Australia holiday highlights

A country, a continent and an island in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, Australia is an extraordinarily diverse and vibrant destination. At its heart, Australia is laden with history, with its rich indigenous culture and powerful ancient landmarks. For some, it's a once-in-a-lifetime destination, one that would be fitting as part of a round-the-world adventure. Beyond this country’s heritage is a treasure trove of world-class beaches, sophisticated cities, exceptional ecosystems and exotic wildlife, so incredible and diverse, it’s unlike anywhere else you can imagine in the world.

Australia’s cities

With the visual wow factor of the iconic harbourfront at its centre, Sydney is the loud, ambitious and unforgettable capital city of New South Wales that, much like its renowned firework displays, dazzles with its urban beach lifestyle and iconic attractions like the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. In dynamic Victoria, artsy Melbourne is the stylish state capital, a city with a stellar food and café scene, and a sporting dream for fans of the AFL, cricket, horse racing and tennis. The gateway to the wine country, Adelaide is South Australia’s popular capital city known for its heritage architecture and lush emerald parklands, while in Western Australia, easy-going Perth is a quieter alternative to these busy central hubs, a haven of cool bars, historic streets and one of the largest inner-city parklands in the world.

Beaches

Laid-back Queensland is an assault on the senses, and is Australia’s first-class beach state known for its dazzling white sands and turquoise waters. Off the coast, the Great Barrier Reef is the world-famous underwater ecosystem that offers some of the best diving and snorkelling you’ll ever experience. Exceptional coral waters are home to a staggering assortment of marine life, and breathtakingly beautiful islands conceal lush rainforests and mesmerising national parks. Beside the reef, the Whitsundays archipelago is a hypnotic palette of white sand beaches and castaway islands, while Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world, home to the infamous native dingo and over 100 incredible lakes. Beyond the big-name beaches, you’ll find stretches of palm-fringed sands all around Australia’s coast, from Sydney’s urban beaches to remote swathes of burnt orange dunes near Broome.

Nature & wildlife

Burnished-orange wild landscapes, indigenous cultural territories and an impressive portfolio of iconic landmarks make the Outback a must-see on any trip to Australia. The Red Centre is the Northern Territory’s remote desert setting where you’ll witness extraordinary sacred Aboriginal rock sites and the 600-million-year-old monolith of historic Ayers Rock. 200 miles away, Kings Canyon is the spectacular red rock gorge, a jaw-dropping site within the barren landscape of Watarrka National Park. Other national treasures include the rugged scenery of the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains in New South Wales, and the stunning coastal landscape of Victoria’s penguin-haven, Phillip Island. And then there’s the Great Ocean Road. Victoria’s world-famous ocean drive, this road trip will take you past charming fishing villages and pristine golden sands to some of the most incredible, and natural, landscapes to be found in the whole of Australia.

Nature lovers flock to visit Australia’s smallest state of Tasmania, a rugged wilderness haven where nearly half the island is protected by remote reserves and captivating national parks. Separated from the mainland by the Bass Strait, Tasmania enjoys a slower pace of life than Australia’s major cosmopolitan cities, and will stun you with its colonial-rich heritage, primeval forests, spectacular coastlines and sweeping bays. Back on the mainland, Kangaroo Island sits just off the coast of South Australia, and is the country’s very own protected Galapagos, where you can bump into an exceptional array of wildlife like the ubiquitous kangaroo, sea lions, wallabies, echidnas and koalas. In Australia’s largest state of Western Australia, Rottnest Island is a car-free island getaway where you can discover a rich collection of exotic marine life and shipwrecks, as well as the chance to spot a quokka in its native environment.

The wine regions

With Australia a real wine lover’s paradise, connoisseurs will fall in love with its selection of world-famous wine regions. While Sydney is without doubt the standout star of New South Wales, this state is also a treat for its beautiful Hunter Valley, one of Australia’s most well-known and oldest wine regions that’s home to an award-winning Sémillon and indulgent Shiraz. For a change of scenery, the scenic Yarra Valley in Victoria produces some of Australia’s finest sparkling wine, while Southern Australia is a real wine lover’s haven with world-famous regions here including the beautiful Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills.

Australia key facts

Time difference

Sydney, Melbourne & Cairns GMT +10 hours; Adelaide & Darwin GMT +9½ hours; Perth GMT +8 hours.

Capital

Canberra

Currency

Australian Dollar.

Flying time to destination

Sydney 22 hours; Melbourne 22 hours; Cairns 20 hours; Darwin 17½ hours; Adelaide 19½ hours; Perth 18 hours.

Language

English. Indigenous languages are not widely spoken.

Passport & visas

All British passport holders require an Electronic Travel Authority Visa (ETA). ETA Visas are processed by Kuoni and electronically linked to your passport.

Voltage & electricity

220/240 volt AC. Three round pin plugs are used therefore an adaptor is required

Australia good to know

Health and vaccinations

No compulsory vaccinations but recommended vaccination is Tetanus.

Tipping

If you feel that you have received an excellent service and wish to show appreciation for this then a discretionary tip of 10% may be given.