Whether you’re on a career break, holidaying with the family or just keen to experience the true thrill and adventure of overseas travel, Australia is a place where you’ll want the luxury of time. Fortunately, however, you don’t necessarily have to be minted to enjoy the beauty of a country that has a little something for everyone, regardless of budget or taste. After all, the gift of sight is priceless.
Stepping off the beaten track can only be a good thing and will open your mind much more than if you’d stayed on the straight and narrow. After all, you probably haven’t come to one of the most stunning places in the southern hemisphere to follow the same path as everyone else.
Shows like I’m a Celebrity in the UK or any of the Travel Channel offerings in the US don’t really come close to doing Australia justice. Breathtakingly coastlines, rainforest, wildlife and cosmopolitan cities aren’t the half of it.
You also don’t have to be a backpacker with no money in your back pocket to explore further afield. Whilst it’s true that many hostels target young partygoers, YHA Australia’s (www.yha.com.au) hostels tend to cater for adults looking to experience the real Australia. You’ll find them all over, with many locations offering discounts and special offers to those who become members.
For those who’d prefer more of an on-the-road experience, renting or buying a camper van gives you the freedom to park up whenever and wherever. These are advertised in newspapers, store windows and hostels, often by those selling and moving on. In fact, a particularly financially viable option is to transport motor homes from one end of the country to another. You just have to ensure to arrange outward flights from wherever the arrival destination is. Virgin Blue (www.virginblue.com.au) offers incredible deals on inland flights, however prices at travel agents in most cities are perfectly reasonable for the most part.
If you are lucky enough to have more than a few weeks to explore, a scheme called W.W.O.O.F. (World wide opportunities on organic farms -www.wwoof.org)enables those travelling on a visitor’s visa to work in exchange for your accommodation and food in exchange for a few hours work in all kinds of environments. Incredible experience, no hassle! The chance to stay and work with locals is also a great way to find out things the guidebooks don’t let you in on. Simply become a member on arrival by popping into a Travel Agent or Information Centre.
If limited on time however, a few unmissable highlights that will save you flicking endlessly through guide books are as follows:
Free must sees and dos:
- Watch the sun set over Byron Bay
- Lie on a beach and ride the surf on the Gold Coast
- Walk around Darling Harbour in Sydney and stare open-mouthed at the Opera House
- Hike the Coogee to Bondi beach walk for some incredible sights and a decent workout
- Swim and ride the rapids at Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory. (Ensure you speak to locals and research before you go to ensure it’s not alligator season)!
Don’t leave without:
- Skydiving to the sand – Fall thousands of feet into the golden coasts on the west coast
- Climbing the Harbour Bridge in Sydney (preferably on a calm day).
- Bartering for fresh produce at the Farmer’s Markets in Melbourne
- Taking in the wildlife and natural beauty of Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory
- Sailing out to Green Island and snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef