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From the tropical top of Cape Tribulation to the rugged cliffs of Tasmania, we live, breathe and love Australia. It's in our heritage; in 1981 we opened our first Flight Centre store in Sydney. And while we've grown to over 17,000 stores around the world, Australia has – and always will be – embedded in our culture. This unrivalled passion means we not only have the widest choice of Australian holidays and flights in the UK, but all of our people are Aussie Experts, having either lived or visited Australia, not to mention taken part in regular Tourism Australia training.
Where to start
Most holidays to Australia begin in Sydney. And what a place to begin! If you opt for the window seat on your flight you'll be welcomed with an aerial view of the city's sprawling harbour, the iconic coathanger shaped Sydney Harbour Bridge and nearby Opera House. The city is not Australia's capital (that honour goes to Canberra), but it is the most populus. It's fusion of city culture and beach life prove for many to be the perfect combination.
Other starting points...
- Brisbane to see beaches, tropical rainforests and to eventually work your way up to the Great Barrier Reef
- Melbourne for city culture and to drive the iconic Great Ocean Road
- Perth for beaches and wildlife watching – quokkas and whale sharks to mention a few
Things to Do in Australia
Australia may be big – we're talking the sixth largest country on the planet, stretching the same distance as Spain to western Russia – but it's not as daunting as it may seem. In fact, pick what you'd like to cover, and you can see the best of it in two weeks without any fears or worries. Still not sure where to begin and what to see? Enter our Aussie Experts, who have not only curated a list of things to do in Australia, but created holiday itineraries to help you actually do them.
See the Great Barrier Reef
It's undoubtedly one of nature's greatest wonders. But don't just take our word for it – Sir David Attenborough also used the same phrase when he visited the Great Barrier Reef recently. If you watched him delve beneath the ocean's surface, you would have enjoyed just a glimpse at how spectacular this aquascape is. If you've snorkelled the reef in person, you'll know nothing can quite compare to being there. The sheer size alone of the reef will astound: all in, it covers 133,000 square miles and is home to 1,625 species of fish, 133 species of sharks and rays, 30 species of whales and dolphins and 600 types of hard and soft coral.
How to do it: The most popular way to see the Great Barrier Reef is via a day cruise to a pontoon from which you can snorkel, dive or even reef walk. If you don’t fancy getting wet you can also get a glimpse via glass bottom boat, submarine or even with a helicopter flight over the reef. For the ultimate experience though, consider our Great Barrier Reef holiday itinerary which includes a four-night cruise of the reef.
Explore Sydney Harbour
If Australia had a worldwide stage, Sydney Harbour would be it. As the focal point of many of the country's celebrations, Sydney Harbour is no stranger to fireworks, yacht races, world-famous entertainment and top-class restaurants. On New Year's Eve in particular it's the place to be.
How to do it: The most common way to see the harbour is by cruise. If you’d prefer a challenge you can also climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which, if you can handle the 1,000 or so steps, will reward you with panoramic views of the harbour and Sydney city. For something even more unique, try soaring over the harbour in a seaplane on our Highlights of New South Wales holiday itinerary.
Australia's other famed icon, Uluru, is a monolith that's truly worthy of a visit. In fact never is Australia's vastness as palpable as it is on a Journey to the Red Centre. As the beating heart of the Outback, Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) and the nearby town of Alice Springs is where life runs at a slower pace, wildlife flourishes and age-old Aboriginal culture endures.
How to do it: Uluru is found in the arid centre of the country, specifically in Kata Tjuta National Park. To reach it, you’ll need to fly there. Once there, one of our favourite ways to discover this unique region is via the Sounds of Silence experience, where you'll watch the changing colours of Uluru at sunset accompanied by canapés, followed by an Australian-style dinner under the stars, lulled by the bellowing sounds of a didgeridoo. The dinner is included in our Sydney, Rock & Reef holiday itinerary.
Drive along the Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road is a scenic coastal highway which is part of a popular road trip that travels along Australia’s southern coast between the cities of Melbourne and Adelaide. The road is famed for incredible scenery which includes rugged cliffs, the towering 12 Apostles, famous surf beaches and surrounding wineries.
