As one of the most diverse and beautiful nations on earth, it is no wonder that Australia is also one of the globe’s most visited countries. Packed with stunning beaches, soaring mountains and vibrant cities, the land down under has long been a key feature on the itinerary of many types of tourist.
All of the most important information including packing lists, tips and links to an Australia holiday can be found right here!
Dive into our (free) travel guides below!
The Key Info
With a total area of more than 7,600,000 km², Australia is an enormous country. In fact, it is the sixth largest nation in the world and with a population of around 25 million, also one of it’s least densely populated.
With that said, most of Australian life is lived on the perimeters of the mainland, with cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide possessing a high population density. By contrast, the continent’s arid, scorching centre is largely unpopulated.
Australia has seaboards on both the Indian and Pacific Oceans, with the island of Tasmania and other small islands also part of the wider nation along with the mainland Australian continent. The nation of Australia is neighboured by southeast Asian and Oceanic nations including Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north. To the north east lie the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu whilst to the south east is New Zealand.
The national language of Australia is English. However, Indigenous Australians continue to speak more than seventy different languages, although many are considered endangered as English continues to become more and more widespread in remote areas.
Australia in numbers
- Population: 25,489,200 million
- Total size of the country: 7,692,024 km²
- Capital city: Canberra
- Currency: Australian Dollar
- Language: English
- Religion: Various
The 5 largest cities in Australia
The largest city in Australia is Sydney although the national capital is Canberra. Other key cities in the nation include Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
# 1 Sydney
As the largest city in Australia, Sydney is a global city as well as capital to the state of New South Wales and the nation’s most populous settlement, with a total population of over five million.
Sydney is widely seen as one of the world’s most liveable cities, with a quality of life to match the high prices people pay to live here. Each yeah, millions of tourists vision Sydney to take in the majesty of the city’s stunning harbour area, with the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House dominating the vista. Nearby Bondi Beach is packed with surfers and sunbathers who flock here to enjoy the world class cafes as well as the Pacific Ocean surf. Darling Harbour is a large waterside recreational area that attracts locals and tourists alike to its beautifully situated shopping areas, promenades and eateries. Meanwhile in the historic neighbourhood of The Rocks, historic Sydney comes to life in a trendy area packed with 19th century architecture and atmospheric pubs. Hipsters flock here to purchase vintage clothing whilst dining on street food and sipping flat white’s al fresco.
Without a doubt, Sydney is Australia’s premier city and a global metropolis par excellence. For anybody visiting Australia’s eastern seaboard, a visit to the nation’s largest settlement will be one packed with adventure and fun.
Located in the southeastern state of Victoria, Melbourne is Australia’s cultural powerhouse and an unmissable experience for anybody visiting the region. Melbourne is the nation’s second city and has a population of around 5 million, with a history dating back to the mid-19th century.
Today Melbourne is a hotbed of culture and is home to a variety of first class national institutions such as the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the National Gallery of Victoria and the World Heritage-listed Royal Exhibition Building. For tourists visiting Australia with a taste for the cultural, Melbourne should be at the top of your itinerary as the city is a major centre for street art, music, film and literature, too.
Like Sydney, Melbourne is renowned for its liveability and although this city is cheaper than its counterpart further north, Melbourne remains an expensive place to live with an exceptionally high quality of life. Unlike other cities in the nation, Melbourne is renowned for its changeable climate which experiences oceanic changes in weather with cold winters and mild, warm summers.
Brisbane is Australia’s third most populous city, with a total of around 2.5 million calling the capital of Queensland home. Renowned for its distinctive architecture and nearby resort areas, Brisbane benefits from a balmy climate and proximity to some of the most beautiful scenery in Australia, if not the whole of Oceania.
The South Bank area of the city is famed for its density of top notch cultural and leisure institutions, including the Queensland Museum and Sciencentre. Mount Cootha looms over Brisbane and indeed the mountain’s slopes provide some cooling respite from the heat at Brisbane Botanical Gardens. Not far from here, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary gives visitors the chance to get up close and personal with the region’s most famous marsupial.
The main city on Australia’s West Coast, Perth is a sleepy yet beautiful settlement with a surprisingly vibrant cultural pulse. With a population of just over 2 million, Perth is the official capital of the West Australia and another city which ranks highly in liveability indexes.
The city skyline is dominated by skyscrapers, with views from King’s Park some of the best anywhere in town. In fact, this park is one of the city’s top attractions, with the expansive area composing memorials, playgrounds and forest areas. Nearby Fremantle is home to a rich colonial legacy and Fremantle Prison, where tourists can get a glimpse of UNESCO listed jail that operated from 1855-1991 and was built by the convicts themselves. Swan River is a local hotbed of water sports and recreation, with many Perth residents flocking to the riverbanks for barbecues and drinks during the weekend.
The capital city of the state of South Australia, Adelaide has a population of around 1.4 million people. Founded upon the wealth of its initial colonial inhabitants, the city continues to be a centre of culture in Australia and consistently ranks among the nation’s most liveable cities. In fact, Adelaide is a centre for food and wine production in the country and is home to some of the very best restaurants in Australia.
The city is also renowned for it’s architecture, with St. Peter’s Cathedral and Victoria Square home to some of Adelaide’s real jewels.
