posted by Colm Hanratty | 4 Comments
This is the first in a series of posts for the Australia Blog Roundtable, a collaboration of a group of travel bloggers and writers to blog on one of their favourite subjects - Australia. The others in the group are Brooke from WhyGo Australia, Caz from yTravel Blog, Kate from Nomads Hostels and Michaela from Rocky Travel. This month's subect - 'Why I love Australia'.
I’ve a soft spot for Australia for a very special reason...this was the country that first introduced me to backpacking. If it wasn’t for Australia I wouldn’t have the job I have now…travelling around the world making videos, recording podcasts, gathering content for our free pocket guides and more. I love Australia so much in fact, that I’ve decided to put together a list of ten reasons I love the country I once called home.
Sydney is my favourite city in the world without question. I lived there for a year back in 1999 for around nine months and have returned twice (once quite recently). I just feel at home there. Then there’s Melbourne – each time I’ve made it to Melbourne I’ve seen more and more of it, making me appreciate it more than ever. Perth is very special to me – it’s where I met my wife-to-be! So while Australia is great for more remote places (which I will refer to later), it’s got some of my favourite cities in the world.
I lived in Bondi when I was in Sydney. The way I saw it, I wanted to experience something I would never be able to experience at home – living right beside one of the world’s most famous beaches. The great thing was, once I left Sydney to go travelling up the east coast I encountered even more beautiful beaches. And don’t get me started on the west coast! The beaches there will really take your breath away.
3. So much tourism is geared towards budget travellers
Before I went to Australia I never encountered tour companies that marketed themselves solely at backpackers, or bars that were only for backpackers. Ladies and gentlemen of the backpacking fraternity, good news – Australia has both. And then some. If you’re a budget traveller on your way to the land Down Under you’ll have lots to choose to make sure you get the trip you want.
4. National Parks
When travelling Australia’s celebrated coastlines, on those days when you don’t want to laze by the pool (many hostels in Australia have their own pools) or on the beach there’ll be a national park nearby. If you’re not on the coast, chances are you’re exploring some of the country’s best-known national parks – Kakadu, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park or the Great Sandy National Park, home to Fraser Island. In a nutshell, as much as I love Australia’s cities and lazing on its beaches, its national parks are unbelievably fascinating.
5. Hostels with swimming pools
As per the previous point, many of Australia’s hostels have swimming pools. In the Sydney Central YHA has one, while in Brisbane Bunk Backpackers boasts one. You’ll also find them in tons of hostels outside the big cities also. This was something I never encountered before travelling around Australia.
6. The 'Red Centre'
“It’s just a big rock in the desert”. These are the sentiments of many people upon seeing Uluru (Ayer’s Rock) for the first time. Do you know what? They’re right – it is a big rock in the desert. But that’s what makes it so fascinating. I was blown away when I saw Uluru for the first time. Totally blown away. Between it, Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) and Kings Canyon, the five days I spent in Australia’s ‘Red Centre’ were some of the most enjoyable I spent there. Miss it at your peril.
Since leaving Australia (after the first time I was there) I haven’t paid into a zoo once. I have been to one (it was free), but after seeing so many animals in the wild in Australia I’ve been against them ever since. What’s great about the wildlife though is the animals you’ll only find there – kangaroos, koala bears, kookaburras, emus, possums, wallabies, dingos...the list goes on.
8. The money
When I say money I mean the actual material it’s made out of. Unlike other currencies, Australian money is waterproof. That’s right – waterproof! So if you’re swimming down at Bondi and you think to yourself “Aw rats! I’ve left me money in my swimmers!” (Australian for ‘I’ve left my money in my swimming shorts’) fear not – the money will be in the same condition upon departure from the sea as upon entering.
Aussies are sports mad. It’s that simple. Whether it’s Aussie Rules football, cricket, rugby or horse racing, there’ll be somebody fanatical about it. What’s even better is that around the big events there’s a festival. If you’re down under for March then make your way to Melbourne for the Grand Prix. Make your way to the same city for the Melbourne Cup (horse racing) in November and for Grand Final Day in September. The weekend I had in Melbourne for the Grand Prix was one of the best I had during my year there.
10. The climate
I first arrived in Sydney on October 14th in the middle of Australia’s ‘spring’. It was already hitting temperatures of 25°C/77°F. Next was summer when temperatures soared before autumn arrived. In April, not far from the country’s winter, I was still visiting the beach. Then when winter arrived, what did I do? I travelled north and continued to experience temperatures of 30°C/85°F. So if you’re one who likes warm weather and the sunshine, which I do, then you’ll love Australia’s climate.
Have you been to Australia? What did you love about it?
Read more from the Australia Blog Roundtable
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