Top 20 Places in Australia For Your Bucket List

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If there are two questions I’m always asked, it’s what are the top places in Australia to visit? And what experiences should be on my Australia bucket list? Well, if you’re asking yourselves those questions, you’ve come to the right place.

As Australians, we’ve traveled our own backyard extensively and have even completed an 18-month road trip around Australia. We know how to travel in Australia pretty well, but even we struggled to narrow down all the top places for an Australia bucket list to just 20 places.

Australia is home to miles and miles of gorgeous coastline, mysterious islands, the world-famous Great Barrier Reef, the majestic outback desert, glamorous cities, vast swamps and wetlands, and unique wildlife you won’t find anywhere else.

With all this to explore, it’s unsurprising that visiting Australia has been on most people’s bucket list. Everyone should come down under at least once in their lifetime.

But if you only have one chance to see the best places in Australia, these would be my top suggestions for seeing the best of what our country has to offer.

Don't miss Uluru in the Northern Territory of Australia
Uluru is a must see when you are planning a road trip in Australia

20 Best Places in Australia to Add to Your Bucketlist

Let’s begin our list of the best places in Australia to add to your bucket list. These destinations should not be skipped off any itinerary if you want to see the best of the country.

1. Whitsunday Islands, Queensland

Ahh The Whitsundays. If heaven had a place on Earth, it would be here.

There are 74 islands that make up The Whitsundays and it’s most famous for its turquoise blue waters, white sandy beaches, and thriving marine life. What’s not to love?!

It’s home to our favourite beach in Australia, Whitehaven Beach, a protected beach that you are not allowed to bring anything on the beach with you – it’s that beautiful.

Whitehaven Beach, Queensland, Australia

There are plenty of other secluded bays with that aqua blue water and pure white sand beaches that are great for a snorkel. Throw in tropical sunsets, every water sport imaginable, and the fact you’re in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, the ideal spot for scuba diving. I don’t think I really need to go on.

The mainland town of Airlie Beach is a happening place with Hamilton Island being the most concentrated for accommodation and activities.

Where to stay in the Whitsundays:

2. Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory

Some people call it Kaka-don’t, but don’t listen to them. They probably raced through the park on a day trip with a tour group and it deserves so much more time than that. It is in fact, Australia’s largest National Park and is impossible to see in a day.

We spent five days in Kakadu and still only scratched the surface, but it easily makes our top places in Australia list. It’s another one of Australia’s UNESCO world heritage sites and is where you can see aboriginal cave paintings and, of course, the famous salt water crocodile.

Kakadu National Park - a natural wonder of Australia. Click inside to see the others!

From wetlands to sandstone escarpments, waterfalls, swimming holes, billabongs, rivers, wildlife, and aboriginal rock art, it has it all.

Where to stay at Kakadu:

3. Margaret River, Western Australia

I can’t wait to go back to Margaret River, one of our top 3 regions in Australia because it pretty much has it all.

Margaret River region in Western Australia

There are over 150 wine producers, numerous breweries, incredible beaches, gourmet food, coffee houses, chocolate makers, cheese factories, caves to explore, forests to walk through, mountain bike trails, whale watching, surf culture, artists, and stunning landscapes.

What are you waiting for?!

Where to stay in Margaret River:

4. Sydney, New South Wales

You can’t visit Australia and not spend at least a few days in one of the world’s most beautiful cities – many of you will fly through here anyways.

Sure Sydney has a reputation of being on the expensive side, but most of the best things to do are free or cheap – walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, picnic in the Botanical Gardens, walk around Circular Quay and admire the Sydney Opera House, take the ferry over to Manly, explore The Rocks District, and my favourite – the Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach coastal walk!

You can even climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge, if you’re not afraid of heights. Climbing tours operate from dawn until dusk, do don’t miss out on this unique experience.

Sydney - a bucket list destination for Australia
Sydney Harbour and Opera House

If you have more time to spare, consider taking a day trip out to the Blue Mountains and see the iconic Three Sisters rock formation.

Where to stay in Sydney:

Watch Our Video on Sydney:

5. Broome, Western Australia

If you’ve been following us for a while you’ll know that Broome is our favourite place in Australia. Our love affair with Broome dates back to our days working on a pearl farm in the Kimberley region, and on our previous trip we spent 5 weeks there and didn’t want to leave.

It’s the striking red earth against the turquoise water of the Indian Ocean, the most amazing sunsets over Cable Beach, and perfect weather – it has the vibe of  a charming country town by the sea!

Broome, Western Australia

Where to stay in Broome:

6. Byron Bay, NSW

This legendary beachside town in Northern NSW has been attracting surfers, the spiritually minded, spa lovers, yogis, backpackers and those trying to find themselves for years.

