Tourism in Australia - History

Australian tourism and COVID-19: International travel ban killing industry, say operators

In the Adelaide head office of Bunnik Tours, his family-operated travel business, Dennis Bunnik has had to move desks and other office furniture down to the basement. "It was just too depressing for our remaining staff to look at so many empty desks," says Bunnik, the company's joint CEO.

The lockdown preventing Australians from travelling overseas for leisure purposes has been catastrophic for Australia's travel industry, and particularly the outbound sector, which recorded 11.3 million overseas trips by Australian residents in 2019. Since the pandemic struck the travel business has fallen off a cliff, thousands of staff have been stood down or let go. Outbound tourism, which Tourism Research Australia estimated to be worth $155.6 billion in 2019–20, will be a tiny fraction of that figure in 2020-21.

Dennis Bunnik describes 2020 as "An absolute s---show for all of us in travel." Bunnik Tours is one of Australia's leading operators of small-group tours to the Middle East, Asia and Europe, and as Chairman of the Council of Australian Tour Operators (CATO), Dennis Bunnik knows well the damage the COVID-induced shutdown has inflicted on his sector of the travel industry.

"Our estimate is that 50-60 per cent of jobs in the tour operating sector have already gone and the rest are holding on by a thread," he says. "Pre-COVID-19 there were approximately 7500 jobs just in the tour operator and wholesale sector which formed part of the 40,000 employed in the broader outbound travel industry. Revenue in our sector is down between 85-100 per cent depending on the company. Bunnik Tours has not had a customer travel with us since March."

"Tour operators and wholesalers are the backstage players in the travel industry, yet it is the CATO members that design, create and deliver the travel services sold online and through travel agencies. Without them, travel agencies have nothing to sell and Australians will find it very difficult to travel in a post-COVID world. It's essential that our members survive and emerge from COVID as strongly as possible so that Australians can travel again and the industry can re-employ the staff who have been stood down."

While outbound tourism might be in the doldrums, domestic travel has boomed, fuelled by demand from travellers who would have been heading overseas but for the pandemic – but that doesn't play well for the outbound sector according to Bunnik.

49 Best Australia Tourist Attractions

From beaches, national parks, museums, and tourist spots, here are our best picks for you to tour around the land of kangaroos! Make sure you don’t miss out on the best Australia tourist attractions to have a memorable experience. Visit any or all, if have the time one next trip to Australia:

  • Great Ocean Road – Spectacular Formations
  • Kakadu National Park – Witness Rich Wilderness
  • Blue Mountains National Park – For A Day Trip
  • Fraser Island – For A Pleasant Weather
  • Uluru – Striking Visuals
  • Heide Museum of Modern Art – A Unique Place
  • Harbor Bridge – An Engineering Marvel
  • Sydney Opera House – An Architectural Masterpiece
  • Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art – Popular Arts
  • Carlton Gardens – The Oldest Sites
  • Great Barrier Reef – Scuba Diving Hub
  • Yarra Valley – A Spectacular Experience
  • Sea World Marine Park – Amuse Yourself
  • Skiing At Snowy Mountains – Enjoy Snow Sports
  • Sky Diving In Melbourne – A Breathtaking Experience
  • Melbourne Chapel Street – For Shopaholics
  • Pitt Street Mall In Sydney – An Iconic Place
  • Queen Street Mall In Brisbane – An Instant Delight
  • King Street In Perth – Lots Of Choices
  • Rundle Mall In Adelaide – A Great Shopping Place
  • Bondi Beach – A Heavenly Beach
  • Daintree National Park – Nature’s Delight
  • Broome – The Once Pearl Capital
  • The Rocks – A Historical Area
  • Circular Quay – For Harbor Cruises
  • Cradle Mountain – Lake St. Clair National Park
  • Darling Harbor – A Popular Hub
  • The Sydney Tower – Enjoy Panoramic Views
  • Royal Botanic Garden – Acres Of Themed Yards
  • Taronga Zoo – Amazing Wildlife
  • Hyde Park – A Sprawling Picnic Spot
  • Barangaroo Reserve – For An Evening Stroll
  • Art Gallery of New South Wales – Notable Works
  • Chinatown – Feast Upon Asian Meals
  • St. Mary’s Cathedral – Get Spiritual
  • Horizontal Falls Scenic Flight – A Scenic Ride
  • Cable Beach – Turquoise Blue Waters
  • Gantheaume Point – Eye-Popping Sea
  • Malcolm Douglas Wilderness Wildlife Park – For Nature
  • Sun Pictures – Relax And Get Lazy
  • Pearl Farm Tours – Something Unique
  • Broome Historical Museum – Some Fascinating History
  • Hahndorf – An Unlike Experience
  • Barossa Valley – With The Finest Wineries
  • Cleland Conservation Park – Rich Flora And Fauna
  • Rottnest Island – A Natural Beauty
  • Nambung National Park – An Ethereal Beauty
  • Byron Bay – Sweet Touch Of Nature
  • Mudgee – An Elegant Town

1. Great Ocean Road – Spectacular Formations

Located in Victoria, the Great Ocean Road is considered to be one of the most scenic and best-driven roads in the world. Don’t miss Twelve Apostles, the spectacular formations of limestone stacks beside the stunning turquoise ocean. The 243 km ride from Torquay to Allansford is itself a blissful drive.

Things to see: Port Campbell National Park, Otway National Park, picturesque rain forest, hiking trails and scenic waterfalls. If you’re lucky enough, you could even spot some of Australia’s famous wildlife including kangaroos and emus.

Things to do: You can opt to camp at the spectacular sight, beach sports

How to reach: Getting to the Great Ocean Road by public transport involves a train journey followed by a bus trip. Catch a V/Line train from Southern Cross Station in Melbourne to Geelong. This journey will take approximately one hour.

2. Kakadu National Park – Witness Rich Wilderness

Kakadu National Park, a World Heritage Site, is Australia’s largest national park. Second largest in the world, Kakadu is one of the world’s greatest places for witnessing wilderness and is one of the top most visited Australia tourist places.

Things to see: 300 different species of birds, aboriginal rock art, magnificent waterfalls, rivers, gorges, mangrove swamps as well as a fantastic diversity of wildlife including wallabies, saltwater crocodiles and dingoes.

Things to do: Visit the Jim Jim Falls, observe the crocodile wetlands of Yellow Water, hike at the Twin Falls and Maguk

Entry Fee: INR 1,756

Tips: Make sure you buy the tickets before hand to avoid any hassle during your trip.

How to reach: Flight hubs are at Darwin and Alice Springs, from there, choose whether you hire a vehicle or jump on a tour to get to the park. Drive from Darwin. If you like a road trip, self-drive from Darwin on the Stuart Highway then the Arnhem Highway.

3. Blue Mountains National Park – For A Day Trip

The beautiful Blue Mountains National Park – another UNESCO World Heritage Site – is a popular day trip from Sydney. It is named after the blue haze emanating from the many eucalyptus trees, which is a spectacular panoramic view to behold! One of the most famous places in Australia, you must visit this park.

Things to see: Three Sisters – a sandstone rock formation towering 900 meters above the Jamison Valley, majestic views of gorges, paintings, and exotic wildlife species.

Things to do: Board the scenic glass roofed Katoomba Railway, the steepest passenger railway in the world through a cliff side tunnel, hiking, abseiling, rock climbing, mountain biking, and horseback riding.

Entry Fee: INR 562

Tips: Don’t forget to keep your camera with you for capturing the wow moments!

How to reach: From Sydney: Take the M4 and the Great Western Highway for Glenbrook, the southern side of the Lower Grose Valley, Katoomba and Blackheath areas. The Southern Blue Mountains area is accessed via Oberon or Jenolan Caves.

4. Fraser Island – For A Pleasant Weather

Fraser Island, just a short ferry trip from Hervey Bay, is the largest sand island in the world and a major part of Australia sightseeing. It offers one of Australia’s most unique four-wheel-drive adventures. You can also travel by ferry from Rainbow Beach and Hervey Bay. In fact, it is among the best places to visit in Australia in March owing to its pleasant weather at that time.

Things to see: Lush rain forests with an astounding diversity of wildlife, sand dunes, freshwater lakes and creek, multi-colored sand cliffs heaps of shipwrecks along the wonderful sea coast, marine life including dolphins, whales and sharks.

Things to do: Enjoy scuba diving at Lake Mckenzie, swim at Lake Wabby, camp at Lake Boomanjin, explore nature at Indian Head

Tips: Keep your sunscreen, hat and sunglasses for a safe trip to the island.

How to reach: To reach Fraser Island you could drive north from Sydney in around 14 hours and from Brisbane in 3.5-4 hours. Alternatively, you can fly from Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney to Hervey Bay, the jumping-off point for trips to the island. Hervey bay is also on all the main bus and train routes along the east coast.

5. Uluru – Striking Visuals

One of the largest monoliths in the world, Uluru or Ayers Rock is another important Australia tourist places. Located within the Kata Tjuta National Park, this striking red monolith sandstone formation, meaning ‘shadowy place’, stands more than 348 meters high. This is one of the best place for hitchhiking in Australia.

Things to see: Splendid sunset as the rocks change their colors, landscape around the rocks.

Things to do: Opt for a wonderful tribal tour around the site led by Aboriginal guides and rangers in the country.

Tips: Keep yourself safe as it is located at a good height!

