This was our first trip to Australia and it exceeded our expectations in every way. The natural beauty of Australia and its beautiful cities were only surpassed by the friendliness of Australian people.
We were also very lucky and had pefect weather everywhere we went. The Austrlian winter (North American summer) is definitely the time to go to the Great Barrier Reef. (In the Australian summer the GBR gets pretty hot and the stinging jelly fish are apparently everywhere.) Melbourne with its chilly, fall-like temps was a wonderful change from summer in DC and the weather in Sydney was perfect for walking around and enjoying the city. The winter shadows also made for some beautiful views throughout our trip.
The quality of life in Australia makes it a little hard to come back to the crumbling, crime-ridden streets of the 'richest' country in the world. Australians may be taxed to high heaven, but at least they have something to show for it.
Now if I could only get over this killer jet lag...