Things to do in Australia
Things to do in Australia
There are endless things to do in Australia – from snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef to exploring cosmopolitan cities, from discovering Uluru and the surrounding sweeping plains to trekking through humid, tropical rainforest. Even then there are the natural landscapes of Tasmania – an island whose mineral formations have more in common with North America than the ‘mainland’. As there is so much to see and do in Australia, we have broken down the main attractions by region in this guide.
New South Wales
NSW is home to one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world – Sydney. This city is the entry point for most first-time visitors to Australia, and merits a few days to explore its major sights including the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Bondi beach.
Outside of the city the region has much to offer, including the Blue Mountains, the vineyards of Hunter Valley, Lord Howe Island and plenty of beautiful coastal towns.
Also known as the ‘Sunshine State’, Queensland has a tropical climate with countless superb beaches, pristine rainforest and the incredible Great Barrier Reef. Heron, Lizard and Hamilton Islands all offer the chance to stay out amongst the reef. Meanwhile, Cairns and Port Douglas are perfect for exploring the lush tropical north and the Daintree rainforest.
Roughly the size of the British Isles, Victoria offers unique and varied landscapes including sweeping coastlines, pristine beaches, national parks and forests. The capital, Melbourne, is a diverse cultural centre and is the starting point for one of the world’s most scenic drives – The Great Ocean Road. Explore the wildlife of Phillip Island, the beautiful Mornington Peninsula and the wine region of the Yarra Valley.
The Northern Territory
The classic Australian outback landscapes and the famed Uluru (Ayers Rock) can be found in the Red Centre, reached from the town of Alice Springs. Little-visited are the tropical wetlands of the Top End. This vibrant area is home to many species of birds, flora and fauna, spectacular gorges and ancient rock carvings. The capital city, Darwin, is Australia’s closest city to the equator, and is the first or final stop for The Ghan train. The city is the starting point for visits to the Kakadu National Park and Aboriginal regions of Arnhem Land and the Tiwi Islands.
Sometimes overlooked by travellers, Western Australia has much to offer. Discover the rugged landscape of the Kimberley in the north, with fewer people per square kilometre than almost any other place on earth. Swim in the warm turquoise seas of the Indian Ocean off the Coral Coast, explore the Ningaloo reef in the north-west (and snorkel with the whale sharks), or drive to the vineyards, forests and beaches of the south-west.
South Australia boasts world-class wineries, scenic countryside, classic Australian outback scenery and excellent wildlife viewing. Uncover the cosmopolitan city of Adelaide, the vineyards of Barossa Valley and the wildlife of Kangaroo Island. Visitors to the north of the state can discover the opal-mining town of Coober Pedy – where more than half the population lives underground – and the mountainous Flinders Ranges.
Tasmania has some unique flora, with extremely diverse vegetation ranging from grasslands and eucalyptus forests to alpine heathlands. Much of the natural environment is protected in reserves, national parks, and world heritage sites, resulting in untouched wilderness areas that support an abundance of wildlife with some excellent hiking trails. The island has a fascinating penal history; more than 70,000 men, women and children were transported here in the early 1800s, and many of the towns and structures built during that time are still standing today.