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Destinations: Capital Cities

New South Wales: Sydney

Sydney, NSW

A significant global and domestic tourist destination, Sydney is regularly declared to be one of the most beautiful and livable cities in the world, admired for its harbour, beautiful coastline, warm and pleasant climate and cosmopolitan culture. Join us on a journey of discovery.

For most overseas visitors, Sydney is the place through which they enter and leave Australia, and there is a reason for that. Sydney is geared towards tourism, and more so than any other capital city except perhaps Darwin. Sydney is a well oiled machine in terms of orientating visitors with not only what Sydney has to offer as a tourist destination, but Australia as a whole - our way of life, what we eat, where we go to have fun and relax, our beach culture - Sydney has developed a unique ability to educate its visitors in the finer details of Aussie culture. This puts visitors immediately at ease, which is a major reason why it is such a good place to visit, irrespective of where you come from.

Sydney is the capital city of the Australian state of New South Wales and Australia's largest and oldest city (founded in 1788). It is the largest city in the southern hemisphere, in terms of area. With a metropolitan area population of 4.7 million and a population of approximately 170,000 people in the city proper (known as the "City of Sydney"), the Sydney metropolis is the larger of the two main financial, transport, trade and cultural centres of Australia (the other being Melbourne, Sydney's long term rival to the title of pre-eminent Australian city).

Sydney, NSW

Sydney's geographical setting is perfect for a tourist destination. The city is built on one of the most beautiful harbours in the world; throughout its suburbs and outlying areas are pockets of virgin bushland which not only means Sydney doesn't have the 'concrete jungle' feel of most big cities, you don't have to drive great distances to see its natural attractions because they are right there outside your hotel/motel window; it has top class beaches right on its doorstep; it is home to important national historic sites (both European and Aboriginal); it has no extremes in climate, and it is strategically located midway between Australia's second and third biggest cities (Melbourne and Brisbane - Sydney is the largest) and is just a few hours drive from the national capital.

With a metropolitan population of 4.7 million and a total population of approximately 170,000 people in the inner city, Sydney is the larger of the two main financial, transport, trade and cultural centres of Australia (the other being Melbourne, Sydney's long term rival to the title of pre-eminent Australian city).

Sydney is located on the east coast of Australia in a coastal basin between the Pacific Ocean to the east and the Blue Mountains to the west. Sydney features the largest natural harbour in the world, Port Jackson, and also enjoys more than 70 beaches, including the famous Bondi Beach. Sydney's urban area (1,687 sq km) is similar in size to Greater London, but has half its population. Much of Sydney's metropolitan area is national park and other wilderness, which contributes greatly to its livability.

Sydney, NSW

Best Time To Go

Sydney enjoys a temperate climate with warm summers and mild winters, and has more than 340 sunny days a year. Sydney's weather is moderated by its proximity to the ocean, and more extreme temperatures are recorded in the inland western suburbs. The summer season is from December through to February. January and February are the hottest months when the average daily maximum temperature is around 26 degrees Celsius.

Winter is mildly cool, with temperatures rarely dropping below 5 degrees C in coastal areas. The coldest month is July, with an average range of 8-16.2 degrees C.

Rainfall is spread throughout the year. The average annual rainfall, with moderate to low variability, is 1,217 mm, falling on an average 138 days a year. The city is not affected by cyclones but is prone to flash flooding, and bushfires on its outskirts during the hotter summer months. In terms of the weather, there are no specific times when visiting the city should be avoided. Summer days can get hot and humid, just as some Winter days can be chilled by cool winds. The weather in Spring (September to November) can be changeable; the Autumn months (March to May) would be my choice for best time to visit. Temperatures are cooler than summer, they are the quietest months in terms of overseas visitors and there are still plenty of things happening (eg. Easter Show).

Sydney, NSW

Brief History

The area surrounding Sydney Harbour (called Warrane by the aborigines) has been inhabited by Aboriginal tribes, notably the Eora and Cadigal, for at least 40,000 years. Although urbanisation has destroyed most evidence of these settlements (such as shell middens), there are still rock carvings in several locations.

European interest arose with the sighting of Botany Bay in 1770 by Lieutenant James Cook. Under instruction from the British government, a convict settlement was founded by Arthur Phillip in 1788. Most convicts came from Ireland and England. A great number were in fact not real criminals but were simply sent to the new colony as a harsh punishment by the ruling aristocracy. Phillip first landed at Botany Bay, but found it unsatisfactorily shallow for a permanent settlement. After a brief sail north, Phillip founded the colony at Sydney Cove on Port Jackson (the correct name for Sydney Harbour).

