Australia is so much more than the Opera House or the Sydney Harbour Bridge. People aiming to travel to Australia just to tick off these two landmarks off their bucket lists do not know how much the land of downunder has to offer. It is a great continent which offers travellers who seek adventure, to push their boundaries and who need to check their long bucket lists.
1) Swim with whale sharks
Whale sharks are the biggest fish in the sea; they can grow up to at least 14 meters long. Whale shark feed on plankton on the surface of the ocean which makes it feasible for snorkelers to enjoy their beauty. Swimming with whale sharks is seasonal (between mid-March to end of July) and you can get this once in a life time experience at Ningaloo Reef on Australia’s western coast (Exmouth). Make sure you experience it, if you are at Exmouth at the right time, you might be lucky enough to meet a dugong while snorkelling in the area.
2) Skydive over the Whitsunday Islands
The thought of skydiving can be scary if you are afraid of heights. But be courageous and adventurous, get out of your comfort zone and push your boundaries, it is the best adventurous adrenaline rush activity I have done. Skydiving over the Whitsunday Islands from Airlie beach is not only exciting but it is the best drop zone with the most beautiful scenery. http://www.skydiveairliebeach.com.au/
3) Sail away around the Whitsundays
A 3 day sailing cruise here is a must. Sail to Hazelwood Island for snorkelling, all the way around Hook Island to Hayman Island. Sail to Whitsunday Island and walk on the white talcum powder-like sand of White Haven Beach and visit the breath taking views of Hill Inlet. Crystal clear waters with plenty of fish to snorkel here are guaranteed.
4) Witness humpback whales breaching
The most fascinating wildlife experience is seeing humpback whales breach. Watching about a 30-40 ton whale flip itself entirely out of the water while twisting in midair is most certainly breath taking. You can be guaranteed to see them if you are travelling in Australia between May and November. Here is more information about the places and the times of the years you can watch whales.
5) Take a helicopter ride over the Great Barrier Reef
Taking a helicopter is quite pricy but definitely worth it! You can take a helicopter scenic flight from many places on the east coast including Cairns, Mackay, Port Douglas and many more but your preferred choice should be either Airlie Beach or Hamilton Island if you are in these areas. Seeing one of the Seven Wonders of the World bird’s eye view is breathtaking. Flying from here would make it extra special as you would fly over the beautiful Whitsunday Islands and you would get to see the picturesque heart reef which is always featured in postcards. This is definitely one of the most beautiful sights I have seen and the photos can prove it!
6) Dive and snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef
Being one of the Seven Wonders of the World, I am sure scuba diving or snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef is on your bucket list. Seeing it from bird’s eye view is breathtaking as described above but swimming in the warm waters is impeccable. The coral is so bright and colourful and the marine life, wow what a variety. It feels like you are in the Finding Nemo cartoon. Frankly speaking the best is at the surface so snorkelling offered more things to see then diving.
7) Sleep in a swag in the middle of nowhere
One of the most amazing experiences I have ever had is sleeping in a swag, first witnessing the sun setting over the horizon and when it gets pitch dark at night, sleep under a million stars. Marla, which is a small town in South Australia and is literally in the middle of nowhere is one of the best places to do this.
8) Watch the sun rise and set over Uluru
Uluru or better known as Ayres Rock, is in the middle of the Red Centre (Northern Territory), forms part of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, and is sacred to the Aboriginals. Here you can walk around the base of this massive sandstone, in a 10.6km loop walk. But be mesmerized by the beautiful colour changes in the skies and on the rock itself during sunset and sunrise. For more information check out:
9) Swim in fresh water lake on Fraser Island
Swim in a fresh water lake, formed with rainwater which is found on Fraser Island (Queensland). Lake McKenzie offers crystal clear, vibrant blue fresh water with the finest sand ideal for exfoliating.
10) Eyewitness a Python feeding in action
Camping in the wilderness of Fraser Island can allow you to witness the horrifying but astonishing truth of nature. While having dinner on a bench close to our tents we realised a Python of the night being only a meter away from our tent. No one wanted to go to bed. So we waited! In the meantime a possum was roaming our area and we took pictures of this cute creature. One wrong turn onto the wooden fence and the python flew (on our tent) and wrapped the possum under its skin, constricted it and slowly ate its dinner. It was petrifying to see the possum being the prey but surprisingly amazing to watch Mother Nature take its course. You might get lucky and watch Animal Planet live while camping in the wild!
11) Drive a 4x4 on long sandy beaches
The best place to drive a 4x4 on long never ending sandy beaches is definitely Fraser Island. Follow other drivers, you do not want to get stuck in the sand!
12) Drive the Great Ocean Road
The Great ocean road is a 243Km scenic road along the south east coast of Australia. This picturesque drive takes you to see the iconic Twelve Apostles, London Bridge, Loch Arch, Apollo Bay, Kenneth River and Bell’s beach. For more information visit http://www.visitmelbourne.com/Regions/Great-Ocean-Road.aspx/
13) Noodle for Opal and sleep in underground accommodation
Coober Pedy is an underground town in South Australia and is home of Opal Mining. Due to high temperatures residents here prefer to live in house bored into the hillsides. Its friendly community will teach you how to noodle for Opal. If you are lucky and do find Opal you get to keep it or exchange it for cash! https://www.cooberpedy.sa.gov.au/tourism/
14) Play with dolphins at the water’s edge
Monkey Mia, on the West coast of Australia is a magical place where wild dolphins can be encountered. It is the easiest place that you can be guaranteed to get up close and personal with wild dolphins as they come right up to the shore to play.
