Australia may be big, but our Travel Experts know it better than anyone – which is where this epic list comes in. Escape the tourist horde and really get under the skin of the Land Down Under with these top 50 activities and excursions, perfect for your Australia holiday:
1. Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland
There are plenty of ways to see the reef – from above in a helicopter, from the sandy bottom while scuba diving, or from within a glass helmet on the underwater OceanWalker experience, with Quicksilver Cruises. But none are as accessible, as immersive, as snorkelling. Simply grab flippers, goggles and your snorkel and take the plunge, gazing down as an aquatic wonderland opens up beneath you. Keep an eye out for elegant turtles, giant Maori wrasse and clown fish (aka Nemo), to name a few.
Make the most of your time underwater (and with the fishes) on our Great Barrier Reef in Depth Journey.
2. Climb Sydney Harbour Bridge in Sydney in New South Wales
Easily Australia’s most recognisable landmark, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is something you’ve just got to see when visiting Sydney. You can see it from many spots throughout the city, but for the best view you can’t beat climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge. BridgeClimb Sydney offers a number of climbing experiences including a sampler climb, twilight climb and even night climb. The most popular experience is the day climb which will see you walk up 1,332 steps to the top of the bridge, with the help of expert Climb Leaders. Once at the top you’ll enjoy 360-degree views of Sydney before venturing down again. All together the climb takes around 3.5 hours.
The BridgeClimb is included in a number of our holidays including our Sydney & The Great Barrier Reef Journey.
3. Try the Sounds of Silence dinner or Bushmans’ Breakfast at Uluru, Northern Territory
Whether you’re a night owl or an early bird, glimpsing Uluru in the golden hours of dawn and dusk is unmissable. At the Sounds of Silence dinner, you’ll enjoy sunset canapes with the mighty icon ahead of you, before enjoying a meal by starlight, lulled by tales of the night sky and the rock’s Aboriginal roots. Rise early for the Bushman’s Breakfast to catch Uluru before the crowds, and gaze on as its ever-changing face shifts from that of a black shadow to a russet-hued giant.
Our Northern Territory in Depth itinerary includes the Sounds of Silence dinner, as well as a day exploring this sacred Aboriginal site.
4. Drive the Great Ocean Road in Victoria
With coastal highways dotted with charming towns, Australia is made for a road trip holiday. And no stretch of road is more scenic and spectacular than the Great Ocean Road in the south eastern state of Victoria. Officially beginning in the beachside town of Torquay, the drive follows the coastline south and along to Allansford. Highlights along the picturesque stretch include the limestone Twelve Apostles formations (be sure to visit before midday to avoid the crowds), Bells Beach, The Otways where you can take in rainforest scenery, as well as Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve where you can see koalas, kangaroos and emus. Check out our Great Ocean Road holiday.
5. Take a quokka selfie on Rottnest Island in Western Australia
The quokka selfie craze may have been around since 2015, but there’s no sign of its popularity diminishing. A snap with this cute, furry, happy-looking marsupial will definitely top off your Western Australia photo album… but, beyond the trend, it’s an amazing experience to actually see these adorable animals up close on Rottnest Island, home to 12,000 of the pint-size critters. Now that’s a wildlife encounter worth writing home about.
Embark on our South West Highlights holiday and you’ll go a Discover Rottnest Island tour, complete with lunch and – hopefully – a mob of quokkas for you to pose with.
6. Cruise Wineglass Bay in Tasmania
Small and separate from Australia’s mainland, Tasmania is a haven of natural wonders and wildlife, and is said to have some of the cleanest air in the world. Its star attraction in terms of nature is Wineglass Bay within Freycinet National Park. Shaped in a curve like a wine glass (hence the name), the bay features the winning combination of sapphire coloured water and pure white sand, landing it on many ‘best beaches in Australia’ lists. Within and around the bay there are plenty of activities to take part in. including bush-walking, rock climbing and sea kayaking. Our favourite way to take in the landscape though is on a cruise where you can also spy a range of wildlife including penguins, dolphins, seals and whales. Browse our Tasmania holidays.
7. Explore Flinders Ranges National Park and take in the scenic Wilpena Pound, South Australia
A natural amphitheatre covering nearly 20,000 acres, Wilpena Pound is an impressive sight. From above, you’ll capture its grand scale and, from the ground, you’ll be entranced by its undulating hills and crags. This, and Flingers Ranges National Park where it resides, is where Australian bushwalking really comes to life. You can choose from 13 great hikes here, but our favourite for a challenge is St Marys Peak. It’ll take you a good seven hours and the going will get tough as you climb upwards, but the Wilpena Pound vistas at the summit are ample reward.
