Australia, what a place!
I’ve got a lot of time for Australia as its somewhere that seriously exceeded my expectations, not to say my expectations were that high mind you.
I remember touching down in Sydney airport after close to 24 hours getting there from Birmingham, UK, with a nice stop (and McDonalds chicken wings) at Dubai International airport.
I remember landing at around 22:00 and due to the time difference, I wasn’t at all tired and caught the sun rise on the first day and somehow managed to stay awake until around 17:00 the next day which was swiftly followed by a 14 hour sleep and a non-stop runny nose for the next six hours when I woke up.
I don’t know why this happened and I don’t know if it will happen to you but just be prepared for not feeling great when you get off your second leg of the flight.
Or better yet, break up the flight with a stopover in a city such as Singapore to get adjusted and check out another awesome city in the process.
If you are dreaming or planing to explore Australia, then you should certainly visit the following places!
Ayers Rock or Uluru
Ayers Rock, or Uluru as its proper name, is in the middle of nowhere and in the middle of Australia.
Ayers Rock is a large sandstone rock formation, which is also a UNSECO World Heritage Site, that’s in the southern part of the Northern Territory in central Australia and is sacred to the Aboriginal people of the area.
It’s not necessarily the easiest place to get to and the journey to get there isn’t best because once you’ve seen the site, there’s not much else to do around there.
You can get a great workout though and we recommend you take some sturdy trainers and some active wear as to do the full lap of Ayers Rock which is 10.6km it takes about 3 and a half hours to complete.
There are of course other options which are shorter and offer a different experience which you can check out on Trip Advisor.
When visiting you can stay overnight and camp in the dessert so make sure you pack some warm jumpers and sleeping bag if you do decide to take this option.
There are also plenty of great hostels and hotels nearby where you can stay for the night so you don’t get caught out.
I personally recommend Sails in the Desert but most places seem quite good and you can see a full range of accommodation options that suit your needs by checking what’s available at your travel dates on Booking.com.
GREAT BARRIER REEF
Now this is a beautiful place and one I would definitely recommend you visit along with a load of other great beaches and islands not too far away while you’re up that way.
I personally didn’t spend long enough up in this area of the woods as we brits call it.
And half the time I was there, I spent the time getting drunk and partying the nights away in the nearby city of Cairns which is one of the popular spots to stay.
One morning I was nursing a hangover which led to an interesting morning boat ride the next day.
If you’re into your scuba diving and sea life, then I’m sure you’ve already got this on your list of to do’s as it’s arguably the best place to be immersed in so many different types of marine life.
Did you know that the Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,300km over an area of approximately 344,400 square km?
Wouldn’t worry if not because I had no clue until I turned up and was told by one of my tour operators for the day.
It’s likely if you’re visiting the Great Barrier Reef, you’ll make a stop off either before or after in the city of Cairns.
This is somewhere that has a lot of backpackers right next to a lot of nice hotels and luxury brands which made it a weird experience for me.
I’m not entirely sure why it made it a weird experience for me but just seemed odd to have such a party area full of pack packers right next to tourists who prefer a bit more comfort and purchasing Louis Vuitton goods.
I stayed at Gilligan’s which I really recommend if you’re travelling on a budget and want to meet new people – they also do quite good food and have some fun parties lined up that are open to people not staying at the hostel.
You can find a load of apartments, hotels, and hostels that suit your comfort on Booking.com for the dates you’re planning on going.
12 Apostles from viewing point
An amazing site on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria which you can stop by for a quick look.
The 12 apostles is somewhere you can plan in on your trip either doing a West to East coastal trip going from Perth to Brisbane through Melbourne and Sydney or doing a day trip out from Melbourne.
There are one or two places you can stop of at to get a good view and it’s definitely an Instagram worthy picture so make sure you’ve got a phone or camera with you.
One of the things I’m aiming to get better at is taking better photos and being able to understand the use of different model cameras as Ian, my Exploring Together amigo, is a don in this area and the 12 apostles is somewhere this skill of being able to take better photos would come in handy.
This isn’t somewhere I would say you need to stay over, and you should build in seeing this site on a road trip going up the country.
You can rent a car from VroomVroomVroom to roll in style down the country where you can also get camper vans which are helpful if you fancy doing some camping in the car.
LONE PINE KOALA SANCTUARY
If you’re a fan of Koala’s, then this place is for you.
Personally, I didn’t find Koalas cuddly at all and the one I did hold at Australia Zoo ended up scratching me and it f*cking hurt.
On a quick side note, if you are in or around Brisbane and you have some spare time, I’d suggest going to Australia Zoo as it’s a great homage ground to Steve Irwin, has some incredible animals, and also puts on daily live shows which are well done.
Quickly switching back to Koalas – I do still think they are an amazing animal that have a simple life that at times I’m jealous of and if you can get a picture with one, then you definitely should as the opportunity doesn’t come around that often.
The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is close to Brisbane and takes about 15-20 minutes to get to by car.
Make sure you book tickets so you’re not hanging around waiting to go in or worse can’t get in and if you want a real immersive experience among the koalas, you can do a premium wildlife experience.
You could also arrive via a river cruise if you would like a water scenic trip with boat cruises departing daily from the Cultural Centre Pontoon and goes through some of Brisbane’s historic landscapes, iconic attractions, and historical home sites – history lessons and seeing some koalas, sign me up!
The sanctuary is massive and has plenty of koalas you can spot and if you’re lucky you can end up holding one.
Be careful though as they prefer to hide and hang away in the trees.
If you like to sit back, relax, and not do much but take in some jaw dropping views, then this place is for you.
My god, this place is beautiful and somewhere that should definitely be on your list of places to go.
It’s situated on the Whitsunday Islands right in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef and you can get there via a thirty-minute catamaran ride, helicopter, or seaplane.
Because the beach is so big, you feel like you’ve got the place to yourself or to you and your friends to explore, sail, eat, and relax.
Pack some drinks, food, and swimming trunks and you’re good to go – just make sure you don’t leave a mess and take your rubbish with you as I doubt anyone likes a dirty beach.
There’s a load of activities you can do on the beach including scaling the lookout, going in the water to spot turtles, go to the Hill Inlet, and of course kick back on the beach.
LAKE MCKENZIE (BOORANGOORA)
This place is similar to White Haven beach but on Fraser Island which is further south and not far from the Sunshine Coast.
Although it’s not the sea going into the Great Barrier Reef, it’s on an island where there are loads of different lakes you can go to and spend a few days going to the different ones on Fraser Island such as Red Lagoon or White Lake.
The clear blue waters and white sand make the island look similar to something like the scene in the film The Beach.
One thing I seriously love about Australia is the amount of beaches this place has where you feel like time stands still for you to take a deep breath, relax, and take in the great views and even better if you have a couple of beers with you 😉
Make sure you’ve got your phone or, even better, a proper camera with you as there are going to be some sights you’re not going to want to miss and have on your photo library in the future.
You can book a trip to Fraser Island that includes visiting Lake McKenzie among a load of other jaw dropping scenic activities through Get Your Guide and G Adventures or you can book one of the four by four driving excursions through companies such as Fraser Tours.
HAVE YOU BEEN TO ANY OF THESE PLACES?
That’s six places I would recommend you go in Australia if you’re planning on going anytime soon.
I would love to know if you’ve been to any of these places, and, if so, what you thought of it, what you liked, what you didn’t like, what beer you drank, what funny stories you have, any nice places you ate – we always love to hear them at Exploring Together.
I hope you enjoyed this article and I’ll catch you on the next one my amigo.