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Australia

Australia

Great Destination:

5

Value for Money:

3.5

Total Stars:

8.5

Personality Types that Like it Best

Best liked by all Venturesome types, but also strong ratings from those on the Authentic side of the scale

Did You Know…?

  • It is a 5.83-mile hike to circumnavigate Uluru/Ayers Rock.
  • Anna Creek Station, the world’s largest cattle ranch, is larger than Belgium.
  • Qantas is an acronym for Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services.
  • The Great Barrier Reef is a chain of more than 2,500 reefs plus many small islands.
  • Australia has about 150 species of marsupials, all with pouches.

Kangaroos and koalas

Australia is at once exotic and familiar. It harbors some of the world’s most unusual animals, including mammals that carry newborns in their pouches or even lay eggs. Its native cultural group, the Aborigines, dates back at least 50,000 years and boasts rock art that is the world’s oldest continuous art tradition. But, the majority of Australians are of English or Irish descent.

All personality types think Australia is great and its people the friendliest and most hospitable anywhere. Australia’s traditions are different enough to intrigue, while being similar enough to make North Americans feel at home. The only real drawback is the long flight to the smallest continent.

Australia deserves its reputation as a wild and rugged place with a population to match. It’s a huge and largely desolate country that demanded tough people to tame even small areas — and much of it remains untamed. This gives Australia an Old West feel and accounts for its appeal to adventurous travelers.

The Outback, the opal mines, Uluru/Ayers Rock and Tasmania are among attractions that beckon the venturesome tourists. These travelers seek the offbeat and the physically challenging. Where better to find these things than Australia, which is essentially Earth’s last frontier? An active trip may combine kangaroos and koalas, deserts and rain forests, sheep farmers, Aboriginal peoples — and sophisticated hotels. Also, climbing mountains and diving at the Great Barrier Reef.

Those at the center of the personality scale are good sightseers, and there is plenty to see. Legacies of the past reside in Alice Springs, setting for the novel, “A Town Like Alice;” sacred Aboriginal places like Uluru/Ayers Rock; Sydney, where white men first settled, and sheep stations in the interior. These travelers also want to sail in Sydney’s harbor, snorkel among coral reefs, eat well in Melbourne’s multicultural restaurants and gape at platypuses, wallabies, cassowaries and Tasmanian devils.

Finally, any visitor can live the good life in Sydney or Melbourne, augmented with day trips to see sights and remarkable animals. Australia has a good tourist infrastructure that accommodates many kinds of excursions. There are plenty of places for relaxing beach time, too.

Things to do for Venturers

  • Stay at the Prairie Hotel in Parachilna (population: 7) in the Flinders Ranges, known for its way with Flinders feral foods (emu, camel, kangaroo or wallaby).
  • Dive on the Great Barrier Reef, or dive in among whale sharks on the Coral Coast in Western Australia. Alternatively, encounter underwater creatures of some magnitude at the Melbourne Aquarium. It offers a Diving With Sharks experience, a guided tour that brings travelers face to face with grey nurse sharks, seven gill sharks, giant stingrays plus lots of exotic fish.
  • Sign on for a camel safari to the Outback.
  • Rent a motorcycle for a ride through the hills outside Adelaide in South Australia or head to the Margaret River in Western Australia to visit a series of wineries (but don’t overdo the tasting before hopping back on the bike).
  • Join a cattle drive.
  • Book an indigenous experience, perhaps in Western Australia or the Northern Territory where there are many choices. Work with an Aborigine-owned business, visit Aboriginal communities, view ancient rock art and modern iterations, attend a festival.

Things to do for Centrics

  • Swim with platypuses in the Daintree rain forest, and stay in treehouse-style accommodations in the forest.
  • Overnight in a jail, meaning Old Castlemaine Gaol now converted into a bed-and-breakfast establishment; or in the former keeper’s house at Cape Otway Lightstation; or in a cave, meaning the Desert Cave Hotel in Coober Pedy, which includes as a sightseeing choice a 12-hour Outback mail run. Alternatively, sample a guest ranch stay, Australia style, at the Wrotham Park Lodge on a 1.6 million-acre cattle station.
  • Go horseback riding in the Grampians National Park. Or make that canoeing or fishing. Besides, the region is home to some of the world’s oldest Shiraz vines, an excuse to settle in for some wine tasting, too.
  • Go to the Australian Reptile Park to watch animal tenders milk snakes and poisonous spiders for the venom used to create serums to treat people who have been bitten by these critters. Spend time, too, with friendlier creatures, hand-raised kangaroos and koalas.
  • Take a two-day self-drive wine tour in the Barossa wine region or in Hunter Valley. Or in the latter, join a Grapemobile Bicycle or Walking Tour.
  • Take a coastal cruise or a river cruise. There are several to choose from, and the type of boat varies widely.

Things to do for Authentics

  • Have dinner in the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant, which is Melbourne’s oldest tram, dating from 1927, and now refurbished in Pullman style to become the world’s first mobile tramcar restaurant.
  • Take a ghost tour on the Rocks, the original settlement area in Sydney. Or, learn about some of the characters in Australian history by joining a tour to the Melbourne General Cemetery operated by Melbourne Cemetery Tours.
  • Treat yourself to spa treatments at Li’Tya Spa Dreaming in St. Kilda, a seaside Melbourne suburb. Li’Tya is noted for its use of native Australian plants, clays and salts plus Aboriginal traditions. Another beautiful choice within a few blocks is the Aurora Spa Retreat inside the Prince Hotel.
  • Watch Little Penguins (the world’s smallest, about a foot tall) come in from the ocean, as they do in groups every evening at dusk, year-round. Check out the options on Kangaroo Island, or on Phillip Island.
  • Visit and be awed by Uluru (aka Ayers Rock). Sacred to Aborigines, it is the largest single rock on Earth. The monolith rises 1,142 feet above the desert floor; it is 1.92 miles long, 1.18 miles across and 5.83 miles around its base. (It is risky, but the very venturous can climb to the summit.)
  • Drive between Sydney and Melbourne for the scenery. The two most popular options are the Inland Alpine Route and the coastal route which will take you along a new scenic highway called the Grand Pacific Drive.

Additional Resources

For more information, consult Tourism Australia at www.australia.com

Find Premier Aussie Specialists, travel agents around the world who specialize in Australia, by clicking on Plan Your Trip from Tourism Australia’s home page, then click Find a Travel Agent, or go directly to www.australia.com/en-us/planning/find-travel-agent.html