COVID-19 (Coronavirus) may impact your travel plans. Wherever you're going, you'll find the latest advice here.

News 13 incredible experiences you can only have in Australia

All articles

13 incredible experiences you can only have in Australia

We know that travel is especially difficult right now. But alongside the latest COVID-19 travel advice and updates, we want to continue to inspire you with new travel content so that when the world opens its doors again, you'll be ready.

There’s a reason we’re inundated with tourists every year: Australia is beautiful, diverse and big. We’ve got ancient cultures, UNESCO-listed landscapes, a coastline that is second to none and some of the world’s weirdest animals. Essentially, we eat bucket lists for breakfast.

If you’re finally coming around to the idea that checking out the charms of Australia is worth your while, we’ve got a list of incredible experiences you can only have in the Land Down Under.

Explore the Great Barrier Reef from Fitzroy

clown fish in Great Barrier Reef

Location: Fitzroy Island, Cairns, QLD

We’re so smug about this, but why wouldn’t we be? The Great Barrier Reef is the largest reef system in the world and is universally celebrated as one of the most extraordinary snorkelling and diving spots.

Insiders know that exploring it from Fitzroy is underrated—it’s more affordable and accessible. Of course you can snorkel and dive, you can also sea kayak, hike, and visit the Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Centre.

Thanks to a growing awareness of the impact humans are having on this delicate eco-system, there are now many responsible tour operators that can show you the reef while minimising the impact tourism may have on its marine life.

Best place to visit in Australia for: snorkelling

Engage with Aboriginal culture

kimberley region

Location: All over Australia, but some top destinations are the Daintree Rainforest, the West Kimberley Region and the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

At one time, there were over 500 clans across the wide plains of Australia, each with a unique history, culture and language. Today, there are around 250 groups, from the Kuku Yalanji of the Daintree, to the Anangu of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park region, and the Wanjina–Wunggurr peoples of West Kimberley.

Discovering the past and present of Australia’s indigenous people is not only enriching, but also important to understanding the legacy and future of Australia. You can do this through cultural tours, festivals, and witnessing archeological sites like Mungo National Park in New South Wales or Gwion Gwion (Bradshaw) figures on the Kimberley Coast.

Best places to visit in Australia for: culture

Meet a quokka

quokka

Location: Rottnest Island, WA

Okay, we know we’ve got some adorable animals in Australia, who hasn’t cooed over a platypus, a wallaby, or a wombat? However, the cuteness crown has to go to Western Australia’s quokka, a creature so cute that even Baby Yoda pales in comparison.

You can have an ethical experience and still meet these little guys by travelling to Rottnest Island off the coast of Perth. A few years ago, their cheeky smiles earned quokkas the informal title of being the “Happiest Animal in the World.”

Best place to visit in Australia for: meeting a quokka!

See ancient rock art

pilbara

Location: Burrup Peninsula, WA

Did you know Australia is home to the oldest living culture in the world? In the Burrup Peninsula in Western Australia, you can see one of the largest global collections of rock art that dates back some 20,000 years.

The engravings are beautiful and moving, and offers modern Australians a chance to peek through the window of time to the ancient peoples of our land.

Best place to visit in Australia for: ancient rock engravings

Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge

sydney harbour bridge

Location: Sydney. NSW

Scaling a hill? Not bad. A mountain? Pretty cool. An iconic bridge in the middle of a busy city? That’s kind of crazy and we love it. Not only will you be treated to best views in town, you’ll be dining out on those bragging rights for a while. Complete this epic adventure at night to see a unique view of Sydney’s skyline.

Best places to visit in Australia for: an unusual climb

Island hop the lesser known Whitsundays

whitsundays

Location: Whitsunday Islands, QLD

The 74 islands of the tropical Whitsundays offer everything you could hope from a sailing holiday. Give us those white sand beaches, emerald forests, and world-class diving spots.

However, you don’t have to stick to the popular stretches of Hamilton Island, especially when there are some real hidden gems across this archipelago. Visit Butterfly Bay on Hook Island, snorkel off Haslewood Island, and hike the rainforests of South Molle Island. Best of all, the weather in the Whitsundays is pretty much perfect throughout the year.

