Your Ultimate Travel Guide - Australia | YUTG Australia

ishan | Tue, 03/05/2019 - 08:59 | | Australia, Travel Abroad, Travel Tips,

A summer down under in gigantic and diverse Australia is something that should be in your bucket list; you will not find a happier country to live every moment of your vacation at a better destination - ranging from great coastline to city beaches; from the Big Red Rock to famous cricket grounds. For most visitors its name is a shorthand for an endless summer where the living is easy; a place where the adventures are as vast as the horizons and the jokes flow as freely as the beer; a country of can-do spirit and easy friendliness. No wonder Australians call theirs the Lucky Country.

 

First things first

Capital: Canberra
Currency: Australian Dollar (AUD) - approximately 0.7 USD (as per March 2019)
Language Spoken: Australian English (almost 77%), Mandarin (Biggest non-English dialect spoken in the country)
Visa requirements: Visa is needed for most nationals. Check your visa policies from the official forum.

 

Places to visit

 

Sydney:

The city that is surprisingly not the capital of Australia despite being a microcosm of the country as a whole - a thrusting, high-rise business centre, a high-profile gay community, a clutch of fascinating museums and some vibrant art galleries, and inner-city deprivation of unexpected harshness are as much part of the scene as the beaches, the bodies and the sparkling harbour. Its sophistication, cosmopolitan population and exuberant nightlife are a long way from the Outback, and yet Sydney has the highest Aboriginal population of any Australian city. 

Sydney Harbour Bridge

The area around – within day-trip distance – offers a taste of virtually everything you’ll find in the rest of the country, with the exception of a desert. There are magnificent national parks – Ku-ring-gai Chase and Royal being the best known – and native wildlife within an hour’s drive from the center of town; while further north stretch endless ocean beaches, great for surfers, and more enclosed waters for safer swimming and sailing. Inland, the gorgeous Blue Mountains – UNESCO World Heritage-listed – offer isolated bushwalking and scenic viewpoints. On the way are historic colonial towns that were among the earliest foundations in the country – Sydney itself, of course, was the very first. The commercial and industrial heart of the state of New South Wales, especially the central coastal region, is bordered by Wollongong in the south and much more enticing Newcastle in the north. Both were synonymous with coal and steel, but the smokestack industries that supported them for decades are now in severe decline. This is far from an industrial wasteland, though: the heart of the coal-mining country is the Hunter Valley, northwest of Newcastle, but to visit it you’d never guess, because this is also Australia’s oldest, and arguably its best-known, wine-growing region, where you can not only sample the fine wines but enjoy some of the best food in the state.

 

Melbourne:

Melbourne is Australia’s second-largest city, with a population of 4.25 million, around half a million less than Sydney. The rivalry between the two cities – in every sphere from football to fashion and business – is on an almost childish level. In purely monetary terms, Sydney leads the race, but, as Melburnians never tire of pointing out, they inhabit one of the world’s most “liveable cities”. While Melbourne may lack a truly stunning natural setting or in-your-face sights, its subtle charms and vibrant culture make it an undeniably pleasant place to live and to visit too.

Melbourne

Melbourne is an excellent base for day-trips out into the surrounding countryside. Closest to the city are the quaint villages of the eucalypt-covered Dandenong Ranges, while the scenic Yarra Valley, in the northeast, is Victoria’s answer to South Australia’s Barossa Valley, and one of many wine-producing areas around Melbourne. To the south, huge Port Phillip Bay is encircled by the arms of the Bellarine and Mornington Peninsulas. The Mornington Peninsula on the east side has farmland and wineries on gently rolling hills and is home to some of the city’s most popular beaches and surfing spots, while the placid waters of the bay are good for swimming. Western Port Bay, beyond the peninsula, encloses two fascinating islands – French Island, much of whose wildlife is protected by a national park and Phillip Island, whose “Penguin Parade” when masses of Little penguins waddle ashore each night, is among Australia’s biggest tourist attractions. Geelong and most of the Bellarine Peninsula are not quite so captivating, but they do give access to the west coast and the Great Ocean Road. Queenscliff, near the narrow entrance to Port Phillip Bay, with its beautiful, grand hotels, is a stylish (and expensive) weekend getaway.

