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I recently put the question to several travel bloggers “What is your favourite thing about Australia”? Not surprising, is the fact that most bloggers that contributed to this collaborative post chose some of Australia’s most remote places and landmarks, in preference to big city attractions. Places selected ranged from Outback Australia, the Far North of Australia, Australian islands, promontories, mountain ranges, country towns, to Australian flora and fauna.
I was overwhelmed with responses and have now put together the places in Australia, in alphabetical order, that make it the special country that it is. Starting with my favourite thing about Australia and that is the incredible beaches!
From a young age I was drawn to the incredible beaches of Australia. I was brought up in inland Victoria and never spied a beach until I was around 12 years of age. I spent a couple of summers on the Mornington Peninsula at Somers staying with my aunt and uncle in a caravan. My love affair with beaches commenced here!
Fast forward to about 10 years later and I was immediately mesmerised by the beaches of the Gold Coast in Queensland on a short vacation with girlfriends. I vowed then that I would move to the Gold Coast and a few years later I did just that!
I have lived at beautiful Burleigh Heads for the past 15 years within a short walking distance to the golden sandy beaches that stretch along the Gold Coast. During these years I have walked either along the coastal pathway or along the shoreline of the beach almost every day of my life. During the warmer weather I enjoy a refreshing swim in the warm salty waters that Queensland is renowned for – (almost always between 19 – 23 degrees celsius).
In 2014 my husband and I spent 7 months circumnavigating the Australian coastline in a caravan and we saw first-hand some of the most stunning beaches in the world. A lot of the beaches were pristine and uninhabited – in fact we were in some situations the only people on the beach!
To find out where are the most pristine beaches in Australia CLICK HERE
As Sydneysiders the Blue Mountains is a special place for us to escape when big city life starts to feel a bit overwhelming. Only 90 mins away the area is World Heritage listed for its natural beauty. Sheer sandstone cliffs, deep canyons and more than a couple of waterfalls! There are walking trails here that will have you desperate to pull on your hiking boots and get moving.
When you have walked as far as you can you can reward yourself with a great meal in one of the small mountain villages that are home to more than a fair share of great dining options. We love Miss Lilian at Katoomba, Fumo at Blackheath and Solitary Café in Leura for a special meal.
There are over 300 hotel or guest house rooms and 300 self-contained properties to rent making it easy to find a great place to stay so you can do some of the longer day walks. Our favourite walks are the Grand Canyon walk from Blackheath and the walk to Wentworth Falls and the Valley of the Waters.
The mountains are easily reached by public transport from Sydney so even if you don’t have a car put aside a day and head up to check it out soon.
Hands down, this American’s favourite thing about Australia is Coober Pedy. When I went to Oz, I was lucky enough to visit this (relatively) isolated South Australian town with opal mines as far as the eye can see. Though most of my peers had never heard of Coober Pedy, it was truly one of my most memorable visits during my 8-month stay in Australia.
Despite being the “opal capital of the world,” Coober Pedy is small and relatively unremarkable – at least when viewed from above! I was fascinated to discover that, to live comfortably in such a hot place, most of its residents live in underground homes so they can enjoy cooler and more consistent temperatures. Were it not for the ventilation stacks visible from above, you might never know!
Staying in an underground inn and visiting an underground church were both pretty novel experiences, as was returning home with an opal of my own. Not many people can say they purchased a gem from the exact place it was mined!
Mary Beth Charles – A Reluctant Mom
Living in a small country town in Victoria, Australia is a fantastic place to bring up our kids. Dunkeld is a town of only 600 people and the sense of community is evident by the friendly waves and hellos as you walk down the main street.
It is one of the most picturesque towns in Australia located at the southern most point of the Grampians National Park. Having access to mountains that can be climbed and explored each day is a great way to enjoy the outdoors with our kids.
Another bonus of living in Dunkeld is the 2 hat restaurant ‘Wickens Restaurant’ located at the Royal Mail Hotel. Many people travel from all around Australia to experience this restaurant and it is well worth a visit. The coffee options in town also make living here feel like we are in Melbourne. The coffee from the Dunkeld General Store is one of the best that I have tasted and a visit to the Dunkeld Old Bakery is a must when visiting our small town.
We are very lucky to live where we do and the freedom that we enjoy.
Fraser Island is known for its white sand beaches, social media ready lakes and is the unofficial home of the dingo.
There are many reasons why Fraser Island has made our ‘Favourite thing about Australia’ list. From picture-perfect lakes and beaches to 4WD’ing and tiny fish that nibble your feet; the iconic World Heritage-listed site is the perfect place for escaping the hustle and bustle and settling into holiday mode. With the best fishing, swimming and hiking on offer, you will discover very quickly why it is such a popular destination.
