The Great Barrier Reef, Photo credit: Kaamna Bhojwani-Dhawan / International TravelingMom

The Great Barrier Reef, Photo credit: Kaamna Bhojwani-Dhawan / International TravelingMom

It’s Australian Open season – a good time to pay homage to one of my favorite countries in the world! Australia is, so to speak, always open: with mild temperatures in the winter and glorious sunshine in the summer, it’s never a bad time to visit, although the summer is particularly magical. Australia is a must-see destination for those who enjoy great food, beautiful landscapes and some of the warmest people in the world.

When my husband and I moved to Australia in 2008, I had never even visited. By the time we left two years later, I was heartbroken for having to leave one of most life-loving countries in the world. Here are my top 9 reasons to visit Australia, the land Down Under:

  1. The Great Barrier Reef, Photo credit: Kaamna Bhojwani-Dhawan / International TravelingMom

    The Great Barrier Reef, Photo credit: Kaamna Bhojwani-Dhawan / International TravelingMom

    The beaches: If you are a water lover, Australia cannot be beaten! Enjoy the scene at city beaches like Bondi, or drive around literally anywhere to find your own secluded piece of coastal paradise. The Aussies live their lives by the water: in the summer, everyone is on the beach by 5pm on weekdays and all day on weekends. Even in the winter, surfers don their wetsuits and hit the waves!

  1. The wildlife: A walk through the Sydney aquarium or zoo will make you feel like you are on another planet! Whole species that are exclusive to Australia will blow your mind: platypus, wallabies, and of course, the more popular kangaroos and koalas! Get your kids to spot, nay, spell koo-ka-burrah!
  1. The Great Barrier Reef, Photo credit: Kaamna Bhojwani-Dhawan / International TravelingMom

    The Great Barrier Reef, Photo credit: Kaamna Bhojwani-Dhawan / International TravelingMom

    The lifestyle: The Aussies truly work-to-live. The most popular phrases in Australian are “g’day” and “no worries” and they really take both to heart! Australia is a developed and wealthy country; people’s basic needs are largely fulfilled and the quality of life is high. Aussies don’t bother much with global politics and are often thankful for their remote location in the world. As a result, the people are warm and friendly and on a good day at the beach, life does actually seem without worries!

  1. Kid-friendliness: In keeping with the general love-for-life mindset, Australia is also very child-friendly. Restaurants, parks, and cafes are dotted with little ones everywhere, and babies are set free on the beach as soon as they can hold their holds up. Support for new mothers is excellent, with early childhood centers set up as a free resource in every neighborhood. Further, Australia is not a very transient country, which means that generations often grow up in the same town, making family life a central part of the Aussie culture.
  1. The Great Barrier Reef, Photo credit: Kaamna Bhojwani-Dhawan / International TravelingMom

    The Great Barrier Reef, Photo credit: Kaamna Bhojwani-Dhawan / International TravelingMom

    The fashion: This is primarily applicable in the big cities but Australian fashion in wildly underexposed on the global scene, due to its minimalist marketing (very Aussie) and small production. Find catwalk-worthy pieces at Scanlan Theodore, Sass & Bide, Camilla and Marc, and Arthur Galan. Melbourne is particularly noted for its boutique-scene. Very exclusive and on-trend.

  1. The food: Australians take their food very seriously. From their “shrimp on the barbie” to grilled kangaroo (yep, it’s a delicacy), anything that can be thrown on a barbeque must be cooked to perfection. In addition, due to the large Asian population, you will find some of the best Chinese, Thai, and Japanese food in the world, in my opinion. Not to be left out, of course, is the seafood, which is fresh, and magnificent, and exotic and served any way you like it. Finally, don’t forget a late-night pie, an Aussie favorite, and left over from the British colonial rule.
  1. The Great Barrier Reef, Photo credit: Kaamna Bhojwani-Dhawan / International TravelingMom

    The Great Barrier Reef, Photo credit: Kaamna Bhojwani-Dhawan / International TravelingMom

    The language: Aussie-isms are very catchy and in no time you will find yourself saying “haya goin’?” (instead of “how you doing?), or “fair dinkum”!

  1. The celebs: You may not know that some of the world’s largest celebs are Australian. Although they travel a lot and maintain residences in LA or NY, when they come home, they act just like the locals. Catch Hugh Jackman running on Bronte Beach, Nicole Kidman strolling with her kids in the Botanical Gardens, Russell Crowe visiting his apartment in Woolloomoolloo, and Cate Blanchett picking up her kids at school!
  1. New Zealand! The Aussies are not going to like that I put this on, but New Zealand does have some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world (brought to the world’s notice in the Lord of the Rings trilogy). New Zealand is an easy three-hour flight from Sydney and despite the rivalry between the two countries (primarily in football, but also in other things such as wine), Aussies and Kiwis make the most of what the other country has to offer.

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