Each year, millions of people from across the globe make the trip to Australia on their dream trip. And those experiences they're dreaming of? They're right in your backyard. It's time to go explore Australia's world-famous destinations – and the unforgettable sights and experiences that come with them.
Yallingup, Western Australia
101 ways to holiday in Australia
Get into the holiday state of mind.
There's nothing like a holiday to refresh and reconnect. And after a tough year, we could all use one. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to holiday in Australia – 101 ways, in fact.
So start dreaming up your next escape. For yourself, for your family, and well, for Australia.
Discover a new way to travel
With friendly locals, luxe accommodation and endless activities on offer, Australia is a great destination for solo travellers. Make new mates along the way by booking a tour or class, or simply enjoy the solitude. You don't have to look far to find seclusion on Australia's many beaches and walking tracks.
From expansive outback drives to roads that hug the coastline, there's no better place for a road trip than Australia. Answer the call of the open road on one of the country's iconic routes, or find a hidden gem you've never experienced before. Be sure to stop into local visitor centres to get the best tips on roadside stops, picnic spots and incredible lookouts.
Australia is sometimes called the 'island continent,' and its a fitting name when you consider the 8,222 fringing islands that dot its shores. Whether by tiny fishing boat or luxury superyacht, paradise seekers can island-hop along Australia's shores to find endless beaches and colourful reefs to snorkel.
Paddleboarding and kayaking are great ways to explore Australia’s many rivers, reefs and harbours. There are plenty of tours to choose from that will bring you to exclusive spots that boats can't reach.
While camels aren’t typically associated with Australia, camels are intrinsically entwined in the history of the Australian outback. Discover Australia's outback from a new perspective with day tours or multi-day treks, or head to the coastline in places like Broome and Port Stephens and catch the sunset atop a camel’s back.
Australia's ski resorts receive their fair share of skiers and snowboarders each winter season, but this isn't the only way to experience Australia's snowfields. Try your hand at snowmobiling, dog sledding, tobogganing, snowshoeing, fat biking or tubing. And don't forget to come back to these snowy regions in the off-season to enjoy hiking, mountain biking or kayaking.
Think all road trips are the same? With untamed beaches, giant sand dunes and freshwater lakes, 4WD tours offer a chance to journey into some of Australia’s most remote and challenging landscapes. Leave everything up to the professionals and arrange a private trip, or choose from various 4WD safari tours around the country.
Floating gently in a hot air balloon is an awe-inspiring experience. A hot air balloon tour will give you a stunning birds-eye view of vineyards, hinterland and mountain ranges. If heights aren’t your thing, there are a handful of hot air ballooning festivals across Australia each year, so you can appreciate the magic with your feet on the ground.
Parks Australia looks after Australia’s natural treasures – including six national parks – but that doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of the beautiful parks you can hike, bike and explore. Within thousands of reserves, conservation zones and protected areas, there are jaw-dropping gorges, ancient mountains, Aboriginal rock art and wildlife just waiting to be discovered.
Sydney Harbour’s ferries are a part of the fabric of the city, and they're not just for locals' commutes. Riding a ferry is a great way to see icons like the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge up close, and every so often passengers are treated to wildlife shows of splashing dolphins, seals and even whales.
See your own city (or a new city) in a new light with a guided walking tour. Local guides will uncover the often not-so-well-known history and culture of the city, and there are even tours catered to specific interests, like Aboriginal heritage, street art or craft beer.
Those who prefer two wheels can take advantage of Australia’s vast network of well-maintained roads, which are perfect for a motorbike trip. Grab your helmet, fill up the tank and set off on a city escape, coastal getaway or outback adventure.
With waves for beginners as well as seasoned surfers, Australia boasts some of the world’s best surfing spots. If you're a novice, book into a surfing lesson and learn the way of the waves.
There’s a certain nostalgia associated with train travel, and it's not just the romantic scenes you'll see out the window. Board one of Australia's iconic trains and see some of the country's most beautiful landscapes from the comfort of your cabin.
Australia has some mighty rivers, some even stretching up to 2,500 kilometres (1,553 miles) in length. Board a river cruise to discover the rich history, nature and wildlife that surrounds Australia's river systems.
No Australian adventure is complete without an opportunity to connect with the vast history of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The Discover Aboriginal Experiences collective offers an extraordinary suite of authentic and meaningful journeys, from one-hour tours to multi-day odysseys, which provide a window of insight into this ancient community.
