Australia is at once arid, lush, tropical and temperate. It is urban and wild. It has thousands of miles of coastline and for millions of years its flora and fauna evolved in splendid isolation from the rest of the world.
Put all this together and what you have is an extraordinarily special place for wildlife-lovers. Australia is home to more species than any other developed nation on earth, and 87% of its mammal species, 93% of reptiles, 94% of frogs and 45% of birds are found nowhere else. Here are three two-week itineraries that give a real feel for one of the world's great wildlife habitats.
South Australia in Depth
Australians like to celebrate their natural heritage, and this two-week adventure starts in Adelaide, a city which boasts brilliant restaurants, lovely beaches and is on the doorstep of some of the world's best wineries. Swimming with dolphins off the beach at Glenelg will add wow factor to the start of your Aussie holiday.
From Adelaide, take a 30-minute flight to unforgettable Kangaroo Island, home to kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, echidnas and penguins, and with seals, sea lions and southern right whales playing in the surrounding seas. The unspoiled island is dotted with numerous intriguing geological formations.
Head back to the mainland for some world-class touring before travelling on to the jagged peaks of the breathtaking Flinders Ranges National Park, where the ochre-red, otherworldly landscapes offer some excellent walking tracks. Watch out for wallabies and emus.
Learn more about Flight Centre's two-week South Australia itinerary.
Western Australia is home to sweeping sandy coastlines, dramatic desert landscapes, waterfalls, gorges, rainforest and some of the most fascinating natural encounters you'll find anywhere on the planet.
You'll start in Perth, and spend a day on nearby Rottnest Island, home to spectacular views, abundant marine life and the quokka, a small wallaby-like marsupial that early Europeans mistook for a rat, hence the island's name. Quokkas are, in fact, exceptionally cute.
As you travel up the west coast, the coastal gorges and towering cliffs of Kalbarri National Park offer numerous wildlife spotting opportunities and spectacular sights.
Carnarvon provides a base for exploring nearby Mount Augustus and the Kennedy Ranges, and Exmouth is a stone's throw from World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef, where you can take a Whale Shark Discovery Tour (and even swim alongside this gentle giant of the deep if you wish). Ningaloo Reef is Australia's largest fringing coral reef and stretches 172 miles along the west coast, and snorkelers will find it teeming with marine life. Monkey Mia is also home to a huge range of sea life – spot turtles, dolphins, manta rays and dugongs.
Learn more about Flight Centre's two-week Coral Coast itinerary.
Queensland Coast and Reef
The tailor-made tour from Australia experts; Flight Centre starts in the tropical city of Cairns, a perfect base for trips inland to the ancient Daintree Rainforest, or offshore to the unmissable Great Barrier Reef. The iconic Reef is at the heart of the itinerary, and an island-hopping cruise adventure takes you right into the middle of the kaleidoscopic coral and its abundant marine life. You will also visit the softest sandy beaches and see mangroves alive with crocodiles, turtles and dugongs.
A short stay in the lively seaside city of Brisbane includes a Dolphin Adventure Tour to Tangalooma island, where you can feed the friendly local bottlenose dolphins as they come close to shore. Later you can explore the stunning Fraser Island, a 76-mile long World Heritage Site formed entirely from sand. In-between, relax and walk in spectacular Noosa National Park, or take in the beautiful beaches and relaxed coastal towns of the Sunshine Coast.
Learn more about Flight Centre's two-week Queensland Coast and Reef itinerary.
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