Australia is a dream country. Australia is deserving of all the hype, according to armchair travellers as well as the hallowed legends of the Aboriginal Dreamtime, when the great spirits created the coral reefs, rainforests, and red deserts. Australia is approximately the same size as the United States, yet it has a population the size of New York State and some of the most bizarre animals on the planet. It is also the world’s smallest continent and largest island.
Australia is a country with astounding contrasts and breathtaking beauty. Explore thriving cities, enormous sand islands, historic rainforests, and one of the world’s most amazing natural wonders: the Great Barrier Reef—along the coast. The Outback offers the height of adventure tourism with its untamed national parks and red-eared deserts.
Add nice people and a laid-back atmosphere to the mix, and it’s easy to see why Australia tops bucket lists all over the world. With our list of the greatest tourist destinations in Australia, you can plan your own travels.
1. Sydney Opera House, New South Wales
When you say “Sydney, Australia,” most people immediately picture the Opera House. One of the great architectural landmarks of the globe, this well-known structure on Sydney’s Bennelong Point is shaped like enormous shells or billowing sails. It is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The setting is breathtaking. The Royal Botanic Gardens encircle the building to the south, and it has water on three sides.
Jörn Utzon, a Danish architect, won an international design competition for it, however he pulled out of the project due to financial and technical issues. At a cost that was ten times more than anticipated, construction was ultimately finished in 1973. By this point, Utzon had already departed the nation and would never again visit his spectacular invention.
Today, you can attend a concert, eat in one of the establishments, or take a tour to explore the Sydney Opera House’s top attractions. The building has theatres, studios, a concert hall, exhibition spaces, and a movie theatre.
The Sydney Opera House’s inside tour is rewarding, but maybe the greatest way to appreciate its remarkable architecture is from a distance. Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair at the Royal Botanic Gardens is one of the best locations to take pictures of this popular Sydney tourist destination, or you can board a harbour cruise or ferry and take pictures while you travel by.
The Sydney Opera House is presently undergoing a $275 million, 10-year refurbishment, although it will remain open throughout.
2. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Queensland
You must see the Great Barrier Reef before leaving Australia. One of the world’s biggest living constructions, this natural wonder is a part of the World Heritage list. From space, you can see how big it is. It’s a must-visit location for snorkelers, divers, island connoisseurs, and nature lovers.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park was created in 1975 to safeguard its delicate ecosystems. These comprise 600 continental islands, including the stunning Whitsunday group, more than 3,000 coral reefs, 300 coral cays, and inshore mangrove islands.
One of the seven natural wonders of the world, Queensland State Park spans 2,300 kilometres along Australia’s east coast, or almost the distance between Mexico and Vancouver.
Unsurprisingly, one of the best locations in Australia to go diving and snorkelling is the Great Barrier Reef. Sharks, dugongs, dolphins, turtles, rays, soft and hard corals, more than 1,600 kinds of tropical fish, and enormous clams are among the incredible variety of marine life. Rather stay dry? From glass-bottom boats and underwater observation platforms, you can glimpse the reef.
There are numerous ways for tourists to see the Great Barrier Reef. The islands can be visited on a cruise, by sightseeing plane, by day excursion, or by snorkelling and scuba diving the reefs. Cairns, Port Douglas, and Airlie Beach serve as the primary departure cities for trips on the mainland.
3. Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Northern Territory
The park also has the red dome-shaped rocks known as Kata Tjuta (the Olgas).
Tourists congregate to observe how Uluru and Kata Tjuta’s colours change as the sun lowers in the sky. Joining a tour conducted by Aboriginal guides and rangers is a fantastic opportunity to appreciate these holy locations.
4. Sydney Harbour Bridge, New South Wales
One of Australia’s most well-known architectural landmarks is the Sydney Harbour Bridge, along with the Opera House. The largest steel arch bridge in the world, this astounding engineering achievement is affectionately known as “the Coathanger.” A full 40 years before the Sydney Opera House, it was finished in 1932.
A guided climb to the top of the bridge, where you can take in breathtaking views of the harbour and city, is one of the best things to do in Sydney. The 500-meter-long bridge, which connects Sydney’s North Shore to the financial sector, rises 134 metres over the harbour. Eight lanes for vehicle traffic and two railway lines extend over the bridge in addition to the pedestrian path. Each lane’s direction can be changed to meet traffic flow.
Visit the museum on the southeast pier for a general overview of the bridge’s history and construction.
5. Blue Mountains National Park, New South Wales
Beautiful Blue Mountains National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a hiker’s paradise and a well-liked day excursion from Sydney. It is located 81 kilometres easily accessible west of the city.
The name of this magnificent park, which safeguards more than 664,000 acres of wilderness, refers to the blue haze that comes from the numerous eucalyptus trees. Discover the stunning gorges, waterfalls, Aboriginal rock art, and 140 kilometres of hiking trails during your trip here.
The Three Sisters, a group of three enormous sandstone rock formations, are the Blue Mountains National Park’s most well-known sights. Other highlights include the steepest railway in the world, the Katoomba Scenic Railway, which transports visitors through an ancient rainforest into the Jamison Valley, as well as the Skyway, Scenic Cableway, and Scenic Walkway, which all provide lofty views of the forested areas.
Popular activities in the park include hiking, abseiling, rock climbing, mountain biking, and equestrian riding.
