Best places to visit in Australia

21 BEST Places to Visit in Australia

Australia’s a big country! That’s why it’s difficult to decide on the best places to visit in Australia. When you have so many great places you can visit, it’s easy to fall victim to decision fatigue.

That’s why I’ve decided to compile this list to help you decide where to go in Australia. The size of Australia means there are a lot of places you should visit.

Cities such as Melbourne and Sydney have to be visited while you’re in Australia. They are incredible cities that are known around the world for their sights. You also have places like Adelaide and Brisbane which are just as good as the two more famous cities but get scant attention.

The beauty of Australia is that some of the best places to see are outside of the big cities and in the wilderness. Uluru, the Devil’s Marbles and Wilson’s Promontory are examples of some of the fantastic places you’ll find while travelling around Australia.

This is not a definitive list of the best places to see in Australia. They are my recommendations, which include places I enjoyed while I was in the city and other notable spots you should check out!

Best places to visit in Australia

With so many places to see in Australia, it’s hard to narrow it down to a select few. Yet, that’s what I’ve tried to do here.

For ease of use, I’ve separated the places by state, instead of just listing them all in one. This way you can easily browse through and see what the best places to visit are in the part of Australia you’re in, or travelling to.

New South Wales

New South Wales is one of the most popular parts of Australia to visit. This is due to it being the home of Sydney, but there are other great places to visit in New South Wales too!

Byron Bay is a lovely little town, while the coastline has some fantastic spots such as Coffs Harbour and Yamba.

Blue Mountains

Three Sisters

The Blue Mountains National Park is one of the most scenic places to visit in Australia. It’s an ideal place to go on a day trip from Sydney.

The main attraction in the Blue Mountains is the Three Sisters. This is an outcrop of three rocks that sit above the ledge of a cliff. It’s a spectacular sight, as the picture above illustrates.

You’ll find numerous trails in the park that you can wander around to explore more of the park. It’s just not just the Three Sisters that you can marvel at, there are plenty more sights too!

Byron Bay

Cape Byron lighthouse

Byron Bay is one of the most popular places to visit in Australia and there’s a lot of reasons why.

It’s one of the most scenic places in the country, exemplified by the iconic lighthouse at Cpe Byron which overlooks the Pacific Ocean. You can’t visit Byron Bay without hiking to the lighthouse and checking out the incredible view!

Another reason to visit Byron bay is that it has some fantastic beaches. This part of Australia is blessed with incredible beaches and Byron is no exception. If you love surfing or just relaxing at the beach, then Byron is somewhere you can’t miss out on.

The town is also renowned as a bit of a party spot. If you like a night out or a few drinks, you should enjoy yourself in Byron!

Sydney

Sydney Harbour Bridge

If you don’t visit Sydney while you’re in Australia, you’re mad. It’s as simple as that! Sydney is an amazing city and with two of the most recognisable moments in the country, the Harbour Bridge and Opera House, you have to visit to see them.

Words don’t do justice to how incredible the bridge and the opera house are in person. You have to see them to appreciate their beauty. The good thing is that there are many more things to do in Sydney as well as visit these icons of Australia.

One of them is to visit another icon, Bondi beach. It’s a beautiful if busy, place to visit on a sunny day. The Bondi to Bronte coastal walk is a must-do when you’re there. You get to appreciate the beauty of the area as well as check some other great beaches too!

Sydney is without a doubt one of the best places to visit in Australia. It’s a marvellous city with a lot of history and a lot to see!

Northern Territory

Despite not being the most visited part of the country, you will find plenty of interesting places to see in the Northern Territory.

This part of Australia contains some of its best sights, including the iconic Uluru. Heading north toward Darwin, you’ll find some excellent national parks and intriguing natural landforms.

Darwin

Sunset over Darwin

Darwin is one of the best cities in Australia. It’s the northernmost city in the country and has distinct seasons as a result.

This means when you visit Darwin is key. If you visit during the wet season from November to April, you’re going to see a lot of rain. You may have day after day of torrential rain which stops you from doing anything.

