Museum of Underwater Art, Townsville, Queensland © Tourism and Events Queensland
See Australia’s icons in a new way
Discover a new way to see these famous destinations.
By Leah Dobihal and Jessica Wilkinson
Australia is home to some amazing, bucket list-worthy locations. The underwater expanses of the Great Barrier Reef, the sparkling skyline of Sydney and the red rocks of the outback are worthy of their icon status – but there’s more than meets the eye at these remarkable spots.
The Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is one of Australia’s most precious treasures. Stretching over more than 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles), the reef offers more than a few iconic activities – like marvelling at the coral and cays from a seaplane and even sleeping atop the reef. But dive beneath the water and you’ll find an unexpected one-of-a-kind experience. The Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA) is anything but a traditional museum. Rather, this art exhibit features underwater sculptures scattered across the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. You can experience this epic art on a snorkelling and scuba diving tour with Adrenalin Snorkel and Dive and Yongala Dive.
Discover the Great Barrier Reef
The Great Ocean Road
It's no surprise that one of the world's most scenic drives would have some pretty spectacular sights. This famous stretch of road along the southwest coast of Victoria is most famous for the 12 Apostles, but there are some other great ways to experience what's on offer. Take the journey on foot on the three- or four-day Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk, where you'll not only be taken on a guided tour of the Great Ocean Walk, you'll get to return to a private eco-lodge at the end of each day, complete with gourmet food and local beer and wine. Alternatively, try the Paddle with the Platypus experience with Otway Eco Tours, taking in the gorgeous scenery of the Otways as you glide along Lake Elizabeth at dawn.
Experience the Great Ocean Road
Sydney is famous for its dazzling harbour, and there are plenty of beautiful vantage points from which to view it. You can stay in a wildlife eco-retreat at the waterside Taronga Zoo Sydney, and see the harbour through ancient eyes with an Aboriginal tour guide. But one of the more spectacular views of the harbour is from the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge – and now, you can scale its entire length. Before 2020, visitors could only climb the south end of the bridge, but that’s all changed with BridgeClimb Ultimate. Now, climbers can conquer the entire bridge from south to north, and back again, all with 360-degree views of the harbour.
Explore what Sydney has to offer
Margaret River has something for everyone, from epic surf swells to top-notch wineries and white sandy beaches. But there is no better way to explore than by foot (especially if it involves a luxury walk). The four-day Cape to Cape Walk will have you trailing expansive beaches along the Indian Ocean by day and indulging in gourmet food and a luxury ocean-front villa by night. Another unique way to explore is with Margaret River Discovery Co. You'll see a whole new side of the region from the seat of a canoe as you paddle along the Margaret River (stop-offs at local vineyards are a fun plus).
Get to know Margaret River
The Red Centre
The Red Centre is the heart of Australia, brimming with natural beauty, spiritual energy and incredible adventure. There are so many iconic ways to experience central Australia and one of the best is to step off the beaten path and take a look at how the Traditional Owners of the land, The Anangu people, have lived for thousands of years. Join an Aboriginal host from SEIT Outback Australia for access to the rarely visited Pitjantjatjara Aboriginal Lands. Your guide will share insight into the Anangu way of life, cook you a bush tucker lunch and bring you to see the ancient Seven Sisters story depicted with magnificent rock art paintings on the ceiling of the cave.
Be mesmerised by the Red Centre
The Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains is a nature lover's haven. Among the soaring sandstone ridges blanketed in native bushland, there are over 140 kilometres (87 miles) of walking tracks to explore. One of the area's most iconic attractions is the Three Sisters, and while they can be viewed on one of these walks or from Echo Point Lookout, for a different perspective why not try abseiling or rock climbing down one of the nearby cliff faces with an experienced guide? For a more encompassing experience, learn about the fascinating First Nations history and origin story of the sisters on a Dreamtime tour.
Meet the Three Sisters and more
The Daintree Rainforest
The luscious canopy of the Daintree Rainforest has been growing for more than 180 million years, and is, as Sir David Attenborough called it, “the most extraordinary place on Earth.” One of the most special ways to experience this part of Queensland is to learn the history, culture and traditions from the area’s Traditional Custodians, the Kuku Yalanji people. Take a guided tour with Walkabout Cultural Adventures and learn about the environment, bush foods and medicines, and try to spear your own mud crab to cook. Then, to kick back and relax, try a Back Country Bliss tour and float down the river on a raft while looking into the forest canopy.
Experience the magic of the Daintree