History buffs will appreciate the Maheno Shipwreck story and the information to be learned while taking a walk through Central Station. We were on Fraser Island on ANZAC Day and got to witness a beautiful, history-rich ceremony that we will remember forever. Adventure buffs will take pleasure in the Champagne Pools and drifting down Eli Creek.
Travellers and sightseers can drive themselves or take a tour – regardless of your preference, you will enjoy the Queensland paradise known as Fraser Island. Click here for your ultimate guide to Fraser Island.
My favourite thing about Australia is the fabulous Geelong Waterfront. Starting life as an industrial port the Waterfront is now a vibrant tourist area with restaurants, cafes, artwork and luscious gardens. Overlooking the sparkling waters of Corio Bay, it’s one of the most spectacular waterfronts in Australia.
It has an easy old-fashioned atmosphere that entices you to sit back and enjoy long leisurely days. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to do. This place is jam packed with activities, you can enjoy a scenic ride in a helicopter, try your hand at stand-up paddle boarding, catch the views from the top of the Ferris wheel and fill up on delicious fresh seafood.
The Geelong Waterfront is host to a full calendar of events including the Festival of Sails, Geelong Revival, markets, and sporting and community events. Not to be missed is White Night Geelong when the waterfront is transformed into a mystical fairy land.
My favourite thing about Australia has to be one of its greatest national treasures, the Great Barrier Reef. Stretching over 3,000 kilometres, the reef is the largest living ecosystem in the world, and covers much of Queensland’s coastline. The reef is home to over 1,500 species of fish, as well as marine mammals, birds, corals, sea turtles, and reptiles. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
I love the reef as it is both an amazing place to visit, as a snorkeler or diver, but also because it is such an iconic and important part of Australia. It deserves attention as the health of the reef is in danger, for several reasons, including climate change, coral bleaching, and the coal and mining industry.
The reef is best experienced as a scuba diver on on a snorkelling or boat trip, and can be reached from many cities and towns in Queensland, including Cairns, the Whitsundays, and Port Douglas. As a visitor, you can help protect the reef by never touching any marine life, using reef-safe sunscreen, and raising awareness of the importance of the reef with other tourists.
When I visited Australia a few years ago, one of my favourite experiences was the day I spent at Healesville Sanctuary near Melbourne. It took a tram, train, and two buses to get there but it was worth it to get up close and personal with Australian animals like kangaroos, platypuses, dingoes, Tasmanian devils, wombats, lace monitors, and many more.
What made my day even more fun was the three “Magic Moments” animal encounters I splurged on. Getting to pet a dingo, have my photo taken with a koala (who was in a tree – they don’t allow you to hold them), and then feeding a kangaroo named Crystal were the highlight of my trip to Healesville. Initially I thought I’d spend just a few hours at Healesville but I ended up spending the entire day there because there was so much to see. If you’re interested in Australian animals, I highly recommend Healesville Sanctuary!
Hobart, Tasmania is my favourite Australian city! It’s quaint size and position on the Derwent River makes it an idyllic location for visitors. For travellers looking to explore the history of downtown Hobart, I recommend a walk through Battery Point. Battery Point takes up the southern part of the city’s harbour (just south of the CBD). The houses here were built by the owners and sailors of the shipyards. Hampden Road’s small cottage-like residences and gardens evoke the British style that you’d expect from this former penal colony. Visiting in summer or spring allows travellers to bask in the fragrant rose gardens.
One of my favourite things about Hobart is all of the free things to do. If you have a car, you must visit the top of Mt. Wellington/Kunanyi. The steep drive up the face of the mountain is not for the faint of heart, but the rewarding views of downtown Hobart and surrounds are worth every anxious moment! Make sure you pack an extra jacket for the pinnacle, as it tends to be much cooler and windier than downtown Hobart!
If you’re looking for something else that’s free, the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens have numerous examples of native Australian flora.
As a city girl and lover of beaches, the outback was always a little mysterious to me. I had images of dry, hot, dusty landscapes in my mind. But a visit to the Northern Territory and Kakadu National Park dispelled many of my misconceptions.
In Kakadu National Park we discovered a lush landscape, with crystal clear billabongs for swimming and dramatic waterfalls to explore.
There are many day trips from Darwin to Kakadu National Park. But you really need more time to fully appreciate the magnitude and beauty of this place.
Jim Jim Falls is majestic. The natural plunge pools at the top of Gunlom Falls are simply stunning. Maguk Gorge is a subtle yet memorable place to swim and camp.
