Places to visit in Australia
The world’s sixth largest country, Australia stretches for 2,500 miles across three time zones. With tropical rainforests, idyllic beaches and vast deserts all part of the landscape, it can be difficult to know where to begin and just what to see along the way. To help you choose your own Aussie adventure, we’ve broken down the country into eight manageable regions, all of which can be added to one of our tailor-made Australia holiday itineraries.
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New South Wales and Sydney
Australia’s most visited state, New South Wales is home to the iconic city of Sydney complete with the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. Base yourself in the city to explore the surrounding vines of the Hunter Valley and the misty eucalyptus forests of the Blue Mountains. Learn to surf in Byron Bay, or to truly get away from it all, fly to Lord Howe Island, a peaceful retreat 373 miles east of the New South Wales coast.
Southern Queensland and Brisbane
Home to sprawling beaches, sandy islands and lush rainforests, Southern Queensland is a region that's soaked in plenty of sunshine and revered for its laid-back attitude and burgeoning dining scene. To get the most out of the region, use the vibrant riverside city of Brisbane as your hub. Call in at Australia Zoo as you head north to the Sunshine Coast, before hitting Hervey Bay, the gateway to Fraser Island, the world's largest sand island.
Victoria and Melbourne
Spend a few days exploring the delights of Australia's cultural and food capital of Melbourne, including a visit to the seaside suburb of St Kilda, and a day trip to see the fairy penguins on Phillip Island. Leaving Melbourne behind, set off on the ultimate Australian road trip along the Great Ocean Road. Stretching 150 miles from Torquay in the east to Warrnambool in the west, this scenic coastal drive includes the Great Otway Rainforest and impressive rock formations such as the Twelve Apostles.
A pretty island covered in rolling hills, snow-capped mountains and blue lakes, Tasmania offers quaint villages, historic sites and a plethora of wildlife. On your visit, start with a wander around the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in the state capital of Hobart, before working your way around the island in a loop, allowing at least a week to see the highlights. Stop in Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park for world-class walking trails and uncover the history of Port Arthur.
Northern Territory and Uluru
Vast desert landscapes, swirling red sands and the giant sandstone monolith of Uluru greet you in the Red Centre, while the Top End’s activities include canoeing on Katherine Gorge and hiking to see aboriginal art in Kakadu National Park. Fly into Alice Springs for Red Centre adventures including Uluru, Kings Canyon and the domed rocks of Kata Tjuta, then take the Ghan train to Darwin, from where Kakadu and Katherine Gorge are easily accessible.
South Australia and Adelaide
South Australia’s warm and sunny climate has given rise to the pretty vineyards of the Clare and Barossa Valleys. But beyond the vines, the local wildlife and the seaside city of Adelaide are the main attractions here. From Adelaide, take the tram to the seaside suburb of Glenelg, home to a pod of bottlenose dolphins. For more wildlife, spot koalas and wallabies on Kangaroo Island and hike up the natural amphitheatre at Wilpena Pound.
Western Australia and Perth
Less-visited than the rest of the country, Western Australia is home to the coastal cities of Perth and Fremantle, the wines of Margaret River and the dolphins of Monkey Mia. Stop by Ningaloo Reef to swim with whale sharks and scuba dive among untouched corals. Take a walk among the Pinnacles, a collection of limestone spikes protruding from the ground, and relax on Cable Beach, frequently voted as one of the most beautiful in the world.
Tropical North Queensland and The Whitsundays
Sun worshippers and scuba divers flock to Tropical North Queensland to relax on the white-sand beaches, explore the ancient Daintree Rainforest and dive among the corals of the world famous Great Barrier Reef. To see the best of the sights, use Cairns or Port Douglas as a base and head south, adding an island-hopping side trip to The Whitsundays and stopping for the rainforests and waterfalls of the Atherton Tablelands.