Australia is the only country that is itself, a whole continent. Famous for its natural wonders and wide open spaces, fantastic beaches, deserts and the “outback” Its leading cities are: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.
It is the size of the contiguous 48 states and bordered to the west by the Indian Ocean and the east by the South Pacific Ocean.
The Tasman Sea lies to the southeast separating Australia and New Zealand.
So, let’s visit Australia!
If you plan to visit New Zealand first, then your flight from Auckland to Sydney will not be lengthy. It’s only 1,200 miles between the two cities. Should your plans call for a direct flight from Los Angeles to Sydney then, the flight will probably be overnight and take a little more than 13 hours. Qantas and Air New Zealand do a fine job in the South Pacific and you will arrive at your destination as rested as one can be after a long flight.
As I often do, I suggest investigating a tour of Australia so as not to miss the important locations and have the service of a tour manager to iron out any “kinks” that may develop along the way.
After landing in Sydney you will be taken by transfer coach to your hotel for check-in and a chance to get yourself together for your adventure. After lunch, walk around the area to get acquainted with the stores and people. The Australians are very open, friendly and willing to help tourists wherever possible. Yes, they also speak English.
While you are in Sydney you will have the opportunity to visit the world famous Opera House located right off the water. A guided tour will impress you as you view the fascinating architecture. Then, take a harbor cruise to enjoy the beautiful bay and all that is situated on the shoreline. Look back from the boat and take in the city skyline with its tall buildings, parks, monuments and bridges. Later, discover Bondi Beach on the guided tour of the city.
Be sure to have a day at leisure in Sydney to explore on your own. And, drop into a pub and have a pint and perhaps have a chat with some locals.
Next, you might take a train southwest to one of the more beautiful cities in Australia, Melbourne.
Here is a more formal city that feels much like some you would find in England. Its climate is much like that of San Francisco. It is also beautiful with green parks, good transportation and delights that please tourists.
You can book a tour of the city that will take in the highlights and perhaps journey along the Great Ocean Road and perhaps a tour out to Philip Island to see the famous penguin parade. You want to see the Queen Victoria Market and go shopping in the city and stroll through the many gardens.
You will also probably go to Ayers Rock located in the desert “outback” near Uluru. A tour here will show the ancient caves and traditional Aboriginal rock art. You will be led to Mutitjulu waterhole and hear Aboriginal stories and legends. There will be Aboriginal artists at work at the Maruku Arts and Crafts Gallery and will provide the opportunity to purchase some of the wares for gift-giving back home or art pieces to hang in your den.
In the evening you can enjoy the Sounds of Silence dinner where you dine under the stars followed by a talk about the outback night sky.
While you are in the area a visit to Alice Springs is in order that will allow a visit to Kata Tjuta and a walk through the domes to the majestic Walpa Gorge. Also, you can visit the Flying Doctor Service Base and Anzac Hill.
If you are on an organized tour you will then perhaps transfer to the railway station and travel from Alice Springs to Adelaide aboard The Ghan, a rail journey through the Red Center of the Nation. It is one of the world’s more famous trains.
The next afternoon you will be arriving in Adelaide, another magnificent city on the south coast.
This is another Australian city that is simply fun to explore on your own. Be sure to take a tour to Barossa Valley or Kangaroo Island. At Kangaroo Island you can spend a full day to discover its natural beauty and Australia’s wildlife such as kangaroos, koalas and much more.
From Adelaide you will probably fly back to Sydney or go direct to the north portion of the country and Cairns for a visit to the Great Barrier Reef.
This is a tropical city like Miami. It features great hotels, nightlife and the Pacific Ocean. Take a glass-bottom boat to view the coral and diverse range of marine life of Moore Reef and maybe do some snorkeling. Swimming is great in these waters as well. The water is as clear as bath water. You can see many feet below and all the creatures that are swimming with you.
Another day ride the Skyrail Cableway over the rain forest to Kuranda. Here, you can visit a wildlife park and perhaps have a photo taken with a koala. There will also be a performance by the Pamagirri Aboriginal Dancers. You can return to Cairns by the Juranda Scenic Railway, past waterfalls and rainforest.
If you have the time, rent a car and drive south from Cairns to enjoy Dunk Island and more snorkeling before continuing on to Townsville, Shute Harbor, Hamilton Island, Rockhampton to Fraser Island. Here you can visit the famous zoo. It is home to more than 1,000 native and exotic animals.
Next day you will drive into Brisbane. This is a city with high rise buildings as you would find in Tampa and along the way are beautiful beaches with great surfing opportunities. This location feels and looks much like Florida.
Close to Brisbane heading south is the Gold Coast, Byron Bay, Coffs Harbor and return to Sydney. You may wish to spend another day or two here before returning to the States.
Australia is big, brawny and open. Yours to enjoy. Put one on the barbie for me!