How to do it: To do the full road trip, we recommend starting in Melbourne and allocating around seven days to drive to Adelaide. Experience the ultimate itinerary on our Great Ocean Road holiday.
Watch wildlife on the Coral Coast
Located on the western coast of Australia, the Coral Coast is home to over 600 miles of pristine beaches, nature reserves and marine parks. As much of the region is protected, the Coral Coast is a veritable haven for wildlife watching, with common marine life sightings including dolphins, manta rays, turtles, whales, dugongs, coral and most notably, whale sharks. In fact the Coral Coast is one of the few places in the world where you can swim with the world’s largest fish. Another famous animal unique to the Coral Coast is the quokka, a very cute and photogenic marsupial which can be seen when visiting Rottnest Island.
How to do it: The Coral Coast is a fantastic region to explore by car with a number of wildlife-watching tours available. Our Coral Coast holiday itinerary includes 13 days car hire as well as a tour of Rottnest Island and a Whale Shark Discovery tour.
Other things to do...
- The majestic Blue Mountains in New South Wales
- The Twelve Apostles rock formations along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria
- Fraser Island, Queensland, where you can drive and camp on the beach
- Rottnest Island, where you can see Western Australia's selfie-famous quokkas
When to Go to Australia
No matter what time of year you visit Australia, there’s always a warm and sunny day to be found somewhere in the country. Indeed, there’s never really a bad time to visit the land Down Under. If you have a region or activity in mind though, some months are better than others. Below are just some ideas and tips for when to take your Australian holiday.
Summer: December to February
Summer in Australia is a fantastic time of year to visit, not just for the warm and sunny weather but also for many of the country’s events. While it’s not the best time to visit the north of the country (tropical storms and high humidity are common during this time), south of the country is where you’ll find ideal weather and a huge range of events including New Year’s Eve celebrations, Australia Day celebrations, the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, the cricket, the Australian Open Tennis, and the popular music event Falls Festival in Victoria.
Best places to visit in summer:
- The Great Ocean Road
Autumn: March to May
If the thought of 40-degree weather in summer is too much to bear, autumn is an ideal time to visit Australia. Though temperatures begin to cool off, weather can still be warm and sunny, providing perfect conditions for road tripping in Australia’s countryside, visiting wine regions and going bushwalking.
Best places to visit in autumn:
- The popular wine region of the Barossa Valley near Adelaide
- The Blue Mountains near Sydney
- The tropical waterfalls of Litchfield National Park in the Top End
- The beloved beach town of Broome in Western Australia
Winter: June to August
While winter sees cold and wet weather hit Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney, perfect conditions arrive in Tropical North Queensland and the Northern Territory. The season in the north of Australia is known as the dry season and while the temperatures remain warm, there’s less humidity, fewer storms and better visibility for snorkelling and diving.
Best places to visit in winter:
- The Great Barrier Reef
- Uluru and Kata Tjuta National Park
- Kakadu National Park in the Top End
- Hervey Bay near Brisbane for whale watching
Spring: September to November
Spring is a fantastic time to visit much of Australia, with temperatures and humidity still mild enough to visit places like the Great Barrier Reef and Uluru, while the cities like Sydney and Melbourne also experience good weather. Spring is also a fantastic time to see baby wildlife in the country’s abundant rainforests and national parks.
Best places to visit in spring:
- The Whitsundays
- The Daintree Rainforest near Cairns
- The Margaret River food and wine region in Western Australia
How to get around
Australia is big. Deceptively so. On the map it may be a small island on the other size of the world, but in reality it's the sixth largest country on the planet, stretching the same distance as Los Angeles to New York. Naturally, this isn't a country you cross by car very easily. Instead, it's best to pick the region you want to experience and explore by car (driving is the same as the UK), or pick a few cities and fly between them (our most popular itinerary Sydney, Rock and Reef does just that). If you'd prefer to take a slower pace by car, Australia's most famous road trip is the Great Ocean Road which travels from Melbourne to Adelaide, passing picturesque coastline and charming beach towns in-between. To set a perfect pace, we recommend allocating seven days to the Journey, as per our popular Great Ocean Road holiday itinerary.