Sunset at Byron Bay, NSW, Australia
Sunset at Byron Bay Main Beach

With some of the most famous surfing breaks in the country, the alternative lifestyle, and the stunning hinterland, Byron is the place to be, and be seen. Don’t miss the lighthouse walk past Wategos Beach, sunrise and sunset, Bluesfest over Easter, and take a surfing lesson!

Where to stay in Byron Bay:

7. Freycinet National Park, Tasmania

Freycinet is our favorite place in Tasmania and one of our top three favorite National Parks in Australia. You’ve probably heard of world famous Wineglass Bay, but have you heard of Hazards Beach, Friendly Beaches, Coles Bay, and that this park has some of the best walks in Tassie?

Give yourself more than one day here to do all the hikes, go kayaking, and take in the beauty of the Hazards.

aierial view of secluded Wineglass Bay
Wineglass Bay, Tasmania

Where to stay in Freycinet:

8. Uluru, Northern Territory

Visiting Uluru in the Red Centre of Australia is an experience I’ll never forget. Known as the “spiritual heart of Australia” Uluru is one of those places you just have to see, and feel, for yourself.

Don’t rush through here like most people, stay awhile and take it all in. Experience sunset and sunrise, walk around the base, take a camel ride, maybe a helicopter flight, and visit nearby Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Parks.

Sunset drinks at Uluru, Northern Territory, Australia

It’s home to the iconic Ayres Rock, and where you can explore the majestic outback desert. If you have time, I highly recommend a camping trip to the outback where you can sleep under the stars. It’s best to stay in the campgrounds near Alice Springs to avoid running into any animals.

Where to stay at Uluru:

Need more inspiration about Uluru? Here are some more resources:

9. Great Barrier Reef, Queensland

Getting out on the world’s largest coral reef and the largest living structure on the planet has to be on your Aussie bucket list.

Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia

Stretching 2,300km long, the GBR is a natural wonder of the world and in my opinion lives up to its reputation. If you’re a diver, or even just a snorkeler, the options are endless. Most people visit the reef from Cairns which is known as the unofficial gateway.

Where to stay in Cairns:

Watch Our Video from Port Douglas:

10. Daintree Rainforest, Queensland

How can something so old be so beautiful? I mean, at 110 million years old the Daintree Rainforest is pretty damn old, and possibly the oldest existing rainforest in the world.

Cape Tribulation, Daintree National Park - Queensland, Australia
Cape Tribulation, Daintree National Park

My favourite spot is Cape Tribulation – a headland located within Daintree National Park, a place where two World Heritage Listed sites collide – the Daintree and Great Barrier Reef.

Other spots to visit include Daintree Discovery Centre, Cow Bay, Myall Beach, Emmagen Beach, Cape Kimberley and Mason’s Cafe, and swimming hole.

Where to stay in the Daintree:

You can check out our post on our road trip through the Daintree and read about our time sleeping in the Daintree Rainforest, Cape Tribulation.

Watch Our Video from Daintree Rainforest:

11. Fraser Island, Queensland

If you’re a hard-core 4×4 driving enthusiast put Fraser Island at the top of your Aussie bucket list. Fraser Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the world’s largest sand island.

It stretches 123 km long, 23 km wide, and was created over 800,000 years ago from sand dumped by places as far as Antarctica when it was still joined with Australia.

75 Mile Beach, Fraser Island, Queensland, Australia

I can’t get enough of Fraser, it’s an adventure with nature you’ll crave more of. My favorite spots are 75 Mile Beach, Eli Creek, Maheno shipwreck, Lake Mackenzie, Indian Head, and Champagne Pools.

From the shore, if you’re lucky and visit at the right time, you might even see humpback whales in the ocean.

Where to stay on Fraser Island:

Watch Our Fraser Island Video:

12. Melbourne, Victoria

I could live in Melbourne, and I’m not the only one apparently as it consistently ranks at the top of most liveable cities in the world, I just don’t know if I could live with the four seasons in one-day weather pattern.

Anyhow, Melbourne is an awesome city to visit.

Flinders Street Station, Melbourne, Australia

If you’re a sports nut like me it’s got the Australian Open Tennis, the Grand Prix, the Melbourne Cup, and the AFL. For everyone else, it’s got an incredible food scene, some of the best coffee and cafes in the country (if not the world), cool pubs, endless shopping, great festivals, awesome markets, handy public transport, and just an all-round addictive vibe!

Where to stay in Melbourne:

13. Great Ocean Road, Victoria

You’ve probably heard of the Great Ocean Road, it’s kinda famous around the world as one of the best road trips in the world.

Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road - one of Australia's natural wonders.

We spent 2 weeks driving the GOR and it lived up to expectations. If I have one tip, don’t rush it, don’t drive it in one day like the tour buses, slow down, and give it the time it deserves.

