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14 Best Places to Visit in Australia

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Australia is a great-sunburned land where sacred legends from the aboriginal Dreamtime time still linger. The world's largest island and smallest continent, Australia is a land of epic contrasts, from its spectacular natural beauty of vast seared red deserts, lush rainforests, coral reefs, bursting with its unique wildlife to its iconic urban architecture. We bring you the 14 best places to visit in Australia.

1. Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Yulara, Northern Territory

The world’s largest monolithic piece of stone lies deep in Australia’s red heart in the outback. The Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park is a World Heritage Area administered by the Aṉangu people it’s traditional landowners and Parks Australia. The park is also home to the mystical russet rounded rocks known as the Kata Tjuta (the Olgas). Both rock outcrops are renowned for changing colour transformed by changes in the desert light making it one of the best places to see in australia.

Good to know

  • For a deeper understanding of Uluru join a tour led by Aboriginal ranger guides.
  • Sunrise and sunset viewing areas can get really crowded so make sure to reach early.

Entrance costs: Family visitor pass (2 adults + 2+ children): USD 51. Adults (16 years+): USD 22, Children (5 to 15 years): USD 10. Children (4 years & under): Free*

2. Great Ocean Road, Victoria

Twelve Apostles is one of the top places to visit in Australia
The Twelve Apostles in Melbourne looks stunning at sunset.

One of the world’s truly great drives, taking a roadtrip on the Great Ocean Road is one of the top things to do in Australia. Over 300 kilometres of wonderfully sweeping road caresses Australia's southeast coast, from surfing mecca of Torquay down to Warrnambool, in Victoria. Aside from supreme driving pleasure, the Great Ocean Road’s key attraction is the Port Campbell National Park, with its sculptured sandstone rock formations known as the Twelve Apostles. Other highlights are the Otway National Park’s dense eucalyptus forests, fern-filled rainforests, hiking trails, and waterfalls and the picture-perfect town of Lorne.

Good to know

  • To see the Twelve Apostles in all their panoramic finery, hop on a scenic flight by 12 Apostles Helicopters.

3. Sydney Opera House & The Sydney Harbor Bridge, New South Wales

Sydney is one of the best places to visit in Australia
The Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge shine brightly against the night sky.

If you are wondering what to see in Australia, Sydney’s twin icons, the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge are Australia's architectural ambassadors. These structures bookend the harbour and host thousands of tourists each year. Visitors to the Sydney Opera House can enjoy a phenomenal performance in one of the world’s great venues or take a backstage tour of this ingenious building. For its part, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is the largest steel arch bridge in the world. Today, its Bridge Climb offers guided tour atop the bridge’s catwalks

Good to know

  • The early morning and evening bridge climbs offer spectacular views of the harbour set against the backdrop of a dramatic sunrise or sunset

Entrance costs: A one-hour tour of the Sydney Opera House costs from USD 22.54. Tours depart every 30 minutes, 9:00-17:00, 7 days a week. Bridge Climbs are available at different times and for varying durations and vary from USD 127 to USD 298*.

Check out 10 Best places to go in Sydney for more key-attractions in attractions in Sydney. 

4. The Whitsunday Islands, Queensland

Whitehaven beach is one of the best places to visit in australia
Whitehaven beach has a beautiful coast that looks stunning from the sky.
Heart reef at Whitsundays
Take an aerial tour and visit the Heart Reef among the Great Barrier Reef.

Wondering where to visit while on a tour in Australia for sun, sand and sea? An enchanting collection of 74 islands, dotted with secluded beaches amidst tranquil natural landscapes, the Whitsundays offer breathtaking diving and snorkeling, ethereal kayaking and magical sunsets. Hire a yacht, camp on a deserted beach and fish for your supper, it’s all on offer on the magical Whitsunday Islands. We’ll even throw in the world’s largest single living ecosystem, the Great Barrier Reef as your playground. Aside from fabulous scuba diving, visitors can enjoy snorkeling, whale watching and swimming with dolphins, aircraft or helicopter tours, self-sail cruising and day trips.

Good to know

5. Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park, Tasmania

Cradle mountain in Tasmania is one of the best places to visit in Australia
The trail leading to Cradle Mountain can be a bit challenging but worth it.

If hiking and the great outdoors is your passion, Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park in Tasmania is for you! This national treasure offers serene lakes, jagged dolerite peaks, delicate alpine heathland, and dense-canopied forests. This is wilderness carved by primal glaciers and capped by the distinctive 1,616-meter Mount Ossa. Stand on the summit of Cradle Mountain (1,545 meters), for stunning views of the central highlands. Keep an eye out for wombats, wallabies, Tasmanian devils, pademelons, and the shy, retiring platypus in this pristine wilderness.

