Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Enjoying the Two Australias

If you haven’t visited Australia before, there may be surprises. You can see things that don’t exist anywhere else in the world: pre-historic forests, unique animals, and the world’s oldest living culture. Over a dozen World Heritage Sites: “have cultural or natural value to the common heritage of humanity.” You will also find a modern world. It has glamour, high technology, a fast-paced lifestyle, and indulgent recreation. Australia can give you the best of both worlds.

The Great Barrier Reef:

The world’s largest coral reef system includes over 2,900 individual reefs. It is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, stretching more than 1600 miles along the Queensland coast. You can sail, ride glass bottom boats, snorkel or scuba dive to experience unforgettable multi-colored coral landscapes and marine life.

Greater Blue Mountains Area:

New South Wales’ largest wilderness area has deep canyons and cliffs. The Wollemi National Park, boasts two pre-historic coniferous pine forests, left over from the Continent of Gondwanaland. Wollemi pines have survived more than 110 million years. Come here and bushwalk back in time.

The bush and Aboriginal culture:

The archeology inclined, can visit Riversleigh, Queensland's most famous fossil site. Kakadu National Park holds a wealth of Aboriginal cultural artifacts. In Daintree, Rainforest, you’ll learn Aboriginal culture from Wujal Wujal people, in a 135 million year old rain forest.

Native birds and animals:

Coastal Islands of Phillip, Kangaroo and Ningaloo Reef, are ecological havens. Pelicans, sea lions, koalas, wallabies, bandicoots platypus, abundant bird life and fur seals find homes there. Daily, at dusk, thousands of little penguins waddle home from foraging for food. Brave people come to the reef, to swim with huge Whale Sharks. In Tasmania, you can visit Bonorong Wildlife Center to espy Kangaroos, Koala, Tasmania Devils and Wombats in their habitats.

Modern Australia:

"When in Rome do as the Romans" couldn't be more relevant than joining the fun-loving Australians in their favorite pastimes. Australia is a jet set playground that features some of the most stunning modern architecture you can find. Sydney Opera House, a Pritzker Prize, architectural masterpiece, is a must for the sophisticated visitor. It is a multi-venue performing arts center, with top artists and their own productions. The center sits on the bay near the renowned Royal Botanic Gardens. Try to see both.

Glamorous Casinos are in every major city:

There is world class gaming with Australian 2005 World Series of Poker champion Joe Hachem, the Australian poker championship and the Aussie millions. For other people, casinos have poker machines, locals call “Pokies.“ Playing pokies has become such a local pastime that pokies are in clubs and most pubs all over Australia. You can stop by and join the Aussies playing Pokies.

Australia’s historic prisons:

History is important to the country. Eleven prisons have been restored for guided tours: One in Tasmania even has an active theater re-enacting a prisoner’s story. Fremantle prison has the best remaining example of convict transportation.

Adelaide Central Market:

Not just a flea market, Adelaide is the largest outdoor produce market in the Southern Hemisphere. Even if you just enjoy local fruit while looking for souvenirs, it’s worth a stop.

Beaches and more:

Australia is a beach and surfer’s paradise. Quicksilver Pro-Surfer Championships are every February. Jet Ski’s and windsurfing abound. Aquatic recreation is on rivers, and beaches. You can hot air balloon, over national attractions in Canberra or your favorite beach. The only thing sure about visiting Australia, is that with so much to see and enjoy, you must come back again.

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