Australia's temperate climate sees most of the country receive more than 3,000 hours of sunshine a year. The hottest region is the northern two-thirds of the country, which experience almost tropical humid and wet conditions in summer, and mild winters. In the southern states, it gets hot in summer, with temperatures reaching the high 30s and even low 40s on some days. Winters are cool and showery.
Getting around Australia
Budget airline Virgin Blue has regular services along the east coast between Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast, Cairns and the Gold Coast. It also flies to Adelaide, Perth, Broome and Darwin.
Melbourne-based Jetstar flies to 14 destinations including Adelaide, Cairns, the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Perth and the Sunshine Coast.
Skywest flies in Western Australia (Broome, Perth), the Northern Territory (Darwin) and to Bali. Qantas offers bargain fares - regular red e-deals - online.
Australia insider information
- Bushfires are a major problem each summer so keep abreast of breaking news and don't throw cigarette butts out of cars or in the bush, where the smallest spark can ignite a fire and potentially land you in jail.
- Queensland's Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef and one of the seven wonders of the natural world. Take a boat trip out to the reef and snorkel or scuba dive among the stunning kaleidoscope of coral and marine life.
- Brisbane's South Bank arts precinct has led the city's cultural renaissance, attracting top art shows and a rich calendar of cultural events.
- Tropical north Queensland is the only place in the world with two World Heritage sites virtually side by side: the Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics Rainforest. The rainforest, which touches the reef in the north, includes endless scenic drives and Australia's longest single-drop waterfall, the 305-metre Wallaman Falls.
- Sydney lives up to its sassy, exuberant reputation, with its international style, superb dining, trendy clubs and bars, and rowdy pubs. Beyond the city's spectacular harbour with the iconic Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, you'll find yourself drawn to what the locals do, hanging around Bondi beach, taking the ferry to Manly, shopping in Paddington's trendy boutiques and enjoying the city's vibrant nightlife.
- Australia's sunniest capital, Perth has embraced its isolation and created its own identity and lifestyle. On Rottnest Island you can go snorkelling, fishing, hiking or play golf. Nearby Fremantle has heritage-listed buildings, restored warehouses and museums. In the Darling Range, you can walk to the oldest rocks on earth, as well as waterfalls and forests.
- Melbourne is Australia's self-proclaimed cultural capital, with a rich calendar of international festivals and sporting and cultural events. An exciting cultural melting pot, in Melbourne old-world charm and grand Victorian buildings meet cutting edge architecture, street art and urban chic. Melbourne is at the forefront of food and fashion, food and wine and has a lively nightlife.
- Melbourne may be the home of Australian Rules football, but the sports-obsessed city also hosts Australia's main sporting events, including the Australian Open, the Melbourne Cup and the Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park.