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MAIN Arrow to Travel Travel Arrow to Travel Destination Guides Destination Guides Arrow to Travel Destination Guides - Oceania Oceania Arrow to Australia Australia

Sydney Opera House
The iconic Sydney Opera House
rises like a fleet of sailing ships
in the middle of Sydney Harbor.

Australia Travel Fast Facts

Getting there: regular flights from points worldwide to international airports located in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

Flight times to Sydney: New York = 20 hours; Los Angeles = 15 hours; London = 22 hours; Hong Kong = 10 hours

What to see: Bondi Beach and Sydney Opera House, Blue Mountains, Great Barrier Reef, Australian wine country, natural wildlife (kangaroos, koala bears) Ayers Rock and the central Australian Outback.

A whole continent unto itself, Australia is often compared to America for its sheer size (as large as the 48 contiguous US states) and for a similar pioneer spirit that first brought English and Irish settlers here in the 18th century.

Today, Australia remains a vibrant, expansive and sometimes tempestuous place for which its citizens are rightly proud.

It's wide open expanses are what also attracts millions of foreign travelers a year offering adventure, sheer beauty, unique wildlife, and miles of sunny coastal beaches.

Along with natural attractions, Australia also boasts some of the world's most modern progressive cities, starting from it's unofficial capital, Sydney and the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House.

(Only short day trip from Sydney lies another of Australia's top attractions, the spectacularly rugged Blue Mountains.)

Other numberless attractions also await in four other of Australia's top urban centers including:

• Melbourne - Federation Square, Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne Zoo and Healsville Sanctuary

• Brisbane - Southbank Parklands, Brisbane Skyneedle, and Early Street Historical Village

• Adelaide - Adelaide Zoo, Botanic Gardens, and Migration Museum

• Perth - Perth Cultural Centre, Swan Bells tower, and Kings Park

The Great Barrier Reef

More popular tourist attractions await at another famous Australian natural icon, Ayers Rock and the Australian Outback, followed by the unique and beautiful flora and fauna found on the island of Tasmania.

Australia by season

One of the largest countries in the southern hemisphere, the seasons in the land Down Under are directly opposite to that of the US and Europe.

And, while the residents of the northern hemisphere may celebrate the holidays with snow, an Australian Christmas is usually spent with a backyard barbecue or a day at the beach on December 25, the height of summer.

The iconic 2-mile long Ayers Rock
in the Australian Outback.

In fact, November - February remains Australia's peak travel season when the Great Barrier Reef, off the northern coast of Queensland, attracts some 2 million visitors a year looking to dive or snorkel around the world's largest living organism. Although climate change has taken its toll on Australia's top tourist attraction, the reef can still boast the best sites to dive or snorkel the Great Barrier Reef to see it in all its natural wonder.

In season, a taste of Australian wine country is also at the top of must-sees for wine lovers as Aussie wines continue to make a splash on the worldwide wine scene, for local vintages most notably produced in the Barossa Valley, Hunter Valley, and Margaret River wine regions.

DID YOU KNOW? Australia Travel Fun Facts

Yodel-ay, mate.

• Yes, there are The Australian Alps, and they receive more snowfall than Switzerland.

• Roughly the size of the United States, Australia is the only nation-continent in the world.

• Australia has the world’s largest cattle ranch. At 30,028 square kilometers, it’s almost the size of Belgium.

• Kangaroo meat is often sold at supermarkets, or served at restaurants. Fans of kangaroo say it is delicious -- if it's not overcooked. And it's virtually fat free.

Vegemite, an Australian favorite, is made from yeast extract and spread lightly on toast (with butter) for breakfast or a snack.

More about Australia travel & tourist attractions around the Web:

Australia travel guide - Wikitravel - Get familiar with the entire continent in this sweeping overview including factoids on Australia weather, time zones, history, top tourist and natural attractions, travel safety tips, with photos and related resources.

Woop Woop - Also known as Never-Never, with the the Australian Outback as the subject for a feast of professional photos expertly served in a virtual tour of the the country's long stretch of central desert.

Australian Slang Dictionary - Get all the drum (information) you need in the unofficial Aussie phrasebook and you'll be stoked (very pleased) to learn colorful and off-color turns-of-phrase in what purports to be English. Go have a Captain Cook (a look).

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