Phillip originally named the colony "New Albion" (New England), but for some uncertain reason the colony acquired the name "Sydney", after the (then) British Home Secretary, Thomas Townshend, Lord Sydney (Viscount Sydney from 1789). This is possibly due to the fact that Lord Sydney issued the charter authorising Phillip to establish a colony. Prisoners were quickly set to work to build the settlement and by 1822 the town had banks, markets, well-established thoroughfares and an organised constabulary.

The first of several gold rushes in New South Wales was in 1851, since which time the port of Sydney has seen many waves of people from around the world. With industrialisation Sydney expanded rapidly, and by the early 20th century it had a population well in excess of one million. Throughout the 20th century Sydney continued to expand with various new waves of European and Asian immigration, resulting in its highly cosmopolitan atmosphere of the present day.

Victoria: Melbourne


Melbourne is very much a cosmopolitan city with just over 3 million inhabitants. It has a reputation for being a major ethnic melting pot and Australia's cultural hub. As a result, the city is known for its restaurants which serve a multitplicity of foreign cuisines, and for being at the forefront in fashion, style and the arts in Australia.

The capital of the State of Victoria, Melbourne is very much an international city but with a totally different look and feel to Sydney. A cosmopolitan city with over three million inhabitants, over the years it has been a major ethnic melting pot; it started in the Victorian gold rush days of the 1850s that attracted many Irish and Chinese miners to the city, laying the foundation for the distinctive multicultural flavour of the city today. Their arrival was followed by large scale post war immigration from Europe which attracted migrants from Greece, Turkey, Italy and Yugoslavia. As a result, Melbourne is known for its diverse cultural backgrounds that are reflected in its restaurants that serve a multiplicity of foreign cuisines.

It also holds its own in being at the forefront in fashion, style and the arts in Australia. The city has thrice shared top position in a survey by The Economist of the World's Most Livable Cities on the basis of its cultural attributes, climate, cost of living, and social conditions such as crime rates and health care.


Melbourne is often referred to as Australia's "other" large city, being a little smaller than Sydney, which invariably tops the list of most travellers' must-see Australian destinations. It has a totally unique look and feel when compared to the other capital cities of Australia.

Melbourne is very sport focused and the locals are typically fanatics. This is reflected in the fact that Melbourne is the only city in the world that has five international standard sporting facilities (including three with retractable roofs) on the fringe of its central business district. The major sports are cricket, Australian Rules Football and horse racing.

Each year Melbourne plays host to tens of thousands of interstate and overseas visitors who come to see the Australian Open Tennis Championships, the Australian Grand Prix, the Australian 500CC Motorcycle Grand Prix, Spring Racing Carnival, the Australian Football League Grand Final and many more special events. Melbourne has thrice shared top position in a survey by The Economist of the World's Most Livable Cities on the basis of its cultural attributes, climate, cost of living, and social conditions such as crime rates and health care.



Though Victoria overall has a temperate climate, Melbourne can at times experience extremes. For example, it has a reputation for experiencing all four seasons (summer, autumn, winter and spring) in the one day, so it is not uncommon to see people walking along in sunshine wearing a T-shirt, but with an umbrella on one arm and an overcoat over the other. Melbourne's warmest months are generally January and February, in the middle of summer, which are often dry and prone to hot spells, although some respite is provided by the cooling sea breezes of Port Phillip Bay. June and July are the coldest months (July to August can be cold and damp), while October is the wettest. The annual average rainfall for Melbourne is around 600mm, which is substantially less rain than Sydney receives.

Winter can be quite cold in the city centre, its corridors of tall buildings often become chilly wind tunnels during the cooler months. The only snow Melbourne ever sees is the occasional light fall on the Dandenong Ranges beyond the suburbs, but the winds that blow through the city in the cooler months can feel as though they have come straight off Antarctica; the chill factor often makes Melbourne feel colder than it what the thermometer indicates.

Unlike some of the more northern Australian state capital cities, Melbourne experiences spring and autumn (Fall) as distinct seasons, in early mornings there is often a cool freshness in the air, and in Autumn, the extensive plantings of deciduous trees bathe the inner suburbs in shades of orange as the trees shed their leaves. Autumns (March - May) are mild and it is during these months that most of the Festivals and outdoor events hosted by Melbourne are held. The summer can be very warm and the winters cool.

