Australians are spoilt for choice when it comes to local holiday destinations and when that hot weather rolls in everyone is looking for a beachside stop to sink their teeth into.
And don’t get me wrong, I’ve chosen Byron Bay and the Gold Coast countless times when I’m trying to build a low-fuss, close-by vacation itinerary.
But the more popular these northern destinations become the more I’m growing weary of back-to-back traffic trying to enter a small town, struggling to find a patch of sand that doesn’t already have a CoolCabana stationed on it and paying $50 for a basic harbourside meal.
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Which is why I’m here to implore you to consider heading south for your next trip — particularly if it falls in the school holidays or during warmer weather spells — to avoid the crowds and zen out on some of the most picturesque sandbanks I’ve ever seen.
And no I don’t mean south to the Mornington Peninsula, I mean all the way south to Tasmania.
I recently visited the “come-down-for-air” portion of Australia (how good is that Tourism Tasmania catchcry?) for an extended weekend that started in Hobart before traipsing up the east coast to the Bay of Fires.
I live on Sydney’s Bondi Beach — arguably the most famous stretch of sand in Australia — so it takes a lot for me to be wowed by different waterways but the Bay of Fires takes the cake when it comes to crystal clear water and tranquility.
I stayed in two separate Booking.com homes during my stay, one in Hobart and the other in Binalong Bay on the Bay of Fires coast, and I couldn’t have been closer to the action.
Interestingly, the travel booking company found that holiday seekers like myself are quite picky when it comes to how they like to stay when on vacation, and the added “bonuses” go quite a long way when it comes to how many bookings you’ll get.
According to Booking.com’s Holiday Home Outlook Report, the top type of property Australian holiday seekers are looking for this summer is the traditional Aussie beach house (55 per cent) with country cottages and cosy cabins tying as the second most-desired property (35 per cent).
In Hobart, we stayed in 55 Davey Townhouse in the centre of the city to make it easy to get around the major shopping and cafe destinations fast, while we opted for Kingfisher Cottage right on the water in Binalong Bay. So this rings true.
As per the report, two in five (40 per cent) of Aussies said that a home with beach access was the number one factor in what makes a holiday home Australian.
The top five factors for Australians were beach access (40 per cent), having a BBQ (21 per cent), being close to the bush (15 per cent), having a pool (11 per cent) and a sprawling backyard (eight per cent).
Booking.com arguably has more versatility and was simpler to book this trip than any other travel platform on offer, with plenty of ways to choose sustainable living stays too.
Booking.com’s Sustainable Travel Report from 2023 found 64 per cent of Australian travellers say they want to travel more sustainably over the coming 12 months, while 77 per cent say the global energy crisis and rising cost of living is impacting their spending plans.
At a time of general global uncertainty, travelling more sustainably continues to befront of mind, with a clear majority of Australians (72 per cent) believing people need to act now and make more sustainable choices for future generations.
A further 42 per cent agree that recent climate change issues have encouraged them to be more sustainable.
Whether you land in Hobart or Launceston, the flights to Tasmania are remarkably inexpensive, even during the summer months, and because the airports are fairly small it’s a seamless transition from plane seat to baggage claim.
I did pack a checked bag for our four-day trip mainly because the weather in Tasmania cools off in the evening — unlike Sydney which will see me sweating inside at 10pm.
I do also recommend booking a car so you can explore the neighbouring towns and incredible national parks.
Avis were incredibly easy to work with at the airport and had us in a Toyota Kluger Hybrid in less than five minutes flat.
Make sure you check out Bruny Island for unbelievable oysters — $2 a pop! — and local wines before heading up the coast to see the famous Wineglass Bay and Hazards Beach.
If you’re up for a hike, we did an 11km circuit around Mount Wellington, or you could check out the gorge at Douglas-Apsley National Park on your way to the Bay of Fires.
We travelled through St Helens to get to Binalong Bay on the cusp of the Bay of Fires and found it was one of the most serene beaches in the area.
Humbug Point — which is a 10 minute drive away — has lovely, calm waters ideal for younger children but if you want something truly special water-wise you can’t miss Jeanneret Beach. Trust me on this one.
We finished our trip by traversing up to Mount William National Park but the windy conditions proved difficult to lie down on the sand — so aim for a calmer day if you’re heading up there.
The water though is still 10/10.
Everything in Tasmania is so close together it’s more than possible to see a good half of the coast in just a few days, and that doesn’t even factor in the wonders of Cradle Mountain (which I’ll be returning to see).
We’re lucky the weather won’t cool down on the mainland until late April or May so if you’re looking to make the most of the balmy climes don’t look past Tasmania as an option.
And when the weather does cool down you can head south again for fireplace-enjoying, marshmallow-roasting weekends complete with the finest cheese and wine.
But don’t just take my word for it — you have to see and stay in Tasmania for yourself.
To book your trip, head to Booking.com.