Destination Guide - Australia

Australia is adorned with some of the most spectacular natural and manmade wonders in the world: the Great Barrier Reef (the world’s largest coral reef); Uluru, the iconic 348-metre tall rock in the arid outback; the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The cities – mostly situated near the coast – are preludes to boundless ocean and beautiful beaches. Australia’s generally warm climate ensures sport and outdoor activities are intertwined with a relaxed way of life that instils the nonchalant, “She’ll be right, mate” outlook in the Australian people, and is the reason a growing population calls Australia home.

The Basics

Currency: Australian Dollar (A$)
Population: 22,131,696
Time zones: +10 Eastern Standard Time; +9.5 Central Time; +8 Western Time
Daylight savings: Last Sunday in October (TAS first Sun) to first Sunday in April (excludes QLD & NT)
Capital: Canberra
Language: English
Country code: +61
Electricity voltage: 220-240V
Electricity hz: 50Hz
Electrical plugs: Australian-style plug with two flat angled blades and one vertical grounding blade
Mobile network: GSM, CDMA

Highlights

  • Great Barrier Reef
  • Daintree Rainforest
  • Sydney Opera House
  • Uluru
  • Great Ocean Road

Events

  • 15 November
    Australia Zoo Steve Irwin Day
  • 26 December
    Boxing Day Ashes Cricket Test Match
  • 26 December-1 January
    Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
  • 26 January
    Australia Day

Weather

In summer (December to February) temperatures can become extreme (up to 40°), although the southern states of Australia enjoy a mix of mild to warm days. In the northern states the wet season brings stifling humidity and plenty of rain.

During winter (June to August) it snows in the alpine region of the southern states, and although it gets cold in the cities it’s not cold enough for snow. In winter, the northern states enjoy mild, pleasant temperatures.

For travelling and sightseeing most states in Australia enjoy comfortable temperatures in spring and autumn.


Getting there and around

Australian cities all have reliable train, bus and taxi networks that are reasonably easy to navigate. There are train and bus networks linking most cities, however, due to the distance between many cities flying is often the easiest option.

Book a flight


Travel Insider Australia suggestions

Insider City Guides

Harbour Bridge, Sydney
Think you know Sydney?

Think again! Yes, there's the Opera House and that Coathanger, but also plenty of surprises for old hands and newcomers alike.

Book a hotel

Hosier Lane, Melbourne
Melbourne's laneways: Gladly off the grid

Unplanned, but by no means unloved, Melbourne’s laneways continue to captivate.

Book a hotel

Swimming  lagoon, Cairns.
Cairns: Turning over a new reef

A redeveloped and revitalised Cairns is giving its glamorous competitors a run for their money.

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Gold Coast gospel
Gold Coast gospel

As the Magic Millions thoroughbred sales bring Queensland’s Gold Coast into sharp focus, Keith McCutcheon, Surfers Paradise retailer and 30-year resident, nominates some hot spots for out-of-towners.

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