11 Unmissable Places To Visit In Australia

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As Australians who travel extensively, we are always meeting other travelers who are curious about exploring our homeland, and one of the questions we always get asked is “what are the BEST places to visit in Australia?”

Apart from being our home, Australia was where it all began for us. We explored the country extensively on an 18-month road trip, as well as grew up exploring our own backyard, so we feel we’re pretty well placed to answer this question.

family standing on a dirt path
Uluru Base Walk

But the places you visit will largely come down to personal interest and what you want to do in Australia. We love nature, and so many of our top places to visit are based around the outdoors, but we also know that visitors to Australia love to learn about our history, culture, food and wine, and unmissable landmarks.

So we’ve put our heads together and compiled a list of the most unmissable places in Aus to visit for any traveler to our home country. Whether you love nature like us, or want to discover Ancient aboriginal culture, or explore off-the-beaten-path, be sure to add these destinations to your itinerary.

The Best Places to Visit in Australia

1. Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast

people on Mooloolaba Beach, Queensland, Australia

If you’re looking for a top family-friendly beach destination in Australia, it’s hard to go past Mooloolaba and not fall in love. This coastal destination is situated in the middle of the Sunshine Coast region of Queensland.

The beach is patrolled seven days a week so is a popular spot for swimming, and it even made the Top 10 Safest Beaches in Queensland list!

There’s a beautiful shaded BBQ grassed area to relax, right next to the kids’ playground, and across the road from many chic restaurants and cafes.

But there is more than just a beautiful beach here, as it turns out, there’s plenty of attractions to visit too:

man and young girl patting a seal  Sea Life, Mooloolaba

Things to Do in Mooloolaba

  • Sea Life Mooloolaba provides an interactive and engaging experience with the underwater world. Sea Life is home to thousands of marine life including sharks, seals, turtles, stingrays, tropical fish, and Australia’s largest collection of jellyfish! Our kids loved the Octonauts themed room that’s playful and educational. But for Caz, her highlight was spending 20-minutes swimming with seals – you can even dive with sharks!
  • Wharf Mooloolaba looks out over Parrearra Channel and the wealthy homes on Minyama Island. Jump on the Classic River Ferry and take a canal tour or relax on the deck of the Wharf Tavern. There are a few restaurants and cafes, shops and ice cream parlours in the vicinity.
  • Fish on Parkyn. Drive along Parkyn Pde to the legendary Fish on Parkyn for a bucket of famous Mooloolaba prawns.
  • Alex Headland to Point Cartwright Coastal walk. Start from surfers point at Alex and walk along the headland for panoramic ocean views into Mooloolaba. A short boardwalk takes you through the dune forest to Point Cartwright. Allow 90-minutes return (depending on how many coffee breaks).
  • Australia Zoo is probably Australia’s most famous zoo, founded by the late great Steve Irwin. You feel the passion and animal love very strongly – we’ve been scores of time – in fact, I used to work there and helped construct the African animal enclosures! It’s a fantastic day out for the family where you can feed kangaroos, visit the African savannah and see a broad range of Australian animals. Its famous Wildlife Warrior croc show held in the Crocoseum is a definite highlight.
  • Aussie World is a fun family theme park but without the crowds of the Gold Coast parks and your entry price covers unlimited rides. Whilst there are no upside down roller coasters for the thrill seekers, it offers vintage family fun including the wild mouse, the plunge (log ride), dodgem cars, a ferris wheel, giant swing and giant slide.
people on high swinging chairs ride
  • Eumundi Markets. Said to be Australia’s premier artisan market, Eumundi Markets offers original artworks, homewares, fashion, jewellery, and amazing food. Open every Saturday 7am-2pm and Wednesdays 8am-1.30pm
  • Drive 40 minutes north and you’re in Noosa, one of the most popular holiday places in Queensland. Surrounded by river, beach, hinterland, and national park the Noosa region is an incredible place to play. Get there early for a morning walk along the coastal track within Noosa Heads National Park from the surf club to Tea Tree Bay. Enjoy a swim in one of its many hidden beaches, and if you have the stamina, walk all the way to Sunshine Beach (5.4km one-way)
  • Caloundra sits at the southern end of the Sunshine Coast and has come of age recently. Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is a water activity we love to do as a family, and a top place to do it is during sunrise at Golden Beach. Grab a board from the friendly folks at Golden Beach Hire who also rent out kayaks.
mother and daughter Sunrise stand up paddle boarding in Caloundra
  • The Ginger Factory in Yandina is a popular tourist destination and even for the locals who visit regularly for a coffee with friends in the cafe. Start your visit with ginger scones and ginger tea and let your kids decorate their ginger bread men. Then jump aboard the Ginger Steam Train for a ride around the property to learn all about the ginger factory. The Overboard boat ride is also a hit with the kids as you sail past displays of different nations trying to find the hidden Gingerbread man.
  • Whilst the Sunny Coast is most well known for its coastal charm, consider a drive in the Hinterland. The Glass House Mountains are spectacular. These 16 volcanic crags that rise up dramatically from the landscape are said to be 20 million years old and a part of the navigational landmarks once used by Aborigines to find their way. Drop into the visitors centre then head to The Lookout, a short drive from town where you’re treated to an incredible 180-degree panoramic view of the mountain peaks.
  • For more exquisite views of the Glasshouse Mountains, visit the Maleny Botanic Gardens which have 6-kilometres of walking paths through terraced gardens, past secret waterfalls, over ponds and amongst colourful plants.
  • For a spot of boutique shopping, check out the charming villages of Maleny and Montville. They’re famous for their thriving arts community and have many artisan shops, boutique clothes, crafts and galleries for you to peruse.
  • In Montville, relax at Mayfield Patisserie & Chocolates for a mug of coffee and a yummy treat – and magic views over the valley to the coast!
two steep peaked hills

