INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL GUIDE
Planning a trip undeniably comes along with the feeling of excitement for the trip yet to be experienced. Contrarily, apprehensions also stick up to the mind, while thinking about an impeccably planned and perfectly experienced trip. Planning a memorable trip, especially an international one, demands your major investment in doing homework for the worth-visiting locations you plan to visit, the financial budget requirements to be fulfilled along with the visa process, and the calculation of sufficient time to be spared for the trip in the most suitable time of the year. Doing so pays off in big ways by making you experience a lifetime memorable trip but the undeniable fact about it is that it is the most time-consuming contribution while planning a trip and can be a reason- you postponing when going on a trip. Isn’t it so? But not anymore, as TripKarao, the most reliable travel companion, has come up with a reliable and detailed international travel guide that provides all the relevant information you would be needing for an amazing international trip.
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. International borders look set to remain closed for several more months, so globe-trotting may be off the cards for the foreseeable future. But worry not intrepid traveler, there’s still plenty to satisfy your wanderlust right here in Australia. TripKarao cherry-picked a handful of the regions we think you should put at the top of your list for when interstate travel is once again permitted. Whether you’re into sipping delicious shiraz, hiking around the lush green wilderness, or getting the most out of our unspoiled coastlines, there’s a destination to suit any and every taste.
Sydney is both a laid-back beachside town and a thriving metropolis that boasts some of the Southern Hemisphere’s best surf, landmarks, and activities. Whether you’re looking to watch a show at the iconic Opera House, take to the waves at Bondi Beach or explore trendy areas like The Rocks and Darling Harbor, Sydney features something for everyone. Even Sydney siders have an ideal mix of both worlds: Fashion-forward attire and British-style sarcasm combine with a “no worries” attitude and relaxed coastal vibe. It’s no wonder this vibrant city down under is a natural choice for first-time Aussie visitors. In addition to tons of beaches and top-notch restaurants and bars, Australia’s most populous city features an array of things to do. Thrill-seekers can participate in heart-pounding activities like a Sydney Harbor Bridge climb, while visitors looking to unwind will appreciate a relaxing day at Coogee or Manly Beach or a peaceful stroll through the Royal Botanic Garden. There’s also plenty of seasonal Sydney festivals and events to experience, such as Sculpture by the Sea, the Festival of the Winds, and the Night Noodle Markets. Whether you’re looking to enjoy a rugby match, hit up the city’s museums, or lounge along the shore, Sydney’s got you covered.
2. 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 with the state of Queensland, on Australia’s east coast (that’s about the distance between Mexico and Vancouver). Diving and snorkeling are spectacular. The astounding array of marine life includes soft and hard corals, more than 1,600 species of tropical fish, sharks, dugongs, dolphins, turtles, rays, and giant clams. If you prefer to stay dry, you can see the reef from underwater viewing stations and glass-bottom boats. On the mainland, Cairns, Port Douglas, and Airlie Beach are the main launching points for tours.
- The Pinnacles
Located within Nambung National Park, The Pinnacles can be found not far from the small town of Cervantes in Western Australia. Due to their remote setting, the spectacular limestone formations largely remained unknown until 1967, when a reserve was formed to protect the prominent pillars. Rising dramatically out of the desert floor, The Pinnacles resemble weathered tombstones and number in the thousands. Together, they make for an incredible sight as sand from the coastal dunes constantly blows through the otherworldly-looking landscape. While debates are ongoing as to how their distinctive shapes formed, it is generally agreed that they are made out of the limestone from seashells as the region used to be submerged millennia ago. Now, The Pinnacles make for a popular tourist attraction. Western grey kangaroos can often be spotted between them, as well as the occasional emu, dingo, and honey possum
4. 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. Also in the park are the red dome-shaped rocks called Kata Tjuta (the Olgas). As the sun dips in the sky, sightseers gather to watch the colors of Uluru and Kata Tjuta transform in the shifting light. A great way to appreciate these sacred sites is to join a tour led by Aboriginal guides and rangers.
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 day trip 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. Other highlights include the Katoomba Scenic Railway, the world’s steepest, which whisks passengers down the Jamison Valley through a cliff-side tunnel into an ancient rainforest, and the Skyway, Scenic Cableway, and Scenic Walkway, which all offer elevated views of the dense forests. Hiking, abseiling, rock climbing, mountain biking, and horseback riding are all popular things to do in the park.
Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, is a popular stop on many Australian itineraries – especially for culture vultures. Galleries, theaters, restaurants, shops, and its distinctly European feel are the main draws of this sophisticated city on the Yarra River. It’s also a green city, with parks, gardens, and open spaces occupying almost a third of its total area. Highlights of the city include the Royal Botanic Gardens; Federation Square; the National Gallery of Victoria; and the Melbourne Cricket Ground, where sports fans can watch cricket in the summer and Australian Rules football in the winter. Shoppers flock to the elegant Royal Arcade on Bourke Street and Chapel Street; the Melbourne Central Shopping Center; and Queen Victoria Market, which has been selling fruits, vegetables, clothes, and crafts for more than a century. To the east, greater Melbourne extends into the beautiful Dandenong Ranges, and in the south to the Mornington Peninsula, where many locals escape for day trips and seaside getaways
- Gold Coast
Blessed with year-round warm weather and sunny skies, Australia’s glimmering Gold Coast lies just to the south of Brisbane on Queensland’s southeastern coastline. The coastal city is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the country thanks to its lively yet laid-back vibe and alluring sun, sea, and surf. Surfers Paradise is the area most people flock to. ‘The capital of the Gold Coast’ is home to large shopping malls and pounding nightclubs as well as countless restaurants, bars, and accommodation options. Glittering high rises tower above its expansive beach, which is great for sunbathing, swimming and watersports. While it is often called a tacky tourist trap, the Gold Coast has loads going for it, with beautiful beaches and stunning sunsets a given. In addition, it also boasts exhilarating amusement parks, water parks, and nature reserves, while its surf breaks are out of this world.
- Daintree National Park
A Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, Daintree National Park in Far North Queensland is among the most ancient ecosystems on Earth. The area belongs to the Eastern Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people, and many of its natural features hold great spiritual significance. The park encompasses two main sections: Mossman Gorge, where crystal clear waters gush over granite boulders, and Cape Tribulation, one of the most beautiful places to visit in Australia, where the rainforest meets reef along the white sandy beaches of the Coral Sea. This stunning stretch of coast is one of the few places in the world where two of the planet’s richest ecosystems converge. The park’s astounding biodiversity includes more than 18,000 plant species and a vast array of animal species, including the cassowary, crocodile, giant blue Ulysses butterfly, and the secretive Bennett’s tree kangaroo. The resort town of Port Douglas, just south of the park, is a great base to arrange wilderness safaris into the park.
- Byron Bay
The easternmost point of Australia’s mainland, Byron Bay, lies in New South Wales, just off the Pacific Highway that connects Brisbane to Sydney. Famed for its idyllic beaches, fantastic surf spots, and lovely laid-back lifestyle, the beautiful beachside town is one of the nation’s most popular tourist destinations. While the town itself hosts many arts and culture festivals throughout the year and weekly farmers’ markets, most people visit for its scenic setting and wealth of outdoor activities. Besides lounging on any one of its wonderful beaches, visitors can enjoy scuba diving, surfing, and whale-watching offshore, with skydiving and yoga also popular. Byron Bay’s alternative vibe and rugged beauty, everyone from aging hippies and artists to surfers, business people, and families migrated to the town. As such, lots of trendy bars and restaurants have sprung up, as well as little art galleries and all types of accommodation options.
- Fraser Island
World Heritage-listed Fraser Island, between Bundaberg and Brisbane off Australia’s east coast, is the largest sand island in the world and one of Australia’s top outdoor adventures- especially for four-wheel drive enthusiasts. You can see the rusted hulls of shipwrecks along windswept Seventy-Five Mile Beach, the colored sandstone cliffs of The Cathedrals, and the bubbling fish-filled rock pools called Champagne Pools. Venturing inland, highlights include crystal-clear freshwater creeks and lakes, some fed by springs, others perched amid towering sand dunes, and ancient rainforests filled with an amazing diversity of plants and animals. Sharks, dolphins, and whales prowl the waters, and the island’s fauna includes wild horses, dingoes, bats, sugar gliders, and more than 300 species of birds. Access to Fraser Island is by ferry from Rainbow Beach and Hervey Bay. Four-wheel drive vehicles are essential as the island has no sealed roads.
