Australia is one of the most remote countries in the world and, ironically, one of the most popular places to visit — especially among backpackers and budget travelers. Because of its distance from the United States, not many Americans tend to visit Australia. The flights are long and expensive, and when you only have a few weeks of travel, wasting a few days flying doesn’t make sense to a lot of travelers.
Nevertheless, here are a few reasons to save up your vacation time and brave that long venture across the Pacific.
One of the most famous reef systems in the world, the Great Barrier Reef is world-renowned for its abundance of marine life and world-class diving opportunities. When I was there, I saw turtles, sharks, vibrant coral, and beautiful fish (even a fish pooping, which was as weird as it sounds). It was everything it was cracked up to be.
You can spend one day or a few diving this reef. Though everyone leaves from Cairns, leaving from Port Douglas will get you to less crowded dive spots.
Known for its famed opera house and harbor, Sydney also boasts an incredible bridge, great parks, delicious food, lots of free stuff to do, and amazing surfing.
Whether you go to Manly Beach or hang out with everyone else at Bondi, Sydney’s a place to relax in the sun and enjoy the water. Darling Harbor has a number of good restaurants and great entrainment venues, and the Chinese Garden is quite relaxing. For a night out on the town with colorful locals, there’s nothing like King’s Cross.
You wouldn’t think that a giant round rock covering eight kilometers of land would be breathtaking, but it is. The wind-blown cuts throughout the rock make it look like a wave of sand climbing over the desert. The iron in the rock produces amazing shades of red and orange during sunrise and sunset.
Aussies do a lot of things well, and one of the best is throwing a barbecue. The Aussie barbecue is a serious tradition, and most parks and public areas have at least three barbecue pits. In fact, I don’t know what Australia would be without a barbecue. There’s nothing better than a beautiful warm night, a few good beers, and some grilled-up kangaroo to make you love this place. Barbecuing is a great budget-friendly option too!
Australia has some great wine regions, which include Margaret River near Perth, the Barossa Valley near Adelaide, and the Hunter Valley near Sydney. There’s a lot of good wine to be tried while in Australia, especially shiraz and pinot noir. You can take day trips to any of the wine areas from the nearby major cities or simply take a trip to the wine store and get drunk in the park…while having a barbecue.