Australia is a paradise to travellers as it is abundant in natural resources and comes complete with quirky wildlife, lush rainforests, bountiful national parks, pristine beaches, and hot deserts. The tales of the aboriginal tribes and the remarkable cultural sites make it more intriguing for curious explorers. With the wealth of attractions to see and experience, it can be overwhelming to choose which sites to visit. While it is impossible to go to all the top-rated destinations in one trip, here are places and activities you should not miss.
BEST PLACES TO VISIT
Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef always takes the top spot of the must-see spots in Australia. After all, it is the country’s pride — the largest coral reef in the world, with over 2,900 separate reefs in 900 islands. It is located in the Coral Sea and can be seen from outer space. It is a popular tourist destination, especially for diving enthusiasts. If you want to view the reefs, you can book boat tours and cruises. You also have the option to ride glass-bottomed boats and underwater flights. You may want to go snorkelling or diving to make the most out of your experience.
Also called Ayers Rock, Uluru is a big chunk of sandstone considered the world’s largest single rock monolith. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is sacred to the Anangu, the Aboriginal people in the area. You can walk around established tracks, hike the Kings Canyon, experience the domes of Kata Tjuta, or dine on a starry night at these fine dining restaurants: Sounds of Silence, and Under a Desert Moon. Walking is not the only way to enjoy Uluru, for you can also see it from above through luxury jet tours or helicopter rides.
The Outback is a secluded, expansive, barely populated area of Australia. These regions extend from the Northern Territory to the centre of South Australia, covering 3,000 kilometres and more than 15 national parks. It is a vast formation of landscapes, wetlands, and floodplains. The top attractions to check out include Nitmiluk National Park, Yellow Water Wetlands, the ancient Aboriginal rock art, and the wilderness of the Flinders Ranges.
Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road is a 240-kilometre road along the south-eastern coast and is considered the largest war memorial in the world. It is home to the Twelve Apostles, a prominent landmark in the country. This Australian National Heritage is the annual Great Ocean Road Marathon site. The Great Ocean Walk trail is perfect for exploring the eco-friendly facilities in the area.
Wineglass Bay — part of the Freycinet Peninsula in Freycinet National Park, Tasmania — is a magnificent bay known for its pink and red granite formations and white sand beaches. The crescent-shaped beach is one of the top beaches in the world due to its natural beauty and incredible weather. An aerial view of the bay lets you fully appreciate the picturesque landscape. Camping, wildlife and bird watching, scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, and rock climbing are just some of the fun things to do here.
Broome is a coastal town in the Kimberley region of Australia and is known for its beaches and pearling industry. Among the iconic experiences the town offers, you must try a camel caravan along the Cable Beach or go for a pearl farm tour. You can also visit the Matso’s Brewery or witness the Staircase to the Moon at Roebuck Bay.
Australia is gifted with pink lakes, including Lake Hillier and Hutt Lagoon in Western Australia; Lake Eyre, Lake Bumbunga, Lake Hart and LakeMacDonnell in South Australia. These lakes turn pink because of a combination of factors, such as the presence of halobacteria and a type of algae that produces carotenoid red pigments. Weather conditions and external changes also affect the colour of the lakes.
Cape Pillar sea cliffs
The tall and scary cliffs of Cape Pillar in southeast Tasmania are now a premier hiking trail that offers scenic highlights. It takes three nights to reach Cape Pillar through the Three Capes Track, but the views of the Fortescue Bay, Cape Huay, and a boat ride via Port Arthur are worth the effort. The rock formations contain dolerite rocks and hexagonal prisms. The adrenaline brought by this challenging trail earned it the unofficial title “The Scariest Cliff in the Known Universe.”
Bright is a riverside town located on the foot of the Australian Alps. It is renowned for its picturesque wooded streets, summit views, speciality shops, local markets, wine, local produce, and outdoor activities. Thus, it has established itself as one of the country’s most famous tourist destinations, added to the fact that it is close to the alpine ski resorts of Victoria.
The Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains is two hours away from Sydney. It has impressive rock formations perfect for outdoor adventurers who want to explore the wilderness or quaint villages. The site is renowned for its towering sandstone, native bushland, mountain towns, ancient Aboriginal art, and the Scenic World, a local attraction where the steepest train in the world awaits. Be sure to visit Echo Point Lookout, as it is the best spot to view the majestic rock formations. A stop at the charming towns of Leura, Katoomba, and Blackheath lets you discover antique shops, comic street art, and cosy cafes.
Sydney is well-known for its landmarks, the Syndey Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House, but there is more to it than these two iconic attractions. It is Australia’s gateway for most international visitors. It is home to The Rocks, Watsons Bay, Darling Harbour, Sydney Tower, the Royal Botanic Garden, the State Library of New South Wales, and more. It is an ideal base to discover the country’s historical and cultural background. It is also a place for entertainment as it is the site of Australia’s vibrant theatre scene. The Central Business District is where bars, nightclubs, and restaurants are found.
