Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Destination Wedding Locations: Australia

If you've always wanted to discover what a "Vegi-Mite" sandwich was or just scuba dive to one of the world's most incredible reefs, Australia might just be the destination wedding and honeymoon site for you.

Wedding Logistics
Australia has no blood test or residency requirement for brides and grooms. There is, however a thirty-one-day filing period for document processing. You can get all the necessary documents from one of the seven Australian consulates in the United States. To get the number of the closest consulate to you, call the Australian embassy in Washington, D.G., at 202-797-3000.
Different states in Australia have varying marriage license requirements. Some states like Victoria and Tasmania require an additional fee if the wedding is over the weekend or in a special venue such as a park or restaurant.

Best Time to Go
Australia's seasons are the reverse of ours here in the States. Hence, the prime summer season runs from December through March. Winter begins in July. The closer to the equator (or further north) you are, the stronger the sun. Of course, there are wide variations in climate from region to region. For example, southern Australia's climate is more temperate, while the northern third of the country is tropical. Temperatures in Sydney average in the low to high 70s, with hotter readings in the summer. By contrast, Queensland in the north has temperatures in the 80s.

Costs, Accommodations, and Getting Around
The best bargains may be the many air/hotel packages that are offered by tour companies. Airfare alone from Los Angeles can run $1200 per person in the high season. Contrast that to package deals that start at $ 1500 for both air and hotel.

For example, a sojourn to the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland at the Kwarra Beach resort runs $1598 per person. That price includes round-trip airfare from Los Angeles, five nights of luxury accommodations with all.breakfasts, cruises to the outer reef, three dinners, and one lunch. This tour, offered by Expanding Horizons (800-421-6416), is a best buy.

Want to take in Sydney, too? A fourteen-day package (offered by Swain Australia Tours, 800-227-9246) to both Sydney and the Great Barrier Reef runs $6300 per couple. That includes five nights- on Hayman Island at the Great Barrier .Reefs, outer reef excursions, four nights in Sydney at the Park Lane Hotel, a Sydney Harbor cruise, three nights at Silky Oaks Lodge in the. rain forests and, if that weren't enough, a rain-forest safari. The price also includes airfare. You can even get married on Hayman Island—the wedding package includes a justice of the peace, live music, and a reception.

What Makes it Special
The tremendous variety of sights and things to do makes Australia a fascinating honeymoon site. From cosmopolitan Sydney to the "garden city of Melbourne" (whose botanic gardens feature exotic plants and nineteenth-century landscaping), you can have a "civilized" trip or go for a little adventure. The island of Tasmania has lots of bed-and-breakfast inns and. rolling pastures and herds of sheep, similar, to pastoral parts of England. The northern territory is rugged and dry, highlighted by the aboriginal paintings and rock formations of Kakadu National Park. Gawler Range Wilderness Safaris (086/802020) offers safaris into South Australia's Gawler Mountain range. There aren't any roads, but lots of wildlife makes the rugged travel worth it.

Insider Travel Tips
The plane ride is a very long seventeen to eighteen hours. You may want to break up the flight with a stay in Los Angeles (if you are travelling from the East Coast) or in Hawaii.

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