 

Victoria:

Australia’s second-smallest state, Victoria is also the most densely populated and industrialized. Although you’re never too far from civilization, there are plenty of opportunities to sample the state’s wilder days when it was a center for gold prospectors and bushrangers. All routes radiate from Melbourne, and no destination is much more than seven hours’ drive away. Sadly, many visitors see little of Victoria apart from its cultured capital and the Great Ocean Road, a winding 285km drive of spectacular coastal scenery. Others may venture to the idyllic Wilsons Promontory National Park (the “Prom”), a couple of hours away on the coast of the mainly dairy region of Gippsland, or to the Goldfields, where the nineteenth-century goldrush left its mark in the grandiose architecture of old mining towns such as Ballarat and Bendigo.

Great Ocean Road

There is, however, a great deal more to the state. Marking the end of the Great Dividing Range, the massive sandstone ranges of the Grampians, with their Aboriginal rock paintings and a dazzling array of springtime flora, rise from the monotonous wheatfields of the Wimmera region and the wool country of the western district. To the north of the Grampians is the wide, flat region of the Mallee – scrub, sand dunes and dry lakes heading to the Murray River, where Mildura is an irrigated oasis supporting orchards and vineyards. In complete contrast, the Victorian Alps in the northeast of the state have several winter ski slopes, a high country that provides perfect bushwalking and horseriding territory in summer. In the foothills and plains below, where bushranger Ned Kelly once roamed, are some of Victoria’s finest wineries (wine buffs should pick up a copy of Wine Regions of Victoria, available from the visitor center in Melbourne and other towns). Beach culture is alive and well on this coastline, with some of the best surfing in Australia.

 

Tasmania:

It used to be a “mainlander’s” joke that Tasmania was twenty years behind the rest of Australia. And in some ways, this island state remains old-fashioned, a trait that is charming and frustrating by turns. Yet increasingly Australians are beginning to wonder whether the joke might have been on them after all. The isolation that once stymied growth in Tasmania is now seen as an asset. More and more Aussies find themselves lured across the Bass Strait by the relaxed pace of life and outstanding wine and cuisine, as much as the state’s famously pristine environment. An increasing number of luxury hotels have appeared, too – chintz and doilies in heritage stays are out, cool contemporary beach-houses are in – and Australia’s most cutting-edge gallery, MONA in Hobart, definitively refutes accusations that Tasmania is backwards. The Tasmanian landscape – vast swathes of rainforest that date back to the last ice age, jagged glaciated mountains and white-powder beaches – still brings many visitors to the island. Even if you’re not particularly outdoorsy, the experience of visiting such a pure environment brings a tingle of exhilaration.

Cradle Mountain

Not only British in scale at roughly the size of Ireland, Tasmania retains rolling hills, hawthorn hedges and stone villages that recall England’s West Country, largely in the Midlands between its two largest cities that were the axes of development, capital Hobart and Launceston in the north. Cradle Mountain in the center and Strahan on the west coast are the gateways from which most people experience the wild, forming two stops on a much-traveled loop that includes capital Hobart, with its must-see gallery and burgeoning food and arts scenes; convict history on the Tasman Peninsula; the string of beautiful beaches along the sunnier, drier east coast, the state’s holiday playground; and Launceston, the state’s second city and gateway to the vineyards of the Tamar Valley. Tick off the lot and you’ll have a taste of the state. Yet those less-visited corners are equally appealing: places like the far south down to Cockle Creek, a blend of wilderness, scenery and food culture; the sparsely populated northeast corner, home to the mesmerizing Bay of Fires beaches and Mount William National Park, a heaven for Forester kangaroo; or in the northwest small resorts like pretty Stanley or the isolated shack villages at Arthur River. All are places to slow down; to discover astonishing scenery and wildlife, perhaps settle into a free bushcamp for the night and revel in the purity of this environment.

