Discover Australia's cities, from Sydney's famous harbour to Melbourne's cutting-edge cultural precincts and Darwin's laid back ambience. Visit Canberra's national attractions, lie on Perth's white beaches or wander Adelaide's expansive parklands. In all our cities, the skyscrapers and shopping strips are just a short drive from mountains, ocean, river and bush.
Sydney enjoys a relaxed outdoor and beach lifestyle, combined with arts and culture, fine food and wine, nature and cosmopolitan shopping and nightlife.
Life in Sydney centres on the harbour. Catch a ferry at Circular Quay for views of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge from the water. Darling Harbour is a favourite family leisure and entertainment precinct.
In the city centre, historic arcades such as the Queen Victoria Building and The Strand are packed with designer fashion stores. In Newtown, find vintage fashion and quirky boutiques; while Mosman and Double Bay have more upmarket boutiques and cafes.
Unwind in tranquil spaces such as Centennial Parklands, Hyde Park or the Royal Botanic Gardens. Don’t miss the world-famous beaches of Bondi and Manly. The city’s coastal walks are a perfect way to take in the golden beaches, dramatic headlands, sandstone cliffs and national parks.
Sydney is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the east, the Blue Mountains to the west, the Hawkesbury River to the north and the Royal National Park in the south.
Melbourne is a well planned city with wide flat streets laid out in a grid. Renowned for its shopping, in the jigsaw of tiny laneways hidden behind the main streets you’ll find one-off boutiques, galleries, and hole-in-the-wall cafés, bars and restaurants. With its rich multicultural heritage, you’ll find everything from European-inspired cafés to authentic Asian food. Try Lygon Street for its famous Italian cuisine. Further afield, Victoria Street, Richmond; Johnston street, Fitzroy; and Chapel Street, Prahran offer great shopping and more casual dining.
Hop on a tram to St Kilda; stroll along the Yarra River, or wander through the many parks and gardens that surround the city centre.
Enjoy the bayside beaches that stretch along the arc of Port Phillip Bay. Less than an hour away to the east you’ll find world-class wineries in the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges. Head west for the historic goldfields of Bendigo and Ballarat. To the north lies alpine country. South you’ll find the watery playgrounds of the Mornington Peninsula and the Great Ocean Road.
There are few capital cities in the world where bush and parkland are so integrated into the city plan. See native plants and animals at Black Mountain, Red Hill, Mt Ainslie, Mt Majura, Mt Taylor and Mt Pleasant, which are all within the city limits.
Extending from the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, the well-planned roads of Canberra offer extensive cycle paths, world-class mountain biking and city walking trails. At night stylish restaurants come alive with a vibrant entertainment scene.
The warm tropical days and nights are perfect for enjoying Brisbane’s many attractions. Wander through the gardens at South Bank Parklands, Roma Street, Brisbane Forest Park and Portside Wharf. Admire the historic sandstone buildings; stroll along the shores of the Brisbane River at South Bank and swim in the sandy lagoon, unique in a city centre.
Popular activities include the Story Bridge adventure climb and rock climbing at the Kangaroo Point cliffs; or cycle one of the many bicycle pathways that skirt the city.
The Queen Street Mall has almost a kilometre of chic shops and arcades; while the bohemian precinct of The Valley, has edgy young designer shops. Hunt for treasure at the weekend outdoor markets.
East of the city are some of the world’s largest sand islands and excellent beaches. In the south are the surf beaches of the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast. Escape inland and you’ll pass the heritage-listed forests, country towns and lakes, valleys, rivers of the Scenic Rim and Country Valleys, all less than one hour from the city.
Adelaide is a neat, flat city surrounded by superb gardens, overlooking the banks of the River Torrens. Stroll along the wide boulevards and historic buildings of North Terrace and Rundle Mall for boutiques showcasing high-end fashion. Adelaide is highly regarded for its fine food and quality restaurants. Gouger, Rundle, Hutt, O’Connell, Melbourne and Leigh Streets, King William Road and The Parade at Norwood are good places to start. The Adelaide Central Market is a great way to spend a Sunday morning.
Ride a tram to the beachside precinct of Glenelg. Visit Port Adelaide for museums, river cruises and the famous dolphin sanctuary.
Less than an hour from the city are some of Australia’s best wine regions, including the Barossa Valley, Coonawarra, Clare Valley, McLaren Vale and the Fleurieu Peninsula. Start your exploration at the National Wine Centre of Australia in the city centre. Just off the mainland is Kangaroo Island, with its pristine beaches, desert landscapes, unique wildlife, and outstanding fresh organic produce.
There are many ways to enjoy the relaxed lifestyle of Perth. Free buses get you around the CBD where you can visit the Perth Mint, Swan Bells Tower, Art Gallery of Western Australia and many more attractions. King Street, Murray Street and Hay Street malls have many boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants.
Go fishing from the edge of the Swan River, with its picturesque picnic spots and walking tracks or sail to sandy bays and beaches such as pretty Matilda Bay. More than 80 kilometres of clean, uncrowded beaches make Perth's coast ideal for swimming and surfing, and to experience Perth’s beach side suburban lifestyle.
Wander through Kings Park botanical gardens and try the treetop walk for a view of the city. Jump on a ferry to South Perth for great views of the Perth skyline.
Visit the vibrant port of Fremantle, or head in the other direction, stopping for wine tasting in the Swan River vineyards. Northbridge, Mount Lawley, Leederville and Subiaco have buzzing nightlife; while Cottesloe and Scarborough have a more relaxed vibe.
