Ok, so I haven’t travelled all of Australia. I’ve seen a tiny piece of Victoria and Tasmania. Nevertheless aside from the fact that Australia was recently named the world’s happiest nation by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, I’ve got some compelling reasons as to why you should visit Australia too.
Melbourne is the capital of Victoria and the fashion, cultural, arts, and sporting capital of Australia. In August 2011, the Economist Intelligent Unit named Melbourne the most livable city in the world and it’s not the first time. Second in UNESCO’s City of Literature program, Melbourne is home to many cultural and multicultural festivals, fine dining, shopping, and is sports mad. It may not be the most beautiful city in the world or have a distinctive landmark such as Sydney’s Opera House or Harbour Bridge, but it is a terrific city and one worth spending time in.
Aussies love and hate its controversial design and it was named one of the world’s ugliest buildings by Virtual Tourist, but Federation Square is Victoria’s second most popular tourist attraction. Don’t let the hordes of tourists (and locals) detract you though. Fed Square is an incredible civic and cultural center housing impressive galleries, interesting shopping, and dining. It also hosts many events such as book markets, wine showcasing, and multicultural festivals. Fed Square is along the Yarra River and there are lovely views from the rear side of the building. It is a lively spot, one of my favorite places in the city and I plan to spend a lot more time there when I get back to Melbourne.
I can’t say enough about the beauty and splendour of driving the Great Ocean Road along the Shipwreck Coast, but there’s nothing I can say to capture it either. It’s a place that must be seen and experienced first hand.
Due to continent’s long geographic isolation, more than 80% of the mammals, reptiles, fish, insects and amphibians that inhabit it are unique to Australia. Kangaroos and koalas are well known, but Australia has much more to its fauna including some of the most interesting animals in the world. The platypus, a venomous, egg-laying, duck-billed, amphibious mammal, is considered one of the strangest animals in the world. It was thought to be a hoax when it was first encountered by European naturalists. You may see some of Australia’s famous animals in zoos, but others, such as the endangered Tasmanian devil, you’ll never see out of Australia.
Hey, look at that! Tasmania is a real place! And it’s beautiful. Traveling from Victoria is as easy as an overnight ferry trip on the Spirit of Tasmania or short flight. It’s worth it. Spend the day driving off the main highway to see Tasmania’s green rolling hills and coastline. See the beautiful capital city of Hobart and shop at Salamanca Market on Sunday. Visit the picturesque and haunting convict settlement of Port Arthur and meet some kangaroos and Tasmanian devils at the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary.
There are other great reasons to visit Australia: Sydney, Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef, great food, great people. I’m convinced!