In and around Melbourne, which gets more cloud and disturbed weather despite a lower rainfall, sunshine hours per day in winter (June - August) are three to four as against seven to eight in summer. Cold spells are brief and never severe on the coast, and temperatures can drop much lower inland in winter.

Autumn (March - May) is probably the best season to visit Victoria if you intended touring the whole state. The uncomfortable heat of summer has then been tempered in the north and the north-west and the weather is more stable in the mountains and along the coast. This is also the best time for bush walking or mountain climbing. Snow sports and wildflower enthusiasts, however, should do their travelling in late winter-early spring (August to October).

If you intend to add a trip to Tasmania on either end of your visit to Victoria, be aware that the ski season in Tasmania extends from June to as late as October, that the weather in Tasmania is most reliable in late spring (October - November) and autumn (March - April), that midsummer is colourful with apple and pear blossom, and that some tourist facilities like ocean cruises do not operate in the colder winter months (May - July). Tasmania's main tourist rush is mid December to late January.

Queensland: Brisbane


Brisbane is situated in the southeast corner of Queensland, an hour north of the Gold Coast and an hour south of the Sunshine Coast. The city straddles the Brisbane River, and its eastern suburbs line the shores of Moreton Bay. The greater Brisbane region lies on the coastal plain east of the Great Dividing Range though the city is very hilly in some areas, and the urban area is punctuated by large hills reaching up to 300 metres such as Mount Coot-tha, Mount Gravatt, Whites Hill and Stephens Mountain.

Brisbane's central business district, centred around the Queen Street pedestrian mall, offers a range of restaurants, award winning shopping centres, night clubs, fashion, music and souvenir shops. Other popular restaurant districts across the suburban area include Fortitude Valley, New Farm, Teneriffe, West End, Bulimba, Milton, Rosalie, Paddington and Sunnybank.

South Bank Parklands, built on the former World Expo site at South Brisbane, is a popular inner suburban recreational area. Tourists and locals alike frequent the beautiful bougainvillea lined Riverside Walkway at all times of the year and flock to the area during music and arts festivals. Adjacent to the Parklands is Brisbane's arts precinct, which includes the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Gallery of Modern Art, Queensland Art Gallery, Queensland Museum and Sciencentre and the State Library of Queensland.

Fortitude Valley, known popularly as 'the Valley' was zoned as an entertainment precinct in 2004. The Valley is home to pubs, bars, nightclubs, restaurants and cafes and to Brisbane's Chinatown precinct. The Brunswick Street mall hosts bustling pedestrian markets on Saturday and Sunday mornings.


A feature of Brisbane's urban geography is its lower population density compared to other Australian cities such as Sydney and Melbourne. There are very few terrace houses in Brisbane and apartments dating before 1970 are relatively rare. Most of Brisbane's housing stock consists of detached houses on large blocks of land featuring sub-tropical gardens. Pre-1950 housing stock is often built in a distinctive architectural style known as a Queenslander , featuring large verandahs and built upon stilts, in order to maximise the circulation of cool air during summer months.

Traditionally, Brisbane was somewhat of a "branch office" city, with most major financial institutions having their headquarters in Sydney or Melbourne. To encourage diversification, during the late 1990s and early 2000s the Queensland state government has been developing technology and science industries in Queensland as a whole, and Brisbane in particular, as part of its "Smart State" campaign. The government has invested in several biotechnology and research facilities at several universities in Brisbane.

Today, Brisbane has a diverse and vibrant economy with many sectors and industries represented in the city's total production of goods and services. Both white-collar and blue-collar industries are present, with white-collar industries such as information technology, financial services, higher education and public sector administration generally concentrated in and around the central business district and recently established office parks in the inner suburbs.

Blue-collar industries such as petroleum refining, stevedoring, paper milling, metalworking and railway workshops tend to be located on the lower reaches of the Brisbane River and in new industrial zones on the urban fringe. Tourism is an important part of the Brisbane economy, both in its own right and as a gateway to other areas of Queensland.


Moreton Bay

Moreton Bay, to the east of the city of Brisbane and its suburbs, is very much the city s playground, a wide expanse of relatively calm water dotted with many surprisingly unspoilt islands of different sizes and varying character that can be visited. The bay extends some 160 km from Caloundra in the north almost to Surfers Paradise in the south. The bay is a haven for wildlife  spotting dolphins, whales, turtles and manta rays, and its vast array of birdlife is a popular pass time.

