I’m absolutely delighted to be here tonight launching Tourism Australia’s Coastal and Aquatic Campaign here in New York. After all, how timely is this? As New Yorkers are still freezing through one of the biggest blizzards in decades, and we are launching a campaign to bring New Yorkers to Australia, where - let’s face it - it’s summer. We know that there are New Yorkers dreaming of the hot sun, of white beaches, and of warm water.

It’s hard to sum up perfectly the attractiveness of Australia’s beaches and aquatic experiences, but let me try.

Think of this. Eight out of ten Australians live near the coastline. Seven of our eight capital cities are situated on the coast. So we are a nation of beachgoers.

For many Australians, every day begins - summer or winter - with a jog in the soft sand on a beach somewhere, or a stroll in the shallow waters, or an invigorating ocean swim. Our bright blue massive sky compels you to be outdoors. So swimmers, surfers, scuba divers, snorkelers all think it’s paradise. Our pristine beaches are in remote parts around Australia. Our prominent beaches have fabulous cafes and restaurants and we have world-class resorts.

So Australia is home to some of the best beaches and aquatic experiences in the world. From Cottesloe Beach in my home town of Perth, to Rottnest Island, Cable Beach in Broome; to Katherine Gorge in the Northern Territory; the Gold Coast and Noosa, Queensland; Byron Bay, Manly Beach, Bondi Beach in New South Wales; to Bells surf beach and the Great Ocean Road in Victoria; Wineglass Bay in Tasmania; Kangaroo Island in South Australia, we have an experience for everybody. It’s paradise on earth.

But the greatest of all, of course, is the Great Barrier Reef, the largest living natural wonder. You can see it from space - 2,300 kilometres of coral reef, the largest in the world; 600 types of coral; 1600 different species of fish; 3000 different types of mollusks, and 30 species of whales and dolphins. This is one of the most extraordinary places on earth, and no visit to Australia should be contemplated without staying at one of the world-class resorts or the Great Barrier Reef.

So we can offer an amazing experience for anyone who will be inspired by our beautiful beaches and aquatic experiences. Swimmers and surfers, scuba divers, dreamers, poets and lovers have all been inspired by the Australian coastline.

I cannot think of a more perfect ambassador for this campaign than the wonderful, fabulous Chris Hemsworth, who lives in Byron Bay, who understands our outdoor lifestyle. I recall once him telling me he missed a really important audition because he was surfing. Who could blame him?

So, Americans, New Yorkers, Australia waits for you with a very warm welcome.

Thank you.

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