For its tropical climate, easy-going ambiance, and close proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns is one of Australia’s most popular vacation destinations. Located on the northwest corner of Australia, Cairns is a provincial but stylish city with a population of around 150,000 people. The city is bordered by mountains and the Coral Sea and is surrounded by sugar cane plantations and rainforest. There are enough good bars, restaurants, and shopping options to keep visitors entertained before they head off into the stunning nature nearby. Instead of a beach, Cairns features a saltwater lagoon in the center of the city. The Cairns Esplanade along the shore is lined with trendy cafés, bars, and boutiques. Numerous beaches are located just to the north of the city and are easily accessible by bus or car. The City Botanic Gardens features plants used by Aboriginal people. Opposite the gardens, a boardwalk leads visitors through the rainforest to the Centenary Lakes, a habitat for crocodiles. Opportunities for adventure sports abound in Cairns and range from snorkeling and scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef to skydiving and whitewater rafting. The Daintree Rainforest to the north of Cairns is considered the world’s oldest tropical rainforest, and a hike along an aerial walkway over the forest is an experience that many visitors won’t want to miss.
Situated on the eastern shores of Gulf St Vincent, Adelaide is the capital of South Australia. Adelaide is Australia’s fifth-largest city, with a population of over 1.2 million. More than three-quarters of South Australians live in the Adelaide metropolitan area. The city is located on a plain between the rolling Adelaide Hills and the Gulf and is bordered by many of Australia’s famous wine regions. The Barossa Valley and Clare Valley regions lie to the north, the McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek regions to the south, and the cooler Adelaide Hills region to the east. Nicknamed ‘the city of churches, the lofty spires dotted about here and there add to the picturesque nature of Adelaide and there are lots of nice parks and green spaces for locals and visitors alike to enjoy. Proximity to premium wine and food growing regions and waves of immigration from Europe and Asia have created a unique multicultural gourmet food and café culture in the city. This culture is supported by Adelaide’s arts festivals held in March including the Adelaide Festival and the Adelaide Fringe Festival.
- Blue Mountains
One of the most accessible and awe-inspiring of Australia’s natural wonders, the Blue Mountains lie just to the west of Sydney in New South Wales. Sprawling over a vast area, its majestic mountains, plateaus, and escarpments are lovely to explore and make for a popular day trip or weekend away. Named after the misty haze that the oil from its endless eucalyptus trees give off, the mountains are home to lots of unspoiled nature and spectacular scenery. A myriad of well-maintained hiking trails and mountain bike paths weave their way here and there, with stunning views to be enjoyed from Echo Point and Govett’s Leap. As the mountains have long been the home of the Gundungurra and Darug peoples, they are also a great place to learn more about Aboriginal history and culture. Also, lots of charming towns and villages dot the land. Springwood, for example, is known for its art galleries, while Leura boasts cozy craft shops and sophisticated restaurants.
- Great Ocean Road
Winding along the south coast of the state of Victoria, the 243 kilometer-long Great Ocean Road is one of the world’s most scenic drives. Completed in 1932, the highway was built by soldiers returning from WWI and is dedicated to those who lost their lives. Running from the seaside resort town of Torquay to the small and quiet Allansford, the road passes epic limestone sea stacks, secluded coves, and spectacular surf spots. At times, it meanders through pockets of rainforest, fertile Winelands, and endless eucalyptus forests, with sleepy seaside towns dotted here and there. Renowned for its incredible surfing, Bell’s Beach is one of the most popular attractions, along with Great Otway National Park, which is home to lots of spectacular natural beauty. The Twelve Apostles make for a stunning sight: the crumbling sea stacks are constantly pummeled by the rough and treacherous waters of the mighty Southern Ocean.
The capital of Western Australia, Perth is very isolated from the rest of the country, yet is routinely considered one of the most livable cities in the world thanks to its laidback vibe, fantastic cultural sites, and a wide range of things to do. Many of Perth’s attractions are located near the water, whether it’s the beaches stretching along the Sunset Coast to the north or the parks, walks and picnic spots edging the Swan River. Fremantle, known as “Freo” by the locals, is the city’s port, a bustling marina that has recently gained a reputation as a haven for artists and students. Cottesloe Beach, just a few miles north of Fremantle, is Perth’s most popular beach. One of the largest city parks in the world, the thousand-acre Kings Park encompasses Mount Eliza, a hill overlooking the city, and boasts a botanical garden with aerial walkways as well as the State War Memorial park. The Perth Zoo offers visitors up-close encounters with kangaroos and other animals native to Australia. Ferry service in Perth takes visitors to car-free Rottnest Island or the closer Penguin Island to watch daily feedings of the flightless birds. Whether swimming with dolphins, firing up a barbie on the river’s shoreline, or exploring the Aquarium of Western Australia, the country’s largest aquarium, aquatic adventures abound in sun-and-sea-loving Perth.
Written By: Aleen Tariq