Apart from today's Melbourne Cup, another reason for jetsetters, kibitzers, stargazers and what nots to pack their bags and travel to Australia is the highly anticipated total solar eclipse on November 14, an hour after sunrise (afternoon of Tuesday, November 13, in the United States).
The country's tourism sector is agog with preparations as more than 50,000 tourists, over half of which are foreigners, will fly into Australia to witness the celestial phenomenon. Most will likely book in accommodations located in the Cairns-Port Douglas area in Queensland, where the view, expected to last just over two minutes, will be most spectacular.
Some hotels have been reported heavily booked in as early as three years ago just for November 14 spectacle. About 5,000 tourists are expected to stay in campers.
The visual treat, where the Moon conceals the Sun, and day turns to night, will be viewed from boats, trains, land and even from hot air balloons.
The huge event has likewise perked up NASA scientists to facilitate a live-streaming that will be fed to an estimated 20 million to 300 million viewers around the world.
A huge musical lineup of the world's leading musicians and DJs, outstanding artists and decor crews has likewise been organised by The Eclipse 2012 -Total Solar Eclipse Festival, along with dedicated workshops and intentional healing space, extensive food and market stalls.
After the actual event, the tourists are expected to expand their itinerary while in Australia, possibly going to other tourist destinations such as the Kakadu National Park, Yellow Water Billabong, Nourlangie Rock and ancient rock sites in Uluru, or even to the Great Barrier Reef, which is near the region of Cairns.