Australia is a huge country that offers an infinite number of places to discover. You will discover landscapes of all horizons: the impressive Australian cities and their urban side, the rainforest, the mountains, the beach and its breathtaking sea coasts… There are so many places to explore that you don’t always know where to start.
Whatever the case, the most important thing is to have a list of Australia’s unmissable spots at hand. So if you’re wondering what to do in Australia, here’s a selection of our must-sees. If you are planning to travel to Australia for 2 or 3 weeks, you will obviously not be able to do everything. If you want to do the whole country and see all the spots, you’ll have to plan several months and do a road trip in a van / campervan. Otherwise, to do only the East Coast or the West Coast of Australia, count about 3 weeks of Road Trip.
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The second largest city in Queensland, Cairns is primarily known as the starting point for many excursions to the Great Barrier Reef. However, it’s also very pleasant to take a stroll in the city, especially along the Esplanade.
Afterward, cool off in the artificial lagoon at the end of the promenade. This 4,800 square meter saltwater pool is the perfect place to relax and have a good time. The area is full of shaded parks and barbecue spots. There are no beaches in Cairns, due to the presence of many saltwater crocodiles and jellyfish.
Additionally, be sure to spend a few days in the heart of the lush Daintree Rainforest.
Read also : 2 days in Cairns – What to do ?
The Great Barrier Reef
With its 2,300 kilometers in length, the Great Barrier Reef is THE largest coral reef in the world (and visible from space). With exceptional natural beauty, it is home to countless marine species: over 400 species of coral, 1,500 species of fish, and 4,000 species of mollusks. It is also the habitat for endangered species such as the dugong or the green sea turtle.
To discover this natural gem in the best way possible, put on a wetsuit and go for a scuba diving or snorkeling session.
In the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, discover another marine wonder: the Whitsunday Islands. The archipelago is composed of 74 islands, most of which are uninhabited national parks. The largest of these islands is home to two world-renowned spots: Whitehaven Beach (one of the world’s whitest sand beaches) and Hill Inlet (short walk and its amazing viewpoint). If you wish to visit, be aware that there is a cap on the number of visitors allowed, which helps to ensure the conservation of this paradise. Accessible from Airlie Beach, be sure to explore the Whitsundays in the best way possible: sail, fly, hike, bike, and dive.
But be sure to watch out for jellyfish, sharks, and crocodiles.
As the capital of the state of Queensland and the third largest city in Australia, Brisbane enjoys a pleasant climate throughout the year. The city is crossed by the river of the same name that flows into the Pacific Ocean. Sightseeing boats operate day and night (for free). A cosmopolitan and lively city, it has a great diversity of landscapes as well as admirable architecture. Skyscrapers, artificial beaches, and parks coexist in this modern capital. Don’t miss the SouthBank and Fortitude Valley neighborhoods, which are very popular with locals and travelers and remain lively until late at night.
Read also : 2 days in Brisbane – What to do ?
Also known as K’Gari (“paradise” in Aboriginal language), Fraser Island is THE largest sand island in the world. Its 250 km of clear sand beaches and crystal-clear waters are full of secrets. Here, tropical forest and sand dunes coexist. It is the only place in the world where this phenomenon occurs. Fraser has more than 200 freshwater lakes that are superb swimming spots (completely safe). Indeed, the ocean is home to many species of sharks and deadly jellyfish, so don’t swim there!
You will surely spot the famous dingoes of the island, which are not at all shy. Beware, especially with food that they will not hesitate to steal from you. Visiting K’gari is mandatory in a 4WD and is subject to the rhythm of the tides. It is ideal to stay several days on the island to fully enjoy this wild ambiance.
Read also : Fraser Island – Complete Guide
The largest Australian city, Sydney is a must-see during a trip to Australia! The city is built around a huge harbor and has many tourist attractions, including the world-famous Harbour Bridge and Opera House. Sydney offers an exceptional quality of life. You will surely love strolling through its different neighborhoods. It is also full of beautiful bays and beaches, some of which are just steps away from the shopping streets… which is quite unusual. It is this extraordinary aspect that gives Sydney a certain added value. Finally, the surrounding areas are full of surprises and beautiful places to discover.
Read also : 2 days in Sydney – What to do ?
Jervis Bay is a little paradise on earth. It is home to two national parks (Jervis Bay and Booderee) as well as a marine park where a multitude of animal species live, some of which are protected. You can meet dolphins, penguins, whales and many other species. You will get lost in the immensity of its white sandy beaches and its clear turquoise waters. Nearby, there are beautiful little towns worth a visit.
Australia’s second largest city and Victoria’s capital, Melbourne is a vibrant city with an incredible cultural heritage. The city is full of museums of all kinds, parks and botanical gardens, lively neighbourhoods and has a characterful architecture! It’s a must-see destination for any visitor.
Read also : 2 days in Melbourne – What to do ?
If you have the opportunity, take the ferry to Tasmania. Very different from the rest of the country, you will definitely fall under the spell of this wild land. Tasmania offers its visitors a wide variety of landscapes: national parks, glaciers, sand dunes and rainforest, but also coastal moors and Edenic beaches. Meet its exceptional wildlife, especially penguins and the legendary Tasmanian devil.
Great Ocean Road
At 253km long, the Great Ocean Road is Australia’s most beautiful scenic route! Travellers who choose to take this route will be won over by the beauty of its landscapes. Spectacular views, abondant wildlife (kangaroos, koalas, dolphins, whales…) and rock formations will not fail to amaze you.
