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15 Best Cities to Visit in Australia

By Alex Schultz · Last updated on May 4, 2024

This huge country is home to a plethora of fantastic cities that are just waiting to be explored. While world-famous cities such as Sydney and Melbourne usually grab the limelight, the lesser-known cities in Australia have a wealth of things to see and do and are very much underrated in comparison.

With beautiful beaches, vibrant cultural scenes and amazing natural sights never far away, step off the beaten path and discover a whole new side of Australia .

15. Wollongong

Wollongong

Lying just eighty kilometers south of Sydney is the laidback city of Wollongong . Bordering two fantastic beaches, the city has some great surfing spots in and around the area, and while it is not particularly attractive, it has a lovely backdrop in the form of the verdant Illawarra Escarpment. Due to its university students, there is a lively feel about the place and a number of nice restaurants and bars to check out.

14. Launceston

Launceston

Located on the banks of the Tamar River, Launceston is the second-largest city in the state of Tasmania , and its residents are fierce but friendly rivals with the capital city of Hobart. Despite its small stature, the city has some nice colonial architecture and a lively arts and food scene.

While it is quite pretty, the main attraction is the stunning Cataract Gorge, which has some intriguing trails for you to explore. The Tamar Valley vineyards are also worth visiting, as is the Ben Lomond National Park, not much further away.

13. Geelong

Geelong

Lying just 70-kilometres away from Melbourne, the heart of Geelong is centered around the waterfront at Corio Bay, and it is here that visitors can find some quality restaurants and shops. In truth, the city is not the greatest to look at; it used to be a center of industry and as such, its urban sprawl is decidedly unappealing.

With a passionate fan-base however, Geelong is the perfect place to go and watch an Aussie rules football match. Many people use the city as a stop off on the way to exploring the Great Ocean Road and the Bellarine Peninsula.

12. Newcastle

Newcastle

Australia´s second-oldest city is a charming and laidback place which is actually pretty cool to visit. Located on the coast in New South Wales, Newcastle has some interesting historical architecture, plenty of great surf spots and, of course, a bounty of beautiful beaches for visitors to enjoy.

All of this masks the fact that the city was built on the coal industry, and is still the largest exporter of this ore in the world. Newcastle is a great base from which to explore the surrounding areas – including mountains, expansive beaches, and the nearby vineyards in Hunter Valley.

11. Alice Springs

Alice Springs

Despite its remote location in the center of Australia, 1500-kilometers from the nearest city, Alice Springs is well worth a visit. Although it may take you a bit of time and effort to reach this small town, the scenic journey is half the attraction.

There is not a great deal of interest in the town itself – apart from the museums and Aboriginal art galleries – but its setting in the outback along with access to such stupendous sights as Uluru/Ayers Rock and Kata Tjuta/the Olgas make it worth the effort. Situated on the banks of the Todd River, Alice Springs is the perfect gateway to the many incredible landscapes and beautiful scenery that lie all around it.

10. Gold Coast

Gold Coast

A popular destination among tourists and locals alike, Gold Coast´s primary drawcard is the spectacular combination of sun, sea and surf. Apartment blocks tower above the city´s almost endless array of beaches, with Surfers Paradise being the most popular of them all.

A beautiful place to visit, sunshine is almost guaranteed here. Coupled with the lively and raucous party scene, you´re guaranteed a good time on the Gold Coast . On top of all this, there are a variety of incredible amusement parks, which you could easily spend two or three days exploring.

Hobart

With a bustling waterfront lined with things to see and do , a beautiful mountain forming a backdrop to the city, and the dark blue of the ocean surrounding the shore, Hobart is definitely a picturesque place to visit.

The southernmost city in the country, Hobart´s remote location on the island of Tasmania ironically helped to preserve its historic buildings and Victorian architecture – primarily because it was overlooked for so long. Now, the good times are back, with Hobart welcoming more and more people to its shores each year, thanks to its wealth of attractions and captivating buzz.

Darwin

A cosmopolitan city, Darwin´s small stature belies the fact that it has a rich cultural heritage unique to Australia. Comprising citizens of over fifty nationalities, it is a multicultural place with an eclectic mix of Asian and Aboriginal influences.

This is what makes it so fascinating to visit. A laidback city on the coast of the Timor Sea in of Northern Territory, many people stop at Darwin and use it as a base to explore the nearby natural wonders of Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks, as well as the impressive Tiwi Islands.

7. Canberra

Canberra

The capital of Australia is a planned city that is slowly growing into a fantastic place to spend some time. Originally inhabited by politicians and civil servants, the young city now has numerous museums, galleries and monuments to explore.

Thanks in part to the large student body, there is a lively nightlife scene and a plethora of restaurants and bars to choose from. Located out in the bush, Canberra has lots of quality outdoor activities for you to sink your teeth into, with many visitors electing to stop by the nearby Namadgi National Park.

Perth Downtown

The laidback, youthful capital of Western Australia is the perfect place to visit if you´re looking to sit back and relax for a bit. With lovely beaches, amazing weather, and a cosmopolitan feel to it, Perth is a city to savor and enjoy. It has a wealth of bars, restaurants and cultural sites, as well as loads of outdoor activities, which attract visitors and locals alike.

Perth is one of the most isolated cities in the world – if you visit, you´re going to want to spend a good amount of time there to make the journey worthwhile. Lucky for you then that it´s a lovely place to be.

5. Brisbane

Brisbane

The third largest city in Australia, Brisbane is the capital of the Sunshine State, and as such, it is blessed with a delightful climate throughout the year. Consequently, there are an endless number of outdoor activities to get your blood pumping.

Ranging from kayaking and climbing to hiking and biking, there’s no reason to be a couch potato in Brisbane. Located on the banks of the Brisbane River, restaurants, bars, music venues and more spread out from the waterfront. It´s a vibrant and dynamic city full of positivity about what the future holds. It’s also now one of the music capitals of the world, thanks to its talented local Australian music scene.

4. Adelaide

Adelaide

Known as ´the city of churches´, residents of Adelaide argue that there are actually more pubs than church spires in the city! This attitude highlights the laidback and casual feel of the place, and there are stacks of attractive restaurants and live music venues to check out.

Built on the banks of the Torrens River, it is a picturesque city with lots of leafy, green spaces to explore. Situated in the middle of the wine regions in South Australia, make sure to try a couple of local wines before you leave.

With numerous museums and galleries, and the Belair National Park nearby, there´s always something to do in Adelaide. One of the best times of year to visit is in ´Mad March,´ when plenty of festivals and events are held concurrently.

Cairns

Surrounded by rainforest, the city of Cairns is geared to one thing and one thing only – tourists. Consequently, upon your arrival, you will find hordes of tourists in a friendly city with a laidback vibe and not much in the way of sights.

Cairns is blessed, however, when it comes to incredible natural wonders – the spectacular Great Barrier Reef is the main reason people visit the city. This stupendous natural attraction is easily visited by boat, and there are also a couple of islands that you can stop off at. Many people use it as a gateway to the region and Daintree National Park and the Queensland Outback aren´t too far away.

2. Melbourne

Melbourne

The second largest city in the country is a stylish, cosmopolitan place to visit, with a lot to see and do. One of the best cities to live in the world, Melbourne has a European appearance, belying the fact that it is home to citizens of countless countries from around the world – this is what gives it its unique, multicultural feel.

Often seen as the cultural capital of the country, it has numerous art galleries, a vibrant music scene, and some fantastic cuisine from around the globe. Although it can´t compare with Sydney in terms of stunning sights, Melbourne wins hands-down when it comes to its authentic, diverse and lively neighborhoods dotting the area. Take the time to explore its streets and you´ll soon find yourself falling in love with this great city.

Sydney

The crown jewel of what Australia has to offer, Sydney´s iconic look makes it the prime destination to visit when heading Down Under. The Opera House and Sydney Harbor Bridge are the undoubted postcard image of the city, although sweeping Bondi beach and the picture-perfect harbor front are equally dazzling to behold.

See also: Where to Stay in Sydney

A lively city, Sydney has a vibrant cultural and arts scene, which makes it great to live in as well as visit. With over two hundred years of history, there are some lovely historic sites to visit, while just outside Sydney lie some gorgeous national parks. Loud, in your face, and proud of it, Sydney is a fun, exciting city to visit that doesn´t take itself all too seriously.

Map of cities in Australia

Map of cities in Australia

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September 25, 2018 at 6:38 am

You should add Airlie Beach, Whitsundays 🙂 great for going out to Whitehaven beach, diving Great Barrier Reef, sailing etc. best hotel Coral sea resort

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10 Australian destinations you simply can't miss

As a first-time visitor to Australia, you'll be tempted to see it all – from our iconic cities to the outback wilderness. If you need to refine your agenda, here’s our list of the 10 most iconic places in Australia.

By Natasha Dragun

Australia is a vast country with no shortage of incredible destinations and experiences. Our eight states and territories stretch across an entire continent, so exploring them all in one trip isn’t always possible. Find out what destinations should be high on your bucket list with our list of iconic places you simply can’t miss.

Cairns and Great Barrier Reef Region

Anemone with clownfish, Frankland Islands, QLD © Phil Warring

Anemone with clownfish, Frankland Islands, Queensland © Phil Warring

In the tropical north of Australia, the rainforest meets the sea and two World Heritage sites unite: the  Great Barrier Reef , the  Daintree Rainforest . Imagine lush jungles tumbling to the edge of secluded white beaches, the soft sand disappearing into world-class dive sites, and curious clownfish looking back at you from the colourful coral. 

When to visit:   The best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef is between June and October, when the weather is just right. Though December to February brings the miracle of  turtle hatching  season.

Read our Cairns travel guide

Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW © Cultural Attractions of Australia

Sydney Opera House, Sydney, New South Wales © Cultural Attractions of Australia

Australia’s largest city is one of the world’s prettiest. Much of its allure revolves around the harbour , a dramatic expanse that creates a sanctuary for some of the country’s best beaches . This is the Sydney you see on postcards, with the immense Harbour Bridge and shell-like fans of the Opera House skirting the emerald waters. More sandy stretches await along the coast, from Coogee to Bondi , attracting surfers and sun-worshippers alike. 

When to visit: The best time to visit Sydney is between October and May when it’s almost always sunny and the beaches are irresistible. The can’t-miss whale season, however, runs from June to September and sees up to 20,000 ocean giants migrating along the coast.

Read our  Sydney travel guide

Uluru, Red Centre, NT © Tourism Australia

Ulu r u, Red Centre, Northern Territory © Tourism Australia

This huge red monolith is a World Heritage site, and one of Australia’s most emblematic landmarks. r u">Ulu r u is literally the heart of Australia, and the ochre soil is as dramatic as the massive sandstone rock itself. You can cycle, walk, ride a camel or take a helicopter around the nearly 10-kilometre (6.2-mile) circumference, then dine under the stars on a sand dune – your meal featuring native ingredients and your view lit by an incredible glowing art installation: Bruce Munro’s Field of Light .

When to visit: The best time to visit Ulu r u is from June to August, when the desert is cooler and temperatures are milder. While the region is hot in summer, the mild nights and open-air dining make it all worth it.

Read our r u travel guide">Ulu r u travel guide

Hosier Lane, Melbourne, VIC © Visit Victoria

Hosier Lane, Melbourne, Victoria © Visit Victoria

This southern metropolis captures everything Aussies love most in this world – leisure, sport, art, music and coffee (just to name a few). In Melbourne , you can find eye-popping street art and a plethora of en vogue restaurants and bars. From hidden speakeasies to rooftop bars where you can sip a cocktail and watch the sunset, Melbourne is a trailblazer in the food and wine stakes. Once you've wined and dined, you can’t miss a road trip along the  Great Ocean Road . Just a few hours from Melbourne, wild koalas, impressive rock formations and endless coastlines await.

When to visit: The best time to visit Melbourne is between November and March, when the sun is shining and the events calendar is jam-packed with things to see and do. The Australian Open tennis tournament, held in January, kicks off the international Grand Slam calendar. 

Read our Melbourne travel guide

Perth and Margaret River

Olio Bello, Margaret River, WA © Tourism Western Australia

Olio Bello, Margaret River, Western Australia © Tourism Western Australia 

Australia’s western capital is the gateway to some of the state’s most epic adventures – not least those involving food and wine. It’s a three-hour drive from Perth to the  Margaret River region, one of the few places in the world where wine grows within metres of the beach. The vineyards here are known for their cabernet sauvignon grapes, but take it from us, all the wines grown here are exquisite. There’s also a myriad of craft breweries, acclaimed restaurants , luxury hotels, spectacular forests and plenty to keep the kids entertained.

When to visit: The best time to visit Perth and Margaret River is between September and November, when the region is blanketed in native wildflowers. From January to March, the city comes alive with festivals galore, including Perth Festival  and  Sculpture by the Sea .

Read our Perth travel guide

Seal Bay Conservation Park, Kangaroo Island, SA © Ben Goode

Seal Bay Conservation Park, Kangaroo Island, South Australia © Ben Goode

This secluded island off the coast of South Australia is named after the (you guessed it) abundant local kangaroo species. But Kangaroo Island offers more than just ‘roos’! The island is a haven for all kinds of Australian flora and fauna. Think koalas, sea lions, echidnas, wallabies and dolphins – just to name a few. You’ll also discover an extraordinary array of breathtaking landscapes – cosy coves, towering trees and remarkable rock formations. When you’re done marvelling at nature, you can retire to the charming towns to enjoy a glass of locally produced wine paired with fine produce grown on the island’s farms.

When to visit: The best time to visit Kangaroo Island is in the summer months, between December and February, when it’s perfect beach weather. Yet, the mild winter months offer vibrant greenery and the perfect chance to do some whale watching.

Read our Kangaroo Island travel guide

Twin Falls, Kakadu, Northern Territory © Tourism NT/Jewels Lynch

Twin Falls, Kakadu, Northern Territory © Tourism NT/Jewels Lynch

World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park offers a front-row seat to the dramatic wilderness of the Northern Territory. The park is a three-hour drive from the capital city of  Darwin and when you arrive, you’ll find woodlands, floodplains, mangroves, tidal mudflats and even monsoon forest. Stay overnight and see landscapes ranging from thundering waterfalls to rocky gorges. If you want a place to feel completely insignificant – in the best possible way – Kakadu awaits.

When to visit: The best time to visit Kakadu is in the dry season, between May and October, when the temperatures are cooler, while August to November is the best time to see crocodiles.

Read our Kakadu National Park travel guide

Roaring 40s Kayaking, Hobart, TAS © Roaring 40s Kayaking

Roaring 40s Kayaking, Hobart, Tasmania © Roaring 40s Kayaking

Located on the island state of Tasmania, Hobart is the perfect place to pause, reconnect and take a breath of some of the freshest air in the world. Visitors can get a taste of the things that make Australia great, from fine dining and cultural attractions to stunning natural beauty. There's an endless parade of outdoor activities within reach of the city: epic alpine mountaineering, ocean kayaks and World Heritage-listed hikes . After a breathtaking adventure, reward yourself with the tastes of Tasmania at Hobart’s best restaurants or enjoy some locally brewed beverages at the irresistible bar offerings .  

When to visit: The best time to visit Hobart is during the summer months, between December and March, when the climate is warmer and the weather is more stable. Visitors in winter, however, get the best view of the Aurora Borealis , also known as the Southern Lights .

Read our Hobart travel guide

Greenmount Beach, Gold Coast, QLD © Tourism Australia

Greenmount Beach, Gold Coast, Queensland © Tourism Australia

If the Gold Coast enjoys a sparkling reputation, it's because there are 300 days of sunshine here every year. This golden city unites the things that make this country great: beautiful beaches , a blissful tropical climate, world-class restaurants and bars , and easy access to tangles of rainforest – you can be surfing one minute, then trekking half an hour later. The ‘Goldie’ is also home to a parade of theme parks and attractions , promising endless days of action and adventure for the whole family . 

When to visit: Though temperatures are great all year round, the best time to visit the Gold Coast is between January and May or August to December, when the weather’s pleasant and there’s hardly ever rain.

Read our Gold Coast travel guide

Broken Head Beach, Byron Bay, NSW © Destination NSW

Broken Head Beach, Byron Bay, New South Wales © Destination NSW

There’s a reason why Nicole Kidman, Chris Hemsworth and Simon Baker (along with thousands of other lucky Aussies) call  Byron Bay home – it really is one of Australia’s most beautiful coastal coves. Nestled on the coast of northern New South Wales, Byron is tipped by a picturesque hilltop lighthouse (the mainland's most easterly point). In the town’s centre, you can get a tarot reading, take a surfing lesson , indulge in paddock-to-plate meals, or simply sip a local brew while spotting dolphins and watching whales on their annual migration. 

When to visit: The best time to visit Byron Bay is between November and February, when it’s all sun, fun and blue skies. While the best time for whale watching in Byron is from May to September.

Read our   Byron Bay travel guide

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12 Best Cities to Visit in Australia

Sydney is one of the best cities to visit in Australia.

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With cool restaurants and bars, markets, museums and green open spaces, Australia’s cities are vibrant places to explore, but the sheer size of the country means you probably won’t get to see all of them during one trip. Sydney and Melbourne might be world famous, but each city in Australia has a uniqueness that can only truly be appreciated with a visit. To help you decide where to go, here is our guide to the top 12 best cities to visit  Australia .

Modern and sophisticated, Sydney is one of the best  cities for tourists to visit on a tour to Australia . With fantastic beaches and the Blue Mountains on the doorstep, you will love Sydney if you enjoy the great outdoors. A vibrant culinary scene means you won’t be short of great places to eat and drink either.

What to see and do: 

  • The Sydney Opera House is the city’s most famous landmark, where you can watch dozens of live performances and dine in a top restaurant, Bennelong.
  • Nearby, the Harbour Bridge is the perfect spot for taking photos. Climb the 134-meter high Harbour Bridge for panoramic views.
  • The Rocks is Sydney’s heritage district, where 100-year-old buildings stand alongside modern galleries and cafes.
  • Bondi, with its beach, surfing and laid-back vibe is a must-visit.
  • Take to the water in a kayak for a different view of the harbor.
  • Sydney’s food and drink are among the best in the world, so dine out at a celebrated restaurant like Quay.
  • Whether it's high fashion, indie designer brands or department stores, shop 'til you drop at Sydney's largest shopping malls. 

2. Melbourne

best cities in australia melbourne

With its vintage shops, graffiti-covered backstreets and coffee culture, Melbourne has earned a reputation as Australia’s capital of cool. The city has plenty to see and do whether you enjoy art or sports. Located on Victoria’s famously beautiful coast, there is plenty of nature and wildlife in Melbourne as well.

  • The National Gallery of Victoria is Australia’s oldest art gallery, with a large collection of national and international art.
  • The Queen Victoria Market is a foodie’s paradise selling delicious street food and local produce.
  • The neighbourhood of St Kilda, with its historic funfair and beach, is an ideal place to spend a chilled afternoon.
  • Phillip Island has a famous colony of Little penguins to see.
  • Melbourne is famous for street art, so join a tour of the colourful backstreets.
  • Dive into the food and drink scene by visiting the craft breweries and coffee shops.
  • For the ultimate road trip experience, drive the iconic Great Ocean Road.
  • Take a balloon ride over the city.

3. Gold Coast

best cities in Australia gold coast

If you are looking for fun, look no further. Famous for surfing, rollercoasters and nightclubs, the Gold Coast attracts millions of tourists every year. Its iconic coastline stretches for more than 60 kilometres and boasts some of Australia’s best beaches. Surrounded by tropical rainforest and mangroves, it is also an area of natural beauty.

  • The Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre offers cultural walking tours and aboriginal dance performances.
  • Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is home to native species including koalas, kangaroos and crocodiles.
  • The Gold Coast is a top surfing destination so book yourself a lesson at Main Beach.
  • Take the kids to one of the many theme parks.
  • If you love the outdoors, take a hiking trip — there are many excellent trails in nearby Burleigh Head National Park and Mount Tamborine.
  • Go whale watching and encounter the ocean's giants along with other marine animals. 

4. Brisbane

Best cities in Australia Brisbane

Brisbane is one of the oldest cities in Australia and was home to indigenous people thousands of years ago. Built around the winding Brisbane River, the city boasts riverfront promenades, islands and beaches, making it a playground for water-lovers. You will love Brisbane if you enjoy music, cycling and the outdoors.

  • The Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art are musts for art lovers.
  • Brisbane’s South Bank has lots going on including markets, a swimming lagoon and city beach.
  • Mount Coot-tha has panoramic views of the city from the summit.
  • On the edge of the city, Lone Pine is the world’s largest koala sanctuary.
  • Brisbane is made for adventure-lovers. Climb the Story Bridge for an adrenaline rush and dramatic views.
  • Explore Moreton Bay or Kangaroo Point by kayak.
  • Try sandboarding on giant dunes on Moreton Island.
  • Brisbane is also great for cyclists so hire a bike and explore the city on two wheels.

