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Light-hearted side of tourism in Australia

Australia’s natural wonders, or iconic structures like the Sydney Opera House, is what usually springs first to the minds of tourist, but visit anywhere in Australia and you will soon see its light-hearted side.
28 January 2010
Australia has a grand tradition of wacky festivals and unique sporting facilities that are worth exploring.

Some of the strangest festivals in Australia is the World Championship Cockroach Racing, held at Story Bridge Hotel, in Brisbane, on Australia Day. It’s billed as ‘the greatest gathering of thoroughbred cockroaches in the known universe.’

Or the popular, and well known, Henley-on-Todd Regatta in Alice Springs. The boat race is along a dry riverbed and there are only two rules: the craft must resemble a boat; and it must enclose a four-member crew. Everything else is left to creative spirit.

The Chinchilla Melon Festival, in Queensland’s Melon Capital, celebrates the major crop of the region with melon skiing, melon smashing, pip spitting,melon tossing and melon bungee jumping.
Australia also has its fair share of unusual sporting facilities, and while green fairways might dominate the cities and the coastal areas in the Australian outback things are a little different.

The golf course in the opal-mining town of White Cliffs, has bare dirt ‘greens’ and fairways with shrubs and saltbush. Or there’s the Coober Pedy Golf Club in outback South Australia, where you carry around a patch of synthetic grass to tee off on and the ‘greens’ are oiled to stop the sand blowing away.

There is also the brand new Nullarbor Links golf course in Western Australia, with 18-holes over 1,365 kilometres (848 miles), from Kalgoorlie in Western Australia to Ceduna in South Australia. A single hole is played in each participating town or roadhouse along the Eyre Highway.

To visit Australia for tourism purposes, all visitors (unless they have an Australian or New Zealand passport) need to have an Australian Travel Visa.

The most popular of these is the ETA Visa which allows the holder to enter Australia for tourism purposes for up to three months. The ETA Visa is also easy to apply for online, and once approved is electronically attached to your passport.