Guide to Australia

Plan Your Australian Holiday !

This Guide to Australia will cover the main tourism information you will need to help plan your independent holiday or vacation in this vast fascinating travel destination.

It should also help you decide where you go, as for most people time will mean only a small area can be visited. Flying between destinations could overcome some distance difficulties.

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KOOKABURRA on SHELLY BEACH PORT MACQUARIE


Australians like to call their huge country ......in fact it is a continent, the "lucky country"! With six States, and two capital territories, it is more like travelling between countries, distance wise.



Unless you have a lot of time, you are most likely to visit just one area of Australia. Or fly between cities.Use this guide to Australia to help decide where you most want to go.


Guide to Australia States and Cities



  • Sydney is the capital city of New South Wales and largest Australian city, with a population over 4 million
  • Canberra......not high on the tourist list, is the capital city and a capital territory.
  • alt.Circular-Quay-Sydney-Australia.jpg

  • Brisbane is located in sunny Queensland and surprisingly is not on the coast with beaches being further south on the Gold Coast, or north on the Sunshine Coast.
  • Melbourne, Victoria’s capital is considered a cultural city
  • Adelaide is in South Australia’s wine country with some of Australia's oldest wineries.
  • alt.Yarra-River-Melbourne-Australia.jpg

  • Perth a city of just over 1 million people in Western Australia
  • Darwin is a small town in the Northern Territory
......... each state has their capital city, and each is very distinctive.

Cairns is a very popular destination for its tropical climate and atmosphere, beauty and variety of activities and places to visit. Including many resort islands on the Great Barrier reef and beautiful rain forests.

Unique to Australia!

We tend to think of Australia in terms of the expansive forests of gum .......... or more accurately eucalyptus trees,that dominate the landscape.... contrasting their smooth grey trunks against the red dust which characterizes Australia.

Long white stretches of beach, indigo blue waves crashing onto the shores, creating a surfers paradise.

Wildlife Sanctuaries, and of course the famous Australia Zoo will be on everyone's itinerary.Kangaroos and koalas ...........are the signature animals for a country blessed with a wide range of rather unusual, but very appealing wildlife.

Platypus, wombats, emu, cassawary............are animals all native to Australia. And a wide range of spiders, snakes, crocodiles, sharks and other predators and nasty creepy crawlies are also native to Australia.............shudder!

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Weather in Australia



Any guide to Australia has to talk about their weather!The distinctive features of Australia are partly due to climate, which is very variable from state to state. Ranging from tropical in the north, to temperate in the southern regions.

As I write this guide to Australia for example............ you have the highest temperature of 35 degrees celsius in Broome, several cities including Perth and Cairns with 32, while Tasmania has a high of only 18 degrees and Melbourne 19 degrees.

While Melbourne was coping with the devastating bush fires, Queensland was dealing with major floods!

Australian People



Australia’s indigenous people.........the Aborigines.......... are rarely seen in the cities. Inhabiting Australia for over 40 thousand years... they know and understand every nuance of the vast Australian outback. Many still live on their territorial lands, mostly on the Northern territory, and hotter areas of the country.

Immigrants have come from a wide range of countries, settled in pockets around the country and give Australia it’s diverse culture, cuisine and dynamics.

Travel Around Australia

  • Car
  • Campervans and Motorhomes
  • Bus
  • Plane
  • Train
.......... are all viable alternatives.

People choosing to drive always need to remember this is a vast country, with long stretches of uninhabited road. Be well prepared with
  • Tools
  • First Aid
  • Water
  • Food
  • Phone
if you plan to drive through the outback areas.

You will find more information as a guide to Australia driving here.

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Where Should You go in Australia?



This guide to Australia will hopefully help you decide where you will go in on your holiday. Choose the area you have time to enjoy, and that fits your timetable and interests.What is it you most want from your Australian holiday? Cities, beaches, sun, historic culture, outdoor adventure?

I will give a brief overview below, and add pages with more details for each State over time.Be sure to sign up for the RSS feeds so you are notified of new information.

New South Wales



For many people Sydney is the main reason they come to New South Wales. Sydney highlights feature

  • Beaches
  • Parks
  • Historic Buildings
  • Nightlife and Shows
  • Designer Shopping
and more.

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Sydney has a wonderfully active harbour, with ferries and boats constantly arriving and departing from Circular Quay.On the foreshore you will find

  • The Rocks a historic area with much to explore
  • Sydney Opera House
  • Royal Botanical Gardens
  • Darling Harbour another busy, interesting attraction
There is plenty in inner city Sydney to interest you.

DAY TOURS FROM SYDNEY

  • Manly Beach on the North Shore
  • Blue Mountains
  • Ku-rin-gai Chase
  • Hunter Valley famous for its many wineries.
and you will have seen a good cross section of Sydney.

Port Macquarie......and Coffs Harbour NSW's northern most city, are lovely places for a holiday with beaches and historic interest, wineries and a relaxed atmosphere.

Queensland - the Sunshine State!



Queensland is always a popular holiday and vacation destination. Brisbane is the capital city, and has much of interest, but it is not located right on a beach but a river. Historic old buildings have been beautifully restored, and South Bank is a wonderful park area on the river. However, for many it is the beaches and warmth they come for.

