Here are the Best Places to Visit in Australia – As Told By Fellow Bloggers!
Looking for the best of Australia? We think we have it all here in this post! Whether you are travelling in the cool of March or the heat of December, you are sure to find some of the best trips, attractions, and natural wonders on this list. If you want to know about the best time to visit Australia, that’ll depend on what you want to see!
That said, Australia is a huge country with lots to see and do. So, we asked 31 travel bloggers to share their coolest place to visit in Australia! We break down the best places to visit into the different states and territories of Australia to make it easy for you to plan your trip. So, if you’re ready – let’s get exploring the “Land Down Under”!
Things to Consider When Visiting Australia
If you are planning on visiting Australia, there are a few travel logistics that you should think about before you plan and book. Depending on where you are in the world, just getting to Australia can be a task in itself!
Currency + Visas
In Australia, the currency used is the Australian Dollar (AUD). The bills are actually made of plastic (like in Canada) meaning you can swim with your money in your pocket and not have to worry about it getting wet and ruined (not that you should do that)! You could get cash beforehand but we usually just wait until we arrive in the country and withdrawal money from an ATM there. The rates are usually better than at a currency exchange and if you have a free transaction to use up on an international withdrawal it saves another small fee!
Basically every passport needs some form of visa to enter Australia as a tourist – except for New Zealand! Citizenships like Canada and USA need to apply for an ETA – short for Electronic Travel Authority. This can be done online and for a small fee. It is an authorization that is linked to your passport number and you must have it in place before your flight!
Other passports, like EU passports, need an eVisitor visa. They are similar to the ETA in the sense that you apply online and that it is linked to your passport. There are small differences between the visa categories, though. To check the exact specifications for the visa you need, visit the Australian Government Immigration Department Website.
Climate and Geography
Australia is very unique in the sense that (like Canada) it’s very large and covers many different climate zones and regions. The middle of the Outback is a dry, arid desert, while parts of the coast are lush rainforests or wine regions. The north is close to the equator making it very hot, while the bottom near Melbourne and Tasmania can get quite chilly! In short, it’s hard to pinpoint one weather/climate type for the country.
As for the best time to visit, Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere – meaning the seasons are reversed if you are in North America or Europe. The summer months are hot and run from November to March, while the winter is from May to September.
This can honestly catch travellers off guard because country location relative to the earth and the sun isn’t the first thing people usually consider when travelling. This just means that you need to know the season you are travelling in, where you are going, what you plan on doing, and pack accordingly!
Travelling to Australia can be, in all honesty, kind of dangerous. The country itself is very safe and stable – but there are a few poisonous snakes, spiders, and other creatures which might not take a liking to you! The terrain is also very dynamic – some of it can be unwelcoming if you aren’t careful! So, it’s a good idea to have travel insurance.
If you are considering buying some, you can check here to get an idea about how much travel insurance for your trip could be. Eric has used World Nomads in the past for shorter trips and he was more than covered by their policies.
Car Rentals in Australia
As for getting around Australia, renting a car is a great option since many cities and towns are spaced out. Having a car allows you to access things when you want on your own schedule.
It’s important to remember that driving in Australia is done so on the left – like in the UK. If you are unfamiliar with driving on this side of the road, you might want to travel with someone who is. Alternatively, you can book buses between locations – but a car really is the easiest. Australia is like Canada in that regard. So, depending on your travel style, you might consider renting a car in Australia.
As the second largest state and the third-most populous, Queensland is a popular place for visitors to Australia. Located on the northeast coast of the country, Queensland is often known as the gateway to the famous Great Barrier Reef. Towns like Cairns offer adrenaline seekers all their thrills while some of the most beautiful beaches in the world await you at the Whitsunday Islands.
Noosa National Park
Recommended by Vita from My Walk in the World
Noosa National Park is one of the most picturesque parks in Queensland. Located just an hour north of Brisbane, this park is near the small beachside town of Noosa. With Noosa’s recent rise in popularity, the park is a quiet, scenic place to enjoy the best of Australian nature. A parking lot is available for those traveling by car, however, it is located within walking distance from the town center and is accessible by foot.
The terrain is varied, from paved paths to gravel trails to sandy beaches. There are several hiking tracks – some take you through and over the hills while the other takes you along the coast. The Coastal Track (3 miles one way) takes you along the coastal cliffs with incredible views of rock formations and an endless horizon. Noosa National Park is not just for avid hikers, there are several secluded beaches along the track that families and surfers prefer over Noosa’s Main Beach.
Pro tip: Don’t forget to look up for a chance to see koalas soaking up the sun in the eucalyptus trees!
Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island
Recommended by Julia from The Freckled Tourist – Read her Guide to Traveling Australia Solo here.
