Australia seems to have the vibrating energy of a young and eclectic society, yet this land of savage beauty, wide horizons and ancient aboriginal cultures has much more to offer. From the rough north to the populated south, Australia is a land to return to.
Deciding what to visit is one of the most challenging decisions when traveling to Australia. Sydney and the east coast are a perennially popular choice, attracting millions of tourist every year, but there is an endless number of equally bewitching itineraries in all areas of the country.
Australia is blessed with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. From thin pristine sandy landscapes to coral reefs, the coast of Australia presents endless options for all travelers. However, here are a couple routes that will take you to the most beautifully iconic beaches of the country.
Starting in the endless Whitehaven beach, that offers one of the best sunsets in Australia, the trip starts heading south. Do not miss a chance to snorkel in its clear blue waters and stroll around its pure white sand. The next stop is the beautiful Fraser Island. It’s exceptionally white beaches flanked by strikingly coloured sand cliffs and over 100 freshwater lakes make the island an unforgettable stop during your road trip. The gorgeous Noosa, located at the end of the Sunshine Coast of Queensland offers an unspoilt beach and a National Park where you might see koalas living next to the shore. Our trip continues down to Byron Bay, where it is fairly easy to spot all types of cetaceans, especially small sized dolphins and humpback whales. Enjoy the vibrant nightlife of the area, which offers a remarkable restaurant scene and a great range of pubs. In the zenith of our trip, Crescent Head presents a site of an important native title claim. Besides the undeniable beauty of its landscape, it is one of the best places to surf and swim in the country.
The next stop is the city of Coffs Harbour. The region surrounding this city offers many opportunities to explore both the inner side of the mainland as well as coastal areas, where you can spot a great deal of marine wildlife. If you have the time, travel around the zone and visit the tourist information office, which will help you to enjoy your visit to the fullest. The vast city of Sydney marks the end of the route. It’s bewitching life and colours as well as its very active nightlife will make the an unforgettable destination for any Australian road trip.
All visitors travelling to the country need to apply for an Australian visa through the website of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. There are five different visas for Australia, depending on your nationality and the length of your stay. For short stays, European passport holders are eligible for a free eVisitor visa that allow you to stay in the country for up to three months during a 12 month period. This type of visas must be applied for online (www.immi.gov.au/e_visa/evisitor.htm) with at least two weeks notice prior to the proposed date of travel. The parallel alternative for American and Canadian visitors, is the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA, 601). ETA’s must be applied for online through the Australian Department of Immigration and have a cost of US$20. If you wish to extend your travel visa for Australia once you are inside the country, you are required to apply for an Australian Visitor visa (600) that has an approximate cost of US$335.
Make sure you apply for this type of visa with at least three weeks notice, as the application process can be long and complex. Regarding the arrival in Australian airports, the traveller regulations are usually efficient and straightforward, with the usual custom declarations. For detailed information about the custom procedure and the different visa requirements for Australia, please contact the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection. If you have any bureaucratic questions about how to get an Australian work permit, or you would like to know further information about Australian travel visas, please contact your closest embassy or consulate.