Australians may have to travel farther than many to visit foreign countries, but they don’t need to travel thousands of miles to see some of the world’s most famous iconic destinations. These local substitutes may not be quite the same as seeing the Eiffel Tower or the Galapagos in person, but they do a pretty good job of replicating the experience.
The Arabian Desert
Instead of trekking it all the way to Dubai to see massive sand dunes and camels, visit Stockton Beach. Stretching 32 km west of Newcastle, Stockton Beach rises far enough back from the water’s edge to make the sea disappear and create the illusion of being in the desert.
Bounce over sand dunes on quad bikes through Quad Bike King, or zip down them on a heavily waxed board through Port Stephens 4WD Sandboarding Tours. You can even ride a camel through Oakfield Ranch Tours!
The Grand Canyon
The sheer scale of the Grand Canyon can’t be beat by anything in Australia, but a close comparison can be found in Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge).
The Northern Territory region is a series of thirteen different gorges, carved out of the sandstone over millions of years by the Katherine River. Nitmiluk Tours offers options for exploring multiple gorges, either by cruise or by canoe.
The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is now the international emblem of Paris, but a little known fact about the structure is that it was originally loathed by locals for tainting the city’s skyline.
The Sydney Opera House’s was received in a similar light, with angry street protests and critics opposed to Jorn Utzon’s work. Now, it’s just as famous a structure as its revered Parisian counterpart.
The Galapagos Islands
The Houtman Abrolhos Islands may not have any giant tortoises, but they’re still an impressive alternative to the famous World Heritage-listed islands off the coast of Ecuador.
The Houtman Abrolhos are hugely important as a seabird breeding colony, and its remoteness from human contact has allowed thousands of terns, petrels and shearwaters to colonise the region, as well as abundant populations of sea lions and wallabies. Visitors can’t stay overnight, but they can reach the island on a day trip or by cruise around the area.
What other famous international destinations can Australia replicate?