Special places to see in Australia

This region is known nationally and internationally for its big, opulent reds, especially Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignons, but it also produces some well known Semillons and Chardonnays. The Barossa's wine growing traditions date back to the 1840's when German and Lutheran immigrants planted vine cutting they had brought from Europe  most notably Syrah from France's Rhone Valley. These same vines may now be some of the world's oldest having survived the diseases which decimated large swathes of Europe's vineyards in the late 19th century. These gnarled and ancient vines now only produce tiny bunches of fruit, but it's their age that gives these Syrah (Shiraz) wines their famous highly concentrated, palate drenching flavours.

Grenache grapes from vines of a similar period are also grown with the other red grapes on the dry, clay valley floor; while in the cooler regions at the foothills of the surrounding mountains some of Australia's best Rieslings develop. Some of the biggest names in Australian wine have their major wineries here including Penfolds (and the most famous of Australian wines, the Penfolds Grange), Yalumba, Peter Lehmann, Orlando,(Jacob's Creek) and Wolf Blass along with more than 70 other smaller wine producers; but many of these wineries now ship in grapes from other parts of the country as the vineyards here are prized for their low but quality yields. The region itself has retained the look of it's early German and Lutheran settlers, and as well as the vine-lined plains there are pretty European looking villages with Lutheran many spired churches. There are over 60 cellar doors popping up amongst the vines which line the valley floor offering tastings to visitors, most which are free or quite cheap.

Cable Beach

The 22 km of sand of Cable Beach that stretches past Broome will be recognisable to you from photos advertising Australia. This is where you can ride a camel along pristine white sand sandwiched between bright blue ocean and red desert. For desk-bound beach fans try the ultimate dreaming tool—the Cable Beach webcam

New Parliament House

Recently I travelled to Australia's capital to visit a long time mate and confidante who I regularly communicate with. With my new-found passion for photography, and motto of ‘capturing moments in time’, I set out to visit two very important icons that are tourism and informational gems of Canberr

Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is appropriately described by superlatives. It's the largest organic structure ever created on the planet. At 1250 miles long, it's easily viewed from outer space, and its broad frontiers encompass one of the world’s most diverse marine ecosystems.
The reef is as diverse as it is grand and any attempt to summarise its vast diversity and wealth wouldn't do it justice. Because of its distance from shore, it is difficult, but not impossible for independent travellers to access the Great Barrier Reef.

Hunter Valley

At less than 2 hours drive from Sydney the Hunter Valley has become one of Australia's most visited wine regions. It is also one of the oldest. The buttery Chardonnays and well aging Semillons are the regions most successful wines, and as for reds the region seems to produce big tannin heavy Shirazes.


Made famous by ‘Crocodile Dundee’, Kakadu National Park is one of the best places to visit to see Australia’s varied wildlife. Some of the park's most famous inhabitants are the crocodiles and water buffalo, though kangaroos, wallabies, possums, bats, kookaburras, goannas

Although the forests of Mt Field are a pocket of old growth in an area of heavy logging, its beauty is remarkable. In a short drive you travel from incredible old growth swamp gum forest(the tallest flowering plant in the world) and massive tree ferns into rainforest dominated by species found no where else like pencil, king billy and celery-top pine and then into a scree slope dominated by snow gum and tanglefoot—Australia's only winter deciduous tree, a remnant of the Gondwanda super continent of more than 60 million years ago.

Animals include the eastern quoll, a small and active carnivore, and the eastern barred bandicoot. The last Tasmanian tiger, thylacinus cynocephalus, to be seen in the Hobart zoo  was trapped in the nearby Florentine Valley in 1933. A great introductory walk is to drive to the end of the road, walk up through the small Mount Mawson ski village and then out past the ski tows to Tarn Shelf, an area of alpine lakes and deciduous beech.

