Australia is one of the most sought after destinations for travelers all over the world. Over 6 million people visit Australia on a yearly basis in search of adventure, beautiful beaches, and lush jungles. Unless you live in New Zealand, Australia is not a weekend destination. Even a week or two is not enough to see the best this country has to offer. So when travelers finally save up for a trip to Australia, they tend to stay for a while. And it’s no surprise. Australia has dozens of beautiful sights and places worth exploring.
I’ve been exploring Australia for over a year now and have finally been able to compile a list of the top things to do in Australia. If you are planning a trip to the Land Down Under, this could be a good starting point for mapping out your trip.
1. Dive/Snorkel in Great Barrier Reef or the Ningaloo Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system. It supports diverse marine life and covers an area equivalent to the size of Britain. The Great Barrier Reef has been a World Heritage Site since 1981 and has seen millions of visitors in its waters on a yearly basis. However, over the last 30 years, the reef has lost over half of its coral and its degradation continued to be a reason for serious concern.
The Great Barrier Reef was where I first experienced the underwater world during my introductory scuba dive back in 2010. It was an unforgettable experience and inspired me to get my scuba diving certification in Koh Tao. The highlight of my dive: meeting the Napoleon Wrasse, locally known as Wally!
Ningaloo Reef stretches for 260km from Amherst Point south of Coral Bay to Bundegi Beach near Exmouth in Western Australia. Ningaloo Reef is one of the largest fringing reefs in the world and is a great rival to the Great Barrier Reef. Ningaloo Reef is home to over 200 species of hard coral, 50 soft coral and over 500 species of fish, along with manta rays, turtles, humpback whales, and whale sharks that pop by for a visit between May-June.
2. Rent a 4×4 and Spend a Few Days Exploring Fraser Island
Fraser Island is located off the East Coast of Australia, about 3 hours North of Brisbane. It’s the largest sand island in the world and it spans over 120 kms. It offers incredible hikes, stunning views, and a relaxed outdoor atmosphere. Perfect combination for adventure seekers out there! You can only get to Fraser Island with a 4×4 vehicle, so you can choose to either hire for a self-drive adventure or join one of the Fraser Island Tours.
3. Sail in the Whitsundays
The Whitsunday Islands, affectionately known as “The Whitsundays”, are a group of 74 islands that lie off the coast of Queensland, in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. Discovering the Whitsundays can be as relaxing or adventurous as you’d like, but in our opinion, there is no better way to explore the beauty of this area than on a boat, right in the heart of it all!
4. Go on a Hike in Daintree National Park
Daintree National Park is my favourite rainforest in Australia. Located 2 hours north of Cairns, it is the largest continuous area of tropical rainforest in all of Australia. The parks offers beautiful walks and a chance to come face to face with some of Australia’s unique birds and other species.
5. Surf, Swim and Relax on Australia’s Best Beaches
Australia is renowned for its beaches. It’s home to some of the most beautiful clear waters, softest white sands, and longest stretches of untouched beaches in the world. With over 11,000 beaches along nearly 37,000 kms of Australian coastline, the bigger question remains: What is Australia’s Best Beach?
[Hint: Our favourite is Broome’s Cable Beach]
6. Road Trip from Brisbane to Sydney
A coastal drive from Sydney to Brisbane (or the reverse) is one of the most popular and sought-after road trips in Australia. This self-drive itinerary is a famous journey spanning 1000kms along the Legendary Pacific Coast. The scenic drive takes you on an adventure through lush national parks, stunning beaches, rolling green hills of the hinterland, and small yet vibrant off the beaten track towns full of charisma and authentic Australian culture. It was our favourite trip along the East Coast!
7. Go Wine Tasting in South Australia’s Wine Regions
Travel to Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, your getaway to Australia’s world famous wine regions. There are over 200 cellar doors located within an hour drive from Adelaide. They are perfectly grouped and are easy to explore. You can choose to visit the Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills, Clare Valley, and many other wine regions in the area.
8. Explore the Wilderness of Tasmania
Despite being known as one of the most beautiful states in Australia, Tasmania is still one of the least explored regions. It’s small and easy to get around, so even if you only have a week to explore the island, there is still time to visit more than just the well-known sights of Hobart, Port Arthur, Launceston, Cradle Mountain, and Wineglass Bay.
9. Chase Adventures in Western Australia
Western Australia is unlike any other state in Australia. Here, clear blue skies collide with the red dirt roads and the beautiful landscapes transport you to the canyons of Arizona. Beach towns along the western coast are infused with a laid-back lifestyle found in the best Asian destinations, and the deserted outback is seeped with signs of prehistoric existence. There is more to discover in W.A. than just Perth.
10. Experience Australian Culture
At first, Australia may seem very similar to what you are used to back home. But as you travel around the country and learn more and more about its people and traditions, you’ll start to see the subtle differences and quirks of Australian culture. Lifestyle in Australia has been heavily influenced by its unique geography, warm climate, and the Australian “have a go” attitude.
There are a number of uniquely Australian experiences that you should include in your itinerary. Why not go hiking, try surfing, check out “the races”, attend a food festival, or a music festival, an AFL game or a cricket match, or for the ultimate Australian experience set up camp at one of Australia’s many National Parks.
This list is a great starting point, but it does not cover all the amazing things to do in Australia during your trip. If you are planning a big trip to Australia, visit our Discover Australia page to learn more about where to go in Australia and what to expect in each destination.
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