Australia is less of a country and more of a continent. Covering almost 3 million square miles of desert, rainforests and picturesque beaches, no one could ever complain of getting bored with the scenery across this vast country.
It comes as no surprise in this case that thousands of tourists each year will head down under to backpack across the Commonwealth nation in search of sun, sand and a sense of freedom. If you’ve ever given some thought to backpacking your way across Australia, (and let’s be honest, who hasn’t at some point?) then here are the top ten backpacker’s destinations that you can’t miss whilst you’re on your adventure.
Australia’s second most-populous city and arguably its most cosmopolitan; Melbourne is practically a compulsory stop on any traveller’s visit to the Australian continent. People have been living on the site of the city for an incredible 40,000 years, but it wasn’t until the 1850’s that settlers began to. Since then, Melbourne has become something of a cultural hub, giving birth to the nation’s television and film industries, the Australian impressionist art movement and the hugely popular Australian rules football. During your stopover in Melbourne, be sure to take in some of the city’s stunning architecture, the mixture of traditional Victorian era buildings offset by a great number of modern, high-rise developments make for some striking views. Any culture vultures visiting the city in October should make time for the world-famous Melbourne International Arts Festival.
Gold Coast, Queensland
The city of Gold Coast is a lot more than the home of Q1, the tallest building in Australia; it also boasts the impressively named Surfers Paradise beach. Regualrly voted as one of the nicest beaches in the world, Surfers Paradise boasts white sand, blue sea, Pandanus trees and of course, great surfing conditions. The beach has become extremely popular with tourists world over and continues to attract thousands of tourists to Gold Coast each year. If you’re thinking of heading to Surfers Paradise for some peace and tranquillity however, make sure you don’t head there between late November and early December; the area is one of the most popular destinations in the country for “Schoolies”, 18 year-old students who jet off after finishing their high-school education. The events held for the revellers at Surfers Paradise are strictly supervised for everyone’s safety, but that still doesn’t ensure that your peaceful getaway won’t be disturbed!
Uluru, Northern Territory
An Australian institution and possibly one of the most famous natural landmarks in the world, Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is truly a must-see for any backpacker visiting Australia. Made from vivid red sandstone, Uluru is a place of great importance to the Aboriginal people of Australia, who have many different spiritual beliefs surrounding the rock. According to Aboriginal folklore, the rock was constructed by two boys playing with mud during the “creation period”. To this day, many Aboriginal people believe that the rock is sacred and claim that anyone who removes a fragment of it will be cursed. Perhaps this claim has more weight to it than most would initially believe; many government agencies in Northern Territory receive pieces of Uluru by post every year from those who were hoping to grab a free souvenir, but now want to counter any curse that may have been placed on them!
Perth, Western Australia
Another favourite hangout for backpackers is the capital city of the state of Western Australia, Perth. Named after the ever so slightly colder city of the same name in Scotland, critically acclaimed travel writer Bill Bryson once described Perth as the most remote city on earth and he wasn’t wrong, the closest large settlement is Adelaide, a whopping 1,300 miles east of the settlement. Perth is known for being one of the most multicultural cities in Australia and the first stop-off for many British nationals starting a new life down under. The city is a hotbed for the performing arts and visit to a show by the West Australian Ballet, the West Australian Opera or the West Australian Symphony Orchestra is a must for any fans of high culture. Any backpacker who is willing to make the gruelling journey across Australia to the western side of the country will find that Perth is well worth the effort
Sydney, New South Wales
No travel guide of Australia is complete without the obligatory panorama of Sydney Harbour is it now? Australia’s largest city was the first British colony on the continent and received worldwide acclaim for the fantastic Olympic Games it staged in 2000. Sydney’s most defining landmark is the iconic Sydney Opera House, designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon and completed in 1973, it looks as fresh and contemporary now as it did when it was first designed in 1957. A staggering 1.2 million people enjoy a show at the Opera House each year and it’s strongly advised that you join them if your backpacking adventure leads you to Sydney. Going to see Sydney Harbour is pretty much expected of you if you’re a tourist; however that isn’t all that the city has to offer. The world-famous Bondai Beach is something of a Mecca for surfers and is the perfect location for you to sit back and relax if all your jet setting around Australia has begun to tire you out. If you visit in January, be sure to take in the Sydney Festival, a three-week extravaganza of music, dance and visual arts.
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