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I’ve been living in the UK for more than three years, and while there are wonderful things about living here, there are some things I really miss about Australia. While it’s a very long way to travel, it’s a bucket list destination for many travellers. And if you’ve never considered making the journey Down Under, here are my favourite reasons to visit.
I love nothing more than a beach holiday and have travelled the world seeking out the best beaches I can find — from Thailand to Turks and Caicos, Spain to Samoa. I still think Australia has the best beaches in the world. With the country being a giant island, there are thousands of miles of beaches. While hot spots like Bondi Beach are convenient, there are long stretches of deserted beaches in Far North Queensland that are well worth the trip.
Ever tried your hand at surfing? Here’s your chance.
In Australia, you can expect months of hot, dry summers with consistent sunshine. While the winters can get a little chilly in southern areas like Melbourne, Canberra and Tasmania, if you’re in Sydney and Brisbane, you might barely feel the cold even in the middle of winter.
It makes planning outdoor activities easier, as there’s much more consistency to being outdoors enjoying the sunshine.
Sports, Sports, Sports
Australia is a sports-mad country. In summer, there’s cricket and the fabulous Australian Open tennis tournament. In winter, the huge stadiums are packed with passionate fans cheering on their favourite AFL (Australian Rules Football), ‘Soccer’ (European Football) and several codes of Rugby. Even if you don’t fully understand AFL, the atmosphere of these games is electric and there’s plenty of action throughout the match — no 0-0 draws here.
One of the similarities I’ve found between Aussies and many Brits is a laid-back attitude. When it’s a nice summer day in the UK, the streets in front of pubs will be packed with people enjoying it. Same in Australia. Had a good week? Head down to the pub and celebrate.
You’ll find Australians approachable, genuine and easy to talk to.
Australia is both a very young and very multicultural country. We don’t have nearly as much history as the UK, and that is reflected in our cuisine. Its developed in a relatively short time by a very varied population from many of different countries. There’s much debate about what our national dish should be. It might be a pavlova (though New Zealand claim ownership of this), it could be spaghetti bolognese thanks to the strong Italian migrant influence, it could be fish and chips or roast lamb harking back to Old Blighty.
You’re also likely to find Aussies enjoying a large range of cuisines every week from Thai and Vietnamese, to Mexican and Greek.
Australia is a huge country (larger than Europe) and has a varied landscape. There are some incredible natural wonders to explore from the spectacular Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, through to Uluru and Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory and the 12 Apostles in Victoria.
Starbucks failed in Australia. Why? Because Australians are incredibly passionate and discerning about their coffee and highly produced chain brews just don’t cut it. Local chains that do exist are mostly patronised by tourists while most locals will have a special place they have tried and tested where they visit regularly. You can expect some of the best coffee outside of Europe (or perhaps even the best in the world) thanks to the Italian and Greek migrants that brought their coffee to Australia 50+ years ago.
Oh yeah, and breakfast is pretty much a national sport in Australia. Expect elaborate, delicious, interesting dishes that go far beyond the plain old bacon and eggs.
There’s a huge rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne, and I’m proud to admit I’m #TeamMelbourne. But no visit to Australia is complete without seeing what is Australia’s most famous landmark, the spectacular Sydney Harbour complete with Harbour Bridge and Opera House. I’ve seen it more times than I remember, but it still takes my breath away.
Grab a drink at the Opera Bar and sit right on the water enjoying the iconic view. You can also climb the Harbour Bridge.
We may be spoilt here in the UK with France just across the Channel, but Australia produces some of the best wine in the world. Many wine regions are an easy drive from major cities, and you can stay in the regions, too. There’s Margaret River near Perth, the Barossa Valley near Adelaide and the Hunter Valley near Sydney.
My favourite are the light, yet full-bodied Pinot Noirs in the Yarra Valley near Melbourne.
No need for language classes when visiting Australia. Despite the country’s very multi-cultural population, English is Australia’s first and only official language, and almost all Australians speak English fluently.
Featured image by Park Hyatt Sydney
Know before you go.
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