Best Time To Go

Brisbane has a subtropical climate with hot, moist summers and mild, dry winters. Brisbane is subject to high humidity, mainly from November through to April. Summer thunderstorms are common, and Brisbane frequently experiences hailstorms, cyclonic winds and more recently severe drought during the summer months. May to October are definitely the months where heat and humidity is at its mildest, and would be the preferred months to visit if there is a choice. That having been said, I've visited Brisbane in the hotter more humid months and found them quite bearable, no doubt because Brisbane is only sub tropical.

Tasmania: Hobart

Sitting just 240 kilometres south-east of mainland Australia, Tasmania has long had the nickname Apple Isle due to the large amount of fruit grown there. In Tasmania, you are never far from water and mountains - it has more than 1,000 mountain peaks. More than 40 per cent of the island is protected as national parks and reserves, which are home to some of the world's rarest animals.

The greater Hobart area has a population of around 212,000 people in 2009. Hobart is located on the estuary of the Derwent River in the state's south-east. The Central Business District is located on the western shore, adjacent to Sullivan's Cove, with the inner suburbs spread out along the shores of the Derwent and climbing up the hills at the foot of Mount Wellington (1270 metres). The Port of Hobart occupies the whole of the original Sullivan's Cove.

This picturesque city is a busy seaport, notably serving as the home port for Australia's (and France's) Antarctic activities. It supports several other industries (notably including a high-speed catamaran factory and a zinc smelter) as well as a vibrant tourist industry. Visitors come to the city to explore its historic inner suburbs, to visit the weekly craft market in Salamanca Place, as well as to use the town as a base from which to explore the rest of Tasmania.

Other local attractions include the Cadbury factory, and for a day trip places like Port Arthur, and the Tasman Peninsula, the Huon Valley, the Tahune Forest Air Walk, Cockle Creek (the southernmost point reachable by car) and the walk to South Cape Bay Beach which also forms part of a 6 day walk to South Western Tasmania. The Cascade Brewery is located in South Hobart, near the natural spring waters of Mount Wellington. The Hobart surrounding area has many vineyards, including Moorilla Estate at Berriedale. Nationally known bootmaker Blundstones is based in Moonah in the northern suburbs. National lottery company Tattersalls was founded by George Adams in Hobart but is now based in Melbourne.

Hobart is home to the main campus of the University of Tasmania, situated in Sandy Bay. On site accommodation colleges include Jane Franklin Hall, Christ College and St John Fisher College. Other campuses are in Lauceston and Burnie.Senior secondary colleges (covering the last two years of secondary schooling) in the Hobart area include Hobart College, at the top of Mt Nelson just south of the city; Elizabeth College, The Friends' School and Guilford Young College in North Hobart; The Hutchins School in Sandy Bay; Rosny College at Rosny on the eastern shore and Claremont College at Claremont in the northern suburbs. Some of these colleges also function as community colleges, open to students outside the formal secondary school system. Many of these colleges are not exclusively colleges as they also provide primary and high school education.


History of Hobart

Hobart is internationally famous among the yachting fraternity as the finish of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race which starts in Sydney on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas Day). The arrival of the yachts is celebrated as part of the Hobart Summer Festival, a food and wine festival beginning just after Christmas and ending in mid January. Hobart is the finish point of the Targa Tasmania rally car event held annually in April.

Hobart is the second-oldest city in Australia (after Sydney). Amid British concerns over the presence of French explorers, the first settlement was started in 1803 as a penal colony at Risdon Cove on the eastern shores of the Derwent River. In 1804 it was moved to a better location at the present site of Hobart at Sullivan's Cove. The area's original inhabitants were members of the semi-nomadic Mouheneer tribe. A series of bloody encounters with the Europeans and the effects of diseases brought by the settlers forced away the aboriginal population, which was rapidly replaced by free settlers and the convict population. Charles Darwin visited Hobart Town in February, 1836 as part of the Beagle expedition. He writes of Hobart and the Derwent estuary in his Voyage of the Beagle.

The lower parts of the hills which skirt the bay are cleared; and the bright yellow fields of corn, and dark green ones of potatoes, appear very luxuriant... I was chiefly struck with the comparative fewness of the large houses, either built or building. Hobart Town, from the census of 1835, contained 13,826 inhabitants, and the whole of Tasmania 36,505.

