We visited Australia last Christmas and I must say the country is true to its tourism tagline – There is nothing like Australia! I witnessed a totally different animal kingdom and plant life there. Based on a friend’s suggestion we decided to visit Australia. Australia is a massive continent country – 6th largest country in the world, hence it is important that a lot of planning goes in before visiting the country.
We realized early on that even in her 15 days tour, we won’t be able to cram too many places. With kids we didn’t want to make it too hectic either, so we stuck to top 3 tourist destinations in Australia – Melbourne, Sydney and Cairns. We chose these places because a) they were highly recommended and b) they offered completely different weather conditions thereby different experiences in the country.
I loved the easy vibe that the city exudes. Though it was a holiday season, the city and its suburbs have a quiet charm to them. The leafy suburbs, closeness to the sea on one side and the wine valley on the other makes it an apt location. The weather in Melbourne is pleasant for most part of the year. Apart from the city tour the few places that one should not miss when in Melbourne are – MCG( Melbourne Cricket Ground), Ballart – Sovereign Hill, Healsville Sanctuary, 12 Apostles and Great Ocean Road, Penguin Parade.
Sydney is everything that a big metro of a developed country is. Huge skycrapers, fast-paced life, cosmopolitan crowd and a vibrant harbor! The weather in Sydney is sunny all year round. The city was bustling with activity when we visited it just after Christmas. A few places that shouldn’t be missed when on a tour of Sydney are –Opera House, Sydney Tower, The Sydney Harbor and Blue Mountains.
Cairns is a completely different place. It is more like visiting a tropical area that is still developing. The first thought that came to my mind about Cairns was that it was either a pensioner’s paradise or for the ultra-rich. You can see vast expanses of sugarcane fields, lush greenery, and humidity. It is the perfect place to enjoy sea activities and adventures. Things that one should not miss when in Cairns are – The Great Barrier Reef, Kuranda Sky Rail, and Mossman Gorge.
Top things to know when visiting Australia
- As Australia falls in the southern hemisphere, its seasons are the opposite of us in India. So, when we visited Australia at Christmas, it was summer there!
- Getting a Visa for Australia is pretty straightforward. We got e-visas so we didn’t have to go for an interview or submit our passports. Documents and forms were submitted online.
- The tickets are costly, so booking in advance helps.
- The currency there is Australian dollars.
- The public transport is very good, however, if you are traveling during holiday season like Christmas, do note their changed timings. The frequency of public transport is drastically less and only till around 5pm on important public holidays like Christmas, Boxing Day etc.
- We observed that most of the eateries usually start closing up by 9pm. The taxi tariffs too are hiked after 9pm. So plan your travel and dinner break accordingly.
- The pristine coastline of Australia is mesmerizing, but do take note of the warnings before entering the waters. Australian waters have various water animals –like sharks, jelly fishes and crocodiles. So venturing into the waters alone and without proper information is not recommended.
- The ozone depletion is real and when in Australia it is important that you venture out only after applying the recommended sunscreen. Normally sunscreens with SPF 40 or more is recommended there.
- It is not unusual to see Wallabies or Kangaroos when on long drives through the wilderness.
- It is common practice for the citizens of Australia to show respect to the Aboriginals or the original inhabitants of Australia during various events or at shows – be respectful of that.
- When in Australia, don’t forget to buy TimTams! These are bourbon biscuits dipped in chocolates. Another dessert to try is Lamingtons – a sponge cake dipped in chocolate and desiccated coconut.