Sydney, the capital of New South Wales and one of Australia's largest cities, is best known for its harbourfront Sydney Opera House, with a distinctive sail-like design. Massive Darling Harbour and the smaller Circular Quay port are hubs of waterside life, with the arched Harbour Bridge and esteemed Royal Botanic Garden nearby. Sydney Tower’s outdoor platform, the Skywalk, offers 360-degree views of the city and suburbs.
The Gold Coast is a metropolitan region south of Brisbane on Australia’s east coast. It's famed for its long sandy beaches, surfing spots and elaborate system of inland canals and waterways. It’s also home to theme parks such as Dreamworld, Sea World and Wet’n’Wild. Inland, hiking trails crisscross Lamington National Park’s mountain ridges and valleys, home to rare birds and rainforest.
Melbourne is the coastal capital of the southeastern Australian state of Victoria. At the city's center is the modern Federation Square development, with plazas, bars, and restaurants by the Yarra River. In the Southbank area, the Melbourne Arts Precinct is the site of Arts Centre Melbourne – a performing arts complex – and the National Gallery of Victoria, with Australian and indigenous art.
Western Australia, covering the entire western third of the country, is made up mostly of the arid Outback. Its population is concentrated in its fertile southwest corner, home to the Margaret River wine region and the riverside capital, Perth. In the far north, the Kimberley region is home to ancient Aboriginal rock art, the Bungle Bungle sandstone domes, and Broome, with Cable Beach camels and pearling industry.
Adelaide is South Australia’s cosmopolitan coastal capital. Its ring of parkland on the River Torrens is home to renowned museums such as the Art Gallery of South Australia, displaying expansive collections including noted Indigenous art, and the South Australian Museum, devoted to natural history. The city's Adelaide Festival is an annual international arts gathering with spin-offs including fringe and film events.
The Northern Territory (aka NT) is a vast federal territory in Australia famed for its Outback desert landscapes. In the arid Red Centre lie the iconic sandstone monolith Uluru (Ayers Rock), the red-rock domes of Kata Tjuta and the sculpted cliffs of Kings Canyon in Watarrka National Park. Remote Alice Springs, the gateway town to the Red Centre desert, offers Aboriginal art galleries.
Tasmania, an isolated island state off Australia’s south coast, is known for its vast, rugged wilderness areas, largely protected within parks and reserves. On the Tasman Peninsula, the 19th-century Port Arthur penal settlement is now an open-air museum. In Hobart, the port capital, Salamanca Place's Georgian warehouses now house galleries and boutiques. Its Museum of Old and New Art has a contemporary edge.
Broome is a beach resort town in western Australia’s Kimberley region. Along its Indian Ocean coastline, the white sands of 22km-long Cable Beach offer a dramatic backdrop for sunset camel rides. At Gantheaume Point nearby, dinosaur tracks are revealed in the beach’s red rocks during low tide. Broome’s historic Chinatown overlooks Roebuck Bay, a jumping-off point for cruises to local pearl farms.
Cairns, considered the gateway to Australia's Great Barrier Reef, is a city in tropical Far North Queensland. Its Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park tells the stories of indigenous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with music and dance. Cairns Esplanade, lined with bars and restaurants, has a swimming lagoon. Northwest of the city, Daintree National Park spans mountainous rainforest, gorges and beaches.
Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, is a large city on the Brisbane River. Clustered in its South Bank cultural precinct are the Queensland Museum and Sciencentre, with noted interactive exhibitions. Another South Bank cultural institution is the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, among Australia's major contemporary art museums. Looming over the city is Mt. Coot-tha, the site of Brisbane Botanic Gardens.