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The Best Places to Visit in Australia

When planning a visit to Australia, the options can seem endless. And indeed they are. No one trip to Australia can take in everything, but it is possible to experience the country’s stand-out highlights. Below I’ve shortlisted just some of my personal favourites. For more ideas, check out our Australia holidays, or talk to one of our Experts about creating a bespoke itinerary with your favourite highlights from below.

Sydney, New South Wales

Australia’s largest and oldest city, Sydney enjoys a picturesque and sprawling harbour location. Beloved for being a big city with beaches on its doorstep, Sydney offers a multitude of things to do for visitors, from historic museums to trendy neighborhoods and scenic beaches.

Best for: Sweeping views

Top things to do:

  • Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge
  • Take a tour of the Opera House
  • Laze on Bondi Beach

How to visit: As home to Australia’s main international airport, Sydney is a fantastic place to begin your Australia holiday. We recommend spending at least three days in Sydney, before hiring a car and driving up the coast towards Brisbane or south towards Melbourne. For itinerary ideas, see our Sydney holidays.

The Great Barrier Reef, Queensland

Undoubtedly one of Australia’s most famous attractions, the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef stretches for over 120 miles along the east coast of Australia in Queensland. Its immense size makes the Great Barrier Reef the largest living structure ont the planet, as well as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The reef is home to a multitude of wildlife, including 400 different kinds of coral, over 1,500 species of tropical fish, dolphins, rays, sea turtles, giant clams and more.

Best for: Snorkelling and diving

Top things to do:

  • Join a cruise out to the Great Barrier Reef
  • Fly over Heart Reef in a helicopter
  • Go on an underwater safari in a semi-submersible

How to visit: With a sprawling size, there are a number of places within Queensland from which you can visit the reef. One of the most popular starting points is Cairns in Tropical North Queensland. It’s possible to fly to Cairns from most of Australia’s major cities including Sydney. From Cairns or nearby Port Douglas, most travellers opt to take a cruise out to Agincourt Reef where you can then choose from a number of ways to see the Great Barrier Reef, including snorkelling, scuba diving, submarine, helicopter and the 'Ocean Walker' helmet dive. It’s possible to even sleep on the Great Barrier Reef too. For more ideas, see our Great Barrier Reef holidays.

Uluru, Northern Territory

An iconic symbol of Australia, Uluru – also commonly known as Ayers Rock – is a large sandstone monolith located in the heart of Australia’s Red Centre. Dating back 550 million years, the site is considered to be sacred by Indigenous Australians, namely the Anangu people who are the traditional custodians of Uluru. In addition to the site’s incredible history and culture, Uluru is also an immense site to see, with the monolith’s elevation measuring 863 metres high, and the colour changing throughout the day, especially at sunset.

Best for: Sunsets and Indigenous culture

Top things to do:

  • Take a guided tour around Uluru
  • Learn about local Indigenous culture
  • Enjoy dinner in front of Uluru with the Sounds of Silence experience

How to visit: The best way to reach Uluru is by flying into Alice Springs. From there it’s a six-hour drive to reach Uluru, where there are a number of hotels to choose from. One of our favourite ways to experience Uluru is on our Sydney, Rock and Reef Journey which includes two nights in Uluru staying at the Voyages Desert Garden Hotel, as well as the Sounds of Silence dinner experience.

Melbourne, Victoria

Melbourne is Australia’s second largest city, located at the bottom of the east coast in Victoria. Popularly regarded as Australia’s cultural capital, the city is beloved for its restaurants, cafés, boutiques, nightlife, sporting events, art galleries and more. Melbourne’s dining scene is particularly famed for being the best in Australia, with some of the world’s best restaurants and food trends calling Melbourne home.

Best for: Foodie adventures

Top things to do:

  • Stroll along the Southbank
  • Explore the city’s laneways
  • Catch the tram to the beachfront suburb of St Kilda

How to visit: As one of Australia’s major cities, there are a number of ways you can visit Melbourne. Opt to start your Australian holiday by flying into Melbourne, or drive there from either Sydney or Adelaide. After you’ve spent a few days in the city, there are a number of scenic road trips you can take, the most popular being the Great Ocean Road drive from Melbourne to Adelaide. For more itinerary ideas, see our Melbourne holidays.

Fraser Island, Queensland

Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world, stretching for over 74 miles along the coast of Southern Queensland. World Heritage-listed, the island is home to a range of attractions including over 100 freshwater lakes, rock pools, rainforest, shipwrecks and wildlife. One of the island’s biggest draw cards is its sand highway along 75 Mile Beach, best experienced on a 4X4 tour.

Best for: Outdoor adventure

Top things to do:

  • Go for a swim in the freshwater Lake McKenzie
  • Do a 4X4 tour of the island
  • Spy humpback whales between June to October

How to visit:

Fraser Island is located around a three-hour drive north of Brisbane. The drive is ideal as part of a larger road trip of Australia’s Nature Coast, with scenic locations such as Hervey Bay and Noosa nearby.

The Barossa Valley, South Australia

The Barossa is Australia’s most famous wine region, found in the South Australian countryside. The region is home to over 150 wineries and 80 cellar doors, boasting famous Australian wines such as Penfolds, Jacob’s Creek and Wolf Blass. The valley is also beloved for its local produce and food scene, particularly cheese, meats and eggs.

Written by Lauren Burvill

Australian born but London based, I'm a sucker for big cities and small tropical islands. When travelling, I like eating like a local, dressing like a local, but staying in 5 star style. Have a travel story to share? Tweet me @laurenburvill.

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