Things to do in Australia

Things to do in  Australia

The wonderful land of Oz

Home to both the world's oldest living culture and some of its oldest landscapes, Australia has far more to offer than the laid-back lifestyle and beautiful beaches that attract most visitors. From the tropical north's reefs and rainforests to the snow-tipped peaks of Tasmania and cosmopolitan capitals to the magnificent red-tinged hues of Uluru, the Land Down Under is full of surprises—although some of the best things to do in Australia won’t come too far out of left-field; like surfing, sipping coffee, and road-tripping the more than 16,000 miles (25,750 kilometers) of postcard-perfect coastline.

Top 15 attractions in Australia

Great Barrier Reef

Encompassing roughly 3,000 individual reefs and dotted with almost 900 islands and coral cays (small sandy isles), Australia's Great Barrier Reef is one of the world's most unforgettable natural treasures. Snorkelers and certified divers flock here to see the unparalleled array of marine life.More

Sydney Harbour

With the iconic silhouette of the Sydney Opera House and the dramatic arch of Sydney Harbour Bridge etched against a backdrop of the glittering ocean and soaring skyscrapers, Sydney Harbour is Australia’s quintessential postcard image. The harbor, the natural heart of Sydney, features more than 150 miles (240 kilometers) of coastline lined with golden beaches, lush gardens, and vibrant neighborhoods.More

Sydney Opera House

A world-class performing arts venue and iconic Australian landmark, the Sydney Opera House—with its distinctive design by Danish architect Jørn Utzon—defines the Sydney Harbour district. Distinguished by soaring halls with a white ceramic–tiled exterior shaped to evoke the sails of a yacht, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must-see Sydney attraction.More

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Few sights are as instantly recognizable as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the grand centerpiece of Sydney Harbour and one of Australia's most photographed landmarks. The historic structure dates to 1932 and is among the world's largest steel arch bridges. It's also an important transport hub, linking downtown with the north shore, Manly, and Sydney's northern beaches.More

Brisbane River

The Brisbane River winds its way through the heart of the city, from the neighborhoods of South Brisbane all the way to Moreton Bay. The river is also a center of local life, and residents and visitors alike enjoy the many waterfront parks and landmarks, riverside walks, and sightseeing cruises.More

Great Ocean Road

Victoria's Great Ocean Road offers scenic surprises at every turn. In signature Australian style, dense pockets of rainforest, charming coastal towns, and canopies populated by koalas flank endless stretches of white, sandy beaches.More

Twelve Apostles

Situated right at the end of Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, the Twelve Apostles are a set of eight rock formations—there used to be twelve—jutting out of the Southern Ocean. These limestone pillars were once connected to the nearby cliffs but have been eroded away into caves, pillars, and arches from the harsh conditions of the ocean.More

Featherdale Wildlife Park

Located just outside Sydney, Featherdale Wildlife Park is home to one of the largest collections of Australian wildlife anywhere in the world. Visitors can see and learn about the park’s 1,700 native Aussie critters, including koalas, kangaroos, echidnas, saltwater crocodiles, emus, and some of the world’s most venomous snakes.More

Bondi Beach

As Australia’s most famous beach—and the star of its own reality TV show, Bondi Rescue—Bondi Beach delivers with its crescent of golden sand, crashing waves, and crowds of bronzed sunseekers. Just minutes from downtown Sydney, this is the spot to work on your tan, hit the waves, sip cocktails at a beachside bar, or hike along coastal cliffs.More

Swan River

The liquid heart of Perth, the Swan River touches many of the city’s neighborhoods on its way to the Indian Ocean. The river passes through the Swan Valley wine region, Perth’s Central Business District and affluent suburbs, and the port city of Fremantle, and there are lots of recreational opportunities on the banks and in the water.More

Uluru (Ayers Rock)

A gigantic monolith of rust-red rock looming over the desert plains of the Australian Outback, Uluru (Ayers Rock) is more than just a postcard icon—it’s the cultural, spiritual, and geographical heart of Australia, one of its most impressive natural wonders, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.More

The Rocks

Located in central Sydney, the historic precinct of the Rocks is the oldest area in the city and the site of the first European settlement. Full of history and character, today the Rocks is home to fashionable boutiques, artisan markets, historic pubs, trendy restaurants, and a thriving arts and culture scene.More

