This vast continent contains lush rainforests, arid lunar landscapes, dramatic mountain ranges, great swaths of pristine beach and an amazing diversity of exotic wildlife. And from the primeval wilderness of the Northern Territory to the Victorian manors of the Barossa Valley, the Australians themselves are unfailingly hospitable. Sydney remains one of the great modern cities of the world, but even once-provincial Perth has lately evolved into a buzzing pan-Asian metropolis. The continent’s wines are justly renowned, and Australian restaurants now rank with some of the best in the world.

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