 

Queensland:

Running for over 2500km from the New South Wales border to Australia’s northernmost tip at Cape York, Coastal Queensland contains almost everything that lures visitors to Australia. Set down in the more developed southeastern corner, the state capital Brisbane is a relaxed city with a lively social scene and good work possibilities. South between here and the border, the Gold Coast journey is Australia’s prime holiday destination, with a reputation founded on some of the country’s best surf – though this now takes second place to a belt of beachfront high-rises, theme parks, and the host of lively bars and nightclubs surrounding Surfers Paradise. An hour inland, the Gold Coast Hinterland’s green heights offer a chain of national parks packed with wildlife and stunning views.

Queensland Coastline

North of Brisbane, fruit and vegetable plantations behind the gentle Sunshine Coast benefit from rich volcanic soils and a subtropical climate, overlooked by the spiky, isolated peaks of the Glass House Mountains. Down on the coast, Noosa is a fashionable resort town with more famous surf. Beyond looms Fraser Island, whose surrounding waters afford great views of the annual whale migration and where huge wooded dunes, freshwater lakes and sculpted colored sands form the backdrop for exciting safaris.

North of Fraser the humidity and temperature begin to rise as you head into the tropics. Though there’s still an ever-narrowing farming strip hugging the coast, the Great Dividing Range edges coastwards as it progresses north, dry at first, but gradually acquiring a green sward which culminates in the steamy, rainforest-draped experience around Cairns. Along the way are scores of beaches, archipelagos of islands and a further wealth of national parks, some – such as Hinchinbrook Island – with superb walking trails. Those with work visas can also recharge their bank balances along the way by fruit and vegetable picking around the towns of Bundaberg, Bowen, Ayr and Innisfail. Moving north of Cairns, rainforested ranges ultimately give way to the savannah of the huge, triangular Cape York Peninsula, a sparsely populated setting for what is widely regarded as the most rugged 4WD adventure in the country.

Offshore, the Tropical Coast is marked by the appearance of the Great Barrier Reef, among the most extensive coral complexes in the world. The southern reaches out from Bundaberg and 1770 are peppered with sand islands or cays, while further north there’s a wealth of beautiful granite islands between the coast and reef, covered in thick pine forests and fringed in white sand – the pick of which are the Whitsundays near Airlie Beach and Magnetic Island off Townsville. Many of these islands are accessible on day-trips, though some offer everything from campsites to luxury resorts if you fancy a change of pace from tearing up and down the coast. The reef itself can be explored from boat excursions of between a few hours’ and several days’ duration; scuba-divers are well catered for, though there’s plenty of coral to be seen within easy snorkeling range of the surface.

 

Northern Territory:

For most Australians, the Northern Territory – known simply as “the Territory” or “NT” – embodies the antithesis of the country’s cushy suburban seaboard. The name conjures up a distant frontier province, and to some extent, that’s still the case. Even today, a little over one percent of Australians inhabit an area covering a fifth of the continent, which partly explains why the Territory has never achieved full statehood. Territorians love to play up the extremes of climate, distance and isolation that mould their temperaments and accentuate their tough, maverick image as outsiders in a land of “southerners”. And beneath the grizzled clichés, you’ll unearth a potent, unforgettable travel destination, serving up raw scenery, world-class national parks and a beguilingly strong Aboriginal heritage.

Nitmiluk National Park

The small but sultry city of Darwin, the Territory’s capital, is nearer to Bali than Sydney, with an unhurried tempo that regularly waylays travelers. Its location makes it the natural base for explorations around the Top End, as tropical NT is known. Most visitors make a beeline for the nearby natural attractions, most notably the photogenic swimming holes of Litchfield National Park and the World Heritage-listed, Aboriginal-managed Kakadu National Park, with its astonishing array of ancient rock art sites, waterways and wildlife: if croc-spotting is a priority, you’re unlikely to leave disappointed. Arnhem Land, to the east of Kakadu, is Aboriginal land, requiring a permit to enter – some Darwinites think nothing of getting a permit every weekend to go fishing – while if you don’t want to go it alone, certain tours are authorized to visit the spectacular wilderness of scattered indigenous communities.

