Top 10 places to visit in Australia

So, you want to go on a trip to some place that offers you not just the run-of-the-mill water activities, sightseeing opportunities, wonderful cities, but also a tryst with some exotic animals, snow-capped mountains, rainforests, and maybe even a desert? In this case, Australia is the perfect destination for you. This country in the Southern hemisphere has something for everyone. Whether you’re a Nature lover, a sportsperson, or an outdoor person, you’ll be at home here.

Old Course

This country has six states: Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland, Tasmania, and New South Wales. Also, it has two major territories and numerous minor territories. A number of these smaller territories are not even inhabited! More than ninety percent of the country’s population is of British or Irish ethnicity. The Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders comprise the indigenous population. Australia is mostly desert with only the south-east and south-west having a temperate climate. Snow falls in the mountains of Tasmania, New South Wales and other states.

Much of Australia’s diverse flora and fauna is endemic to the continent. However, due to the indiscriminate use of the forests for agriculture and industry, some species have become extinct. Conservationists in every state are working hard to rebuild ecosystems. Animals and birds such as kangaroos, dingoes, koala bears, emus, and kookaburras have come to symbolize Australia. The variety of marsupials in particular that the country offers is one of a kind.

This sports crazy nation has a national cricket team and rugby team, in addition to scores of athletes who have gone on to become international names in their chosen sport. Ian Thorpe, Patrick Rafter, Lleyton Hewitt, Rod Laver are only some of these greats. Cathy Freeman, the Olympic sprinter is probably one of the most famous Australian sportsperson of Aboriginal origin. Then there is the Australian Open and the Australian Grand Prix, additional testimonies to the fact that sport is more than a leisure activity in this country. Surfing is something you must try when you are on the beach. They have courses for beginners and also for veterans. Each city and state offers something unique. You could even take a cruise instead of driving or flying between the different coastal cities. Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra and Hobart are some of the popular Australian cities.

Top Places

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. No holiday can be truly complete without a fair amount of shopping thrown in. In Melbourne, go to the Chapel Street or Greville Street for some chic clothes and leather goods. (Try Melbourne City Shops for a list of shops around Melbourne) The fancy bistros and the designer boutiques make for a compelling reason to check out this city. Chapel Street alone has more than a thousand shops along a two kilometer stretch. Between July and August, the city also plays host to Melbourne Film Festival and screens some of the finest movies, both local and foreign. There are souvenir shops scattered all over the city. St James Old Cathedral takes you back to the Victorian times with its quaint architecture.

7. As befits a location famous for its fine alcohol, the lovely grape-growing valley of Barossa is proud of its industry. It is located less than fifty kilometers northeast of Adelaide and offers everything you’d expect from a famous wine region in Australia. In 1850, English immigrants and European farmers came to the valley and began to turn it into one of the world’s most renowned, for its wine, good food, and European architecture. The valley offers unique food, many festivals, events all year long, historical architecture, art galleries, and antique shops.

8. If there is a paradise, it undoubtedly looks like Whitsunday’s islands in Queensland. Most trips to the islands start from the town of Airlie Beach, known mainly for cheap alcohol and its pubs and discos. You can go on an organized cruise from Early Beach to Whitsunday’s and choose different packages. Some sleep on board, while others stay at vacation villages near the island, where you can also find five star hotels. During the cruise, you can take part in various activities such as snorkeling, diving, swimming or lazing around on deck with a cold drink and staring at the amazing view. The island’s most famous beach is Whitehaven Beach, seven kilometers of white sand, and one of the most photographed beaches in the world.

9. The highlight of a visit in the middle of the Australian desert is doubtlessly a visit of Uluru (or Ayers Rock). It is three hundred and forty eight meters high with a nine kilometers circumference. It is the world’s largest monolith, made of sand stone which changes color in the course of the day from light brown to deep red. It is especially beautiful at sunset and sunrise. Uluru is also called “The Heart of Australia” and is one of Australia’s most famous symbols. The giant rock is of supreme importance to the Aborigines, who have marked its holiness by many rock drawings for ten thousand years.

10. The Great Ocean Road, one hour drive east of Melbourne, runs along the southern coast of Australia and is one of the most beautiful driving roads on earth. Its length is two hundred and fifty kilometers, and it starts at the Trecky surf resort, ninety kilometers from Melbourne. The road was built in 1930 in memory of soldiers who fell in WWI; it passes by magnificent cliffs and lonely beaches. Main attractions include the resort towns of Loren, Apollo Bay, and picturesque Port Fairy. Otway National Park offers hiking paths through rain forests, rivers, and amazing waterfalls. Campbell National Park, on the western side of the road, is located in an area known for its rocks jutting out of the ocean, the most famous of these being called “The Twelve Apostles.”
A place can truly be experienced only by visiting it. The culture, people, and cuisine are test “lived” and not just read about. Australia is a lot more than what this article has to say. Check out Australia and be mesmerized by its mélange of the old and the modern.