How to reach: You can fly to Uluru – Ayers Rock via Qantas or Virgin Australia from all Australian capital cities

Other similar Tourist Attractions in Australia

  • Beaches: Bondi Beach, Byron Bay Beach, Cable Beach, and Wineglass Bay
  • Parks: Port Campbell National Park, Nambung National Park, Kosciuszko National Park, Daintree National Park, and Freycinet National Park
  • Islands: Lizard Island, Chatham Island, and Whitsunday Island

6. Heide Museum of Modern Art – A Unique Place

Heide Museum of Modern Art is a combination of a contemporary art gallery, historical art museum and heritage park. The best reason to visit this unique museum is its beautiful location it’s set upon a vast lush farmland. A major part of Australia tourism, it is a must-visit place!

Things to do: Get mesmerized by the living history of Melbourne in Heide, take a stroll across Heide’s vast serene area and journey into the past.

Opening Hours: Tue to Fri 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, Sat to Sun 12:00 noon – 5:00 pm

Entry Fee: INR 1,400

How to reach: Train (Hurstbridge line) to Heidelberg station and bus #903 (Mordialloc bound) to Heide. Disembark at the Bridge Street/Manningham Road stop. Estimated bus travel time is 5-10 minutes. Walk to Heide through Banksia Park, via pedestrian path next to the Helmet sculpture.

7. Harbor Bridge – An Engineering Marvel

Among the most celebrated Australia tourist attractions, the Sydney Harbor Bridge is a must-visit. Rising 134 m above the harbor, the bridge is affectionately called “the Coat hanger”. This engineering marvel is also the largest steel arch bridge in the world.

Things to do: Enjoy the scintillating cityscape from the bridge, climb the bridge with a guide, if interested in knowing about the bridge’s history and its construction, visit the museum in the southeastern pier.

How to reach: The bridge can also be approached from the south by accessing Cahill Walk, which runs along the Cahill Expressway. Pedestrians can access this walkway from the east end of Circular Quay by a flight of stairs or a lift. Alternatively it can be accessed from the Botanic Gardens.

8. Sydney Opera House – An Architectural Masterpiece

Flanked by the scenic Harbor Bridge and the beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens, the Sydney Opera House is one of the most popular Australian tourist attractions. Considered as an architectural masterpiece of the century, this feat by mankind, hosts multiple venues designed to reflect the image of a huge sailing ship and resembles billowing sails or shells.

Things to do: Enjoy a scrumptious Australian meal at one of the fine restaurants, take a tour of the building which encompasses theatres, studios, a concert hall, exhibition rooms, and a cinema.

How to reach: Saifi Hospital is 235 meters away, 4 min walk.

9. Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art – Popular Arts

Tasmania Museum of Old and New Art is one of Australia’s quirkiest museums. While it is accessible by road or by plane, a 30 minute ferry ride from Hobart is the popular way to this museum. It’s known for some of the unique, rare and exclusively owned collections of the Aboriginal tribes.

Things to do: Enjoy the plenty of brilliant art work displayed relish the delectable delicacies served by multi cuisine restaurants in the premises.

Entry Fee: INR 1,967

10. Carlton Gardens – The Oldest Sites

Carlton Buildings and the Royal Exhibition Building are the two Australia tourist attractions listed among World Heritage sites. Built-in the 18th century, they are also one of the oldest sites existing as Australia tourist places. This surely tops the list of unique Australia tourist attractions!

Things to do: Spend time enjoying the flower beds, ornamental lakes and artistic fountains walk through the collection of Mortan Bay fig trees planted by local aboriginals, visit the Melbourne museum, admire the Victorian-era Hochgurtel Fountain and circular French Fountain.

Other Museums in Australia: National Museum of Australia (Canberra), Australian Museum (Darlinghurst), Australian War Memorial (Canberra), Powerhouse Museum (Ultimo)Jewish Museum of Australia (Melbourne), Art Gallery of New South Wales (Sydney), Museum of Sydney (Sydney), and Art Gallery of South Australia (Adelaide)

How to reach: 12-Melbourne Museum/Nicholson St (Fitzroy) is 163 meters away, 3 min walk.

11. Great Barrier Reef – Scuba Diving Hub

One of the seven wonders of the natural world, the world’s largest barrier reef system is the Great Barrier Reef. Located in the Coral Sea, this world heritage-listed site is visible from outer space and is one of the largest living structures on the planet. It occupies a mammoth area including more than 3000 coral reefs and hundreds of scenic Islands. So, are you excited to head to one of the most amazing Australia tourist attractions with your loved ones?

Things to do: Dive in the crystal clear turquoise under the waters to witness the blissful marvel of nature and the colorful marine life. You can view the magnificent reef from underwater viewing stations and specially designed, wonderful glass bottom boats, if you wish to stay dry.

Scuba Diving Price: INR 4,000 onwards

How to reach: You will need to take a flight to either Sydney or Melbourne (Sydney is directly connected to New Delhi), and then take another flight to coastal cities of Queensland such as Port Douglas and Cairns. From their, various tours will take you to the reef.

12. Yarra Valley – A Spectacular Experience

Melbourne is one of the very few cities in the world that can be traversed in a hot air balloon and Yarra Valley is the place to do that. Ballooning over the Yarra Valley takes you above one of Victoria’s most spectacular winery regions, offering breathtaking views of the lush landscapes and vineyards.

Things to do: Greet the astounding morning sun as you fly over the Yarra Valley and its vineyards on a hot air balloon for an hour.

13. Sea World Marine Park – Amuse Yourself

Sea World is the largest marine park in Australia, which entertains adults as much as kids. It’s a great amusement park to keep you occupied for a day easily. You could spot polar bears, penguins, and small sharks.

Things to do: Hop aboard the monorail to get a bird eye overview of the park buy the tickets for some of the enthralling performances by dolphins, sea lions, and water-ski ballet. Try the sea- themed rides like a roller coaster.

Opening Hours: Open daily, from 9:30 am-5:30 pm, rides from 10 am – 5 pm

Entry Fee: $90

14. Skiing At Snowy Mountains – Enjoy Snow Sports

Australia’s ultimate snow sports playground is the Snowy Mountains region. Known for its true alpine wilderness, this is where you find Mt Kosciuszko – one of continent’s highest peaks and its only glacial lake. You have plenty of options to have fun off and on the snow fields here. So, head straight to one of the best places to see in Australia for an adventurous outing on your holiday!

Things to do: Learn skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing and snow shoeing. Ride on the slopes after dark, to get some spectacular views and the thrill. Off the slopes, take a scenic chairlift ride, explore the town and the ancient caves of Yarrangobilly. Savor the tasty local wines, schnapps, beers and the scrumptious delicacies.

How to reach: There is no direct connection from Sydney to Snowy Mountains. However, you can take the train to International Airport Station, take the walk to Sydney airport, fly to Cooma, then take the drive to Snowy Mountains.

15. Sky Diving In Melbourne – A Breathtaking Experience

If you’re an adventurous soul roaming around Melbourne, you’d certainly want to check out the numerous skydiving schools here. It’s a mind-blowing experience as you free fall over to some of the gorgeous landscapes looking amazing right below you.

Things to do: Sky diving over the Yarra Valley or The Great Ocean Road.

Entry Fee: INR 18,617

Tips: Make sure that you follow the guidelines for a safe diving!

16. Melbourne Chapel Street – For Shopaholics

A shopper’s paradise, Melbourne beckons the shopaholics and the tourists alike with its magnificent shopping places which speak of elegance, style, and luxury. If you’re in mood for some exquisite shopping time, this is surely one of the most famous places in Australia.

Things to do: Check out for extravagant, up market fashion boutiques, some world class restaurants and various forms of acts to keep you entertained in Chapel Street. Look out for the fashionable collections by the local designers on Brigade road.

How to reach: Tram route 78 travels along the entire length of Chapel Street, between Richmond and St Kilda. Tram routes 3, 5, 6, 58, 64 and 72 all intersect Chapel Street. The Sandringham line railway stations of South Yarra, Prahran, Windsor and Balaclava are all within 300 metres of Chapel Street.

17. Pitt Street Mall In Sydney – An Iconic Place

One of the famous places in Australia, Sydney holds many records for being the most famous icon of Australia tourist attractions and one of them includes being very known for shopping. You could shop all you want while you are here. The shopping streets are added delights!

Things to do: Check out the Pitt Street Mall – a one stop arena for many specialty stores lying very close by. You’ll definitely need more than a day to visit the conglomeration of shopping in the area, including Centre point, Imperial Arcade, Sky garden, Glasshouse, Mid City Centre, Westfield Sydney Central Plaza and Strand Arcade.

How to reach: The nearest stations to Pitt Street Mall are: David Jones Castlereagh St Stand B is 273 meters away, 4 min walk.

18. Queen Street Mall In Brisbane – An Instant Delight

If you’re in the beautiful city of Brisbane, don’t forget to head to the Queen Mall – home to some of the top fashion brands in the world including the likes of Myer Centre. If you’re a fashion diva, you would absolutely fall in love with this city of delight instantly!

Things to do: Shop for all types of clothing ranging from extremely luxurious to the mid ranged clothing. Queen Mall and the surrounding streets are mainly specialized to cater your fashionable senses.

How to reach: Ann Street Stop 7 At Anzac Square (Temp Closed) is 527 meters away, 8 min walk. Eagle St App Queen St (Stop 65) is 669 meters away, 9 min walk. Queen Street Stop 66 Near Adelaide St is 904 meters away, 12 min walk.

