Tourism is on the rise in Australia, as more travelers discover the country’s vibrant cities and stunning natural landscapes. Visitors appreciate cultural and historical attractions, as well as mountains, rainforests, ocean shorelines and the famous Outback.
Most vacation trips to the “Land Down Under” begin in one of its modern metropolitan areas. Here is a look at some of the popular sites.
The capital of Australia is known for its upscale hotels and restaurants, as well as imposing buildings like Parliament House, the National Gallery and the National Museum. Other places to tour include the Australian War Museum, National Portrait Gallery, National Arboretum, National Dinosaur Museum and Royal Australian Mint.
Outside the city lie spectacular areas of natural beauty, such as Namadgi National Park, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and Pine Island Reserve. There are also vineyards, the National Botanic Garden, Mount Stromlo Observatory, the National Zoo and Aquarium, and Kambah Adventure Park.
Scenic harbours and sandy beaches, on the Pacific Ocean shore, are among the postcard-worthy sights in the capital of New South Wales. Sydney also is known for its iconic Opera House, designed to look like the sails of a ship. The arched Sydney Harbour Bridge is another architectural wonder. The city’s tallest structure, Sydney Tower, is topped with the Skywalk observation deck. The Museum of Contemporary Art and Royal Botanic Garden are also worthy of consideration for a visitor’s itinerary.
Tourists and locals hang out at The Rocks, an old neighborhood teeming with outdoor markets and eateries; and Bondi Beach, from which the Coogee Coastal Walk leads to panoramic clifftop views. Royal National Park is home to exotic wildlife like kookaburras and echidnas.
The third-largest city in Australia is a cultural hub renowned for its “laid-back” atmosphere. The Museum of Brisbane, within the city’s magnificent City Hall, houses a huge grand piano organ. Other architectural gems are St. John’s Cathedral, a Gothic structure built in the Middle Ages; the Customs House, with its mammoth copper dome; and the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art.
Among the natural attractions in the capital of Queensland are Kangaroo Point Cliffs, the City Botanic Gardens and Brisbane’s famed parklands.
The rich history and culture of Melbourne make the country’s second-largest city a top tourist destination. Cuisine representing dozens of cultures, a vibrant arts scene, Victorian architecture, and lovely parks and gardens are among the reasons to visit.
The Southbank promenade features sidewalk cafes, the 91-story Eureka Tower, and an Arts Centre where the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra performs. Other places to tour are the National Gallery of Victoria, the city’s numerous museums and the Royal Botanic Gardens. Favorite activities include the Yarra River Cruise, the River Gardens Melbourne Sightseeing Cruise, and the Phillip Island Little Penguins Parade Evening Tour.
Though not as heavily visited as some of the country’s other states, Western Australia offers the cosmopolitan city of Perth and miles of Indian Ocean coastline. Must-see sites are the Perth Cultural Centre, a ballet and opera venue with an art gallery and theatre; and the Swan Bells, an array of 18 bells in an 82.5-meter tower.
There are many beaches on the ocean, as well as the sprawling Kings Park and Botanic Garden on the Swan River. Caversham Wildlife Park provides habitat for 200 wildlife species, while Penguin Island hosts 1,200 penguins. Vineyards and breweries dot the scenic Swan Valley.
The capital of southern Australia is respected for its architecture. Visitors marvel at the wonderful museums, galleries, mansions and government buildings. The North Terrace boulevard features the striking Parliament House, as well as the South Australian Museum, the Art Gallery of South Australia, the Migration Museum, Ayer’s Historic House and the Adelaide Botanic Garden.
Outside of Adelaide, tours of four wineries in the Barossa Valley are available. Kangaroo Island provides opportunities to view seals, wallabies, koalas and kangaroos.