But since the Derwent River was one of Australia's finest deepwater ports and was the centre of the Southern Ocean whaling and seal trade, it rapidly grew into a major port, with allied industries such as ship-building. Hobart Town became a city in 1842, and was renamed Hobart in 1875.



Most public transport within the city is via an extensive network of public and private bus services. The main arterial routes within the urban area are the Brooker Highway to Glenorchy and the northern suburbs, the Tasman Bridge and Bowen Bridge across the river to Rosny and the Eastern Shore, and the Southern Outlet Road south to Kingston and the Channel. Hobart's urban passenger tram services closed in the 1950s and rail in the 1960s.

Leaving the city, motorists can travel the Lyell Highway to the west coast; Midlands Highway to Launceston and the north; Tasman Highway to the east coast, or the Huon Highway to the far south. Hobart is serviced by Hobart International Airport, and the smaller Cambridge Aerodrome (which mainly serves small charter airlines offering local tourist flights).


Hobart has a mild, temperate, maritime climate with four distinct seasons. Being in the southern hemisphere, summer is December to February.


Hobart is internationally famous among the yachting fraternity as the finish of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race which starts in Sydney on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas Day). The arrival of the yachts is celebrated as part of the Hobart Summer Festival, a food and wine festival beginning just after Christmas and ending in mid January. Hobart is the finish point of the Targa Tasmania rally car event held annually in April.

South Australia: Adelaide


South Australia is the fifth largest state in Australia with a population of 1.4 million. It is home to long summers, stunning beaches and award-winning wine, events and festivals. The gateway to the Barossa, Flinders Ranges and Kangaroo Island, South Australia has the easiest access to the Australian outback of any state. Adelaide, a place of natural beauty and simple elegance, is the capital city of South Australia.

The capital city of the Australian state of South Australia, Adelaide is a place of natural beauty and simple elegance. Its city centre has wide flat streets, and is surrounded on all sides by parklands. The urban landscape is highlighted with many elegant colonial buildings, museums, churches and galleries. Adelaide is noted for its many festivals and sporting events, its food and wine, its long beachfronts, and its large defence and manufacturing sectors.

Adelaide is situated on the Fleurieu Peninsula overlooking the Gulf St. Vincent, bordered by the low lying Mount Lofty Ranges to the east giving the suburbs a roughly north-south rectangular layout. In terms of population, at around 1.3 million (2014), it is the fifth largest of the Australian capital cities. South Australia is a uniquely highly centralised state; over 75 percent of the state's population is contained in the metropolitan capital of Adelaide.

Among Australia's cities, Adelaide has long been at the forefront in terms of cultural activities after it began to emerge as the cultural capital of Australia in the 1970s under the leadership of premier Don Dunstan. Though Melbourne has surpassed it in recent years, Adelaide still has a strong cultural focus and is home to events such as the Barossa Music Festival, the Adelaide Festival of Arts, Adelaide Film Festival, and the Fringe Festival, among others. Womadelaide, a world music event, is now annually held in the scenic surrounds of Botanic Park. All illustrate Adelaide's continued dedication to the arts, which is a major drawcard for visitors.


Adelaide's close proximity to three of Australia's major wine producing regions (the Barossa and Clare Valleys and McLaren Vale) has been a major contributing factor towards the city having always had an understanding and appreciation of fine food and wines. Just as one heads to Melbourne when the wardrobe starts to look a little bare and in need of sprucing up, so one heads to Adelaide - and Central Market - when the larder is in need of replenishing with goodies that tempt the tastebuds and add zest to meals. In terms of dining out, Adelaide's cafe culture is still as vibrant and strong as it has ever been.

The pace of life in Adelaide is much slower that say Sydney or Melbourne, and so it is a great place to catch my breath while still remaining on the move. I have good friends there, which is also a good reason to want to return to a place. Adelaide has the lowest growth of any of the mainland capital cities, which for some might be a negative. To the traveller it is a positive as any changes between one visit and the next are minimal; Adelaide remains familiar to me on each visit.


Best Time to Visit

Adelaide has a hot Mediterranean climate, which equates to mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. Of all the Australian capital cities, Adelaide is the driest. Rainfall is unreliable, light and infrequent throughout summer. The average in January and February is around 20 millimetres but completely rainless months are by no means uncommon. In contrast, the winter has fairly reliable rainfall with June being the wettest month of the year, averaging around 80 mm. Winter days are generally cool and at times can feel quite cold if there is wind about. Frosts are rare, with the most notable occurrences having occurred in July 1908 and July 1982. There is usually no appreciable snowfall in Adelaide, except on rare occasions at Mount Lofty and in some places in the Adelaide Hills.

