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Top 10 Must-See Places in Australia

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Sydney Opera House, Australia

Sydney Opera House, Australia

The essence of Australia spreads across dynamic landscapes and fascinating cities to create these ten essential must-see places that you can visit during your Australia vacation. 

From mountain ranges to golden beaches, tropical rainforests to red desert sands, vinelands to historical cafes, explore a few of the best destinations to consider.

Whether you wish to cross the Sydney Harbor Bridge to see the impressive Sydney Opera House or snorkel off the coast of Port Douglas and see the Great Barrier Reef, use this list of highlights to inspire your plans.

1. Sydney

Sydney Harbor, Australia

Sydney Harbor, Australia

Sydney is the oldest and largest city in Australia, not to mention one of the most seductively beautiful. Land and sea intermingle framing the famous white sails of the Opera House and the arching figure of the Harbour Bridge. The fabled history winds around narrow cobbled laneways, museum galleries, glitzy neighborhoods with artistic districts separated by golden beaches and areas rich with wildlife. Caught up in skyscrapers and suburbs, surprising wilderness, and gilded coastline, Sydney is a fabulous place to experience contemporary Australia.

Highlights: Sydney Harbour | Sydney Opera House | Sydney Harbour Bridge | Royal Botanic Gardens | Queen Victoria Building | Blue Mountains | Bondi Beach

Recommended Length of Stay: 3-4 days

Best Time to Visit: September |  October | March | April | May

Pairs Well With: Uluru | Melbourne | Great Barrier Reef | Tasmania

2. Uluru

Uluru in the Australian Outback

Uluru in the Australian Outback

Uluru embodies the immensity and grandeur of the Australian Outback steeped in stillness and shifting natural colors. With deep-rooted cultural significance related to the traditional Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara Aboriginal peoples, the steep sense of majesty sweeps across the untouched landscape for sensational gazing at both the land and stars. Impeccable sunrises and captivating sunsets only add to the beauty of the remote destination from the massive red monolith of Uluru towering over the surrounding sands and brush.

Highlights: Uluru (Ayers Rock) | Valley of the Winds | Wallpaper Gorge | Kuniya Walk | Field of Light | Kata Tjuta

Recommended Length of Stay: 2 days

Best Time to Visit: May | June | July | August | September

Pairs Well With: Sydney | Melbourne | Great Barrier Reef

3. The Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Few experiences can compare to an immersion into the Great Barrier Reef's hidden marine life spanning more than 132,819 square miles and over 2,900 coral reefs. The islands and cays support the dynamic network of unique sea life like sharks, rays, turtles, dolphins, and whales. The vibrant ecosystem gives way to exceptional attractions and activities from sailing to snorkeling, scuba diving to scenic flights, each allowing you to experience the vibrant biodiversity in different ways.

Highlights: Cairns | Port Douglas | Whitsunday Islands | Townsville | Fraser Island

Recommended Length of Stay: 1-2 days

Best Time to Visit: June | July | August | September | October

Pairs Well With: Sydney | Melbourne | Uluru

4. Melbourne

Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne is Australia’s second-largest city with a vibrant ambiance of cosmopolitan culture, contemporary style, and mouthwatering cuisine. The hidden lanes and tree-lined promenades combine to frame Victorian buildings for a distinctive European ambiance where celebrated chefs love to show off their talents. Art galleries, stylish cafes, lovely botanic gardens, and the quiet waters of the Yarra River add to Melbourne’s unique pull topped with a bohemian vibe.

Highlights: Royal Botanic Gardens |  National Gallery of Victoria | Eureka Skydeck | Dandenong Ranges National Park | Royal Arcade Flinders Street | Great Ocean Road

Recommended Length of Stay: 2-3 days

Best Time to Visit: March | April | September | October

Pairs Well With: Sydney | Great Barrier Reef | Uluru | Tasmania

5. Darwin

Waterfront in Darwin, Australia

Waterfront in Darwin, Australia

Darwin is surprisingly tropical, infinitely charming, and crowns Australia’s Top End on lands traditionally connected to the Larrakia Aboriginal peoples. The city has a spirited cultural diversity that sits closer to Asia’s doorstep than Sydney’s shoreline and gives you remote access to the brink of the infamous Outback. Life mostly takes place outdoors with alfresco dining, lush botanic gardens, a vibrant waterfront, and a melting pot of cultures that provide a sizzling cosmopolitan ambiance with access to unparalleled wildlife adventures.

Highlights: Berry Springs Nature Park | Defence of Darwin Experience | Museum of Art Gallery of the Northern Territory | Stokes Hill Wharf | Kakadu National Park

Recommended Length of Stay: 2-3 days

Best Time to Visit: May | June | July | August | September | October

Pairs Well With: Great Barrier Reef |  The Kimberley | Perth

6. Tasmania

Cradle Mountain in the Central Highlands region of the Tasmania, Australia

Cradle Mountain in the Central Highlands region of the Tasmania, Australia

The island of Tasmania feels shrouded in mystique with treasures ranging from alpine lakes to wild rivers, mountain peaks cloaked in mist, and bizarre wildlife that speaks to the remote nature. Food enthusiasts can find glamorous dishes and homey ingredients while heritage towns seem frozen in time. Thunderous waterfalls puncture the silent forests, and craggy coastlines give way to gorgeous panoramas, with every turn you take into the wilderness promising a possible glimpse of a Tasmanian devil or passing dolphin pod.

