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Australia

    Now and again, Australia had always been referred to as the 'land down-under' and for good measure. It's strategically located just right below the earth's  lower pole thus the long-standing subtitle. Australia is also well known for its natural beauty and splendor: From endless sun-baked horizons to dense tropical rainforest, to its chilly southern beaches, Australia never ceases to enthrall its foreign guests no end.
 
MOOD SEASONS
    Any time is a proper time to visit Australia as its diverse climate make for any planned trip a very pleasant choice to make for any traveller.
   Summer usually comes in December to February this part of the world. The heat is stifling but good enough time to catch sand and surf in its various beaches. Up north, expect a very wet summer season and a humid one where jellyfishes usually have a ball at sea.
   April to November on the other hand is the best time for swimming while September to December is scuba season.
   (January to March gets some rain and cloud)
   Winter comes in June to August. This is when skiing are brisk in New South Wales, Victoria or sometimes in Tasmania.
    Mild weather on the other hand can be expected in spring and autumn. Spring is probably the very best (and safe) season to indulge the outback to admire the wild flowers, while autumn is particularly beautiful around Canberra and in the Victorian Alps.
 
AUSTRALIA'S GREAT BARRIER REEFS & BEACHES
    Boating is a popular way to explore these islands. The choice ranges from bigd catamarans through tall ships ato racing yachts [maxis]. Consider your needs carefully and ask questions before committing yourself.
 
   Lady Elliot Island: The southernmost sections of the Great Barrier Reef. This tiny coral cay, a 90km [65miles] light-plane flight from Hervey Bay, is a cheerful little eco-resort, home to many tens of thousands of birds, particularly the white- capped noddy, but also at night amazing acapellas can be heard from the wailing, moaning, groaning wedge-tail shearwaters.
 
   Fraser Island: Actually just south of the end of the Great Barrier Reef, this is the world's largest sand island [80m/125km] and a World Heritage national park, an island of rainforest, lakes and mountainous, sculpted dunes; a must-do for anyone cruising Australias's east coast with an outdoors inclination.
 
  Great Keppel Island: The surf stops here: 17 spectacular beaches with no surf, clear water and excellent snorkeling immediately offshore. Accommodation varies from backpacker pads to top class resorts. Access from Rosslyn Bay.
 
   Whitsunday Islands: The Whitsunday's 74 islands have squeaky white beaches, turquoise water and thickly pine clad hills. Seven islands host resort hotels of all kinds but with a common marine theme: fishing, sailing, whale watching, castaway picnics, you want it, they got it.
    Most folk go sailing around the islands. That's fine, party on, but don't have high expectations of wildly varied and exciting islands - they're all basically green, rocky hills surrounded by water, with some exceptionally fine beaches.
    Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island tops Australia's 'Best Beaches' list, with 6km of powder sand, sandwiched between tropical forest and clear blue water, though patrolled by toxic jellies in season.
 
   Magnetic Island: Just off Townsville Magnetic Island is a spacious serene, green and rocky space populated by as many koalas as humans, with no shortage of typicaly big Australian beaches and accommidation. The island's speciality is excellent bushwalking trails on land, and very good value reef diving off the coast, though the famous Yongala wreck is long and rough 3.5 hours from Townsville. There is now a much faster service from Ayr, just 45 minuteseach way.
 
  Hinchinbrook Island: Off Cardwell, this is the place for serious hikers who like to rest up on fine sand. The island is a rainforest national park of granite peaks, mountains, beaches, mangroves, wildlife and marked trails. The well-known Thorsborne Trail is 32km long, will take 4 days and need to be booked months in advance. There is no accommodation but permits for camping ara available in Cardwell. Day trips OK.
 
    Dunk Island: One of the prettiest of the GBR islands 3 miles out from Cairns, Dunk is lined with superb beaches as well as a rainforested interior. The only serious hotel is very expensive but cheap camping in spectacular beach front sites is available if you book in advance. As usual, island walks are almost popular as snorkelling, diving and getting wrecked in the beach. Day trips from Mission Beach? No worries.
 
THE DEAL
 
     Protection: Popular beaches are usually well provided with lifeguars, safety flags (mostly to keep swimmers away from rips/fierce currents), warning signs ang stinger or shark nets where necessary. They are there to protect you so look for their guidance and stay within recommended limits.
 
   Clubs: Some of the best spots on Australia Beaches are occupied by clubs. These offer great value food and drinks as well as superb views and are usable by foreing visitors, so take proof of foreign residence [more than a passport, papers with your name and address are needed] and you will be hosted by the best place in the area..
 
   The sun: There is no point lying around in the sun at midday in Australia as doing so will just give you wrinkles and sagging skin at an early age and add an unpleasant red highlight to your tan.
   You will brown up more smoothly and lastinly by sunbathing before 11am and after 3pm. And you may live longer too.
 
LANGUAGE
     Australia is a good haven for tourists as its main language is English. But in so far as its cultural diversity is concerned, it's not unusual hearing people in the streets speaking Italian, Greek, Lebanese, Vietnamese or Arabic as their first language is also spoken in parts of Australia.
     A little bit of trivia: Australians are usually fond of abbreviations and local slang so it may take time for a travaler to catch up on the local parlance goings-on.

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