December to February are the warm months in Adelaide and perhaps because of this, are the peak tourist season in Adelaide. This time is generally viewed as the best time to visit Adelaide with plenty of opportunities to go sun bathing on the beach or sweating it out with the numerous activities in the great Australian outdoors or on the beach. Outdoor cafes are perfect for a cool drink and a sumptuous bite to eat. However, do keep in mind that during the summer months, the temperatures in the outback touch the scorching forties and that Adelaide is the closest Australian capital to the outback.

Adelaide is noted for its fickle weather in the Spring months from September to November, however temperatures during this time are generally very pleasant and bad weather days generally come and go quite quickly. June is the wettest month; be prepared to have some days involving indoor activities if visiting Adelaide then.


Brief History

Adelaide was established in 1836 as the centre of a planned colony of free immigrants, promising freedom from religious persecution and civil liberties and as such does not share the convict history of other Australian cities, like Sydney and Hobart.

Coincidental to that fact, the name Adelaide comes from the German words meaning "Noble Birth". Adelaide has a metropolitan population of just over 1 million, making it Australia's fifth largest city. Adelaide is often referred to as the 'City Of Churches', although this is a reflection more on Adelaide's past than its present. Rumour has it that for every church that was built in Adelaide, a public house was also built to serve the less pious.

From its earliest, Adelaide attracted immigrants from many countries, particularly German migrants escaping religious persecution. They brought with them the vine cuttings that founded the acclaimed wineries of the Barossa Valley. After World War II, Italians, Greeks, Dutch, Polish, and possibly every other European nationality came to make a new start. An influx of Asian immigrants following the Vietnam War added to the mix. These cultures have blended to form a rich and diverse cuisine and vibrant restaurant culture.

Much of the area around Adelaide was once used for wine grape production, so that wine growing districts (such as the Barossa Valley, for which Adelaide and South Australia are well known) remain within a short drive of the city outskirts. Adelaide's cultural life flourished in the 1970s under the leadership of premier Don Dunstan, removing some of the more puritanical restrictions on cultural activities then prevalent around Australia. Now the city is home to events such as the Barossa Music Festival, the Adelaide Festival of Arts, Adelaide Film Festival, and the Fringe Festival, among others. Womadelaide, a world music event, is now annually held in the scenic surrounds of Botanic Park, emphasising Adelaide's dedication to the arts which has prevailed since the days of Don Dunstan. Adelaide now has a very vibrant and flourishing cafe culture, mainly in the east end of the city.

Western Australia: Perth


Perth is a busy, go-ahead city that is an attractive gateway to Australia's biggest state. Western Australia and the City of Perth have, over the years built up a reputation of being a warm, friendly place with a pace of life that isn't dead by any means, but is much more easy going than the lifestyle on offer in the larger cities in the east. Though Queensland used to promote itself as the sunshine state, WA is equally deserving of the title.

Perth is set on the Swan River, so named because of the native black swans. It is a city that fills the sandplain that lies adjacent to the Darling Scarp; extending to Joondalup in the north, Mandurah in the south and Mundaring in the east. The coastal suburbs take advantage of Perth's oceanside location and clean beaches. To the east, the city is bordered by a low escarpment called the Darling Scarp. Perth is on generally flat, rolling land - largely due to the high amount of sandy soils and deep bedrock.

Perth was established in 1829, as the capital of the Swan River Colony, a free settler colony. In 1850, as Western Australia, it became as a convict colony, at the request of farming and business people who wanted cheap labour. Perth's first boom period came in the 1890s after the discovery of gold in and around Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie. Another boom began in the 1960s with the commencement of iron ore mining in the state's Pilbara region. These and other mining activities brought an influx of wealth to the state, which is reflected in Perth's changing skyline of the last few decades. The wealth and prosperity continues to flow today from a variety of mineral resources that are exported from around the mineral rich state.


Many Perth residents consider their city to be egalitarian and relaxed, with a relatively large middle class and a suburban lifestyle. The region between Perth and the Indian Ocean contains the highest income suburbs - the homes of the state's business high flyers have become landmarks and tourist attractions in their own right.

