When the sun sets in Australia, don’t be so quick to say good night. Australia’s night scene promises to be just as exceptional as your daytime itinerary. So be sure to reserve a little energy after the beaches, walking trails and shopping to explore a whole new side of the country.
Stargazing in the outback
In the Australian outback, leave the light pollution far behind you and watch as the night sky transforms into a glittering window to the Milky Way, with billions of stars visible to the naked eye. Head out of the cities into the regions where there is low light pollution. Stargazing in the outback will make you look at our universe through new eyes, as you realise how vast it is.
Spend a night with the stars in one of the seven outback hot spots, where you can learn how to locate the Southern Cross, a famous constellation visible in Australia, or listen to Aboriginal stories and legends of the night sky. For families, the kid-friendly Ayers Rock Resort near Uluru could be just the thing to nurture a budding astronomer.
Another spectacular night time display is the Southern Lights, known as the Aurora Australis, best spotted down south. While the lights can be seen all-year round, your best chance is to pay a visit to Tasmania between May and August to catch the gorgeous waves of green, purple, blue and red across the skies.
Continuing the theme of being dazzled by Australia’s after-dark experiences, make sure you pack your camera (or the best smartphone camera out there) when you head to Jervis Bay, located three hours from Sydney, where swirls of glowing blue light up the shore at certain times of the year.
This unusual phenomenon is due to chemical reactions within living organisms such as plankton in the water. The bioluminescence can only be seen at night, especially if there is red algae present during the day.
Head to the bay in spring and summer months when the water is warmer. It’s equally wondrous in the daytime, with its pristine white sand and lush vegetation.
Illuminated floral wonderland
Have you ever seen one million flowers lit up at night? For five nights during the month-long spring festival of Floriade in Canberra, you can. Floriade is the largest flower festival in the Southern Hemisphere, where you can admire intricately-organised flower displays in the daytime.
But the atmosphere is elevated for five nights when the special NightFest unfolds. Garden beds are illuminated with cutting-edge light installations, while live music, comedians and DJs provide plenty of fun for the whole family. Grab some dinner, as well as meet local producers and wine makers at the NightFest Marketplace.
Floriade starts from Sept 14-Oct 13 2019, 9.30am-5.30pm, while NightFest opens daily from Oct 3-6, 6.30pm-10.30pm.
Spend the night at the Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system in the world and the Reefsleep experience guarantees that you’ll have the reef all to yourself after the day trippers and the tour groups have left.
Your two-day/one-night journey begins with the daytime swimming and snorkelling activities. But after the crowds have gone, you can enjoy a sunset drink and dinner from the deck of the Heart Pontoon and there’s even the possibility of night dives. When night falls, slip into your cosy swag where it’s just you, the ocean and a galaxy of stars.
At dawn, go snorkelling to say good morning to the fish or watch them start the day from the underwater observatory.
Take in the view from rooftop bars
Whether it’s a warm summer evening or a crisp and clear night, you can get a great view of the skyline from one of the many rooftop bars across Australia’s cities. Whether you want to sip a drink in elegant and sophisticated surroundings, or kick back for a casual vibe, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Adelaide has lots to offer if you’re looking for some of the world’s best wines, local produce, small brewery beers and cocktails. Visit Rocket Rooftop Bar for vibrant lights and tropical decor, or 2KW Bar and Restaurant for views over the North Adelaide precinct.
If you’re over on the eastern side of Australia, you can head to Sydney’s Smoke harbourside rooftop bar to discover an extensive menu of cocktails, wine and inventive dishes. Melbourne has a lively rooftop bar scene, including Naked in the Sky and Palmz, while Brisbane is spoiled by Soleil Pool Bar, a cocktail bar surrounding a pool.