In contrast, if you visit during the dry season from April to September, you’ll get almost constant days where the temperature is in the low 30s and it’s sunny.

You’ll be able to explore the beautiful sights of Darwin, such as the marina and Mindil Beach while basking in the glorious weather!

Devil’s Marbles

Devil's Marbles

The Devil’s Marbles is one of the best places to visit in Australia if you want to see a strange natural formation. The marbles are gigantic granite boulders that looked like they have been arranged by an intelligent being.

The reality is that they are the result of millions of years of erosion, which has created a rounded appearance.

It is odd to step out of your car in the middle of the outback and see gigantic marbles all around you. Your mind does begin to wander and think about how can this be. There’s no doubt the Devil’s Marbles is one of the most unusual places in Australia!

The marbles are an intriguing sight and you’re unlikely to see anything like them in many other places around the globe. Checking them out is a must if you’re driving through the outback.

Kakadu National Park

Kakadu National Park

Kakadu National Park is a gigantic national park at the top end of the Northern Territory. It’s the size of Wales, which shows just how big Australia is!

Due to its size, you won’t be able to explore all of Kakadu but you can still see a lot regardless. One thing you have to check out is some of the Aboriginal artwork, some of which is over 20,000 years old!

Kakadu has a lot of fascinating sights, including numerous rock formation and waterfalls. You could spend the whole time there chasing waterfalls if you wanted!

You can also hop on one of the riverboats and whizz down one of the waterways in the park while you’re there. If you’re lucky, or unlucky depending on your perspective, you might see a few crocs too!

Uluru

In front of Uluru

Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is one of the most widely-known landmarks in Australia. The gigantic rock in the middle of the outback is a symbolic and magical place to visit.

I remember when I stepped out of the car and looked at Uluru for the first time, it was hard to believe it was real. It felt like someone had put a huge cardboard cut off a rock in the middle of the desert.

Uluru looks identical to how you see it in photos, except for the fact that it’s so impressive up close. An interesting fact about the rock is that it changes colour depending on the time of day you visit.

At sunrise, Uluru is a bright red and as the day goes on it changes to an orange hue as the sunsets. Both experiences are magical and exemplify why Uluru is one of the best places to go to in Australia! 

Queensland

Queensland is a favourite location for many people backpacking in Australia and there’s a good reason for this. 

There are so many excellent places to see in Queensland, that you could spend a good month seeing them all. From golden beaches, amazing cities and rainforests, Queensland has a lot to offer!

Brisbane

Story Bridge view

Brisbane is one of my favourite cities in Australia. It’s a lively place with a lot to see and do, the only downside is that there is no beach. But that’s only a slight discrepancy in the city.

You have to visit Brisbane while you’re in Australia. The story bridge isn’t the Sydney Harbour Bridge but it’s impressive nonetheless. while the Southbank is a brilliant place to visit with plenty of museums and gardens to check out.

Brisbane doesn’t get the attention Melbourne and Sydney get, but it has its own special character. The locals refer to it as Bris Vegas due to its reputation for a good party, particularly in the Fortitude Valley part of town.

I liked how it felt like you were in the middle of a city but you can walk ten to fifteen minutes and feel like you’re away from all the hustle and bustle. It’s this reason why I loved Brisbane so much.

Cairns

Cairns esplanade
Image Credit: Balou46

Cairns is the northernmost city in Queensland and the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. If you want to see this incredible natural wonder, then you have to visit Cairns!

The reef is the prime attraction in Cairns and you shouldn’t miss out on it. However, there is more in Cairns than just the reef.

The city has a lot of museums to browse and there are numerous parks close to and just outside the city to explore.

You’ll also find a marina in the middle of the city in which you can relax and enjoy the warm weather if you visit during the dry season. Don’t make the mistake I made and visit during the wet season. When it rains in Cairns, it rains and then some!

Gold Coast

View of Gold Coast

The Gold Coast was the first place I visited in Australia and it remains one of my favourite places in the country.

The main reason is the glorious beaches such as Surfer’s Paradise that you’ll find stretching down the coast which gives the city its name. If you’ve got a picture in your mind of golden sand and blue skies, the Gold Coast exemplifies that.

