Explore Our Own Backyard

Explore our Own Backyard
Palm Valley, Northern Territory

Travel in our own backyard is amazing and endless. We’ve done the hard yards of the COVID chaos;  cooped up and locked down, all the while only dreaming of our next holiday. Now with the horizons of travel close to return, even if we can’t leave our shores anytime soon, there’s more than enough waiting to be explored in our own backyard. 

With a land almost 7.7 million square kilometres, while we wait for the reopening of our international borders, there’s no better time to start planning to explore our own backyard. Here’s some solo travel highlights to get you started.

VAST TROPICAL WATERS AND ISLANDS

The Whitsundays, a massive area of Queensland’s north boasting 74 islands.  Most islands are uninhabited and then there’s the others set up for stays. Options like the five star Hayman Island resort, Hamilton Island with a variety of options and then Daydream, recently reopened after a major redevelopment and many years of hibernation because a tropical cyclone had damaged much of the resort. For a short break, Daydream is ideally positioned and offers the best of a four stay resort stay  It’s just a short fast ferry ride from Hamilton Island Airport, or otherwise the mainland if joining from Airlie Beach.

Daydream Island Singles Holiday

For a short break, Daydream is ideally positioned and offers the best of a four stay resort stay  It’s just a short fast ferry ride from Hamilton Island Airport, or otherwise the mainland if joining from Airlie Beach. 

Take a break, we’ve got Daydream Island coming up. Find out about our 4 night escape.

OUR CONVICT PAST

We may stack up as a young country with a short history but we don’t have to visit other countries to seek out fascinating tales and history. The convict stories are a part of who we are and it’s fascinating to reveal more of this this history when visiting places like Port Arthur, Tasmania or Norfolk Island, now governed by Australia.

The convict times of Australia date back to the British First Fleet of 1788 but did you know we have convict tales right through to 1868?

Norfolk Island Solo Travel Tour

On tour, Treasures of Norfolk Island at the Kingston site

In Tasmania, Port Arthur, features as a later penal settlement, starting in 1830. A World Heritage Listed site situated in a beautiful location but with such a tragic history.  It wasn’t the only site on the island, and visiting Tasmania’s West gives you the opportunity to cruise up the Gordon River to Sarah Island, leaving from the small village of Strahan on Tasmania’s West Coast.

And, another island with strong convict ties is the lesser visited, but very unique Norfolk Island. Just a few hours from the East Coast of Australia (2.5 hours from Sydney or a bit over 2 hours from Brisbane) is the small but intriguing Norfolk Island, rich in a convict history and notorious for the unimaginable conditions of its inmates. The old penal settlement is at Kingston by the water. It’s easy to pass a day of touring the settlement and the cemetery and hearing the tales of the past.

These island visits not only offer a window in the history of our convicts but so many other distractions. Choose from Tassie’s EastTasmanian Highlights or Treasures of Norfolk Island Tour.

OUR SOUTHERN ISLAND WONDER

Kangaroo Island,  an iconic island not far off the coast from South Australia is defined by so many different things to see and do. There’s the Remarkables, the landmark rock formation superbly positioned with a view out to the ocean formed over 500 million years.  Having visited Uluru in our Red Centre, I never thought any other rock formation could impress as much. However, the Remarkables, so aptly named did just that. They are breathtaking and captivating. 

Kangaroo Island Solo Travel Tour

On Tour, Kangaroo Island with Barossa Valley, at The Remarkables

Then there’s Kelly Caves, an underground world of beautiful caves.  Or for wildlife enthusiasts, there’s Seal Bay and the home of long-nosed fur seals at Admirals Arch, in Flinders Chase National Park, and of course, the park boasts the location of the island’s famous lighthouse. There’s so much more. Check out what more there is to discover when you visit us on our Kangaroo Island with Barossa Valley tour.

From time to time, we host a walking group too.


THE ICON OF OUR RED CENTRE

Uluru.  It’s massive, and until you see it for yourself it’s hard to fathom. Flying in or out from Ayers Rock,  it’s easily spotted from the sky as it dominates the otherwise flat terrain.  

