Welcome to the land down under! Affectionately known as Oz by the locals, you really do feel like you're landing on a different planet when you arrive in Australia. It is probably one of the most beautiful and diverse countries on the planet and if you're lucky enough to be able to visit, you'll see why this place is so magical and has people raving.
Australia is well connected with flights to Asia, the USA and South America. Most people fly into Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Perth, but there are international flights to most of the state capitals and also to Cairns for the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. The country is huge so if you love road trips then buying a campervan and traveling along the coast is a great way to see the sites. Or you may prefer to catch a domestic flight and hire a car to see each place to save yourself some time.
The cheapest way to stay in Australia is to buy or hire a campervan and stop at the many national parks and camping grounds on offer. There are hostels in every city, offering dorm beds or private rooms, or if you have money to spend then you'll find some great beachfront houses, resorts or hotels and even some wonderful Heritage Listed properties. For an extra special stay you can head for the Great Barrier Reef islands and even hire your own private island. Accommodation can be quiet expensive and you'll find this is what you spend most of your daily budget on.
The country is full of wonderful things to see, whatever your interests may be. Fly into Melbourne and enjoy the trendy city then head up the east coast and stop in Sydney for the famous Harbour Bridge and Opera House. Check out the great music scene and laid back city of Brisbane, the gorgeous beaches of the Sunshine Coast and the world's largest sand island, Fraser Island. All the way up to Cairns you can find great little beach towns, each with their own charm and access to the Barrier Reef and its islands. Past Cairns you can explore the amazing Daintree Rainforest or Cape Tribulation.
On the west coast you'll find the fabulous city of Perth, the secluded and stunning town of Broome in the north or down to Exmouth in the south with access to the Ningaloo Reef. The Great Ocean Road along the south of Australia is famous for its spectacular views and has some cool little towns to stop in at along the way.
All sorts of activities can be found in Australia. Whale watching is very popular as is diving the Great Barrier Reef. There is every type of watersport available here. Trips through the parks and forrests is a great adventure for nature lovers or get into the heart of the country by heading inland to the outback or to the biggest rock in the world, Ayers Rock. 4WD tours are especially popular in the outback and along the beaches.
Australia is famous for its seafood and BBQ's. If you get a chance to have a BBQ with one of the locals you'll soon realise why they're so popular. Catching your own fish is the cheapest way to enjoy your seafood meal. You can also sample some very special foods such as Kangaroo, Emu or Crocodile.
You'll never know what you'll find on your journey around Australia, from special wildlife to nature walks and reefs, with every activity under the sun, you'll be wowed everywhere you look and want to come back time and time again.
(By Kelly Luckman)