Sydney Opera House

More than 4 million people visit Australia each year – and that does not count the lucky residents of the country who stay right at home when they vacation! Known for its rugged natural beauty, Australia is home to the Great Barrier Reef, the “Outback,” gorgeous vineyards (when in Australia, try the wine!), and, of course, kangaroo, emu, and dingo. There is another side to Australia as well. Its cities feature distinctive architecture, modern and cultural attractions, a variety of restaurants and shops, and much more. Exploring the cities is just as exciting as adventuring through the Outback!

Australia’s largest and most important cities include:

Sydney

One thing that visitors notice is that even in the cities, nature plays a big role in Australian life. Sydney is built around its famous harbor, and visitors are sure to recognize the famous Sydney Opera House. An incredibly dynamic city, visitors can enjoy arts and festivals, shopping, exquisite food and wine, and special events. There is something happening during every season. In October, for instance, you can walk through a massive outdoor sculpture exhibit. Sculpture by the Sea features incredible works from Australian and international artists lining the Bondi to Tamarama coast walk. Make sure to take in a local event when in town!

Melbourne

If theater, art, and shopping are part of your dream vacation, you will fall in love with Melbourne. You can take in a show at the incredible Princess and Her Majesty’s Theaters, or opt for local shows at the Arts Centre and Malthouse. Or better yet, both! Wander through over 100 art galleries, visit trendy clubs for live music, and shop, shop, shop. Whether you want designer clothing or local crafts, you will find it in Melbourne. A must is Queen Victoria’s Market. At the historic landmark, you will find everything from seafood, fruits, and vegetables to clothing, toys, and souvenirs. People watching is yours for free!

Brisbane

What can’t you do in Brisbane? Eating, shopping, sightseeing, biking, walking, rock climbing, kayaking, visiting national parks, watching world class shows, sporting events, going to lively festivals. If you want to be bored on vacation, sorry! Brisbane is second to none in urban offerings and its rich culture is melded into every aspect of city life. Terrific for couples, singles, and families, this Australian city also offers a variety of free and low-cost activities.

Warning: if you come to Australia, you’ll never want to leave! You’ll just have to come back again and again to visit the rest of Australia’s fabulous cities.

Enid Glasgow