Good to know

  • Favorite hikes include the six-kilometre Weindorfer Walk, looping through dense forests, the Lake Dove Walk, offering breathtaking views of Cradle Mountain, while experienced hikers can tackle the famous 80-kilometre Overland Track, running south from Cradle Valley to Lake St. Clair.

Entrance costs: A daily car pass to the Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park costs Family (2 adults, 3 children): USD 32. Adults: USD 13 adult (18+), Child (5 to 17) USD 6.50. Child (under 5): Free*

6. Darwin

Best places to visit in Australia darwin
Litchfield National Park, close to Darwin is home to beautiful waterfalls.

Bathed in a permanent tropical languor, Darwin is the gateway to Australia’s Northern Territory and its famed Kakadu National Park and Litchfield National Park. Multiculturalism Top End-style has infused Darwin’s cultural and food scene with an international piquancy and reflects its nearness to Asia. Things to do in Darwin such as visiting the fabulous botanic gardens, lovely museums, the vibrant waterfront district and wildlife encounters at the National Park make any sojourn in Darwin memorable.

Good to know

  • Visit Darwin during August for pleasant weather and to witness the annual Darwin Festival, which celebrates the diverse culture, music, food and art scene of the Northern Territory.

7. Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory

Places to visit in Australia - Kakadu National Park
Boat riding along the Yellow Water Billabong in Kakadu National Park.

Sprawling over more than 19,840 square kilometres, Kakadu National Park is a World Heritage Site and one of the world's great wildernesses. Within its vast wetlands and a network of mangrove swamps lie rivers, monsoon-fed rainforests, plunging gorges, ancient rock paintings, and waterfalls, all home to an extraordinary diversity of wildlife, including both freshwater and saltwater crocodiles and more than 300 different species of birds.

Good to know

  • Explore the park's fragile ecosystem by air, car, boat, or even on foot through a network of hiking trails.
    During the wet season (November to April), many roads and attractions are closed due to heavy flooding.

Entrance costs: Family (2 adults and 2+ children 5 to 15yrs) USD 51. Adults: USD 22. Children (5 to 15 years): USD 10. Children Under 5: Free*

8. Daintree National Park, Queensland

Places to visit in Australia, Daintree National Park
Daintree National Park is one of the oldest rainforests in Australia.

Daintree National Park in Far North Queensland is a Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and amongst the planet’s most ancient ecosystems. Home to the Eastern Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people, the park comprises two areas: Mossman Gorge, with its rushing waters and massive granite outcrops, and Cape Tribulation, where the reef reaches out to the rainforest along a winding ribbon of white beaches lining the Coral Sea. The park's amazing biodiversity comprises crocodiles, cassowaries, the giant blue Ulysses butterfly and more than 18,000 plant species.

Good to know

  • Port Douglas, a chic resort town south of the Daintree is a handy wilderness safari departure point.

9. Melbourne, Victoria

Places to visit in Australia Melbourne
Explore Melbourne's street art in the alleys.
Places to visit in Australia Melbourne city
Melbourne is the best place to go for foodies, fashionistas and culture junkies.

If you are looking for places to go in Australia for foodies, fashionistas and culture junkies, Melbourne, Australia's second largest city is the nirvana. Galleries, theatres, fine dining, boutiques, and its distinctly European vibe set this sophisticated city aside from other Australian cities. Highlights of Melbourne include the green swath of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Federation Square, the National Gallery of Victoria and the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the beating heart of Australian sport.

Good to know

  • Melbourne is a fabulous base for wine expeditions into the Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula vineyards and to picnics in the serene Dandenong Ranges.

10. Monkey Mia, Shark Bay Western Australia

Dolphins in Monkey Mia, places to visit in Australia
Friendly dolphins often visit the shores of Monkey Mia.

Famed for its wild dolphin feeding experience, Monkey Mia is set in an epic Australia landscape of gleaming sandy beaches, rugged coastal sand dunes and a bay bursting with wildlife. In the 1960s fishing boats returning to Monkey Mia started sharing their daily catch with a pod of dolphins. Over the years more dolphins joined in and later moved to the beach. You can also spot dugongs, turtles, sharks, rays and schools of fish, while on land you can encounter pelicans and emus.

Good to know

  • Five female dolphins and their babies visit the beach each morning between 7:45 and noon for feeding. Visitors can help the rangers feed the dolphins.