Red Centre Solo Travel Tour

This site, sacred to our First Nation’s people is a site to behold. A visit also lends itself to learning more of the indigenous history of the land and a landscape so vastly different from our shores and cities.

Our Red Centre Discovery solo travel tour starts in Alice Springs and ends at Ayers Rock and includes a 4WD day out to Palm Valley.

There’s lots of amazing visits in the Northern Territory.  A more recent addition to the any visitors itinerary is the Field of Lights. A very clever light installation amazing to see by night or just before sunrise. Or maybe the Top End is more in your sights and wanting to check out Kakadu. You can join our fully guided small group adventure leaving from Darwin uncovering the Kakadu highlights.

SPECTACULAR WATER VIEWS

The Gordon River, a grand and marvellous waterway but perhaps lesser known maybe due to its more remote location, reached from Strahan on the West Coast of Tasmania.  Strahan is a quaint village, on the edge of wilderness and about 4.5 hours from Hobart. It is a must visit destination if touring from Hobart along the western side of the Apple isle. The main tourist attractions are the cruises along this river, passing along pristine wilderness rainforest areas, and also reaching Sarah Island, a past penal settlement of Tasmania. Strahan is the ideal overnight stop between Hobart in the South and Cradle Mountain nearer the north of the Island.  While visiting, don’t miss the opportunity to see the local theatre production ‘The Ship That Never Was’. Just 1 hour 15 minutes duration, telling part of the convict history of the land.

Want to cruise the Gordon River? Join our Tasmanian Highlights solo travel tour.

Another stunning Tasmanian destination, and a picture perfect postcard snap is Wineglass Bay, located at Freycinet National Park, on Tasmania’s east coast.

Tasmania East Solo Travel Tour

Wineglass Bay is a destination for visitors of every kind; take a hike in the park, stroll along the beach or take a cruise and see all the beauty of this spectacular coastline from a cruise boat. 

Sound good? Join our latest edition to our Australian touring for solos, Tassie’s East.

THE SANDIEST BEACH ISLAND

Fraser Island, even though easily reached with flights into Hervey or a day trip from top beach spots like Noosa, there’s still lots of Aussies that are missing this treat. Love the great outdoors – this should be your next adventure? Get to the know the island with hikes, or cover off more distance with 4WD adventures to iconic island highlights. Some of the best known sites include Lake McKenzie, lined with pure white sand, and filled with crystal clear rainwater.

Fraser Island Solo Travel Tour

Then there’s the postcard scene – The Maheno shipwreck, on the shores of the island. There’s endless adventures and accommodation from camping to hotels.  And if you’re up for Whale Watching flag the months July to November when there’s the chance to spot them from the shore or book a whale watching cruise.

For our solo traveller I’m a fan of Kingfisher Bay Resort, a pretty native bushland setting but with the creature comforts of a three star resort stay.  Are you the exploring type? Check out Fraser Island Walk, which also includes a 4WD adventure.  

It’s impossible to visit everywhere but we can start somewhere. Check out what’s coming up with our small group solo travel tours across Australia.

 

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https://www.encountertravel.com.au/about-us/solo-travel-awards/

Check out our Solos Only Tour Groups
For a full list of small group tours.

Solo Traveller Dining Events
Check out our events in Sydney and then from time to time, other cities in Australia including Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

Getting Started For The First Time?
Check out my book, How To Travel Solo But Not Alone

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About the author

Justine Waddington

Justine Waddington is the founder and director of Encounter Travel, a company that creates holiday groups exclusively for solo travellers. As a solo traveller with 60 countries under her belt and 14 years of leading travel groups, Justine is in the unique position of being able to offer tips and advice from the perspective of an experienced solo traveller and also that of a travel agent.

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Since 2006

We've already racked up 13 years of experience creating and delivering the best ever holidays for solo travellers. As a boutique tour operator, we delight in detail, delivering personal service and finding your next best memory.