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Australia - Unique adventures in the land down under
February 4, 2018, 10:28 pm

Australia is a land of wild and beautiful contrasts; a land whose color palette of red outback sands and Technicolor reefs frame sophisticated cities and soulful indigenous stories. With dense rainforests (from Far North Queensland to far-south Tasmania) and remote rocky outcrops like Uluru, Kakadu and the Kimberleys, the region is filled with remarkable natural beauty and unique experiences. The coastline, too, beset as it is with islands and deserted shores, is wild and wonderful. Animating these splendid places is wildlife like nowhere else on the planet, a place of kangaroos and crocodiles, of wombats and wallabies, platypus, crocodiles, dingoes and so much more. Attempting to cover the innumerable Australian sites in one article is well-nigh impossible; here we look at five leading cities that on their own offer quite a lot to see and enjoy.

Canberra: The capital city of Australia boasts of expansive open spaces, broad boulevards, aesthetics influenced by the 19thcentury Arts and Crafts Movement, and a seamless alignment of built and natural elements. Recent designer precincts have added a cosmopolitan atmosphere to the city’s heart. The culturally vibrant city is also developing a reputation for its festivals — such as the legendary Floriade, National Folk Festival and the freshly minted Canberra Writers Festival.

Canberra’s glorious art deco war memorial is a highlight in a city filled with interesting architecture. Built to commemorate ‘the war to end all wars’, the Australian War Memorial opened its doors in 1941 when the Second World War was already in full swing. Attached to it is a large, exceptionally well designed museum devoted to the nation’s military history. Within the parliamentary precinct, the National Gallery of Australia is host to an extraordinary art that includes almost every major Australian and international name you could think of. Represented here are famous works such as Monet’s ‘Waterlilies’, several of Sidney Nolan’s Ned Kelly paintings, Salvador Dali’s ‘Lobster Telephone’, an Andy Warhol Elvis print and a triptych by Francis Bacon.

Sydney: With national parks ringing the city and penetrating right into its heart, the city’s pretensions to glamor are well balanced by a casualness that is a welcoming ambience for locals and tourists alike. Defined just as much by its rugged Pacific coastline as its exquisite harbor, Sydney relies on its coastal setting to replenish its reserves of charm. Iconic to the region, Bondi is one of the world’s great beaches: ocean and land collide, the Pacific arrives in great foaming swells, and all people are equal, as democratic as sand. It is the closest ocean beach to the city centre, has consistently favorable waves, and is great for a rough-and-tumble swim, attracting a number of tourists throughout the year. The World Heritage–listed Sydney Opera House, designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, is Australia’s most famous landmark.

Visually referencing the sails of a yacht, the unique structure is a soaring, commanding presence that comprises five performance spaces for dance, concerts, opera and theatre. The best way to experience the building is to attend a performance, but the one-hour guided tour is a popular alternative to explore the building.

Melbourne: Stylish, arty Melbourne is both dynamic and cosmopolitan, and is proud of its place as Australia’s sporting and cultural capital. The unique quality of the city is down to the more than 230 laneways that penetrate into the heart of the city blocks. It is here that the inner city’s true nature resides, crammed into narrow lanes concealing world-beating restaurants, bars and street art. When visiting Melbourne, It is not the high-rises and bridges that strike you but the vast sporting edifices that fringe the city centre.

Melbournians are passionate about AFL football (‘footy’), cricket and horse racing, while grand-slam tennis and Formula One car racing draw visitors in droves. Sport is a crucial part of the social fabric, taking on something of a religious aspect here. Melbourne’s Royal Botanical Gardens are simply glorious. From the air, the 94-acre spread evokes a giant green lung in the middle of the city. Drawing over 1.5 million visitors annually, the gardens are considered one of the finest examples of Victorian-era landscaping in the world. You will find a global selection of plantings and endemic Australian flora. Mini ecosystems, such as a cacti and succulents area, an herb garden and an indigenous rainforest, are set amid vast lawns.

Brisbane: A city with the most favorable climate in the region, Brisbane has been attracting a growing touristic following over the years. After all, this is the capital city of the Sunshine State, a meteorological Promised Land where winters are mild and short enough for a daytime alfresco toast. It is a fact not lost on Brisbanites, who indulge in outdoor thrills all year round, from inner-city rock-climbing and kayaking to riverside cycling on the nation’s only man-made city beach. It is here that you will find the Australia’s largest public Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), its most important festival of new Australian music, the Bigsound Festival, and one of its most innovative and enlightened annual film festivals — the Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival.

Driving everything from black garlic bread to chocolate and beetroot doughnuts, Brisbane’s food scene is booming into culinary enlightenment, where innovation and ingenuity are the key words followed here. Menus across the city are flaunting the seasonal and the regional, transforming top-notch produce into beautiful, confident dishes spanning all budgets and countless cuisines.

Perth: About as close to Bali as to some of Australia’s eastern state capitals, Perth combines big-city attractions and relaxed, informal surrounds, providing an appealing lifestyle for locals and plenty to explore for visitors. Anchored by the broad Swan River flowing past skyscrapers and out to the Indian Ocean, the city boasts recent developments like Elizabeth Quay and Perth Stadium, which have added a more cosmopolitan sheen to this traditionally laid-back town. A popular attraction in this city is the Bell Tower, a pointy glass spire fronted by copper sails, which contains the royal bells of London’s St Martin-in-the-Fields (the oldest of which dates to 1550). The bells were given to Western Australia by the British government in 1988, and are the only set known to have left England. Clamber to the top for spectacular 360-degree views of Perth by the river.

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