19. King Street In Perth – Lots Of Choices

Perth offers a number of options to the tourists in terms of the overall shopping experience. Be it the number of brands or the plethora of choices in various things, including some splendid souvenirs, Perth encompasses it all.

Things to do: If you’re keen on budget, you could head to the Harbor town which houses many factory outlets. People who wish to splurge and flaunt in style could check out the fabulous streets of Murray and Hay to find the leading brands of the world.

How to reach: The nearest stations to King Street are: Murray St Raine Square Red Cat 23 is 179 meters away, 3 min walk.

20. Rundle Mall In Adelaide – A Great Shopping Place

The South Australian capital city, Adelaide has plenty in store for the shopping enthusiasts with the Rundle Mall alone housing more than 600 shops of different types and brands.

Things to do: Head to Rundle Mall to find some of the leading Australian retailers and buy some lovely things to take back home from the exclusive shops selling the best specialty products.

How to reach: To access Rundle Mall from the Adelaide Railway Station, you can walk, catch the free 99C City Loop bus or the free Terrace to Terrace tram, both of which stop close to Rundle Mall.

21. Bondi Beach – A Heavenly Beach

If Bondi has to be described in a short sentence then the phrase – this is really heaven on earth, would suffice. Full of surf, sand and bronzed bodies Bondi Beach is one of the most famous beaches in the world. Bondi Beach is also home to one of the oldest life-saving clubs in the whole world and it’s a great place for a little seaside stroll or perhaps for a picnic as well. This is also the spot where the locals and tourists alike gather up to celebrate Christmas and new year. The beach is lined with restaurant, cafes, and shops if you want something quick to drink.

Here’s a little tip: Take care while swimming in here as powerful riptides do sweep away unsuspecting swimmers out into the sea. These dangerous accidents actually gave rise to the TV show called Bondi Rescue.

Things to do: Stroll along the Bronte Coastal Walk which follows the sandy coastline for six kilometers along sheer sandstone cliffs, visit the ocean pool, Sunday markets, and skate park.

How to reach: You can get to Bondi Beach taking a train and bus combination. From central Sydney stations Circular Quay and Central, catch a train to Bondi Junction. From Bondi Junction, you can take several local bus lines or walk about 25 minutes to the beach.

22. Daintree National Park – Nature’s Delight

It is a Wet Tropics World Heritage Area since its ecosystem is one of the most prehistoric in the world. Located in Far North Queensland, the area of this national park belongs to the Eastern Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people. Quite a lot of its features hold great spiritual importance for them. The park encompasses two main parts, one is the Mossman Gorge where very crystal clear waters just gush all over the smooth granite boulders.

Then there is cape tribulation which is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places one could lay eyes on while visiting Australia. Here rain forests connect with the reef present all along the beautiful stretches of white coast which is one of the few spots in the world that contains two of the richest ecosystems in the entire planet. The park includes more than 18,000 plant species and the animal species here includes crocodile, Bennett’s tree kangaroo, cassowary, and giant blue Ulysses butterfly.

Things to do: Take a guided tour, go for wildlife safaris in here, make sure to take a camera to capture pictures of the animals.

How to reach: Daintree National Park is a two-hour drive north of Cairns, or about an hour north of Port Douglas. Day tours by 4WD or coach depart from Cairns and Port Douglas year round, or you can hire a car and drive yourself.

23. Broome – The Once Pearl Capital

Once called the Pearl capital of the world, Broome is located in Western Australia and is a booming tourist spot which provides the gateway to the stunning Kimberley region. Its main attraction is the Cable Beach which is full of endless shimmering white sands lapped up by the turquoise waters.

It is ranked as one of the best Australian beaches as the the moonlight creates a special optical illusion which makes one think that there are steps leading up to the moon. Visit between the months of March to October to witness a special phenomenon called the Staircase to the Moon. So, are you planning to head to one of the best places to visit in Australia in March?

Things to do: Ride camels into the sunset, visit the Broome Crocodile Park, visit the Broome Historical Museum, Horizontal Waterfall, the Gibb River Road, Cape Leveque, Purnululu, Mitchell Falls and National Park.

How to reach: From Perth and Port Headland, tourists can take a four-wheel drive vehicle along the Great Northern Highway to reach Broome. This route is a well-maintained national highway, but will still demand two or three days of driving to reach the Kimberley. Another major port of entry into this region is Kununurra.

24. The Rocks – A Historical Area

Situated in a slip of land jutting into the Sydney harbor, the Rocks is a famous historical area which was home to the Gadigal Aboriginal people once. It later became the first site in the country for European settlement. The name comes from the rugged rocky coast situated on the west side of the Sydney Cove. It was in the Sydney Cove that the European convicts pitched their first tents.

Presently, it includes more than a hundred heritage sites which are located on the narrow streets. Stroll around the cobbled streets and visit various cafes, souvenir shops, restaurants, contemporary and aboriginal art galleries to understand the place better.

Things to do: Visit the oldest surviving residence in Sydney built in the year 1816 and called the Cadman’s cottage, go to the Rocks Discovery Museum, take guided tours which will allow you to see the aboriginal heritage and also take you on ghost tours at night.

How to reach: The Rocks is an easy, 15-minute downhill stroll from Town Hall station, 10-minutes from Wynyard station and a two-minute walk from Circular Quay. The main entry point to The Rocks is via George Street.

25. Circular Quay – For Harbor Cruises

Constructed as a result of convict labor in the Sydney coves, the now famous Circular Quay is home to the town’s central ferry terminal. At peak hours, the restaurants, cafes and everything which lines the waterfront is jam-packed. Come here to see the street performers entertain the visitors and locals alike. This is a nice place to head to if you want to see some amazing views of the shimmering sea while also clearing your head a little.

Things to do: Go on a harbor cruise, take ferries, visit the Taronga Park Zoo, see the Royal Botanic Gardens and Sydney Opera House.

How to reach: Circular Quay rocket ferries depart frequently to Watsons Bay, Taronga Zoo, Fort Denison, Garden Island, Shark Island, Barangaroo, Darling Harbour and Luna Park, plus Lane Cove during peak periods.

26. Cradle Mountain – Lake St. Clair National Park

It is a national park which has been a sanctuary and a treasure for nature lovers. The wilderness of the park is raw and rugged comprising of serrated dolerite summits, sparkling lakes, dense forests, and Alpine heathlands. This venue just offers up amazing views of the lush greenery no matter where you turn. If you truly want a challenge then tackle and hike on the 80 km long Overland Track which goes from South to Cradle Valley and then to Lake St. Clair. Keep your camera close because you might be able to catch views of the Tasmanian devil, wallabies, wombats, platypus, pademelons and more.

Things to do: Visit the highest point in the park, Mount Ossa (1,616 meters) go hiking especially on the Lake Dove Walk and Weindorfer Walk, Climb Cradle Mountain, go on the Bridge Climb.

How to reach: There are two main access points to the park: the northern entrance, at the town of Sheffield, about a 1.5-hour drive from Launceston. The southern entrance is at Derwent Bridge, in Lake St Clair National Park – a 2.5-hour drive west of Hobart.

27. Darling Harbor – A Popular Hub

It is a very popular hub for both locals and tourists alike. Darling harbor is actually a waterfront pedestrian venue which is packed up with restaurant, shops, museums, entertainment spots, and exhibitions. The Sea Life offers a complete entertainment experience and the Entrance Ticket is a very great way to move ahead of the crowds.

Things to do: Visit Madame Tussaud’s Sea Life, Wild Life Sydney Zoo experience the interactive exhibits of the Powerhouse Museum feel calm and drink some tea at the Chinese Garden of Friendship visit the Australian National Maritime Museum which is complete with IMAX, a 9D theatre and more.

How to reach: Take the train to Town Hall Station and exit south into Bathurst Street. A short downhill walk on Bathurst Street will take you directly to Darling Quarter, Tumbalong Park and the Sydney Visitor Centre. Take the train to Central Station.

28. The Sydney Tower – Enjoy Panoramic Views

Located high above the city skylines is the Sydney Tower Eye soaring to the height of 309 meters. It is the city’s highest building and is also one of its major landmarks. The tower eye is a golden spire topped turret which rises from the center point shopping mall. Enjoy panoramic views from here and after it’s all said and done, get a bite to enjoy and eat at one of the fascinating revolving restaurants or the charming cafes.

Things to do: Go on the Express lift to reach the uniquely designed observation deck, experience 4D cinema.

How to reach: The best way to access The Sydney Tower Eye is to enter the mall from the Market Street lifts to level 5. Immediately from exiting the lifts make 2 left turns and come to the end of the corridor and you will be at our admissions area.

29. Royal Botanic Garden – Acres Of Themed Yards

Its tranquility is just unmatched and it stays as an oasis of calm amongst the hustle and bustle of daily life which has overtaken the city. Located at the Farm Cove, it lies just a short distance away from the popular Sydney opera house. The gardens were actually established in the year 1816 and they encompass 30 hectares of uniquely themed yards which are full of palm groves, orchids, ferns, towering trees and are visited by flocks of cute fruit bats. The fernery here holds some amazing begonias, orchids, and other tropical foliage. The gardens are just a delight to family and friends where you can enjoy a picnic in the hills as you take in some scenic views.

Things to do: See the Palace Rose Garden which contains 1,800 roses, visit the Glasshouse Latitude 23, take train tours to present on the grounds, visit the Domain.

