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7 Things We Wish We Were Doing Right Now In Australia

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Cheng Sim  •  Nov 18, 2020

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There’s so much to love about Australia. Brimming with bustling cities, stunning landscapes and friendly locals, it’s no wonder why Australia is one of our favourite Muslim-friendly destinations in the world.  While we’re staying safe at home, we can’t help but imagine the things we wish we were doing in Australia right now. Let’s take a journey and see the experiences Australia has to offer!
1. Take a scenic road trip along the Great Ocean Road
Credit: Tourism Australia Can you picture yourself driving along the Great Ocean Road, one of the world’s most scenic drives? We know we can! Just a 90-minute drive from Melbourne, it stretches along the beautiful south-west coast of Victoria, promising views of turquoise waters and lush greenery throughout your road trip. 
Credit: Tourism Australia Hit all the popular stops along the Great Ocean Road. From the breathtaking 12 Apostles to the crashing waves of Loch Ard Gorge, each pit stop boasts its own beauty and a scenic spot to chat with the locals over biscuits and tea.   If you’re embarking on your first road trip, renting a car is easy in Australia. Depending on your budget, there are many car rental companies in Australia, including Avis, Europcar, Budget, Thrifty and Hertz, to choose from.  Here are some things to consider before renting a car under the Australian law and we strongly advise that you double check specific requirements with the rental company: 
  • You need to present a valid driver’s license that’s written in English. If you don’t have one in English, you will need to provide a translated driver’s license. 
  • The minimum age to hire a vehicle can vary between car rental companies and vehicle categories. If you are under 25 years old, you may be asked to pay a surcharge to complete the rental agreement.
  • Similar to Singapore and Malaysia, they drive on the left lane. Seatbelts must be worn by all drivers and passengers in cars.
  • For more info, check out our Muslim-friendly travel guide to Melbourne’s Great Ocean Road!
Halal food nearby RAWR Bar Halal status: Vegan and vegetarian options available Opening hours: Thu-Mon; 9AM-2PM (Closed on Tue and Wed) Address: 4/57-63 Great Ocean Rd, Apollo Bay VIC 3233, Australia Website | Facebook | Instagram
2. Admire the beautiful coral reefs in the Great Barrier Reef
Credit: Tourism Australia If an underwater paradise exists in Australia, that place would be the Great Barrier Reef , which is a ferry ride away from Cairns. It has the world’s largest collection of coral reefs and it’s so big that you can see it from space!  Fun fact: Did you know the Great Barrier Reef is the fictional home of Marlin and Nemo in Finding Nemo
Credit: Tourism Australia Inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981, it’s arguably one of the most beautiful sites in the country. For a unique snorkelling experience in the Great Barrier Reef, visit the Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel and let their friendly Aboriginal guides show you a deeper appreciation of the Reef. Besides taking you to two gorgeous coral reef sites, it’s also the only Great Barrier Reef cruise that lets you try out the original clap sticks and fire poles as well as enjoy live demonstrations of traditional dances and the didgeridoo. This experience also includes a buffet lunch with vegetarian options available. 
Credit: Tourism Australia Visit the all-new Museum of Underwater Art which aims to inspire reef conservation and restoration. Situated off the coast of Townsville, it is the only underwater art museum in the southern hemisphere. You’ll be amazed by the submerged installations and sculptures placed within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. It’ll be an experience unlike any other! 
3. Savour delicious and fresh seafood in Australia
With the wonderful diversity of marine habitats, Australia is blessed with a wide variety of seafood. If you’re up for a food adventure, there are a few Muslim-friendly seafood eateries you can find in Australia. 
