Anthony Bianco is the man behind the popular blog, The Travel Tart. Unlike lots of other website, he tries to take a more offbeat approach to travel, uncovering the unusual and downright weird experiences around the globe. But I caught up with Anthony to talk about his home country, Australia.
He started off by telling me that there’s more to it than just its most famous city. “Australia is definitely a lot more than just Sydney,” he laughed. One area that Anthony recommended for a visit is the place where he grew up – Cairns in northern Queensland. “You have two world heritage areas meeting each other – the Daintree Forest and the Great Barrier Reef, he explained. “I didn’t actually appreciate the area until I left. I just took the reef and rainforest for granted. I didn’t realise how nice it was until I went back to visit my parents and I thought actually, this was a really great area to grow up!”
Anthony told me the area around Cairns has plenty to keep visitors busy. “Definitely go on the great Barrier Reef, snorkelling or scuba diving,” he recommended. “But there are some other off-the-beaten track things to do, like swimming at waterfalls or trying some tropical produce. The road from Cairns to Port Douglas is really beautiful too – running along the coastline where the mountains meet the sea.”
And Anthony is still discovering great sites in the area around Cairns. “There’s a place I’ve only been to quite recently called the Undara lava tubes. They go for miles and miles underground and it’s worth having a look at.” Another tip from Anthony is to visit Australia’s most southern state. “Tasmania is really beautiful. It’s absolutely stunning with some great national parks to go and see.”
I suggested that lot of British visitors might be a bit scared of going off-the-beaten-track in Australia because of the number of scary animals that live both on land and in the water. But Anthony says with a few precautions, you really won’t have any problems. “The chances of being nailed by one of Australia’s so-called ‘dangerous animals’ are pretty low,” he reassured me. “You have to be very unlucky to meet your end that way. Sure, Australia has the world’s top eleven most poisonous snakes but they’re more scared of you than you are of them and they’ll usually clear off if they hear you walking around. It’s rare that someone actually gets bitten by a snake, let alone dies from one. Basically, if you see a sign that says ‘don’t go swimming because of crocodiles’ you don’t swim there. Use your common sense and you’ll be fine.”
In fact, the biggest danger for tourists in Australia might be to their finances. I asked whether the strong Australian dollar could be a problem. “Australia has a very high cost of living,” said Anthony. “You’ll pay more for clothes and accommodation and obviously eating out is very expensive. A pint of beer will cost around $11. You have to take that into account when you visit and make sure you budget.”
If you want to get a quirkier view of some of the world’s great travel destinations then take a look at Anthony’s site at thetraveltart.com.