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11 Best places to visit in Australia

Discover the best places to visit in Australia this year, with our comprehensive guide to domestic travel.

Since international flights have become so cheap, Australians have become known as globetrotters, but in the process of seeing everywhere else we may have forgotten just how amazing our own attractions are. So we’ve taken the time to see what all this ‘Visit Australia’ tourism stuff is about. Come with us, as we check out the best places to visit in Australia.

Great Barrier Reef, Queensland

Swim with turtles on the Great Barrier Reef

Tourists from all over the world fly to experience the extraordinary wonders of the Great Barrier Reef, and it’s a crime that some of us have yet to see it for ourselves. The Great Barrier Reef is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and incorporates 2300km of Australia’s eastern coastline.

The best way to explore the marine park’s 3000 coral reefs is to join ethically responsible snorkelling, diving and boat tours. This will afford you the opportunity to meet some of the 1600 species that call this region of Australia home. If you’ve always wanted to have natural encounters with turtles, dolphins, rays, reef sharks, and dugongs, then you must visit this magical part of the world.

Cairns is the best place to hole up if you want to explore the Great Barrier Reef. For a luxury stay, the Shangri-La is where you should book. For something more affordable, but central, go for a room at the Comfort Inn or the historic The Hotel Cairns.

Daintree National Park, Queensland

Explore Mossman Gorge in the Daintree Rainforest

The Daintree Rainforest is a Wet Tropic World Heritage Area and one of the biggest attractions in Northern Queensland. The eco-systems in this part of Australia are ancient, so when you walk beneath its canopy you’re literally walking through history.

There are two primary areas within Daintree that you must visit. The first is Mossman Gorge, the gateway to the rainforest, where crystal clear waters rush between huge boulders. The second is Cape Tribulation, where the rainforest gives way to deserted white beaches and colourful reefs. This area is considered to be one of the most beautiful places to visit in Australia, and quite simply, it’s a must-see.

Port Douglas is the best place to set up for a few days of hiking through the Daintree Rainforest. The Sheraton Grand Mirage is one of the swishest resorts in town, but check out Oaks Resort for fantastic service and cheaper rates.

Blue Mountains National Park, New South Wales

Book a stay in the Blue Mountains

One of the best things about this gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage Site is its close proximity to Sydney. At only 81km away, you can reach it in couple hours by car, and makes for an easy day trip. However, you should take the time to spend a few days in the ethereal atmosphere of this national park.

Called the Blue Mountains because of the blue haze that the eucalyptus trees give off, this park has over 100km of hiking trails that wend their way through waterfalls, gorges, rainforests, and valleys. There are also a ton of outdoor sports you can enjoy here, from rock climbing to horse riding, mountain biking and abseiling. Highlights include the striking Three Sisters rock formations, and the world’s steepest railway, Katoomba.

Speaking of Katoomba, the plush Lilianfels Blue Mountains Resort and Spa is perfect if you’re after a little luxury. Or Lurline House for something chic and a tad more affordable.

Kangaroo Island, South Australia

Meet the koalas of Kangaroo Island

Located just off the shore of South Australia is the spectacular wildlife haven known as Kangaroo Island. This pristine isle is home to all sorts of indigenous flora and fauna. Kangaroos, penguins and sea lions lounge on sugary shores, whilst sleepy koalas take refuge in the fragrant eucalyptus trees.

This is one of the best places to visit in Australia if you love to dive, and probably the best location on the southern coast to do it. Here, you’re likely to come across pods of dolphins, fur seals, and eye-popping sea dragons. Meanwhile, hikers will be able to explore the wind-carved Remarkable Rocks in the Flinders Chase National Park.

For a true-blue push-the-boat out stay, it has to be the Sea Dragon Lodge & Villas. Of course, if you’re hoping to come away with a healthy bank balance then it has to be the Mecure Kangaroo Island Lodge or Wanderers Rest of Kangaroo Island.

Whitsundays, Queensland

Tread the pristine beaches of the Whitsundays

You’ve probably heard of the Whitsundays. In fact, you’ve probably drooled over friends’ holiday pics of these islands. If you fancy a tropical getaway, you can’t go wrong by visiting this unspoiled archipelago just off Queensland’s northeastern coast.

The Whitsundays are a chain of 74 islands, and are part of the Great Barrier Reef marine park. Hamilton Island is where most of the resorts and leisure activities reside, and this is a great place as a base yourself. Explore the natural attractions of the Whitsunday group, such as the dreamy Whitehaven Beach, the lush Long Island, and the family friendly Daydream Island.

There are scores of beautiful hotels to choose from in the Whitsundays, but for an upmarket stay, look to book in qualia or the Reef View Hotel. Or save a little money and stay at Palm Bungalows or Whitsunday Apartments.

Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory

Discover the wild landscape of Kakadu

Kakadu National Park is a World Heritage Site and the largest national park in the country (and the second largest in the world). If you’ve always wanted to delve into the wild heart of Australia, this is the place to do it.

Mangrove swamps, deep gorges, cascading waterfalls, and monsoon rainforests define the landscape here. There are also ancient rock paintings by the ancestors of the Bininj/Mungguy peoples, some of which are 20,000 years old. Laying claim to one of the oldest human historical records on the globe has positioned Kakadu as high on the list of best places in Australia, and indeed the world, to visit.

There aren’t a huge list of accommodation options if you choose to stay overnight in Kakadu, and many people choose instead to book hotels in nearby Darwin. However, we recommend a stay in the famed Cooinda Lodge Kakadu, which nestles right in the heart of this extraordinary park.

