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Know Your Australian Sister Cities

Have you ever heard the expression “Sister City?” Many cities and towns around the world have sister city arrangements with other similar cities, in which they share culture and resources and build strong diplomatic relationships. All of Australia’s major cities have sister cities around the world, in countries as various as Japan, the United States, Greece, Ireland, China and more.

In fact, there are so many sister cities associated with Australian locales that it’s quite possible to plan an entire holiday around visiting the sister cities of your hometown – or perhaps combining a visit to a city here in Australia, with its sister across the globe.

Gold Coast Sister Cities

Those planning Gold Coast holidays probably expect to enjoy the area’s sandy beaches, subtropical climate, excellent surfing and a visit to one of the world’s greatest rainforests. But what many visitors to the area might not realize is that Gold Coast City has a sister city arrangement with another popular beach town: Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Once the premiere destination for college students looking to let loose while on break from school, Fort Lauderdale has come a long way from being a hotbed of risqué beach contests and out-of-control partygoers. Just north of Miami, Florida, Fort Lauderdale offers pristine beaches, crystal clear water and a warm climate all year-round. Combined with luxury accommodations, plenty of restaurants and nightlife and easy access to world-class theme parks (Disney World is just a few hours away by car), a trip to this sister city is bound to please the entire family.

If beaches and bars aren’t what you’re looking for (or a trip to the States is a little too far-flung), then consider a visit to Gold Coast’s Taiwanese sister city, Taipei. As Taiwan’s business and cultural center and the most populous city on the island, Taipei mixes the ancient with the modern, offering visitors the chance to both explore sacred temples and experience local culture, while enjoying up-to-date conveniences and exceptional shopping opportunities. Taipei is also a sister city to Perth, on Australia’s west coast, meaning that Australians will be welcomed with open arms on their visit to this tiny island nation.

China Cities

Cities from all over Australia have sister city relationships with cities in China, making China a foremost destination not only for the exceptional cultural experience, but also to experience the relationship between one of China’s cities and your own home city. Sydney for example, has an agreement with Guangzhou, just north of Hong Kong. Guangzhou is the site of the “Eight Sights,” a collection of attractions highlighting each of China’s eight ruling dynasties, including museums, gardens, monuments and parks.

Darwin is another city with strong ties to China. The coastal city of Haikou, Darwin’s sister city, is home to many museums and monuments and is a popular stop for a great deal of tourists visiting China. Tianjin, in northern China, is a sister city to Melbourne. Just outside of Beijing, Tianjin is one of China’s largest cities and offers plenty of historical and cultural attractions for intellectually curious visitors.

European Cities

It can’t be ignored that several prominent Australian cities also have relationships with European locales. Gold Coast City is associated with Corfu, Greece, an island in the midst of the Ionian Sea. A popular stop for cruise ships, Corfu also boasts several seaside resorts, making it an ideal vacation spot for those wanting to escape the frigid winter temps for somewhere warm. Perth is also associated with two Greek cities: Rhodes, located along the Aegean Sea with an abundance of ancient sites that will put visitors in the mindset of Homer and Megisti, in the eastern Mediterranean. Megisti’s memorable residents alone are enough to lure guests in.

Sydney is associated with several major European cities, including Paris, Rome and Florence, Italy. Why not take a European tour to visit some of these world-class cities and bring a little Australian goodwill to the European continent?

While sister city relationships are largely symbolic and chiefly focused on the sharing of ideas and information, they are a great place to start planning your winter holidays. Visiting the sister city of your hometown – or another Australian city – will give you a sense of pride and a new understanding of the world around you.

This article was provided by Andrew Mickey.  Andrew is a freelance writer and travel enthusiast who currently lives in Sydney. Image by Cimexus

1 Comment

  • Writ
    Posted July 31, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    This is a cool idea. I’ve always wanted to visit China….our relationship with China just gives me another excuse!

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