Cosmopolitan cities, gorgeous beaches, the rugged Outback and fascinating Aboriginal culture can all be experienced on Australia tours. Because Australia is so distant from North America, most Australia vacations are two weeks long, with some itineraries lasting a month. It makes perfect sense, though, since there is so much to see in this vast country. Typically you will fly between cities, to cover as much ground as you can in a limited amount of time.
Most Australia tours start or end in the capital city of Sydney. Sights you will not want to miss here include the famous Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour with its pretty bridge. The Taronga Zoo is one place where you can get up close and personal with the native animals of Australia, such as kangaroos, koalas, wombats and dingoes. And Sydney has a myriad of neighborhoods with unusual boutiques for souvenir shopping and outdoor cafes for people watching.
Australia tours usually make overnight visits to the area around Alice Springs, so visitors can get a taste of the Outback. While this is a remote region in the center of the country, there are farmers and ranchers who make their homes out here. Also, this is where you find Uluru, formerly known as Ayers Rock. It is a sacred place for the Aboriginals, who were the first inhabitants of Australia.
Finally, Cairns is another important stop on any Australia vacation. That is because this northeast coastal town is the gateway to the awesome Great Barrier Reef. If you like to snorkel or scuba dive, you will want to don gear to admire the amazing array of marine life. Otherwise, you can board a glass-bottom boat to see the colorful fish. Other excursions here include a catamaran cruises or walks through the tropical rainforest.
Sydney is both a laid-back beachside town and a thriving metropolis that boasts some of the Southern Hemisphere’s best surf, landmarks and activities. Whether you’re looking to watch a show at the iconic Opera House, take to the waves at Bondi Beach or explore trendy areas like The Rocks and Darling Harbour, Sydney features something for everyone. Even Sydneysiders have an ideal mix of both worlds: Fashion-forward attire and British-style sarcasm combine with a “no worries” attitude and relaxed coastal vibe. It’s no wonder this vibrant city down Sydneyunder is a natural choice for first-time Aussie visitors.
In addition to tons of beaches and top-notch restaurants and bars, Australia’s most populous city features an array of things to do. Thrill-seekers can participate in heart-pounding activities like a Sydney Harbour Bridge climb, while visitors looking to unwind will appreciate a relaxing day at Coogee or Manly Beach or a peaceful stroll through the Royal Botanic Gardens. There’s also plenty of seasonal Sydney festivals and events to experience, such as Sculpture by the Sea, the Festival of the Winds and the Night Noodle Markets. Whether you’re looking to enjoy a rugby match, hit up the city’s museums or lounge on a beach, Sydney’s got you covered.
More than four million people call this big small town home. Yes, Melbourne is a big small town, and no, it’s not an oxymoron. See, it contains all the trappings of a major metropolis – vibrant neighborhoods, award-winning cuisine, notable things to do – but Melburnians manage to do their urban hustle at a leisurely pace. Burrowed in wine country beside Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne’s natural landscape anchors its laid-back personality. When you’re sampling wine in the nearby Yarra Valley or sipping a flat white at one of Melbourne’s charming sidewalk cafes, there’s no way you can’t relax.
That said, don’t be mistaken: There are some high-octane activities awaiting you. The nightlife is epic, with diverse venues ranging from bumping clubs to hole-in-the-wall concert stages. It’s also a powerhouse for sports; one visit to the Melbourne Cricket Ground will cement that in your mind. For travelers who want a seemingly paradoxical vacation – a stress-free vibe in an exciting metropolis – Melbourne is the place for you.
A trip to Queenstown means a trip filled with adventure. One day, you’re bungee jumping: Your feet leave the ledge, and gravity drags your body downward. Then you’re whitewater rafting: You’re plummeting over waterfalls, the river water slapping your skin. And the next day, you’re hiking the greenest hills you’ve ever seen. Later in the week, your stomach drops because you’ve just leapt out of an airplane into the blue sky: skydiving. And before you head home, you’re grinding down a snowy mountain, a board strapped to your feet: snowboarding. What an adrenaline rush!
If these visions seem more like a dream come true – and less like a horrifying nightmare – your fantasy destination is the easygoing daredevil, Queenstown. And at the end of a rip-roaring day, you can toast to yourself with some of the best pinot noir around. So, visit for adventure, friendliness, wine and ravishing vistas. And do bring your bucket list: You’ll definitely be able to check a few things off.
The Gold Coast is a metropolitan region south of Brisbane on Australia’s east coast. It’s famed for its long sandy beaches, surfing spots and elaborate system of inland canals and waterways. It’s also home to theme parks such as Dreamworld, Sea World and Wet’n’Wild. Inland, hiking trails crisscross Lamington National Park’s mountain ridges and valleys, home to rare birds and rainforest.
The Q1 building with its SkyPoint observation deck towers over Surfers Paradise beach, which has a vibrant nightlife scene, a beachfront market and casinos. Main Beach’s shops and restaurants lie along Tedder Avenue. Hotels line the canal system, which has its own inland beaches, such as Budds Beach. Surf breaks such as Snapper Rocks and Burleigh Heads are among the most popular in the country. The David Fleay Wildlife Park protects emus, kangaroos and koalas. Other natural areas include Tamborine National Park, with waterfalls and trails, and Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk, an eco-park with an elevated boardwalk through the trees.