Credit: Tourism Australia Slurping fresh oysters at Aptus Seafood in South Melbourne Market is one of the best experiences you can start with. Just a 10-minute drive from Melbourne’s city centre, this brightly-lit seafood market has been feeding hungry locals with fresh king prawns, crayfish, and mussels since 1969. When you’re here, savour freshly shucked Kangaroo Island oysters or Sydney Rock oysters to experience a taste of the sea.  Halal status: Seafood options available Opening hours: Wed; 8AM-4PM, Fri; 8AM-5PM, Sat-Sun; 8AM-4PM (Closed on Mon, Tue & Thu) Address: 322-326 Coventry St, South Melbourne VIC 3205, Australia Website | Facebook
Another seafood experience you shouldn’t miss out on is Kailis Fish Market Cafe at Fremantle Markets. Only a 30-minute drive from Perth’s city centre, this local eatery is famous for its crispy fish and chips and yummy seafood platters. Grab a seat overlooking the harbour and dig into some of the freshest seafood you'll ever have.  Halal status : Seafood options are available at Kailis, and it’s cooked separately from non-halal chicken meat and alcohol. Opening hours: Open daily; 11AM-8PM Address: 46 Mews Rd, Fremantle WA 6160, Australia Website | Facebook
4. Snap photos of the adorable Australian wildlife
What makes Australian wildlife special is that most of it can’t be found anywhere else in the world. If you want to get up close to some of Australia’s unique wildlife, here are some experiences to add to your bucket list.  Take a selfie with the quokkas at Rottnest Island
Start off your Australian wildlife adventure at Rottnest Island, home to the world’s happiest animal, the quokkas! To get there, make your way to Fremantle and take the Rottnest Ferry to the island. You can also take the ferry from Elizabeth Quay in Perth CBD!  These nocturnal creatures spend most of their day sleeping. If you find them wide awake and wandering, take the chance to snap a selfie! Don’t worry, they’re pretty friendly. On Rottnest Island, these quokkas are a bigger celebrity than the likes of Chris Hemsworth and Hugh Jackman who have taken a selfie with these furry animals themselves.  Halal food nearby The Lane Cafe Halal status: Vegetarian options available Opening hours : Open daily; 7AM-4.30PM Address: Maley St, Rottnest Island WA 6161, Australia Facebook See the penguin parade at Phillip Island
Credit: Tourism Australia As the sun sets at Phillip Island, watch a waddle of Little Penguins cross the sandy beach and make their way home on the island. Just a 90-minute drive from Melbourne, it’s a popular day-trip experience for the locals and tourists alike. These hardworking penguins spend most of their day catching fish in the ocean. After sundown, these Little Penguins will march to their home on the island to stay hidden from predators.  We recommend arriving at least one hour before the penguins’ expected arrival time to get a good seat. Since photography and videography are not allowed due to the penguins’ sensitivity, head over to the Underground Viewing area for a closer look.  Halal food nearby Woolamai Kebab Halal status: Halal Opening hours: Wed-Thu; 4PM-7.30PM, Fri; 4PM-8PM, Sat; 12PM-8PM, Sun; 12PM-7.30PM (Closed on Mon and Tue) Address: Shop 6, 18/13 Vista Pl, Cape Woolamai Website | Facebook #HHWT Tip: We recommend eating dinner before the Penguin Parade as many places may not be open after the parade is over.  Visit Australia’s native wildlife at Kangaroo Island
 Credit: Tourism Australia  Home to 150 native Australian wildlife including koalas and wombats, there’s no better place to see all of your favourite Australian wildlife than on Kangaroo Island. To get there, take the Kangaroo Island Sealink ferry from the town of Cape Jervis, which is a 90-minute drive south of Adelaide. If you’re not driving, there’s also a shuttle service from Adelaide to Cape Jervis. Perfect for animal lovers, there are a few ways to get up close to these amazing wildlife. When you visit the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park, you can feed a penguin, carry a wombat, and say hello to a koala! There are only three states in Australia that allow visitors to cuddle a koala, namely Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia, so don’t miss your chance here! Otherwise, head over to Stokes Bay where you can see the Western Grey kangaroos in various animal sanctuaries such as Hanson Bay and Paul’s Place. The kangaroos roam freely amid the scenic landscape, hence Kangaroo Island is sometimes called Australia's zoo without the fences. #HHWT Tip: If you’re travelling to Adelaide, spend some time at the Adelaide Central Mosque , which is the first and oldest permanent mosque in Australia. 
