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News > June 2016 > 20 Cultural Highlights of Australia and New Zealand

20 Cultural Highlights of Australia and New Zealand

To give you a taste of the incredible moments that await on a luxury escorted tour with Scenic, here we take a closer look at twenty of Australia and New Zealand’s most esteemed cultural highlights.

Australia

Wall in the Wilderness, Tasmania

Located at Derwent Bridge in Tasmania’s Central Highlands, the Wall in the Wilderness is cited as Australia’s most ambitious art project, a 100-metre long timber sculpture depicting the history and hardships of those who settled Tasmania over two-hundred years ago. Designed and carved by esteemed creator Greg Duncan, this majestic artwork stands as a proud memorial to the island’s humble origins.

Kings Park, Perth

Stretching for four kilometres on the western edge of Perth’s central business district, Kings Park is one of the largest public parks in the world, and is 1km2 larger than Central Park in New York City. Aside from exquisite views of Melville Water and the Swan River, Kings Park plays host to 300 plant varieties and over 80 bird species, making it the ideal spot for nature lovers.

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

The National Gallery of Victoria is Australia’s oldest and most prestigious contemporary arts space, and proudly exhibits works from generations of aspiring and well-known Australian artists. As visually stirring on the outside as it is within, the slate exterior of the gallery is enveloped in cascading water, collected and recycled using specialist pipes which wrap around the building. A unique spectacle, and one you’re sure to never forget.

Sydney Opera House, Sydney

A jewel in Australia’s cultural crown; the Sydney Opera House was lauded heavily upon its construction, and has become the country’s most recognisable landmark. Not just a pretty picture, the Opera House plays host to a roster of cultural events, including regular performances by the world-renowned Sydney Symphony Orchestra. We’d urge you to catch a show during your visit to the city.

Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, Cairns

Tracing the origins of Australia’s indigenous Aboriginal people, the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park is ideal for those looking to unearth another side of Australia. With a range of educational exhibits on offer, this unique heritage centre gives you authentic insight into one of the world’s oldest cultures — from its food and drink, to its arts, dance and performance. 

Cascade Brewery, Hobart

The oldest continually operating brewery in Australia; Hobart’s Cascade Brewery has become popular on account of its insightful tours, charming architecture and, of course, its delicious amber nectar. Hugh Mackintosh, along with his nephews (who settled in Hobart following a jail term), started brewing ale here in 1831 using the crystal clear water of the Hobart Rivulet. Today, Cascade remains one of the best-loved breweries in Australia.

Story Bridge, Brisbane

With its mesmerising viewing platform offering panoramic vistas across the city, it’s easy to see where Brisbane’s iconic Story Bridge got its name. Established in 1940, this bold architectural gem is a spectacle to behold, and claims the mantle of Australia’s longest cantilever bridge. Luckily, tours of the bridge are available for those who can handle the height.

The Perth Mint, Perth

Unearth the colourful history of the Australian gold rushes with a visit to the imposing Perth Mint. The last of three colonial branches of the UK’s Royal Mint, the Perth Mint houses the original machinery used to refine gold from the rushes of the 18th and 19th centuries. Today the Mint is still in use, both as a gold refinement plant and a centre for those interested in finding out more about this unique period in Australia’s history.

Margaret River Wineries, Margaret River

One of the most prolific areas for viticulture in western Australia, the Margaret River plays host to over one hundred independent wineries, making it the perfect place to sample some of the country’s favourite vintages. As part of a Scenic escorted tour you’ll be given the opportunity to visit one of the region’s finest vineyards, savouring a glass or two of its home-grown produce along the way.

Field of Light, The Outback

Twinkling beneath the indigo sky of Australia’s fabled Outback, the Field of Light is a visual artwork like no other. Created by British artist Bruce Munro, this unforgettable exhibit features thousands of light bulbs planted direct into the Uluru desert, illuminating but a small stretch of this impossibly large bush-land; the perfect way to spend the evening in this magical country.

New Zealand

 

 

International Antarctic Centre, Christchurch

For those put off visiting the Poles by the freezing temperatures, the International Antarctic Centre of Christchurch offers the next best thing. Regularly voted as one of New Zealand’s best visitor attractions, the Antarctic Centre lets you learn about life in Antarctica through a series of interactive exhibits, including the Antarctic Storm experience. Plus, visitors can say hello to the centre’s group of Little Blue Penguins, Antarctic natives who happen to be some of the most charming creatures on the planet.

