Friday, February 16, 2007





Christmas is part of the long summer school vacation and during December and January you can be forgiven for thinking that half of Australia is on holiday. This is when accommodation is almost always booked out.

Australia's arts festivals attract culture vultures from all over Australia to see mainstream and fringe drama, dance, music and visual arts. The jewel in Australia's touring rock festival crown is the annual Big Day Out, a day-long showcase of major local and international bands, which hits most major cities in late January. The huge Sydney Festival, which takes up most of January, is the umbrella for a number of events from open air concerts, to street theatre and fireworks. The Adelaide Festival of Arts takes place at the beginning of March in even-numbered years. In the second week of March in odd-numbered years there's Womadelaide, Adelaide's outdoor festival of world music and dance. Melbourne has the International Comedy Festival in April, the world's biggest Writers' Festival in August and the fabulous Melbourne International Arts Festival in October. A couple of festivals to celebrate Aboriginal arts and culture include the Stompen Ground Festival, which is held in Broome in September/October and the Barunga Festival, held 80km (50mi) east of Katherine in June.

Sporty fun includes Darwin's Beer Can Regatta in mid-July, when a series of boat races are held for craft constructed entirely of beer cans, and Alice Springs' Henley-on-Todd Regatta, a boat race 'run' in September on a dry river bed. Other mainstream events include the Sydney to Hobart yacht race (from Boxing Day); the Australian Open tennis championship (Melbourne in January); the Australian Formula One Grand Prix (Melbourne in March); Australian Rules Football (around the country from March to September); and the country-stopping Melbourne Cup on the first Tuesday in November.

Gay festivals include Sydney's massive, outlandish Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, in February/March, and Melbourne's January Midsumma Festival.



Summer (December to February) can get uncomfortably hot just about anywhere, even in Tasmania. If you're in the southern states during these months it's great beach weather and great melanoma weather. Up north, this is the wet season, and it's very, very humid (you'll need to check for jellyfish before jumping into the water). On the upside, the Top End is beautifully green and free of tourists at this time.

From June until August things in the north have cooled down a little and dried up a lot. This is a good time to visit Queensland or the outback. If you're here for the skiing, now's the time to head for the snowfields of NSW and Victoria. Overall, spring and autumn are probably the safest bets - the weather is reasonably mild wherever you are, and spring brings out the wildflowers in the outback, while autumn is particularly beautiful around Canberra and in the Victorian Alps.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


When To Go:
Any time is a good time to be in Australia. Summer (December to February) can get uncomfortably hot but it's great beach weather. Up north, the summer wet season is very, very humid and the sea is swarming with box jellyfish. Winter (June to August) offers skiing in NSW, Victoria and sometimes Tasmania. In spring and autumn the weather is mild.





Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the world's smallest continent and a number of islands in the Southern, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. Neighbouring countries include Indonesia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea to the north, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and the French dependency of New Caledonia to the northeast, and New Zealand to the southeast.
The mainland of Australia has been inhabited for more than 42,000 years by Indigenous Australians. After sporadic visits by fishermen from the north and by European explorers and merchants starting in the seventeenth century, the eastern half of the mainland was claimed by the British in 1770 and officially settled through penal transportation as the colony of New South Wales on 26 January 1788. As the population grew and new areas were explored, another five largely self-governing Crown Colonies were successively established over the course of the 19th century.
On 1 January 1901, the six colonies became a Federation, and the Commonwealth of Australia was formed. Since federation, Australia has maintained a stable liberal democratic political system and remains a Commonwealth Realm. The capital city is Canberra, located in the Australian Capital Territory. The current national population is around 20.6 million people, and is concentrated mainly in the large coastal cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide.