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Australia - New Zealand
Australia's premier city is the oldest settlement in Australia, the economic powerhouse of the nation and the country's capital in everything but name. Built on the shores of the stunning Port Jackson, you would have to die and go to heaven before you see a more spectacular setting for a city. It's a vital, self-regarding metropolis, exuding both a devil-may-care urbanity and a slavish obsession with global fads. The Olympic Games, held in Sydney in 2000, confirmed the city's reputation as a civilised, fun-loving and friendly place to be.

Keep in mind that to prove you've been in Australia, you'll have to take a photo of the Sydney Opera House, with the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background. The ability to pronounce Bondi will add an extra dash of authenticity.
Australia's second city is a place of contradictions and hidden charms. A leafy, bayside community on the 'upside-down', brown Yarra River, it is cosmopolitan yet suburban, cultivated yet football crazy, conservative yet a haven for the avant-garde. Visitors come for its shopping, restaurants, nightlife and sporting calendar, encouraging many Melburnians to believe that they live in one of the most civilised cities in the world.

Some pleasant excursions from Melbourne include Phillip Island, with its fairy penguins, the pristine Wilsons Promontory and the Great Ocean Road.
Great Barrier Reef
One of Australia's greatest assets is the magnificent reef that runs along virtually the entire coast of Queensland. Considered one of the world's natural wonders, it is the most extensive reef system and the biggest structure made by living organisms on earth. In the north, the reef is virtually continuous and is located only 50km (30mi) from the shore. In the south, individual reefs are more common, and in some places up to 300km (190mi) offshore. Hundreds of islands dot the reef area. About 20 of them have resort facilities, but it's possible to camp on many others.
Cairns is the tourist 'capital' of the Far North and one of Australia's top travellers' destinations. Not long ago, it was just a sleepy tropical backwater. Unfortunately, much of its allure and tropical languor has vanished amid the rapid growth of tourist infrastructure, but it is still one of the best bases for exploring the riches of tropical Queensland. From Cairns, you can arrange trips to the Great Barrier Reef, Green Island and Fitzroy Island, the beautiful Atherton Tableland, the market town of Kuranda, the string of enchanting beaches stretching 50km (30mi) north to Port Douglas, and the spectacular rainforest and coastal scenery of Cape Tribulation and the Daintree River.
The 'capital' of northern Australia is closer to Jakarta than it is to Sydney, and closer to Singapore than it is to Melbourne, so it's no surprise that it looks outward to Asia as much as it looks inland to the rest of Australia. This proximity and familiarity with Australia's northern neighbours is reflected in the town's relaxed, cosmopolitan, tropical atmosphere. Nearby Kakadu National Park shouldn't be missed.
Uluru is a site of deep cultural significance to the local Anangu Aboriginals and the most famous icon of the Australian outback. A pilgrimage to Uluru and the coronary-inducing scramble to the top was an entrenched Australian ritual, but the Aboriginal owners would prefer visitors not to climb the rock and many visitors are now respecting their wishes. The 3.6km (2.2mi) long rock rises a towering 348m (1141ft) from the pancake-flat surrounding scrub, smack in the middle of the country, and is especially impressive at dawn and sunset when the red rock spectacularly changes hue. There are walks around the base of the rock which pass caves, rock art and sacred Aboriginal sites. Nearby Kata Tjuta (the Olgas), 32km (20mi) west of Uluru, are equally impressive monoliths and Mt Olga is actually much higher than Uluru. The Valley of the Winds is a worthy 6km (4mi) walking circuit.
Brisbane is Australia's third largest city and the state capital of Queensland. Not so long ago, the rest of Australia considered it little more than an overgrown country town, but it has shirked off this unwelcome reputation to become one of the country's most progressive centres. Since playing host to a string of major international events in the 80s, including the 1982 Commonwealth Games and Expo 88, Brisbane has developed into a lively, cosmopolitan city with several interesting districts, a good street cafe scene, a great riverside park, a busy cultural calendar and decent nightlife.
Perth, the capital of Western Australia, is a vibrant and modern city pleasantly sited on the Swan and Canning rivers, with the cerulean Indian Ocean to the west (providing some fine beaches) and the ancient Darling Ranges to the east. It claims to be the sunniest state capital in Australia, though more striking is its isolation from the rest of the country. Try to visit the historical port town of Fremantle.
Canberra is a picturesque 20th-century creation on the banks of Lake Burley Griffin that has struggled to establish itself as the focus of Australia's national history, pride and identity. Canberra has long been perceived as the 'fat cat' of Australian cities, a town of politicians and bureaucrats living off the hard work of their countryfolk. Step outside the Parliamentary Triangle and you'll soon find it isn't true. Canberra has grown from a Federation baby into an adult city with all the problems and delights that being a grown-up brings. Sights to see include the new Parliament House and the National Museum of Australia.
When the early colonists began building Adelaide they built with stone, constructing a solid, dignified city that is civilised and calm in a way that no other Australian state capital can match. The solidity goes further than architecture, for Adelaide was once regarded as a city of wowsers (read: puritan spoilsports) and was renowned chiefly for its disproportionately large number of churches. These days the churches are outnumbered by pubs and nightclubs, and there is no denying that the city has a superb setting - the centre is surrounded by green parkland, and the metropolitan area is bound by the hills of the Mt Lofty Ranges and the waters of the Gulf St Vincent. Nearby is the Barossa Valley wine region.
Hobart is Australia's southernmost capital city. The fact that it is also the smallest (population 129,000) is a key to its particular charm. A riverside city with a busy harbour, its mountain backdrop offers fine views over the compact suburbs below. Its beautiful Georgian buildings (even the harbourside warehouses are picturesque), relaxed atmosphere, numerous parks and attractive homes make Hobart one of the most enjoyable and engaging of Australia's cities. Regarded as conservative and provincial by many mainlanders, Hobart has a thriving arts and crafts scene and a real sense of history, and for walking, eating and just soaking in the atmosphere it can't be bettered.