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8 local experiences you shouldn’t miss in Australia

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A wild and wonderful time awaits travelers of all kinds in Australia. It’s one of the largest countries on Earth, and so unsurprisingly, the sheer breadth of intriguing experiences to choose from can feel overwhelming, no matter if you’re planning your first, second or even third visit.

With the help of our on-the-ground experts, we suggest some of the best local sights and activities to explore during your time Down Under. From dining in the shadow of Uluru Rock to reaching new heights on Sydney Harbor Bridge, read on and begin planning a packed itinerary – so that whether you’re staying for a whirlwind week or longer, you won’t feel as though you’re missing out on this country’s endlessly diverse offerings.

Feast on an immersive dinner overlooking Uluru

The Red Centre is without doubt one of Australia’s most entrancing destinations, brimming with surreal scenery, cultural and historic significance, and an air of mystery and magic. No Australian adventure would be quite complete without a trip to these parts, to experience the ancient riches of the Outback and marvel at a semi-arid, terracotta landscape of mountains, gorges and desert plains. At the heart of it all is Ayers Rock, commonly known as Uluru; a sacred site interwoven into the tapestry of local Aboriginal history, legends and spirituality. Enjoy the unique chance of viewing this 550-million-year-old formation at sunset, with a Sounds of Silence dinner: to the captivating tunes of a didgeridoo, watch in awe as the skies turn dark around Uluru, and soak up intriguing facts from a resident star talker – all whilst sampling Australian drinks and a bush tucker-inspired menu.

Go behind-the-scenes at Sydney Opera House

Ask anyone to picture Australia, and amidst flashes of the Great Barrier Reef and dusty Outback, Sydney Opera House is first to come to mind. Set on the city’s harbor, this performing arts venue has become a symbol of Australian culture, and is architecturally iconic – its shell-like design inspired by nature yet resembling the majestic sails of a ship. Venture behind the scenes with a backstage tour, giving you an opportunity to deep-dive into this landmark’s history and day-to-day goings-on. You’ll wander through corridors and into rehearsal spaces and the orchestra pit, exploring these off-limits areas as your guide fills the air with fascinating facts and stories. This is the perfect activity for arts and culture enthusiasts, that will also appeal to wider audiences – after all, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to uncover the secrets of one of the world’s most recognizable buildings.

Learn about Indigenous heritage in Kakadu National Park

For an in-depth and eye-opening experience of Australia, take plenty of time to explore its Aboriginal heritage and history. One great way to do so is by venturing into the heart of Kakadu National Park, an expansive nature reserve in the Northern Territory. Its incredible biodiversity alone is enough to fill you with wonder, with nearly a quarter of the country’s land mammals, more than 250 species of birds, more than 1,500 plant species, and some 10,000 insect species calling these grounds home – from the more fearsome crocodiles and river sharks to wallaroos, flatback turtles and flying foxes, without of course forgetting mound-building termites and their impressive structures. But venture deeper into this park and you’ll uncover one of the world’s largest collections of Aboriginal rock art – from those that date as far back as 40,000 BCE in Ubirr, to the 20,000-year-old art that adorns the rock faces of Nanguluwurr, depicting the life of the locals until their first contact with European explorers. A guided tour will make for a profound day out, as you learn more about age-old traditions and creation stories.

Taste your way across Australia’s oldest wine region

This one’s for all the oenophiles out there, looking to get their hands on some of the finest flavors Australia has to offer: on a guided tour of the Hunter Valley, you’ll get to explore some of the many wineries that dot the country’s oldest wine region – and with a focus on smaller and boutique family-run sites, you’ll enjoy a particularly special and immersive day. As well as touring vineyard grounds, learning about Australia’s wine culture and deep-diving into production processes that date back to the early 1800s, you’ll of course partake in private tastings of these wines and other local produce. After an experience of this kind, those bottles of Sémillon and Shiraz will taste all the richer when you enjoy them back home.

Explore the untouched reaches of Magnetic Island

Beachgoers and seclusion-seekers will enjoy a slice of paradise on Magnetic Island, where a remote and unspoiled landscape prevails – perfect for some respite in-between the buzz of bright cities and visits to tourist hotspots beyond. Reach its shores via a short ferry from Townsville, on Australia’s Northeastern coast, and spend a day hopping across impossibly scenic bays – each one is unique in its own way, and comes complete with sprawling views out towards turquoise waters. Nelly Bay is a must-visit for snorkelers, while Picnic Bay offers golfers the chance to tee off amidst spectacular surroundings. The island is also home to one of Australia’s most-loved animals, the koala, which was introduced here in the 1930s in a bid to protect it from threats on the mainland. You could spot members of this thriving colony in many areas across the island, whether you’re hiking along Forts Walk or visiting the Koala Village at Bungalow Bay.

Ascend to the summit of Sydney Harbor Bridge at twilight

As far as memorable city experiences go, few can beat a summit climb of Sydney Harbor Bridge. The feeling you’ll get from reaching the top is exhilarating and unmatched, as your adrenaline rushes through your body and you take in the far-reaching landscape that unfolds before you. Done as part of a group tour in the glow of twilight, the BridgeClimb is a fantastic way to explore one of the city’s biggest landmarks from a different perspective. Alongside opening you up to 360-degree views of the harbor and beyond, the tour also comes complete with commentary from an expert guide, who’ll share facts about the bridge’s history along the way. You’ll cover a total of 1,332 steps across a three-hour climb that’s suitable for all guests over the age of eight – so as long as you have a moderate fitness level and are happy to face any fear of heights, you’ll be well on your way to feeling on top of the world.

Spot wonderful wildlife across enigmatic islands

Journey from South Australia’s Cape Jervis to the wilds of Kangaroo Island, where you’ll encounter gorgeous rugged landscapes, more than 500km of coastline, and abundant wildlife – making it a true sanctuary for quintessential outdoor experiences. Some of the resident creatures you’ll spot here include more than 260 bird species and a plethora of land and marine mammals, from endangered southern right whales, loggerhead turtles and Australian sea lions, to tammar wallabies, native sooty dunnarts, and Kangaroo Island kangaroos. Spot koalas, wander through blue gum forests and venture into mysterious mangroves over on French Island, accessible via ferry from Western Port Bay, and combine this with a jaunt to Phillip Island – a marvel for wildlife-lovers thanks to its penguin population, which you could watch as they waddle home from the ocean for the night.

Tickle your taste buds on a foodie tour of Melbourne

A more classic sightseeing experience, yet no less special and immersive, is a foodie tour of Melbourne. Considered to be Australia’s culinary capital, with more than 3,500 restaurants dotted across its map, the city’s edible offerings span a wealth of local and international flavors that will tickle and tantalize your taste buds. Share stories as well as plates as you embark on a discovery tour filled with aromas and history, walking to find some of its best foodie spots across vibrant neighborhoods – from classic Australian eats and Chinese dumplings to sweet treats brought over by the French and Italians. Melbourne also enjoys a renowned coffee scene, which continues to thrive since the immigration boom after World War II, so be sure to refuel at some of its best cafes in-between sightseeing.

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Plan your perfect trip to Australia today: get in touch with one of our local experts, who will help you craft a tailor-made experience of a lifetime.

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