We’ve compiled the top five sights that you’ve got to see before you head back to Blighty. It was tough narrowing them down – and in truth there are many, many more – but every Aussie checklist should have these on…
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5. Great Barrier Reef, Queensland
What can we say about the world’s most famous Unesco World Heritage Site that hasn’t already been said?
This gorgeous coral reef is home to thousands of species and stretches for 1,400 miles along the Queensland coast. If you’re into scuba diving, make sure you squeeze in as many dives as possible. Failing that, a cruise around the reef in a glass-bottomed boat is just as mesmerising.
4. Kings Park and Botanic Garden, Perth
This 1,000-acre park dwarfs NYC’s Central Park. If you can time your trip correctly, head down for April 25 to witness the dawn service for Anzac Day – which has its 100th anniversary in 2015 – held at the symbolic State War Memorial Precinct on Mount Eliza.
If you’re looking for a leisurely day out in the sun, come here, bring a picnic and relax on the well-maintained grounds.
3. 12 Apostles Marine NP, Great Ocean Road
Head to the Great Ocean Road for a glimpse of the 12 Apostles – limestone towers that used to be connected to the mainland’s cliffs, but now rise imposingly out of the Southern Ocean.
To see the remaining eight Apostles being mauled by the sea on a windy day will make you feel very small indeed, and don’t miss catching a sunrise or sunset; the rocks glow yellow and orange under a full sun.
2. Sydney Harbour Bridge & Sydney Opera House
Within a stone’s throw of each other, you can see these two in one day.
Completed in 1932 and able to hold eight lanes of traffic, Sydney Harbour Bridge is an awe-inspiring sight. Want to climb it? You can scale the southern half of the bridge in safety with BridgeClimb. The 40-year-old Sydney Opera House is a stunner and holds thousands of events and shows every year.
1. Uluru, Northern Territory
This massive sandstone formation, also known as Ayer’s Rock, and is one of the two major features of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park (the other is Kata Tjuta, a smaller group of rock formations). It’s lucky this rock is so impressive as the journey to get there is epic; it’s effectively in the middle of nowhere, and is surrounded by thousands of miles of the outback. The nearest town is Alice Springs, a mere 280 miles away. You can hire a van and decide your own itinerary, but we recommend that you join a tour. There’ll be plenty of early starts and you’ll need to avoid the scorching midday sun, even during winter, but to watch the sun setting behind Uluru is an experience you’ll never forget.
t’s probably best not to try to climb it; more than 40 people have died trying to complete the climb, and the native aboriginal people, the Anangu, struggle when accidents happen as they feel personally responsible. (There is a plan for a tethered balloon ride being mooted so you could soon see the rock from above that way.) Uluru is a place of wisdom – a place to be respectful, get close to nature, and witness some breathtaking views. Get ready to be blown away.