Australia is a multi-faceted cosmopolitan center for architecture, an iconic representation of maritime history and museums, and a stunning preservation of outback and oceanic exploration. It is a land of mighty contrasts and cultural convergence.
Whether aquatic, cultural, or terrestrial, Australia is truly a vibrant, all-encompassing adventure. Book now with Travel Benefits By Design!
Brisbane’s Culture Centre
Visit Brisbane’s Sciencentre, with over 100 interactive exhibits – the spinning Wonky Walk checkerboard tunnel, robotic inventions, holograms, light shows, spinning chairs, flywheels, and infinitely fun and thought-provoking ways to explore science. The Queensland Museum hosts a parade of dinosaurs, collections of bug, beetle and butterfly displays, and marsupial and extinct mammal dioramas. The Queensland Art Gallery features celebrated Australian artists like Sir Sydney Nolan, Arthur Boyd, William Dobell and George Lambert. It also houses the world-acclaimed Children’s Centre and the amazing array of indigenous native artwork, such as Aurukun’s sculptures, splendid patterned ceramics from Yarrabah, printed silk textiles by Rosie Barkus, intricate fibre art from Yvonne Koolmatrie and Lena Yarinkura, and fascinating works such as hollow log burial poles, aboriginal bark paintings, ghost net weavings, tribal rainforest shields, Torres Strait Islander dance sculptures, and the Hermannsburg watercolour landscapes. The adjacent Queensland Gallery of Modern Art is a modern stone, glass and steel structure housing post-1970s Australian, European, and American artwork. The gallery also contains the Australian Cinémathèque, which hosts film retrospectives and international film-making presentations.
More Australian Cities & Events
Amidst a backdrop of urban skyscrapers and the classic arc of Harbour Bridge, the architectural masterpiece, Sydney Opera House, resembles billowing sails floating above the fashionable waterfront. At Sydney, January holds the most spectacular world-class fireworks and hosts the largest cultural event in Australia – the Sydney Festival. Over 1000 artists from all over the world will assemble here for theatrical performances, jazz & blues, acrobatics and outdoor symphony performances. According to Time Travel, “Sydney… is a bit of an exhibitionist… a glittering playground”. Indeed, Sydney’s sun-blazed Bondi Beach has foaming swells for thrill-seeking surfers, swooping ramps for the skateboarding showoff, saltwater sea baths for frolicking kids, and plenty of gelato stands for delicious snacks. Located in the city of Perth at the tranquil Swan River, Kings Park & Botanic Garden is Australia’s most illustrious park, filled with gorgeous botanical landscaping and blooming gardens with over 2000 indigenous plant species. Manmade highlights at King’s Park are Jacob’s Ladder framed by flowering vines and trees, the picturesque fountains, the State War Memorial, and the Lotterywest Federation Walkway which passes along a lovely glass-and-steel bridge canopied by rustling eucalyptus trees. For a historical tour of Australia as a penal colony, visit the Fremantle Prison, a bulwark of beautiful pale limestone once constructed by the prisoners themselves; or take a spooky Torchlight Tour through its underground tunnels by boat.
Fremantle also houses the impressive Western Australian Maritime Museum. View cultural relics like the Aboriginal bark canoe; an Indonesian outrigger canoe, a Broome pearl lugger, and the Australia II, the famous winged-keel yacht that won the 1983 America’s Cup yachting race. Included is an hour-long tour of the submarine HMAS Ovens.
The Great Barrier Reef Frontier
The Great Barrier Reef is the ultimate oceanic frontier with the most spectacular diving landscape imaginable and the largest marine biodiversity. Within its realm is the SS Yongala – the world’s best preserved wreck. Humongous Maori wrasse, yellow demoiselles, sea snakes, turtles, grouper, barracuda, and the tiger shark haunt its decks. Another wreck op is the HMAS Brisbane. It reported that a school of yellow-tailed king fish regularly hunt clouds of ever-present bait fish, and such creatures as eel, octopus and turtle have created a hermitage out of deck tubes and funnels. Other residents are a large bull and eagle rays, angler fish, lion fish, blennies, nudibranchs, sea hares, squid and a school of juvenile red emperor and snapper.
Indeed the Australian Barrier Reef holds a huge variation in coral and marine life. Some, like Ribbon Reef, are buttressed with pinnacle coral where giant potato cod, leopard morays, and Maori wrasse peer benevolently at divers. Some reefs at Cape York Peninsula and Cairns are planar formations of table coral and elephant ear coral cloistering giant clams, sea fans and brain coral. Other reefs are plummeting dive walls encrusted with hard coral formations and underwater caverns. Some like certain reefs at Princess Charlotte Bay hold warmer microclimates for whale sharks, moray eels, and green turtles, and where luminescent cuttlefish flamenco along the tides.
The Amazing Australian Outback!
At Purnululu National Park are the ochre-and-black “beehive” limestone at Bungle Bungle, the shorn canyon-like cliffs of Windjana Gorge, and the scalloped-edged, flattop fiery-red walls of the Cockburn ranges.
Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world and is the only place on earth where tall rainforest grows on sand. Black-Breasted Button Quails, Beach Stone-Curlews, Regent Bowerbirds, Mangrove Honeyeaters, and the Eastern Ground Parrot hide along the sea-grass beds of windswept dunes and the wallum heaths, which flower magnificently during spring and summer. Whales and dugong (sea cows) are manifest, and the island provides the perfect place to camp and canoe. Kakadu National Park is Australia’s signature park. It holds four major river systems and a wealth of estuaries, tidal flats, hills and basins. Two of Australia’s most magnificent waterfalls come alive during the Kakadu’s monsoon season – Jim Jim Falls and the Gunlom Falls. Enchantingly colorful water lily species abound in the floodplains and freshwater mangroves, and eccentric trees like banyan fig and the kapok tree grow here. The stone country region is a dominant sandstone escarpment of the Arnhem Land plateau dissected by a network of chasms formed by monsoon streams. The Ubirr, Burrunguy and the Nanguluwur regions hold outstanding examples of aboriginal rock art and wonderfully detailed mythical paintings. The smaller rainforest refuge, the Wet Tropics of Queensland, holds the highest concentration of primitive flowering plant families in the world. Fifty species of fauna exist in this region only – such as the Musky Rat-Kangaroo, Yellow-bellied Gliders and Brush-tailed Bettong, and nearly extinct creatures like the Southern Cassowary, Spotted-tailed Quoll, and Murina Bat. The refuge contains stunning waterfalls and powerful dams. The lesser Paluma Dam is home to platypus, peregrine falcons, and leisure-loving picnickers, too!
March 1, 2016 6:36 pm