If you’re looking for a unique experience in Australia, I highly recommend sailing through the Whitsunday Islands. Found off the northeast coast of Queensland, the Whitsundays are a group of gorgeous, islands consisting of rainforests and white sand beaches.
To get here, you can fly into Hamilton Island or Airlie Beach. If you’re looking for luxury, you’ll find amazing accommodation on Hamilton Island, but if you’re on a budget you should plan to stay in Airlie Beach which is full of hostels and backpackers.
The best way to see the Whitsundays is to sign up for a boat tour. There are tons of tour options ranging from adventure to relaxing, to crazy party boats, and of course the Great Barrier Reef scuba diving tours. I prefer the adventure overnight boat tours because you get to experience fun activities such as snorkeling the colorful reefs, kayaking through the islands, and hiking to beautiful beaches.
The most stunning spot in the Whitsundays is Whitehaven Beach and is not to be missed. Here you’ll find the softest, whitest sand you’ve ever experienced and you’ll be wowed by the view of the inlet that swirls the turquoise water with the silicone sands. Visiting Whitehaven Beach is truly a once in a lifetime experience and needs to be on your Australia itinerary!
Recommended by Jan from Budget Travel Talk
Magnetic Island was named by explorer James Cook on suspicion of it causing his compass to malfunction. Ultimately his theory was wrong, but this island suburb of Townsville North Queensland does radiate its own brand of magnetism.
From Townsville, take a 20-minute catamaran or car ferry ride to Nelly Bay terminal. Public buses meet every ferry and from Nelly Bay, zippy topless hire cars and scooters fan out along the paved roads to all of the major bays.
Winter is a great time to visit North Queensland. The days are pleasantly warm and there are no marine stingers to worry about.
Magnetic Island attractions include koala spotting on the scenic Forts Walk or getting up close and personal at Bungalow Bay’s Koala Park. At Horseshoe Bay you can horse ride to the beach or enjoy water-sports with the whole family. The horseshoe-shaped beach stretches off into infinity and a walk is tempting – or you could admire the view from the wide-open Marlin Bar instead.
The island hosts cool jazz festivals and raging full-moon parties but what Maggie truly excels at is quality de-stressing time. Time to find your own patch of sand beneath the wispy Casuarinas or stroll beaches littered with shells and coral pieces. It is known for National Park walking tracks that overlook the Coral Sea and peek down into bays bordered by hoop pines and giant boulders.
What I love most about visiting Magnetic Island though, is how everyday life is so quickly and easily transformed into magical island time. Read our insider tips for fun things to do in Townsville and Magnetic Island here.
Recommended by Greta from Greta’s Travels
The Daintree Rainforest is the oldest rainforest in the world. It had a surface area of 1200km squared and is one of the largest areas of tropical rainforest in Australia, and also one of the richest natural environments in the world. It’s located a short drive away from Cairns and you can easily visit it on a day trip from Cairns.
We did an organised tour that took us crocodile spotting on a river cruise on the Daintree River, walking around the rainforest, swimming in (crocodile free!) freshwater creeks, feeding wallabies, and to beautiful viewpoints over the rainforest and sea. All throughout the day our guide taught us about local flora and fauna, and the impact human influence is having on the Daintree Rainforest and how we can reduce it.
If you’re visiting Cairns it’s an experience I highly recommend adding to your Australian travel bucket list since seeing the world’s oldest rainforest in person isn’t an opportunity that comes across every day.
New South Wales
Located north of Victoria on the east coast, New South Wales is a very popular destination for Australia travellers. While the capital city, Sydney, draws in lots of visitors, there are lots of other attractions such as the Blue Mountains, stunning beaches and coastline, rainforests, and wineries.
Opera House in Sydney
Recommended by James from Travel Collecting
The Sydney Opera House is the most iconic image of Australia – and it lives up to the hype. It sits jutting into the Sydney Harbor and on a sunny day the views of the Sydney Harbor Bridge across the way, with the harbor sparkling all around take your breath away.
It is worth visiting at different times of the day. In the morning, walk into the beautiful neighboring Botanical Gardens for great views of it, or take a ferry from the adjacent Circular Quay for a view from the water. Keep in mind it sits on a north-south axis, so time your visit for the right photo angle.
As the sun starts to set, grab a drink and some snacks at the Opera Bar, which is outside at the base of the Opera House, and relax with views of the Opera House behind and the harbor and bridge in front of you. This is my absolute favorite thing to do in Sydney.
Check out the performance schedule too – watching an opera here is a special treat. If you do, enjoy a glass of champagne at intermission and go the back foyer for spectacular night views of the Harbor Bridge.
Recommended by Sonja from Migrating Miss
Byron Bay is a coastal town in the northeast of New South Wales, not far from the Queensland border. Although there are beautiful beaches all along the coast here there is something special about visiting Byron Bay.