There are many ways to support Australia’s recovery from the 2019/2020 bushfires. Plan a recovery road trip and be sure to stop into local businesses and communities that are getting back on their feet.
For an active and eco-friendly day trip, jump on a bike and head out on one of the old rail trails or scenic cycleways that snake across the country. You can quench your thirst at a winery, brewery or distillery along the way. For a more thrilling experience, tackle a mountain bike trail.
Australia is one of the world's biggest and least densely populated countries. It's vast and open spaces make it ideal for escaping into nature. Consider an off-grid glamping tent, a solar-powered eco-resort or a luxury lodge in the wilderness. Plus, you don't have to go far from the city to relax and recharge.
Learn about generations of agriculture and enjoy the country lifestyle with a traditional farm stay. Kids will love the resident animals; they may even get to help with farm chores. If you're a foodie, consider one of the country's eat-and-stay accommodation options, where chefs utilise produce grown on the property to cook in their kitchen.
Great Walks of Australia is a collection of multi-day guided walks that offer a restorative connection to nature. Each walk is done with a dash of eco-luxury comfort, complete with nightly accommodation, delicious meals and experienced guides.
In some of the most stunning corners of the country, sustainability and luxury go hand-in-hand. Australia’s Luxury Lodges collective boasts independent lodges championing a diverse range of sustainable practices. Many of these stays also give guests the chance to contribute to local environmental preservation and regeneration efforts.
Offering luxury, freedom and completely customisable experiences, chartering a superyacht just might be the ultimate way to discover Australia. On a superyacht, you'll have access to some of the world’s most pristine natural environments, as well as impeccable service and world-class food and wine.
If you want to immerse yourself fully in Australia’s remarkable and remote landscapes, there's no better place than at a unique Aboriginal-owned stay. Connect deeper with the destination as you enjoy a wilderness retreat, safari tent or architecturally designed hut.
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Be awed by nature
Australia is home to some of the most unique landscapes and incredible natural wonders in the world. Many of Australia's phenomena only happen at certain times a year, so you'll have to plan ahead to witness all of the country's seasonal nature events.
Travellers looking to soak in a spa bath will be pleased to know that a spectacular range of natural spas, hot springs and fresh watering holes can be found all over Australia – and most won’t cost you a cent! So sit back, relax and let nature do the rest.
Sometimes, the most spectacular holiday moments are also the simplest. On your next trip, be sure to pause and watch in awe as the Australian sun moves to meet the horizon. If the timing is right, travellers to Broome can also catch a glimpse of a natural phenomenon. Only visible two or three days a month between March and October, the 'Staircase to the Moon' creates a shining stripe as the full moon rises over the exposed tidal flats of Roebuck Bay.
From cenotes to caves, some of Australia’s most jaw-dropping natural attractions are below ground. Explore Australia’s only underground town at Coober Pedy, wander through sunken gardens or spot glow worms glittering in dark tunnels. Adventurous travellers can even scuba dive through underwater caves and cenotes at South Australia's Mount Gambier.
There's no doubt you’re familiar with the Great Barrier Reef, but did you know that the country’s northern, western and southeastern coastlines are also underwater playgrounds? You'll find manta rays at Lady Elliot Island, whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef and more than 500 species of fish at Lord Howe Island – and that's just to name a few of Australia's reef experiences.
In spring, many parts of Australia overflow with wildflower blooms. Daisies turn meadows into carpets of colour, delicate orchids pop up beside forest paths and desert peas emerge from the driest of landscapes. Wildflowers can be seen in almost every state in Australia, but highlights include the town of Maree in South Australia, the Grampians in Victoria and several locations in Western Australia.
Interact with wildlife
The Australian coastline provides bountiful opportunities to see whales. Between May and November, you can spot southern right whales journeying near South Australia and Victoria, while energetic humpback whales continue north to the Great Barrier Reef and Kimberley region. Off the southern coast of Western Australia, you have the chance to see pods of orcas.
Swimming with whale sharks is one of life’s most breathtaking experiences. Each year between April and July, Ningaloo Marine Park becomes the only place on the planet where whale sharks visit so close to shore and in such large numbers. Join a tour in Exmouth or Coral Bay and pick a boat with its own spotter plane for best results.
Australia is known as the home of some of the world’s cutest animals. But none are more photogenic than the quokkas of Rottnest Island. Quokkas are naturally curious, so you do not need to approach them or offer them food to get close enough for a photograph. Simply get down to their level and wait for them to come to you.
