Most of us have a list of places we want to see before we kick the bucket, so to speak. With many of those places right here in our own backyard, Australia’s Ultimate Bucket List is the perfect guide to help you tick them off your list.
Authored by Jennifer Adams and Clint Bizzell of Network Ten’s popular travel show, Places We Go, the book showcases 100 of the top destinations across the country — all complimented by amazing photography and linked to a map of Australia.
It covers every state and territory, and will show you where to swim in hidden waterfalls, walk in the footsteps of dinosaurs, gaze at ancient rock art, drive through red dirt landscapes, and ski mountaintops.
WYZA spoke to Jennifer about how and why Australia’s Ultimate Bucket List came to be.
WYZA: You’ve obviously written this book because you love travelling — especially around Australia — and you want to share that with others. What would you say to inspire people who haven’t yet seen much of our country?
Jennifer Adams: Australia is one of the biggest surprises! Clint and I travelled so much overseas up until we had [our daughter] Charli and it wasn’t until after she was born that we decided, like so many others, to explore our own backyard.
Jennifer Adams and Clint Bizzell travelled the country to find the very best destinations
It began with a four-month drive around Australia and we were quite simply blown away. One of the things we couldn’t believe was how much we had been missing. Many of us think we have to go to another country to find different and diverse culture, food, and landscapes, but you can find all of that here — and some of it, the best in the world.
We would love more people to consider, for example, a trip to the Red Centre instead of an annual resort holiday overseas. It is equally invigorating, refreshing, educational, inspiring, and rewarding — and gives you a much deeper understanding of who and what our country is.
The people you meet around Australia are truly one of the highlights. Get out of the major cities and you will find people that are so passionate about where they live, it is inspiring. Regional travel operators who work every day to bring the unique experiences of their location to life are some of the best people you will ever encounter.
WYZA: The book features 100 of the very best destinations across Australia. Was it difficult to cut the list down to 100 places or was it relatively easy to know what had to go in?
Jennifer Adams: It actually wasn’t easy at all. There was definitely a group of destinations we unanimously and vehemently agreed on — they were the “no brainers”. But it was surprising how hard it got when we were down to the last twenty or so, to pick the final destinations and stop stressing that we had forgotten or missed something that we would regret later.
We also took the public vote into consideration, and looked carefully at those destinations that kept being voted for time and time again. Not only did our fellow Aussies let us in on some fantastic secrets, they also did a lot to confirm our own feelings on places to visit.
WYZA: Do you have your own personal top ten places to visit in Australia or is that just too difficult?
Jennifer Adams: That’s very difficult! It changes all the time but we always come back to places in and around the Kimberley region of Western Australia, the Red Centre, Kakadu, the east coast of Tasmania, Cradle Mountain, Wilsons Promontory, Birdsville, the Whitsundays, outback South Australia, and the south coast of NSW. I know that’s not very specific but we love to do road trips so we always consider “regions” to be destinations.
Jennifer recommends Tasmania and Cradle Mountain in particular as a must-see!
WYZA: If someone only has a few weeks to travel around Australia, what would you say are the “must see” places that really define Australia and will leave them feeling they have seen some of the key landmarks?
Jennifer Adams: Definitely the Red Centre — including the MacDonnell Ranges, Kings Canyon, and of course, Uluru and Kata Tjuta. Not only are the landscapes breathtaking, the deep history and culture of the area leaves such a lasting impression of “Australia” on your soul.
We would also suggest visiting one of our iconic coastlines, like the Whitsundays, Far North Queensland, the northern NSW coast, or the Coral Coast of WA to experience how spectacular our beaches really are and what the typical “Aussie beach holiday” is really like.
Also, Sydney Harbour is a treat for any visitor’s eyes, and some of our alpine regions — such as the Snowy Mountains or Grampians. Australia is always considered a flat, desert landscape by overseas visitors, it is good to introduce them to some of our alpine adventures and pristine wilderness.
Can we also add Tassie to the mix? The food and wine is such a sublime showcase of what we can produce — certain to impress any visitor!
WYZA: If people have more time, how would you encourage them to use your book? Should they select the type of travel they’re after and then plan according to places which offer this experience and appeal to them?
Jennifer Adams: Our first intention is to inspire people. There are so many people out there who don’t have a defined idea of where they want to go and what they want to see and, as we all know, the internet can be a rabbit hole when you start looking.
Initially, we hope people will pick up the book, flick through the beautiful pictures, and something will catch their eye. Then there is information including personal stories and “what to do” to confirm their interest enough to keep researching that particular destination.
If people do have something in mind, we hope they can flick to that state or particular destination to read further and get some of our insights.
WYZA: You often refer to the traditional owners of the areas you’re talking about — the Indigenous people who used to live there or still do. When you were researching this book, was it important to you to learn about the Aboriginal people and their history so you could include this in your book?
Jennifer Adams: It was extremely important for us to give a truthful background to every destination including acknowledgment of the indigenous people who originally inhabited and used the land. When we were researching many of the destinations in our book, we added so much to our own knowledge of the area — some of it fascinating, some of it sad, that’s just the truth of it.
The sparse beauty of the Red Centre is another part of Australia that cannot be missed (Image credit: FiledIMAGE / Shutterstock.com)
We didn’t want to gloss over that part of our country’s history and only talk about the significance white people have created. Many of the destinations that we chose around Australia, we love for the Aboriginal culture and heritage — such as Kakadu, Mount Borradaile, and many parts of the Kimberley. These stories add so much meaning and depth to a destination, and should be acknowledged.
When we have been to these places ourselves, some of the main memories we took away with us were the indigenous stories and people we met — many traditional owners included. We think it’s important that Australian and overseas visitors acknowledge this about any destination where possible — it really does add so much more meaning to your time there and, we hope, helps to bridge the gaps.
WYZA: You often refer to the wildlife in an area. Is learning about all the diverse wildlife is one of the interesting parts of travelling to these places?
Jennifer Adams: Australia is so incredibly lucky to be blessed with such prolific, diverse, and unique wildlife. It really is one of our true points of difference. Not only should this be an attraction for overseas visitors, but also for Australian visitors.
We all get a kick out of spotting a koala in the tree or a kangaroo hopping into our campsite, right? And from speaking to so many travellers around the country, we know it is a key attraction — so we took care to detail what wildlife people will find in certain places because it is all part of the experience!
'Australia's Ultimate Bucket List' is available now in all good bookstores and online.