Before heading across the ocean for a vacation to Australia, many questions need answers. Start with the flight. What matters most, price, length of the journey, or stops along the way? Research flights to find the one best suited. If price matters most, the cheapest flights often stop several times and take well over 20 hours from start to finish. The most direct flights may take as little as 14 – 16 hours, but could cost quite a lot.
When plans include stopping somewhere along the way, the flight must include the preferred place whether that means Fiji, Hawaii, Japan, or somewhere else flights to Australia tend to stop.
Some airlines also offer flights far more frequently than others, which makes a difference to travelers with tight schedules. Research online or visit a travel agent to find what works best for any individual situation.
Australia has more to offer than anyone without unlimited travel time and budget could possibly see in one trip. Sydney has a lot of history since that is where the first English settlers and convicts landed.
Just about everyone associates Australia with kangaroos, the outback, or the Great Barrier Reef. International flights land at the major airports. Other means of travel take visitors everywhere else. Research online or through a travel agent to find the best transportation for your needs. Australia has an excellent train system, which even has a stop at the Sydney airport. They also have busses, taxis, rental cars, domestic airlines or boats to take travelers to places where international flights may not land.
History buffs touring Sydney most likely will want to visit the area known as The Rocks, which lies between Circular Quay and the road to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The first settlers landed there in 1778. The area still has many historical buildings. Once run-down and rat-infested, recent renovations have remodeled the area into a tourist attraction while preserving its old world charm.
Those not satisfied with walking, biking, driving, or riding the train across the bridge may want to try the bridge climb tour. The bridge also provides great views of the famous Sydney Opera House.
Sydney has many other things to see including the historic Queen Victoria Building, Centrepoint Tower, an aquarium and a zoo. In addition to public travel on the train or bus, Sydney has other more interesting ways for tourists to get around. Take a Harbour Cruise for a guided tour of interesting places and things seen from the water. Or try the double decker hop-on, hop-off bus for either a city tour or a trip to Bondi Beach.
The big red kangaroos of the outback can only be found in zoos in the Sydney area, but gray kangaroos live in the wild just a short distance away in the Blue Mountains. Blue Mountains National Park offers day trips or camping with wild gray kangaroos at Euroka clearing near the town of Glenbrook. The train stops at Glenbrook, but unless a long walk to the park sounds appealing, a car rental is a better option.
Other interesting things in the Blue Mountains include rock formations known as the three sisters, and the world's steepest scenic railway and two scenic skyrides at Katoomba. Take the train one way and the sceniscender, or aerial cable car the other. At the bottom walk the boardwalk trail through an ancient forest of fernlike trees and view remnants of an old coal mine. Or try the 800 stairs at Echo Point near the visitor's center.
From Sydney, catch a domestic flight to Cairns for access to the Great Barrier Reef. Cairns has a variety of options for day or overnight trips out to the reef for snorkeling, diving, or glass bottom boat tours.
A whole different world of beauty lurks just under the surface at the reef. Brightly colored fish of all shapes and sizes swim through coral just as bright and varied as the fish. Giant clams lurk between coral patches. Eels cautiously poke their heads out of their underwater caves. Turtles sometimes put in an appearance. Watch out for jellyfish and sharks though.
Cairns also offers access to a variety of rainforest tours where lucky visitors may catch a glimpse of the elusive cassowary.
Perhaps a visit to the dry deserts of the outback beckons. Ayers Rock, locally known by its aboriginal name of Uluru, is the most famous natural landmark in Australia, and one of the world's oldest rocks. Alice Springs, near to Ayers Rock, is the best-known outback town and offers a variety of tourist options. Red kangaroos live all throughout the outback.
Other options in Australia include the places like the underground opal-mining town of Coober Pedy, the dry-river boat race at Alice Springs (once cancelled because it rained and the river had water in it) or a visit to Australia Zoo in Queensland.
Australia also has more than its share of deadly creatures, best seen only in zoos. Besides sharks and quite a variety of poisonous jellyfish, they have both the world's most venomous snake (inland taipan) and spider (Sydney funnel web.)
by Lois Beath, mycruisestories.com
Tags: Travel Australia Vacation Sydney