It is one of the few places you can see the sun set along the beach on the east coast of Australia, thanks to the angle of the bay. Watching the sunset is one of the most popular things to do in Byron Bay and you’ll notice the beach and surrounding parks begin to get busy as the sun starts to sink.
There are often people playing music and practising fire twirling, thanks to the boho/hippy vibe of the town attracting a lot of creative types of people, backpackers, and road trippers.
Byron Bay is, of course, popular with surfers but it also has a great yoga and health scene too. This also means that Byron Bay has plenty of great food options for everyone, from delicious seafood to vegan restaurants as well.
The lighthouse at Byron Bay is the most easterly point in Australia and has stunning panoramic views. Humpback whales migrate up the coast of Australia between May and November every year and this is one of the best places to see them!
Blue Mountains National Park
Recommended by Priyadarshini from Glorious Sunrise
Blue Mountains National Park in Katoomba is a world heritage site that makes a perfect weekend getaway from Sydney. The famous ‘Three sisters’ rock formation is a cool landmark that draws in numerous tourists, but this national park is much more than that.
At Blue Mountains, you will get a chance to get close to observe the rich aboriginal culture, take a stroll in incredible rain-forests, explore ancient Katoomba coal mine and do much more. For the adventure seekers, there is ziplining across a vast chasm right to the Dragon Rock.
You can visit this anytime of the year, but March to July is excellent for all the walking you do here. Do not forget to take the Scenic World rides here, you will never forget the cable car across the valley and the breath-taking train ride back up the mountains!
Bondi to Coogee Walk
Recommended by Cat and Joe from Walk My World
Whenever we hear of anyone visiting Australia (and know they’re landing in Sydney) we recommend doing one thing once they get off the plane: The Bondi to Coogee Walk. It’s a gentle 5.5km walk over the cliff tops of Sydney’s eastern beaches. If you’re lucky you may see a whale or dolphins along the way; if you’re unlucky, then you’ll only get the beautiful views and fresh sea air to fight the jetlag.
One of the main reasons we love this walk is because it joins two of Sydney’s best beachside suburbs. You start at Bondi, Sydney’s most famous beach. As well as soaking up the sun and views, you can check out one of the great hipster cafes (we highly recommend Lox, Stock & Barrel) or swim at Icebergs – the most famous ocean bath in Sydney, and an institution.
We’d recommend getting to Bondi early as it can get pretty popular, it’s also particularly stunning at sunrise. If you don’t want to drive, take the 333 or 380 bus from Circular Quay.
The walk then finishes at Coogee Beach, another Sydney-siders favourite. As well as the beautiful beach, you should check out the Coogee Pavilion – a bar/restaurant that has something for everyone. Here you can have great food and drinks with a view on the terrace; or you can unleash your inner child with a game of table tennis or giant connect four. When you combine Bondi, the walk, and Coogee, you have the perfect remedy for jetlag.
Recommended by Warren from Sling Adventures
Rolling green hills, manicured gardens, fresh organic produce and a lively food, wine and arts scene, the Southern Highlands of New South Wales attracts many weekenders for a rural retreat. The Southern Highlands is 2 hours from either Sydney or Canberra and less than an hour from Wollongong on the coast. Visitors can very quickly escape the hustle and bustle of the city and get their country vibe on.
Centred around the town of Bowral, the Southern Highlands is made up of many more quaint and adorable historic towns, each with their own unique charm. Whether it be getting a gourmet pie in Burrawang, hiking or biking near Fitzroy Falls or wandering through numerous weekend markets. The Southern Highlands allows one to take a breath in life and simply enjoy living.
The Southern Highlands has something for all seasons. It has a mild, comfortable summer and a cosy, stay-by-the-fire winter. It has a wonderful springtime bloom centred around the tulip festival in September while autumn brings out brilliant and ever-changing colours. Popular with weddings, a very active tourism office also creates events almost every weekend to keep visitors very well entertained.
Recommended by Ben from Horizon Unknown
Australia is well known for its places to swim, beaches and swimming holes are a common gathering point for locals and tourists alike, especially in the summer months. The city of Newcastle, on Australia’s east coast, brings a bit of lesser known history into a beautiful place to cool off.
Known as “The Bogey Hole”, this man-made pool was carved out of the shoreline rocks using convict labour in 1820, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel James Thomas Morriset. This little swimming pool was created for the sole use of Newcastle’s Commandant at the time but now is open to the public free of charge.
Even though there is a well-maintained staircase to the water level, even getting to the pool entrance can be a little dangerous. In rough swell, waves can break over the rocks and surge into this tiny swimming hole. On top of that, the surrounding rocks can be quite slippery, so make sure you take your time!
