Australia - 5 risks and 5 rewards
Australia is a vast land; a rich, booming country blending Asian and European influences into a flavour quite its own. Outback adventures, beach escapes, tranquil rivers, thumping night life – whatever your taste, you’ll find it here. Check out the risks and rewards of our home country.
The landscape lends itself to spectacular views of all types.
Beaches - there is nothing like Surfer’s Paradise for stunning beach views. It’s been described as Australia’s Vegas, but the beaches are favourites for one of Australia’s national obsessions – surfing. White sand, blue water and curving waves for beginners or experienced riders alike.
Mountains - Stanwell Tops just south of Sydney’s Royal National Park has spectacular beach, forest and mountain views, especially popular with hang gliders. Marion’s Lookout on the Crater Lake walk in Tasmania has rocky volcanic outlooks and a deep blue glacial lake.
Forests - the tall Karri forests in the south-west of Western Australia are some of the oldest and biggest in the world. Try a walk on a suspended platform, metres above the forest floor, or hide yourself in the trunk of a huge Karri tree. Or see if you can spot a wombat on a Daylesford forest walk in Victoria.
Nornalup treetop walk, Western Australia (Karri Forests Region)
The major cities feature communities of Italian, Greek, Lebanese, Chinese, Japanese, Sudanese and Vietnamese people – and many other origins. Australia’s mixed heritage is something to be proud of and enhances the interest and diversity of this country. As well as restaurants, cafes and markets, there are wonderful festivals, shops and communities. Norwegian Independence Day is celebrated each 17th May with authentic Nordic costumes, music, dancing and food. Or try Buddha’s Birth Day each May for spiritualism, vegetarian food and dancing. Chinese New Year occurs in February each year - people wear red, set off firecrackers and give paper (fake) money to children. There are temples with beautiful floating lights, and dragon dances set off by the light of the full moon. The Dreaming Festival in Woodford, Queensland in December and January each year has indigenous performing arts, bars, food outlets, campfire story circles, stalls and more.
Australia’s heritage and later influences means a food tradition that is fresh, creative and eclectic. In Melbourne, try anywhere in Fitzroy - De Clieu for great breakfast coffee or Madame Brussels if you’re up for an outrageous, fabulous long lunch. In Sydney, there are great pubs and cafés in The Rocks – try Rockpool , which never disappoints, or the Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel for outstanding pub food. Fremantle in Perth is full of little Italian cafes serving traditional pasta, risotto and great coffee. In Adelaide, the Gouger Street precinct is the place to go for all kinds of food – Asian, seafood, Greek, Italian and Australian. In Brisbane, try Fortitude Valley for all manner of Asian food, and the CBD for up-and-coming new restaurants.
Australia’s reputation as a wine producer of quality is well-known. Apart from the most popular areas such as the Hunter Valley, the Barossa and Mornington Peninsula, consider trying something a little off the beaten track. Cool climate wines in Young, NSW or Stanthorpe, Queensland are winning medals and pleasing palates. Try local wineries in some of the fringe wine-producing areas for new varieties - Montepulciano in the Barossa Valley or Arneis in the Adelaide Hills.
Skiing, snowboarding, whitewater rafting, extreme climbing – whatever your thrill, you’re sure to find it here. Try whitewater rafting in Cairns in warmer tropical waters, or drift-snorkeling in the Mossman River – no flippers required. There’s ziplining in Otway on the Great Ocean Road. Or ride the horizontal falls in a purpose-built powerboat on the Kimberley coast, WA.
Australia is pretty safe, and Medicare covers most basics if you need treatment for illness or injury. However, there are some simple precautions to take, especially if travelling with children.
There are snakes, poisonous spiders and deadly or poisonous sea life such as box jellyfish, stonefish or conefish in WA and the tropics. Take reasonable precautions – wear long pants and shoes when walking in the bush, and wear reef shoes if you’re walking on rocks near the sea. Don’t walk in the long grass. Look before turning over rocks or other things that could shelter a spider.
Size and isolation
The size and isolation of Australia is a factor that many travellers do not take into account. As with any adventure activity - skiing, surfing, water sports, hiking and climbing - there are risks, which are exacerbated by the remoteness of much of Australia. If you’re heading off the beaten track, let someone know when you leave and when you expect to arrive. Take a radio, spare water and petrol, tool kit and emergency first aid pack.
Worldcare can provide you with up to $6000 towards your rental vehicle excess if you have a mishap. Plus we have cover for cancellations or delays, if you have to change your plans due to an unexpected breakdown or injury. Find out more
Keep your home and your favourite things safe – let the police know that you will be away; lock it up or get a house minder that you trust. If you do lose or damage your personal effects when travelling, we can cover you for up to $10,000, with additional options available. Find out more
Watch for sunburn and heatstroke, especially with small children – keep out of the sun in the middle of the day, use a hat, rehydrate regularly with water, and use sunscreen that is at least SPF30+.
Swim at patrolled beaches – many tourists and locals have been drowned in water that looks safe but has hidden currents or rips.