These Australia Bucket List Experiences will help you discover the best places to visit when you travel around Australia. On our list, you will find a blend of big-city attractions, natural wonders and spectacular wilderness escapes.
Australia is the perfect place for an adventure holiday. Whether you’re looking for something active to get the adrenalin pumping or a relaxing break, there are plenty of options. So if you are dreaming of white sandy beaches or outback adventures, we think you will find some great ideas on what to do when visiting this amazing country.
All the places included have been reviewed by travel writers who have visited the location and now share their tips so you can decide if it’s the right for your list.
How to build your ultimate Australian bucket list.
- How to build your ultimate Australian bucket list.
- Places to visit in Western Australia
- Places to visit in South Australia
- Places to visit in the Northern Territory
- Bucket list experiences in Tasmania
- The NSW Bucket List
- Places in Queensland for your bucket list
- Bucket list places to see in Victoria
Pick a state, choose a theme, select a random collection of sights that grab you, whichever way you go; if you complete all these, you will have pulled off the Ultimate Australian Bucket List!
Places to visit in Western Australia
Western Australia’s beaches are among the finest in the country, and the state is home to my personal ultimate Australia bucket list. Travel distances are extensive in Oz, and WA’s location on the opposite side of the country from Australia’s big cities means that it often misses out on the recognition it warrants. Our advice, if you can make time to visit the national parks of Western Australia, you will be pleased you did!
Meet the locals at Shark Bay, Western Australia
At the most westerly point of Australia lies the UNESCO World Heritage Area of Shark Bay. It’s an 8-hour drive north of Perth, making it a popular holiday spot for travellers driving along the coast of WA. Shark Bay is known for its abundance of wildlife and stunning landscapes unique to this part of Australia.
There are many awesome things to do in Shark Bay; however, the main attraction is daily dolphin interactions. Each morning a small group of wild dolphins swim up to the shores of the Monkey Mia Reserve to be fed a few fish by the wildlife rangers. If you’re lucky, you might even be one of the few people picked from the crowd to hand feed them some fish!
While you’re in the area, you can’t miss out on a trip into the stunning Francois Peron National Park. This is one of the best places to witness the striking contrast of bright orange sand and vibrant turquoise water. To access the park, you will need a 4WD vehicle. If you don’t have one, you can book a tour that will take you to all the best spots of the national park.
Contributed by Ann from The Road Is Life
Witness Broome’s Staircase to the Moon
In Broome, Western Australia, the full moon rises over the tidal flats of Roebuck Bay and produces an optical illusion that looks like a staircase leading directly to the moon.
There is a reason Broome is one of the places in Australia most of us have on our bucket list!
When the tide recedes, shallow ridges in the tidal flats fill with shallow pools of water. The light from the full moon reflects into the water, forming this intriguing illusion. This natural phenomenon takes place during the full moon period from March to October.
Just before nightfall, artisans, musicians, and food vendors host the Staircase to the Moon Market. The vibe is lively and friendly, where you can feel a strong sense of excitement over the event that’s about to take place. It’s a worthwhile experience as there are few other places in the world where this phenomenon occurs, making it one of the unique experiences to have in Australia.
In Broome, you’ll find a gamut of adventure activities to enjoy before nightfall. Lounge the day away on Cable Beach, search for dinosaur footprints at Gantheaume Point, or head inland and wander through Windjana Gorge. There are also some fabulous 4wd day tours when it’s time to relax, grab a seat at Matso’s Brewery and sip on chilled ginger or mango beer.
Chantae from Chantae Was Here
Swim Ningaloo Reef and Hike Cape Range National Park
A visit to Cape Range National Park and Ningaloo Reef is an absolutely incredible experience. The park is home to some of the most incredible beaches in Western Australia and some impressive limestone ranges and deep canyons.
Ningaloo Reef runs right along the coast of Cape Range National Park and is home to a vast array of fascinating wildlife. You will find Cape Range and Ningaloo Reef on the west side of Exmouth in Western Australia, around 1,200 kilometres north of Perth.
While Cape Range National Park is home to many beautiful canyons and beaches, the best of these is Turquoise Bay, a stunning white sand beach surrounded by turquoise water. It even has a section of reef that you can snorkel right from the beach.
The highlight of any trip here, though, is a trip further out into the reef to try and spot the friendly whale sharks. You can take a boat trip and snorkel near these gentle giants of the seas and looking out for manta rays, turtles, humpback whales, reef sharks, dugongs, and so much more.
