7 ways for S’poreans to upgrade ‘new normal’ hobbies to Australian travel experiences

When the time is right for travel.

| Karen Lui | Sponsored | June 17, 2021, 05:56 PM

Being cooped up at home for most of the time during a pandemic has led to significant lifestyle changes for many of us.

But don’t be too quick to abandon your new hobbies once travel is safe again — you can turn them into new activities on your next trip.

Australia stands out as a popular holiday destination for Singaporeans due to its versatility and wide range of activities and sights.

Here are seven ways of further developing your new pandemic hobby/ interest in Australia.

1. Cooking

Dalgona coffee and banana bread were some of the hottest food trends we’ve seen since the pandemic began.

If you’re looking to further improve your palate and cooking skills, check out some of the culinary experiences in Australia.

Seafood lovers can try the Sydney Seafood School at the Sydney Seafood Market in New South Wales that offers hands-on cooking classes, including the Spanish paella and Italian Seafood dishes.

Photo: Sydney Seafood School.

If you have an interest in Australian aboriginal culture and bush tucker, Ayers Rock Resort in the Northern Territory runs a daily free cooking demonstration of indigenous bush food.

At the resort, enjoy the open-air Tali Wiru dining experience under the desert sky featuring a four-course table d’hote menu.

You may also try the Sounds of Silence experience and listen to the indigenous instrument, didgeridoo, as the sun sets. Join your fellow travellers at interactive cooking stations, offering a bush tucker inspired menu.

The Sounds of Silence dining experience at Ayers Rock Resort. Photo: Tourism Australia.

Chocoholics cannot miss out on the chocolate and choux pastry workshops at Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamy in Victoria, including one that caters to children aged six to 12.

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Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery. Photo: Tourism Australia.

Families with younger children may find joy in picking their own strawberries (from November to May), raspberries, and blackcurrants at Hillwood Berries and Farmgate in Tasmania.

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2. Gardening

Some people have chosen to seek solace in plants during the pandemic.

Check out the botanical gardens scattered across Australia such as the 38-hectare Melbourne Gardens at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Victoria that houses a collection of more than 8,500 species of plants from around the world.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Victoria. Photo: Visit Victoria.

Pop by the Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens in New South Wales and look at the local and imported cool climate plants and alpine rainforest.

It boasts 28 hectares of curated garden and a further 244 hectares of wilderness that sits inside the UNESCO World Heritage Area.

Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mount Tomah. Photo: Destination NSW.

Consider booking an Airbnb farmstay in South Australia to experience the agricultural aspect of nature.

The self-contained studio of The Lodge at Papershell in Adelaide is located next to a nine-acre orchard in conversion to bio-diverse food forest.

Photo: The Lodge at Papershell.

Guests are welcome to pick their own fruit and vegetables from the garden and pop by the greenhouse to check out their seedlings.

Prepare your own breakfast with local supplies including garden produce, fresh eggs from the farm, almonds from the orchard and whatever else the season offers up.

Don’t forget to say “hi” to the six resident sheep and chickens (known as “chooks”) in the fruit orchard.

Photo: The Lodge at Papershell.

3. Hiking/ Walking

Arguably the most popular hobby to stave off cabin fever, hiking has become a national sport of sorts for the young and old.

The 90-kilometre Fraser Island Great Walk in Queensland takes you through forests, sand dunes, and blue lakes across the world's largest sand island. Completing the entire trail will take about eight days.

Central Station, Fraser Island. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland.

Those short on time (and stamina) can also consider taking the shorter 10.5-kilometre Central Station Walk that takes about 4.5 hours of walking time.

The 700-metre Champagne Pools boardwalk is perfect for a quick 30-minute scenic walk.

Walkway to Champagne Pools. Photo: Tourism Australia.

Hiking enthusiasts in Tasmania may challenge themselves on the 48-km Three Capes Track that promises breathtaking ocean views.

Three Capes Track. Photo: Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service.

The track takes them on a three-day journey that begins with an eco-cruise aboard a purpose-built vessel. Take in the wild Tasmanian scenery during the walk through forest and bush along the coast.

Three Capes Track. Photo: Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service.

4. Kayaking

If you don’t mind getting a little wet, there’s also the option of water sports.

Take your kayaking adventures abroad and explore the waterways in Queensland.

Kayak your way to the Tangalooma Wrecks by the eastern side of Moreton Island where a cluster of ships was sunk for safe anchorage of nearby boats.

Tangalooma Shipwrecks on Moreton Island. Photo: Tourism Australia.

You may find yourself paddling alongside the thriving marine life like dolphins, wobbegongs, and dugongs if you’re lucky.