Even if you don’t want to swim, the whole area is a beautiful view and interesting insight into the history of Newcastle, Australia.
The home of Australia’s capital city, Canberra, is the Australian Capital Territory. This small territory tucked away between Sydney and Melbourne is entirely encircled by New South Wales. Fun fact: the area is known as the “Bush Capital” for all of its green space!
Floriade in Canberra
Recommended by Helena from Through an Aussie’s Eyes
Floriade is Australia’s biggest celebration of spring and is one of Canberra’s most popular free events. Held in Commonwealth Park, this garden display is one that opens at the start of spring for a month (September – October). Each year there is a different theme that the flowers bloom to.
Floriade is the perfect place for family, couples, friends and budding photographers! Wandering around the gardens will definitely brighten your day. There is even a doggy’s day out at the end of spring so your four legged friend can enjoy the flowers as well.
I highly recommend going on the Ferris wheel as it will give you a lovely view over Floriade and Canberra City. There is more than just the gardens, there are also little shops (gardening and food mainly) and a stage that holds different forms of performing acts.
NightFest is also a must! For one week only, Floriade opens its gate at night so you can experience the blooms with different lighting displays. It is a very popular event so you will need to book your ticket ahead of time.
Want to find where most of Australia’s population is? Head down to the state of Victoria – sometimes called “Vic”! There you’ll find one of the biggest cities in the entire country – Melbourne. Victoria is located in Australia’s south-eastern tip and is the original home to many of Australia’s Aboriginal groups.
Recommended by Ale from Universo Viajero
The twelve Apostles in Victoria are one of the must-see attractions on the Great Ocean Road. Formed by erosion over the years, these giant limestone rocks are located near the Port Campbell National Park. Today we can only find 8 apostles left because some of them have collapsed, and it is one of the most visited places in Australia. Tourist just love it!
Given its natural deterioration, we really recommend you visit this place if you are in Australia. It’s unknown how much longer they would stand. Also, the surroundings are beautiful with high cliffs boarding the coast. Try to see them during summer, when the sky is clear and the wind slows down. In winter, you can find extremely windy conditions and bad weather.
If you want to see a different perspective of the Twelve Apostles, helicopter rides depart from near the entrance. On a 20-minute fly, they will show you the place from up, a true show you don’t want to miss if you have the chance to pay it.
Wilson’s Promontory National Park
Recommended by Tom from The Travelling Tom
Wilson’s Promontory isn’t the most well-known destination in Australia, but it is one of the most beautiful! This national park is the southernmost point of mainland Australia, and is situated in Victoria.
If you visit, you will be treated to incredible beaches, beautiful scenery, and lots of wildlife. My favourite part of Wilson’s Promontory was the numerous beaches. One in particular stood out. Squeaky Beach is a unique beach. Whenever you step on the sand, a squeaking sound emanates from the quartz that is abundant in the sand. There is also Whiskey Bay, where you can climb giant rock boulders that are at either end of the beach.
There are a few walking trails in the park too. Some of them are long treks, which take a few days, so it may not be best to do these unless you’re experienced. There are some shorter ones, which will allow you to see the beautiful wildlife in Wilson’s Promontory.
I can’t recommend Wilson’s Promontory enough, and if you get the chance to visit, you should definitely take it!
Great Otway National Park
Recommended by Jane from Explore The Great Ocean Road
The Otways extend for miles behind the towns of Lorne and Apollo Bay, along the Great Ocean Road. Waterfalls, cool temperate rainforest and fantastic bushwalking tracks are easily accessible.
The region is best known for the Twelve Apostles rock formations, but it has so much more to offer. From the seaside town of Lorne, there is a stunning walk to one of the best-known waterfalls, Erskine Falls. The 7.5 km walk follows the Erskine River and passes by two other falls along the way.
Triplet Falls is another popular walk, high in the Otways. The track is a 2km / 1-hour loop through the forest, passing an old timber tramway and relics from last century when most of the trees were felled to build homes and towns.
A loop walk through the Otways forest and amongst ancient Myrtle Beech trees in the Melba Gully State Park is one of our favourites. It passes by a small cascade and the remnants of one of the biggest trees in the area. At night it is a spectacular spot to see ‘glow worms’, take a torch if you venture down there after dark, but don’t shine it on the glow worms.
Allow plenty of time to visit this beautiful area when planning a drive along the Great Ocean Road, read some suggested touring itineraries to help with deciding on a route.
The Northern Territory
The Northern Territory is a massive land region that makes up – you guessed it – much of Northern Australia. The region is known for the famed “Australian Outback”. Here, you’ll find attractions like Uluru, towns like Alice Springs, and the coastal city of Darwin.