The population is easy-going and friendly, but can be parochial, especially towards the Eastern States which are often viewed with deep, but usually jocular, suspicion. This attitude is fuelled by the Eastern States' view of Perth as a "backward" civilisation, but can be mainly attributed to Perth's isolation - reflected in the widely-held belief that Perth is the world's most isolated capital city. This attitude is similar to relationship between, say, California and New York in USA.

Because Fremantle was the first landfall in Australia for post-World War II migrant ships coming from, Perth experienced an influx of British, Italian and Greek migrants. More recently, large-scale immigration to Perth by air from the UK has continued, giving Perth the highest-proportion of British-born residents of any Australian city.

Fremantle Round House

Why go there?

Like Darwin, Perth is an isolated city in terms of its proximity to the other states, capital cities and for that matter, the rest of the world, which raises a curiosity in people's minds as to what it is like. For many eastern staters, to travel so far is like going to another country, except here there are Aussies just like them living a lifestyle similar to theirs. That is a very attractive (and justified) proposition for Australians who want to do some serious travelling to somewhere far away from home, but don't want the hassles, risks and safety concerns of going to another country.

The state of Western Australia and the City of Perth have, over the years built up a reputation of being a warm, friendly place with a pace of life that isn't dead by any means, but is much more easy going than the lifestyle on offer in the larger cities in the east. Though Queensland used to promote itself as the sunshine state, WA is far more deserving of the title, as those who have holidayed there will always attest.

Western Australia's north west and far north regions contain some of the most impressive natural attractions not only in the country but in the world, and apart from Broome, Perth is the only gateway by air to the state and hence to these regions. As the state's south west is also an attractive proposition to the state's visitors, the majority of them go to Perth first.


Best Time to Visit

Perth summers are generally hot and dry, with February generally being the hottest month of the year. The hottest ever recorded temperature in Perth was 46.2C on 23rd February 1991. Winters are cool and moist, though winter rainfall has been declining in recent years. The official temperature for Perth has never quite reached zero Celsius, and even in winter maximum daytime temperatures only occasionally fall below 16C.

Rainfall is infrequent from October to March so a visit to Perth in those months is rarely affected by rain, though it can get quite hot during the day. As winter temperatures are mild, a winter visit to Perth need never be out of the question as it is unlikely to be ruined by ongoing inclement weather as are some Australian destinations.

In the hotter months, flies can be an irritating problem, particularly in the bush and surrounding country towns, though their numbers decline dramatically from March onwards as maximum temperatures fall. From August to October, Western Australia's wildflowers are in full bloom. During these months the weather is also pleasant around much of the state (though still quite cold in the far south), and are therefore popular times to travel to Perth and the regions around it where wildflowers are prolific.

Northern Territory: Darwin


An Australian capital city with a difference, Darwin boasts an easy-going lifestyle (in the dry season at least) and extends a warm welcome to visitors from the south, eager for a taste of Territory life. Where else in Australia can you experience a live crocodile show in the main street, grab a bite to eat at an oceanside market and then watch an incredible sunset from your vantage point on the beach as you dine, or decide take a drive and end up in Kakadu National Park before lunchtime?

Darwin boasts an easy-going lifestyle (in the dry season at least) and extends a warm welcome to visitors from the south, eager for a taste of Territory life.

A modern city of over 100,000 people, Darwin is Australias most northerly city. Darwin has a tropical climate, and is subjected to tropical thunderstorms and cyclones during the wet season (December to March). Darwin has felt the fury of tropical cyclones or more than one occasion the first recorded cyclone to hit Darwin was the 1867 cyclone, and much of the city was destroyed by Cyclone Tracy in 1974. It is also the only Australian city to have come under substantial attack during any war: Japanese planes bombed Darwin during the Pacific War.


Modern Darwin has a new, clean feel, no doubt a legacy of Cyclone Tracy Darwin which largely destroyed Darwin on 25th December 1974, killing 50 people and flattened over 70% of the citys buildings. After the disaster, an airlift evacuated 30,000 people. The town was subsequently rebuilt with newer materials and techniques during the late 1970s by the Darwin Reconstruction Commission. A satellite city of Palmerston was built 20km south of Darwin in the early 1980s.

A milestone in Darwins recent history was the completion of the Adelaide Darwin railway in September 2003, linking the city to the rest of Australia by rail for the first time and offering visitors to the Territorys capital a new way to experience the vast open spaces of Northern Australia.


Best Time To Go

Being tropical, Darwin and the rest of The Territory's Top End experiences two seasons - West and Dry. The Wet Season, between December and March, brings heavy rainfall almost daily, high humidity and cyclonic weather.

