From the craggy peaks of the Blue Mountains to the lush tropics of Queensland and the coral treasure land of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia has something special to offer to visitors. The Outback hasn’t lost its frontier allure and Sydney has joined the ranks of the world’s top cities, but its architecture, stunning harbor and electric personality makes it unique.
In 1770, Captain James Cook reached the southeast coast. He claimed the land for England, named it New South Wales and sailed 2,500 mi/4,000 km along its shores, charting the coast and barrier reef. England didn’t do much with New South Wales until 1787, when the First Fleet was dispatched, transporting convicts from overflowing British prisons to Botany Bay. Free settlers soon followed. Today, Australia is one of the most diverse, multicultural societies in the world.
With approximately 7 million sq km, Australia is the world’s largest island and a continent in itself. Australia has a wide range of environments, including tropical rain forests in its northern regions, temperate forests along the east coast and even a few snowy mountains spotting the Great Dividing Range, which runs north to south across the entire continent and separates the coastal plains from the drier inland areas. Off the northeast coast is the world’s largest coral reef, 2,000 km long.
Australian winters are fairly mild but can be rainy. The visitors favorite months are October and April, and September to May are nice in most parts of the country. December and January are the hottest months, July and August the coldest. The Great Barrier Reef is best visited between September and December.