It’s hard to believe that Australia was once a colony to which the British Empire banished their unwanted, but this incredible land is now the most desired destination in the Commonwealth, both as a holiday location and for Britons to emigrate to. It’s also reputed to be one of the sunniest nations in the world, and even in winter it enjoys temperatures that the United Kingdom expects during the British summer! It’s the world’s sixth largest nation with a population of around 20 million people, most of whom reside in the ten largest cities.
Australia holidays have some great contrasts, from the dynamic bustle of Sydney to the wilderness of the outback. It’s a prime destination for tourists and travellers, with great weather, stunning beaches and huge stretches of natural beauty. Even if native culture, water sports and some unique wildlife is not your thing, Australia’s cosmopolitan hubs are sure to entertain you.
There’s so much to see in Australia, so where should you start? Here are a few pointers for your next Australia holiday.
A lot of Australia tours are focussed around Sydney, Melbourne and Queensland, so it’s easy to forget about Adelaide, the capital of South Australia. This is a spacious city of tree-lined boulevards surrounded by parks and gardens and bordered by clean beaches.
If you’re a foodie, visit Adelaide Central Market, the biggest product market in the Southern Hemisphere, or Haigh’s Chocolate Factory, the country’s oldest family-run chocolate factory. Then wash whatever you buy down with some bottles from the celebrated wineries in the Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley and the McLaren Vale districts, all close to the city and responsible for creating the wine culture that can be in the city’s 100 or more restaurants.
For a break from the city, go to Kangaroo Island, just two hours by car then a quick ferry trip south from Adelaide. It features beautiful beaches, jaw-dropping sunsets and incredible wildlife.
Sydney is Australia’s most famous city and rightly a poster city for the nation. It has a confident, vibrant and cosmopolitan vibe resembling a Canadian or American metropolis. Sydney is celebrated for its large harbour, parks and gardens, beautiful coastline, sunny climate and of course the Opera House. The centre is a hive of activity with places to eat, drink and dance, striking architecture, shopping arcades, markets and a wealth of colonial heritage. Be sure to catch the view across the harbour of the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, the Centrepoint Tower, the Royal Botanic Gardens and the fabulous shopping to be found at the Queen Victoria Building and the Strand Arcade.
3. Great Barrier Reef
For many enthusiasts, the quintessential place to go diving is the Great Barrier Reef. Holidays to Australia’s Queensland wouldn’t be complete without experiencing this immense reef system that is one of the Eight Wonders of the World and is World Heritage Listed by the United Nations. Snorkel it yourself or go on a scuba diving course, or alternatively take a trip in a glass-bottomed boat and admire the multitude of sea life including turtles, clownfish, manta rays, sea slugs, tropical fish, giant clams, angelfish, dolphins and much more. Day trips on the Reef can be taken by sailboat, speedboat or even light aircraft. The best locations to take a reef tour from include The Whitsundays, Port Douglas, Townsville or Cairns.
Melbourne is Victoria’s state capital city, set beside the Yarra River, and home to people from over 140 countries. It is a social city with a never-ending stream of things to do including theatre, sports, live comedy, shopping (in traditional arcades), dining (in over 3000 restaurants), exhibitions, gigs, concerts and cinemas.
The city is host to so many great events throughout the year, including the Melbourne Comedy Festival, the Qantas Australian Grand Prix and the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.
To catch some of the city’s permanent cultural pieces, tour the spooky Old Melbourne Gaol, shop in the vibrant Chinatown at Little Bourke Street, ascend the Rialto Towers and admire the view from the 55th floor or take one of the Yarra River Walks past the Royal Botanic Gardens and Polly Woodside Melbourne Maritime Museum. Melbourne really is a city where it’s impossible to become bored!