Where to Stay in Mooloolaba

apartment buildings along coastline
Mantra Mooloolaba Beach

Mantra Mooloolaba Beach sits at the northern end of the beach offering views of the ocean or the hinterland. Step out of your front door and you’re on the Esplanade in the thick of Mooloolaba’s best restaurants, cafes, and shopping.

They have fully furnished one, two and three bedroom apartments each with a private balcony.

To learn more and see prices and availability, click here.

2. Lorne, Great Ocean Road

view of wide sweeping beach
Great Ocean Road – one of the best places to visit in Australia

The Great Ocean Road (GOR) is famous for being one of the best drives in the world and extends along the Southern Australia coast, between Torquay near Melbourne and near Adelaide.

Lorne is a picturesque town situated perfectly for a getaway and a base to explore the highlights.

Lorne sits on the shores of Louttit Bay about two hours from Melbourne, and has a unique environment where the beach meets the rainforest.

There’s a certain charm with great cafes, unique boutique shops, galleries and the Otway National Park is on your doorstep.

Things to Do in Lorne

family walking along beach in Lorne
Lorne Beach
  • The beach is lovely for a walk either early morning or late afternoon. Stop at the Lorne Beach Pavilion for a coffee, or wine, with uninterrupted views of the water.
  • There’s a lovely walk along the beach and cliffs from the Erskine River to Lorne Pier. The fisherman’s co-op sells fresh seafood from the morning’s catch here.
  • For spectacular views, a short drive up the hill behind Lorne is Teddys Lookout. Drive up to the picnic area at the end of George Street and walk a short distance to enjoy the stunning views of the GOR from the lookout.
  • The Lorne –> Apollo Bay Drive has some of the most picturesque scenery in the region. The GOR hugs the cliff-face as it winds through the Great Otway National Park and rolling farmland – be prepared to stop for photos a lot. Want to see koalas in the wild? The best spot is Kennet River along the Grey River Road, just look for the crowds of people and follow their gazes up for quick koala spotting. Otway Lighthouse Road is another popular spot.
coastline of Great Ocean Road aerial view
From Lorne to Apollo Bay
  • Once a sleepy fishing village, Apollo Bay is now a modest seaside town of 2,000 people with plenty of cafes, restaurants, and a community market each Saturday. In April it hosts one of the best three-day music festivals in Victoria, the Apollo Bay Music Festival. For panoramic views over the harbour, head up to Mariners Lookout located at the northern end of town off Mariners Lookout Road.
  • Just down the road at Cape Otway are some of the best walks in the country, and the Cape Otway Lighthouse is Australia’s oldest lighthouse still in operation today, you can take a tour and climb to the top 90-metres high with breathtaking views of Bass Straight.
  • When you stay in Lorne, the Twelve Apostles and many other famous GOR landmarks in Port Campbell National Park are within reach. The 12 Apostles are the star of the show, and these massive limestone structures tower 45-metres above the ocean and were formed some 20 million years ago as the sea gradually eroded the soft limestone cliffs.
  • Just down the road from the visitors Centre are the Gibson Steps. Walk down these steps on to the beach for a close-up view.
  • Loch Ard Gorge is amazing and only a few minutes drive west of The Twelve Apostles. The gorge is named after the ship Loch Ard, which ran aground on nearby Muttonbird Island at the end of a three-month journey from England. Also worth visiting is the London Bridge, The Grotto, and The Arch.
  • Visit Bells Beach. One of Australia’s most famous and best surfing beaches is Bells, home to the annual Rip Curl Pro Surfing Competition and is the powerful point break of folklore. Heard of the movie Point Break? That’s our Bells! There’s an impressive cliff-face and the views from the cliff-top car park are spectacular and a great spot to watch local surfers.
woman and children cuddling on hill overlooking apollo bay
Mariners Lookout

Where to Stay in Lorne

woman standing on a balcony
Mantra Lorne

Mantra Lorne sits across from the beach and a short walk to all the cafes and restaurants on the main street. You’ll feel like your tucked away in a tropical resort, but only a 5 minute walk to town.

