For those wishing to visit the Great Barrier Reef, one of the destinations of choice is Cairns in Queensland which is a popular jump-off point to the Reef.
If you're driving north along the Pacific coast, there are many coastal Queensland cities and towns from which you can take a ferry to one of the resort islands on the Reef. Broome and Cable Beach in Western Australia to consider, and in the Northern Territory there's Darwin and Kakadu.
Photo: Snorkeling off Heron Island © Tourism Queensland
Officially, it's the Royal Queensland Show, and it's also called the Exhibition, from which the colloquialism Ekka is derived. Ekka Day, an official public holiday in Brisbane, is on August 14 this year. ekka.com.au.
The thing is: When you're in Cairns, don't overlook the opportunities of exploring Cairns' own attractions.
This is the place where rainforest meets the sea, and both the Wet Tropics of Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef are World Heritage sites.
And if local Indigenous culture interests you, be ready to be amazed at Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park.
Along the Margaret River valley, vineyards produce quality table wines, of which a number are exported to many parts of the world. Enjoy a leisurely wine tour at Margaret River.
As a surfing mecca, Margaret River is considered one of the most consistent, scenic and laid-back surfing destinations in the world, featuring more than 40 places to surf -- with conditions ranging from powerful reef breaks to fun beach breaks.
Check out the tram routes and take the tram from the heart of the city.
There's much of history in the Victorian goldfields and much to visit in Ballarat, Victoria's largest inland city. Certainly you can take a daytrip from Melbourne and return by nightfall, or take your time and spend a couple of days and nights, or more, in the storied goldfields.
- Ballarat: City with a Golden Past
- Sovereign Hill: Travel Back in Time
- Eureka Stockade: Site of Miners' Rebellion
- Distances from Melbourne
- Find Suitable Accommodation
Photo: Sovereign Hill © Tourism Victoria
There's good snow cover at the Thredbo and Perisher ski resorts, and already there's much skiing and snowboarding activity on the Snowy Mountains ski slopes.
For other Down Under ski areas, visit the high country of Victoria, parts of Tasmania and, of course, the skifields of New Zealand.
But you don't need to simply look at the map of Australia — etched out of a rock or drawn on paper — you can, if you wanted to, take Australia's circumferential Highway 1 all around the continent with side trips to your destinations of choice.
Of course, there's no need to take the whole circle route but it's easy enough to travel convenient sections of it.
Unless you go inland, you'd miss the nation's capital, Canberra, which isn't on Highway 1. You'd also miss Tasmania across Bass Strait but you'd have the option to catch the ferry from Melbourne.
A number of boats take to the water on Sunday, July 7, to compete in the regatta and, you guessed it, all the boats joining the Mindil Beach contest are made from beer cans.
Organised by the Lions Club, the Beer Can Regatta has been running for more than 35 years, and as usual all money raised goes to the specified charity.