Australia is a land of dreams. The world’s largest island and smallest continent, Australia is almost the same size as the United States, and one of the most original wildlife on the planet.
Australia is also a land of spectacular beauty and stunning contrasts. Along the coast, you can explore ancient rainforests, vast sandy islands, vibrant multicultural cities, and one of the most awe-inspiring natural wonders on the planet – the Great Barrier Reef. In the Outback, rugged national parks and red earth deserts provide the ultimate in adventure travel. Top it all off with a laid back vibe and friendly people, and it’s no wonder Australia ranks high on wish lists around the world. Create your own adventure with our list of top attractions in Australia:
1. Sydney Opera House
Shaped like huge seashells or billowing sails, this famous Bennelong Point building in Sydney is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the world’s great architectural icons. The location is magnificent. On three sides, water surrounds the structure and the Royal Botanic Gardens border it to the south.
Danish architect Jørn Utzon won an international competition for his design but withdrew from the project after technical and financial problems. In 1973, construction was finally completed at a cost ten times the original budget. By this time, Utzon had left the country without ever returning to see his magnificent creation.
Today you can enjoy a show here; dine in one of the restaurants; or take a tour of the building, which includes a concert hall, exhibition halls, studios, theaters and a cinema. But it is much more impressive from a distance. One of the best spots to photograph the Opera House is Ms. Macquarie’s Chair in the Royal Botanic Gardens, or you can board a harbor cruise or ferry for another scenic perspective.
2. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
The World Heritage-listed it as one of the largest living structures on the planet. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park was established in 1975 to protect its fragile ecosystems, which include more than 3,000 coral reefs; 600 mainland islands, 300 coral cays; including the magnificent Whitsunday Group; and coastal mangrove islands. One of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World, the park stretches 2,300 kilometers along the state of Queensland on Australia’s east coast (roughly the distance between Mexico and Vancouver) . The diving and snorkeling are spectacular. The amazing array of marine life includes soft and hard corals, over 1,600 species of tropical fish, sharks, dugongs, dolphins, turtles, rays and giant clams. If you’d rather stay dry, you can see the reef from underwater viewing stations and glass bottom boats. On the mainland, Cairns, Port Douglas and Airlie Beach are the main departure points for excursions.
Also Read: International Tour To Australia
3. Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
In the heart of Australia’s Red Center, Uluru (formerly Ayers Rock) is one of the country most captured for natural wonders. Uluru, which means “dark place” in the local Aboriginal dialect, rises to a height of 348 meters from the surrounding plain, most of its part being hidden under the earth’s surface. The park is also home to red dome shaped rocks called Kata Tjuta (the Olgas). As the sun dips across the sky, tourists gather to watch the colors of Uluru and Kata Tjuta transform in the changing light. A great way to appreciate these sacred sites is to take a tour led by native guides and rangers.
4. Sydney Harbor Bridge
The Sydney Harbor Bridge is one of Australia’s most famous tourist attractions along with the Opera House. Affectionately referred to as “the coat rack,” this awe-inspiring feat of construction is the world’s largest steel arch bridge. In 1932, it was completed, 40 years before the Sydney Opera House. Rising 134 meters above the harbor, the bridge spans 500 meters, connecting Sydney’s north coast with the central business district. In addition to the footpath, two railway lines extend across the bridge, as well as eight lanes for road traffic, and the direction of each lane can be changed to suit the traffic.
One of the top things to do in Sydney is a guided climb to the top of the bridge, where you can enjoy spectacular views of the harbor and the city. For an overview of the history and construction of the bridge, visit the museum located on the Southeast Pier. Interestingly, Paul Hogan, of renowned Crocodile Dundee, worked as a painter on the bridge before becoming an international celebrity.