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Australian Vacation, Sydney to Darwin

Updated on December 13, 2014

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.

Asian Photo Gallery...

Map of Australia - Map of Sydney, Red Centre (Uluru and Alice Springs) and Darwin, Australia

show route and directions
A markerSydney, Australia -
Sydney, Australia
get directions

B markerDarwin, Australia -
Darwin, Australia
get directions

C markerAlice Springs, Australia -
Alice Springs, Australia
get directions

D markerUluru, Australia -
Uluru, Australia
get directions


Sydney Opera House from Taronga Zoo
Sydney Opera House from Taronga Zoo

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
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.

Uluro (AyresRock)

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.


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.


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    • Andy-Po profile image

      Andy 3 years ago from London, England

      @poemsthatdance: I really enjoyed Darwin. It was hot and humid, but the wildlife and scenery were just amazing. A huge contrast to Sydney and The Red Centre etc. Fantastic to be able to do all three contrasting destinations in one fairly short trip.

    • poemsthatdance profile image

      Maria Grujicic 3 years ago from Darwin, Australia

      Hi! Thanks for the info on Sydney- I've been twice, and didn't go to the zoo! I must visit the next opportunity I get. How did you find Darwin?

    • ftuley lm profile image

      ftuley lm 6 years ago

      My son has been to Australia a few time, he loved it there. I would like to go, but not sure I would like to take such a long flight from England.

      Great lens! Enjoyed it.


    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      @Aladdins Cave: For an up to date Sydney weather forecast check out: they even have an interactive map on the homepage:

    • Aladdins Cave profile image

      Aladdins Cave 8 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      G'day, mate! Because I'm a new Squid, I'm looking at all the Travel type Len's to help me improve my own Lens. "From Australia to Germany in 4x4" You have given me some good idea's. I really like the weather forecast for Sydney. I have given you 5 Stars great Lens

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

      I've always wanted to go to Australia. I will--someday

      Great lens


    • Andy-Po profile image

      Andy 8 years ago from London, England

      Hi Susie,

      Thanks very much. My two Purple Star lenses were: "The Rain Forests of Borneo" one and The "Le Mans 24 Hour Race":


      [in reply to Tipi]

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Well, I found a lens I hadn't visited yet! This is wonderful. I had it on my heart to visit Australia at one time, but it never happened. I glad that you shared your adventures there. Once again an excellent lens and great pictures AndyPo! ---- I see that you have a Purple Star Award on a lens...let me know which one because I'd like to see it. :)


    • profile image

      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      That is one scary picture of the crocodile! The koala bear is so adorable. An enticing place to visit!

    • profile image

      Vacation-In-My-Head 8 years ago

      Another great lens with beautiful pictures. I would love to travel to Australia someday, I think it is a very beautiful place.

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 8 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Another great lens. One of these days before I dies I would love to go to Australia.

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 8 years ago

      Another great lens by you. I love the photos. Hope to visit one day!

    • rebeccahiatt profile image

      rebeccahiatt 8 years ago

      Great photos, would love to go to Australia

    • sittonbull profile image

      sittonbull 8 years ago

      Great Lens! Love the Aussies... Went to Sydney on R&R in '70 and back again in '06. I've been to Taronga zoo and loved it and Sydney! My son made the trip to the outback and Ayers Rock. Fascinating country and wonderful people! 5*s

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 9 years ago

      A trip to Australia is on my bucket list. I've always wanted to go there. Someday...

      Great lens


    • AlisonMeacham profile image

      AlisonMeacham 9 years ago

      I would love to visit Australia one day. Fabulous photos as always Andy

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 9 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Really nice photos Andy. I've been to Taronga Zoo too and petted the Koalas, aren't they amazingly soft, Kangaroos are too. Flew over Ayers Rock, but didn't manage to get there. One day I hope... 5***** for a lovely lens.

    • Andy-Po profile image

      Andy 9 years ago from London, England

      Yes, the crocodile really was that close (and as big as the boat that we were in)

    • profile image

      beachbum_gabby 9 years ago

      I'm in love with Australia. It's such a wonderful place.

    • heehaw lm profile image

      heehaw lm 9 years ago

      wow i love most is your photos Andy , was the crocodile that close to you?

    • debnet profile image

      Debbie 9 years ago from England

      The giraffe picture is just wonderful! Great stuff Andy :)

    • nightbear lm profile image

      nightbear lm 9 years ago

      I love your beautiful lens. Gorgeous pictures.

    • Rich-H profile image

      Rich 9 years ago from Surrey, United Kingdom

      I've a cousin in Australia, close to Sydney. One of these days I'll get to visit. Lovely pictures and a great lens.

    • WhiteOak50 profile image

      WhiteOak50 9 years ago

      I am a huge fan of your photography. I really enjoy visiting your lenses because of the pictures, they sort of take you on a voyage and you do not even have to leave your home. Great Share.

    • SylvianeNuccio1 profile image

      SylvianeNuccio1 9 years ago

      Another beautiful lens. I love your pictures, very unique.

    • profile image

      Mayflowerblood 9 years ago

      Taronga Zoo would be cool to visit!

    • Wendy L Henderson profile image

      Wendy Henderson 9 years ago from PA

      Those Giraffes are beautiful.

    • anthropos lm profile image

      Lamar Ross 9 years ago from Florida

      I love the giraffe shot. Thanks for joining ”Anything and Everything Travel” Group. We look forward to seeing your other travel related lenses in our group. Keep up the good work. For a categorized list of my travel lenses and other lenses see my Lensography..

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 9 years ago

      Cute crocodile! Welcome to All Things Travel.