Australia is a modern country with a warm climate and a rich blend of natural scenic beauty, entertainment and cultural diversity like no other place in the world.

If you have always wanted to travel Down Under, go backpacking or take a gap year in Australia, booking a flight to discover the highlights of Australia really is the trip of a lifetime.

If you do not know where to start in this diverse and vast country, do not worry, we have put together a guide to some of the most unmissable activities.

Here is a list of unmissable things to do and places you should visit in Australia.


1. Explore Sydney 

Sydney ferry

If you want to experience Australia's most iconic city, then visit Sydney. This city is the perfect starting point of any Australia trip and the city is connected to airports around the world.

Here are some reasons you will love Sydney:

  • For starters, you can visit the iconic Sydney Opera House for the famous skyline photo and experience some world-class arts entertainment.
  • The city is home to Sydney Harbour as well as several stunning beaches that are perfect for sunbathing and surfing like Bondi and Many.
  • Sydney has so many restaurants offering multi cuisine dishes from all around the world.
  • One of the oldest museums in the country, the Australian Museum is well worth a visit. You will get to see a wide collection of displays, including dinosaur bones and mummies and also learn more about Australia, its interesting wildlife, geography and inhabitants
  • There are so many day trips from Sydney where you can see places like the Blue Mountains which are one of the most scenic places to see in New South Wales.
  • If you would like to stay a little longer view our guide to working in Australia, you can find lots seasonal-jobs-working-holidays in Sydney and once you visit you wil realise why most people want to stay.

5 days in Sydney is the perfect amount of time to visit the city and see the highlights at a relaxed pace. From Sydney it is easy to explore the rest of the country by plane, bus, train or driving.


2. Travel The East Coast

Byron Bay

There are so many popular places to visit on the east coast of Australia and this really is one of the best regions to travel in the whole world.

You could travel from Sydney to Cairns, or vice-verse, taking in popular places like Fraser Island, Brisbane, Byron Bay, the Great Barrier Reef.

The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is one of the places you would not want to miss while touring the East Coast. At this wildlife sanctuary, you can see Koala bears in the wild and get a glimpse of animals found natively in Australia, some of which include wallabies, emus and kangaroos. View volunteering programs in Australia if you would like to help koalas or other animals.


3. Go in Search of the Best Beach

Ningaloo Reef

No trip to Australia is complete without visiting one of its stunning beaches. These are some of the most highly rated to add to your itinerary:

  • Whitehaven Beach, Queensland
  • Turquoise Bay, Western Australia
  • Cossies Beach, Cocos (Keeling) Islands
  • Wineglass Bay, Tasmania
  • Bondi Beach, Sydney
  • Vivonne Bay Beach, Kangaroo Island
  • Bells Beach, Victoria
  • Cable Beach, Broome

Be sure to visit The Gold Coast which is one of the best places to visit due to having 21 beaches spanning 35 miles. You can go windsurfing, kite boarding, and surfing on one of the many beaches in the Gold Coast and discover hidden coves and secluded beaches if you want some quiet time.


4. Scuba Dive at the Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef

Famed for being the worlds' largest coral reef, the Great Barrier Reef is the only living organism visible from outer space. Upon visiting this natural wonder, you can:

  • Take a boat tour going out to see the reef in person.
  • If you have a large budget you could book a helicopter ride to get breathtaking views of the Great Barrier Reef from above.
  • Snorkel or go scuba diving among the varied, multi-coloured sea creatures that live beneath the crystalline waters.
  • This is one of the best places to go scuba diving in Australia and if you are new to the sport there are taster sessions and PADI courses available to book. 

The Great Barrier Reef really is a destination to tick off your bucket list. 


5. Great Ocean Road

Great Ocean Road

There are so many great road trips in Australia but not many compare to the spectacular Great Ocean Road. You can do this independently or on an organised trip.

The Great Ocean Road is over 240km long, and the route runs from Torquay to Allansford, which is located close to Warrnambool. The road begins approximately 100km from Melbourne.

You might want to rent a car and drive from Melbourne, or view Australia tours for group trips with a guide.


6. West Coast

Ningaloo Reef

Ask anyone who has been to travel West Coast they will tell you it is the best coast. Okay, it doesn't have the adulation of the East, nor attractions like the Great Barrier Reef, but there are spectacular natural destinations which are untouched by mass tourism.

You could fly to Perth and spend a few days going road trips, or plan at least 7-14 days to see all the highlights of Western Australia. You'll get to see some amazing destinations which are some of the lesser-known places in Australia far away from the crowds.


