As my family landed in the land ‘Down Under’ we couldn’t help but immediately notice the diversity in landscape and lifestyle at each place we visited. In two weeks we saw everything from the spectacular Sydney Opera House in the heart of Sydney to the rolling hills and exquisite taste of the Hunter Valley Wineries. We also saw the secluded paradise of Hamilton Island and the beautiful countryside where if you look close enough you can spot a troop of kangaroos sleeping underneath the trees in the shade.
We were lucky to have the perfect weather while visiting however their winter and rainy season were just starting at the end of our trip. Australia’s seasons are opposite of ours so if you are looking to get away from the cold months of Alberta then November to February are the hottest months. However, if you’re looking for hot but not +40C hot then between March and April may be for you.
If you or your family members are adventure seekers, then Australia has a wide variety of different sports and tours for you. Surfing and paddle boarding are big amongst the Aussies. We spent the day in Manly, a little beach suburb about a 30-minute ferry ride from Sydney. We were given lessons by outgoing locals whose only mission was to get you to at least stand up, if not have you riding waves by the end and had you laughing the whole time.
If water sports are not up your alley, tours such as sand tobogganing, skydiving, Sydney Harbour bridge climb and sailing the Whitsundays are all exciting options to explore.
Australians are all about the outdoors and for good reason. The hikes that are available to you throughout the country are unbelievable and the best part is that no matter your fitness level or age, there is generally an option for everyone.
Katoomba, just a short drive from Sydney, is home to the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area where you will find a million hectares of gorgeous forest trees so dense that you can see blue for miles. If you are looking for history, the Aboriginal heritage can be found everywhere you look. The story of the Three Sisters, the markings written in stone along paths and even ancient ceremonial sites, ensure there is no shortage of history at the Blue Mountains.
Now how could I write an article about Australia without talking about the Great Barrier Reef? Vibrant coral, sea turtles, stingrays, even dolphins in the horizon can all be found during a tour to this breathtaking natural wonder. There are many places along the coast where you will find tours to snorkel or dive the reef.
However, I recommend reading up on the tour company before choosing which one to book with. The conservation of the reef is huge throughout Australia so you want to find a company that has the reefs ongoing interest at mind.
Australians are some of the most laid back people I have ever had the privilege to meet. In most towns and cities it is rare that shops and businesses are open past 4 p.m. (not including pubs of course). The simple reason for this is they would rather be out with family and friends enjoying a barbeque or laying on a beach with a cold beer. A person could really get used the carefree lifestyle of an Australian, which many people do. You will also meet people from all over the world from Canada to England to Bermuda and all points in between, whether they are travelling, going to school or have become permanent residents, the people are diverse.
All in all Australia gave our family an amazing holiday and unforgettable memories. There is definitely too much history and adventure to pack into one trip. I would go again tomorrow if I had it my way. Australians do an excellent job at making you feel at home and safe which is so important. So, to everyone who is looking for their next vacation, I would put Australia at the top of the list.
Sandrina Walker is a junior travel enthusiast and writer in Red Deer.