Think of Australian holidays and images of beaches, islands, the outback and possibly a few jumping kangaroos come to mind. Think of Australian people and an image of a weather beaten bloke in a cowboy hat is probably the first caricature to spring up, followed by tanned lasses clad in bikinis sunning themselves next to the seaside. Not many people would see an Australian holiday as a chance to expand on their knowledge and compound their intelligence- theres just way too much fun to have! But the idea that there is nothing to be learnt on an Australian holiday is a horrendous misnomer, one that is about to be corrected by this write up of five Australian destinations that are guaranteed to make you smarter:
Melbourne is the king of cultural Australia, the centre of the arts and crafts movement in the country. With unlimited creative spaces and a myriad of avenues for expression, this is a city of museums, galleries and shows. A favoured cultural destination is the Melbourne Museum, enjoyed by over 700 000 visitors per year. Here you can get comprehensive insights into the Aboriginal culture of the state of Victoria, explore a world of emotions and memories in the Mind exhibition and completely immerse yourself in the history of Melbourne. Another museum worth visiting is the Chinese Museum, or if galleries are your thing then have a look at the National Gallery of Victoria. For more contemporary education visit the bohemian-esque suburb of St Kilda, where you can enjoy some live music, street theatre or a show.
Located on the Tasman Peninsual 80 kilometres south east of the Tasmanian capital Hobart, Port Arthur is a former penal colony that was built entirely with convict labour. In the early nineteenth century it was home to the most hardened of British criminals, and its unsavoury past has become the building block to its tourist development. The impressive architecture and charming gardens of the Port Arthur historic site are a major tourist attraction, and stories of the past seem to seep out of the walls of each unique building. Guided tours can be taken of the site, and a boat goes out regularly to the little island offshore known as 'Isle of the Dead', where hundreds of convicts are buried.
The Hunter Valley
The Hunter valley is one of Australias most established wine producing regions, with over 4500 acres under vine and over 60 wineries and 80 grapegrowers in the region. There is a lot to be learnt in a holiday to a wine producing area- about the economics of the industry, about the growing of grapes and the production of wine, and about your own personal preferences of wine. There is a rich history of culture in the region which is represented by the numerous museums and galleries, which pay homage to the history of the region in terms of both its mining past and its wine growing present.
A vibrant and eclectic port city located just to the south of the Western Australian capital Perth, Fremantle has long been a stronghold for creativity and the arts. Freo is home to an array of heritage buildings and the city is characterised by Georgian and Victorian architecture. It also supports a large student population that attend the local campus, and help fuel the creative flames of Freo. Places worthy of a visit are the WA Maritime Museum located on Victoria Quay, and the Fremantle Prison, once one of the most notorious prisons in the British Empire. Expect plenty of live music on your visit to Freo, as busking is an encouraged art form that is immensely popular here.
Often overlooked as a sleepy oversized country town, Brisbane is actually a world class city with a rich heritage and established cultures. It supports a number of universities, and in the Southbank and Cultural Centre area there are theatres, galleries and museums. The Queensland Museum is especially impressive, as is the Queensland Performing Arts Centre. Fortitude Valley, close to the city centre, is an outlet for very contemporary creativity, so expect a thriving live music scene and a laid back cafe culture.
Gavin Wyatt is a journalist with a passion for travel. originally from Zambia he has traveled around the world to end up on the sunny shores of Australia. For more of his articles visit Australian Car Hire
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