Top Tourist Attractions
# 1 The Great Barrier Reef
Undoubtedly the premier tourist attraction in Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system. Made up of over 2,900 single reefs and 900 islands going on for more than 2,300 kilometres over an area of about 344,400 square kilometres, this kaleidoscopic complex of reefs is a true wonder of the world. In recent years, damage to the Great Barrier Reef has been rising exponentially and so it might be a good idea to visit the area sooner rather than later.
# 2 Uluru
Also known as Ayer’s Rock, Uluru is a massive sandstone monolith at the centre of Australia’s Northern Territory. At over 550 million years old, Uluru is a true natural phenomenon and the nearest town is Alice Springs at over 450km away. The rock’s distinctive red coloration comes to life at dusk and dawn, creating an unmistakable ambience that keeps tourists flocking here in their millions every year. Indeed, a camping expedition to Uluru is one of Australia’s definitive experiences.
# 3 Great Ocean Road
This stunningly scenic coastal highway is a sight in itself, with over 240 km of road stretching between Torquay and Allansford in the southern state of Victoria. The views across the adjacent sea from clifftops and beaches are among some of the very finest in the nation.
# 4 Sydney Harbour Bridge
This iconic structure has been linking Sydney’s Central Business District and the city’s North Shore since 1932. These days the Sydney Harbour Bridge is just as much a tourist attraction as it is functioning feat of engineering, with millions each year heading to the area to photograph the iconic harbour of which the bridge is a key component. The bridge walk allows visitors to walk across the top arch of the bridge whilst attached to a harness, providing stunning views of the city and beyond.
# 5 Sydney Opera House
One of the globe’s most famous buildings, the Sydney Opera House is a multi-venue performing arts centre located in the city’s iconic harbour area. Completed in 1973, the building became a UNESCO world heritage site in 2007 and ranks among Australia’s top tourist attractions.
Holidays in Australia
- January 1: Año Nuevo (New Year)
- January 26: Australia Day
- February 5: Constitution Day
- April 25: ANZAC Day
- June 2: Queen’s Birthday
- October 1: Labour Day
- December 25: Christmas Day
- December 26: Boxing Day
Do I Need a Visa
All visitors to Australia, besides citizens of New Zealand, require a visa to visit the nation.
The main two visitors are the eVisitor and the ETA visa. Depending on which nation you come from, you will in all likelihood require one of these two types.
Australia has an extremely strict visa policy so it pays to research extensively before booking flights or planning a visit.
The national currency of Australia is the Australian Dollar (AUD).
Each dollar is subdivided into 100 cents. Banknotes are 5, 10, 20 and 50. Coins are 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, 1 dollar and 2 dollars.
ATM’s are widespread in Australia’s major towns and cities and most international banks have branches.
Dos and Don’ts in Australia
These are the rules and practices that you need to know when travelling to Australia, to avoid feeling uncomfortable or even being disrespectful. Pay attention to the Australia guide for staying clear of trouble!
|Try to understand the nation’s road rules, which are likely very different from those in your home country.||Don’t tip – Australian waiters make great money so this is not as necessary as in some nations. With that said, a small token amount for great service is always a nice touch|
|Drink coffee like a local. This means flat whites over lattes and close to expert levels of knowledge about bean type, roasts and more.||Do be aware of Australian swear words, which are as varied as they are common to hear|
|Enjoy the Australian breakfast! The tradition of eating breakfast at a cafe is huge in Australia and the local breakfasts are invariably very good. This can mean acai bowls, organic yoghurt or even classic bacon and eggs or hotcakes.||Don’t be scared of Australian wildlife. In cities in particular, the risk of encountering any is minimal|
|Do wear plenty of sunscreen. Even on cloudy days, the risk of sunburn in Australia tends to be really high.|
|Do wear thongs. No, not the underwear but flip flops, which are as close to a national footwear choice as anything could ever be down under.|
Must Haves for Your Australia Packing List
Since Australia is generally a hot and dry country, it is best to pack light and breathable clothing. Only if you are planning a trek into the mountains will warm clothing be necessary, whilst trips to the beach will require a change of swimming costume for sure! Also, the south of the nation tends to experience rather chilly winters so you will want to pack accordingly.
- Lightweight t-shirts, shirts and trousers
- Smart clothes for fancy restaurants – a collared shirt and trousers will do
- Thongs! Sandals or flip flops make a great choice for Australia’s many beaches
- Complete toiletry bag
- The correct travel adapter
Secret tips from bloggers worldwide
- When in Sydney, spend an evening in the Newtown district for a real taste of the city. This hip neighbourhood features some of the big city’s best coffee shops, restaurants and, of course, nightlife
- Head north to Darwin to enjoy the most breathtaking sunset in Australia
- When in Melbourne, use the free No.35 tourist tram to get around and see the city centre in style!
- Eat in BYO restaurants across the nation, meaning you bring your own alcohol. This way you can enjoy any of Australia’s delicious beers or wines without worrying about restaurant selection or costs. Beware of corkage charges though!
TOP Instagrammable Places in Australia
Fun Facts About Australia
Did you know..?
..that the Australian Alps receive more annual snowfall than the Swiss Alps
..that 90% of Australian’s live on the coast due to the centre of the nation’s arid landscape
.. that Australia has over unique 60 wine regions
…that 80% of Australian wildlife is unique to the country
…that Australia’s famous Uluru rock actually stretches underground for over 2.5km!