Australia’s wildlife parks and sanctuaries play a vital role in conservation efforts for Australia’s native animals, and adding a wildlife experience to your next itinerary is a great way to contribute. Perfect for adults and kids alike, you'll see everything from kangaroos to crocodiles at Australia's sanctuaries.
Few animals fascinate visitors as much as saltwater crocodiles. These prehistoric creatures grow up to seven metres (23 feet) long and resemble dinosaurs more than any modern-day animal. There are several places to see crocs in the Northern Territory, including a crocodile swimming experience in which you are lowered into the crocodiles' water in a see-through enclosure.
Sea lions are some of the most playful underwater animals, so a tour that allows you to swim with them is guaranteed to be unforgettable. Slip into the water and let these inquisitive creatures twirl, dart and blow bubbles nearby. Sea lion encounters are available off the coast of Western Australia, Victoria and South Australia.
Australia is home to some of the world's largest great white sharks, and a handful of local cage diving operators offer the chance to safely meet them face-to-face. If the thought of diving doesn't appeal, South Australia offers the world’s first aqua sub that lets you see sharks up close without getting wet.
With 2,300 kilometres (1,429 miles) to explore, Queensland's Great Barrier Reef offers hundreds of experiences – and with an ‘Environmental Management Charge’ built into every ticket price, you can feel good that each experience you book helps protect the long-term outlook of the reef.
If you're driving around Tasmania, it's possible to glimpse Tasmanian devils scampering near the roads. But, for a guaranteed encounter, head to a wildlife sanctuary where you can observe these endangered animals up close.
You've likely spotted a kangaroo in your lifetime, but have you shared the sand with one? Eastern grey kangaroos at Pebbly Beach in New South Wales love to relax on the beach and don't mind posing for photographs, either. In Western Australia, head to Lucky Bay to see them lounging on the white sands, and in Queensland, you’re guaranteed to spot them on the beach at Cape Hillsborough.
Watching baby turtles hatch and scurry to the sea is a very special bucket list experience. Queensland is a turtle haven, with six out of seven of the world’s sea turtle species calling it home. Each year (between January and March) some Queensland beaches are swarmed by thousands of baby turtles marching their way to the sea, and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service run ranger-guided turtle encounters.
Phillip Island’s iconic Penguin Parade allows visitors to catch a glimpse of the island's native little penguins as they come back ashore after a day of fishing. Watch the colony of penguins waddle onto the sand from tiered seating, or book a VIP or guided tour for an up-close look with ranger commentary.
Queensland’s Mackay region is known for its waterfalls, rainforests and ancient volcanic soils – but you can also dive with the notoriously shy platypus. Dives take place at dawn and dusk when the animals are most active. Look out for turtles, fish and other fascinating marine life, too. If you’d rather not get wet, then head to Healesville Sanctuary.
Koalas can be found across Australia, but they're often hard to spot. To guarantee a glimpse, head to one of the many wildlife parks across Australia that allow you to get up close with koalas as they rest in their habitats. To see them in the wild, Australian Wildlife Journeys and Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours offer one-day and multi-day trips in Gippsland and along the Great Ocean Road.
Do something epic
Experience the ultimate thrill of freefall at over 200 kilometres per hour (124 miles per hour), and then float under a canopy while soaking up spectacular views of Australia with a once-in-a-lifetime skydiving experience. Tandem dives take place above some of Australia’s most spectacular beaches, cities and bushland.
Golfers are spoilt for choice when it comes to world-class courses in Australia. Whether you spend the day on coastal links or a championship course, a day on the green combines the best of Australia's nature and laidback lifestyle. Keen golfers can also get exclusive access to some of the most impressive private-member courses in the country with the Great Golf Courses of Australia collective.
Whether it’s at Anna Bay in New South Wales, North Stradbroke Island in Queensland or elsewhere, there are plenty of locations around Australia where you can hit the sand dunes with a sandboard. Book a sandboarding tour to please the whole family.
One of the most spectacular fishing adventures available to keen anglers is heli-fishing in remote landscapes. There are several heli-fishing adventures to be had in Australia, and you can choose from durations ranging from five hours to three days. Just hop into the chopper and you'll be whisked away to a fishing hotspot not accessible by land.
Book in a scenic flight and soar over Australia’s icons. See the city from a new perspective, marvel at the power of a rushing waterfall or follow a rugged coastline foaming with white waves. Choose from a range of short, day-long and sunset tours, or book a charter flight.