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MAIN TOURISM AREAS in QUEENSLAND

  • The Gold Coast is a lively high rise area of hotels and apartments, casinos, and much for those who like the nightlife, all centred around the beaches - Surfers Paradise, Broad Beach, Coolangatta...there are 35 to choose from! It is now possible to fly directly to the Gold Coast.
  • The Sunshine Coast north of Brisbane with Malooloolaba and Noosa Heads both popular beach destinations is for those wanting more low key tropical holidays in the sun. Here it is a quite different atmosphere to the Gold Coast.Personally I much prefer the Sunshine Coast.
  • Cairns and Port Douglas in Northern Queensland are truly tropical destinations with trips to Kuranda and the rain forest in the hills, or out to island resorts such as Dunk Island off the coast.

Victoria for Shopping and Culture



Melbourne, Victoria’s biggest city........ is the design capital of Australia and a lovely city to visit.

Featuring

  • Concerts
  • Shows
  • Shopping
  • Beaches
  • Parks
  • China Town
and much of historic interest in the city, along with some fascinating architecture and wonderful restaurants make for a vibrant city.

Melbourne has made the most of the Yarra River which is a focal point. Take the old tram tour, and get on and off at points of interest to save your feet! Take a day tour to
  • wineries
  • Healesville Sanctuary.......the place to see koalas, kangaroos and Australian wildlife,
  • Mornington Peninsula ...another pleasant trip.


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Ballarat - Sovereign Hill Gold Mine Village and Sound and Light Show is a wonderful guide to Australia history and is a worthwhile overnight trip from Melbourne.

Geelong- is another very nice old town with many interesting features including the wonderful waterfront area which includes an historic, still working carousel.

Tasmania - or Tassie to Ozzies!



Tasmania is that little island that lies south of the coast of Victoria. Here there is an English feel with rolling green pastures, historic buildings, and beautiful outdoor areas for walking, and outdoor activities. Hobart is a very nice small city. Temperatures are generally quite cool year round.

South Australia for Wine Country



Adelaide is definitely the place to go for beaches and a wine experience with nearby

  • McLarenVale
  • Barossa Valley
  • Claire Valley
  • Harndorf


All offering a selection of great vineyard experiences. Whale watching in the season is close and..........free! Port Victor is a lovely little town, where the whales come to visit annually.

Western Australia........more wine and beaches!

Western Australia is best known for its biggest and rather old world city, of just over a million people............Perth situated on the Swan River.

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OTHER TOWNS WORTH VISITING

  • Margaret River - if you go no further south it is worth travelling to this major wine area which is a lovely little spot with walks, art and ctaft galleries, and many foodie experiences.
  • Busselton Has a 1.8 kilometre Pier and fantastic views
  • Albany about 450 kilometres south of Perth with its whaling stationand Sandal Wood Factory, along with stunning coastal beaches is well worth a visit En route you can experience
  • Denmark where the largest barometer in the world is housed along with a fantastic barometer collection.
  • The Tingle Trees Skywalk at Walpole is amazing, and this area has very beautiful forest areas to drive through.
  • Esperance - is twice another 450 plus kilometres from Albany, but I understand very lovely.


More wineries...........more beaches..............this is Australia!



Australian Outback



  • Kalgoorlie
  • Bungle Bungles in the Kimberleys
  • Alice Springs attracts those keen to see Uluru once known as Ayers Rock.
Only last month I meet an English couple who had a wonderful experience, dining out in the open, at tables set up with white table clothes and a luxurious menu to match....... watching the sun set over Uluru! How romantic is that!

Accommodation



If you are not driving a Campervan , you will find any number of

  • excellent hotels
  • motels.......they rarely have full kitchens as in New Zealand
  • cabins – which can be the best option as they are often in camping grounds by a beach, reasonably priced, and do have kitchens, hostels, backpackers
  • B&B’s
  • lodges
  • camping grounds
Use the search box to find something suitable if you want to pre-book. Look out for my recommendations for a few places we have stayed.

Guide to Australia Food

  • Australian Pubs are found all over the country. You will get a basic but good, well priced meal.
  • Ethnic Restaurants include Italian, Greek, Indian, Nepalese, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Lebanese and more.
  • International Chain Restaurants – McDonalds, BurgerKing, Starbucks etc – are prolific.
  • Surf Life Saving Clubs in beach areas serve cheap meals open to everyone. These are good for families.


You will have a choice of everything from the cheapest chain restaurants to top world reknowned restaurants such as Tetsuya’s in The Rocks in Sydney. Italian restaurants abound...especially in Lygon St in Melbourne.

Travel Visas

It will depend what country you are from what the visa requirements are. Australia has strict requirements for bringing in food and other products so check what is allowed before you go.

Check the Travel Visa requirements for your country here.

Planning Your Australian Holiday Itinerary



To simplify this guide to Australia, I will divide this section into States.

I will gradually add pages, covering the main cities, and a wide variety of great destinations, self drive tours, and experiences. So do make sure you click my RSS feed, so you know when new information is added. If you have any questions you can contact me via the Contact Form here.

I will share with you all the information, recommendations, tips and stories about the many parts of Australia I have experienced.




Useful Australia Information


Sydney Attractions

Camel Ride on Lighthouse Beach

Travel in Australia

The Great Ocean Road

Sovereign Hill

Campervan Rental Australia

Tangalooma - Moreton Island

Tangalooma Accommodation

Sovereign Hill

Travel Guide Books Australia

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