The world’s largest island and smallest continent, Australia is almost the size of the U.S. but with a population the size of New York State, and some of the most peculiar wildlife on the planet.
Known for its vast and rugged landscape, sandy beaches, marsupials, and warm weather, Australia offers an unforgettable experience for travelers worldwide. From lush rainforests to the barren outback, astonishing flora and fauna, exciting fossil sites, and world-class restaurants, museums, and galleries, Australia has something for all.
Australia is also a nation of amazing beauty and staggering contrasts. Vibrant and dynamic multicultural cities can be explored along the coast, ancient rainforests, vast sand islands, the Great Barrier Reef and more. Red-earth deserts and rugged national parks offer the ultimate travel adventure. Top it all with a friendly population, it’s no wonder why Australia ranks highly as a global travel destination.
Let’s have a look on the top 10 things to do in Australia:
1) Visit the Great Ocean Road
Spanning nearly 250 kilometers from Torquay to Allansford in Victoria, the stunning Great Ocean Road runs along the desolate Southern Ocean. Characterized by empty beaches, bountiful wildlife, and craggy cliffs, there’s endless affinity of nature along this iconic drive. And with unforgettable hikes and epic surf, you will find plenty of exciting adventures at every corner.
Don’t miss soaking up amazing cliff-top views, immersing yourself in wildlife and nature and staying at any of the beautiful beachside villages. Just make sure you plan your trip around Great Ocean Road weather.
The main attraction along this drive is Port Campbell National Park, with wave and wind-sculpted rock formations known as London Bridge, Loch Ard Gorge, the Grotto and the Twelve Apostles. From above, these ancient rock formations resemble giant puzzle pieces constantly being pounded by surf from the Southern Ocean. Other allures along the road include, Otway National Park, a dense area of hiking trails, fern-filled rain forests, eucalyptus forests, waterfalls and the resort town of Lorne.
2) Go hiking in the Great Otway National Park
Whether you travel inland or take the rugged coastline, the Otways are an ideal destination for discovery, romance and adventure. Trekkers of all abilities can walk around the Otway to discover lush forests, cultural heritage, waterfalls, cliff top walks and coastal trails.
There are about 30 Great Otway National Park trails which include, beachside walks, rainforest ambles, lakeside walks, waterfall visits and nature trails.
The Great Otway National Parks runs from the town of Torquay, through the famous Great Ocean Road to the Otway heartland. Discover untouched coastlines and incredible waterfalls nestled high up in the mountain forests, hike the world-renowned Great Ocean Walk, learn the Otway Light station’s history, or soak up and surf on some of the best waves in Australia.
Explore the wonders and beauty of the Great Otway National Park and enjoy the great outdoor experience on a mountain bike or horseback. Bear in mind that a permit is required, but local authorities will help you through this simple process.
Picnic spots abound, admirable settings at many waterfalls as well as Sheoak, Distillery Creek, Blanket Leaf Moggs Creek, Shelly Beach, Melba Gully, Paradise, Blanket Bay and Triplet Falls to name a few. Excellent camping opportunities are available through the parks.
3) See the wildlife on Kangaroo Island
Located off the Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia, beautiful Kangaroo Island is where nature runs wild. Kangaroos hop and roam freely along the shores, penguins and sea lions romp in the tranquil clear waters, and koala bears cling on the aromatic eucalyptus trees. There are also great diving spots and the chance to spot sea dragons and many offshore wrecks.
The stunning Admirals Arch and Remarkable Rocks in Flinders Chase National Park form distinctive features of ancient wind-sculpted rock formations on the island. You will also find a plethora of hiking spots along the spiraling seas cliffs and in the unspoiled forests. Eateries are also available. Ligurian honey, fresh seafood and creamy cheeses grace local restaurants and cafes.
One of the best wildlife viewing areas on the island is Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. Home to many kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, Cape Barren geese, goanna, echidna and over 40 bird species.
4) Take in the Sights of Sydney
The largest and busiest city in Australia, Sydney is a global hub and the main gateway into the country. The Sydney Harbour offers visitors a befitting welcome. Sydney`s iconic landmarks – the Opera House and Harbour Bridge are the city`s main attractions and certainly not worth missing. Another of the city`s major attraction is its beautiful beaches which include Bondi, Manly and Coogee.
Standing as a vibrant metropolis with over 4 million residents, Sydney is famed for its impeccable infrastructure, excellent cuisine, shopping, nightlife, cultural attractions and many activities and events to partake. Spending more time in Sydney will give you the opportunity to explore inner-city attractions like the Powerhouse Museum, Darling Harbour, Manly, Paddington Markets, Circular Quay, the Royal Botanic Gardens and Taronga Zoo.
Alternatively you can catch the hop-on, hop-off bus with 34 specific stops, and intuitive commentary, you’ll explore some of Sydney’s popular spots and enjoy a pleasant experience.
5) Get Cultured In Melbourne
Melbourne has a vibrant and lively cultural scene. It incites inspiration and rates as the melting pot of creativeness expressed in design, events, fashion and art. You will notice that from fashion shows and comedy clubs to live music and theatre shows, Melbourne enjoys a vibrant arts culture that´s ready to be explored.
Australia’s sole theatre district, the East End Theatre District is located in Melbourne. It includes the Comedy Theatre, Regent Theatre, Her Majesty’s Theatre, the Forum and the Athenaeum as well as the heritage listed Princess Theatre.
