly built to take advantage of the most stunning views of the coast.  This lodge includes all meals, drinks, and most activities.  A highlight every evening is when all guests gather for pre dinner drinks and everyone shares their adventures of the day.  Don’t miss a visit to the Fur Seal Colony, the Remarkable Rocks, and perhaps the most amazing experience was Kangaroos & Kanapes.  You go to a large field at dusk with hundreds of grazing kangaroos and you can get unbelievably close!  Then enjoy drinks and snacks out in the field watching the kangaroos hopping around.  This island absolutely blew me away with the untouched beauty and ability to see so many animals in their natural habitat.

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Luxe Tip: There are so many incredible luxury lodges in Australia with gorgeous design, amazing service, inclusive meals and activities, and offer really unique experiences.  Book your trip with Ever After Honeymoons to receive a customized itinerary as well as extra amenities and VIP service at every hotel.

When in the Great Barrier Reef, taking a helicopter to Whitehaven Beach and spending a few hours there with a private picnic is an experience you will never forget!  The sand is the softest you will ever feel.

Written by: Katie Frederick Jacobson, Ever After Honeymoons

Website: www.everafterhoneymoons.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/EverAfterHoneymoons

Instagram: @EAHoneymoons

Website: Park Hyatt Sydney | Qualia | One & Only Wolgan Valley | Southern Ocean Lodge

Instagram: @parkhyattsydney | @qualiaresort | @wolganv | @southernoceanlodge | @luxurylodgesofaustralia