South Pacific Specialists

Australia – Things To Do

  • Hitting the Rails on the Indian Pacific Train: This 3-day journey across the Outback regularly makes it onto travel magazines’ “Top Rail Journeys in the World” lists. The desert scenery ain’t all that magnificent — it’s the unspoiled, empty vastness that passengers appreciate. It includes the longest straight stretch of track in the world, 478km (296 miles) across the treeless Nullarbor Plain. Start in Sydney and end in Perth, or vice versa, or just do a section.
  • Experiencing Sydney (NSW): Sydney is more than just the magnificent Harbour Bridge and Opera House. No other city has beaches in such abundance, and few have such a magnificently scenic harbor. Our advice is to board a ferry, walk from one side of the bridge to the other, and try to spend a week here, because you’re going to need it.
  • Seeing the Great Barrier Reef (QLD): It’s a glorious 2,000km-long (1,240-mile) underwater coral fairyland with electric colors and bizarre fish life — and it comes complete with warm water and year-round sunshine. When you’re not snorkeling over coral and giant clams almost as big as you, scuba diving, calling at tropical towns, or lying on deserted island beaches, you’ll be trying out the sun lounges or enjoying the first-rate food.
  • Exploring the Wet Tropics Rainforest (QLD): Folks who come from such skyscraper cities as New York and Los Angeles can’t get over the moisture-dripping ferns, the neon-blue butterflies, and the primeval peace of this World Heritage rainforest stretching north, south, and west from Cairns. Hike it, four-wheel-drive it, or glide over the treetops in the Skyrail gondola.
  • Bareboat Sailing (QLD): “Bareboat” means unskippered — that’s right, even if you think port is an after-dinner drink, you can charter a yacht, pay for a day’s instruction from a skipper, and then take over the helm yourself and explore the 74 island gems of the Whitsundays. It’s easy. Anchor in deserted bays, snorkel over dazzling reefs, fish for coral trout, and feel the wind in your sails.
  • Exploring Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) & Uluru (Ayers Rock) (NT): This sacred, mysterious, and utterly unforgettable landscape may well be the highlight of your time in Australia. Uluru and Kata Tjuta demand at least 3 days to see everything there is to offer.
  • Taking an Aboriginal Culture Tour in Alice Springs (NT): Eating female wasps, contemplating a hill as a giant resting caterpillar, and imagining that the stars are your grandmother smiling down at you will give you a new perspective on Aboriginal culture. See what we mean on a half-day tour from the Aboriginal Art & Culture Centre.
  • Discovering the Kimberley (WA): Australia’s last frontier, the Kimberley is a romantic cocktail of South Sea pearls, red mountain ranges, aqua seas, deadly crocodiles, Aboriginal rock art, and million-acre farms in a never-ending wilderness. Cross it by four-wheel-drive, stay in safari tents on a cattle ranch, swim under waterfalls, ride a camel along the beach in Broome, and more.
  • Rolling in Wildflowers (WA): Imagine Texas three times over and covered in wildflowers. That’s what much of Western Australia looks like every spring, from around August through October, when pink, mauve, red, white, yellow, and blue wildflowers bloom. Aussies flock here for this spectacle, so book ahead.
  • Drinking some of Australia’s best wines (SA): Despite its larger-than-life reputation in the wine world, the Barossa Valley is a snug collection of country towns surrounded by vineyards that is very easy to explore on a day trip from Adelaide.
  • Getting Dusty in the Desert (SA): get a taste of what life is like in the Outback in the vast arid plains, salt lakes, and underground mining towns north of Adelaide; and see some of the world’s oldest mountains in the dramatically beautiful Flinders Ranges.
  • Seeing the Sights along the Great Ocean Road (VIC): This 106km (66-mile) coastal road carries you past wild and stunning beaches, forests, and dramatic cliff-top scenery — including the Twelve Apostles, a scattering of pillars of red rock standing in isolation in the foaming Southern Ocean.
 

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