Where you should visit in the world's best destinations: Australia edition.
The best things in the best places!
The world is an absolutely massive place! That’s what makes it so incredible to explore. There is always more to see, more to do, more to experience. When you meet up with other travellers you can get lost in a tapestry of “Where have you been? What have you done?”
That gift, is also the world’s curse. THERE’S TOO MUCH! It can be incredibly tough to know where to go next (or where to get started).
That’s why we’ve put together this list. Over the years our travellers have seen a lot and done a lot, and these places always seem to stand out!
The Great Barrier Reef
In the Land Down Under we had to start with the absolutely stunning Great Barrier Reef! The reef stretches over 2,000kms of Queensland’s coastline, so honestly, we could make a blog about it on its own. The Great Barrier Reef is spectacular, (it’s where Nemo is from) and has been made one of the natural wonders of the world. Peppered with amazing islands, coral and a general feeling of paradise. The Reef is one of a kind. But unfortunately, it is dying so if you want to see it, go see it soon!
You can find incredible pockets to go explore it the whole way through (Lady Eliot Island (probably the best scuba diving in Australia and maybe the World), Bundaberg, Yeppoon). However, this list is about the BEST! The most popular places to set off to see the reefs are Cairns and Airlie Beach.
Up in the Far North of Queensland lies Cairns, one of the gateways to the Great Barrier Reef. But Cairns is so much more than just a base camp to see the reef! The city itself is a vibrant tourist mecca.
- THE REEF - Of course, the big pull to Cairns is the Great Barrier Reef. Our favourite way to see the reef is to head out on one of the many dive boats. These will take you on a multiple-day adventure seeing it properly. If you don’t have your dive qualification, don’t worry! This is your BEST opportunity to get it.
- Kuranda National Park - Venture just outside of the city and you’ll find the Kuranda National Park, an absolutely spectacular piece of rainforest. We recommend the Skyrail to see it properly. This gondola leads you through the heart of the rainforest (sometimes it will actually go straight through it) giving you the chance to see it in all its glory!
- Port Douglas and beyond - If you get the chance, take the drive from Cairns to Port Douglas. The drive itself is stunning! For years to come, when you think “paradise” you’ll think of this drive. Port Douglas is absolutely beautiful as well, charming and packed with stunning resorts. Use it as a base to get to Cape Tribulation. Take the ferry over to Cape Trib and it will give you a first hand look at the famous Daintree rainforest. Plus, get on the beach and there won’t be another person around for miles.
Insider tip: Just behind the main strip you’ll find Gilligans, which is Cairns’ best hostel (and best night out). Well worth a visit.
The gateway to the world-famous Whitsundays! This fun little town is an absolute dichotomy and has something for everyone. From gorgeous luxury resorts to borderline-dingy but super fun backpacker havens. The one thing everyone can agree on is that an afternoon beer at Magnums is the perfect way to wind down after a long day in paradise.
Your options for activities in Airlie Beach certainly aren’t limited. The number one MUST DO however is to see Whitehaven Beach!
Whitehaven - This absolutely flawless Silica Sand (incredibly soft and white, people use it as an exfoliant) is stretched out over several kilometers on a pristine Whitsunday Island, this place is something special.
You can see Whitehaven in a number of ways, we’ll go over them now.
- Tour Boat - In our opinion, the best way to go to Whitehaven is on one of the many boats heading out there. These tourboats run as full day activities where you will get the chance to snorkel the reef, spend a few magical hours at Whitehaven, before seeing the incredible swirl of colours at Hill Inlet. From partyboats - to scenic tours, you’ll be able to find a boat that suits your travel style.
- Helicopter - I would be lying if I said this was an option for me (it’ll set you back a pretty penny) but if you’ve got a bit of disposable income for your trip (lucky duck) then this is a MUST. You’ll be able to see this stunning beach from a different angle, plus be dropped off for a bit more of a secluded experience.