Tropical Darwin offers a relaxed outdoor lifestyle combined with multicultural experiences, exciting wildlife encounters and fun events. It’s a small city, and easy to get around. You won’t find skyscrapers and high-rise buildings here, everything about Darwin is down-to-earth.
Sacred Aboriginal sites exist in and around Darwin, where you can learn about the world’s oldest living culture. Darwin also played an important role in Australia’s WWII history and many relics remain from this time.
Much of the city's social activities take place at open air markets, outdoor festivals, in parks and reserves, by the beach or on boats down on Darwin Harbour.
Mitchell Street is the heart of Darwin’s restaurants and pub scene. The Darwin Waterfront Precinct and Mindil Beach night markets all offer entertainment, while the sleepy suburb of Parap on the outskirts of the city has some of the best collections of indigenous art in Australia.
Hobart is a city of natural beauty and cultural heritage characterised by warm sandstone buildings, bright sails on the water and fishing boats at the docks. Throughout this small, walkable city you’ll find 19th-century waterfront warehouses and many sites showcasing Australia’s convict history. Around Sullivan’s Cove, where the famous Sydney to Hobart yacht race finishes, there are good restaurants and unique shopping. Every Saturday the outdoor Salamanca Market comes alive.
Beach areas around Hobart include Sandy Bay, Cornelian Bay, Nutgrove, Kingston and Howrah. There are many more around Frederick Henry Bay. Take a luxury catamaran from Hobart’s waterfront down the D’Entrecasteaux Channel and you’ll arrive at Peppermint Bay.
Mount Wellington offers a wilderness experience within 20 minutes of the city. Drive to the summit through temperate rainforest, sub-alpine flora and glacial rock formations for panoramic views of Hobart, Bruny Island and the Tasman Peninsula.
Cairns is the gateway to Queensland’s tropical north and the Great Barrier Reef. Here you are close to islands, coral reefs and the world’s oldest surviving tropical rainforest. A provincial city, with a linear layout that runs south from Edmonton to Ellis Beach in the north, the city has recently experienced rapid growth, with suburbs taking over land previously used for sugar cane farming.
An easy tropical lifestyle typifies Cairns, and shorts and T-shirts are normal attire. Buildings in Cairns are rarely taller than one or two levels.
A series of beaches extend north along the coast, including Machans, Holloways and Trinity beaches, Yorkeys Knob, Palm Cove, and Ellis Beach. Inland from the Northern Beaches along the Barron River flood plain is Freshwater Valley. Mount Whitfield, the Whitfield Range, Crystal Cascades and Kuranda are close by. Several other small towns and communities are sparsely located along the Bruce Highway.
Framed by mountain ranges and the Coral Sea, there are many opportunities to go walking in the rainforest or four-wheel driving in the Great Dividing Range.
Alice Springs, NT
Alice Springs is one of Australia’s most famous outback towns and the gateway to Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta National Park. Surrounded by a red sand desert which stretches for hundreds of kilometres in all directions - this is Australia’s Red Centre.
The town straddles the usually dry Todd River and although it is close to the MacDonnell Ranges, the town is flat and easy to get around. It is renowned for its Aboriginal art and many local and Aboriginal art galleries can be found in Todd Mall, the town’s focal point. The Araluen Centre for Arts and Entertainment presents world-class ballets and orchestras, as well as local performances.
Learn about the surrounding desert environment at the Alice Springs Desert Park and Olive Pink Botanic Garden. The Alice Springs Reptile Centre is located in the town centre.
From Alice you can go hiking in the nearby MacDonnell Ranges or drive the four-wheel drive tracks at Finke Gorge National Park. Here you can connect with Australia’s rich Aboriginal traditions and experience some of the country’s most awesome landscapes.
Gold Coast, QLD
With superb golden beaches, including the world renowned ‘Surfers Paradise’, the Gold Coast is a mix of cosmopolitan lifestyles, theme parks, high-end boutiques, and some of Australia’s best sporting events.
Its skyline is dominated by high-rise buildings, including the Q1, one of the world’s highest residential towers. The Gold Coast is all about glitz, glamour and fun. High Street Surfers Paradise is a new precinct for sophisticated food and fashion, while the bars and nightclubs of Cavill Avenue are the main hub of activity. There are also many theme parks close to town.
Popular beaches include South Stradbroke Island, The Spit, Main Beach, Broadbeach, Mermaid Beach, Burleigh Heads. There are also beaches along many of the Gold Coast's tidal waterways.
The Gold Coast’s boundaries extend south to Coolangatta on the border with New South Wales, west to Mount Tamborine and north to Beenleigh near Brisbane. It is also the gateway to some of Queensland’s best natural attractions. Go whale-watching and island-hopping, or venture into the lush hinterland of World Heritage-listed national parks and rainforests.
Broome is a relatively small town where the pace is slow. Take the time to look at the brilliant red colour of the earth and the lush tropical greenery and flowers.
Multicultural Broome has been shaped by its romantic pearling history and is a good place to shop for South Sea pearls and rare pink diamonds. Showrooms line the streets of Chinatown where you’ll also find art galleries, shops and cafes. The Broome Historical Society Museum is regarded as one of the best regional museums in Australia. A short distance from town is the Broome Crocodile Park.
Major attractions are riding a camel into the sunset along the white sands of Cable Beach, visiting sites where dinosaurs once roamed at Gantheaume Point and bird-watching at world-renowned Roebuck Bay.
One of Broome's natural treasures is the Staircase to the Moon. After the full moon from March to October, reflections stretch out across shiny mudflats creating the beautiful illusion of a long silver staircase.