With beautiful beaches, natural harbors, wondrously exotic wildlife and an utterly vast outback, Australia is a far-away destination that tantalizes honeymooners with the unknown. The sixth largest nation in the world – the only to make up an entire continent – Australia is dense, diverse, and begging to be discovered.
Couples that take the journey down-under for their honeymoon are in for a completely unique experience (save for the relief that English is the spoken language). From the infectiously laid-back atmosphere set by lively locals to exhilarating outdoor adventures across varied landscapes, a honeymoon in Australia will fire your spirits for years to come.
Given its massive size, planning a trip to Australia can be a bit overwhelming. Think about traveling to the U.S. as a first-time visitor – where would you start? No worries, mate – Australia has several must-see destinations that can help steer your itinerary in the right direction.
Sydney, the nation’s capital, is home to Australia’s most recognizable landmark: the Sydney Opera House. The building sits on Sydney Harbour, which is one of the world's largest natural harbours, perfect for long strolls to soak in the city’s views. Sydney is built of multiple neighborhoods, many of which feature coastline and incredible beaches. Bondi Beach has made a global name for itself and is a great first foray into the Australian beach culture. After a day of sun, surf, and sand, some of the finest hotels and restaurants in the nation make Sydney a comfortable place to recoup from lingering jetlag. The nearby Blue Mountains and Hunter Valley (perfect for wine-lovers) are great for quick getaways without the need to hop back on a plane.
Melbourne is quite different from its rival city to the east. Though it also sits along the coast, Melbourne is much less influenced by the beach. Instead, its cobbled alleyways, thriving cafe scene, and countless famed restaurants make Melbourne feel more like a European city. No wonder it's so often regarded as one of the world's most livable destinations. Pack your visit with rooftop views, basement jazz shows, and a picnic in the Royal Botanic Gardens to enjoy Melbourne at its most magical.
Byron Bay has historical roots tied to hippie culture, and its grown-up self is still proud of its laidback mannerisms. This quirky beach town encompasses Australia's easternmost point, and is not so coincidentally one of the most picturesque places to catch an early morning sunrise. Head to Cape Byron lighthouse to watch the natural show, and keep an eye for humpback whales, especially in Aussie winter. Scattered with luxury resorts and private beach shacks, Byron Bay is one of the most popular beach destinations in the country. Dense rainforest and colorful dunes also make it a haven for adventurous couples.
Queensland in the country’s northeast is flanked by famous surfing beaches along the Sunshine and Gold Coasts. Most notably, the waters off of Queensland's shores host the Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest living organism. Honeymooners should strongly consider the Whitsunday Islands in the heart of the reef to enjoy turquoise waters, gentle breezes, and powdery sands. Comprising 74 islands – only 8 of which are inhabited – the Whitsundays are exclusive, romantic, and idyllic for a honeymoon. Moving inland from Cairns, the Daintree Rainforest is the world's oldest tropical rainforest. Visitors can explore the forest's mountains, streams, waterfalls, flora and fauna via hiking trips, river cruises, or even zip-line adventures.
Adelaide is the cosmopolitan, coastal capital city of South Australia. Once a sleepy city, it’s emerged as one of the most artistic and eclectic cities in all of Australia. Slip into the local lifestyle by visiting hidden bars down scenic back alley streets, sampling local produce from 80+ vendors at Central Market, or getting wild and crazy during one of Adelaide’s many festivals. Celebratory acts span Aussie's summer months with performances of music, art, dance, cabaret, comedy, and more. Hop a 30-minute flight off the coast to Kangaroo Island, Australia’s natural zoo, where you can get up close and personal with kangaroos, koalas, seals, black swans, pelicans, and penguins.
Tasmania, off the southern coast of mainland Australia, is teeming with undiscovered frontier. Australia's largest island is easily accessible via a 45-minute flight from Melbourne, yet its abundance of different wildlife and diverse terrain make it feels worlds apart. This is a true getaway island filled with rainforest trails, safari tours, and utter serenity in the surroundings of nature. Spend a night in the lively capital city of Hobart before venturing out into a more secluded retreat. Be sure to capture the island's blooming tulips and rolling lavender fields for a perfect honeymoon photo.
Uluru, sometimes called Ayers Rock, is the heart of the vast Australian outback. It's a rust-red island mountain which juxtaposes against the dusty flatlands around it, and has been a site of worship for over 10,000 years. The UNESCO World Heritage site stands tall inside Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, which itself is a living cultural landscape. A proper visit will require considerable time and planning, but visitors that do make the trek will be rewarded with life-changing scenery, spiritual adventure, and an overall one-of-a-kind Aussie experience.
Given its location in the Southern Hemisphere, Australia's seasons are the inverse of North America’s. Summer spans from December through March, and winter is typically June through August. High season is during Aussie winter, when temperatures are warm enough to enjoy a beach holiday, but cool enough (with daily averages between 66°F and 88°F) to hike and explore the outdoors. Summers can be hot, humid, and wet (especially in the north), but Australia is large enough to find comfort even during these otherwise brutal months (head south for cooler temps).
