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What to Do and Visit in Australia

To most people, Australia is a land of sun, sea and surf. But there’s far more to this vast country than surfing on Bondi beach – Australia has over 500 National Parks, several cool cosmopolitan cities, and some of the most breathtaking coastline in the world. Then there’s the Outback, a wild and rugged terrain dotted with surreal natural wonders. With all this variety on offer, and dozens of , it’s no wonder Australia is one of the most popular spots on the backpacker trail.

Of course this endless choice makes planning a trip to Australia tricky – there’s no way you could cram this massive country into one tour. With vast distances between cities, you would have to travel by plane to reach opposite ends of the country. The best way to experience the land of Oz is to focus on one area and take your time to get to know this fascinating country. To help you plan your trip, here are some ideas for things to do in Australia.

Experience the Great Outdoors

The red desert of the ‘Outback’ may sound like a desolate wasteland, but it’s home to a series of fragile ecosystems, and a staggering 500 National Parks. In the North of Australia you’ll find two of the most famous – Uluru Kata and Kakadu.

Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park is a UNESCO World heritage Site, but probably better known as the home of Ayer’s Rock. This spiritual structure draws hoards of tourists every year, but the flora and fauna to be found in the rest of the park is equally impressive.

Kakadu National Park is the largest in Australia, and these huge wetlands are a nature-lover’s dream - home to weird and wonderful wildlife; from saltwater crocodiles to 20,000 year-old rocks. Much of the park is Aboriginal land, and the Aboriginal tribes who have lived here for 50,000 years still look after the park.

Surf and the City

Australia’s cosmopolitan cities are blessed with culture, cuisine, and cool nightlife – with some fantastic beaches for surfing or stretching out on the sand. Stay in a Sydney hostel, and you can hit the Harbour Bridge, tour the Opera House, and go clubbing in Kings Cross, before tucking into fish and chips at Manly beach, or surfing at Bondi Beach.

Melbourne is Australia’s capital of boho-cool, with dozens of galleries and museums in the ‘Arts Precinct’, quirky shopping in the Victorian Arcades, and beautiful botanical gardens to boot. Further afield, the trendy suburbs of St Kilda’s and Williamsburg have beautiful beaches lined with funky shops and cafés.

The Wild Wild West

West Australia, or ‘WA’ as it is known, feels like a completely different country – which is part of its appeal. The breathtaking scenery runs from dramatic waterfalls and gorges in the North to the verdant forests in the south. Beach-bums will love the pure white sand, turquoise waters, surfing and whale watching on the coast. Foodies and wine buffs can pig out at the lush vineyards and chic restaurants along the Margaret River.

The city of Perth has a laid-back vibe compared to Sydney and Melbourne- one of the most isolated capitals in the world, it has its own brand of easy chic -a mix of museums and art galleries, scenic parkland and beaches. Stay in Perth hostels and the unique region of WA is yours to explore.

Dive In

For Diving enthusiasts, the legendary Great Barrier Reef is a must see. Made up of 3000 individual reefs and covering 344,000 off the coast of Queensland, this is the largest coral reef in the world. The Whitsunday Islands are also a must for any budding diver. These 90 ‘islands’ are submerged by water – take one of the hundreds of boat trips to swim with the rainbow coral and exotic marine life down below.