Just got back from a pretty remarkable and amazing journey to Australia. Damn, it's far! But it's seriously worth the journey.
Sydney is an incredible city. Beautiful, clean, lots of culture, great food. But it's not where I spent my time. I spend my time on Hayman Island and Hamilton Island.
The trip went like this: it was Los Angeles to Sydney: 14 hours. A 3 hour layover in Sydney. Then a 2 hour flight from Hamilton Island to Hayman Island. And a 1 hour journey on a yacht to the private island of Hayman in the Great Barrier Reef. Practically the middle of nowhere...but trust me, it was worth it. Nothing was so beautiful as to what I witnessed there with my eyes.
Australian people are incredibly kind, too, everywhere I went. I also had an opportunity to hold a koala in my arms and pet a kangaroo; the cockatoos are beautiful and everywhere.
So I highly recommend that you find a time in your life to make a visit. It's pretty magical.
P.S. I still don't understand the time difference though--17 hours forward, behind, sideways...I never knew what time it was back home. But it didn't matter because I was in Australia.