From our spectacular coral reefs to purposely sunken ships, Australia is filled with amazing dive spots. There are over 8,000 shipwrecks in Australia’s oceans, as well as numerous local operators who can guide you beneath the twisted hulls to reveal the stories of these ill-fated voyages. Many also offer the opportunity to swim alongside marine life such as rays and turtles.
Though the Gold Coast is the most famous destination for theme parks in Australia, there are countless other fun parks located throughout each state and territory. It's a great day out for kids, but adults are also sure to love the thrill.
The rainforest is captivating from any angle, but perhaps one of the best is from a river raft through the tangle of trees. With a number of beginner and more untamed rivers on offer, you can be drifting in tranquil pools one moment and navigating exhilarating rapids the next.
For those with sailing experience and reliable friends or family to act as crew, renting a yacht and committing to skippering it yourself is the ultimate way to explore one of Australia’s many beautiful sailing destinations.
For a birds-eye view of the forest, try one of Australia’s impressive treetop walkways. Western Australia's Valley of the Giants boasts walkways suspended 40 metres (131 feet) above ground in the forest canopy. Enjoy the view from up here – some trees in this region live for more than 400 years.
For the daring, there are cliff faces and large boulders all across Australia where you can put your rock climbing abilities to the test. Climbers are spoilt for choice with granite slabs, dolerite ridges and long, coastal trad climbs – there’s almost nothing in the world of climbing that you can’t experience somewhere in Australia.
It’s no secret that Australia is one of the most ‘Instagrammable’ destinations on earth. With its aqua blue waters, white sandy beaches and red desert landscapes, Australia’s diverse colour palette is no stranger to a like, share or geotag. Whether you're looking to build the perfect online aesthetic or seeking bragging rights, your next thumb-stopping photo op is sure to be found hidden in Australia’s vast landscape.
Something that should be on every Australian's bucket list is the “Big Lap,” a road trip that will take you in a circle around the entire country. Pack up the car and head either north or south, and just keep driving until you end up back where you started. Don't set off without a plan; you'll need the right vehicle and the right equipment to complete the journey.
Get acquainted with Australia's art and culture
Art doesn’t stop when you walk out the museum doors. Hit the streets and uncover hidden alleys and laneways filled with vibrant art and designs. Australia’s street art isn't contained to cities, either. Jump in the car and marvel at the creativity of regional towns that feature towering artworks and unique exhibitions.
Australia is home to some premier sports precincts, and budding sports stars can get a behind-the-scenes peek. In Canberra, the Australian Institute of Sport offers guided tours (resuming 2021), and in Sydney you can try your hand at white-water rafting at the Penrith Whitewater Stadium, which was used during the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art is the oldest living art tradition in the world. Across the country you'll find rock art dating back tens of thousands of years, offering a priceless look into the past. Book in with a local Aboriginal guide for an authentic experience with Australia's art culture.
Indigenous culture is alive and well in Australia’s urban centres, with easily accessible walking tours as well as museums, galleries and cultural centres to explore. Peruse ancient and contemporary art, discover the history of major cities and participate in cultural practices that have been passed down for generations.
You can easily spend the whole day wandering through the diverse art galleries located in Australia's cities and towns. Visit a permanent collection, or plan your trip around the ever-changing roster of exhibitions.
In rural communities across Australia, you can find painted grain silos and water towers. What began as the PUBLIC Silo Trail of Western Australia has spread across four other states to include South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. There are now 70 silo artworks documented as part of the Australian Silo Art Trail.
The best way to meet the farmers, makers and growers and fill your basket with fresh produce is to visit a local farmers market. Wander through any of Australia's farmers markets to taste and buy artisan bread, local cheese and freshly picked fruits and vegetables.
Australia is home to a thriving performing arts scene. Whatever your passion, you'll find venues across the country serving up the best of Australian music, dance, comedy or theatre. Be sure to check venue websites to learn about cancellations and capacity.
Whether you’re a footy fanatic, cricket-obsessed or a racing enthusiast, pop by the local sport stadium for a tour and deep dive into Australia’s sporting heritage. Make sure you snap a selfie from the stand.
Australia's cosmopolitan cities are at the forefront of the country's love for fashion. Seek out streets filled with boutique shops playing host to edgy start-up labels and young, experimental designers.
Meandering through Australia's diverse districts and suburbs makes for a day full of surprises. Just hop on local transportation and discover a whole new world of vintage shops, cool underground bars and leafy parks.