Recommended by Natasha and Cameron from The World Pursuit
On my first trip to Australia back in 2011, I made the trip out to the middle of nowhere. Ayers Rock, or better known as Uluru is a large sandstone rock formation that is in the middle of the outback. The rock stands alone over the horizon and is the most beautiful color of red and orange. The UNESCO World Heritage site is actually sacred to the aboriginal people of the area.
To see the giant rock in person will take your breath away. We spent three days in the area exploring and enjoying the natural and unique beauty. One of the best things to do is wake up before sunrise to watch the morning light hit Uluru.
We also were able to do an adventurous sunset camel trek around Uluru which became my favorite experience of the trip. There are many aboriginal people around that will gladly share their knowledge of the site.
Please do not climb up Uluru. Not only is it dangerous, but it is also considered very disrespectful to the aboriginals. My top recommendation would be for both men and women to pack for the dust and cold. While it can get very hot during the day it’s very possible to be almost freezing at night or before sunrise.
Recommended by Elisa from World in Paris
Kings Canyon is one of the most popular hikes in the Red Center (Australian Northern Territory). There are many trails of different length and difficulty level so it is a hiking area for everyone. The hike has a beautiful, rough nature and you can also find very old human traces (the area was home to Luritja Aboriginal people for the last 20,000 years)
I visited Kings Canyon during the Australian Summer (December) and most of the area was closed due to high temperatures. We were able to take the shortest path, the two km return Kings Creek Walk tracing the bottom of the gorge. This hike was very easy if it wasn’t for the continuous need for water. During the walk, we could see beautiful nature and an eerie collection of weathered rock formations.
We recommend going to Kings Canyon from autumn to spring, after all, you are in a desert! Bring sturdy shoes and plenty of water, ideally in a camel bag so you can drink continuously. Part of the gorge is a sacred Aboriginal site so please, don’t leave the walking tracks.
Recommended by Marc from The One Hit Wander
When you think of the red centre of Australia, naturally, you think of Uluru. What many people don’t realise, until they plan to visit Uluru is that approximately 40km to the west of Australia’s most infamous rock formation is yet another breathtaking and mesmerising sight – Kata Tjuta, also known as The Olgas.
480 km southwest of Alice Springs, Kata Tjuta resides in the same national park as Uluru, the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park which is jointly managed by Parks Australia and the Anangu people’ the traditional owners of the land. For more than 20,000 years the Anangu people have resided in this area, yet the sandstone domes that make up The Olgas are believed to be more than 500 million years old.
Kata Tjuta is an Aboriginal word meaning “many heads” and the massive rock formation is made up of 36 domes, across an area of more than 20 kilometres. Soaring nearly 200m higher than Uluru, the highest point is Mount Olga, and rises 546 metres above the land (roughly 1,066 metres above sea level). Unsure how high this is? It’s the same size as the One World Trade Center in New York.
Although you can visit both Uluru and Kata Tjuta in the same day, it’s recommended to set aside at least half a day to explore The Olgas sufficiently; where you can walk around the 7.4km walking tracks that go in between the domes and through creek beds. It’s best to end your day by taking in the ochre-coloured domes during sunset, when they gradually change colour and the clear skies are illuminated with millions of stars.
Looking for the Territory with rugged cliffs, dry desert, and culture all grouped into one area? Then South Australia might be for you! The capital, Adelaide, is known as the “City of Churches”. You’ll find a dynamic mix of things to do around the entire area like vineyards and beaches.
Recommended by Margherita from The Crowded Planet
If you ever wanted to go shark cage diving, Port Lincoln in South Australia is the place to do it. In most places around the world, sharks are attracted by throwing chum in the water, a stinky mix of blood and fish entrails, to obtain the ‘bloody fangs’ effect that people love to capture in pictures.
There are concerns about this practice, first because it interferes with the sharks’ natural behaviour, and second because it has been linked to a rise in shark attacks.
As a result, Port Lincoln operators have started using music instead of chum to attract sharks – this technique was pioneered by Adventure Bay Charters, the operator I did the tour with. It was an awesome, unforgettable experience, and the music really works!
We had three shark sightings and the atmosphere was really chilled – the sharks just floated past us, going about their daily business, but being close to them was thrilling. We saw no bloody fangs, but we left knowing that we were able to see these sharks in their natural environment.
Recommended by Josie from Josie Wanders.
The Flinders Ranges in South Australia are one of the easiest areas to access from one of the capital cities that shows off some of the Australian Outback. It’s only a four hour drive from Adelaide, all on good, sealed roads.
Once here, explore the ancient red hills covered with undisturbed bushland. You will be sure to see kangaroos, emus and many other native animals in their natural environment. Go hiking to St Mary’s Peak in Wilpena Pound, or spend a day with a member of the local Aboriginal tribe, learning traditional ways and visiting cave rock art thousands of years old.
