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Australia Frommer’s Favorite Experiences

 

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. This is what you came to Australia to see. 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 skyscraper cities like Manhattan 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 in the Whitsundays (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 these 74 island gems. 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): Just why everyone comes thousands of miles to see the big red stone of Ayers Rock is a mystery, and that’s why they come — because the Rock is a mystery. Just 50km (31 miles) from Ayers Rock are the round red heads of the Olgas, a second rock formation more significant to Aborigines and more intriguing to many visitors.
  • Taking an Aboriginal Culture Tour (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 in the Barossa Valley (SA): One of Australia’s four largest wine-producing areas, this German-speaking region less than an hour’s drive from Adelaide is also the prettiest. Adelaide’s restaurants happen to be some of the country’s best, too, so test out your wine purchases with the city’s terrific food.
  • Getting Dusty in the Desert (SA): Head inland from Adelaide to the Outback to visit remote pubs and settlements, the craggy ridges of the Flinders Ranges, dry salt lakes, and deserts.
  • 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.
  • Content provided by Frommer’s Unlimited © 2009, Whatsonwhen Limited and Wiley Publishing, Inc. By its very nature much of the information in this travel guide is subject to change at short notice and travellers are urged to verify information on which they’re relying with the relevant authorities. Travmarket cannot accept any responsibility for any loss or inconvenience to any person as a result of information contained above.Event details can change. Please check with the organizers that an event is happening before making travel arrangements. We accept no responsibility for any loss, injury or inconvenience sustained by any person resulting from information published on this site.

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