The feeling of discovery in Australia
One of the pleasures of travel is the feeling of discovery. In a time when there is a proliferation of information and everyone is connected all the time, it is a joy to realize there are still unknowns, hidden gems to be shared with family and friends. Australia can sometimes seem so familiar, yet has so many destinations such as Byron Bay that deserve to be considered anew. Whether it’s an underexplored region of pristine reef or a rainforest that offers new adventures, a city that has undergone a transformation where a cluster of new restaurants and shops has opened, or a cultural precinct that is generating a buzz, the country has numerous possessions stored for all her visitors. With cities ranging from the northern tropics to the central deserts and chilly southern shores, Australia is such a vast mainland that it would be impossible to see the entire country and experience all it has to offer, in a single trip. Here’s our guide on the best places to visit while in Australia.
Byron Bay (picture above), the ultimate destination for honeymooners, is a beachside town located just off the Pacific Highway on the north coast of New South Wales. Visitors are destined to enjoy plenty of outdoor activities, numerous beaches, unspoiled hinterland and a relaxed vacation. Byron Bay’s natural credentials are impeccable with highlights such as humpback whales cruising past the headland and storms creating rainbows on the mountains across the bay. The main spots to visit are Cape Byron Lighthouse, the Walking Track and Marine Park.
Located on the southeastern coast, Sydney is the largest Australian city and capital of New South Wales offering a beautiful range of sundrenched beaches. Roam in Sydney’s botanical gardens, surf in Bondi Beach, climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge, visit the Opera House or sail across the harbor, whatever activities you seek, Sydney has the answer.
Great Barrier Reef
It’s probably one of the biggest attractions in Australia. One of the top destinations for underwater explorers and scuba divers, it is the world’s largest barrier reef system. Loaded with tons of marine life and beautiful corals, it’s a heaven for die-hard divers. But if you don’t dive, you can hire a boat out to the reef and go snorkeling. The iconic Great Barrier Reef is blessed with the breathtaking beauty of the world’s largest coral reef.
Uluru (Ayer’s Rock)
One of the best known Australian Landmarks, Ayers Rock is also known by its Aboriginal name “Uluru”. It is a sacred rock not unlike Silbury Hill in England, with spectacular red rock sand domes rising out of the Central Australian desert. Hauntingly beautiful with a profound timelessness, it stands 348 mt above sea level with some 2.500 mt of its bulk underground. Aborigines have been in the area for the last 10.000 years, and the Aboriginal center nearby is a great place to experience their indigenous culture.
The capital of the state of Victoria, Melbourne is considered to be the nation’s cultural hub. Known for its shopping, fine restaurants and sports venues, the city is an ideal destination for all arty urbanites that thrive on good food, pubs, galleries, live music and bookshops. Melbourne is also known as the Australian food capital.
Kakadu National Park
Jim Jim Falls
Covering almost 32.186 square kilometers, Kakadu is Australia’s largest terrestrial national park. It is a tropical wonderland full of crocodiles, ancient Aboriginal rock art and cultural heritage, raucous birds and animal life. It is a nature lover’s dream with great sites for nature buffs and bushwalkers.
One of the most popular destinations for tourists, Gold Coast is a blessed haven for all surfers and bikini-clad travelers. Defined by its spectacular beaches, hinterland ranges, forests, waterways and vibrant communities, the Gold Coast is an outstanding global city. Along with endless stretches of golden beaches, there are international theme parks, designer boutiques, luxurious spa retreats, world-class golf courses, award-winning restaurants, bars and lively nightclubs, and entertainment 24-hours-a-day.
Visiting the wine country should be on your list of things to do. You will have many chances to taste Australian wine from the source, when you wander through exotic wine regions such as Hunter Valley, Barossa Valley, Clare Valley and Adelaide Hills.
Blue Mountains National Park
Glowing in autumn, cool in winter, colorful in spring and refreshing in summer, it is a magical place any time of the year. Home to the Three Sisters rock formation, it is also surrounded by rainforests, densely populated by oil bearing Eucalyptus and is a natural home to kangaroos, parrots, kookaburras and more.