E Cape Tribulation: This Queensland rainforest hideaway is one of the closest points to the Great Barrier Reef. Small-group reef trips leave from the beach, but it’s also a great spot for rainforest boardwalks and – potentially – spotting the elusive cassowary.

E Magnetic Island: Maggie has carved a niche as an easy-going Queensland destination. It has great beaches and watersports, several accommodation options and enough real-world atmosphere to make eating, drinking and shopping interesting.

E Mission Beach: Long-known as an affordable Queensland destination, Mission Beach has carved itself a niche as an adventure tourism hotspot, with skydives that land on the beach and rafting trips on the Tully River.

28 6 AUGUST 2020

EXMOUTH The magic of Exmouth is its isolation. It’s a mammoth 13-hour drive north of Perth (flying into Learmonth airport is a sensible shortcut for clients who don’t want to drive) and it is proper outback despite being right next to the coast. The Cape Range National Park

stretches down the western side of the North West Cape Peninsula. Here, a string of beaches come with campsites and rugged rockscapes behind them.

Among the highlights is Yardie

Creek, a dramatic gorge known for its wildlife – including black-footed wallabies, red kangaroos and sea eagles. Elsewhere there’s the Charles Knife Canyon, which offers a scenic drive past dramatic cliff faces, deep blues of the Exmouth Gulf glowing out behind. The Ningaloo Reef – almost as spectacular as the Great Barrier Reef, and much less crowded – is just a few front crawl strokes offshore and is a great spot for kayaking and whale-watching, with humpback

The magic of

Exmouth is its isolation…it’s proper outback, despite being right next to the coast

season from August to November. Book it: Anzcro has a nine-day

Ultimate Coral Coast self-drive round-trip from Perth exploring the highlights of the west, including Exmouth, from £1,078.

DARWIN The Northern Territory’s capital brims with character – part rough- and-ready Aussie bloke, part Asian, part bohemian. Top attractions include Crocosaurus Cove, where it’s possible to swim in a five-metre crocodile’s enclosure, protected

only by a see-through acrylic box; and the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, which has good exhibits on wildlife and cyclones. Darwin primarily acts as the gateway to the Top End’s national parks, however. The big three are Litchfield, with its termite mounds and waterfalls; Nitmiluk, home to a series of gorges known as Katherine Gorge; and Kakadu, a sprawling, intoxicating land of bird-packed wetlands, crocodile-spotting cruises, sandstone escarpments and

ancient Aboriginal rock art. Book it: Intrepid Travel offers a four-day Kakadu, Katherine & Litchfield Adventure – best undertaken in the dry season when the national park roads are passable – from £715.

CAIRNS The most popular gateway to the Great Barrier Reef is a proper city, albeit one with a demob-happy, party vibe. The reef is obviously

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