From Iconic Places To Offbeat The Beaten Path Destinations
Australia is a country with dramatic landscapes and contrasts like no other. When planning a trip for the first time, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed when choosing where and what to see. Below you will find our picks for the top destinations of Australia and the most iconic places, as well as less touristy yet beautiful places worth adding to your trip itinerary. You can also purchase our book to help you craft Your Australia Itinerary.
The Australian Cities
There is no trip to Australia without seeing Melbourne and Sydney! These two Australian cities are where many international travellers coming to Australia start their trip itinerary. Located on the eastern Coast of Australia, Melbourne and Sydney are ideal getaways to Tasmania, the warm tropical destinations of Queensland and Northern Australia, and many epic road trips on the East Coast of Australia. Below is our destination guide with the best cities to visit in Australia.
MELBOURNE is the largest and most exciting city to visit in Australia, and it is the traveller’s friendliest city in the world. Make sure you grab the brochures about the free guided walks and free trams, at th Visitors Centre at Federation Square Melbourne offers heaps of cultural events and street entertainment, from street arts to night markets. From Melbourne, visit its beautiful surroundings on day-trips.
SYDNEY is Australia’s most beautiful city. The unique and impressive Sydney Harbour and Sydney Opera House are two main icons. Its busy city buzz and the famous beaches of Bondi and Manly draw millions of visitors from all over Australia and overseas. Sydney offers many fun activities in its amazing outdoors. There are many short day trips that you can do in Sydney’s surroundings.
PERTH is the most isolated city in the world, with +2 million population. It draws many tourists from South East Asia and Europe who are keen to set off on epic road trips around the beautiful South West or to head north to some of the most pristine coastal areas of the Ningaloo Coral Reef. Perth South West Coast is a top-rated destination for food & wine lovers as well ass surfing beaches.
ADELAIDE Adelaide is a lesser-known Australian city for overseas visitors. However, for food and festival lovers a top destination. If you love seafood and wine Adelaide must be on your Australia itinerary, with a trip to the Fleurieu Peninsula, Barossa Valley and more popular wine regions. It’s the gateway to top-rated places in Australia, Kangaroo Island, The Outback Flinders Ranges, the Eyre Peninsula and York Peninsula and also to the Red Centre of Australia.
BRISBANE is not as exciting as other Australian cities but still retains its flair and good vibe. Southbank and its city centre offer heaps of activities in its great outdoors. The largest Australia Zoo is only one hour drive away. The city is the gateway to nearby coastal attractions: the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast and Fraser Island. Great flight connections to Cairns and the Whitsundays.
BROOME is the pearl of the North Western Coast of Australia. With its unique contrast of outback and tropical settings, this is a place that must be on your list if you plan to visit Western Australia. With its world-famous crowd-free beaches and stunning rock formations, Broome is the getaway to the Kimberley Region, the most ancient Outback region of Australia.
DARWIN is a top tropical destination in the Northern Territory of Australia with a warm climate throughout the year. Being a gateway to all major Australian cities as well as Asian destinations from Darwin you can start your trip to the Kakadu National Park and the Litchfield National Park. The best time to visit these places in the Northern Territory is towards the end of the wet season, from March onwards with May being the best month for a visit.
CAIRNS and the Great Barrier Reef are the biggest attraction in Australia. With 2000 km along the East Coast, the Great Barrier Reef is the most visited destination in Queensland. Port Douglas known for its beach resorts. Home to two World Heritage Sites, the Daintree Rainforest and Carins with the GBR. There are many places to visit in Tropical Queensland.
From the East Coast to the West Coast Of Australia
Australia is all about road trips. It offers many short- to long road trips on the East Coast of Australia. Knowing the distances is critical when planning a trip. From Melbourne to Cairns is +4000 km. Below you will find guides about the East Coast broken down into South East Coast, the Gold Coast and Northern Tropical Queensland. Australia’s West Coast road trips destinations are ideal for long-term travellers with a camper van.
THE EAST COAST is a top destination for many first-time visitors to Australia. While it stretches from Melbourne to Cairns, it is often associated as Sydney to Cairns trip. With over 3000km you need 3 to 4 weeks to cover it all. But you can choose just a section with the best places for your trip itinerary. Here you find the all top locations not to miss out, if you love nature and wildlife.
SOUTH EAST COAST of Australia stretches between Sydney and Melbourne and offers an easy road trip itinerary to those who are seeking more relax and nature at its best. From pristine beaches, dramatic lookouts forests and national parks, as well as lakes, rivers and inlets, the South East coast is also a top destination for camping lovers.
THE GOLD COAST is a touristy destination in Australia, yet worth a visit. With +50 km of beaches, national parks, walking and cycling trails, to theme parks, shopping malls, markets, festivals and entertainment around the hour, it offers something for everyone. The best way to get to the Gold Coast is a train or bus ride from Brisbane. Alternatively, you can hire a car and tour the Gold Coast attractions by yourself.
WEST COAST AUSTRALIA covers over 4000 km from Albany to Cape Leveque. It’s a long long way. Starting from Perth you can travel north to Kalbarri, Shark Bay and Coral Bay region, and even further north to tropical Broome and Exmouth. On the Southbound you can explore the wine regions of Margaret River and naturalist areas down south to Albany.