Consider the spring months of September and October for an ideal honeymoon visit. You’ll have reliably hot weather to spread out on the sands, less competition among locals relative to hotel and airfare rates (Aussies travel a bunch during winter), and temperatures are still mild enough to journey inland for an outback adventure.
It's no secret that Australia is far from home. The world's largest island is a minimum 14-hour direct flight away from the United States. Sydney (SYD) and Melbourne (MEL) are the two most frequently serviced airports, with direct flights and plentiful options for connections all across the globe. Domestic airfare is the easiest way to traverse the country after you've arrived, especially if you're planning to city-hop. Australia is vast, and sky travel is essential to experience as much of it as possible.
A network of well-maintained roads connects cities all across the country if you like the idea of a road trip (and trying your hand at driving on the opposite side of the road). Likewise, railway routes span the continent and offer intimate views of Australia’s scenery via train trip.
Drive the Great Ocean Road – Every country deserves a great road trip, and Australia's aptly named Great Ocean Road delivers one of the world's best. Dramatic coastal views, beachside villages, and an abundance of nature and wildlife span the 150-mile stretch along the southwest corner of Victoria. You can swim with dolphins, get to know fur seals, and spot kangaroos and koalas on guided nature walks. Scenic vistas (like the 12 Apostles craggy limestone formations), swimmable shores (like Loch Ard Gorge), and quaint towns (Lorne is a standout) offer enough to fill a week-long itinerary, although the drive is excellent as an overnighter. Rent your car in Melbourne, just 90 minutes from the road’s official start point.
Explore the Great Barrier Reef – The crown jewel of Australia is its 1430-mile coral reef system – the world's largest. Visible from outer space, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven wonders of the natural world, and an essential site to visit during your honeymoon. Swim, snorkel, dive or sail into the waters of this colorful masterpiece to experience its breathtakingly vast and diverse marine life. Book a catamaran cruise with daily departures from Cairns for easy access, or island-hop the idyllic Whitsunday islands for an elongated stay. Soar over it all in a private seaplane to rev up the romance, or sleep on the reef with a 3-day/2-night scuba tour.
A Rail Journey Across the Country – Tap into your adventurous spirit and traverse the terrains of the world's largest island via legendary train trip. Journey Beyond is far from an ordinary commuter train – the luxury operator is more of an upscale cruise on wheels. Meals, drinks, off-train guided excursions, and the beauty and bounty of the Australian landscape are just some of the features you can expect from a romantic journey on the rails. Several transcontinental trips are available. Consider the Indian Pacific, which whisks passengers from Sydney to Adelaide and onto Perth over four memorable days and three cozy nights.
Find Your Beach – The beach holds a special place in Australian culture. The world's largest island is surrounded by urban beaches, secret bays, surf shores, white sands, and even a 75-mile beach – there are over 12,000 in total. You can people-watch on Bondi Beach in Sydney or remark at the impossibly white sands of Whitehaven Beach in the Great Barrier Reef.
Find serenity in the coastal cove of Wineglass Bay on Tasmania or catch supremely gnarly waves (or watch the pros) at Bells Beach just outside of Melbourne. You're sure to find the perfect spot to soak up some Australian sun and dunk in for a refreshing swim. Guide your own itinerary to sample some of the world’s finest shores, or book a tour to visit multiple beaches in seamless fashion.
Experience the Outback – Australia’s outback spans nearly three million square miles and covers most of the continent, yet less than 10% of Australians live here. A harsh landscape and obvious lack of infrastructure keep the outback region remote, yet countless natural wonders can be found across the mystical landscape. Discovering the outback is one of the most fulfilling and authentic ways to experience Australia. Visitors can sleep in underground caves, swim in natural water holes, dine in five-star fashion on a desert dune, and canoe through a billion-year-old gorge.
Quay – Fresh from a $4 million renovation, this harbourside restaurant in Sydney has repeatedly been heralded as Australia’s finest. The very best in service and presentation unite with stunning views of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge to create the capital city’s most prided dining experience. Tailored six-course and ten-course tasting menus keep the evening simple and showcase only the kitchen’s most proud creations. Reserve well in advance.
Attica – Attica in Melbourne is modern fine-dining at its very best. The music is eclectic, no dress code is enforced, and the ambiance is welcome and unpretentious – eating with your hands is often encouraged. Ingredients are proudly indigenous, with everything from kangaroo to bunya pine nuts and even a fresh take on vegemite appearing on the restaurant’s fixed tasting menu. You’ll eat supremely well, chat with fellow diners, and learn about the land's bounty over the course of a 3-5 hour unforgettable dinner.
