More than 80% of the 23 million people who live in Australia reside within 100 kms of the coastline. This partly explains why Australians love the outdoors and all things associated with the beach and the sea like swimming, sailing, diving & surfing. Sports is an integral part of the outdoors and Aussies love their sports – be it cricket, rugby, volleyball and now soccer.
Your Australian experience can include the best of the outdoors – diving in the Great Barrier Reef, camping in Uluru in the heart of the Australian desert with Ayers Rock in the background, surfing on the famous Bondi beach in Sydney, enjoying a self drive trip on Melbourne’s famous Great Ocean Road to see the 12 apostles, playing with the koalas in Kangaroo Island - the list is endless.
‘There is nothing like Australia’ is the current advertising campaign by Tourism Australia and they are bang on. The land down under is like nowhere else you’ve been. It has truly unique wildlife, some of the world’s best natural scenery, the best beaches, the most brilliant scuba diving and snorkelling, the oldest rainforest (110 million years), the best wines, the best weather and the most innovative cuisine. Prepare yourself for a lifetime of memories.
Here is a shortlist of the some of the must see destinations along with the must do activities in Australia.
Australia's most famous city is one of the great harbour cities of the world, with Darling Harbour housing famous landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge and more. Sydney combines the best of a truly cosmopolitan urban lifestyle with the atmosphere of a relaxed and laid back beach culture.
The city is full of iconic landmarks, activities, beaches, nightlife and attractions - there's something for everyone here. Favourite tourist spots in Sydney that attract travellers are Sydney Opera House, Darling Harbour, Taronga Zoo, Sea Life Sydney Aquarium and Bondi Beach. Its location alongside the ocean means Sydney provides chances for water-focused activities like jet boating, cruises on the harbour, and simple beach-going while also offering great shopping and dining as well.
Popular excursions from Sydney include Port Stephens, Hunter Valley, Blue Mountains and the Grand Pacific Drive to Wollongong. An excursion to Hunter Valley is a must if you are coming to Sydney for the first time. A two-hour drive from Sydney, the Hunter Valley is one of the largest river valleys on the New South Wales coast, and is most commonly known for its wineries. It is the sixth most visited place in Australia attracting more than 2.5 million people annually. There are regular events held in the Hunter Valley for visitors.
Throughout the year, the Hunter Valley presents a diverse calendar of food and wine events in its wineries that include performances by big name artists in jazz, opera and blues music. The Lovedale Long Lunch event is a feast which winds through several Hunter Valley wineries and restaurants each year in May. In the heart of the Hunter Valley is the beachside city of Newcastle, which has a rich history, culture and excellent dining and shopping.
Another intriguing excursion that you can enjoy is to Wollongong on the Grand Pacific Drive. Wollongong is a seaside city located in the Illawarra region of New South Wales, Australia. This city has a rich history and popular tourist sites here include Flagstaff Hill Fort, Smiths Hill Fort, Wollongong Head Lighthouse and St Michael‘s Cathedral.
Port Stephens, which apart being a tourist site is also one of the most important government areas of Australia. It is located in the Hunter Region of New South Wales. The main attraction in Port Stephens is Great Lakes Marine Park that gives you a chance to see marine life. The recreational activities in Port Stephens strongly focus on aquatic activities such as whale and dolphin watching, fishing and recreational boating.
A must do excursion from Sydney is a day trip to the Blue Mountains, one of the most treasured nature-based destinations in the state of New South Wales. Combining epic, rugged scenery that blends greenery with some vast rocky outcroppings that contrast beautifully with one another, the Blue Mountains region is also rich with a bevy of native Aussie wildlife, leading it to be a location that has something to offer for almost everyone.
