Ideal Length of Trip
When Travel Leaders experts were asked, “What would you recommend as the ideal length of trip for a vacation to Australia?” 88.5 percent recommended planning 12 or more days for a trip Down Under. If travelers can afford the time off, 76.2 percent of Travel Leaders experts said the ideal Australia vacation should be 14 days or more, because Australia is nearly the size of the Continental U.S.
Top Sites and Destinations within Australia
When asked “Which areas of Australia are your clients visiting?” the overwhelming response was Sydney.
1. Sydney (91 percent): Sights to see include Sydney Harbour, Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, as well as Darling Harbour and Sydney’s beaches. Visitors can ride a ferry to Manly and Toronga Park Zoo to see koalas, kangaroos, platypus and laughing kookaburras. For a historical perspective, visit The Rocks and Fort Denison.
2. Great Barrier Reef (65.7 percent): One of the seven natural wonders of the world, this World Heritage Site stretching over 1,000 miles is not only home to the largest coral reef in the world, it’s the breeding ground for migrating humpback whales, habitat for over 1,500 species of tropic fish and is a diver’s paradise. Visitors should plan to stay at a hotel or resort on the reef.
3. Melbourne (63 percent): The capital city of Victoria offers an amazing “labyrinth of connecting laneways and arcades” which lead to cafes, bars, boutiques and restaurants. Guests can also view the penguin parade at nearby Phillip Island.
4. Cairns (50.6 percent): This is a jumping off point for two World Heritage Sites, the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree National Park--thought to be the planet’s oldest surviving tropical rainforest.
5. Brisbane (37.7 percent): The third largest city in Australia has over 15 miles of bicycle pathways, many along the Brisbane River. Visitors can enjoy gardens, sandstone cathedrals, rock climbing at Kangaroo Point or a stroll through the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium.
6. Gold Coast (26.2 percent): Australia’s sixth largest city offers a plenty of beaches, shopping, and nightlife. Broadbeach is a popular surfing destination; Main Beach’s shipwreck offer snorkeling opportunities; and glow worm caves can be explored with a short trip inland.
7. Uluru (25.6 percent): Formerly known as “Ayers Rock,” this massive sandstone monolith is one of the most recognizable natural symbols in Australia with great cultural significance to the Anangu aboriginals. There are numerous hikes allowing for spectacular lookout points and some of the best opportunities to stargaze at the magnificent southern night sky. While there, also visit The Olgas and Kings Canyon.
8. Australian Outback (16 percent): Rugged, beautiful and expansive, the outback is essentially the interior of the country. Visitors can swim in Glen Helen Gorge, travel the “Explorers Highway,” enjoy a four-wheeler adventure, rest at one of the sprawling outback stations or travel the country on the legendary Ghan rail.
9. Queensland (15.4 percent): Australia’s “sunshine state” encompasses Cairns, Brisbane, Gold Coast and the Great Barrier Reef. Within Queensland’s territory lies the Whitsunday Islands. This area is comprised of 74 islands within the Great Barrier Reef – only eight of which are inhabited – and offers great beaches, snorkeling, diving and day-tripping adventures to the uninhabited islands.
10. Adelaide (11.8 percent): Located in South Australia, wine-lovers will appreciate the area surrounding Adelaide and should make a stop at the National Wine Centre. This city is the jumping off point for the Barossa Valley (the wine capital of Australia) and the lesser known yet immensely charming Clare Valley wine region, along with Kangaroo Island (Australia’s Galapagos).
Most Appealing Reasons for Australia Travel
When Travel Leaders experts were asked, “What appeals most to your clients who book trips to Australia?” the top five responses were: “Cultural and History” (72.3 percent), “The Cities” (55.4 percent), “The People” (48.8 percent), “Beaches” (44.3 percent) and “Wildlife” (32.8 percent).
Conducted November 30-December 18, 2009, the 2010 Travel Trends Survey includes responses from 521 Travel Leaders owners, managers and frontline travel experts throughout the United States. The Australia-specific questions were answered by the 332 Travel Leaders experts who indicated they book Australia for clients.