Australia: the Land Down Under, continent of kangaroos, outback pubs, vibrant cities and barbecues. I think I just already gave you four good reasons for a visit. A country of contrasts, Australia attracts millions of visitors each year, from backpackers and honeymooning couples to adventurers and families. There’s something to do for everyone. In fact, there’s too much to do for everyone.
I spent about nine months driving across Australia and picked some fruit on the way to earn a bit of money. Before I left home I had made a list of ten things that I had to do or see. Let me tell you now that I was able to check off only six of those. In nine months… I’m going to repeat myself: there’s too much to do.
I would like to share my original list here. Maybe – hopefully – it will provide a couple of travel ideas or inspire you guys to go take a look, but I know it will also remind me that I have to go back some day.
10. Unique Wildlife
Kangaroos, wombats, kookaburras, echidnas, wallabies, platypuses, dingoes, koalas,… Need I say more?
9. Ningaloo Reef
Less known than big brother Great Barrier Reef, but certainly no less jaw-dropping is the Ningaloo Reef, located off the coast of Western Australia. It’s remote, which means it’s not crowded with tourists at all. In season you can swim with whale sharks, a once-in-a-lifetime experience for sure.
8. Great Ocean Road
A short distance from vibrant Melbourne lies one the most spectacular roads on the planet. The Great Ocean Road is only about 250 kilometres long, but you could spend weeks exploring the area. You’ll drive past Australia’s best surf beaches, through lush rainforests and on top of the massive sandstone cliffs of Port Campbell National Park. The Twelve Apostles rock formation is yet another Australian icon.
7. Kakadu National Park
Covering 20000 square kilometres, this enormous National Park, located in the north of the Northern Territory, is Australia’s largest. It’s of significant importance to the Aboriginal people; you can see ancient Aboriginal rock drawings here. Wildlife is abundant and the landscapes are nothing less than breathtaking.
Australia’s island state is often overlooked by visitors. That’s a real shame, if you ask me. It’s a wild, yet friendly, place, filled with spectacular National Parks, amazing beaches and awesome hiking trails. Wineglass Bay in Freycinet NP is arguably one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Sophisticated Melbourne is Sydney’s counterpart. This southern city is Australia’s capital of culture, food, arts and – above all – sports. The host of the Grand Prix of Australia, the Melbourne Cup and the Australian Open, Melbourne lives and breathes sports. There’s an interesting mix of people from all over the world, which results in a superb food scene.
4. Barbecues, beer and surfing
Australia’s three favorite things conveniently combine extremely well. Head to the beach with your (rented) surfboard, catch a few waves and relax afterwards with your mates and several beers while grilling meat on the barbie and watching the sunset. It can’t get more Australian than that.
3. Great Barrier Reef
The world’s largest living organism, the Great Barrier Reef is located off the Queensland coast. It’s so big it can be seen from outer space. Go there for world-class diving, snorkeling and sailing. A highlight is a visit to the Whitsunday Islands on a yacht.
In the heart of the Red Centre lies Uluru, that majestically large red monolith, a sacred place to the Aboriginal people and best experienced during sunrise and sunset.
Sydney is the place where the vast majority of visitors to Australia arrive. It’s a marvelous city. The Opera House and Harbour Bridge are architectural icons and Bondi Beach is the greatest place for people watching.