Before rugging up against the chill of winter and hunkering down to your home-base, there’s still time to get out to enjoy the last of the warm days in autumn as nature is at its brilliant, colourful best. There is plenty to see when the temperature drops and our list below will certainly keep you wishing it was autumn all year round.
Find yourself amongst thousands of providence petrels and hold them in your hands on Lord Howe Island
Lord Howe Island, a crescent-shaped speck in the Tasman Sea that is officially part of NSW, is a year-round stunner – but there’s a compelling reason to visit this island paradise in autumn. This is the time of year when tens of thousands of Providence petrels arrive for their winter breeding season. That might not sound all that exciting – until you learn about their unusual interaction with people. Climb Mount Gower, one of the twin peaks that dominate the southern end of the sub-tropical island, and your guide will “call down” the petrels from the sky. After they crash to the ground, you can simply pick up one of the wild birds, cradle it in your hand, feel its tiny heart beating and only marvel at nature’s mysterious ways.
In autumn, the island’s waters are also still warm. Swim with green turtles off Old Settlement Beach, snorkel over the lagoon’s coral gardens, keeping an eye out for an elusive painted crayfish, or head on over to Neds Beach on the island’s wild western side to handfeed metre-long kingfish, pretty green-blocked wrasse and sand mullet that swarm around your ankles. Rent a kayak to paddle out to Blackburn Island within the lagoon to find fuzzy shearwater chicks nuzzled among the roots of a giant banyan tree. Visit out of school holidays and you’ll find the island’s teenagers are nowhere to be found – they’re at high school on the mainland.
Enjoy the Kimberley and go on a camel ride with a backdrop of blue sky, low humidity and little rain
Autumn is also the start of the tourist season in the Kimberley – it’s when the wet season fades away, leaving nothing but relentlessly blue skies and low humidity. Ride a camel along Cable Beach in Broome or simply watch the camel train lope towards home at sunset while sipping a cocktail at Cable Beach Club’s perfectly positioned bar. While in Broome, catch a movie at the atmospheric open-air cinema, Sun Pictures, that’s in the centre of town.
For somehwere to stay in the Kimberley, El Questro is in the east Kimberley, 110 kilometres from Kununurra. The property’s accommodation ranges from camping sites through to the ritzy homestead, where some rooms feature outdoor bathtubs overlooking the Chamberlain River and great swathes of Kimberley bushland. Whatever you do, don’t miss the chance to spend a few hours soaking in the thermally warmed waters of Zebedee Springs – a palm-fringed oasis that is one of Australia’s most stunning natural waterholes.
The best time to visit the desert is in autumn
Autumn is a perfect time of year to visit the desert – the days aren’t too hot and the nights aren’t too chilly. Stay at Ayers Rock Resort at the end of May and you could find yourself cheering on the galloping dromedaries competing at the annual Uluru Camel Cup. This year, the race is scheduled for May 29-30 at the Uluru Camel Farm near the resort. Dress to impress (or amuse) for the fashions on the field competition, browse the outback markets or quench your thirst with a few cold ones at the race-day bar. The resort also hosts the Tjungu Festival – a celebration of indigenous culture that includes music, cooking and fashion – from April 23-26.
West of Alice Springs is the 223-kilometre Larapinta Trail, a rugged hiking trail that leads trekkers to spectacular natural features such as Standley Chasm and Ormiston Gorge. No one recommends tackling the trail during the searing heat of summer: this is one adventure best kept for the cooler months. The quirky opal town of Coober Pedy, in outback South Australia, is also unbearably hot in summer. If you’ve always want to see the underground homes, church and hotel that the town is justifiably famous for, plan your adventure for a cooler time of year such as autumn.
Tasmania shows its true colours with a rainbow of leaves changing colours
Visit Tasmania before the first snow flurries of the season arrive. Stay at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as wombats, wallabies, quolls and Tasmanian devils. There’s also a tradition in Tasmania known as “the turning of the fagus”. The fagus tree, a deciduous beech, puts on a brilliant show of colour starting from late April to early May, with leaves turning rust red through to brilliant gold. Cradle Mountain National Park, in the state’s north-west, and Mount Field National Park, near Hobart, are considered prime viewing areas for this spectacular colour burst.
The Blue Mountains is an all year favourite but locals love it most in autumn
The Blue Mountains also puts on brilliant autumn displays at its higher elevations. It’s a pleasure driving around the tree-lined streets of Leura and Katoomba as the leaves start to turn. Garden enthusiasts can spend a day exploring Leura’s Everglades – a spectacular 1930s-era heritage garden designed by Danish-born landscape architect Paul Sorensen.
More tips for travelling in autumn for less:
- We’ve shared some brilliant secrets with 7 Great Ways to Travel Smarter on Scoopon Life Blog, you can also read up Awesome Travel Apps That Will Save Your Trip From Disaster.
- Look for travel deals to great locations that will save you money on getting to some picturesque locations for any budget.
Summer may have come and gone but when it comes to affordability and temperature, travelling in Autumn sure has its perks. Shoulder seasons are the best time to travel.
Do you have any Autumn vacations planned? Let us know in the comments about your go-to hot spot!