A land of precious stones and ancient human habitation, Australia, is ideal for travellers all year around. The Australian landscape was inhabited about 40,000 years ago by seafaring adventurers from the Pacific Ocean, and today it’s one of the preferred tourist destination for internationally inclined tourists. The Great Barrier Reef to MacKenzie Falls to Kakadu National Reserve, Australia promises memories and unique aboriginal tribal experiences that will not fade away quickly!
SydneyPerhaps Australia’s best-known tourist destination, Sydney is the gateway city for many tourists, as well as being the largest city in Australia. Sydney is a vibrant metropolis of over 4 million and is noteworthy for its excellent cuisine, nightlife, shopping, and cultural attractions; and, the highlight of course in Sydney is definitely the Sydney Opera House. Travellers will want to spend at least a few days in this city, but if there is a limitation on time, some of the best inner-city attractions include the Powerhouse Museum, Manly, Darling Harbour, Circular Quay, Paddington Markets, Taronga Zoo, and the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Or catch the hop-on, hop-off bus that takes travellers for a tour of thirty four designated stops, with insightful commentary, promising a memorable list of Sydney’s top attractions.
CanberraThe capital city of Australia is neatly nestled between New South Wales and Victoria, the two most populated states and Canberra was also selected as the capital as a compromise between the notoriously competitive Sydney and Melbourne. Being the nation’s capital, the quality of the local museums and galleries are exceptional, so it’s a certain treat for the arts and culturally predisposed traveller. The National Museum of Australia and the National Gallery of Australia are a must visit, with many international exhibits. A tour of the spectacular Parliament House will give you a fascinating insight in Australia’s history and politics, and the Canberra Glassworks is as gorgeous as it is fascinating, and travellers may get a chance to make their own creations in glass. The National Dinosaur museum is a great place to take your children (or to get in touch with your inner child!). Once you’ve whetted your intellectual appetite, it’s time to enjoy the beautiful nature of the Canberra area – the city is even nicknamed the ‘bush capital’. Black Mountain, the National Botanic Gardens, and the Canberra Nature Park are particularly interesting locations to visit once in Canberra.
BrisbaneBrisbane is particularly popular with Australian, but also a popular tourist location for international tourists. It’s a charming city that criss-crosses the Brisbane River, and its boutique shopping, friendly atmosphere and delicious restaurants are the major attractants. Brisbane is quieter than Sydney and Melbourne, but not sleepy, as there is a lot of places to see and things to do in and around the city. West End is a popular nightlife spot, with the Lychee Lounge’s famous craft cocktails, and South Bank is a beautiful sightseeing spot that boasts everything from an authentic Nepalese Pagoda to an artificial inner-city beach. It’s recommended that travellers visit South Bank’s Collective Markets for gorgeous handmade, artisanal objects by local artists.
Byron Bay and NimbinThese two towns about 70km from each other, are Australia’s alternative lifestyle hub. They were at the centre of the Australian hippie movement, and you’ll still find hippie culture (and hippies, young and old!) here today. Byron Bay has a gorgeous beach and lighthouse, but it’s also become much more commercialized than Nimbin which is inland, without the sea shore, but the colorful streetscape and unique atmosphere are ideal for travellers. Despite being in New South Wales, they’re very close to the border with Queensland; at only 2 hours from Brisbane, and visiting both these cities make for a fun all day trip.
Gold CoastJust under 100km from Brisbane, the Gold Coast is certainly a tourist mecca and is glitzy, exciting and fun. The Gold Coast is Australia’s answer to Las Vegas. This beach resort town is best known for Surfers Paradise, and is also the home of the famous and futuristic Infinity Attraction and the exceptional Madam Tussauds wax museum, as well as a host of theme parks like Sea World, Dream World, Warner Bros Movie World and Wet’n’Wild. Additionally, if glitz, kitsch and rollercoasters are not part of the itinerary, then travellers will love the stunning, unspoiled rainforest vistas of Springbook and Lamington National Parks, and the charming Mount Tamborine with its handicrafts and cheeses.