Best places to visit in Australia for: island hopping

Go to Kangaroo Island

kangaroo

Location: Kangaroo Island, SA

This one is a bit of a slam dunk since we’re the only country in the world that is home to the kangaroo. After all, it’s not like you can go to a Kangaroo Island anywhere else.

However, what makes Kangaroo Island special is not just down to its kangaroos. This is a pristine ecological haven for much of Australia’s indigenous flora and fauna. See kangaroos, koalas, echidnas, goanna, penguins and a host of birdlife. Following last year’s bushfires, the island is well on its way to recovery.

Best place to visit in Australia for: seeing wild kangaroos

Taste test Australian wine at the source

yarra valley

Location: All over Australia

Considering we’ve got a great whack of desert in the centre, it’s pretty impressive we’ve cultivated so many marvellous wine regions. Our grog is good too.

If you’re in New South Wales, there’s Hunter Valley. In Victoria, Yarra Valley and the Mornington Peninsula. For Western Australia, there’s Margaret River. In South Australia, the Barossa Valley. In Tasmania, the Tamar Valley. There’s even the South Burnett wine region in Queensland. Pick a region, a designated driver, and discover Australian wine!

Best places to visit in Australia for: wine tours

Ride across the Nullarbor Plain

man waiting for train

Location: Nullarbor Plain, SA and WA

The immaculate stretch of landscape known as the Nullarbor Plain is also home to the longest, straightest stretch of rail in the world (almost 500km if you’re wondering).

The full journey goes from Perth to Sydney, and takes three days. Bring a groovin’ playlist and your camera, you’ll need both. And if you’d rather venture down this path with your own set of wheels, the Nullarbor Plain also sets the scene for one of Australia’s most iconic road trips.

Best place to visit in Australia for: an epic train ride

See the field of light Uluru

uluru-kata Tjuta national park

Location: Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, NT

Darling Harbour. The Twelve Apostles. The Great Barrier Reef. All of these landmarks are emblematic of Australia, but perhaps none are as evocative as Uluru is.

This site not only showcases the natural beauty of Australia’s unique landscape, but it is inextricably entwined with the indigenous roots of our country.

What you may not know, is that Bruce Munro’s phenomenal art installation, Field of Light, is coming to an end this year (31st December 2020). This is an internationally acclaimed installation, and this year may be your last chance to see this spectacular exhibition. Book your tickets soon so you don’t miss out.

Best place to visit in Australia for: seeing an iconic landmark and an iconic exhibition

Learn to surf in Noosa

Noosa

Location: Noosa, QLD

Tourism promos often have pictures of Aussies with neon zinc noses, a wetsuit and a surf board, and there’s good reason for that, this country is one of the best to surf in. Surfers even claim it’s our national sport!

If you’ve always toyed with the idea of learning how to surf, but never tried it, Noosa is a great place to learn. There are plenty of gentle waves to choose from, and the township is less busy than its southern neighbour, the Gold Coast. Noosa itself is lovely, with lots of great restaurants, bars, and shops to investigate once the surfing hours are up.

Best place to visit in Australia for: learning how to surf

Swim with whale sharks

whale shark

Location: Exmouth, WA

No one wants to find themselves in the water with a Great White, but whale sharks are a different story. These gentle giants are the largest fish in the world. You can swim alongside them in the extraordinary and UNESCO-listed Ningaloo Coast off of Western Australia.

Visit between the months of March and August, as not only will you be in with a chance of seeing whale sharks, but also manta rays, humpback whales and dugongs.

Best place to visit in Australia for: swimming with whale sharks

Road trip around the country

road in australia

Location: Highway One

Missing the idea of sitting behind the wheel and setting off into the sunset? You don’t need to fly to New Zealand, Norway or the USA to take on one of the world’s best road trips.

Embarking on the Big Lap is not for the faint of heart, as this crosses some 15,000km, and connects seven state capital cities. When it comes to bucket lists, it doesn’t get more epic than this—see the Red Centre, clamouring rainforests, sugary beaches, rugged cliffs, and some of Australia’s finest cities. Just make sure you research before you set off, as this a serious undertaking.

Best place to visit in Australia for: a road trip

Discover where you can go

Making plans to get back out there? Find out whose borders are open with our interactive global map, and sign up to receive email updates when your top destinations reopen.

Want to read more?