5. Adelaide

Best cities in Australia adelaide

Adelaide is home to some great museums and a lively local food scene. Known for its arty, bohemian vibe, the city always has a packed calendar of cultural events. Sandwiched between the coast and the wine-growing Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide is the ideal base for exploring local vineyards.

  • The Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA) has a superb collection of national and local art.
  • The National Wine Centre is a great place to learn about wine and enjoy a tasting.
  • Cleland Wildlife Park is home to native animals including koalas and wallabies.
  • Kangaroo Island is a top location for nature and wildlife and is only around two and a half hours from the city by car and ferry. Go on a Kangaroo Island wildlife safari to spot wallabies and sea lions
  • The Adelaide region is famous for wine so tour the vineyards in the surrounding Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley, Clare Valley and McLaren Vale.
  • Between May and October, watch whales on the Fleurieu Peninsula — just an hour’s drive from the city. 

Best cities in Australia Cairns

On the coast of northern Queensland , Cairns is best known as a base for exploring the Great Barrier Reef. One of Australia’s top tourist destinations, the city is popular with foreigners and locals alike. Surrounded by rainforests and wetlands, Cairns will suit you if you love exploring the outdoors.

What to see and do:

  • Cairns’ top attraction is, of course, the Great Barrier Reef. Spend some time snorkeling or scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Upolu Cay, Green Island and Fitzroy Island can all be reached on a day trip.
  • Cairns aquarium is the only one in the world dedicated to the Reef’s wildlife.
  • On the waterfront, you will find a boardwalk, picnic areas and a saltwater lagoon for swimming.
  • Daintree Rainforest, on the outskirts of the city, is the oldest rainforest in the world.
  • Wild swim at Crystal Cascades, a series of pools and waterfalls just outside the city.
  • Walk or hike in the nearby Atherton Tablelands an attractive region of mountains, rainforests, creeks and scenic waterfalls.

Best cities in Australia darwin

The capital of the Northern Territory, Darwin was inhabited by aboriginal people for thousands of years. Across the sea from Southeast Asia, Indonesian influences are everywhere, from the street food to the craft shops. A city where you can catch a seaplane as easily as catching a bus, Darwin is a great base for exploring the Top End — Australia’s wildest region.

  • Darwin’s Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory has an extensive collection, including aboriginal art.
  • Mindil Beach has an eclectic market selling everything from indigenous crats to Indonesian food.
  • The Darwin Aviation Heritage Centre is dedicated to the Northern Territory's aviation history, with plenty of aircraft on display.
  • The Royal Flying Doctor Service tells the inspiring story of the airborne medics.
  • It wouldn’t be Darwin without crocodiles, so join a cruise down the Adelaide River and see them in the flesh.
  • Dine al fresco on local seafood in the harbour.
  • Wander through the mangrove forests in East Point Reserve.
  • Book an exciting heli fishing day trip in the remote Top End.
  • Hike in nearby Kakadu National Park , Australia’s largest natural reserve.

Best cities in Australia Perth

Friendly, modern, green and boasting an unspoiled coastline, it isn’t hard to see why locals love Perth. Growing as a tourist destination, it has clean sandy beaches, parks and a wealth of great bars and restaurants.

  • With its heritage buildings, al fresco restaurants and coffee shops, historic Freemantle is perfect for a day trip.
  • The Art Gallery of Western Australia’s collection includes contemporary aboriginal art.
  • Kings Park is a vast expanse of green overlooking the river.
  • Home to otherworldly rock structures formed 25,000 years ago, the Pinnacles Desert is just two hours’ drive away.
  • Perth is famous for beaches so spend a day relaxing at Cottesloe or Metthams Pool.
  • Kayak or paddleboard on the beautiful Swan River or around Rottnest Island. Between September and December, join a whale watching boat cruise and see humpback whales in the wild.
  • Perth is surrounded by wine regions so enjoy some vineyard tours and tastings in the Swan Valley.

9. Alice Springs

best cities in Australia Alice Springs

Hot, dry Alice Springs, in the middle of the Red Centre, was home to indigenous people for thousands of years and today is the perfect base for exploring the outback. While it seems to be miles away from anywhere, Alice has plenty of galleries, museums and good restaurants.

  • The Araluen Arts Centre specializes in art from Central Australia.
  • The Alice Springs Telegraph Station tells the story of the town and the birth of telegraph communication.
  • The world-famous Kangaroo Sanctuary is an inspiring place where injured and orphaned kangaroos are looked after.
  • And of course, no visit to Alice Springs would be complete without a trip to Uluru (Ayers Rock).
  • Camping is the best way to see the beauty of the outback, so head to Yulara or Kings Canyon.
  • Another way to see this striking landscape is on foot — so hike a section of the 200 km Larapinta Trail.
  • For the ultimate outback experience, take to the skies on a hot air balloon.

10. Byron Bay

best cities in Australia Byron Bay

Byron Bay is an iconic surf destination and a popular hangout for Australia's in-crowd. With a stunning coastline and breathtaking national parks, Byron is one of the most beautiful spots in Australia. Also known as a wellness destination, Byron is full of retreats and spas offering endless ways to pamper your mind and body.

  • Cape Byron is Australia's easternmost natural reserve with breathtaking views from its lighthouse.
  • For perfect Instagram photos of the Bay, head to the Captain Cook Lookout.
  • Life here is all about relaxing so head to Tallow, Belongil or Clarkes Beach and soak up the sun.
  • Grab a surfboard and head to Main Beach.
  • Scuba dive in the Julian Rocks Marine Reserve, one of Australia’s best dive sites.
  • Byron is also a great city for live music fans so check out a local band in one of the many pubs.

Best cities in Australia hobart

Tasmania’s capital, Hobart, is a place of historic buildings, trendy galleries and modern restaurants, all centred around a stunning waterfront. The city’s food culture is growing as rapidly as its arts scene. On the edge of the vast wilderness of Tasmania, Hobart is perfect for nature and wildlife lovers who don’t want to stray too far from civilization.

  • The waterfront is well worth visiting with historic warehouses, a working fishing harbour and plenty of seafood restaurants.
  • The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery explores everything from the island’s natural history to its art scene.
  • The controversial Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is unmissable.
  • Hobart is a city for foodies, so explore the restaurants of North Hobart, browse the Salamanca Market or grab a beer at one of the city’s breweries.
  • The city is built on the spectacular Derwent River, so take a cruise or a water-taxi, or better still, take to the river in a kayak.
  • Hike up Mount Wellington for magnificent views.
  • Hobart is also one of the few places where you can witness Aurora Australis or the Southern Lights.

12. Canberra

best cities in Australia canberra

Between Sydney and Melbourne, Canberra is one of the best cities in Australia for culture and is brimming with excellent museums, galleries and monuments. It is a modern, clean city that also has plenty to offer outdoor lovers with its huge central lake and bushland in the city.

  • Visit the galleries and museums. The National Gallery of Canberra has works by top artists.
  • The impressive Australian War Memorial has a museum telling the stories of major conflicts.
  • Braddon is full of independent shops, restaurants and coffee shops.
  • Lake Burley Griffin is the city’s green haven.
  • Enjoy the city’s sophisticated restaurant scene.
  • Go bushwalking in Namadgi National Park just outside the city.
  • Canberra is also a popular place to try hot air ballooning so take to the skies for a bucket-list experience.

Australia’s cities reflect the chilled-out, multicultural nature of their inhabitants, and wherever you choose to go, you won’t be short of great things to do. If you’ve found our guide to the best cities to visit in Australia useful, why not check out our guide to planning a trip to Australia as well?

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The Planet D: Adventure Travel Blog

31 of the Most Iconic Places to Visit in Australia

Written By: The Planet D

Updated On: July 23, 2023

Australia is huge! Seeing it all in one trip probably won’t happen for most people. If you are like us, you’ll have to go back again and again. These iconic places to visit in Australia might help you know where to start when you travel next to the land down under. 

Table of Contents

The Best Places to Visit in Australia

When you plan your trip, you must choose what you want to see and where you want to go. If you do have the time to drive around the continent spending a year or so in a campervan , you may be able to check off all the iconic places to see in Australia that cannot be missed.

places to visit in australia

It may be the world’s smallest continent, but it’s ranked number 6 in the world by country size. So take your time, enjoy the ride, and check out all the amazing things to see in Australia. From Dreamtime walks to the heavenly apostles, the landmarks of Australia are awe-inspiring.

1. Great Barrier Reef

It may be Australia’s most famous attraction but with good reason! The Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven wonders of the natural world.

places to visit in australia great barrier reef

Stretching 3000 km across the coast of Queensland, the Great Barrier Reef is a diver’s dream. Whether you are an avid scuba diver , casual snorkeller or first-time underwater newbie, there is something for everyone at this popular tourist destination.

You don’t need to go scuba diving to enjoy the Great Barrier Reef. A scenic flight is a spectacular way to see the wonder of the world. You can go snorkeling or swimming on one of the platforms in the ocean and you can even take a discovery dive.

You can book a liveaboard dive boat vacation to go out to the most remote dive sites of the reef, take a helicopter tour over the impressive waters, or you can try your hand at diving with a helmet. One of our favourite experiences. Plan your trip to the Great Barrier Reef with FlightCentre

2. Daintree Rainforest

places to see in australia daintree rainforest

Located in Queensland , the Daintree Rainforest is one of Australia’s natural wonders. At 180 million years old, it covers 1200 square km and visitors can take a Dreamtime walk with an Indigenous guide from the Kuku Yalanji Tribe.

Stay in the rainforest at Silky Oak Lodge and relax in your treehouse listening to the sounds of the ancient forest. You can also do some paddleboarding on the Mossman River. Don’t worry, the local saltwater crocodiles don’t come that far inland.

This rainforest is filled with beauty with waterfalls, plenty of hiking trails and outdoor activities.

  • Fun Fact : Daintree Rainforest is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is twice as old as the Amazon Rainforest

3. Fraser Island

places to visit in australia fraser island wreck

Fraser Island is one of the coolest Australian places to visit in Australia because of its 75-mile long beach! It’s one of the longest beaches in the world. Rent a four-wheel drive truck in the town of Noosa and start your adventure to one of the wildest drives you’ll ever have. It’s an island with sand dunes, dingos, tidal pools, and shipwrecks.

Oh and one more thing, drivers share the beach with airplanes! Yes, there is an airport right on the sandy shores. The white sand beaches of this island will take your breath away as you drive its coastline. There are hotels and resorts that you can book on the island to spend more time exploring. Read all about our trip at Fraser Island Tour – A 4X4 Adventure

4. Whitsundays

what to see in australia whitsundays

The Whitsundays are a group of 75 islands off the coast of Queensland. When visiting the Great Barrier Reef, you must spend some time here. These islands are located right in the heart of it! Beautiful white sandy beaches, swirl effortlessly with the turquoise water.

There are luxury resorts, sailing and snorkeling. A must stop is the largest and most famous of all the islands, Whitehaven Beach with pristine white sands made of silica beads stretching for 7km. Because this sand is made up of silica, it doesn’t get too hot making it the perfect beach for a walk.

5. Port Douglas

places to visit in australia | port douglas

Port Douglas is a laid-back resort town in Queensland’s Tropical North. It’s the jumping off point for visiting the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest making it the perfect spot to spend a few days relaxing and exploring the beauty of Australia. Located along Australia’s most scenic coast, a road trip to Port Douglas is a must. See our s cenic flight from Port Douglas over the Great Barrier Reef.

Known as the gateway to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, Cairnes is located about 1,700 kilometers north of Brisbane. Cairns enjoys a tropical climate and is nestled between the Coral Sea and the rainforests of the Wet Tropics, offering a unique blend of marine and terrestrial attractions.

As a destination, Cairns offers a multitude of reasons for tourists to visit. As well as its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef — a must-visit for snorkelers, divers, and marine life enthusiasts — Cairns also provides easy access to the Daintree Rainforest. You can take a scenic railway journey to the village of Kuranda, experience indigenous culture at the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, or simply enjoy Cairns’ excellent restaurants, bustling markets, and lively nightlife. The city’s Esplanade, with its saltwater swimming lagoon and waterfront boardwalk, is another major drawcard.

7. Gold Coast

iconic views in australia gold coast

Home to the world-famous Surfer’s Paradise, the Gold Coast of Australia offers an endless stretch beach with outstanding surf breaks. Highrise resorts and condos line the sand while beachgoers enjoy the many eateries and dining options.

You can enjoy surf lessons or you can simply rent a bike and ride to Currumbin Beach and Burleigh Head to watch the pro surfers catch a wave. For a great view, go to the Skypoint Observation Deck to take it all in from above.

8. Twelve Apostles

best places to visit in australia twelve apostles

The Great Ocean Road is one of the most popular day trips from Melbourne. A Drive to the coast takes you to the incredible Twelve Apostles .

For us, the Twelve Apostles were the most awe-inspiring of places to visit in Australia. But to really experience this rugged coast, you must do the Great Ocean Walk. It takes you along the coastal route that is impossible to see from a car. If you can, make sure to take a helicopter ride over the Apostles to really take in its beauty.

9. Melbourne

Where to stay in Melbourne

Melbourne is quite possibly the coolest city in Australia . I know it was our favourite. It has been named the most livable city in the world and it’s a great place for tourists too! Highlights include Queen Victoria Market, The Arcades and Secret Lanes, Eureka Square, Federation Skydeck and Graffiti Lane.

South Australia

10. kangaroo island.

australia places to visit kangaroo island

Kangaroo Island is located off the coast of South Australia and is an incredible place in Australia to tour for a few days. It is a spectacular wildlife haven for kangaroos, koalas, sea lions and seals, and pelicans. There is even a Birds of Prey rehabilitation center where you can watch a show and learn about birds that are indigenous to the continent.

The landscape is beautiful here and at sunset, you must see the Remarkables; granite boulders have been sculpted into unique formations over 500 million years. Kangaroo Island is also home to what is considered by many as the best beach in Australia.

11. Wilpena Pound

australia places to visit wilpena

Wilpena Pound is a giant 80 Square kilometer amphitheater of rock that is simply astounding. Located in the Flinders Ranges of South Australia, it’s a 450 km drive from Adelaide. A good place to stay is inside the National Park that is set within the backdrop of the mountains. Flinders Ranges is 100 million years old and a tour of the ancient landscape is truly fascinating.

places to visit in australia yellow tailed rock wallabie

It is also one of the best places in Australia to spy the endangered yellow-footed rock wallaby. Check out our visit to the Flinders Ranges and Wilpena Pound

12. Barossa Valley

what to do in australia barossa valley

Barossa Valley is home to Australia’s most famous vineyards. Here you can visit wineries such as Wolf Blass, Lehmann and Penfolds just to name a few. A tour through the valley will take you through gorgeous countryside and it is best to hire a driver so you can truly experience all the wines of Barossa. Located an hour outside Adelaide, it is a beautiful region to spend a few days.

South Australia boasts many Australia’s best wine regions outside of the Barossa Valley including, MaLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills and Clare Valley.

13. Burra Homestead

best places to visit in australia burra homestead

Made famous by Midnight Oil’s record album cover Diesel and Dust, the Burra Homestea d has become an iconic stop for photographers in Australia. The homestead was abandoned by homesteaders years ago and still stands alone and empty by the side of the road. It’s easy to miss and we made quite the detour just to see it. Being huge fans of music, we just had to see this with our own eyes.

14. Lake Gairdner

best places to visit in australia

Lake Gairdner is a Salt Lake in the Gawler Ranges of South Australia. It feels as if you have stepped on another planet when you visit the lake. The lake itself is an impressive sprawl of white landscape but being surrounded by the red hills of the Gawler Ranges make for the picture-perfect spot.

New South Wales

15. sydney opera house.

places to visit in sydney opera house

It’s definitely Australia’s most iconic building and seeing the Sydney Opera House dominate the Sydney Skyline does not disappoint. The Sydney Opera House opened in 1973 and has become Australia’s top tourist attraction.

We never went inside the opera house when visiting Sydney, but walking around it and taking in the views from the waterfront will remind you why this is one of the most iconic landmarks in the world.

  • Side Note : I hear they are fixing the acoustics of the Opera House, so perhaps when we are back in Sydney, we’ll catch a concert.

16. Blue Mountains

places to visit in australia | blue mountains

Located just 50km (32 miles) from Sydney, the Blue Mountains are another famous view that attracts numerous visitors. The Three Sisters are the most iconic view of the Blue Mountains. Echo Point lookout offers an impressive view of the three sisters overlooking the Jamison Valley.

17. Sydney Harbour Bridge

what to see in australia sydney harbour bridge

Next, to the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is another of the city’s iconic landmarks. It connects the CBD to the North Shore and is the biggest steel bridge in the world.

If you really want a thrill, you should do the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. We ended up doing the Harbour Bridge Climb in Brisbane which was awesome, but I wish we mustered up enough energy to include Sydney’s Bridge too!

18. Bondi Beach

places to visit in australia bondi beach

No visit to Australia would be complete without a stop at Bondi Beach. Located just 7km from Sydney’s central business district, it is one of Australia’s most iconic and celebrated beaches.

The beach itself, with its golden sands and turquoise waters, is an irresistible attraction. Known for its reliable surf, Bondi Beach draws surfers from around the globe, while the wide sandy stretch also provides ample space for sunbathing, beach volleyball, or simply enjoying the ocean view. The Bondi Icebergs Pool, a stunning ocean pool at the southern end of the beach, offers a unique swimming experience, with the waves of the Pacific Ocean crashing over its sides.

Bondi Beach isn’t just about sand and surf; it’s also a hub for dining and shopping. Campbell Parade, the main street running parallel to the beach, is lined with trendy cafes, award-winning restaurants, and boutique stores. The beach is also the starting point for the scenic Bondi to Coogee coastal walk, which takes in some of Sydney’s most stunning ocean views.

19. Byron Bay

Nestled on the northeastern coast of New South Wales, Byron Bay artfully combines natural beauty with its laid-back culture. The town’s location, just about 800 kilometers north of Sydney and 170 kilometers south of Brisbane, Byron Bay is easily accessible from the major city centers. Framed by pristine, golden-sand beaches and the sparkling Pacific Ocean, Byron Bay’s geography is spectacular.

Byron Bay isn’t just renowned for its captivating landscapes, if you’re an outdoor lover you can surf the world-class breaks, kayak with dolphins, or embark on a trek to the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse for a panoramic view of the bay.

The Outback

20. south, west, north, and east australia.

the outback of australia

The Outback covers a huge expanse of Australia touching nearly every state of the country. When visiting Australia, you cannot miss a trip to the Outback. We took a multi-day journey in South Australia with Gawler Ranges Wilderness Safaris and had the chance to truly experience all the wonders of Australia’s famous Outback.

From salt lakes to red sands and rock formations, you truly feel like a pioneer. While it is dry and arid, people do live on the Outback and there are homesteaders raising sheep among the kangaroos and emus.

Northern Territory

21. uluru-kata tjuta national parks.

where to visit in australia | uluru

One of the most famous sites of the Outback is Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) near Alice Springs. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Uluru is sacred to the indigenous people of the area. Standing 348 metres high it makes for an imposing site in contrast to the flat desert landscape. Spanning 3 1/2 km long and nearly 2 km wide, it is a popular stop on overland tours.

22. Kata Tjuta

The massive sandstone domes of Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) are particularly striking, rising majestically from the flat desert landscape and changing hues with the passing of the day. The park offers numerous walking trails, ranging from leisurely walks to challenging hikes, that give visitors the opportunity to explore these wonders up close and experience the area’s rich biodiversity.

The cultural tours led by the Anangu guides provide deep insights into the ancient traditions, stories, and customs associated with these sacred sites, making a visit to the park a truly enriching experience.

23. Kakadu National Park

Kakadu National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site, located in the Top End region of the Northern Territory. Roughly 170 kilometers southeast of Darwin, the park covers an impressive area of around 20,000 square kilometers, making it the largest national park in Australia and about half the size of Switzerland.

The park is known for its diverse landscapes that range from wetlands and floodplains, to rugged escarpments and arid regions, creating a haven for a wide variety of wildlife. It’s home to over 280 bird species, numerous reptiles, and a large variety of fish.

Kakadu is also rich in Aboriginal culture, with rock art sites dating back thousands of years. Ubirr and Nourlangie are among the most visited rock art sites, where visitors can learn about the ancient indigenous culture and the spiritual connection to the land.

There are numerous guided tours available to explore the park and many walking trails that range from easy strolls to challenging hikes. One can also take a scenic flight over the park or a river cruise to witness its grandeur from different perspectives.

