Feel the Essence of Australia with This Perfect Must-See Trio

By Goway  ·  April 2022

Australia has returned to the world travel stage after the long isolation of the pandemic. With those Australia travel plans set back in motion, the hardest question is where to go first. Culture-loving Melbourne? Tasty South Australia? Wild Tasmania? Or the remote corners of Western Australia or Kakadu?

All these are worthy choices. But if it’s your first visit Downunder, three stops stand out above the rest, embodying the beauty, identity, and diversity of this ancient land. In Sydney, explore Australia’s oldest and largest city on one of the world’s most beautiful harbours. Then discover a much older Australia with an Anangu guide at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, also known as Uluru/Ayers Rock and The Olgas. Of course, Australia’s beauty doesn’t just stop at the shore. The Great Barrier Reef invites you to explore one of the world’s great natural wonders off the coast of North Queensland.

There’s arguably no better introduction to Australia than Sydney. If you’re lucky enough to fly over Sydney Harbour on your way into the nation’s busiest airport, you might catch a view of Sydney Harbour Bridge, smiling like a gateway to Australia over the white sails of the Sydney Opera House. Don’t worry if your flight path doesn’t grant such a welcome though. You’ll be exploring the harbour soon enough. You might even indulge in a customized harbour tour with a barbecue or lunch stops at some of Sydney’s most famous harbourside restaurants.

That’s not to overlook all Sydney has to offer on dry land. I04erse yourself in the city’s history in The Rocks district. Take a tour of Sydney Opera House, and explore exclusive eastern suburbs such as Paddington, Double Bay, historic Kings Cross, and world-famous Bondi Beach. If you have a bit of extra time, hop the ferry to the beaches and cliff walks of Manly or Vaucluse, or visit Taronga Zoo, where the giraffes have a multi-million-dollar view.

Just west of Sydney lie the Blue Mountains, a beautiful wilderness shrouded in Aboriginal legend. Whether you’re admiring the Three Sisters or getting to know some of Australia’s most famous native wildlife at a local preserve, the Blue Mountains are one of the country’s best day trips. Another good option is the Hunter Valley, a must for wine lovers and foodies.

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is the area protecting one of Australia’s most recognizable icons, rising from the desert like the heart of the Outback. Climbing the sacred rock is now banned. A far more fulfilling experience awaits touring its base with an Aboriginal guide, who can provide insights into Uluru’s significance to the land’s traditional owners, as well as how those first inhabitants thrived in such a harsh environment.

A short distance away, Kata Tjuta is said to be the eggs of the great Rainbow Serpent, who in Aboriginal legend, created all humans and controlled the balance of the world’s water. Geologically speaking, Kata Tjuta was once an even larger monolith than Uluru, and has been eroded over millions of years into the distinctive shape it has today. After exploring both formations, you can enjoy the serenity of the desert with a glass of bubbles and dinner under the stars.

Fly to North Queensland, and you’ll find yourself on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. Though its fight for survival in the face of climate change continues, the world’s largest coral reef system is still a natural masterpiece, harbouring over 9,000 living species. A wide range of options invite you to visit the reef, from large boats that take visitors to controlled platforms designated for tourism, to smaller vessels offering a more exclusive, curated experience. Alternatively, you can opt for a more upmarket adventure such as a flight over the reef, or a picnic on one of its sand bars.

Back on dry land, North Queensland is also home to the world’s oldest living rainforest, the Daintree. On a day trip from Cairns, you can explore this incredible ecosystem, including unique species of kangaroo, Australia’s cutest native carnivore, the spotted quoll, and an astonishing array of colourful birdlife, including the Southern Cassowary. If your itinerary doesn’t allow a full day, you can get a taste of the hinterland’s beauty at Kuranda, a short drive, scenic train ride, or scenic gondola ride from Cairns. Attractions like Rainforestation Nature Park offer a terrific snapshot of all that makes North Queensland so magical, with the chance to explore its Aboriginal culture, and get a taste of the rainforest on a river safari.

The contrasts of Australia don’t get much bigger than this combination of harbour, rock, and reef. Goway’s Essence of Australia is a 9-day, First-Class vacation that brings together a wide variety of small group tours and experiences, including a Panoramic Sydney Sights tour, a Sydney Cruise Like a Local Luncheon, a Blue Mountains Deluxe Experience, a full-day True Aboriginal Experience plus Kata Tjuta domes tour, a Sounds of Silence dinner, a Low Isle Sailing and Snorkelling Cruise, and a full day Cape Tribulation and Daintree tour.

To experience the Essence of Australia in limited time, Sydney Harbour, Uluru, and the Great Barrier Reef make the ultimate Downunder trio.

 

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