Hello November. How did you sneak up on us like that? With the New Year right around the corner, it’s time to start making plans. And the best kind of plans are travel plans!
Don’t let the year pass you by. Here are 18 must-visit places for 2018.
While some people prefer places that are slightly more off the beaten track, these iconic destinations are popular for a reason, and there’s no better time to tick them off your bucket list.
Add these to your itinerary for next year and hit the road! You can leave it up to Thrifty to get you anywhere from the NT to the ACT. To make things easier, let’s start with a map of all the locations we recommend for 2018 travel:
And now, on to the destinations!
Cape Crawford, NT
An ancient wonderland featuring 25-metre sandstone pinnacles formed 1.4 billion years ago. Hire a car in Alice Springs before enjoying the views by helicopter. The Lost City is not to be missed.
Uluru, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, NT
There is nothing else on earth like Uluru. A visit to the big red rock should be on any Aussie traveller’s bucket list. If you haven’t visited it yet, it’s time to get packing!
Kings Canyon, Watarrka National Park, NT
Soaring red rock faces with dense palm forests are home to about 600 species of plants and animals, as well as the Luritja Aboriginal people, who have called the Watarrka National Park area home for more than 20,000 years.
Related Post: Australia’s top hiking destinations
Cape Tribulation, Daintree Forrest, QLD
The very spot where the world’s oldest rainforest meets the epic Great Barrier Reef – pure, untouched bliss. This rugged terrain is tackled best in a 4WD, so add it to any day trip from Cairns.
Broken River, Eungella National Park, QLD
Located in the Land of the Clouds (its literal indigenous meaning) due to the mist-covered mountains that form the longest and oldest stretch of subtropical rainforest, Broken River is regarded as the best place on the planet to see the platypus in the wild.
Barossa Valley, SA
The Godfather of wine regions down under, Barossa Valley is home to many of Australia’s largest and most notable wineries, matched only by the impressive scenery of rolling green hills on which the vineyards are located. Shiraz lovers, take note.
Coober Pedy, SA
A town synonymous with opal mines and underground houses. The uniquely Australian Coober Pedy has an almost mystical feel to it. Think Mad Max meets Wind in the Willows.
Bruny Island, TAS
Pick up your Thrifty vehicle in Hobart, drive 40 minutes south and hop on the Bruny Island Ferry, Mirambeena, for an abundance of wildlife, wild waters, and fresh oysters to go with your whisky from the Bruny Island House of Whisky. Plus, camping is free here! We love Bruny Island so much; we’ve mapped out a whole weekend road trip itinerary for you!
Wineglass Bay, Freycinet National Park, TAS
Fishing and boating, bushwalking, sea kayaking, rock climbing, and spectacular coastal scenery are just some of Wineglass Bay’s drawcards.
If you said yes to any of the above, you should be on your way to Wineglass Bay. Freycinet National Park also forms part of our EPIC Tasmanian Road Trip (insert link).
Bay of Islands, VIC
Not many of us have ventured further than the famous 12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road, so this stunning coastal park dominated by rock stacks and cliffs is often deserted.
Peninsula Hot Springs, Mornington Peninsula, VIC
Get ready to relax amongst 360-degree views of national parkland in Victoria’s natural hot springs. Natural thermal mineral waters flow into pools and private baths ranging in temperatures between 37 and 43 degrees Celsius. When you’re done soaking, a short twelve minute drive will take you to RACV’s Cape Schanck resort where you can continue your relaxing coastal getaway.
En route home, stop at Doot Doot Doot in Merricks North for a spot of lunch in a fabulous setting. It made our list of best Victorian restaurants worth a road trip.
Pink Lakes, Mildura, VIC
If you liked the sound of Lake Bumbunga in South Australia, we’ve found another pink lake for you! Located in Murray-Sunset National Park, the lakes are best to visit between September and November when the algae release a red pigment that turns them pink.
The gateway to the wild Kimberly region – what was once the capital of Australia has grown into an absolute must-see destination. Cable Beach is one of our finest.
Ningaloo Reef, WA
Surprise! The Great Barrier Reef isn’t the only reef in Australia. The crystalline waters of Ningaloo harbour, the world’s largest fringing reef, is home to the largest numbers of tropical fish, turtles, mantra rays, whales, and even the elusive whale sharks.
Margaret River, WA
Known colloquially as Margie Rivs, known nationally as craft beer and boutique winery central, and recognised worldwide as surf break heaven. There’s nothing not to love about Margs (it doesn’t get more Aussie than that!).
Related Post: The Margaret River Region: West Australia’s Eden.
Byron Bay, NSW
If you haven’t yet been to the idyllic Byron Bay on the NSW North Coast, what have you been doing? Make 2018 your year to visit the nation’s hippie haven. We guarantee you won’t want to go home.
Jenolan Caves, NSW
As far as caves go, Jenolan Caves are the largest, most spectacular caves in Australia. They’re also the world’s oldest caves, making them the perfect spot for adventure cavers, explorers and even lovers tying the knot!
Jervis Bay, NSW
Said to have the whitest sand in the world combined with crystal clear turquoise waters and an endless array of native Australian wildlife, it’s no wonder the resident dolphins of Jervis Bay have set up shop here!
Remember, you’ll find Thrifty car hire locations all over Australia, so you’re never too far from your next adventure. The hard part will be deciding which awesome destination to see first!