This vast continent contains lush rainforests, arid lunar landscapes, dramatic mountain ranges, great swaths of pristine beach and an amazing diversity of exotic wildlife. And from the primeval wilderness of the Northern Territory to the Victorian manors of the Barossa Valley, the Australians themselves are unfailingly genial and hospitable. Sydney remains one of the great modern cities of the world, but even once-provincial Perth has lately evolved into a buzzing pan-Asian metropolis. The continent’s wines are justly renowned, and Australian restaurants now rank with some of the best in the world.
Eastern Australia is 15 hours ahead of New York (EST).
December to March is summer and June to September winter, though nearly half of Australia (which is the size of the Lower 48 states) lies in the tropics. Coastal cities are temperate and have mild winters. The Great Barrier Reef’s average highs range from the upper 70s to the upper 80s year-round. The best months to dive and snorkel on the reef are from June to October.
Canberra, Tel. (02) 6214-5600. Consulates: Melbourne, Tel. (03) 9526-5900; Sydney, Tel. (02) 9373-9200; and Perth, Tel. (08) 6144-5100.
Australian dollar (A$). Fluctuating rate valued at A$1.47 = US$1.00 as of August 2019.
To phone hotels and restaurants in Australia, dial 011 (international access) + 61 (Australia code) + city code and local numbers in listings.