Australia is the world’s largest island – but smallest continent. In distance, the continent stretches about 2300 miles from north to south and 2500 miles from east to west, making it the sixth-largest nation after Russia, Canada, China, the United States, and Brazil. It is divided into six states and two territories.
Australia's culture is derived primarily from Britain but also influenced by the unique geography of the Australian continent, the diverse input of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, and other Oceanian people. The oldest surviving cultural traditions in Australia (which are actually some of the oldest surviving traditions on earth) – are those of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Their ancestors inhabited Australia for between 40,000 and 60,000 years and they lived a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. The boomerang and didgeridoo, which were invented by Aborigines, are to this day iconic symbols of the country. Australians are generally laid back, open and direct. They say what they mean and are generally more individual and outgoing than other cultures. More than three-quarters of Australians live in cities and urban centers, mainly along the coast.
Visiting the Land Down Under and experiencing all that it has to offer is hardly possible in one trip yet overdoing the itinerary for your visit to this island nation is not advisable. On your trip, you can focus on an interest like wine, fishing, wildlife, or golf or you can focus on the main natural and historic sites. As a certified Aussie Specialist we can design an itinerary that's right for you. Here are some key places you should include.
Sydney is one of Australia's largest and most beloved cities. It is a beautiful place to begin your first 4 to 5 days on the island, especially if you are traveling between June and August. With lots of natural beauty and invigorating city life, there's so much to explore. Some places you should visit include the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge, Blue Mountains, Circular Quay and the Harbour, Royal Botanical Gardens, and, last but not least, the beaches
It's easy to feel captivated by the beauty of Melbourne, so we suggest spending at least 4 to 5 days here, too. You could honestly get lost forever in all of its wonders. Although it's nowhere near as busy as Sydney, Melbourne has a bustling scene of its own. In the city, you can dine at one of many delightful restaurants or shop at any of the unique boutiques. However, the best way to get a feel for it all is by touring the entire city. Be sure to visit Federation Square, Flinders Street Train Station, the Yarra River, Chinatown, Bourke Street Pedestrian Mall, and the ever-so-popular Queen Victoria Market. Children and adults will enjoy the Melbourne Zoo where you can see all of the strange and wondrous creatures that call Australia home.
Great Ocean Road
Travel along Great Ocean Road for some of the most amazing sites in Australia. This coastal road stretches for 151 miles and makes the perfect 2-day trip. Take your time to soak in the views and be sure to stop at the 12 Apostles, London Bridge, all of the beaches and forests situated alongside the road.
Great Barrier Reef
One of Australia's most quintessential tourist attractions is the Great Barrier Reef. Since the reef stretches from below the Tropic of Capricorn way up to the northern tip of Queensland, there is plenty of opportunity for scuba diving and snorkeling. Plan to spend 3 to 4 days here, visiting Cairns, The Whitsunday Islands, Lady Elliot Island, and Cape Tribulation. (Note: the jellyfish stinger season runs from November to May and a stinger suit should be worn.)
uluru (ayers rock)
Ayers Rock is a unique, geological feature in a remote location, about 287 miles from Alice Springs. Standing high above the Northern Territories' spinifex plains like some continental giant, this massive sacred rock of Uluru is probably the ultimate most majestic icon of the Southern Land. Take 2 or 3 days to visit Ayers Rock if you can squeeze it into your itinerary. Unless you fly, it will take a few days to get to the famously massive sandstone, but it's well worth it. Some of the most magical moments can be experienced at Ayers Rock, including sunrise, sunset, and stargazing.
Hutt Lagoon (the pink lake), Western Australia
Cape Byron headland and Lighthouse, New South Wales
The Pinnacles, West Australia
Surfer’s Paradise Beach, Queensland
Sydney Opera House, New South Wales
Uluru, Northern Territory
Twelve Apostles, Victoria
Australia has primarily
an arid climate, classified as desert or semi-desert, except in the extreme north, where it is tropical (with a rainy and a dry season), and on the
southern coasts, where it is more temperate, oceanic or Mediterranean. However, even non-desert areas are subject to sudden increases in
temperature, caused by hot and dry winds coming from the desert, sometimes accompanied by sand. Being in the Southern Hemisphere,
Australia has, of course, reversed seasons from Europe or North America.
All measurements in Australia are metric. Distances are in meters and kilometers, and speed in kilometers per hour. Australians drive on the
left side of the road. Roads within and between the cities and towns are paved and well maintained, as are the main highways that join the state and territory capital cities. There are usually
plenty of well-marked rest areas on major highways, though these are usually very basic and do not always have toilet facilities.
In more remote areas (known as the "Outback") motorists may travel for hundreds of kilometers between towns without opportunities to refuel, get water, refreshments, or use toilets. Some roads, including major paved highways,
may not be passable in certain seasons or weather conditions.