Australia beyond Sydney

There are gold medal adventures all over this continent.
By Luba Vangelova
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The sunny, leisure-oriented "Olympic City," as boosters now refer to it, sometimes feels like a holiday destination even to its residents. It's easy to spend an entire vacation sampling Sydney's many beaches, parks, and numerous attractions (don't miss the Bridge Walk). But this sprawling metropolis is merely a gateway to a huge and varied island continent. Australia's size and diversity can intimidate first-time visitors, not least because its star attractions—Sydney, the Great Barrier Reef, and the central outback—are so far apart. Besides, these three destinations offer only a taste of the adventures that await more adventuresome travelers. So relax (this is the land of "no worries," remember?) and accept that you won't fit everything into one trip. Herewith, suggestions for some of the worthiest places—and adventures— for a Down Under detour.

Great Ocean Road, Victoria
From its starting point in Torquay, southwest of Melbourne, this road snakes along Australia's southern coast for some 200 miles until Warrnambool, where it joins a major highway. Often hugging the coastline, the Great Ocean Road meanders past surfing beaches, diving centers, and old whaling ports, as well as dramatic cliffs and rock formations (the most famous of which are the Twelve Apostles in Port Campbell National Park). In rainforest-covered Cape Otway, motorists can stop and explore bushwalking trails and waterfalls.
Outback Camel Safari, Northern Territory
They may not be the best-behaved or most comfortable mode of transport going, but camels will certainly give you a different perspective on the outback and how its early settlers often traveled around these parts. Camel trips range from a few minutes around a paddock to days-long safaris through remote, unpopulated expanses of sand and scrub. Several camel farms are based near Alice Springs; one of them, the Frontier Camel Farm, also houses an informative little museum on these "ships of the desert."

The Vineyards of Barossa Valley, South Australia
One of Australia's major wine-producing areas, this gently sloping valley in the south lies only about thirty miles outside Adelaide. It was settled in 1842 by German immigrants and still retains a European feel, as evidenced by its many old village churches. To really appreciate the area, detour off the main road, either on an organized day trip from Adelaide or on a self-guided tour of the wineries. You'll no doubt want to sample some of the world-class wines, and perhaps stay overnight at one of the friendly bed & breakfasts. Mopeds and bicycles can also be rented in Tanunda and elsewhere in the valley.

Published: 5 Oct 2000 | Last Updated: 14 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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