Accommodation rooms have all been set around one of the oldest guest houses in Victoria making Mantra Lorne a part of Lorne’s rich cultural history, with a range of modern apartments and heritage hotel rooms to suit all tastes. Read our review of the Mantra Lorne on the Great Ocean Road.

To see prices and availability, click here.

Use these guides to help you plan your trip: Top attractions on the Great Ocean Road and Towns on the Great Ocean Road to visit

3. Perth, Western Australia

Perth has an attractive setting on the Swan River and continues to evolve as a destination. Especially the city centre in regards to more cafes, restaurants and thriving small bar scene.

And the Elizabeth Quay waterfront development on the Swan River appears to be similar to Sydney’s Darling Harbour.

Throw in stunning beaches that are a lot less crowded than its east coast counterparts, and Perth makes for a great short break!

Things to Do in Perth

Kings Park, Perth, Western Australia
  • Kings Park is a stunning location overlooking the Swan River with sweeping views of the city skyline. The park covers more than 400 hectares and is the largest inner city park in the southern hemisphere, even larger than New York’s Central Park. Walk amongst the tree tops on the elevated bridge, wander the pathways, the botanical gardens and picnic amongst the gum trees. F0r eats and drinks there’s a kiosk, the Botanical Cafe and Fraser’s Restaurant.
  • Catch Sunset at Cottesloe Beach. Perth’s sunsets are legendary. If you haven’t seen the sun set over the ocean, WA is where it’s at. Cottesloe is a 15-minute drive from the city and one of the best places to watch the sunset over the Indian Ocean. The crystal clear water makes it a popular place for swimming and a great spot for families to have picnics under shady Norfolk Pines.
  • Take a day trip to Rottnest Island. Located a short 18-kilometre ferry ride off the coast, it’s a premier island getaway with over 60 picturesque beaches and bays. Rotto, as the locals call it, is best explored by bicycle, there are no cars on the island making it a relaxing experience for people of all ages. Other activities on the island include tennis, golf, fishing, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and diving.
aerial view of the The Basin on Rottnest Island,
  • Visit Historic Fremantle. Freo” is located 30 minutes from downtown Perth and is dotted with cafes, bars, seafood restaurants and is known as the ‘world’s best-preserved example of a 19th-century port streetscape’ with heritage buildings and a fascinating convict and maritime history. Grab a coffee on Cappuccino Strip, wander the markets, visit the old prison, and don’t miss Little Creatures Brewery on the water for delicious wood-fired pizzas and of course, great craft beer!
  • Visit Hillary’s Boar Harbour, an impressive development with a lot going on. There are numerous attractions to keep the kids happy with the swimming beach, water slides, playgrounds, trampolines, and mini-golf. For us parents, there’s a range of cafes, shops, restaurants, cycle paths plus all the boating and water activities. Spend an hour or a whole day and watch the sun go down over the ocean.
  • Bike or walk along the Swan River. You’ll see lots of bikers and walkers in Perth, and why not with the climate and scenery on offer year round. The communities of Bassendean, Bayswater, and Belmont boasts over 28-kilometres of river foreshore. And you can even take your bike on a train as a number of bike rides connect from train stations along the Midland Rail Line.
  • Take a walking tour. Perth is a city made for walking and one of the best ways to start a visit to any new destination is with a walking tour to get your bearings and tips from a knowledgeable local. Two feet and a heartbeat offer tours in Perth and Fremantle as you stroll the city streets and laneways learning about the history, culture, heritage, and colourful past of the cities.
historic building Fremantle, Western Australia
  • Visit Swan Valley. This is Western Australia’s oldest wine region and you can design your own tour based on your personal wine preferences. Grab a copy of the Swan Valley Wine Trail map at the Swan Valley Visitor Centre and spend your afternoon sampling the region’s premium and award-winning wines, a leisurely lunch overlooking the vineyards, and browse the art galleries.
  • Take a trip to Bunbury. Just two hours south of Perth, Bunbury offers a relaxing getaway with a surprising number of things to do. No need to drive all the way to Monkey Mia to see dolphins in the wild, the Dolphin Discovery Centre offers a wild dolphin experience and inside the centre is a wide variety of interactive exhibitions and talks. Nearby there’s a quiet and lovely beach, water sports to enjoy, and a decent cafe scene.
  • Visit Ferguson Valley. A growing wine and food region with rolling hills offering views stretching out to the coast of Bunbury. Lesser known than Margaret River of course, but worth exploring for its humbleness and home-grown flavour. Check out St Aidan Winery, Ferguson Falls Winery.
  • And don’t miss Gnomesville. Thousands of gnomes from all around the world have been brought together and created a community. Located by the roundabout at the junction of Wellington Mill and Ferguson Roads, Wellington Mill, approximately 30-minutes drive from Bunbury.
gnome display in garden and in miniature bus Gnomesville,

Where to Stay in Perth

Mantra on Hay Street, Perth, Western Australia
Mantra on Hay Street, Perth

Mantra on Hay Street is conveniently located in the CBD, and the WACA if you’re in town for a cricket match. Just a 10-minute walk and you’re at the Hay Street Mall and everything the Perth city centre has to offer.

