The ‘Land Down Under’ has it all: the Great Barrier Reef, epic deserts, waterfalls, rivers, rain forest, paradise islands, caverns and breathtaking wilderness sunsets – but also vibrant modern cities and friendly people. Time to say, “G’day, mate!”
Empty wilderness, brushwood and no neighbors for tens of kilometers . . . this is the idea that Europeans commonly have about Australia. But it’s much more than this! During my trip through this wonderful island, I understood that it offers everything you could want. In fact, the first thing that surprised me was Australian kindness. In every part of the continent, people smile at you at the supermarket and ask you how your day is going. They spontaneously help you if you get lost. This is the home of the “Take it easy” attitude and you’ll feel it every moment of the day: attending a free yoga lesson in a park at 6.30am, admiring the sunset at Sydney Harbor, drinking a local XXXX beer in a Brisbane pub!
I started my tour from the center: Uluru (Ayers Rock). This is not just a big red rock – it’s a magical and mystical place. Uluru changes color during the day: orange in the morning, red at the sunset, clear brown in the evening. I was here I saw the best twilight of my life and admired the sky changing color: lilac, violet, yellow, orange . . . I also went trekking at Mount Olga and I was astonished by the night sky. I’ve never seen the Milky Way so clearly. At that moment, I realized I was on the other side of the world because I couldn’t see the Pole Star. Instead, I had to orient myself via the Southern Cross, which is represented on the Australian flag.
From the center to the north, you’ll see a different desert and feel less distant from civilization. Stop in Darwin to explore the Litchfield and the Kakadu National Parks and experience a thrilling Aussie weekend. Australians really know how to have fun with little! I crossed a wilderness area of brushwood, creeks and rocky roads in a 4×4 (not suitable if you suffer from motion sickness!) and enjoyed bathing in cool waterfalls – but beware of crocodiles! The Northern Territory is full of crocodiles so bathing is prohibited almost everywhere. Still, don’t miss the “Jumping Crocodile” cruise along the Adelaide River to see these enormous prehistoric animals suddenly leaping from the water to eat a piece of meat!
Taking a rest in Darwin, I also got in touch with aboriginal culture. This is one of the few cities with a high number of aborigines – often poor and drunk – but I appreciated their arts and didgeridoo concerts. Try to play one – it’s not easy, not at all!
Going east from Cairns, you can start a beautiful tour to Cape Tribulation, where the rainforest meets the beach. In Australia, you’ll get used to looking at the sea with greenery behind! Cairns is the starting point to take a walk in the rainforest and to relax on stunning beaches, but especially to enjoy the Great Barrier Reef. Are you ready to swim with small sharks and with various colorful fish? Let’s dive and go looking for Nemo!
To really live the Aussie lifestyle, it’s fundamental to experiment with a road trip – and the east coast is the perfect place to do it! Going from Cairns to Brisbane, I saw wonderful and different landscapes. Of course, you must stop to admire the Whitsunday islands, in particular, Whitehaven Beach: one of the 10 best beaches in the world. You’ll be astonished by the color of the soft, white sand and the emerald water!
Going toward Brisbane, I saw unforgettable sunsets and stopped at the Capricorn Caves to be impressed by the variety of landscapes that Australia offers. Don’t miss Fraser Island, the biggest sand island in the world (but be careful not to be savaged by the dingoes that populate it). Throughout the road trip, I admired unique animals that live only in Australia: kangaroos, koalas, opossums, quokkas, emus, cassowaries, forest dragons . . . this country seems like the world biggest zoo!
Finally Brisbane, the third biggest city, where I really breathed the Australian lifestyle. The city is less touristic and less European than Sydney or Melbourne. I fell in love with its river and with South Bank Park and its artificial beach. Brisbane has always perfect weather and the beautiful sand islands of Moreton and the Stradbroke islands) are easily reachable from here. Brisbane citizens have a strange accent, but they are always cheerful and friendly. Don’t miss the opportunity to drink a local XXXX beer in a traditional pub.
One of the most common sports in this country? Surfing, of course! After Brisbane, go along the Gold Coast and stop at Surfers Paradise. There’s no need to add more information! You’ll see competitions between muscled surfers!
From Brisbane to Sydney I had the most exciting experience of my life: skydiving in Byron Bay. This small city is the perfect place to meet suffers, hippies and backpackers from all over the world. My suggestion is to enjoy the nightlife in an Aussie club and then go to the lighthouse to admire the sunrise from the easternmost point of Australia!
Finally Sydney: Australia’s most famous and biggest city but also much more relaxing compared to other metropolises of the world – maybe because of the warm weather, the sea and the good mood of the people. Icons of the city include Harbor Bridge, the Opera House and Bondi Beach. Walking through Sydney Harbor is an unmissable experience throughout the day. You can go jogging after sunrise, have a breezy lunch, admire the sunset near the Opera House, or have a romantic walk at night!
Sydney Opera House
My Aussie tour ended in Melbourne and it was the right way to accept that soon I would return to Italy. In fact, I felt as if I was in Europe! The place is full of cafes, restaurants and shops from all over the world, but especially from the Old Continent. In this city, I started an unforgettable road trip along the Great Ocean Road where I stopped to admire the Twelve Apostles.
I didn’t have the opportunity to explore the West coast, but this is a good excuse to come back again to the country I fell in love with!