It is very refreshing to see people asking these kind of questions BEFORE parting with their hard earned cash! Forums like this are great value!
My 10c worth....
If you love granite, go for it, but buy carefully. Sure you can buy cheaper from certain outlets, but scrutinise the products quality and the suppliers' reputation first. Do your homework!
If you buy granite, have it sealed with a quality sealer, as it IS POROUS and can stain. Aquamix make the finest stonecare products available, so go to www.aquamix.com.au and find your local trained applicator. (If in Perth I can help you, so email me).
Good advice from Michelle there..... don't be flippant about hot pots on ANY surface.
It is worth comparing granite surfaces with some of the quality agglomerate surfaces that are available these days. I chose DuPont Corian for my benchtops at home. They are beautiful and functional. They are not porous, so won't stain and can be buffed and polished. We did have one section develop a crack on ours after a few years, and they sent a technician to repair it. It was repaired perfectly and invisibly under warranty. As Michelle said, look at Corian, Caesarstone or other similar products and compare all these with granite.
One thing to be careful of... granite should not be made with a large overhang, as with much weight on it, the worst can happen. But a good supplier should be able to specify and advise for your project.
Another thing, be wary of 'fake' black granite. (There are some other stone products sold as black granite that is NOT black granite, and is acid sensitive.
Oh, and timber is a dumb choice for benchtops, as are tiles.
Hope that helps!