Melbourne is the capital and most populous city in the state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia. Melbourne is known as Australia’s cultural capital with a vibrant art, culture, food and entertainment scene. Things that have made Melbourne popular are secret laneways and rooftops, the cultural hub of Federation Square, buzzing bars, boutiques and eateries, and the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
Tourist spots in Melbourne that are hot favourites include Eureka Tower, National Gallery of Victoria, Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium, Melbourne Zoo, St. Paul's Cathedral, Healesville Sanctuary, Luna Park, Melbourne Botanical Gardens, Yarra Valley Wineries, Sherbrooke Forest, Daylesford and Hepburn Springs (must visit for spa lovers) Hanging Rock, Phillip Island and Mornington Peninsula where one can enjoy shopping in Red Hill Market. Mornington Peninsula is also famous for Beach Horse Riding. Tours of the iconic MCG and Rod Laver arena are also popular with sport buffs. Recreational activities in Melbourne include golf, diving, shopping, brewery tours, bike tours, city river cruises, stand-up paddle boarding and tennis.
A drive along the Great Ocean Road can bring you closer to the rich Australian history, culture and heritage. The Great Ocean Road is an Australian National Heritage listed 243 kilometres (151 miles) stretch of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Allansford. On route see Lorne and Torquay and you can enjoy a stroll along the pristine sandy beach of the sleepy seaside holiday town of Apollo Bay. Discover the legends of 'The Shipwreck Coast' at Port Campbell National Park, and tour the spectacular Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and London Bridge.
If you are in a mood for beaches and sun-bathing, Phillip Island is where you need to go. Phillip Island is an island about 140 km (87 miles) south-southeast of Melbourne, Victoria. The key attraction in Phillip Island is Penguin Parade in Phillip Island Nature Park in which Little Penguins come ashore in groups every evening.
Cairns & Port Douglas:
Australia’s famous tropical playground, Cairns is full of activities and is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Cairns is a regional city, encompassing smaller townships, in the far north of Queensland. The tropical climate in Cairns ensures you will have access to great weather to enjoy white water rafting, bungee jumping and all other adventure activities the region is famous for.
Great Barrier Reef is the major attraction for all visitors coming to Cairns. The best way to experience the reef is to take a day trip with one of the cruise companies that operate boats to various islands along the reef. You can choose to snorkel, dive, stay dry or view the spectacular underwater reefs in semi-submarine or glass bottom boat, or choose to simply laze on the white sandy beaches.
Beyond the Great Barrier Reef, the other attractions in Cairns that are worth exploring include Daintree rainforest, Kuranda tour, Palm Cove (near Queensland), Cairns Tropical Zoo, Cairns Botanic Gardens, Cairns Historical Society Museum, Michaelmas Cay, Fitzroy Island, Ellis Beach and Stoney Creek Falls.
From the list, the two must do attractions would be the Kuranda tour and Daintree Rainforest. At Kuranda village, you can spend time exploring its showcase of local products before joining the Skyrail for a treetop level trip along the world’s only rainforest cableway. The Daintree Rainforest is a tropical rainforest region on the north east coast of Queensland, north of Mossman and Cairns. This rainforest named after Late Richard Daintree, an Australian geologist and photographer.
Another day trip from Cairns is to visit Port Douglas, a town in Far North Queensland, approximately 70 km (40 miles) north of Cairns. Important heritage sites in Port Douglas that showcase the glorious history of Australia include FDA Carstens Memorial, St Mary‘s by the Sea, Port Douglas Court House Museum and Port Douglas War Memorial. Important tourist destinations in Port Douglas include Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, Shambala Animal Kingdom, The Clink Theatre, Four Mile Beach and Karnak Playhouse.
Perhaps Australia’s most famous holiday destination, the Gold Coast has stunning beaches, amazing weather and plenty of attractions. Gold Coast is around 100 kilometres (60 miles) south of the state capital, Brisbane. About 10 million tourists visit the Gold Coast area every year and tourism is a big industry here.
Gold Coast is a must visit for families where children are fascinated with cartoons and comic-book characters as many amusement parks here like Dreamworld, Warner Bros. Movie World , Wet 'N Wild Gold Coast and Sea World are cartoons-themed based. Other tourist attractions here include Arkham Asylum, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, White Water World and Elabana Falls
With Gold Coast itself being a big attraction in Queensland region, you can extend your holiday with a visit to Tangalooma Island Resort which is amongst the best holiday resorts in Australia.