The scenic drive was completed in 1932, by soldiers who returned home from WWI. It was built in dedication of those who lost their lives. It starts in the small town of Torquay and finished in the quiet town of Allansford.

Many people take a couple days to drive the Ocean Road, stopping off in some of the small towns along the way.

But if you only have time for one place, then Port Campbell National Park is the highlight, it’s where most of the top scenic spots are located like the Twelve Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge. s

Where to stay on the Great Ocean Road:

14. Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Rotto as the locals call it is something special. With over 60 picturesque beaches and bays and top spots for snorkeling, diving, kayaking, swimming, and fishing it’s possibly my favourite island in Australia and if you make it to Perth, don’t miss Rottnest.

Rottnest Island - Western Australia

Stay over if you can, but if you only have half a day make sure you visit The Basin and Pinky Beach. Grab a bike, it’s the best way to explore the island, and don’t forget your camera!

It’s also one of the best places in Australia to see quokkas, a native animal to Australia!

Where to stay on Rottnest:

15. Hobart, Tasmania

I’m not CRAZY about Hobart, but it’s definitely a nice enough place with lots of history – it’s Australia’s second oldest city – and I really enjoyed a few other places within easy reach of the city so that’s why I’m including it in this list.

Hobart, Tasmania - a destination for your Australia bucket list

I do love the fact that it’s walkable, my favourite spots being Salamanca and Historic Battery Point, and of course, the famous MONA museum is a must-visit. I highly recommend the other places close enough to Hobart are Bruny Island, Port Arthur, and historic Richmond.

Where to stay in Hobart:

16. Barossa Valley, South Australia

If we’re just talking wine and food, then the Barossa Valley and nearby Adelaide Hills is probably my favourite place in Australia for satisfying the taste buds.

Barossa Valley, South Australia

It’s a short drive from Adelaide and with over 80 cellar doors and 150 wineries from big names to boutiques including Jacob’s Creek, Penfold’s, Wolf Blass and Grant Burge, you’re not lacking in options. And the scenery is something else too – do the 57-kilometre Barossa Scenic Heritage Drive for some stunning scenery.

Where to stay in the Barossa:

17. Karijini National Park, Western Australia

We had high expectations for Karijini. So many people we met on our 18-month trip told us that Karijini was their favourite national park. And they weren’t lying.

Knox Gorge, Karijini National Park - Western Australia

This place is spectacular, and I can’t believe that three years ago I don’t think I’d even heard of this place, but we’re doing our best to share it with as many people as possible. The colours of the rock, the gorges, the swimming holes, the waterfalls, the hiking – it’s off-the-beaten-path in WA but totally worth the effort!

Where to stay in Karijini

18. Gold Coast, Queensland

We chose to call the Gold Coast our home for a reason. Whilst it’s a region well known for tourism with a tagline famous for fun, it has a great mix of beautiful coastal and hinterland scenery, with some of the best beaches in the country.

Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

My favourite spots on the coast are Burleigh Heads, Rainbow Bay and Coolangatta.

Whilst in the hinterland check out Lamington National Park, Springbrook National Park, and Binna Burra National Park!

Where to stay on the Gold Coast:

19. Wilsons Promontory National Park, Victoria

Another place we knew little about until we travelled around Australia, and it wasn’t until friends in Melbourne suggested we go here, it’s a 3-hour drive from the city, that we did. It’s a 50,000-hectare coastal wilderness area and so popular they have a ballot system to stay in the accommodation during peak season.

Wilsons Promontory National Park, Victoria, Australia

Your reward – stunning vistas of pink granite boulder mountains, turquoise water, squeaky white sand, intimate coves, forested valleys, and incredible hiking.

20. Kangaroo Island, South Australia

Kangaroo Island is an island full of diversity. Incredible landscapes from beaches to sand dunes and forests to rolling farmlands. You will be sure to spot a wild array of Australian animals – dolphins, kangaroos, koalas and more AND the food and wine is incredible!

Western River Cove is one of the best beaches on Kangaroo Island. Click to read more tips

Where to stay on Kangaroo Island:

Read more: The highlights of our 4 day road trip on Kangaroo Island

Watch Our Video from Kangaroo Island

Before You Go

So there you have it, those are the best places in Australia to add to your Australia bucket list. As you can see, there’s a lot of diversity and culture to explore in Australia, and it’s not all about wildlife and beaches (though these are some of the best reasons to visit Aus!)

There’s a reason why so many backpackers come to Australia for a year’s holiday, and then never leave. There is no where quite like Australia. Once you go, you will know.

More Tips for Visiting Australia

Need more inspiration for your trip to Australia? Check out these other resources:

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What are your favourite places in Australia? Tell us in the comments. And if you haven’t been yet, what places are on your Aussie bucket list?

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