Summer’s gone, guys. The old gal was a little hit and miss if we’re being honest (thanks, La Niña) but it’s still sad to see her go. We’re now officially in Autumn however, and that’s quite a treat because the mild months of this colourful season are actually an incredible time to check out certain parts of Australia.
Additionally, these months offer a great opportunity for travel just with the number of public holidays we get (here’s how to hack them to your advantage, by the way).
With that in mind, I did some digging and asked some travel experts for some insight into where you should be heading in Australia during Autumn. Here are the stand out spots.
WA in Autumn
“Each year between March and July, Australia’s aquatic gentle giants – the whale shark – begin their migration to breeding grounds in Ningaloo Reef, off the coast of Exmouth in Western Australia. Get up close and personal with these beautiful creatures with a whale shark swim experience while staying at Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef, an exclusive beach safari camp that sits among the dunes of the Cape Range National Park near Exmouth. Wake to picturesque views of where bush meets the sea in one of the eco-luxe wilderness tents and finish your day with a delicious dinner overlooking the Indian Ocean,” Tourism Australia shared.
“Margaret River, tucked away in the south-west corner of Western Australia, is known the world over for its wineries but also boasts craft breweries, boutiques and stunning beaches. Autumn marks the re-opening of the West Australian region’s famed Cape to Cape track, the perfect opportunity to wander the long distance track that borders the limestone caves and sea cliffs within Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. The Cape to Cape Walk is a fully guided, small group walk that combines the stunning scenery as well as an opportunity to sample local food and wine at Vasse Felix.”
From March to October, Broome is treated to a striking moonlight “staircase” across Roebuck Bay. Tourism Australia shares that “As the moon rises, its light reflects off the exposed tidal flats” of the bay, creating an optical illusion that has been compared to a staircase leading up to the moon. Worth a look if you’re visiting.
The NT in Autumn
The Red Centre
“Autumn is the perfect time to experience Longitude 131; a combination of Australia’s great outdoors and refined luxury. Nestled amongst the dunes with 360 degree views of Uluru, guests will (very) comfortably stay in one of sixteen tented pavilions. Those visiting from April to October can join a bespoke tour to the Indigenous Ernabella Arts Community. Guests will be flown via helicopter or fixed wing charter plane to the remote and culturally rich community. This is an exclusive opportunity to meet local Aboriginal artists, learn about their artwork and many stories, as well as try their hand at making their very own ceramic masterpiece.”
Another experience that comes recommended from Tourism Nothern Territory is hiring a 4WD and swimming at Tjorita in the West MacDonnell Ranges.
Additionally, from May 25-29, you can check out the Dark Skies Festival in Alice Springs where you’ll be able to enjoy projection-based artworks, scientific talks, musical performances and workshops.
Tourism Australia shared that Dhipirri Barra & Sportfishing Lodge is a great spot to add to the list:
“For a rush of adrenaline, grab your fishing rod and head to Dhipirri Barra & Sportfishing Lodge in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. Spend days on the floodplains chasing wild barramundi or cruise the inshore reefs for mackerel. With the rivers full with life during the ‘run off’ period (March to June), it’s the perfect time to put a line out and fish for freshwater and saltwater species on the same day.”
Kakadu National Park and Litchfield National Park are both iconic sites in the NT and Tourism NT naturally suggests you add them to your Autumn travel list. Take a day trip from Darwin to go waterfall/waterhole-hopping.
Also, Taste of Kakadu festival is running from May 20-29 where you can learn about Indigenous culture and Kakadu’s cuisine, culture and country with bush tucker walks, cultural tours, damper workshops, open-air cooking demonstrations and more.
And for those who want a beachy experience, Tiwi Islands is a perfect spot. Stay at tropical resort Tiwi Island Retreat and get your fill of lazy beach days along with rich cultural experiences like fishing adventures and Indigenous art tours.
Tasmania in Autumn
Tourism Australia shared:
“Clear sunny days and cool nights make for perfect autumn conditions to head off on the award-winning Maria Island Walk on Maria Island – a national park and wildlife sanctuary off the east coast of Tasmania. Stroll across empty beaches and wander through the tracks to see abundant native wildlife including kangaroos, wombats and birds – to name just a few.”
