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Australia travel guide

Wonderful waterside cities, red Outback vastness, the world's biggest coral reef and rainforest filled with unique critters – Australia is a land apart

The trouble with Australia is that there’s just so much of it – an island that thinks it’s a continent. Dispel any notions that Australia is all big red rocks and sizzling Outback: it’s truly a land of diversity, from the tropical far north – Northern Territory’s Top End, Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef, teeming with kaleidoscopic sea life, and its lush rainforest – to the surf, fine wines and huge tingle trees of Western Australia’s south-west.

Australia’s cities are buzzing – Sydney’s nightlife and beaches are as tantalising as its harbour views, blessed with the ‘Old Coathanger’ bridge and Opera House; Melbourne is the hotspot for cosmopolitan café culture, Adelaide is a regal, arty lady while Perth is the hot new kid, the sunniest state capital.

True, Australia has vast swathes of Outback wilderness to explore, as well as the beautiful Blue Mountains of New South Wales, the gorges of the Kimberley and wildlife-rich Kangaroo Island. Not forgetting Tasmania, with wild rainforest, convict heritage and Australia’s best beers…

In fact, there’s so much to say about Australia that we’ve created separate destination hubs for the East Coast, Tasmania, the Outback and Western Australia.

Wanderlust recommends

  1. Explore Western Australia’s remote East Kimberley region
  2. Hike the forests and beaches of Tasmania’s pristine Tarkine Wilderness
  3. Admire ancient rock art and meet the Aboriginal owners of Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory
  4. Get a unique insight into Uluru (Ayers Rock)
  5. Trek Tasmania’s Overland Track from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair
  6. Snorkel with whale sharks on Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia
  7. Board the Ghan for a rail journey across the Outback from Adelaide to Darwin
  8. Hike the Great Ocean Walk along Victoria’s rugged south coast
  9. Meet the abundant wildlife of South Australia’s Kangaroo Island

Wanderlust tips

You can join an organised tour of Rottnet Island – but it’s fun just to catch the ferry and hire bikes to scoot around – keeping an eye out for quokkas on the road and whales out to sea.

Though Perth is famously sunny, outside summer the evenings in the south of Australia can be chilly – take a fleece or sweater.

I wish I'd known...

Wanderlust web intern Holly Gurr on the one thing she wished she'd known on arrival:

"Despite a forewarning from residents and previous visitors, the sheer expense of Australia is something that is hard to get to grips with. Those who are quick with calculations will soon realise that most consumer items are incredibly expensive. Plan out a budget before you go and stick to it!." 

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