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Whitehaven Beach, Queensland, Australia

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Holidays in Australia are popular among Brits for a number of reasons. The weather is generally much warmer than in the UK, the language is the same, the cities are safe, the beer is cold, the locals are easy going, plus the landscapes are unforgettable.

Why go?

Beaches and barbecues, kangaroos and koalas, whatever you associate with Australia there is always much more to explore in this vast and exciting destination...

Sydney in the state of New South Wales is home to two of Australia's most recognisable landmarks; the Sydney Opera House and the 440 foot Harbour Bridge. The two spectacular feats of engineering that frame the city skyline and are must see sites for visitors to the city.

Within the central CBD (central business district) you will find a modern multicultural city, albeit one with glorious sunshine for most of the year and housing one of the largest, most relaxing botanical gardens in the country.

Venturing to the nearby beaches of Bondi, Coogee or Sandringham will give you a good taste of the Aussie beach and surfer culture. Hopping a scenic ferry across the water to the small suburb on Manly, with its 1950s style streets and gorgeous coastline gives a quieter alternative to the mainland pace. From Sydney travel south to visit the Blue Mountains or north to reach Surfer's Paradise and the Gold Coast. International flights to Australia arrive via Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport (SYD).

Australia's most liveable city is the arts and cultural hub of the country, home to the nation's media outlets and major sporting venues. Australian Rules Football (AFL), Cricket, the Australian Tennis Open and Motor Grand Prix all reside in Melbourne. What the City lacks in stunning beaches it makes up for in the character and charm of the distinctly European feel of the city centre and the differing suburbs of St Kilda, Brunswick and Fitzroy.

Australia's most stylish city offers shopping options ranging from designer brands to independent side street boutiques. Melbourne is a melting pot of cultures that combines great restaurants with an endearing alleyway café culture, a varied and sophisticated nightlife with a thriving music, theatre and arts scene. International flights arrive via Melbourne International Airport (MLB).

The capital of Western Australia is the fourth populous city in Australia and one of the fastest growing. The west coast's beaches generally offer flatter, more expansive views than those found on the east coast.

Nearby beaches of Scarbough, Sorrento and Cottesloe offer clean sands and great waves for surf and sunbathing. Travelling south of Perth will bring you to the small port of Fremantle whereas travelling north will lead you to Monkey Mia, a popular tourist resort offering the chance to feed wild bottlenose dolphins.

Continuing to travel north will take you on a tour up the largely untouched western coast. Red sands and intense heat will lead all the way to the laid-back bohemian paradise of Broome and then on to natural wonders of the Kimberley. Flights arrive via Perth International Airport (PER).

Brisbane is a bustling metropolis on the Queensland coast, city living with an impressive man-made beach at its centre. Explore the funky markets of Fortitude Valley, feed a kangaroo or cuddle a koala at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary or take a climb up Story Bridge.
From Brisbane you have the option of travelling south to the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, or north to Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays. Flights arrive via Brisbane International Airport (BNE).

Adelaide or “The City of Churches” as it is sometimes referred is set in the state of South Australia beside the River Torrens, between the waters of the Gulf of St Vincent and the Adelaide Hills.
Surrounded by parkland and close to the wine region of the Barossa Valley, Adelaide offers plenty of opportunity to get out of the city and explore the rugged scenery and ancient gorges of the Flinders Ranges or a boat cruise on the Murray River. Flights arrive via Adelaide International Airport (ADL).

Situated in the far reaches of Northern Queensland, Cairns is a former mining town that now attracts tourists due to its tropical climate and fun party scene. Its close proximity to the northern coast makes it the perfect gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, with many long stay and day trip diving boats leaving every day.

The city is also the best starting point for those wanting to visit the Horn of Cape Tribulation, a world heritage listed rainforest and one of the longest standing in the country. Flights arrive via Airport of Cairns (CNS).

A small but engaging city in the country's Northern Territory, Darwin is famous for its temperatures of more than 30C from May to October, followed by extreme humidity in November and December, the result of which is some of the most beautiful sunsets you are likely to find in the whole country.