Perched at the top end of Australia’s Northern Territory, Darwin is a captivating blend of modernity and untamed wilderness. This cosmopolitan city, strategically located on the Timor Sea offers the chance to immerse in indigenous culture and heritage. Nature lovers will be drawn to the city’s proximity to world-renowned national parks like Kakadu and Litchfield, which are brimming with diverse wildlife, stunning waterfalls, and dramatic landscapes.

For those in search of adventure, there’s an array of activities including cruising along the Mary River wetlands to spot saltwater crocodiles. And history buffs will be interested in diving into the city’s turbulent history at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.

Western Australia

25. hamelin bay stingrays.

places in australia hamelin bay

According to Mr. and Mrs. Bucketlist, there is no better place to see stingrays than in Hamelin Bay. Located in the Margaret River Region, local stingrays frequent these waters to feed off local fishermen. The stingrays are so friendly, you can snorkel with them.

Plus, Hamelin Bay is picture perfect, so it’s a beautiful place to spend some time. Read about all the wildlife encounters you can have in Western Australia here  by Mr. and Mrs. Bucketlist

26. Pinnacles

places in western australia the pinnacles

If you are into unique landscapes, a visit to the Pinnacles of Nambung National Park is in order. Located about 200km from Western Australia’s capital, Perth, the Pinnacles are another one of those fascinating places to see in Australia.

The formations range to from heights of short stumps to pillars reaching 3 metres high, the Pinnacles are ancient formations formed when the landscape was underwater.

27. Cable Beach

places to visit in australia | cable beach

Cable Beach is that place where you’ve seen all those images of camels walking in a silhouette at sunset, but probably never knew where it was. It isn’t Australia’s longest beach, but at 22km in length, it is nothing to sneeze at.

There are many tour companies that offer camel rides along the beach at sunset. Camels arrived in Australia from India in the 1800s to transport gear overland. The harsh Australian landscape proved to be a better environment for camels than horses and they helped shape the history of the continent.

28. Kimberly Region

The Kimberley region is one of Australia’s hidden treasures, located in the remote northern part of Western Australia. This vast, rugged wilderness area spans over 420,000 square kilometers, stretching from Broome in the west to Kununurra and Lake Argyle in the east, and from the Timor Sea in the north to the Great Sandy and Tanami deserts in the south.

The Kimberley is an adventurer’s dream, offering a wealth of unique and exhilarating experiences. It’s known for its breathtaking landscapes, ranging from dramatic gorges and waterfalls to ancient rock formations and lush rainforests. One of the region’s most iconic destinations is the Bungle Bungle Range in Purnululu National Park is known for its striking beehive-shaped towers. For those seeking aquatic adventures, there’s the opportunity to cruise the stunning Horizontal Falls or explore the bucolic waterways of the Ord River. The Kimberley is also steeped in indigenous history, with numerous sacred Aboriginal sites and some of the oldest rock art in the world.

29. Rottnest Island

Rottnest Island, affectionately known as “Rotto”, is a small island located just off the coast of Western Australia, about 19 kilometers west of Fremantle. It is easily accessible by a short ferry ride from Perth, the state’s capital, and serves as a popular holiday destination for locals and international tourists alike.

The island is renowned for its beautiful beaches and secluded coves, perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and surfing. With its vehicle-free policy, cycling is a popular way to explore the island’s scenic paths and trails. One of the island’s most famous residents is the quokka, a small marsupial found only in Western Australia. These adorable creatures are known for their friendly demeanor and photogenic smiles.

30. Wine Glass Bay

places to visit australia | wine glass bay

We haven’t been to Tasmania yet, but you cannot include an Australia Guide without mentioning Tasmania. We nearly went once two years ago and did a lot of research of top places to see in Tasmania. From Cradle Mountain to Hastings Caves and a chance to spy the Tasmanian Devil, it seems like the perfect off the beaten path destination.

We’ve had so many friends share their favourite places on Instagram, and the one place the stands out to us is Wine Glass Bay. We’re suckers for beautiful beaches.

31. Maria Island

things to see in australia tasmania waves cliffs

Mapping Megan wrote an article for us about Maria Island located off of Tasmania. Her photo of these Wave Rocks caught our attention.

As Megan stated in her article:

“ We also took in the phenomenal Painted Cliffs – spectacular sandstone cliffs with wonderful honeycomb patterns formed through staining by iron oxide. While this kind of rock formation is not uncommon, it is rare for it to be so exposed and accessible for tourism. A 2 and a half hour hike from the main port in Darlington, the cliffs weren’t overrun by tourism as we had expected. In fact, there were only one or two other people exploring the area when we arrived.”

And there you have it! A list of the most amazing places to visit in Australia as well as a few we have yet to explore, but have been on our list for years!

Like Canada, India, China and The United States and Russia, Australia is massive and you cannot see it all in a lifetime, but it is certainly fun to try!

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by FlightCentre , all opinions remain our own. 

  • The Best of Kangaroo Island
  • G’Day Outrageous Australian Stereotypes Debunked
  • Where to Stay in Melbourne a Guide to the Best Neighbourhoods
  • See our Full Australia Travel Guide for Travel Tips and Advice

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine , the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

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27 thoughts on “31 of the Most Iconic Places to Visit in Australia”

This engaging blog article from The Planet D showcases some of the best places to visit in Australia, providing an enticing glimpse into the country’s diverse landscapes and attractions. As an experienced traveler with a passion for exploring new destinations, I found this article to be both informative and inspiring. The authors’ firsthand experiences and stunning photography bring each location to life, offering valuable insights and practical tips for planning an unforgettable Australian adventure. From the bustling cities of Sydney and Melbourne to the remote beauty of the Outback and the pristine beaches of the Whitsunday Islands, this comprehensive guide caters to every traveler’s interests and preferences. Whether you’re seeking adrenaline-pumping adventures or tranquil escapes, this article serves as a valuable resource for planning your next trip to Australia.

Love seeing some of my favourite Western Australian locations included in this list! A day trip to Rottnest Island should be on everyone’s bucket list when visiting Perth especially.

Thank you for what you have shared with me. As an avid traveler, reading these tips will give you ideas for your upcoming trip to beautiful Australia.

Thanks for providing such a great post

Your work impress me to visit in Australia, I hope one day! Thanks a lot.

Great Country, with a big and beautiful city and yet also has this scenic view also. We have more options to go to Australia because we are of this beautiful scenery and also what you can get in the city. Thanks for sharing incredible posts that only a few know.

Wonderful word and amazing suff

I think that Australia is really a beautiful place to have your self-relaxed and just get lost in the beauty of nature. It is definitely on my bucket list.

Great cross section of the best places to see in Australia. Really relate to 7. Twelve Apostles! We drove a BMW 240i convertible (with the roof down) along the Great Ocean Road late last year. It’s a great way to experience this beautiful part of Australia.

I love this so much! I’m from Australia and always try to tell people that you’ll find the real beauty outside of the cities and these places are exactly what I mean. Cable beach is probably my favourite place on Earth and I love how you put the pinnacles in there too. This was a great read and 100% agree with everything said in it

Very iconic! Australia really one of the best country to travel because of it wonderful sites that will surely take your breath away.

Nice Narration. Australia is the best travel destination having lovely places all around. I went to Queenstown last year for the Christmas Holidays. Really Enjoyed a lot. Thanks for the nice info, I love to visit again

This is so amazing, I wish I could visit and see all of this wonderful site in Australia someday.

Yes you are right Australia is the most beautiful country here you find most amazing places

Australia – The place where Kangaroos live. These stunning pictures made me to go for this summer with my colleagues and friends. Thank you for Nice narration .

Hamelin Bay sounds like a dream. Australia tops my bucket list. Thanks for sharing

Hello, I’m Ellen Smith. I was reading this blog. This is a nice blog and Images are posted by you in this blog there’s nice. I think this is very usefull information for visit australia’s most iconic places.

The way you wrote everything that’s so good. Thanks for sharing this with us. Great information and explain everything properly about beautiful places.

I only managed to visit about 3-4 places from your list! I hope you haven’t been to all either 😉 Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef are definitely on my go-to list for next time!

This is such a detailed and exceptional list of places to visit in Australia, Dave and Deb! I hope that one day I’ll have a chance to explore each one of these places, especially Fraser Island. How many days would you recommend spending on Fraser Island?

It’s really awesome, I am planning a trip to Australia and by read your blog I have get complete knowledge of this place. I will must visit all these places

Australia located near from Indonesia but along this time, I only know Melbourne, I have not visit the places have You listed. it is amazing!

hope much sometime can visit those places.

Thank You for your information

Australia is a great place to spend holidays!! Awesome list of places in Australia. I think i need to visit all these places as all the places are looking very attractive. i can’t wait to go to this places! So stunning pictures you captured.

I like Uluru. It is very special

Thanks for sharing this post this is really very nice and amazing. I would love to explore Australia and Queenstown is my favourite place to explore. I have heard much about the Queenstown and just wanted to visit there.

hello thanks for the information and advice 🙂

23 of the best things to do in Australia

Phillip Tang

Nov 2, 2023 • 13 min read

top 5 cities to visit in australia

Experience the best of Australia with this guide to the top things to do © Dallas and John Heaton / Getty Images

An ancient land of diverse ecosystems, Australia is a nature lover’s wonderland.

From emerald rainforests and fragrant, eucalyptus-covered mountains, to golden ribbons of coastline  and woodland caves with Aboriginal art, there are countless ways to experience the beauty of this vast island nation. Even in urban settings, nature is never far away. Rainbow lorikeets squeal at sunset and crashing crystal waves will beckon you outdoors, if just to sip Aussie wine and scoff prawns. Here are the best things to do in Australia.

1. Admire the Sydney Opera House from a different angle

Inspired by yacht sails and surrounded by water, the glorious Sydney Opera House is an Australian icon. The majestic curves dominate Sydney Harbour and look impressive from every angle. Stroll right around its base – something many don’t know you can do – then take a white-knuckle climb up the  Sydney Harbour Bridge with a guide to get a view of the Opera House. For a quiet perspective, kayak at dawn as the sun kisses the surrounding waters, or picnic under Moreton Bay fig trees in the crowd-free Tarpeian Lawn in the Botanic Gardens.

Local tip: Time your visit to watch  Badu Gili  – a light show of First Nations stories by Aboriginal artists – projected onto the Opera House. It has been such a hit that in recent years it has turned into a daily free event at sunset.

2. Learn about bush food under the stars in the Red Centre 

The didgeridoo plays while the sun shimmers on the horizon and the earth’s rusty red intensifies. Then the Southern Cross and stars spill across the sky. Enjoy a tasting menu of native bush ingredients in the Northern Territory 's Red Centre alongside this remarkable backdrop.

A free diver takes an underwater photograph of a whale shark passing above

3. Be dazzled by the marine life at Ningaloo Reef

The Great Barrier Reef has a lesser-known but equally dazzling sibling in Western Australia. Ningaloo Reef is a jeweled necklace of coral reef that fringes the coast, especially near Exmouth , making it very accessible for snorkelers. Nearby, blowholes force ocean water through sea caves and up to 20m (66ft) into the air. Ningaloo Reef is a magical place for swimming alongside whale sharks (the world’s largest fish) and migrating humpback whales (be sure to always give these wild creatures a lot of space).

Planning tip:  For children and those who don't want to swim, glass-bottom boats are a comfortable option to see manta rays and turtles gliding above the coral below.

4. Eat authentic world cuisine and new Australian fusions

Nearly half of all Australians were born overseas or have at least one parent born overseas. That’s why eating at restaurants in a Little Korea, Thai Town or Greek Precinct means you get the real deal. As always, it pays to window-shop for somewhere that has mostly local diners.

Modern Australian food highlights these world flavors through European cooking techniques, and its varied climate and nutrient-rich land produces top-quality fresh ingredients. Chefs are exploring pairing indigenous flavors such as desert lime and bush banana (which resembles snow peas) with seafood, Australia’s specialty. This kind of dining is always the most exquisite with a beach, river or harbor view.

A lake backed by mountains

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

On first seeing Cradle Mountain , even Aussies might exclaim, “I didn’t know Australia could even look like this!” It’s true that the glacier-hewed crags and alpine heaths here have a touch of the Scandinavian. Cradle Mountain is all Australian though, with pristine ancient rainforests, mirrored lakes, and unique fauna isolated from the rest of the world.  Hiking newbies: head to Ronny Creek for a glimpse of wombats drinking from a creek in a buttongrass moorland. The terrain is flat, and most visitors head for Dove Lake, so you’ll have the marsupials (and shuttle bus stop) to yourself.

6. Watch baby penguins waddle 

The sun won't even be up yet, but it'll be worth it – and your heart might melt – when you witness little blue penguins waddling across the sand. Phillip Island is the most famous penguin site, but there are other islands and even secret spots in cities such as  Manly in Sydney and St Kilda in Melbourne. 

Surfer surfing at Tamarama beach

7. Learn to surf, or at least have a laugh trying

You might not ride a tube on your first lesson, but paddling and standing on a surfboard for one glorious moment before being dumped in a fizzle of white foam is an amazing feeling. Besides, getting water-confident will help you enjoy some of Australia’s nearly 12,000 beaches . When the water’s choppy, try sandboarding on dunes across the country, often in places with rich Aboriginal history, including Henty Dunes in Tasmania . 

Local tip: Want to learn more about the history of surf culture and the grassroots campaign by women surf pros to be recognized and celebrated in the sport? Check out the 2021 documentary  Girls Can't Surf . 

8. Join Sydney locals on the Bondi to Coogee walk

Hugging 6km (3.7 miles) of coast between two beaches, the clifftop walk from Bondi beach is saturated by blue skies and rolling ocean. No matter how many times you walk it, each turn is a delight: outdoor baths that glitter with crashing ocean waves; Gordon’s Bay, decorated with wooden boats; Waverley Cemetery with the most exclusive resting place in Australia; McIver’s Ladies Seawater Baths hewn from rock; and lounging locals at Tamarama, Clovelly, and Bronte beaches, each with their own personality . 

Local tip: Stop at the Clovelly Bowling Green for a beer and a barefoot game of lawn bowls overlooking the ocean – you just need to sign in as a guest. The walk gets steep after this, so it may be tempting to stay and linger.

Man overlooks Rock pool at the Barramundi falls, Kakadu National Park, one of the crocodile-free lakes in this area

9. Feel ancient Australia in Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory

Kakadu is the perfect kind of middle of nowhere. It’s the wild Australia that you might have already daydreamed about. Waterfalls bloom from rock, prehistoric crocodiles thrash the wetlands, lorikeets sing, and Aboriginal guides bring ancient rock art to life. As you trek between gorges and woodlands or hike for views over endless treetops, your worries seem far away. 

Planning tip: Helicopter or fixed-wing scenic flights are a wonderful way to get a sense of the sheer scale and beauty of Kakadu. Note that flights are only available over Jim Jim Falls in the wet season (November to April). Traditional owners request that the skies are rested in the dry season (May to October).

10. Celebrate Pride at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade 

It might have started off as a protest, but today, over 40 years later, Australia’s largest LGBTIQ+ Pride parties all night. What makes the parade the highlight is the 200 flamboyant floats. The vehicles are decorated 12 months ahead, and dancers practice weekly to sashay for that one night. Grab a stool or milk crate to watch from the sidelines and prepare to shout “Happy Mardi Gras!” to strangers. But the nightlife excels  all year round in Sydney , with cozy, queer-friendly pubs including the Bearded Tit . 

A hiker walks a path around a vast red rock in a sparse landscape

11. Explore Uluru with an Aboriginal guide

Uluru has been a sacred site to the Anangu, the area’s Aboriginal people, for 10,000 years. It’s definitely worth engaging an Anangu guide for the Kuniya walk to the Mutitjulu Waterhole at the base of Uluru to hear ancient stories, decipher rock art, and appreciate the significance of Uluru’s towering slopes.

Planning tip: Go at dawn to beat the heat, then go back at night to see the desert illuminated by 50,000 lights in the Field of Light show.

12. Spot native wildlife on Kangaroo Island, South Australia

Kangaroo Island is a montage of Australian nature on show. In one day, you can glimpse koalas snoozing in eucalyptus trees, echidnas waddling, and kangaroos and wallabies sunbathing. In between, walk under the towering stone fossils of Remarkable Rocks and dip your toes in the clear blue waters of a parade of beaches you'll have all to yourself (except those guarded by sea lions).

MELAustralian Rules Football player Brad Ottens (number 6) stretched for a ruck contest during Geelong's preliminary final win over West Coast on September 24, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia.

13. Cheer on Aussie sports from the Dunny Derby to AFL

Sport is everywhere in Australia, from international matches to the local Dunny Derby (yes, it’s a toilet race). Even if you aren’t a sports nut, seeing a big match taps you into the Australian psyche at its most excitable. Women’s sport is finally getting the attention it deserves in Australia and there’s a good turnout for women’s cricket and Australian Football League (AFL) games these days. Sydney will host the 2027 Netball World Cup, and netball might make it into the Brisbane 2032 Olympics lineup.

Planning tip:  Plan ahead for tickets to see the Australian Open tennis in Melbourne or the World Surfing Championships on the Gold Coast . 

14. Get naked at a nudist beach

Aussies aren’t that fussed about nudity or what adults do in their own time. Feel the sun bathe every inch of your body at one of Australia’s community-minded nudist beaches . Don’t forget sunscreen; the rays are mighty here and burnt bits aren’t fun.

A koala, a small grey-brown bear-like creature, resting in trees

15. Spot a koala 

Who doesn’t love a cuddly koala? Just look at their high-on-eucalyptus faces! Fortunately, cuddling koalas is no longer encouraged in most states, even in controlled environments like wildlife parks. Instead, you can spot one high up in the street trees of rural towns around Australia’s southeast coast. As well as admiring the wildlife , look out for opportunities to learn about Australian bush conservation and how people can help wildlife recover after bushfires.

16. Cycle Victoria’s High Country on dedicated rail trails

Thank lockdowns for the cycling rebirth in Australia. The Victorian High Country has rewarding views at every turn. Ribbons of roads and disused railway lines (now reinvented as cycling rail trails) roll out alongside olive groves, tree ferns, and wineries between alpine valleys and lake swims. There are long stretches of flats for families and casual riders, and mountain trails right into the bush for the adrenaline-chasing cyclist.

Detour: The Victorian High Country boomed with gold in the 1850s, and there are traces of this wealth – and the Chinese miners who sought it – in the towns along the way. Eldorado has a gold museum, while Yackandandah has both quaint tinned-roofed buildings and a historic cemetery dedicated to Chinese gold miners.

A Macanese sailing ship features in the Aboriginal rock art in Arnhem Land Art, Australia

17. Admire Aboriginal rock art

Art has been essential to cultural life through 65,000 years of Aboriginal Australian history. Seeing Aboriginal art is a captivating launchpad to conversations about Australia today for its First Nations people. Learn more about the significance of rock art at the Northern Territory's Arnhem Land and the Quinkan rock galleries in Queensland; the emergence of dot paintings on canvas in the 1970s in the Northern Territory; or the storytelling of contemporary works displayed at city museums, such as the Yolngu women’s bark paintings.

18. Drink in Australia's varied wine regions

Australia is blessed with clean water and rich soil to produce some top wines. Winery hopping lets you feel the sun and country air that fed the grapes while you taste test. Try old vine Shiraz in the Barossa Valley (South Australia) or a cabernet sauvignon from the Margaret River region (Western Australia), chased down with chardonnay in the Hunter Valley (New South Wales) and finishing with a pinot noir in the Yarra Valley (Victoria) or a sweet Riesling in Tasmania. You’ll need a few weeks to do it all, and every one of these wine regions is worth visiting for more than just its grapes.

Local tip: Include a gourmet farm-to-table lunch right in the vineyards, with produce freshly plucked from the garden. If you’re booze-free, try some non-alcoholic wine, which is becoming easy to find in Australia.

Aerial view of Australia, Whitsunday Islands, Great Barrier reef

19. Enjoy the Great Barrier Reef sustainably

The Great Barrier Reef is a masterpiece of thousands of smaller reefs, coral, and islands. It’s a world must-see, not just for Australia. There’s no way to recommend a free-for-all visit; climate change has caused mass coral bleaching, and tourism can be damaging. Yet there are still ways to visit in a sustainable way, as well to contribute to its conservation, such as by participating in a citizen science or reef restoration program facilitated by local tour operators. Don't forget to wear reef-safe sunscreen. 

There is so much to see: turquoise waters resplendent with sea turtles floating above you and a kaleidoscope of coral beneath you; manta rays, dugongs, and a treasure trove of fish so diverse that there are species yet to be discovered. It’s enough to turn you into an advocate for marine conservation.

20. Try Aussie snacks

Australian food is world food, but there are some must-try Aussie staples that locals still adore. You might wince, but at least sample some yeasty, salty Vegemite spread thinly on toast. A smoother brunch is smashed avocado toast, an Australian invention; or a Thai curry pie, a spin on a classic Australian meat pie; and a sausage sizzle, the Aussie barbecue version of a hot dog.

You’re most likely to bring home Tim Tams, the chocolate-covered biscuits that Aussies longingly sob for when overseas. Australia’s greatest export to the coffee world is the flat white, which is most famously fine-tuned in Melbourne.

Night time view of the very hip Degraves Street in Melbourne

21. Stay out all night in Melbourne

In central Melbourne , the street-art-decorated laneways hide a society of wonderfully grungy cocktail bars and clubs. The famously moody weather of the city makes Melbourne an excellent place to go out while being entertained indoors. For interesting drinking, live music, historic theatres, and the Melbourne International Comedy and Film Festivals, the city dominates the country’s nightlife calendar.

Planning tip: If you're traveling with children and want a night out with the kids, check out the Victoria Market Night Market . There's one in summer and one in winter with street food stalls, buskers, live music, and local maker markets. Alternatively, many summer sporting events that run into the dark hours, like Friday night football, are also pretty child friendly.

22. Learn about Australia’s migration story

Australia is a vibrant nation of migrants. The Immigration Museum in Melbourne and the Migration Museum in Adelaide bring out the colorful threads of this timeline through memorabilia, voices, artifacts, and photos. They celebrate the positive elements in this story and are worth a visit for a deeper understanding of multicultural Australia.

23. Get used to sharing Australia with crocs, spiders and sharks

It’s true, Australia has some top-of-the-food-chain creatures. You have to go out of your way to bump into them, though. Wildlife parks are a (safe) way for kids – and adults – to get their thrills being splashed by a jumping crocodile, wincing at a funnel-web spider or black snake being milked of venom, and spotting the deadly spurs on a platypus. An even mightier heart thumper is cage diving at eye and teeth level with a great white shark.

Local tip: Obviously, you don't want to get cozy with deadly Australian animals. Always ask locals for advice on where it is safe to swim or walk, and heed warning signs before heading out. 

This article was first published Aug 20, 2021 and updated Nov 2, 2023.

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6 of the best Australian cities to visit and when to go

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The great, southern land of Australia has long seduced tourists from all over the world, conjuring dreams of sun-drenched cities and long golden coastlines. The mere mention of Oz can spark envy for many, especially those living in places with less-than-pleasant weather.

This vast country has a wealth of fantastic places to visit, with a geographical, cultural and historical variety befitting its enormous size. Sydney and its world-famous landmarks remain the postcard image of the country, but cities like Melbourne are gaining ground with a slew of cultural offerings, picture-perfect beaches and characterful neighbourhoods.

Slightly less common with visitors looking for a city break are Cairns, Adelaide and Perth, though they continue to welcome more and more tourists, who come to experience verdant wine country, sporting events and cultural festivals, along with the wonders of Australia’s nature, from the enormous Outback to the striking Great Barrier Reef.

If you’re planning a trip to this part of the Southern Hemisphere, we’ve got you covered. Here is a list of the best cities to visit Down Under, and the best time of year to travel to them.

Sydney is home to more than 100 beaches

Sydney typifies the laid-back nature of Australia, from the busy sands of Bondi Beach to the serene waters of the harbour. These locations, together with the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, are what many outside of Australia will picture when they think of the country, and a ferry tour around the area is a great way to see as much as possible (one of the more popular routes is from Circular Quay to Manly).

The city’s main neighbourhoods, including popular spots like Surrey Hills, the Rocks, Woolloomooloo and Newtown, also carry that easy-going, friendly Aussie energy as well as various attractions worth a visit, such as the Art Gallery of NSW, the Royal Botanic Garden and the Australian Museum. For a spot of quieter relaxation, leave Bondi behind and check out the beaches of Manly, Bronte or Balmoral.

When to visit

Sydney’s high season falls between December and February, combining warm beach days with sporting events and plenty of celebrations (including Christmas and New Year’s Eve). March to May is the city’s autumn period, where temperatures remain high but manageable enough to explore in comfort – think average highs between 23C and 26C. There are plenty of important occasions that would may want to coincide your visit with, such as Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

Read more on Australia travel :

  • The best Australia holidays to do in your lifetime
  • Why you should book a holiday to Ningaloo, Australia’s ‘other reef’
  • The best deals for a luxury Australia holiday in 2024

Melbourne became the largest city in the country in April 2023, after its borders were re-drawn

Often referred to as the country’s capital of culture, Melbourne is a place where you can find highlights around every corner, from street art to hipster restaurants worth queuing for. There’s an abundance ways to fill your time during a city break, from wandering the magnificent National Gallery to catching some tennis at the Australian Open.

Heavily influenced by Europe, today Melbourne is a city whose multicultural nature is visibly reflected in its architecture, from the skyscrapers of the Central Business District to historic structures like Flinders Street Station and a slew of Victorian buildings. Its streets hide a plethora of nightlife spots, and it has a beachside hang-out in the shape of St Kilda.

Summer in Melbourne begins around the same time as in Sydney, making January and February the warmest months – temperatures can easily exceed 30C, though average highs are around 27C. For something more manageable, visit in the summer shoulder season, in March or April, to experience balmy temperatures and less crowds (as well as a slew of events, like the Melbourne Grand Prix and the International Comedy Festival).

Cairns is the main access point for reaching the Great Barrier Reef

The main gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and the beaches of Far North Queensland, Cairns is a city that continues to grow in popularity as tourists seek out its tropical weather and unforgettable natural sites.

Top attractions include the Botanic Gardens, Esplanade and Boardwalk, with lovely suburban areas including Port Douglas, Palm Cove and Atherton Tablelands. Nevertheless, the Barrier Reef is the undeniable star of the area, with dozens of tours available for snorkelling and scuba diving across coral gardens with turtles and a host of tropical fish.

While the reef steals the headlines, Cairns and the surrounding area are home to other natural landmarks such as the Wet Tropics rainforest or Cape Tribulation, where trees give way meets coral reefs. There are plenty of great beaches, too, including Trinity, Ellis, Clifton and the Thala Beach Nature Reserve – there’s a reason why the city has labelled itself the “Jewel of the North”.

For those wanting to explore the Great Barrier Reef, avoid visiting between October and May if you want to stay out of stinger season (though companies provide you with necessary equipment if you do want to dive during these months). Winter is the best time to come; June to August is in the middle of dry season and still offers highs around 26C. Peak season runs from around May until late September.

Adelaide is a Unesco City of Music

Originally occupied by the Kaurna people, Adelaide has a colourful history that remains little-known by visitors who choose Sydney or Melbourne. Spread out along the banks of the Torrens River, this picturesque, easy-going hub is smaller but still contains a wealth of things to do, as well as acting as the gateway to the wine regions of Barrossa Valley and, further north, Uluru (Ayers Rock).

The city streets are characterised by their Victorian architecture and stone buildings, with heritage buildings and botanic gardens around North Terrace that are particularly charming. Cafe culture and al fresco dining is best sampled in Gouger Street, Moonta Street or Rundle Street, and cultural highlights include the South Australian Museum and the Adelaide Fringe Festival, the second largest in the world after Edinburgh’s. For a foray into nature, visit the Morialta Conservation Park, or swim with dolphins in the suburb of Glenelg.

Like much of the rest of the country, Adelaide welcomes its warmest weather in January and February, with average temperatures sitting at a pleasant 24C. Unlike some other cities, summer highs aren’t sweltering, and a range of events – from the Adelaide Fringe to international cricket – can be enjoyed alongside days on the beach.

Brisbane’s population is 2.5 million, around half that of Melbourne and Sydney

Brisbane is a popular destination year-round, with perhaps the best weather at all times in the country, and a place where the golden sand of the inner-city beaches sit in front of towering skyscrapers. The Brisbane River snakes across the city on its way to the coast, its banks home to the surprisingly large central business district, the buildings of which have come to define the city skyline.

The river separates the city into a series of neighbourhoods, such as the family-friendly South Bank, the trendy New Farm or Fortitude Valley, home to the best nightlife. Brisbane is home to the Queensland Cultural Centre and the Queensland Art Gallery, and will presumably receive plenty of attention as it gears up to host the Olympics in 2032.

For some nature lovers, kayaking along the river or relaxing on Streets Beach may suffice, though for those who want to venture out of the city there are options to explore Mooreton Bay, Mount Coot-Tha or the Glasshouse Mountains.

Sub-tropical Brisbane rarely enters single-digit temperatures even in its winter. This does mean that temperatures in summer can be sweltering – sometimes rising into the 40s – so high season here is actually in the autumn and winter, between May and September. Daytime temperatures will peak around 26C, but evenings are cooler at around 12C. This period is also when the majority of the city’s main festivals and events are held.

Perth is almost 2,700km away from the nearest major city, Adelaide

Perth is one of the most isolated cities on Earth, and it doesn’t attract the same number of visitors as Sydney or Melbourne. This, combined with a smaller population, means a city far less crowded than others in Australia, giving it a pleasant air of calm.

The city’s location on the edge of the Indian Ocean blesses it with a host of beautiful beaches, with sweeping stretches of untouched gold sands at Cottesloe, Swanbourne and Mettams Pool. For nature in the city, the Blackwall Reach Reserve, on the Swan River, is home to wild dolphins, and the 1,000-acre Kings Park is the best place to walk, picnic or enjoy sunset views over the city.

Popular areas for exploring, dining and discovering the arts include the recently renovated Cathedral Square, Elizabeth Quay and the cross-river port city of Fremantle. Cultural and historical highlights include the Perth Mint, the Art Gallery of Western Australia and Fremantle Prison, while wine tourism is also popular due to the city’s location between the Swan Valley and Margaret River vineyards.

Summer in Perth is very warm, with average highs around 30C, and plenty of people – Aussies and international visitors alike – head west in January and February. This is the best time for going to the beach, whether surfing, snorkelling or lounging, and for attending cultural events, but with the small possibility of days in the 40s, some may prefer to visit in the spring shoulder season of September to November.

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Big Australia Bucket List

Absolutely EVERYTHING to see, do and experience in Australia

25 BEST Places To Visit in Australia (by an Aussie!)

As one of the largest countries in the world, Australia is a fascinating destination to explore. With its unique and varied landscape of tropical rainforests and arid desserts, cultural cities, and top attractions, it is easy to see why almost 10 million tourists visit Australia each year. (You know we wrote a bumper guide to the Top 100 Epic Australian Experiences for Your Aussie Bucket List , right?!) However, if you’re in the process of planning your first trip down under you may want narrow that list down a bit! So we present to you the Best 25 Places to Visit in Australia . It really is a fantastic place to start.

Best Places to Visit in Australia header image with two kangaroos on a beach with a small child running towards them from the ocean behind

25 Best Places to Visit in Australia

These places are not in any particular order – there are so many incredible places to visit in Australia, each one is beautiful, unique and worthy of your visit – and I couldn’t possibly rank them in any possible way (cop out, I know!); But here goes!

Table of Contents

  • 1.1 Australia’s Capital Cities
  • 1.2.1 Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park
  • 1.2.2 Freycinet National Park
  • 1.2.3 Grampians National Park
  • 1.2.4 Kakadu National Park
  • 1.2.5 Blue Mountains National park
  • 1.2.6 Karijini National Park
  • 1.3.1 Fraser Island
  • 1.3.2 Whitsunday Islands
  • 1.3.3 Christmas island
  • 1.3.4 Kangaroo Island
  • 1.3.5 Rottnest Island
  • 1.3.6 Phillip Island
  • 1.4 Wine Regions
  • 1.5.1 Great Ocean Road
  • 1.5.2 The Kimberley
  • 1.5.3 Cable Beach, Broome
  • 1.5.4 Byron Bay
  • 1.5.5 Darwin
  • 1.5.6 Port Douglas
  • 1.5.7 Great Barrier Reef
  • 1.5.8 Daintree Rainforest
  • 1.5.9 Ningaloo Reef
  • 1.5.10 Esperance Bay
  • 1.5.11 Gold Coast

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Australia’s Capital Cities

Spread out across this vast country, Australia boasts not one but eight capitals within each region, of which Canberra situated in the Australian Capital Territory is the national capital, a city known for its cultural treasures and vibrant annual festivals. However, it is the neighbouring city of Sydney that is the largest capital in the country home to the famous Syndey Opera House and The Harbour Bridge. Australia’s other must-see capital cities Melbourne , Hobart , Adelaide , Perth , Darwin and Brisbane are all wonderfully unique packed with exceptional dining experiences, historic attractions and non-stop shopping opportunities.

The National Parks

It is no surprise that Australia has over 500 national parks, each famous for their own unique characteristics, making them the ideal destinations for those wanting to escape the bright lights of the city.

Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park

Aerial shot of Uluru - Ayers Rock surrounded by red earth - one of the best places to visit in Australia

Freycinet National Park

Wineglass Bay in Freycinet National Park

Grampians National Park

Woman sitting on a rock looking out over Grampians National Park

Kakadu National Park

Kakadu National Park

Blue Mountains National park

Three Sisters natural rock formation in the Blue Mountains

Karijini National Park

Waterhole with people swimming surrounded by red rock walls in Karijini National Park

Incredible Islands

It’s not just mainland Australia you need to explore during your trip, dotted all the way around the coastline are plenty of secluded islands.

Fraser Island

Shipwreck on the beach on Fraser Island

Whitsunday Islands

Clear blue waters and white sands of the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland

Christmas island

Christmas Island Red Crab taking a Dip (c) MakeTimeToSeeTheWorld

Find our more about Christmas Island including How to Plan a Trip to Christmas Island (+ Essential Travel Tips) & What The Island looks like during the annual red crab migration .

Kangaroo Island

Rocky outcrop with a wooden boardwalk winding through green scrub to get to it with the ocean in the background

Rottnest Island

Quokka stood on his back legs looking inquisitively directly at the camera

Phillip Island

One of the most popular day trips from Melbourne , visitors will enjoy the penguin parade, whilst watching the spectacular sunsets this island is famed for.

Wine Regions

Looking between two rows of vines with a dirt track between them underneath a blue sky

Australia’s Best-loved attractions

There are plenty to choose from but here is just a selection of Australia’s much loved iconic attractions.

Great Ocean Road

12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road

The Kimberley

Sunset over the water surrounded by green trees in the Kimberley Austrlia

Cable Beach, Broome

Camels sitting on the beach in front of the ocean on Cable Beach, WA

Port Douglas

Aerial shot of Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas

Great Barrier Reef

Coral and fish underwater at the Great Barrier Reef Queensland

Daintree Rainforest

Treetop view above the Daintree Rainforest

Ningaloo Reef

Whale shark swimming away at Ningaloo Reef

Esperance Bay

Esperance Bay, WA

With 25 amazing destinations to add to your Australian bucket list, we know your trip is going to be seriously amazing! Are any of the Australian tourist attractions mentioned in our guide your number one place to visit in Australia? Tell us and our readers why in the comments below.

And if you know of anyone planning their dream trip to Australia be sure to share our guide to the 25 BEST Places to Visit in Australia to give them a little travel inspiration. This Australia travel guide post can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard and you can even pin the image below!

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READY MORE TRAVEL INSPIRATION? YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN THESE RECENT POSTS, TRAVEL ARTICLES, DESTINATION GUIDES, TRAVELER RESOURCES, TRAVEL GEAR GUIDES AND RELATED POSTS ABOUT OTHER AMAZING PLACES AROUND AUSTRALIA:

  • South Australia: South Australian Bucket List, Adelaide Travel Guide (Perfect for First Time Visitors)
  • Australian Capital Territory: Top Things to do in the ACT
  • New South Wales: Top Things to do in Sydney(inc. The Sydney Opera House), Best Places to visit in NSW
  • Northern Territory: Best Things to do in Darwin
  • Victoria: The Ultimate Victoria Bucketlist, Melbourne Travel Guide (Perfect for First Timers)
  • General Australia Inspiration: 25 Best Places to Visit in Australia
  • Queensland News & Events: Things to do on the Gold Coast

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top 5 cities to visit in australia

Top 10 Cities to Visit in Australia

top 5 cities to visit in australia

Once international travel is back on the cards for Australia, you can finally make a start on your long-overdue trip to this unmissable destination. The Australia visa application is easy to complete , so there’ll be no delays once you get planning. Also, there is the Australian ETA available for select travelers.

As the largest country in Oceania , Australia has everything you could possibly want. Whether you’re after sprawling golden-sand beaches, the buzz of thrilling metropolises, or vast landscapes, the cities here have got you covered.

It’s impossible to explore the entire country in one trip, so we’ve put together our top 10 must-see cities to make sure you don’t miss out. There’s a city for every type of traveler, so choose your favorites and jump straight in!

1. Sydney: Chilled Beaches in a Thrilling Metropolis

It goes without saying that no trip to Australia is complete without experiencing New South Wales’ infamous capital city. Explore Sydney’s dreamy surf beaches, scenic harbor, and endless list of impressive entertainment spots.

Whatever your chosen itinerary , it simply must include a visit to some of Sydney’s most well-known sights: the Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge.   

2. Melbourne: A Culture and Sports Hit

Known as the home of Australian cricket, Melbourne is the second-largest city in the country and is another must-see city for any trip down under.

It’s more cosmopolitan than other Australian cities due to its international inhabitants, and its architecture has a very European feel about it.

Get lost in its diverse and unique neighborhoods , exploring the city’s rich culture and never-ending sights. Be sure not to miss famous landmarks such as Parliament House, Federation Square, City Museum, and Docklands, before stopping off for some gourmet treats at Queen Victoria Market.

3. Perth – Buzzing City Life Nestled in Nature

Sitting right in the middle of Western Australia’s vast nature, Perth is an up-and-coming metropolis that appeals to both city dwellers and nature lovers.

Stroll along its pristine white sand beaches, indulge in its many wineries, and wander through its historic streets and urban villages. Must-sees include Kings Park, Cottesloe Beach, the Art Gallery of Western Australia, and the historic seaside Port of Fremantle.

4. Brisbane – Idyllic for Water Lovers

The Brisbane River that curls its way through the urban landscape makes this one of Australia’s most unique cities.

Take an electric picnic boat out on the river, cuddle a koala at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, and eat your way through the stalls at Eat Street Market.

The city’s coastline is also dotted with idyllic islands, so once you’ve had your city fix you can take a break with some island hopping . 

5. Gold Coast – Golden Beaches Galore

South of Brisbane you’ve got the Gold Coast, which you’re sure to have heard of. Here you’ve got it all – golden sandy beaches, dense rainforests, and a bustling cultural scene.

If sun, sea, and surf is what you’re craving, here you’ve got it in excess with a host of beaches to choose from – Main Beach, Surfers Paradise, Miami Beach, and Kurrawa Beach. You simply can’t visit Australia without a visit to the Gold Coast .

6. Cairns – A Trip to Nature’s Wonders

Cairns is Australia’s main gateway to explore one of the world’s greatest natural wonders: The Great Barrier Reef.

It’s the world’s largest coral reef system and is so big that it can even be seen from outer space! Swim, dive, snorkel, or sail your way through this ecological marvel. You can bask in even more spectacular nature at the Cairns Botanical Gardens and take a trip on the Kuranda Scenic Railway.

7. Hobart – Sydney’s Rival Steeped in History

Tasmania’s capital city is Australia’s second-largest city after Sydney. It’s also the second-oldest, so it’s full of rich heritage and captivating history to uncover.

Nestled at the entrance to the Derwent River and within the foothills of the mountains, it’s a city of extraordinary beauty.

Be sure to stroll down Hobart’s renowned waterfront, and if you love a challenge, climb up the 4,265-feet-high summit of Mount Wellin g ton for unparalleled views of the city.

8. Adelaide – Take a Break in the Lush Wine Lands

If you’re in a need of a break from the huge metropolises of Sydney and Melbourne, Adelaide gives you small-town coastal vibes to decompress from your city breaks.

Set in stunning green lands, Adelaide is well known for its premium wine regions – perfect for any wine enthusiast.

Take a trip to Kangaroo Island, one of South Australia’s most adored attractions, to see rare and endangered animals roaming around freely in the wild.

9. Darwin – A Tropical Wonder 

This tropical capital city is full of diversity and is the most culturally diverse city in the whole of Australia.

Explore the incredible national parks, Kakadu and Litchfield, which are a short distance from the city, then come back in time to bask in its infamous sunsets. Darwin even boasts a harbor that’s five times the size of Sydney’s!

10. Canberra – Take a Trip Back in Time

If you’re a history buff, then Canberra is the city for you, with a host of heritage buildings, grand government institutions, and captivating galleries and museums.

If you want to get some nature in too, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is only a 40-minute drive away from Canberra and is full of impressive wildlife.

