Australia is known for many things — extraordinary landscapes, laid-back cities, beautiful beaches. It would be impossible to see the country and experience all it has to offer on a single trip. But these places and activities should be at the top of any traveler’s bucket list, whether he’s a foreign tourist flying in from afar or a native Australian looking to explore his own country.
Checking out the Great Barrier Reef is one of the must-do activities in Australia. The variety of bio-diversity that this reef supports has to be seen to be believed. The Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin, Dwarf Minke Whale, Flatback Turtle, Olive Ridley Turtle and Salt Water Crocodile are some of the species found here. There are a wide variety of birds living near this reef. It’s one of the greatest heritage sites in this continent country. Located off the Queensland coast, the Great Barrier Reef is in the Coral Sea and is the largest coral reef in the world. ‘Live aboard’ is a floating guest facility that is offered in many places along the coast. A scuba diver would find this reef really fascinating. You could also try snorkeling and diving.
Sydney Harbor is a natural harbor and it provides the backdrop for the breathtaking Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbor Bridge. At the Opera House, you’ll find performances by local music groups as well as foreign productions. The architecture is modern with its conceptual ‘shells’ forming the roof. The ‘Coat hanger’ or the Harbor Bridge is another image that represents Australia to most of the world. The pyrotechnics on New Year’s Eve are splendid.
The ‘Natural State’ Tasmania has an endearing air to it, all thanks to its as yet unspoiled natural beauty. The ‘Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race’, the ‘Road rally in Tasmania’ and a host of music events make it a popular destination. ‘Falls Festival’ has drawn crowds for many years now. Around the time of Christmas, ‘Carols in the candlelight’ is another well-known event. The food festival has food and wine that attracts people by the thousand. Wines such as ‘Cascade’ and ‘Boags’ are popular in mainland Australia and across the world. Cheese and dairy products are also a hit with the tourists. Cradle Mountain is another place in this state where scenic beauty may be seen. This mountain in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is made of dolerite columns and the vegetation in this area is mostly alpine. At Cradle Mountain, you could even start off on the ‘Overland track’ that would take you across the mountain terrain for six days. You could take walks around the bush and with the Lake Dove in the vicinity, Cradle Mountain must be visited. On a nocturnal visit, you could even run into animals such as Pademelons, Wallabies and Possums.
The rugged terrain of Kimberley in Western Australia is sure to have you perplexed. The cruise around this region is splendid as it offers views of waterfalls, red cliffs, rivers and some rainforest as well. King George Falls and Mitchell Falls have some of the most breathtaking views. This region also houses some major art centers. While the works of many foreign artists are on display, local artists are also encouraged and these art shows are internationally recognized. Kimberley is also famous for its diamonds. The ‘Bungle Bungles’ or Purnululu National Park is another attraction. However this is closed for some months every year. You can start off on your Kimberley cruise either at Broome, Darwin or Derby. If you are planning to drive down during the wet months, you’ll need to check if the roads are closed.
In the Snowy Mountains there is the Mount Kosciuszko which can be explored either by foot or by ski if you are going in winter. There are guided tours for different age groups and depending on how fit you are, you could opt for any of these hikes. This, the highest mountain in Australia has Alpine flowers which could be blooming if you go at the right time of the year. Ningaloo Reef, another reef in the West Coast off Australia is a white sandy lagoon. You can actually walk to this coral reef. Swim along with the many species of fish and other water creatures. Also, make time to visit the Ningaloo Marine Park. Glen Helen with its Ormiston Gorge, and Pound National Park in Australia’s Outback Northern Territory is along the legendary Finke river. The walks in the park can range anywhere from a thirty minutes right up to a three days. You’ll find that the accommodation is more than decent and the presence of other attractions makes this place very tourist friendly, and Alice Springs are close by.