Relovetotravel’s Blog

A place for travel lovers to swap stories and inspire..

One of my travel articles on Australia (Published: Herald AM 21st October 2008)

Australia – a world of opportunity and adventure

Collette Devlin discovers that once you start to travel you will never want to stop, in fact you if you are lucky enough you may end up living in a country you have always dreamed about.

I have officially caught the travel bug! I recently returned from a year of travelling the world, yet I still feel like I have so much more to see. In my experience there is something wonderfully liberating about being an independent globe-trotter; facing the many challenges that come your way, learning about new cultures and somehow becoming fearless and trying things that you would never do at home -Skydiving out of planes to name but one!

I can say without a doubt (most backpackers will agree) that Australia was the most amazing place I travelled around. Over 13 thousand Irish people go to Australia on a working holiday visa each year and it is now possible to gain an extra year on a working visa or even migrate to this wonderful country.

The Australian government will grant you a second year-long visa if you spend three months fruit-picking or working in construction in certain regions, within your first year in the country. Australia is also experiencing its greatest skill shortage ever, so there are plenty of jobs in hospitality, construction, sales, administration and finance up for grabs and plenty of specialised recruitment agencies who will help you secure these jobs as well as guiding you through migration process.

The low-down on down under

Australia may be the world’s smallest continent but it is the sixth-largest country covering an area of 7.7 million square kilometres that comprises of six states and two territories; Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics the population of the country now stands at 21,458,164 – relatively small for a country of its size. Approximately 65 percent of the population live in the capital cities with the remainder living mainly in coastal areas or in medium to small rural towns. Although the climate varies from tropical (monsoonal) in the north to cool temperate in Tasmania, the majority of the country is hot and dry.

Australia also boasts a strong economy that is fuelled by vigorous business and consumer confidence and high export prices for raw materials and agricultural products, particularly in mining states. So far Australia’s emphasis on reforms, low inflation, a housing market boom, and growing ties with China have been key factors behind the economy’s 16 solid years of expansion.

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

Canberra is the capital of Australia, where the national government is located. Situated between Sydney and Melbourne it houses some of Australia’s most treasured monuments. These include; the Australian War Memorial, Parliament House, the National Gallery of Australia and Canberra’s newest attraction, the National Museum of Australia. This state is sometimes referred to as the bush capital because of the vast amount of bush land that extend right into the city.


New South Wales (NSW)

New South Wales is the oldest and most populous state. Located in the south-east of the country it is home to Sydney – the country’s largest and most cosmopolitan city. Some of the most famous sites in the country can be found here such as; the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour bridge. The State also has many accessible, sparkling beaches stretching from north to south – Bondi and Byron Bay are perhaps the most popular destinations for surfing.

Surrounding Sydney there is an array of national parks, forests and World Heritage sites such as the Blue Mountains. There are plenty of activities in the NSW region, each offering visitors the chance to experience astonishing natural beauty as well the leisure activities.

Queensland (QSLD)

Queensland, also known as the sunshine state, is most popular for its pristine beaches, tropical islands, lush rainforests, vibrant cities and the outback.

Brisbane is the trendy urban capital of this state. Australia’s third largest and fastest growing city is an exciting place to live. With close proximity to the Sunshine and the Gold Coast, many features and tourist attractions and a reputation for arts and entertainment you will never be short of things to do.

Queensland’s Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world and the only place on the planet where rainforest grows on sand and the Whitsundays is a top holiday destination with spectacular white coastline and tropical islands off the Great Barrier Reef.

The Tropical North of Queensland is a place combining the natural wonders of the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef, rainforests and the outback. Cairns is a vibrant city with so many remarkable natural attractions and activities at its doorstep.

Victoria (VIC)

Melbourne, the capital of the state of Victoria is a lively and cosmopolitan city of style and sophistication. With chic boutiques, buzzing cafés and bars, immaculate gardens and festivals and popular sporting events there is plenty to see and do. Victoria also boasts many natural attractions and is home to some of the world’s favourite vineyards. The Great Ocean Road, with its scenic coastline, is another unforgettable icon of regional Victoria.

Southern Australia (SA)

South Australia offers unforgettable adventures, close encounters with nature, exciting events and outback landscapes. Adelaide is the elegant, easy-living capital, where you will feel right at home. This very down –to-earth city is less than an hour to some 200 cellar doors in Barossa, Coonawarra and the Clare Valley. From Adelaide city you can travel 20minutes to swim with dolphins, journey into the outback to see Flinders Ranges or head south to Kangaroo Island.

Tasmania

Separated from mainland Tasmania is a green island of wild, mountainous and beautiful landscapes, with friendly, welcoming people and a temperate climate – like Ireland. More than 40 percent of this island is covered with national parks and reserves and is protected as a World heritage area.

Western Australia

The sheer size of Western Australia beckons visitors, with its southern coast line and amazing marine life and the white sand beaches and warm, turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean and the Golden Outback that has red earth as far as the eye can see.

Perth is the capital of Australia’s western gateway. The city has a relaxed feel about it, surrounded by the Swan River and Kings Park. Outside the city lie quaint historic towns such as Freemantle and world class vineyards in the South West region.

Northern Territory

The sparsely settled Northern Territory spans more than 1.4 million square kilometres from the centre to the northerly coast of Australia.

Darwin is the capital of the tropical north. It has such a varied climate that the Aboriginal people recognise six seasons in the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park. The Red Centre with its desert sand, rainbow coloured rock formations and golden tinted chasms is a number one visitor attraction. The historical centre is also home to one of Australia’s most natural icons – Uluru – also known as Ayers Rock. Southwest of the Uluru lies Alice Springs, the heart of central Australia and is perhaps the most famous outback town.

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