Guest post by Matthew Polo.
Australia is home to almost 23 million people concentrated in coastal cities and spread across Outback towns. The dramatic variations in landscape, cultures, and environments means that Australia can satisfy any travelers tastes.
Things To Do
- Surf, swim, or relax at one of Australia’s trendy or family-friendly beaches.
- Watch the wildlife. Pet a kangaroo at Jervis Bay, cuddle a koala in Brisbane, go whale-watching at Platypus Bay, or swim with dolphins at Tangalooma.
- Do something extreme. Try bungee jumping, skydiving, white-water rafting, rappelling, or sea kayaking.
- Explore the Outback, with its dramatic red ranges, unexpected waterfalls, ghost towns, and opal mines.
- Appreciate the Aboriginal culture. Tour sacred sites, gain insight into bush medicine, and listen to Dreamtime stories. Learn how to throw a boomerang or spear.
- Enjoy Australian wine, dining, and nightlife. Feast at gourmet restaurants or enjoy a laid-back meal in one of the Outback towns.
- Tour a museum to learn about Australian life. Glimpse prison life at the Old Melbourne Gaol, or board a submarine at the Australian National Maritime Museum.
- Take a dive. Explore the coral reefs, snorkel over 150-year-old giant clams, hand-feed fish, and search for sharks, turtles, and octopus.
- Take a hike. Bushwalk through the Blue Mountains eucalyptus or spot wallabies on the Whitsunday Islands trails.
- Pamper yourself. Relax with a stroll through the Royal Botanical Gardens, a winery tour, a spa treatment, or a shopping trip.
10 Must-See Places
- Great Barrier Reef – Viewable from outer space, the Great Barrier Reef is the worlds largest coral reef system. Travellers enjoy scuba diving, snorkelling, fishing, sailing, glass-bottom boat and semi-submersible tours, dolphin swims, and helicopter tours. Day trips and overnight tours depart from several coastal cities. Prices range from $150 to $500+.
- Uluru and Kata Tjuta National Park – Rising above the surrounding bushland, Uluru (Ayers Rock) is a breath-taking sight. This significant Aboriginal monument is located 335 km southwest of Alice Springs, within Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park. The park and cultural centre are open 7:00am to 6:00pm daily, with extended hours during certain months. The park use fee is $25 for people 16 or older. Visitors can take free walks or pre-arrange Aboriginal-guided workshops and camel tours for $87 to $229.
- Australia Zoo – The late Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin’s family operates the Australia Zoo. The zoo features over one hundred species, including crocodiles, elephants, tigers, and cheetahs. About an hours drive north of Brisbane, Australia Zoo is open 9:00am to 5:00pm daily except for Christmas. Admission is $58 for adults and $34 for children 3 – 14.
- Tamborine Mountain Glow Worm Caves – See thousands of tiny glow worms sparkling on the cave walks like the Milky Way. The caves are open 10:00am to 4:00pm daily, with tours every half hour. Admission is $11 for adults, $9 for seniors/students, and $5.50 for children 4 – 12.
- Kangaroo Island – Kangaroo Island is a rugged and picturesque destination about 13 km off the coast of South Australia, near Adelaide. Visitors can spot kangaroos, wallabies, penguins, seals, koalas, whales, platypuses, and other species. The local foods are a big hit. Kayak, helicopter, 4WD, and coach tours can be pre-arranged online.
- Nambung National Park – Entering this park is like stepping onto another planet. Over 150,000 spectacular limestone rock Pinnacles rise from the yellow desert sand. Snorkelling, windsurfing, wildlife-watching, and picnicking are popular activities. The park is about 245 km north of Perth. Admission is $11.
- Melbourne Sports Venues – Melbourne hosts some of the worlds premier sporting venues. Take in an event at Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne Sports & Aquatic Centre, Etihad Stadium, Vodafone Arena, Rod Laver Arena, Olympic Park, Flemington Race Course, or Albert Park Grand Prix Track. Tickets and tour packages can be booked online.
- Sydneys Paddys Markets – The Paddy’s Markets feature rows of vendors with innumerable products. The Haymarket location near Chinatown offers deals on souvenirs, clothing, jewellery, and gadgets. The site is open Wednesday through Sunday 9:00am to 5:00pm, with a wider selection on weekends.
- Sydney Harbour Bridge – Experience unique city views by climbing to the top of Sydney Harbour Bridge. Two- to four-hour climbs cost $198 to $298 for adults and $138 to $198 for children, depending on the time of day selected. Pedestrians can walk across the bridge at road-level for free.
- Sydney Opera House – Contrary to popular belief, the famous white, shell-domed Sydney Opera House also hosts theatrical productions and concerts. Tickets range from $25 to $100+. One-hour tours operate daily from 9:00am to 5:00pm for $35, and backstage tours leave at 7:00am daily for $155.
Matt is a writer and researcher at Credit Card Compare, an Australian website offering a range of credit cards with QFF points for frequent travellers.