Friday, March 25, 2011

Land Down Under - Places to visit

Welcome to my Virtual Tour Down Under, this week I’d like to take you on a quick trip around Australia to some of my favourite places. Australia is an amazing country with many unique and interesting places to visit. I have listed some of the most well known tourist destinations and then of course I’ve included my favourite places. If you’ve been following my Land Down Under posts, you’ll have seen some of the amazing places that Australia has to offer. All previous posts are available via the Land Down Under tab on my blog. I hope you enjoy the tour.

Ayers Rock – Nobody can visit Australia without visiting Australia’s most famous landmark. Ayers Rock is also known by its Aboriginal name 'Uluru'. It is a sacred part of Aboriginal creation mythology. Uluru is a large sandstone rock formation located 280 miles (450km) southwest of Alice Springs in central Australia, in the Northern Territory.
It is the second-largest monolith in the world and is more than 318 m (986 ft) high and 8 km (5 miles) around. It also extends 2.5 km (1.5 miles) into the ground. Visitors can climb to the top up a steep 1.6km ascent (I wimped out, it was awesome just standing at the bottom but no way did I want to climb to the top with only a flimsy chain link fence to hold on to – but I let hubby go)

Great Barrier Reef – The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef system and is made up of just fewer than 3000 individual reefs and 900 islands. This beautiful and inspiring structure is home to abundant marine life and is roughly 2,600 kms long and covers an area of 344,400km2. The reef is located off the coast of Queensland in north-east Australia and is popular for snorkelling and diving as well as offering many sight seeing options by air and boat for visitors.

Twelve Apostles – these magnificent giant rock stacks rise majestically from the Southern Ocean and are the central feature of the rugged Port Campbell National Park. They’ve been created by constant erosion of the limestone cliffs of the mainland that began 10–20 million years ago. The stormy Southern Ocean and blasting winds gradually eroded the softer limestone, forming caves in the cliffs. The caves eventually became arches and when they collapsed rock stacks up to 45 metres high were left isolated from the shore. The Twelve Apostles are located along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria in the south east of Australia.

Wave Rock – is located about four hours from Perth in the South-west of Western Australia and is thought to have been formed over 2700 million years ago, The shape of the wave is formed by gradual erosion of the softer rock beneath the upper edge, over many centuries.
The beautiful ribbons of colour have come from the rain washing chemical deposits (carbonates and iron hydroxide) down the face, forming vertical stripes of grey, red and yellow.

Sydney Opera House – has earned a reputation as a world-class performing arts centre and has become a symbol of both Sydney and the Australian nation. In 1956 a competition was launched for a design of a new Opera Hose to be built in Sydney on the east coast of Australia. A Danish architect called Jørn Utzon was chosen from 233 entries from 32 countries. Construction started in 1959 and the building was built in 3 stages. It was formally completed in 1973, having cost $102 million
The Sydney Opera House is one of the busiest performing arts centres in the world, hosting over 1,500 performances each year attended by some 1.2 million people, The building covers 1.8 hectares (4.5 acres) of land and is 183 metres (605 ft) long and 120 metres (388 ft) wide at its widest point. It is supported on 588 concrete piers sunk as much as 25 metres below sea level.

Indigenous Australians are the original inhabitants of Australia and are known as either Aborigines or Torres Strait Islanders. Australia is rich in cultural history and no visitor to Australia can miss seeing some of the amazing Aboriginal art which is thousands of years old, with the best known forms being rock art and bark painting. Many Australian places have aboriginal names and feature aboriginal artworks.

My Favourite Places
Renmark (which is aboriginal for ‘red mud’) – is the home town of my parents and brother and sister-in-law. This town is located on the banks of the Murray River and is 254 km north-east from Adelaide in South Australia.
The Murray is the third longest navigable river in the world, after the Amazon and Nile and is 2756 kilometres in length. It crosses three Australian states from start to finish and is the domestic water source for more than 1.5 million homes.
Renmark is a popular tourist town where many people (including my family) go to enjoy the fantastic waterskiing, boating, camping and fishing opportunities available.

Kalgoorlie is a large gold mining town located about 600 kilometres inland from Perth in Western Australia. Nobody is really sure where the name came from with, but some sources give it as either meaning: Aboriginal dog chasing a kangaroo; the Aboriginal name of a shrub from the area ("Galgurli");or the Aboriginal name for the local edible silky pear ("Kulgooluh").The gold rush in Kalgoorlie began in the1880’s which resulted in hundreds of people making their way into town to seek their fortunes. At the peak of the gold rush the town boasted a population of 30,000, with a pub on nearly every corner. In total there were 93 hotels and 8 breweries. Many of those pubs are still in operation today.
Kalgoorlie is still an active mining town with a 3.5 kilometre long, 1.5 kilometre wide Super Pit Mine – which still produces up to 800,000 ounces of gold a year.
This is one of the towns of my childhood and leaves me with fond memories of red dirt and more red dirt. You never left the windows open because the house would fill up with red dust. It was also only the newcomers to town who commented on the ground shaking because once you’d lived there awhile you got used to the regular mine blasts which would make the earth move.

Berry Springs – is located about a half hour drive from Darwin in the Northern Territory. There are numerous water falls and swimming holes around Darwin but Berry Falls was my favourite. Darwin has a tropical climate so the water at Berry Springs was always warm yet was still perfect for cooling off in. Berry Creek starts from a number of springs, forms a small creek, then reaches Darwin Harbour through a mangrove lined estuary.

Kangaroo Island - is located 113km off the mainland of South Australia and can only be reached by ferry; it’s about a 45 minute trip. The island is 155km length and has soaring cliffs, dense forest, towering sand dunes, wetlands and beautiful beaches. At every turn there is an abundance of native wildlife from kangaroos and koalas to seals and sea lions. We enjoyed fishing, hiking, wildlife and plenty of fun things to do. We visited underground caves, eucalyptus distilleries, lighthouses and a favourite was sand boarding on massive (scary sized) sand dunes.

Pinnacles – I visited these amazing rock formations as a child. They are located about a three-hour drive north of Perth near the coastal town of Cervantes. These incredible limestone formations can reach up to several metres tall. It's believed the Pinnacles were created millions of years ago as seashells were broken down into sand and then eroded by water and wind.

Next Friday I will be sharing some of Australia's amazing and unique creatures - the good, the bad and the ugly.
“When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money”. – Unknown


  1. I'll be right over!

    What a great tour -- my eldest daughter spent six weeks in Australian two years ago and loved it -- her favourite was Fraser Island.


  2. I'll pick you up when you get here :)


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