6. Melbourne’s Culture, Victoria
Melbourne, the second-largest city in Australia, is a well-liked destination on many itineraries through the country, particularly for culture vultures. The main attractions of this elegant city on the Yarra River are its galleries, theatres, restaurants, and boutiques, as well as its uniquely European vibe. Almost a third of the city is made up of parks, gardens, and other open spaces, making it a very green city.
There are numerous cultural highlights in Melbourne. View a concert at Arts Centre Melbourne, peruse the masterpieces at the National Gallery of Victoria, or visit Federation Square. At the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, you can look through Australian artworks and learn about the country’s screen culture (ACMI).
Would you like to return to nature? At the Royal Botanic Gardens, go along the Aboriginal Heritage Walk. Visit the Melbourne Cricket Ground to watch a game if sports culture is a priority for you. Cricket is the preferred sport in the summer, while Australian Rules football is preferred in the winter.
Melbourne has a lengthy history. You can feel it when you shop in the opulent arcades and the Queen Victoria Market, which has been providing goods to Melburnians for more than a century, as well as see it in the grand Victorian structures funded by the Gold Rush.
7. Bondi Beach, New South Wales
One of the most well-known beaches in the world may be found there thanks to the combination of tanned bodies, blonde sand, backpackers, and surf. Bondi Beach is a terrific place to see Sydney’s beach culture and is about 15 minutes by car from the city centre. On a steamy summer day, soak up the sun on the golden dunes, surf the breakers, or cool off in the water (but stay between the flags).
Few towns in the world can boast of having such a tempting stretch of sand and sea so close by. It makes sense that it’s one of Sydney’s top beaches. Bondi is home to one of the oldest surf life saving groups in the world, therefore you’ll also find some history here.
There are many things to do in Bondi besides the beach. Take a stroll along the beach path from Bondi to Bronte. It starts at the southernmost part of the beach and travels six beautiful kilometres along sandstone cliffs. If you get hungry after working up an appetite, there are many cafés and restaurants close by. You can swim several laps in the seaside pool or look for deals in the Sunday markets.
Bondi has a wild side, too. To celebrate Christmas and ring in the New Year, large crowds of locals and visitors congregate here. It’s a popular destination for tourists.
A word of caution: When swimming at Bondi, be cautious to stay between the red and yellow flags. Strong rip tides often sweep unsuspecting swimmers out to sea, especially at the southern end of this kilometer-long strand. There’s a good reason why the Australians created the reality TV programme Bondi Rescue.
8. Daintree National Park, Queensland
Daintree National Park in Far North Queensland is one of the planet’s oldest ecosystems and is a Wet Tropics World Heritage Site. Numerous natural elements in the region have profound spiritual importance for the Eastern Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people.
The park is divided into two main areas: Cape Tribulation, one of Australia’s most picturesque tourist destinations, and Mossman Gorge, where crystal-clear streams pour over granite boulders. Along the coral sea’s white sand beaches, here, reef meets rainforest. One of the rare locations in the world where two of the planet’s finest ecosystems converge is this gorgeous stretch of coast.
More than 18,000 plant species and a wide variety of animal species, such as the cassowary, crocodile, big blue Ulysses butterfly, and the elusive Bennett’s tree kangaroo, make up the park’s incredible biodiversity.
9. K’Gari (Fraser Island), Queensland
on the World Heritage List One of the most distinctive spots to visit in Australia is K’Gari (Fraser Island). This is the largest sand island in the world, and it is located between Bundaberg and Brisbane off the east coast of Australia. You can find here seemingly limitless expanses of sand and water, as well as awe-inspiring fauna, emerald jungles, turquoise lakes, rippling dunes, and turquoise skies.
In search of a surge of adrenaline? One of Australia’s greatest outdoor excursions is a 4WD trip along its surf-lashed shores. Shipwrecks with rusted hulls, coloured sandstone cliffs known as The Cathedrals, and boiling fish-filled rock pools known as Champagne Pools may all be seen along wind-swept Seventy Five Mile Beach.
Inland exploration is as thrilling. Highlights include ancient rainforests teeming with an astounding diversity of flora and animals, crystal-clear freshwater rivers and lakes, some fed by springs, others located amid towering sand dunes.
On land, you can witness dingoes, bats, sugar gliders, and more than 300 different species of birds. In the ocean, sharks, dolphins, and whales swim.
On K’Gari Fraser Island, outdoor enthusiasts will find a wide variety of additional activities. Join a whale watching excursion, a sunset cruise, a trek in the rainforest at Central Station, a canoe trip down Eli Creek, or a beautiful fly above the mesmerising scenery.
The two main gateway towns, Rainbow Beach and Hervey Bay, provide ferry service to Fraser Island. Since there are no cemented roads on the island, four-wheel drive cars are required.
10. Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory
Kakadu National Park showcases the best of Australia in terms of wilderness regions. It is the second largest national park in the world, stretching across more than 19,840 square kilometres in Australia’s Northern Territory. Monsoon rainforests, mangrove swamps, rivers, gorges, prehistoric rock art, marshes, and waterfalls can all be found within its boundaries.
Amazing wildlife diversity may be seen in Kakadu as well. More than 300 distinct bird species live here, along with other mammals, reptiles, and fish, and both freshwater and saltwater crocodiles lurk in the marshes.
Take a ride along the canals or go hiking on the park’s extensive network of trails to discover the park’s different ecosystems. A picturesque flight is an additional option.
During the dry season, getting to Kakadu National Park from Darwin is simple. The trip takes roughly three hours from the capital of the Northern Territory. Many highways and tourist destinations close during the wet season (Nov-April) owing to severe floods, yet waterfalls and wetlands can still be at their best.