This is such an amazing place, and because of its remote location, you won’t ever find the same crowds you will find at some of the country’s other top attractions.
Suggested by Luke from Wild about BC
Meet the Quokkas on Rottnest Island
Taking a selfie with a quokka is a must-do when visiting Western Australia. Rottnest Island is located about 20 kilometres off the coast of Perth and is famous for its resident, the quokka.
Quokkas are a small native marsupial with the cutest smile! Whilst you can find quokkas in a few other places in the southwest of Australia, Rottnest Island is the only place you will find them in large numbers. The “quokka selfie” has gone viral globally thanks in part to pictures posted online by celebrities visiting the island like Chris Hemsworth and Roger Federer.
These adorable marsupials are most prevalent around the Settlement in Thompsons Bay but can be seen around the rest of the island, particularly in early mornings and later afternoons. To get your own selfie, be patient and slowly approach a quokka. Make sure you crouch down low to get the best angle.
It is very important to make sure not to touch or feed the quokkas.
To get to Rottnest Island, catch a short 30-minute ferry ride from the harbourside town of Fremantle. When visiting Rottnest Island, the best way to explore the island’s 63 beautiful beaches is by bicycle.
Contributed by Tess from Tessomewhere
Drive the Gibb River Road
The Gibb River Road, or “Australia’s Last Frontier”, is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Australia. This 660 km stretch travels from Derby to Kununurra in the Kimberley region of northern Western Australia, and it is home to epic waterfalls, dramatic gorges and chilled outback culture.
Stops on the Gibb River Road include Windjana Gorge, where you can look out for crocodiles (don’t go swimming!), the epic caves of Tunnel Creek, the gorgeous Bell Gorge and Manning Gorge, driving across Pentecost River, and the hot Zebedee Springs.
You will need a 4WD or at the very least, an AWD car to tackle the Gibb River Road (we did it in a Subaru Forester, but there were a few difficult moments!) and take at least one, preferably two, spare tyres (most people get at least one flat). It’s also only accessible in the dry season.
However, with the right vehicle, the Gibb River Road is a fun and accessible adventure – it is very rugged and wild, but it is popular enough to always find help if you need it.
It takes about 5-7 days to complete the whole road with lots of stops along the way. Don’t rush it – there is so much to see, and your car’s tyres will thank you!
By Claire from Claire’s Footsteps
If you can spend more time in Western Australia, consider adding Margaret River and Esperance to the south and Kimberley in the north.
Places to visit in South Australia
This South Australia bucket list is guaranteed to impress. Honestly, this state deserves more visitors as it has so much to offer. We recently spent five weeks in the state, and we know we will be back!
Fly over Lake Eyre and the Painted Hills
Hidden deep in the South Australian outback is a little known attraction that needs to be on every Australian wish list – the Painted Hills. This rocky outcrop, approximately 50km long, comprises beautiful different coloured hills, ranging from ochre to mustard to white.
Located in the middle of Anna Creek Station, the largest cattle station in the world, there is no land access to the Painted Hills. The only way to see them is by air – and that’s the best way to see them too.
The nearest place to take a scenic flight is the tiny settlement of William Creek. Most flights from there take visitors over Lake Eyre, but if you have made an effort to get to William Creek, definitely include the Painted Hills – opt for the flight that includes a landing too. I also recommend an early morning flight to see the hills in the soft morning light with dramatic shadows.
In 2019 WrightsAir negotiated with Anna Creek Station to have an airstrip built, allowing them to land amongst the Painted Hills. Visitors can now also enjoy half an hour of the hills up close – which are not as you imagine them from the air.
This flight over Lake Eyre and the Painted Hills is absolutely one of Australia’s best experiences!
Suggested by Josie from Exploring South Australia
Fossick For Opals, Coober Pedy, SA
For a unique Outback Australia destination, it’s difficult to look past Coober Pedy. This infamous opal town known for its underground homes and opal hunters should be on every must-visit list. And when you are there, the one thing you must do is go opal fossicking.
Around 80% of the world’s opals come from Coober Pedy. The name itself is a corruption of Aboriginal words, which translate to “white manhole in the ground”, and you’ll see a lot of holes in this part of the world. Some are mines, and some are homes.
While many people search for opals underground, this is not an easy task for a visitor to Coober Pedy. Instead, you can search for opals by fossicking. Fossicking (also known locally as noodling) is basically sifting through mullock heaps that are left when mines are built. Often, pieces of opal are in these heaps.
