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By Will Grice | March 22 2018
Uncover Australia’s extraordinary coastal destinations and the most memorable experiences possible while staying in Australia’s ultra-luxurious lodges.
Swim with Whale Sharks and Humpback Whales
The beach-side safari camp Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef lies on a remote stretch of Western Australia’s Indian Ocean coast. With its 16 wilderness tents positioned between the Cape Range National Park and beach dunes, staying here provides the ultimate beach and bush experience. Perhaps the biggest draw is the opportunity to snorkel with humpback whales while also looking out for manta rays, turtles, dolphins and dugongs. 30,000 humpback whales migrate along the world’s largest fringing coral reef in the Ningaloo Marine Park from June to November. From April to July, guests can also swim with gentle whale sharks as they pass through Ningaloo Reef.
Explore Tasmania’s Wildlife-Rich Islands
Situated 149 miles south of the mainland, Tasmania is particularly pristine with around 42 percent of land falling within the protection of natural parks and World Heritage sites. While much of this protected land is on the main island, Tasmania also encompasses 334 small islands. Among these is wildlife-rich Schouten Island, which you can venture to by boat from the 20-suite luxury lodge Saffire Freycinet on the waterfront of Freycinet National Park. Get up close to seabirds and marine mammals such as the Australian fur seal, while gaining insight into the island’s culturally significant sites, before returning to the lodge for gourmet cuisine that makes the most of the lodge’s home-grown produce.
Walk among Sea Lions on Kangaroo Island
Known as the Galapagos of Australia, Kangaroo Island is full of native wildlife and great natural beauty. Spanning almost 1,737 square miles, the island is Australia’s third largest and more than one third of it is protected. Here you can encounter a diversity of wildlife species including fur seals, koalas, kangaroos, ospreys and Australian sea lions. While staying at the modern luxury hotel, Southern Ocean Lodge, guests can set out on a sunrise excursion to Seal Bay Conservation Park, home to the third largest colony of sea lions in Australia. Private access to the bay is guaranteed as you observe the sea lions in their natural habitat while walking among them.
Explore Dive Sites on the Great Barrier Reef
While the majesty of the Great Barrier Reef alone is enough to entice people from across the globe, the experience people have here is elevated by discerning which dive sites to explore. Lizard Island’s exclusive position within the Great Barrier Reef means dive sites on the inner and outer reef are within easy reach. At the world-famous Cod Hole, you can interact with potato cod, reef sharks, and schooling sweetlips. At Big Softy, see manta rays along with an abundance of tropical fish. The private island resort’s dive boat MV Serranidae operates half- and full-day excursions taking all levels of diving expertise into consideration.
Sail around the Whitsunday Islands
The luxury resort Qualia sits on the northern tip of Hamilton Island within the Whitsunday Islands and on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. The resorts island locations makes it the ideal base for sailing around the famously idyllic Whitsunday Islands and to the powdery, white sands of Whitehaven Beach. Charter a yacht or relax on-board Qualia’s 45-foot luxury cruiser Atomic to reach the Great Barrier Reef or snorkel from the islands’ secluded beaches and bays.
Snorkel over Caves and Volcanic Drop-offs
Lord Howe Island lies within the Tasman Sea to the east of Port Macquarie in New South Wales and is Unesco World Heritage-listed for its pristine environment of volcanic peaks, rainforest, coastline and lagoons. This tiny island is also home to Capella Lodge, which is the epitome of relaxed beachfront-chic. Here you unplug (there is no cell service) and enjoy the spectacular views of the mountains and sea. From here, guests can snorkel and dive on the southernmost coral reef in the world and over extraordinary underwater topography of caves and volcanic drop-offs.