Bruny Island

Less than an hour from the Tasmanian capital and yet a world away from the busy streets of Hobart, Bruny Island draws a steady stream of weekenders from the mainland. North and South Bruny, joined by a long narrow isthmus, are a wildlife haven of jagged cliffs and golden beaches swirling with seabirds. Both are dotted with sleepy villages and tranquil guesthouses, and offer activities including hiking, fishing, and slurping fresh-from-the-ocean oysters.More

Rottnest Island

Fringed with rocky coves, white sandy beaches, and sun-soaked shores, Rottnest Island’s natural pleasures are numerous—whale-watching, snorkeling, hiking and wildlife spotting along the coast, and taking in the ocean sunsets. At less than an hour from Perth, Rottnest Island, or “Rotto,” makes for an idyllic retreat from the city.More

Kangaroo Island

With its unmistakably Aussie name, it’s little surprise that Kangaroo Island is one of the best places to spot native Australian wildlife. Australia's third-largest island, this unspoiled haven is a trove of natural wonders, from red rock cliffs to sandy beaches, sweeping dunes, and wild bushlands.More

Trip ideas

Best Travel Experiences in Australia, 2020

Best Travel Experiences in Australia, 2020

Top activities in Australia

Sydney Opera House Official Guided Walking Tour
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Grand Kuranda Incl Skyrail, Kuranda Scenic Railway and Rainforestation (CKBB)
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Spirit of Melbourne Dinner Cruise
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Spirit of Melbourne Dinner Cruise

Phillip Island Penguin, Brighton Beach, Moonlit Sanctuary from Melbourne
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Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

All about Australia

When to visit

There’s a reason why most people hit the beach in Australia’s summer (December–February)—it’s often excessively, overwhelmingly hot. Add in the threat of bushfires, floods, and cyclones, and you might think Australia is trying to deter you from visiting. And yet, summer brings with it countless festivals and major sports events in most major cities, from New Year’s celebrations in Sydney to the Australian Open in Melbourne and the Woodford Folk Festival north of Brisbane.

Getting around

There’s no overstating it: Australia is a large, vast country, with huge distances between its major cities. Prepare for long road trips to get around Australia by car, even if going from Melbourne to Sydney. And train travel isn’t very common, except for several special scenic trains like the Ghan through the Red Centre. Flying is the main means of transport for interstate travel in Australia, with regular flights out of regional airports.

Traveler tips

Australia has a reputation as a laid-back country, but there are some things that get taken very seriously in Australia and biosecurity is one. Don’t try to sidestep rules around bringing in prohibited goods, from fruits and vegetables to weapons, untreated wood, and animal products. And there are rules not just for entering Australia but also for moving between one state to the next, so be sure to read the signs and take them seriously.

Local Currency
Australian Dollar (A$)
Time Zone
AEDT (UTC +10)
Country Code

People Also Ask

What is Australia famous for?

Australia is a country famous for its unique and often dangerous wildlife, endless supply of sand beaches, the famous Great Barrier Reef, beautiful red deserts, cosmopolitan cities, relaxed attitude, and fondness for beer and barbecue.

What should you not miss in Australia?

In a country as large and remote as Australia, there’s never enough time to see everything. Places in Australia not to miss include the Great Barrier Reef, the city of Sydney, Victoria’s surfing-friendly coast, and Red Centre attractions such as Uluru and Kata Tjuta.

What is the number one tourist attraction in Australia?

The number one attraction in Australia, in terms of visitors, is the Sydney Opera House, which opened in 1973 and sees more than 10 million visitors a year. The sail-like space is cited as a masterpiece of 20th-century architecture.

What activities is Australia known for?

Popular activities in Australia take advantage of the country’s size and natural resources. Top visitor pastimes include surfing at its beaches, snorkeling and diving in the Great Barrier Reef, and road tripping through the Outback.

What are things you can only do in Australia?

Only in Australia can you get a selfie with a quokka on Rottnest Island, share a deserted beach with kangaroos at Lucky Bay, learn about Aboriginal traditions and culture in the Red Centre, and explore the world’s largest reef at the Great Barrier Reef.

Which part of Australia is most beautiful?

Australia’s diversity is one of its greatest features, but many would say that the most beautiful part of Australia is northern Queensland, owing to the picture-perfect shores of Whitehaven Beach (and others), the endless rainforest of the Daintree, and the famous underwater marvels of the Great Barrier Reef

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