Spend a Year in Australia *** By James Cave

Kangaroos in Australia's OutbackA year may sound like a long time, but when you’re exploring Australia’s vast and beautiful landscapes, it will seem like weeks! Before you book your flight to Australia, check out this overview of  the best things to see and do in the land down under.

Top 10 Things to See and Do in Australia

1. The Great Barrier Reef

With some of the best scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing, and underwater life in the world, a trip to the Great Barrier Reef is a must! Located on the northeast coast of Queensland, it is a world-class site for living coral, diving, dazzling white beaches and romantic, luxury island escapes.

2. Kuranda Range and the Outback

Take the train from Cairns and travel through the beautiful Kuranda Range, stopping at Barron Falls, Stoney Creek and Kuranda’s Rainforests. It then heads for the remote outback to the Chillagoe Caves, Mount Surprise, the Undara Lava Tube and ends at Cobbold Gorge. You can trek and horse ride and stay at one of the many Outback Stations where you’ll learn to steer cattle and shear sheep!

3. Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas)

Stunning Ayers Rock or Uluru (in the aboriginal Anangu language) is found in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. This enormous red rock, right in the heart of Australia, is one of the most photographed sights in the world and is home to the most breath-taking sunsets you’ll ever see.  There is beautiful local accommodation where you can sleep in simple luxury and dine under the stars.

4. Australia’s Wildlife and Marine Life

Kangaroo Island is great for seeing Australia’s unique wildlife in particular its national mascot the kangaroo as well as cuddly koalas, possums and wallabies. Meanwhile a visit to Seal Bay Conservation Park will give you a guided tour through packs of fat sea lions and fur seals. Another great wildlife spot is Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island. From July to November, if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of migrating humpback whales.

5. Australia’s National Parks

Considering it’s one of the driest continents in the world, Australia has a huge variety of national parks to choose from. Wildlife, World Heritage and Marine Parks each offer a unique insight into Australia gloriously diverse habitats. Don’t miss Shark Bay on the west coast for sightings of the toothy mammals or Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory. Finally, see the Blue Mountain range in New South Wales for views of mesmerizingly deep gorges and wild bush landscapes.

6. Tasmania

Tasmania, or Tassie as it’s more fondly known, is an island off the southeast coast of the Australia. It is most famous for being the home of the Tasmanian Devil; a foraging little creature with a deafeningly loud screeching growl. Cuddlier wildlife also lives on Tasmania including wallabies, koalas and wombats. Choose from lacing up your walking boots and to trek the wilds or winding your way through the Tamar Valley vineyards, tasting as you go!

7. Australia’s Wine Regions

In Western Australia, Margaret River and Great Southern are the two main wine regions. Margaret River’s location offers fantastic grape-growing conditions and also awesome waves; known as a mecca for surfers, they travel there from all over the country to catch the biggest waves. For Riesling lovers, the Great Southern on the east coast of Western Australia is the place to go.

8. Great Ocean Road

This is the ultimate road trip along Australia’s southeast coast. The Great Ocean Road as it is known was built by servicemen as a memorial to their fellow servicemen who were killed in World War I. The road winds along Australia’s coastal mountains giving way to ocean views so stunning, they will take your breath away.

9. Working in Australia

If you want to do more than sight-see, you will find there is a large choice of work available in Australia – from nursing to fruit picking. Some agencies in the UK can even set you up with work before you travel. Au pairing, teaching English, ski instructing and work in the hospitality industry are all great ways to earn extra cash for your travels. Word of mouth from people you meet is a great way to find jobs.

10. Volunteering in Australia

This is a very rewarding experience and one looked upon favorably by future employers. You can teach English to children or adults, take part in wildlife conservation – whether in rainforests or coastal regions, assist local communities with various projects from building to education, health and cultural development and even gain a work experience placement in journalism or law.

James is a freelance writer and scribe based in London, UK. When not traveling he maintains travel news site, PRnewshub.co.uk.

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