Taking a scenic flight will show you from the air exactly how vast and beautiful this country is. Visit the town of Quorn and take a historic steam train ride through the Pitch Richi Pass to get yet another view.
The best place to stay to really experience the area is at Wilpena Pound Resort, which has accommodation from hotel rooms and luxury glamping tents, to camping space for tents and caravans. There are a couple of different options for eating at the resort, and a pool to use. Be aware that this area can get very hot in summer, so the best time to visit is in the cooler months.
Recommended by Christa from Expedition Wildlife
A 1.5 hour drive from Adelaide and an easy 45-minute ferry ride from Cape Jervis leaves visitors transported from bustling city to the wild paradise of Kangaroo Island. One of South Australia’s wildlife and nature gems and the third largest island mass in Australia, Kangaroo Island is a must for those seeking adventure.
The food and wine opportunities found in small towns such as Kingscote only add to the experience – check out Island Beehive to see how local honey and other products are harvested, and sip locally made Dudley Wines.
Around the island, watch out for wallabies, kangaroos, koalas, echidnas, and a whole host of neat Aussie bird and reptile species. These creatures and more can be found especially at Flinders Chase National Park on the west side of the island, which sets the stage for stunning scenery, wonderful hikes, and picturesque beaches.
Discover the Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch for beautiful views over the ocean and out-of-this-world sunset pictures. For those interested in hiking and camping, the 61 km long Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail meanders along the Park’s coast, where whales can be spotted and all manner of stars can be seen at night – just be sure to book tent spaces ahead of time. The nearby Seal Bay is another must-visit, and gets its name from the numerous seals that bask on the beaches throughout the day.
The best time to visit is from March to November, especially during Australia’s fall and spring, to avoid the heat of summertime and to have a better opportunity to spot wildlife, including whales!
Comprising a third of the entire country, the state of Western Australia cannot be missed – literally! While most of the population lives in the most fertile south-west corner of the state, the rest of the region is home to a great deal of the Australia Outback. The popular cities of Perth and Broome have lots to show visitors – from wine regions to Aboriginal rock art, respectively.
Recommended by Sarah from ASocialNomad
Visiting the Goldfields and mining area of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia is unlike any other part of the country. To start with you’ll have to drive 600 kilometres inland from Perth to get here. Kalgoorlie Boulder – known as just Kalgoorlie is Australia’s largest outback city. This is the centre of Australia’s goldfield mining area and it’s huge. The area developed in 1893 during the Coolgardie gold rush- this was Australia’s Golden Mile.
It’s a huge part of Australian heritage and that and because of its relatively remote location is why I’d recommend it. Visit on a road trip from Perth in June or July, when it’s the cooler months, or brave the heat, it’s reached record highs here in January of 46 degrees!!
You should visit the Museum of the Goldfields on Hannan Street in Kalgoorlie to understand the history of the area and see some of the sizes of the gold nuggets found. You can also check out Hannan’s Tourist Mine and stop by the Superpit Outlook for an idea of the scale of the operations in this area now.
It’s a unique experience and getting there – especially if you do it by road, is also an experience too, you’ll also get to visit interesting places along the way.
Karijini National Park
Recommended by Claire from Claire’s Footsteps
With steep gorges, magical waterfalls and swimming spots and gorgeous red dirt roads, Karijini National Park is like nothing else in the world. There are so many hidden spots to explore, including intricate little streams and hidey holes between rocks where you’ll forget the outside world exists.
There are a few gorge walks you can do, each taking around 3-4 hours. The terrain is uneven and sometimes requires climbing, but that adds to the fun! That being said, Karijini is great whether you’re travelling with kids or are on a backpacking trip around Australia.
Highlights of Karijini include: the hidden Kermit’s Pool, the adrenalin-boosting spider walk across slippery rocks, swimming in Fortescue Falls and hiking and camping around Dales Gorge.
Karijini is located very far from well… everything. It’s a 17 hour drive from Perth, the state capital. It can be flown into, but they’re very expensive. It’s best visited on a road trip or tour of Western Australia.
The best time to visit the national park is during the spring or autumn, when the days aren’t scorching (it can reach up to 40 degrees here!) but the nights are warm enough to camp without freezing!
The Pinnacles of Nambung
Recommended by Elena from Traveling Bytes
I often dream about space travel. How would it feel to take the first step on a different planet? One day, I hope, it would happen. Meanwhile, the closest runner-up on a budget (i.e., without a need for a spaceship) is just a few hours away from Perth in Western Australia. The Pinnacles of Nambung would bring you as close to extraterrestrial as you ever be without leaving our planet.
Imagine a desert where thousands of huge limestone pillars mysteriously rise from the yellow sands. Mother Nature had a blast there over the past half million years producing a wide variety of limestone formations visible today.