Around 100km south of Kakadu, the main attraction near the town of Katherine is the magnificent gorge complex within Nitmiluk National Park. Continuing south, a dip in Mataranka’s thermal pools and some colorful “bush pubs” are the highlights of the 670km to Tennant Creek, by which time you’ve left the Top End’s savannah woodland and wetlands to travel through pastoral tablelands. The Stuart Highway continues to spool southwards, passing the rotund boulders of the Devil’s Marbles and rolling on into the central deserts surrounding Alice Springs. By no means the dusty Outback town many expect, Alice is home to more than 25,000, making it by some way the largest settlement in the interior. It’s an enjoyable base from which to learn about the Aborigines of the Western Desert and explore the region’s natural wonders, of which the stupendous monolith, Uluru – formerly known as Ayers Rock – 450km to the southwest, is just one of many. The West MacDonnell Ranges, a series of rugged ridges cut at intervals by slender chasms and huge gorges, start on Alice Springs’ western doorstep. On the other side of town, the Eastern MacDonnells are less visited but no less appealing, while the remote tracks of the Simpson Desert to the south attract intrepid off-roaders. To the west, lush Palm Valley is accessible via a rough 4WD route and linked to the yawning chasm of Kings Canyon via a dirt track, the Mereenie Loop. These sights combined make for a memorable tour of the Outback. Renting a 4WD is recommended to get the most out of the trip; there many interesting off-road tracks.

 

Western Territory:

Western Australia (WA) covers a third of the Australian continent, yet it has a population of just 2.3 million. Conscious of its isolation from the more populous eastern states – or indeed anywhere else – WA has a strong sense of its own identity and a population who are very proud to call this state their home. And well they should be. The state offers an enticing mix of Outback grandeur and laidback living and is attracting increasing numbers of tourists keen to break away from “the East”, as the rest of Australia is known in these parts.

Perth Beach

Perth, the state’s capital and where most of its population is based, retains the leisure-oriented vitality of a young city, while the atmospheric port of Fremantle, really just a suburb of the city, resonates with a youthful and somewhat boisterous charm. South of Perth, the wooded hills and trickling streams of the Southwest support the state’s most celebrated wine-growing region Margaret River, while the giant eucalyptus forests around Pemberton provide numerous opportunities for hiking and generally getting to grips with nature. East of the forests is the state’s intensively farmed wheat belt, an interminable man-made prairie struggling against the saline soils it has created. Along the Southern Ocean’s stunning storm-washed coastline, Albany is the primary settlement; the dramatic granite peaks of the Stirling Ranges just visible from its hilltops are among the most botanically diverse habitats on the planet. Further east, past the beautifully sited coastal town of Esperance on the edge of the Great Australian Bight, is the Nullarbor Plain, while inland is the Eastern Goldfields around Kalgoorlie, the largest inland town in this region and a hardy survivor of the century-old mineral boom on which WA’s prosperity is still firmly based.

While the temperate southwest of WA has been tamed by increasing urbanization, the north of the state is where you’ll discover the raw appeal of the Outback. The virtually unpopulated inland deserts are blanketed with spinifex and support remote Aboriginal and mining communities, while the west coast’s winds abate once you venture into the tropics north of Shark Bay, home of the friendly dolphins at Monkey Mia. From here, the mineral-rich Pilbara region fills the state’s northwest shoulder, with the dramatic gorges of the Karijini National Park at its core. An unmissable attraction on the state’s central coast – aka the Coral Coast – is the unspoiled and easily accessible Ningaloo Reef, the world’s largest fringing reef; those in the know rate it more highly than Queensland’s attention-grabbing Great Barrier Reef.

