- Travel and Places
Australian Vacation, Sydney to Darwin
Australian Vacation: Sydney, Ayres Rock and Darwin
Australia's unique flora, fauna and landscapes make it a fantastic destination for any wildlife and nature enthusiast, whether you are a keen hiker or just enjoy driving while viewing beautiful scenery. For people with less interest in nature and the outdoors there is also the culture of the major cities, aborigine art and culture and the beaches or diving.
This article is about the vertical route through Australia, going north from Sydney to Darwin via the Red Centre; travel tips, advice and recommendations about where to go and stay, things to see and some photographs.
Route: Sydney, fly to Alice Springs, drive to Uluru (Ayres Rock) in the "Red Centre" and fly to Darwin for a bit of crocodile spotting in Kakadu.
Map of Australia - Map of Sydney, Red Centre (Uluru and Alice Springs) and Darwin, Australia
Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House, view from the giraffe enclosure at Taronga Zoo.
Sydney is a fairly large city; the largest in Australia, with about 4.4 million inhabitants. It is the state capital of New South Wales and has a lot of history, being the site of the original British colony in Australia. The city is built around Port Jackson and Sydney Harbour, hence the city's nickname of "Harbour City". The two most striking features of the harbour are The Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.
Sydney has a lot of things to do from the tourist favourites, such as walking the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Taronga Zoo to the cultural experience of attending a performance at the Sydney Opera House.
The Bridge Climb takes over 3 hours, but it is possible to get a good view from the towers, rather than doing the full climb.
The Rocks is a suburb of Sydney on the southern shore of the harbour, very near the city centre. This is an historic suburb, first settled in 1788 and is now predominantly a tourist area. This is a good place to go for souvenir shopping etc.
Other things to do in the area: Historic forts along the shores of Sydney Harbour; Watson Bay; Sydney Tower; Darling Harbour; Kings Cross (the red light district);
Taronga Zoo, Sydney
Taronga Zoo is one of the best zoos in the world and is a great introduction to the Australian wildlife, although it is always better to see these wonderful creatures in the wild if possible.
Taronga Zoo is situated in Sydney, New South Wales, in a suburb called Mosman, on the shores of the Sydney Harbour. It is a large zoo with 2,600 animals and has been on this site since 1884.
It is worth visiting the zoo just for the view of Sydney.
Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House from across the water at night
Uluru (AyresRock) - The Red Centre, Australian Outback
Ayres Rock is now usually referred to as Uluru which was the original Aborigine name for this sacred site. The massive lump of rock sticks out of the landscape in a most photogenic manner, especially at sunrise and sunset. It seems traditional to stop for a sundowner to watch the sunset as the colours change across the surface. It is possible to climb the rock, although the Aborigines elders would rather tourists didn't do this. It is also quite dangerous and the view is better from the ground level.
Books about Uluru
It is possible to fly into the small airports at Ayres Rock and Alice Springs and hire a car, or fly into one and drive through the outback to the other. It is best to rent a four-wheel-drive car if you intend to go on the smaller roads in the outback, although these roads are difficult to drive on and there are a lot of injuries and deaths from 4x4s turning over. Drive slowly and carefully and take plenty of water, just in case.
Souvenirs from Australia
Kakadu, in the north of Australia, is an area of natural beauty, where you can see the wonderful wildlife of this amazing country, such as the enormous crocodiles.
The city of Darwin is the usual starting point for a trip into Kakadu. There isn't a huge amount for the tourist to do there, apart from the city museum, which displays some of the wildlife (stuffed) but is mostly concentrated on the great storm that destroyed the city. The weather in Darwin is constantly hot all year round, at about 35 Celcius.