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Best places to visit in Australia

Discover the diverse beauty, history and culture across all of Australia, from beaches to mountains and world class cities.

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There is no other country in the world like Australia and few that are as diverse. From the tropical north to the mountainous south and over 10,000 beaches dotting the coast, there is no shortage of beautiful sites or unique things to do in Australia.

Our guide to the best places to visit in Australia shows you all of the country’s highlights including its wildlife, wine regions, national parks and top cities.

New South Wales

1. Sydney

Sydney is Australia’s largest city and is the perfect place for every kind of traveller as the city boasts gorgeous beaches, plenty of shopping, adventure activities and more.

The city is kid-friendly but also has great food, an exciting night life and the perfect jumping off point for day trips to the Hunter Valley for wine and the Blue Mountains for some nature. A trip to Australia is not complete without a stop in Sydney to see the country’s most iconic sites and to visit one of the most popular destinations in the world.

  • Best for: Every kind of traveller
  • Where is it? East Coast New South Wales
  • Top 5 things to see/do: Sydney Opera House, explore Darling Harbour, Bondi to Coogee Coastal walk, climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge, visit the Blue Mountains.
  • How long do I need? 3-5 days
  • Recommended tour: The Sydney Day Tour with Optional Lunch tour lets you see the Opera House to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Manly beach and the top views in the city on this full day tour.

2. Byron Bay

Byron Bay is most famous as being one of the best surf destinations in Australia and many people flock here to try their hand on the waves.

If you prefer to take it easy in the water you can relax on one of the many stunning beaches in the area, whale watch or go sea kayaking to spot dolphins. Byron Bay has a relaxed vibe where travellers can chill out for a few days and watch the best sunrise in the country from Byron Bay Lighthouse.

3. Snowy Mountains

The Snowy Mountains (The Snowies) is home to the highest mountain range in Australia but don’t let the name fool you, there are activities to do year-round at this destination.

In winter you can tear up the slopes on the best mountains, Thredbo and Perisher. In the spring, summer and autumn you can explore the mountains on horseback, by hiking, through river activities and more. Between all the adventure outings, pamper yourself at a spa and visit the winery or distillery.

  • Best for: Adventure travellers, nature lovers
  • Where is it? Southeast New South Wales
  • Top 5 things to see/do: Hit the slopes at Thredbo or Perisher, go horseback riding, hike Mount Kosciuszko, have a spa day, visit Snowy Vine Estate and microbrewery.
  • How long do I need? 1-2 days
  • Recommended tour: Snowy Wilderness Horse Riding Tours take you through the incredible scenery of the Snowy Mountains region by horseback.

4. Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour is a coastal town in New South Wales that is the perfect spot to break up a car trip down the East Coast.

Coffs Harbour is known for being the home of the Big Banana. It has plenty of beaches to choose from, water activities, action sports, scenic sites and wildlife.

  • Best for: Sport, water and beach lovers
  • Where is it? Mid North Coast New South Wales
  • Top 5 things to see/do: Take a selfie with the Big Banana, visit Muttonbird Island, see the Butterfly house, do the Diggers Beach to Park Beach Headland Walk, take in the views at Forest Sky Pier.
  • How long do I need? 1 day
  • Recommended tour: Segway All Terrain Adventure take you through the scenic sites of Coffs Harbour by segway.


5. Daintree Rainforest

The Daintree Rainforest is a stunning natural attraction in tropical northern Queensland.

It encompasses a number of places that are ideal for those wishing to get outdoors, see nature up close and have a quiet time. Cape Tribulation offers jungle surfing (ziplining) and Mossman Gorge showcases the beauty of the rainforest. On a nightwalk you can see nature come to life. Daintree is a UNESCO World Heritage site because it’s the oldest living rainforest in the world.

6. Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is Australia’s main attraction and a UNESCO World Heritage site as it is the largest living thing on Earth.

A trip to Australia is not complete without flying over the reef for some of the best scenic views in the country, diving or snorkeling to see the diverse marine life or enjoying one of the many white sand beaches.

7. Cape York

Cape York is an unspoiled paradise of natural wilderness on the most northerly tip of Australia.

It’s home to the historic Cooktown and is one of the last remaining wilderness areas on earth. A trip here is perfect to experience adventure, nature, wildlife and culture.

  • Best for: Adventurers, nature lovers
  • Where is it? Far north Queensland which can be reached by car, bus, boat or plane
  • Top 5 things to see/do: Discover waterfalls, visit the tip of Cape York and Torres Strait, explore the Great Barrier Reef, relax on the beaches.
  • How long do I need? 7 days minimum if you wish to road trip from Cairns
  • Recommended tour: See the best of Cape York and all of the highlights on an 8-day tour from Cairns with a small group.

8. Gold Coast

Gold Coast is an entertainment hub that is a mix of city life, night life, beaches, theme parks and nature not far from the city centre.

It’s famous for surfing, the network of canals and waterways that run through the city, theme parks such as Seaworld and Dreamworld and the hiking trails through Lamington National Park.

