Oct 19, 2010

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The Top 5 Not So Obvious Things to do in Australia…

Dave HolcroftAustralia is an exciting and magical place to visit with Aboriginal culture and mythical beliefs, seeping into every aspect of daily life. What is truly fascinating about Australia is the diversity of the lands that await you; don’t just stick to the usual run of the mill trips (yawn), be adventurous and find something unique and different.

Check out our top 5 not so obvious things to do in Australia…

1. Swimming with Whale Sharks – Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia

Swim with the largest and most exciting fish in the Indian Ocean. These beauties can reach up to 18m in length with gaping jaws over a metre in width – crikey! Don’t let the word ‘whale’ or ‘shark’ put you off though they are completely harmless. Whale Sharks have the most beautiful markings helping them camouflage into the deep blue sea and have unusual feeding behaviours. Although they may belong to a family of fearsome namesakes, they feed on zooplankton (organisms drifting in the water of oceans) and not humans – thankfully!

Whale Sharks only eat plankton! Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia

Whale Sharks only eat plankton! Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia

Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia is one of the very few places in the world where you can swim alongside these awesome creatures for a truly unforgettable experience. Amazingly, every year the Whale Sharks frequent Ningaloo Reef during the months of April to July, where you can take a dip in the ocean with them! There are several companies in Ningaloo Reef who can arrange your dive, snorkel or swim. Definitely a trip of a lifetime and not to be missed…

2. Skiing in Melbourne

What? You can ski in Melbourne??!! Yep that’s right. You may think Australia is all about sandy beaches and koalas…and yes you are right, Oz does have beautiful stretches of golden sands and little furry creatures (the 8 legged furry varieties are less cute). However, you only need to drive a couple hours from Melbourne to find Australia’s very own winter wonderland. Mount Buller is a favourite for skiing, snowboarding and, of course (my favourite) snow play!

Surf and Ski in same day? Mt Buller, Australia

Surf and Ski in same day? Mt Buller, Australia

Mount Buller has skiing for all skill levels, with its 3 terrain parks, with the season running from June until the end of September/early October dependant on snow conditions. It’s packed full of activities including a toboggan park with its own snowmaking machine, snow tubing park, rock-climbing, cinema and even shops! After a day’s hard yakka on the slopes, treat yourself at Australia’s highest day spa. Impressive mountain views are only a tiny part of this adventure…

3. Sample a Witchetty Grub – Bush Tucker Outback Tours

I know what you’re thinking; Australia… the land of fine wine and dining… well let me introduce you to an Australian Aboriginal culinary delight; the Witchetty Grub (you may have seen this bush tucker on the UK ITV show I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here). It can be eaten raw or chucked on the barbie (yum!). The witchetty grub is a staple diet of Australian Aboriginal eating and by all accounts this is among the best of insect bush tucker (some say tasting similar to almonds and cream).

Peckish? Try a Witchetty Grub from the red earth of the Aussie Outback

Peckish? Try a Witchetty Grub from the red earth of the Aussie Outback

Sample these delights in the heart of Australia, and uncover a real treat not to be missed. Experience the Australian Outback and find spectacular landscapes within the Red Centre and the natural phenomena’s of Ayers Rock/Ulura and the Olga’s/Kata Tjuta. Submerse yourself in authentic Australian Aboriginal life and learn traditions of the sacred earth, indigenous healing practices, spiritual ceremonies, traditional art, music, dance and storytelling. There are numerous tour operators in Alice Springs to arrange your unforgettable trip…

4. Sydney Ghost Tours around ‘The Rocks’

Head off into the night and be prepared for some spooky encounters in Sydney, seeing a bizarre and fascinating side of Sydney you never knew existed! Hear the ghoulish stories of local murders, suicides, paranormal phenomena, as told by native people from history passed. Maybe you will even meet a gruesome ghost or two. Don’t be thinking these are below par, uneventful city tours; I promise you, be afraid, be very afraid!

Anyone got the number for Ghostbusters? The Rocks, Sydney.

Anyone got the number for Ghostbusters? The Rocks, Sydney.

‘The Rocks’ area of Sydney (right under the bridge on the south shore), plays host to these spooky encounters. The district was an ex-convict colony since 1788 and the birthplace of a land with a murky history of disease, tragedy, bloodshed and horrific murders, where ghosts still remain. Its colourful history-filled tales of ‘shanghaiing’ sailors and tough gangs can still be traced in the many surviving buildings. There are a number of tour operators in Sydney that can arrange your haunting trip…

5. Camel Ride on Cable Beach, Broome, Western Australia

Crack open a stubby and watch the sunset over Cable Beach’s 22km of breathtaking white sand…that is once you’ve been on an unforgettable camel ride! Yep that’s right there really are camels in Australia! Tucked away in Western Australia’s north coast you will find the small town of Broome; home to our 2 humped friends as well as the most unbelievable year round wonderful weather. Broome is also brimming with Aboriginal arts, crafts and pearls to explore…