7. Explore the Australian Outback

Ayers Rock, Aussie Outback

The Australian outback is one of the few remaining wilderness areas in the world. You can book tours, rent a car, van or a 4-wheel drive to traverse the rugged landscape.

Below are a few tips to keep in mind when going for a road trip to see Australia's expansive outback. 

  • If you decide to visit independently view some tips for driving in the Outback and make sure to take a few pit stops. You will want to take some photos of the amazing outback scenery. The diverse landscape is dotted with picturesque gorges, stunning riverbeds and thundering waterfalls. These are also perfect places to cool off
  • The terrain can be impassable during the rainy season. Peak months run from June to August, but find a place to stay in advance to avoid high accommodation fees
  • Be sure to visit Ayers Rock especially to see sunrise, the way this famous attraction changes colour is magical.

View our tips what to pack for the Outback.


8. Watch a Live Sports Event

Gabba, Brisbane, AFL game

Attending a sporting event is one of the top things to do in Australia because you get a chance to meet new people. Some sporting events worth attending include:

  • The Australian Open – Better known as the Grand Slam, this event takes place in Melbourne from mid-January to end month
  • International Rugby Sevens – Head down to Adelaide and watch 16 countries compete to be crowned rugby champions. This sporting event is hosted in April
  • Grand Prix – Go to Melbourne in March and watch cars racing at furious speeds during the Grand Prix.
  • Surfest – This is one of the premier surfing competitions in Australia. You can attend it in March at the Merewether Beach, Newcastle
  • AFL - The national sport of Australia which is a mix of footbal and rugby, expect high action.
  • Cricket - Australia has one of the best cricket teams on the planet and you can try to watch a live international or league game.    


9. Fraser Island 4x4 Adventure 

Fraser Island

Fraser Island is a an exceptionally beautiful island located off the coast of Queensland. Expect white sandy beaches, sand cliffs, rainforests and spectacular freshwater lakes with crystal clear waters.

You can book day trips to Fraser Island, or overnight camping 4x4 adventures! Highlights include relaxing on deserted beaches, swimming in the lakes to 4WD-ing off roasting on the sand dunes.


10. Sailing in the Whitsunday Islands

Airlie Whitsunday Islands

Book a sailing tour to see the spectacular Whitsunday Islands and get ready to see one of the most beautiful places in the world

There are 74 Whitsunday Islands located between the north coast of Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef.

Expect some of the most incredible beaches in the world, vast stretches of coral teeming with marine life and dense rainforest. From swimming, snorkelling to hiking and visiting white sandy beaches, you will want to stay here forever. 

You can book sailing tours from Airlie Beach or online.


Other Popular Activities

If you have more time and a flexible schedule here are some more popular things to do Down Under:

Yes Sydney gets all the attention but consider exploring more cities like Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide - all are different and are home to lots of cafes, restaurants, art galleries, museums and more. View this Melbourne 2 day itinerary for ideas how to visit this city. 

Outdoor Adventures
From hiking and sightseeing, to rock climbing and skiing, Australia has it all when it comes to outdoor adventure. A few places to visit for adventurous travellers include:

  • The Victorian Alps – The summer is a great time to hike, bike, rock climb, fish or scale peaks in the Victorian Alps
  • Overland track in Tasmania – This track spans about 60 miles and will take six-days and five-nights to hike. The epic trail takes hikers from Cradle Valley in the north to Lake St. Clair in the south
  • Daintree rainforest – Explore the lush woods of Daintree rainforest on foot by taking walks on one of the many nature trails. There are also River tours offering opportunities to spot crocodiles on Daintree River
  • If you visit during winter you can go skiing in Australia - no really!

Explore Tasmania
Go off the beaten track to discover the island of Tasmania. Less touristy than the mainland, here you can explore the capital city of Hobart, see beautiful nature, find deserted beaches or climb mountains. 

If you have a taste for wine take a wine-country day trip in the Yarra Valley. You will be able to taste grapes fresh from the vineyards besides sampling some of the exquisite wine brands that are exclusive to Australia. Make sure to book a guided wine tasting tour to learn about the rich history of wine making in the region.


Plan a Trip to Australia

We hope our list of things to do in Australia has given you some inspiration for activities and destinations.

Of course, there is a lot more to do and to make the most of your trip, make sure to stay for a 2-4 weeks or more, especially as getting here from almost everywhere is a long journey.

Also keep in mind that applying for a tourist visa and booking flights and accommodation in advance will help you to enjoy a cheaper trip.