Trip to Australia
Most trips to Australia will probably start in Sydney, the country’s largest city known as “The Harbour City” due to it being mainly built around Sydney Harbour. It has been recognized as one of the world’s most beautiful metropolises. Probably the two most iconic outstanding and dominating landmarks are the huge Sydney Harbour Bridge (also known as the “Coat Hanger”) and the Sydney Opera House with its sail-shaped structural design.
Sydney is situated on miles of ocean coastline and has a number of sandy surf beaches within easy reach of the centre. Some of the best known are Bondi Beach and Manly Beach and a visit to them should be included on your Australia tour.
A very popular activity is to take a harbour cruise which takes in not only the skyline of Sydney but also the attractive nearby suburbs spread out around the harbour. The city boasts several very beautiful and scenic parks such as The Domain which contains both the interesting Royal Botanical Gardens but also the resplendent Government House. Nearby are the National Art gallery of New South Wales, the Museum of Sydney and the Australian Museum. Interesting neighbourhoods to stroll around are The Rocks with its Art Deco buildings and Paddington with its grand Victorian homes and its lively café and restaurant scene.
What are the best sights to see during a Sydney Vacation?
Worth a visit from Sydney are the Blue Mountains 2 hours from the city. They offer remarkable scenery and are a UNESCO world heritage site. The unique formations of dramatic scenery encompass steep cliffs, eucalyptus forests, waterfalls and small villages.
The mountains include the Three Sisters, awe-inspiring pinnacled peaks. There are 140 kilometres/75 miles of walking trails as well as a cable railway which is purported to be the steepest anywhere. Should one wish to spend time here, the best place would be Katoomba, a small town offering arty boutique shops.
Another region not too far away from Sydney is the Hunter Valley, a wine producing region with over 120 wineries. The Hunter Valley Gardens here has 25 acres of colourful flowers.
What to do on a Melbourne Vacation?
Melbourne, Sydney’s “rival”, is a sophisticated metropolis and should be included on all Australia vacations. It is the most European of Australia’s cities and is its cultural capital.
Its unique character includes its streetcars and its Victorian-era architecture. Melbourne offers excellent shopping and cultural sites such as art galleries and museums.
It has colourful neighbourhoods such as Fitzroy and St. Kilda, the latter a beach resort as well as a trendy suburb. Side trips from Melbourne can be to Phillip Island to watch the Penguin activity at sunset and the scenic Great Ocean Road including the unique rock formation of the Twelve Apostles.
What to do when visiting Adelaide?
Adelaide is an easy going, relaxed and garden-like city, home to the biannual Arts Festival and is a wonderful centre from which to visit the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale wine districts, Kangaroo Island with its abundance of wildlife and Cleland Conservation Park where you can get up close to many of the country’s indigenous animals.
Canberra, the serene unhurried and purpose-built and planned capital, is located around the attractive artificial Lake Burley Griffin. Some of the major landmarks are the old Parliament House, the traditionally designed Parliament Building and the Australian War Memorial. Canberra has several interesting art galleries and museums.
What to do in Brisbane?
Brisbane is Australia’s third largest city and is known as the “City of Sunny Days” due to its sub-tropical climate. The Brisbane River dissects the city and adds to the charm and character. A major attraction is the nearby Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, the world’s largest.
Not far from Brisbane are two excellent beach resort destinations. The Gold Coast with its 30 beaches including the best known, Surfers Paradise, is also close to a hinterland offering scenic national parks, mountains, waterfalls and rainforest. The Sunshine Coast has 70 kilometres/ 44 miles of uncrowded white sand beaches and lush green scenery to attract the visitor.
What to do in Perth?
Perth, although off the beaten track and not included as part of many trips to Australia, it is actually Australia’s fourth largest city. It is not only laid-back quiet and safe, but it is also culturally diverse with attractive uncrowded beaches, gardens and a good zoo. King’s Park is a landmark and is larger than Central Park and encompasses an excellent botanical garden. From Perth, one can visit the winelands of Western Australia in the Swan Valley and at Margaret River.
Darwin, in the north of the country, is small yet cosmopolitan mainly due to the mix of different ethnic cultures which one finds here. It is handy for a visit to both the Charles Darwin National Park, one of Australia’s largest wetlands and the Kakadu National Park, the country’s largest national park with its crocodiles, unique birdlife and the largest collection of Aboriginal rock art. Try a short boat cruise there to see everything.
Cairns in Northern Queensland is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and in our view is a must inclusion in all Australia tours. Mainly a tourist center, it is surrounded by rainforest and a must here is to take the scenic rail trip to the Kuranda Rainforest.
Great Barrier Reef Tour
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Located on the east coast, it is 2300 kilometres/1400 miles in length with a colourful underwater kingdom contains 1500 species of tropical fish alone. It is the largest coral reef formation in the world offering a spectacular array of marine life. It is no wonder that it is a scuba diver’s paradise as well as one for snorkelers. An important part of the Great Barrier Reef is
the Whitsundays group of islands which include Hayman, Hamilton and Whitehaven Islands and consists of 74 different islands. An excellent way to get to know the Great Barrier Reef is to take a short cruise.
The Australian Outback
The Outback is actually a vast area which comprises most of Australia and which is made up of either semi-arid or desert land. It is not an exact location. One of the best-known towns
is Alice Springs, and it`s the perfect place to explore the Australian Outback, which is also
known as the “Red Centre”. It is also the home of the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Activities here can include camel rides from one of the many camel farms, stargazing as the town exists under amazingly clear skies and hot air ballooning. One can visit the nearby King’s Canyon and the MacDonnell Range of mountains. 450 kilometres/270 miles away is Ayers Rock, the huge sandstone monolith which stands out starkly in the surrounding desert. It is one of Australia’s iconic sites and one that should be part of any Australian tours. This UNESCO world heritage site is 348 metres/1142 feet in height. To the Aboriginals, it is a sacred site of spiritual significance. One can climb the rock but this is not highly recommended any more
as it is a hazardous undertaking and frowned upon by the Aboriginal community. Ayers Rock is also known by its aboriginal name, Uluru. One of the interesting features of the rock is the changes in colour as the day progresses.
Add a Tour of Tasmania
Tasmania is an amazingly scenic destination with many rugged mountain and wilderness areas and although it is not often included in tours of Australia, it should be. It is in fact, the most mountainous state in Australia. One can experience jagged peaks and dense forests plus pristine lakes all at the same time. The capital, Hobart is a pretty city with a vibrant waterfront and harbour built on reclaimed land. It is also associated historically with the convict era as depicted at the Port Arthur Historical site, an ex-convict prison.
There is so much more to enjoy and experience in this magical land. Like most trips to Australia, the biggest decision is choosing where to visit in the time available. Our Best Time to Visit Australia page will also help you decide when to travel to Australia.