Australia rivals the USA in size but is home to only 25 million people - giving it one of the lowest population densities on earth. Every aspect of Australian life and culture is a direct result of the scale of this contemporary country and its population. Australia is a land of savage beauty and huge horizons just begging to be explored. It's touted as the ultimate adventure travel destination and even if it's golden beaches, rain forests and iconic outback doesn't tickle your fancy you will find its major cities to be outstanding destinations in their own right. When taken as a whole, the sum of Australia's numerous contrasts is exactly what makes it a destination equally fascinating as it is diverse.
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AUSTRALIA QUICK FACTS
Currency : Australian dollar ($, AUD)
Area: 7,741,220 km²
Population: 24,953,887 (Australian Bureau of Statistics)
Language: English (spoken by everyone), numerous other languages are spoken. Aboriginal Australian languages still are spoken in some Aboriginal communities even though many of these languages have been lost.
Electricity: 240V, 50Hz (plug Type I)
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AUSTRALIA PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
26 January, Australia Day
25 April, Anzac Day
2nd Monday in June, Queen’s Birthday (except Western Australia)
Also, Good Friday through Easter Monday.
BEST TIME TO VISIT AUSTRALIA
The Australian continent covers a large range of climate zones, from the tropics in the north to the arid interior and temperate regions in the south. Overall, Australia is the driest of all inhabited continents, with considerable rainfall and temperature variability both across the country and from year to year.
Australia is not completely hot and sun-kissed, as stereotypes would suggest. and there are some regions that can be quite cool and wet. However, a good portion of the country receives more than 3 000 hr of sunshine a year. and generally, the north is hot and tropical, while the south tends to be sub-tropical and temperate. Most rainfall is around the coast, and much of the centre is arid and semi-arid. Winters can be rather miserable at times, especially around Victoria where short days add to the gloom.
Spring to summer (October to March) is warm or hot everywhere, tropical in the north, and warm to hot with mild nights in the south. This period is the classic tourist season when northern hemisphere visitors seek to escape winter temperatures and soak up some sunshine, although Australia is essentially a year-round destination.
For a week - beginning at the end of October to mid to late November (depending on area) - Australian teenagers finishing high school (known as "Schoolies"), will celebrate the end of their school term. The sheer volume of teen revellers can completely change the nature of some of the cities and towns they visit during this time - particularly the popular Gold Coast.
SPORT & ACTIVITIES
SNOW SPORT IN AUSTRALIA
The snow sports season in Australia can stretch from June until October, with the most consistent season being from July to September.
HIKING & CYCLING IN AUSTRALIA
The best time for outdoor activities in Australia will depend on where in the country you are. It is generally too cold during the months of June, July and August. Some hikes are closed during the fire season from November to April. December to February are the hottest months. Autumn and Spring arguably give you the best options.
BEACH OPTIONS IN AUSTRALIA
Australia has a long, stunning coastline with plenty of beautiful beaches. The best time for relaxing on these beaches is from November till March, with December to February being the busiest and hottest months.
SURFING IN AUSTRALIA
Australia offers fantastic surfing conditions all year round. Conditions vary depending on where you are along the coast, with the most consistent swell generally found during Summer and Autumn.
KITESURF IN AUSTRALIA
Australia, in particular Western Australia, is a fantastic kitesurfing destination for beginners to professionals, for wave surfing and wakestyle riding. The windy season stretches from October to March, with the most consistent winds between November and February. You can usually kite in Cairns and Townsville from April until November and then head over to the west coast, south, south-west, and east coasts for summer.
For more details on kite surfing in Australia expand this section!
HEALTH RISKS IN AUSTRALIA
Be aware of possible health risks in
Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.
AUSTRALIA TRAVEL COSTS
Australian prices always come as a shock if you had travelled from Southeast Asia, but now with the strong AUS dollar and the booming economy, Australia can now easily feel as expensive as Europe or the US, especially for food and drink. This is most noticeable in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, and the WA mining towns – the cost of living has crept up over the years and any prolonged length of time spent in these places will quickly drain savings.