You don’t need any equipment to go fossicking as you can just use your hands and eyes, although a sieve and a shovel will help. You also can’t go fossicking just anywhere. In Coober Pedy, you can head to the “Jeweller’s Shop” on Jewellers Shop Road near Umoona Road. It’s lots of fun, and hopefully, you find your own unique souvenir to take home.
Contributed by Sharon from Baby Journey.
Drive through the Central Flinders Ranges
The Flinders Ranges is a four-hour drive from the South Australian capital of Adelaide. A visit here is one of the top outback experiences you can have in Australia. Home to Wilpena Pound, one of the most beautiful destinations in Australia. This is a road trip where the journey is indeed as spectacular as the destination.
The Wilpena Pound Resort is a fantastic base for your visit. The resort gives you the opportunity to learn about aboriginal art and culture on walks and tours presented by guides from the local Adnyamathanha community.
Ikara, the traditional name of Wilpena Pound, is the star of the show in the central ranges. A natural amphitheatre, it is eight times larger than Uluru and while you can hike to various spots on its edge and also into the middle, the best way to see it is from a scenic flight.
It is preferred that you do not hike to the top of St Mary’s Peak. Much like Uluru, this is a sacred site, and out of respect for the Adnyamathanha, we stuck to lower ground and joined a sunset tour with a guide to learn more about their culture.
The highlight of our visit was Bunyeroo Valley Road; the road winds its way past river beds and climbs to the exquisite Razorback Lookout. The drive can be done in a 2WD unless it’s been raining. However, if you prefer to not worry about your own vehicle, we suggest you book a 4WD tour. This area should not be missed!
From here, continue to Brachina Gorge, home of the Brachina Gorge Geological Trail, where you can see layers of rock between 500-800 million years old. You might spot an elusive Yellow Footed Rock Wallaby that lives in this valley if you are lucky. If you are looking for a special occasion stay, this glamping package is a perfect choice.
Contributed by us!
Explore the beauty of Kangaroo Island
A visit to Kangaroo Island is the perfect road trip for anyone who enjoyed holidays filled with opportunities to experience nature and wildlife without hoards of people around.
From the adventures offered on the dunes of Little Sahara to meeting the sea lions at Seal Bay Conservation Park. This is a road trip that you should not rush.
Be sure to spend half a day in the Flinders Chase National Park. This park sits on the western tip of the island. There are several highlights, including the Cape du Couedic Lighthouse. But top of the list is the Remarkable Rocks, the red rocks you see on almost every South Australia tourism guide, followed closely by Admirals Arch, a natural rock arch that feels more like a cave.
Another highlight is all the wildlife experiences available, From very affordable koala walks to snorkelling with dolphins and seals. Our favourite tour was the Hanson Bay nocturnal wildlife experience.
Another reason for a visit to KI, as it’s known locally, is to give yourself time to sample the regions produce. From wine and spirits to some of the freshest seafood in the country and its special Ligurian honey.
We have shared tips for planning a Kangaroo Island holiday that covers everything you know to plan your own visit. Alternatively, follow our tried and tested five-day road trip itinerary where we have done the hard work for you. You can book to take your car on the ferry or rent one on arrival.
Stay a little longer in South Australia.
If you have more time, schedule a visit to the Eyre Peninsula to try cage diving with the sharks in Port Lincoln. You might also like to round out your time in South Australia with a little wine tasting. The Barossa Valley is internationally famous, but the Clare Valley is home to one of Australia’s pink lakes!
Places to visit in the Northern Territory
The Northern Territory is outback Australia that most of us think of when we plan a big Aussie adventure. Red dirt, ancient landscapes and remote National Parks that have remained almost untouched for millennia and, of course, Uluru!
Experience the Ghan Expedition
Travelling between Darwin and Adelaide, The 4-day, 3-night Ghan Expedition is one of the world’s most iconic train journeys. 2979km of scorched red earth, wandering camels and a lot fewer kangaroos than you might think. It gives a glimpse into the depths of Australia that’s nowhere near as comfortable traversed by car. Inside the train, cabins are simple but cosy, food is high end, and the wines are just as good – and all included in the price of your fare.
Each day brings a new destination–Katherine and the stunning Nitmiluk National Park, home to Nitmiluk Gorge, Alice Springs, the red centre, where you get a true taste of outback life, and the quirky underground world of Coober Pedy.
While you can’t explore stops independently, the inclusive excursions cater well for all interests and ages–and bucket-list experiences like flying over Uluru are bookable at an extra cost.
