Australia is a fixture on the Queer map thanks to its great climate and laidback lifestyle. Sydney is Australia’s gay-friendly capital, especially in March when hundreds of thousands of people pour in for the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras. Despite its reputation as a macho culture, the country revels in a large and active scene: you’ll find an air of confidence and a sense of community that is often missing in other parts of the world.

Sydney is the jewel in Australia’s navel. Famous as one of the world’s great gay cities, it attracts lesbian and gay visitors from around the world. Melbourne closely follows, but there are scenes in Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and to a lesser extent Perth, Adelaide, Hobart and Darwin.

Away from the cities, things get more discreet, but a lot of country areas do have friendly local scenes – impossible to pinpoint, but easy to stumble across. However, Outback mainstays of mining and cattle ranching are not famed for their tolerance of homosexuality, so tread carefully in remote destinations.

Gay and lesbian contacts

Pinkboard . Popular, long-running website with useful “Graffiti Walls” full of parties, personal ads and classifieds sections with everything from house-shares, party tickets for sale, employment, and a help and advice section. Posting ads is free.

The Pink Directory . Online directory of gay and lesbian business and community information.

DNA . The nation’s best-selling Queer title, an upmarket lifestyle magazine for gay men.

Tourist services and travel agents

GALTA (Gay and Lesbian Tourism Australia) . An online resource and nonprofit organization that promotes the gay and lesbian tourism industry with good links.

Gay Travel . Online travel agent, concentrating mostly on accommodation.

International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association . Trade group with lists of gay-owned or gay-friendly travel businesses.

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