Port Douglas and CairnsPort Douglas is a classic seaside village, and a great place to relax on the beach or take a stroll. On the other hand, Cairns is a buzzing tourist destination that’s popular with backpackers from around the world. Both Cairns and Port Douglas is about an hour away from each other, and each of these cities is a great place to base yourself while enjoying the jewels in the crown of this area. There are two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Daintree Rainforest. The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest reef system, spanning 2,600km, and including 2,900 reefs and 900 islands. The coral reef contains one of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth and is a fascinating spot for snorkelling and scuba diving. Corals come in a myriad of colors and shapes, and the waters are rich in beautiful marine life, hidden among the corals. The Daintree Rainforest is home to some of the world’s oldest forests, and is known for its exceptional diversity of flora and fauna, and its breathtaking walking trails.
PerthPerth was a sleepy backwater, but has now completely revamped itself since the Western Australian mining boom, and is a fun location for travellers. At Elizabeth Quay, travellers can stroll along the Swan River while spotting dolphins, or eat at any of its excellent restaurants. Perth is gorgeous at night, when the bridge is illuminated. Matilda Bay Reserve and its iconic blue boathouse is walking distance from the Quay, as is the University of Western Australia campus with its gorgeous architecture. The Winthrop Hall is particularly worth a visit. Perth’s coastline is considered some of Australia’s best and stretches for 12,000km, making it the longest stretch of coastline in Australia.The West Coast sunsets are a must-see, and there’s plenty of seaside restaurants selling fish and chips. Mindarie Marina and Hillary’s Boat Harbour are a little difficult to access by public transport, but worth the visit. The Marina has a picturesque Mediterranean-style boardwalk. Boat Harbour is home to Perth’s aquarium, and both sites have some fantastic restaurants. Further south of Perth, Fremantle’s beautiful heritage buildings, buzzing markets, and vibrant bar and café culture make it a must on every Perth visitor’s itinerary. For a trip out of Perth, the nearby Rottnest Island is famous for a marsupial known as the quokka.
Coral BayIf you’re travelling to Western Australia, Coral Bay is a must visit. An eleven hour drive from Perth or thirteen hours from Broome gets you to Coral Bay. From Perth this journey is an interesting one as travellers will rendezvous with Geraldtown, Kalbarri, the UNESCO-listed Hamelin Pool, or the famous dolphins of Monkey Mia as these locations are all short and easy detours. Ningaloo Reef is the highlight of Coral Bay as it’s Australia’s only fringing reef, and the coral starts right at the seashore. The fish and coral are very easy to get to, even for the kids, and it’s a great spot for snorkelling and scuba diving. If you’re lucky, you might also spot Solo the Kangaroo, a favorite with the townspeople or some nesting turtles. An added perk are the whale-watching tours also available for tourists.
UluruUluru, also called Ayer’s Rock, is a massive sandstone rock formation in the Northern Territory of Australia. Uluru is recognized to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and highly sacred for the indigenous culture, and travellers are allowed just to see it and not climb this massive rock formation. The rock appears to change colors at different times of day, and it’s a spectacular backdrop for photographs of your Australian roadtrip. The area surrounding Ayer’s Rock is also very interesting for travellers, as there are walking tours led by the traditional inhabitants of the area, the Aṉangu. This journey by foot will leave travellers well-informed about the local bush-tucker an indigenous cuisine, dreamtime stories, flora and fauna. Archaeological evidence of 10,000 years of human habitation in the area is also part of this eye opening tour. Uluru is part of the Uluṟu–Kata Tjuṯa National Park, and the flora found here a striking sample of that which is found in Central Australia. There’s also a diverse selection of native wildlife to observe, so it’s a great chance to encounter marsupials and other Australian mammals in their natural habitat.
Kakadu National ParkKakadu is another attractive tourist highlight of the Northern Territory. Covering an area of about 20,000 square kilometres, Kakadu National Park is Australia’s largest national park. Kakadu is another one of Australia’s UNESCO World Heritage sites.The views are spectacular and the biodiversity is exceptional. This location is also a fascinating experience for the budding archaeologist as the area has been inhabited by the local indigenous population for at least 40,000 years, with evidence of settlement spread over 5,000 ancient art sites. More than 500 Aboriginal Australians live in the park, and they maintain much of their traditional cultures and customs since many Aboriginals are also the traditional owners of the land on which they live. From cliffs and gorges to billabongs and waterfalls, an entire spectrum of scenery presents itself to travellers to enjoy, with the flora being particularly stunning. Travellers are also treated to native mammals, from dugongs to dingos.
