When planning a visit to Australia most travelers think of watching koalas hanging out in trees, visiting the famous Sydney Grand Opera House or swimming in the crystal-clear waters around the Great Barrier Reef, but while these are significant stops along your Australian journey, there is definitely more to see and do in the "Land Down Under."
History buffs will enjoy learning of Australia’s intriguing past, which includes a long history of the Aborigines, the world’s oldest living culture, and stories of Britain's convicts, who were shipped to Australia beginning in the 1770s. Historic points of interest include Clark Island, where tourists will have a first-hand look at rock-carvings and old Aboriginal settlements. In Brisbane, travelers can visit the Queensland Cultural Centre, and Darwin is home to many museums and art galleries that outline Australia’s Aboriginal heritage and dramatic history.
Nature enthusiasts can enjoy fishing, hiking, biking, snorkeling, scuba diving, horseback riding, rafting and canoeing. Travelers will be amazed at the varied landscapes, which include spectacular beaches, beautiful mountains and desert landscapes, exotic rainforests, and an abundance of unique wildlife. Highlights include Kangaroo Island to see Australia’s native animals in their natural habitat, the Daintree Rainforest in Queensland, the Kakadu World Heritage Park located not far from Darwin, and the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne. Many visitors might also want to plan snorkeling or scuba diving excursions from Cairns to the Great Barrier Reef, or spend a relaxing day at 4 Mile Beach in Port Douglas.
Australia is also renowned for its wineries, particularly in the Barossa Valley. Enjoy visits to charming old towns as you spend a leisurely day traveling the Australian countryside tasting well-known wines. Some tours of this area will allow extra time to stop at the Whispering Wall, where a whispered conversation can be heard 150 yards away. The Yarra Valley, Australia’s leading cool climate wine region is just a one hour drive from Melbourne and is also worth a visit.