Australia can be quite an inhospitable place during the hot and dry season and it is still one of the most expensive destinations – next to its immediate neighbour New-Zealand. And yet, it has lost none of its remarkable appeal. For many, a trip to Australia is still the adventure holiday of a lifetime, the kind you’ll speak about for years to come. In many respects, the world’s smallest continent deserves this attention: With so much to see and so little time, finding the tourist hotspots you just can’t afford to miss can be difficult. Which is why we’ve compiled a few of the absolute highlights to help you get started.
A visit to the iconic Sidney harbour, home to the spectacular Sydney Opera house, worth an extended visit in its own right, is simply a must for any visitor to Australia. You can relax and take in the spectacular views at this UNESCO World Heritage site, or for the more adventurous, guided tours are offered to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge. If you’ve got the energy, then the vista from the top is truly unforgettable. The Sidney Harbour has turned into a portal into the country and its culture as a whole and it connect its progressive present with its past – and therefore both a perfect first point of destination and point of departure for your trip.
Australia is home to the worlds largest coral reef, a fascinating 1430 mile stretch of mysteriously beguiling and submerged tropical gardens. Divers travel across the world to experience the beauty of it’s 400 kinds of colourful living coral and some of the rarest tropical fish in existence. If diving or snorkeling isn’t your thing though don’t worry, you can also experience the treasures of the reef from the comfort of a glass bottomed boat. Any which way, the site of these alien shapes and intense colors is an experience you’ll never forget – and one which may soon be a part of history, as the reef continues to suffer from pollution and global climate change.
Although referred to as Ayers Rock by most tourists, one of Australia’s most iconic landmarks is known by the locals as Uluru. This dramatic sandstone rock formation is the primary tourist attraction in the Northern Territory. Steeped in aboriginal history, with rock paintings still visible, a visit to the rock offers tourists the opportunity to discover aboriginal art and culture. The rock is home to many trails and whilst the energetic can opt to climb the rock, a 6.5 mile route around it’s base is well marked, with placards highlighting the key features, so you don’t miss anything. Especially with the blistering heat, this may be the most attractive option at your disposal – without making the experience any less impressive.
If you love to surf or enjoy sunbathing then look no further, the Gold Coast is Australia’s premier destination for beach lovers. With 21 patrolled beaches you can do as much or as little as you like. Take advantage of the whale watching expeditions or give yourself a thrill at Dreamworld, one of Australia’s premier theme parks.
Located in the Northern Territory, Kakadu National Park offers a combination of diverse wildlife and a rich cultural heritage. Aboriginal people have occupied the area for around 40,000 years leaving pristine examples of rock art at the internationally recognised sites of Ubirr and Burrunguy. There are tours on offer locally to show you the unmissable sights and explain the history of the area in a fun and accessible way. Although Kakadu National Park may not have quite the same renown as Ayers Rock, it is generally considered an equally fascinating facet of Australia’s unique nature – and, therefore, another ‘must’ on your trip down under.
With over 130 koalas Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane is one of the top 10 zoos in the world. You can really get involved here, as you are allowed to hold and feed the koalas. With much more Australian wildlife on offer such as crocodiles, platypus, Tasmanian devils and birds of prey it offers an unforgettable excursion for the whole family.
There’s so much to do in Australia that no list can be exhaustive, I’ve only scratched the surface here. To make the most of your trip hop onto the Official Australian Tourist Board site for more ideas and advice.
By Gavin Whittaker in association with Tuxedo. www.tuxedoprepaid.com a leading service provider of travel currency cards and foreign exchange.
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