Tourism Australia's top 10 most liked Facebook photos
1. Kangaroo Bob, September 3, 2013. 195,404 likes. "Bob's had a lot on his mind lately, so he took some time out to chill in his local park. Photo: Michael Baynes flickr/michaelbaynes87 at Australia Zoo.
When it comes to popularity on Facebook, Australia's cute critters, along with Sydney's iconic harbour, are the top of the heap.
Koalas, kangaroos and the Sydney Harbour Bridge are the most popular Aussie icons with the millions of fans who visit Tourism Australia's phenomenally successful Facebook page.
With 5.1 million Facebook fans and 363,000 Instagram followers, Tourism Australia is the most followed tourism board or destination site in the world and the number one most-liked Facebook page in Australia.
More than 900 photos are sent in by fans daily, the most popular being of "Kangaroo Bob", a chilled-out roo lying on his back on green grass with his eyes closed at Australia Zoo in Queensland, which has received more than 195,000 'likes' on Facebook.
"Makes me want to get back to Oz even more," one comment says. Another chimes in: "At first glance, I thought it was my hubby ... then I noticed the absence of the TV remote in his right hand."
Another of the popular images posted by Tourism Australia is of two wide-eyed koalas pressing their faces together in the fork of a tree.
"That photo was taken on a mobile phone by staff at Taronga Zoo," says Tourism Australia's social media and advocacy manager Jesse Desjardins. "It was a case of being in the right place at the right time and that's how a lot of our photos come in these days. We are now capturing photos on mobile phones that could have been missed previously."
He says the photos - other popular shots include the Opera House and beach scenes - are a key element to the success of Tourism Australia's social media profile.
"The imagery definitely helps. We are fortunate in Australia to have all the iconic landmarks and animals and the nature. That is what people respond to well."
But it's not just overseas fans who are flocking to the Facebook page. Of the 5.1 million, it's calculated that 1.3 million live in Australia.
"They are the ones taking the photos, along with travellers from overseas and the tourism industry," Mr Desjardins says. "Australians have got right behind the page and are also acting as our experts by answering questions."
Sydney photographer Richard Hirst took three of the top 10 most liked photos, showing views of Sydney Harbour.
"I get up every morning and shoot the sun rise at the beaches (around Bondi and Bronte) and the sunset at harbour," he said. "It's really nice to be able to share that with people around the world and to get their comments. Each week I see the most amazing sites. I'm happy to play my part in promoting Australia."
Despite the strong Australian dollar, international visitor numbers have continued to grow in the past year, bolstered by increasing tourist numbers from China.
The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported there were 6.4 million for the year ending October 2013, an increase of 5.4 per cent on the previous year.
In the 10 months to October, visitors from China were up 18 per cent on the same period last year, to 607,800, with visitors from India up 9.5 per cent and similar increases for visitors from Singapore and Malaysia.