Simply put, there is no place on earth like Australia. Is it an island? Is it a continent? Does it matter? A honeymoon in Australia sweeps you off your feet with remarkable rain forests, deserts, snow-capped mountains, snorkeling, dry lands, wetlands, giant metropolises, Outback villages, the world’s oldest civilizations, the world’s largest coral reef, the world’s oldest rocks…shall we continue? This unique country / island / continent was destined for greatness the moment it broke away from the super-continent Gondwana on the Indo-Australian plate, slipping south along with Antarctica and bringing with it what would one day be the home of wonderful people, bizarre wildlife (platypus, anyone?), breathtaking scenery, unforgettable beaches and the promise of a getaway that will live with you forever.
Australia is the world’s smallest continent and sixth largest island, depending on how you look at it, straddling the Indian and Pacific oceans in the southern hemisphere. The country claims several islands including its largest, Tasmania, and is ringed to the north by the countries of Indonesia, East Timor, and Papua New Guinea, while the island nation of New Zealand is far off to the east and south. Modern Australia may have begun as a penal colony of Great Britain, but today this remarkable paradise is anything but a punishment. Each of the country’s six states are a dramatic stage showcasing unlimited possibilities all their own. Take New South Wales for example. Here you can enjoy the cosmopolitan vibe of its capital and the country’s largest city Sydney; swim at the state’s northern beaches; explore its magnificent forests; or play in the snow on gorgeous mountains. Then in the Northeast with its big city of Brisbane is Queensland, known as the Sunshine State thanks to sunny tropical coasts, lush rainforests and dry inland.
Anywhere you stay on your Australia honeymoon will be a unique adventure in this ecologically diverse country. Outdoor activities, luxurious pampering in big cities, exploring vast spectacular landscapes, and really anything you can think of and wish to take part in is on Australia’s “to do” list.
At a Glance
Ask any Aussie and you’ll probably get the same answer: Australia is a land of ultimates. Here you’ll find incredible beaches, stunning dive sites, extraordinary hikes, one-of-a-kind wildlife, charming small towns, world-class large cities and on and on. The funny thing is it’s hard to argue with that assessment given Australia’s incredible list of attractions both natural and man-made like experiencing the spectacular red glow of Uluru, also called Ayers Rock, the magnificent Great Barrier Reef as well as Sydney’s Opera House and the many other World Heritage sites.
- SAMPLE THE VINO IN YARRA VALLEY: In the state of Victoria outside of Melbourne is Yarra Valley, home to rolling hills and 55 wineries. While you’re enjoying the area’s unspoiled beauty, you’ll have a wealth of gourmet restaurants and wine tastings at your fingertips.
- SAY HELLO TO SYDNEY: Sydney is much more than the country’s biggest city and a thriving world center. It’s a metropolis that is so thoroughly balanced with its sensational natural surroundings you literally get the best of both worlds. Try to take advantage of the Great Coastal Walk and enjoy the gorgeous beaches, sandstone cliffs, idyllic lagoons and so much more. Then on the flip side of Sydney’s natural highlights are it’s man-made ones such as the world-famous Sydney Opera House, a recognizable landmark and masterpiece of technological innovation. The benefit to it all is interacting with the charming and friendly citizens of this excellent city.
- HANG TEN ON THE GOLD COAST: You may have heard of Australia’s Gold Coast and for very good reason. Surfers flock here from around the world to experience its 35 beaches and some of the best and longest waves to be found anywhere. With so many top-notch beaches you really can’t go wrong matter with any, and whether or not you enjoy surfing or body boarding is not a problem—just unfold your blanket on the beach and watch the action all around you in the glorious sunshine.
- KICK UP SOME DUST IN THE DESERT: When thinking about Australia, who can resist notions of rugged crocodile wranglers living off the land in the mighty Outback of southern Australia? You could put that characterization to the test easily by visiting the arid plains and salt lakes just north of Adelaide. You’ll find underground mining towns as well as some of the world’s oldest mountains in the starkly beautiful desert.
- GET WILD IN TASMANIA: Australia has so much to see and do, it nearly boggles the mind. So if you’re having trouble deciding where to begin, one place to start might be visiting the Tasmanian wilderness. This island to the southeast of the continent is like a microcosm of Australia with its own stunning land formations, ancient and phenomenal geology, diverse and absolutely distinct plant and animal life and one of the world’s only temperate rain forests. Tasmania is also a remarkable location for excellent fishing, white-water rafting, numerous national park hiking trails and so much more.
- TOUCH THE GREAT BARRIER REEF: Few things on earth are as impressive, magnificent and absolutely memorable as the world’s largest reef. At 2,000 kilometres long, this kaleidoscope of vibrant colors, bizarre fish and other astounding marine life is an underwater paradise of never-ending warm water and sunshine, and reason alone to visit Australia. However, your time spent at the Great Barrier Reef is more than just snorkeling and scuba diving. You’ll enjoy the many wonderful tropical towns, sunbathing on deserted island beaches and some of the country’s best food.
- EXPLORE THE MANY NATIONAL PARKS: Australia has benefited from having the money and resources to protect a large amount of its natural beauty. One such area that is well worth your attention is the Kakadu National Park, where you’ll discover x-ray paintings of indigenous animals dating back 20,000 years. This is a fascinating journey of discovery of the aboriginal people who archaeologists claim have been living there uninterrupted for twice as long as that. In addition to the humanity on display, you’ll be in touch with extraordinary scenery including waterfalls and unique plant life and animals such as the jabiru, Australia’s only stork, and crocodiles skulking around Alligator River.
- AREA CODES: Australia’s country code is 61, and the largest metro areas have their own area codes. For example, Sydney is 2, Melbourne is 3 and Brisbane is 7.
- CURRENCY: Australian dollar
- LANGUAGE: While there is no official language in Australia, English is the most common by far.
- GETTING AROUND: Australia is a huge stretch of land (it occupies 5% of the world’s surface) and chances are you’ll be spending the majority of your honeymoon in one or maybe two of the states. You certainly can get around by car and there are bus and coach tours, but to get from one end of the country to the other or the north coast to the southern coast, flying is the most efficient way. Cities are also spread out, so even going from one to another can take a good bit of time.
- DRIVING: As in the United Kingdom, Australians drive on the left side of the road.
- WHEN TO GO: Being wholly in the southern hemisphere means that when Europe, North America and most of Asia are enjoying warm summer months, Australia is in the middle of winter, and vice versa. The northern states tend to be warmer and the further south you head gets colder. However, most of Australia tends to be mild year-round with snow falling only in Tasmania and in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales. That said, perhaps the best time to visit is in September and October when it’s warm enough to suntan on the beaches yet cool enough to head into the outback to visit the sights such as Ayers Rock.
- ELECTRICITY:Australia uses a 240 volt electrical system.
- TIME ZONE: Australia has five time zones during daylight savings and three during the rest of the year.