How can you possibly choose which of Australia's tourist destinations to visit? It's a big country, so it's definitely not easy. But no matter which Australia vacation destinations you opt to experience, you'll be impressed – by the clean and friendly cities, gorgeous natural settings, accessible wildlife, secluded islands and award-winning luxury resorts. Popular tourist destinations in Australia include Sydney, the islands of the Great Barrier Reef, Lord Howe Island in New South Wales, Kangaroo Island in South Australia, and Rottnest Island in Western Australia. Best of all, Aussie summer is U.S. winter, so you can hit the beach while the folks back home are hitting the slopes. And even during winter Down Under (June-August), Great Barrier Reef resorts get plenty of sunshine with temperatures in the low-to-mid 70s.
In terms of romantic travel destinations, Australia also excels. Its luxury resorts, such as those scattered amid the 74 Whitsunday Islands on the Great Barrier Reef, make ideal honeymoon hideaways. Amid this mosaic of white sand and swirling turquoise and sapphire reefs couples can relax as their every whim is catered to with genuine Aussie hospitality. And one can't mention the world's largest and most famous reef without talking about scuba diving. So let's just say that if you're a diver, the waters off coastal Queensland are like your birthday, Christmas and the Fourth of July all rolled into one. The best travel destinations are the ones that match your appetite for indulgence or adventure.
From the air, the islands of Northern Queensland appear as sparkling white-and-green oases against a watery Impressionist canvas dappled with a hundred shades of blue. From the veranda or pool of your suite or villa, they are a resort-lover's fantasy, sunny islands perfect for a romantic getaway or dive adventure along the world-renowned Great Barrier Reef.
Travelers who adore nature and clear, shallow reef water that stretches for as far as the eye can see will enjoy the natural wonderland of Southern Queensland's Heron Island, Lady Elliot Island, Moreton Island and the World Heritage Listed Fraser Island. Offering myriad wildlife-inspired activity options, these islands woo visitors with their focus on family fun and eco-romance.
Located midway along the Queensland coast, the Whitsundays is one of the ultimate travel destinations. It combines white sand beaches, clear blue waters, reefs and a large range of activities to suit everyone. Take a seaplane tour over the iconic Heart Reef and a cruise to Whitehaven Beach, one of Australia's most photographed beaches.
Some say it resembles Bora Bora, but insiders know that Lord Howe Island, located 373 miles off the Australian coast (under two hours from Sydney or Brisbane), is a land-and-sea playground for hikers, birders, divers and anyone who fancies a vacation in a tropical playground few folks have heard of.
Australia's major international airports are located in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. The flight from Los Angeles to Sydney is between 14-15 hours.
Australia has an impressive domestic air network. Qantas, Jetstar, Tiger Airways and Virgin Australia operate on the major inter-city routes.
Self-drives are a great way to see the country at your own pace, with both cars and campervans available for rent.
Trains are also a popular way to experience Australia. The Indian Pacific and the Ghan are considered two of the world's great rail journeys.