Australians urged to treat travel experiences as a gift this Christmas

With travel now viable for the first time in months, Tourism Australia has recruited celebrities such as Hamish Blake, Johnathan Thurston and Hannah Gadsby to sell Australia to Australians this summer.

The hope is that people can afford gift cards for nearby experiences or as part of an inner journey, as an end-of-containment Christmas present.

From weekends to snorkeling with marine life, dining experiences and more, there is no shortage of activities in every state in Australia.

And according to the statistics, the demand is there.

Qantas has recorded nearly 500,000 bookings in the past two weeks, compared to just 20,000 bookings in a two-week period in August.

The push comes as borders reopen and society adapts to live with COVID.

Here are some inspirations from across the country, compiled by the folks at Tourism Australia, as well as some famous faces.

Domestic experiences include a five-course meal featuring the best of native produce. Photo: Supplied

Gifts to impress a foodie

With gift certificates, Christmas shoppers can look beyond cookbooks and dishes for their foodie friends.

The five dishes Culinary experience in Warakirri in Mudgee, NSW, Ngemba Weilwan’s wife Sharon Winsor guides guests through a tasting menu of seafood, game, rainforest fruit, and bush tucker for $ 145 per person.

Brewery tours are a safe bet for many Australians, and Cairns Brewery Tours offers half-day tours to the best craft breweries and distilleries in Far North Queensland for $ 160 per person.

Meanwhile, a renowned chef Tony tan is launching an Asian cooking school for eight in Trentham, Victoria, just in time for Christmas, where guests will learn how to cook yum cha classics for $ 250 to $ 300 per person.

Gifts that won’t break the bank

Travel experiences can always be affordable, especially if you are staying in your own city.

Kayak from the 40s offers paddle tours of Hobart Harbor, including the city’s famous seafood barges, for $ 100 per adult and $ 60 per child.

Back on the continent, the MCG offers cricket fans a behind-the-scenes tour of the stadium, with a glimpse of the famous Long Room and Melbourne skyline views from the City Terrace, for just $ 30 per adult and $ 15 per child.

For $ 59 per adult, Aunt Margaret and the Dreamtime South X take guests on a 90-minute spiritual tour of The Rocks and Circular Quay in Sydney, highlighting the Dreamtime connections of one of modern Australia’s most prominent places.

Hamish Blake is the face of Tourism Australia’s latest campaign. Photo: Supplied

Gifts for surpassing the person who surpassed you last year

Comedian Hamish Blake has rounded up his top picks in order to outdo that dear friend or family member who managed to surprise you last year.

Queensland Snorkeling Tours Ningaloo Reef starting at $ 200 per person, where swimmers can meet turtles, humpback whales and even gigantic whale sharks.

Another option is a four hour helicopter ride from the Grampians National Park, with stops at a local winery, microbrewery, and vineyard at the special price of $ 595 per person.

If money is not an object, Lon Retreat and Spa in Point Lonsdale, Victoria, offers a three-day retreat with a mineral pool, wine tasting and fine dining, all for $ 3,026 in double sharing.

Gifts for someone who Instagrams all

Zoë Foster Blake has also put together some great gift ideas for that person in your life who can’t help but post gorgeous photos wherever they go.

Camel Riding Tours in Uluru offers Sunrise and Sunset Camel Riding Experiences for $ 135 per person, where you can experience the Red Center during the Golden Hour.

Your friend could also eat in style with a gourmet picnic from Above and beyond Tasmania, where guests are whisked to a secluded Hobart beach by seaplane for $ 395.

Finally, few things are more scenic than a hot air balloon flight at sunrise, and Global Ballooning Australia has deals on trips through Melbourne, Yarra Valley and Mansfield.

Visits to oyster farms are an unexpected option for someone who has it all. Photo: Supplied

Gifts for the person who already has everything

It is difficult for some people to buy, but these options have a little something extra to please even the person who has everything.

Climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge is a rite of passage for many locals, but now Bridge has a new package that covers the entire length of the bridge, pylon to pylon, for $ 348 for adults and $ 189 for children.

Visits to oyster farms in Coffin Bay, South Australia, offers the ultimate farm-to-table experience on a semi-submerged deck for $ 45 per person.

Until Darwin, the aboriginal property Spectacular jumping crocodile cruise does exactly what it says, taking passengers up close with saltwater fangs for $ 50 per adult and $ 35 per child.

A full list of interest-based gift ideas broken down by individual stats is available on the site Tourism Australia website.

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