BEST THINGS TO DO
Surf at Bondi Beach
Surfing is a popular activity in Australia as it is home to the best beaches, but the iconic Bondi Beach is a splendid spot for avid surfers. It is suitable for all levels, from beginners to advanced, and has a welcoming local vibe. Learners can enrol at surf schools or hire equipment for the best surfing experience. If you are already a seasoned surfing enthusiast, head to South Bondi or Ben Buckler for big swells. After a fun day with the waves, many beachside cafes can help you fuel up.
Museum hop in Brisbane
Brisbane is the best spot for a historical and cultural visit to Australia. It is home to museums that will let you discover contemporary art, Indigenous culture, and more. The Museum of Brisbane prides itself in delving into fashion, music, and contemporary culture. One example is the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, which is the go-to museum for modern art. Queensland Museum is best for dinosaurs and megafauna, and the Queensland University of Technology Art Museum is best for new artists. At the same time, New Farm and Fortitude Valley are ideal for small galleries. If you’d like to know more about indigenous connections, visit Birrunga Gallery and Dining.
Explore Kakadu National Park
Kakadu National Park is the largest natural park in Australia. As a World Heritage Site, expect to experience camping, bird watching, bushwalking, or cruising like you’ve never done before. It is where you can view ancient shelters and Aboriginal rock arts, cruise award-winning the Yellow Water billabong, swim at Gunlom or take a four-wheel drive to Jim Jim Falls.
Swim with whale sharks
Australia will let you experience swimming with whale sharks via Ningaloo Reef, the largest fringing reef in the world. There is no need to worry, for the world’s biggest fish only feed on planktons, krill, fish larvae, jellyfish, and small schooling fish. Humans are not included on their menu but expect to feel overwhelmed by their massive size. The area is a top destination for people who want to experience swimming with whale sharks.
Shop at Victoria Market
A visit to Melbourne is not complete without checking out a thing or two at Victoria Market. It is home to over 600 shops, a perfect spot for finding fresh produce, handmade products, fantastic food and coffee, and souvenirs to bring home. Stop by the String Bean Alley if you’re into artisan items and homeware, or choose to go on a Wednesday evening for some night market shopping.
Take a vineyard tour
Australia is a place for the ultimate winery experience. It has award-winning wineries in its 65 wine regions, offering diverse food and wine tasting. Some of the best locations are Margaret River and Swan Valley in Western Australia, Barossa, Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale in South Australia, and Yarra Valley in Victoria.
Visit Twelve Apostles
Twelve Apostles is a collection of limestone pillars along the Great Ocean Road. They were once connected to the cliffs on the mainland, but wind and waves carved them into caves and arches and now tall columns. You can book jet tours for a bird’s eye view of the iconic spot or explore the coastline if you have time.
Walk in the Daintree Rainforest
The Daintree Rainforest in Queensland uniquely combines tropical rainforest, white-sand beaches, and fringing reefs, named after Australian geologist Richard Daintree. You can explore the area simply by driving as it is close to famous attractions. It has accommodation options if you want to stay for a night or two.
Cruise around Sydney Harbour
One of the best ways to enjoy a visit to Sydney is to book a cruise on the astonishing Sydney Harbour. You are sure to appreciate the natural beauty of the rugged cliffs and wild bushland and the modern Opera House. Whatever your interest, budget, or travel style, you can find a tour that will suit your fancy. There are historical or heritage cruises, relaxing whale watching cruises, or luxurious dining cruises.
Witness the jumping crocodiles in Darwin
The Northern Territory is well-known for jumping crocodile cruises as the waterways are home to 100,000 saltwater crocodiles. Wildlife cruises are the perfect way to view these reptiles in their natural habitat. You’ll see them on mud banks and rivers or witness how they launch out to snatch prey. The city of Darwin takes pride in its breathtaking sunsets, sparkling harbour, and one-of-a-kind activities such as seeing crocodiles.
Take a photo at Figure 8 Pools
Figure 8 Pools are uniquely shaped natural rock pools in Royal National Park. It is not just the odd shape of the pool but also the entire setting that makes this attraction endearing. Most visitors find it scary, and there have been deaths reported there over the years. However, these are mainly due to negligence, for some visitors ignored the warning signs. At present, it is safer to visit as authorities have posted a risk factor chart to serve as a guide. The site offers fantastic sunrise and sunset locations and a moderate walk to the pools.
Have fun at Vivid Sydney
Vivid Sydney is a vast winter festival of music, lights, and ideas that takes place every May and June. It features world-class performances from local and international artists. However, unlike common music festivals, it has debates and public talks where participants can share ideas through forums and interactions with creative thinkers. One of the highlights is an incredible lights display called Vivid Light, where a large-scale projection is created on landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia.
Australia is home to unusual creatures and destinations that make it more interesting for tourists among the many iconic sites and landmarks. It is a wonderland for outdoor adventure seekers, but it also has something special to offer to those who want to get to know their ancient culture. Their Aboriginal communities are some of the oldest in the world. Finally, it is a place for people who want a fun, relaxed, and laidback vacation. There is no place like the land down under.