I’ll soon be flying out of Australia and heading back home to Europe. I had a year in paradise. That’s what it felt like, anyway, from the moment I first landed in warm and sunny Sydney. I checked into my apartment in The Rocks, Sydney’s historic district, located just minutes from the harbour. I spent my mornings enjoying coffee at a little café just around the corner from Circular Quay and my afternoons exploring the city. There’s so much to do in Sydney, from surfing off Bondi to the multitude of museums, that even after my time was up there, my appetite for the city was not sated.
My next stop was Cairns. The city itself is warm and tropical, but the reef beckoned to me. The Great Barrier Reef is magical, everything I’d heard it was and more. Snorkelling gave me an opportunity to get closer than I ever thought possible to anemones, rainbow-coloured parrotfish, spaghetti corals and more. The reef is the world’s largest and most magnificent living organism, and it can be enjoyed from a glass-bottomed boat, on guided tours or scenic helicopter rides, or by diving or sailing.
After Cairns, I spent some time in Darwin. Darwin is the capital of the Northern Territory, a laid-back multicultural city rich in history with a vibrant outdoor lifestyle. Darwin is right on the doorstep of Kakadu National Park. Kakadu is the size of Slovenia and is filled with ancient rock art, diverse plants and animals, and beautiful natural landforms. After that, I enjoyed a short trip to the Kimberley, Western Australia, rugged outback that offers untamed wilderness and steep gorges ripe for exploration. After relaxing a bit in Broome, I was off to Alice Springs.
Alice Springs has been featured in movies and songs, but the town has a lot more to offer than links to pop culture. Steep mountain ranges, picturesque palm trees, historic buildings and plenty of art galleries mean that there is always something going on. From Alice Springs I headed to Uluru, where I was able to commune with Aboriginal guides and learn about the Dreaming, the creation myths surrounding this area, and from there to Flinders Ranges.
I then headed on to Adelaide, the city of churches. Adelaide is home to Kangaroo Island, the Barossa, plenty of shopping and a thrilling after-dark scene. The Great Ocean Road, a war memorial built by returning soldiers, took me to Melbourne. The road sits along the coastline, and I was able to stop at my leisure and explore deserted beaches, quiet towns and the Twelve Apostles. Melbourne is commonly called the Cultural Capital of the country. Filled to the brim with galleries, shops and exotic dining experiences, I was able to try just a little bit of everything before heading off to Sydney again.