7 dreamy destinations to visit this Australian summer

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So dazzling is Australia in summer that it can often feel like stepping into a postcard. Too perfect, it doesn't seem real. But it is.

With vibrant cities, beaches, rainforests and reefs galore, Australia's best assets are even better in summer, and this year we have them all to ourselves.

International travel might be on hold for now, but that just means more time spent discovering what's right under our noses. From deserted beaches to laidback coastal towns, here are the dreamiest destinations to discover.

Port Douglas

A perfect sun soaked escape.

A perfect sun soaked escape. Photo: Supplied.

This balmy village in Tropical North Queensland is a launchpad to some of Australia's most sought-after superlatives.

With both the Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral reef system and the Daintree Rainforest, the world's oldest living rainforest on its doorstep, Port Douglas is a double threat for adventurers.

Take a day trip to Cape Tribulation to stand where the World Heritage-listed reef and rainforest meet, swim in the freshwater swimming holes at Mossman Gorge and then return to town to find out why Port Douglas knows how to party.

When it comes to accommodation, you can't beat Oaks Port Douglas Resort – where spectacular sunsets and a laid back, tropical adventure awaits.

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Just minutes from the beach and Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina, this stay offers visitors a perfect, sun-soaked escape amongst lush rain forests and the picturesque beaches of tropical North Queensland. 

Brisbane

It may not be Australia's biggest city, but Brisbane packs a punch that's on par with Sydney and Melbourne.

A handful of recent developments, including the historic Howard Smith Wharves precinct, has transformed this subtropical city into an urban powerhouse.

Take a laneways tour with Walk Brisbane to discover street art, murals and small bars. Then head to once-gritty Fortitude Valley to peruse the luxe buys along leafy James Street and eat hatted Honto out of lobster katsu rolls.

Kingscliff

Just south of the Queensland border lies one of New South Wales's best kept secrets. This up-and-coming coastal town is fringed by white-sand beaches that go on forever, world-class surf, fresh seafood and sophisticated eats.

Just a stone's throw from the Tweed "food bowl" region, it's also within arm's reach of sacred Mt Wollumbin and art deco Murwillumbah.

Nip in for fresh spanner crabs at Tweed River Seafoods in Chinderah and make your way to nearby Cabarita Beach to make the short walk through coastal mangroves to Norries Headland.

Cairns

The gateway to Tropical North Queensland

The ideal comfortable stay for travellers. Photo: Supplied.

The gateway to Tropical North Queensland, this laidback city is the ideal base to explore the region's World Heritage wonders, but there's plenty to do around town, too.

Before you snorkel the Great Barrier Reef or swim with turtles at Fitzroy Island, hop onboard the Kuranda Scenic Railway, which journeys through the Barron Gorge and onto a village in the rainforest. For a bird's eye view of the ancient expanse, take the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway.

Back in town, try gourmet bush tucker from Rusty's Markets and splash in the saltwater lagoon on the Cairns Esplanade.

Consider accommodation sorted with Oaks Cairns Hotel, perfectly placed on the city's esplanade, just minutes away from the new dining precinct and the CBD.

An ideal choice for travellers looking for a comfortable stay in the city, this brand-new property offers modern rooms and facilities, including a rooftop bar and restaurant with panoramic views.

Port Stephens

Giant sand dunes and an abundance of beaches and wildlife encounters make this coastal gem 2.5 hours north of Sydney a real showstopper.

Adrenalin junkies can get their fix sand-boarding down the largest moving coastal dunes in the Southern Hemisphere, swimming with wild dolphins, scuba diving with grey nurse sharks or horse-riding along the beach.

But there's plenty of family appeal, too. Look out for koalas at the Tilligerry Habitat Reserve or splash about in the calm shallows of Fingal Bay.

Sunshine Coast

Year-round sunshine, golden beaches and spectacular hinterland scenery await holidaymakers on Queensland's glorious Sunshine Coast.

Lap up the Sunshine State's own brand of cool in stylish Noosa or head for the hills and soak up the unique vibe of open-air institution Eumundi Markets.

As well as world-class seafood and tropical fruit, the Sunshine Coast has a plethora of family-friendly beaches and surf spots, including The Spit and Alexandra Headland.

Meanwhile, bushwalkers can get their nature fix at one of the many trails and lookouts at the Glass House Mountains.

Broome

With its pearling history, pancake-flat beaches and proximity to the Kimberley, this town on the northern edge of Western Australia is a mix of dreamy landscapes and rich culture.

Take a chopper to Willie Creek Pearl Farm to learn how pearls are farmed and then brace yourself for some of Australia's biggest beasts at the Malcolm Douglas Crocodile Park and Animal Refuge, where feeding starts at 3pm.

Indigenous tour operator Narjilia Tours offers mangrove tours that authentically capture Broome's history, while no trip is complete without a stroll along Cable Beach at sunset atop a camel.

Save up to 30% this Summer with Oaks. Book, now pay later with free cancellation should your plans change up to 24 hours before check in.

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