Josef Chromy Winery (near Launceston)
“Learn the wonderful art of fly fishing at none other than Josef Chromy Winery near Launceston, with some of the country’s leading fly fish guides from RiverFly Tasmania. Josef Chromy Winery is set among old English gardens and stands of 100-year-old oak trees that glisten in the autumn sunlight. After your flying fish lesson, treat yourself to a complimentary tasting at the Cellar Door, followed by a two-course lunch celebrating Tasmanian produce, with carefully selected matching wines,” shares Tourism Australia.
NSW in Autumn
If you’re after autumnal tones, Wagga Wagga is the place for you. Take a scenic walk along the Murrumbidgee River, and be sure to include a visit to the Botanic Gardens which are bursting with bright hues of orange and red at this time of year.
Destination NSW suggests that you “Journey to wine country for a memorable weekend in the Orange region. Rowlee Wines have a two-night Ultimate Wine Escape, staying in their elegant guest house nestled on the vineyard estate. Enjoy wine tastings and matched cheeses…”
Victoria in Autumn
For a sleepy stay in a former gold mining town, Walhalla is a striking option that is dotted with B&Bs, hikes and those gorgeous Autumnal leaves we love to see. This town in Gippsland is only home to 20 locals so it’s perfect for a quiet escape.
If you’re big Autumn colours, Buchan is another must-see stop. The town is 4:15 hours east of Melbourne and offers all the red and orange hues your Instagram feed can handle – there’s also the Buchan Caves Reserve for those keen for some exploring.
Alpine Valleys Region
Tourism Australia shares that for Autumn trips in Victoria, another excellent option is the Alpine Valleys region.
“There’s nothing quite like the scenery and quiet ambience of a gentle cycle journey. Enjoy a self-guided tour of the beautiful landscape of Feathertop Winery with a Pedal and Picnic package. Once you’ve found a picnic spot to settle, sit down to a delectable feast amongst the autumn foliage. The team at Feathertop will treat you to a picnic hamper filled with a selection of locally cured meats, Milawa cheeses and Mt Buffalo olives. And afterwards, you can opt to stay longer at the luxury apartments in Porepunkah situated in Victoria’s beautiful Alpine Valleys Region”.
Queensland in Autumn
Southern Queensland Country
According to Queensland Tourism, a farm stay or secluded weekend at a lodge in Southern Queensland Country is a must for visitors in Autumn. Cosy up by a fire, taste the fresh produce at the food festivals of South Burnett, Felton and Hampton. Perfect.
ACT in Autumn
Canberra from above
Tourism Australia suggests that “For a truly immersive experience at the National Museum of Australia in the ACT, opt for the exclusive private tour, In, Above & Behind the Scenes. Rise early to fly over the patchwork fields and see the changing colours of Canberra’s sprawling landscape in a hot air balloon.
“Enjoy the aerial tour guided by a museum expert, providing commentary on the unique architecture and hidden stories of the design. Touch back down and enjoy a bespoke curator-led tour before it opens to the public, finishing with a champagne breakfast overlooking Lake Burley Griffin.”
South Australia in Autumn
Flinders Ranges and Arkaba Nature Conservancy
When it comes to Autumn destinations in South Australia, Tourism Australia recommends you:
“Immerse yourself in a truly unique experience with the Arkaba Walk, traversing the ancient Flinders Ranges and the private Arkaba Nature Conservancy in South Australia. A journey of 600-million years of geological history, the Arkaba Walk by Wild Bush Luxury offers a three night hiking trip, reconnecting guests with the bush and rugged Australian landscape. After a day of enriching stories and encounters, spend the evening around the campfire and indulge in a three-course camp dinner before sleeping under the stars in a deluxe swag. After the final day of walking, finish with a night in a beautifully renovated 1850’s homestead.”
South Australia Tourism added that the Barossa Valley is (unsurprisingly) a perfect destination for Autumn travel in Australia.
“Just a 50-minute drive north-east of Adelaide, the Barossa is the perfect spot to enjoy some of the best food and drink the South Australian region has to offer. From experiencing the world’s official best wine, tasting a local drop that’s aged as long as you have, or soaring over some of the world’s oldest vines; you can discover it all in the Barossa. The Barossa is home to a number of events in Autumn, making it a great excuse to visit.”
This article has been updated since its original publish date.