Part 2: Adventure Honeymooning in Australia
In “Part 1: Honeymooning at Australia’s Resorts,” I described romantic getaways at tropical resorts in Queensland, Australia, near the Great Barrier Reef. But perhaps you would like to compliment romance with excitement by experiencing some of the sights and sounds that make Australia truly unique.
First of all, you might head for the outback, starting your adventure in Alice Springs in the heart of Australia’s Red Centre. There you can soar over grassy plains in a hot air balloon, see a Dry River Boat Race, or join a biking “safari” across the desert.
In Australia’s outback, you can experience the Aboriginal culture through music, art, dance, and “Dreamtime” myths of creation by the campfire. You can bushwalk (Australian for on- and off-trail hiking), learn to craft spears and catch fish in the traditional way, ride a camel in the desert, see dinosaur footprints and Aboriginal rock carvings, or take a scenic flight over outback icons like Ayers/Uluru Rock, Australia’s most famous rock monolith, which turns some spectacular colors at sunrise and sunset. As an extra bonus, you can take in the camel races near Ayers Rock.
You can choose to cruise down the vast Katherine Gorge, located 212 miles southeast of Darwin, capital of the Northern Territory. The rugged outback of the Northern Territory also offers colorful characters, deep rainforests, rocky cliffs and escarpments, and a huge array of wildlife, with an occasional appearance by a freshwater crocodile. Darwin, a melting pot of cuisines and cultures, is located east of the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park, where you can witness millions of migratory birds in the wetlands. The park is a gorgeous panorama of Aboriginal rock art, delicate water lilies, crocodiles, thundering waterfalls and sparkling waterholes.
In fact, Kakadu is just one of 550 national parks and 15 World Heritage-listed wonders in Australia. In the clear, turquoise waters of the Ningaloo Reef you can swim with the world’s biggest fish, the gentle whale sharks, or swim or snorkel with dolphins, manta rays and hundreds of species of tropical fish.
In northern South Australia you can pan for opals or sleep underground in Coober Pedy, the “Opal Capital of the World,” which is 525 miles north of Adelaide. It has underground “dugout” homes, tours and diverse accommodations.
You might consider a visit to Phillip Island, where, every day at dusk, the island literally comes alive with thousands of little “fairy” penguins, waddling home in riotous packs and pairs after a long day of foraging for food in the icy sea. Ninety minutes from Melbourne, this island is home to koalas, abundant bird life and a large colony of fur seals between October and December. On Kangaroo Island, an ecological haven accessible from Adelaide, you can meet kangaroos, seals, sea lions, koalas, wallabies, bandicoots and platypus in the wild.
If you want to explore Australia’s cities, you’ll discover they are a blend of cultures, with a variety of theaters, restaurants, nightlife and events. From Sydney’s Opera House to Melbourne’s labyrinth of highways, each of the cities offers something unique, from beach barbecues to ballet, from open-air movies and jazz in the park to five-star dining. Meander through beautiful gardens, browse art galleries and museums, and partake of the vibrant nightlife and sporting events.