SIGHTS & HIGHLIGHTS OF AUSTRALIA
Considering the vastness of Australia, deciding where to go will always be a juggle between how much time it takes to cover distance and your budget. (Flight time from Melbourne to Perth is more than 4 hours!). With such an expansive tourism industry and an excess of places to see and visit, one could easily spend months driving around the outback, explore national parks, or just hang out on vast, sandy beaches. Or you could hit the popular trinity of Sydney, Barrier Reef, and Uluru in short 2 weeks. Either option is bound to leave you wanting more as you will barely scrape the surface of this vast and diverse country.
Australian cities are surprisingly cosmopolitan and waves of postwar immigration from southern Europe and, more recently, Southeast Asia have done loads to erode Australia’s original Anglo-centrist culture somewhat.
Canberra - the purpose-built national capital of Australia usually fails to grip the attention of visitors, but away from the suburbs is the transitional 'bush' and beyond that the wilderness of the Outback.
Adelaide - the modern-day wine capital of the world and a relaxed South Australian alternative to the big eastern cities.
Brisbane - the capital of sun-drenched Queensland and gateway to beautiful white, sandy beaches.
Cairns - the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Port Douglas, Daintree National Park, and many stunning beaches and resorts.
Darwin - Australia's tropical northern capital, at the top end of the Northern Territory.
Hobart - picturesque and quiet capital of Tasmania, the site of the second convict settlement in Australia.
Melbourne - Australia's second-largest city, Melbourne is a large sporting, shopping and cultural capital and regarded as Australia's most European city in style.
Perth - the most remote continental capital city on Earth, on the south-western edge of Western Australia
Sydney - Australia's oldest and largest city, famous for its picturesque harbour.
Lord Howe Island - Two hours flying time from Sydney, with a permanent population, and comprehensive developed facilities.
Norfolk Island - Direct flights from the East Coast and from Auckland with a permanent population and well-developed facilities.
Christmas Island - Famous for its red crab migration. Reachable from Perth and Kuala Lumpur.
Cocos Islands - Coral atolls, accessible by flights from Perth, with some facilities for tourism.
Torres Strait Islands - between Cape York and Papua New Guinea, most islands have some traveller facilities but require permission from the traditional owners to visit. Reachable from Cairns.
Kangaroo Island - The third largest island in Australia and a paradise for nature and wildlife lovers.
Though often overlooked, Tasmania is well worth the trip across the Bass Strait. For your effort, you will find vast tracts of temperate wilderness and a wealth of scenery, from alpine mountains to quaint villages.
Blue Mountains - a mountainous region in New South Wales, including the Three Sisters.
Dandenong Ranges - these beautiful ranges offer world-class gardens and the picturesque villages of Mt. Dandenong.
Great Barrier Reef - off the coast of Queensland, easily accessible from Cairns, and even as far south as the Town of 1770.
Great Ocean Road - a spectacular coastal drive in Victoria past many scenic icons including the Twelve Apostles.
Kakadu National Park - outback adventure travel, aboriginal culture and nature activities in the Northern Territory.
Nitmiluk National Park - the amazing Katherine Gorge, close to the town of Katherine.
Gold Coast - famous beach-side and national park playground south of Brisbane.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park - Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) are iconic rock formations in the Red Centre.
Watarrka National Park - most famous for Kings Canyon, a mighty chasm reaching a depth of 270 metres.
LGBTQ IN AUSTRALIA
Same-sex marriage in Australia has been legal since 9 December 2017. According to a survey, published in late January 2018 by the Social Research Center along with the Australian National University, same-sex marriage was ranked the most historic event to have shaped the lives of Australians.
Today same-sex relationships are predominantly accepted. Australia is recognised as one of the most LGBT-accepting countries in the world, with an active Australian Pride Network. Opinion polls and the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey indicate widespread popular support for same-sex marriage. With its long history of LGBT activism and annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival, Sydney has been named one of the most gay-friendly cities in Australia, and the world as a whole.