The sheer vastness of Australia is hard to comprehend. This country’s interior consists of thousands of square miles of extremely hot nothingness, but the cooler coastal areas are of outstanding natural beauty. The population is concentrated on the coasts in small towns and the major cosmopolitan cities.
Visitors need to give Australia time; time to explore its depths and marvel at its natural wonders; time to hike through its national parks and wild bush; and time to enjoy the hustle and bustle of its grand cities. As a trip of a lifetime, it’s well worth waiting until retirement so this great country can be given the attention it deserves, rather than a brief one or two week stay.
Planning the trip
Australia is a serious long-haul trip so meticulous planning is the order of the day. Flights can be very expensive, especially over major holiday periods such as Christmas (when it is summer Down Under), so I’d suggest looking at other times of the year where cheap tickets can be available. It’s useful to remember that Australia is not much smaller than the US, so distances need to be taken into account when organizing travel.
Most holiday makers start out from Sydney before heading for other destinations, and depending on whether visitors are part of a tour or making their own way around the country will determine plans for accommodations, car rentals and other types of travel. I would definitely take some time with a car, just for the freedom it gives.
Icons of Oz
I would recommend that any travellers to Australia do their best to go to the two iconic natural wonders, one in the middle of arid desert and the other on the north-eastern coast.
Originally known as Ayers Rock, Uluru is a vast, sandstone monolith in the centre of the country. Its red rock surges out of the surrounding desert, a stunningly impressive natural monument and well worth the time and travel needed to reach it.
The Great Barrier Reef is a magnet for sun seekers and those who enjoy the marine life. This huge coral reef stretches over 1,800 miles, and there are hundreds of beautiful tropical islands and some of the finest beaches in the world.
Exploring the cities
Sydney, with its famous bridge and opera house, is packed with museums and galleries, entertainment, superb shopping and endless opportunities for fine dining. Melbourne plays host to the Australian Open tennis as well as the world famous horse racing festival, the Melbourne Cup. Brisbane is a major center for the annual Queensland Music Festival, and far away on the west coast is Perth, home to many attractions for visitors.
Australia is very much an outdoors country and offers fantastic opportunities for water and land-based activities. It’s possible to swim with dolphins in Perth, a thrilling experience, or on the other side of the country at the Great Barrier Reef there are chances to go snorkeling to explore the underwater miracle of the coral formations, and to see hundreds of exotic fish, large and small.
Drivers will want to explore the Great Ocean Road, in the south of Victoria state, which winds its way along the coast offering stunning views of the ocean with a new vista around every corner.
Aimee is an enthusiastic, well-educated freelance writer with big ideas for the future. She is fascinated with exploring new countries and is always dreaming of the next adventure to go on.
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Australian Sky.