Or hop on the free shuttle bus outside your door and discover some of the city’s top tourist spots including Kings Park, Northbridge and Harbour Town.

Mantra on Hay has one, two, and three-bed apartments plus hotel rooms. Read our full review of the Mantra on Hay Street Perth.

To learn more and see prices and availability, click here.

4. Gold Coast, Queensland

people sitting on chair at point looking at ocean
Burleigh Heads

The Gold Coast region needs no introduction. It’s Australia’s premier holiday destination with enough activities and attractions to fill your itinerary for weeks!

The Gold Coast is all about beaches and sunshine. It has so many attractions for all the family, from world-class theme parks to weekend markets to wildlife sanctuaries.

It’s also a relaxed and vibrant part of Australia, with a huge surf culture and an ethos that beckons you to go slow.

Things to Do on the Gold Coast

  • The best thing to do on the Gold Coast is to spend the day on one of the Gold Coast’s famous beaches. Go for a swim or surf, play on the sand, relax on the beachfront grass beneath rows of pine trees, and have a guilt free ice-cream – you’re on holidays! Family favourite beaches include:
    • Rainbow Bay – Gentle waves, safe swimming conditions, year round surf patrols, stunning sunsets from the surf club.
    • Coolangatta / Greenmount Beach – north facing beach protected by the headland. Generally safe with low waves and two surf lifesaving clubs and a playground.
    • Currumbin Creek – popular with families for watersports like surfing, kayaking, and stand-up paddle boarding.
    • Burleigh Heads – voted #1 by travelers on Trip Advisor and is one of the best swimming, body boarding and surfing spots on the coast (with a cafe scene to rival anywhere).
      Tallebudgera Creek –
       top swimming spot for kids and stand up paddle boarding
    • Broadbeach – towards the northern end of the coast. Long, clean stretch of beach and bordered by large grasslands and a big playground.
  • Visit Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Cuddle a koala, feed kangaroos, watch a croc feeding or take on the extreme high ropes challenge.Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary sanctuary is well known for feeding hundreds of wild lorikeets who descend upon you from the surrounding trees to get a lick at the sweet honey nectar that you hold out in a bowl in your hands. If you don’t want to pay the admission price to see all the animals, FREE lorikeet feeding takes place every day at 8am and 4pm.
craig and savannah feeding the lorikeets
Feed the Rainbow Lorikeets at Currumbin
  • Hit the Theme Parks. The Gold Coast is the theme park capital of Australia, with attractions designed to suit all ages. You can ride roller-coasters, meet your fave favourite movie characters, or get wet at one of the water parks. Some of our favorite theme parks are:
    • Movie World is for the movie lovers in the house.
    • Dreamworld is the biggest theme park with attractions for all ages.
    • Sea World is for the marine animal lovers.
    • And as the name suggests, Wet’n’Wild is all about getting wet and going wild on the slides.
  • Take a walk. Get up at 6am on the Goldy an everyone out and about walking or running. You can’t help but get caught up in the energy of the place. You don’t have to drag the kids out of bed at 6am, and it’s not just the coastal area that offers great walking opportunities. Here are our favorite Gold Coast walks:
    • Burleigh Heads National Park – grab a coffee then catch the magnificent sunrise before doing the 2.5-kilometre coastal walk around the headland to Tallebudgera Creek.
    • Coolangatta to Point Dangar – great little coastal walk via Greenmount and Rainbow Bay. I suggest saving it for late afternoon as the sunset views from Rainbow Bay over to Surfers Paradise are magical.
    • Federation Walk – 3.5 kilometre pedestrian walkway located at the northern end of the Gold Coast Oceanway on the Southport Spit.
    • Tamborine Mountain – in the third oldest National Park in the world with 12 walking tracks, each one is no longer than 3-kilometres.
    • The Oceanway – 36 kilometre network of pathways which connects The Spit at the north to Point Danger in the south.
a view of the ocean from Burleigh Heads National Park, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
View from Burleigh Heads National Park
  • Hit the markets. From fashion to farmers markets, to art & craft, to music to everything in between the Gold Coast has got you covered. Here are our favorite markets in the Gold Coast:
    • Burleigh Farmers Markets – Every Saturday at Burleigh Heads State School this gourmet food market with locally grown fruit and vegetables, bakery, meat, fish, deli, plus live entertainment and a great vibe!
    • Miami Marketta – A locals favourite that will have you feeling like you’re in Thailand. Every Friday and Saturday night it comes alive with street food, live music, boutique wine and craft beer.
    • The Village Marketsevery 1st & 3rd Sunday at Burleigh Heads State School. The original boutique fashion and lifestyle market plus live local music and food from around the world thanks to the lineup of food trucks.
    • Marina Mirage Farmers Market – held every Saturday. Located at Seaworld Drive on the Broadwater Spit, Main Beach, opposite the Sheraton Mirage Resort.
    • Carrara Markets – over 500 stalls and a Gold Coast institution with locals and tourists looking for a bargain.
    • Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets – every Wednesday, Friday & Sunday nights along the beach Esplanade at Surfers.
    • Famous Beachfront Markets – each Sunday in a different beachside location from Broadbeach, to Coolangatta, to Burleigh
  • Visit Springbrook National Park in the Gold Coast Hinterland for a bit of green behind the gold. The 4-kilometre Twin Falls circuit is a lovely walk amongst waterfalls. You can start this walk from either the Tallanbana Picnic Area or Canyon Lookout, and follow the track in an anti-clockwise direction. Canyon Lookout is an easy 30m amble out of your car and you can have spectacular views from Canyon lookout over the sheer walls of The Canyon. From here you can also do a short 10-minute section of the Twin Falls walk and see the falls plunging over the side. Springbrook is also home to the spectacular Natural Bridge and Best of All Lookout.
  • Binna Burra and o’Reilly’s Rainforest retreat in the Lamington National Park are also amazing places to visit on the Gold Coast.
Twin Falls in Springbrook National Park cascading over mountain
Twin Falls
  • Surf the iconic Byron Bay. It’s a 1.15 hour drive from Surfers Paradise and is that legendary beach town that’s been attracting thousands of surfers from around the world for years. But it’s not just for surfers. All types of people come for the National Parks, the arts and culture, the markets, the festivals, the food, the shopping, the health retreats, to hang with hippies, to be seen, and the vibe. And you will see the most spectacular sunsets and sunrises. A must do is the Byron Bay Lighthouse Walk.
  • Just over the NSW border, is Kingscliff. This is one of those great beachy towns with a relaxed vibe that’s just enough off the beaten track that it doesn’t lose its appeal. There’s a nice beach and cafe strip, friendly locals, and the pretty Cudgen Creek is a top spot for the kids to enjoy some water activities. The Kingscliff Beach Hotel is a popular spot for lunch.
cudgen creek spilling into ocean at Kingscliff
Cudgen Creek, Kingscliff

