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TRAVEL & LEISURE

Ten Stunning Experiences to Gift Your Mate Who Needs a Break From the City

From soaring above bright pink lakes and steaming outdoor baths to swimming with dolphins and sky-high picnics, these Aussie adventures are the perfect antidote.
By Hudson Brown
November 23, 2021
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By Hudson Brown
November 23, 2021
  shares

TEN STUNNING EXPERIENCES TO GIFT YOUR MATE WHO NEEDS A BREAK FROM THE CITY

in partnership with

From soaring above bright pink lakes and steaming outdoor baths to swimming with dolphins and sky-high picnics, these Aussie adventures are the perfect antidote.

After the last couple of years, many of the metro-bound among us have a case of cabin fever. Now that the holiday season is fast approaching and opportunities for gift-giving are coming thick and fast, this year swap the paper-wrapped presents for the gift of experiences.

Around Australia you've got spectacular options. There are luminous art installations at sacred sites, pink-hued salt lakes, transparent bubble tents near jaw-dropping canyons and Scandi-style saunas floating on lakes — and they're all the perfect antidote to the city.

In partnership with Tourism Australia, we've put together a list of the most stunning places, activities and tours to provide gifting inspiration for that friend who really deserves an escape. Far more memorable than a pair of socks — and you'll be supporting local tourism while doing so. Result!

  • 10

    If you have a friend who’s been talking about a trip to the breathtaking Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, a ticket to this extraordinary light installation is an ideal gift to top off the experience.

    Bruce Munro’s Field of Light is about the size of seven football fields and is made up of 50,000 little beams that create a vibrant, pulsing light show each night. There are three different experiences ways to experience the impressive work — from the standard ticket that provides entry to the exhibition at dusk to the Field of Light Dinner, which includes an introduction by a host, snacks and drinks, panoramic views from atop a sand dune and the star-lit Sounds of Silence dinner.

    Image: Field of Light: Bruce Munro. Photo by Mark Pickthall

    READ MORE Gift Now Add to Wishlist
    Want to start building your ultimate Christmas Wishlist? Holiday Here This Year

    Start creating a personalised wishlist of top travel experiences — or add this to an existing list. Save it and share it with loved ones as a not-so-subtle hint for gift ideas.

  • 9

    Situated on a remote stretch of WA’s winding Indian Ocean Drive, the Hutt Lagoon’s incredible pink hues provide a stunning visual complement to the area’s arid coastal bluff. It’s a remote destination, around 515-kilometres north of Perth between Port Gregory and Kalbarri, but you can ensure your loved one has an unforgettable visit by sending them on a scenic flight tour.

    They’ll pass over an awe-inspiring collection of natural wonders, including Rainbow Valley, Lucky Bay and jagged coastal cliff tops. But the headline act is undoubtedly Hutt Lagoon with its photogenic pink appearance caused by the presence of carotenoid-producing algae.

    Image: Tourism Western Australia

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  • 8
    Bubbletent Australia

    Imagine spending the night in a giant transparent bubble, with the stars in full view above you. Pretty appealing, right? If you know a mate who’s well and truly over staring at their own four walls, a stay in a giant off-grid bubble could be just the ticket.

    Bubbletent has three inflatable glamping stays located in a remote pocket of a working farm between Mudgee and Lithgow. Overlooking Capertee Valley (fun fact: it’s the second-largest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon), these tents have a zero carbon footprint and they don’t skimp on comfort. Each boasts plush queen-sized beds, cooking facilities and separate bathroom areas complete with compost toilet and a sink with pump water. There’s even a telescope for late-night stargazing sessions from bed. Oh, and did we mention the outdoor wood-fire bath for long, star-lit soaks?

    Image: Destination NSW

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  • 7
    Cape Tribulation and Daintree Overnight Tour

    Overnight tours don’t come more scenic than an exploration of Tropical North Queensland’s Cape Tribulation and the Daintree Rainforest — a part of the world estimated to be 135 million years old.

    On a two-day tour guests will take in native wildlife including saltwater crocodiles, birds and goannas on an eco-friendly river cruise. They’ll also hike through the lush rainforest in search of a cassowary in the wild, before staying the night in Cape Tribulation in either a beach house, rainforest lodge or beachside budget accommodation. The next day, it’s a reef trip to the Great Barrier Reef, zip-lining and a trip to the swimming holes of Mossman Gorge. Paradise with a bow on it.

