Museum of Underwater Art, Townsville, Queensland © Tourism and Events Queensland
Unique experiences at Australia’s icons
There’s something new to see at these famous destinations.
By Leah Dobihal
Australia is home to some bucket list locations. The underwater expanses of the Great Barrier Reef, the sparkling skyline of Sydney and the red rocks of the outback are worthy of their icon status – but there’s more than meets the eye at these remarkable spots.
Discover an underwater museum on the reef
The Great Barrier Reef is one of Australia’s most precious treasures. Stretching more than 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles), the reef offers more than a few iconic activities – like marvelling at the coral and cays from a seaplane and even sleeping atop the reef.
But dive beneath the water and you’ll find a one-of-a-kind experience you might not expect. The Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA), located off the coast of Townsville in northern Queensland, is anything but a traditional museum. Rather, this art exhibit features underwater sculptures scattered across the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Glide alongside the structures installed 18 metres (60 feet) below sea level on the ocean floor before exploring the neighbouring reef.
Climb the Harbour Bridge like never before
Sydney is famous for its dazzling harbour, and there are plenty of beautiful vantage points from which to view it. You can stay in a wildlife eco-retreat at the waterside Taronga Zoo Sydney and see the harbour through ancient eyes with an Aboriginal tour guide.
One of the more spectacular views of the harbour is from the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge – and now, you can scale its entire length.
Before 2020, visitors could only climb the south end of the bridge, but that’s all changed with BridgeClimb Ultimate. Now, climbers can conquer the entire bridge from south to north, and back again. More than 1,600 steps will bring you to 134 metres (439 feet) of elevation and 360-degree views of the harbour.
Go deep into the desert
The Red Centre is the heart of Australia, brimming with natural beauty, spiritual energy and incredible adventure.
Step off the beaten path for a different view of the desert landscape. Cave Hill, located about two hours from Uluru, is where the well-known Seven Sisters Tjukurpa Dreamtime story takes place. The Anangu are the traditional custodians of Cave Hill and are responsible for maintaining the chapter of this Storyline that lies within their traditional homeland – a story that has survived tens of thousands of years.
Join an Aboriginal host from SEIT Outback Australia for access into the rarely visited Pitjantjatjara Aboriginal Lands. Your guide will share insight into the Anangu way of life, cook a beautiful bush tucker lunch and bring you to see the ancient Seven Sisters story depicted with magnificent rock art paintings on the ceiling of the cave.