The sand stretches for miles and is a perfect place to relax in the sun, learn to surf or explore nearby national parks. The Gold Coast is a lively place too and if you like to party, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to do so.

My Gold Coast travel guide goes into detail if you want to find out more about this stunning beachside city!

Hervey Bay

Hervey Bay

Hervey Bay is a lesser-known spot, but it’s one you shouldn’t miss out on while you’re travelling around Queensland.

It’s a small town north of Noosa but it’s a beautiful place. The beach here is spectacular and due to it being quieter than other spots on the East Coast you can enjoy it more.

Walking along the beach is a relaxing activity and you can go surfing if you wish to. You’ll plenty of parks to explore as well.

Hervey Bay has a slower pace of life but if you’re looking to relax and get some sun for a few days, it’s a perfect place to go.

South Australia

South Australia is often the forgotten state in Australia. Most people neglect to visit, preferring to go to the East Coast or stay in the big cities.

This is a mistake. There are a lot of great places to see in South Australia! I spent a lot of time in the state while I was in Australia and loved it.

Far from being boring, South Australia has a lot of interesting and fascinating places you should check out!

Adelaide

things to do in Adelaide

Adelaide is one of the best cities in Australia. This is despite the common belief that it’s a boring city. As my Adelaide travel guide will tell you, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

The city is a fun and interesting place with a lot to do. You’ll find plenty of museums and galleries to check out in the city, while the huge botanic gardens is a fantastic place to relax in the sun.

You’re not far from the beach in Adelaide either. You can hop on the tram to Glenelg or rent a bike and cycle to Henley beach. with two great beaches on your doorstep, you’re split for choice when it comes to having fun in the sun!

I loved my time in Adelaide, so much so that I went back there twice! With so many fun things to do in Adelaide, you’d be stupid not to visit.

Coober Pedy

Coober Pedy landscape

Coober Pedy is without a doubt one of the weirdest places I have ever visited. If you’re unfamiliar with the place, it’s a mining town in the middle of the outback far removed from civilisation.

But the peculiarities don’t stop there. Due to the intense heat, houses are built underground to escape the sun. Walking around these underground homes is a surreal experience, as is visiting an underground church.

You’ll also find a golf course in Coober Pedy. There may be no grass but you can still play 18 holes, but only after sunset once the temperature has dropped.

Coober Pedy is a surreal place. It feels like you’re on Mars at times due to the outback landscape. You may need to drive from Adelaide to Darwin to get there, but it’s worth it. It’s a place you’ll never forget should you visit.

Port Eliot

backpacking in Port Elliot

Port Eliot isn’t the most well-known place in Australia, never mind South Australia, but it’s one you should check out.

It’s a small beachside town about two hours drive from Adelaide. One reason you should visit is because of the beach, which is spectacular. You can learn to surf there or just relax and enjoy the view.

If you’re in the area during the winter, Port Eliot is a fantastic place to go whale watching. You can see whales congregate close to shore as they give birth to their offspring.

It’s an incredible sight and an experience I’ll never forget!

Tasmania

Tasmania is another part of Australia that can often get forgotten while you’re visiting the country. It’s understandable as it’s located off the mainland but if you get the chance you should visit.

You’ll find some of the best scenery in Australia, comparable with backpacking around New Zealand and an array of wildlife and beaches that rival the mainland!

Hobart

Hobart is the biggest city in Tasmania and one you should check out while you’re on the island.

The city was founded as a penal colony by the British in 1804 and you can still remnants of this across the city today. If you want to learn about the city’s past, a visit to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery is a must.

Another place to explore is Mount Wellington, which is a mountain as the name suggests. There are multiple viewpoints at the op which give you a fantastic view of Tasmania!

Hobart is also a good base to explore Tasmania. You can go on numerous day trips to Wineglass Bay and Bruny Island.

Victoria

Along with New South Wales, Victoria is the most populous part of Australia. The state has a lot of great places to see and a lot of them revolves around Melbourne, the biggest city in the state.

You can go on numerous day trips from Melbourne to explore the wider area and check out beautiful places such as Phillip Island, the Dandenong Ranges and the Mornington Peninsula.

