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Carol Rochlin

Palm Desert, California Travel Agent

Loving Australia from Coast to Coast

As an active, adventurous traveler and a lover of wildlife, I’m always finding something new to love in Australia. I’ve been an Aussie (Australia) Specialist since the 1990s as well as Kiwi (New Zealand) specialist.

Like most visitors, my love affair with Australia started in Sydney. It’s got a bit of everything from culture and haute cuisine to adventure, beach, and wildlife. One of my fondest memories is climbing the Sydney Bridge at sunset. You are strapped to a safety line so it isn’t scary and you can see the whole harbor and the Sydney Opera House. The Rocks, a historic area along the harbor, makes you feel like a local, especially on weekends, when an outdoor market fills the historic area with original art, crafts, food, and other vendors.

I adore zoos and the Taronga Zoo in Sydney is among the best. It’s a chance to see the fantastic variety of indigenous wildlife that has evolved in Australia: kangaroos, wallabies, koalas and more.

Nearby, the beautiful Blue Mountains and Hunter Valley wineries are close enough for day trips and great for overnights. Just north of Sydney are two lovely beach towns, Byron Bay and Noosa. My husband and I never go to Australia without a stay at The Byron. A welcoming couple runs it, and the atmosphere is very special. It has a spa, rainforest trail, picnics on its expansive lawn and a top-notch restaurant.

Like Sydney, Melbourne is a cultural center, with museums, an opera house and fun neighborhoods offering cutting-edge music, boutiques, artisan workshops and all kinds of dining. Melbourne takes pride in its sports teams, and you can feel the energy at soccer matches and other events. My most memorable Melbourne adventure was an hour-long motorcycle ride on the back of a Harley, crossing the bridges and around the city. Longer trips go outside the city. One of the most scenic drives, by car or motorcycle, is following the Great Ocean Road to 12 Apostles, towering rock stacks the rise up from the sea. The Mornington Peninsula wineries offer tastings, and the sight of hundreds of penguins waddling ashore at sunset to their burrows in the dunes at Phillip Island Nature Parks is unforgettable.

Farther off the tourist track, Tasmania has amazing wineries and national parks such as Cradle Mountain, with guided wildlife walks. Kangaroo Island, near Adelaide, has impressive concentrations of koalas, kangaroos, and other indigenous wildlife. And while the Great Barrier Reef is on most visitor lists, its high-end island resorts get you off the grid and into nature. 

A great way to see the spectacular Western Australia scenery is on a cruise. I sailed with Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic from Broome to Darwin. We went on hiking and in zodiacs and evenings brought lectures and dinner on the deck with dancing.

Australia keeps drawing me back. I love the people, the outdoor activities, and the pure adventure of it. I’d love to introduce you to the joys of Australia. What “Aussie” experiences call to you?