21 Mar 2014 Australia – The Place to Go
Ask me, “Why go to Australia?” and my response would be “How could one not want to go to Australia!?” As both a country and a continent, Australia is gigantic, encompassing an area of 7.692 million square kilometers/ 2.97 million miles squared, or five percent of the world’s land mass. What it packs into that land, or rather spreads out, is stand alone world class attractions, animals found no where else on the planet, diverse ecosystems and the unceasing Australian smile.
It would take life times to explore all the territories, and as recent a February 2014 a new species of mouse was discovered in Queensland’s Springbrook National Park. There is so much for a visitor to try and behold. If you don’t have life times, here’s some of the highlights from the main land to get a taste of it all.
Perth: Don’t let the world’s most isolated capital city fool you, it has everything you want plus more. Go out of your way to ask around and find a place that serves Matso’s Mango Beer. Crafted up in Broom, this is one of the best type of beers you may ever try. Check out funky Freemantle and take a day trip to Rottnest Island, where it’s almost guaranteed to get up close viewings the the Quaokka, a small macropod about the size of a cat. Remember although they look so cute and will ask for food with their pleading little eyes, don’t feed the quokkas. Step into the past and visit the World Heritage Freemantle Prison and learn about the underground aqueducts.
Cairns and the Tropical North: Welcome to the Sunshine state – don’t forget the sunscreen as you dig your toes into their sandy beaches. Queensland’s diverse geography, lush rain forest and long stretch of coast line offers something for everyone. Try to get up into the Daintree area and look for Cassowaries, an endangered bird upon viewing will have you feel like you stepped into the movie Jurassic Park. Take full advantage of all the fresh fruit and veggies from local markets and eat as many mangoes as you can. Embrace the easy going pride of Queenslanders and try going to the supermarket barefoot, it will save time when you jump into the ocean to swim in one of the seven wonders of the world, The Great Barrier Reef.
Melbourne: Enjoy artsy streets and take a wander down the back alleyways. There you’ll find vibrant, bustling cafes. Wanting to give suggestions for the best cafes, I recently asked my dear friend Leanne which coffee shop was her favorite and her (I’ll give you the abbreviated response) was, “…Melbourne is a love affair waiting to happen for any visitor, be it the coffee, the culture/food or the passionate, talented people. As for a favorite coffee shop, too many to mention. So many great baristas, Melbourne is so spoilt. It doesn’t matter where one is, they are never far from the perfect cup of coffee.” With that said, you can’t go wrong, enjoy your own adventuring and choose a different spot each day for your afternoon cuppa, Ozzie lingo for a tea or a coffee. And please, go for a real coffee, order a cappuccino, latte or try the flat white, an Australian specialty.
Alice Springs: The heart of the country surrounded by red earth. There’s a certain energy that comes from this vast, red expanse. A city where the history of the past is still struggling to find it’s place in the present. Here is a place to ask questions and listen to the stories of the lives of the Aboriginals who have inhabited the continent for at least the last 40,000 years. If you are looking to buy a piece of Aboriginal art, this is the place to do it. Ask around and find a gallery that ensures they are paying a fair percent to the artist. A must do is to attend Andrew Langford’s sounds of star light show.
Quietly go to Uluru and experience in person what no photo could ever show you. Prior to going I had seen hundreds of images of Uluru, yet nothing came close to what I saw viewing the massive rock with my own eyes for the first time. Walk around the base and keep your eyes out for thorny devils and legless lizards.
Sydney: Talk about one amazing gateway city! Sydney’s got it all, the Harbor Bridge, which is the world’s longest steel arched bridge, museums, dining, art and infamous Sydney Opera House. Take a tour and learn of it’s controversial building history (keep your receipt and you should be able to get a discount for a future performance). Stroll through Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens along the water and see hundreds of flying foxes hanging upside down in the trees. To see the sights from the water, grab a ferry to Manly Beach and watch surfers catching waves.
After living in Australia for two years, it still felt like I had only scratched the surface as there are so many regions I want to explore more thoroughly. I would go back in heart beat. If you have been debating on where to go for your next trip, now is the time to get to Australia. The country is thriving, the people are happy and ready to welcome you. If you are looking for your next hassle free vacation, don’t hesitate and book a guided tour of Australia today.