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Your Ultimate Guide to Australia

Australia packs a world of once-in-a-lifetime experiences into a single country, from stunning beach escapes to epic natural adventures (petting koalas, diving with sea turtles!) to wildly inventive foodie and cultural scenes. It fills up your heart and revives your sense of wonder. And it can also be a joy to get to with direct LA-to-Oz flights aboard the award-winning Virgin Australia. Read on for our ultimate guide to the Land Down Under.

SPONSORED BY TOURISM AUSTRALIA AND VIRGIN AUSTRALIA

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Sydney

Sydney’s iconic Opera House, inventive food scene, and preserved historic ‘hoods would be enough to make this a world-class city. Then you see the water. From the sailboats slicing through the waves beneath the curve of the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the surfers thronging Bondi Beach, from swimming pools carved straight into the rocks along the coast to deserted coves and islets, Sydney offers all of the excitement of a world class city with all of the relaxation of a beach break.

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Hobart

Tasmania is one of the world's best-kept secrets with the locavore foodie cred of Portland, an exciting emerging wine scene and otherworldly landscapes, from the wildly hued rocks of the Bay of Fires to the eucalypt forests and the majestic peak of Cradle Mountain. Hobart is the gateway to it all with funky weekend markets at the convict-built harbour and sandstone Salamanca Place. Take a boat to the trippy subterranean art museum MONA, which has its own winery, modernist hotel, outdoor concert venue and a restaurant by Michelin-starred chef Philippe Leban. Set aside time to check out the fur seals, little penguins and white wallabies on Bruny Island.

RELATED STORY: Trip of a Lifetime Tasmania

Explore amazing vacation packages, and discover why Virgin Australia is the best way to fly to Australia.

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Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is so massive that it's visible from space. Just to wrap your head around that, its 1,243 stunning miles could stretch nearly from New York to New Orleans. But that's not the only thing this crystalline stretch of Queensland coast has to offer. Sail the palm-topped Whitsunday Islands, trek the ancient Daintree Rainforest or find your own stretch of sand on islands like Hayman and Lizard. Hop between islands or check out coastal towns like Cairns, Hervey Bay, Mission Beach or Port Douglas.

Explore amazing vacation packages, and discover why Virgin Australia is the best way to fly to Australia.

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Perth

Embrace the laidback magic of Perth with a sunset drink on Cottlesloe Beach, a cruise down the Swan River or a live band at one of the hip music venues downtown. Walk Kings Park and visit the old Gold Rush town of Fremantle. Swim, bike and catch rock lobster along Rottnest Island's secluded bays. Combine Perth with a journey to the Pinnacles, where you can watch emus strolling gracefully in the middle of the desert, or Monkey Mia, where bottlenose dolphins frolic along the shore.

Explore amazing vacation packages, and discover why Virgin Australia is the best way to fly to Australia.

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Brisbane

Combine art and outdoor adventure in Brisbane, where riverside gardens and a lagoon meet South Bank's cultural institutions and cafes. Take a paddle steamer or ferry down the Brisbane River, rappel down the Kangaroo Point cliffs and bike ride through the City Botanic Gardens. Day trip to the idyllic holiday town of Noosa, and round out your trip with time on the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast for more sunkissed adventures.

Explore amazing vacation packages, and discover why Virgin Australia is the best way to fly to Australia.

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Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road

Melbourne is a city that rewards exploration. Get lost in its laneways and discover edgy street art, legendary cafes and a world of ethnic eats. Experience St Kilda – Melbourne’s seaside playground, the Royal Botanic Gardens, bohemian Brunswick Street and the nation-stopping excitement of the Spring Racing Carnival. Then plan day trips to the Mornington Peninsula's more than 200 wineries, Phillip Island's penguins and the Twelve Apostles, a series of dramatic limestone stacks rising from the turquoise waters along the Great Ocean Road.

Explore amazing vacation packages, and discover why Virgin Australia is the best way to fly to Australia.

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Adelaide

Soak up Adelaide's colonial elegance in the spacious green parklands, bustling Adelaide Central Markets and the museums and libraries of North Terrace. Swim with dolphins in Glenelg, explore Hahndorf (Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement) and other picturesque villages in the Adelaide Hills, and wind between world-class wineries in the nearby Barossa and Clare Valley.

Explore amazing vacation packages, and discover why Virgin Australia is the best way to fly to Australia.

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Service Beyond Your Expectations

As always, how Virgin Australia looks after you is about far more than the inclusions. Virgin Australia believes in adding a human touch that makes flying more special. Every member of our team is here to serve you with style, warmth and a smile. They also take pride in exceeding your expectations with state-of-the-art aircraft, architecturally designed lounges and refined food and wine. Virgin Australia flies from Los Angeles to both Sydney and Brisbane up to 14 times per week. From there, you can travel seamlessly all around Australia to 47 domestic destinations. So wherever in Australia you’re heading, let Virgin Australia take you there.

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Onboard Food and Beverage

No matter what time of day you’re flying, you’ll always be offered something complimentary from Virgin Australia’s carefully selected food and beverage menu. While the menu varies from flight to flight, what we can guarantee is that you’ll always get to enjoy something delicious. In-flight food and drinks are all-inclusive on Virgin Australia’s international long haul flights. Meals and beverages are served throughout the flight, and snacks are available from the on-board snack kiosk.

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From mid-April 2016, you’ll be able to experience "The Business", the most stylish, relaxing and refined way to fly between the US and Australia. From your welcome Champagne cocktail and bespoke Luke Mangan-designed dining options, to your barista-fresh Nespresso coffee to go, you’ll be transported into a world unlike any other. Appetite appeased, you can adapt your environment to suit your mood, with spaces to work, an 18-inch screen to keep you entertained, and the longest, widest flat bed in business for when sleep eventually beckons. With indulgence not confined to your seat, our Sky Lobby Bar is the perfect space to enjoy a drink with other guests, made especially for you by the award-winning cabin crew Virgin Australia is famous for.

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There are times when a journey warrants that something special. A touch of indulgence that takes you to another place, and helps you arrive feeling on top of the world. For these times there’s the new Virgin Australia "Premium". Inspired by "The Business", the new "Premium" has totally redefined the flying experience for more discerning guests. Glide through the airport with priority check-in, boarding and baggage. Indulge in a la carte cuisine, personally hand-plated to your seat. Enjoy fine wines and liqueurs, chosen by our premium sommelier. At any time, call on your dedicated Virgin Australia cabin crew for a perfectly brewed Nespresso coffee, or help yourself to our abundant self-serve pantry in the sky. And with more legroom than any other Australian airline, and an intimate cabin that enhances our award-winning service, you’ll find Virgin Australia’s new "Premium" a class apart from anything you’ve experienced before