But you don’t need to indulge in these big-ticket items to feel special; the train and the staff manage this all on their own with little touches like surprise champagne tables set up at some iconic sights.
There’s a reason that The Ghan is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. For more tips on the journey, see this article on The Ghan FAQs.
Suggested by Helen from Differentville
Take the Kings Canyon Rim Walk
No trip to Central Australia is complete without doing the Rim Walk at Kings Canyon four hours from Alice Springs. The trail immerses you in the spectacular shapes and colours of the arid landscape millions of years in the making. It’s one of Australia’s great travel experiences.
The 6-7km hike begins with an imposing climb up 500 rock steps to the top of the canyon. With the hardest part of the walk behind you, for the next 3 to 4 hours, you can explore the areas beautiful rock formations and palm-fringed water holes.
A feature of the walk is The Lost City, a vast area of beehive-shaped, orange rock domes. You get to walk around and over them as you do the lap of the canyon. Cotterill’s Lookout provides breathtaking views of 100-metre high canyon walls and Kings Creek below. Halfway way around, the Garden of Eden is a peaceful, cool oasis and the perfect spot to rest your legs.
The best time to start the walk is at sunrise. Not only will you avoid the heat of the day, but seeing the sky and rock change colour in the morning light is a magic experience.
Contributed by Natalie from Curious Campers
You can book a transfer between Kings Canyon and Uluru if you plan to visit both and don’t want to drive.
Hike the Larapinta Trail
The Larapinta Trail is in Central Australia, and it covers approximately 230km with 12 different sections. Hiking the Larapinta takes about 14 days to complete. Most people will go with a guide; others walk the trail themselves and carry their equipment with them as they hike.
The trail itself is predominately rocky, so proper hiking boot and equipment is required. The weather can also be extreme, steaming hot during the day and freezing cold at night, with lots and lots of flies!
Start your journey at Alice Springs, each days path is different, with undulating hills, beautiful, unexpected creeks and some breathtaking views along the way. Each day the hike takes approximately 15-27kms; some are more difficult than others.
Climbing Mount Sonder, which is 1380 metres tall, is the highlight of the trip. Leave in time to catch the sunrise for the most fantastic view; it also helps that it is so much cooler during this time of the day.
If you are choosing to walk it yourself, no booking is required. However, there are tricky bits along the way, so I would highly suggest not hiking it alone. Going with a guide gives you the bonus of learning about the history of this sacred part of central Australia.
Contributed by Paula from Truly Expat.
Meet the Australia Wildlife of Kakadu
If there is one thing you can’t leave off your Australia bucket list, it’s an opportunity to experience some of the unique Australian wilderness. The iconic Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory is the perfect spot to experience Australia’s wild side.
This 20,000 square kilometre World Heritage wilderness protects a remarkable abundance of native Australian animals, including the (in)famous Saltwater crocodile. You can encounter these ancient reptiles at close range on Yellow Water Billabong Cruises that depart from a jetty near Cooinda Lodge.
The best time to take a Yellow Water cruise is in May-June before the monsoonal floodwaters subside. During this season, your cruise will include a journey through a flooded paperbark forest, sailing between the trunks of submerged trees on the way to the open waters of the billabong (Aussie slang for an oxbow lake).
Once out on the billabong, you’ll see hundreds of water birds, including the Crested Jacana, also known as Jesus bird. These handsome birds have such large feet that they appear to walk on water when they browse among the water lilies.
But it is the giant saltwater crocodiles that draw most visitors to the Yellow Billabong. They are everywhere here: in the water, on the muddy banks, underneath riverside bushes. The cruise offers a unique opportunity to get up-close and personal with the crocs from the safety of a boat. And for a truly magical experience, there are sunrise and sunset cruises available.
Contributed by Margarita / The Wildlife Diaries
Dine under the stars at Uluru
Our sunset dinner at Uluru was something we will remember forever. Ayers Rock Resort offers three exceptional dining experiences. The Sounds of Silence buffet dinner with a star talker who explains the features of the southern sky and then lets you check it out from one of two telescopes. Tali Wiru a four-course fine dining experience with an indigenous storyteller after dinner. The last choice is dinner in the Field of Light, Bruce Monroe’s installation of 50,000 spheres of light that light up the night. On offer is a bush tucker inspired 3-course buffet.
We decided on the Sounds of Silence, and our evening started with champagne (or beer) at a lookout that allowed us to view but Kata Tjuta and Uluru. With just a turn, we could switch directions to alternate between the two breathtaking views. Don’t underestimate how magical an Uluru sunset is.
