Australia Vacations, Tours, Travel Packages & Experiences
Before setting off on an Australia vacation, learn something about its background and history. Is it an island or a continent? Australia is the sixth largest landmass in the world which explains in some ways the reasons why it is so diverse. There are 6 states and 2 territories, all offering a wide range of attractions and landscapes to entice the visitor. Consider the different terrains – tropical rainforests, red desert, coral reefs, snow-clad mountains, wetlands, winelands, national parks, bushland and so much more. On top of these are a number of cities with plentiful culture to compete with any other destination.
And bear in mind, Australia was once a penal colony – perhaps it was the convicts who gave the Aussies their unique humour! Australia’s nickname is “Oz” which dates back to the early 20th Century.
To list the reasons for taking a trip to Australia, it is necessary to include the beaches, nature and wildlife (think of the indigenous animals that exist there such as the Kangaroo, the Koala, the Wallaby, the Wombat and the Tasmanian Devil plus the Kookaburra and Emu birds), availability of numerous sporting activities including surfing, scuba diving and snorkeling, food and wine (some of the world’s best wines are to be found here), adventure activities and cultural pursuits.
It may be an island but it could be difficult to decide on where to go and how long to stay in order to experience the true Australia. Most trips to Australia will probably start in Sydney, the country’s largest city known as “The Harbour City” due to it being mainly built around Sydney Harbour. It has been recognized as one of the world’s most beautiful metropolises. Probably the two most iconic and outstanding and dominating landmarks are the huge Sydney Harbour Bridge (also known as the “Coat Hanger”) and the Sydney Opera House with its sail shaped structural design.Sydney is situated on miles of ocean coastline and has a number of sandy surf beaches within easy reach of the centre. Some of the best known are Bondi Beach and Manly Beach and a visit to them should be included on your Australia tour. A very popular activity is to take a harbour cruise which takes in not only the skyline of Sydney but also the attractive nearby suburbs spread out around the harbour. The city boasts several very beautiful and scenic parks such as The Domain which contains both the interesting Royal Botanical Gardens but also the resplendent Government House. Nearby are the National Art gallery of New South Wales, the Museum of Sydney and the Australian Museum. Interesting neighbourhoods to stroll around are The Rocks with its Art Deco buildings and Paddington with its grand Victorian homes and its lively café and restaurant scene,
Worth a visit from Sydney are the Blue Mountains 2 hours from the city. They offer remarkable scenery and are a UNESCO world heritage site. The unique formations of dramatic scenery encompass steep cliffs, eucalyptus forests, waterfalls and small villages. The mountains include the Three Sisters, awe-inspiring pinnacled peaks. There are 140 kilometres/75 miles of walking trails as well as a cable railway which is purported to be the steepest anywhere. Should one wish to spend time here, the best place would be Katoomba, a small town offering arty boutique shops. Another region not too far away from Sydney is the Hunter Valley, a wine producing region with over 120 wineries. The Hunter Valley Gardens here has 25 acres of colourful flowers.
Melbourne, Sydney’s “rival”, is a sophisticated metropolis and should be included on all Australia vacations. It is the most European of Australia’s cities and is its cultural capital. Its unique character includes its streetcars and its Victorian era architecture. Melbourne offers excellent shopping and cultural sites such as art galleries and museums. It has colourful neighbourhoods such as Fitzroy and St. Kilda, the latter a beach resort as well as a trendy suburb. Side trips from Melbourne can be to Phillip Island to watch the Penguin activity at sunset and the scenic Great Ocean Road including the unique rock formation of the Twelve Apostles.
Adelaide is an easy going, relaxed and garden-like city, home to the biannual Arts Festival and is a wonderful centre from which to visit the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale wine districts, Kangaroo Island with its abundance of wildlife and Cleland Conservation Park where you can get up close to many of the country’s indigenous animals.
Canberra, the serene unhurried and purpose-built and planned capital, is located around the attractive artificial Lake Burley Griffin. Some of the major landmarks are the old Parliament House, the traditionally designed Parliament Building and the Australian War Memorial. Canberra has a several interesting art galleries and museums.
Brisbane is Australia’s third largest city and is known as the “City of Sunny Days” due to its sub-tropical climate. The Brisbane River dissects the city and adds to the charm and character. A major attraction is the nearby Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, the world’s largest.
