Australian flora and fauna is unique to the island continent, the result of having been isolated from the rest of the world for millions of years. Amongst Australian animals are a large group of marsupials (mammals with a pouch) and monotremes (mammals that lay eggs). Just some of the animal icons of Australia are the kangaroo (national symbol) and the koala. A visit to Australia would not be complete without taking the chance to see some of these animals in their natural environment.
Wildlife parks and zoos
- Wildlife parks and zoos are in every state capital city, but also check out the animal parks if you are passing through smaller towns, like Mildura or Mogo, or staying on Hamilton Island. See the Warrawong Fauna Sanctuary if you are in South Australia, or visit the koalas with best view in the world, at Taronga Zoo in Sydney.
In the wild
- Kangaroos and wallabies are in national parks all around Australia. You won't see any kangaroos hopping down the street in Central Sydney, but they're common on the outskirts of most urban areas.
- Wombats and echidnas are also common, but harder to find due to their camouflage and tunnelling. See lots of echidnas on Kangaroo Island.
- Koalas are present in forests around Australia, but are notoriously very hard to spot, and walking around looking upwards into the boughs of trees will usually send you sprawling over a tree root. Best seen during the day, there is a thriving and friendly population on Raymond Island near Paynesville in Victoria. You have a good chance on Otway Coast, on the Great Ocean Road, or even in the National Park walk near Noosa on the Sunshine Coast.
- Emus are more common in central Australia. You will certainly see some if you venture into the outback national park at Currawinya
- Platypus are found in reedy, flowing creeks with soft river banks in Victoria, Southern New South Wales, and the very southern region of Queensland - seen at dusk and dawn - you have to have a bit of luck to see one. Try the platypus reserves in Bombala or Delegate in New South Wales, or in Emu Creek at Skipton just out of Ballarat.
Much of Australia's modern history was as a penal colony for convicts from the United Kingdom, and there are many historical sites that still stand as a reminder of the days of convict transportation. Perhaps the most famous of these sites are Port Arthur in Tasmania and Fremantle Prison in Fremantle, located near Perth, Western Australia. There are also many other sites scattered throughout the country.
Australia has many landmarks, famous the world over. From Uluru in the red centre, to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House in Sydney.
See some of the Big things in Australia.
Sport is an integral part of the Australian culture from the capital cities to country towns. As a testament to this, Australia has a track record of being one of the best performing teams at the Olympics despite its relatively small population. The majority of games are played over the weekend period (from Friday night to Monday night). Australian sports fans are generally well behaved, and it is not uncommon for fans of two opposing teams to sit together during a match, even if the teams are bitter rivals. While the cheering can get really passionate, actual crowd violence is extremely rare.
- In the winter in Victoria Aussie Rules (Australian Rules Football) is more than just a sport, it is a way of life. Catch a game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Although most popular in the state of Victoria, the national competition has teams from Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, and the Gold Coast as well.
- In summer, international cricket is played between Australia and at least two touring sides. The games rotate around all the capital cities. To experience the traditional game catch the New Year's test match at the Sydney cricket ground played for 5 days starting from the 2nd of January, or the Boxing Day Test match in Melbourne. Or for a more lively entertaining form, that only takes a few hours, try a twenty-twenty match. The final form is "One Day" Cricket, international matches generally start at 13:00 and finish at 22:00 or 23:00 (a "Day-Nighter"), with most domestic and occasional international matches played from 11:00 to 18:00. The Australia Day One Day International is held in Adelaide every 26 January.
- The Australian Open, one of the tennis Grand Slams, is played annually in Melbourne. Or the Medibank International in Sydney Olympic Park in January.
- Catch a rugby union Super Rugby game, with teams playing from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney during late Summer/Autumn. The Australian national team, the Wallabies, also host international teams during winter, including New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina for The Rugby Championship (formerly the Tri Nations tournament).
- Rugby League is a winter game played mainly in New South Wales and Queensland, with the National Rugby League competition. Teams include Melbourne in Victoria, Brisbane, North Queensland and the Gold Coast in Queensland, a team from New Zealand, with the rest of the teams coming from suburban areas in Sydney, and some in regional areas of New South Wales such as Newcastle and Canberra.
- Netball is Australia's largest female sport, and there are weekly games in an international competition between Australia and New Zealand teams.
- Soccer is a growing sport that is aspiring to reach European levels. Many immigrants and second generation Australians hail from European countries where passion for the sport is very high. The Australia national team (the Socceroos) won the Asia cup for the first time in 2015 and have raised the sport's profile significantly. There is a national A-League, which is a fully professional league involving teams from Australia and one from New Zealand, with games played weekly during the summer. Most cities have a semi-professional "state league" played during winter, with most clubs being built around a specific ethnic/migrant community, for example a Newcastle league side Broadmeadow Magic, which was built around the cities' Macedonian population. The word "Football" that is often used for soccer in other parts of the world is understood to mean either Rugby or Aussie Rules, depending on where you are in Australia and whom you are talking to.
- F1 Grand Prix The Melbourne Grand Prix in March takes place on a street circuit around Albert Park Lake, only a few kilometres south of central Melbourne. It is used annually as a racetrack for the Australian Grand Prix and associated support races.
- V8 Supercars are a popular form of motor racing unique to Australia involving powerful cars, comparable to NASCAR racing in the United States. Events are held all over the country between March and early December. The famous Bathurst 1000 is traditionally held in October.
- Gibb River Road
- Gunbarrel Highway
- Oodnadatta Track
- Stuart Highway: crossing Australia north-south
- Military museums and sites in Australia
(Thanks to WikiVoyage.org)