Heading number 1Australia has so much to offer, it takes months or years to explore properly. Sydney, here represented with the Sydney Harbor Bridge, is a good start for two of my suggested itineraries. What shall you do? This depends on how much time you have:
Less than one month: Explore Sydney, Melbourne and the surroundings including the Great Ocean Road. If time allows, consider including Grampians National Park, Kangaroo island and a favourite for wildlife: Tower Hill State Park.
One month: Travel the East coast. A Greyhoud bus pass worked excellent for me in 2007. Starting at Cairns, and make a number of stops going south. See more below.
Two - three months: Make it a loop, starting in Sydney go up along the East coast, cross over from Cairns to Alice Springs and south to Adelaide and Great Ocean Road via Melbourne back to Sydney.
More than 3 months. Do the trips above, and add the West Coast: Start in Darwin and make your way down along the East Coast to Perth via Broome. If time allows, travel on ground along the South Coast to Adelaide.
For another view of Sydney, go to my Sydney Panorama, (4 MB - large picture) which also supports my suggestion that Sydney is one of the two major cities in the world that has the most beautiful location - the other being Rio de Janeiro.
Sydney is also excellen to explore on foot. I enjoyed walking around many pleasant neighborhoods and small parks, like tihs one where a schoolclass enjoyed the nice weather.
Bondi Beach is well known and seen in many photographs. These rock formations can be found along a waterfront walk near Bondi Beach, another example of interesing areas inside Sydney easily reached with local public transport.
Heading number 2
Byron Bay is an upscale vacation town on the East Coast, but using this beautiful beach is absolutely free. Byron Bay is a nice little town with a number of short, good hikes nearby, like to this beach and a nearby lighthouse. It also offers hostels for individual travellers on a budget.
A side-trip to Nimbin (best done on a local tour that was easy to find while staying at a hostel) is an interesting day-trip for the individual traveller wanting to see an alternative lifestyle. Inquire before you go.
Frazer Island is an interesting place not to miss.
By pure luck, I went on a trip with Trailblazer Tours, and found it to be an excellent choice. For a little more money than being packed up with too many other backpackers in a Landcruiser on a self-drive tour, we got to be driven in this spacious and comnfortable 4WD bus and stay at a cabin on the beach. The tour also allowed plenty of time to enjoy and explore the island. One of the best organized tours I had in Australia.
Frazer Island is an island of sand only (It is claimed to be more sand here than in Sahara), so no surprize it has beaches. This beach is also a public road, and also an airstrip. An aircraft landed, and offered us this aerial view for a few dollars.
Before landing, it makes a low-pass to tell people and cars to move away from the beach so that it can land. Unfortunately, the water is full of tiger sharks, so swimming in not a good idea.
Sailing the Whitsundays is a highlight of any Australian East Coast tour and not to be missed. These are whitbread round the world sailboats with no luxury under the deck (but this is where you only sleep anyway). My boat also carried scubadive gear allowing underwater exploration as well.
Magnetic Island is another worthwile stop on the East Coast. It has a lot of wildlife, and several of the animal photographs to the right, including the koala, was taken there.