If you love road-tripping and nature, you will likely have Tasmania or Kangaroo Island on your trip itinerary. Kangaroo Island is an easy drive and a road trip adventure for nature lovers. Tasmania has demanding places regarding time and activities, as this is a top hiking destination in Australia with hundreds of short to long walking tracks. Please find below our picks for places to visit Australian biggest islands.
FRASER is the largest sand island in the world, with a truly unique eco-sytem. Halfway between Brisbane and the Whitsunday Islands, it is a beloved destination by backpackers and the ideal getway for a 4WD road trip adventure. Either on a self-drive trip or on an organised tour, make sure you plan 2 full days here to explore the island and soak in its pristine environment.
TASMANIA is the smallest of the six states named after Abel Tasman, who sighted in 1642. Its pristine forests, secluded natural areas, historic towns, and the Cradle Mountain and Australia’s most famous hiking trail: The Overland Track is a haven for keen hikers. If you live walking and eating good food, Tasmania must be on your trip itinerary.
KANGAROO ISLAND is located in South Australia, off the coast of Adelaide. A true paradise if you love untouched nature, breathtaking beaches and natural parks with stunning rock formations, and native Australian animals. A great destination for bush walking, food and wine tastings. For travelling around the Kangaroo Island the best way is on a self-drive trip.
ROTTNEST ISLAND is a small island off the coast of Perth. With 64 beaches and secluded bays is a paradise for locals and visitors alike. Being a car-free island, it’s only possible to visit by shuttle bus. You can also tour the island by bike.. Catch the ferry in Fremantle for a day-tour; I recommend visiting on a sunny day with low or no wind, as the wind makes it pretty challenging to cycle around the island.
Outback Destinations in Australia
Australia Outback destinations are unique landmarks of Australia, rich in natural treasures as well as traditions and culture. Travellers return to Australia on their second or third trip only to explore more remote destinations Outback. Below is an introduction to some of the most beautiful outback destinations you cannot miss out on when travelling the Australian Outback.
RED CENTRE AUSTRALIA is a top-rated destination in Australia and no. 1 among all iconic destinations. Despite being a tourist destination, a visit is worth your time and money. A trip to the Australian Red Centre must include Ayers Rock and Kata Tjuta, Kings Canyon, the Western MacDonnell Ranges and Alice Springs. The best time to visit is between April and May. Hiring a car and going on a self-drive is the way to go.
KIMBERLEY AUSTRALIA in North Western Australia is the most ancient Outback region of Australia. With a region of the size of Germany you need a couple of weeks to do justice to this vast region. For hikers, nature and wildlife lovers, this is a top destination of Australia that must be on your itinerary.
BROKEN HILL is a small outback town, and a National Heritage site, with a rich mining history that you can explore by visiting its fabulous museums. However it is the cultural and artistic history that lends the charm to Broken Hill. Over 40 art galleries, the Sundown hill dotted with 12 world-famous sandstone sculptures, the living desert natural reserve and the nearby Silverton with Mad Max Museum, home to many popular films in Australia are just a few of the many attractons.
CUNNAMULLA is a lesser-known Outback region in Western Queensland, located 1000km from Brisbane. If you plan to explore some unique Outback destinations and dive into more authentic Outback lifestyle, Cunnamulla is a great place for a road trip adventure. Explore its surrounding area set among The Warrego river, hot springs and quirky landmarks, you will be fascinating by this small Outback Town.
Best Australian Road Trips
Australia has many top road trips. There are endless possibilities for creating your road trip journey, even when travelling alone. Our picks are from easy day road trips to multi-day on-the-road adventures. From main cities to coastal and Outback regions and food regions. Australia has premium food regions worth visiting, from Margaret River, 300 km south of Perth, north and south of Adelaide, to the Hunter Valley, 300 km from Sydney and more regions.
GREAT OCEAN ROAD TRIP is no 1 road trip on Australia bucket list. This 300km drive from Melbourne takes you along one of them most spectacular scenic drive in the world. Dotted with beautiful beaches, forests, rock formations and stunning ocean views, this road trip is filled with many outdoor adventures: from bushwalking to beach surfing, to zip-lining, scenic flights and more.
ROAD TRIPS FROM MELBOURNE From Melbourne there are many day or multi day road trips with easy reach. The Dandenong Ranges and the Wilson Promontory is a top-rated destination for locals and tourists alike, in Melbourne’s surroundings. From walking to tasting food and premium wines of the Yarra Valley to exploring Healesville and Marysville to seeing wildlife in the Wilsons Promontory National Park.
SOUTH AUSTRALIA is a great place for road trips along the beautiful coastline and peninsulas as well as into the remote Outback regions of the Flinders Ranges. From Adelaide it’s only a 3 hour drive to Yorke Peninsula, one hour to the southern Fleurieu Peninsula and to nearby Barossa Valley.
SYDNEY’s surrounds offers many road trips, along the beautiful south East Coast. An easy drive is Jervis Bay, a top destination for whale watching as well as a relaxing holiday surrounded by the beaches and ancient national parks. From Sydney it’s an easy drive to the Blue Mountains and Canberra on your way to Melbourne.
Tools and Resources to help you plan your Australian Adventure
Below is a list of useful pages and resources to help you plan your Australian Destinations smartly. Click on the icons below or the links, or check out this guide on planning your travels to Australia now. If you need help, feel free to contact me here.