A land blessed with abundant sunshine and some of the world’s most outgoing people, Australia is one of the most exhilarating destinations in the world. If its sprawling beaches, gorgeous landscapes and rugged mountains don’t attract you, then perhaps its extraordinary native animals will. The kangaroo’s stare is almost human-like, while the wombat and the koala are just so adorable they can get away with sleeping the whole day! The world's largest island and a continent unto itself, Australia also has vast spaces, just the thing to lose yourself in on a life-changing, rejuvenating walkabout. Australia is home to some of world’s most famous sights: from Sydney’s Opera House and Darling Harbour to Ayers Rock, not to mention the Great Barrier Reef.
Airlie Beach, Queensland
The gateway to Australia's glorious Whitsunday Islands, this township brims with island-bound tourists, yachties and backpackers. Around town, dozens of outlets sell crafts, clothing and souvenirs, and sociable restaurants and watering holes abound.
- The manmade lagoon sprawled along the shore, a good place to cool off during stinger season. From here and nearby Shute Harbour, you can take day trips to resort islands such as Hamilton Island and Daydream Island, or cruise to snorkelling and dive sites on the outer Barrier Reef.
Queensland’s cool and casual capital offers all the glitz and glam of a big city without the big city airs. Located on the banks of the Brisbane River and surrounded by rolling hills, this urban oasis sure is easy on the eyes. Whichever way you go, you're bound to encounter your fair share of first-ever experiences.
- The chance to climb the legendary Story Bridge for amazing views from almost 20 storeys high, take a sandboarding tour on North Stradbroke Island or try sheep shearing at the Australian Woolshed.
- Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, the word’s largest koala sanctuary, for some quality time with resident kangaroos and even cuddle a koala.
- The world's largest subtropical city garden, the Roma Street Parkland, with nearly 100,000 varieties of plants and shrubs to admire.
- Queen Street Mall, the shopping mecca of them all, for the largest collection of funky, trendy shops. For more unique boutiques, visit The Valley, South Bank and China Town.
- XXXX Ale House to learn about its 125-year old brewing heritage, its legendary recipe AND enjoy a few samples!
A lively, attractive port city on the northwest coast of Tasmania - Burnie is known for its lovely waterfalls, winding gardens and scenic vistas, and a good place to see a penguin or a platypus. The city's unique architecture meantime reflects the history of industry in this remote part of the world, starting with sheep, then tin, then silver and now cargo shipping.
- Wildlife in the Little Penguin Observation Centre or in Fernglade to see a platypus, that mysterious duck-billed, egg-laying mammal. Guide Falls, an easily accessibly waterfall, is also worth a visit, as is the Roundhill Lookout, which offers sweeping views of the city and bay.
- Bushwalking in Burnie Park with its lawns, shady walkways, animal enclosures, Burnie Inn is also one of the prettiest parks in Tasmania. The park's animal reserve is home to ducks, swans, peacocks, emus, wallabies and rabbits.
A favorite holiday destination with some of the most original and exciting attractions in Australia: golden sunny beaches flanked by pristine rainforest, and the Great Barrier Reef less than an hour away.
- The Great Barrier Reef, the world’s most stunning marine park, a vast coral complex composed of more than 2,000 individual reefs and 71 coral islands. It’s home to some 400 species of coral and over 1,300 species of fish. Take a glass bottom boat tour if diving isn’t for you!
- A day trip into or scenic flight over the ancient Daintree rainforest
There are few places as tranquil as the island of Tasmania. So it's no surprise that Aussies head here for a taste of laid-back island life. Over a third of the landscape is covered with national parks and wilderness World Heritage areas. It's even home to one of the world's best beaches and tons of aboriginal creatures such as the short-beaked echidna, little pygmy, and yes, the Tasmanian devil himself. And Hobart, the island's Europeanesque harbor town, is the perfect prequel to it all.
- A date with a real-life Tasmanian devil and other wild island natives at the Bonorong Wildlife Park.
- A 3-hour cycling tour down Mount Wellington. Your trek starts above the cloud line, where you'll then descend to Hobart Harbour and ogle the coastal views.
- Hiking in some of the island favourites: Cradle Mountain, Bay of Fires and the Freycinet Peninsula.
- Tasmanian wine - so tasty it seldom makes it off the island. For stellar vintages of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris, and others, head out to one of 30 or so vineyards for a tasting. The Tasmanian Wine Centre in Battery Point is great place to start.
Sitting pretty in the southeast corner of Australia is the very multi-dimensional Melbourne. Whether you're into football or funky fashion, local pubs or chichi cafés, eclectic or traditional architecture - this epicentre of everything truly has it all. No wonder it’s one of the world's most livable cities.
- Melbourne Zoo, where you can see the whole world of animals - over 350 species of animals including the local wombats and wallabies in their natural habitats - in around three hours.
- St Kilda, Melbourne's seaside suburb, for more than just a day at the beach. Try a kite-surfing safari or kayak adventure.
- The Yarra River (which flows right down the center of the city), a hot spot for some adrenaline-pumping activities. Explore the sights by cycle or walking shoe, and enjoy a pit stop at a cafés or pub.
- Queen Victoria Market, with a thousand or so vendors selling anything and everything.
Fishing village charm meets aquatic amusement and jungle intrigue in Port Douglas, the perfect setting for your Australian adventure. Take a dip in the warm tropical waters. Sip a fruity drink at one of the many seaside cafés. Or relish the heart-pumping thrill of reef, river and rain-forest exploration.
- The peaceful coves, spectacular reefs, amazing jungles and once-in-a-lifetime experiences in Australia's Tropical North.
- The chance to explore the famous Great Barrier Reef and all its colorful inhabitants, because Port Douglas is just an hour away from Cairns, gateway to the GBR.
Sparkling Sydney is a city with endless options for entertainment, shopping and exploration. A harbor cruise is an amazing way to experience the stunning natural beauty of Sydney Harbor along with an up-close view of Sydney’s famous Opera House and Harbor Bridge. Or why not enjoy an ice cream in sunny Manly Beach or check out the surfers at Bondi Beach.
- A leisurely cliffside walk from Bondi to Bronte Beach while admiring the spectacular costal scenery.
- The Sydney Opera House up close. Catch a show or just pop in to admire its stately structure and amazing views of Sydney's sparkling harbor. A stroll along the shoreline at sunset is a must!
- A day at the beach - Sydney's got 34 to choose from. With golden sand and crystal water, Bondi, Bronte and Coogee are three not to be missed. Surfing is pretty popular, so pick up a board and give it a shot.
- The Rocks Market, where street performers and local musicians keep you amused while 150 or so vendors sell pretty much everything under the sun.