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Planning a trip to this massive country can be daunting, and no matter how much time you have to spend there, be it weeks or months, you'll never be able to experience all of the wonderful things Australia has to offer. First-time visitors often stick to the highlights such as Sydney with its famous Bondi Beach, Harbour Bridge and Opera House; Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef; and the monolithic Uluru located in the Red Centre. Travellers new to Australia should take note of the vast distances between the various destinations and that flying is the best way to travel between them. Remember to incorporate travel time into your itinerary.
A wealth of delights are available to return visitors and those staying awhile. Enjoy the view from the Great Ocean Road which runs for 200 miles along the Victoria coastline. Canberra is chock full of museums and cultural attractions for you to sample. You could spend an entire vacation in Queensland's Gold Coast surfing, shopping, tasting wines, and exploring the many National Parks in the area. And if wildlife is your thing, there are attractions for you beyond compare such as whale watching, bounding kangaroos, cuddly koalas, and even parading penguins. If you have six months or more to spare, you can do The Big Lap and circumnavigate Australia on the mother of all road trips. Whatever your interest, Australia will amaze you with its easy charm and natural beauty.
There are several approaches one can take when booking flights to Australia. It is a long distance to travel, but there are direct flights available from some North American centres, particularly west coast cities such as Vancouver, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Direct flights are the most expensive and it is usually cheaper and more pleasurable to break up the journey with one or more stops. Stopovers en route can be part of the fun of your trip to Australia and a great way to get a taste of another destination at little or no additional cost. Popular places to stop en route to Australia are Dubai, Hong Kong, and Los Angeles. If you have the luxury of time, another option is to buy an around-the-world ticket. This type of ticket is often comparable in price to other fares to Australia and gives the traveller an opportunity to visit numerous destinations on several continents.
The best time to visit, and the weather you will experience, depends on where in Australia you intend to go. It is a big country with a wide range of terrain and weather conditions. The peak season in the most popular tourist areas is during the austral winter from June-August. In many areas, including The Red Centre, The Top End, and Western Australia, the austral summer (December-March) features oppressive heat and humidity that can significantly diminish the enjoyment of your trip, and in some cases make it dangerous if you are planning to exert yourself. Some hotels and tour companies even close during this period. In most areas the best time to travel is between April and September when the temperatures are a tolerable 20-30°C, the rains have subsided and the locals have already had their summer vacations.