But Australia is probably better known for its sport and adventure opportunities, and Gap Year backpackers flock to bungy jumping, white water rafting, skydiving, ballooning and, yes, even being rolled down a mountainside strapped inside a transparent plastic ball.

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The first thing to remember about Australia when you are planning a trip there is its size. Only Russia, Canada, China, the USA and Brazil are larger.

Flying from one side to the other is 2,000 miles and takes over three and a half hours; flying from Melbourne in the far south to Darwin in the tropical north will also take about three and a half hours.

I asked my cousin, who lives in Australia, what was the best time of year to see the country – and only revealed my ignorance, because I should have known that Australia is so vast there is no one month that is the best in which to see all of it.

Sydney’s outdoor markets offer everything from fresh food to beautiful gifts, vintage furniture and entertainment.

Sydney nightlife offers some of the best cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants in Australia, and the wildest nightlife tends to be in the King’s Cross area. There are more than 40 gay bars in this, the gay capital of Australia, and the Mardi Gras Fair Day in February in the park is a colourful display of gay culture.

This single nation has three separate time zones: Sydney in the south east is two hours ahead of Perth in the west.

So it is not possible to just go and “see Australia”.

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