Use this North Coast NSW road trip guide to help you plan what to see and do from the Gold Coast to Lennox Head, NSW. It’s one of the best road trips in Australia. Here is a 2-day itinerary for the Gold Coast, and a list of free things to do on the Gold Coast.

Where to Stay on the Gold Coast

city buildings next to a beach
Mantra on Cavill

Mantra Circle on Cavill is in the heart of Surfers Paradise with amazing views either over the ocean stretching from Stradbroke Island to Burleigh Heads or the Gold Coast hinterland.

You’ll be sleeping above some of the best shopping on the Gold Coast and excellent dining choices plus a Woolworth’s supermarket right downstairs!

Our favorite place to stay on the Gold Coast however is the Mantra on Coolangatta Beach. This is our favorite area of the Gold Coast, and I think a far more enjoyable experience than the touristy Surfers Paradise. You may want to stay in Surfers if visiting the theme parks. It’s still not too far of a drive if you stay in the southern section of the Gold Coast. Read a full review of the Mantra on Coolangatta Beach. We also love the Budjerum aparment stay and this beachside apartment at Kirra Beach is also great. Here are more Gold Coast accommodation options.

5. Whitehaven Beach, The Whitsunday Islands

woman and girl walking through the water at Whitehaven Beach, Queensland, Australia
That water!

Whitehaven Beach is a breathtaking destination is famous for its turquoise waters and pure white silica sands. This pristine 7km beach is true paradise.

Imagine being so dazzled by white sand beaches you’ll feel like you’ve gone to heaven – this is what Whitehaven does to you.

Feel the soft sand beneath your feet and the gentle ocean breeze on your face – and then head out and explore the rest of the Whitsunday Islands where the beach is located.

Things to Do in The Whitsunday Islands

  • Go scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, as Whitehaven Beach is located in the heart of this magnificent natural wonder.
  • Sail around the protected by the Whitsunday Islands National Park, visit the beautiful viewpoint of Whitehaven Beach, and immerse yourself in the stunning beauty of the region.
  • Experience the breathtaking beauty of Hill Inlet, where the turquoise waters meet the swirling sands.
  • Enjoy a Ngaro First Nations Welcome to Country, honoring the indigenous culture of the region.
  • Visit Hamilton Island and indulge in its many attractions, such as the marina and go-kart track.
  • Explore the Living Reef at Daydream Island, a unique and interactive snorkeling experience.
  • Attend Race Week and witness the thrilling sailing competitions that take place in the Whitsundays.
  • Try birdwatching and discover the diverse avian species that call the islands home.

