Canberra is Australia’s capital, inland from the country’s southeast coast. Surrounded by forest, farmland and nature reserves, it earns its nickname, the “Bush Capital.” The city’s focal point is Lake Burley Griffin, filled with sailboats and kayaks. On the lakeshore is the massive, strikingly modern Parliament House, as well as museums including the National Gallery, known for its indigenous art collections.
Sydney Airport is an international airport located 8 km south of Sydney city centre, in the suburb of Mascot. Sydney Airport is both the longest continuously operated commercial airport and oldest commercial international airport in the world, the world’s oldest continually operating commercial airport, and the busiest airport in Australia, handling 35,630,549 passengers in 2011 and 326,686 aircraft movements in 2013.
Most of Australia is pretty temperate year round. Being located in the southern hemisphere, its seasons are reversed from those in the United States and Europe. The northern tropical zones have Wet (November to March) and Dry (April to October) seasons instead of typical four seasons. The tropical and subtropical zones can hit an average of 32°C (89°F) in the Australian summer. If you want to see snow, you’ll have to head to the mountains.
Spring: ~18°C (64°F) September – November
Summer: ~22°C (71°F) December – February
Autumn: ~17°C (62°F) March – May
Winter: ~13°C (55°F) June – August
Australia, with a population of 23.1 million people, is both a country and a continent surrounded by the Indian and Pacific oceans. Its major cities – Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide – are coastal. Its capital, Canberra, is inland. The country is known for its Sydney Opera House, the Great Barrier Reef, a vast interior desert wilderness called the Outback, and unique animal species like kangaroos and duck-billed platypuses.
Don’t miss these iconic Australian sites. From Sydney’s urban vibe to the Outback to the Great Barrier Reef, there’s something for every visitor.
- Sydney Opera House – One of the most recognizable buildings in the world where you can see a show, dine, shop, or just check out the architecture
- Sydney Harbour Bridge – Climb the bridge for an unparalleled view of Sydney Harbour
- The Outback – The fabled Australian frontier with everything from sere deserts to rangeland
- Circular Quay – The main ferry terminal in Sydney and the gateway to many destinations
- Block Arcade – Heritage shopping in Melbourne’s CBD
- Eureka Skydeck 88 – Melbourne’s greatest point of view
- The Great Barrier Reef – A world heritage site and the world’s largest coral reef
- Port Arthur Historic Site – Explore Australia’s history at this preserved convict site
- Cape Byron Lighthouse – Australia’s easternmost lighthouse was built in 1901
- Uluru – This sacred site is the center of the Aboriginal creation story
- The Twelve Apostles – Take a helicopter ride over this amazing coastline site
Try these great Australian travel apps to get the most out of your electronics
- YHA Australia – Find the nearest YHA hostel in Australia
- Smartraveller – Travel warnings and safety info from government agencies
- Trip Planner – Create your own travel itinerary in Australia and New Zealand
- WikiCamps – The ultimate camping companion even works offline!
- ABC App – Access the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on the go
- Country Guide – Travel guide and offline map
- MyTransLink – Public transport information
Australia offers some culinary specialties you just won’t find anywhere else. There’s more to dining Down Under than throwing a shrimp on the Barbie!
- Hamburger with beetroot
- Green chicken curry pie
- Crab sticks
- Grilled kangaroo
- Cheese and bacon roll
- Vanilla slice
- Vegemite on toast
- Seafood pizza
- Fairy bread
- Meat pies
- Spag bol
- Chiko roll
- Pigs in a blanket
- Cherry Ripe
- SAO biscuit
- Sausage rolls
- Dagwood dog
- Tim Tam
- Prawn cocktail
With gorgeous beaches, stunning deserts, imposing mountains and more to choose from, Aussies are big on the great outdoors. Try some of these exciting outdoor activities when you visit.
- Bike Riding
- Rock Climbing
Tipping is frowned upon in Australia. Service industry employees are paid a reasonable wage with benefits, so they don’t rely on tips. In fact, some Australians will consider it insulting if you tip them.
- Waitstaff – Not Expected
- Bartenders – None
- Taxi Drivers – None or Round up
- Porters – None
- Tour Guides – None
Whether you’re looking for a chic city retreat, a luxury beachfront resort, or a contemporary golf destination, these are some of Australia’s top hotel choices.
- Pier One Sydney Harbour – Pier One Sydney Harbour Autograph Collection, features unique Federation-style architecture blended with contemporary chic. Nestled alongside the Sydney Harbour Bridge and offering magnificent panoramic Sydney Harbour views, Pier One Sydney Harbour is built on and over the water.
- Lizard Island Resort – Lizard Island Resort on Lizard Island is the northern-most resort located directly on the Great Barrier Reef, with 24 powdery-white beaches and 40 luxurious suites. Enjoy secluded picnics and sunset beach dining on private beaches, five star cuisine in the beautiful Salt Water restaurant and indulgent spa treatments in the Essentia Day Spa.
- The Westin Sydney – The Westin Sydney is an award winning, five star hotel set in the heart of Sydney’s CBD. Part of the redevelopment of Sydney’s historic General Post Office on Martin Place, this luxurious hotel is surrounded by Sydney’s most exclusive designer shopping, best restaurants, theatres and nightlife, and is close to attractions like Darling Harbor, Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.
- Royal Pines Resort – Smart, contemporary and set on a world-class golf course, RACV Royal Pines Resort offers everything needed for a sun-kissed holiday on surfers paradise, Queensland’s most famous stretch of coastline. Set a short distance from the white sandy beaches of Surfers Paradise and at the heart of the region’s sand belt, this 100-hectare resort is set on a champion golf course.
- Shangri-La Hotel – The hotel encompasses 255 spacious guest rooms and suites offering Cairns’ most spectacular views of the Marlin Marina, tranquil Trinity Bay, rainforest gardens or the crystal blue hotel pool. The multi award winning North Food & Wine Restaurant and Ba8 offer expansive indoor and outdoor dining overlooking the spectacular Marlin Marina.
- The Lyall Hotel and Spa – Capturing the essence of its chic address, The Lyall Hotel and Spa is Melbourne’s only privately owned and operated 5 Star hotel offering grand hotel services and facilities on an intimate and personal scale. With 40 suites of contemporary oriental design, the welcoming ambience attracts guests who appreciate personal recognition and attention to their individual needs.