15 Best Things To Do In Australia | Ultimate Guide

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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Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef
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Diving In Ningaloo Reef

Ningaloo Reef offers a fantastic alternative to the crowded Great Barrier Reef, stretching 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 and June

Turtle cleaning station at the Labyrinth dive site. Lighthouse Bay. Ningaloo Reef. Exmouth. Western Australia
Turtle cleaning station at the Labyrinth dive site. Lighthouse Bay. Ningaloo Reef
Whale shark in Ningaloo Reef. Exmouth. Western Australia
Whale shark in Ningaloo Reef. Exmouth. Western Australia

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.

Top things to do in Australia: 4. Rent a 4x4 and spend a few days exploring Fraser Island
75 Mile Beach, Fraser Island
Top things to do in Australia: 4. Rent a 4x4 and spend a few days exploring Fraser Island
View from the top of Indian Head, Fraser Island

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.

Whitsundays tour with Cruise Whitsundays
Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays

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.

Daintree National Park, best things to do in australia
Where the rainforest meets the reef. Daintree National Park, QLD

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?

Cable Beach, Broome, best things to do in australia
Cable Beach, Broome
That magical moment when the sun hits the horizon. Bar Beach, Newcastle. Australia
Bar Beach, Newcastle
Noosa Main Beach, Noosa National Park
Noosa Main Beach, Noosa National Park

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!

Yamba Main Beach, Yamba, NSW
Yamba Main Beach, Yamba, NSW
The rocks and the Town Beach, Port Macquarie, NSW
The rocks and the Town Beach, Port Macquarie, NSW
Lake Macquarie, Toronto Marina, NSW. Australia
Lake Macquarie, Toronto Marina, NSW

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 ValleyHunter Valley, Yarra Valley, Adelaide Hills, Clare Valley, and many other wine regions in the area.

Top Things to do in Australia: 9. Go wine tasting in South Australia's Wine Regions
Barossa Valley, South Australia
Picnic Fare at Maggie Beer's Farm Shop, Barossa Valley
Picnic Fare at Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop, Barossa Valley
Yalumba Winery, Barossa Valley
Yalumba Winery, Barossa Valley

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.

Cradle Mountain, Tasmania
Dove Lake with Cradle Mountain in the background, Tasmania. Views like this make it one of the best things to do in Australia
Hobart Harbour, Tasmania
Hobart Harbour, Tasmania. One of the lesser known places to visit in Australia
On the lichen kissed rocks in Bay of Fires.
On the lichen-kissed rocks in the Bay of Fires

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.

Camel train on Cable Beach. Broome. Western Australia
Camel train on Cable Beach, Broome, Western Australia. One of the most popular tourist attraction in this part of Australia
Dales Gorge trail. Karijini National Park. Western Australia
Dales Gorge, Karijini National Park, Western Australia
Sunset over the Pinnacles Desert in Cervantes, Western Australia
Sunset over the Pinnacles Desert in Cervantes, Western 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.

where to stay in sydney australia
Sydney Harbour NSW. Photo courtesy of Tourism Australia

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!

Sunset at Ubirr, Kakadu National Park
Sunset at Ubirr, Kakadu National Park

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. 

The Seven Best Day Trips From Sydney, Australia, blue mountains day trip
The Three Sisters from Echo Point, Blue Mountains National Park, NSW. Photo courtesy of Tourism Australia

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.

Uluru Tour: Just outside of Alice Springs
Just outside of Alice Springs

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.

Things to do on 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.

Real Food Festival in Maleny, Queensland, Australia
Sunny day at the Real Food Festival in Maley, Sunshine Coast, Australia
Australian Music Festivals
Splendour in the Grass festival… also known as Splendour in the Mud. Byron Bay, NSW

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

 

 

Have You Been To Australia? Did We Miss Out Your Favourite Things To Do In Australia? Share Them Below

7 thoughts on “15 Best Things To Do In Australia | Ultimate Guide”

  1. Escape Hunter

    Lovely Australia…
    I’d include the desert trips on my list. Ayers Rock, Alice Springs… pay a visit to a couple of the mines there.
    Australia is famous for opal and gold.
    🙂

  2. As a Victorian – I find it odd you didn’t include The Great Ocean Road – but maybe I’m biased. Each to their own 🙂

    1. When this list was originally published in 2014, Great Ocean Road was actually on the list. I personally really enjoyed the road trip, but with everything else we’ve seen and done in Australia since mid-2014, it was hard to find a spot for Great Ocean Road in the top 10. It’s great, but we’ll keep it in our Top 15 instead 🙂

    1. So happy to help! I expect to see lots of amazing photos of your travels around Australia, Marta! 🙂 There is a ton more information about Australia in our Disover Australia section, but if you have any particular questions, feel free to drop us an email.

  3. Diane Griffiths

    Hi I’m visiting Australia in October to visit my son and his girlfriend who are travelling, whilst in cairns I wanted to treat them to do some diving ( they did their padi in Thailand, any idea on where we should go ?
    Thanks Diane x

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