In typical Australian style, you need to work a little to enjoy these beautiful spots. Our long drives down corrugated dirt roads, nights camping without power and the occasional evening fighting off determined mosquitos were rewarded. There were few crowds and impossibly pretty landscapes to admire in what must be one of the most striking National Parks in Australia. You must go. It is wonderful.
As a wildlife photographer, my favourite thing about Australia is definitely the crazy cast of creatures. And what better place to see them than Kangaroo Island! Lying five miles off the coast of South Australia, it is easily accessible from Adelaide.
First take a guided tour of the Australian Sea Lion colony on the beaches of Seal Bay. Then drive over to Flinders Chase National Park visitor centre and search the nearby eucalyptus trees for Koalas. Watch the open meadows for grazing Cape Barren Geese and an endemic subspecies of Western Grey Kangaroos found only on Kangaroo Island. Drive up to Playtpus Pools at sunset and sit quietly to catch a glimpse of the bizarre Platypus, one of the last egg-laying mammals on the planet.
The next morning head to Admirals Arch to search for New Zealand Fur Seals sunning on the rocky coast. Stop by Cygnet River to look for Black Swans. For the grand finale, stroll around Penneshaw just after dark and listen for the loud hee-hawing calls of the world’s smallest penguin: the Little Penguin, returning to backyard burrows after a long day of fishing. Kangaroo Island is definitely a highlight of any epic Wildlife of Australia Roadtrip
Australia undoubtedly has plenty of fabulous places and attractive experiences. My favourite and most memorable experience here is the open Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne.
The Queen Victoria Market is the perfect place for a cultural indulgence. Whether you are a foodie, or an antique lover or simply someone who enjoys gourmet food, QVM has something for everyone. It is home to souvenir shops, local delicacies, handicraft items, cheese, imported stuff, fresh fruits & vegetables, clothing and lifestyle stalls; you name it, they’ve got it.
Every Wednesdays in the summer months they run Night Market from 5 pm to 10 pm, where a myriad of food stalls serving various cuisines from all around the world will come under one roof. From Vietnamese street food to Mexican Fajitas and Italian Pizza to Chinese Dim Sum, you can literally spoil yourself with the never ending choices. On top of all that, there will be a lineup of live music and entertainment to light up your mood.
It’s my absolute favourite of all the interesting things in Australia.
Australia is such a diverse country that it’s hard to have a favourite, but the lush rainforests of Tropical North Queensland are at the top of the list for me.
In stark contrast to the majority of this barren island, the northeast corner of the country is one of tumbling waterfalls, rushing rivers and incredible flora and fauna. A visit to the rainforest will bring you face to face with wild turkeys, huge huntsman spiders and terrifying saltwater crocodiles that cruise the waterways. Offshore, box jellyfish inhabit the waters off the ocean beaches during the wet season; whilst inland, the forests are home to the elusive cassowary, a large flightless bird with huge talons with which it kicks out at attackers.
But the rainforest is also home to lush foliage straight out of high school textbooks: towering trees reach to the sky, wrapped in lianas, above dense undergrowth. Tropical beaches are lined with thick vegetation and coconut palms, a wonderful place for a relaxing break.
To visit the rainforest for yourself, take a tour (or a rental car) up the coast from Cairns towards the Daintree River, Mossman Gorge and Cape Tribulation. Or ride the scenic railway past raging waterfalls to Kuranda, high in the mountains above the city. However you do it, don’t miss out the rainforests on your trip Down Under.
Jill Bowdery – Reading The Book Travel
When planning an award trip to Australia, I told the airline rep, I wanted to go as far as my points would allow and that’s how I ended up in Perth, Australia.
My Aussie friend insisted I then travel by ferry to Rottnest Island as it is a must see destination and one of his favourite places in the country. I had no clue what I would find when the ferry docked but was pleasantly surprised by the white sand beaches and the stunning views like nothing I’ve seen before. And as for the name?
Well, long ago the adorable quokkas who inhabit the island were mistaken for rats and hence “Rat Nest Island” evolved to Rottnest Island. The island doesn’t allow cars, so you can rent a bike or travel by local bus to the various beaches and coves. As I stopped for photos, I was blown away by the colours and beauty of nature.
My only regret was that I didn’t stay overnight or a few days to enjoy the island properly. Now that British Airways flies direct from London to Perth, my points are waiting for a return visit to paradise.
Suzanne Wolko – Phila Travel Girl
When most people think about Australia, they picture sandy beaches and coral reefs, yet most of the interior of the continent is covered by the arid and semi-arid deserts, known collectively as the Outback.