Search for wallabies and emus on foot and take to the skies on a scenic helicopter flightseeing tour of Wilpena Pound on our South Australia in Depth holiday.
8. View the Heart Reef on a helicopter from Hamilton Island in Queensland
There are plenty of spots that look impressive from above Australia, but none more so than the iconic Heart Reef. A helicopter or seaplane is the best way to see this romantic coral composition, and make out its shape. It’s also the only way to see it; visitors are unable to snorkel or dive here because the waters around the reef are fiercely protected. It’s the crown jewel, the epicentre and, quite literally, the beating heart of the Whitsundays.
Soar over the Heart Reef, Hardy Lagoon and the white wisps of Whitehaven Beach on our Queensland Wildlife & Nature holiday.
Australia has many culinary moments you won’t want to miss; fine dining in Melbourne, incredible coffee in Sydney, fantastic wine in South Australia, brunch in Byron Bay. But if we had to recommend just one single dining experience to you, it would be a simple barbecue enjoyed by the beach. Most of Australia’s popular beaches are lined with public parks featuring playgrounds and open barbecues, and these are the perfect places to enjoy lunch before or after a swim. Contrary to popular belief (and iconic TV advertisements), a ‘sausage sizzle’ is the classic Australian barbecue signature, which involves serving a barbecued sausage folded in a slice of buttered bread and topped with barbecued onion and ketchup.
10. Sample Australian wines in the Yarra Valley in Victoria
One of Australia’s premier wine regions, we love the Yarra Valley not only for its wine but also for its accessibility and scenery. Located around an hours’ drive east from Melbourne, the Yarra Valley is best known for producing Chardonnay and is home to over 70 wineries and cellar doors. For the ultimate experience in the region we recommend staying overnight and rising early for a sunrise hot-air balloon ride over the Yarra Valley, followed by a Champagne breakfast and day of local wine tasting. You can enjoy this experience on our Boutique Victoria Journey.
11. Sip wines in Margaret River, Western Australia
12. Ride The Ghan through South Australia and the Northern Territory
13. Watch the Penguin Parade on Phillip Island, Victoria
14. Feast on Moreton bay bugs at beautiful riverside restaurants in Brisbane, Queensland
15. Explore Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Tasmania
16. Sail the Whitsundays and stop off at Whitehaven, Queensland
17. Learn to surf at Bondi Beach, New South Wales
18. Drive a 4X4 on Fraser Island, Queensland
19. Spot crocs in Darwin, Northern Territory
20. Lose yourself in the Laneways of Melbourne, Victoria
21. Stay at a luxury lodge – like Spicers Peak (pictured above), Queensland
22. Visit Ramsay Street in Erinsborough, Victoria
23. Look for the rare cassowary bird in Daintree, Queensland
24. Discover the vineyards of the Barossa and Clare Valleys, South Australia
25. Hang with ‘roos in the meadows of Kangaroo Island, South Australia
26. Cruise the Murray River, South Australia
27. Kayak with dolphins in Adelaide, South Australia
28. Sleep on the Reef, Queensland
29. Go for brunch in Byron Bay or the Surrey Hills, New South Wales
30. Swim alongside sea lions in Port Lincoln, South Australia
31. Connect to Aboriginal culture in Alice Springs, Northern Territory
32. Take a helicopter ride over the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland
33. Visit MONA, Tasmania
34. Hike through the Blue Mountains, New South Wales
35. Get up-close to whale sharks in Ningaloo Reef (Apr-Jul), Western Australia
36. Cruise the Katherine River to Katherine Gorge, Northern Territory
37. Drink coffee in Salamanca, Hobart, Tasmania
38. Take in the views at Kings Park and Perth Botanic Garden, Western Australia
39. Hang with turtles on Lady Elliot Island, Queensland
40. Go off the beaten track in the ancient, remote Bungle Bungles, Western Australia
41. Discover the creeks and waterfalls of Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory
42. Relax in the boho beachside town of Byron Bay, New South Wales
43. Tour the Sydney Opera House, New South Wales
44. See the Field of Light, Northern Territory (until March 2018)
45. Ride in a hot-air balloon over the Atherton Tablelands, and see kangaroos and vineyards below, Queensland
46. Do a walkabout with an Indigenous guide in Tropical North Queensland
47. Walk along the Cape to Cape Track for stunning coastal views, Western Australia
48. Try craft beers at Fremantle’s Little Creatures, Western Australia
49. Visit Adelaide in March for the massive comedy-tastic Adelaide Fringe Festival, South Australia
50. Take a wildlife cruise to Seal Rocks, home to 16,000 fur seals, Victoria