An outstanding climate and a wealth of things to see and do have established Australia holidays as a dream adventure for many Brits.
The iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge make Sydney one of the world’s great cities, and most visitors fall in love with the place. It also has one of the world’s most famous beaches in Bondi Beach, a magnet for those who crave the sun, sea, sand and surf. Two-thirds of a mile long, there’s plenty of space for everyone. Most Australia tours will take you to the country’s other key cities too, including Melbourne, home of the perenially popular soap opera Neighbours, and Adelaide, known as the ‘City of Churches’.
Australia’s natural attractions rival any in the world, and at least two will be must-sees for anyone thinking about holidays in Australia. The first is the Great Barrier Reef, a vast 1,600-mile stretch of coral that runs along the Queensland coast. Cairns in the north-east makes a great base for seeing this vividly coloured phenomenon, as there’s plenty in the way of nightlife. The other is Uluru (formerly Ayers Rock), a sandstone monolith in the heart of Australia that changes colour dramatically depending on the conditions. Over 1,000 ft high and almost six miles around the base, the rock is sacred in aboriginal culture, and although aborigines ask visitors not to climb it, many do.
Food and drink is also an area of excellence and a highlight of Australia holidays. Wine has come on in leaps and bounds over the last decade or so, and many experts consider their produce to offer much better value for money than that offered by Old World nations such as France. Food is also outstanding, with restaurants turning out imaginative lighter dishes using ingredients well suited to the hot climate.
Before the arrival of the Dutch in 1606, Australia had been inhabited by indigenous Australians for more than 40,000 years. The British claimed the eastern half of Australia in 1770 and initially used New South Wales as a penal colony. The Commonwealth of Australia brought the six colonies together in 1901, effectively giving the country a large measure of independence from Britain.