Where to Stay in The Whitsunday Islands

walkway going over swimming pool by the beach Hayman Island, Queensland, Australia
Hayman Island

The best place to stay in the Whitsundays is Airlie Beach, where you can get tours to Whitehaven Beach and the other islands in the region.

Mirage Whitsundays is a luxury resort with outdoor pool, on-site restaurant and a spa. They offer apartment rooms of various sizes so you can feel at home amongst paradise.

Another luxury place in the Whitsunday Islands, you may want to consider is the Intercontinental Hayman Island resort. We highly recommend arriving by scenic helicopter flight! Here is our review of this exclusive Hayman Island resort.

We have also stayed at the Daydream Island Resort, which is a fantastic place for families with their amenities, activities, and more. Check our full review of our Daydream Island Resort family holiday.

6. Sydney, New South Wales

caz posing in front of sydney harbour bridge on a boat with glass of wine
Sydney Harbour boat cruise

Sydney is a vibrant city that is unlike anywhere else in the world. From its iconic attractions to stunning beaches, this city has something for everyone.

Sydney is a great city for shopping, relaxing, or immersing in the local culture. Visit the vibrant neighborhoods of Newtown and Surry Hills, known for their trendy cafes, boutiques, and street art, or our favorite area, The Rocks, where you can mingle in the local atmosphere.

With its thriving arts and music culture, Sydney is a city that never gets tiresome.

Things to Do in Sydney

girls on a hillside
The beautiful Bondi to Coogee coastal walk
  • Surf from the iconic Bondi Beach. This is one of Australia’s most famous beaches and is known for its excellent surf. Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned surfer, Bondi is for everyone. Read more on learning to surf at Bondi Beach.
  • Take a day trip to the Blue Mountains. This mountain range is famous for its Three Sisters rock formation, which sits on the edge of sandstone cliffs. Learn about aboriginal culture and walk in the footsteps of the natives on a hike to rock art sites.
  • Climb Sydney Harbour Bridge. This is one of the most iconic activities in Sydney and offers amazing views of the harbour.
  • Watch a performance at Sydney Opera House. Although not a cheap experience, if you’re only in Sydney once, go all out and book a night at the opera.
  • Explore the hidden oasis of Wendy’s Secret Garden, offering stunning views and winding paths.
  • Visit the Glebe Markets for a vibrant shopping experience.
  • Ride the Manly Ferry and soak in the scenic views of Sydney Harbor.
  • Embark on a hike along the South Head Heritage Trail for breathtaking coastal views.
  • Take a trip to Calmsley Hill City Farm for an interactive farm experience.
  • Explore the Justice & Police Museum to uncover Sydney’s intriguing past.
  • Visit the Taronga Park Zoo by taking a ferry from Circular Quay.
  • Explore The Rocks, a historic area with charming streets and shops.
  • Wander through the Royal Botanic Gardens and Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair for a serene experience.
  • Cliff-hop along the scenic Bondi to Coogee Trail for breathtaking coastal scenery.
  • Luxuriate in the sun and sand at Manly Beach.
  • If you have more time, and a vehicle, visit Palm Beach – my favorite beach in Sydney.

Where to Stay in Sydney

woman standing with views of opera house and harbour bridge in sydney
Amazing views for an affordable price – YHA Sydney!!

Our favorite place to stay in Sydney is the YHA Sydney Harbour Hostel in the Rocks area of Sydney. It has an unbeatable location and the best prices, since Sydney isn’t exactly cheap!

They offer private rooms and family rooms for those who are not keen on staying in hostel dorms. And the view is one of the best in Sydney — you can’t beat those prices for that!

To learn more and see prices and availability, click here. You can read our full review on the YHA the Rocks

7. Fraser Island, Queensland

aerial view of 75 mile beach
75 Mile Beach

Fraser Island, located off the coast of Queensland, is the world’s largest sand island and a destination for those seeking adventures in Australia.

This stunning island offers a unique blend of pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and crystal-clear lakes.

The best way to explore Fraser Island is by 4WD, as it allows you to navigate the sandy tracks and experience the island’s diverse landscapes.

Fraser Island is an unforgettable experience that will leave you in awe of its natural beauty.

Things to Do on Fraser Island

stairs leading down to Champagne Pools - one of the best things to do on Fraser Island in Australia
Champagne pools
  • Go 4×4 driving along 75-mile beach, the only highway on the island and a chance to drive along the beach.
  • Don’t miss the chance to swim in the famous Lake McKenzie, known for its stunning blue waters and white silica sand.
  • Take a hike through the ancient rainforest and marvel at the towering trees and diverse wildlife.
  • Look for humpback whales. If you’re visiting in June – November, you may spot some whales close to the shore on their annual migration. The best way to see them is from a scenic flight. You can also see them on a whale tour in nearby Hervey Bay (some will explore the west side of Fraser Island).
  • Swim in Champagne Pools
  • Se sunset at Kingfisher Bay Resort
  • Watch out for dingos! These wild dogs are native to the island and roam everywhere.

