Visitors who are planning a trip to Australia might feel overwhelmed because there is so much to see. After all, Australia is vast and showcases multiple cultures and subcultures within its borders.
While different travelers have different priorities, some destinations offer something for nearly everyone. Here are the top places to visit in Australia where most visitors will learn a lot and have a great time.
See also Watch Out for Australian Big Things
The top places to visit in Australia
Byron Bay was at the heart of Australia’s hippie movement. This relaxed beach town is also the easternmost point of Australia and a hub for many adventure activities like skydiving, scuba diving, surfing (it’s listed as one of the best surfing destinations in the world), and more.
More sedate travelers can enjoy excursions like whale watching or activities like yoga. As Byron Bay becomes more and more popular, trendy bars and restaurants are popping up in the area, too.
Byron Bay hosts a number of festivals and exhibitions throughout the year. Travelers can look at the calendar so they know what to expect when they go or when to plan their next trip.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
Uluru is the famous red rock that rises, seemingly out of nowhere, in the Australian outback. While nearly everyone has seen a photo of it, it’s worth a visit in person because it’s much grander and more majestic in real life.
Note that climbing Uluru is not permitted, as it is a UNESCO world heritage site and the rock itself is sacred to indigenous cultures in the area. However, there are other rock formations in the area – such as those in the rest of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, where travelers can do more exploring.
There are also museums in the area that showcase indigenous culture. Humans have inhabited the area for at least 10,000 years and it is both exciting and educational to learn more about them.
See also Why Uluru is the Heart of Australia
Travelers who love urban life should not leave Australia without visiting Sydney. This vibing metropolis has something for everyone, from an active nightlife to posh restaurants, shopping experiences, whale watching and more.
Visitors who have seen the iconic Sydney opera house can get a tour of it in person, or they can even see an opera there if they come at the right time. Other attractions in the city include Manly Beach, the Federation Cliff Walk, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Bondi Beach, Paddington Markets, Taronga Zoo, Darling Harbor, Sydney Harbour Islands and more.
The most daring travelers will want to take a guided climb of the harbor bridge. Strapped into a harness, they will follow a guide up the side of the bridge for a breathtaking view of the entire city. It’s an experience no visitor will ever, ever forget.
See also A Self-Guided Walking Tour in Sydney
The Gold Coast
While it is enough of a tourist trap that some publications don’t suggest going there at all, the Gold Coast has a certain appeal. It is something like Las Vegas in the United States, complete with glitz and glam, and it even has casinos.
The truth is, the Gold Coast hosts some of the best beaches (and beach weather!) in Australia. It also has nightclubs, bars, and enough theme parks for any palate.
People who don’t like everything shiny should head to nearby Springbrook National Park for a serious rainforest experience, or visit Mount Tamborine to taste wine and cheese and see the work of artisans and craftspeople. There are also plenty of great places to visit near the Gold Coast.
Travelers who want a real experience of the Australian outback should visit Alice Springs. It’s 900 miles away from anything else and is a great place to learn about aboriginal history, the settlement of Australia, and more.
Alice Springs offers some odd events, like an annual “regatta” that takes place in a sandy wash close to town. There’s always something going on and, even when it’s a little strange, it’s also quite a bit of fun.
Travelers who want to explore other places in the outback, like King’s Canyon or Uluru, can use Alice Springs as their base camp and head out from there. They can set up everything from camel treks to dinner with Crocodile Dundee, so there’s something for everyone!
Port Douglas, the Daintree Rainforest, and the Great Barrier Reef
Port Douglas is a tiny village by the sea that is worth visiting on it’s own just to get away from it all. While some people choose Cairns because it’s bigger, Port Douglas makes a great hub for exploring this area.
Both the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The reef is the largest one in the world, and offers superb opportunities for snorkeling, scuba diving, and more. Protecting the reef is key, as no one wants it to disappear.
The Daintree Rainforest is an ancient ecosystem that has been preserved through careful planning and conservation. Visitors can go hiking, paddleboarding, zip lining, and more, all through curated experiences that also help preserve the land. Beyond that, the Rainforest is home to Cape Tribulation, considered a top white-sand beach in Australia.
Beyond its allure as a separate island from the rest of Australia, Tasmania has a lot to offer travelers. Almost half of it is reserved as National Park or otherwise protected territory, so there’s a lot of natural, open space and many ways to experience it.
From impressive waterfalls to expansive forests and from breathtaking beaches to spectacular crags, the natural wonders in Tasmania can’t be found anywhere else in the world. There’s hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities, all performed in this impressive natural habitat.
Tasmania has culture, too. Hobart is the main city on the island, and it offers unique dining opportunities (like barbeques), distilleries specializing in whiskey and gin, and beer brewed only on the island. The city hosts a number of festivals throughout the year, so there’s always something fun for travelers to do when they’re done exploring in nature.
Plan a trip to Australia soon
Visiting Australia is a fun time and, for some travelers, will make their dreams come true. No matter their reason for traveling, they can start planning now to visit Australia soon!
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