In the 17th century, numerous European explorers sailed the coast of Australia, then called New Holland. And then, it was in 1770 when the famous Captain James Cook came along, claiming it for Britain. Australia's story is a rich and varied mix of events brimming with battlers, bushrangers, and soldiers, the aboriginal belief of a time called the Dreamtime, when noncreation created spirits and totemic ancestors - all which mainly outline its history and myth.
Australia is a place of neither bounds nor boundaries, where wild and humbling rain forests fringe brazen modern cities, throbbing with life. The unfathomable Aboriginal soul of the people who came there 50,000 years ago from South East Asia, during the last Ice Age, still thrives, uninterrupted by the whirlwind of urbanization. It is the sixth largest country in the world and has the lowest population density. It has bloomed into a raging zest of cultures, mingling landscapes of coasts, rain forests, deserts, mountains, cities, quaint towns, that all come together to form a heady and mellifluous whole, making it one of the dreamiest travel destinations in the world.
Too much shall be missed in the blink of an eye in this place of elegance, bustling culture, and world-class events. There's a generous amplitude of entertainment for everyone who comes here. The Queen Victoria Market for people who love to shop till they drop, picking berries on berry farms, and tasting in wineries for keen oenophiles; cafes, Italian trattorias, and fine restaurants for those devoted to pleasures of the table and wanting to experience all the flavors of the city and the world; kayaking down the Yarra River, and the Melbourne Cricket Ground for sports nuts; souls who'd like to lose themselves in hidden bars and sprawled surreptitious laneways; lovers of art, fashion, music, theater, and festivals; beaches such as St. Kilda to windsurf, sail, or kiteboard; ambling along the riverside experiencing the nightlife of Southbank that stretches along the Yarra River, and the Federation Square dotted with culture cafes, lush gardens, and a whole lot more! Melbourne has a perfect, dizzyingly-intoxicating mix for everybody. When here, you'll find yourself believing that life's certainly been unfair by not giving you an eternity to explore and experience the excitement of an opulent diversity!
Sydney, New South Wales
Sydney, like the rest of the cities, has its own flamboyant bit to offer, including 70 sunny beaches. You don't have to brave the water whilst you swim, as Sydney's sky considerately shares its bath-tub warmth from November to May with these clear waters abundant with marine life. Watch the Sydney Harbor Bridge pass over your head as you kayak. The world-famous Opera House is an architecture of magnificence abundant with music, theater, dance, and plenty other events. There are scenic cruises from Circular Quay or Darling Harbor. You could also learn about Sydney's first inhabitants, the Gadigal people on an Aboriginal Cultural Cruise. Soothe yourself with the taste of compelling sounds and views of the Pacific Ocean as you ramble from Bondi to Coogee, and then relax with a cocktail on a restaurant hanging above. Enjoy the waves in Tamarama, which is nicknamed Glamarama, as there are very many beautiful people that lie around in its glistening sands. If you're here in the mid-October to November, don't miss the outdoor gallery for the Sculptures by the Sea exhibition. There are markets, antique shops, and art galleries in Woollahra. Go snorkeling and scuba-diving in Clovelly and Gordon's Bay. For backpackers, you'll be where you want to be in scenic Coogee. Paddington has plenty of boutiques, cafes, and pubs to offer, so you might like to stroll around there as the sun goes down, and then head out for the night.
Perth, Western Australia
Perth is the capital and the largest city situated in Western Australia. Swan River, skyscrapers, the night city-lights, 40 vineyards, and the Perth Zoo, Rottnest Island are among the many other things this city has to offer. Amaze yourself in the Botanic Garden with the burnished beauty and delirious diversity of wildflowers. You could indulge in some fresh seafood from the Indian Ocean at any of the restaurants on Fishing Boat Harbor. For the historically inclined, there is Fremantle Prison, the city's first jail, and the old Shipwreck Museum in Cliff Street. There is a whole busking lot on the heritage-listed streets here. Sea lions, bottle-nosed dolphins, and humpback whales at Marmion Marine Park on Trigg Beach are the wild-friendly lot for you to meet. Cottesloe Beach is great for you to sit at swanky open-air cafes. You could scuba-dive shipwrecks from the seaside towns of Yanchep or Two Rock, and then, visit the picturesque laid-back Yanchep Lagoon for a lovely picnic.
Brisbane has 17 hectares of riverside gardens, making this area perfect for picnics under the palms. You can bike-ride under the macadamia trees and mangroves in the City Botanic gardens, or cruise down the river in paddle-streamers. Brisbane is also vivid with its pumping scene of live arts, especially in Fortitude Valley, which forms Brisbane's cultural heart. A zippy catamaran to Moreton Islands, which is one of the world's largest sand islands will get you to explore beaches and lagoons. Then, you could leg it to Cape Moreton to see Queensland's first lighthouse, which was built in 1857 from sandstone. Brisbane is spangled with the glitter of city lights in the night when you can totter to restaurants to have a spot of something to eat, and then bars and nightclubs to 'hit the turp'.