How to reach: From Parramatta Station, Parramatta 88 min. M52

30. Taronga Zoo – Amazing Wildlife

Get ready to experience up close and personal encounters with amazing Aussie wildlife as well as with other animals from all over the world. Located at a point right along the northern part of the harbor, the zoo is actually housed in a prime real estate area which are the very luxurious suburbs of Mosman. The zoo hosts lots of amazing events which include the Roar and Snore that is an overnight stay and also includes a summer concert.

Things to do: See the amazing Sydney skyline experience the Lemur Walk-Through, Seal Show, Koala Encounter go for the Sky Safari gondola.

How to reach: Take the 12-minute Taronga Zoo ferry from wharf no. 2 at Circular Quay and alight at Taronga Zoo Wharf. The nearby Sky Safari cable car transports you to the zoo.

31. Hyde Park – A Sprawling Picnic Spot

Amidst all the daily grind of the central business district lies the sanctuary is known as the Hyde Park. It is a sprawling park which offers picnic spots, fountains, flowers, and fig trees. It’s like a miniature of the Central Park. It was originally named as Hyde park after the park of the same name in London. Come here to relax and engage in conversation with people. If possible, bring on a picnic basket for a lovely afternoon lunch with your loved ones.

Things to do: See the bronzed Archibald Fountain, see the three Georgian building which is just a little up the road, see Art Deco Anzac War Memorial, visit Hyde Park Barracks and the Australian Museum.

How to reach: Buses and trains are the modes of public transport that can get you to Hyde Park. One can board the buses of B461 from Grand Concourse, B22 from Rockdale, B461 from Central Station, B303 from Royal Botanic Garden, and M20 from Greendwood Plaza. As far as the trains are concerned, board the T1 train from Greenwood Plaza and Central Station, T2 from Grand Concourse, and T4 from Rockdale.

32. Barangaroo Reserve – For An Evening Stroll

An amazing example of how an urban renewal project should be carried, which has resulted in a beautiful spot for enjoying a walk along the harbor. It is named after the female indigenous leader who proved to be influential during the time of European colonization. It was transformed from a bitter looking container terminal to a 22-hectare sprawling waterfront precinct that was opened up for public viewing. Presently, it is home to more than 75,000 native trees and shrubs. There are a lot of shops, restaurants, and exhibition spaces which will keep your attention engaged while you are here.

Things to do: Take a walk along the Wulugul Walk which is a beautiful waterfront promenade, take in the public art installations, see the shell wall (a side wall of a huge aboriginal art), take a guided tour on aboriginal culture, go for a ferry ride to the Barangaroo Wharf.

How to reach: Circular Quay Station to Barangaroo Reserve. The most direct route is to walk past the front of the Museum of Contemporary Art, then turn left up Argyle Street and through the Argyle Cut, past the Lord Nelson Hotel and the Palisade Hotels, then enter the Reserve via either Munn Street or Bettington Street.

33. Art Gallery of New South Wales – Notable Works

Surrounded by stunning parklands, the Art Gallery of New South Wales is one of the nation’s major distinguished museums. Dating back to 1885, the Art Gallery houses grand courts, radiant and spacious galleries which are full of collections that include works by notable European artists and also by the biggest contemporary artists. This gallery also houses some of the biggest collections of historic aboriginal art in the country.

Things to do: Take a tour of the gallery, see the various stations, browse the gift shop of the gallery, relax at a restaurant or cafe after the day is over.

How to reach: Bus 441: departs from the York Street side of Queen Victoria Building and drops off near the Gallery. Train: St James and Martin Place stations are both about 10 minutes walk.

34. Chinatown – Feast Upon Asian Meals

Breathe in the amazing nose-turning fragrance of spicy Szechuan spices and go shopping for some of those amazing Chinese specialty things. Here bring an empty stomach so that you can feast upon some authentic Asian meals. You will be greeted by the lion gates which are located here at each end and this small district lies smack in the pedestrian space of Doxon Street between the Central Station and Darling Harbour. Come here on the very first full moon night after 21st January because the streets here just burst with life from the Chinese New Year’s celebration.

Things to do: Try the popular Yum Cha, Vietnamese pho, Teppanyaki and more. Visit Paddy’s Market which has everything from fresh produce, souvenirs to bargain fashions.

How to reach: You will need to go to the closest MRT station and board the MRT Blue Line to reach it. Once you arrive, exit the station and walk north for about 15 minutes to reach Chinatown.

35. St. Mary’s Cathedral – Get Spiritual

A symbol of the sustained spiritual beginnings of the Catholic Church, St. Mary’s Cathedral is situated just opposite of Hyde Park. The architecture of the landmark is of a striking neo-Gothic style and it is also the seat of the Archbishop of Sydney. This venue is made up of twin spires and the building itself was modeled upon the Lincoln Cathedral. Its facade also bears a close resemblance to the Notre-Dame in Paris. When you go inside the cathedral you will see very intricate glass stained windows which throw amazing patterns of light. Christmas is just the perfect time to visit since the beauty of the cathedral is enhanced with all the decorations and lights.

Things to do: Take a camera to click some amazing pictures of the architecture, go inside to experience some tranquility and peace.

How to reach: The closest stations to St. Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral are: Iit Gate is 715 meters away, 10 min walk. Iit is 984 meters away, 14 min walk.

36. Horizontal Falls Scenic Flight – A Scenic Ride

If you are here to experience some action, then this is the right place to head to. Here you will get to climb on a seaplane for a scenic ride to the amazing horizontal falls. The falls are rumbling tides which go through two versions of narrow gorges. A typical trip lasts for about 90 minutes and will take you all along the rocky islets and red cliffs of Western Australia’s northernmost coast to Cape Leveque. The ride ends with water landing over on Talbot bay. Next up, you can catch a jet board ride to go on a breathtaking cruise right through the screaming falls.

Things to do: Go on the plane ride, take a jet boat cruise, feed sharks, swim with the sharks, go for a picnic at the pontoon tops and enjoy the views.

37. Cable Beach – Turquoise Blue Waters

Cable Beach was briefly mentioned before but it deserves a spot in this list by itself. Sprawling over a vast 22 km, Cable Beach is a stunning piece of dazzling turquoise sea and white sand. The beach was named after the communication cable lines which were laid from Java to Broome in the year 1889. Now you can enjoy the sun in here and rest easy on just the beautiful patch of golden sand. Here’s an important tip- from the months of November till May, the dangerous for humans, Irukandji jellyfish are found in the waters. So it’s best to avoid these months. Moreover, keep in mind that the beach burns in the heat as the sun climbs so sunscreen and an umbrella is a must.

Things to do: Enjoy camel rides, enjoy a day on the beach, have some local food at the nearby cafes and restaurants.

38. Gantheaume Point – Eye-Popping Sea

This stands as a stunning contrast between the eye-catching red cliffs and the eye-popping cerulean blue sea of the Gantheaume Point. A great place to engage in photography, the point is located to the south of Cable Beach and it is around 6 km from the nearest town. If you go hunting for prehistoric dinosaur footprints, then make sure to wear the appropriate shoes. The Point is made complete with a lighthouse that overlooks the Indian Ocean. A great place to have some solitary experiences and thoughts.

Things to do: Look out for dinosaur footprints when the tide is low, check out Anastasia’s Pool and take a bath in it, go fishing here.

How to reach: Access to Gantheaume Point is via the Gantheaume Point Road, off Gubinge Road. The most common access point is via the ramp opposite the Broome Turf Club carpark.

39. Malcolm Douglas Wilderness Wildlife Park – For Nature

Here you can cuddle up with a baby crocodile, catch a glimpse of the super rare cassowary, and even communicate with the kangaroos. At the Malcolm Douglas Wilderness Wildlife Park, you will be able to enjoy animals in their natural habitat. It is a short 15-minute drive from the location of Broome.

The animal enthusiasts can enjoy some close-ups of the nation’s formidable and adorable creatures while getting to know more about their behaviors and habitats. You will be able to see dingoes, wallabies, lizards, snakes and more who also inhabit the park along with a whole range of cute feathered critters which includes kookaburras to cockatoos.

Things to do: crocodiles are fed at 3 pm so make sure you stay for that, a short drive away is the 12 Mile Bird Park which is full of more than 80 species of indigenous and exotic birds.

40. Sun Pictures – Relax And Get Lazy

Get lazy and relax in a deck chair as you take in the starry night and enjoy a classic movie at the oldest outdoor cinema currently in operation. Sun Pictures are located right at the heart of Broome’s Chinatown in Carnarvon Street and it screens some movies per night. But what’s more interesting about it is its own story. The cinema was made in the early 1900s and it was a store which was owned by the Yamasaki family.

The family loved movies and so they made a part of their shop into a small Japanese playhouse. It was in 1913 that a pearl Fisher purchased the building and then transformed the store into what it is today. The very first official audience stepped into sun pictures in 1916 and the place has been screening movies since back then, in spite of natural calamities like tidal flooding. But of course, as time has gone one the structure has been renovated to prevent the onslaught of the tidal waves.

Things to do: Watch a heritage listed movie, check the small museum for cinema memorabilia.

41. Pearl Farm Tours – Something Unique

Broome was once the reigning champion in the world when it came to pearling. Visitors here can take a tour to understand how the local pearl farms culture the highly sought after and highly acclaimed South Sea pearls. You will know everything from oyster seeding to harvesting and grading the pearls in this tour. Keep a note that there are various types of ways to take the tour, as in you can opt for aid, land or sea tours. It all depends on the tour operator as well the time constraints which members of the tour group might be facing.