Not far from Brisbane are two excellent beach resort destinations. The Gold Coast with its 30 beaches including the best known, Surfers Paradise, is also close to a hinterland offering scenic national parks, mountains, waterfalls and rainforest. The Sunshine Coast has 70 kilometres/ 44 miles of uncrowded white sand beaches and lush green scenery to attract the visitor.
Perth, although off the beaten track and not included as part of many trips to Australia, it is actually Australia’s fourth largest city. It is not only laid-back quiet and safe, it is culturally diverse with attractive uncrowded beaches, gardens and a good zoo. King’s Park is a landmark and is larger than Central Park and encompasses an excellent botanical gardens. From Perth, one can visit the winelands of Western Australia in the Swan Valley and at Margaret River.
Darwin, in the north of the country is small yet cosmopolitan mainly due to the mix of different ethnic cultures which one finds here. It is handy for a visit to both the Charles Darwin National Park, one of Australia’s largest wetlands and the Kakadu National Park, the country’s largest national park with its crocodiles, unique birdlife and the largest collection of Aboriginal rock art. Try a short boat cruise there to see everything.
Cairns in Northern Queensland is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and in our view is a must inclusion in all Australia tours. Mainly a tourist centre, it is surrounded by rainforest and a must here is to take the scenic rail trip to the Kuranda Rainforest.
The Great Barrier Reef, one of the seven natural wonders of the world and 2300 kilometres/1400 miles in length with a colourful underwater kingdom contains1500 species of tropical fish alone. It is the largest coral reef formation in the world offering a spectacular array of marine life. It is no wonder that it is a scuba diver’s paradise as well as one for snorkelers. An important part of the Great Barrier Reef is the Whitsundays group of islands which include Hayman, Hamilton and Whitehaven Islands and consists of 74 different islands. An excellent way to get to know the Great Barrier Reef is to take a short cruise.
The Outback is actually a vast area which comprises most of Australia and which is made up of either semi-arid or desert land. It is not an exact location. One of the best known towns is Alice Springs, and its the perfect place to explore the Australian Outback, which is also know as the “Red Centre”. It is also the home of the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Activities here can include camel rides from one of the many camel farms, stargazing as the town exists under amazingly clear skies and hot air ballooning. One can visit the nearby King’s Canyon and the MacDonnell Range of mountains. 450 kilometres/270 miles away is Ayers Rock, the huge sandstone monolith which stands out starkly in the surrounding desert. It is one of Australia's iconic sites and one that should be part of any Australian tours. This UNESCO world heritage site is 348 metres/1142 feet in height. To the Aboriginals, it is a sacred site of spiritual significance. One can climb the rock but this is not highly recommended any more as it is a hazardous undertaking and frowned upon by the Aboriginal community. Ayers Rock is also known by its aboriginal name, Uluru. One of the interesting features of the rock is the changes in colour as the day progresses.
Tasmania is an amazingly scenic destination with many rugged mountain and wilderness areas and although it is not often included in tours of Australia, it should be. It is in fact, the most mountainous state in Australia. One can experience jagged peaks and dense forests plus pristine lakes all at the same time. The capital, Hobart is a pretty city with a vibrant waterfront and harbour built on reclaimed land. It is also associated historically with the convict era as depicted at the Port Arthur Historical site, an ex convict prison.
There is so much more to enjoy and experience in this magical land. Like most trips to Australia the biggest decision is choosing where to visit in the time available. Our Best Time to Visit Australia page will also help you decide when to travel to Australia.
"Globetrotting with Goway" blog articles
For some additional reading, the following articles are from our blog “Globetrotting with Goway”….. a great source of information for those people who are, or who want to be, world travellers!
Australia Vacation Information
At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy to navigate travel information section dedicated to Australia vacations.
Learn about the history and culture of Australia, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about Australia's nature and wildlife, weather and geography, along with 'Country Quickfacts' compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information will help ensure you're properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering Australia for yourself. Start exploring...book one of our Australia tours today!
Extend Your Stay
Consider an additional stopover to your Australia vacation at one of Goway's South Pacific destinations. You can choose from our selection of New Zealand vacation packages, Tahiti vacation packages or stay at one of our featured Fiji resorts or perhaps take a Cook Island vacation. This can be done stopping over en route to or from Australia.
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