Australia: A pocket guide
Surrounded by the Indian and Pacific oceans, Australia offers some of the best surf in the world, as well as wine tasting at top vineyards and such outdoor activities as whale watching, hiking, and sailing the Whitsunday Islands. Canberra, centered on Lake Burley Griffin, is a lively hub of politics and culture, nicknamed the “Bush Capital” for its forest and nature reserves and the outdoor lifestyle favored by its 381,000 inhabitants; cycling and trekking loops encircle the lake, with art installations along the way. In Sydney, the iconic Opera House and Harbor Bridge are on the “must see” list, but once you’ve taken in the urban landmarks and done a bit of surfing, you’ll want to venture into the countryside to explore the Blue Mountains, rural outback towns, and opal mines, or visit the slopes in the Snow Mountains for a day of skiing. The wild terrain of the northern territory encompasses 40,000 years of Aboriginal history, and its dusty red soil is home to Uluru, or Ayers Rock, sacred to the Aboriginal people. Victoria is all about luxury living, with spa breaks in Daylesford; fine restaurants, stylish coffee houses, and fashionable boutiques in trendy Melbourne; and epic forests to be explored along the Great Ocean Road. Perth, in Western Australia, is the world’s most isolated capital, a relaxed city with plenty of cosmopolitan bars and restaurants. Western Australia is also known for whale watching, wine sampling, and surfing in Margaret River. Throughout the country, you’ll find striking landscapes, laid-back attitudes, and lots of creative energy in fields such as art and fashion design. In short, a holiday in Australia can be whatever you want it to be.