Things to do: Visit Cygnet Bay and Willie Bay farms to know about parking, purchase some pearls as a souvenir, and some pearl jewelry over at Chinatown as well if you want something more solid.

42. Broome Historical Museum – Some Fascinating History

This historical museum gives an overview of the town’s amazingly fascinating history. The museum features lots of informative exhibits on cyclones, pearling industry, aboriginal artifacts and more. Make sure you visit this place with some time on your hands so that you can soak in all this place has to possibly offer. Kids will enjoy this venue cause the museum holds a very interactive quiz.

Things to do: Take a guided tour of the museum, take part in the exhibits, see the Japanese Cemetery where the Japanese pearl-fishers who died due to a cyclone hitting the place in 1908 are commemorated.

43. Hahndorf – An Unlike Experience

An old German civilization in Australia, Hahndorf is one of the unique tourist places in Australia. It is nestled in the old region of Adelaide and will take you back to medieval Europe while you are on a different continent. The quaint town offers you most beautiful vistas that you ought to capture in your camera. Apart from that, you will also find restaurants, cafes, and boutique that you can explore in your time.

Things to do: Visit the Beerenberg Farm and buy jams and pickles. Misty Hollow Fantasy Cave is a must-visit. If you are an art lover, put The Cedar on your list as it houses amazing artwork.

How to reach: Hahndorf can be reached from Adelaide by public bus – see routes 864, T843, 841F, 860F at the Adelaide Metro

44. Barossa Valley – With The Finest Wineries

If you love wine and vineyards, then you must visit Barossa Valley in Adelaide. This place is mushrooming with some of the finest wineries in the region. People take wine tours across the region to sip some of the finest wines. The region was first occupied by Englishmen in the nineteenth century and now there are more than 150 wineries and cellar doors. You may have to take prior appointment to visit the best of the vineyards. It is one of the great places to visit in Australia.

Things to do: Take wine tours, plan a road trip in the country region. Experience hot air balloon ride over the valley. Taste smoked meat and bread at some of the finest restaurants.

How to reach: There are 4 ways to get from Adelaide to Barossa Valley by bus, train, taxi or car. We recommend taking the bus from Adelaide Central Bus Station to Gawler and then taking the bus from Gawler Stop 124 Lyndoch Rd North side to Tanunda, which takes around 2h 23m.

45. Cleland Conservation Park – Rich Flora And Fauna

If you want to meet Koalas, Cleland is where you will find them relaxing in their natural habitat. One of the good places to visit in Australia, the place is abundant with natural and cultural beauty. Apart from rich flora and fauna, this place has a lot of adventure to offer to visitors. The cycling trails are best to enjoy the scenic beauty of this place get a boost of adrenaline.

Things to do: Explore the biking trails. Visit the Cleland Cafe for a refreshing meal and coffee. Play with kangaroos and koalas.

How to reach: Take an 863 or 864 bus from the city or Mount Barker to the Crafers Interchange. Look for the trailhead signs on the north side of the freeway off-ramp near the interchange. These trails lead all over the park, with a new link trail connecting to Mount Lofty Summit.

46. Rottnest Island – A Natural Beauty

Rottnest Island near Perth is one of the best places you have to visit in Australia owing to its natural beauty. This is where you can have a tropical island time during your vacation in Australia. The turquoise waters of the sea are perfect for frolic and fun. There are even a number of biking and walking that you can explore on the island.

Things to do: Enjoy swimming and water ports adventures like surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving. Get to the top of Wadjemup Lighthouse for panoramic views. Explore biking trails. Viist museums, buildings, and monuments.

How to reach: It’s a 25-minute ferry ride from Fremantle, a 45-minute ferry ride from Hillarys Boat Harbour in the northern suburbs of Perth, or 90 minutes via ferry from Perth’s Barrack Street Jetty. You can book your trip with Rottnest Fast Ferries, Rottnest Express or SeaLink Rottnest Island.

47. Nambung National Park – An Ethereal Beauty

One of the most astounding tourist attractions of Australia, Nambung National park will leave you stunned with its ethereal beauty and the large stone structures called Pinnacles. These pinnacles are limestone formations that date back to millions of years and are scattered all over the desert in Nambung National Park.

Things to do: Do not miss watching the sunset. You will even find idyllic beaches where you can relax and enjoy watersports like snorkeling and scuba diving. You may also visit The Pinnacle Information Centre to know more about the limestone formations.

How to reach: Wellington St Arena Yellow Cat 23 is 11 meters away, 1 min walk. Murray St Milligan Street Red Cat 22 is 309 meters away, 5 min walk. Hay St Qv1 Red Cat 14 is 403 meters away, 6 min walk.

48. Byron Bay – Sweet Touch Of Nature

Situated on the northernmost coast of New South Wales, one of the must visit places in Australia is Byron Bay. Temperate climate hovers around the bay which has multiple beaches and hinterland. You will be greeted by nature reserves, secluded beaches, gushing waterfalls with a sweet touch of nature to please your eyes. You can also enjoy kitesurfing, one of the top adventure sports in Australia at Byron Bay. In short, with so many things to explore, Byron Bay becomes one of the top Australia tourist attractions.

Things to see : The chronicle views of rugged cliffs at Cape Byron Headland Reserve, the Cape Byron Lighthouse, the most powerful lighthouse of Australia, the beauty of Arakwal National Park

Things to do: Engage in a lot of outdoor activities like rock scrambling, nature walks and bird watching, whale watching at Clarkes Beach

How to reach : Here are the top 3 ways to reach Byron Bay. Use the Ballina Byron Gateway Airport which is the closest to Byron Bay, with a 30 minute drive. The airport operates flights from Sydney, Newcastle and Melbourne on Jetstar, FlyPelican and Virgin Australia. The Gold Coast Airport operates a higher number of flights and with a 40 minute drive time, it might be more convenient. The Brisbane International and Domestic Airport are 2 hours away by shuttle or cabs to Byron Bay. So, the choice is yours to make.

49. Mudgee – An Elegant Town

Sightseeing in Australia has never been better with exploring Mudgee, a northwestern town of Sydney. It is a small, elegant town that is popular as a top wine-making region, housing colonial buildings and the pretty Cudgegong River. Some amazing things to engage yourself in Mudgee include picnicking at Robertson Park, getting amazing views at The Rock Lookout, exploring the Avisford Nature Reserve just makes Mudgee one of the top Australia tourist attractions. The town and its natural reserves make it one of the top spots for camping near Sydney , if you are in the mood for that.

Things to see : Discover colonial-architecture such as the St. Mary’s Catholic Church, the “dinosaur tree”, one of the rarest plants at Wollemi National Park

Things to do: Shop at the Farmers Market, tour the wineries like Lowe Wines, Moothi Estate Vineyards and di Lusso Winery is a must, stargaze at the Mudgee Observatory

How to reach : There is no direct route from Sydney to Mudgee. You can, however, take the train to Lithgow station, walk towards the Lithgow station Railway Pde 3 and take a bus to Mudgee Station, Coach Stop. However, if it seems overwhelming, then you can drive or hire a cab to Mudgee.

Australia is a very unpredictable country. Travelers will find everything from dangerous animals roaming around to vast desert lands which are difficult to traverse alone. A land of varied opportunities, the several Australia tourist attractions are a great place for a vacation. Plan a lifetime trip to Australia and explore the beauty of the island continent and immerse in shopping, sightseeing and while savoring the best of Australian cuisine on your holiday down under.

Disclaimer: TravelTriangle claims no credit for images featured on our blog site unless otherwise noted. All visual content is copyrighted to its respectful owners. We try to link back to original sources whenever possible. If you own the rights to any of the images, and do not wish them to appear on TravelTriangle, please contact us and they will be promptly removed. We believe in providing proper attribution to the original author, artist or photographer.

Please Note: Any information published by TravelTriangle in any form of content is not intended to be a substitute for any kind of medical advice, and one must not take any action before consulting a professional medical expert of their own choice.

Key results

Total tourism consumption fell by 19% or $29.5 billion in 2019&ndash20. This resulted in:

  • $50.4 billion in direct tourism GDP to the economy. This was 18% or $10.8 billion less than the previous year
  • tourism GDP as a share of the national economy falling from 3.1% in 2018&ndash19 to 2.5% in 2019&ndash20
  • direct tourism employment of 621,000 people. This was 4.8% of the Australian workforce and 6.6% lower than in 2018&ndash19
  • tourism exports falling to $31.2 billion. This is down 21% from 2018&ndash19. Tourism exports are from international visitors spending money on Australian goods and services
  • tourism imports falling to $42.1 billion. This is down 27.8% from 2018&ndash19. Tourism imports are the money Australian residents spend when travelling overseas.

The history of tourism: The Middle Ages and the Renaissance Era

Throughout the Middle Ages (5-14th centuries AD) travel – and by extension tourism – was pretty much nonexistent. It became dangerous after the fall of the Roman Empire. While there had been a commonality among nations, there were now autonomous areas thanks to a feudal system. Transport was fragmented so was language and currency. This made travelling to somewhere different much more difficult than it had been.

And when people did travel, it wasn’t for leisure. With the Roman Catholic Church gaining power, there were nine crusades in attempt to retake the Holy Land between 1096 and 1291 AD. But they all failed, and left people with a desire to see the world outside of their own locality. People were keen to experience different civilisations.