Use these guides to help plan your trip to Fraser Island: Fraser Island Day Trip: The Best Way To See K’Gari in 1 Day, awesome Things to Do in Hervey Bay Queensland, and unmissable things to do on Fraser Island.

Where to Stay in Fraser Island

people walking on a trail surrounded by trees
Kingfisher Bay resort trails

We enjoyed our stay at Kingfisher Bay Resort on Fraser Island, one of the few resorts actually on the island.

It has an onsite restaurant and offers tours so you can easily explore the island. We loved our stay at this beautiful resort in a spacious villa. Click to read our full review on the Kingfisher Bay Resort on Fraser Island.

To learn more and see prices and availability, click here

8. Hobart, Tasmania

boats on hobart harbour

Hobart is a fun city in Tasmania that is often overlooked on traveler’s Australia itineraries.

The city offers a blend of natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture.

It has a vibrant food scene, where you can savor fresh local produce and dine at top-notch restaurants, as well as a community atmosphere.

One of the best ways to experience Hobart is to simply chat to the locals, who are so friendly and welcoming, you’ll never want to leave.

Hobart is a destination that truly offers something for everyone!

Things to Do in Hobart

crowd of people watching a man play guitar on the street
  • Visit the iconic Salamanca Market, where you can browse through a variety of stalls showcasing local crafts, artwork, and delicious food.
  • Immerse yourself in the city’s cultural scene by visiting the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.
  • Take a trip to MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art, known for its unique exhibitions.
  • For nature lovers, a drive up Mount Wellington offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city and surrounding landscapes.
  • Explore the historic Cascade Brewery, known for its rich brewing heritage.
  • Port Arthur Historic Site is one of the best things to do near Hobart (Don’t miss their ghost tour!)
  • Wander through the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens and immerse yourself in the beauty of its diverse flora.
  • Discover the intriguing history of the Convict Penitentiary Chapel, a fascinating glimpse into Tasmania’s past.
  • Explore Bruny Island and experience its windswept landscapes and charming local culture. You may want to do this Bruny Island cruise or Tasman Island cruise. Both are exceptional.
  • Experience the lively atmosphere of the Farm Gate Markets, where you can sample fresh produce and local delicacies.
  • Discover the Battery Point Sculpture Trail and admire the unique artworks dotted along its path.
  • Get up close to Australian wildlife at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary and learn about conservation efforts.
  • Visit the historic Richmond Village and explore its well-preserved colonial buildings.

Here are more ideas on what to do in Hobart and exciting things to do in Tasmania.

Where to Stay in Hobart

living room of salamanca inn
Salamanca Inn

You can’t get better located than the Movenpick Hotel, which has views of the harbour and is within a short walk of Salamanca Market and Elizabeth Street shopping mall. It has a 24-hour fitness center, a modern Italian restaurant, and spacious rooms.

We have also stayed in the Salamanca Inn several times. We love their spacious apartment style rooms and location around the corner from the Salamanca markets and harbour. You can read our full review of the Salamanca Inn, Hobart.

To learn more and see prices and availability:

9. Darwin, Northern Territory

Aerial of Darwin from a helicopter
Aerial of Darwin from a helicopter | Credit: Liam Neal

Darwin is another hippy and vibrant city, located in Australia’s Top End.

From its stunning sunsets and vibrant food markets to its rich cultural heritage, Darwin has something for everyone.

Whether you’re interested in nature, culture, or simply enjoying the laid-back atmosphere, Darwin is a destination that will leave you mesmerized.

Things to Do in Darwin

stall filled with didgeridoos at Mindil Beach Markets - Darwin
Mindil Beach Markets – Darwin
  • Chill out at Mindil Beach Market and indulge your taste buds with the delicious cuisine at the local food markets.
  • Immerse yourself in the city’s history at the WWII sites.
  • Visit Kakadu National Park, known for its saltwater crocodile population, aboriginal rock art, and amazing landscapes.
  • Take a refreshing swim at the Darwin City Lagoon and wave pool, a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.
  • Experience the thrill of a Jumping Crocodile Cruise on the Adelaide River, getting up close to these incredible reptiles.
  • Watch the mesmerizing sunset over the ocean at Mindil Beach, a picture-perfect setting.
  • Discover the natural riches of Litchfield National Park, with its stunning waterfalls and lush waterholes.
  • Take a bike ride along the waterfront tracks, enjoying the scenic views and fresh air.
  • Explore the rust-colored roads of Darwin and surrounds, discovering hidden gems along the way.

