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Some facts about Australia's economy seem hard to believe, but they're true. Up until the global financial crisis in 2008, Australia hadn't had a recession in 17 years, and since its growth barely turned negative for a quarter, you could argue it still hasn't had one.

China's rapid growth over the past two decades, its growing need for industrial metals and commodities, and Australia's close proximity have certainly helped to fuel this boom. The same growth spurt has helped transform BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto into the megacap giants they are today and compelled Royal Dutch Shell and other energy companies to make significant investments to develop coal seam gas properties.

Next week, our Global Gains research team is making the 20-hour-plus flight to the Lucky Country to make our own assessment of the Australian economy, meet with company management teams, and assess potential investment opportunities. While we're there, we also plan to meet with a few economists to get a better handle on Australia's housing market and if there's a growing housing bubble.

We want to hear from you
We have a full itinerary, but we also plan to have some fun. While we're there, we should have one or two days to relax and take in the country. We've done some asking around and searching on our own, but we want to hear from you, too.

If you've been to Australia or know someone who has, tell us what we should do or what we absolutely shouldn't miss while we're there. Sights, sounds, activities, food and drink, and interesting quirks of the Australian economy are all on the table. If there's something you think we absolutely must experience while we're Down Under, let us know in the comments below. We look forward to reading your suggestions!

As always, we'll be releasing a special report with our top picks from the trip upon our return home. But if you'd like to follow along with us in real-time, simply enter your email in the box below. That way, we'll be sure to send you all of our notes from the field as we take them.

Nathan Parmelee is a co-advisor for Global Gains. He has no ownership position in any of the companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (11) | Recommend This Article (5)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On February 11, 2011, at 3:02 PM, millsbob wrote:

    i've been to Australia twice, including to WA. which makes me hardly an expert.

    but 1-2 Days?!?!?! you are aware that Australia is continent-sized, right? it's about as far from Sydney to Perth as from NYC to LA.

    on a substantive note, i'm dismayed to see All of your posts thus far focusing on commodities, minerals, and the like. Australia is so much more than that, and has, i think, more potential being seen as a remote ultra-modern economy than as a colony to be exploited for its resources.

  • Report this Comment On February 11, 2011, at 3:43 PM, TMFPeterV wrote:

    I've spent time in Australia though not as much as I'd like. Yes, Australia is huge:

    You might take the ferry to Taronga Zoo ( which has a stunning site on the harbour. It's expensive at A$43 but where else will you see kangaroos, emus and koalas?

    The Sydney Aquarium is world class

    and at some point you must go to one of the beaches. Bondi is the most famous and closest to the city but if you go to Manly you get to take the ferry along the main section of the harbour.

    After strolling around The Rocks, walk across the Harbour Bridge, preferably stopping at the south-east pylon where the view from the top is spectacular. You can take the train back to town from Milsons Point.

    Go to the supermarket and buy Tim Tams in the biscuit (cookie) section. Lots of them.

  • Report this Comment On February 11, 2011, at 5:46 PM, mikendall wrote:

    I used to do business there. Great people.

    Go up to The Great Barrier Reef. Go out to one of the resorts and take a boat ride, snorkle or scuba.

    If you should get to Perth take a boat out to Rottnest Island. Rent a bike and peddle through the Quakas(small kangaroos), then stop at the Pup for a beer or two.

    Great beaches.

    Relax at an outdoor beer garden and enjoy the Sheelas.

    So much to see, so little time!

    Enjoy it Mate.

  • Report this Comment On February 11, 2011, at 6:13 PM, longhorns71 wrote:

    Your trip can be one in a lifetime...on my 3 trips there the women (I must say beautiful in all respects) pretty much dominated the trip when the original purpose was purely business. They love Americans because they (we) treat them w/ respect and I am looking forward to at least a minimal report from you upon your return. Have a great trip! JBG

  • Report this Comment On February 11, 2011, at 8:47 PM, schoenhofer wrote:

    I am an Australian living in USA for the past 21 years and delighted to hear that the MF has chosen to visit the wonderful land down under! It seems you are only visiting Sydney, I am from Victoria so wish you had time to go to the cultural capital of Australia, Melbourne. But while in Sydney, try to go on a trip to the Blue Mountains, breath- taking scenery. If there is any chance you can see kangaroos and koalas in the wild rather than in a zoo do- it makes all the difference ! Looking forward to news of your travels and investing ideas.

  • Report this Comment On February 11, 2011, at 10:23 PM, john795806 wrote:

    Nathan, what a job you have. I wish my "due diligence" involved trips like this one!

  • Report this Comment On February 12, 2011, at 8:47 AM, woolibulli wrote:

    I spent six years in Sydney in the 70's. Wish I had stayed. One or two days won't do much, except a good visit in Sydney. See the Rocks, Bondi or Cronulla beach. Ride the ferry to Taronga, Hydrofoil to Manly. You would have to drive out in the 'bush' to see the kangas in the wild. More time, you should see Uluru (Ayers Rock), Tasmania, Barrier Reef... It's a BIG country. Hard to forget, I've been married to an Aussie for 37 years!

  • Report this Comment On February 12, 2011, at 5:14 PM, beakyou wrote:

    My son recently moved to Sydney.He works for American Express, his email is, and he would be happy to give you tips on cool stuff to see and do.

  • Report this Comment On February 13, 2011, at 3:36 AM, rlcato wrote:

    I live in Australia. You need more than 2 days to take in Australia. Oprah was down here on tour about a month ago. She stayed in Sydney and Melbourne. Because she had a private plane, she was able to take in many sights around the country like the Gold Coast, Uluru (Ayers Rock) in central Australia, several beaches, yacht sailing in Sydney Harbour, walking across the Sydney Harbour bridge, She didn't make it to Tasmania or W. Australia. You can do those things IF you have a private jet and more time.

    Right now, Queensland northern NSW and parts of Victoria had some serious storms mostly floods. Don't bother going to Queensland right now - until next year. They're in the mist of a BIG clean-up due to Cyclones and floods.

    Last, the dollar is on par with the US dollar: 1:1. It will cost you more to spend here. Cash moves extremely fast here than in the US. You'll be living off plastic.

    It's a BIG country so enjoy.

  • Report this Comment On February 14, 2011, at 4:54 PM, hendyc wrote:

    I relocated through my employer IBM from London to the Perth, Western Australia just over 2 years ago. For me the career growth opportunities were huge, the pace and size of development here was mind blowing. I moved across in the middle of 2008. The GFC was seriously effecting the UK at that time, when we arrived in Perth it was on the news but it was hardly noticeable.

    The large capital projects that were streaming ahead used the opportunity to regroup and take a breath. They are now back on track and preparing to spend there own private stimulus packages in excessive of $200 billion on mineral and hydrocarbon development projects just in Western Australia alone. WA has a population of just over 2 million so that a lot per person. This is what is drive the skills shortage now and the ever inflating wages.

    So the economy is about to boom, in Western Australia at least, the work is exciting and on a very large scale and the life style and living is amazing. Compared to the UK there's always sunshine.

    The beaches in Western Australia have white beautiful sand, and I would recommend going to Fremantle of a beautiful evening dinner and watching the sunset over the ocean. Little Creates is a micro brewery it server a cool beer and great food.

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2011, at 12:17 PM, ttryon wrote:

    While you're in Melbourne, look up a company by the name of Close the Loop. Their business is cartridge recycling and they are doing great things for the environment. Their goal is zero waste resource recovery. They can be reached at 0399308600; their CEO is Greg Turnidge. This is a company I greatly admire. Have a good trip.

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