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Australia is a land of superlatives. It is the world's largest island, the sixth largest country and the only country that's also a continent. Its Great Barrier Reef, visible from outer space, is the world's largest coral reef. It is also the flattest continent, most of it - the vast Outback - desert or semi-arid land that has inspired novels, art and mysticism. Kangaroos, koala and the wallaby are native nowhere else. It is the only continent where poisonous snakes outnumber non-poisonous.

Ranked seventh on a World Economic Forum index on tourism development, Australia is a big spender when it comes to vying for international tourists. Most come from its next-door neighborhood New Zealand, but China is rapidly taking over the number one spot, followed neck and neck by the UK and the US/Canada. Cheeky advertising slogans help, but mostly people come for the vibrant urban centers, great sporting events, unbeatable beaches and natural wonders like the Great Barrier Reef and the Australian Outback.

It also turns up high on gay-friendly lists. Sydney's Gay-Lesbian Mardi Gras attracts hundreds of thousands from around the country and the world. Other LGBT festivals and events are held in most other states and territories, and displays of public affection don't raise eyebrows in many urban areas. A growing number of openly gay politicians are winning elections at various levels, including Parliament.

Legally, members of the LGBT community enjoyed mostly the same rights and protections as all other citizens, but reforms stopped short of same-sex marriage even though poll after poll indicated most Australians were in favor. In a November 2017, another non-binding plebiscite showed 61.6 percent supported marriage equality. This time Parliament listened to the people. Three weeks later - with only four votes against - it passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriages, recognizing same-sex marriages performed abroad and expanding earlier protections. Marriage is now defined as "the union of two people."

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Great Ocean Road

Great Ocean Road

Victoria

The Great Ocean Road (B100) begins at Torquay, a 90-minute drive southwest of Melbourne, and hugs the coast of the windswept Southern Ocean for 249 miles (400 km) to...
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras

Feb 17 to Mar 5, 2018 - Sydney, Australia

Shark Bay

Shark Bay

Gascoyne, Western Australia

Shark Bay on Australia's far-west Coral Coast is over 5 million acres (2,200,902 ha) of islands, peninsulas and waters, including one of the world's largest and most...
Australian Museum, Sydney, Australia

Australian Museum

Sydney, Australia

The oldest museum in Australia dates from the early 19th century and has earned an international reputation in natural history and anthropology, including the Indigenous...
Turtle Cove Beach Resort, Port Douglas, Australia

Turtle Cove Beach Resort

Port Douglas, Australia

Set on a magnificent clothing-optional beach just 15 minutes from Port Douglas, Turtle Cove is said to be Australia's only all-inclusive gay adults resort. Here the pool...
Australia by Train

Australia by Train

The old Ghan and Indian Pacific routes, operated privately by Great Southern Rail since 1997, are leisurely scenic journeys crossing the continent north/south and...
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Northern Territory

Sacred to Australia's Aborigines, the great red sandstone formations of Uluru and Kata Tjuta are iconic symbols and chief attractions of the 512-square-mile (c. 1,300...
Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef

Queensland

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living thing on the planet. And it is dying, which is all the more reason to visit it today. A slew of coral reefs and islands...
Oxford Street, Sydney, Australia

Oxford Street

Sydney, Australia

Famous for its boutique shopping, diverse nightlife and the Darlinghurst gayborhood, Sydney's Oxford Street stretches from the southeast corner of Hyde Park in the...
North Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia

North Bondi Beach

Sydney, Australia

Protected by hunky lifeguards in Speedos, North Bondi Beach just up from the main famed Bondi Beach is where gays, lesbians and the locals hang out. Alcohol is...
BridgeClimb, Sydney, Australia

BridgeClimb

Sydney, Australia

The 440-foot (134 m) Harbour Bridge, the world's largest steel-arch bridge, may be viewed from afar or from the top. BridgeClimb, begun in 1998, offers small-group...
Gibb River Road

Gibb River Road

Western Australia

Hit the Gibb River Road in a 4WD for the ultimate in adventure travel. The 410-mile (660 km) route, once used for driving cattle through the wilderness, winds through...
Kakadu National Park

Kakadu National Park

Northern Territory

Kakadu, the Aborigine heartland of Australia and the country's oldest national park, encompasses nearly 8,000 square miles (20,000 km2) where people have been living for...
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Art Gallery of New South Wales

Sydney, Australia

Admission is free at the Art Gallery of NSW, whose domestic and international collections span from Aborigine to Contemporary. It also features major special...
Fraser Island

Fraser Island

Queensland

Fraser Island, yet another of Australia's unmatchable UNESCO World Heritage Sites, is the only place in the world where towering rain forests are rooted in sand. It...
Daintree National Park

Daintree National Park

Far North Queensland

Once upon a time there existed an ancient supercontinent called Gondwanaland, the largest land mass ever on Earth where lush Jurassic rainforests flourished. But...

Australian Open

Melbourne, Australia

Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney, Australia

Royal Botanic Garden

Sydney, Australia

The Royal Botanic Garden covers 74 acres (30 ha) in a natural amphitheater around Farmer Cove in the heart of Sydney. Founded in 1816, it is the country's oldest...
The Rocks, Sydney, Australia

The Rocks

Sydney, Australia

Site of the original Sydney settlement, The Rocks lies just south of the harbor. It is a neighborhood full of historic buildings, art galleries tourist attractions,...
Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia

Sydney Opera House

Sydney, Australia

Sydney's stunning Opera House, opened in 1973, is the newest site ever to make the UNESCO World Heritage list. It Is the country's #1 tourist attraction and ranks as a...

9 community reviews / Australia

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Excellent
LGBT-friendly
Excellent
Andres Rodriguez has been to and reviewed Australia

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Abbey Ponce has been to and rated Australia

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