TSS Earnslaw Vintage Steamship, Queenstown

Cruising New Zealand’s spectacular waters since 1912, the TSS Earnslaw screw steamer is the perfect way to explore the beautiful inlets and fiords of Queenstown. This charming steamer negotiates the calm surface of Lake Wakatipu, giving you time to enjoy the evocative scenery at a leisurely pace. The vessel itself perfectly complements the surroundings, and you’re free to explore the engine room to see its mighty steam engine in action.

Rotorua Thermal Spa, Rotorua

Should all the travelling leave you weary, spend the day at one of the many geothermal pools as part of a Polynesian Spa Day. This region of New Zealand is world-renowned for its thermal spas, and the hot mineral bathing offered is said to bring transcendental relaxation and comfort — the perfect way to end a long day of sightseeing. 

Longlands Homestead, Matamata

Discover what it takes to run a New Zealand livestock farm with a visit to the endlessly charming Longlands Homestead. Located in the midst of the country’s most beautiful scenery, this working farm opens its doors to visitors interested in finding out what life is like for New Zealand’s weather-hardened livestock farmers. It’s not all hard work though; Longlands is home to an award-winning restaurant, where you can enjoy a home-cooked meal with one truly epic backdrop.

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Auckland

Housing thousands of artworks spanning seven centuries or more, the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki is New Zealand’s most preeminent galleries, and the perfect place to explore the country’s rich artistic history. The gallery features works from ancient and contemporary artists alike, and regularly hosts exhibitions celebrating New Zealand’s proud Maori heritage.

Cathedral Square, Christchurch

The beating heart of the unique city of Christchurch, Cathedral Square is home to many of the city’s best-loved architectural gems, including the beautiful ChristChurch Cathedral. The square was first established in 1864, making it one of the oldest public squares in New Zealand. Sadly, repeated earthquakes have caused widespread damage to the square, with many of its original buildings lost or replaced by contemporary versions. And yet, this only serves to lend Cathedral Square a sense of fascination and enduring charm.

Sky Tower, Auckland

Standing at 328 metres, Auckland’s mighty Sky Tower is the tallest man-made structure in the Southern Hemisphere, making it the perfect place to see the city in all of its panoramic glory. The Sky Tower has become an iconic landmark in New Zealand, and the upper section serves as a visitor centre complete with a 360° dining space, restaurant and three observation decks — perfect for enjoying the limitless vistas offered from its expansive glass viewing platforms.

TranzAlpine Train

Considered one of the world’s great rail journeys, the TranzAlpine railway dissects some of the finest scenic vistas in New Zealand, transporting its passengers over deep gorges, snowy peaks and fertile grasslands in a single, epic journey. Begin your journey in Christchurch, and travel over the glorious Canterbury Plains and along the banks of the Waimakariri River, before arriving in the village of Franz Josef. What better way to savour the spirit lifting views New Zealand is so famous for?

Tamaki Maori Village, Rotorua

Voted as New Zealand’s best cultural experience, the Tamaki Maori Village is an immersive feast of history, heritage and folklore — transporting you to the heart of Maori culture. Visitors will embark on a three-hour experience that’s equal parts interactive, entertaining and insightful, giving you the opportunity to understand Maori way of life amid the beauty of the Tawa Forest.

Auckland Vineyards, Auckland

For a small country, New Zealand has a winemaking heritage that belies its stature. Many of the country’s internationally renowned wines originate in the vineyards of Auckland, which benefit from the region’s wet yet warm climate. Venturing to one of Auckland’s wineries is an absolute must during your visit to the city, and we’d recommend one of the vineyards in the towns of Warkworth and Matakana, whose Cabernet Sauvignons are heralded as some of the finest on Earth.

For your chance to visit each of the cultural highlights listed above, consider reserving a place on a luxury escorted tour with Scenic. With over 30 years experience transporting guests on unforgettable trips around Australia and New Zealand, we’re perfectly placed to help you explore the fascinating cultures of these distinct nations. To find out more, visit our Escorted Tours page or call us on 0808 163 7047.

Image credits: Fotolia, Flickr Creative Commons: Robert Linsdell

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