Australia

Once you arrive in Australia, you'll discover that what you've heard is true. Australia is an amazing land of extremes. It is the only country in the world that has a whole continent to itself, with the world's largest rock and longest reef. Australia's cities are cosmopolitan metropolises where you'll find five-star and small boutique hotels, great restaurants and internationally acclaimed arts centers. Its national parks, from the Blue Mountains forests with their koalas to Kakadu's crocodile-filled rivers, are spectacular wilderness preserves. Its outback is a terrain of harsh beauty where you'll see age-old Aborigine rock paintings and baby kookaburra birds. Its offshore islands along the Queensland coast are sun-splashed landfalls set in the middle of a marine wonderland. And through it all are the people, individuals every bit as interesting and unique as the land they inhabit.

To get to the land down under, you don't have to travel to the stars or even quite to the ends of the earth. In fact, in no time at all, really, you can soon find yourself in a spectacular new world–it's all waiting for you.

Sydney, the city by the Bay

Setting sail in Sydney

Australia’s most famous city, Sydney is a dynamic, varied metropolis where visitors can bask on the beach, hear a stunning aria sung by an opera great, have a pint at a neighborhood pub or dance till dawn in a nightclub. You can stay at a fabulous hotel situated between the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.  Visit the Opera House, a 20th century architectural masterpiece of which Sydneysiders are justifiably proud, and the Harbour Bridge, the largest arch bridge in the World. Head to Australia’s most famous beach, Bondi Beach, for an afternoon and travel to the iconic Blue Mountains, only 2 hours away from Sydney, to see the magnificent precipices soar out of dense eucalyptus forests and kangaroos and koalas in their natural habitat.

MELBOURNE AND VICTORIA

The Melbourne city view at night

Melbourne is a stately city with tree lined boulevards, imposing architecture, flower filled parks and historic churches, but that is only part of the story. It is also a polyglot city with a huge population of immigrants and such delightful features as a network of electric trams, horse-racing courses and events like the Australia Open and Formula One.

Melbourne offers luxurious hotels in and around the most elegant casino in the Southern Hemisphere, boutique hotels and historic hotels, all wonderfully located to enjoy the city. Tour the city on a Harley Davidson motorcycle; travel to Philip Island where you’ll witness one of Australia’s most charming shows: the fairy penguins and visit the world-renowned Mornington Peninsula to rejuvenate in a hotel unique in both destination and design.

HOBART AND TASMANIA

Port Arthur historical site in Tasmania

Hobart is the second oldest city in Australia, built by 19th century convicts and now home to a vibrant urban culture set on one of the most beautiful natural harbors of the world. Hobart has gained recognition, from some of the best food and wine in the world, to recent world-quality museums. At its fashionable Salamanca Place, old sandstone warehouses host galleries and cafes. Nearby is Battery Point, a historic district with narrow lanes and colonial era cottages. Mount Wellington nearby offers magnificent scenery, hiking and cycling trails. Visit historic Port Arthur, a one-time prison town which has become the symbol of Australia’s convict heritage, and Freycinet National Park, a stunning and pristine marine wonderland where you’ll find white sand beaches that stretch for miles, eagles overhead, and dolphins offshore. 

THE GREAT BARRIER REEF AND QUEENSLAND

The Great Barrier Reef

Queensland’s northern town of Cairns is the gateway to Australia’s marine wonderland, the Great Barrier Reef, the largest living organism on Earth, even visible from outer space. The 2,300 kms long ecosystem is made of thousands of reefs and hundreds of islands. Cape Tribulation nearby is also home to spectacularly lush rain forest farther up the coast, where you can view crocodiles and magnificent birdlife and fauna.

The Great Barrier Reef is also accessible from many of the islands that offer some of the best resorts and beaches in the world, like Hayman Island and Lizard Island to name only two.

ADELAIDE AND SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Koala on Kangaroo Island South Australia

Enjoy the new and evolved city of Adelaide, the gourmet capital of Australia, with its fantastic restaurants and markets and its new lanes and bars. Visit Kangaroo Island, which lies steeped in history off the tip of the Fleurieu Peninsula and tour this wildlife paradise that will introduce you to native animals and birds, sublime coastal scenery and a world of relaxing isolation. Let yourself be chauffeured to some of Australia’s best wine valleys, like the Barossa Valley, to visit world-famous wineries where you will be one of a handful of guests sipping the wonderful wines.

AYERS ROCK AND THE NORTHERN TERRITORY

Aboriginal Art

The world’s greatest monolith, Ayers Rock -or “Uluru”- as the Aborigines call it, rises out of Australia’s desert plains to a high of 1,026 feet. It is almost inconceivably ancient and intensely beautiful and spiritual. The rock catches its light and reflects it in shades from burgundy and crimson to indigo and slate grey. The Aborigines placed the rock high in their spiritual framework and when you see this massive spectacle of nature, you will understand why. Tour also the nearby jumble of massive boulders known as The Olgas.

The Northern Territory is also home to national parks like world famous Kakadu and historic Darwin and Alice Springs and the center of the Aboriginal culture.

PERTH AND WESTERN AUSTRALIA

The capital of Western Australia sits where the Swan River meets the southwest coast. Sandy beaches abound in the suburbs and the city is vibrant and recently attaining new heights with new hotels, restaurants and adventures. Western Australia is made up mostly of the Outback with its population concentrated in the southwest corner, Perth, the Margaret River wine region, the Kimberley and much more.