It looks like Australia is going to continue to top people’s bucket list of vacation spots. Tourism Australia recently released figures for yearly international visitors which hit a record 7.67 million for this past year, a year-over-year increase of 8.7%.
With almost 8 million kilometres of land, Australia is a treasure trove of desert, rainforest, coral reefs, mountains, islands, grasslands and cities. Unless you have weeks or months to spare, you are unlikely to fit it in all of Australia’s diversity in one trip which is why visitors to Australia usually pick one area to focus on while on holiday. In 2015, the east coast proved to be the most popular with tourists and it’s pretty easy to see why. If you can’t decide where in Oz to go, these five reasons to visit eastern Australia might help you make up your mind:
According to the Guinness Book of Records, the whitest sand in the world can be found at Hyams Beach. It’s kind of relaxing just to imagine all that fine white sand between your toes! Hyams Beach is the very definition of idyllic – the seaside town is dotted with cottages and old fashioned beach houses overlooking the Pacific. Snorkelling and diving are popular activities but Hyams Beach is also a great spot for wildlife watching due to its proximity to two national parks and a botanical garden. It’s not unusual to see whales, sharks, dolphins and octopus as well as native Australian birds and animals.
If you want to holiday like the stars, head to Byron Bay. Over the past few years, Byron Bay has become the go to vacation spot for Australian and international celebrities. Known as one of the East Coast’s quirkier and more alternative cities, Byron Bay is a popular resort for people attending music or film festivals, yoga retreats and even pagan gatherings. Surfing and whale watching are also popular tourist activities as well as visiting one of the Bay’s many regular farmer’s markets.
It may be the obvious choice but that’s no reason to leave it off our list. When in Sydney you will want to go to Bondi Beach and the Opera House and check out Sydney Harbour but you should try to fit in some of the attractions that lay off the beaten track too. King Street is the boho capital of Sydney and the place to go if you want to check out some local musicians, artists and designers. Similarly, Glebe Market, held every Saturday, is home to an array of alternative arts and crafts stalls and food sellers.
Staying in the Sydney area, the seaside town of Manly is another place not to miss when touring Eastern Australia. Adored by locals and tourists alike, Manly is renowned for its beaches and walking and cycling trails. Other attractions include a sea life sanctuary, a brewery, and for fans of Aussie T.V, A Home & Away themed bus tour company!
The Gold Coast
For many visitors, Gold Coast is the pièce de résistance on the east coast of Australia. Whether you have an adventurous side or prefer a more relaxed getaway, you will find something to keep you entertained in Gold Coast – rainforest skywalks, a glow-worm cave, wild life sanctuaries, theme parks, surfing, swimming, shopping, whale watching, paddle boarding, winery tours…..the list is endless. And to top it all off, Gold Coast comes with year round sunshine!
Going to Australia: What you Need To Know
Before you jet off on what we can only assume will be a holiday of a lifetime, there are a few things you need to know. Unless you hold a New Zealand passport, you will need a visa to travel to Australia as a tourist. The good news is that applying for an Australian Holiday Visa couldn’t be easier – most holiday visas are processed and issued within 24 hours. A visitor visa also allows the holder to visit Australia on multiple occasions within 12 months from the date of issuing for three months at a time.