Australia Travel Guide
The ultimate guide to the coolest things to do and see in Australia
The Land Down Under, one of the biggest but most sparsely populated countries in the world, is famous for many things including kangaroos, incredible beaches and friendly locals. With so many varied regions and landscapes, cool cities and great food, there are plenty of reasons to visit Australia. Start here with my basic Australia travel tips, or jump down below to read my latest Australia travel blogs.
When to Visit
As the largest island in the world, Australia has a hugely varied climate. The northern part of the country is generally warm all year, while the southern regions get cold in winter – but remember that the seasons are opposite to the those in the northern hemisphere!
Sydney is best visited in the summer months (December to February) if you wish to spend time on the beaches and be sure of warm, sunny days, but the weather there is quite pleasant most of the year, though in winter there are more likely to be rainy days and you’ll definitely want to put on a sweater in the evenings.
In Queensland, it gets very hot and humid in summers, often with brief storms, while winters are drier and a little cooler, making them a good time to spend time in the big cities without sweltering in the humidity!
January is generally a nice time of year to visit most parts of Australia, but this is when school children have their summer holidays, so things can be busier than at other times of year – keep this in mind if you’re planning a trip to Australia at the beginning of the year.
Top Things to See
Uluru – Probably the most famous natural landmark in Australia, this red sandstone monolith right in the center of the country, it is sacred to many indigenous Australians. Also known as Ayers Rock, it’s a bit out of the way from pretty much anything else in Australia, but a trip there is one you won’t soon forget.
The Great Barrier Reef – The world’s largest coral reef system, this immense natural wonder off the coast of Queensland in northeastern Australia is a great place to go scuba diving, or just to enjoy the crystal clear waters and lounge on a beach on one of the 900 islands that make it up.
Sydney – While it’s not the political capital of the country, Sydney is the cultural hub and probably the first point of entry for most travelers. From the iconic Sydney Opera House to the Harbor Bridge Climb, there are more than enough things to do and activities for however many days of a stay. It’s hard to visit Australia without a visit to Sydney. Check out this itinerary for a 5-day trip to Sydney.
Hipster cities – Apart from Sydney, the country’s largest city, there are several other worthwhile city destinations in Australia. Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide are all worth visiting, especially for their hipster scenes. Melbourne especially is known for its many excellent cafés, cool street art, independent boutiques and other hipster hangouts.
Taking a tour in Australia, whether around a city neighborhood or through the outback, will save you time and you’ll learn a lot more than wandering around by yourself. Take a look at this selection of Australia tours.
LGBT – Gay Australia Travel Guide
Australia is pretty progressive in terms of LGBT rights, though compared to its neighbor, New Zealand still has a little way to go. Nonetheless, big cities in Australia are extremely gay-friendly and welcoming to travelers. Here are some of the gayest things you should know about Australia.
Q Magazine – This free monthly queer magazine based in Melbourne has been running since 2004 and is an invaluable resource for all things gay in southeastern Australia, it covers a “broad range of resources; from entertainment, theatre, and the scene, to fashion, trends, and travel, to health, special events, and technology, to youth issues, dating, and beauty”.
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras – Perhaps the most famous gay street party in the world, celebrations begin on the the second Thursday in February every year and go on for almost a whole month. It dates back to the 1970s and attracts a huge crowd, from all over Australia and beyond.
More gay travel resources here.
Australia Hotel Deals
Hotels in Australia can be quite pricey, especially in the summer months when things get busier all over the country. I’ve found using Booking.com, Agoda.com or Hotels Combined is a great place to start and can be really useful for finding some amazing last-minute deals.
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