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10 Best Ways to Spend an Afternoon in Australia

Jun 12, 2008
Many travelers hope to visit Australia one day. But with so much territory to explore, how do you narrow down your itinerary? Check out the recommendations below to make the most of your time Down Under.

1) Take to the waves in Surfer's Paradise. The name says it all! If you're a surfer, you simply can't miss the beaches at Surfer's Paradise on the Gold Coast. Ride the perfect waves, catch some rays on the sand, or take a surfing lesson from some of the world's best teachers.

2) Eat your way through Tropical Fruit World. Housing the world's largest variety of tropical fruit, this New South Wales plantation is a food lover's dream. You can taste new fruits and fruit products, go on an orchard discovery walk, explore the grounds through a train safari, and so much more.

3) Sip some vino. Australian wine? The very thought would have raised eyebrows in the not-too-distant past, but Australian wines are well respected today. And luckily for wine aficionados, there are plenty of vineyards to explore. Some of the best include the Saltram Wine Estate in South Australia, Stringybark Winery in Western Australia, and Yering Farm Wines in Victoria.

4) Get up close and personal with a kangaroo. The Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park in Calga, New South Wales is a prime destination for those interested in native Australian animals, plants, and culture. Here you can choose from guided tours geared toward your interests--seeing kangaroos and koalas, discovering Aboriginal culture, or learning how to survive in the bush. Or you can go it alone to discover your own favorite things.

5) Hop a rollercoaster at Dreamworld. Kind of like the Australian equivalent of Disney World, Dreamworld (in Queensland) is Australia's most popular amusement park and offers thrills for all ages. Whether you live for wild rollercoasters or your kids are dying for a Wiggles fix, Dreamworld can keep you all occupied for several days.

6) Tour the Sydney Opera House. Even if you're not an opera buff, a visit to this quintessential Australian landmark is a must-do one afternoon. Tour guides will give you an insider's peek and the surprisingly moving story behind its creation, and you can even grab some lunch and a beer while you're there.

7) Immerse yourself in a rainforest village. In northern Queensland is the mountain retreat of Kuranda, where visitors can observe wildlife, learn about indigenous culture and art from Aboriginal residents, or go on a forest walk.

8) Dive the Great Barrier Reef. There are skilled companies all over Queensland ready to take you on the dive of your life. One of the top scuba destinations anywhere in the world, dive enthusiasts must make the time to explore this undersea phenomenon.

9) Hit the trail. Horse lovers can explore Tamborine Mountain in the Gold Coast hinterland on horseback. These trail rides are geared toward both first-timers and experts and take visitors through an ancient rainforest and towering gums.

10) Climb to new heights in a hot air balloon. One of the best ways to explore the scenic coasts and interior landscapes of Australia is from above. Hot air balloon rides are common in Queensland, and you can choose what kind of trip appeals to you: nature, romance, luxury, adventure, and more.
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