Thinking of a trip down under? Take it from a local – there is so much diversity here in Australia. Choosing a travel destination is often a matter of personal taste but if you are looking for a vibrant culture and breathtaking landscapes then Australia is the place for you.
Two things make Australia a great adventure for travellers. The first is just how far away we are from the rest of the world and the second is the pure size of our continent. Australia is the sixth largest country in the world behind Russia, Canada, China, the USA, and narrowly Brazil.
Getting here is a mission, especially from places like Europe. Then once you are here you’ve got to navigate across vast landscapes with all sorts of wild animals and extreme weather conditions in your path. But this is what makes Australia such an extraordinary place to visit!
Make Sydney your First Port of Call in Australia
The first port of call for any visitor to Australia has got to be Sydney. I’m lucky to call Sydney home and live near one of the world’s most iconic harbours. I never get tired of seeing it and I do my best to capture its beauty.
When you are in Sydney make sure you check out Hickson Road Reserve. There are many amazing spots to shoot photography in Sydney but this location gives you the best vantage point to shoot the Opera House in a variety of different ways.
Another fantastic spot in Sydney is the CBD hotspot Darling Harbour. This small harbour has everything you could possibly imagine including world-class restaurants and clubs, cinemas, a maritime museum, Chinese gardens and wicked views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Three Ultimate Aussie Experiences: Uluru, Whitehaven Beach & Great Barrier Reef!
Although, you don’t just come to Sydney to take photos on the stairs of the Opera House or go nightclubbing in Darling Harbour, even though those are must-do’s! We also have a wide range of golden sand beaches and outdoor activities to enjoy.
While you’re in the great state of New South Wales make sure you venture out to the Blue Mountains, located 2 hours west of Sydney. The mountains are made up of densely populated Eucalyptus trees which give off a blue haze that lurks over the mountains. Taking in the the views from Three Sisters Rock or Jamison Valley will leave you speechless!
Sydney is also home to a number of amazing beaches – the most popular being Bondi with its magnificent sandstone cliffs. We also have Coogee, Tamarama, and Manly. One of my favourites beaches, and probably the most underrated, is Cronulla. Along the esplanade, north and south of Cronulla Beach, you can find epic little rock pools for swimming!
Uluru is an absolute must-do on your trip down under. The magnitude of this place is truly remarkable. Geologists claim the formation of Ayers Rock began over 500 million years ago. It’s no wonder the Aboriginal people of the area – the Anangu – hold Uluru in high regard as a deeply sacred and spiritual place.
The Uluru Base Walk is a great way to start soaking in the beauty and natural force of Uluru. As you greet the giant rock formation you feel a genuine presence that can’t be explained in words. Sunrise or sunset are the best times to capture Ayers Rock where the light transforms the rocks massive surface from ochre brown into a beautiful burnished orange.
Climbing Ayers Rock is not strictly prohibited but it is expected that tourists respect the local law and culture by not climbing Uluru. Besides, there are a number of fantastic ways to experience this sacred place whether on the back of a camel or walking around the 9km base and relaxing beside waterholes and Sheoak trees.
Sink your Feet into the Whitest Sand in the World
When they say “heaven is a place on earth” they must be referring to the Whitsundays! Made up of 74 islands on the beautiful tropical coast of Queensland, the Whitsundays are famous for their dense rainforest, coral fringed beaches, and white sand so bright that it shines!
As you navigate through the Whitsundays you will arrive at the crown jewel of the National Park, Whitehaven Beach. You can choose to travel on ferries, yachts or power boats that depart from Airlie Beach or you can charter your own boat on a memorable multi-day trip.
The best photography spot would be at Hill Inlet located at the northern end of Whitehaven Beach. If you don’t mind a bit of a bushwalk you will be greeted by beautiful vistas overlooking the shifting tides and colourful swirling sands. The best part about Whithaven is that there are no hotels, no cars and no residents – just untouched natural beauty.
Experience one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World
After a few days spent in the shimmering sand and sea of the Whitsundays it’s time to visit the prized World Heritage area – Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The Whitsundays are the perfect base to explore this aquatic wonderland as you are close to the central region of the reef.
This incredible reef is the largest of its kind in the world and the biggest living structure on the planet. Not a bad accolade for Australia! It sprawls over 340,000 square kilometres and is home to an astonishing variety of marine and animal life. The reef is made up of a complex mosaic of 3,000 individual reef systems, over 600 islands and 300 coral cays.
Snorkelling these turquoise waters and seeing everything from ancient sea turtles to white tip reef sharks is one of my favourite activities in Australia and an experience I would highly recommend. Although, it comes with a disclaimer. Over the last 30 – 40 years the Great Barrier Reef has lost half its coral cover.
Pollution has caused deadly starfish outbreaks, and warmer oceans have produced horrific coral bleaching. Please if you visit the reef be respectful of mother nature’s wonderful creation! Don’t litter, don’t tread on the coral and try to leave it in a better condition than when you arrived.
Another gem located near the Great Barrier Reef and Whitsundays is the magical Heart Reef. To get the best view of this awesome formation, take a seaplane or helicopter flight to admire the heart shapes from above. The views are magnificent and well worth spending the money on.
Shout Out to our Kiwi Neighbours
No trip down under is complete without checking out our Kiwi neighbours and their spectacular South Island. New Zealand is one of the most gorgeous countries I have ever seen. Endless postcard views and a beautiful culture. I feel like I have left part of my heart over there in the mountains. Queenstown, Wanaka, Milford Sound – all stunning!