Melbourne takes pride in its different persona´s: multicultural, intense, unconventional, playful, sophisticated and quirky. It’s a lively scene enjoyed by local people, and has gained widespread popularity in international culture, music and art scenes.
When you visit Melbourne, you will realize a city buzzing with a vibrant and cutting-edge arts and culture scene. Book a seat to the East End Theatre District, the city’s major hub of historic theatres that hosts world-class stages and music productions.
6) Explore the Great Barrier Reef
One of Australia’s iconic travel destinations, visible from space, a World Heritage site and one the world’s natural wonders, the Great Barrier Reef is that largest living structure in the world. The Great Barrier Reef Marine was established in 1975 to protect fragile ecosystems with about 3,000 coral reefs, 300 coral cays, 600 continental islands, which include the stunning Whitsunday group and inshore mangrove islands.
This wonder park stretches for more than 2,300 kilometers along Queensland, on Australia´s eastern coast. Diving and snorkeling are the main activities for travelers. The spectacular collection of marine life includes hard and soft corals, more than 1500 species of giant clams, sting rays, dugongs, sharks, turtles, sharks, dolphins and tropical fish.
If you prefer staying dry, the reef can be explored from glass bottom boats and underwater viewing stations. From the mainland, Airlie Beach, Port Douglas and Cairns are launching ports for tours.
7) See the World’s Happiest Animal on Rottnest Island
A paradise island, home to dozens of white sand beaches, abundant marine life and turquoise water, and located just 30 minutes by ferry from Perth, Rottnest Island is a popular holiday destination. And that’s before you consider the world’s cutest and happiest animal. The main attraction of Rottnest Island is the quokka, a lovely little animal that resembles a miniature kangaroo. It enjoys bouncing up to admirers for selfies.
Rottnest Island is home to the largest quokka population, and essential for their survival. The island has about 12,000 of the species, and this number is influenced by the availability of plenty of water and food. These little creatures are the main tourist attraction of the island because of their cute appearance and are easy to spot.
Keep in mind that feeding or touching these animals is prohibited by Australian law, and those who breach are liable to fines of up to 10,000 AUD.
8) Visit the Outback
Awe-inspiring landscapes, rugged unforgiving terrain, vibrant red dirt and vast open spaces. Australia´s Outback is massive, and while it may appear desolate and empty, it is teaming with life. Flowers and plants bloom from the dust, kangaroos and other animal species thrive in the heat and secret swimming ponds beckon passersby. These are some of the few things you will discover as you explore Australia´s imposing Outback. The term “Outback” commonly refers to vast uninhabited areas in Australia.
Although Australia comprises 6 states and 2 territories, each has its own Outback. But when people refer to the Outback, they usually mean Central Australia – the center and heart of the country. The Australian Outback is where Uluru, the country’s iconic red monolith is located. Uluru offers breathtaking views as it changes colour when the sun sets. It is also of significant importance to Australia´s indigenous population.
9) Explore Daintree National Park
Located in Northern Queensland, Daintree National Park is a World Heritage site, and home to some of the world’s most ancient ecosystems.
The park is home to the Eastern Kuku Yalanji Indigenous people, and much of its natural features are of great spiritual significance.
Daintree National Park is made of two sections: Cape Tribulation, a natural beauty where rainforest meets the reef along the pristine beaches of the Coral Sea, and one of Australia´s most beautiful destinations. The other, Mossman Gorge, where crystal clear waters flow over granite boulders.
The park has an astounding biodiversity which includes some 20,000 plant species and an array of animal species, which include crocodile, Ulysses butterfly, the cassowary and the stealthy Bennett’s tree kangaroo. Port Douglas, a nearby resort town is the best place to arrange wild safari tours into the park.
10) Cruise the Whitsundays
Experience the Great Barrier Reef adventure on Whitehaven Beach and the Whitsunday Islands. Cruise the Whitsundays and get the opportunity to explore some of Australia’s untapped beauty icons aboard some of the most spacious, innovative and fastest sailing catamarans on the open seas.
Visitors to this region will get the opportunity to dive and snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef, and see first-hand the unique marine life and coral that lies beneath. This can be an unforgettable experience to both locals and visitors to Australia. For those not looking to get wet, there are other options to explore the Barrier Reef from a glass bottom boat or from any of the underwater stations.
Besides diving and exploring the Great Barrier Reef, tours are available to a range of breathtaking islands where visitors can see hundreds of plant and wildlife species and make the most of their time in the heart of the Whitsunday Islands. Hiking and trekking options are available as well many delicacies to feast on. Tours are ideal for romantic couples, novice adventurers and families.
There’s nothing like the great Australian adventure. A country with stunning cities, wonderful white sandy beaches, vast landscapes, exquisite eateries and dining options, art, fashion and great outdoor expeditions. Australia does rate among the world´s most diverse and dynamic travel destinations.
Home to some of the world´s most diverse and oldest cultures, vast ochre plains, impressive laneways, incredible turquoise waters, red outback, the Great Barrier Reef and many native plant and animal species, Australia is one place where the world comes together. No matter which part of the country you visit, you can be sure to find something that will suit your preference – whether you are a food lover, an art and fashion enthusiast, outdoor adventure or simply looking to retreat and lay back, Australia has it all.
Josiel is of the Great Ocean Road Collective. A website dedicated to sharing the beauty of the Great Ocean Road in Australia will travelers far and wide. If you are planning your trip, need some inspiration or looking for authentic advice on Aussie travel visit our website The Great Ocean Road Australia or check us out on Instagram.