What to See and Do in Australia?
Things to see and do in Australia
The great land down-under has long been a popular tourist destination. The largest island in the world and the only continent to consist of a single country, Australia is a place of untouched nature. Moreover, it has one of the oldest continuing cultures in the world and is a modern blend of cultures from all over the world, which has created a dynamic and exciting society. It would be almost impossible to list every sight to see, so the list below should be viewed as a starting point. Make your own discoveries about the natural and cultural wonders that Australia has to offer.
Adelaide, is the gateway to Australia’s premier wine country and an incredible city. Restaurants serve up incredible food featuring local fare and it is the home to The Adelaide Fringe Festival and WOMADelaide. You can organize tours of the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and the Clare Valley to taste a few of the drops that have cemented Australia’s position as one of the top wine producers in the world.
The eucalypt trees give the entire Blue Mountains range a tinge of blue and the view is breathtaking from the various vantage points located around the range. The highlight is the view of the Three Sisters, which are three rock pillars that seem to keep watch over the mountains. The ranges are close to Sydney, making them a must-visit for anyone relocating there.
Australia’s complete isolation from the rest of the world means it is covered in things that exist nowhere else. The otherworldly landscape of the Bungle-Bungles, located in the Purnululu National Park in Western Australia, is just one example of Australia’s various oddities. The best way to view these striped domes is to book a scenic flight.
Canberra is a planned city that has retained much of its original vegetation, giving it the nickname the ‘bush capital’. It features the Parliament House, which is the highest-arena of government. Other famous landmarks include the Australian Institute of Sport, The Australian War Memorial, The Royal Australian Mint, the National Museum and National Library. The Australian National Botanical Gardens are also a must-see.
This stretch of rainforest in North Queensland is heritage listed. It is a rare occasion of rainforest meeting reef, the Great Barrier Reef no less. It’s full of opportunities for hiking, four-wheel driving and nature watching. The Cassowary (a particularly beautiful bird) makes its home here. Although be sure not to get too close, because they have been known to kill people.
Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world. It is also home to all sorts of wildlife and is probably the best place to see dingoes in their natural environment. The island is made up of dense rainforest, impossibly clear freshwater lakes and endless fishing opportunities. You need a four-wheel drive to cross the island, which features a range of eco-accommodation.
Australia is blessed with a plethora of stunning ranges, but not many visitors make it to these ranges in South Australia. Wilpena Pound is a natural spectacle; it seems impossible that the perfectly-formed amphitheater wasn’t carved by hand. The Flinders Ranges are also a great place to experience Indigenous culture, as local tribes perform traditional dances and give visitors a sample of traditional hunting and cooking methods.
The melting pot of Australian surf culture, the famed point breaks along this coast have produced some of Australia’s best surfers, including world champions Joel Parkinson and Mick Fanning. If you want to experience Aussie surfing culture, there’s no better place than the Gold Coast in Queensland. You can sit and watch the best surfers in the world ply their trade at Snapper Rocks, Kirra and Burleigh Heads.
Great Barrier Reef
The 2,300km (1,429 mile) Great Barrier Reef can be seen from space, but it’s much better to see it underwater. It is literally teeming with life, color, movement and natural wonder. There are too many tourist attractions to name along the reef, so head north and see where you end up.
Great Ocean Road
Home of Victoria’s Surf Coast and the longest-running surf competition in the world at Bells Beach, the Great Ocean Road features kilometers of dramatic cliffs that have been worn away by the pounding surf of the Southern Ocean. The road lasts for 250km and it should be sampled over a couple of days, so you can stop at beaches and take in stunning towns along the way.
Australia has plenty of natural wonders to choose from, but Kakadu’s 20,000km2 (7722 square mile) patch of beauty may just be the jewel in the crown. It is a place of immense spiritual importance to the local Indigenous people and it is full of rock art that is thousands of years old. There are also waterfalls, dramatic cliffs and saltwater crocodiles that will come right up to your boat.
Litchfield Lake is one of the only lakes in the Northern Territory that are safe to swim in. It is a magical place; there’s nothing quite like slipping into the cool waters of the lake to recover from the heat of the ‘Top End’.
Lord Howe Island
This untouched island is heritage listed and its pristine beauty is protected by a limit of 400 visitors being allowed on the island at one time. It’s only a two-hour flight from Sydney and offers endless opportunities for snorkeling, diving, hiking and basking in the splendor of nature.
Melbourne buzzes with life at all hours, and the restaurant scene is the best in the country. It is also the cultural capital of Australia. The effortlessly cool suburbs mix Victorian architecture with street art and hip eating and drinking spots, and there’s still plenty of old-world glamor for those that appreciate the finer things in life like art, museums and theater.
Possibly the most isolated capital city on earth, Perth is incredible. To the east is endless desert, to the south is the surf and wine region of Margaret River, and to the north are the vast expanses of the Pilbarra and Kimberley regions. Perth is the perfect starting point for all the wonders that Western Australia has to offer, and thanks to the mining boom, it is a destination city.
Despite its reputation as a sun-bleached land, the alpine region around the border of Victoria and New South Wales receives more snow than the European Alps. The Snowy Mountains are incredibly beautiful and perfect for hiking, canoeing and snow sports in the winter. The ranges are also home to Australia’s highest peak, Mt Kosciuszko, which soars 2,228m (7,309 feet) over the Australian continent.
Just north of the Gold Coast, this stretch of beaches is more relaxed than the Gold Coast. The Sunshine Coast still has plenty of world-class breaks, including the point break at Noosa. It’s impossible to feel stressed here and you might be lucky enough to share the water with a passing pod of dolphins.
What Sydney lacks in the effortless cool of Melbourne it makes up for with its stunning natural setting, city-side beaches and glamour. Bondi is probably Australia’s most famous landmark, the Harbor Bridge is an architectural-gem, and the harbor itself is full of hidden coves, rock pools and endless beauty. The Rocks area is also home to Australia’s first European settlement and it still features cobblestone streets.
A trip to Tasmania is like a step back in time. 500,000 people call this island state home and with its plethora of natural attractions and incredible local good and wine, it’s no wonder. The island is also a historical attraction, thanks to the penal colony at Port Arthur, where some of Australia’s first convicts where housed. MONA is also one of the finest collections of modern art in the world.
This epic trip from the south to north takes your right through the red center of Australia. The train is named after the Afghan cameleers that helped to chart the passage through this seemingly uncrossable land, travelers can move through it in absolute comfort. You’ll take in Alice Springs, Katherine hot springs and Uluru along the way.
Theme Parks on the Gold Coast
The Gold Coast is the home of Australia’s theme parks. Wet ‘n’ Wild, Dreamworld, Movie World and Sea World are fun for adults and children alike. The best part is, these parks are in the same area, so it’s easy to experience them all in the same trip.
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