Megan Bryant is a passionate writer and traveler who has combined her two loves to help others fulfill their traveling dreams. When she isn’t writing, she’s usually curled up with her 3 Dachshunds and a good book or planning her next adventure—wherever that may be.
The world’s smallest continent and the largest island, Australia, is home to diverse wildlife, incredible landscapes, and a rich aboriginal history that makes it one of the best places to visit on Earth.
Australia has been a popular holiday destination amongst regular holidaymakers and backpackers for decades, and with just one look at its breathtaking scenery, it’s no wonder why.
From the city of Sydney and the iconic Sydney Opera House to the sacred Uluru rock in the Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park, here are 17 of Australia’s most bucket list destinations that you won’t want to miss during your time down under.
Barossa Valley, South Australia
Barossa Valley in Adelaide is home to Australia’s most famous vineyards, and with countless wine tours through the valleys, visitors can sip some of Australia’s finest wines while witnessing gorgeous countryside in the process. You can even experience a hot air balloon ride of the valley—a must-do if you’re in the area.
Bondi Beach, Sydney, New South Wales
Quite possibly, Australia’s most famous beach is Bondi, and the sands welcome roughly 2.7 million visitors each and every year. Bondi is known for its surf, golden sand, and turquoise waters, but the Bondi Icebergs Pool—an ocean pool at the southern end of the beach—also draws in tourists from far and wide. Bondi is just one of those iconic Australian destinations, and you can’t visit the country—especially Sydney—without visiting it.
Broome, Western Australia
Broome in Western Australia has risen as an Aussie tourist spot as it provides a gateway to the Kimberley region and its rugged ranges, dramatic gorges, and semi-arid savanna. Broome in itself, however, is a great destination in Australia with pristine beaches—special shoutout to Cable Beach—and various attractions for you to enjoy.
Bruny Island, Tasmania
Bruny Island in Tasmania is a haven for wildlife lovers. Just a 20-minute boat ride from mainland Tasmania, Bruny Island plays host to soaring cliffs, sea caves, and countless animal species, making it the perfect getaway destination for those in need of some time out in nature. Whether you set off on a hiking trail, explore Bruny Island’s culinary scene, or just relax on the soft sand beach, a trip to Bruny Island is always worth taking.
Bunda Cliffs, South Australia
An isolated but incredibly beautiful natural attraction in Australia is the Bunda Cliffs. Located Between the Nullarbor Plain and the Great Australian Bight, Bunda Cliffs’ limestone cliffs extend for 210 kilometers and are a truly jaw-dropping scene that those visiting South Australia should place on their itinerary.
Byron Bay, New South Wales
Located on the northeastern coast of New South Wales, Byron Bay boasts natural beauty and a laid-back charm. Known for its pristine beaches, world-class surf, and iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse, Byron Bay has become a popular destination for those traveling down Australia’s east coast. If you’re visiting Byron and looking for some time out in nature, be sure to check out one of the area’s five nature reserves.
Great Barrier Reef, Queensland
The Great Barrier Reef is the most famous reef system on the entire planet, so of course, it’s made its way onto this Australian must-visit destination list. As one of the seven wonders of the natural world, the Great Barrier Reef takes the titles of the largest barrier reef system in the world, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the largest living structures on the planet—you can even see it from outer space!
Containing more than 3000 coral reefs, the Great Barrier Reef is a diver’s dream, but snorkelers are completely welcome too! And if swimming isn’t your thing, then you can even hop on a scenic flight, which gives you a bird’s eye view of the crystal clear waters down below.
Great Ocean Road, Victoria
One of the most popular day trips for Melbourne is a trip down the Great Ocean Road. The Great Ocean Road is considered to be one of the most scenic drives in the world, and with the spectacular rock formations, the Twelve Apostles, we would have to agree. If you decide to take a trip down the Great Ocean Road, get out of your car and experience the Great Ocean Walk. The trail takes you along the coastal route and shows you even more scenic beauty that you can’t see from your car.
Jervis Bay, New South Wales
If you like white sand beaches and oceans that shimmer a beautiful shade of blue, then look no further than Jervis Bay in New South Wales. Jervis Bay is a 102-square-kilometer Oceanic bay, and on top of it, having some of the best beaches in the country, you can also see dolphins and humpback whales from May through to November.
Fraser Island, Queensland
Fraser Island is home to a 75-mile-long beach—one of the longest beaches in the world—making it a popular destination for four-wheel drivers. On Fraser Island, you’ll experience sand dunes, tidal pools, and the occasional dingo (stay well away), plus you’ll witness one of the most photographed shipwrecks in the world, the SS Maheno.
Lake Hillier, Western Australia
No, that photo up top isn’t edited, and yes, that is a real lake. Lake Hillier on Middle Island in Western Australia is a brilliant shade of bubblegum pink—and the surrounding green forests and deep blue ocean only elevate the lake’s color even further.
The lake’s pink shade is caused by high salt levels, algae, halobacteria, and other microbes. Most people take a scenic flight over the lake, but you can swim in it if you really want.
Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia
A lesser talked about reef—but one that deserves some credit—is Ningaloo. Ningaloo is the world’s largest fringing reef, and as the reef is so close to the shore, you can access it right off the beach. From April through to July, you may even get the chance to swim with manta rays and whale sharks if you’re really lucky!
Nitmiluk Gorge, Northern Territory
Nitmiluk National Park is home to the Nitmiluk Gorge, which people also refer to as Katherine Gorge. Nitmiluk Gorge is a series of waterways that the Jawoyn people hold sacred, and the sandstone cliffs, waterfalls, and caves are best discovered by kayak. If you’re looking for something not many tourists to Australia have done before you, then Nitmiluk Gorge is a fantastic option.
Purnululu National Park, Western Australia
The Purnululu National Park is home to some very unique beehive-like rock formations up in the Kimberley. Unsurprisingly, Purnululu has gained the title of a World Listed Heritage Park. In the National Park, you’ll be greeted with dramatic views of the Bungle Bungle Range rocks, which are said to be 350 million years old.
Sydney Harbour, Sydney, New South Wales
The Sydney Opera House is Australia’s most iconic building, so a trip to the Sydney Harbour is a must-do bucket list destination when visiting Australia. The Sydney Opera House is considered an architectural masterpiece, and its nearby restaurants and bars are ideal for those who want to take in the views with a drink in hand.
The Whitsundays, Queensland
The 75 Whitsundays islands are undeniably one of the most beautiful destinations in all of Australia. Located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsundays have incredible white sand beaches and turquoise waters that belong on the front of a postcard. Of all the beaches in the Whitsundays, Whitehaven Beach is by far the most famous, but no matter which stretch of sand you explore, you’re guaranteed absolute paradise.
Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park, Northern Territory
One of the most sacred aboriginal places in all of Australia is Uluru in the Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park. No matter what time of the day you visit Uluru, you can appreciate the monolith’s sheer size, beauty, and spiritual significance for the aboriginal people of Australia. However, if you have the choice, visit the giant rock at sunset as the Uluru changes its hues as the sun slowly sets.
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