Many people, when considering places to vacation, think of exotic tourist attractions such as Paris, Rome, Cancun - faraway lands of mystery and romance. However, what most people don’t consider is that the most talked about places are not always the best. How many of you have ever planned a family vacation and the first place you thought of was Australia?


While it’s not necessarily the most famous vacation spot, Australia is a beautiful land with a unique natural environment and a variety of exotic creatures. Although most of Australia is semi-arid or desert, it includes a diverse range of habitats from alpine heaths to tropical rainforests, and is recognized as a megadiverse country. Because of the continent’s great age and long-term geographic isolation, much of Australia’s wildlife is unique and diverse.

Among well-known Australian animals are the monotremes (like the platypus), marsupials such as the kangaroo, koala and wombat, and birds such as the emu and kookaburra. Australiais also home to many dangerous animals, including some of the most venomous snakes in the world. Many of Australia’s eco-regions, and the various species within those regions, are threatened by human activities and newly introduced plant and animal species. Numerous protected areas have been created to protect and preserve unique ecosystems.

However, it’s not all untamed outback: some of the best places to visit are the big cities. The most famous are Sydney and Melbourne, and they offer an array of sights and attractions. Since 1788, the Australian culture has been strongly influenced by Anglo-Celtic Western culture. Distinctive cultural features have also arisen from Australia’s natural environment and indigenous cultures. Since the mid-20thcentury, American pop culture has also strongly influenced Australia, particularly through television and cinema. Other cultural influences come from neighboring Asian countries and through large-scale immigration from non-English-speaking nations.


Sydney has various heritage-listed buildings, including Sydney Town Hall, the Queen Victoria Building, Parliament House and the Australian Museum. There is no architecture style that entirely characterizes the whole of Sydney. More contemporary architecture includes the Sydney Opera House, one of the great iconographic buildings in the world. Sydney has the largest skyline in Australia; current height restrictions limit future buildings to the height of 235 meters, in part due to close proximity of Sydney Airport.

In addition to Australia’s cultural hotspots, there are many wonderful places to shop, as well. In the Sydney CBD(central business district), one of the places worth exploring is a chain mall called David Jones. There you can find a wide range of shopping choices, including international designers and Australian designers. In the CBD, you can find more familiar designer names such as Gucci, Chanel and Louis Vuitton.

You can also check out the Westfield Bondi Junction, a large mall with stores such as Hugo Boss and Armani, and also a variety of other designer labels and inexpensive clothing as well. Bondi Junction is located near Bondi Beach; after a fun day of shopping with your friends, you can hit the sand for some sun and relaxation!


If you are planning a trip to Australia and are interested in shopping, you can read up on the abundance of prime shopping destinations in Melbourne in this article by freelance writer, travel consultant and self-proclaimed “shopaholic,” Sheryl Baldwin.