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Rottnest Island first, Margaret River third in Australia’s top destinations

Rottnest Island is number one and Margaret River has taken out the number three spot in Australia’s ‘Top 10 Destinations to Experience’ for 2014, in a poll by leading travel website Experience Oz.

Ningaloo Reef was the third Western Australian destination in the top ten, in ninth position.

Other famed Australian destinations in the top ten include Kangaroo Island, Barossa Valley, Uluru, Sunshine Coast, Cairns, and Gold Coast in Queensland, with the Whitsunday Islands taking second place.

Thousands of people participated in the poll, predominantly via social media, where they were asked to name what they considered to be Australia’s best destination based on a variety of criteria including ‘does it have unique geographical or architectural features’ and ‘if money was no object, would you want to visit there more than anywhere else in Australia?’.

Rottnest Island – no.1

I love Rottnest Island, and it certainly is unique and beautiful. It can also be expensive during peak periods. The beaches range from little secluded coves with lapping of the smallest waves, to renowned surf breaks and bays full of enviable boats. The white sand, azure Indian Ocean, and rocky outcrops set against a big clean Western Australian sky is a view to behold. It’s as beautiful as the beaches of Sardinia, yet just a 30 minute ferry ride away from Fremantle.

Geordie Bay at Rottnest Island

Geordie Bay at Rottnest Island

I really rate Rottnest Island for as a family holiday getaway – to read about one of my previous trips, click here. If your kids are of bike riding age, then it’ll be one of the best holidays you and your kids will have. With no cars permitted on the island (exception is service vehicles and local bus), kids can be free and ride in relative safety.  Add a cute little marsupial that you won’t find anywhere else, the Quokka, and Rottnest Island ticks the boxes for this competition.

There’s not much to do at ‘Rotto’ – after riding to some impressive historical sites, enjoying a pub lunch and sunset beers at the Rottnest Hotel, visiting the Settlement for the daily ice cream and supply pick up, activities are limited to swimming, snorkelling, sun bathing, riding, snoozing, or just relaxing. And that’s part of the Island’s appeal.

Margaret River – no.3

Margaret River is one of my favourite regions on the planet, so I’m not surprised by this outcome.  According to Experience Oz, Margaret River’s top three ranking can be attributed to its ‘sheer variety’ with ‘epic and beautiful coastline, array of wineries, quality whale watching, great surfing and spectacular cave networks’.

Augusta Margaret River Tourism Association’s Marketing and Communications Coordinator Victoria Johnson said she was thrilled that Margaret River was in the top three, which was a dramatic progression from 10th spot in last year’s poll.

“We are genuinely privileged to be able to say that the diversity of experiences is unmatched by any other destination in Australia. Where else can you go for a walk and a swim at an uncrowded pristine beach in the morning, ride your mountain bike through towering karri forest, maybe explore an ancient limestone cave then head out to a winery or brewery for a relaxing afternoon of outstanding local produce, wine and craft beer? It’s a traveller’s dream come true!”  said Ms Johnson.

Me at Canal Rocks beach in the Margaret River region in winter

Me at Canal Rocks beach in the Margaret River region in winter

I’ve been writing a lot of posts lately on Margaret River – check them out:

…and there’s more to come.

Ningaloo Reef – no.9

If you haven’t added swimming with the whales sharks to your bucket list, do it now. It is one of the best natural experiences I have ever encountered. It’s up there with visiting the Galapagos Islands and learning to dive in the Great Barrier Reef, and far better than a trip to the Red Sea (where much of the colourful coral is now grey) the Amazon jungle (less mosquitos for starters!).

The sheer enormity of the whale sharks is something you have to really experience to believe – to read my post about swimming with whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef, click here.  These serene creatures are colossal in size yet I felt no ounce of danger snorkelling beside one, the deep blue ocean underneath. Looking down, the ocean disappeared into darkness. Who knows how deep it is down there? That’s how plankton-eating whale sharks protect themselves. They have the ability to dive to great depths very quickly. So much so that we humans don’t actually know how deep they can dive, we’ve not been able to measure it due to the pressure of the ocean depths. Interesting, huh?

Swimming with whale sharks

Swimming with whale sharks

To view the full top 10 Destinations for 2014, visit the Experience Oz website.

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