If you have been going through wanderlust withdrawals for a good part of this year, don’t worry — you aren’t alone.
For most of us, the Covid-19 pandemic has waylaid many of our plans: from job hunts and home renovations to wedding parties… and of course, holidays overseas.
While we wait for things to get better once more, surely we can indulge in wonderful memories of halcyon days when we were free to pack our luggage, hop on a plane and explore another country on a whim.
Tourism Australia’s recent three-week campaign with Singapore radio station Kiss92 FM aimed to do just that.
From Nov 16 to 20, DJs shared memories of their Australian getaways and invited listeners to share what they love most about The Land Down Under on social media platforms Facebook and Instagram. The DJs then picked their favourite entries.
Here is a selection of the best insider secrets from Kiss92 FM DJs and contest winners on what to do and where to go in Australia.
Friendly people, pristine sand and the freshest produce
Ms Phyllis Leong
What I love about Australia: The amazing wildlife, breathtaking sunsets, adorable animals
My fondest memories of Australia: I went to Kangaroo Island with my then-boyfriend, now-husband. We enjoyed looking at the stars and wild penguins, and experienced a campfire and an Aussie barbecue.
Insider tips: In Adelaide, I’d recommend Central Market for fresh nuts, mushrooms, live oysters and ground coffee. In Perth, catch sunsets on Mosman Beach, indulge in chocolates from Margaret River and find lovely options from the boutique food shops in Swan Valley.
Where I’d want to go next: Tasmania for the lovely nature, and Kangaroo Island and Perth for a revisit. I cannot wait to return!
From courtship to the perfect Sydney wedding shoot
Ms Jamie Sim
What I love about Australia: My husband and I love Sydney for the nightlife, people and shopping. We studied and met there as undergraduates, so we have beautiful memories of our courtship. We have now been married for seven years with two kids.
My fondest memories of Australia: In 2013, we did our wedding shoot in Sydney. We took less than 15 minutes — thanks to the city lights and a very good local photographer — at the Pitt Street cross junction. Onlookers were cheering for us.
Insider tips: Visit the Glebe Markets and pasta restaurant The Italian Bowl along Newtown. Pancakes On The Rocks is a great go-to supper place, and the dim sum at Zilver Restaurant near Chinatown is delicious. Visit clubs along Oxford Street and some other chillout places in Circular Quay. Also, plan road trips to Hunter Valley and where you can visit our favourite winery, Ivanhoe Wines.
Where I’d want to go next: Sydney and Melbourne. I’ve already decided on Australia as my next destination even before taking part in this contest.
Relaxing, kid-friendly and winter in June
Ms Vera Liu
What I love about Australia: The chill vibes away from the hustle and bustle of cities. Also, winter season in the middle of the year!
My fondest memories of Australia: We had heard rave reviews of how kid-friendly Perth is, especially for parents travelling with their toddler for the first time. Last year, we took our one-year-old son there as we wanted to expose him to nature and farm animals. There were so many things to do, including having pancakes-and-scrambled-eggs brunches, feeding farm animals at Wonky Windmill farm in Margaret River, and road tripping to Fremantle for fish and chips.
Insider tips: Choose service apartments or AirBnB so that you can cook meals for your kids. Parking can get expensive in Perth so find accommodation with free parking, such as Nesuto Serviced Apartments. Many cafes have toys or kids’ amenities.
On route to Margaret River, check out Simmo’s Ice Creamery featuring hundreds of flavours. Caversham Wildlife Park is a mini zoo with kid-friendly animals, and you can feed horses, llamas, hamsters and goats at the Wonky Windmill Farm at Margaret River. Gnomesville, an hour and a half south of Perth, has tonnes of gnomes!
Welcome to animal kingdom
Mr Muhammad Hidayat Rafii
What I love about Australia: Its weather, especially during winter. Also how friendly the locals are!
My fondest memories of Australia: I went to Brisbane in 2018 for a week. One of my fondest memories was queuing for the 5 Seconds of Summer concert and the local concert-goers invited me to play cards with them.
Insider tips: The Botanical Gardens in Brisbane is big and beautiful. The South Bank Parklands has a pretty view, and has a beach in a park. For meals, I’d recommend Dapur Dahlia restaurant for halal Malay food. If you are an animal lover like I am, the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is a must.
Where I’d want to go next: Melbourne because I have heard of how chill the city is and has lots of cafes and street art to explore. I would also love to try their trams! Planning the perfect road trip in Australia is on my bucket list and I would like to explore small towns, driving by the coast from Queensland to Victoria for two weeks.
