Welcome to Australia Travel
Welcome to Australia Travel, a site devote to anyone planning on being a tourist to Australia. This site gives travel advice and some great links that are are going to save you money on your visit to Australia. The top tourist spots in Australia tend to be Sydney, the Gold Coast and Cairns, they are certainly the most visited.
I've lived in all these places so can give you some great advice. (For advice of Melboure, Perth, Adeliade, Tasmania and other aussie places see upcoming blogs)
There are numerous other great places to visit as well and I'll give tips where I can.
Sydney is a huge diverse metropolis with numerous cultures and ethnicities living within the city. The central city is where you will want to spend most of your time as the surburbs hold little in the way for tourists. Some surburbs are no go zones being ethnic gettos with drug problems and the like. However the central city and the eastern beaches are safe and great places to visit.
The Beaches - you are spoilt for choice here. Beautiful yellow sand, rolling waves and patrolled. Follow the advice of the surf life savers with their traditional yellow and red hats. Bondi of course is the most famous with numerous bars, cafes and shops. But Maroubra is probably better for surfing and swimming. Catch the Manly ferry and walk across to the ocean beach and there is a lovely walk to the heads passing numerous restaurants. Cronulla beach is nice to the south with some nice walks as well.
Shopping:- There is plenty of shopping to be done in Sydney. If your from the UK or the USA then the exchange rate makes it even better for you. In the Central CBD are plenty of shops, one of my favourites is the Victoria building. Great design with traditional features. If you're there on the hour go to the very top where there is a large clock. On the hour it shows scenes of British royality with a bit of a fanfare.
Hop on the monorail and go to Darling habour (see picture left as seen from the top of Sydney tower). Plenty of places to buy t-shirts and other souvenirs. Also on the ground floor is the best tasting fudge shop I've been to. I recommend the apricot favoured fudge. If your travelling around in the inner city buy a rail circle hopper ticket which allows you to get on and off the train as many times a day as you wish and includes Redfern station which is right next to paddy's markets. Another place to check out is China town just to the south of the CBD.
Attractions:- No visit to Sydney would be complete without the mandatory visit to the Sydney Opera house - an icon of Australia. From there walk to the ferry terminal which attracts numerous entertainers and gives a good view of the habour. Continue around towards the Sydney habour bridge and you will run into “the Rocks" and see what old Sydney looked like. Lots of bars and places to eat with more shopping. Hyde park is another place to visit. At night it is lit up with lights in the trees. Bring an apple and feed the possums up in the trees. Kings Cross and Oxford street are center of “night life".
Greater Sydney:- If you head out to the blue mountains via train or car Katoomba has great views of the Blue Mountains as well as walking tracks. Take the cable car across the gorge and look a thousand feet straight down or take the ‘railway’ and go down to the bottom. I recommend sitting right at the front if possible. Take in a view of the three sisters. One of my favourite place to visit in the Blue Mountains is the Jenolan Caves. Numerous caves to chose from and beautiful to see. Just a tip going down the road to the caves make sure you chose a low gear or you will burn out your brakes.
The center of the Gold Coast is Surfers Paradise. A very long strip of yellow sand beach, however the name is not entirely correct The better surfing on the coast is found off the kirra point breaks and Coolangatta has the whitest sand and bluest water. Surfers Paradise may be more appropriately named for its after hours activities. Orchid Ave and the surrounding streets are a hot bed of night life with numerous nightclubs and other going ons. In the summer time is it just one event after another with the Indy car series, then schoolies, then Christmas and the New Year Fireworks - Standing room only as Surfers is packed out at this time. Generally safe though except for the odd drunk idiot looking for a fight.
Theme Parks - the Gold Coast has numerous theme parks including Seaworld, Dreamworld, Movie World, Wet n Wild, and Currumbin Bird Sanctuary. For more on these see the link on the side for (Gold Coast theme Parks or Seaworld Nara Resort).
The Gold Coast's Hinderland also has much to offer. Early morning balloon rides, walking tracks and O'Reilly's. O'Reilly's is a bit of a drive but its worth the trip just to hand feed the brightly coloured parrots. Also there is a tree top walk with a walkway high up in the trees - not for those afraid of heights. There is also a guest house for those who would like an overnight stay.
Cairns is the main gateway to the Great Barrier reef. Viewed from the air the reef shows its true form a series of small reefs and Islands. Beautiful seen from the air as emerald coloured jewels they are even better close up. A Boat trip out to the reef takes over an hour depending on where on the reef they stop. The best view is obviously for the scuba divers. Be warned though the waters are dangerous with numerous creatures that can kill so follow the local advice. Sharks, Jellyfish, Snakes, Stone Fish, Deadly blue ring octopus and yes stingrays (although Steve Irwin was only the third person in Australia to die from a stingray so don't get too carried away). Of course it your sensible there is much beauty that will stay with you for the rest of you life. Colourful tropical fish and multi-coloured coral. In closer to shore are Crocodiles, and yes they can even be found out to sea. Mine you my whole time in Cairns (over two years) the only Croc. s I saw were in a local crocodile farm and on a river boat trip on the Daintree. However further up Cape York they get alot more numerous so follow the local signs and be careful.
Cairns is a Tropical environment and as such is VERY HOT year round (In the wet season expect late afternoon rain - see picture left). The Esplanade has been reworked and numerous tourist now sunbake on it. The central city is a backpackers heaven and numerous night clubs, bars, restaurants cafes carter for almost every taste but obviously seafood is a specialty.
A visit to the Daintree (where rainforest meets the reef) can be relaxing. Though I recommend you take in a boat ride and see Crocodiles in their natural environment. We saw four on our trip with a tiny year old one and a large one capable of making you lunch.
Kurranda is about an hours drive uphill, or you can take the scenic cable skyway or the kurranda train. Views of the Barron Falls and Tropical rainforest abound. Kurranda has a little market village feel about it. In the picture left you see it in full flow but sometimes it can almost be none existant as water is diverted for the Stanmore hydro power station and due to the impact of the dry.
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