If your passport has been collecting dust and the wheels of your suitcase have forgotten how to move, then we have great news to add to your itinerary. Not only is each new day taking us further out of the absolute ordeal that is 2020, but it can also be taking you closer to your next breathtaking getaway.
Imagine Holidays are now accepting bookings for their extraordinary 2021 holidays. If you thought chilling by the pool and calling it a day is the best a vacation can offer, think again. From luxury trains snaking through stunning outback landscapes, to sailing on azure waters by lush and uninhabited islands, these are the adventures you need to experience to believe.
Australian borders closed? That’s no biggie at all, because these incredible trips will not only provide a much-deserved escape – they’ll have you feeling like you’re in a completely new world.
If the sweet songs of river birds and rugged coastlines neighbouring crystal-clear waters is your kind of vibe, then this is the breathtaking holiday for you. Part one will see you exploring the cultural hub that is Adelaide, before sipping and feasting on the Barossa Valley’s finest wines and flavours. There’s also a pit stop in Germany through the lush landscapes of Adelaide Hills to Hahndorf – Adelaide’s oldest and charming German settlement.
Next, it’s a hop, skip and a jump on the ferry to Kangaroo Island, where you’ll be greeted by wonders and wildlife thriving in their natural habitat. Scenic guided strolls will wander by lazing Australian sea lions, cuddly koalas, lavender fields and kangaroos waiting to be handfed. Once you’re finished sampling homemade honey ice cream at Clifford’s Honey Farm and soaking in uninterrupted views of the sapphire blue ocean, it’s time to board the PS Murray Princess – the elegant, vintage vessel cruising you through a bygone era. From exploring the Murray Bridge built in 1879 to the maze of river brimming with unique flora and fauna, you’ll complete your journey at Mannum with plenty to talk about.
From the treetops to the ocean floor, this is the very best of the Sunshine State. Climb aboard the Spirit of Queensland and embark on a relaxing overnight journey to Cairns. Outside, you’ll admire sweeping views of the lush, rural landscape, while inside offers personal in-seat entertainment and state-of-the-art facilities. The next morning, the balmy air and azure waters of Cairns will welcome you off the train to enjoy two days of tropical trips, island exploring and Balinese-inspired cuisine.
Next, you’ll be heading to the enchanting village hidden in the rainforest, Kuranda, to take the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway for a lush journey through the Barron Gorge National Park. Once you’re back in Kuranda, there’s plenty more nature to explore at the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary and Rainforestation Nature Park, before gliding back to Cairns over the treetops in the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. Of course, you didn’t think you’d leave Cairns without visiting the Great Barrier Reef, right? Sail out on a catamaran to Moore Reef and marvel at the incredible corals from a semi-submersible vessel and a glass-bottom boat. Buffet lunch and afternoon tea will be served on the deep blue, before you return aboard the Spirit of Queensland to travel home, still in awe of one of the seven wonders of the world.
All aboard! Pop down to Adelaide for gastronomic delights and a hit of culture before boarding the Ghan – no go card needed. This legendary train leaves nostalgia in its wake, as it ventures through the untouched terrains and landmarks of the Flinders Ranges. You’ll wake up to an incredible desert sunset, as the train weaves its way through the MacDonnell Ranges and the rich history of Alice Springs.
On day four, you can tick off visiting the incredible and World Heritage-listed Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park from your bucket list. Your day can easily be spent being mesmerised by the transforming colours of the sacred Uluru, before an exclusive sunset event and a deluxe hotel in the heart of the outback. The Mutitjulu people will share the mystical stories surrounding Uluru by the contrasting greenery of the Mutitjulu Waterhole, then you’ll stroll through the Walpa Gorge and its many marvels. Back on the Ghan, you’ll head further north in the comfort of your private cabin to Katherine, where you’ll cruise the jaw-dropping Nitmiluk Gorge and enjoy the company of its traditional owners – the Jawoyn people. By the early evening, you’ll be in Darwin, armed with a top-deck city pass to experience its many attractions with ease.
Who knew Australia’s most remote and untamed regions could be this luxe? This isn’t your average outback adventure – from the moment you land, you’ll see the landscape in a whole new and glorious light (literally, have you seen a Kimberley sunset?). Beginning in Broome, the choice is yours – bathe in the beauty of Cable Beach from camel-back, see dinosaur footprints at the famous Gantheaume Point, or treat yourself to a Pearling Master’s high tea. We recommend kicking back now, because the next week will take your breath away.
You’ll leave Broome flanked by 30-metre-high sheer rock faces in the Geikie Gorge to spend the night in the comfort of your lodge at Fitzroy Crossing. The following day will send you back in time through the Indigenous art and history of Hall’s Creek with the locals themselves, and visiting the world-famous Wolfe Creek Meteorite Crater – believed to be up 120,000 years old. The Argyle Diamond Mine is next, accompanied by an Indigenous guide, before cruising and mooching your way around El Questro Wilderness Park. A couple of days in Kununurra includes seeing the extraordinary beehive-shaped sandstone towers, Bungle Bungles, and the quaint celebrity tree park, where famous hands got dirty planting a tree when they visited the area. An entertaining show by the acclaimed Tom Curtain will bring you to Katherine, and then your trip will be wrapped up with a cruise through the awe-inspiring network of thirteen gorges carved from billion-year-old sandstone in Darwin.
Can’t decide whether a holiday is best spent in nature or nurture? Don’t worry, this trip has it all. Your two-week escape will begin in Broome, where the first two days are yours to enjoy. Take sunset strolls down Cable Beach, see fossils preserved in Sandstone at Gantheaume Point, or park up at Roebuck Bay to see the rare, natural optical illusion, ‘Staircase to the Moon’. Day three will have you embarking the expedition cruise ship, Silver Explorer, where adventure meets comfort, and a voyage to remember is ensured.
Sailing through the Buccaneer Archipelago Region, you’ll see the natural phenomenon, Horizontal Falls, and slivers of land scattered through the coast from around 800 islands that are mostly uninhabited. The waters will carry you to the Hunter River Region next, home to maze-like mangroves and one of the largest populations of saltwater crocodiles. Then it’s onto the King George River with its steep red-rock formations and the small 1886 settlement of Wyndham. Also, remember you’re on an all-inclusive cruise ship! Pull your gaze away from the views to try lava stone cooking at The Grill, relax in the Zagara Beauty Spa or sip a cognac in the refined Connoisseur’s Corner. After visiting the two-mile-long Matakus Island, you’ll hit the shore of Darwin for a hotel-stay and exploration of the capital’s vast history and culture.