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 Great Barrier Reef Islands 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.
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 and Wilson Island resorts. Offering myriad wildlife-inspired activity options, these islands woo visitors with their focus on family fun and eco-romance.
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.
Yes, there are kangaroos – koalas, wallabies, echidnas, sea lions and other curious creatures, too – on this pristine Southern Australia island featuring 316 miles of dramatic coastline, a sprawling wildlife sanctuary and a luxurious resort designed to pamper couples with fine food and wine in addition to stellar views.
If it's diversity you crave, this scenic island located a short drive from Melbourne in the state of Victoria offers plenty of it: scenic pink-granite cliffs, swimmable beaches, golf courses, biking trails, and more. But two of its main draws are its koala centers and its colonies of Little Penguins, which waddle ashore each evening to nest.
Its Mediterranean-like climate, car-free environment, 63 beaches, world-class nature reserve, and miles of biking and hiking trails make this 7.3-square-mile island located off the coast of Fremantle in Western Australia ideal for active travelers. And if you've never seen a quokka, you can see plenty of them here.
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.