Tangalooma Island Resort is located on Moreton Island which is blessed with white sandy beaches. The biggest attraction at Tangalooma is the opportunity to hand-feed the wild bottlenose dolphins that visit the beach each evening. Tangalooma Resort has a licensed feeding program and is the only place in the bay where dolphin feeding is allowed. Tangalooma Wrecks, another attraction at Tangalooma Resorts are man-made wreck dive and snorkel site.
In addition to Moreton Island, honeymooners and couples can treat themselves in Hamilton Island which is the largest inhabited island of the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland. In 2009, Tourism Queensland promoted the Great Barrier Reef as a global tourism destination with a promotion encouraging people worldwide to apply for “The Best Job in the World.” This job was to be a “Caretaker of the Islands” of the Great Barrier Reef for 06 months in the year based out of Hamilton Island.
Adelaide is the capital city of South Australia and the fifth-largest city in Australia. Known as the "City of Churches", the city blends history, architecture, wildlife and great food making it an ideal holiday destination.
One of the focal points of Adelaide that acts as an activity hub is the mighty Murray River – the longest river network in Australia – that offers a bevy of cruises and nature experiences that often prove popular for visitors and locals alike. The city boasts a great variety of dining options and even has entire streets devoted to restaurants, cafes and pubs.
Sightseeing attractions in Adelaide include Cleland National Park, Adelaide Zoo, Adelaide Botanic Garden, Belair National Park, Victoria Square, Himeji Gardens, Adelaide Aquatic Centre, Carrick Hill and Waterfall Gully.
A popular excursion from Adelaide is Kangaroo Island - from special cuisines to fantastic wildlife featuring seals, platypus, koalas and kangaroos, Kangaroo Island is home various exotic attractions for tourists. On the beaches of Kangaroo Island, dolphins are a regular sight.
Uluru (Ayers Rock):
Wildly known as Australia’s ‘Red Centre’, Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock is a large sandstone rock formation in the southern part of the Northern Territory in central Australia. This large rock has great spiritual significance to the Aboriginal culture and has become the iconic landmark of the Australian Outback.
Ayers Rock itself is not the only highlight that can be found in the nearby area – relatively short journeys will let you experience other epic and visually stunning Aussie outback icons as The Olgas (Kata Tjuta), the sweeping gorge of Kings Canyon, and the rugged, gap-filled mountains of the MacDonnell Ranges – each of which offers its own unique spectacle and reflection of Red Centre character.
Hobart is the capital of the Australian island state of Tasmania. As a tourist destination, Tasmania is promoted as the natural state. It is described as “A World Apart, Not A World Away” owing to its large and relatively unspoiled natural environment. Almost 45% of Tasmania lies in reserves, national parks and World Heritage Sites.
Hobart is rich in culture and the regional highlights include Port Arthur's historic site, Bruny Island and Mount Wellington. Popular tourist attractions include Royal Tasmainian Botanical Gardens, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Theatre Royal Hobart, Zoodoo Wildlife Park and Hobart Zoo.
Hobart offers deluxe accommodation, modern restaurants, contemporary art galleries, charming cafes and the popular Salamanca Markets. Tasmania is home to the award winning Sullivan Cove Whisky, as well as Tasmania’s finest whisky distilleries, Nant Whisky Cellar and Lark Cellar Door.
Best time to visit Australia:
The best times to visit Australia is the summer months between November and March where you can look forward to long sunny days. The autumn season in April and May and the spring season months of September and October is also an ideal time to visit Australia as the climate is pleasant and there are fewer tourists.
How to reach Australia:
Air India operates direct flights to Sydney & Melbourne from Delhi and offers fares from various cities in India. There are several flight options to Australia from the gateway cities of Singapore (Singapore Airlines, Jet Airways and Qantas), Bangkok (Thai Airways), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysian Airlines) and Hong Kong (Cathay).
About Odyssey Travels
Odyssey Travels is a leading IATA accredited Travel Company, established in 1992. We specialize in planning customized holidays in India and abroad for our clients which includes air ticketing, worldwide hotel reservations, inclusive tours, sightseeing activities, visa assistance & travel insurance services. For further information or to make a booking contact 020-66442929 or visit www.odysseytravels.net