Kayaking at Moreton Island. Photo: Tourism Australia.

For a unique kayaking experience, you can paddle next to pink granite mountains in Tasmania’s Freycinet National Park.

Kayaking at Freycinet National Park. Photo: Tourism Tasmania and Kathryn Leahy.

Besides kayaking, you may also dip your toes into other sports like rafting, snorkeling, scuba-diving, and fishing.

Did you know you can kayak in the Sydney Harbour?

Kayak in the Sydney Harbour. Image by Tourism Australia.

Break the monotony of your morning and go for a “Sunrise Kayak and Coffee” tour in New South Wales.

5. Photography

Travelling and photography are a no-brainer combination as beautiful sights are typical tourist attractions in any part of the world.

You’ve probably come across iconic landmarks of Australia on your Instagram feed such as the famous Sydney Harbour, the 12 Apostles, and Brighton Beach bathing boxes.

In addition to featuring these classic tourist sites, why not venture off the beaten path and explore the hidden gems?

In Western Australia, the Hutt Lagoon, also known as the Pink Lake, has been gaining popularity due to its natural water colour that ranges from bubblegum pink and lilac to red.

Hutt Lagoon. Photo: Tourism Western Australia.

Brighten your feed with some cute wildlife.

Known for their adorable smiling faces, quokkas that are native to Rottnest Island make adorable photography subjects and selfie buddies.

Quokka, Rottnest Island. Photo from Tourism Australia.

If you’re in Victoria, drop by Mount Hotham in the Victorian Alps for some cool winter photography (and perhaps skiing) in winter.

Mount Hotham. Photo: Visit Victoria.

Regardless if you’re a nature photographer or just want a gorgeous backdrop for your portrait photography, check out the lavender fields at Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm in the same state.

Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm. Photo: Visit Victoria.

For those in Canberra during the spring, pop by Floriade, an annual month-long event. While the event focus is the floral displays, it also boasts a night market with light installations and live music, workshops, and a display featuring thousands of decorated garden gnomes.

Floriade, Canberra. Photo: Floriade Australia.

If you prefer to frolic in the wilderness, check out the wildflowers at Kosciuszko National Park in New South Wales.

Kosciuszko National Park. Photo: Tourism Australia.

6. Yoga/ Wellness

Let’s face it, we have all come across (and perhaps even tried) YouTube workouts at some point in time during the circuit breaker.

No need to forgo workouts while on a holiday — Australia has a variety of wellness and yoga retreats and experiences too.

Check out Gwinganna Lifestyle Resort, the 2020 World’s Best Eco Spa in Queensland that offers a range of experiences to suit your schedule.

Yoga pavilion. Photo: Gwinganna Lifestyle Resort.

Set among over 200 hectares of beautiful native bushland, this complete wellness destination boasts an exclusive indoor and outdoor 33-room Spa Sanctuary.

They offer wellness retreats ranging from two to seven nights as well as shorter spa experiences such as massages, facials, and aromatherapy.

For more yoga-centric retreats, try Balance for Life’s offerings in the Northern Territory.

Beach yoga. Photo: Tourism Australia.

Join one of their many retreats, some of which take place along the Dundee beach and welcome each morning with a picturesque view.

7. Wine Tasting

You may still be able to indulge in social drinking and wine tasting in virtual gatherings via video calls, but nothing beats the live experience of being on a vineyard and watching the process from grape to glass.

Check out the family-owned Leeuwin Estate, which is one of the five founding wineries in Western Australia.

Open daily for tastings and behind-the-scenes experiences, their restaurant ranks among the top 50 in Western Australia.

Leeuwin Estate. Photo: Tourism Australia.

They also have an art gallery with artworks from Australia's leading contemporary artists that feature some of Leeuwin's wine labels, and host alfresco concerts featuring an eclectic mix of the world's top performers.

Wine lovers with kids in tow need not feel left out. Despite sounding like an oxymoron, family-friendly wineries exist in South Australia.

False Cape Wines, Kangaroo Island. Photo: Meaghan Coles.

With a kid’s nature playground and fenced-in farm animal viewing within an enclosed area, the adults can relax and sip award-winning wine at False Cape Wines in Kangaroo Island.

False Cape Wines, Kangaroo Island. Photo: Meaghan Coles.

Who says what happens during the pandemic has to stay in the pandemic? Take your hobbies for a spin in Australia when borders reopen.

For more ideas on planning your itinerary, check out Australia.com.

This sponsored article by Tourism Australia has whetted the writer’s wanderlust and desire to hang out with quokkas when borders reopen.

Top images via Tourism Australia.