Lying in the centre of Australia, the Simpson Desert is a spectacular landscape of bright orange sand under the huge expanse of the brilliantly blue sky. It is home to the world’s longest parallel sand dunes, some of which reach up to 40 meters in height.
While harsh and unforgiving, the Simpson Desert is anything but empty. Many Australian native animals have adapted to living in the hot and arid climate of the desert. From the spiny lizards that drink with their skin to mice that hop like kangaroos, the Simpson Desert is teeming with life, especially after dark.
A good base for exploring the Simpson Desert is the Old Andado Station, 330 km south-east of Alice Springs. Set among the towering red sand dunes, the property is an iconic Outback homestead of the 1950s. It now functions as an open-air museum of the Outback life of that era. You can camp or stay in some basic dorms. And with only about 700 visitors passing through Old Andado each year, it is likely that you will have the place to yourself.
Australia is a huge, diverse country boasting stunning landscapes, flora and fauna. Many people would claim their favourite thing to be the cosmopolitan cities, indigenous flora and fauna or the world renowned Great Barrier Reef or Uluru. I have been lucky enough to have visited all of these wonderful places but when I close my eyes and reminisce about Australia, the first thing that comes to mind is the awe inspiring starry nights.
I have driven all over Australia by car, campervan and motorhome. Travelling like this enables you to camp in isolated, rural environments with perfectly dark skies with little or no light pollution. The reward for any lack of amenities is incredible star displays.
Look skyward, allow your eyes to adjust to the darkness and a myriad of stars slowly reveal themselves; make sure you pack your binoculars! On clear nights, the Milky Way is simply breathtaking. Search for the iconic Southern Cross and count shooting stars- we were lucky enough to see the International Space Station pass overhead at a remote campsite in Queensland.
For a Northern Hemisphere native, the stars of the Southern Hemisphere are exotic and mesmerising and will always be my favourite thing about Australia.
Great food is always important for us, whether in Australia or overseas. Now living on the Sunshine Coast we are overwhelmed by the food available to us – to cook at home or to eat out.
The dining out options range from high end restaurants to simple Asian cafes, or takeaway fish and chips. Then there is the broad choice of cuisines at spots like the Friday twilight food markets at Marcoola.
The shopping options range from a number of Farmers’ Markets throughout the region, to foie gras available from Belmondo’s in Noosaville.
We enjoy so much seasonal produce, a lot of which is organic. And by and large fresh food is relatively inexpensive here, particularly taking into account the quality.
Some of our favourites food experiences are:
Sydney Harbour is my favourite thing about Australia; it definitely makes Sydney one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The city surrounds the harbour, and there are plenty of places to enjoy it. Sitting at the Opera Bar in front of the Sydney Opera House with a glass of wine, looking at the Harbour Bridge in front and the sun glistening off the water is perfection.
From nearby Circular Quay, you can take a ferry to Manly at the far end of the harbour and walk the short distance to an ocean beach. Or to Watson’s Bay near the harbour entrance for great seafood overlooking the water at Doyle’s on the Beach. For a different experience, head to Rushcutters Bay or Rose Bay for a flay white in a harbour-side park on the south side, or a glass of wine and avocado on toast next to the beach at Balmain. Or take a sail boat out on the harbour and soak it all up. There are so many ways to enjoy the beauty of Sydney Harbour.
Wilsons Promontory, or ‘The Prom’ as we Aussies like to call it, is located a few hours out of Melbourne at the southern tip of Victoria, overlooking Bass Strait. You’ll love visiting this National Park, with its stunning coastline, beautiful white sand beaches, granite mountains, forests, and rainforest. Be surrounded by Aussie wildlife, like kangaroos and wallabies, lorikeets, rosellas, wombats, and if you’re lucky perhaps you’ll spot a koala!
There are lots of things to do while visiting The Prom. You can walk down miles of beautiful beach, go swimming, explore the hiking trails, scuba dive, snorkel, and fish. If you are fishing, you will need a recreational permit as they are pretty strict about where, and what you can fish with, as the waters surrounding the southern end of the Park are dedicated Marine Park.
The Prom is set up for all kinds of camping from tent camping, caravans, cabins, huts, and even wilderness retreats. Advanced booking is recommended, especially during holidays periods. If you like to hike, The Prom offers bushwalks for all levels, from two-hour hikes, day hikes, and even multiple day overnight hikes. If you do intend on doing a longer hike remember to take enough water and any other provisions you might need, and check the Park website to make sure there are no closures due to weather.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this collaborative post as much as I have. It’s amazing when you put together a group of bloggers, what they come up with! It has certainly inspired me to visit some of these incredible places in Australia. How about you?
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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