For many years, Australia has been the ideal destination for Malaysians who wish to do just about everything they can on a holiday.
The country’s diverse landscapes, both geographically and culturally, make it the perfect getaway for folks who are looking for wild adventures, new experiences and generally just a whole lot of fun. And let’s not forget the many delicious food that one is bound to find anywhere on the continent.
At the recent Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) 2018 held in Adelaide, South Australia, hundreds of local companies presented their tourism-based products to key buyers from over 30 countries worldwide, as well as the media. From hotels to independent tour operators to restaurants and wineries, these companies showed off their top products in the hopes of enticing more visitors from countries like Malaysia, China and India, as well as continents like Europe and North America.
Incidentally, Australia saw a 6% increase in the number of Malaysian visitors to the country last year (total of 400,800), and an 11% increase of Malaysian tourist expenditure within the country (total AUD$1.4bil/RM4.2bil). In an interview, Tourism Australia managing director John O’Sullivan said that he is confident these numbers will continue to grow, as new partnerships and MoUs with airlines are in their plans.
With its “There’s nothing like Australia” global marketing campaign, Tourism Australia has also started working with key industry players to develop Signature Experiences of Australia. Under this programme, companies are expected to offer specialised tourism experiences within the following seven categories: Great Golf Courses, Great Fishing Adventures, Great Walks, Australian Wildlife Journeys, Ultimate Winery Experiences, Discover Aboriginal Experiences and Luxury Lodges of Australia.
Apart from that, Tourism Australia also cited a few travel trends that are predicted to go on the rise this year, like the five-star “flashpacking”. Flashpacking – backpacking on a bigger budget – is all the rage with young travellers who enjoy communal-style living but don’t necessary want to sleep in basic and/or dingy-looking lodgings. These “posh-tels” (posh hostels) are now becoming prominent in major Australian cities, with many more being developed.
Australia has also positioned itself as one of the world’s newest mountain biking destinations. With its numerous natural trails and beautiful forests, it isn’t hard to see why hardcore mountain bikers are flocking to the continent for some action.
Ever heard of “un-zoo”? It is a cleverly devised wildlife experience in which human visitors are placed in cages or boxes while the animals roam free outside in their barrier-free habitats.
Australia is also hoping to promote its more high-end experience, wine + dine, to travellers. This experience combines a love of art and design with a love of wine. At South Australia’s McLaren Vale wine region, a new architectural wonder called the d’Arenberg Cube was just opened earlier this year and has been getting a lot of praise from both local and international tourists. The avant-garde building stands in the middle of a winery and houses tasting rooms, bars and a restaurant. (Hot tip: If you ever visit the Cube, do check out the restrooms, especially the men’s toilet.)
Key attractions in Australia, by state
Places of interests in New South Wales include Byron Bay, the Blue Mountains and Hunter Valley, while the three-week-long Vivid Sydney remains the biggest event in the state capital this year. There’s also the cage-free wildlife experience that’s scheduled to begin at the end of the year.
Discover Aboriginal culture in the Northern Territory, where you can enjoy the beautiful sunset at Uluru, a giant sandstone rock that holds a deep spiritual meaning to the Anangu people. You can also swim in the Mataranka Thermal Pool or visit the amazing Kakadu National Park, a world heritage park.
In Queensland, fans of the beach can have the time of their life at the Gold Coast or Fraser Island, a world heritate location and the world’s biggest sand island. There’s also the world’s oldest tropical rainforest in this part of Australia called the Daintree. Queensland is also the best starting point for tourists who wish to check out the Great Barrier Reef as many tours are available along the state’s coastline.
Tasmania, meanwhile, is the place to be if you’re dying to see a Tasmanian devil or a penguin. The state is also known for its “convict history”, with Port Arthur – the country’s most notorious convict settlement – being one of its main attractions.
The world’s most livable city, Melbourne, lies in the state of Victoria, and is worth a visit if only for its food and coffee culture alone. From there, head to the Dandenong Ranges for some beautiful sceneries or to Yarra Valley for some wine tasting tours.
Want to dive with the whale sharks? Then put Western Australia on your list, and you may even see some humpback whales and manta rays. Malaysians would perhaps be more familiar with the state’s capital, Perth, which is a great place for bar-hopping nights out with the boys or girls.
There are more than 200 wineries located within South Australia; the ATE host state is known as one of the world’s premiere wine producing areas. There are 18 large winemaking regions including Penfolds Grange, Barossa, Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale. Of course, other than wineries, South Australia also has other attractions like Kangaroo Island and national parks, many of which are located less than two hours’ drive away from the capital city, Adelaide.