Highlights: Cataract Gorge Reserve | Port Arthur Historic Site | Hobart |  Freycinet National Park | Mount Wellington | Cradle Mountain World Heritage Wilderness

Recommended Length of Stay: 4-5 days

Best Time to Visit: December | January | July | August

Pairs Well With: Melbourne | Sydney

7. The Kimberley

Bungle Bungle Range, Purnululu National Park in the Kimberley region of Western Australia

Bungle Bungle Range, Purnululu National Park in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.

The Kimberley is Australia’s last frontier with spectacular scenery spanning a seemingly endless distance bordered by the coastline and relentless desert. Baobab trees pierce the plains, and palm trees fringe the gorges. Aboriginal cultures remain deeply connected to the region, celebrating sacred waterholes and revealing a traditional understanding of the prolific wildlife and majestic canyons. Wild mountains lead to staggering waterfalls making travel into the region an adventure in itself, giving you one of the most unparalleled experiences in Australia.

Highlights: Bungle Bungle Range | Emma Gorge | Gantheaume Point | Gibb River Road | Cable Beach | Cape Leveque

Recommended Length of Stay: 3-4 days

Best Time to Visit: May | June | July | August | September

Pairs Well With: Darwin | Perth

8. Perth

Perth, Australia

Perth, Australia

Perth is often rated one of the world’s most liveable cities and features a refreshing, relaxed atmosphere supported by chic boutiques, gorgeous art galleries, stylish museums, and an endlessly pleasing pace free from the pressures of other fast-paced Australian cities. Perth embodies the isolation of greater Australia but is bathed in golden sun and rich natural beauty. Pearly beaches give way to sailing excursions, fishing outings, and boating trips while open vistas offer panoramic views to the surrounding natural bushland.

Highlights: Kings Park and Botanic Garden | Swan River | Elizabeth Quay | Lotterywest Federation Walkway |  Art Gallery of Western Australia | Margaret River Region

Recommended Length of Stay: 3-4 days

Best Time to Visit: March | April | September | October

Pairs Well With: Darwin | The Kimberley

9. The Great Ocean Road

Twelve Apostles along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia

Twelve Apostles along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia

The iconic route of Australia’s Great Ocean Road is a classic network of surf breaks, rainforest, and charming seaside towns connected to canopies filled with koalas. Pristine beaches lead to sheer limestone cliffs, and towering rock spires fade to hinterlands and dairy farms. You could spend days appreciating the scenery that ranges from rugged coastline to windswept beaches, abundant wildlife parks, and idyllic towns along the road traveling more than 186 miles.

Highlights: Port Campbell National Park | Torquay Beach | Great Otway National Park | Loch Ard Gorge | Bells Beach | Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve

Recommended Length of Stay: 1-2 days

Best Time to Visit: March | April | September | October

Pairs Well With: Melbourne | Tasmania

10. Kangaroo Island

Aerial view of Seal Bay, Kangaroo Island, Australia

Aerial view of Seal Bay, Kangaroo Island, Australia

Kangaroo Island is a remarkable haven for Australian wildlife and is also the country’s third-largest island. The landscape brims with unique scenic and wildlife opportunities immersing you in the untamed wilderness of white-sand beaches, steep coastal cliffs, windswept boulders, and sand dunes that lead inland to rolling green hills. The diverse landscape supports the assortment of animals from sea lions to penguins, koalas to echidnas who roam near towns that have kept a rural pace of life.

Highlights: Flinders Chase National Park | Seal Bay Conservation Park | Vivonne Bay | Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary | Penneshaw

Recommended Length of Stay: 2-3 days

Best Time to Visit: March | April | September | October

Pairs Well With: Melbourne | Sydney | Uluru

How many days is enough to see Australia?

Aerial view of Tweed Tiver and Mount Warning, New South Wales, Australia

Aerial view of Tweed Tiver and Mount Warning, New South Wales, Australia

Three weeks will give you the most opportunities for a more authentic and customizable Australia trip. With anywhere from 16-21 days in Australia, you will have time for deeper exploration and unique experiences, in addition to having some leisure time. Most people are surprised by how large Australia actually is and the majority of the population is concentrated around the coastline leaving expansive sections of remote wilderness that embodies the famous Crocodile Dundee landscapes.

More Travel Information & Tips

Moma and baby koala in Australia

Moma and baby koala in Australia

Seeing the dynamic differences of Australia’s must-see destinations is a wonderful experience for everyone. Each location hosts several amazing and interesting things to do like hanging with the koalas or snorkeling over the world’s biggest coral reef. Dive even deeper with our Australia Travel Guide for information and helpful tips on encountering the world down under. If you want to plan a trip soon, you can also speak to an Australia travel specialist by filling out a Trip Request or by calling our team at 1-888-265-9707.

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