Take a memorable camel ride on Cable Beach, Broome, Western Australia

Take a memorable camel ride on Cable Beach, Broome, Western Australia

Camels were first introduced to arid areas in Oz to help construct overhead telegraph lines as well as moving wool from sheep stations, supplying goods to local towns, mining sites and Aboriginal villages. It is estimated that there are up to 200,000 camels’ through-out the scorched center of Australia; half of those right here in Western Australia. So spend a while in Broome and experience a not so obvious camel ride – it’s a must do…

Inspired to make the trip to the Land of Oz? Do make sure you’ve applied for the correct visa – if you’re just going as a tourist you’ll most likely need an ETA which will apply for a stay of up to 3 months.

  1. I’m off to Australia with the kids for Xmas, camel riding in Broome sounds like fun, anyone been before????

    • Jess-The West coast at Xmas will be awesome. We did it 2 years ago, snorkelling at Coral Bay on the Ningaloo Reef, skuba diving with BIG fish and sharks off the naval pier in Exmouth then relaxing on the best beach in the world… Broome. Enjoy!

    • Xmas in Oz… we spent the day at Doyles Fish restaurant at Watsons Bay (Sydney)…drinking and eating all day in the sun was great,

  2. Ian Kirk says:

    Xmas downunder.

    I am looking forward to a trip to Australia over the New Year but where do you find some beer.

    They all seem to be lager drinkers judging by the adverts on commercial TV. Irish beer in Tenerife is one thing, but real ale is needed.

    Perhaps Joey has a few tips.

  3. When we went to Adelaide my husband tried Cooper’s Sparkling Ale…sounds a bit odd but he he loved it!

    • David Holcroft says:

      Actually another place that should make this list is the weird underground town of Coober Pedy near Adelaide (well not that near, but near in Australian terms!). I stayed in a hostel there which had a constant temperature of 23 degrees whilst on the surface the temperature in the harsh Aussie outback reached 40 degrees. Apparently Coober Pedy is where Mad Max was filmed starring a mulleted Mel Gibson!

      • David Holcroft says:

        Oh and how could I forget Barramundi fishing in the Northern Territory – Crocodile Dundee country!

      • J-man says:

        Don’t forget Byron Bay… magical beach, many an evening sat on the beach with the sun going down watching the dolphins surfing the waves.

        • … I agree, Byron Bay is a must, but be careful what you buy from nearby Nimbin… tasty little chocolate cookies aren’t quite wat they seem! (as I discovered half way walking up to the lighthouse)

    • Tooheys for a bad head, VB for a bad stomach… Both great beers though!

  4. Go and play golf with the Kangeroos at Anglesea Golf course on the Great Ocean Road .

  5. Poledancing Pat says:

    For such a huge country , one of the most edearing sights comes from one of its smallest creatures – the sight on Phillip Island at night , under floodlights with hundreds of people watching , of hundreds of little penguins trudging back to their burrows for a nights rest after all day fishing !!

  6. Martin C says:

    My old flatmate who moved over to Oz a year ago posted pics on Facebook recently of him skiing on Mount Buller. As you can imagine it upset me even more knowing he has all those beautiful beaches and and can ski too. Is there anything Australia doesn’t offer?!!

  7. Ann & Bob Hall says:

    Tony spent Christmas cruising the Whitsunday Islands, swam with reef sharks and dolphins and turtles. visited an aboriginal site on Hook Island. swam and sunbathed on Whitehaven beach a 6km stretch of white sand on an uninhabited island so they were the only people there. they did reef snorkelling spent Christmas day on Hamilton resort island and tried the asymetric backpacker launcher on the yacht so quite a fun filled package. this was all in 1993.

  8. Zoe mosedale says:

    We went swimming on ningaloo reef for our honeymoon last year. Amazing place and good value for money too

  9. Suzie says:

    Ocean Rafting around the Whitsunday Islands was just fantastic.The crew were fabulous & made sure we had a day to remember. They have great local knowledge of the Islands flora and fauna and the marine wildlife. As well as turtles, we saw Whales,dolphins & the most spectacular beaches…. great fun

  10. My boyfriend took me to Mindil Beach for a supprise holiday, it was just awesome the food was to die for the atmosphere was relaxed and friendly. im speechless regarding the sunsets, just what dreams are made of. The experience will stay with me forever.

  11. I’ve just arrived back on the Gold Coast after a brief holiday in North Stradbroke Island, East Australia. It’s fantastic there! We went snorkeling around the reefs with sharks and sandboarding on the dunes… certainly worth a look if you’re in the area!

  12. Those whale sharks look huge! Great selection of things to do.

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