Manuka Woodfire Kitchen – This casual, intimate restaurant in Perth serves inspired shared plates and gourmet pizzas with ingredients sourced from the abundance of West Australian produce. True to its name, everything is cooked from the flames of a soulful wood fire. From hot olives to beef pizzas and deconstructed cheesecake, the food is well worth traveling for.
The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery – In 2008, the Agrarian Kitchen was founded as a cooking school and farm in the town of New Norfolk on Tasmania. The aim was to connect back to the earth – to grow and cook authentic food with real ingredients, and to share that passion and knowledge with world travelers. After nearly a decade of success, the Agrarian Kitchen expanded to include the Eatery just next door. Built on a menu of fresh ingredients – sourced from a community of foragers, farmers, and fishermen – and with friendly, diner-oriented service, the Agrarian Kitchen Eatery delivers a real sense of place and purpose through each of its dinner services.
Spirit of the Red Sand – This one-of-a-kind outdoor theatre and dining experience brings Aboriginal tales to life in dramatic fashion. The three-course dinner is a hearty representation of Australian barbecue at its best, though the live performance is undoubtedly the standout of this interactive dining experience. Viewers will gain insight into the history, culture, and vibrancy of Australia’s Aboriginal people through indigenous song, dance, and storytelling. It’s honest, entertaining, and enlightening – a great way to foray into the history of a people and place.
Park Hyatt – Sydney's premier hotel offers unparalleled views of the famed Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Its prime location facilitates the experience you’ve likely imagined (and deserve) when visiting Australia’s capital city. Rooms are contemporary in design, outfitted with floor-to-ceiling windows to let Sydney in, and feature private balconies which are tough to peel away from. Up on the roof, a year-round swimming pool provides sweeping views over Sydney Harbour. Just outside the lobby door, the vibrant Rocks neighborhood beckons with cobbled back-alleys, bustling cafés, art galleries, museums, and designer shops.
Longitude 131 – This is unequivocally the very best place to experience the outback on your honeymoon. Situated on the rust-red sands of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, this desert basecamp offers a luxurious foray into the dual-listed UNESCO World Heritage Site which has become the spiritual heart of Australia. The property’s sixteen expertly-crafted pavilions provide climate control, private balconies, fireplaces, complimentary backpacks, twice-daily housekeeping, and plenty more. Rates are all-inclusive of three gourmet meals, unlimited beverages, and multiple guided expeditions which aim to reveal some of the mysteries of Earth's oldest living civilization, the Australian Aboriginals.
United Places Botanic Gardens – This stylish, all-suite “home hotel” is the way to visit Melbourne and feel like a local – a very affluent, seductively discreet, and design-gifted local. Despite the lack of a lobby or common spaces, service is hyper-personal, with an experienced butler greeting you on arrival.
Each of the 12 rooms is near triple the size of a typical hotel accommodation, and come complete with deep soaking tubs and massive balconies which overlook the beautiful Botanic Gardens and scenic neighborhood of South Yarra. Befriend your on-call butler, who will serve as your personal tour guide. They’ll supply the scoop on under-the-radar hotspots for nightlife and entertainment and can happily arrange everything from restaurant reservations to yoga classes, spa sessions, and beyond.
Saffire Freycinet – Get to know Tasmania’s East Coast from the comforts of Australia’s chicest luxury lodge. Romance, adventure, food and wine, pure relaxation or a mixture of them all await amidst the lush natural setting inside Freycinet National Park. 20 private suites sprawl across the lodge's grounds which overlook beautiful Wineglass Bay. A full day spa and globally-recognized in-house restaurant, Palate, round out the offerings. Service is highly personalized, with tailor-made itineraries including everything from wine tastings and archery lessons to educational visits with the property’s on-site Tasmanian devils.
Elements of Byron – For beachfront, barefoot luxury, Elements of Byron is king of the Bay. Surrounded by stunning nature, guests stay in lavish eco-cabins and have instant access to beautiful Belongil Beach and 50 preserved acres of bushland, wetland and sand dunes to play in. Forest trails, a horse ranch, lagoon pool, electric bikes, and a slew of sport activities – from giant chess to tennis courts – will keep you plenty busy. A range of mind-body yoga, pilates, and meditation classes will bring your honeymoon back into balance, and a tempting on-site spa awaits for a soothing treat.
Qualia – This 5-star adults-only resort in the Whitsunday Islands is the ultimate way to take in the remarkable beauty of the Great Barrier Reef. Its place on Hamilton Island – the largest and most idyllic of the Whitsundays – is divine, and puts the beauty of the beach front and center.
Two large swimming pools, invigorating spa treatments, and multiple fine dining restaurants are available exclusively to guests of the property. Each of the 60 individual pavilions is indulgent, nestled naturally within the environment, and feature postcard views of the ocean or tropical bush. VIP chauffeur service is available to show you around the island, while you’ll also have access to your own personal electric golf cart to explore at your leisure.