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top 5 cities to visit in australia

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25 Amazing Things to Do in Australia (2024 Edition)

Picture of Gabby Boucher

  • Last Updated: April 29, 2024

If you’re planning a trip Down Under you’re going to want to put as many of these things to do in Australia as you can fit on your bucket list!

Australia’s landscape encompasses everything from hot, dry desert, to white-sand beaches; from snowy mountains to tropical rainforest; from rolling green hills to vineyards and more. 

Because the country is so physically diverse, you can have lots of different adventures during your time in Australia. 

And as there are so many unique things to see and do in Australia, it can be overwhelming to try and plan your trip. 

Even if you have no idea where to start, the good thing about Australia is you can’t go wrong! Culture and natural beauty thrive in all corners of the country. 

This list includes some of the best things to do in Australia, so have a read through and maybe plan your trip around the activities that sound the most appealing. 

12 Apostles Things To Do In Australia

Table of Contents

1) Snorkel or Dive the Great Barrier Reef

2) watch the sunrise or sunset at uluru, 3) road trip along the great ocean road , 4) visit wineglass bay , 5) search for pearls in the sea , 6) museum-hop in brisbane, 7) explore kakadu national park, 8) see a pink lake , 9) swim with whale sharks in exmouth, 10) go off the grid in the daintree rainforest, 11) shop at victoria market in melbourne, 12) hike in the blue mountains national park, 13) take a vineyard tour, 14) climb mount kosciuszko, 15) play with quokkas on rottnest island , 16) sail around the whitsunday islands, 17) go skydiving , 18) whale watch in hervey bay, 19) go sand boarding, 20) marvel at the iconic sydney opera house, 21) hike the larapinta trail, 22) visit kangaroo island, 23) learn to surf, 24) visit byron bay, 25) take the train across the country, the best things to do in australia.

Australia’s wide variety of attractions supply adventures for every type of person. 

Sport-enthusiasts and active travellers can go surfing, hiking, snorkelling, scuba diving, or even jumping out of a plane. 

City lovers can visit museums, markets, cafes, and monuments in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth or Brisbane. 

Adventure lovers looking to get off-the-beaten-path can visit the remote Daintree Rainforest and Great Barrier Reef or tour the Outback. 

Those who just want a relaxing vacation can enjoy wine-tastings at world-class vineyards and sail through the picturesque islands of Queensland. 

So for anyone wondering what to do when visiting Australia, here are a few of the country’s top activities. 

READ MORE: Plan your trip to Australia with our comprehensive travel guide !

The Great Barrier Reef is arguably the most famous of all the Australia attractions. 

It is the largest coral reef system on the planet, reaching along almost the entire length of the Queensland coastline in northeast Australia. 

In recent years, more attention has been drawn to the degradation of the reef due to things like climate change, pollution and other problems created by humans. 

But because Great Barrier Reef is so huge, parts of it are still beautiful and you can still find all the exotic fish, colourful coral and other marine life that you’ve dreamed of. 

Just be sure to book your tour with an eco-friendly company that promotes preservation and respect for the Great Barrier Reef. 

Most people visit the reef from Cairns , but Port Douglas and Cape Tribulation are two other great places to base yourself for a Great Barrier Reef trip. 

Depending on your preference, experience, and skill level, you can book either a snorkelling or scuba diving tour . Either would be unforgettable. 

Uluru, also called Ayer’s Rock, is the world’s largest monolith, meaning it is the biggest chunk of stone known to man. 

Located near the town of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, Uluru is basically in the middle of the Outback and it is no walk in the park to reach. 

But for anyone travelling across the Northern Territory, Uluru is an amazing stop to fit into your Australia travel itinerary. 

The massive red sandstone rock looks dreamy in the glow of sunrise or sunset, and the fact that it is sacred to indigenous Australians gives it an extra sense of mystery and magic. 

See what else made the cut on our ultimate list of things to do in Uluru .

Uluru Sunset

Another one of the best things to do in Australia is to head down to Victoria’s south coast and road trip along the Great Ocean Road . 

Whether you have your own car, or you’ve rented one from Melbourne , driving yourself along the Great Ocean Road gives you more freedom and flexibility than a guided tour (though tours are also available for those who want one!). 

This strip of the Australian coastline is rugged and weathered, yet absolutely beautiful. 

Years of erosion have created unique rock formations and caves in the cliffs next to the sea, with the Twelve Apostles being the most famous one. 

In addition to the ocean scenery, the Great Ocean Road is full of charming towns, national parks, campsites, and Port Campbell National Park.

This is also one of the best places in Australia to see a koala in the wild, as many inhabit the Eucalyptus trees down here. 

Tasmania is one of those places that some people may think is fictional, like Transylvania or Madagascar. 

But Tasmania is real. It is that little island off the southeast coast of the Australian mainland, and it is known for its diverse landscape and wild natural beauty. 

Wineglass Bay is one of the most scenic spots on the island. 

The bright white sand of the coastline makes the shape of a wine glass, and the sapphire sea appears to be the wine that fills the glass. 

Mountains tower around the bay, making it an incredible hiking spot and photo opportunity. Definitely do the Wineglass Bay Walk while you’re here, located in Freycinet National Park.

Or if you’re feeling extra adventurous, the Mt Amos Hike at sunrise is next level!

Wineglass Bay Tasmania

Broome is a beautiful beach town in Western Australia, located on a peninsula that juts out into the Indian Ocean. 

Set in the northern Kimberly region of the state, Broome is quite remote and therefore not many tourists venture out there. 

But those who do make the journey will get to enjoy uncrowded beaches and vibrant sunsets over the ocean. 

A highlight of Broome is the Willie Creek Pearl Farm , where you can learn about the pearling industry during a boat trip out to sea. Another highlight is riding camels across Cable Beach, a 22km long stretch of stunning white sand.

Brisbane is one of Australia’s oldest cities, making it an essential stop during an Australian sightseeing tour for history-lovers. 

There are so many different museums, galleries, and exhibitions around the city. So even if museums aren’t normally your thing, you just might find something that intrigues you. 

On the South Bank lies the Queensland Science Centre and Museum , and in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens , you can find the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium . These are great options for science lovers. 

Those interested in art can head to the GOMA, the Gallery of Modern Art . 

Other art museums in Brisbane include the Queensland Art Gallery and the QUT Art Museums . 

The UQ Anthropology Museum, Queensland Maritime Museum, The Workshops Rail Museum, and the Museum of Brisbane to name a few, are also great options to learn and entertain yourself in the city. 

Brisbane Skyline

One of the most incredible sights in the Northern Territory is Kakadu National Park. 

This massive nature reserve is one of the best Australia attractions and it is full of gorgeous sights and fun activities. 

You can go swimming in waterfalls, hiking through the bush, bird-watching in the wetlands, or canoeing along the rivers in this Northern Territory national park. 

There are massive canyons, deep gorges, walking trails, Aboriginal ancient rock art, cultural centres, and more within this national park. 

Kakadu National Park is Australia’s largest national park, and it is located only three hours away from Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory. 

READ MORE: Make the most of your time Down Under with our comprehensive guide to 1, 2 and 3 week Australian itineraries !

One of the most fascinating Australia attractions is the Pink Lake, also known as Lake Hillier . 

The name is 100% accurate. Lake Hillier is home to some unique forms of bacteria and algae that secrete red pigments which make the saltwater appear bright pink. 

Lake Hillier is located on a small island in the Esperance Region of Western Australia. 

This lake is the most famous and the most photographed. But Australia has a few other pink lakes that aren’t as well known, such as Lake Kenyon, Lake Crosbie and Lake Becking in Victoria. 

All the lakes are located in quite remote areas, but if you’re planning a cross country road trip in Western Australia, try to fit them into your route!

READ MORE: Check out these great adventure activities in Australia !

One of the most mind-blowing things to do in Western Australia is swimming with whale sharks!

The best way to accomplish this is to head to the town of Exmouth in Western Australia and then book a guided tour with locals out to Ningaloo Reef. 

Whale sharks are massive but completely harmless, and between March and August every year, they congregate near Ningaloo Reef to feed. 

So if you book a tour here during that time you are pretty much guaranteed to swim with these gentle giants!

While you’re in the area check out all these other epic things to do in Exmouth .

For nature and adventure lovers wondering what to see in Australia, the Daintree Rainforest has to be at the top of your list. 

This dense jungle is roughly 180 million years old , making it the oldest tropical rainforest on the planet. 

Here you can find trees the size of skyscrapers, palm forests, mangroves, and an abundance of unique wildlife. 

One of the strangest and most fascinating creatures in the Daintree Rainforest is the cassowary, a giant, ostrich-like bird with vibrant colours on its neck and a huge horn on its head. You won’t believe they’re real until you see one!

The best way to reach the Daintree Rainforest is to fly into Cairns and then take the local bus up to Cape Tribulation. 

The rainforest is very remote and it is recommended you have a 4WD if you are driving yourself. 

Cell phone reception is extremely limited as well, so use this time to switch off and immerse yourself in the jungle. 

Daintree Rainforest

Melbourne is a massive metropolis packed with culture, entertainment and cuisine.

Though there are tons of fun things to do in the city, one of the best ones is to visit the Victoria Market.  

If you only have a short time in Melbourne, this is the place to go.

This sprawling indoor and outdoor market hall is filled with local crafts, tacky souvenirs, fresh produce, delicious hot meals, graffiti art, street performers and much more. 

There is a lot of cheap, amazing food and cool handicrafts all packed together in one area, so this is the perfect introduction to Melbourne.

Head to one of the nearby cafes afterwards and order a trendy coffee to really dive in to the Melbourne lifestyle.

Located just west of Sydney is a gorgeous mountain range known as the Blue Mountains . 

Here you can find towering forests of gum trees, rivers, waterfalls, canyons, and immense valleys that look like they have never been infiltrated by a human. 

If you’re yearning to immerse yourself in nature without venturing too far from civilization, the Blue Mountains National Park is ideal. 

It only takes about an hour by local train to travel as a day trip from Sydney to Katoomba, one of the main towns in the Blue Mountains National Park. 

From here you can go on hikes, visit waterfalls, or camp in the wilderness. 

Dare-devils can also try more extreme activities like waterfall rappelling or rock-climbing. 

Australia’s wine doesn’t get as much attention as the wine of other countries like France, Italy, South Africa, Argentina, or even its neighbour, New Zealand. 

But Australia’s wine is becoming even more well-known around the world, and for good reason!

The landscape of Australia is so rich and diverse that it is able to grow delicious grapes of many different varieties and turn them into amazing wine. 

As a traveller, taking a vineyard tour and tasting the local wine is a very fun and enlightening experience. 

Two of the most successful wine regions in Australia are Margaret River in Western Australia and Adelaide in South Australia. 

So if you like wine, definitely book a guided vineyard tour in one of these locations to learn about the wine and taste it right from the source. 

Mount Kosciuszko is the highest mountain in mainland Australia, making it a popular destination among hikers. 

Located in Kosciuszko National Park in southern New South Wales, the mountain boasts lovely natural scenery, few other tourists, and well-marked hiking trails. 

The hike is 13 km round-trip and generally takes about 4-6 hours depending on your fitness level.

December through March is the best time to hike in Kosciuszko National Park because there won’t be any snow (Yes, there is snow in this region of Australia!)

READ MORE: Before you go be sure to read this guide to climbing Mount Kosciuszko

When visiting Perth , the capital of Western Australia, take a day trip to the nearby Rottnest Island for a fun-filled experience. 

Rottnest Island is a nature reserve filled with gorgeous beaches and interesting local wildlife. 

The ocean here is great for swimming, snorkelling, and surfing, though it’s the Australian animals on land that tend to attract the most visitors. 

Rottnest Island is home to the quokkas , which are small and adorable marsupials that look a little bit like wallabies. 

They are native to Australia, and Rottnest Island is one of the few places in the country to find them. 

The island is also home to seals and sea lions that you might be able to spot while exploring, as well as some of the nicest Perth beaches around.

If the white sand and vibrant turquoise waters of the tropics have always caught your eye, head to the Whitsunday Islands and the nearby town of Airlie Beach!

These islands off the coast of Queensland have jaw-dropping natural scenery rivalling that of the Maldives, Fiji, or Tahiti. 

One of the best things to do in Australia is sailing through the Whitsundays and soaking in all the picturesque views. 

Exploring the islands by boat allows you to cover more ground and see more of the area, though simply lounging on the beach is pretty enjoyable too.

You can also go swimming and snorkelling, or fly in a helicopter or seaplane over the islands to get an aerial view. 

Read next: Top Things To Do In Airlie Beach

Whitsunday Islands

For thrill-seekers wondering what to do in Australia, why not go sky diving?

Sky diving is available in lots of countries around the world, but if it has been on your bucket list for a while now, try it out while travelling in Australia!

In all major tourist destinations around the country, there are tour companies offering sky diving. 

The thrill of launching yourself out of a plane and free-falling through the air is probably incredible regardless of where you do it. 

But many travellers choose more scenic areas of Australia to try their first skydive. 

Some of the best places to skydive in Australia include Rottnest Island in Western Australia, Wollongong or Byron Bay in New South Wales, Mission Beach in Queensland, or Lee Point Beach in the Northern Territory.

Located next to the world’s largest sand island, K’gari (Fraser Island), is a hidden gem of Queensland: Hervey Bay . 

If you like wildlife photography, marine life, or anything animal or ocean-related, visit Hervey Bay and prepare to have your mind blown. 

Known as one of the best places in the world for whale-watching, Hervey Bay is an amazing place to see humpback whales up close. 

You can probably spot some whales from the shore in between late July and early November , as the bay becomes filled with whales during peak season. 

But it is definitely worth taking a whale watching tour so you can see the majestic giants up close on the water!

In the coastal town of Port Stephens , New South Wales, you’ll find some of the largest sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere. 

The best way to experience these dunes is sandboarding; leave it to the Aussies to find a way to surf, even on the sand!

If you book a sandboarding tour from Port Stephens, you can ride in a 4WD out to Stockton Beach and be provided with the right gear to enjoy a day of boarding down the sand dunes.

No trip to Sydney is complete without seeing its most famous landmark: the Sydney Opera House. 

This modern and unique building took 14 years to build and was designed by Danish architect, Jørn Utzon. 

The Sydney Opera House is now a staple of the Sydney skyline. 

You can take a tour of the inside, attend a performance, or simply stroll through Sydney Harbour and admire the view from the outside. 

After admiring the Opera House, stroll around Sydney Harbour and walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, another iconic landmark in the city.

Sydney Opera House

A great way to get outdoors and explore more remote areas of Australia is hiking the Larapinta Trail. 

This is one of the best activities in Australia for those who want to experience real bushwalking, and it is located in the Northern Territory. 

The whole trail is about 223 kilometres long, but you can choose to just hike sections of it if you prefer. 

At the western end of the trail lies Mount Sonder , one of the state’s largest mountains, and at the eastern end of the trail lies Alice Springs, the town in which most travellers base a trip to Uluru. 

READ MORE: Be sure to read this hiking guide before trekking the Larapinta Trail!

Located off the coast of South Australia, Kangaroo Island is definitely one of the best Australia attractions. 

It is Australia’s third-largest island and is packed with nature reserves, diverse landscapes, and plenty of wildlife. 

There are, of course, kangaroos on the island, and they are actually a specific species of kangaroo that cannot be found on the mainland. 

Other animals you can find on Kangaroo Island include koalas, wallabies, platypuses, lizards, sea lions, echidnas, seals, and native birds.

In addition to the wildlife of Kangaroo Island, South Australia, you can also see caves, unique rock formations and arches, national parks, beaches, and charming tourist towns.

Many people probably assume Aussies are all laid-back surfers with long hair and bare feet. 

Of course, not every Australian is a surfer, but many of them are. 

Australia is home to some of the best waves in the world, and the surf culture is very strong along the country’s coast. 

If you’ve always been intrigued by surfing and wanted to give it a try, Australia is the perfect place to learn. 

The temperature is favourable, the beginner-sized waves are plentiful, and the local instructors are always friendly and knowledgable. 

Some of the best places to learn to surf in Australia are the Sydney beaches such as Bondi and Manly, the Gold Coast, Surfer’s Paradise, and Noosa , all located on the coast of southern Queensland.

So book yourself a surf lesson and learn to ride the waves like the Aussies!

Byron Bay is a laid-back coastal town in northern New South Wales that is famous for its backpacker scene. 

There are countless hostels, cafes, and cheap restaurants, as well as surf shops, vintage clothing shops, and organic health food shops. 

You’ll find interesting street art plastered all over the town walls and lots of classic hippie vans parked everywhere. 

Byron Bay has fun nightlife and lots of amazing beaches. Try hiking the coastal walk up to the Byron Bay Lighthouse for a great view of the area.  

Byron Bay

For a once-in-a-lifetime journey that not many others get to do, embark on a train journey across Australia . 

The country is so huge and long-distance train travel isn’t very common, so few people even know about the cross-country Australian train routes available. 

The Ghan is the train journey that runs from Darwin in the north to Adelaide in the South. 

The Indian Pacific is the train journey that runs from Sydney in the east to Perth in the west. 

These train journeys are expensive and long, so they’re not ideal for budget travellers or backpackers with limited time. 

But for those who want to splurge on a cool adventure and travel slowly through the countryside and admire the scenery, the train is a cool idea.

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Excellent article!

Hey, awesome post! I am planning to travel to Australia this September. And one of the things in my bucket list is to go cruising in Whitsundays. Hoping to catch a glimpse of the Humpback whales too. Fingers crossed!

Awesome post!

Thank you so much 🙂

Hi! Always wanted to learn how to surf, I’m going to Australia in September and wanted to get at it but feel a bit scared about all the dangerous animals that are supposed to be in the water?? Haha Do you know if they have some kind of prevention/caution system or something?

Most of the animals you are likely to be worried about are not a problem in the shallower water. There are normally signs at the beaches but just ask the locals, and try to stay at beaches with lifeguards working there. The also you can google local beaches and there is normally pretty accurate info on the current weather conditions and if there is a lot of Jellyfish in the water ect. September is a good time to come actually. Just be nice and ask one of us who live there. We are more than happy to help and pretty good at managing the local wildlife. We have been doing so for a while. Honestly the bigger problem tends for tourists tend to be strong currents and rips. But same solution as before, ask the life Don’t swim out beyond your depth, talk to the locals / life guards and pay attention to the signs! Don’t read them then ignore them. That is how accidents happen. But really don’t worry you will be fine and have a good time I’m sure. Australia is beautiful. from the coast to the mountains and rainforests. I’ve lived here all my life and I’m still blown away by the Australian landscapes and I’m lucky to call this country my home. I hope you see something beautiful and enjoy yourself in the land down under 🙂

Wow, after seeing this, it made me want to go to Australia as well! Before that I am travelling to Italy, so I am adding that one on my bucket list! Stay safe,

So glad this article inspired you. Australia really is a stunning country. There is so much more to the country than beautiful beaches. Have a great trip when you get here.

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Ultimate Australia Bucket List: 50+ BEST Places to Visit in Australia

Planning a trip to Australia and not sure where to start? I’ve got you covered with this epic guide containing 50+ of the best things to do and places to visit which are perfect for any Australian Travel Bucket List .  Some of these are places I have visited and things I have experienced myself and the rest are places, experiences and adventures that I have researched and added to my personal Australia bucket list.

Australia Travel Bucket List Ideas

Best Places to Visit in Australia Travel Bucket List Challenge

Australian Capital Territory Bucket List

  • Visit Canberra, the capital city of Australia. It is only a 3 hour drive from Sydney.

New South Wales Bucket List

  • See the iconic Sydney Opera House. It is incredible from the outside but I recommend a tour of the inside or experiencing an opera performance Read :  2 Days in Sydney: The Perfect Itinerary .

Sydney Opera House is a must on any Ultimate Australia Bucket List

  • Climb to the top of the Sydney bridge .  This is a really popular activity so it is best to reserve in advance.
  • Take a short ferry (approximately 30 minutes) from Circular Quay to Manly Beach for great views of the Sydney Harbour, Opera House and Bridge from the water.
  • Spend a few hours at Bondi Beach , the most famous beach in Australia.
  • Do the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk , one of the most beautiful and scenic walks in Sydney.
  • Explore the spectacular Blue Mountains. You can easily visit on a day tour from Sydney .

Australian bucket list ideas include The Three Sisters an unusual rock formation in the Blue Mountains

  • Relax in Byron Bay, Australia’s famous surf and arts town. Learn how to surf or go kayaking with dolphins .
  • Visit Yamba, a small coastal town with beautiful beaches, which was voted #1 in Australian Traveller’s Best Towns in Australia list .
  • Enjoy the laidback, hippy vibe of the alternative town of Nimbin .

Northern Territory Bucket List

  • See Ayers Rock (Uluru) at sunset. Visitors are no longer be allowed to climb Uluru but you can walk around the base or do a helicopter tour .

