How to holiday in Australia like a royal

From beaut beaches to the bush, no wonder the blue bloods love our backyard!
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With the entire world at their disposal, the royals continue to come back Down Under. And there’s no questioning why. 

WATCH: Watch the adorable moment between Prince Harry, Duchess Meghan and an Australian toddler

From our gorgeous blue beaches to our incredible wildlife, Australia remains one of the best places to explore. 

Here, New Idea reveals the ultimate Aussie hideaways your favourite royals have visited over the years. 

Cottesloe beach, WA
The stunning Cottesloe beach in WA. (Credit: Supplied)

Cottesloe Beach, WA

In 1979, Prince Charles was famously kissed by local model Jane Priest while enjoying the waves at the Perth beach.

In 2015, the royal returned to Cottesloe beach – but this time with wife Camilla as well-wishers celebrated his 67th birthday with a barbecue at the civic centre.

He was hosted by the Premier and presented with a red velvet birthday cake.

When not engaged in meet-and-greets, Charles and Camilla chillaxed by the pool at Government House.

Prince Charles beach
Prince Charles (right) shared a kiss with model Jane Priest (left) on Cottesloe beach during his 1979 Australian tour. (Credit: Getty)

NSW’s Blue Mountains

The iconic range west of Sydney have been frequently visited by royals.

In 1927, the future King George VI and Queen Mother visited the mountains via the royal train.

They lunched at Katoomba’s Carrington Hotel, then took in the sweeping vista from the Echo Point lookout. They continued on to Jenolan Caves where that evening they were treated to a 15-course dinner at Caves House.

The following morning they were set to visit the Orient Caves but the Duchess of York apparently told her guides she was too tired to manage the 45-minute walk, followed by a steep climb.

In 1954, the Queen told the gathered Katoomba locals and dignitaries in a speech, “My mother has often told me of the rare beauty of this mountain country, and today I have been delighted with it myself.”

In 2014, William and Kate stood at the same spot at Echo Point that his great-grandmother had visited, followed by a visit to nearby Winmalee, which had been badly affected by a spate of fierce bushfires.

will and kate blue mountains
Will (left) and Kate (right) visited the Blue Mountains in 2014. (Credit: Getty)

Dubbo, NSW

Dubbo’s in the Orana region of NSW on the central west slopes and plains. It’s sheep country – and home to Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s rhinos. (Credit: Supplied)

Dubbo was one of the regional towns visited by Prince Harry and Meghan in 2018, but the Queen got there first, in 1954.

Dubbo’s population grew from 11,000 to 50,000 for the day of her trip, with Her Majesty given an official tour that entailed inspecting sheep at the town’s showground.

She called in again in 1992 to visit the renowned zoo – and fans thronged Macquarie Street for a royal glimpse. It was a far cry from her son Prince Edward’s trip there in 2006 when just a handful of people turned out to see him.

When the Sussexes’ visit was flagged, Dubbo readied itself and on the big day shops and pubs were decorated with bunting to welcome the young royals.

Meghan and Harry dubbo
Meghan (right) and Harry (left) get a little hands-on with the farm aid on a Dubbo property. (Credit: Getty)

Uluru, NT

The Queen was awed by the big, red rock in 1954 on her first Australian tour but it was Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s visit in 1983 that drew international interest in the sacred site.

Prince William and Kate visited in 2014 but, unlike his parents, they didn’t climb the monolith but took a guided tour around it.

Having left infant Prince George with his nanny, the new parents spent a romantic night under the stars, glamping at $1100-a-night Longitude 131, watching the sunset at Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park.

Charles and Diana at Uluru
Prince Charles (right) and Princess Diana (left) visited the scared site of Uluru in 1983. (Credit: Getty)


The Danish royals have a strong connection to Tasmania. (Credit: Supplied)

The Danish royal family love holidaying in Tasmania – thanks to their strong, special connection.

Brought up in Hobart, Crown Princess Mary has frequently returned to visit her family. In 2017, the royals were snapped frolicking in the surf at popular holiday spot Spring Beach, near Orford, north of Mary’s home town.

Meanwhile, the Queen happens to be the first reigning Commonwealth monarch to visit the Apple Isle, back in 1954.

She spent four days there and on the final one about 75,000 people lined the Launceston streets to catch a glimpse of her as the royal cavalcade passed.

In a speech thanking her hosts the Queen said she’d always carry away “happy memories of the charm of your island state and the steadfast kindness of its people”. She went on to return in 1963, 1977 and 1988.

Mary, Frederik and Christian
Mary, infant Christian and Frederik take in the sights of her home town – including a beautiful sunrise over constitution dock – back in 2006. (Credit: Getty)

Mollymook NSW

In February 1981, soon after Prince Charles proposed, then-Lady Diana jetted to Australia to see her mother Frances and stepfather Peter, at their farm in Yass, NSW.

