Golfers play year-round, but the best time to visit is early October through late April, when the weather is most reliable—mild temps and little rain. In Queensland, however, avoid the heat and crowds there December through February. Remember, winter in the States is summer Down Under. The best way to travel between cities is to fly. Try Qantas Airways (800-227-4500) or Ansett Australia (800-262-1234). Driving (on the left) is easy in Melbourne and Queensland, but parking is difficult in Sydney, where car services and taxis are better options.
Events: Australia Grand Prix (March); Melbourne Cup (November). Sea It: Take a tram to seaside St. Kilda; nosh along Acland Street. Shop: The Queen Victoria Market has everything from kangaroo pâté to rare Men at Work records. Surf: Visit Bells Beach to watch or ride the waves. Walk: See the Phillip Island Penguin Parade (011-613-5951-2800).
Aquarium: Take the kids to the Sydney Aquarium (011-612-9262-2300), the country's premier fish-watching venue after the Reef. Bridge Climb: Suit up, clip in and clamber up the city's famous Harbour Bridge (011-612-8274-7777; bridgeclimb.com). Events: Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race (December 26); Open Air Cinema (December-February); and a wild Mardi Gras (February). Shop: Find aboriginal artifacts and Akubra hats on George Street in The Rocks. Explore Oxford Street's antiques and boutiques. Surf: Learn to surf in a two-hour lesson at the Manly Surf School (011-612-9977-6977; manlysurfschool.com). Walk: Cross the sand and cliffs from Bondi Beach to Clovelly Beach.
Daintree National Park: One of the most active rain forests on earth; go with Native Guide Safari Tours (011-617-4098-2206). Events: Lizard Island's Black Marlin Classic (October). Snorkel and Dive: Green Island is all coral, all the time. Great Adventures (011-617-4044-9944) runs transfers from the mainland three times daily. Whitsunday Islands: Seventy-four fabulous islands. Bait Reef may be the best place to experience the Great Barrier Reef. Many of the charter companies on Shute Harbour Road in Airlie Beach offer heli-flights.