The ocean, outback and beyond
The only country that’s also a continent, Australia peaks over the southern edge of the world, between the Indian and South Pacific Ocean. This landmass is almost three million square miles and every inch teems with life. The land known as “Down Under” is one of 18 countries in the world to bear the title of “Megadiverse.” Discover the exuberant diversity for yourself snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef or hike toward the sandstone of Uluru. When it comes to cities, whether you chose Adelaide, Sydney, or Melbourne, it doesn’t matter, it’s all here.
In Australia the wealth of nature led activities can appear infinite. Off the coast of tropical Queensland is the Great Barrier Reef. Snorkel or dive underwater toward a coral full of marine life such as the clownfish and sea butterfly. Of course, larger species--including over 130 sharks--also call these waters home. In the outback, witness Uluru at sunset as the last rays of light appears to turn the copper surface of this sandstone monolith orange.
Road trip 150 miles of coastline known as the Great Ocean Road, pausing as you admire the craggy limestone of the 12 Apostles from a cliff face of 70 metres. Spot koalas in the trees by the embankment of Kennett River or hike Port Campbell National Park as you wind your way across the magnificent countryside.
South Australia is one of only 10 listed “Great Wine Capitals.” In the vineyards of the Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills, tour fields that roll out of view whilst producing world-class grapes. Sip a chilled chardonnay and take in these rural surroundings at your leisure. Adelaide, with its offerings of cosmopolitan laneways, world-class restaurants, and chic Parisian bars, is all but an hour’s drive from your door.
Walk the cliff face, walk the treetop bridges, or perhaps zipline over a mountain in a glass carriage. There’s no wrong way to experience the Blue Mountains. Aboriginal guides offer bush walks that lead you to valleys and inside caves of this sacred land. The Three Sisters rock formation is a place to take pause as you take in a natural wonder.
A natural wonder of the world, the Great Barrier Reef is also a living organism larger than any other found on planet earth. Enter a water world that bursts with life, ranging from brain coral to stonefish. In an ocean of 2,900 reefs, look out for a shark or whale as you explore this underworld treasure.
In the middle of the country is Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. An icon of Australia, witness the copper façade of Uluru turn a shade of orange at sunset. This oval-shaped sandstone rock soars to 365 metres and is held sacred by aboriginals. Walpa Gorge, which approaches a mile in length, is a desert refuge for flora and fauna of the region and well worth the trek.
Seventy miles off the west coast of Australia you’ll find Kangaroo Island—a name not given in irony. The island has over 60,000 marsupials, including koalas and kangaroos. Wallabies also call Kangaroo Island home, see if you can spot one as you hike around. Take a dip in the Great Australian Bight waters and splash around with dolphins and seals before a quick towel off and beer at sunset.
The landscape of Karijini National Park has been carved from two billion years of history. Set in Western Australia, Hancock Gorge is a maze of weaving crevices. Freshwater pools are perfect for a cool down after blazing a trail that includes wildlife sightings such as the rock wallaby.
Because of its mammoth size, Australia’s climate changes dramatically from region to region. From the tropical forests of Queensland to the scorching outback, season and destination will be central to your travel plans. In general, the country is dry with the interior being hot all year. The rainy season arrives in the north-east around November and remains until April. Cooler climates can be enjoyed in the Southern States. The summer months of December to February are considered excellent for travelling.
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