On the trip, Frances rented a beach house in Mollymook, on the state’s south coast. Diana spent much of her month there swimming and enjoying the beach, according to Judy Wade’s book Diana: The Intimate Portrait.

She also notes how Frances and Diana sat on the deck, looking out to sea, as they “discussed the enormity of Prince Charles’ proposal and the impact on all of their lives”.

The owner of The Beach Hut fish-and-chip shop recalls Diana attempting a disguise but standing out!

Margy Nyholm said, “She wore a scarf, big dark glasses and a beach coat. She’d just buy a Popper – a little fruit-juice box. She wouldn’t make eye contact. There was a fragility about her. A beautiful-looking woman, but not a happy one.”

Byron Bay, NSW

Byron Bay
The gorgeous Byron Bay is a hotspot for celebrity holidays. (Credit: Supplied)

Zara and Mike Tindall have visited Australia almost yearly since 2012 since the royal equestrian became a Magic Millions Racing Ambassador. They’ve holidayed along the east coast between the Gold Coast and Sydney ever since, and in 2019 enjoyed the beachy, laidback charms of Byron Bay.

“Mia loves swimming. Of course, the climate allows you to go swimming all day every day. When we first took her to Australia she was 11 months old; we kick-started her love of water,” Zara said of why she loved holidaying in Australia.

Although they’re frequently spotted enjoying the beaches when they’re on holiday, they also attend polo-related events and glitzy society parties.

The Danish royals have also vacayed in lush Byron Bay. In 2015, Mary and Frederick celebrated her sister Jane’s 50th there with friends and family, and went for a surf.

Zara and Mike Tindall
The Tindall’s frequently visit Australia, enjoying the charms of Byron Bay in 2019. (Credit: Getty)

Fraser Island, QLD

Fraser Island
Fraser’s Champagne pools, a low-tide swimming haven. (Credit: Supplied)

Probably the most relaxed time of Harry and Meghan’s 2018 tour was their trip to the Queensland sand island, famed for its beaches, rainforest – and dingoes.

Meghan and Harry stayed at the Kingfisher Bay Resort and enjoyed a romantic night in a secret location in the resort grounds. Harry was given a 4X4 tour of the island and later the couple relished the fine-dining “rainforest to plate” cuisine for which the hotel’s restaurant is acclaimed.

It’s not the first time a royal’s visited the island, known as K’gari by its traditional owners.

Staying at the same hotel, which was one of the first sustainable developments, Prince Charles managed to carve out a little seclusion for himself on his frantic 1994 tour.

Charles is believed to have spent a day on the isle incognito, visiting with a small entourage 75 Mile Beach, the rainforest and Pile Valley and Basin Lake, where he took a dip.

Harry and Meghan
It’s sunny side up as the Sussexes hit Kingfisher Bay resort on the world’s biggest sand island. (Credit: Getty)

Sydney’s Northern Beaches

Sydney's northern beaches
Tourists flock to Sydney’s northern beaches. (Credit: Supplied)

Sydney’s always top of the list for destinations on royal tour itineraries, but when they want to relax, they head to one of its quieter beach suburbs.

Sarah Ferguson and her daughters spent a week in December 1993 staying at Sydney socialite Susan Renouf’s house at Whale Beach. Making the most of the fantastic outlook, Fergie described it as a “chance to soak up some sunshine for myself and the girls”, adding, “It’s a very nice place to be.”

In December 2017, the Danish royals rented a house in the equally exclusive, ritzy Palm Beach, the next bay north. Crown Princess Mary and her family hit the waves, while she and Frederik were often seen having an early morning run along the sand.

In 2014 the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge charmed locals in Manly, perhaps the most famous of the northern beaches.

kate sydney
Kate (pictured) strolled the famous esplanade before visiting a children’s hospice in Manly. (Credit: Getty)

The Outback

Mary and Frederik with roos
Mary (middle) and Frederik (right) meet a mob of roos in 2005. (Credit: Getty)

Turns out the royals don’t only visit major towns and cities when they come to Australia.

In 1966, Prince Charles spent six months at Geelong Grammar’s Timbertop campus in the Victorian Alps.

For their 1983 Australia tour, Charles and Diana chose to base themselves at a sheep station in Woomargama, north of Albury.

Prince William stayed at the station with his nanny and the Prince and Princess of Wales flew back to him from wherever they’d been in the country, every night of the tour.

In 2003, Prince Harry also retreated to the Outback to escape the public eye when he spent part of his gap year before university working as a jackaroo on a remote cattle station in Queensland.

“I have had a great time working out here, meeting people and learning a bit about how to be a jackaroo. And of course the rugby was absolutely fantastic. It’s a great country,” he said at the time

Harry and horse
Hat’s off to Harry (pictured) for putting in the hard yards! (Credit: Getty)

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