Australia is one of the most sought-after destinations for travelers worldwide. Over 6 million people head to Australia on a yearly basis in search of adventure, beautiful beaches, and lush jungles and to visit the most famous places in Australia. Unless you live in New Zealand, Australia is not a weekend destination.
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Even a week or two is not enough to experience all the things to do in Australia. So when travelers finally save up for a trip to Australia, they tend to stay for a while. And it’s no surprise. There are dozens of beautiful sights, places worth exploring, and a never-ending list of things to do in Australia.
If you are planning a trip to the Land Down Under, this list of the best things to do in Australia is 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 and possibly one of the most famous places in Australia. 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 continues to be a reason for serious concern.
The Great Barrier Reef was where Oksana first experienced the underwater world during her introductory scuba dive back in 2010. It was an unforgettable experience and inspired her to get her scuba diving certification in Koh Tao. The highlight of her dive: meeting the Napoleon Wrasse, locally known as Wally!
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Diving In Ningaloo Reef
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 and June.
2. Rent A 4×4 And Spend A Few Days Exploring Fraser Island
If exploring underwater isn’t your thing, then taking a Fraser Island Tour will be top of your list of the best things while visiting Australia. Fraser Island is located off the East Coast of Australia, about 3 hours North of Brisbane. It’s the world’s largest sand island and spans over 120 kms. It offers incredible hikes, stunning views, and a relaxed outdoor atmosphere surrounded by natural beauty. It’s the 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 is one of the best things to do in Australia and 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 sailboat, right in the heart of it all!
Located on mainland Australia, Airlie Beach is the main gateway to the islands and a great base from which to explore the Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef. There are plenty of tour companies in Airlie Beach, and the town itself is definitely worth exploring. If you happen to be in Airlie Beach on a Saturday, check out the beach market, where you can pick up fresh local produce, handmade jewellery, clothing, and lots more to bring home as souvenirs.
4. Go On A Hike In Daintree National Park
Daintree National Park is one of the most amazing destinations for nature lovers heading to Australia. Located 2 hours north of Cairns, Daintree National Park is the largest continuous area of tropical rainforest in all of Australia. The park 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
Beaches probably make up the most popular of the Australia tourist attractions, and it’s easy to see why. Australia is renowned for its beaches. It’s home to some of the most beautiful clear waters, softest white sand, and longest stretches of untouched beaches in the world. The area known as the Gold Coast, in particular, is known for its world-class beaches.
Some of the best things to do in Australia take place on the beach. From surf lessons on the Gold Coast to beach skydives, adventure lovers seeking a thrill will have plenty of things to do in Australia. At the same time, the beach bums will be equally as happy!
With over 11,000 beaches along nearly 37,000 kms of the Australian coastline, the bigger question remains: What is Australia’s Best 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 best things to do in Australia. This self-drive itinerary taking you from two famous places in Australia spans 1000kms along the Legendary Pacific Coast. The scenic drive takes you to some of the best places to visit in Australia. It’s 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
For wine lovers, there is no doubt that one of the best things to do in Australia is to travel to Adelaide. The capital of South Australia is 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, Hunter Valley, Yarra Valley, Adelaide Hills, Clare Valley, and many other wine regions in the area.
Read Next: Best Wine Regions In Australia
8. Explore The Wilderness Of Tasmania
Despite being known as one of the most beautiful states in Australia, Tasmania is still one of the lesser-known places to visit in the country. 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 one of the most unique places to visit in this part of the world. It’s 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 full of signs of prehistoric existence. There is more to discover in W.A. than just Perth, and exploring this area is definitely one of the best things to do in Australia.
10. Kayak or Cruise Through Sydney Harbour
If you find yourself in New South Wales, you owe it to yourself to explore Sydney. This cultural and commercial hub has something for everyone and plenty of opportunities for unique experiences.
One of the best ways to see the iconic landmarks in Sydney is from the water. You can join a kayak tour through Sydney Harbour, which offers spectacular views of the famous Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and the dazzling city beyond the harbour.
If you prefer a more relaxed experience, there are harbour cruises that run 1.5 to 2-hour circuits of Sydney Harbour. This is a much more leisurely way to take in sights of the skyline and the iconic Sydney Opera House while enjoying a cocktail and charcuterie board with Australian cheeses.
11. Explore Kakadu National Park
Located in the Northern Territory, Kakadu National Park spans some 20,000 square kilometres, making it Australia’s largest national park. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this area has been home to Aboriginal people for over 50,000 years. One of the largest parks in the world’s tropics, Kakadu National Park is home to an amazing variety of ecosystems to explore and archaeological sites to see.
There is so much to do and see in this enormous park that creating an itinerary can be overwhelming. Check out what locals and park employees suggest – they know best. These self-guided tours give you the choice of destinations. You can see some spectacular ancient rock art, hike to viewpoints of waterfalls, take a river cruise to view the local wildlife, the list goes on and on!
12. Visit the Blue Mountains
Located about two hours west of Sydney, the Blue Mountains National Park offers over 140 km of trails to explore. This park is home to the famous Three Sisters rock formation, dozens of waterfalls, and glowing sandstone escarpments. Here are just a few things you can do in the Blue Mountains.
Join a Nature and Wildlife Tour
This tour includes a guided bushwalk to remote lookouts and waterfalls in the Blue Mountains. You’ll get to see the iconic Three Sisters and explore a mountain village. The operator takes care of all logistics, including park entry and hotel pickup/dropoff in Sydney.
Self-guided Bike Tour Via Mount Banks Road
Rent a mountain bike and cycle the 10km scenic cycling route in Blue Mountains National Park. This medium-difficulty trail leads through open heath and woodland onto the edge of the escarpment high above Grose Valley.
Visit the Popular Sites in the Katoomba Area
The Katoomba area is home to most of the iconic landmarks in the park, including the Three Sisters, Wentworth Falls, and the Pool of Siloam. Paths to viewpoints are paved, easy, and relatively short, so you can easily fit them all in. If you’re up for a more challenging hike, check out the Prince Henry Cliff Walk or the Ruined Castle Walking Track.
13. Take a Nocturnal Tour at the Alice Springs Desert Park
Encompassing 1,300 hectares just west of the town of Alice Springs, this park is dedicated to educating visitors on the Australian desert environment and its inhabitants, all while working to protect threatened plant and animal species. Their Nocturnal Tour is a unique experience, where visitors are guided to a large predator-proof enclosure that houses endangered species. Here, you can learn about the endangered animals and see them up close.
14. Visit Kangaroo Island
If you are in South Australia for a few days, consider adding Kangaroo Island to your itinerary – you won’t regret it. This place is full of natural wonders to explore, and is a wonderful break from the tourist packed destinations of the Gold Coast and Sydney. You’ll get to see New Zealand Fur Seals and Australian Sea Lions play on the island’s protected coast, see some spectacular rock formations, and enjoy the charming culture of Kangaroo Island.
15. 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 unique things to do in Australia 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 of the best things to do in Australia is really just a starting point. It does not cover all the amazing things to do in Australia during your trip and is certainly not an exhaustive list of places to visit in Australia. But, if you are planning a big trip to Australia, visit our Australia Archives to learn more about where to go, get more tips on what to do in Australia, and find out what to expect in each destination.
Other Best Things to Do in Australia