Australia has so many amazing places to see, it can be hard to know where to start. Here are ten of the top destinations for backpackers:
Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays
With pure white sand and crystal clear waters, this is somewhere you will never forget. Airlie Beach is a small town, with plenty of facilities for backpackers. Various different tours to the Great Barrier Reef depart from here and there are trips to the Whitsunday Islands. Swim in the man-made lagoon, as there are stinging jellyfish in the sea.
Byron Bay has been described as a hippie’s paradise with many different markets and festivals. There is always plenty to do here, from surfing, hang gliding and kayaking during the day to dancing all night. Some of the best examples of sub-tropical rainforest on Australia’s east coast are accessible from Byron Bay.
Cradle Mountain, Tasmania
This is a beautifully scenic area with many opportunities for walking and climbing. Cradle Mountain is the beginning point for one of Australia’s most famous bush walks, the Overland Track, which runs for 65km to Lake St. Clair.
Kakadu National Park
If you are interested in Aboriginal culture, this is a brilliant destination with many Aboriginal rock art sites. Ecologically and biologically diverse, the area has over 280 bird species and about 60 mammal species.
Perth, on the banks of the Swan River, is the capital of Western Australia. It has a fantastic outdoor lifestyle and available activities include swimming with dolphins and taking a whale-watching cruise to the Humpback Highway.
Coober Pedy, in northern South Australia, is sometimes called “the opal capital of the world”. It has a desert climate and many residents live in “dugouts”, which are caves bored into the hillsides, to keep cool in summer. Attractions to see include the opal mines, the underground churches and the graveyard.
A visit to Australia’s spiritual heart is obligatory for backpackers. As well as Uluru itself, visit Kata Tjuta, a group of rock domes whose Aboriginal name means “many heads”. Kings Canyon, about 300 km north east of Uluru, is also worth exploring.
The world’s largest sand island, Fraser Island has over 100 freshwater lakes. It is home to some of the last remaining pure dingoes in Eastern Australia.
Broome in Western Australia is the home of South Sea pearls. The sunsets at Cable Beach are world famous and between March and October, the combination of a full moon and low tide sometimes creates a spectacular illusion known as the Staircase to the Moon.
The city was the first British colony to be established in Australia and is home to iconic structures such as the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, both of which must be seen. Bondi and Manly Beaches are also popular destinations for visitors to the city.
Allow as much time as you can and work out a general idea of where you want to go whilst you are in Australia, but try to be flexible, as more options are likely to arise once you arrive in this vast and beautiful country.
This article was contributed by Lloyd, a freelance travel writer and blogger, on behalf of Cheapflight.