Australian holidays are all about long journeys and adventurous travel. You could just lounge on the beach or have a city break in Sydney during your holiday to Australia, but you would be missing out. Australia is one of the best countries to explore on a longer journey, with vast tracts of unspoilt wilderness and an amazing variation in the scenery that you’ll encounter. Not only are there plenty of sights to see on a journey through Australia, there are numerous ways to travel.
Whether you prefer a train, a car, a horse, scuba flippers or just your own two feet, you are sure to find an Australian holiday journey that suits you. Here are five amazing ways to explore the country –
Victoria is a popular Australian holiday destination, especially for nature lovers; the dramatic and diverse landscape includes alpine mountains, arid plains and wet, temperate Gippsland. This was horse riding country back when the settlers first arrived, and this remains the best way to explore this beautiful part of Australia. There are plenty of horse riding holidays available, ranging from centre based and beginners holidays to arduous cross country trips for the more experienced rider.
Drive-along the West Coast
A driving holiday on Australia’s West Coast allows you to explore a wonderful and comparatively untouristed part of the country. Unlike the more populous East Coast, you can drive for miles and miles without seeing a soul, but there’s plenty to keep you occupied; on the classic route from Perth to Exmouth, highlights include feeding wild dolphins in the sea at Monkey Mia, scuba diving at Ningaloo Reef (smaller but just as exciting as the Great Barrier Reef) and exploring the stunning scenery of Kalbarri National Park.
Known as “the Natural State”, over a third of Tasmania is covered by national parks, giving you an idea of just how much amazing countryside there is to explore here as part of a holiday to Australia. It is a land best seen on foot; highlights for the eager trekker include Cradle Mountain, Wineglass Bay, the Western Arthur Mountain Range and Freycinet National Park.
Catch the train-from Adelaide to Darwin
The famous Ghan train (a shortening of Afghan Express, named after the Afghan camel trains that trekked the route before the railway was built) crosses the entire length of Australia, north to south, in just 48 hours (though of course, you can make stops along the way!) Started in 1878 and not fully finished until 1929, a ride on the Ghan is an unforgettable journey for your holiday to Australia, taking in some of the best scenery the country has to offer alongside highlights like Adelaide, Darwin and Alice Springs. For train lovers on an Australian holiday, this is the journey to take.
Dive-to the Great Barrier Reef
A journey to the Great Barrier Reef may be one best measured in metres rather than miles, but it is a journey as epic as any of the other Australia holidays on this list. The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef in the world, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and is a scuba divers paradise.
If you go diving while on holiday in Australia, you will enter another world, a hive of biodiversity, beautiful coral reefs, and a huge variety of wildlife, including dolphins, turtles and over 1,500 species of fish. It certainly won’t be the longest trip that you’ll take while on holiday in Australia, but it will certainly be one of the most spectacular.
About the Author. Kieron Sellens. Kieron Sellens is the marketing manager of the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AiTO). With AITO’s selection of superb Australian holidays you can tailor-make the dream trip down under.
Unearthing Asia is a travel magazine focusing on Lifestyle, Culture and Attractions all over Asia. Don’t miss out on the best Cheapest All Inclusive Holidays ideas and inspirations in the region of Asia, such as this list of Bangkok’s fine dining highlights.
Queensland has been in the news a lot lately with their “dream job” promotion – they offered someone an island caretaker job, complete with a big salary and benefits, as long as the caretaker used social media to promote their work on the island. You can read all about it on the official Island Caretaker Blog, run by the contest winner Ben Southall. You can also follow his adventures on Twitter, although he doesn’t post many links there.
But what exactly is there to do in Queensland, you may ask? Why would you want a dream job there? Here’s a few of the highlights of Queensland, sometimes called Australia’s “Sunshine State.”
The Whitsunday islands area is where Ben Southhall is based – specifically his home is on Hamilton, the most developed of the islands and some consider it the most expensive land in the entire country. Whitsunday Island itself is where you’ll find Whitehaven Beach, a place that finds itself atop many “top beach” lists. The waters are clear and turquoise and the sand is pure white silica – pretty much the most pristine beach you could find without making it yourself. Options for exploring the islands ranges from big boat cruises, catamarans, and even small pontoon boats.
The Great Barrier Reef
One of the two UNESCO world heritage sites in Queensland is the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral formation. The reef area offers tons of flexibility for what you can see and do, from a quick daytrip to more intense explorations. It’s best to do a little research first, because each of the various islands has different amenities and different types of touring available. Glass-bottomed boats, snorkeling, scuba diving, or just sailing out on the blue sea are ways to fill your day, then be sure to try the fresh seafood during the evenings.
Daintree National Park
This national park in the far north of Queensland is the other UNESCO world heritage site in state, considered one of the oldest rainforests in the world. Trees once thought extinct have been found in the park, and you’ll also see plenty of rare flora and fauna. Cape Tribulation is a popular base camp with its hotels and resorts, giving you easy access to park highlights like the Mossman Gorge, Omeed Rock, or crocodile spotting on the Daintree River.
Brisbane, the Capital
If you don’t like fun in the sun, then Queensland probably isn’t the ideal place for you. However, you can still have some not-so-sandy urban adventures in the state capital, Brisbane, in the southeast corner of Queensland. Everything seems fresh and hip in Brisbane, and each of the city’s neighbourhoods has its own distinct flavor. Some of my best tips:
Live Music. There’s always someone playing somewhere in town, so why not take advantage of the great evening weather. To see who’s playing, check out this music venue guide.
XXXX Ale House & Brewery. You can do the tour or just come for a drink. It’s in Milton, an area full of fantastic little cafes and boutique shops.
If You Go
The nice thing about Eastern Australia is that it is fairly easy to get around. Trains, buses, planes or ferries are all viable options to driving. However, if you plan to do some extensive touring in the bush (“outback”) then hiring a car is recommended. Regardless, do your homework – it’s not always evident which mode of transport is the best value for money, and you might save yourself a few Aussie dollars by shopping around.
About the Author. Andy Hayes. Andy Hayes is a freelance travel writer and photographer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. When not crossing the world to have his next Asian travel adventures, he is hitting the walking trails near home. To get in touch or see Andy’s other travelogues, visit his website, Sharing Experiences.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.