Treat yourself to a staycation and rejuvenate with a pampering session. Visit a day spa, dine at a health-minded restaurant or indulge in a wellness retreat in the wilderness. You can even start your day on the sand with a sunrise yoga session on the beach.
Channel your inner fortune seeker and visit an old mining site. Pan for gold and tour the old sites to understand what life was like for early colonial settlers.
Step back in time with a visit to a historic site. Relive Australia’s gold-rush era at Sovereign Hill in the town of Ballarat in Victoria, or explore the country’s origins as a convict settlement at the Port Arthur Historic Site in Tasmania. You can take a tour – and even spend the night – at the convict-built Fremantle Prison in Perth.
Savour unforgettable food and drink
Australians might be a relaxed bunch, but expectations are high when it comes to coffee. And with more than 90 per cent of Australia's coffee shops and cafés independently owned, each brew is as unique as the next. Take your pick of cafés in your city and beyond to test whose brew is best.
Experience Indigenous cooking practices that date back tens of thousands of years. Guided bush tucker walks reveal the surprising ingredients growing within the Australian landscape, while outback dining – infused with the unique flavours of the Australian bush – offers a deliciously immersive experience. Alternatively, try your hand at traditional hunting.
You'll find some of the world's most delicious oysters in the clear waters of South Australia, New South Wales and Tasmania. Treat yourself to an unforgettable seafood experience when you book an oyster tour that takes you out into the water. You can even kayak in and out of working oyster farms with RegionX on the south coast of New South Wales.
The humble meat pie is an Aussie treasure. From major cities to country towns, local bakeries can be found selling everything from the classic beef pie to more modern varieties like scallop pie and kangaroo pie. Set off on a road trip to find a pie worth driving for.
Australia is a melting pot of cuisines from all around the world. From Darwin to Sydney, you'll find hawker-style eats, fusion restaurants and fine dining establishments all serving inventive dishes that will have you craving more.
With crisp fresh air and water, Australia is ideal for distilling tasty spirits. And with delicious native flavours to work with, it's no surprise that distilleries are getting creative. Try something new when you book a tour or tasting.
Australia has a long history of cooking over fire, and the tradition continues with world-class restaurants, Aboriginal food tours and outdoor dining experiences. Soak up this Australian pastime by cooking up some local produce over an outdoor barbecue. Be sure to check local bushfire restrictions and always follow the advice of authorities.
Learn how to use traditional Aboriginal methods to gather and prepare food, as well as identify and taste seasonal bush foods. Choose from several Indigenous food tours, which can be found in some of Australia's most picturesque locations.
In Australia, you don't have to go far to find a pub. Stop in with a mate for a classic chicken schnitzel or Sunday roast – with a side of chips, of course. Every dollar spent helps get the Australian hospitality industry back on its feet.
Take your date night up a notch at a restaurant that has received the coveted ‘hat’ award. And you won't only find these fine dining establishments in the city. Recent rumblings in regional Australia have put the spotlight on a new wave of restaurants rivalling their big city siblings.
Australia has some world-class seafood, and one of the best places to get it is at a fish market. Meet local fisherman, embrace the bustling atmosphere and pick from an incredible selection of seafood.
All across Australia, there are basement spaces and old shops that have been transformed into hard-to-find speakeasies. Seek out secret bars behind hidden doors where clever bartenders serve up an array of cocktails with creative twists.
Pack your appetite for a drive through one of Australia's best foodie regions. There are plenty of food trails across Australia, and a trip along any one of them will support the farmers, producers, distilleries and winemakers that you'll find along the way.
Learn how to recreate some of your favourite dishes using local produce and expert tricks. At a cooking class, you’ll find a new appreciation for the growers and producers who make Australian produce something special.
Picking your own produce is a great way to spend time with family, stay in touch with the seasons and guarantee your fruits and vegetables are fresh. Visit an orchard or farm and walk away with delicious in-season ingredients. You can even make an income along the way by following the harvest seasons around the country. Check out the Harvest Trail's interactive map to see when and where different crops are harvested.
Feast on a meal that’s been sourced just steps from where you're enjoying your meal. At a paddock-to-plate eatery, you'll be served only what's in season and sourced nearby.
Australia's craft beer scene has been growing steadily in recent years, and as breweries perfect their craft, it’s no wonder the offering is becoming bigger and better. From sour and nitro beers to vegan brews and more traditional Aussie lagers, there’s a perfect beer out there for everyone.