Speaking on Thursday at the opening of Australia Day celebrations, the Prince said both his parents had fond memories of time spent in the land Down Under, especially his mother, the late Princess Diana.
“I remember my mother coming back from her time here in 1996, telling me what a profound impression this country had made on her and how much she loved Australia,” Prince William said.
“Three days here and I now know why.”
Prince William says his experience of Australia has also echoed that of his father, Prince Charles.
“My father had such a good time at school here and is still misty-eyed about an immortal moment on Bondi, when an Australian beauty planted a smack on his cheek,” the Prince joked.
“It’s good to see this tradition is continuing,” he added, referring to the affectionate approaches of Australian women on his tour.
But Prince William says the most exuberant royal endorsement of Australia comes from his brother, Harry.
“Of course there’s that other guy with the ginger hair, who just never ever stops banging on about you,” Prince William said to general laughter.
“And [he says] that I haven’t lived because I haven’t been to Australia, blah blah blah.”
On the final full day of his Australian visit, the Prince travelled to townships north of Melbourne to meet survivors of last year’s deadly Black Saturday bushfires, which killed 173 people.
He says the royal family was devastated by that tragedy, but the Australian spirit managed to shine through.
“My family, along with millions around the world, followed the events of last February with a sense of horror which slowly, as the days passed, turned to one of deep, deep admiration for the steadfastness of the Australian people,” the Prince said.
“On the outskirts of Melbourne, I was privileged to see the spirit of Australia in its purest, most magnificent form.”
But he ended his speech with a small regret.
“I only wish I had a bit more time in Melbourne, this legendary city of sport and culture,” he said.
“But if I may, I’ll be back.”
On Thursday morning the Prince visited Whittlesea, where he was greeted by a large crowd of enthusiastic well-wishers, before heading to Flowerdale.
There he was the guest of honour at a barbecue lunch, where he chatted with locals next to a block of temporary housing for those who lost their homes in the bushfires.
That night the Prince was in the stands at Rod Laver Arena admiring Swiss tennis ace Roger Federer during his straight-sets win over Romania’s Victor Hanescu in a second-round match.