Merchants – like Marco Polo – started to travel far and wide after the failed crusades. Polo’s travels in particular (1295-1295 AD) were reported on, and people started to become more interested in travelling again.

So travel was reborn. During the Renaissance (14-16th centuries AD) more merchants travelled further afield. This was in part due to the church and royalty controlling larger geographic areas than they previously had done. Trade routes also started to reopen. Commercial activity grew, and people continued to venture out of their own towns and territories.

The first real tourist, according to historians, was Cyriacus of Ancona. He journeyed around the Mediterranean, eager to learn about Greek and Roman history. His desire to learn about what had come before – and to see what remained – encouraged others to think about how travel could benefit education. And so, the Grand Tour Era emerged…


Our ancient inhabitants are believed to have arrived in Papua New Guinea about 50-60,000 years ago from Southeast Asia during an Ice Age period when the sea was lower and distances between islands was shorter. New Guinea (as it used to be known), one of the first landmasses after Africa and Eurasia to be populated by modern humans, had its first migration at about the same time as Australia, placing us alongside one of the oldest continuous cultures on the planet.

Agriculture was independently developed in the New Guinea highlands around 7,000 BC, making it one of the few areas of original plant domestication in the world. A major migration of Austronesia speaking peoples came to our coastal regions roughly 2,500 years ago, along with the introduction of pottery, pigs, and certain fishing techniques.

Some 300 years ago, the sweet potato entered New Guinea with its far higher crop yields, transforming traditional agriculture. It largely supplanted the previous staple, taro, and gave rise to a significant increase in population in the highlands.

In the past, headhunting and cannibalism occurred in many parts of what is now named Papua New Guinea. By the early 1950s, through administration and mission pressures, open cannibalism had almost entirely ceased.

A number of Portuguese and Spanish navigators sailing in the South Pacific in the early 16th century were probably the first Europeans to sight Papua New Guinea. Don Jorge de Meneses, a Portuguese explorer, is credited with the European discovery of the principal island of Papua New Guinea in around 1526-27. Although European navigators visited and explored the New Guinea islands for the next 170 years, we kept pretty much to ourselves until the late 19th century.


The northern half of Papua New Guinea came into German hands in 1884 as German New Guinea. With Europe's growing need for coconut oil, Godeffroy's of Hamburg, the largest trading firm in the Pacific, began trading for copra in the New Guinea Islands. In 1884, Germany formally took possession of the northeast quarter of the island and put its administration in the hands of a chartered company. In 1899, the German imperial government assumed direct control of the territory, thereafter known as German New Guinea. In 1914, Australian troops occupied German New Guinea, and it remained under Australian military control until 1921.

The British Government, on behalf of the Commonwealth of Australia, assumed a mandate from the League of Nations for governing the Territory of New Guinea in 1920. That mandate was administered by the Australian Government until the Japanese invasion in December 1941 brought about its suspension. Following the surrender of the Japanese in 1945, civil administration of Papua as well as New Guinea was restored, and under the Papua New Guinea Provisional Administration Act, 1945-46, Papua and New Guinea were combined in an administrative union to become the country of Papua New Guinea.

On November 6, 1884, a British protectorate was proclaimed over the southern coast of New Guinea (the area called Papua) and its adjacent islands. The protectorate, called British New Guinea, was annexed outright on September 4, 1888. The possession was placed under the authority of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1902. Following the passage of the Papua Act of 1905, British New Guinea became the Territory of Papua, and formal Australian administration began in 1906. Papua was administered under the Papua Act until World War II, when Japanese forces invaded the northern parts of the islands in 1941 and began to advance on Port Moresby, suspending civil administration.

During the war, Papua was governed by a military administration from Port Moresby, where Gen. Douglas MacArthur occasionally made his headquarters. As noted, it was later joined in an administrative union with New Guinea during 1945-46 following the surrender of Japan, and Papua New Guinea was born.


Michael Leahy was an Australian prospector from rural Queensland who is known for making first contact with our highlands people in Papua New Guinea in 1932. Leahy and his brother Dan looked for gold and explored in the highlands for four years together with Patrol Officer James Taylor.

During his time here, Leahy documented his expedition in a daily journal and also captured an amazing series of photographs that were later discovered in 1983 by Australian writers and filmmakers Bob Connolly and Robyn Anderson. These two went on to make the award winning documentary, First Contact.


During World War I, Papua New Guinea was occupied by Australia, which had begun administering British New Guinea, the southern part, as the re-named Papua in 1904. After World War I, Australia was given a mandate to administer the former German New Guinea by the League of Nations.

Papua, by contrast, was deemed to be an External Territory of the Australian Commonwealth, though as a matter of law it remained a British possession, an issue that had significance for the country's post-Independence legal system after 1975. This difference in legal status meant that Papua and New Guinea had entirely separate administrations, both controlled by Australia.

The New Guinea campaign (1942-1945) was one of the major military campaigns of World War II. Approximately 216,000 Japanese, Australian and American soldiers, sailors and airmen died during the New Guinea Campaign. The two territories were combined into the Territory of Papua and New Guinea after World War II, which later was simply referred to as "Papua New Guinea". The Administration of Papua became open to United Nations oversight.


Elections in 1972 resulted in the formation of a ministry headed by Chief Minister Michael Somare, who pledged to lead the country to self-government and then to independence. Papua New Guinea became self-governing on 1 December 1973 and achieved independence on 16 September 1975. The country joined the United Nations (UN) on 10 October 1975 by way of Security Council Resolution 375 and General Assembly resolution 3368.

The 1977 national elections confirmed Michael Somare as Prime Minister at the head of a coalition led by the Pangu Party. However, his government lost a vote of confidence in 1980 and was replaced by a new cabinet headed by Sir Julius Chan as Prime Minister. The 1982 elections increased Pangu's plurality, and parliament again chose Somare as Prime Minister. In November 1985, the Somare government lost another vote of no confidence, and the parliamentary majority elected Paias Wingti, at the head of a five-party coalition, as Prime Minister. A coalition, headed by Wingti, was victorious in very close elections in July 1987. In July 1988, a no-confidence vote toppled Wingti and brought to power Rabbie Namaliu, who a few weeks earlier had replaced Somare as leader of the Pangu Party.

Under legislation intended to enhance stability, new governments remain immune from no-confidence votes for the first 18 months of their incumbency.

The incumbent Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, came into office in 2011.


A nine-year secessionist revolt on the island of Bougainville claimed some 20,000 lives. The rebellion began in early 1989, over opposition to the world’s largest open-cut copper mine, Panguna mine. Active hostilities ended with a truce in October 1997 and a permanent ceasefire was signed in April 1998. A peace agreement between the Government and ex-combatants was signed in August 2001 on the condition that a referendum on Bougainville's political status would be held within twenty years. A referendum is scheduled to be held in June 2019.

4. 29 Nov 1934 – Melbourne, VIC

36 deaths, 6000 homeless and 400+ buildings damaged

In late November 140mm of rain fell in Melbourne over a 48-hour period. To the east of Melbourne, in South Gippsland, 350mm fell over the same two-day period. The downpour resulted in landslides, evacuations and many submerged roads. Eighteen people drowned, with a further 18 killed by collapsing buildings and other dangers. More than 400 buildings were damaged in Melbourne and 6000 people were left homeless.

The Indonesian Tourism Industry: A Bright Future and Opportunities for Australia

Tourism in Indonesia has more than doubled over the past decade, with some media reports claiming that 2017 saw over fifteen million tourists visit the archipelago state. The tourism industry has flourished and become a major driver of the economy and a central feature of the government’s economic growth strategy. To facilitate further growth, the Indonesian Government is hoping to replicate the success of Bali as a tourist destination in a number of other locations spread across Indonesia.

Overview and Future Obstacles

The tourism industry is a major economic driver for Indonesia. In 2016, foreign exchange earnings from tourism totalled $16.3 billion. When indirect and induced incomes from travel and tourism are included (such as investment spending and spending by employees), that figure increases to $72.4 billion, or approximately 6.2 per cent of GDP in 2016. This level ranks Indonesia’s tourism industry as the twenty-second largest in the world, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council. It is larger than the average tourism industry in South-East Asia, but smaller than those of Australia, Thailand and the Philippines. [1] Strong growth is expected for the Indonesian industry, with indirect and induced incomes predicted to reach $141.3 billion annually by 2027, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council report.

The Indonesian Government, however, may be too optimistic in its growth projections. In 2016, Tourism Minister Arief Yahya claimed that he wishes to double the number of international visitors coming to Indonesia to total over twenty million by 2019. Yahya has made similar ambitious claims before. In 2014, he told Reuters that he wished to double the number of Chinese visitors by 2016, but, in reality, the number grew by only 45.6% although that is still an impressive figure.

His most recent claim also appears too ambitious. Given that 2017 saw 14 million foreign arrivals, the minimum growth rate required to reach 20 million tourists by 2019 is 19.4% per annum. As seen in Figure 1, that is a difficult target, given that the growth rate for foreign arrivals over the past five years has averaged 11.9%. Consistent growth of around 20 per cent for three years straight would be unprecedented in Indonesian history and is a rare occurrence for other tourism industries throughout South-East Asia. So, while not impossible, achieving such a high target does seem unlikely.

