This island nation is bound by mile after mile of coastline. The vast majority of Aussies live near the over 10,000 beaches, infusing the culture with a laid-back lifestyle. Teeming with a wealth of wildlife and natural wonders Australia is a famed mecca for outdoor adventurers. Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef is a global landmark, and is famously visible from space. From Sidney’s million-dollar harbor views to Melbourne’s tiny trattorias, Australia is an island, a continent, a nation bursting with adventure.
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The summer months, October through March, are hot, humid and wet. The dry season runs from April to September. During this time, the average temperature ranges from the mid-60s to the high 80s, and it rarely rains. During June, July and August, cities and beaches are crowded with tourists. Hotels and flights are also booked well in advance from Boxing Day through the end of January, which is when Aussies take their vacations. If you want to avoid the crowds, enjoy nice weather and steer clear of peak-season prices, visit Australia anytime from mid-September to the end of October.
If you blink while driving down Bruce Highway, you'll miss Mission Beach. This tiny town is surrounded by lush rainforest and has a pristine beach.
Load up on sunscreen and head to Hyams Beach. Located in Jarvis Bay, this beach is said to have the whitest sand in the world.
Have brunch at the Indian Tea House. The restaurant overlooks the sea along Cottesloe Beach, a petite out-of-the way beach in Perth.
This 1950s kiosk sits on the top of the cliff overlooking Port Willunga. It serves some of the country's best seafood and offers an amazing view.
Browse antique stores and admire historic buildings in this quaint New South Wales hamlet.
Visit Sydney's focal point at night for spectacular photography opportunities featuring the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House, flooded with light.
The largest coral reef system in the world is comprised of more than 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands, and it's visible from the moon.
This sanctuary offers free koala cuddling sessions at scheduled times throughout the day.
Climb aboard the ships and submarines that are docked in the harbor to experience life as a sailor.
Go snorkeling along a 161-mile coral reef. You don't need a 90-minute boat ride to find the reef; the coral starts right on the shore.
Take a guided whitewater rafting tour along the Tully River. The Class III and IV rapids are surrounded by rainforest.
The biggest subterranean town in Australia; it even has underground churches.
Located in Canberra, this museum has the largest collection of Australian indigenous art in the world.
These hiking trails feature breathtaking waterfalls, cycads, lily-filled lagoons and red cliffs.
Blend your own virtual wine, sample some of Australia's rarest vintage wine and grab lunch at the restaurant overlooking the Wine Centre.
Start your tour of cosmopolitan Sydney with a visit to the iconic Opera House; absorb panoramic views from atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge; and play in the surf at Bondi Beach. Venture to the canyons and waterfalls of the Blue Mountains, and go wine tasting in Hunter Valley.
Get the "Real Outback" experience in the Northern Territory, with a pilgrimage to the sacred Aboriginal site of Uluru (Ayers Rock). Go hot air ballooning over the red desert landscape, and explore the famous Kakadu National Park near bustling Darwin.
Elegant Adelaide is famous for its galleries, museums, sidewalk cafes, cozy pubs and excellent restaurants. It's also a gateway to the Barossa Valley, the wine capital of Australia. Take a ferry to Kangaroo Island, a nature-lover's paradise.
Visit Brisbane and explore the weekend markets, outdoor cafes, art & culture, and more. Hit the stunning, pristine beaches of the Gold Coast to the south and the Sunshine Coast to the north.
Friendly and relaxed, Tasmania an ecological and cultural wonderland. It boasts pristine national parks; abundant wildlife experiences and rich colonial heritage. Among the highlights: Hobart's markets, Tamar Valley wineries and the West Coast Wilderness Railway.
Melbourne is the cultural capital of Australia. Enjoy its art, café culture, fine wine, sporting events and unsurpassed shopping. Drive along the Great Ocean Road for some breathtaking scenery, including the Twelve Apostles. And don't forget the Penguin Parade.
Relax along the Perth's pristine, uncrowded beaches; feed the dolphins at Monkey Mia; and explore the Kimberley, a region that inspired the director of Australia the movie.