As darkness fell, we made our way to our “dining room”, a group of about a dozen tables, and while dinner was lovely, what was most memorable was the night sky and the star talk.
For our visit, we stayed at Desert Gardens and have shared our thoughts here.
Contributed by Us!
Cage Dive with a Crocodile in Darwin
One of the most adventurous and unique things to do in Australia is cage diving with a saltwater crocodile. The cage dive, popularly known as the Cage of death, is an activity that one can do in Darwin, the capital city of Northern Territory.
Held at a reptile park Crocosaurus Cove, a “cage dive” sees a person placed in a cylindrical see-through cage and is dropped in a pool with a saltwater crocodile. The person is in the cage for 15 minutes, where they come face to face with a large saltwater crocodile. The first 10 minutes of the activity is under the water, where the action of the crocodile trying to catch the food thrown at it is seen, and the last 5 minutes is above the water.
It is advisable to book the activity well in advance as the slots get booked quickly. The Cage of death is an exciting and thrilling experience where one gets to face their fears and come up close to the strongest and powerful predator on land. It is surely a must-do for an adventure seekers Australian bucket list!
Contributed by Raksha from Solo Passport
Before you leave the Northern Territory,
Take some time to see Litchfield National Park and its stunning waterfalls; spend some time in Darwin, making sure you visit the Darwin Museum and Art Gallery. It’s a great place for day tours. We highly recommend you book yourself on a day tour to the Tiwi Islands.
Bucket list experiences in Tasmania
The Apple Isle, the forgotten bottom, or just good old Tassy, no matter what you call the little island that sits off the bottom of the mainland, punches above its weight for beautiful landscapes.
Hike Cradle Mountain Summit in Tasmania
Reaching the Cradle Mountain Summit in Tasmania is an epic adventure to tick off your Australia bucket list.
The strenuous 8 hike starts at Dove Lake in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. With a route that circles the iconic lake, nothing beats the spectacular views from the summit, which sits at 1 454m tall. But it’s a tough climb that will test you both physically and mentally!
The last stretch will see you crouching on all fours, scaling massive boulders, and squeezing between small spaces. But those brave enough to take on this challenging hike will be rewarded with panoramic views of charming lakes, jagged peaks and rolling hills in the distance.
Other highlights of the walk include Hansons Peak, Twisted Lakes, Marion’s Looklland y, the Dove Lake Boatshed with Cradle Mountrop.
While the entire route is well marked and relatively easy to follow, they only recommended this summit climb for experienced hikers. You’ll need to start early in the morning to allow enough time to return before dark and make sure you pack snacks and water to keep you going throughout the day.
Contributed by Carryn from Torn Trackies
Explore Bruny Island
One of Tasmania’s most southern islands, Bruny Island, is a treasure trove of coastal views, abundant wildlife, and gourmet food. It is easily reached from Hobart by a short drive and a car ferry ride, which makes it a perfect day trip or a weekend getaway. There are so many things to do on Bruny Island that there is something for everyone.
Foodies will love Bruny Island’s oysters at Get Shucked Oyster Farm, rumoured to be the freshest in the world. They are even served with a hint of seawater still splashing in the shells. There is also the scrumptious ‘one-day old’ cheese to try at Bruny Island Cheese & Beer Co and delicious handmade chocolates at Bruny Island Chocolate Company.
Wildlife lovers will adore Bruny’s albino wallabies and the island’s rich birdlife. For the adventure seekers, there is Bruny Island Cruise – a chance to experience the might of the Tasman Sea, see the towering coastal cliffs and meet the playful Australian fur seals.
There is a network of walking trails on the island, if you feel like a hike, and if you’d rather laze on the beach – you’ll be spoilt for choice on Bruny.
If there is one must-see location on the island, it is the Neck – the narrow stretch of land that connects North and South Bruny Islands. The views from the top of the Neck are unmissable, and in the summer months, you can take a guided tour at dusk and watch dozens of fairy penguins emerge from the surf and waddle across the beach to their nests.
Contributed by Margarita/The Wildlife Diaries
Hike Wineglass Bay
From the first time I laid eyes on Wineglass Bay, I was determined to visit. The jewel of Freycinet National Park at Coles Bay is this bay with its gorgeous curved beach. It’s one of six fantastic hikes we think everyone should do in Tasmania.
The hike from the visitors’ centre to the Wineglass Bay Lookout 320m above sea level takes about 45 minutes each way. While it’s not a particularly long track, it is quite steep, especially until you reach the saddle between Mount Amos and Mt Mayson.