9. Whitsundays and Hamilton Island

74 islands make up the Whitsunday Islands that are most known for the incredible white sand beaches, including one of the best beaches in the world, Whitehaven Beach.

The islands are covered in dense rainforest and are mostly uninhabited, but there are walking trails on some. Hamilton Island is one of the larger Whitsunday Islands and that’s where you can spot wildlife, hike and discover spectacular beaches.

10. Noosa

Noosa is a picturesque resort area where travellers flock to enjoy nature, beaches and shopping. Noosa National Park is filled with hiking trails.

Spotting wildlife such as koalas and dolphins is not uncommon. The waves are excellent for surfing, the nearby Everglades are one of only two in the world and Noosa is a jumping off point for Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island.


11. Great Ocean Road

The Great Ocean Road is a 243 km stretch of road between Torquay and Allansford but it’s most commonly done from Melbourne.

The drive showcases jaw-dropping views of the ocean and incredible sites such as the Twelve Apostles, London Arch, Apollo Bay and waterfalls. It’s typically done as a self-drive but plenty of tours are available, stopping at all the main scenic spots. Koala spotting is also common and there are many walking trails.

12. Yarra Valley

Yarra Valley is the area surrounding the Yarra River and is most famous for its world class wineries, less than an hour’s drive away from Melbourne.

With over 80 cellar doors the Yarra Valley is more than just wineries. It has iconic scenery, breweries, mouth-watering food and art.

  • Best for: Food and wine lovers, scenic views
  • Where is it? East of Melbourne
  • Top 5 things to see/do: Do a winery tour, take a hot air balloon for scenic views, treat yourself to a spa trip, experience a stellar food and wine tasting, get outdoors on a segway tour.
  • How long do I need? 1 day
  • Recommended tour: From Melbourne take a day trip to Yarra Valley where you’ll learn wine-tasting techniques, try wines from 4 wineries and have lunch at a top winery with pairings.

13. Melbourne

Melbourne is the coastal capital city of Victoria and is most known for its trendy scene, hip cafes and cafe culture.

It’s widely considered the culture capital of Australia with many museums of art, foodie events happening weekly, music shows and new activities happening at the city centre in Federation Square. The Yarra River runs through Melbourne and is lined with restaurants, bars and many city attractions.


14. Freycinet

Freycinet National Park is one place in Tasmania that you simply can’t miss.

It’s home to dramatic pink granite peaks, plenty of bird wildlife, white sand beaches and secluded bays. The park overlooks the Tasman Sea and is home to famous lookouts such as Wineglass Bay, one of the most photographed spots in Tasmania.

  • Best for: Outdoor and nature lovers
  • Where is it? East Coast Tasmania
  • Top 5 things to see/do: See the views from Wineglass Bay, kayak through the stunning water, do the experience walk along the entire coast of the peninsula, get adventurous on a quad bike, golf at the Freycinet golf club.
  • How long do I need? 1-2 days
  • Recommended tour: Discover all of the highlights of Freycinet National Park on a day-trip from Hobart by hiking to all of the best natural sites.

15. Cradle Mountain

Cradle Mountain is the most iconic site in Lake St Clair National Park.

In the park you’ll find ancient rainforests, walking tracks with jaw-dropping views and glacial lakes. The park is a Wilderness World Heritage Area and is home to the globally-known Overland Track.

  • Best for: Outdoor and nature lovers
  • Where is it? Central Highlands, Tasmania
  • Top 5 things to see/do: Try [provider-link id="702" title="canyoning" title=""], walk the Dove Lake circuit, do a hiking adventure across the many trails, stargaze without light pollution, spot the local wildlife.
  • How long do I need? 2-3 days
  • Recommended tour: Spend the day walking around Cradle Mountain and visiting beautiful sites such as Dove Lake and visit the small town of Sheffield on a tour from Launceston.


16. Flinders Ranges

The Flinders Ranges forms the largest mountain range in South Australia with incredible landscapes that are 540 million years old.

The area stretches over 430km and is filled with national parks, forest reserves, lookouts and many natural attractions. It’s the perfect place to camp and explore the walking or cycling trails.

  • Best for: Outdoor adventure
  • Where is it? 200km north of Adelaide, South Australia
  • Top 5 things to see/do: Explore Alligator Gorge, spend a few days , see the views from above on a scenic flight, take time in Mount Remarkable National Park, see breathtaking views at Hancocks Lookout.
  • How long do I need? 3-5 days
  • Recommended tour: Experience the Flinders Ranges on a small group 3-day eco tour from Adelaide where you’ll hear stories around the campfire, see indigenous rock art, visit historic towns and sample wine.

17. Eyre Peninsula

Eyre Peninsula offers a stretch of national parks and small holiday towns under endless blue skies.

It’s here where you will find out-of-this-world seafood and photogenic scenery. Under the water is a breeding ground for southern right whales and is an excellent place to discover other marine animals, such as sea lions and great white sharks. Scenes from Jaws were filmed here and there are opportunities to see where.