The Overland Track

The Overland Track is Australia's most famous multi-day trek, offering a magnificent traverse of the world heritage wilderness. The 70 km track winds its way through a sub-alpine landscape of soaring dolerite peaks, glacial lakes, heathland, tall forests and waterfalls

Margaret River's surf

Three and a half hour drive south of Perth, Margaret River is a left hander for big wave surfers only with the point/reef break getting to 20 ft high. There is no continental shelf and you can surf a long way out to sea, so surf with a friend. Surfers need wetsuits and big wave boards. 

This museum is a tribute to human creativity in design and innovation in technology. From the oldest surviving steam engine in world  to multiple light aircrafts and parts of a space shuttle, to history of the computer and a celebration of over 300 years of the best in decorative arts and design, and cinema screen from the 30's showing films—including news reels—of the era, this museum has a mind expanding collection of the best human minds can come up with. It also always has the best in travelling exhibitions and is the kind of place you can either duck into for a quick look though or spend all day picking over the contents of.

This has been my favourite museum for as long as I can remember because there's things to touch and buttons to push that are more interesting and less patronising than what most museums expect children to enjoy (in fact I think my Dad enjoyed—and learned as much from—pressing the buttons as much as I did). This is a place teaching you how things work and empowers you with the knowledge that people came up with technology and design—it was all our idea—how cool is that!

One of the worlds oldest working clocks (it's huge ornate and gilded, you won't miss it) is just inside the foyer and there is a regular presentation about it which is particularly interesting considering it's in the foyer so you don't have to pay the entry fee to enjoy it. You can see all the moving parts and get a good understanding about how clocks came about—getting some perspective about technology which we take for granted always inspires me regarding the human race. Practically the Powerhouse is on the edge of Sydneyby Darling Harbour, accessible by the small and overpriced (but still fun) monorail and across the road from one of Sydney's best pie and mash cafes (after Harry's Caffe Wheels of course).


While thousands of people visit the Daintree, in far North Queensland, you can still escape from it all and experience the ancient sense of this place. Famously known as the place where 'the rainforest meets the reef', it is home to one of the largest range of animals and plants on earth.

Snorkeling around and under Lizard Island

Not usually a coral enthusiast, I usually prefer meeting large fishes when I‘m snorkeling. I have to say that I was overwhelmed by the colourful and hugely varied array of coral to be found around Lizard Island on its fringed reef lagoon and outer reefs.

Surf Snapper Rocks (Superbank)

Nicknamed Superbank, this is a point/beach break wave with a sandy bottom. It can link through Greenmount beach, possibly Australia’s best beach break wave (very crowded), which has a right-hand wave and is strictly for advanced surfers only. Good all year round with best surfing on waves up to 6 ft

Sydney Opera House

Significantly more graceful and elegant than the rest of Sydney, the Opera House is beautiful from all angles, and worth looking at from all angles as well. Coming into Circular Quay on the ferry shows the Opera House off to its best. Its custom built tiles have an iridescent look in the morning and evening light

Whale Sharks of Ningaloo Reef

Swim in clear, warm waters with the majestic, gentle giant, the Whale Shark. The Ningaloo Reef is one of the few places in the world where Whale Sharks regularly visit in large numbers.

Cave diving under the Nullarbor Plain

90 m under the sun-scorched red dust of the Nullarbor lie some of the world’s largest underground cave systems, spreading mile-after-mile of cold cavernous darkness. These caves have been formed over thousands of years, out of the limestone that lies under the plain

Glow Worm Caves

Located in the caves of Queensland's National Parks, hide thousands of nature’s most unusual if not beautiful creatures; the glow worm. The glow worm's spectacular ability to produce strings of glowing pearls is used as a creative way to attract prey.

Great Barrier Reef

Diving for me is a magical experience and diving the Great Barrier Reef was the one of the finest and exotic dives that I’ll never forget.

Whitehaven Beach

In the competition for the best beach, Whitehaven on Whitsunday Island, has been regularly bandied about. Whitehaven Beach supporters cite the sand, which is pure white silica and very bright in the warm sun, set against 7 kms of clear waters which naturally appear a stunning shade of blue.

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