With incredible beaches, fascinating cultures, wonderful wildlife, and a plethora of cities to explore, it’s no wonder that Australia ranks highly on many people’s bucket lists. Chances are, you may well have considered visiting the land Down Under yourself. But here’s the thing about Australia. It is absolutely huge, so you are never going to see everything within one trip to this glorious country; well, not unless you are considering long-term travel, that is.
To help you narrow down your bucket list itinerary, we will highlight some of the destinations that we think are well worth a visit. You might not get the opportunity to explore all of them, but by picking just one or two, your trip to Australia will still be made worthwhile.
Without further ado then, here are (what we believe) the must-visit destinations for your Australian bucket list.
The Gold Coast
Located in the Australian state of Queensland, the Gold Coast has you covered if you are interested in a beach holiday. With 35 miles of coastline, you have 20 different beaches to explore, including Surfers Paradise, Mermaid Beach (there are no actual mermaids, unfortunately), and the fabulous Palm Beach. For your information, here is a guide to the best Gold Coast beaches. Relax under the sun, learn to surf, go for a swim, or venture off the beaches and into the Hinterlands for an incredible rainforest adventure. The Gold Coast is also home to some of Australia’s best theme parks, including the Warner Bros Movie World (perfect for Harry Potter fans), and Wet ‘n’ Wild if you’re not averse to getting a little…erm… wet and wild! The nightlife is awesome too, especially around Surfers Paradise, with a vast array of bars and nightclubs for all tastes, whether you want to dance the night away or watch live stand up comedy and musical acts. In short, the Gold Coast is an awesome must-visit destination to add to your bucket (and spade) list.
The Great Barrier Reef
As we have already discussed on this website, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s greatest wildlife destinations and is officially known as one of the 7 Wonders Of The World. Located off the coast of Queensland, there are 900 islands to set foot on, and 3,000 coral reefs to explore below the waters, with a countless array of colorful fish, sea turtles, manta rays and more to get up close and personal with. There are too many highlights to mention, but we would be remiss to ignore the Yongala Shipwreck, which is fully explorable just off the coast of Townsville, and the summer tours that operate from Port Douglas and Cairns that give you the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to swim with whales. Beach lovers won’t want to miss Whitehaven Beach on the Whitsunday Islands, with 4.3 miles of white-sanded beauty. And if you want to spend more time on foot than under the sea, you should also explore the Daintree Rainforest which is located in Far North Queensland. Emerald green vines and lush canopies await in this World Heritage paradise, the oldest living rainforest on the earth. Absolutely incredible, so if nature is your thing, be that under the water or amongst the trees, we wholeheartedly recommend you add the natural wonders of the Great Barrier Reef to your bucket list.
After Sydney, Melbourne is the second largest city in Australia, and is famous for being the world’s most liveable city! You can find this out for yourself, whether you mix in with the locals at an Airbnb or reside in one of Melbourne’s top hotels, including the towering IBIS Melbourne Central. While the city can’t compare with Sydney for famous landmarks, it is renowned for its multicultural vibe, which is present within the diverse neighborhoods dotted around the 3,858 square miles of the city. Check out the fantastic world cuisine, the eclectic music scene, the vast number of shopping experiences, and the marvellous street art that brings the city to colorful life. This is the place to be if you want to experience some of Australia’s best cultural events, with food and wine, jazz, and comedy festivals adding to the city’s arts calendar. And this is also the place to be if you want to be near some of Australia’s other top getaways, including the Mornington Peninsula, with its hot springs and wine tours, and Phillip Island National Park, which is home to one of Australia’s largest penguin colonies. So, if you’re looking for the city experience, and want something more than the touristy experiences of Sydney, then we think Melbourne is well worth a look-in.
This remote town located between Darwin and Adelaide in Australia’s Northern Territory is the place to be if you’re interested in Australia’s Aboriginal cultures. With tours of Aboriginal sacred sites, visits to art galleries selling Aboriginal art, and the opportunity to mingle with local indigenous people, a stay in Alice Springs promises to be an educationally fascinating experience. This is also the place to be if you want to explore the Outback, get up close and personal with kangaroos, and enjoy the idea of camping in the wilds more than a luxury hotel stay. There’s also wildlife parks, Botanic Gardens, camel rides, and the world-famous hot springs to entice you over to this part of Australia. With stunning sunsets, red desert sands, and picturesque gorges and watering holes, this is also, outside of the marine life of the Great Barrier Reef and the tropical paradise of the Hinterlands, one of the most beautiful places to visit in the country. In short, we highly recommend Alice Springs for your Australian bucket list, especially if you are looking for a rich and diverse cultural experience.
Australia has more to offer the bucket list visitor, of course. But considering the vastness of the country, it would take us forever to list every worthwhile city and landscape to visit and explore. But continue your research online, and seek out other experiences that we haven’t had time to mention here. Let us know your thoughts too, and if you have visited the country, and have ideas for our reader’s bucket lists, please remind us of those must-visit places that have made up your itineraries.