Visiting Ayers Rock is at the top of any Australian travel bucket list

  • Visit Kings Canyon . You can follow the rim of the canyon along the 3-hour circuit walk and descend into the green oasis of the ‘Garden of Eden’. You can visit on a day tour from Ayers Rock Resort .

Kings Canyon is one of the best places to visit in Australia

  • Hike around the soaring rock domes of Kata Tjuta / The Olgas at sunset and watch them glow and change color with the surrounding desert landscape.
  • See the Valley of the Winds, a 3 hour walk. Click here to book a tour.
  • Visit Alice Springs (also known as “the Alice” or “Alice”). You can also enjoy the views of the outback on a balloon ride .
  • Visit the West MacDonnell Ranges. Book a day tour from Alice Springs .
  • Visit the historic town of Hermannsburg and its Aboriginal art collection.
  • Visit Finke Gorge National Park and enjoy the beautiful rock formations of Palm Valley.
  • Visit Darwin, the capital of Australia’s Northern Territory.
  • Explore Litchfield National Park.  You can visit on a day tour from Darwin .
  • Explore the natural wilderness of the Katherine Gorge on a 14-hour scenic tour from Darwin .
  • Explore Kakadu National Park .

Push Pin Travel Maps

Queensland Bucket List

  • Go scuba diving or snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef.

Diving or Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef is a top Australia Bucketlist experience

  • Explore Daintree National Park, the planet’s oldest surviving rainforest.
  • Take the Kuranda Scenic Railway through the rainforest to Kuranda.
  • Fly over the rainforest in Skyrail Rainforest Cableway . Pick up your combo pass for the Skyrail and Scenic railway here. 
  • Get close to koalas at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane, the world’s oldest and largest koala sanctuary.
  • Visit Moreton Bay Marine Park, where bottlenose dolphins play and dugongs feed on sea grasses among the giant loggerhead turtles.
  • Watch the spectacular sunrise on the beach with kangaroos and wallabies at Cape Hillsborough.
  • Visit Yeppoon a beachside destination which offers fun activities such as sailing and kayaking, the mysterious Capricorn Caves and the beautiful Great Keppel Island white sand and exceptional snorkelling.
  • Go sandboarding at Tangalooma, Moreton Island.
  • Visit Fraser Island known for its 75-mile long beach which is one of the longest in the world.
  • Explore Whitehaven Beach in The Whitsundays, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world with blue green waters and white sand.

South Australia Bucket List

  • Visit Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia, and the fifth-most populous city of Australia.  Read: 2 Days in Adelaide Itinerary & Travel Guide (According to a Local)
  • Go wine tasting at the Barossa Valley Wine region.
  • See wildlife, including koalas, wallabies and kangaroos, on Kangaroo Island.
  • Explore the beautiful Eyre Peninsula. You can even swim with sea lions .
  • Visit Coober Pedy , a small town that is mostly underground.

Tasmania Bucket List

  • Enjoy the amazing views from the Wineglass Bay lookout at Freycinet National Park .
  • Take a cruise on Wineglass Bay.
  • Explore Hobart, the capital of Tasmania.
  • Climb to the summit of Mount Wellington for panoramic views over Hobart.
  • Explore the beauty of Mt. Field National Park .  Don’t miss the famous Russell Falls .
  • Visit Tasmanian Devils and hand feed kangaroos at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary . You can visit on a half-day tour from Hobart .
  • Explore Bruny Island.
  • Enjoy Cataract Gorge Reserve just a few minutes from the center of Launceston.
  • Enjoy the stunning views at the Bay of Fires .
  • Explore Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park on a scenic walk. If time is short, you can visit on a day trip from Launceston . Read more about Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park here .
  • See the Southern Lights. Join the Aurora Australis Tasmania Facebook group for real time sightings and alerts.

Victoria Bucket List

  • Visit Melbourne.
  • Take a photo in front of the colorful Brighton Bathing Boxes near Melbourne.
  • Drive the Great Ocean Road (one of the best road trips of the world). If you prefer not to drive, you can book a day tour from Melbourne .

Great Ocean Road Australia bucket list roadtrip

  • Drive the Silo Art Trail , to see large-scale murals painted on the silos by world-renown artists in rural Victoria.
  • Explore Grampians National Park . You visit on a day tour from Melbourne .
  • Go wine tasting at Yarra Valley.  You can book a day tour from Melbourne .
  • Enjoy panoramic views from Wilsons Promontory.  You can book a day tour from Melbourne .
  • See the famous Phillip Island Penguin Parade, where you can watch a large colony of penguins waddle from the sea to their burrows at sunset. It gets busy so it is best to purchase tickets in advance .
  • Visit Raymond Island, a small island off the coast from Paynesville, and one of the best places to see koalas in the wild.

Western Australia Bucket List

  • Visit Perth, the capital of Western Australia.
  • Explore Rottnest Island. You can book a day tour from Perth .
  • Meet the endangered Australian sea lions of Jurien Bay Marine Park, a 2.5-hour drive from Perth. Click here to book a boat trip and snorkeling excursion.
  • Enjoy the sunset and the starry sky in the Pinnacles Desert. You can book a Sunset & star-gazing tour .

The Pinnacles in Nambung National Park are one of the top bucket list destinations in Australia

  • Meet the koalas and kangaroos of Yanchep National Park.
  • Surf down the Lancelin Sand Dunes.
  • Explore  Ningaloo Coral Reef .
  • Visit Wave Rock, one of Western Australia’s most popular natural landmarks which resembles a giant ocean wave.
  • Explore Karijini National Park, full of gorges, waterfalls and natural swimming holes.

Karijini National Park is an Australia must see place

  • Visit Cable Beach, a white sand beach near Broome. You can do a camel tour on the beach .
  • Explore The Kimberley one of the oldest and largest wilderness landscapes in the world and one of the most remote regions in Australia to see wildlife, majestic canyons, freshwater swimming holes and several outback stations.
  • Explore  Cape Le Grand National Park – the highlight is Lucky Bay famous for its beautiful white sand beach and friendly kangaroos.
  • See stingrays in Hamelin Bay, a beautiful white sandy beach with sparkling crystal clear waters.

So there you have it – the ultimate Australia bucket list .  If there is an experience or place you think I should include please let me know in the comments below!

Need more travel inspiration? Check out some of my other travel bucket lists below:

  • World Travel Bucket List: 100 Things to Do Before You Die
  • Southeast Asia Bucket List: 100+ Things to Do
  • USA Travel Bucket List: 125+ Best Places to Visit in USA
  • Europe Bucket List: 100+ Things to Do
  • Africa Bucket List: 50 Things to Do and Places to Visit
  • South America Bucket List: 50+ Things to Do and Places to Visit
  • 10 Hotels That Should Be on Your Bucket List!

Best Places to Visit in Australia Travel Bucket List

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savvyglobetrotter

You’ve given me some serious Australia travel fever here! I’ve yet to visit so this post is great for me. Ayers Rock and the kangaroo park look fantastic!

Australia is definitely on my bucketlist, I didn’t know that there are that many great places to visit! Thanks for all the tips, now I have to go there even more

I’m an Aussie and this is a pretty good list of things to do in Australia. Some of these I haven’t done myself, such as visiting Uluru and Rottnest Island. I should spend more time in ‘my own backyard’!

I think New South Wales Bucket List is the winner for me. I have always wanted to see the famous Sydney Opera House with my own eyes, and as a huge Avatar fan, I just fell in love with the Blue Mountains. 🙂 I have to travel there someday, for sure. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

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The Wanderbug

Travel blog.

top 5 cities to visit in australia

8 Of The Best Cities in Australia to Visit

From sprawling metropolises to charming capitals, Australia has plenty of beautiful & exciting cities to tempt travellers. Most of the best cities in Australia to visit are on the east coast, but travellers will be rewarded for heading a little farther afield to less obvious spots like Hobart, Adelaide and Perth. The best cities to visit in Australia are Melbourne, Sydney, the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Hobart, Fremantle, Adelaide & Perth. I’ve lived in Australia for most of my life – I grew up in Brisbane , spent countless weekends and holidays on the Gold Coast and have lived in Melbourne for six years. After nearly thirty years of living in & travelling around Australia, here are my top picks for travellers, whether you’re coming for your first trip or are a local looking to see more of your own back year. Read on for my take on the best cities in Australia to visit!

Melbourne is the best city in Australia, if you ask me. I moved to Melbourne when I was 22, and have lived here for eight years (with a two-year break in New York City in between!). Considered Australia’s cultural capital, it’s the best city in Australia for enjoying the food, wine, culture, history, sport & shopping all rolled into one delightful package. Spend a long weekend exploring by neighbourhood & enjoying the city’s beautiful architecture, thriving hospitality scene and vibrant cultural life.

The Best Things to do in Melbourne

  • Melbourne’s neighbourhoods are full of character – start with Carlton, Fitzroy & St Kilda
  • Enjoy the best restaurants & bars in the country
  • Experience a leading arts & cultural scene – see what’s on at The Arts Centre or the NGV

Explore more: Melbourne Travel Guide

Palais Theatre in St Kilda, Melbourne

Sydney is Australia’s largest city, and a must-visit destination on a first trip to Australia. It’s home to Aussie icons such as Bondi Beach, the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbor Bridge. I love the beach lifestyle in Sydney, and how you can live in a big city but still be so close to the ocean. It does make me daydream about moving there sometimes! I’ve visited Sydney more times than I can count, but my favourite way to enjoy the city is to rent an Air BnB in Bondi and enjoy the laidback beach lifestyle between Bondi, Bronte and Coogee.

The Best Things to do in Sydney

  • See world-famous sights like the Sydney Opera House & Harbour Bridge
  • Visit Bondi Beach & hike the stunning Bondi to Bronte coastal walk
  • Take the iconic Manly Ferry across Darling Harbour & spend a day at the beach

Explore more: Sydney Travel Guide

Bondi Beach Sydney Australia_1

The Gold Coast has a reputation for being all glitz and glam, but in recent years it has leaned into its natural assets and attracted top talent from across the country who appreciate the fresh sea air, gorgeous white sand beaches and laidback lifestyle. I grew up very close to the Gold Coast, and have spent countless holidays there in my thirty years! The Gold Coast is changing all the time, and with every passing year I appreciate the beaches & the surrounding national parks even more. Spend three days on the Gold Coast for your first visit.

The best things to do on the Gold Coast

  • Enjoy some of Australia’s most beautiful & iconic beaches – my favourite is Burleigh
  • Go whale watching to see majestic humpback whales
  • Relax in laidback beach neighbourhoods like Burleigh Heads & Mermaid Beach

Explore more: Gold Coast Travel Guide

Surfers Paradise Beach Gold Coast Australia_1

Australia’s fastest growing city feels distinctly different to its larger counterparts, Sydney and Melbourne. Brisbane was once regarded as a bit of a backwater, but it’s been growing for decades – and these days, it’s getting cooler by the minute. Southbank is touristy but beautiful, especially for first-time visitors to the city, and developments like Howard Smith Wharves and James Street are the perfect spots to build a weekend around. Three days is the perfect amount of time for your first trip to Brisbane, followed by side trips to the Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast.

The best things to do in Brisbane

  • Take in the river city’s best views over dinner & drinks at Howard Smith Wharves
  • Explore Brisbane’s lush Southbank Parklands
  • Enjoy a warm, sunny subtropical climate & laidback pace

Read more: Brisbane Travel Guide

southbank brisbane

Charming Hobart is the capital of Australia’s pristine island state, Tasmania . This charming harbor town is now regarded as one of the coolest cities in Australia, thanks in no small part to the eccentric Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) . I love visiting Hobart as an easy weekend break from Melbourne – it’s just a 45 minute flight!

The best things to do in Hobart

  • Taste the difference in local produce – pristine surrounds produce some of the best seafood, spirits & fruit and vegetables in the country
  • Visit the most talked-about art gallery in the country, MONA
  • Enjoy a charming, compact & walkable capital city

Explore more: Why Visit Hobart? Falling for the Capital of the Apple Isle

hobart

Fremantle is Western Australia ‘s second city, just a short train ride from Perth . The historic streets of Fremantle are so beautifully preserved that it feels a bit like you’ve stepped back in time, or are walking around a movie set! I’ve visited Fremantle twice, and found it completely magical on both visits. To visit Fremantle, you could stay in town, or as I did, stay in Perth and make a day trip by train (just 20 minutes).

The best things to do in Fremantle

  • Explore one of the best preserved historic town centres in the world
  • Craft beer & spirits: Visit Gage Roads Brew Co on the waterfront or Republic of Fremantle gin distillery in town
  • It’s a perfect place to wander – a beautiful setting & dozens of small cafes, shops, art galleries and restaurants

Fremantle Western Australia

Adelaide may be small, but it oozes personality. Nicknamed “Radelaide”, the capital of South Australia has made a name for itself in food, wine & the arts. Located just a stone’s throw from some of the premier wine regions in the country, the bars and restaurants along Leigh & Peel Streets give the hospitality scene in much bigger cities a run for their money. Every February, the city comes to life with the Adelaide Fringe Festival , the biggest arts festival in Australia.

The best things to do in Adelaide

  • Experience Adelaide’s thriving restaurant & bar scene on Leigh Street & Peel Street
  • Eat your way around the Adelaide Central Market
  • Take a day trip to world famous wine regions, The Barossa Valley , Adelaide Hills & McLaren Vale

Adelaide city centre

Perth may be the most remote capital city in the world, but don’t let that deter you! Like Brisbane, Perth has been busy growing up into a cool capital city and learning how to march to the beat of its own drum. I first visited Perth only to apply for my US working visa, and I was blown away by how beautiful the city is. I visited again in early 2023, and loved spending a couple of days enjoying Cottesloe Beach and exploring more of the city. Perth has some of the most beautiful city beaches in the country, including Cottesloe & City Beach.

The best things to do in Perth

  • Visit one of the city’s 19 beautiful beaches, including the iconic Cottesloe Beach
  • Take a day trip to Rottnest Island, home to the only quokkas in the world
  • Explore King’s Park, an 1000-acre parkland in the heart of the city

Read more: 48 Hours in Perth

Cottesloe Beach Perth Australia

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Luna Park in Melbourne

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Aerial view of Osprey Bay, Ningaloo with kayakers

Australia is officially the world’s fifth best tourism destination in 2024 – here’s what sets it apart

The World Economic Forum ranked Australia as one of the top five countries for tourism and travel in 2024

Melissa Woodley

If Australia’s postcard-worthy beaches or poster-child kangaroos weren’t enough to tempt potential travellers, this news might just do the trick. The World Economic Forum (WEF) has just released its highly-anticipated biennial ranking of the best countries for tourism and travel in 2024 – and Australia has claimed one of the top five spots. 

It appears that Australia is on an uphill streak, climbing from the seventh-best tourism destination in 2017 to sixth in 2021, and now claiming fifth place in 2024. The United States took the top spot in the WEF’s  Travel and Tourism Development Index 2024 (TTDI) for the third year running, with six European countries and three Asia-Pacific regions rounding out the top ten. That includes Spain in second, Japan in third and France in fourth.

Curious about how WEF’s economists came to these conclusions? They ranked 119 economies around the world based on a set of 17 factors related to the development of tourism and travel in each country. These factors included the availability of tourist services and infrastructure, sustainability, natural resources, labour capacity and price competitiveness. Most of the data was sourced from reputable international organisations, like the World Health Organisation, UNESCO and UN Tourism, with the rest coming from the WEF’s annual Executive Opinion Survey . 

Mossman River, Mossman with kayakers

Here are five reasons why Australia ranked so high in the latest TTDI: 

Natural resources 

We’re pretty stoked to see that Australia ranked as the second-best country in the world for its natural resources. From ancient rainforests and majestic deserts to blindingly beautiful coastal areas, our Great Southern Land has it all. A road trip along the East Coast or the West is the best way to experience it, for both locals and tourists alike. 

Cultural resources 

A culture-packed holiday is also on the cards for anyone looking to visit Australia, with our nation ranking 17th out of 119 countries for its cultural resources. Our country is home to the world’s oldest continuous culture, with the stories of Australia’s First Nation’s people beautifully woven into our vibrant arts and culture landscape. Whether you’re staying in the city or venturing into the outback, you’ll find countless opportunities to walk in their footsteps and learn about the rich history of our land.

Digital savviness 

Australia shines in the digital realm, ranking 14th globally for its top-notch digital infrastructure and services. Kudos were given for our seamless adoption of digital payments, widespread 3G mobile network coverage, and easy digital booking systems for hotels , restaurants and leisure activities .

Ease of travelling to and from Australia

We love welcoming travellers from every corner of the globe, earning us a commendable 16th place ranking on the openness to tourism and travel scale. Our relatively relaxed visa requirements make it easy for visitors to come, stay and play, while the strength of the Australian passport, which ranks among the world’s most powerful , lets Aussies travel almost anywhere their heart desires. 

Infrastructure for tourists

There are sparkly, new hotels popping up all around Australia , so it makes sense that our nation ranked at number 17 for our availability of tourist services and infrastructure. Our labour productivity in hotels and restaurants was also taken into consideration here, reflecting our 'work hard, play hard' reputation.

You can read more about why Australia is one of the best tourism destinations in the full report here or check out this snapshot of the top ten countries:

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Kudos to canberra australia's capital has been named the third smartest city in the world in 2024, just in: here’s how australia ranked on oxford economics’ inaugural global cities index, the gold coast overtakes sydney and melbourne as the top winter holiday spot for families.

  • Melissa Woodley Travel & News Editor, Time Out Australia

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top 5 cities to visit in australia

14 Most Beautiful Small Towns In Australia

T here are many amazing destinations worth visiting in Australia. While the beautiful cities in the country are more popular, the country is dotted with charming towns that have all it takes to get into the competition. The prettiest towns in Australia come with amazing natural scenery and are filled with plenty of attractions from restaurants to outdoor adventure, shopping, museums, and more.

They are also lighter on crowds, allowing visitors to enjoy serene and relaxing beaches and attractions compared to the more well-known Australian cities. Here are some of the most beautiful towns in Australia to incorporate into a vacation down under.

UPDATE: 2023/05/13 10:23 EST BY JAIMEE TERESE

Escape the city and discover the most beautiful towns in Australia

While Australia boasts some spectacular cities like Sydney and Melbourne, some of the best Australian holiday destinations are a bit off the beaten path. This list has been expanded to now include 14 of the best small towns in Australia to visit thanks to their beauty and charm.

Strahan, Tasmania

The small port town of Strahan is characterized by beautiful beaches and dense forest areas. The town is extremely remote and is perfect for adventurous travelers seeking some serenity. It is known as the gateway to World Hertiage-listed wilderness, sitting over four hours from Hobart on the island of Tasmania. Strahan also has a river which is great for cruising as well as trails that lead to majestic waterfalls.

With historical significance as a fishing town, visitors can hop on a vessel and set sail out into rugged seas. Tours go through Hell's Gates, where a natural harbor meets the Southern Ocean, as well as visiting the former penal colony of Sarah Island that sits off of Strahan's shores.

Byron Bay, New South Wales

Nature lovers will love Byron Bay as it is characterized by beautiful beaches, lush rainforests, and stunning cliffs. This town is one of the best places to surf in Australia . It is packed full of restaurants, luxury accommodation, local-and-organic everything, boutiques, and craft breweries.

While in this town, visitors will have plenty of beautiful beaches to choose from, and each has something unique to offer. The town also offers exciting activities such as fishing, whale watching, and kayaking. Byron Bay has boardwalks that go through forest areas and there’s also a popular lighthouse in the town from where one will get incredible views of the sea as it is the easternmost point in Australia.

Related: 10 Insta-Worthy Places in Australia That'll Leave You Spellbound

Queenstown, Tasmania

New Zealand is not the only place with a Queenstown . Australia has one too and it is a great place for a vacation, as it has tourist infrastructure and exciting attractions. The town is characterized by surrounding towering green mountains and it is endowed with museums, restaurants, and hotels. The town offers a wide range of activities from river rafting to railway rides and mountain hiking.

While Queenstown has plenty to offer, one of the most exciting experiences one will have is the scenic drive into the town; it goes through some of the most impressive views of Tasmania.

Bellingen, New South Wales

The incredible beauty of Bellingen cannot be fully described in words. The entire town is overwhelmed with gorgeous trees and green fields, and the town has a beautiful mountain backdrop that just makes it picture-perfect. The Bellingen river is great for kayaking, whitewater rafting, and swimming too.

While its main appeal is in its natural scenery, this town in South Wales also has plenty of things to keep visitors busy. Bellingen has pubs, cottages, and historic structures, in addition to a lot of incredible natural attractions such as waterholes and waterfalls.

Alice Springs, Northern Territory

Alice Springs offers something different to the other destinations on this list. Here, one will be met with gorgeous desert scenery and rich aboriginal culture , the highlight of course being Uluru . This town is located in an ancient desert where there are stunning canyons and desert rivers.