Northeast of the Pilbara, the Kimberley is regarded as Australia’s last frontier. Broome, once the world’s pearling capital, is a beacon of civilization in this hard-won cattle country, while adventurous travelers fall in love with the stirring, dusty scenery around Cape Leveque and the Gibb River Road. The region’s convoluted, barely accessible coasts are washed by huge tides and occupied only by secluded pearling operations, a handful of Aboriginal communities, a couple of luxury retreats, and crocodiles. On the way to the Northern Territory border is Purnululu National Park, home to the surreal Bungle Bungle massif – one of Australia’s greatest natural wonders.

 

South Australia:

South Australia, the driest state of the driest continent, is split into two distinct halves. The long-settled southern part, watered by the Murray River, with Adelaide as its cosmopolitan center, has a Mediterranean climate, is tremendously fertile and has been thoroughly tamed. The northern half is arid and depopulated, and as you head further north the temperature heats up to such an extreme that by the time you get to Coober Pedy, people are living underground to escape the searing summer temperatures.

Adelaide

Some of the highlights of southeastern South Australia lie within three hours’ drive of Adelaide. Food and especially wine are among the area’s chief pleasures: this is prime grape-growing and winemaking country. As well as vineyards the Fleurieu Peninsula, just south of Adelaide, has a string of fine beaches, while nearby Kangaroo Island is a wonderful place to see Australian wildlife at its unfettered best. Facing Adelaide across the Investigator Strait, the Yorke Peninsula is primarily an agricultural area, preserving a copper-mining history and offering excellent fishing. The superb wineries of the Barossa Valley, originally settled by German immigrants in the nineteenth century, are only an hour from Adelaide on the Stuart Highway, the main road to Sydney. Following the southeast coast along the Princes Highway, you can head towards Melbourne via the extensive coastal Coorong lagoon system and enjoyable seaside towns such as Robe, before exiting the state at Mount Gambier, with its deep-blue crater lakes. The inland trawl via the Dukes Highway is faster but less interesting. Heading north from Adelaide, there are old copper-mining towns to explore at Kapunda and Burra, the area known as the mid-north, which also encompasses the Clare Valley, another wonderful wine center, famous for its Rieslings.

In contrast with the gentle and cultured southeast, the remainder of South Australia – with the exception of the relatively refined Eyre Peninsula and its scenic west coast – is unremittingly harsh desert, a naked country of vast horizons, salt lakes, glazed gibber plains and ancient mountain ranges. Although it’s tempting to scud over the forbidding distances quickly, you’ll miss the essence of this introspective and subtle landscape by hurrying. For every predictable, monotonous highway there’s a dirt alternative, which may be physically draining but gets you closer to this precarious environment. The folded red rocks of the central Flinders Ranges and Coober Pedy’s postapocalyptic scenery are on most agendas and could be worked into a sizeable circuit. Making the most of the journey is what counts here though – the fabled routes to Oodnadatta, Birdsville and Innamincka are still real adventures.

Rail and road routes converge in Adelaide before the long cross-country hauls west to Perth via Port Augusta on the Indian Pacific train, or north to Alice Springs and Darwin on the Ghan – two of Australia’s great train journeys.

 

Experiences not to be missed

 

Flat white in Melbourne

Melbourne white flat

The capital of the state of Victoria is also the coffee capital of Australia, if not the world. This is the birthplace of Australia's gift to coffee drinkers: the flat white (espresso coffee and steamed milk without the foam of a cappuccino). The flat white is Melbourne's signature drink, but Melbourne leads the world in coffee trends, and the city's baristas, café owners and coffee roasters are always seeking new ways to consume caffeine. You might try a deconstructed coffee (served in separate glasses of milk, coffee and hot water), a bulletproof coffee (served with organic butter) or an espresso with fresh lime juice (surprisingly tasty). Look out for cafés in Art Deco shopfronts in the fashionable suburb of Fitzroy, in secret laneways in the center of the city, or in converted warehouses in the neighborhood of Brunswick. Some, like Code Black, roast their own beans.