However, when you reach the top and the view is before you. You will quickly forget about the climb. If you have any energy left, it’s only a further 1000 steps down to the beach for a swim!
Some say it’s an easy walk, and others call it challenging. For someone with a good level of fitness, it’s a walk in the park, but for the average sedentary desk worker, it will get the blood pumping. I was recovering from an Achilles injury, which added a bit of a challenge. Still, there are plenty of seats for rest stops if needed.
If hiking is not your thing, but you would really like to take in the view, cruises are offered from Coles Bay.
Tip: Don’t miss Honeymoon Bay and the Friendly Beaches while you are in Coles Bay.
Suggested by Us!
Stay At Pumphouse Point, Lake St Clair, Tasmania
For maybe the most unique and stunning accommodation in Australia, add a stay at Pumphouse Point to your Australian bucket list.
On the glacial Lake St Clair in the middle of Tasmania, surrounded by Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area, you’ll feel you have left civilization behind. There is no sign of it from this five-star accommodation on the lake.
Pumphouse Point is adults only with meals included and exemplary service. The meals are from local produce and delicious with breakfast and dinner served at group tables, which is more fun than it might sound. Lunch is picnic-style so that you can hike around the lake, or you can take a boat or bike out, both of which are included options.
This hotel itself comprises two heritage buildings which once were a hydroelectric station. There is The Storehouse on land and The Pumphouse pictured above over the lake. The Pumphouse is where you will want to stay. The rooms are built to make the most of the views with floor to ceiling windows wherever possible. They are in a minimalist (but very comfortable) style to keep the focus on the landscapes.
For that special birthday or anniversary or just because you deserve to have a once in a lifetime experience, head to Pumphouse Point for a few days and unwind.
Contributed by Sharon from Tasmania Explorer
But wait, there is more!
Try to allow two weeks to explore Tasmania if you want to visit all of its best parts. Be sure to include Port Arthur if you are a history lover. If hiking is your thing, the Three Capes Walk is a must. If you time it right and you might even get to see the Aurora Australis, the Southern Lights.
The NSW Bucket List
The good thing about the items on the New South Wales list is that they are close to each other so that you can tick off a few even on a brief visit.
Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge
When visiting Australia, you should definitely plan to climb to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It is an amazing feeling to stand at the top and see the amazing views across iconic Sydney Harbour.
You need to pre-book your ticket for the climb well in advance as it is a very popular activity. All climbs start in The Rocks, which is on the southern side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Climbing options include dawn, day, twilight and nighttime climbs. Children from 8 years old and over 1.2m tall can also do the climb.
Climbing route options include:
- ‘The Ultimate Climb’ where you climb to the summit, then all the way to the northern end of the bridge arch before returning to the starting point. This climb takes 3.5 hours and 1621 steps.
- ‘The Summit’ is the original climbing route on the upper arch to the summit of the bridge and return, which takes 3 hours and 1332 steps. There is also the option to do the same climb with an Indigenous guide called ‘The Burrawa’ climb.
- ‘The Insider’ is where you climb up the lower arch, then climb to the summit before returning on the lower arch. This climb takes 2.5 hours and 1002 steps.
By Anne Sutherland-Smith from the Pretraveller blog.
Tour the Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House is easily the most iconic building in all of Australia. When visiting Sydney, exploring the inside of the Sydney Opera House is a must-do!
The Sydney Opera House was designed by Danish architect Jorn Utzon over 60 years ago. It is a work of art, both inside and out. The exterior resembles the sails of sailboats, while the inside is filled with soaring cathedral ceilings and state-of-the-art technology to bring you jaw-dropping performances. While the best way to experience the Sydney Opera House is to attend a show, it is not the only way to get inside the opera house. Another fantastic option is to take a Sydney Opera House Tour.
These tours will regale you with the exciting history of the Sydney Opera House, which is home to 1,000 rooms! Tours run Thursday to Monday at 10:30 AM, 12 PM and 2 PM. However, tours on Saturday take place at 9 AM, 10:30 AM and 12:30 PM. (It’s a good idea to book your tour ahead of time on the Sydney Opera House’s official website.)
Lindsey Puls of Have Clothes, Will Travel
See Three Sisters and Blue Mountains National Park
The Three Sisters might be the most recognised site in the Blue Mountains, but it is just one highlight of the Blue Mountains World Heritage area. This vast wilderness covers more than 11,000km² and is home to over 400 species of animals, dozens of waterfalls and hundreds of kilometres of walking trails.
