Top things to see and do in Australia

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Australia is such a huge and diverse country, it’s pretty hard for us to name just a few things you can see and do whilst visiting. As a result, we have composed our ultimate top list of things to see and do in Australia. However, if you want a more detailed list, just click on the links throughout the post for more information on what to do and see in specific areas/cities!

Top Things to See and Do in Australia

1. Sunset and Sunrise over Uluru/Ayers Rock

things to see and do in Australia

Firstly, we would highly recommend visiting Uluru full stop, you can’t come to Australia really without visiting it! Whether you hire a car/camper, fly or greyhound bus there it is really up to you. Do be aware that air prices to and from Uluru are very expensive, rarely below AUDD$400 round trip without promotions. But do keep an eye out for Jetstar’s Free Return Sales as you can grab tickets for around AUD$190 round trip!
Another important thing to take into consideration is that Alice Springs Airport is a five hour drive from Uluru. So unless you want a long and very expensive transfer to your hotel in Uluru, do not fly into here!
Once there, do make the effort to wake up for sunrise. You’ll be amazed by the terracotta-coloured rock bathed in flaming red. At sunset, Uluru glows with blue and purple hues as the sun disappears under the horizon, it is honestly one of the most stunning things we have ever seen.

2. Scuba Dive or Snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef

things to see and do in Australia

Probably the one of the top things to see and do in Australia is the Great Barrier Reef. It has some of the finest and most exotic marine life in the world. It is also the worlds largest and most extensive coral reef system extending from Bundaberg in the south all the way to Cape York in the north. There are over 600 different types of coral, 1,625 different varieties of fish and 133 types of shark living amongst the reef system, now that’s a lot! If you visit during June and July you can expect to swim with Dwarf Minke Whales, which is absolutely unforgettable!
The Great Barrier Reef is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a title bestowed upon places of outstanding universal value and natural beauty. The reef, which can be seen from outer space, is undoubtedly one of the most stunning natural locations to be granted a UNESCO status.

3. Take a 4×4 onto Fraser Island

things to see and do in Australia

You can purchase an organised tour that will take you around the main sites of the island, however this is quite expensive and restrictive. We would suggest buying a permit for your vehicle and campsite, and stay overnight on the island. Make sure you do purchase a permit, as the ranges will check and will not sell you one if you forgot.
Fraser Island is the worlds largest sand island and an area of remarkable natural beauty. It was listed as a World Heritage Area in 1992. Make sure to visit:
> Lake McKenzie – The awe-inspiring beauty makes it the most visited natural site on the island. It is a ‘perched’ lake, which means it contains only rainwater and does not flow to the ocean.
> Waddy Point Headland – Where you can take in a vista of beach and ocean. Watch for sea turtles, sharks and stingrays coasting along.
> The Cathedrals – Are coloured sand cliffs that have been sculpted by the wind and rain blowing in off the Pacific Ocean.
> Maheno Shipwreck – Is the most famous of the Fraser Island wrecks, was driven ashore just north of Happy Valley during a cyclone in 1935.
> Eli Creek – Is the largest creek on the eastern beach of Fraser Island, it pours up to four million litres of clear, fresh water into the ocean everyday!

4. Overnight sailing on the Whitsundays

things to see and do in Australia

This is definitely one of our favourite things to see and do in Australia. Airlie Beach is located on Australia’s east coast, the Whitsunday Islands are a popular destination for tourists and backpackers alike. The overnight tours typically last three days and two nights, and vary from luxury and small numbers (around 6-8 guests) to backpacker, party boats (with up to 30 guests). We would highly recommend going with iSail Whitsundays, they are a great company with onboard activities, snorkelling and amazing friendly staff!
All tours will take you to the famous Whitehaven Beach, however iSail are one of the first boats to arrive the next morning, meaning you pretty much have the whole lookout to yourself, which you definitely want, if you want those great photos!

5. Surf in Byron Bay

things to see and do in Australia

Anyone who loves surfing will know Byron Bay is a haven for surfers, it’s like the Bali of Australia. Relaxed, chilled and a great hippie vibe, be sure not to miss this small town on your way up/down the east coast! Byron Bay isn’t only for surfing, it is also home to the most easterly point of Australia, make sure to drive/walk up to Cape Byron Lighthouse. Along the way, look out for dolphins (year-round) and migrating whales during their northern (June to July) and southern (September to November) migrations.

6. Climb the Harbour Bridge

things to see and do in Australia

When asked whether you should climb the harbour bridge, we get a lot of mixed reviews. Some say it would be an experience of a lifetime, and others say it’s simply too expensive. However, in our opinion, it is honestly a once in a lifetime experience, and it is totally worth the money. We went during sunset and it was stunning! The views from the top of the bridge are breathtaking and we saw a side to the Harbour we had not seen before.
If you are concerned about budget, consider ways in which you can reduce spending in one area for a week so you can fit it in. Perhaps camp, use Airbnb (click here for AUD$40 off your first stay!) or stay in cheaper hostel accommodation.