There are also obstacles facing Indonesia’s tourism industry, namely, poor infrastructure and the lack of investment required to fund the necessary infrastructure projects. From 2015 to 2019, the funds required to meet Indonesia’s overall infrastructure needs amount to approximately $450 to $520 billion. Looking at projected government spending in contrast to investment and other contributions, it is likely that the government will fall short of the required funds for infrastructure by at least $120 billion. [2] To fill that funding gap, the Indonesian Government has made a number of bilateral agreements with countries such as China and Japan and sought loans from the World Bank and the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, however, many of those agreements are fraught with challenges, due to being politically, rather than commercially, driven. As a result, funds tend to be slowly dispensed and often not fully utilised. [3]

That has left tourist-related infrastructure in a poor position. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF) in its 2017 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, tourist service infrastructure was the worst performing area in its analysis of the Indonesian tourism industry. [4] With a score of 3.1 out of seven, Indonesia’s tourist service infrastructure is worse than that of Kenya and only slightly better than Venezuela. Ground and port transport infrastructure is also ranked poorly in the report. While the Indonesian Government has recognised the poor state of infrastructure, in remedying that problem it must consider the potential environmental impact of developing new hotels, roads or airports. That must be done not only for the sake of general environmental concerns, such as native wildlife, but also to preserve the forests and beaches as tourist attractions. In the WEF Report, Indonesia ranked poorly in environmental sustainability, but highly in natural resources. Maintaining those natural resources should be a vital component of Indonesia’s tourism industry.

“Ten New Balis”

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and his ministers have spent time seeking overseas investment to fund the project known as the “Ten New Balis”. The project, announced in February 2016, is a government initiative to develop ten new tourist hubs across the country. According to 2016 statistics, the vast majority of foreign tourists spend their time in Indonesia on Bali (49%) and Java (30%). Those two islands together account for just 7.6 per cent of Indonesia’s total land mass. Attracting visitors to other areas will be essential to plans aimed at expanding the Indonesian tourism industry. According to the Ministry of Tourism, the tourist destinations chosen for development are already known as tourist attractions, but would greatly benefit from better access and more amenities.

One of the locations selected, Lake Toba, is a good example. Lake Toba is well known among tourists travelling to Indonesia, but has lacked easy access. Before a new international airport was built in Silangit, to get to Parapat near Lake Toba, most tourists had to catch a domestic flight to Medan (over two hours from Jakarta), then head to the lake via bus or car, which took another four to six hours. With the new airport, however, travel times will be reduced to only two hours. That will significantly increase the prospects for tourism in the Lake Toba area. The government hopes to see the first international flights to the new airport sometime this year.

The chosen locations of the “Ten New Balis” are: Lake Toba (North Sumatra), Tanjung Lesung (Banten), The Thousand Islands (Jakarta), Tanjung Kelayang Beach (Bangka Belitung Islands), Borobudur Temple (Central Java), Mount Bromo (East Java), Mandalika (West Nusa Tenggara), Labuan Bajo (East Nusa Tenggara), Wakatobi (South Sulawesi), and Morotai Island (North Maluku). The three priority locations that will be focused on first are Mandalika, Borobudur Temple and Lake Toba.

In developing those locations, the government hopes to expand tourism as an economic behemoth, without devaluing existing tourist destinations. It is highly unlikely that Indonesia could accommodate twenty million tourists in 2019 without diverting some of those tourists to locations other than Bali. That would have the added benefit of creating local jobs in the new tourist areas.

Comparing the number of foreign and local tourists within a given province during 2016, as shown in Figure 2, shows that the vast majority of foreign tourists stayed in Bali, while Indonesian tourists mostly confined themselves to Jakarta, Central Java and East Java. The figures are somewhat generalised, however, as they look at the number of tourists staying in the entire province, rather than the specific locale of the tourist attraction that the government wishes to develop. Still, the stark contrast between the numbers shown in Figure 2 indicates that the popularity of tourist destinations within these provinces differs significantly.

It is likely that the government sees an opportunity to replicate the success of Bali elsewhere. In their current state, however, most of the destinations earmarked for the “Ten New Balis” do not have the capacity to handle a major influx of tourists, nor do they have easy access in the first place. It raises the question of whether the government is being too ambitious in its plans, especially when taking into account the previously-mentioned lack of funding for the associated infrastructure projects.

Target Markets

If the Indonesian tourism industry is to achieve the targets that have been set for it, Jokowi will need to concentrate on the Chinese market. As seen in Figure 3, Chinese visitor numbers have just overtaken those from Singapore, Malaysia and Australia, the three source markets that have traditionally dominated the Indonesian tourism industry. Over the past ten years, tourist numbers from China have grown by 428%, a growth rate only topped by Bangladeshi tourists, who still only account for 0.34% of all inbound visitors. If current trends continue, Chinese visitors could make up 20 per cent of all inbound tourists by 2019, up from 14 per cent in 2016.

While the growth in the number of Chinese tourists is strong, the Indonesian Government also has an opportunity to entice them to spend more. On average, a Chinese tourist spends approximately $1,383 per visit, compared to the average of $1,423. In developing strategies to increase tourist spending, however, it is worth considering that shopping no longer appears to be the primary motive for travel among Chinese tourists.

While Chinese tourists make up the bulk of inbound arrivals in the Indonesian tourism industry, some attention should be focused on promoting halal tourism. Halal tourist services are differentiated from standard services by adherence to Muslim laws and customs, such as alcohol- and pork-free hotels and restaurants and separated swimming areas or prayer rooms for men and women. That can be difficult to offer due to a lack of international standards and the fact that many Islamic customs and laws can be interpreted differently among different Muslim communities. It is, however, an emerging market that could hold great potential for the Indonesian tourism industry.

Tourists from the Middle East, for instance, spend approximately $2,284 per visit, far more than the average tourist, but only around 200,000 nationals from that region choose to holiday in Indonesia annually. Halal tourism is a relatively new concept in Indonesia, with the soft launch of a halal tourism programme taking place in 2012 and regulations for Sharia-compliant hotels being introduced in 2014. In an annual report produced by Thomson Reuters, Indonesia is ranked as the fourth-best developed Islamic economy for Muslim travel, behind Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey. As the report says:

Indonesia moves into the top ten straight to fourth place, realising its potential as a top destination for Muslim [travellers], aided by substantial efforts to develop Halal Tourism in the country, reflected in a high ecosystem score, as well as a substantial increase in media discussion on halal tourism. [5]

Promoting halal tourism should not be confined to Middle Eastern countries alone. South Asian countries, such as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, are all in relatively close proximity to Indonesia. In 2016, approximately 500,000 tourists from the South Asian region visited Indonesia.

Given the popularity of Bali for Australian holidaymakers, Australia may be seen more as a solid, reliable market, rather than a priority for the Indonesian tourism industry. Even so, it still holds great significance in the overall bilateral relationship. In a previous Strategic Analysis Paper, tourism was identified as the most important aspect of the Australia-Indonesia economic relationship, from the perspective of Jakarta.

That still holds true when using the updated estimates in Figure 4, which show tourism to be the largest source of revenue for Jakarta when looking at the top three Indonesian goods and services exports to Australia. Additionally, tourism has generally proven to be a more reliable source of income when other exports have slowed due to decreasing demand or falling prices. That may, however, say more about the lack of diversity in the economic relationship than the strength of the Australian tourism market.

Indonesian Tourists in Australia

While Jakarta enjoys significant revenues from Australian tourists, Australia all but misses out on the potential revenue from Indonesian tourists. As seen in Figure 5, the number of Indonesian tourists arriving in Australia has only grown marginally, while tourist arrivals from China have grown significantly and are likely to dominate the market in the future.

The low number of Indonesian tourists coming to Australia raises questions, especially when considering the fact that Australia enjoys significantly more tourism from Indonesia’s neighbours, even though they have much smaller populations. As put by Indonesia Institute President Ross Taylor, ‘When one considers the size of Indonesia and its strong and growing middle class, the figures for travel to all of Australia are also disappointing – we attract a mere 1.03 per cent of the market for overseas travel [specifically those travelling to holiday] from Indonesia’.

One reason for the small numbers of Indonesian tourists coming to Australia is the generally low number of Indonesians who are able, or want, to holiday overseas. Despite having the world’s fourth-largest population, relatively few Indonesians choose to holiday overseas a point that becomes even clearer upon comparing the numbers of Indonesian outbound tourists with those of other high population countries, such as China.

When looking at Figure 6, the low number of Indonesian tourists coming to Australia makes perfect sense: there are fewer Indonesians holidaying in Australia because there are fewer Indonesian tourists in general. Adding other South-East Asian countries, such as Malaysia and Singapore, to the data, however, shows that there are other factors involved. Despite Indonesia having similar numbers of outbound tourists to those countries (at least in raw number terms), Australia attracts twice as many tourists from Singapore and Malaysia as from Indonesia.

One reason for that is strict visa requirements, which do little to attract Indonesian holidaymakers to Australia. For an Indonesian national to holiday in Australia, s/he must obtain a Sub-Class 600 visitor visa. That visa costs $140 per application, requires each applicant to fill out a 12-page form and takes up to 34 days to process. Tourists from Malaysia and Singapore, on the other hand, can apply online for an Electronic Travel Authority (Sub-Class 601), which costs $20 and is processed in less than 24 hours. Indonesians have been able to apply for their visa online since November 2017, but the application cost and documentation requirements remain unchanged. The possibility of the visa application being rejected after paying $140 (with no refund) is a further deterrent.

