Top places to visit in Australia
Popular with European and North American holidaymakers eager to escape the Northern Hemisphere winter, Australia is blessed with many world-class cosmopolitan cities, mesmerising natural landmarks, and an outstanding coastline comprising hundreds of golden sandy beaches.
Millions of tourists take flights to Australiayear after year, and some of the most popular holiday destinations include Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth.
See the spectacular Sydney Harbour Bridge, which is one of the world's longest spanning-arch bridges and was completed in the 1930s. Nearby is the formidable Sydney Opera House, which opened in the 1970s and is a world-renowned performing arts venue, now inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. Other major points of interest in the city include the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, the Taronga Zoo, the Chinese Garden of Friendship, and the world-famous Bondi Beach.
The third-largest city in Australia, Brisbane is noted for its relatively dry, pleasantly warm winters and was the location of the 1982 Commonwealth Games. This vibrant city is also home to the pictorial botanical garden, and is acclaimed for its Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, which is the oldest in the world and is in the suburb of Fig Tree Pocket.
Home to many of Australia's tallest skyscrapers, Melbourne also has a fantastic zoo and is the location of the National Gallery of Victoria, which was established in 1861 and houses an impressive collection of national and international artwork and photographs. Have a stroll in the picturesque Royal Botanic Gardens, see the superb Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium, or take a day trip to the scenic Yarra Valley, one of Australia's principal wine-producing regions.
One of the sunniest cities in the world, Perth is revered for its Art Gallery of Western Australia and the Aquarium of Western Australia, two very popular family attractions. This city also boasts one of Australia's finest parks, Kings Park, which is around 1,000 acres and is known for its thriving bird life and botanical gardens.
The heart of Australia, Alice Springs is noted for the Alice Springs Desert Park, which tells the story of the indigenous Arranda people and comprises a vast desert wilderness with families of kangaroos. This town is also a popular base for exploring other renowned landmarks in this region, such as the dramatic sandstone rock of Uluru and the stunning Finke Gorge National Park.
The Great Barrier Reef
The most expansive coral reef system on the planet, the Great Barrier Reef includes thousands of coral reefs surrounding hundreds of islands and is nearly 350,000km2, which means it's larger than Italy. Take part in an organised crocodile expedition, see breathtaking Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island, visit the wonderful Airlie Beach Lagoon, or ride on the Kuranda Scenic Railway for more magnificent views.