Grampians

Balconies Grampians

The Grampians is one of the best national parks in Australia. In this sprawling park, you’ll find plenty of amazing natural landscapes and lots of wildlife.

I visited the Grampians during an Adelaide to Melbourne drive and it was one of my favourite parts of the journey. The scenery in the park is incredible and it was teeming with kangaroos, koalas and wallabies.

The balconies is one place you have to see. It’s a rock formation, that resembles two balconies above one another with a gap in between. You also get a fantastic view of the park from up high.

You’ll find numerous waterfalls in the park too. While you can’t swim in them, they provide drinking water to the local area, you can admire their beauty!

Melbourne

Southbank in Melbourne

Melbourne is one of my favourites in the world, never mind Australia. There are so many things to see in Melbourne that you’ll never run out of stuff to do.

I lived in the city for four months and loved it! It’s a cosmopolitan city and there’s always something happening and somewhere to go. If you’re a culture vulture, you’ll love the city, as there’s plenty of galleries and museums to occupy your time.

Likewise, sports lovers will be at home in the city. Melbourne hosts several sporting events throughout the year. It’s well worth coordinating your trip to Melbourne with one if you want to witness and see the city in the grip of sporting fervour.

As well as all that, you’ll find plenty of great beaches, a wide variety of cuisine to sample and a beautiful city that will make you want to stay beyond your trip!

Wilson’s Promontory

Whisky Bay

Wilson’s Promontory is one of the lesser-known places to visit in Australia but it shouldn’t be! 

This national park at the southernmost point of mainland Australia is a beautiful place. It’s home to some of Australia’s best beaches, such as Whiskey Bay and Squeaky Beach.

One of the best things about Wilson’s Promontory is its seclusion. This adds to its mystique. Because of where it’s located, it’s not the most visited place. The lack of visitors means a lot of the natural surroundings have been left intact.

This means you can admire the beauty of the place and not contend with scores of tourists like you can in some places such as the Great Ocean Road.

It may not be the easiest place to reach, but Wilson’s Promontory is certainly one of the best places to see in Australia!

Western Australia

Western Australia is almost as neglected as South Australia. Due to the size of Australia and most of the major cities being located on the East Coast, the western part of the country can be left out of a lot of itineraries.

This is a shame as Western Australia is a beautiful place and places such as Broome and MONKEY mia rival what you’ll find on the East Coast.

Broome

Sunset at Broome

Broome is one of the best places to visit in Australia for a variety of reasons. One of the main ones is the fantastic cable beach, which is spectacular.

Sunrise and sunset here are fantastic and you’ll also get to witness the incredible spectacle of camels walking up and down the beach!

Broome is popular with backpackers and there’s a lively atmosphere in the town, which means you’ll invariably have a good time!

Monkey Mia

Sunrise at Monkey Mia

Monkey Mia isn’t the most well-known place in Australia but it’s one of the best. The main attraction in Monkey Mia is the bottlenose dolphins that frequent the shore.

Not many of us can resist the charms of dolphins and it’s this reason why Monkey Mia has become such a popular place to visit in recent years.

You can get up and close with the dolphins and witness them in their natural habitat. As well as dolphins, you can visit Shell Beach, which is only one of two places in the world where shells replace sand!

You can also check out some of the world’s oldest living fossils at the Hamelin Pool Stromatolites. If you’re in Western Australia, Monkey Mia is one place you shouldn’t miss out on.

Perth

Perth at night

Perth is the biggest city in Western Australia and also the most isolated city in the world. Despite the large distance from other cities in the country, it’s still an interesting place to visit.

You’ll find plenty of great parks to explore and there are numerous beaches nearby you can relax at too!

Perhaps the best place to visit while you’re in Perth is nearby Rottnest Island. It’s a beautiful place and it’s home to quokkas! Little critters that give koalas a run for their money as the cutest animals in Australia!

Perth has a reputation among Australians as being a bit ob a boring place. Ok, it may not be the most exciting city in the world, but there is a lot to do here and the surrounding area is beautiful!

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