Why You Should Visit Australia
I spent two years living in Australia. I spent two very short years exploring the islands, swimming the waters and hiking the hills of this amazing country, and I miss it everyday. It’s become a part of who I am. I’ve become one of those annoying people constantly referencing a foreign country when telling stories, pretending to be well-traveled. But it’s worth it; it’s worth the heartbreak of leaving to have seen it and lived it and known, if only for a short time, how beautiful some places really are.
Other than being located near the coast, Australia’s cities are vastly different. I haven’t been to all of them unfortunately (one day!), so I will only to comment on those I have experienced firsthand.
Head to Sydney for big city glamour, fancy restaurants and beautiful beaches. It has the major monuments like the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, but it’s about so much more than that. Sydney’s harbour consists of hidden coves full of cafes and fish and chip shops, and the ferry rides to and from Sydney could be a tour in and of themselves. I am biased since it was my home, but I truly believe it’s a city full of extravagance that everyone should experience once.
Melbourne is the city of four seasons in a day, live music around every corner, funky boutiques and laneways full of secrets. It is a city center so full of life, it truly has a heartbeat. Everyone I’ve met who has been there agrees–Melbourne has something about it; it has a soul.
Head to Adelaide for laid-back beaches, the best wine in the country and friendly South Australians. The markets are vast even though the city is not. It’s a short distance from wonderful vineyards and breweries and even more wonderful national parks.
Brisbane is a big, small city.The coffee is the best I’ve tasted, the bar scene is funky and young, and the weather is unbeatable. It’s the kind of place where knowing a local is key because the fun is in the suburbs. The West End and Fortitude Valley offer up some excellent local craft beers and great weekend markets to shop for local wares.
You could spend a lifetime trying to lie on every beach in Australia (trust me, I tried). Some, like Surfer’s Paradise and Bondi Beach shout to be heard, while other sleepy spots are quietly tucked away. Each offer their own stunning views of the nearest island or migrating whale. Steer clear of the seas without stinger nets up north unless you’ve brought a wet suit, which you might need down south in the icy waters of the Tasman Sea.
Australia is the perfect place to learn to surf with excellent surf schools up and down the east coast from Cairns to Sydney and beyond. If you’re not up for that, rent a body board and ride the waves that way. You can paddleboard out to quieter coves and or go out on kayak or canoe trips through some stunning landscapes. Australia is a country based around the water so be sure to get involved.
The National Parks
Australia’s national parks have everything you could possibly need. Head to the Northern Territory to walk past 50,000-year-old drawings and stare up at sacred monoliths where one of the world’s oldest surviving civilizations still teach their children the laws of adulthood.
Queensland offers visitors one of the oldest continuously living rainforests in the world, while New South Wales and Victoria have hikes and mountain ranges that you could explore for days. There’s Kangaroo Island and the Flinders Ranges, Grampians National Park and Royal National Park. There are far too many to name and if you can’t find one that tickles your fancy, you’re probably not looking hard enough.
“How ya goin,” “good on ya” and the long drawn out “mate” as though a ‘y’ exists after the ‘a’… I miss the Aussies. They are good, honest people. They are kind and the majority know how to live a balanced life. They love a good joke, take sarcasm as much as they give it and are always willing to “shout” the next round.
Where else can you spot koalas, kangaroos and fuzzy little wombats in the wild? (Hint: nowhere.) There are echidnas sniffing and platypus swimming, emus running and cassowaries hiding. Sure, there are big deadly spiders, long deadly snakes and invisible deadly jellyfish, and, have I mentioned, the man-eating crocodiles? Never mind those things, you’ll hardly notice them because you’ll be so busy looking at all of the ridiculously gorgeous scenery around you.
Australia is a difficult place to sum up. However cliché it may sound, it truly has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a beach holiday, an adrenaline rush or a city to explore, the land down under can accommodate you.
Why You Should Visit Australia