Island, country, continent… Australia is a big'un whichever way you spin it. The essence of the place is diversity: deserts, coral reefs, tall forests, snow-cloaked mountains and multicultural melting-pot cities.
Hip Cities Most Australians live along the coast, and most of these folks live in cities. In fact, Australia is the 18th-most urbanised country in the world, with around 70% of Australians living in the 10 largest towns. It follows that cities here are a lot of fun! Sydney, the sun-kissed Harbour City, is a glamorous collusion of beaches, boutiques and bars. Melbourne is all arts, alleyways and Australian Rules football. Brisbane is a subtropical town on the way up; Adelaide has festive grace and pubby poise. Boomtown Perth breathes west-coast optimism; Canberra transcends political agendas. If you're looking for contrast, the tropical northern frontier town of Darwin and chilly southern sandstone city of Hobart couldn't be more different. But whichever city you're wheeling into, you'll never go wanting for a decent coffee, live bands, art-gallery openings or music festival mosh-pits.
Food & Drink Australia has broken the binds of its Anglo meat-and-two-veg culinary past, serving up a multicultural fusion of European techniques and fresh Pacific-rim ingredients. 'Mod Oz' (or Modern Australian) is what the locals call it. Seafood plays a starring role − 'Hardly surprising on an island this big!', we hear you say…but from succulent Moreton Bay Bugs to delicate King George Whiting, there's a lot of variety in the ocean's bounty. And of course, beer in hand, you'll still find beef, lamb and chicken at traditional Aussie BBQs. Don't drink beer? Australian wines are world-beaters: punchy Barossa Valley reds, McLaren Vale Shiraz, Hunter Valley Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc from Tasmania's cool-climate Tamar Valley. Need a caffeine hit? Italian cafes have always known how to make the perfect espresso, but now there are coffee machines in pubs and petrol stations, and baristas in downtown coffee carts − you're never far from a double-shot, day or night.
It's a Wide Open Road There's a heckuva lot of tarmac across this wide brown land. From Margaret River to Cooktown, Jabiru to Dover, the best way to really appreciate Australia is to hit the open road. Car hire here is relatively affordable, road conditions are generally good, and outside of the big cities there's bugger-all traffic. If you're driving a campervan, you'll find well-appointed caravan parks in just about every town of any size. If you're feeling more adventurous, hire a 4WD and go off-road: Australia's national parks and secluded corners are custom-made for down-the-dirt-road camping trips. So embrace your inner road warrior and sing it loud: 'Get your motor runnin'…Head out on the highway…'
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Best places to stay in Australia
Australia travel guide
Australia – the sixth-largest country on this lonely planet – is dazzlingly diverse: a sing-along medley of mountains, deserts, reefs, forests, beaches and multicultural melting-pot cities.
Lonely Planet's top 10 best value stays for 2014
Amazing experiences aren’t reserved for unlimited budgets. These characterful places to stay around the world offer comfort and charm in superlative settings - all of them are well under US$100 per night, and plenty have dorm beds for only a few dollars. Here are our top 10 wallet-friendly hotels and hostels for 2014. 1...
Bushwalking in Australia
Australia for kids
East Coast Australia travel guide
Beautiful beaches, cosmopolitan cities, rainforests and the Great Barrier Reef are just a few reasons why so many fall under the spell of Australia’s east coast.
New South Wales
Brassy, bold, stately and old, New South Wales (NSW) hogs the lion’s share of Australia’s population, and it’s where the country’s modern society was birthed.
Top 10 extraordinary places to stay in 2014
Think back to where you stayed on your last trip. Was it simply a place to rest your head, or did it immerse you in local colour, surround you by wildlife and fire your imagination? We asked Lonely Planet’s authors and editors to nominate the most extraordinary hotels and hostels around the world...
Australia's East Coast itinerary
Discover Australia travel guide
Island, country, continent…Australia is a big ’un whichever way you spin it. The essence of the place is diversity: deserts, coral reefs, tall forests, snow-cloaked mountains and multicultural melting-pot cities.
Yarra Valley Wine and Winery Tour from Melbourne
Join a full-day Yarra Valley wine tour and visit four of the region's best known wineries: Yering Station, Balgownie Estate, Yering Farm and Domaine Chandon. Over lunch and a series of wine tastings, see why the Yarra Valley is one of Australia's most picturesque wine regions on your Yarra Valley wine tour, the perfect day trip from Melbourne.
Central Rock and Canyon
A land coloured and contoured by ruggedly beautiful landscapes, endless vistas and the legends of the Dreamtime, Australia's Red Centre makes for a travel experience apart. Discover the stories surrounding the multi-hued monolith of Uluru, wander through the pristine beauty of Kings Canyon and experience a night camped under infinite Outback skies in spacious, permanent tents.
Top 10 places to break Dry January
Managed to lay off the liquor since New Year? Then chances are you’re going to want a stiff drink to celebrate a month of clean living. But instead of cracking a can at home, why not search out one of these boozy hotspots...
Australia - Plan your trip (Chapter)
Your journey to Australia starts here. You’ll find the tools to plan your adventure: where to go and when, how much to budget, plus in-depth info on reef and outback trips.
Sights in Australia
Activities in Australia
Tours in Australia
Restaurants in Australia
Budget hotels & hostels
Guesthouses and B&Bs
Occupying Australia’s northeastern corner, this vast state is awash with dazzling landscapes, vibrant cities and 300 days of sunshine a year.