MelbourneMelbourne is a buzzing metropolis famous for its exceptional café culture. The coffee here has been voted the best in the world. This in addition to the city’s vibrant cultural scene, delicious dining options and boutique shopping. Different neighbourhoods have their own culture, and it’s particularly interesting to visit Fitzroy, Richmond Road and Chinatown for a taste of what makes Melbourne a cultural melting pot. The Crown Casino complex is also a treat and it’s far more than just a casino. The complex boasts an excellent range of up-market shopping options, 5-star dining and many more attractions. Docklands is also a great place for a coffee or a meal.
The state art gallery and museum are both a must visit and the Queen Victoria Markets is a bustling, exciting and appealing attraction. Travellers can also enjoy a stunning view of the city from the Eureka Skydeck, but perhaps the most fun while in Melbourne is just wandering through the many laneways and arcades in the city and experiencing its unique atmosphere.
Great Ocean RoadStarting at the cute township of Torquay (famous for its surf beaches, including the world-famous Bells Beach), this Australian Heritage-listed, 243km stretch of road boasts gorgeous coastal and mountain views, pristine white-sand beaches, a collection of small Australian towns that are fascinating in their own right, and the iconic Twelve Apostles (a series of limestone formations standing tall in the ocean). Stop in a few towns on your way, and make sure to take the time to explore the Great Otway National Park (if you’re a daredevil, maybe even try the zipline!)
Adelaide and Barossa ValleyThe city of Adelaide and the Barossa Valley are popular tourist destinations. Adelaide is known for its funky atmosphere, beautiful scenery, excellent museums and galleries, and Rundle Mall, Australia’s first pedestrian mall. There’s plenty of examples of classic Australian architecture to enjoy, and more forest parks and walking trails than travellers can bargain for! The Big Rocking Horse, just under an hour from the city centre, is an adorably quirky photo opportunity. Once tourists are finished with their Adelaide adventures, the Barossa Valley, an internationally renowned winery region is next and the region specializes in Shiraz grapes. Winery tours and cellar-door tastings are available, and there’s plenty of restaurants to enjoy here. There are also farmer’s markets, artisanal goods and a range of fascinating cultural and heritage sites. The area was previously settled by German-Australians and boasts delicious gourmet meats, breads and pastries in a traditional German style.
HobartHobart is known for stunning views of the gorgeous, lush wilderness that Tasmania is famous for. The city is also a great place to enjoy fresh farm produce and artisanal goods. Mount Wellington is a perfect vantage point for travellers along with being an excellent site for bushwalking or cycling. The popular Salamanca Place is always buzzing with places to go to and things to do. The Saturday morning Salamanca Markets are a must-see. The waterfront in Hobart is also perfect for a relaxing stroll, and there are several excellent museums and galleries to enjoy.
Cradle MountainCradle Mountain is Tasmania’s fifth-highest mountain, and its beauty makes this location one of Tasmania’s most popular tourist destinations. The mountain rises around the crystal-clear blue waters of Dove Lake. A word of advice for travellers is that the trail from Dove Lake carpark around the mountain and back takes about 6-7 hours and for the athletic traveller this hike is well worth it for the beautiful summit view. The area is rich in flora and fauna, and also noteworthy for its diverse fungi. Even if you’re not the mountain-hiking type, Cradle Mountain is iconic, beautiful and well worth a visit.
Australia is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. It’s known as a major backpacking, camping, road trip, and diving destination, but no matter your travel style, there is always something to attract travellers to the Land Down Under. The country is filled with incredible natural beauty from Uluru to the Outback, rainforests to pristine white sand beaches, and of course, the Great Barrier Reef. Sydney’s Harbor Bridge and Opera House are iconic man-made wonders, and Melbourne’s café culture will make you feel like you are in Europe.
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