My Amazing Australia Adventure!

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Australia has always been one of my favorite places to vacation and every trip I had taken there before has been full of great memories and experiences. I recently experienced two of Australia's famous cities, Melbourne and Sydney, as well as a trip to iconic Ayers Rock.
 
This was my first trip to Melbourne and I couldn’t wait to explore the city. Known as one of the world’s most livable city, I felt that people in Melbourne were very warm & friendly. I stayed at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. The weather in August was still chilly since it was their winter, so I recommend warm clothing for anyone travelling during this time period. With good walking shoes we  ventured out to explore Melbourne’s Laneways & Arcades on a private walking tour. I highly recommend this tour as it exposes you to local eateries and hangouts in the city. Discover some of the quirkiest cafes, local designers, the street art Melbourne is famous for, speciality retailers and fascinating architecture, all with insights provided by a local guide. The walking tour was a great introduction to this unique city. There's lots going on in Melbourne, which is well worth visiting; the city's calendar includes word-class sporting events, fashion, food & wine festivals.                      
 
My next stop on this adventurous itinerary was Ayers Rock in the heart of Australia’s Red Center. This was on my bucket list 

and to be able to fulfill this was a dream come true for me. After a three hour, non-stop flight from Melbourne, I arrived in Ayers Rock, completely amazed at the landscape. “This truly is the Outback” I whispered to my colleague. I could see she was in awe as well.  Here we visited the Uluru, the most culturally significant monolith in Australia. Our guides enhanced our appreciation with their commentary. This is where one of the world's oldest cultures still thrive. 
 
There are hiking trails, a cultural center and private tours to and from the Uluru and Kata Juta. We visited a cultural center and a had a chance to take part in making Aboriginal art with a local. We also elected the option to take a camel to the Sounds of the Silence Dinner, which is a highlight of a trip to Ayers rock. We dined under the sparkling Outback sky and enjoyed story telling, a cultural show and stargazing. Our buffet dinner included barramundi, kangaroo, emu and crocodile, bush salads and classic desserts, complemented by some of Australia's finest wines. I recommend at least a minimum of two nights in Ayers Rock and experiencing the Sounds of the Silence Dinner.
 
Sydney is one of those cities that has it all. I had a chance to visit the famous Opera House, Darling Harbor, Bondi Beach & the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The city has world class cuisine, art galleries, museums, shopping and combination of cosmopolitan lifestyle. I love to hike, therefore, my visit to the Blue Mountains, which is a World Heritage Site, was a personal treat. Anyone who is adventurous and loves to hike will certainly enjoy this great tour, approximately two hours from Sydney. On our way to Blue Mountains, we stopped in a small town for lunch. It was a great way to see how some Aussies live. For those who are short on time and would like a hands-on experience with Australian wildlife, I suggest visiting The Featherdale Wildlife Park in Doonside Sydney. Here I had a chance to see koala up close and feed kangaroo and Wallabies, a perfect end to my Australia vacation adventure!