Here are more ideas on unmissable things to do in Darwin and highlights of a Northern Territory road trip.

Where to Stay in Darwin

When visiting Darwin, we love the Hilton Garden Inn, which is ideally located near to Darwin Harbor and the Esplanade. If you want an apartment rental, we loved ours on Cullen Bay, a quieter neighborhood of Darwin, but with easy access everywhere.

To learn more and see prices and availability, click here

10. Uluru, Red Centre

Uluru at sunrise in the middle of the grassy field

Located in the heart of Australia, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country.

Uluru is a place of profound natural beauty and cultural significance. Most famous for the iconic monolith, also known as Ayers Rock, which is a sacred site for the Anangu people.

The region is famous for its Outback landscapes, full of bright red sandy desert and towering rock formations – it’s easily one of the most beautiful places in Australia to visit.

Things to Do in Uluru

family taking an Uluru sunset camel ride
Credit: Tourism Australia
  • Explore Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site, and hike the popular trails. Marvel at the changing colors of Uluru at sunrise and sunset, take guided walks to discover ancient rock art, and immerse yourself in the captivating stories of the local Aboriginal culture.
  • Immerse yourself in the mesmerizing Field of Light art installation, a unique sensory experience.
  • Explore the domes of Kata Tjuta and witness the breathtaking landscapes.
  • Indulge in the Sounds of Silence dining experience, where you can enjoy a meal under the outback sky.
  • Hike the Kings Canyon Rim Walk for stunning views and an unforgettable adventure. (An overnight road trip idea from Uluru)
  • Visit the Cultural Centre to deepen your understanding of the history and significance of Uluru.
  • Enjoy a relaxing spa treatment at Red Ochre Spa and rejuvenate your mind and body.
  • Explore the Mulgara Gallery and Maruku Arts Gallery to admire and support local artists.
  • Join a star talk with Uluru Astro Tours and learn about the wonders of the night sky.
  • Marvel at the Standley Chasm (Angkerle Atwatye) and be captivated by its natural beauty. This is near Alice Springs in the West MacDonnell Ranges, if you are passing through that region on the way in and out of Uluru. You can see this

Where to Stay in Uluru

Ayers Rock Resort Yulara Uluru
Pool at Yulara REsort

Emu Walk Apartments are a no-fuss, simple and comfortable accommodation located just a short walk from Ayers Rock Resort center. You can use all amenities including the wonderful pool.

To learn more and see prices and availability, click here

11. Cairns

people swimming at Cairns Lagoon
Cairns Lagoon

Cairns is a captivating destination that offers a unique blend of natural beauty and vibrant culture.

It’s famous for being the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, where you can dive into an underwater paradise teeming with colorful marine life.

With its stunning attractions and diverse activities, Cairns is a must-visit for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.

Things to Do in Cairns

Cape Tribulation Beach in the Daintree Rainforest of Australia
Cape Tribulation Beach
  • Head over to Port Douglas, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Go scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, or take one of the snorkeling cruises if you don’t want to dive.
  • Visit the Daintree Rainforest, one of the most lush rainforests in Australia and famous for its biodiversity of flora and fauna.
  • Stroll through the bustling markets and indulge in the alfresco dining scene, savoring fresh local cuisine.
  • Take a dip in the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon or venture to Josephine Falls for a refreshing swim.
  • Explore the beautiful Esplanade Boardwalk and enjoy the stunning views of the ocean.
  • Discover the wonders of marine life at the Cairns Aquarium, a must-visit attraction.
  • Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature at the Cairns Botanic Gardens.
  • Wander through Rusty’s Farmer’s Market and indulge in delicious local produce.
  • Take a scenic train ride and enjoy the breathtaking views along the Kuranda Railway.
  • Visit the historic Paronella Park and be enchanted by its picturesque beauty.
  • Swim in the natural pools of Babinda Boulders and immerse yourself in nature.
  • Visit Green Island and discover its stunning beaches and vibrant marine life.

Where to Stay in Cairns

Cairns Esplanade at twilight
Cairns Esplanade at twilight

When staying in Cairns, we love staying in a private apartment where we can make ourselves at home.

Cairns Private Apartments are just a short walk from Waterfront Marina and offer comfortable rooms.

To learn more and see prices and availability, click here

Tours of Australia

If you were looking for group tour options in Australia, rather than traveling independent. Our preferred partner Globus has a range of Australian tours. Click links below and be sure to use our exclusive code in the blue box below.


We’ve secured an exclusive yTravel discount: Save $100 per person on select 2024 Globus and Avalon Waterway Vacations. Use the code: YTRAVEL when booking online at the Globus, Cosmos, and Avalon Waterways websites, by calling Globus and Avalon Waterways directly, or booking with a preferred Travel Advisor. Terms & Conditions.

Which of these 4 places to visit in Australia would you most like to explore?

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