 

Australia’s ancient rock art

Kakadu National Park

Australia is home to one of the world's oldest indigenous cultures, and experiencing the art and culture of Aboriginal Australians should be top of everyone's list. You may never fully understand the Aboriginal connection with the Australian land, but you can visit Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory. It's home to some of the country's best examples of Aboriginal rock art, more than 20,000 years old. The rock art gives an important insight into Aboriginal life at different times in history, and when you visit the main galleries at Ubirr and Nourlangie you will see something that no other country has. Kakadu is also home to picturesque floodplains, billabongs and a diverse selection of birdlife.

 

Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Bridge climb

Most travelers know what it looks like, but when you walk across it, as many Sydney commuters do each day, you'll not only get amazing harbor views but a sense of how integral the bridge is to Sydney life. It connects the city's skyscraper-filled city center with the neighborhood of Kirribilli, an under-the-radar suburb with some of the city's best views. Stop at the historic suburb of The Rocks, home to convict-made buildings and markets, before walking over the bridge from the city to explore Kirribilli's many cafés (hidden in a shipping container inside a warehouse, is a favorite) and restaurants (try for a great, inexpensive dinner of Thai food). If you're feeling more adventurous you can also climb to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge with to see unrivaled views of the sparkling harbor.

 

Behind the scenes at Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House is an instantly recognizable Sydney landmark and architectural marvel, but it is also the heart of cultural life in Harbour City. The Opera House hosts plays, talks, concerts and, of course, opera, and you can even get behind the scenes. A backstage tour gives you access to the corridors and green rooms of the Sydney Opera House usually reserved for musicians and performers. You'll also learn why this building is such a focal point for Sydneysiders, and secrets you wouldn't discover by simply photographing the bright white sails. When your tour is over grab a drink or a bite to eat right on the harbor at the popular Opera Bar or Opera Kitchen.

 

Swim at a city beach

Bondi Beach

It's highly unusual for a world city to have so many stunning beaches just minutes from its center, but in Sydney, you can find yourself swimming at a famous stretch of sand such as or within 25 minutes of leaving your city hotel. Beaches are an integral part of life here: many Sydneysiders wake up, grab a coffee and have a swim in the ocean before going to work in the morning. If you're heading to Bondi, try a post-swim coffee at, so named after the popular Australian swimwear brand that originated here in 1914. 

 

Gig in Melbourne

Melbourne Live concert

The Australian music scene is a direct reflection of local culture, and Melbourne is the country's live music capital. Here you can experience everything from the politically driven Australian take on hip-hop to our perennially popular pub rock, the genre that produced bands such as INXS and Midnight Oil. Grab a gig at intimate city venues such as, see hip-hop at a warehouse club in the northern suburb of Brunswick, or catch a big name act at the historic in beachside St Kilda.

 

The Great Barrier Reef

There are many ways to experience the Great Barrier Reef –you can snorkel or dive around its beautiful coral, fly over it in a or, sail on its clear waters in a catamaran or motor yacht, and even. Each provides a unique and memorable way to see the stunning colors and marine life of the area. This famous reef can be accessed from the luxurious, the tropical city of Cairns, the beach town of Bundaberg and in many places in between along the coastline of Queensland. Consider an expedition to swim with, departing from Cairns or Port Douglas. These multi-day trips follow the coast up to Lizard Island, stopping at many points along the way, where guests can swim with the highly curious dwarf minke whales and snorkel or dive parts of the Great Barrier Reef not accessible to most.

 

Visit the Daintree Rainforest

Daintree Rainforest

Set back from the Great Barrier Reef is the pristine wilderness of the, a 165 million-year-old tropical rainforest of such majesty and wonder that it was the inspiration for James Cameron's lush world in Avatar. This World Heritage-listed site, 1 1/2 hours north of the city of Cairns, starts at Mossman Gorge and stretches north up the Australian coastline. There are many picturesque walking tracks through the rainforest, but you can also zoom through the canopy on a, take a crocodile-spotting cruise along the Daintree River, swim in the clear, mint-green waters of Mossman Gorge (a crocodile-free area) or take the excellent  tour and learn about local indigenous history with an Aboriginal guide.