Alice Springs has art galleries, animal sanctuaries, parks, and museums. It is a great place to experience a camel ride, hot air balloon rides, and mountain biking, as well as learn about the indigenous history of the country.

Lorne, Victoria

White sand beaches with turquoise waters, stunning cliffs, and dense rainforests are some of the features that make Lorne so picturesque and exciting. This town is one of the numerous incredible spots that line up the Great Ocean Road and its location in a coastal area makes it the perfect place for swimming, surfing, fishing, and camping.

The town has several cafes, boutiques, restaurants, and hotels to ensure visitors here have a memorable time. During summer, a lot of events are held in the town, and the town also has wineries, and spectacular forests with rich wildlife, swimming holes, and waterfalls.

Margaret River, Western Australia

Sitting in the valley of the Margaret River, this town is naturally appealing. It is endowed with beautiful beaches, forests, and lots of stunning rock formations. It is known for its world-class surfing, hiking, kayaking, and caving.

Besides its natural appeal, this town also offers amazing food and wine experiences. In fact, Margaret River is regarded as one of the world's top wine regions , especially renowned for its Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Be sure to visit some of the 100+ wineries when visiting Margaret River.

Bright, Victoria

Bright is one small town in Australia that combines natural scenery with lots of opportunities for adventures. The first thing visitors will notice about this town is the abundance of plant and forest that surrounds it. This is one reason it gets so picturesque here, especially during fall when the plants and trees transform into gorgeous red, yellow, and orange colors.

When it comes to adventures, this town has some of the most exciting opportunities in the country. All year round, there is something to do here. The town offers opportunities for skiing during winter, and it becomes a haven for hiking, mountain biking, and other warm-weather activities during summer. It has a brewery, lots of restaurants and cafes, and several outdoor parks.

Merimbula, New South Wales

Beaches and forests are the features that make Merimbula so appealing as the town has a lot of them. The town sits on the Sapphire Coast, along the mid-north coast of New South Wales, and offers lots of ocean-based activities to enjoy from swimming to surfing to fishing. This small town also comes with the added advantage of serenity as it is light on crowds.

Merimbula has coastal walking trails, a museum, and nature parks where one can enjoy hiking in the forest and fresh water swimming holes. It also has a modest amount of accommodations and dining options.

Related: 10 Beautiful Hikes In Australia You Need To Experience

Robe, South Australia

Robe is a beautiful town in South Australia that comes with incredible natural scenery and opportunities for a wide range of activities. Located on the Limestone Coast, this town offers plenty of gorgeous beaches, forests, and historic sites. Hiking, fishing, surfing, swimming, and boating are all activities tourists will be able to enjoy in this town. There is also mountain biking, golfing, and 4-wheel driving.

Robe has lots of luxury hotels, boutique shops, and amazing restaurants offering fresh, locally-caught seafood and other delicious meals.

South Australia is a popular shark cage diving destination , but be sure to research and use a company with ethical operating policies.

Noosa Heads, Queensland

Located on the northern end of Queensland's Sunshine Coast, Noosa Heads is undeniably one of the most beautiful towns in Australia. Noosa National Park sets a stunning background for the town , comprised of nearly 3000 hectares of wildlife habitat, World Surfing Reserve-protected waves, and an internationally-recognized UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Noosa is a nature lover's paradise, with some of the most incredible scenery imaginable, world-class surfing, and unique animal species. After soaking up the sun at Noosa's stunning beaches, head to Hastings Street to wine and dine. The well-known shopping precinct is also home to a vast array of shops and high-end boutiques.

Visit Noosa in the winter months (June - August) to dodge the crowds while still enjoying spectacular weather and whale watching!

Ulladulla, New South Wales

Located on the South Coast of New South Wales, this small town in Australia packs a big punch. Despite being situated roughly three hours south of Sydney along a fairly isolated stretch of coastline, Ulladulla has earned a reputation as one of the top foodie destinations in the country.

Aside from drinking and dining, visitors to Ulladulla will enjoy its spectacular beaches, boating, golfing, surfing, and exploring. The natural ocean pool in Mollymook, known as Bogey Hole, are an excellent option for swimming as it is protected from the strong waves of the area. Hiking enthusiasts should head to Pigeon House Mountain for the most stunning panoramic views.

Phillip Island, Victoria

Phillip Island is one of the best small towns in Australia to visit because it is one of the most unique, yet convenient to access. Although it is an island, it sits just 1.5 hours from Melbourne and is easily incorporated into a day-trip itinerary or a weekend city escape. The beaches are absolutely stunning, but there is plenty to enjoy off the sand too.

Visit the Maru Koala and Animal Park to get up-close-and-personal with local wildlife and hand feed koalas, wallabies, kangaroos, and more. Phillip Island is also known for its population of little penguins. These adorable island residents can be best viewed around sunset waddling across the dunes. That's not all though - Phillip Island is also home to excellent dining, breweries, wineries, spas, shopping, and events.

Broome, Western Australia

In the rugged red sand desert of the northern Western Australia region known as the Kimberley lies the fabled town of Broome. The Kimberley coast enjoys a tropical climate, so visitors can hit the beach all year round. Situated on the edge of the Indian Ocean, the seas are a breathtaking shade of turquoise . Be sure to take a camel ride along Broome's Cable Beach for an unforgettable vacation experience.

Once the largest pearling port in the world, its surrounding waters are still home to numerous pearl farms which can be visited from cruises that depart from Roebuck Bay. Learn about the history of the indigenous, female, and Japanese pearl divers who excelled in the industry, but also often lost their lives in the perilous waters.

14 Most Beautiful Small Towns In Australia

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‘Boring’ Aussie city has ‘best quality of life’

It’s a city often referred to as being “boring” but it’s not only breaking tourism records, it’s also outshone Sydney and Melbourne in a global list.

Shireen Khalil

It’s a city often mistaken as being “boring” but it is breaking tourism records and outshining rivals Sydney and Melbourne in a new global list.

What many people may not realise is the country’s capital Canberra has more to offer than just Parliament House .

“There is a huge array of activities for family travellers, from Questacon to exploring the National Arboretum to getting out on the lake on a GoBoat, plus world-class cultural attractions,” Jonathan Kobus, executive branch manager for VisitCanberra previously told news.com.au.

Canberra has come second, after Grenoble in France, as having the best quality of life in the world.

Surprisingly, it also has the highest number of hatted restaurants per capita of any city in Australia.

“The food offering here is constantly changing and evolving while still maintaining restaurants like two-hatted The Boat House, which originally opened in Canberra in the early 1990s,” Mr Kobus added.

Melbourne came 185th in that category but ranked 9th in the Top 50 Cities in the world list.

Canberra has ‘best quality of life’

According to a new report from economic advisory firm Oxford Economics , Canberra now has the second-highest quality of life in the world.

Its 2024 Global Cities Index report released on Tuesday, Canberra was the lone non-European city in the top 10 with Melbourne in spot 185 and Sydney in place 230.

Grenoble, France had the highest quality of life score at 100, followed by Canberra at 99.8 and Bern in Switzerland at 99.7.

“Grenoble, France scores highest in this category, driven by its multitude of recreation and cultural sites per person and income equality,” the report read.

Sydney came 230th in the quality of life category and 16th in the Top 50 Cities in the world list.

It also said Canberra’s “impressive feat” is driven by the city’s high incomes and low degree of income inequality, due to the availability of stable and high paying government jobs.

“The city also has excellent healthcare facilities and ranks among the highest in the world for life expectancy.”

The report ranked the world’s 1000 largest cities part of research into the importance of urban centres as economic drivers.

There is more to Canberra than just the Parliament House.

The report comes as Aussies from other states, particularly those from NSW, are flocking to the ACT with the territory having welcomed 5.63 million domestic visitors, who spent a total of $3.33 billion last year.

This is the highest ever number of visitor nights, the highest ever expenditure, and the third highest number of domestic visitors in the ACT in a twelve-month period over the past 25 years.

Yes, they also have hot air balloons. There’s a bunch drifting by the National Museum of Australia. Picture: VisitCanberra

“The city’s diverse, accessible visitor experience, led by our major attractions and events, are growing our reputation as a go to holiday destination,” Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate said in a statement last month.

“Major exhibitions at our national attractions have been significant draw cards and new investment in a range of tourism products is providing more reasons to visit and return.”

Melbourne’s rankings in the 2024 Oxford Economics Global Cities Index.

The rest of the top 10 are cities in the Oxford Economics survey released this week are in northwestern Europe, all of which have a combination of high incomes with relatively high income equality, long life expectancies, and vast offerings of recreation and cultural sites.

Other categories in the report include economics, human capital, environment, governance and top cities in the world — with Canberra ranking 44th.

This is how Sydney went in the report.

New York topped the list as being the top city in the world, just ahead of London.

San Jose in California, the home of Apple, Meta, Google and Nvidia, ranked third.

Melbourne and Sydney didn’t miss out with the cities making the top 50, at ninth and 16th respectively.

“It (Melbourne) is the highest ranking Australian city in our index, seven positions above its slightly larger and more famous counterpart, Sydney,” the report read.

Canberra's food scene has upped its game.

“Indeed, Melbourne has in the last two decades been catching up to Sydney in aspects ranging from economics to population size. Because of its many art galleries and the fact that it hosts major sports events such as the Australian Open and the Australian Grand Prix – Melbourne is widely considered to be the cultural and sporting capital of Australia.”

In fact, it has the highest number of hatted restaurants per capita of any city in Australia.

The city also ranked 11th in the human capital category, 30th in environment and 18th in governance.

Meanwhile, Sydney ranked 19th in economic, 9th in human capital, 363rd in environment and 18th in governance.

Aussies are flocking to the ACT with the territory having welcomed 5.63 million domestic visitors, who spent a total of $3.33 billion last year.

“It (Sydney) has enjoyed relatively high stability in its gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate over the years, in line with Australia’s economic resilience in general,” the report said.

“Also, Sydney’s economy gets a large contribution from tourism, as it is home to some of Australia’s most famed landmarks, including the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, and Bondi Beach.”

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top 5 cities to visit in australia

However, “a major weakness” in the form of high housing costs persists, the report stated.

“Property prices and rents have risen steeply in the city due to rapid growth in population, and the housing supply has not been able to keep up. Indeed, Sydney’s housing supply is constrained by its geographical location on the coastline and regulatory restrictions protecting heritage neighbourhoods; this makes new construction or increases in density difficult.

“As such, residents of Sydney have very high levels of housing expenditure, which weighs considerably on the city’s quality of life score.”

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  • World's Best

The Top 5 Cities in Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific in 2020

Note: If you’re looking for our most recent recommendations, check out the 2023 list of our favorite cities in Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific.

This year’s World’s Best Awards survey closed on March 2, just before widespread stay-at-home orders were implemented as a result of COVID-19. The results reflect our readers’ experiences before the pandemic, but we hope that this year’s honorees will inspire your trips to come — whenever they may be.

In the 25 years of the World’s Best Awards, the winning locale in our readers' survey of the top cities in Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific has almost always hailed from Australia — T+L’s 2020 Destination of the Year . But 2019 brought a surprise: Queenstown, New Zealand , emerged as the winner. This time around, the adventure hub came in fourth, but still impressed T+L readers with its seemingly endless list of adrenaline-pumping activities. “Ziplining down the side of the mountain, bungee-jumping off the bridge or flying over the river in a speedboat — this is the place to be if you are an adrenaline junkie,” one fan touted. The Kiwi capital of Wellington earned the No. 5 spot. One reader remarked, “Wellington is a beautiful, clean city. The food was good, and people could not have been nicer!”

Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, Travel + Leisure asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated cities on their sights and landmarks, culture, cuisine, friendliness, shopping, and overall value.

Related : The World's Best Awards 2020

The Land Down Under’s eastern half is home to the majority of the country’s population centers, including the ever-beloved Melbourne (No. 2). Famous for its culinary prowess, proximity to world-class wine regions, and thriving cultural scene, the capital of the state of Victoria wowed T+L readers with its vibrancy. “Melbourne is a hip city, full of theater culture, café culture, hidden little laneways, relaxed sophistication,” wrote one T+L reader. Another fan could easily picture calling the city home: “I love it and the amazing shops and restaurants you can find in alleys.” Still, Australia’s western coast is emerging as a captivating destination in its own right, thanks to several years of development and a recent hotel boomlet in Perth, which came in at No. 3. And, of course, there’s plenty to do in the surrounding areas. As one reader noted, “The beach communities like Cottesloe are lovely, and we enjoyed a visit to Fremantle. Rottnest Island is a must, with its clear, turquoise waters and pristine bays and those little marsupials — the quokkas!”

But after coming in second last year, Sydney reclaims the No. 1 position. It continues to enthrall travelers with its own blend of the arts and the outdoors. Scope out the full list of the best cities in Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific below.

1. Sydney, Australia

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 85.75

The Harbour City has topped the list once again. “Stunning Sydney is one of the world's most beautiful cities with so much to see and do,” wrote one visitor. Home to the Opera House, Harbour Bridge, and dozens of pristine beaches, travelers could easily spend a few weeks in town and just scratch the surface of everything there is to see and do, both in the urban center and within day-trip distance. “Sydney is amazing,” enthused one reader. “I would recommend visiting Bondi Beach and the Blue Mountains for beautiful landscapes and other sights,” said another.

2. Melbourne, Australia

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 85.37

3. Perth, Australia

Score: 82.78

4. Queenstown, New Zealand

Score: 82.04

5. Wellington, New Zealand

Score: 81.87

See all of our readers' favorite hotels, cities, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2020 .

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Arts & entertainment, design & style, travel & leisure, search concrete playground, four australian cities have ranked in the top 30 on the first-ever oxford economics global index.

Melbourne came in at ninth spot, Sydney is in 16th, Perth ranked 23rd and Brisbane sits in 27th place — out of 1000 cities around the planet.

Four Australian Cities Have Ranked in the Top 30 on the First-Ever Oxford Economics Global Index

Whether focused on steak joints , restaurants in general , bars , hotels , beaches or places to travel to , there's no shortage of rankings proclaiming the standout spots to spend your time, or just to live overall. Another one seems to pop up almost daily. In fact, one more has just joined the ever-growing array, and it's a hefty addition, with the first-ever Oxford Economics Global Cities Index naming the top 1000 cities worldwide.

Use it as a must-visit list, a guide if you're thinking about a big move or to add fuel to one of Australia's enduring pastimes: arguing over which Aussie city tops the rest. According to the index, Melbourne earns the honours this time, coming in ninth globally. But just as the Melbourne-versus-Sydney debate starts firing up again, the latter didn't do badly at all, sitting in 16th.

top 5 cities to visit in australia

Australia has six cities in the top 51, with Perth ranking 23rd, Brisbane in 27th place, Canberra taking out 44th and Adelaide just missing the top 50. The nation scored seven cities in the top 100 and also in the full 1000, thanks to the Gold Coast placing 81st.

To make its selections among the planet's largest 1000 largest cities — which you'll find in 163 different countries — Oxford Economics looked at five broad factors: economics, human capital, quality of life, environment and governance. It also outlined a top ten for each category, with Down Under spots earning some more love there.

top 5 cities to visit in australia

While no Aussie cities placed in the top ten for economics, environment or governance, Sydney came eighth in human capital, which considers educational attainment, universities, population growth, age profiles, the diversity of the population and corporate headquarters among its indicators.

The second-best place in the world for quality of life, which takes into consideration life expectancy, income per person, income equality, housing expenditure, recreation and cultural sites, and internet speed? Canberra, the only Australian city in the top ten there. The Gold Coast placed 95th, Perth 135th, Brisbane 146th, Adelaide 152nd, Melbourne 185th and Sydney 230th.

top 5 cities to visit in australia

Over in New Zealand, Auckland placed highest at 59th on the complete list of 1000, followed by Wellington at 69th and Christchurch at 87th. All three ranked NZ cities also earned a position in the environment top ten (which covers air quality, emissions intensity, natural disasters, and temperature and rainfall anomalies) and took out the three top spots in the governance top ten (where institutions, political stability, business environment and civil liberties are assessed).

Back to the overall rundown, New York emerged victorious over the other 999 cities in the index, followed by London in second. Returning to the US, San Jose came in third. After Tokyo in fourth and Paris in fifth, the next three places were again American cities, with Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco receiving the nod. And rounding out the top ten after Melbourne is Zurich.

top 5 cities to visit in australia

For more information about the Oxford Economics Global Cities Index for 2024, head to the organisation's website .

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Safest Countries in the World 2024

Iceland has been the safest country in the world for the 14th year in a row, according to the Global Peace Index.

The Nordic countries of Europe (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, and Finland) rank among the 25 safest globally, most of them also being among the top 10 happiest nations worldwide.

Common attributes of the world's safest countries include high levels of wealth, social welfare, education, effective criminal justice systems, and positive government-citizen relationships.

The Global Peace Index (GPI) ranks the safest and most peaceful countries in the world. This report is published annually by the Institute for Economics and Peace, which defines itself as "an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to shifting the world's focus to peace as a positive, achievable and tangible measure of human wellbeing and progress." The report researches countries to determine which are the safest and which are the most dangerous .

A total of 163 countries are featured in the GPI report, which ranks each country's level of safety or danger based upon 23 different indicators. The indicators used to compile the GPI include the number of internal and external violent conflicts, level of distrust, political instability, potential for terrorist acts, number of homicides, and military expenditures as a percentage of GDP. These indicators are grouped into three broad categories—Ongoing International Conflict, Societal Safety and Security, and Militarization—and a score is calculated for each of the 163 nations featured in the report. The lower the score, the higher the nation is ranked in terms of safety.

Top 15 Safest Countries in the World (Global Peace Index — lower is better):

The United States ranked 129th in the Global Peace Ranking for 2022. The United States' ranking has fallen every year since 2016, a drop usually attributed to a decrease in life satisfaction, rising political division, and an increasing wealth gap.

Is the World Becoming More or Less Safe?

According to the 2022 GPI report, the world has become less safe over the past 14 years, with per-country scores deteriorating by 3.2% on average. The report further notes that safety and peacefulness have decreased for eleven of the past fourteen years. For example, global peace declined by 0.3% overall between the 2021 and 2022 GPI reports. While safety improved in 90 countries, it dropped in 71 countries (and remained stable in two), for a net loss.

The 2022 report also states that declines tend to happen more swiftly and precipitously than do improvements, and pointed out that the most significant deterioration occurred in countries in conflict, such as Russia , Ukraine , Guinea , Burkina Faso , and Haiti . Europe remained the most peaceful region in the world, a position it has held for all the 16 years in which the Global Peace Index has existed.

World peace also decreased between the 2020 and 2021 reports, though by a much smaller margin of 0.07%, with 87 countries improving and 73 deteriorating. The COVID-19 crisis and increasing tensions among major world powers were cited as two main causes for the decrease. A comparison of the 2020 and 2019 reports, to step back a year, reveals a total of 81 countries growing more peaceful and 80 deteriorating. The average country score deteriorated by 0.34%.

The Safest Continent in the World

A majority of the top 25 safest countries are European countries. Most notable are the Nordic countries of Europe. Norway , Sweden , Denmark , Iceland , and Finland are not only among Europe's safest countries , they are among the top 25 safest countries anywhere on Earth. This region is thus considered the safest in the world, with a homicide rate of 0.8 incidents per 100,000 inhabitants. These five Nordic countries are all in the top 10 happiest countries in the world as well. The second-safest region among the top 25 safest countries is Asia . Both Europe and Asia have the world’s lowest homicide rates of 3 or fewer per 100,000 inhabitants.

Qualities the World's Safest Countries Have in Common

There are some commonalities among the safest countries in the world. For instance, safe countries tend to display high levels of wealth, social welfare, and education. Additionally, safe countries typically have effective criminal justice systems and governments that maintain very healthy relationships with their citizens.

Profiles of the World's 10 Safest Countries

According to the Global Peace Index, Iceland is the safest country in the world for the 14th year in a row. Iceland is a Nordic nation with a relatively small population of 340,000. Iceland has a very low level of crime, which is typically attributed to its high standard of living, small population, strong social attitudes against crime, a high level of trust in its well-trained police force, and a lack of tension among social and economic classes. Iceland has no military, and the police do not carry firearms (only extendable batons and pepper spray). Iceland also has laws in place to guarantee equality, such as legal same-sex marriage and same-sex adoptions, religious freedom, and equal pay for men and women.

2. New Zealand

New Zealand is the second-safest country in the world. Like Iceland, New Zealand has a very low crime rate, and violent crime is especially rare. Theft is still worth guarding against, especially in tourist areas (which holds true in every country in the world), but overall risk is minimal. Unlike its neighbor Australia , which is known for its dangerous wildlife (box jellyfish, taipan snakes, stonefish, funnel web spiders, and more), New Zealand has no deadly animals. New Zealanders are generally open-minded and have laws in place to prevent the violation of anyone's freedom of speech or expression. As in Iceland, police in New Zealand do not carry personal firearms.

