Let’s get this straight; Australia is a big place. We’re talking, bigger than the entire content of Europe, big. There’s just so much to do it’s nearly impossible to whittle them down, but here are just five of the top experiences you can look forward to in Australia.
Image courtesy of Paul Toogood
1. Dive or snorkel the Great Barrier Reef
What’s so special about the Great Barrier Reef? Besides the fact that it is the largest living organism on Earth, home to thousands of fascinating wildlife species and a vital element of the ocean’s eco-system, this stretch of reef systems is remarkably beautiful, and under threat. Head out to the Reef from the Whitsundays (the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef) on a boat trip to witness the astounding sights for yourself.
Luminous coral, bright blue starfish and alien-looking creatures are just some of the underwater wonders to be seen; you could even meet your very own ‘Nemo’ clownfish or swim side by side with a sea turtle, all while learning just how precious the Reef really is.
Image courtesy of Joanna Penn
2. Visit Uluru and learn about Aboriginal culture
Uluru (Ayers Rock) is one of the top attractions in Australia and a World Heritage Site. The impressive sandstone rock formation is sacred to the local Aboriginal people and it is possible to take a walking tour lead by the Aṉangu, who can teach you more about the cultural significance of the landmark. Although it is possible to climb Uluru, the local people ask that you refrain, as a sign of respect to their culture, as well as to prevent accidents. Sunrise and sunset are the best times to go, when the dusky red colours are at their most impressive.
Image courtesy of Justin Otto
3. Meet Skippy and his pals
No trip to Australia would be complete without a kangaroo encounter! You can hang out with a whole host of Australian wildlife by visiting eco-friendly zoos and sanctuaries all over the country. If you’re feeling brave, take a crocodile cruise down the Daintree River in Queensland, or if you’d feel more comfortable with something fluffy, how about a cuddle from a Koala? Australia Zoo, Home of the late, great Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin is a great place to learn all about the native creatures of Australia.
Image courtesy of Will Ellis
4. Be an urban beach bum
The beauty of Australia’s coastal cities is that you can combine a hard day’s sightseeing with a spot of seaside relaxation. In Sydney and Melbourne for instance, you can make your way from sidewalk to sand within moments, enjoying the best of both worlds. Bondi beach is perhaps the most famous of them all, and a great place to learn to surf – Bondi’s life guards are also famous for their roles in hit Aussie TV show, Bondi Rescue, so if your surfing skills (or lack thereof) leave you in deep water, at least you know you’ll be in safe hands!
Image courtesy of paryitno
5. Become a wine expert (or get drunk trying)
Cheap boxed wine, nicknamed ‘goon’ is very common on the backpacking scene in Oz. But what people often forget is that Australia is world-renowned for its award-winning wine. It’s not all Fosters and cheap booze over there, oh no. Australia exports around 750 million litres of wine a year. That’s a lot of wine. Why not see what all the fuss is about and take a tour (and a taste) of an authentic Australian vineyard? The best wine regions are to be found in the south, like the Yarra Valley near Melbourne, where the temperatures are cooler.
Guest post by Emma Sparks
Volunteer in Australia with Frontier and explore; from surf schools to ethical conservation and wallaby rescue, Australia has something to offer anyone looking for adventure.