The Australia bucket list

The Australia bucket list

I’ve got a one-way ticket to Sydney, a place to crash the first few nights, a valid Working Holiday Visa and not much else. I understand the value of planning ahead, but sometimes, you just have to see where the wind blows you. Even though things are very open-ended at the moment, there are still a few experiences that I absolutely won’t miss–and last week’s Traveler’s Night In: Australia Edition gave me plenty of new ideas. So here’s the Australia bucket list (incorporating a few from the pre-marriage bucket list)–and don’t worry, I’ll be sure to let you know if they were worth the hype.

  1. Walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I’m thinking about splurging on Bridge Climb for a jawdropping view, but haven’t decided yet if it’ll be worth the pricey fee.
  2. Tour the Sydney Opera House. It’s the symbol of the city and I’m looking forward to learning more about the architecture. I’d also love to see a performance here if I can score a deal!
  3. Explore the Great Barrier Reef underwater. Andrew Evans makes a great case for taking your first dive in the Great Barrier Reef–and I must say, I’m inclined to follow his advice.
  4. Go skydiving over the Great Barrier Reef. I’ve never been skydiving, but for some reason, I’ve always wanted my first time to be in Australia over the Great Barrier Reef. I’m setting aside money now so that I don’t have any excuses!
  5. Island hop. Sailing the Whitsundays seems to be on the top of everyone’s to-do list in Australia, and I want to see what the fuss is all about. I’m just crossing my fingers I have better weather luck than Twenty-Something Travel. I’m also interested in checking out Noosa and Fraser Island, per @AndrewOversea‘s recommendation in #TNI.
  6. Go wine tasting. Despite growing up just hours from Napa wine country and living in France, I’ve never been wine tasting. After seeing Evelyn County Estate in the San Francisco MOMA’s latest design and wine exhibit, I’d love to admire its architecture with a glass of organic red in hand.
  7. Watch the sun set over Ayers Rock. It’s gorgeous, it’s iconic. What else do I need to say?
  8. See some kangaroos and koala bears. @Only398 recommended the Murramarang National Park and Koala Park Sanctuary as awesome options to spot some wildlife. I want to see if they’re as cute in real life!
  9. Drive along Great Ocean Road. After seeing the photos that @mobilelawyer and @GetPackedTravel chose for their Australia favorites in #TNI–check them out here and here, respectively–road tripping along the 12 Apostles immediately made the list.
  10. Lay out on Bondi Beach. Even if it is a tourist hotspot, it’s still an iconic part of Sydney–and first order of business in February is getting a tan.
  11. Help out at the Koala Hospital. I inherited a soft spot for animals from my mom. She walks just about every dog on the block and I used to bring big bags of dog food and Costco-sized jars of peanut butter to the dogs at the SPCA on my childhood birthdays. When I read about the Koala Hospital on the WhyGo Australia blog, I knew that this was right up my animal-loving alley.
  12. Maillane countryside

  13. Hike my tail off in the Kimberley and Kata Tjuta. Living in Colorado Springs for a summer got me hooked on hiking, trail running and explore mountain ranges by foot. There’s not many mountains to climb in the flat Sacramento Valley, so I’m looking forward to pulling my hiking shoes out and rewarding my workout with awesome views.
  14. Visit Kangeroo Island. Hats off to the Kangeroo Island marketing and PR team. I know it’s their job to convince me that I need to visit–I’ve been on the other side and know all about spin–but jeez, do they do a good job! I’ve been sucked in by the promise of a pristine wilderness paradise for foodies.
  15. Don’t get stuck in Sydney (or any other city). I’m well aware of the traps of city living: find a great job, a great apartment, a great group of friends–and then suddenly. months are flying by. Even though I hope to find a city in Australia that I’d be happy living and working in for a few months, I want to make sure I see all the major cities: Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Alice Springs, Brisbane, Gold Coast. More than anything, I don’t want to feel as if I missed something because I got too comfortable.

What’s your favorite Australia experience? Is there anything I need to add to the list?