Somehow, we always decide to visit other countries before exploring our own. I’m not an exception. It took the lack of money when I was between jobs to seek solace and comfort in Australia. The people I met on my travels through Europe and Asia were all thrilled to hear about Australia, and they fondly considered it one of the destinations to visit. So, when I left my job and was searching for a new one without any luck, I decided to meet my country for real. Since my savings were scarce and I expected a call from some future employer, I made a plan to see as much as I could by going on single-day trips. Therefore, foreigners or Aussies, here’s my list of the most special places that gave me 24-hour adventures I will never forget.
One of the best pieces of advice I got was to be a tourist in my own city. Sydney is a city rich in culture and tradition, but at the same time it offers new and exciting things. Even though I’d visited some sights before, I never really experienced them until I posed as a tourist and went on a tour. Probably the biggest impression was left by the Royal Botanic Garden.
In all my twenty-something years I’d never visited that place and the moment we stepped through the entrance, I understood what a grave mistake that was. My favourite part was visiting the main Ponds and Oriental Garden, but the whole garden seems surreal standing there right among the tall skyscrapers and city rush hour.
2. Penguin Island
I had to be resourceful if I wanted to see the key places in Australia. Since I had a friend in Perth, I decided to pop in for a visit and go see Penguin Island while there. We drove there, since it’s about an hour or so away from Perth, bought tickets on the spot. Prepare for quite a crowd if you go on Saturday as we did.
Feeding the penguins is prohibited, and you have to look carefully to spot some since they’re usually close to the beach in the more secluded spots. Make sure to bring a bathing suit since after you see the penguins and other wildlife, you can relax on the beach and take a dip or two.
3. Blue Mountains
I’m not that much of a fan of hiking, but my mum is. So, she thought that my resolution to see Australia was the perfect opportunity for her to tag along and make me go on a hiking expedition. I let her choose the spot, and she decided we should take one of the guided walking tours of the Blue Mountains.
I have to admit that I had quite a fear of heights since we went to see the Three Sisters at Echo Point. According to Aboriginal legend, the three formations are actually three sisters turned to stone. The view is breathtaking, but make sure you don’t forget your sunglasses like I did so that you can observe the view without squinting.
4. Great Ocean Road
You know in the movies when people get in the car and go on a road trip? Well, my friends and I decided to have a 24-hour adventure on the Great Ocean Road. We actually had a more enthusiastic idea to attend the marathon on its 45-km-long section, but the road trip quickly replaced that thought.
The best part of the trip was visiting several beaches and enjoying the time there with barely anyone else but us. In addition, food along the coastline is great, so don’t be shy to stop at one of the restaurants. However, they can be a bit pricier than expected, since this is also a famous tourist destination, but I promise it’s the money well spent. If you’re lucky enough, you might see some wild koalas. Unfortunately, we only saw a kangaroo, and it was well in the distance minding its business.
5. Yarra Valley Wine and Winery Tour
Since wine tourism has become very popular in Australia in the last decade, I decided to give it a try. This time I also took my mom with me and a friend who’s an avid wine lover. I can’t say that I know much about wine, but I usually judge it by the sweetness and smell. However, this single-day tour seemed like something relaxing and fun for just us girls to do.
The tour starts from Melbourne and goes to the Yarra Valley with wine tastings at the best four wineries in the area. The price includes lunch at one winery, and you can also buy some to take home. But even wine tasting can be quite intoxicating, so make sure you have a hearty meal before the trip.
There are more places I visited and even more I didn’t, which I hope I’ll do sometime in the future. The point is that if you didn’t have a chance to travel around your country, then at least find time to do it for one day. It’ll positively surprise you, I promise, and you’ll find things you didn’t know existed or could be so beautiful.
— Uncharted101.com (@Uncharted1o1) February 28, 2018