A very special marriage proposal
Ms Denise Tan Su-Wen
My fondest memories of Australia: In June 2017, I was on a week-long trip in Sydney with my mum when my husband flew in for the weekend just to propose to me! He even managed to make it back to Singapore in time for work the following Monday. And after the proposal on a Friday night, my fiancé and I decided to climb up to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge the next morning to make our experience in Sydney even more memorable!
Where I’d want to go next: As a nature lover, I would love to take in all the natural beauty that Australia has to offer such as the pink waters of Lake Hillier, the Byron Bay coastline, the red crab migration in Christmas Island and the Aurora Australis in Tasmania.
Sydney is foodie heaven
Ms Carol Smith, senior producer-presenter, Kiss92 FM “The Drive Home with Carol and Tim”
Insider Tips: The Grounds of Alexandria is my go-to F&B destination in Sydney. One of the first things that will strike you about the former industrial site is its charming aesthetic. They are constantly changing up the décor so you could find yourself walking into a Winter Wonderland or a Colourful Candyland depending on the season. There’s even a mini petting zoo that both kids and adults will love. The menu features creative takes on familiar favourites like burgers, steak and eggs, smashed avocado on sourdough and, of course, great coffee and really pretty desserts! Sydney would make a great destination for singles and families alike, there’s always lots to see and do, especially if you’re into discovering Insta-worthy sweet spots. PS: The shopping is so satisfying too!
Where I’d want to go next: Australia is also famous for its many spectacular beaches, so I’d love to check out Whitsunday Island and explore Fraser Island. I’d also like to hit up the Great Barrier Reef and go on an Ocean Safari!
Up close and personal with nature
Mr Shan Wee, Kiss92 FM music director and radio deejay, The Sweet Spot with Shan Wee
My fondest memories of Australia: In June 2018, I went to the Paradise Country Farmstay in Gold Coast with my two sons. We lived in a glamping tent, fed kangaroos, roasted marshmallows on campfires at dusk and were amazed by exotic, long-beaked birds strutting all over the streets until the locals told us: “They are so common we call them bin chickens.”
Where I’d want to go next: In one of the episodes of the series Modern Family, the cast climbed up the Sydney Harbour Bridge and I’ve always fancied myself as a Phil Dunphy. I would like to go inside the Opera House and watch a show there, maybe even an opera. And I would also like to meet at least one of the Hemsworth brothers. There are actually three so the odds must be in my favour.
Perfect Perth for animal lovers
Mr Tim Oh, Kiss92 FM deejay, “The Drive Home with Carol and Tim”
Insider tips: In 2019, my wife and I brought our son for his first overseas holiday to Perth. When we drove down to Margaret River, we stopped by the Sunflowers Animal Farm and let him get close to the animals he’d only ever seen on TV. It was a great experience letting him feed the lambs, goats and even kangaroos! If you are not in a rush, take a stop every so often on road trips and let the kids stretch their legs and enjoy new scenery.
Found: a secret hidden beach
Ms Maddy Barber, Kiss92 FM radio deejay, Maddy, Andre & Divian In The Morning
Insider tips: On a Christmas holiday two years ago, we went to Victoria — one of my favourite places in the world because you have the great city of Melbourne and also the stunning Mornington Peninsula, an hour’s drive away — where we found a hidden beach and tried cliff diving for the first time. I couldn’t name the place even if I wanted to so I guess it will have to remain a secret!
Where I’d want to go next: Tasmania where my sister now lives. I plan to enjoy lots of fresh air and oysters with her when I finally visit! Go hiking in Freycinet National Park and spend hours bird watching!
More than a coffee break
Miss Charmaine Yee, Kiss92 FM radio deejay (The Afternoon Scoop with Charmaine Yee), TV host and Present with Confidence coach
My fondest memories of Australia: Skydiving in Wollongong was the most thrilling experience in my life, which was part of our LIVE broadcast and filming project with Tourism Australia when I was with 913FM several years ago. The adrenaline of the free fall and taking in Sydney from the sky is truly an experience I will remember forever.
Insider tips: I’ve got a long list of Melbourne places to recommend for coffee: Breakfast Thieves, Mr Mister Café, Industry Beans, Fourth Chapter, Top Paddock and Dead Man Espresso (it’s got the best coffee in the world!).
Where I’d want to go next: Melbourne, in a heartbeat. It’s where I spent my university days embracing its diverse culture, four seasons a day, and tasted the best coffee in the world. Melbourne is a second home to me and I can’t wait to be back! On my bucket list too: swimming with dolphins in Queensland and with sharks in any state, plus glamping near Uluru or The Blue Mountains.
Feeling excited yet about planning a trip to Australia? Click here for lots of holiday inspiration and to help you plan your Australian getaway when the time is right.