15) Witness wild penguins returning from their hunt
Wild penguins can be seen on Philip Island, just 1 and half hours away from Melbourne. Here you can see what is called a penguin parade where hundreds of wild penguins can be seen waddling back on the beach at sunset after a day out hunting. For more information visit http://www.penguins.org.au/attractions/penguin-parade//
16) See as many more animals in the wild as you can
So how or where can you see wild animals in Australia? Definitely not the zoo! You find kangaroos everywhere! Wild koalas along the Great Ocean Road, wild penguins on Philip Island, dugongs and whale sharks at Exmouth and Coral Bay, wild snakes, horses and camels in the Red Centre, crocodiles at Mary River Wetlands, marine life at the Great Barrier Reef, Cassowaries in Cape Tribulation, Humpback whales at the West or East coast depending on season, lorikeets and cockatoos on Long Island and around the Whitsundays, wild dolphins and emus at Monkey Mia, sharks in South Australia and dingoes on Fraser Island.
17) Swim in waterfalls
Australia has a variety of national parks all of which have waterfalls. Beware in which you swim in, always check the aligator warning signs.
18) Visit national parks
The Grampians National Park for beautiful views, sandstone rocks and boxing kangaroos. Flinders Ranges National Park for mountain ranges, creeks, gorges, long hikes and the wildlife. Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park | for the sacred Uluru, sunsets and sunrises and aboriginal culture. Watarrka National Park for the breathtaking views of the Kings Canyon. Litchfield National Park for the gorgeous Buley Rockhole and amazing waterfalls. Kakadu National Park for the culture and wild crocodiles. There are so many national parks in Australia your spoilt for choice, check out this official website for more http://www.australiannationalparks.com/
19) Sand board
Sand board down the sand dunes in Lake Wabby on Fraser Island! It’s an experience to walk on the hot sand dunes but an adventure to sand board down into the green water lake!
20) Hold a crocodile and snake
Feed crocs, swim the cage of death surrounded by crocodiles or simple hold reptiles. And NO, not in the wild but in Darwin at their popular Crocosaurous Cove, definitely a great experience check it out at http://www.crocosauruscove.com/
21) Learn to surf and go canoe surfing
Learn to surf in 1770 (no I am not taking you back in time, it's just the name of a beautiful place) and Agnes Water on the East Coast of Australia. Surfers make it seem easy, but it is one hell of an exercise, which requires strenght and energy especially when the practice surf board is twice your size. A great experience is kayaking here, where you get a good chance to see wild dolphins. Another part of the same trip was surfing on a canoe on the surf created by a reef, so much fun!
22) Camp on the Beach
A beautiful way to wake up in the morning is to camp on the beach. Get your bearings right and make sure to wake up for sun rise. Beware of coconut trees, you do not want one falling on you.
23) Rent a camper van and drive (how to get one at a cheap price)
The best part of backpacking Australia is simply renting a camper van especially when at a cheap price. Driving along either the Pacific highway or any of Australia’s highways for hours is the best experience of backpacking. It is just one long straight road. Sometimes you get a shake from the road trains passing by while many times you will be racing wild kangaroos. Most late afternoons you will get to see an amazing sunset, however beware of kangaroos crossing the roads especially at sunset when they tend to come out the most.
Camper vans tend to be expensive to rent, but not if you get what they call a relocation campervan. Relocation campers are those which need to be at a certain city at a specific time, so instead of hiring a driver, they rent it to backpackers who are travelling to that same city at a price as cheap as 9$ a day! Check where you want to go next and get yourself a deal today! https://www.drivenow.com.au/onewayrentals.jspc/
24) Walk on a beach of shells
Beaches the way we know them are big bays of sand. Have you ever seen a big bay of shells instead! Another amazing place to go to in Australia is Shell Beach, a beach in the region of Shark Beach in Western Australia. I dare you to walk on it barefooted!
25) Go to Festivals
Sydney Harbour New Year's Eve Festival, St Kilda Festival in Melbourne in February, Sydney Mardi Gras in February/ March, Bluesfest in Byron Bay in March! There are so many so keep in tune at http://www.australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/festivals-in-australia/
26) Fly naked fly free
A great way to get a free scenic helicopter ride over Katherine Gorge, in Nitmiluk National Park in the Northern Teritory of Australia is to fly naked. One of my tag along travellers had the guts, striped naked and got this amazing helicopter ride over the scenic Katherine Gorge for free.
27) Tag along travellers
The best part of backpacking in Australia is that you can assure yourself that you will never be alone. You meet like-minded people from all over the world and you would definitely end up tagging along a few. Here are a few of my tag along, people who I now consider as my friends who made a 10 month backpacking trip around Australia one never to be forgotten. Do not forget to tag along with us on facebook.