Take a chance on Australia! In this week's post, Kara lists 5 wonderful places to check out while you're abroad and shares a quick overview on each location. She also shares what's special about each destination, what it's known for, and what you must absolutely do there.
Australia is a big country. And by big country I mean 96% the size of the 48 contiguous United States. Given the number of cities and landscapes to explore and limited time abroad, it can be difficult to choose which places to go in Oz. Fortunately, I have been able to visit many of the major attractions across New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania, and have prepared a list of five diverse destinations that I recommend visiting in Australia.
Known for: Street art, alleyways, architecture, and cafes
Must-do activity: Watch the sunrise from Cape Byron
Melbourne is the capital of the state of Victoria, and it's also Australia’s second largest city. Originally home to the Kulin nation and first settled by Europeans in 1835, the area underwent rapid growth following the discovery of gold in Victoria in 1851. Today, Melbourne is considered to be Australia’s most culturally diverse and livable city and is filled with unique street art, alleyways, cafes, historic buildings, and museums.
Byron Bay, New South Wales
Known for: Surfing and its hippy culture
Must-do activity: A walking tour
Byron Bay is a vacation town located on the easternmost point of Australia. Initially a place for logging, mining, farming, and whaling, Byron Bay is now a popular travel destination and has established its reputation as hippy town due to the influx of long-board surfers in the 1960s and the subsequent Aquarius Festivals in 1971 and 1973.
Known for: Scenic beauty, untouched wilderness, and unique wildlife
Must-do activity: Marion's Lookout Overland Track in Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park
Tasmania, also referred to as “Tassie,” is an island and state located 150 miles south of Australia’s most southern coastline named after explorer Abel Tasman in 1642. Due to its history of crime, punishment, and survival, the state is now home to five of Australia's 11 UNESCO World Heritage listed convict sites. Tasmania also boasts 1,700 miles of managed walking tracks and over 880 separate walks throughout its national parks, reserves, and conservation areas.
Airlie Beach, Queensland
Known for: The Whitsunday Islands and Whitehaven Beach
Must-do activity: A one- or two-night Whitsundays sailing cruise
Airlie Beach is a small resort town along the Whitsunday Coast. Contrary to what is name suggests, Airlie Beach does not contain any spectacular beaches, but is the access point to the Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef. No trip to the Whitsundays is complete is without a sailing cruise that takes you through the Whitsunday Passage to explore the swirling sands of Whitehaven Beach and lets you snorkel the inner reef.
Known for: The Great Barrier Reef and tropical rainforests
Must-do activity: A reef snorkel or dive cruise
Cairns is a small provincial city in northern Queensland that is considered to be the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Due to its high latitude, the region has a very warm, tropical climate that is suited for tourism year-round.
Kara Davis is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2019, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Sustainability major at Arizona State University, she is studying abroad in Sydney this semester.
Kara's journey continues all semester so stay tuned.