Australia is a country famed for much more than kangaroos, didgeridoos, an opera house and “shrimp on the barbie”, and it definitely has more to offer than rugby and cricket stadiums. This tourist friendly island continent is the 6th largest country by area in the world with popular cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane.
Of course, everybody knows about the outback, that rough and rugged red-earthed desert area where little grows and no water flows, but if you only believe that, you will be missing out on adventure, adrenaline and breathtaking Instagram moments. Uluru (shadowy place), formerly named Ayers Rock, is one of the most photographed natural wonders in Australia and one of the most recognised rock formations in the world. It forms the centrepiece of the World Heritage Area, the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. It is said that the best way to fully appreciate these sites is to join a tour led by Aboriginal rangers.
The world’s largest reef system and one of the 7 wonders of the natural world, the Great Barrier Reef, is found on the north-eastern coast of Australia. This world heritage site is one of the largest living structures in the world – even visible from outer space. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park was established in 1975 to protect this impressively large, but delicately fragile ecosystem that includes more than 600 continental islands, 300 coral cays, and inshore mangrove islands and over 3000 coral reefs. This is an ideal venture for anybody who loves diving and snorkelling. What an opportunity to swim around this incredible creation that is home to over 1600 species of tropical fish, sharks, dolphins, rays, giant clams and turtles.
Australia is home to some rare and unique animal-life, even apart from the Great Barrier Reef’s spectacular collection of species. These animals include the Kangaroo, Koala, Emu, Platypus, Kookaburra, giant spiders and venomous snakes like the Brown Snake, Tiger Snake and the Taipan, and that’s without mentioning the 750 different reptile species and the great white sharks…well, now that it is out there, shark cage diving is very popular, especially if you fancy yourself a bit of an adrenaline junkie. I must warn you, however, that even behind the bars of a strong cage, the terror (and majesty) of these enormous (and incredible) creatures can be quite petrifying.
If you are not brave (or insane) enough to take on the ocean, but love the sound of the waves and the beautiful seascapes, take a drive from Melbourne on the Great Ocean Road and visit famous surf spots, see beautiful rock formations of the 12 Apostles, and visit the beautiful waterfalls and forests of the Otway National Park.
North of Perth, you find the Turquoise Coast of Western Australia, home to the Pinnacles Desert. This is no ordinary desert with hundreds of ancient limestone pillars filling the landscape, often referred to as “extraterrestrial tombstones”. Fringed by white beaches and unique fauna and flora, this journey promises out of the ordinary experiences from sand to surf.
Australia is a land of diversity, from the hubs of commerce to the vastness of the spectacular landscapes, rich animal life and oceanic abundance. Australians are warm, inviting and passionate people (especially when it comes to sport). Of course the Sydney Opera House is a sight to behold along with the impressive Sydney Harbour Bridge, but if this article had to highlight all the amazing attractions, we would be here a while because this place has it all. Heritage, railways that track the landscape, royal gardens, galleries, sports grounds, beautiful beaches (they are famous for their surf spots), national parks, interesting animals you won’t find anywhere else in the world in their natural habitat, excitement, adventure, adrenaline and much more exceptional travel opportunities. The only question should be, “where do I start?”