Australia, with its expansive coastlines, fascinating wildlife, breathtaking landscapes and rugged outback, is essentially synonymous with adventure.
“For westerners especially, I think it's similar enough to be within a comfort zone, but wild and magical and ‘massive’ enough to feel you're on an adventure,” says Christel A. Shea, managing director of Tour Matters. She previously spent three months in Sydney and its surrounding areas.
It’s true; this truly thrilling destination is much more than surfing, koala bears and Aussie accents. As many of the adventure-seekers who’ve been lucky enough to explore Australia (or “Oz” as some seasoned travelers like to call it) will tell you, the list of exciting expeditions you can embark on here is seemingly endless.
“It’s a multi-sport paradise where kayaking the Franklin River, mountain biking in the Elders or Flinder's Range, or hiking a trail to a remote beach on Kangaroo Island provide an experience so magical, it would have Dorothy trading in her ruby slippers for a backpack and hiking boots,” Gene Taylor of The Walking Connection says of the southern region alone.
Of course, there are many more adventures waiting to be found all across the continent. Here are just a few of the reasons you should absolutely add Australia to the top of your travel bucket list.
What’s Taylor’s number one reason to explore this continent’s expansive wilderness? The animals, of course. “It's the only place on Earth where you can hike and unexpectedly come eye-to-eye with a kangaroo,” he said. “I was walking the boardwalk along Dove Lake which, sits at the bottom of Cradle Mountain in Tasmania. I literally bumped into an Eastern Grey joey. We both froze, stared at each other for a few seconds, and then to my surprise, each went about our business. Him, munching on some low lying shrubs, and me, taking a few pictures and continuing my walk along this 6.2-mile path.”
Snake Lagoon on Kangaroo Island
(Photo Credit: The Walking Connection)
Yes, the main draw of this appropriately named island is, of course, the kangaroos (Taylor says they’re “everywhere”), but a trek along the Snake Lagoon path will eventually lead to exceptional ocean views. “A hike along the Snake Lagoon path to a spectacular remote ocean beach is spectacular,” Taylor said. “The trail winds along steep valley walls toward the beach. A sign on the trail warns of the potential for a freak wave that could emerge from the Southern Ocean and would leave you no means of escape. No matter, you continue hiking past the unusual lichen-covered rock formations and cave-like stalactites that line the hanging cliffs above toward a magical beach that you and a very few others will ever see. This is one of the more remote destinations on Earth and worth the three mile one-way hike to experience.”