Plan to spend at least a day in the mountains, preferably two or three. Be sure to include a stop at Wentworth Falls and Pulpit Rocks Lookout.
Even if you don’t love hiking, take the easy walk from the Three Sisters lookout to Honeymoon Bridge. This will allow you to walk into the first sister. It’s a fairly easy walk paved walk with a flight of stairs at the end. Alternatively, the walk to Katoomba Falls, which is floodlit at night, is a fantastic option.
If you enjoy bushwalking, the best track for a real taste of the mountains. The scenery in the Grand Canyon is an epic way to get a feel for the majesty on offer here. If you can’t bushwalk, consider visiting Scenic World when you can take the skyway across the valley or ride the railway down to the valley floor.
Do the Bondi Beach Coast Walk
Arguably the most famous beach in Australia, a visit to Bondi is on most Australian bucket lists. While it may not be the most beautiful or have the whitest sand, it has a stunning coastal walking path that runs along the cliff tops, past four equally interesting beaches, before finishing at Coogee Beach.
Join Sydney’s most beautiful as they take their morning runs, the visitors sightseeing in the middle of the day and perhaps even share the path with a celebrity.
Highlights of the walk include the beautiful ocean pool at Bronte, the Waverley Cemetary with its gorgeous old statues, the aquatic reserve at McKenzie Bay and the moving Bali Memorial at Coogee.
When you’re done, make your way back to Bondi for a swim in the iconic Icebergs Pool and then check out the Bondi graffiti wall that lines the beach. Check out this guide to the best things to do in Bondi after your walk.
Have more time to explore NSW?
If you have more time, consider adding the Waterfall Way, a hot-air balloon ride in the Hunter Valley, visit the quirky outback town of Lightning Ridge, take a few days to chill at Byron Bay and hiking or skiing in the Snowy Mountains.
Places in Queensland for your bucket list
The World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef tops the list of must-see spots in Queensland but did you know it is 2,300km and stretches from the tip of Australia to Bundaberg. Add to this over 1900 islands, including the beautiful Whitsunday Islands and Fraser Island and you, have the perfect beach lovers bucket list right there!
Sail the Whitsunday Islands
The Whitsunday Islands are in Queensland off the shore of the small town Airlie Beach. These islands are stunningly beautiful and home to incredible wildlife. Over 70 islands make up Whitsunday’s archipelago, and most are uninhabited. A few have private rental properties or resorts, but many of the Whitsundays is part of the National Park.
One of the main attractions here is the famous Whitehaven Beach which is said to have the whitest sand in the world and is arguably one of the best beaches on the east coast of Australia. It’s gorgeous and a must-visit for anyone visiting Australia.
Come to the Whitsunday Islands for camping, scuba diving, snorkelling and hiking. The islands are stunningly beautiful and known for their vibrant underwater life. You can even spot sea turtles if you’re lucky. There are lots of tour companies to choose from to see the islands. You could take a multi-day cruise or just go on a day trip to the islands. For this, you need to go to Airlie Beach, which is the gateway to the Whitsundays.
Most people will spend a few days here and gradually explore the islands. The town is fantastic for nightlife and a brilliant spot to relax by the beach and explore. For the ultimate overnight stay, consider reef sleep.
Hike Carnarvon Gorge National Park
Located about 600 km northwest of Brisbane in Queensland’s central highlands is spectacular Carnarvon Gorge National Park. The gorge is home to numerous plants and animals who live in the ecosystem created within this unique environment.
There are many walking tracks throughout the gorge, ranging from a few hundred metres to nearly 20km return. The most popular hike and one that is highly recommended to see the major highlights of the gorge is the 10.8 km walk to the Art Gallery.
The Art Gallery is the furthest point of this work. For thousands of years, Carnarvon Gorge has been the home of the Bidjara and Karingbal people. The art gallery has over 2000 engravings, stencils, and paintings that reflect the area’s importance Aboriginal custodians of the land and provide a chance to discover more about Aboriginal culture.
Other attractions along the walk to the Art Gallery include the Amphitheatre (4.3km into the hike). Climb up a set of metal steps and walk through a narrow gap in the sandstone to discover the open-air chamber of the amphitheatre.
At 3.5km is the Moss Garden. A small waterfall surrounded by sandstone walls clad in moss and ferns is straight out of a fairytale.
