"A Real Gem" Australia by DueSer
Australia Travel Guide: 44,987 reviews and 113,736 photos
When I mention that I have visited Australia, most people's reactions seem to be complete surprise. From what I've found, people dismiss Australia for one of two reasons (or both): they assume that, because it is so far away, it is very expensive to visit, and/or, that it's just a bunch of big cities with a giant desert in the middle. Both of these assumptions are totally incorrect and missing out on Australia is a real loss for anyone who wants an enjoyable, unique travel experience.
Australia has big cities, yes, but this beautiful country also has rain forests, dramatic coastlines, farms, and mountains in addition to the beaches and deserts everyone always hears about.
Thanks to a favorable currency exchange, things are very inexpensive in Australia. If you can find a deal with an airline, which is easier in the "off-season" (their winters are as mild as, say, winter in Southern California), once you get down there, everything from hotels to restaurants to a nice souvenir opal ring, is MUCH less than you would find in a lot of other, more popular vacation destinations.
Queensland is north of New South Wales and is known for its largest city, Brisbane (pronounced Brihz-Bin, not Brihz-Bane), and the Great Barrier Reef. However, if you fly from Sydney to Brisbane or Cairns (gateway to the GBR), you're missing out on some surprising things.
Queensland is similar to Hawai'i in weather and in crops. Believe it not, Queensland is home to a lot of macadamia nut groves! These delicious nuts are a standard souvenir for Hawai'ian tourists but those grown Down Under are just as tasty and probably more affordable.
A drive from Brisbane further north to go to the GBR may take longer than a flight would, but driving along a beautiful coastline or through lovely farms (with the occasional kangaroo sighting) makes for a relaxing, fun day.
South of New South Wales as well as the national capitol, Canberra, the Australian state of Victoria has a wide assortment of unique travel experiences.
Southern Australia (the region, not the state) is the first landfall from Antarctica so a visit to Melbourne (pronounced Mel-berne, not Mel-Born) and the area south of there means visiting with penguins should be on every visitor's to do list.
Southwest of Victoria's capitol offers a great road trip along the "Great Ocean Road." In a single day's drive, you can visit a rainforest, see koalas, and drive along some of the most breathtaking beaches anywhere in the world, including the most notable area - "The Twelve Apostles." Although a few of these amazing rock formations just off the coast have collapsed and fallen into the ocean, the ten or so "apostles" that remain are truly natural pieces of wind-sculpted art.
- Pros:Affordability, friendly natives, beautiful nature
- Cons:A 15-hour (or so) flight from Los Angeles
- In a nutshell:Worth the long flight to get there, Australia is a delight.
The Queen Victoria Building, or QVB, is an amazing place that you should not miss, even if you don't buy anything. This... more travel advice
Because of the long distances between the major cities in Australia as well as the kangaroo road hazard, especially... more travel advice
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