    Image: Tourism and Events Queensland

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  • 6

    A hot air balloon is one of the more luxe (and fun) ways to take in all of Canberra, from the mountains and national park to the buildings in the city heart. Balloon Aloft’s three-hour tours kick off shortly before sunrise. After a quick briefing, your giftee will set off into the air to watch the sun fill the valley and lakes with soft morning light.

    For something extra special, you can add a post-flight champagne breakfast to their hot air balloon adventure. Or, book your buddy in for a private balloon ride so they can take in all the sights in peaceful tranquillity.

    Image: Visit Canberra

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  • 5
    Cliff Picnic

    Could this be the best picnic spot in Australia? Mount Buffalo in Victoria, a picturesque mountain surrounded by green valleys roughly a four-hour drive from Melbourne is definitely up there — as long as you’re not afraid of heights.

    The Bright Adventure Company offers secluded picnics for thrill-seekers suspended off the Mount Buffalo cliff face on a platform 300-metres off the ground. So, if you know an adrenaline junkie, give them this one-of-a-kind experience this holiday season. They’ll get set up on the suspended ledge that fits two people, a delicious picnic hamper and all the safety equipment and training required. Then they can relax with their partner or picnic buddy as they take in the views of the Mount Buffalo National Park.

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  • 4

    The northeastern corner of Tasmania is known for its adventure activities, including world-class hiking and biking through the Blue Derby trail network. But, if your friends are thinking of heading to the region, ensure they rest their weary limbs in absolute serenity at this Floating Sauna.

    Situated on the edge of Lake Derby, this woodfired sauna brings a touch of Scandinavia to the Apple Isle. The sauna is surrounded by forest, where the lucky recipient of your gift will step inside the timber spa for a relaxing detox. Whether you book them in for a group steam or treat them to a private sweat session with their own ‘sauna master’ is entirely up to you. Then, they can round out the experience by leaping into the chilly lake waters for a full reboot.

    Image: Lake Derby Floating Sauna

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  • 3
    Kangaroo Island Ocean Safari

    If you have a mate who loves the water and is planning a trip to South Australia, win them over with a cruise on the high seas with Kangaroo Island Ocean Safari. You have a few options with which to gift your pal, partner or parent, with the first being the 75-minute sea safari. On this seafaring adventure, they’ll hop on a boat in search of wild dolphins, fur seals and sea lions. From May through October they may even see a few whales.

    But, you’re getting them a travel experience, so you may as well go the whole nine yards and book them in for the two-hour safari and swim tour which will have them swimming beside dolphins and seals. Or you can go all out and get them the one-day air safari, which departs from McLaren Vale and drops visitors on Kangaroo Island where they will explore the oceans and swim with sea animals for $967 per person.

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  • 2
    Absolute Outdoors

    The Grampians is one of Victoria’s go-to outdoor destinations featuring sandstone mountains, vibrant native wildlife and towering waterfalls. Visitors have a huge variety of adventure activities to choose from, so sending your closest friends and family on a trip with Absolute Outdoors ensures they benefit from knowledgeable local guides.

    While they offer everything from guided hikes to rock climbing and abseiling, the half-day canoe session is the best bet for a present. The three-hour guided paddle will see them cruise around the picturesque waterways of the area while spotting wildlife and learning about the area from their guide.

    Image: Visit Victoria

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  • 1

    The Blue Mountains is a popular New South Wales destination for interstate tourists and Sydneysiders alike. But if you’re wanting to get your Kris Kringle something that goes beyond the Three Sisters and Bilpin ciders, hook them up with a one-hour jaunt with Blue Mountains Glow Worm Tours. They’ll be heading out at nightfall to see glow worms without the crowds.

    A tour guide greets them at a private property, then lead them along a rustic track across footbridges and over boulders, before descending into a cool, mossy canyon. Once they catch their breath, they’ll realise they are surrounded by glow worms. It’s lit.

    Image: Destination NSW

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Give the gift of travel this season and get your mates, partners and parents to Holiday Here This Year (or in years to come). For more unforgettable gift inspiration, visit Australia.com.

Top image: Visit Canberra

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