It was a cloudy day when we got there. I was afraid that gray skies would ruin our excursion. On the contrary, stormy weather gifted us with a unique experience. The landscape, or shall we say the pillarscape, superimposed on a steely gray background looked as if aliens just left for lunch.
The Pinnacles of Nambung National Park, located near the town of Cervantes, is the gem of the Coral Coast region. Getting there by car is the only viable option. Since there is no shade, I would recommend going there in spring, September in Australian terms, for the most enjoyable experience.
Recommended by Sally from Our3kidsvtheworld
Australia is known for many of our famous attractions such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Surfers Paradise, Melbourne’s food culture, Uluru, Whitehaven Beach and the Great Barrier Reef just to name a few.
However, Western Australia rarely gets a mention when you are talking about famous Australian places. I think this is a real shame because Western Australia has a lot to offer and one of my favourite places is Rottnest Island.
You can get a ferry from either Perth or Fremantle across to Rottnest Island for either a day trip or you can stay a few days on Rottnest. Rottnest Island is famous for quokkas, they are furry little creatures that are native to the island and resemble a large rat like rodent but they are super friendly and cute and definitely not scared of people. You will often find people trying to get the perfect quokka selfie and if you search quokka on Instagram you’ll find some pretty impressive ones.
We took the kids over to Rottnest Island a few years back and hired bikes and rode around the whole island. If you complete the circuit it’s approximately 10kms you have peddled. You will be rewarded with some of the most pristine beaches and views out across the Indian Ocean. I highly recommend a visit to Rottnest Island, I’m surprised it’s not more popular as it really is a very special place to visit.
Cable Beach Broome
Recommended by Kathy from 50 Shades of Age
Cable Beach, in Broome in North Western Australia, is a 22 kilometre-long stretch of pure white sand, set against a backdrop of red ochre cliffs and fringed by the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. The contrasts of the vivid colours is soul-stirring and I think that this alone is what makes this beach one of the top beaches in Australia.
One of the biggest drawcards to Cable Beach are the simply spectacular sunsets over the Indian Ocean. You can drive your 4WD right on to the sand for sunset drinks and aperitifs whilst watching the spectacle of the colourful light show of the sunset and the camel safaris along the beach. Otherwise, you can sip a cocktail at one of the beachside bars in the string of resorts beside the beach.
Or why not experience the sunset on top of a camel? There are two tour companies that conduct camel rides or safaris on Cable Beach. For around $70 you get to ride a camel with experienced camel handlers from pre-sunset to post-sunset for about an hour sauntering along the long stretch of beach.
It is one of those quintessential things to do whilst in Broome, and I guarantee you will not be disappointed. The silhouette of the camels against the backdrop of the dramatic sunsets are probably one of the most photographed images in Australia!
Wineries in Margaret River
Recommended by Marianne from Mum on the Move
Margaret River in Western Australia is one of the best wine regions in Australia for wine tasting. Although the region produces just 3% of Australia’s wine that results in 20% of its premium wine production – meaning you know you are looking at a lot of high-quality wine here.
With a similar climate to the Bordeaux region of France, Australia’s Margaret River wineries particularly focus on Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and of course its famous Chardonnays. There are over 200 wineries here and although it is particularly notable for its small boutique wineries, some of the more famous ones you may have heard of include Cape Mentelle, Voyager, Vasse Felix and Leeuwin Estate.
Most of the Margaret River wineries have friendly cellar doors open to the public for tastings and many of them also have amazing restaurants for lunch too. A great way to explore the wineries, without having to worry about having a designated driver, is to join a wine tour.
Although Margaret River has made its name through its wine, beyond the wineries, the area is beautiful. It has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, plus a network of show caves to explore.
Recommended by Emma from Small footprints, big adventures
Our favourite place in Australia is Zebedee Springs, which is a naturally-heated haven of rock-pools inside El Questro Station, near the top of Western Australia. We visited Zebedee twice when we took a trip to Kununurra, and both times we were sad to leave!
The bath-warm water is heated from the huge surrounding rocks, which glow golden in the sunshine beaming down. It is so warm and cosy within the rock pools, which seem to have been made by the gods for people to enjoy!
They are all different sizes but are perfect to relax in as a small group, as a couple or even individually. Entry is free but Zebedee Springs is only open to visitors in the mornings: after 12 it is reserved for guests of El Questro. And yes, they kick you out, no matter how much you want to stay.
Recommended by Lyn and Steve from A Hole in my Shoe
If you love food and wine you can’t go past a trip to the Swan Valley. Located just 30 minutes from Perth, once there you’ll discover the finest local produce to tempt any palate. You’ll be able to spend a whole day leisurely sampling the local wines, chocolate, ice cream, honey, cheese, fruit & vegetables.
