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Why: Besides being full of unbelievably friendly (and active) folks, there are a host of reasons to consider staging your nuptials in Australia. The land "down unda" features gorgeous landscapes -- from urban cities to the rugged Outback to the unforgettable Great Barrier reef -- as well as upscale eateries influenced by Europe, Asian, and home-grown spicing. And the local wines are world-class; try a cordon, shiraz, or a merlot.
When to go: The climate tends to be balmy, and without extremes, since most cities are on oceans. During the summer (December to March) some areas can be fantastically hot. Be sure to pack sunscreen, sunglasses, and rain protection all year long.
Guest activities: Check out the Great Barrier Reef off Queensland or the Ningaloo Reef out west for unbeatable scuba diving or snorkeling. The Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast offer jet skiing, parasailing, water-skiing, and windsurfing for your active guests, or thrill seekers can go whitewater rafting in Tasmania or take a four-wheel trek through the Outback. For guests who like their adventures a bit more contained, Australia boasts several amazing zoos, or visit Kangaroo Island for wildlife packed with seals, sea lions, wallabies, black swans, pink lorikeets, and, of course, kangaroos. For a truly aboriginal experience, sign up for a guided walk with a native. (And don't be afraid to eat the bugs if your guide suggests it -- if you dare!)
Best spot for weddings:
Park Hyatt Melbourne (Melbourne.Park.Hyatt.com) Let the Hyatt's professional staff take care of every wedding detail from flowers to music to so much more. They offer catering services and meeting advisors to ensure every detail goes smoothly. They even offer complimentary nights at the Hyatt Resort of your choice based on the wedding package you choose -- up to five free nights!