City life is slow paced with a prevalent Aboriginal community. Discover the picturesque Darwin harbour, bordered by the beaches of Mindil and Cullen Bay. Get up close to the local sea life with the hugely popular Aquascene, which allows visitors to hand feed catfish, bream and barramundi at high tide.

Learn the history of the Aboriginals and view the art displays in the many city galleries. Flights arrive via The Airport of Darwin (DRW).

The Outback
Take yourself away from the major cities and into the outback for a taste of the genuine Australian experience. Taking a road trip in a fully serviced vehicle from Adelaide and up through the centre of the country you will get your taste of red sand, arid, dusty Australian landscape, here you will witness wild horses and kangaroos racing across the country's untouched inner plains.

Alternatively take a flight straight to Alice Springs Airport in the centre of the country and make your way to the world's most famous hunk of sandstone Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock in Uluru Kata National Park.

View the ancient cave paintings and Aboriginal Visitor Centre, then take a trip to the nearby Kings Canyon for a testing, rewarding trek.

Tasmania, Hobart
The island of Tasmania is a haven for nature lovers with numerous trekking and rambling routes and the 41-mile Overland Track Bushwalk.  While the capital Hobart boasts a healthy art scene, gourmet restaurants and every year locals gather for the finish of the legendary Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Flights arrive via The Airport of Hobart (HBA).

When to go?

Australia is so vast that it is a good idea to plan your route before setting off to avoid running in to bad weather. Find out the best time to travel...

Summer runs from December through to February, during this time everywhere in Australia is pretty much guaranteed to be enjoying sunny weather and temperatures well over 30 degrees. The states of South Australia and Victoria experience chilly winter weather over the months of June to August, with temperatures often reaching as low as 13C.

In the Northern Territory, warm temperatures (more than 30 degrees) are guaranteed all year round but you may want to think carefully if you're planning on heading during the wet season of December to March, as cloud cover and downpours are frequent with high levels of humidity.

What's on?

They certainly know how to celebrate 'Down Under', and there is a wealth of events and festivals that you can get involved in. Find out some of the best ones here...

Perth International Arts Festival; February: Australia's longest running cultural festival, featuring contemporary and classical music, theatre, dance, opera and visual arts.

Mardi Gras; Late February, early March: Sydney: One of the largest Mardi Gras celebrations in the world. The festival includes performances by international musicians, a family fun fair, drag racing and panel discussions, cumulating in an extravagant parade that takes over downtown Sydney.

Melbourne Cup; The first Tuesday in November: Victoria Racing Club, Melbourne: The Australian equivalent of The Grand National, an excuse to put on your smartest clothes and place a few bets as a nation puts everything on hold to watch the 3,200 metre race.

New Year Year's Eve; December 31: Sydney Harbour: If you happen to be in Australia over New Year, get yourself to Sydney Harbour and see in the New Year with the biggest celebration on offer. View the famous Opera House and Harbour Bridge fireworks from one of several vantage points and party late into New Year's Day.

What to do?

Australia offers something for everyone, no matter what type of holiday you are looking for. The only problem you may find is fitting it all in!

Relaxing: Lounging effortlessly off the coast of Queensland are the Whitsunday Islands. For a day of total relaxation, book a boat trip and let your cares drift away as you explore these tropical islands.

Active types: Australia and surfing go hand in hand - and active types should take full advantage of the lessons on offer to sharpen up their board skills. The sun-drenched coastline of Byron Bay will offer up plenty of opportunities to catch some waves.

Romance: Rolling hills, endless vineyards and cloudless skies await you in the Hunter Valley. Hire a bike with your other half to get around by day and head out in the evening to sample the exquisite wines and food of the area.

Kids & teens: Kangaroo Island will delight kids and teens as they spot kangaroos, sea lions, koalas, wallabies and other native Australian animals.

Grown-up families: With its iconic Harbour Bridge, opera house, beaches and shopping opportunities, Sydney is a great place for grown-up families to visit.

Nightlife: Vibrant Melbourne will present you with an assortment of places to eat, drink and party. Whether you're looking for a chic bar, an exclusive restaurant or sophisticated club, this city won't disappoint.