Places To Visit In Australia
Australia is a country and continent surrounded by the Indian and Pacific oceans. Its major cities – Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide – are coastal. Its capital, Canberra, is inland. The country is known for its Sydney Opera House, the Great Barrier Reef, a vast interior desert wilderness called the Outback, and unique animal species like kangaroos and duck-billed platypuses. Popular destinations are Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Perth, Port Douglas & Cairns
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Sydney, capital of New South Wales and one of Australia's largest cities, is best known for its harbourfront Sydney Opera House, with a distinctive sail-like design. Massive Darling Harbour and the smaller Circular Quay port are hubs of waterside life, with the arched Harbour Bridge and esteemed Royal Botanic Garden nearby. Sydney Tower’s outdoor platform, the Skywalk, offers 360-degree views of the city and suburbs.
Sydney Aquarium, Taronga Zoo and Wildlife Sydney Zoo shelter animals like koalas, kangaroos, sharks and snakes. Pyrmont’s Sydney Fish Market has a working seafood auction and restaurants serving the day’s catch. There are multicultural dining opportunities all over the city, including in Haymarket’s Chinatown and the restaurants serving the Italian community in Leichhardt. A ferry ride through the harbour is part of the experience in visiting outer Sydney destinations such as Bondi and Manly Beaches – both popular for surfing.
Melbourne is the coastal capital of the southeastern Australian state of Victoria. At the city's centre is the modern Federation Square development, with plazas, bars, and restaurants by the Yarra River. In the Southbank area, the Melbourne Arts Precinct is the site of Arts Centre Melbourne – a performing arts complex – and the National Gallery of Victoria, with Australian and indigenous art.
Melbourne Museum and the Royal Exhibition Building explore city history and culture. The Immigration Museum and the Chinese Museum provide differing cultural perspectives on local settlement, while Old Melbourne Gaol offers insight into 19th-century prison life. A major shopping destination is Queen Victoria Market, a Victorian-era building with food stalls. The city’s 19th-century "laneways" and shopping arcades are lined with cafes, galleries and boutiques. The riverside Royal Botanic Gardens shelter 10,000-plus plant species, and Yarra Park is home to the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Cairns, considered the gateway to Australia's Great Barrier Reef, is a city in tropical North Queensland. Its Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park tells the stories of indigenous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with music and dance. Cairns Esplanade, lined in bars and restaurants, has a saltwater swimming lagoon. Northwest of the city, Daintree National Park spans mountainous rainforest, gorges and beaches.
Cairns Wildlife Dome is an enclosed zoo offering koala and crocodile encounters, while the Cairns Tropical Zoo and Cairns Night Zoo house kangaroos and wallabies. The Kuranda Scenic Railway winds up and along forested hillside tracks carved out by early settlers, while the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway provides ocean views above the rainforest canopy. Both terminate in the mountain village of Kuranda, known for Aboriginal art galleries and markets selling clothing and souvenirs. Bungee jumping, fishing and whitewater rafting are popular outdoor activities.
Perth, capital of Western Australia, sits where the Swan River meets the southwest coast. Sandy beaches line its suburbs, and the huge, riverside Kings Park and Botanic Garden on Mt. Eliza offer sweeping views of the city. The Perth Cultural Centre houses the state ballet and opera companies, and occupies its own central precinct, including a theatre, art galleries and the Western Australian Museum.
Central Perth also has the interactive Scitech science centre, Perth Mint’s displays of gold bars and nuggets, and Barrack Square’s glass Bell Tower, with its own viewing platform. Shopping is concentrated in pedestrianised Murray and Hay streets, with high-end boutiques on King Street. The neighbouring 19th-century port of Fremantle draws visitors to its craft markets, an 1850s prison and seafood restaurants in the Fishing Boat Harbour. The shoreline north of Perth is known as the Sunset Coast. It's home to family-friendly Cottesloe Beach, popular snorkelling site Marmion Marine Park and Trigg Beach, with large waves for surfing.
Brisbane, capital of Queensland, is a large city on the Brisbane River. Clustered in its South Bank cultural precinct are the Queensland Museum and Sciencentre, with noted interactive exhibitions. Another South Bank cultural institution is Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, among Australia's major contemporary art museums. Looming over the city is Mt. Coot-tha, site of Brisbane Botanic Gardens.
Ferries cruise the winding river. At one bend, modern skyscrapers crowd around the restored 1920s City Hall. Nearby, the Roma Street Parkland is a subtropical garden that’s home to native and endangered plants. For shopping, the Queen Street Mall is also in the central business district, and James Street in Fortitude Valley has restaurants and cafes. Further upriver, the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary offers visitors the chance to hold koalas and hand-feed kangaroos. Out in Moreton Bay, North Stradbroke Island is home to an Aboriginal settlement, a former convict station and shipwrecks.
The Gold Coast is a metropolitan region south of Brisbane on Australia’s east coast. It's famed for its long sandy beaches, surfing spots and elaborate system of inland canals and waterways. It’s also home to theme parks such as Dreamworld, Sea World and Wet’n’Wild. Inland, hiking trails crisscross Lamington National Park’s mountain ridges and valleys, home to rare birds and rainforest.
The Q1 building with its SkyPoint observation deck towers over Surfers Paradise beach, which has a vibrant nightlife scene, a beachfront market and casinos. Main Beach’s shops and restaurants lie along Tedder Avenue. Hotels line the canal system, which has its own inland beaches, such as Budds Beach. Surf breaks such as Snapper Rocks and Burleigh Heads are among the most popular in the country. The David Fleay Wildlife Park protects emus, kangaroos and koalas. Other natural areas include Tamborine National Park, with waterfalls and trails, and Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk, an eco-park with an elevated boardwalk through the trees.
Port Douglas is a town on the Coral Sea in the tropical far north of Queensland, Australia. It's known for its beach resorts and as a base for visits to both the Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest reef system, and Daintree National Park, home to biodiverse rainforest. In town, Macrossan Street is lined with boutique shops and restaurants. Curving south is popular Four Mile Beach.
From the shop-filled Reef Marina, snorkelling and scuba-diving tours head out to the Great Barrier Reef. The Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas is a rescue and conservation centre with koalas, kangaroos and other native animals. The Bally Hooley Steam Railway, a 4km track once used to transport sugar cane, runs from Mirage Marina. To the north of town, Daintree National Park comprises 2 main sections: Mossman Gorge features granite boulders in the crystal-clear Mossman River, while Cape Tribulation is where the rainforest meets the sea.