Swan Valley is Western Australia’s oldest wine growing region, with over 40 family owned wineries producing world class wines like Chenin Blanc, Verdelho, Shiraz and many award winning fortified wines. The real charm of this is the people who grow the grapes and make the wine are also the people who greet and serve you at the cellar door.
Being our premier tourist area there are many breweries, distilleries, restaurants and cafes to indulge your taste buds.
But it’s not all about food and wine, the area has many options for accommodation, day spas, wildlife parks and plentiful picnic spots and hiking trails.
Located off of Australia’s southern coast, Tasmania is an island that is largely protected by parks and nature reserves. The capital, Hobart, is a dynamic port city mixing old with new. The state is also home to the famous animal – the Tasmanian Devil!
Recommended by Bec from Wyld Family Travel
Port Arthur is a place that so many Australian remember. We learn about it in our history classes and some people have memories of more recent tragic events that took place there. Port Arthur was a convict prison settlement in Tasmania Australia in the 1800’s and it is also the place of Australia’s only mass shooting in 1996.
The ruins of the old granary and flour mill that was converted to house more convicts dominate the site when you first walk in. It is nestled in a beautiful little cove that looks stunning in pictures. I can tell you the sun might be warm but the wind is like ice.
While some of the buildings are in ruins including the Penitentiary, Law Courts, Guard Tower and the Church there are also restored houses around the site that allows you to step back in time, to see what life would have been like for both the inmates and the workers that also lived there. There is also a beautiful memorial garden in honour of the people who lost their lives on the site in 1996 with the ruins of the Broad Arrow Cafe.
You can get a guided tour from Hobart that will take you to Port Arthur and back or you can drive yourself. Free walking tours of the site are conducted throughout the day where you are taken around to some of the more significant buildings and given a brief history of what happened there. There are some very popular ghost tours that run at night as well.
During your visit, you are free to wander and for some entry tickets, you can also do a cruise to the Isle of the Dead. This is a small island just out of the little cove where convicts and other people from the settlement were buried. There are cafes on site so food and drinks are easy to purchase.
If you are visiting in the winter you will definitely need some warm clothes and possibly a rain jacket. Port Arthur is a place that pulls at your heartstrings, it was a tough, hard place that bought so much heartache to people long ago and unfortunately, more recently as well.
Recommended by Jolene from Mum Knows Best
Cradle Mountain is one of the most amazing places to visit in Australia. Located in Tasmania and only a 2.5-hours’ drive West of Launceston, this magical Wilderness World Heritage Area still remains largely untouched.
We loved the opportunity to immerse ourselves into this incredible and unique alpine landscape with its majestic rugged peaks. On our visit to Cradle Mountain, we chose to travel in the Australian Autumn.
During the peak seasons, this place is swarmed by tourists and parking is usually scarce. Even though it was a cooler time to go and the mountain air was slightly chilled, seeing the beautiful nature without the crowds was definitely memorable!
There are over 20 self-guided walks around the area. If you are a keen hiker, then you might enjoy the advanced rated climb for the best views. Alternatively, you can choose to go on a 6km easy walk around the Dove Lake which will take you around 1-3 hours.
We also highly recommend the Enchanted Walk. It is a short 15-20 min walk, but it was on this walk that we spotted all the native Australian animals such as wombats, wallabies, pademelons and more. Dove Lake is spectacular and if you have the time, we highly recommend that you stay for 3 nights.
Recommended by Leah from Yoder Toter Blog
Mt. Wellington (officially kunanyi) stands nearly 1271 meters (4170 feet) over the city of Hobart, Tasmania. The views from the summit must be on every Australia Bucket List!
A drive up Pinnacle Road is the only way to reach Mt. Wellington/kunanyi’s summit. The road clings to the side of the mountain and is not for the faint of heart! However, once you ascend the steep roadway, the view is worth the stress, and travelers of all ages can enjoy the scenery from the safe and secure boardwalks.
While Mt. Wellington looms over Hobart and seems so close to the downtown, the drive from Hobart takes 30+ minutes through all of the hairpin turns and elevation changes. Entrance to the park is free and the boardwalk viewing hours have no opening or closing times. The summit shelter and toilets do operate on a seasonal schedule.
Temperatures and road conditions at the summit can be much different than Hobart. Make sure you are prepared with warm clothing. Check the weather before leaving downtown.
And there you have it – 31 of the best places to visit in Australia! We’re super grateful to have all these bloggers share their knowledge with Penguin and Pia. What do you think of the list? Did they nail the best spots or did they leave out your personal favourite? Get in touch and let us know – we’re happy to add to the post as much useful knowledge as we can gather!
As always, Happy Aussie Waddlin’