One of the most untouched destinations on the planet, you will be astounded by Australia’s immense landscapes and breathtaking natural beauty. With its iconic attractions, its weird and wonderful wildlife and an enviable ‘beach and barbeque’ lifestyle, Australia is consistently voted the world’s most desirable destination by UK travellers.
This is a country so vast that you would need several weeks or even months to explore all its wonders but careful planning will give you a good taste of what is on offer and the most popular starting point would be to fly into Sydney, a world-class city in every sense with its picturesque harbour setting having few rivals. It is the capital of New South Wales and one of Australia’s largest cities – jump on a ferry and Sydney is your oyster
Image Deb Gillespie – Tourism Australia
You’ll instantly recognise the sweeping curves of the Opera House and the soaring arches of Harbour Bridge with the impressive Darling Harbour and the smaller Circular Quay port being the hubs of waterside life. You’ll also discover unparalleled dining, nightlife, shopping, world class museums and lots more sightseeing opportunities such as the esteemed Royal Botanic Garden and Sydney Tower’s outdoor platform, the Skywalk, offering 360-degree views of the city and suburbs and is the city’s tallest structure.
Image Deb Gillespie – Tourism Australia
If it’s an experience you are looking for then one of the best and most exhilarating must be the climb to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Nicknamed “The Coathanger” and dating back to 1932, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of Australia’s grandest engineering feats and you can book a Bridge Climb for the opportunity to scale to the summit and enjoy unbeatable panoramic views. Expeditions will take you high into its arches before reaching its peak, 440 feet above sea level. No special climbing skills are required, and there are various sessions throughout the day, including at twilight and dawn. But if heights are not your thing then visitors are free to walk or cycle across this vast structure.
Explore the neighbourhoods beyond the city centre to discover the ‘real’ Sydney and one of the most popular and indeed oldest being ‘The Rocks’. The first residents were convicts and sailors from the old nation and the area’s cobblestone streets are home to more than 100 heritage sites and buildings including the oldest house in Sydney, Camden Cottage, which was built in 1816. The weekend markets at the Rocks are where you can find local artists’ hand-made souvenirs, organic food and designer jewellery in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. On the waterfront you will find some of the oldest pubs in Sydney where you can enjoy a “midi “ or a “schooner” of beer and dine “al fresco”.
Image – Tourism Australia
Another popular neighbourhood is Paddington, named after its London namesake, its streets lined with restored Victorian terrace houses with very distinctive features, like high ceilings and cast-iron balconies. Here you will find some of Sydney’s most prestigious art galleries, including the Wagner Art Gallery and the Butler Good Gallery. It is also a hub for high-end shopping featuring famous contemporary Australian designers and where well-known Australian chefs serve the best of modern and traditional Italian food.
Or, if you just want to have some fun, head over to Manly or Bondi and hit the beach.
Ride the ferry to Manly – a half-hour ferry ride from Circular Quay, Manly on Sydney’s north side is home to the best beaches, renowned for surf breaks, scenic walks with laid back cafe culture and perfect for a day out of the city. Join a snorkelling tour to discover more than 200 fish species, including the famous Blue Groper, in the calm clear waters off Manly’s Shelly Beach or test your balance on a paddle board and finish the day enjoying fish and chips from one of the countless takeouts.
Image Anson Smart – Tourism Australia
But the most iconic Australian suburb must be Bondi Beach, less than 20 minutes on a bus from Sydney’s city centre, it’s famous for its fantastic beaches and impressive ocean views. This iconic beach has something for everyone, surf and sand, glitzy bars and cafes, a farmers market, boutique street stalls, scenic walks and running tracks. Tourists from all over the world flock to Bondi to enjoy the ‘Aussie Summer’ and join the locals, with the serious surfers at the southern end of the beach, while boogie boards and bodysurfers occupy the northern end and non surfers enjoy the views from the myriad of bars and cafes by the waterfront!
Drive outside the city and there’s a rich variety of experiences to enjoy such as the groves and vineyards of Hunter Valley, Australia’s oldest wine producing region and home to more than 120 wineries, gourmet restaurants, spa retreats and concerts in the vineyards. Try some of the world’s best wines or join a tasting masterclass to sample rare vintages. When you need a break from all the wine tasting then ‘Say Cheese’ and drop into the Hunter Valley Cheese Factory where you will find a fantastic selection of handmade cow and goat milk cheese to sample and if you have room for more then enjoy a gourmet lunch or dinner at the many award winning restaurants.
Wyndham Estate – Image VR Tours – Tourism Australia
Drive due west from Sydney for about two hours and you will take in the natural beauty of the Blue Mountains, a World Heritage Listed National Park, famous for its rock formation known as the Three Sisters with its diverse scenery of tall forests, bushland, towering cliffs, waterfalls and sandstone canyons. This area of over 2.5 million acres has some unique experiences such as Scenic World in Katoomba, home to a cableway, a walkway over the rainforest canopy and a glass bottom skyway. It is also home to charming villages full of buzzing cafes and restaurants – something to suit all appetites.
Image David Ireland – Tourism Australia
If you don’t wish to drive then you can join an organised tour and sit back, relax and enjoy!
Tailor Made Travel can fulfil your dreams and aspirations so contact us to discuss your travel requirements with one of our experienced Travel Consultants.
Call 0333 3441786 or visit your local Tailor Made Travel agency – for telephone numbers and addresses of our branches click onto this link to our website
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Images supplied by Tourism Australia