Australia. The Land of Plenty. Down Under.
You’ve probably heard of this incredible country, seen photos and if you grew up in the 80s/90s, you watched Home and Away or Neighbours. Jason and Kylie are two great reasons to hop on a plane but if you’re thinking of a longer stint backpacking or that holiday of a lifetime, you might need more persuading.
I lived in Australia for a year in 2010-2011, working in New South Wales, Queensland and Northern Territory. I got to see quite a lot of the East Coast, North and some South and it was a tough but unbelievable experience. I made some really good friends and had a huge amount of adventures. As well as coming away from it an expert boomerang thrower and a dab hand at a barbie, I also left with loads of backpacking tips and reasons to recommend it to everyone. Australia is bonzer. Here are my top 5 reasons why you should visit:
1. Everything is BIG
Do not underestimate how large Australia is or how fast you can cover ground. It takes best part of a day to get from one city to another and internal flights are the quickest route.
One of the first things I remember from stepping off the plane in Sydney is that everything is in panoramic view. The sky is huge and so is everything else (including the creepy crawlies!)
As seen in the photo above, our Aussie mates across the pond like to have fun with the idea of this vastness, and have built several giant landmarks. As well as The Big Merino, there is a shrimp (which would never fit on a barbie) and the big banana amongst others. Apparently size does matter down under…
2. Roos, Tassie Devils and Deadly Critters
Australia is teeming with weird and wonderful creatures and I’m not talking fit surfers. From snakes, lizards and kangaroos, to koalas and too many birds to mention; Australia is a lesson in how not to get killed by wildlife on a trip.
The flora and fauna here is like nothing anywhere else. Completely different species and loads of animals in the wild. Its a lot of fun going out to see kangaroos in their natural habitat.
I saw a red bellied black snake on a farm, one of the deadliest spiders the red back, a koala and crocodile in the wild and I survived. I know you’re thinking a koala doesn’t fit into that list but trust me Charlie went feral when I got too close to his eucalyptus…
3. The Great Outdoors
Miles from anywhere you think? Some of it is, yes. In many places, the Bush is right outside not far from most towns and cities. Canberra is known as the Bush Capital and I stayed here with friends. The great outdoors doesn’t feel far away when you can take a walk to where kangaroos roam.
One of the big places I missed was Uluru and the centre of Australia. I’d planned to take the Ghan from North to South or vice versa but it didn’t work out. I will go back and do this in the future.
I had an amazing time visiting the Blue Mountains and outback near Darwin and Brisbane. The arid landscapes or vast forests were breathtaking. One of my favourite trips was the Great Ocean Road. The coastal landscapes are proper ripper mate!
4. The People, History and Culture
As well as fellow backpackers, I worked with Australians and people from all over the world. Its a real melting pot of culture and a diverse mix of people. Aboriginal culture and traditions were fascinating and I visited museums to understand the sometimes difficult history of the indigenous people.
Culture is a pretty flexible word and for some people it means experiencing the surf, Christmas in the sun or why Byron Bay is such a hit with travellers. For others its the Gaol museum, coffee in Degraves St or aboriginal art. Australia has it all.
5. Great Deals, Easy to Explore
Most round the world tickets have Sydney as an option and even if you are just flying there and back, I’ve seen loads of flight sales. Accommodation is varied and there is a choice for every budget and tours are competitively priced as well. You can do a great value holiday to Australia.
The main language in Australia is English (with some fair dinkum slang thrown in the mix) which makes it easy to navigate for most people. Hand gestures work too. Everywhere is well connected along the coast and there are options for going inland with an organised tour or hiring a car. For adrenaline junkies, anything you want to do from scuba diving to bungee jumping and sky diving is available. Be right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of a big city or out in the desert/on a beach watching the stars. You can do it all. So what are you waiting for? Visit Australia, ya flaming galah!
(I hope no Australians were offended in the reading of this post!)