Easily accessible by ferry from Cape Jervis, Kangaroo Island is the perfect destination for nature lovers! It is 155 km long and offers a multitude of landscapes. Its protected fauna is also very varied. It is made up of kangaroos and wallabies, koalas, sea lions and sea lions, as well as monitor lizards, dolphins and whales, among others.
Combining urban style with natural beauty, Perth enjoys exceptional year-round sunshine. Stroll through its diverse cultural and vibrant neighbourhoods and learn more about Aboriginal culture with a stroll through Kings Park and Botanic Garden. It’s one of the largest city centre parks in the world! Here you can choose from waterfront and vineyards… but don’t miss Rottnest Island and its cute population of smiling quokkas.
Read also : Top things to do in Perth
A traditional land of the Wadandi (‘salt water’) people, the Margaret River region is full of natural wonders. See the local wildlife and explore the surrounding flora. For a unique experience, go underground to discover the crystal caves. You can also walk to Cape Leeuwin, where the Indian and South Pacific Oceans meet.
Activities such as mountain biking, abseiling and rock climbing, helicopter rides and surfing are all available. For foodies, sample the local cuisine by wandering through the farmers’ markets or visiting the local wineries.
A charming little town on the coast (4 hours drive from Perth), you’ll feel right at home in Albany with its cool seaside climate. Its national park, beautiful beaches and coastline, hiking and ancient architecture will soon win you over.
Cycling enthusiasts will be delighted to ride Munda Biddi, which is THE longest off-road cycle path in the world! During the winter and spring months, you are sure to catch a glimpse of the whales migrating along the coastline.
White sand and turquoise waters are the order of the day! Welcome aboard this pretty Australian nugget. The stunning seascapes of the seaside town will keep you on your toes for the duration of your stay in Esperance.
Highlights include Lucky Bay and its kangaroos sunning themselves on the beach, Cape Le Grand National Park and its 20km hike to discover incredible marine life, and the candy pink waters of Lake Hillier.
Kalbarri National Park
The national park has a beautiful white sandy beach at its centre. The surrounding rocky sites are spectacular. The Murchison River carved a magnificent gorge millions of years ago through the red and white sandstone cliffs. The gorge stretches for 80km. After exploring the park, try your hand at a variety of water activities in this ideal location, including rafting, canoeing, abseiling and fishing.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Shark Bay covers 2.2 million hectares along the coast. Renowned for its beauty and natural values, its giant seagrass beds, stromatolites, dugong population and numerous marine species make it a haven for wildlife. Among other things, make a mandatory stop at Monkey Mia (to see dolphins up close) and Francois Peron National Park to contemplate its marine and land diversity.
The largest barrier reef in the world, it is the little sister of the Great Barrier Reef. Ningaloo Reef extends its oceanic paradise over 300 km. This marine park boasts a majestic reef (coral but not only!) and splendid coastal reserves. The Cape Range National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with its extraordinary land and sea features. You will be able to see the magnificent specimens of whale sharks that come along the coast every year.
Karijini National Park
Karijini is the second largest state park in Western Australia. This landscape was carved out of the rock 250 billion years ago. You’ll find an impressive number of gorges, cliffs, freshwater falls and chasms in this park. There are some great walks along the rock faces. You can swim and even camp here to observe a remarkable starry sky. The fauna is unique and varied, with red kangaroos, rock wallabies, echidnas, geckos, bats, monitor lizards, snakes etc.
With its 423,000 km² of remote area, the Kimberley region is one of the least inhabited regions on earth. This does not mean that the area should be left out. On the contrary! There are multiple national parks (including the heritage-listed Purnululu and the Bungle Bungles) waiting to be explored!
And if you head to the coast, you’ll find some of the world’s most beautiful beaches with stunning marine life and magnificent coral atolls. The landscapes are varied and include huge canyons, forests, semi-arid savannah and freshwater springs (which continue into waterfalls). A unique outback experience, immersed in Aboriginal culture.
Kakadu National Park
At 20,000 km², Kakadu is the country’s largest national park. It is owned by the Aborigines. It has a strong cultural value due to its ancient rock paintings. Hiking is also a very good way to discover the site and its surroundings. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this national park is a real gem!
Litchfield National Park
Litchfield National Park, about 100km south of Darwin, is as much a must-see as its rival Kakadu National Park. It is a delightful place to swim and cool off with its waterholes, waterfalls and streams. There are many walks along its waterholes for the enjoyment of visitors.
Nitmiluk National Park & Katherine Gorge
Located 30km north-east of Katherine, this national park covers a large area. It has 13 amazing gorges carved into the sandstone. Its natural hot springs have been fully developed for safe bathing (the water averages 32°C all year round).
Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park
If there’s one symbol you shouldn’t miss in Australia, it’s the famous Uluru. Also known as Ayers Rock, this monolith is about 600 million years old. Measuring 348m high, most of it lies underground… and no one knows how deep. There are many walks that allow you to admire it from all angles. One of the walks allows you to loop around the rock and discover many natural and historical sites.
50km from Uluru, don’t miss Kata Tjuta National Park, also known as the Olgas. These rocky domes are incredible and there are some great walks to be had here. Put on your walking shoes and take the Valley Of The Winds Walk, which covers the entire site. There are two lookout points with great views over the valley.
Within the Wattarka National Park you will find the spectacular Kings Canyon! This panoramic landscape will amaze you with its beauty: its 300m high red sandstone walls and rock domes will remind you of the famous American canyons. You will feel tiny in the middle of this immensity. A 6 km hike allows you to cover the entire site while gaining height and then takes you down to the Garden of Eden for a change of scenery.