Australia Travel Guide - Tips for Visitors

Head to Australia for the great beaches and the marine life of the Great Barrier Reef. Stay on one of the fantastic island resorts along the Gold Coast, then head to Sydney and explore a city full of culture and nightlife. Bedarra Island and Wilson Island are great choices for enjoying beaches and amazing sea life. Dunk Island is home to the only 18-hole island golf course in Australia.

Spend the night in a rainforest, then move out to a resort island, and then spend your last night at the Sydney Opera House. Many travelers head out to enjoy the stunning marine life. If you're headed to Melbourne than take a swim in the rooftop pool at the The Adelphi Hotel.

On the coast near Port Douglas and Cairns, there are several great resorts, perfectly located to let you explore both the tropical rainforest and take a scuba diving trip. Take a look at Thala Beach Lodge and Silky Oaks Lodge.

Flight Times & Getting There

Qantas, American Airlines, United Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, Air New Zealand and British Airways all offer a selection of flights.

From Los Angeles to Sydney: 14 hours and 40 minutes.
From New York City to Sydney: 20 Hours.
From Tokyo to Sydney: 10 Hours

If you are going to be spending your time on the Great Barrier Reef, the Gold Coast, or in the city, then you can easily depend on public transportation, taxis and hotel shuttles to get you from place to place. If you plan on heading out for some exploration of the countryside, then you should rent a car.

The seasons are the reverse of the Northern Hemisphere, so winter is June through August and summer is December through February. To see a detailed map of the country, click here.

Things to Do in Australia

Things to Do in Sydney

Beautiful Sydney, Australia is such an exciting and vibrant city that you will never want to sleep. Sydney Harbor Bridge and the Opera House (tours are available) are two of the most iconic structures in the world – walk across the bridge or take a Sydney Ferry ride for ultimate city views.

An array of museums and galleries cater to art lovers, while nature lovers will enjoy a trip to Sydney Harbor National Park or a walk on Bondi Beach to the Coogee Beach Pacific Trail. The city offers lively entertainment at The Rocks and Darling Harbor, and a Foodi Tour will introduce you to some of the best food and drinks in Sydney.

Things to Do in Melbourne

Bustling Melbourne has every imaginable attraction to keep visitors on the go. See everything in the easiest way possible by hopping on and off the free City Circle Tram, or enjoy one of the Free Walking Tours offered by really enthusiastic locals! Visit Eureka Skydeck for an aerial view of the city, join a Street Art Tour, or learn about Australia’s unique animals on an Echidna Walkabout or at the Werribee Open Range Zoo.

Those interested in art will enjoy visiting the Center of the Moving Image, the National Gallery, and Melbourne Museum. Don’t miss taking a drive along the 151-mile Great Ocean Road, one of the world’s most scenic drives.

Great Barrier Reef Vacation

Great Barrier Reef in Australia is an ideal getaway for couples, families, and other beach addicts. There are luxury resorts near the reef with spas and fine dining that cater to adults, other hotels that are more family friendly, and some places with tent accommodations for those looking for a more adventurous experience. Whatever type of a trip you are looking for, you will find yourself snorkeling or scuba diving on the reef after your first swim in the water.

Where to Stay

There are a few resorts located around the reef, but fewer that are actually on the reef itself. Lizard Island and Hayman Island are very close to the famous destination. Heron Island and Wilson Island are all part of the reef. Heron Island has a full assortment of traditional resort services, while Wilson accommodates up to twelve guests in five permanent designer-inspired tents. You can also stay on the coast of Queensland, near Port Douglas. Take a look at Thala Beach Lodge and the Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa.

When To Go

Plan a vacation from June - September if you want to go whale watching. Another amazing sight is turtle hatching on the beach - you can see that from November through May. A helicopter or seaplane ride is a once in a lifetime experience. You can look down into the water and spot a variety of marine life from the air.

Getting to your destination depends on where you choose to stay. Some of the larger resorts have their own airports while the smaller places are generally reached by helicopter or boat transfer. Be sure to check the luggage restrictions for your journey since most helicopter rides only allow a maximum of 30 pounds per person.

What To Bring

A constant tip for almost all ocean vacations for anyone interested in swimming is to bring your own mask to use when you snorkel. A comfortable clear mask is even more important when you are planning a trip to a place with such amazing sea life. You can purchase a basic underwater housing for your camera for between $65 to $100, depending on the type of camera you have. Underwater shots can come out great even if you just walk into the water up to your waist and snap a few shots of passing fish.