5. Explore the natural wonders of Australia
Capturing postcard-worthy photos in Australia is easily doable thanks to the country’s stunning natural landscapes. Besides iconic natural wonders like the Great Barrier Reef and Great Ocean Road, there are hidden gems to discover too. 
Credit: Tourism Australia If you enjoy an adventurous hike, take your hiking boots to the Blue Mountain National Park and venture on the Three Sisters trail that’s perfect for beginners. Just a 90-minute drive from Sydney, the trail spans 800 meters (return trip) and takes about 25-45 minutes to reach the famous rock formation. The Three Sisters Aboriginal Place holds a cultural significance to the Aboriginal people, and according to local legend, it represents three sisters who turned to stone. 
Credit: Tourism Australia For a scenic autumn experience in Australia, take a stroll on the crunchy leaves of Adelaide Hills, a 20-minute drive from Adelaide. The best time to visit Adelaide Hills is from late March to May when the leaves turn into a fiery shade of red. Feel free to strike a conversation with the friendly locals while appreciating the beautiful autumn foliage along the same path. 
Credit: Tourism Australia  Australians love to hit the waves at the world-famous Surfers Paradise in Gold Coast. Situated close to a laid-back neighbourhood, you’ll love how the locals embrace the relaxed and casual atmosphere here. Don’t worry about not fitting in with the surfer crowd. Just sit back and bask in the sun like the rest of the Australians do. 
6. Immerse yourself in the Great Walks of Australia
Credit: Tourism Australia With rainforests, scenic coasts and beaches in their backyard, Australia offers plenty of reasons to explore the outdoors - and don’t you wish you could right now? If you’re an experienced hiker, you’re going to love the Great Walks of Australia, which takes a rewarding 3-6 days to complete. Some of the must-visit Great Walks include the Seven Peaks Walk in New South Wales, the Arkaba Walk in South Australia, the Cape to Cape Walk in Western Australia and the Freycinet Experience Walk in Tasmania. Planning to conquer all the Great Walks at your own pace? Turn this ultimate list of Great Walks of Australia into your new hiking bucket list. 
Credit: Tourism Australia For hikers who love listening to good stories, there are many guided walks in Australia that’ll take you to the grassy outback, sandy beaches and more. Chat with the friendly guide, and listen to a backstory of Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk near Melbourne, the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail near Adelaide and Spicers Scenic Rim Trail near Brisbane. No one shares stories about Australia better than the locals. 
7. Shop for memorable souvenirs for your loved ones
Thinking of Australia’s shopping malls, arcades and street markets, we wish we were busy shopping for local souvenirs for our loved ones right now! The best part is, there are many unique Muslim-friendly souvenirs to discover too. 
Credit: @thehoneycake on Instagram If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll love the honey cakes from Fremantle Market in Perth, chocolates from Western Australia’s Margaret River Chocolate Factory or Melbourne’s Yarra Valley Chocolates.  Buying Beechworth honey-based lip balms from the Royal Arcade in Melbourne won’t take up much of your luggage space too. Made from 100% Australian honey, it has natural moisturising properties.  If you prefer one-of-a-kind gifts over fridge magnets, there are many weekend markets in Australia to shop for locally made crafts! You can head over to Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne, Adelaide Central Market, Fremantle Markets near Perth and more.   While we wait for Australia’s borders to open up to more international visitors, this is the best time to dream and plan about your next Australian getaway. Continue to uncover more about Australia, so when the time is right, you’re on your way to snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef, take selfies with the quokkas, and conquer the Great Walks of Australia - just the way you imagine it to be. Perfect for Muslim travellers, get more Muslim-friendly Australian holiday ideas here!  This article is brought to you by Tourism Australia.