If you're planning a trip down under, try to visit some or all of these outstanding attractions.
This, the largest sand island on the planet became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1992. Lush rainforests, impressive sand cliffs and memorable freshwater lakes leave a lasting impression on the thousands who visit the island each year. Apart from its long beaches of white, glistening sand, Fraser Island also draws people hoping to catch a glimpse of its famous dingo population. The island covers over four hundred acres and lies of the east coast of Australia within the jurisdiction of Queensland. Some visitors opt to take day trips, but most choose to spend a night or two on the island. One of the more unusual tourist attractions is ship that ran aground during the cyclone of 1935.
SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE
Known locally as 'The Coat-hanger', Sydney Harbour Bridge is instantly recognisable to many people around the world. Of the 1,400 men who constructed the bridge, 16 were killed before completion in 1932. The braver amongst you can do the 'Bridge-climb', an escorted walk to the top. As you ascend, the cars below become smaller and smaller. 'The Rocks', regarded as Sydney's birthplace, is situated at the foot of the bridge. Today it is bustling with restaurants, shops, galleries and cafes, a far cry from the scene which would have met those arriving from Plymouth in 1788.
GREAT BARRIER REEF
Another UNESCO World Heritage site, The Great Barrier Reef is probably the most well known protected marine site in the world. It covers a staggering 86 million acres along the coast of North East Australia. At 1,429 miles long, the reef is home to 1,500 species of fish. Its area is actually larger than the combined size of Tasmania and Victoria. Apart from the natural beauty found here, there are 30 shipwrecks which are regarded as being of historical significance.
SCENIC WORLD BLUE MOUNTAINS
The Jamison Valley is home to the steepest railway journey in the world. In the valley floor, you'll find over two kilometres of boardwalk through woodland and rain forest. You can return via the scenic cable car, which incidentally, is the steepest cable car journey in the southern hemisphere, and if that's not enough, you can journey across the valley in the only switching, glass floored cable car in the world and enjoy views of the valley, Katoomba Falls and the famous Three Sisters rock formation.
KAKADU NATIONAL PARK
Rock paintings and archaeological sites are testament to 40,000 years of continuous habitation. The Kakadu National Park, a World Heritage site, covers almost five million acres in Australia's Northern Territory. Today, around 300 Aboriginals live amongst the savannah woodlands and tidal wetlands.
SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE
Since its opening in 1973, The Sydney Opera House has been an Australian icon. Danish architect, Jorn Utzon, created one of the twentieth century's greatest edifices. Standing on the Bennelong Point, the building receives more than four and a half million visitors each year. Tours including backstage and front of house are available.
Formerly a timber station, Port Arthur became one of the most notorious penal colonies in Australia. Regarded as 'Hell on Earth, the prison housed inmates as young as nine. The life of the prison stretched from 1833 to 1877 when it was renamed Carnarvon in an attempt to shake off its murky history. However, in 1927, it regained its title of Port Arthur. These days, the prison doors are passable in both directions, with guided tours and harbour cruises available.
ULURU-KATA TJUTA NATIONAL PARK
Uluru, formerly known as Ayres Rock, stretches over 2 miles in the otherwise anonymous scrubland of the park. At 1,142 feet high, it is the largest rock monolith in the world. Uluru is revered amongst the Aboriginal people who believe its origins date back to the creation of the Earth.
AMP TOWER CENTREPOINT
At just over 1,000 feet high, the Sydney Tower is the highest building in the city. Spectacular views across the harbour are afforded from the observation deck and the revolving restaurant.
NATIONAL GALLERY OF AUSTRALIA
Many of Australia's finest art collections are housed in the National Gallery. A permanent collection of more than 100,000 works shares the building with international art and photography exhibitions.