7 Quick Sidetrips in Australia

From the magical Three Sisters to the beautiful Victoria Harbor, the land of the Kangaroo offers a wide variety of attractions for travelers of all age and interest. Other than the spectacular West Coast and its natural scenic beauty, there are plenty of choices – but with so much territory to explore, how do you narrow down your itinerary? Here are some side trip suggestions for your trip down under!

Boxing Kangaroos. Photo credit - aardvaark.

Boxing Kangaroos. Photo credit - aardvaark.

Up Close and Personal with a Roo

The Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park in Calga, New South Wales is a prime destination for those interested in native Australian animals, plants, and culture. About a short 50 minutes drive north from Sydney harbour bridge,the park offers you an interesting journey back into a time where you can see animals (some endangered) roam about freely – kangaroos, emus, pademelons, reptiles, koalas.

You can choose from guided tours geared toward your interests, such as seeing kangaroos and koalas, discovering Aboriginal culture, boomerang throwing, animal feeding or learning how to survive in the bush. Or you can simply choose to go it alone to discover your own personal favorite.

Dreamworld, the Australian version of Disney World. Photo credit - tinrey.

Dreamworld, the Australian version of Disney World. Photo credit - tinrey.

Theme Park Adventure at Dreamworld

Kind of like the Australian equivalent of Disney World, Dreamworld (in Queensland) is Australia’s most popular amusement park and offers thrills for all ages. Whether you live for wild rollercoasters or your kids are dying for a Wiggles fix, Dreamworld can keep you all occupied for several days. Apart from the wide variety of rides, the 30 hectares Dreamworld also includes the Tiger Island, White Water World, riverboat cruises and an IMAX theatre.

Village life at Kuranda. Photo credit - steel-wool.

Village life at Kuranda. Photo credit - steel-wool.

Village Life

Immerse yourself in a rainforest village. In northern Queensland is the mountain retreat of Kuranda, a picturesque mountain retreat just 25km northwest of Cairns in Far North Queensland. Surrounded by World Heritage Rainforest, visitors can observe wildlife, learn about indigenous culture and art from Aboriginal residents, or go on a forest walk.

Kuranda has come a long way from its initial origins as a centre for those choosing an alternative lifestyle in the late 60’s. Historic Buildings from the villages past now house a variety of upmarket restaurants, cafes and bars. It is still laid back, but with a style and sophistication that sets it apart from other Cairns Highlands Venues and Attractions.

Sydney Opera House. Photo credit - blentley.

Sydney Opera House. Photo credit - blentley.

Tour the Sydney Opera House.

Even if you’re not an opera buff, a visit to this quintessential Australian landmark is a must-do during one of your lazy afternoon. Tour guides will give you an insider’s peek at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the rich history of this remarkable architecture, as well as the moving story behind its creation, mainly the saga between client and architect, which to some degree signifies a battle of foreign and local talent.

Australia's Surfer's Paradise. Photo credit - dannyben.

Australia's Surfer's Paradise. Photo credit - dannyben.

Surf it up!

For those heeding the call of the waves, the Surfer’s Paradise on the Gold Coast is simply heaven on earth (pun intended). It’s one of the most popular holiday destinations in Australia where you’ll find the perfect fusion of city and beach lifestyles set amidst a spectacular skyline and a brilliant stretch of coast. Ride the perfect waves, tan your body on the sandy beaches, or take a surfing lesson from some of the world’s best teachers.

Marine life at the Great Barrier Reef. Photo credit - Leonard Low.

Marine life at the Great Barrier Reef. Photo credit - Leonard Low.

Dive the Great Barrier Reef

There are skilled companies all over Queensland ready to take you on the dive of your life. As the largest coral reef system in the world, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the top scuba destinations anywhere in the world. Dive enthusiasts simply must reserve the time to explore this undersea phenomenon. Base yourself at one of the many beautiful islands scattered around the 300,000 square kilometres of coral cays and reef systems.

Australian Vineyard. Photo credit - Steve Lacy.

Australian Vineyard. Photo credit - Steve Lacy.

Sip some vino.

Australian wine? The very thought would have raised eyebrows in the not-too-distant past, but Australian wines are well respected today. The Australian wine industry is the fourth-largest exporter in the world, exporting over 400 million litres a year to a large international market. For the wine aficionados, there are plenty of vineyards to explore and wines to taste. Some of the best include the Saltram Wine Estate in South Australia, Stringybark Winery in Western Australia, and Yering Farm Wines in Victoria.

About the Author. Char Magalong. Char Magalong, freelance web designer and programmer, spent two years living, working and traveling in Singapore. Another two years stint right after that in Malaysia led to homesickness, after which she promptly returned to the Philippines. With her myriad of treasured experiences for apt comparison, she comments regularly on the beauty of Philippines and its surrounding country side.