Entrance costs: Day Permit are: Family (2 adults, 2 children): USD 10 Children (6 to 15 years): USD 3.50 (per person)*

11. Fraser Island, Queensland

Places to visit in Australia Fraser Island
The Maheno Shipwreck on Fraser Island.
Places to visit in Australia Fraser Island near Brisbane.
Fraser Island's Seventy-Five Mile Beach.

World Heritage-listed Fraser Island is the world’s biggest sand island. It is hugely popular amongst 4WD fraternity. Along the length of its windblown Seventy-Five Mile Beach, lie the rusted shipwrecks and abandoned 4WD’s which failed to avoid the rising tide, The Cathedrals vibrant sandstone cliffs and Champagne Pools’ effervescent rock pools. Whales, dolphins and sharks patrol the water, while the island supports native dingoes, wild horses, sugar gliders, bats and over 300 bird species.

Good to know

  • A great way to visit Fraser Island is with a four-wheel drive vehicle. Access is via ferry from Rainbow Beach or Hervey Bay. Four-wheel drive vehicles are crucial, as there are no sealed roads on Fraser Island.

Entrance costs: Combined Fraser Island and Cooloola Recreation Area vehicle access permit: USD 62*

12. Canberra

Places to visit in Australia Canberra
New Parliament House at Canberra.

Australia’s manicured, garden-friendly capital is an easy three-hour drive south from Sydney. Famed for its gardens, the Australian National Botanic Gardens showcases its green thumb via its annual Floriade festival featuring massed flowering bulb displays and integrated sculptures. Canberra’s main attraction is its Old Parliament House and the New Parliament House, built into Capitol Hill. The National Gallery of Australia holds Australia's largest collection of art, while the National Portrait Gallery of Australia displays over 400 portraits. The Australian War Memorial’s brooding Byzantine-style monument commemorates Australia's war dead and houses an excellent museum, archives, art gallery, and library.

Good to know

  • The Mount Ainslie Lookout provides scenic views over Canberra. A well-paved two-kilometre walking and biking trail starts from the rear of the Australian War Memorial.

13. Kangaroo Island, South Australia

Places to visit in Australia, Kangaroo Island
Flinders Chase National Park in Kangaroo Island is home to the Remarkable Rocks monuments.

Mother Nature is the star of the show on dreamy Kangaroo Island. Set off South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula, Kangaroo Island is where koalas munch on aromatic eucalypts, sea lions laze on beaches, kangaroos patrol the shoreline while penguins fish in the deep blue water. The island offers bushwalking trails winding along towering cliffs and through pristine forests. In Flinders Chase National Park you’ll encounter Admirals Arch and the Remarkable Rocks, a series of spectacular rock formations carved by the wind. The island is also renowned for its diving, particularly its colony of tiny sea dragons and numerous wrecks. Foodies will appreciate their visit, as the island is host to fresh seafood, Ligurian honey and distinctive creamy cheeses.

Good to know

  • To get here, you can fly direct to the island from Adelaide or catch a ferry from Cape Jervis on the Fleurieu Peninsula.

Entrance costs: A Kangaroo Island Tour Pass provides access to the Flinders Chase National Park and a host of local tours. Family (2 adults & 2 children): USD 150, Adults USD 57, Children USD 34. Airfares or ferry tickets and accommodation extra.*

14. Gold Coast

Places to visit in Australia, Gold Coast
Surfer's Paradise with its famous beaches at Gold Coast.

Welcome to Australia’s playground. From Surfer’s Paradise’s golden beaches and surf vibe to Broadbeach’s foodie haunts and retail therapy to the hiking trails of the lush green hinterland of the Tambourine Mountain or the Lamington National Park, the Gold Coast oozes a unique salty-chic meets vibrant nightlife vibe. Learn to surf, paddle a kayak, hire a jet ski or try your hand at parasailing. Later, top up your tan on one of the Gold Coast’s famed beaches. Offshore there are whale-watching tours during the annual whale migration, while inland you’ll discover wildlife sanctuaries and historical sites. Afterwards refresh at a brilliant café or restaurant, revive with a cocktail on a rooftop bar or finish your evening at a Gold Coast’s nightclub.

Good to know

  • Avoid the Gold Coast in November, its when the school break up and the graduating students come out to play during Schoolie’s Week.

Best places to visit in Australia

Australia will capture your imagination as well as your heart. Whether it’s the sweep of its vast natural beauty, its captivating wildlife or its surprising cultural gems, this is an entrancing country of sublime contrasts. However, Australia’s sprawling landscape presents a challenge to visitors who want to pack the most into their vacations. This is a country where diligent travel planning is well rewarded.

*Note: Prices quoted above are as per February 2019. 

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