Australia: Down Under

You should put Australia on your Bucket List if you haven't been there. It's a must-see country. There are so many great things there. Australia has rich culture, history and nature that is unique only found in this country.

Its history began with the Aboriginal culture. Aboriginal people were the first people to inhabit this country for tens of thousands of years. They are believed to be the world's oldest civilization. However, in 1770, when Captain James Cook, a British explorer, sailed to Australia and declared this land "terra nullius", which meant a "land with no people" or "land belonging to no one". They didn't acknowledge Aboriginal people as people until 1968 when they were actually counted as citizens in the census of Australia.

In the heart of Australia's outback in Northern Territory, there lies Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Uluru, a spiritual center, also known as Ayers Rock, is a massive rock formation that rises up from the flatlands of Australia's outback. And, its natural sandstone formation is over 1,000 feet high and nearly 6 miles around. Geologists believe that 500 million years ago, all this was underwater and Uluru was an ancient seafloor. As earth shifted and waters washed away, the rock was revealed. Australia's most visible, recognizable icon is one of the most sacred places in the world which is also considered to be one of the greatest spiritual ground because of its size. This beautiful majesty takes many people's breath away when they see it.

At Hamilton Island, off the Queensland coast, there lies the famous Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral reef, measuring at 1,400 miles in length and consists of thousands of individual reefs and over 600 islands. It's best enjoyed if you go snorkeling or scuba diving. In addition, in Brisbane, Australia Zoo is a popular tourist attraction, most notably owned by late Steve Irwin, The Crocodile Hunter on wildlife documentary TV series.

In New South Wales, Byron Bay is Australia's easternmost point which is a serene place to relax and its wilderness unspoiled. Also, Hunter Valley is the heart of Australia's wine country where hot air balloons and kangaroos can be found.

Going to Sydney, there lies the famous Sydney Opera House, known for its unique, modern building and Harbour Bridge. With special climbing suit, you can climb on top of Sydney Harbour Bridge, which took 8 years and 39,000 tons of steel to build, also known as the largest steel bridge in the world. On top of the bridge, you get the best view of all. Not to forget Bondi Beach, it is one of the well-known beaches and the Mecca of summer events.

Melbourne, known as Melbin to locals, is the second largest city in Australia and was voted the third most livable city in the world. Situated on the banks of Yarra River, it's the city's main water feature and home to the large natural bay known as Port Phillip. Additionally, they have oldest and largest tram system in the world. Folks there truly love their sports, cafes and shopping, especially in the quaint laneways and alleys in the heart of downtown Melbourne. Just two hours south, Phillip Island is the home of the popular Penguin Parade and Koala Conservation Centre at Nature Park.

Island of Tasmania, 150 miles off Australia's mainland, has miles of rugged coastline, spotless and charming beaches and some say cleanest air and water in the world. The most famous resident on the island is Tasmania devils.

Kangaroo Island, South Australia is largely known for its pristine wildlife and home to kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, penguins and many more in their natural habitat. On the coast, you can find sea lions.

Kings Park in Perth, the largest city in Western Australia, has a botanical garden of exotic flowers and about 2,000 species of plants (out of 12, 000) displayed, only can be found there. Beaches nearby are worth checking out as the water is crystal-clear which is perfect for snorkeling.

When you go and visit Australia, give yourself ample of time to visit the continent. Australia has so much to offer. You will go home with experiences that will stay with you for the rest of your life.

Source by Nancy Ravindra

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