Remarking on the visa costs for Indonesian tourists, Mr Taylor added that when Indonesia waived its Visa-On-Arrival fee for Australian tourists, it initially cost the government $50 million, but added $145 million to the economy the following year due to a surge in tourists. For Australia, waiving the visa fee for Indonesians coming to holiday here would cost the Australian Government approximately $13.2 million in lost fees per annum. [6] To cover that, Australia would need to attract around eight per cent more Indonesian holidaymakers for each year that the fee is waived. Such a figure can be achieved, as is borne out by at the effects that reduced visa regulations have had on tourism flows in other countries.

Things are looking up for the Indonesian tourism industry. Although challenges such as the lack of infrastructure will need to be addressed, they will not necessarily damage the industry and are more likely to merely restrict its potential. It is unlikely that Indonesia will see twenty million tourists in 2019, despite the strong growth recorded in 2017.

Considering the Australian tourism industry and the lack of Indonesian tourists, however, expensive and bureaucratic visa requirements could be directly hindering the number of arrivals. Unlike the challenges facing Indonesia’s tourism industry, that could be fixed relatively easily to facilitate significantly more Indonesian visitor arrivals in the longer term.

[1] ‘Travel and Tourism: Economic Impact 2017 Indonesia’, World Travel & Tourism Council, 2017, p. 8.

[2] Smith, J., Rizal, S., Wiryawan, A., Boothman, T. and Harrison G., ‘Indonesia Infrastructure: Stable Foundations for Growth’, PwC Indonesia, 2016, pp. 7-10.

[4] ‘The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017: Paving the way for a more Sustainable and Inclusive Future’, Insight Report, World Economic Forum, p. 186.

[5] Hasan, S., et al., ‘Outpacing the Mainstream: State of the Global Islamic Economy Report 2017/18’, 2017, Thomson Reuters, p. 83.

Opal Mining in Coober Pedy: History and Methods

Coober Pedy town sign with blower truck. Opal miners use trucks like these. A vacuum sucks debris into the drum. When full, the drum is emptied, forming enormous mounds of dirt next to open shafts. Photo by Graeme Churchard. Licensed under CC By 2.0.

The history of opal mining in Australia is one of danger, regeneration, and success against great odds. As far back as 4,000 BCE, humans have treasured opals and mined them in various locations, such as Kenya and Hungary. However, due to an unlikely combination of geology, fortuitous finds, and the two world wars, Australia has become the world’s primary source of opal since the 1880s. In the process, a rich opal-mining culture has risen around its mining fields.

Australian opal, 5 cm. Photo by Hannes Grobe. Licensed under CC By-SA 2.5.

Australia produces roughly 95% of the world’s precious opal, including black opal. This most valuable variety is found at Lightning Ridge, the largest producer of opal by value. However, the town of Coober Pedy is the largest producer by mass. Coober Pedy’s culture is so rooted in opal mining that a mining truck is raised on poles above its town sign.

The Beginnings of Opal Mining in Coober Pedy

Around 1915, a teenage boy whose father was gold prospecting discovered opal in Coober Pedy. Although the first opal claim was staked soon after, it took time before opal mining took off in the area. After WWI, returning soldiers, accustomed to living in trenches, drifted to the opal fields to seek their fortune. After WWII, a wave of Europeans left their war-torn countries to take up opal mining in Australia. As a result, sixty percent of the miners living at Coober Pedy today have Southern or Eastern European ancestry. By the 1970s, the opal rush was in full swing.

The name “Coober Pedy” comes from the Aboriginal Australian kupa piti, meaning “boys’ waterhole.” However, another type of hole has become quite a hazard. Over the years, miners have dug over 250,000 shafts, making Coober Pedy a dangerous place for tourists to walk around carelessly.

Sign warning passersby of the danger of falling into mining shafts. Photo © Alan D. Duncan. Used with permission.

The Underground Houses of Coober Pedy

Roughly 1,700 people live in town full-time, working at mining-related jobs. In order to avoid the punishing desert heat, many live in underground houses. Burrowed into hills, these houses require ceilings a minimum of 4 meters high to prevent collapse. Not surprisingly, many homeowners (or home diggers) have found opal while excavating.

Underground house in Coober Pedy. Photo by Nachoman-au. Licensed under CC By-SA 3.0.

In the past, grocery stores sold explosives, and homeowners blasted the sides of their houses to find opal. Sometimes, they even blasted into a neighbor’s home. Mining in residential areas is now banned. However, many miners get around this loophole by “expanding” their houses to build additional guest rooms.

Coober Pedy is also home to underground shops, hotels, and even churches, like the Serbian Orthodox Church of St. Elijah shown here. Photo by Steve Collis. Licensed under CC By 2.0.

Early Mining Methods

For the most part, a small number of miners worked together on opal-mining ventures, rather than large corporations. The earliest miners dug their 3 to 10-meter shafts by hand. In order to prevent the dusty, sun-baked soil from collapsing, they reinforced the walls with timber. They lowered themselves into the shafts with windlasses, then removed the waste soil or mullock via buckets lifted by the windlasses. Miners dug tunnels the old-fashioned way, with shovels, pickaxes, and sometimes with homemade explosives buried in pockets of soil.

With any luck, miners found veins of common opal that twisted and turned throughout the rocks. They followed these veins in hopes that some might become precious opal. More often than not, the veins either disappeared or plunged into untraceable depths.

Blue-green opal veins in ferruginous (iron-rich) rock from Australia, from the collection of the Natural History Museum, London, UK. Photo by Aramgutang. Public Domain.

Occasionally, miners discovered the opalized fossils of prehistoric animals or plants. Over millions of years, these remains had turned into opal material.

Opalized bivalve found in Coober Pedy. Photo by James St. John. Licensed under CC By 2.0.

Modern Mining Methods

Beginning in the 1970s, mechanized opal mining became prevalent. It usually involves advanced equipment such as Calweld drills for shaft digging and tunneling machines or front-end loaders for horizontal tunneling.

Miners use Calweld drills like this one for digging shafts. “Calweld 150-H” by hitchster. Licensed under CC By 2.0.

Automatic bucket tippers or gigantic pipe vacuums transport the mullock excavated by machine or explosives. This soil is then either transported to a drum mounted on a truck (like the one atop the Coober Pedy town sign) to be emptied later or shot out by the vacuum into a pile close to the shaft.

Blower used for mining opal at Coober Pedy. Photo by Bushie. Licensed under CC By 2.0.

Supposedly, an experienced miner can tell from the sound of the vacuum when opal has been found. If miners find precious opal, they must extract it very carefully, since it can be quite fragile.

Mounds of dirt removed from tunnels at Coober Pedy. Photo by Robyn Jay. Licensed under CC By-SA 2.0.

Deciding How to Mine for Opals

Mining always involves assessing investment versus payoff. Some solitary miners choose to start their enterprises small. For example, they lower themselves down abandoned mine shafts using cable cranks or rope ladders attached to their trucks.

In contrast, miners who choose to use advanced methods can dig quickly. They can also dig test shafts before committing to excavating large areas. These miners will sometimes use bulldozers to remove surface layers of dirt, while workers on the side watch for traces of opal and check opal veins for precious material. Other options include jackhammers and dynamite.

Of course, the more advanced the method, the higher the cost and greater the risk of damaging potential opal veins.

Tunnel boring machine with revolving head for digging horizontal tunnels. “Tunnel boring machine KTF 280 (2008),” in the German Mining Museum, Bochum, Germany. Photo by Jochen Teufel. Licensed under CC By-SA 3.0.

The Hazards of Opal Mining

Opal mining is a dangerous venture, especially for those working alone. Tunnels often don’t have enough oxygen, and cave-ins may occur. Sudden storms can also flood them. Workers face extreme heat above ground and claustrophobia below ground. Furthermore, opals occur hidden in veins, pipes, or kernels within rock. Thus, miners can never tell where opal is to be found until they start digging.

The first opal discoveries in Australia were serendipitous. For example, a horse kicked up a lump of opal, or a teenager picked some sparkly stones off the ground. Miners then dug close to these locations. Of the opal found today, 95% is worthless gray, white potch, or common opal without phenomenal properties like play of color.

Personalities and Dreams

Australia’s opal fields abound with stories of spectacular finds and eccentric characters. Many miners left their past lives to seek peace (and opals) in Coober Pedy’s stark terrain. Some had hectic professional careers. Others had a head start on eccentricity. For example, the colorful home of “Crocodile Harry,” one of Coober Pedy’s must-see tourist destinations, belonged to a former crocodile hunter and self-declared Latvian baron in hiding.

An example of the decor at Crocodile Harry’s. “Croc Harry’s Art..” by Ben Copper. Licensed under CC By-ND 2.0.

Of course, here you’ll also find the average miners who dream that the next foot of ground will yield an opal that will make them millionaires. For most, hoping for this jackpot keeps them underground, searching with flashlights for a gleam of color. Sometimes, they’re richly rewarded.

Examples of Coober Pedy Opal

This 3.5 kg beauty, the Olympic Australis opal, was found 10 meters below the surface at Coober Pedy. It’s the most expensive opal in the world. © Opal Auctions. Used with permission.

White opal with matrix found at Coober Pedy. Photo by Dpulitzer. Licensed under CC By-SA 3.0.

Precious opal from Coober Pedy, on display at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Denver, Colorado. Photo by James St. John. Licensed under CC By 2.0.


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