It’s easy to get swept up in the wanderlust of far-flung exotic destinations, but some of the world’s best holidays can actually be found right here in Australia.

“Both Adelaide and Port Douglas offer so many wonderful experiences, from unchanged natural wilderness to up-to-the-minute entertainment trends and are both luxury escapes,” – Shane Jolley, Luxury Escapes TV show presenter.

Port Douglas

Some holiday destinations just sell themselves and tropical Port Douglas is no exception, with its palm-studded beaches, untouched rainforest, tropical climate and of course, the sunning great barrier reef. Located in Far North Queensland, Port Douglas is a luxury travellers’ paradise and one of the world’s best holidays.

“Far North Queensland is a hive for travellers from all over the world seeking sun, sand and scenery…and is so favoured that the population doubles over the summer months,” explained Shane.

Apart from its laid-back atmosphere, Far North Queensland is the gateway to the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest, we recommend taking to the skies on a helicopter tour to experience the best of this beautiful area.

From the sky, you’re bound to see quite a few rays, turtles, the odd Dugong and particularly in the winter months you’ll see crocodiles out enjoying the afternoon sun.

As well as getting above the water, it’s a must in Port Douglas to get on it and the best way to do that is with a sunset cruise on a luxury catamaran.

Palm Cove

Palm Cove is a sleepy village by the sea which is home to fantastic beaches and world-class resorts.

We visited Peppers Palm Cove and caught up with head chef Thomas Ege to learn more about their multi-cultural cuisine and cooking techniques before heading to the resort spa to indulge in some local treatments.

“The indulgence at Pepper’s Palm Cove doesn’t end at their dining experiences. Pepper’s offers guests a fabulous spa treatment that utilises the surrounding rainforest for inspiration,” said Shane.

The Daintree Rainforest Ritual is the signature treatment and uses native salts, clay, ochres and other ingredients native to the area to take guests on a sensory experience.

Image by MookMook Photography

Adelaide

Adelaide is known as the 20-minute city because its picturesque CBD is only a stone’s throw  (or 20 minutes) away from scenic drives through to world-class food and wine precincts as well as dynamic arts and entertainment opportunities.

The city is home to one of the oldest glasshouses in the Southern Hemisphere and is located in Adelaide’s Botanic Gardens. The gardens are one of Adelaide’s showpiece attractions and we spoke with architect Guy Maron to learn more about the unique designs.

“The gardens attract around one million visitors per year, making it the greatest attraction in Adelaide and South Australia,” explains Maron from the award-wining Bicentennial Conservatory. “One of the requirements of an eco-system of forest is to be able to grow trees that are 20 meters tall. This building is the biggest assembly of glass ever lifted anywhere in the world,” Maron said as the pair gazed at the spectacular glass ceiling structure.

A short drive from the CBD takes you to Adelaide’s world-renowned wineries including the family-run d’Arenburg Winery.

“The oldest vines in the world of Shiraz and Chardonnay are in Australia and there is a really unique character you get in South Australian wines that people see a thirst for and keep coming back for,” says Chester Osborn from d’Arenburg Winery. The cellar door experience has become hugely popular in Australia and d’Argenburg Winery offers visitors a premium food and wine experience.

Adelaide’s emerging small bar scene has also produced some great venues and including Mr Goodbar – a bar that promises contemporary décor with classic cocktails. The bar staff know the art of cocktails from inside and out and are happy to share their knowledge with patrons.

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