During The Dry Season - between May and September - there is little rain, the maximum temperature hovers around 30 degrees C. and evenings are balmy. This is the peak tourist season.

September to November is when humidity, air and water temperatures are building up to the start of the wet.

Australian Capital Territory: Canberra


The Australian Capital Territory is the site of Canberra, Australia's capital city. As well as the seat of Government for the Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra has been developed as a celebration of and salute to Australia's culture, its unique natural features and its notable sons and daughters.

Australia's capital city, Canberra is a planned city, surrounded by the mountains, farmlands and natural parks. An international competition was held to choose the best design and won by the architect Walter Burley Griffin in 1912, with building commencing the next year, though the Burley Griffin design has now been altered significantly. Griffin envisioned the city to be spacious and low level, centered on Lake Burley Griffin.

The lake itself is bordered by splendid parklands, making the city more than the political and diplomatic centre of the country, but an attraction in itself. The inner city is laid out on two major perpendicular axes, a water axis that stretches along Lake Burley Griffin, and a ceremonial land axis stretching from Parliament House on Capital Hill north-eastward to the Australian War Memorial at the foot of Mt. Ainslie. As well as the unusual road system featuring many circular streets and roundabouts, Canberra's highly planned nature has led to a striking absence of commerce on its major trafficked streets.

The Australian Capital Territory, which is wholly surrounded by the state of New South Wales, is the site of Canberra. Australia's largest inland city (population 322,000), Canberra is located at the northern end of the Territory near a portion of the Brindabella Ranges, approximately 150 km inland from Australia's east coast. Being the 8th most populous city in the country, Canberra is smaller than any of the state capitals except Hobart.


Brief History

It is important to remember that the city was created to be the seat of Government for the Commonwealth of Australia and the place where the thousands of public servants who work there also live. These are still its primary functions - and this is reflected in just about everything Canberra is and does and has to offer the visitor. Thus, even the attractions that are promoted to visitors as 'must-sees' are primarily the kind that one expects to find in a nation's capital - things which showcase and/or symbolise the nation's strengths, uniqueness and abilities, mixed with salutes to its people - past and present - who have contributed towards Australia being the nation it is today. If you go to Canberra expecting to see anything else - which many visitors, particularly those from overseas, tend to do - you may, like many of them, be disappointed. Many who visit Canberra say it is sterile and boring, and that is how it appears if you go there expecting it to be something other than a purpose built, working national capital. Go there knowing what it is and why it is there and it will more than meet your expectations.

When the constitution for the Commonwealth of Australia was being negotiated between the colonies, Melbourne and Sydney each wanted to become the capital. As a compromise, it was agreed that the capital would initially be Melbourne, until a new capital city could be built. In 1910 the Australian Capital Territory was ceded by act of Federal Parliament in Melbourne. The politician King O'Malley responsible for the legislation creating the ACT, also passed a law later that year making the ACT an alcohol-free area.

In 1911 an international design competition was held, which was won by American architect, Walter Burley Griffin. The official naming of Canberra and its official construction began on 12th March 1913. The Federal Government officially moved to the ACT from Melbourne on the formal opening of the Provisional Parliament House on 9th May 1927.


Best Time To Go

Canberra is located at altitudes that range from 550m to 700m above sea level. This results in temperature ranges from -5 C to 35 C. The hottest days are generally in December and January. In wintertime, the days can get very chilly, and snow falls every few years.

Canberra has four distinct seasons, unlike many other Australian cities whose climates are moderated by the sea (it is Australia's only inland capital city). Spring (September-November) is typified by cool days, lengthening sunlight, and periodic rain. The Canberra Spring is signalled by buds and blossoms on fruit trees, flower festivals, the return of Bogong Moths from their annual migration, and the annual Floriade flower festival.

In Summer, rain ceases before Christmas and humidity is generally low until March (or even April.) The light is stark, and hats are worn outside to protect from the sun.

Autumn brings freshening days and ANZAC Day (25th April) can be quite sharply cold for those attending the dawn service at the Australian War Memorial. The leaves of the many deciduous trees such as poplars, oaks and elms turn and fall, producing a colourful spectacle each May. Rain begins again at odd intervals.

Winter is typically the season of rain, but in 2003 and 2004 drought persisted. Fog frequently occurs during winter mornings, and can cause flight delays or cancellations at Canberra International Airport.

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