  • Best for: Water and nature activities
  • Where is it? Southern coast of South Australia
  • Top 5 things to see/do: Try some of the famous seafood, swim with the local sea lions, dolphins and sharks, spot whales on a whale watching tour, discover the national parks inland such as Gawler Ranges, visit the coastal town of Port Lincoln.
  • How long do I need? 5-7 days
  • Recommended tour: Spend a day in Port Lincoln National Park, drive along Whalers Way Coastal Drive, see koalas and try local wine and seafood.

Image: Shane Reid

18. Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island is a spectacular island off the coast of South Australia and is a mix of pristine white sand beaches, towering rock formations, bushland, sand dunes and diverse wildlife.

Over two thirds of the island is protected nature reserves and Flinders Chase National Park is known for stunning coastal rock formations and penguin colonies.

  • Best for: Scenic sites, nature, adventure and water activities
  • Where is it? South-west of Adelaide, South Australia
  • Top 5 things to see/do: Explore Flinders Chase National Park, see Cape Willoughby Lighthouse, visit Seal Bay Conservation Park, do a cave tour, try sandboarding on the dunes.
  • How long do I need? 2 days
  • Recommended tour: Experience a full-day tour from Adelaide to Kangaroo Island where you’ll encounter sea lions, have lunch overlooking Vivonne Bay, visit a wildlife sanctuary and see Flinders Chase National Park home to Admirals Arch (pictured).

19. Barossa Valley

Barossa Valley is a wine-producing region close to Adelaide.

The area is dotted with small towns and farms known for their hospitality. The landscape is full of green rolling hills and is more than just wine. Enjoy good food, heritage, art and culture and even active pursuits such as cycling.

Northern Territory

20. Kakadu

Kakadu National Park is a nature reserve in the Northern Territory with diverse landscapes and wildlife.

Over 2,000 plant species are found here with wildlife such as saltwater crocodiles, birds, turtles and more. The area is made up of wetlands, sandstone escapes and aboriginal rock paintings that date back to prehistoric times can be found at multiple sites throughout the huge park.

  • Best for: Outdoor, nature and wildlife lovers
  • Where is it? North Coast, Northern Territory
  • Top 5 things to see/do: Take a boat cruise to spot some crocodiles, visit famous waterfalls such as Jim Jim Falls, see the Aboriginal rock art, swim in gorges, hike through the natural scenery.
  • How long do I need? 3-4 days
  • Recommended tour: Spend 3 days exploring the best of Kakadu National Park that includes a scenic flight, river cruise, discovering Aboriginal art and more.

21. Katherine

The Katherine area is a large part of the Northern Territory that stretches from Western Australia to Queensland and occupies the Top End.

It’s the place to be for a true outback experience and is filled with Indigenous culture. The small town of Katherine is the main hub of the region with museums, galleries and historic sites.

22. Uluru

Uluru is the Red Centre of Australia and is a massive rock in the middle of the outback that is in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, 450km away from Alice Springs, the closest town.

It’s believed that the rock started forming 550 million years ago and it is a sacred site to Indigenous peoples. There is no other site like it in the world. The park is also home to the formation of Kata Tjuta, another sacred site.

Western Australia

23. Margaret River

Margaret River is a small town south of Perth that is most famously known for the wineries that surround the area.

Breweries and boutiques are also abundant, making it the perfect weekend getaway. Not far from the town are beautiful beaches with surf breaks and waters that are the migratory routes for whales.

24. Kalgoorlie

Kalgoorlie is an old gold mining town that has existed since the 1890s.

The wealth has kept the town going and today it’s like stepping back in time, with buildings that showcase the history of the gold mining boom.

  • Best for: History and culture lovers
  • Where is it? Goldfields-Esperance region, Western Australia
  • Top 5 things to see/do: Visit during wildflower season, take in the scenic views at Lake Ballard, experience the only school in Australia where the two-up gambling game is legalised, see Hannans North tourist mine, get fossicking (recreational prospecting) and find your fortune.
  • How long do I need? 2-3 days
  • Recommended tour: Discover what Kalgoorlie is like from above with the best views possible of the famous big pit on a scenic flight.

25. Broome

Broome is a beach resort town that sits on the coast of the Indian Ocean.

It’s where wilderness meets the water and is home to a rich history from the town pearl mining past. Broome has abundant wildlife, pristine beaches, a tropical climate and experiences for every kind of traveller.

26. Rottnest Island

Rottnest Island is off the coast of Perth and is famously known for the island’s inhabitants, the quokkas, a small wallaby-like marsupial.

But the island attractions are more than just those cute animals. There are pristine white sand beaches, blue waters and surf breaks. The entire island is a protected nature reserve with incredible, picturesque scenery.

  • Best for: Water and adventure activities, scenic sights and walks
  • Where is it? Off the coast of Perth, Western Australia
  • Top 5 things to see/do: Cycle around the island and take in the scenery, spot quokkas on a guided walk, discover the beauty underwater by snorkelling, skydive over the many shades of blue water, visit the Basin.
  • How long do I need? 1-2 days
  • Recommended tour: Spend a day on Rottnest Island on a full-day tour from Fremantle, including lunch at historic sites and views of the island’s rugged scenery.

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