7 Reasons Now Is the Time to Visit Australia
PHOTO: Sydney Harbour (courtesy Thinkstock)
Many U.S. travelers dream of the opportunity to travel down under, making Australia one of the top five international luxury destinations being booked by Travel Leaders agents.
Right now, travel to Australia is made even better by a favorable exchange rate. According to Travel Leaders, the Australian dollar has fallen nearly 30 percent against the U.S. dollar in the past two years. This means that high-end experiences in the country are even more affordable at the moment, prompting Travel Leaders agents to share some of their tips on the best luxury experiences Australia has to offer.
This island paradise is the third largest island off of the coast of Australia and it is one of the most intriguing. Here, visitors will see sea lions basking in the sun, koalas relaxing in eucalyptus trees and kangaroos hopping about everywhere.
“Travelers looking for an adventure in Australia will love, love, love Kangaroo Island,” said Jacqie Swanson, an Aussie specialist from the Rice Lake, Wisconsin, Travel Leaders location, who just returned from the continent earlier this month. “Being able to see animals in the wild, and not in a zoo is a fantastic experience, especially in such a naturally-beautiful wilderness with gorgeous sculpted rocks.”
Sounds of Silence Tour
While Kangaroo Island may be the perfect destination for a luxury trip, the Sounds of Silence Tour is the ideal luxury dining experience to have while visiting Uluru (Ayers Rock). Available at Ayers Rock Resort, the four-hour dining experience takes place under the stars with musical accompaniment by didgeridoo and lighting by the night sky.
“Sounds of Silence is just as intriguing as its name, not to mention the highly visible 50,000 stars,” said Debbie Sebastian of Travel Leaders in Danville, Kentucky.
Sydney Sights, Sounds and Sustenance
Australia specialist Wally Jones of Travel Leaders in Phoenix, Ariz., recommends an itinerary in Sydney that includes climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, sampling kangaroo meat at Coopers and high-end hotel stays at international luxury brands such as Park Hyatt Sydney, the Shangri-La or the Langham.
“While in Sydney, climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge for an amazing panoramic view of the city. It is a remarkable, unforgettable experience,” said Jones. “When you’re ready for dinner and if you’re a meat eater, sample a bite of kangaroo, crocodile or emu. Much like beef, they are prepared in a variety of ways, including sausage, burgers and steaks.”
Darwin and Lizard Island National Park
The Northern Territory is where you need to go to see the crocs.
“There are more crocodiles in this region than anywhere else in the world,” said Kristi Ali Mackedanz, from Travel Leaders in Woodbury, Minnesota. “Some boat tours even have feeding sessions. Also, my luxury clients particularly enjoy a visit to Lizard Island off the coast of Cairns. It is a one-hour flight from Cairns and there is a research station on the island where you can learn about the coral reef systems.”
Blue Mountains National Park
Travel Leader Arvid Olson, an Australia specialist based in Palm Coast Florida, said that the Blue Mountains are not to be missed.
“On a tour of the Blue Mountains National Park you will see its magnificent rock formations and waterfalls. Wentworth Falls and the Three Sisters rock formation are great attractions,” said Olson. “Also, a trip to the area wouldn’t be complete without going underground to Jenolan Caves, one of the oldest caves in the world. It has underground rivers and deep limestone formations.”
The Great Barrier Reef
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is on the endangered list of tourist destinations and people are rushing to get a glimpse.
Penny Seaver of Travel Leaders in Sun Prairie, Wis., has some practical advice for visitors.
There are items you want to be sure to have with you when traveling to Australia,” said Seaver. “For one, remember to bring your dive certification card. Scuba diving is an amazing experience around the Great Barrier Reef, which has very healthy and diverse marine life.”
Go Off the Beaten Track
Mike King of Travel Leaders in Fredericksburg, Va., noted that visitors can also head far off the beaten path to some of Australia’s lesser-known — but equally spectacular — destinations.
“There’s the laidback town of Coober Pedy where you can learn about opal mining, or pearl lovers can go to the resort town of Broome (there are no traffic lights, but there’s seashore on both sides of the town),” recommended King.
No matter where you go, you are likely going to want to return — as King has personally discovered.
“I’ve been to Australia 17 times and there are so many great places to visit, I could go on and on.”
More by Janeen Christoff
Get Travel Deals and Travel News
Recent Travel Opinions
Airlines & Airports
Features & Advice
Destination & Tourism