• Whitsunday Island (East Coast): It is the largest island in the Whitsunday group of islands located off the coast of Airlie Beach/Queensland and features the white sands of Whitehaven Beach. Undisputedly, this beach belongs to the most beautiful beaches on earth. But as fascinating, calm and idyllic as it seems during sunrinse, as crowded it becomes after the first huge ships drop off their tourists in the morning hours. Therefore, the best way to enjoy Whitehaven Beach is to camp on one of its camp sites; Be the first in the morning to catch the first sun rays at an awesome heavenly beach all by yourself (and your friends). Unfortunately, it is not very cheap getting there.
Tip: Make sure to check bookme.com.au for special offers. Sometimes they have last minute half price tour tickets!
• Fraser Island (East Coast): Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world, is declared a World Heritage Site. The best and most amusing way to explore this island is by renting a 4WD (e.g. via www.fraserisland4wd.com.au, you even find accommodation packages there). Anyways, we did it the cheapest way and booked a last minute 3-day tour via bookme.com.au by bus. The island offers beautiful lakes (e.g. Lake Wabby, Lake McKenzie), colorful sand dunes (The Cathedrals), beaches, a rainforest, a historic maheno shipwreck, and many more attractions.
Tip: Don't miss the cute turtles around/in Lake Allom. Do a bush walk in the middle of the island to watch kangaroos, wallabies and possums. AND (depending on the season) do some whale or dolphing watching from Indian Head!
• Kakadu National Park (North): The largest national park in Australia (20000skm) is named Kakadu National Park and is declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Additionally, it is said to be one of Australia's most attractive parks due to its unique flora and fauna. You can buy Kakadu park passes online, in Darwin, Katherine or at the entrance (100% of revenue is said to be invested back into the park). Tickets are valid for 14 days and only cost you $25 each. There is a number of ways getting to this national park, from which I would choose a coach tour or hire a car from Darwin or Katherine. Because there are so many lovely attractions, I can hardly decide which ones are the best. Worth mentioning are Nourlangie, Twin Falls, Gunlum Waterfall Creek, Maguc Gorge, Jim Jim Falls, Cahills Crossing, Yellow Water Billabong (postcard shot), Ubirr (Aboriginal rock art gallery) and Yurmikmik Walks. Important to know: There are a number of different permits that may be required, depending on the reason for your visit; e.g. if you are conducting camping outside de-
signated areas, you may need an additional permit! Check this out on www.parksaustralia.gov.au/kakadu.
Tip: Take bug spray with you, as well as long light clothes. Before entering the Kakadu, you might stop at the Bowali Visitors Centre at Jabiru – it’s stuffed with really helpful information on this park.
• Uluru (Outback): This huge red sandstone rock formation is located in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park (former Ayers-Rock National Park) and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It lies about 335 km south-west of the nearest large town named Alice Springs. This unique sandstone monolith stands about 350 meters high with most of its bulk below the ground. The area around Ayers Rock is home to an abundance of waterholes, rock caves, springs and ancient paintings.
Tip: Take enough water with you to stay hydrated as temperatures can make its climb almost unbearable.
• Great Barrier Reef (East Coast): As you can see in my video, snorkelling the reef is simply amazing!! For me, the most beautiful snorkel spot was around a sandbank named "The Aquarium", which is easily reachable from Cairns. The water is unbelievable turquoise und clear. We booked this one day trip in Cairns with
www.fallareeftrips.com.au for $75 each, which was really worth the money.
Tip: Check www.bookme.com.au for special offers.
• Opera House (East Coast): Whoever visits Sydney, posts a picture in front of the Opera House. Of course, it is an awesome building, but anything around is just ridiculously expensive. Be prepared! There are other beautiful spots in Sydney to have lunch or coffee. Anyways, I have to admit that I really enjoyed the walk across Sydney Harbour Bridge.