Australia is a land of dreams. From the sacred legends of the aboriginal Dreamtime, when the great spirits conjured the coral reefs, rainforests, and scorched red deserts, to armchair travelers who describe Australia as their dream destination, the Land Down Under deserves all the hype. The world’s smallest continent and largest island, Australia is almost the same size as the United States but with a population the size of New York State and some of the quirkiest wildlife on the planet.
Sydney Opera House
Mention “Sydney, Australia” and most people think of the Opera House. Shaped like huge shells or billowing sails, this famous building on Sydney’s Bennelong Point graces the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is one of the world’s great architectural icons. The location is stunning. Water surrounds the structure on three sides, and the Royal Botanic Gardens border it to the south.
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
Visible from outer space, the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef is one of the largest living structures on the planet. In 1975, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park was established to protect its fragile ecosystems, which include more than 3,000 coral reefs; 600 continental islands, including the beautiful Whitsunday group; 300 coral cays; and inshore mangrove islands. One of the seven wonders of the natural world, the park stretches for 2,300 kilometers along the state of Queensland, on Australia’s east coast (that’s about the distance between Mexico and Vancouver). Diving and snorkeling are spectacular.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
Deep in the heart of Australia’s Red Centre, Uluru (formerly Ayers Rock), is one of the most photographed natural wonders in the country. The striking red monolith forms the centerpiece of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, a World Heritage Area jointly managed by Parks Australia and the traditional landowners, the Aṉangu people. Uluru, meaning “shadowy place” in the local aboriginal dialect, rises to a height of 348 meters from the surrounding plain, with most of its bulk hidden beneath the earth’s surface.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
Along with the Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of Australia’s most famous tourist attractions. Affectionately called “the Coathanger,” this impressive feat of construction is the largest steel arch bridge in the world. It was completed in 1932, 40 years before the Sydney Opera House. Rising 134 meters above the harbor, the bridge spans 500 meters, connecting Sydney’s North Shore to the central business district. In addition to the pedestrian path, two railway lines extend over the bridge, as well as eight lanes for road traffic, and the direction of each lane can be switched to accommodate traffic flow.
5 Blue Mountains National Park
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, beautiful Blue Mountains National Park lies 81 kilometers west of Sydney and is a popular day trip from the city. Named for the blue haze emanating from the many eucalyptus trees, this stunning park protects more than 664,000 acres of wilderness and encompasses dramatic gorges, waterfalls, aboriginal rock paintings, and 140 kilometers of hiking trails. The most famous attractions in the park are the towering sandstone rock formations called the Three Sisters.
These are the best Australian destinations one must travel to.