Let’s face it, we know Australia has been on the top of your dream list for a while now.
There may or may not be a few things getting in your way. Whether it’s the distance, or getting time off work to get down here, we understand. Travelling down under may seem like a daunting feet, but we don’t think it should be. We’ve put together this compelling list to get you motivated to take the plunge, or if it wasn’t on your list before, it’s sure to be at the top when you’re done reading.
WORLD HERITAGE SITES
Did you know Australia is home to 19 UNESCO World Heritage Sites? If you didn’t know, the World Heritage Committee plays a vital role in protecting and celebrating natural and cultural sites around the world. Here in Australia, we have always placed a large emphasis on preserving nature through eco-friendly and sustainable practices and celebrating the rich history of our indigenous people. These sites range from cultural icons like the Sydney Opera House to natural sites like the Great Barrier Reef, the Blue Mountains, and Uluru just to name a few. You may not be able to hit all 19 in one trip, but if you focus your trip to one area, like the East Coast, you can easily plan an itinerary that hits 5 or 6 of these incredible sites. Start in the South in Sydney to hit the iconic Opera House in Sydney Harbour, but don’t forget that just outside the city are the breathtaking Blue Mountains. Slowly make your way up North stopping along the coast before hitting Fraser Island and then up to Cairns, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Or start at the top and do it in reverse! There’s a lot to see at these sites and plenty to do in-between.
When you think about rainforests, Australia may not be the first place that pops into your mind. However, because Australia has such a diverse array of climate and landscape you can find some of the most lush rainforests in the world here. The Wet Tropics of Queensland has the oldest continuously surviving tropical rainforests on Earth. The Tully Gorge National Park, which is located in the Wet Tropics, has some of the most untouched rainforests as they’ve been preserved for 30 years. There are local indigenous families who have lived in the area for 5,000 years. Stray strongly believes in working in partnership with these communities to help bring awareness to their way of life and rich history, as well as help them grow economically. With Stray, you can book an overnight rainforest stay and take an interpretive walk with an indigenous guide to learn about the traditional use of the land, spot wildlife and camp under the stars. Experiences like this are what make a trip truly unforgettable and fortunately, we’ve got the insider’s scoop on how to do it best.
You can’t come to Australia without spending half your days on the beach. There are over 10,000 beaches in Australia stretching across over 50,000kms. You could visit a different beach every day for nearly 10 years! You’ll have every opportunity to laze in the sun to catch a tan, or get a bit more active and learn to surf, dive or snorkel. You’ll definitely want to spend a few days enjoying the iconic Sydney beaches or the clear blue water and soft sand in the Whitsundays. Also be sure to check out Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island.
Australia is full of some out-there people, so naturally there’s plenty of crazy things to do. If you’re chasing a thrill, you’ve come to the right place. You can find plenty of places to skydive all up and down the east coast. If you choose to go in Byron Bay, you’ll have impeccable views of the hills on one side and beautiful coastline on the other. Airlie Beach and Cairns are great alternatives for stunning ocean views. You can also go snorkeling or scuba diving. If being on land is more your speed, there are plenty of off-roading, tubing, caving and mountain biking activities to partake in as well.
There’s only one place in the world you can go to see kangaroos, koalas, wombats, echidnas, platypus and many other animals (in the wild at least). Luckily for us, more than 80% of our plants and wildlife are unique to Australia and while you can easily see them in a zoo, it’s also quite easy to spot them in their natural habitat if you know the right places to go. When travelling with Stray, we take you to heaps spots off the beaten track to spot these beauties in the wild.
It’s been ingrained into Australian culture to get out and explore. Camper vans and Kombi vans are a very popular mode of transportation for both locals and backpackers and you’ll see them all across the country. While travelling solo can be fun, there’s a lot of work, planning and responsibility that comes with it. The other very popular option (and in our opinion, the best option) is to travel via guided hop-on, hop-off. Here at Stray we use buses in New South Wales and comfortable, fast trains in Queensland to cover those longer distances. Both include local transfers to the overnight stops and make it super easy to visit all the hidden gems off the beaten track. It’s very common to find backpackers traveling for weeks, even months at a time and a flexible travel pass makes it easy and stress-free to plan your trip as you go.
Surfing isn’t just an activity in Australia, its a way of life. It’s kind of hard to avoid given how many beaches there are and how great the weather is here. Byron Bay, the Gold Coast, Sydney’s Northern Beaches and Bells Beach are just a few of the many iconic beaches that are known around the world for their swells. Don’t be overwhelmed either there are spots for people of all skill levels. Beaches like The Pass in Byron or Spot X Surf Camp in central NSW are the perfect spot for beginners, while Bells Beach, which hosts the Rip Curl Pro, is known for its swell. Brands like Quiksilver, Billabong and Rip Curl all have Aussie roots and have helped bring surfing lifestyle to the masses, making it a household activity.
Australia is the world’s 4th largest wine exporter, making it an excellent destination to drink your way through. It’s produced in every state with more than 60 designated areas, though you’ll find most of the best wine is made in the southern regions. Plan a trip to the Hunter Valley and learn all about one of Australia’s earliest wine regions famous for its Shiraz.
Aussies are a special people. They strike the perfect balance between chill and laid back and crazy, rowdy party animals. Life’s all about balance, right? No matter where you find yourself, you’ll always be able to find a drinking or surfing buddy. Aussies are some of the friendliest people you’ll meet. Maybe it’s because of all the vitamin D and sand between their toes or the fact that Aussies prioritise a strong work-life balance; either way you’re sure to meet plenty of smiling faces.
Have we piqued your interest? Head over to our Australia travel guide for more information on the hot spots to visit on your ultimate Australian adventure! Also, check out our epic passes to Australia to see everything between Sydney and Cairns.