There’s no denying it – Australia is huge. So huge that the prospect of making the most of your visit can be a little intimidating.
The key to really exploring Australia, and taking in as much of its vast and enormously varied terrain as possible, is hiring a car. Unless you’re happy to stick to one location, it’s a great idea to embrace the freedom of the open road and see where your antipodean adventures take you.
From the outback to Sydney, you’ll see unbelievable sights and, if you’re lucky, get to meet some of the friendly local wildlife. You may have heard about the bugs and the creepy crawlies that are indigenous to Australia but don’t let that put you off – it’s all part of the adventure.
One of the most popular ways to see the country is to follow The Pacific Highway from Sydney to Brisbane. This stretch is also known as The Legendary Pacific Coast, and it’s easy to see why when you’re driving it - there are so many stunningly beautiful National Parks and State Forests to visit. For all its natural beauty a trip down under wouldn’t be complete without taking in some of its vibrant, culturally rich cities.
Cairns: Great Barrier Reef
When in Cairns, head towards tropical North Queensland to the Great Barrier Reef. The 2,300km-long ecosystem is made up of thousands of reefs and islands made of over 600 types of hard and soft coral and is the largest living thing on earth. While you’re there, don’t forget to visit the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park.
Gold Coast: Surf, Sea and Sand
Australia’s Gold Coast is famous for its breathtaking beaches and is a mecca for surfers from all over the world. The Gold Coast also boasts an impressive system of inland canals and waterways. Even if you’re not a surfer, there’s still plenty to see and do. The Gold Coast boasts several top notch theme parks - including Sea World and Wet’n’Wild – making it a great destination for families.
Kakadu National Park
For a change of pace, visit Kakadu National Park in Australia’s Northern Territory. It boasts around 2000 plant species and an incredible array of wildlife too including crocodiles, turtles, Antilopine kangaroos and beautiful plumed whistling ducks.
Phillip Island: Penguin Parade
If you’re near the Southern Coast or heading to Melbourne, take a trip out to Phillip Island and catch the incredible Penguin Parade at Summerland Beach when the little penguins make their way to the shore. You can also catch sight of some Australian fur seals sunning themselves on the rocks.
Sydney Opera House
Sydney opera House is surely up there with some of the most iconic buildings in the world. The distinctive sail-like design of the multi-venue performing arts centre is recognised by most who visit and inside you’ll find a packed schedule with shows that are perfect for the whole family. If you’re in New South Wales and heading to the capital city, make sure you stop at the harbour to enjoy the Opera House.