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Australia J to R

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From Jindabyne to Rockhampton, here are more of Australia's destinations, attractions and interesting facts.

J is for Jindabyne

Aerial view of Jindabyne © Tourism New South Wales
Aerial view of Jindabyne © Tourism New South Wales

And for jacarandas, Jenolan Caves, and Jervis Bay

Jindabyne, way station to the Thredbo and Perisher ski resorts, may be overlooked as a winter destination by those preferring to be right on the snow. A Jindabyne advantage is that there's quick and easy access to the ski fields and accommodation costs are relatively lower than within the resorts themselves.

For the winter holiday crowd, Jindabyne has its share of good restaurants and convivial bars and cafes as well as a wide range of winter sports gear to buy or hire.

K is for Kakadu

Yellow Water Billabong in Kakadu National Park © Tourism NT
Yellow Water Billabong in Kakadu National Park © Tourism NT

And for kangaroos, Karijini, kookaburra, and Kylie.

Kakadu in the Northern Territory is Australia's largest national park, an area of forests, gorges, waterfalls, rivers, billabongs and a variety of wildlife, some of them, like the saltwater crocodile, dangerous. Road routes to areas within Kakadu may become impassable in the Wet when sightseeing flights may be the way to go.

L is for Launceston

Enjoying the architecture, sights and atmosphere of Launceston © Tourism Tasmania and Rob Burnett
Enjoying the architecture, sights and atmosphere of Launceston © Tourism Tasmania and Rob Burnett

And for Labor Day, Lake Eyre, Litchfield, and Lord Howe Island

When you take the ferry from Melbourne to Devonport in Tasmania, the first major city you reach is Launceston, one of Australia's oldest cities and the island state's second largest.

In the years before casinos were established in major Australian cities, Launceston, site of Wrest Point Casino, was the only place to go for legalised gambling.

Today Launceston more than holds its own as a visitor destination with its heritage buildings, nearby parks and flourishing wine regions along the Tamar River.

M is for Melbourne

Melbourne as viewed from south of the Yarra River © Tourism Victoria
Melbourne as viewed from south of the Yarra River © Tourism Victoria

And for Mackay, Makybe Diva, Mary MacKillop, Migaloo, and Monkey Mia

There has always been an undercurrent of rivalry between the states of Victoria and New South Wales, and between their capital cities, in ambiance, culture and lifestyle. But there's no gainsaying the fact that these two top Australian cities should be on an Australian must-visit list.

Being a Sydneysider myself, I do enjoy visiting Melbourne and would be hard put, if I had to make a choice, to select one over the other.

But I do find Melbourne a visitor-friendlier city, particularly with its free tram and bus services for visitors.

N is for Naracoorte

Stalactites and stalagmites at Naracoorte Caves National Park © South Australian Tourism Commission
Stalactites and stalagmites at Naracoorte Caves National Park © South Australian Tourism Commission

And for Nambung, Narooma, Ned Kelly, Nicole Kidman, and Nitmiluk

Naaracoorte Caves National Park in South Australia is one of two Australian fossil mammal sites on the United Nations-inscribed World Heritage list which describes it as an outstanding example of the earth's evolutionary history with evidences of life in the Pleistocene Age.

The average vsitor may be more interested in exploring the caves open to the public and wandering among the dazzling natural displays of stalactites and stalagmites.

Aside from show cave tours, adventure caving is also available for those so inclined.

O is for Outback

Camel trek out of Alice Springs © Tourism NT
Camel trek out of Alice Springs © Tourism NT

And for Overland, and Overland Track

What's out back there is the Outback, a massive geographical area that takes in dunes and deserts, mountains and mudflats, rivers and rainforests, any place really that's away from the more populated areas of thecontinent of Australia. Somehow it seems a place of much mystery and mystique and a habitat of what many consider Australia's exotic creatures.

Mostly these are areas away from the encircling coasts and include such areas as the Kimberley and such inland towns as Alice Springs, Broken Hill, Coober Pedy, and Kununurra, among those better known.

P is for Perth

Perth by the Swan River © Tourism Western Australia
Perth by the Swan River © Tourism Western Australia

And for Phillip Island, Port Arthur, Port Macquarie, and Priscilla

Perth, capital of Western Australia, is the most distant from any other Australian capital city, taking, for instance, at least five hours of flying time from Sydney. You'd need to travel more than 3900 kilometres from Sydney if going by road to Perth and this can be a daunting task, particularly through the treeless, relatively deserted Nullarbor Plain. But this is an adventure in itself.

However distant, the West Australian capital is a destination of note, as well as being a popular gateway to the Margaret River surfing and wine region in the south and the coastal destinations in the north all the way, if you wanted to, Monkey Mia and Ningaloo Reef.

Perth itself lends itself to walking tours through historic districts, well-planned gardens, and burgeoning communities as a result of fast-paced growth in the economy.

Q is for Queensland

Diving in the Great  Barrier Reef © Tourism Queensland
Diving in the Great Barrier Reef © Tourism Queensland

And for Questacon, and quokka.

Australia's second large state, Queensland is a distinctively popular destination, particularly with the Great Barrier Reef, island resorts, and the Sunshine and Gold Coasts, drawing large numbers of visitors to the state's many and varied attractions.

With a subtropical and tropical climate as you head towards the north, Queensland is popular all year round and particularly so in the southern winter as Australians and visitors alike seek warmer weather.

Away from the coast, field and forest, including several World Heritage sites, call out to the Nature and adventure lover.

R is for Rockhampton

Historical Rockhampton © Tourism Queensland
Historical Rockhampton © Tourism Queensland

And for The Rocks, Rod Laver, rosella, Rottnest Island, and royal bluebell.

The Tropic of Capricorn cuts through the city of Rockhampton, regional centre of central Queensland, so get your certificate at the visitor centre on Gladstone Rd to show you have crossed over from the temperate zone to the tropics.

Rockhampton and its surrounding pasturelands are very much cattle country and the city has been dubbed the Beef Capital of Australia. And yes, you can see statues of bulls in the city and there are the rodeo events you can experience.

Drive out of the city to Mount Hay Gemstone Tourist Park where you can fossick for thunder eggs and Capricorn Caves for a subterranean tour.

Australia S to Z

Sydney to Zeehan

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