The kaleidoscopic enthusiasm of Byron Bay is in near-perfect keeping with the 1970s tie-dye laid-back hippie culture, with jugglers, mime artists, and sunburnt hippies, coffee shops and beautiful baristas, surfers weaving in and out of waves, and psychedelically-painted buses flaunting flower-power. You can have a lax afternoon, rambling along the beaches only ending up to unwind with meditation, massage, or aromatherapy, if you're up for some alternative healing therapies. Indulge into other sinful luxuries of fine food in its cafes, or have an absolutely leisurely lunch of delectable local seafood in one of the restaurants. You have a whole list to choose from: meditation, spas, hang-gliding, walks, swimming, kayaking with dolphins from Main Beach, or snorkel and scuba dive at Julian Rocks Marine Park. If you want to see where the sun peeps first in Australia, Cape Byron Walking Track is the place where you can enjoy the mellowness of the sun raising its warm golden head and greeting the Cape Byron Lighthouse, that stands in solitude against the backdrop of blue skies.
Far from the Madding Crowd
Great Barrier Reef
One of the grandest of nature's creations since a million years, is the Great Barrier Reef, with a lordly number of more than 2900 distinct reefs and 900 islands, teeming with all the colors of a bright rainbow, under clear waters. It is 2,600 kilometers off Queensland, right below the tropic of Capricorn. You could snorkel, scuba dive into these waters to observe the astonishing profusion of fish and coral life of incomparable beauty.
This world, on Phillip Island, of innocuously-wild, waddling troupes of fairy penguins in Bass Strait, the spirited and rugged ocean beaches and bays, sea caves where the ocean erupts in uproarious zest, and koalas lazily snuggling up in trees, the air singing of an abundant bird-life, and colonies of fur seals that come between October and November, is only about 90 minutes from Melbourne.
Wild flowers blanketing the plains of the Alpine Mountains, wrapped in adventurous, crisp air where cycling, caving, rafting, kayaking, four-wheel driving, and horse riding are more than a fair go.
Australia's nature, with its myriad and distinct species of foliage and animals, fits far too well in the exotic drawer. Seals, sea lions, koalas, wallabies, bandicoots, and platypus are found in the wild on Kangaroo Island. Hopping wallaroos, wallabies, little saucer-eyed gliding members of the possum family called sugar gliders, koalas, colorful parrots, dingoes, crocodiles, and alligators just can't be missed when you walk into the Australian wilderness and zoos.
In this sunburnt part of Australia, there is still quite some foliage that grows with a silent contentious spirit amidst hills and flaming crimson sunsets. There are reminiscences of the mighty lizards that plodded the earth years that now remain as dinosaur footprints. Visit the Broken Hill in New South Wales that was a mining town with the world's largest silver, lead, and zinc mine. Listen to the poetry of outback people in the warmth of a campfire in Longreach, Queensland. The waterholes of Flinder Range await, whilst you take a scenic flight to see the rock basin of Wilpena Pound right beneath you. Mildura in Victoria with its perennial sunshine embraces you, as you float in a hot-air balloon. There are various waterholes in the outback, such as Glen Helen Gorge, where you can watch migratory birds. Cheer horses in an outback horse race in Kununurra in Western Australia, and find out where a rarity, the pink diamond, is mined.
Gippsland in Victoria has Aboriginal trading routes that are up to 18,000 years old. Here, you can observe how local Aboriginals make various baskets, spears, shields, and canoes in their traditional way. When you visit Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in the Northern Territory, you'll see for yourself the crimson rock that is right in the center of Australia, whose hearted appearance gives a hint about the mystery of the spirit of the Anangu Aboriginal people of Uluru. The besotting wilderness and mystery of the painted caves, and the Gwion Gwion paintings by the Australian Aborigines are worth seeing in Kimberley, Western Australia. Though these are only a few places mentioned, there are others too that you may find even in different parts of cities, where you can learn more about the Aboriginal culture, the Dreamtime of Aboriginal Australians, and the whole new wave too.
For Keen Oenophiles
The Yarra Valley was Victoria's first wine growing district. Over a span of 160 years, behind the friendly hills, there have developed 55 wineries, ranging from quaint family-owned vineyards to the famous Chateau Yering and Domain Chandon, welcoming you into the balmy tropical world to taste and combine your wine, where the wines, with every note of the Australian sun have a tasteful lot to offer, alongside some seafood platter or cheeses.
Cheapest fares are for flights between mid-April and mid-June. Australia's a big place to simply go tippy-toeing through the wilderness, or biking across cities. Flying is a better way to cover larger distances, or driving through sleepy towns, or buses and coaches, which are economical (like the Greyhound, which is the national coach operator and easy on your wallet), or scenic rails, public transport, and ferries. Right from thrifty backpackers and adventurous campers to picky businessmen and people wanting to lap up a bit more luxury, there is a suitable and more than comfortable place for everybody to stay in, whilst on their holiday in Australia.
Catering to your every whim and fancy to have a whale of a time, there is more than enough to see, feel, and do in Australia, in every season for any reason of heart! And, by the end of it, the moment you step upon the land, soaking in the spiritedness of it all, you will have a much bigger, bright experience with a larger list of places to visit and a lot more things to do. So, 'avago' at it! And that there will be never a dull moment, is a 'dinkie die', I swear!