 

Swim with a Whale Shark

Swim with Whale Shark

On Western Australia's north coast sits, 260 kilometers (161 miles) of the protected reef where you can share the water with the world's largest fish. Whale sharks are actually slow-moving vegetarians (they eat plankton) but can weigh more than 20 tonnes (22 tons), and watching them glide effortlessly through the water is a must-do. Australia's west coast is the only place in the world where whale sharks congregate regularly in such high numbers, and the reef here is easily accessible.

 

A Sunday session in Perth

The 'Sunday session' – a relaxed afternoon drink to mark the end of the weekend, ideally taken in the sunshine – was invented by Perth's regional pubs, allowing residents to get around the city's strict licensing laws (in the mid-20th century no drinking was allowed in the city center). Today, drinking is legal in the city center on Sundays, but the Sunday session has remained an immensely popular tradition with Perth residents. It's not difficult to find a popular pub or bar – Perth is littered with them – but particularly popular is the upmarket beach-chic shack, in the inner city beach suburb of Swanbourne. Also worth trying is, in the city's new development at Elizabeth Quay.

 

Sunrise/Sunset at Uluru

The Big Red Rock

There are no filters required when you take pictures of Uluru at sunrise or sunset. From blazing oranges to deep, dark reds, and every shade in between, the enormous monolith puts on a twice-daily show that is truly memorable. Take a sunrise tour, do a sunset dune walk or book a  dinner under the stars at Ayers Rock Resort

 

The Great Ocean Road Drive

The twisting roads and coastal rock formations which begin just under two hours drive south-west of Melbourne are some of Australia's best-known road trips. This rugged coastline produces the waves surfed at famous Bells Beach, known on the professional surfing circuit as one of the more challenging locations in the annual competition calendar. Explore the seaside villages of Torquay and visit the new Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie, and do not miss the crumbling majesty. These much-Instagrammed rock formations are continually eroded by the ocean and constantly changing.

 

Tasmanian Oysters

Australia's southern island state of Tasmania is home to some of the best oysters in the world, and in many places, you can eat them just steps from the rocks on which they were collected. Sample the fresh produce of, a five-minute drive from Hobart Airport, or check the seasonal menu at Hobart's, a restaurant that celebrates fresh Tasmanian produce.

 

Walk to Wineglass Bay

Tasmania's Peninsula – with rust-red rocks, bays of glassy seawater and the spectacular Hazards mountain range framing it all – is home to one of the most secluded and memorable beaches in Australia. Wineglass Bay is a rustic stretch of sand in a sheltered bay shaped like a wineglass, and arguably the best known natural attraction on Tasmania's east coast. You'll need to take a 30-minute hike between pink granite peaks through virgin eucalypt forest to access it, but there's a good chance you'll have it all to yourself. Look out for the beach's friendly kangaroos.

 

Visit the seat of the Australian government

In recent years, the nation's capital city has transformed from a government town to the capital of cool. It is one of the few cities in the world created specifically to be a country's capital and is located directly between Sydney and Melbourne (the two cities that were vying for the honor). In recent years Canberra has bloomed, with the growth of boutique breweries, small bars and exciting developments such as, where you can sleep with just glass separating you from the residents of Canberra Zoo. You should also consider taking a guided tour of Parliament House. It's a striking example of modern architecture.

 

This harsh interior has forced modern Australia to become a coastal country. Most of the population lives within 20km of the ocean, occupying a suburban, southeastern arc that extends from southern Queensland to Adelaide. These urban Australians celebrate the typical New World values of material self-improvement through hard work and hard play, with an easy-going vitality that visitors, especially Europeans, often find refreshingly hedonistic. A sunny climate also contributes to this exuberance, with an outdoor life in which a thriving beach culture and the congenial backyard “barbie” are central. Be it your backpacking itinerary, luxury holiday plan or your gap year project, Australia will not fail to amuse you.

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