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Australia

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Australia

The land down under

Tropical rainforests, red deserts, stunning beaches, unique wildlife, trendy cities and friendly people, Australia is the perfect destination for anyone who enjoys the great outdoors, top-class cuisine and a laid-back approach to life. Whatever your style and taste in travel, this is one country where you’ll make memories to cherish forever.

Overview

Australia conjures up images of unique animals, vast landscapes and endless hours of sunshine. Indeed, the weather is one of the main reasons why tourists flock to Australia. The magnificent beaches, surfing opportunities and abundant marine life are just a few more.  Australia is both remote and fascinating with its vibrant cities, natural wonders and seemingly endless opportunities for bucket list adventures. This captivating country really does have it all, whatever your budget, age and taste in holidays.

Visit Sydney and Melbourne for their iconic sights, enjoy camping in the outback, snorkel or dive the great barrier reef, see whale sharks, watch a sunset over Uluru; the list is endless.

Australia makes a perfect year-round destination and when to travel depends on the region you want to visit. The northern part is dry between April and September, which makes it perfect for swimming and beach holidays. From October to March, the weather is more humid and wet, but this is perfect for seeing wildlife and wetlands. If you’re visiting the southern part, then December to February are the hottest months while July and August enjoy the perfect weather for hiking and other activities. March to May are ideal for joining in the festivals, and September to November see more wildlife activity.

Top Cities Sydney (largest city), Canberra (capital), Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Cairns Languages English Currency Australian dollar Time Zone Australia has three time zones. Standard time zone in Sydney is (GMT+10 hours), but due to Sydney’s daylight saving and British summer time changes, this results in Sydney being 11 hours ahead of London during London’s winter and 9 hours ahead during London’s summer. Drinks Imported beer: £5.00/$6.90 Domestic beer: £4.50/$6.20 Water: £1.60/$2.20

Meals Inexpensive restaurant: £11.20/$15.50 Meal for 2, mid-range, 3-course: £50.40/$69.80 Hostels The average cost of a dorm room in a hostel is around £18.15/$25.15. Hotels 3-star accommodation averages around £56.40/$78.10 and 5-star accommodation around £200.00/$277.00. Tipping Tipping is not mandatory or expected in Australia, but if you’ve received excellent service, then 10% is a good guideline. For taxi drivers, common courtesy is to tell them to keep the change.

Taxi Taxis can be easily hailed in the city centres or booked online or via an app. Fares are regulated, and there are various charges depending on the time of day, whether they have been hailed and so on. The average cost of a taxi in Sydney is £1.23/$1.70 per km. Public transport Travelling around Australia requires some planning due to its sheer size. Internal flights are the best option when travelling long distance and buses provide a reliable solution. Some offer flexible hop-on hop-off fares which are perfect for exploring. The train is another alternative for those long distances, and there are regional networks as well. Of course, exploring by car is the traditional way of travelling around the country at your own pace. Within the towns and cities, there are reliable and affordable bus networks as well as regional trains in the main cities. Melbourne has the added option of trams while Sydney and Canberra have a light rail service. Sydney and Brisbane also have public ferry services. Highlights As the world’s sixth-largest country, there is no end to the list of things to see and do in Australia. Much depends on how much time you have available. There are many trips and itineraries available that combine cities, provide coastal road trips or focus on aboriginal experiences.   Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge for a truly memorable experience, relax on Bondi Beach or take a day trip to see the Blue Mountains and Three Sisters rock formation where you can take a ride on the Katoomba railway, the world’s steepest passenger railway. Explore Melbourne with Tram route 96 which takes you past many of the city’s top sights or venture further afield and take in the Great Ocean Road with its truly dazzling landscape and rock formations, the most famous being the Twelve Apostles. Experience the magic of a sunset over Uluru in Australia’s Red Centre, followed by dinner under the stars, or travel early in the day to see the caves and ancient paintings. Witness nature at her best on the Great Barrier Reef as you snorkel or scuba dive a labyrinth of coral formations, watched by some of the most exquisite marine life. And for more of a nature fix, why not visit Kakadu national park in the Northern Territory which is teeming with birds and reptiles towards the end of the dry season? If you have time, don’t miss out on a visit to Tasmania with its incredible mountains and gorges - the perfect location to unwind and recharge.

Interesting Facts

Many of Australia’s flora and fauna species are found nowhere else in the world, and it is believed that 75% are still to be discovered.

There is more snow on the Australian Alps than the Swiss Alps.

There are three times more sheep in Australia than people – and there are more kangaroos.

There are over 60 separate wine regions producing 1.35 trillion bottles of wine each year.

There are over 10,000 beaches to be enjoyed here.

Brisbane is host to the world cockroach racing championships.

Canberra was selected as the capital because Sydney and Melbourne could not agree on which city should be chosen.

Highway 1 is the world’s second-longest highway at 14,500 km and loops around the Australian coast.

The longest fence in the world is the dingo fence which is 5,531 km long and stretches from Queensland to the south Australian coast.

The kangaroo and the emu both feature on the Australian coat of arms because neither animal is able to walk backwards, representing a nation moving forwards.

Tasmania has the cleanest air in the world.

The Nullarbor Links golf course in Western Australia is the longest in the world, spanning 1,365 km.