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Northern Territory

Be swept away by the spiritual atmosphere of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Think of Australia’s most recognisable natural landmark, and you’re probably thinking of Uluru (formerly known as Ayers Rock). This incredible red stone monolith is a sacred heritage site of the Anangu. It is one of those places to visit in Australia that should be high on your bucket list.

Visiting this site is more than just a chance to take your picture with Uluru at sunrise. This park is home a variety of animal and plant species, rock art, and is an important cultural centre. Here, you can delve into the incredible heritage of the indigenous tribes of this part of Australia.

The closest place to stay near the park, is Ayers Rock Resort, where there are a few hotels. We recommend a stay in the eco-friendly Longitude 131 or Outback Pioneer Lodge for more budget conscious travellers.

Barossa Valley, South Australia

Go on a wine tour in the beautiful Barossa Valley

There are lots of places to visit in Australia if you love wine. We’re kinda known for our wines, and luckily, you can find wine regions all over the country. There is Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley in Melbourne, the Margaret River region in Western Australia, and Hunter Valley in New South Wales. These are all beautiful and offer up some bold vintages. However, there’s a special place in our hearts for the Barossa Valley in South Australia.

This region also incorporates Eden Valley, which allows it to produce wines in a warm and cool climate. Less than an hour’s drive from Adelaide, there are around 150 wineries that nestle in Barossa Valley. Big names call this place home, like Jacob’s Creek and Yalumba. If you fancy rolling hills, incredible food, and award winning wine, this is the place for you.

The Barossa Shiraz Estate or The Louise are probably the most celebrated resorts in the region. But if you’re looking to save a few more dollars for wine, then go for the Novotel Barossa Valley Resort.

Great Ocean Road, Victoria

See the Twelve Apostles of the Great Ocean Road

The wide open plains of Australia are made for road trips, but perhaps the most celebrated stretch for driving is the Great Ocean Road. Officially this starts in Torquay and runs to Allansford, covering some 300km of Australia’s southeastern coast.

The iconic attraction is undoubtedly the sea stacks known as the Twelve Apostles, best viewed at sunrise or sunset. Other highlights include the dramatic Loch Ard Gorfe, the London Arch, the historic city Warrnambool, and the koala colonies at Kennett River.

Whilst Port Campbell may be the favoured place for travellers to pitch up for the night thanks to its proximity to the Twelve Apostles, we recommend a stay in Lorne. Book a room in the Grand Pacific Hotel for a good all-rounder.

Cable Beach, Western Australia

Ride camels at sunset on Cable Beach

Even if you’ve never heard of Cable Beach you’ve probably seen pictures of silhouetted camels ambling across it at dusk. It’s considered to be one of Australia’s best beaches thanks to its white sands, turquoise waters and front row seats to stunning seaside sunsets.

Along with the inviting sands, is the historical town of Broome itself and the incredible Kimberley region it inhabits. Attractions in the town include the world’s oldest outdoor picture gardens, Sun Pictures, and Broome Crocodile Park. Nearby are the pearl farms and the remarkable natural attractions of Kimberley. Highlights include the Horizontal Waterfall, the Gibb River Road and Cape Leveque.

For excellent value look to book at the Kimberley Sands Resort & Spa which frequently offers rock bottom rates. For pure luxury, aim for a stay at The Pearle of Cable Beach.

Freycinet National Park, Tasmania

Visit Wineglass Bay of Freycinet National Park

Looking for far-flung places to visit in Australia? Tasmania has a host of riches and national parks, so it’s hard to just choose one. However, if it’s your first time to this state, starting with Freycinet National Park is a good shout.

Only a couple hours from the historic streets of Hobart, this park is home to pink granite mountains, secluded bays, and cool climate wineries. One of the biggest attractions is the stunning Wineglass Bay, a curl of white sand lapped by azure waters and backed by the natural forests of the island.

Freycinet Lodge is one of the fanciest accommodation options this end of Tasmania, but for something lovely and still affordable, try the Edge of Bay Resort.

Where should I go for a luxury holiday in Australia?

For luxury, head to the Barossa Valley or out to Tasmania’s Freycinet region. Both of these places sport wineries, vaunted restaurants, and leisure activities like golfing.

Where should I go for a beach holiday in Australia?

The Whitsundays are best for beaches, not only because they are so unspoiled, but the temperature year round doesn’t tend to dip below 24-25°C. Or head to Cable Beach for seaside sunsets and white sands.

Where should I go on an outback holiday in Australia?

Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta are the best places to go to really see Australia’s wilderness. The former is better for a mix of attractions, from hiking to ancient human art, however the latter promises a look into the spiritual heart of the country.

Where should I go on an active holiday in Australia?

The Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest are perfect for active holidayers. Watersports abound, from diving to kayaking, and paddleboarding. You can also go on epic hike trails throughout the Daintree Rainforest.

Where should I go on a wildlife holiday in Australia?

Kangaroo Island is one of the best places in Australia to visit in terms of its wildlife. On the island you can meet kangaroos and koalas, and in the sea, dolphins.

Where should I go on a winter holiday in Australia?

The Blue Mountains is a spectacular place to visit in the autumn and winter. The fires in the lodges are on, and the rains have eased to make for great walking.

DestinationRegionClosest Airport
Great Barrier ReefQLDCairns Airport
Daintree RainforestQLDCairns Airport
Blue Mountains NSWSydney Airport
Kangaroo IslandSAKingscote Airport
WhitsundaysQLDHamilton Island Airport
KakaduNTDarwin Airport
UluruNTAyers Rock Airport
Barossa ValleySAAdelaide Airport
Great Ocean RoadVICMelbourne Airport
Cable BeachWABroome Airport
FreycinetTASLaunceston Airport

Looking to explore more of Australia? Skyscanner can help you find cheap flights, hotels and car hire deals. See more of this fantastic place we get to call home.