7. Drive the Great Ocean Road

things to see and do in Australia

It is one of the most famous and best drives you can do in the world. Beginning one hour outside of Melbourne in Torquay. It stretches over 250 kilometres to Warrnambool, and attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year.
Make sure to visit:
> The 12 Apostles – They are the highlight of anyones trip to the GOR. These massive limestone structures tower 45 metres above the ocean and were formed some 20 million years ago as the sea gradually eroded the soft limestone cliffs. There are only eight remaining and forming the backdrop are magnificent cliffs of up to 70 metres high.
> Gibson Steps – Just down the road from the 12 Apostles, where you can walk down to the beach for a great close up view.
> Loch Ard Gorge – Again just down the road from the 12 Apostles, take the stairs down to the beach to witness this amazing place.
Click here to find out more awesome things to see and do in Melbourne and the surrounding area (Coming Soon!)

8. Experience Kakadu National Park

things to see and do in Australia

Make sure to spend enough time here, rushing this will just lead to disappointment. It offers stunning landscapes, unique flora and fauna, outback adventures and star-gazing at night. If you don’t have time to experience Kakadu properly then we suggest to postpone until you can, as you’ll just be wasting your time and money.
It’s located not too far from Darwin. Once you’re in Kakadu, besides your camping and entrance fees your costs are minimal as it’s just nature you’re exploring. Experience abundant wildlife including crocs, kangaroos, Australian darters and other native wildlife whilst you’re there. We think it’s probably one of the most ‘Australian’ places you can go to!

9. Have a selfie with a quokka on Rottnest Island

things to see and do in Australia

Rottnest island is most famous for one peculiar attribute on the island that has spread its reputation far and wide. A small furry marsupial that looks like the unnatural unification between a kangaroo and a rat, a Quokka! It is also classified as the ‘happiest’ animal in the world, how cute!
Rottnest Island is located 18 kilometres west of Fremantle, Western Australia. The island covers 19 square kilometres and is a popular holiday destination for Perth locals. Lined with 63 beaches and 20 bays, there’s a very good chance you’ll find yourself on a sandy secluded stretch of pristine beach.

10. See wild dolphins in Monkey Mia

things to see and do in Australia

If you love dolphins and want to see them in their natural habitat, this is a must. Don’t be worried about not seeing them, as you’re 99% guaranteed to. They have been returning to the same area for the last 50 years! The surrounding area also has beautiful landscapes, secluded beaches, camel trekking and kayaking tours, making it a great place for families and travellers alike. A range of tours are available, from dolphin cruises and yacht charters to Indigenous cultural tours. Search the list of Monkey Mia tours.

Do you have any further questions, additional places to add to our list, or you just enjoyed and found this useful? If so, do not hesitate to comment below on your thoughts! We love hearing from you guys! ???? Happy Travels!

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By | 2018-02-02T08:44:13+00:00 November 16th, 2016|Australia, Australia Road Trip: Pre-Trip Planning|6 Comments

About the Author:

Hey there I'm Emma! A luxury and adventure travel blogger. I've currently travelled to 53 countries with no plans to stop! I hope I can inspire you to travel the world with my travel guides, travel and blogging tips, as I believe travel is for everyone. So come and travel well for less with me!


  1. Barry 11/17/2016 at 12:17 pm - Reply

    I’ve been lucky enough to call Australia my second home for the past few years and without a doubt Aussie land has some special places. I’ve managed to see most of your suggestions and highly recommend all of them to other travellers. Even better still is there is one or two left for me to see. Saved to my Pinterest for later.

    • Luxurybackpacking 11/17/2016 at 12:50 pm - Reply

      Hi Barry!
      That’s amazing, we have been so lucky to call Australia our second home for the past two years as well! Australia is truly a remarkable country and we could have added a whole lot more to the list, but we will be saving some great other ones for specific cities/areas throughout Australia!

      Happy Travels!
      Emma & Yannick

  2. Loudy 11/29/2016 at 1:46 am - Reply

    This last months im very intersted in visiting Australia. But reading your post made me more intersted in it????????

    • Luxurybackpacking 11/29/2016 at 11:30 am - Reply

      Hey Loudy!

      Australia is such a beautiful country, we highly recommend it! Thanks we are glad that our post has helped you!

      Happy Travels!
      Emma & Yannick

  3. Lynda 12/31/2016 at 8:22 pm - Reply

    Getting a selfie with a Quokka is on my bucket list 😀

    • Luxurybackpacking 12/31/2016 at 10:07 pm - Reply

      Hi Lynda!

      It is top of our bucket list too! Hopefully will tick it off when we drive round Australia in 2018!

      Happy Travels!
      Emma & Yannick

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