Ireland became notably more peaceful in 2021 and vaulted from 11th place to 3rd in the 2022 rankings as a result. Crime is quite low outside of a few city neighborhoods ( as in any country, one should be wary of pickpockets and scammers in tourist-dense areas), and there is little threat of cultural violence or terrorism. In fact, the Irish landscape may pose a greater safety risk than its people—the country's breathtaking cliffs and winding country roads must be treated with respect, especially during a sudden rainstorm or in areas with no cell reception.

Ranked fourth on the 2022 Global Peace Index, Denmark is another one of the safest and happiest countries in the world. Denmark is one of the few countries where people report feeling safe at any time of day or night, even children. Denmark has a high level of equality and a strong sense of common responsibility for social welfare — two qualities that contribute to its citizens' feelings of safety and happiness.

Corruption is rare in Danish business or politics, as honesty and trust are top priorities. While Denmark has a high personal income tax , it funds social programs that ensure all people receive services and perks that help them live comfortable lives. For example, everyone in Denmark has access to tuition-free higher education and healthcare with no additional fees to them, and the elderly are provided at-home care helpers.

Austria ranked as the fifth-safest country in the world for 2022. While violent demonstrations in the wake of ongoing social unrest remain a concern, these are relatively easy to avoid, and otherwise, Austria is a very safe country to visit. Serious crimes are uncommon (with the usual caveat to watch for pickpockets and purse-snatchers). Additionally, Austria has been spared any major acts of terrorism in recent years.

6. Portugal

Portugal comes in sixth in the most peaceful countries rankings for 2022. In 2014, Portugal was ranked 18th globally and has since made significant strides. Unlike Iceland and New Zealand, Portugal has armed police; however, an increased police presence has resulted in a decreased crime rate in the country. In recent years, Portugal has experienced an economic resurgence, decreasing its unemployment rate from over 17% to under 7%. Portugal consistently ranks among the best countries for retirement , due in no small part to its high level of safety.

7. Slovenia

One of the former constituents of Yugoslavia , Slovenia has a high safety ranking that can be attributed to its excellent scores in three categories: travel security, medical risks, and road safety. Like many Slavic states , Slovenia installed a democratic government in the mid-1990s and is now focused on improving quality of life in many areas, including safety and sustainability.

8. Czech Republic

Crime rates in the Czech Republic have steadily decreased over the years, with rates of violent crime in particular dropping significantly. The Czech Republic also has a low incidence of terrorism and natural disasters. Finally, the country boasts many clean and efficient hospitals and a state-run health insurance system that offers affordable rates and enables near-universal coverage.

9. Singapore

Singapore ranks ninth on the GPI for 2022. In a Gallup report from 2018, Singapore residents felt the highest sense of personal security and had more positive experiences with law enforcement than did residents of any other country. Singapore has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, possibly due to the severe penalties that are issued for even small crimes. The government and police strictly control guns and other firearms, and violent and confrontational crimes are rare in Singapore.

As a city-state, Singapore also ranks as the second- safest city in the world according to the Safe Cities Index from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). In 2019, Singapore ranked first for infrastructure security and personal security, second for digital security, and eighth for health security.

The tenth-safest country in the world for 2022 is Japan. Japan has been in the top ten countries in the Global Peace Index for 14 years, consistently receiving high marks for low crime rates , minimal internal conflict, and virtually nonexistent political unrest. Japan's proximity to potentially hostile neighbors China and North Korea could become a threat to its safety at some point, but has not thus far.

Japan is known for citizens having limited access to firearms, as the Japanese do not view carrying a firearm as an individual's right. According to the Safe Cities Index from the Economist Intelligence Unit, Tokyo was the safest city in the world in 2019, ranking first in cybersecurity, second for health security, and fourth for infrastructure security and personal security.

IEP applies a rigorous research process to arrive at its GPI rankings. According to IEP , “The GPI covers 163 countries comprising 99.7 percent of the world’s population, using 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from highly respected sources.”

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What is the safest country in the world?

Iceland is the safest country in the world, with a Global Peace Index of 1.124 .

What are the 5 safest countries in the world?

The 5 safest countries in the world are Iceland , Denmark , Ireland , New Zealand and Austria .

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Global Peace Index 2022 - Institute for Economics and Peace
  • These Are the Safest Countries - US News
  • Most Dangerous and Safest Countries Index - TravelSafe Abroad

Money blog: Manchester United staff 'given week to resign' in WFH crackdown

Manchester United staff have reportedly been given a week to decide whether to resign under Sir Jim Ratcliffe's plans to end working from home. Read this and the rest of today's consumer and personal finance news in the Money blog below, and leave your thoughts in the comments box.

Wednesday 29 May 2024 17:00, UK

  • Get your holiday money now! Pound hits nearly two-year high against euro
  • Popular broadband provider hiking monthly payments from July 
  • Manchester United staff reportedly given week to resign in Sir Jim Ratcliffe's WFH crackdown
  • Spotify launches cheaper deals - but there's a catch
  • UK has highest diesel prices in Europe

Essential reads

  • Head chef at UK's number one gastropub shares favourite cheap pasta recipe
  • Women in Business : 'A truck unloaded a £600 car that her son bought on eBay thinking it was a toy' - the schoolgate stories that led to GoHenry
  • Money Problem : 'My mortgage lender is ending my two-year fix and I haven't been in the house for two years - can they do this?'
  • Best of the Money blog - an archive

Ask a question or make a comment

Whoever wins the general election, one potential headache for the new administration will be Thames Water.

The current government has already drawn up contingency plans, known as Project Timber, for the possible collapse of a company currently saddled with debt of £15.4bn.

The scenario also features strongly on a dossier of potential crises compiled by Sue Gray, Sir Keir Starmer's chief of staff, that an incoming Labour government would face.

Talk of a potential collapse has moved up the agenda because Thames Water's owners, which include the Canadian pensions giant Omers, the Universities Superannuation Scheme, a unit of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and the China Investment Corporation, have declined to inject more equity into the business. They had previously offered to inject a further £3.25bn, on top of £500m last year, were Ofwat, the regulator, to support the company's plans.

But Ofwat is refusing to allow Thames to raise its levels of investment and customer bills to the extent that the company is proposing . 

Thames had asked Ofwat to approve an £18.7bn investment which would have entailed a 44% average increase in customer bills over the next regulatory period due to run from 2025-30. It tweaked this submission in April to raise investment to £19.8bn during the period with no extra increase in bills.

Ofwat was due to publish its "final deliberation" on investment plans and customer bills for the entire water industry, including Thames, on 12 June but has moved it back to 11 July due to the general election.

The Guardian reported earlier this week that Ofwat is set to refuse the requests of most water companies, including Thames, with some operators being allowed to raise bills by as little as half of what they had asked for.

Such an approach is consistent with Ofwat's historic approach of keeping water bills low as its main priority rather than, for example, permitting higher investment to tackle sewage spills.

However, there are signs that Ofwat may be prepared to compromise, at least to an extent.

The Financial Times reports today that the regulator is drawing up plans for a special "recovery regime" for Thames and other financially stressed UK water companies in a bid to avoid nationalisation.

It suggests that companies with "recovery regime" status could receive fewer or no regulatory penalties to encourage them to invest in infrastructure improvements instead, as well as being given more "realistic" targets for reducing sewage and water leaks and outages.

The regulator finds itself with a dilemma. Ofwat does not want Thames to collapse, not least because such an event would intensify criticism that the regulator allowed Thames's previous owners – most notably the Australian investment bank Macquarie – to load the company with debt while extracting enormous dividends (the current investors have received no dividends since 2017).

Ofwat's ministerial overlords – of both parties – will also be aware that an administration of Thames would deter the very international investors the UK desperately needs to attract to pay for infrastructure improvements.

On the other hand, though, Ofwat does not want to face accusations that it is being unduly lenient on a company that has been badly behaved in the past.

Now, it is fair to say that Ofwat is offering an olive branch here. Only two weeks ago, it said it was "minded" to punish Thames for breaching licence conditions over a £37.5m dividend paid to shareholders in October last year (Thames points out the payment was made to Kemble Water, its parent holding company, and was necessary to maintain the latter's solvency). That could result in another fine worth tens of millions of pounds.

The big question is whether this compromise will be enough to shore up Thames's financial situation. Ofwat has fined Thames £175m during the last three years which, while being a large sum, is a relatively trifling amount set against Thames's debts.

So it probably would not be enough, of itself, to persuade Thames's owner to pump more equity into the business. Omers, the biggest single shareholder in Thames, has already written down the entire value of its 31.7% stake in the company to nothing. USS, which has more than half a million scheme members in British universities and which owns nearly 20% of Thames, has written down the value of its shareholding from £956m at the end of 2022 to just £364.4m as at the end of last year.

What today's news reveals is that there is a compromise to be reached here. The extra month before Ofwat is due to publish its draft deliberation has bought both sides a little more time.

But it feels as if, with Ofwat in no mood to back down with Thames over its proposed increase in investment and customer bills, the latter's shareholders have run out of patience.

A "special administration" of Thames – something neither Rishi Sunak or Sir Keir Starmer would want to see – still feels like the way to be betting.

NOW Broadband is raising prices by an average of £3 a month from 5 July.

The company, owned by Sky, didn't raise prices in line with inflation in April - making it somewhat of an outlier.

But the summer raise will add an average of £36 a year to customer bills.

However, the company offers a no-penalty exit option.

Sabrina Hoque, telecoms expert at Uswitch.com, said: "Another mid-contract price increase unfortunately means bigger bills for already cash-strapped consumers. 

"However, it is encouraging that NOW Broadband customers have the option to leave penalty free if they don't want to accept this change."

By Sarah Taaffe-Maguire , business reporter

The pound reached a 19-month high against the euro this morning as £1 equalled €1.1784. 

Not since late August 2022 was sterling so strong against the currency of Eurozone states. 

So if you're going on holidays to somewhere using the euro, now would be a good time to exchange pounds as you'll be getting more for your money than you would have.

Rates have come down slightly this afternoon - though are still high at €1.1746.

The pound buying more euro will mean it's cheaper for UK importers to buy goods - so some prices could come down. 

It's happening because the interest rate-setters at the European Central Bank (ECB) look set to bring rates down at their meeting next week.

Manchester United staff have reportedly been given a week to decide whether to resign under Sir Jim Ratcliffe's plans to end working from home.

The club's non-football staff were invited to take redundancy by next Wednesday in an email sent on Tuesday, The Daily Telegraph reports .

Sir Jim has taken over the day-to-day running of the club and is making it compulsory for staff to work from their offices in Manchester or London from 1 June, the paper says.

Staff who do not wish to do so can quit and are being offered early payment of an annual bonus, it added.

A United spokesman told The Daily Telegraph the move "isn't a voluntary redundancy programme". 

They added: "The club recognises that not everyone wants to work from the office full-time so has provided options for staff who don't wish to return to the office to step away now."

Sky News has contacted Manchester United for comment.

Junior doctors in England are set to strike for five days starting next month - part of a long-running dispute over pay.

The strike is set to run from 7am on 27 June to 2 July.

It means the dispute clash with the  general election campaign, with polling day on 4 July.

Read the full story here ...

Parents see personal finance as a more important life skill than maths for schoolchildren, according to new research.

A poll by Nationwide suggests the majority (89%) of parents of children aged eight to 13 think finance education would help their kids understand the value of money.

The survey of 2,000 UK adults found that personal finance even ranked above maths, digital skills and cooking as vital skills for children - coming second only to literacy.

More than eight in 10 parents (84%) said their child hadn't had any finance education at school, despite the vast majority saying it was important for children to understand money.

The top subjects parents value at school are:

  • Literacy (66%)
  • Personal finance (59%)
  • Maths (51%)
  • Cooking (41%)
  • Digital skills (26%)

Personal finance was deemed the most important subject for children and young people among parents polled in Brighton, Belfast and Newcastle. 

Amanda Beech, director of retail services at Nationwide, said financial education can "help young people get to grips with the world of money". 

By Daniel Binns, business reporter

One of the big gainers on the stock market this morning is International Distributions Services, the owner of Royal Mail.

Shares in the company are up more than 3% on the FTSE 250 index after the company's board announced it had agreed to a takeover by "Czech Sphinx" Daniel Kretinsky.

Read more on that here...

While the deal is yet to be approved by shareholders and regulators, investors are clearly excited at the prospect of the £3.6bn agreement.

At the other end of the scale, online delivery firm Ocado has plunged more than 6% in early trading.

It comes after reports that it is a leading candidate to be relegated from the FTSE 100 - along with asset manager St James's Place, which is down 1.6%.

The FTSE 100 overall is down 0.2% this morning amid ongoing uncertainty over interest rate cuts in the US.

Gainers include mining firm Fresnillo and water firm United Utilities, which are both up more than 2.4%.

On the currency markets, £1 buys $1.27 US or €1.17 - similar to yesterday.

A barrel of benchmark Brent crude has climbed to almost $85 (£66.60) this morning, a rise of nearly 1%.

Spotify subscribers have the chance to nab a slightly cheaper deal after it quietly launched new plans - but you'll have to be willing to give up one thing.

If you pay for an individual, duo or family subscription, you can save up to £24 a year by switching to one of the music platform's new "basic" plans, according to Money Saving Expert .

The catch, though, is that you'll lose audiobooks. All the other benefits such as no ads, song downloads and higher-quality audio will remain for existing subscribers.

The "basic" plans are the same price as Spotify's premium options used to be before it hiked prices last month. Most of the premium plans include 15 hours a month of audiobook listening time.

Only existing Spotify subscribers can get the new basic option for now - there's no date set for when they'll become available to everyone, Money Saving Expert said.

Every Wednesday we ask Michelin chefs to pick their favourite Cheap Eats where they live and when they cook at home. This week we speak to Dave Wall, head chef at the UK's number one ranked gastropub, The Unruly Pig in Suffolk.

Hi Dave , c an you tell us your favourite places in Suffolk  where you can get a meal for two for less than £40?

Honey + Harvey . A cracking spot for breakfast, brunch or lunch. They have the most delicious coffee and a cracking full English, the vibe is super-chilled and laidback and I always feel so relaxed there.

Lark . A beautiful little independent restaurant in Bury St Edmunds with the most incredible selection of small plates and top-drawer cooking. Admittedly, I find myself spending a fair bit more than £40 at Lark because I love James Carn's cooking so much that I end up going way over the top and ordering far too many dishes.

What's your go-to cheap meal at home?

Anchovy pasta is one. I get that anchovy is often considered a Marmite ingredient. I love them, but if you are in the "hate" camp, then please bear with me, as I want to persuade you to give these versatile little wonders a second look (and perhaps not tar all anchovies with the same brush).

My recipe below uses both brown and brined anchovies. It is an easier but still utterly delicious version of the dish I've served at The Unruly Pig (which also comes with an oyster velouté). This is comfort food at its best. Buon appetito!

  • 250g butter
  • 70g brown anchovies (ideally Cantabrian)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 30g double cream
  • 25g of brined anchovies

Add all the ingredients to a pan. Bring to a slow simmer on a low heat. Once the mixture starts to boil, remove, and transfer to blender. Blend for two minutes until the mixture is well emulsified. Set aside.

Pangrattato

Three bread slices, crusts removed (staler the better)

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 lemon zest
  • Pinch salt & pepper

Blend all the ingredients in food processor, making sure the crumb is fine. On a low heat, gently toast the crumbs until they become golden.

  • 125 g of fresh spaghetti per person
  • Grated Parmesan, brined anchovy, celery leaf to garnish 

Gently the cook the pasta in simmering boiling water, add plenty of salt to the pasta water so it tastes like sea water. Cook for 1-2 minutes - or to instructions if using dried.

Bring it all together

Meanwhile, gently heat the anchovy pasta sauce in a large pan so it becomes warm. Be careful not to boil. Once the pasta is cooked, gently remove and put it straight in to the warmed anchovy sauce. Add a splash of the pasta water to retain some of the starch (as this will help thicken your sauce).

Gently cook the pasta in the anchovy sauce until it becomes thick and creamy, and the sauce coats the pasta. Serve into a bowl and add the Parmesan, fresh anchovies and celery leaf on top.

Generously sprinkle the pasta with the golden pangrattato to add a wonderful texture and crunch.

We've spoken to lots of top chefs and bloggers - check out their cheap eats from around the country here...

Beach-goers in Cumbria have been warned they could face a fine of up to £1,000 if they remove pebbles or shells across the area.

Cumberland Council has told visitors it is unlawful to take natural materials such as sand, shells and pebbles from the beach under the Coast Protection Act.

Cumberland councillor Bob Kelly said it was important to "ensure that our beaches remain vibrant and intact for future generations".

"I understand people's reluctance to follow this guidance, as I have been a collector of shells myself. But taking a pebble or a shell from a beach can in fact damage the environment," he said.

"Pebbles and other natural matter act as a natural sea defence against coastal erosion, natural flood defences and wildlife habitats, which many experts warn has become even more of an issue due to climate change."

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  1. 15 Best Cities to Visit in Australia (+Map)

    11. Alice Springs. Despite its remote location in the center of Australia, 1500-kilometers from the nearest city, Alice Springs is well worth a visit. Although it may take you a bit of time and effort to reach this small town, the scenic journey is half the attraction.

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    Australia has six states and two territories, each offering a vast number of unique tourist attractions for travellers to enjoy. Table of Contents. Top Places to Visit in Australia. 1) Melbourne. 2) Karajini National Park. 3) Ningaloo Reef. 4) The Whitsunday Islands. 5) Darwin. 6) The Snowy Mountains.

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    4. Barossa Valley. The Barossa Valley is Australia's oldest & most prestigious wine region, located just an hour's drive from the state capital, Adelaide, in South Australia. There are more than 150 wineries in the Barossa Valley, 80 of which have cellar doors (tasting rooms) that are open to the public.

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    25 best places in Australia in 2024. 1. Uluru and Kata Tjuta, NT. The red centre in the Northern Territory is truly Australia's sacred heart, and nothing is quite so sacred or spectacular as Uluru ...

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    This huge red monolith is a World Heritage site, and one of Australia's most emblematic landmarks. Uluru is literally the heart of Australia, and the ochre soil is as dramatic as the massive sandstone rock itself. You can cycle, walk, ride a camel or take a helicopter around the nearly 10-kilometre (6.2-mile) circumference, then dine under the stars on a sand dune - your meal featuring ...

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    4. Brisbane. The Wheel of Brisbane is located in central Brisbane. Brisbane is one of the oldest cities in Australia and was home to indigenous people thousands of years ago. Built around the winding Brisbane River, the city boasts riverfront promenades, islands and beaches, making it a playground for water-lovers.

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    1. Great Barrier Reef. It may be Australia's most famous attraction but with good reason! The Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven wonders of the natural world. Stretching 3000 km across the coast of Queensland, the Great Barrier Reef is a diver's dream.

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    Reader score: 87.39. 4. Melbourne, Australia. WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Reader score: 86.95. 5. Wellington, New Zealand. Reader score: 85.96. These are the best cities in Australia, New Zealand ...

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    Take a trip to Kangaroo Island, one of South Australia's most adored attractions, to see rare and endangered animals roaming around freely in the wild. 9. Darwin - A Tropical Wonder. This tropical capital city is full of diversity and is the most culturally diverse city in the whole of Australia.

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    Seeing the 12 Apostles on a road trip on the Great Ocean Road is one of the best things to do in Australia! Table of Contents. The Best Things to Do in Australia. 1) Snorkel or Dive the Great Barrier Reef. 2) Watch the Sunrise or Sunset at Uluru. 3) Road Trip Along the Great Ocean Road. 4) Visit Wineglass Bay.

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    Visit Wave Rock, one of Western Australia's most popular natural landmarks which resembles a giant ocean wave. Explore Karijini National Park, full of gorges, waterfalls and natural swimming holes. Visit Cable Beach, a white sand beach near Broome. You can do a camel tour on the beach.

  19. 8 Of The Best Cities in Australia to Visit • The Wanderbug

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    The nation scored seven cities in the top 100 and also in the full 1000, thanks to the Gold Coast placing 81st. To make its selections among the planet's largest 1000 largest cities — which you'll find in 163 different countries — Oxford Economics looked at five broad factors: economics, human capital, quality of life, environment and ...

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    This region is thus considered the safest in the world, with a homicide rate of 0.8 incidents per 100,000 inhabitants. These five Nordic countries are all in the top 10 happiest countries in the world as well. The second-safest region among the top 25 safest countries is Asia. Both Europe and Asia have the world's lowest homicide rates of 3 ...

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