We’ve all got our own preconceived notions of what Australia is like. Loads of great weather, beautiful beaches, and bouncing kangaroos were definitely a few of my top expectations, and to my surprise, they all turned out to be spot on.
But there’s much more than beaches and kangaroos here, and even after a few years in this country, I’m still amazed at what’s on offer for travelers. Here are a few of my favorite things about traveling in Oz.
If you love those golden rays, then Australia won’t disappoint. The sunshine and weather, in general, are beautiful pretty much year round.
“There’s even the possibility of an endless summer experience if you travel north when the southern areas get a bit chilly.”
Just follow the backpacker rush that occurs from Sydney and Melbourne in May and June up the coast to Cairns to migrate with the warm weather. Australia’s dependably sunny weather means 365 days a year of beaches, surfing, camping and hiking no matter what season you arrive in.
2. English at its most entertaining
Language barriers cause problems of all sorts during international travel, keeping some people from doing it altogether. The fact that Australia is an English-speaking country helps take it to the top of many “exotic places to visit” lists even as the Australian accent and vocabulary is a tourist attraction in its own right.
” There’s nothing quite like hearing, ‘G’day, mate,’ for the very first time from a local.”
However, be prepared to listen hard and ask locals to slow it down the second time around as Australian English’s not always so easy to understand. The amount of slang present in an Aussie’s vocabulary is enough to make your head spin.
3. Wild and tasty eats
Being the multi-cultural country that it is, it’s easy to find good quality ethnic food down under. Thai, Indian, Turkish, Spanish – you name it; you can find these foods here at their best, but the real experience comes when introducing your taste-buds to home-grown Australian ingredients.
“…the real experience comes when introducing your taste-buds to home-grown Australian ingredients.'”
Kangaroo, known for its lean meat quality, makes it on many restaurant menus across the country, while crocodile and emu are somewhat harder to come by. For a more mainstream delight, there’s every Aussie’s favorite, Vegemite, which can be found at any shop or convenience store nationwide.
So much of Australia is untouched and left to be viewed in its natural state. Is your idea of paradise bathing under a tropical waterfall, lounging on a beach all day or diving the Great Barrier Reef? You can pursue all of these amazing options in Oz pretty much year round.
“The natural beauty of this country will simply tickle your senses.”
From coast to coast, it offers up beautiful views whether it be by camping under the outback stars or looking out across its many national parks. Where else can you find a landscape resembling Mars that meets with a sky as blue as the sea?
5. Unique wildlife
Where would Australia be without its iconic wildlife? Kangaroos, koalas, and wombats are just a few of the fun creatures that wander on the land, but cockatoos and kookaburras rule the sky. There’s a fine line to walk when dealing with the wildlife.
“Not only can kangaroos box and kookaburras steal the steak right off the barbie, but there are also some not-so-friendly, and even dangerous, inhabitants.”
In Australia there are animals that you’ll hope to never see up close unless you’re in the safety of a zoo or aquarium. Note: Don’t let the Crocodile Dundee movies fool you into thinking otherwise.
6. Laid-back lifestyle and culture
The Aussie lifestyle runs at a refreshing pace; everyone calls you mate, and holidays are never missed. This laid-back culture reveals itself in all facets of life, even in the way people are allowed to speak on television.
“It’s sometimes inconvenient that there aren’t many 24-hour restaurants or late-night shopping centers to take advantage of.”
But locals don’t seem to mind, so why should you? Take a breath, and a night off and live like a local in Australia.
7. Amazing cities
One of the coolest features of Australia’s big cities is the fact that you’re never too far from a great beach. Besides that, they just have a lot going on from great shopping and tasty restaurants to live music and awesome nightclubs.
“The public transportation systems make it a breeze to get around.”
Overall, the cities are quite easy to breathe in. In Sydney, for example, you can use the transport to quickly pop over to some of the various ethnic areas to explore, some of which leave you feeling as if you are in another country altogether!
If the Aussie accent makes you a little weak in the knees, you’re not alone. It seems that many tourists – men and women, can’t get enough of it.
” There also happen to be quite a few cute faces to match those awesome voices.”
America’s favorite take-home chef, Curtis Stone, can be found on television almost daily, and he is on par with the likes of the hunky Bondi vet and Bondi Beach lifeguards. Guys, don’t think I left you out here. Just head on over to the beach and soon enough you’ll see some very pretty ladies.
9. Wide open spaces
Did you know that you can drive 15 hours west of Sydney and still be in the state of New South Wales? What many travelers don’t understand until they arrive is Australia’s vast size. There’s a lot of land to cover, and once you get out of the big cities, you quickly come to the realization of just how stark it is in terms of population.
“If it’s solitude you seek, then there’s really no better place to just get away from it all than here.”
To feel as though there’s nothing around for miles in any direction can be calming to the soul, but whatever you do when planning an Aussie road-trip, do not watch the movie Wolf Creek first.
10. Festivals for everything
Art, music, film, or food — the Aussies have a festival for it. Every year, music lovers flock to Big Day Out and Splendour in the Grass to get their fill of their favorite bands.
Food lovers have their pick of festivals from those that deal with international foods or just one ingredient in particular like the Mango Festival held Novembers in Broome.
People seeking more of a party vibe can embrace their inner divas at Sydney’s Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras.