Many are descending upon the Land Down Under. Last year alone, tourists brought a record $41.3 billion to Australia’s coffers, which translates to $3.5 billion monthly in foreign currency. The tourist hubs of Sydney, Melbourne, and the Gold Coast continue to be go-to destinations, but other cities and regions are being explored, too. With that in mind, we’ve prepared a handy guide for five cities you ought to explore in Australia.
The capital city of South Australia is arguably the region’s cultural hub. At the center of it is North Terrace, which is home to the State Library, the Adelaide University, the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, several war memorials, and quite a few museums. Adelaide also boasts of the picturesque Adelaide Hills, located just outside the city’s bustling central business district. A visit to the Mount Lofty Botanic Garden and its majestic scenery, lush greenery, and labyrinthine walking trails, should be your first order business. Stops at any of the 60 wineries that populate this region is highly recommended, too, as is a detour to the Beerenberg Farm, where you can pick strawberries.
Much of the action in Brisbane happens along and around Brisbane River. A free river cruise aboard a CityHopper, for instance, is an excellent way to explore the majestic surroundings of the river. Alternatively, you can marvel at the scenic views by lounging around the city’s outdoor spaces, the most notable of which are Roma Street Parkland and the City Botanic Gardens. For an added thrill, hike up Mount Coot-tha and head on to Brisbane Lookout for a bird’s-eye, 360-degree view of the sceneries below. Moreover, Brisbane is a good take-off point for a detour to Norfolk Island, which we featured here before.
The Australian capital of Canberra is home to the iconic Parliament House, whose design is, in a word, beautiful. Avail of a tour and know more about the majestic building and the many things that make Australia’s political system unique. From the Parliament House, you can proceed to the National Zoo and Aquarium, the country’s lone combined zoo and aquarium facility. Visits to the Namadgi National Park, the National Museum of Australia, and the National Science and Technology Centre are worth your while as well. There is even something for the sporty types: a tour of the ultra-modern Australian Institute of sports, where you can learn much about Australia’s intrinsic love for sports. And as previously pointed out here in Travel Tipsor before, Canberra offers one of the best bungee jumping experiences in the country. For the ultimate adventure, combine bungee jumping and hiking in any of the city’s numerous natural reserves.
Darwin is often referred to as “Top End,” and fittingly so: It offers top-end adventures and attractions. A tour of the city aboard the Darwin Explorer is a good way to learn about Australia’s northernmost city. For intense reptilian encounters, head on over to Crocosaurus Cove, where you can hold, feed, and pet some cold-blooded creatures. You can even try the infamous Cage of Death, in which you are enclosed in an acrylic box and dangled over a crocodile tank. You’ll ultimately be lowered to said tank, where you will likely go eye-to-eye with a croc. If the thought of close encounters with the cold-blooded make you squeamish, then Crocodylus Park will welcome you with open arms. Other attractions in Darwin include the Waterfront, the George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, and the waterparks of Big Buoy and Palmerston.
Melbourne is home to a range of prominent cultural institutions, among them, the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the National Gallery of Victoria, and the Royal Exhibition Building. A ride on-board the City Circle Tram will take you around parts of the city, which is populated by public sculptures such as Deborah Halpern’s Angel, Ophelia, and Portal to Another Time and Place. Melbourne is also home to the multi-use Melbourne Park, which hosts the prestigious Australian Open every January and other sporting events, like netball, basketball, and even ice hockey and cycling. It also hosts concerts from time to time. From Melbourne Park, you can head on over to Birrarung Marr (literally “river of mists”) via an elevated walkway. This inner-city park boasts of the famed Federation Bells, a range of nine inverted, differently designed bells, and a variety of plant species endemic to Australia. Other attractions in the city include the Melbourne Museum, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, and the Michelin-starred yet affordable food served by Hawker Chan.
It’s no surprise that tourism in Australia is booming. There is much to do in the Land Down Under, with an assortment of attractions in every city and a range of activities for everyone. And for anyone who wishes to explore Australia, any of Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, or Melbourne would definitely be a good start.