Plan to make the walk-in around 7 hours return. Take plenty of water and some snacks. Wear comfortable and supportive footwear – the paths are uneven, and expect lots of steps. There are also many creeks to cross along the way – a stick or walking pole helps with balance.
Contributed by Tracy from Tracy’s Travels in Time
Take a 4WD tour on Fraser Island
A 50-minute ferry ride across the Great Sandy Strait from Hervey Bay will land you on Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world. It’s a far cry from the tropical paradise you might usually associate with Queensland, as it’s home to dune lakes, untamed beaches, ancient forests, wild dingoes and a shipwreck.
Many travellers visit Fraser Island by joining a 4×4 tag-along tour, where an experienced guide will lead a convoy of vehicles around the island. If you have a license, you can choose to drive one of these vehicles. Driving on Fraser’s beaches and through the forests is unforgettable and is something that every traveller to Australia’s east coast should experience.
You’ll navigate Fraser Island by driving along a 75-mile beach, which acts as a sort of ‘highway’ for the island. You’ll have the opportunity to swim in Lake McKenzie, a rainwater lake with pure silica sand; tube along Eli Creek, a peaceful river that feeds onto the beach; marvel at the famous Maheno shipwreck; spot wild dingoes and more.
It’s also possible to hire your own 4×4 and explore Fraser Island independently; this will enable you to explore the island at your own pace and will crank up the adventure!
Contributed by Lauren from the Planet Edit.
Ride the Giant Swing in Cairns
With so many natural attractions in Australia, you may not even think thrill attractions will make it onto your bucket list. But if there is one attraction to scream about, the Giant Swing in Cairns, Queensland, will leave you breathless.
This is the only multi-person swing in Australia, reaching speeds up to 120km/h in just 3.5 seconds. It can drop up to 3 people at any time from 45 metres high. It depends who you ask, but the Giant Swing may be a little tamer than the Bungy jump at the same location. Or it might be the adrenalin rush you’ve been searching for.
The Giant Swing is located at the Skypark at AJ Hackett, 15 minutes north. This Minjin Jungle Swing is situated right in the heart of the lush tropical rainforest. If you’re looking for something a bit less scary, you can also get the best view from Cairns’ highest viewing platform and lookout. Make sure you opt for the video footage. That photo the moment the cord is pulled is priceless.
Contributed by Erin from Explore with Erin
Explore more of Queensland
Other things you might want to add to your Queensland bucket list include the walks and waterfalls of the Gold Coast Hinterland, the outback towns of Winton and Longreach, and the rainforests of the Daintree and Cape Tribulation.
Bucket list places to see in Victoria
Best known for its iconic coastal road trip and cool capital, we need to explore much more of Victoria, but these two spots are definitely the state’s most popular.
Great Ocean Road Trip
Australian road trips don’t come more epic than the Great Ocean Road, which follows the Victorian coastline for 243 kilometres. There really is something to see around every bend on this spectacular drive.
Stretching between the Victorian towns of Torquay and Allansford and built by returned soldiers from WW1, this coastline is known as the Shipwreck Coast and is the resting place for hundreds of ships. Naturally, given the hazards of these waters, the coast has numerous lighthouses, including Australia’s oldest working lighthouse at Cape Otway. The Split Head lighthouse is open to the public and offers views over the Marine Sanctuary below.
Unique rock formations are spread along the coast, the most famous being the iconic Twelve Apostles. Try to hit these early to beat the tour buses out of Melbourne and some of the crowd; it can also be hard to get a good photo in the afternoon when the sun is above them.
Don’t underestimate the time you can spend taking in the sights along the Great Ocean Road. It may not seem like a lot to travel, but it’s easy to spend an hour each time you stop, and you will stop regularly! Allow several days at least to explore this region properly.
Holly from Globeblogging
You may know of the famous Sydney/Melbourne rivalry; we love both cities and think they both warrant a place on this list. Perhaps best known for its cafe culture, street art and fabulous dining Melbourne also hosts some of Australia’s biggest sporting events, including the Australian Open, Melbourne Cup and Australia Day cricket test. Sports lovers will find plenty to do in Melbourne.
The city is also jam-packed with free things to see and do, including some fantastic street art you can explore on a self-guided tour. Other things at the top of must-see in Melbourne list includes taking a trip to St Kilda, booking a small bar tour and
Explore more of Victoria and find new Australia Bucket List Experiences
Other spots you might like to visit while you are creating your bucket list for exploring Victoria include Phillip Island with its world-famous penguin parade, the wine regions of the Yarra and King Valley and Grampians National Park.
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