Famous for its sun, sand and surf Australia can be difficult to get to, but it’s a country with much to offer even the most hardened traveller. One of the best ways to pack as much into your limited time as possible is to take advantage of a tour operator. Adventure Tours Australia is a great place to start, offering tours all over Australia including their excellent Kangaroo Island Tour. However, for those looking to strike out on their own, or for activities to bookend a tour, here’s some suggestions to get you started.
Great Barrier Reef
The world’s largest coral reef system, the great barrier reef covers a mind-blowing 3,000 reefs and 900 islands stretching over 2,600 km over an areas of approximately 340,000 square kilometers. Visible from space, the Reef was declared a World Heritage Site in 1981, and CNN lists it as one of the seven natural wonders of the world. In short, this isn’t something you want to miss. Diving, snorkelling, swimming, sky-diving, air tours, boat tours, island hopping – there are lots of different ways to experience the reefs, but whatever one you choose take your time and take a camera! Find out more at http://www.greatbarrierreef.org/.
Australia’s most recognisable natural landmark is undoubtedly Uluru, also known as Ayres Rock. This 350m high sandstone formation has a total circumference of almost 6 miles and appears to change colour throughout the year, most notably glowing red at sunset and at dawn. Take a camel tour through the desert, camp out under the stars, or take an Aboriginal guided tour of the area learning all about its significance to the indigenous peoples. Stay in one of 15 luxury safari tents at Longitude 131, or in the premium Sails in the Desert Hotel. But whatever you do make sure to visit Uluru at sunrise or sunset, preferably both. Adventure Tours Australia’s Uluru Tour is particularly recommended.
Sydney Opera House
The iconic opera house was opened in 1973, and despite its name it houses multiple performance venues hosting over 1,500 performances a year attended by over a million people. See the Australian Ballet, Opera Australia, the Sydney Theatre Company or the Sydney Symphony Orchestra perform, or catch a visiting company. Take a tour of the unique building, which was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 2007. Plus you’re in the heart of Sydney, one of Australia’s most vibrant and interesting cities, with a wealth of other activities at your fingertips. Find out what’s on at the Opera House here http://www.sydneyoperahouse.com/whatson/index.aspx.
The Australians didn’t invent surfing, but it’s such an ingrained part of their culture they might as well have. 7km east of Sydney’s business district, Bondi is an Aboriginal word meaning ‘the noise of water breaking over rocks’. Rent a board and take a surfing lesson, enjoy a picnic or simply take a walk along the sand. Bondi beach is iconic for a reason!