- Scenic flight - We’re not saying do this one instead of the tour boat, if you have the time, do this as WELL as the tour boat. The scenic flight takes you over the Whitsundays and is absolutely terrific. Plus you’ll get to see the iconic Heart Reef.
Insider tips: If you haven’t forked out out for an awesome resort with a pool to have cocktails around, head to The Rocks. They have an epic pool club, loungers and awesome drink options (hello relaxation!)
The Gold Coast
The Gold Coast is Australia’s getaway. The city boasts flawless white sandy beaches (in our opinion, the best in the world) as far as the eye can see. Paired with some really fun activities for when you’ve finished sunbathing. There are two sides to the Gold Coast and two very different trips you can do here.
- Theme Parks - On one side are the theme parks. Many families will come to take their kids for a theme park extravaganza. On the coast there are many world-class theme parks with something for everyone (yes, even the adults. Check out Movie World’s “Fright Night”). All of which make for an absolutely awesome day out.
- Nightlife - On the other side there is the nightlife. The Gold Coast is Australia’s party town. Cavill Avenue in Surfers Paradise is notorious for being one of the wildest nights out in Australia. People travel from all over for bachelor/ette parties, birthdays, footy trips, all sorts to just cut loose here. Think a bunch of people that all came out for the same reasons you did!
- Burleigh and beyond - Go a bit further South on the Gold Coast and the place gets right back to its “beachy” roots. Burleigh is a must visit! This beach is probably the best of the Gold Coast’s many. Spend the day having a swim then go for a drink at Burleigh Pavilion, an upmarket bar and restaurant built right out over the water.
- Lamington National Park - The Gold Coast is not all beaches! Head just slightly west and you'll come across the gorgeous Lamington National Park. Here you can do some absolutely unforgettable hikes through the rainforest. Lots of which have fantastic views the whole way back down to the beach.
Insider tip: If heading to Burleigh, do what the locals do and post up on Burleigh Hill and watch the sunset over the city. The place will fill up, and the vibes are always incredible.
Sydney is Australia’s most iconic city. When you think of Australia it’s hard to look past The Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge! This place is so full of iconic “must-do’s” it’s hard to squeeze them in.
- Bondi - One of the world's most famous beaches. Bondi is a must do! Get yourself on the beach and see why. Then enjoy one of the many excellent cafes and restaurants around the region to cool off. If you can, the Bondi to Bronte cliff walk makes for some really spectacular scenery.
- Circular Quay - Home of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House, Circular Quay is Sydney's beating heart. We didn’t even have to put it on the list, you’ll end up there anyway. If you get your angles right, you can look at two iconic Australian landmarks, without even having to turn your head. It’s pretty cool.
- Botanical gardens - Just outside Circular Quay are the HUGE botanical gardens. You can spend the whole day here just getting lost in the incredible greenery and flowers.
- Manly - Get the ferry across to manly from Circular Quay and you’ll get to Manly. Manly is an awesome beachside community that is well worth a visit. You’ll find something great to do, or just relax by the beach.
- Blue Mountains - Venture west of Sydney and you’ll reach the Blue Mountains. There is some incredible hiking here and the place is utterly stunning.
- Hunter Valley - Head quite a ways north and you’ll come to one of Australia’s most famous wine regions. Flooded with retreats and wineries, the Hunter Valley is the romantic getaway of your dreams.
Insider tip: Try to time your ferry back from Manly to as the sun sets. If you do it just right you’ll be able to see the sun set from the harbour over the Harbour Bridge. It’ll be one of those pinch me moments you’ll never forget.
The cultural capital of Australia! The place is constantly rated as the world's most liveable city and it’s easy to see why! The vibrancy of this incredible city makes a quick and lasting impression. Art, culture, music, sport, the world’s best coffee, it’s all here! While there’s no shortage of things to do in Melbourne, here are a few of our favourites.
- Hosier Lane - Just outside Flinders St Station (the town centre) is Hosier Lane. In 1998 this little laneway was turned into an open air street art gallery. Street artists are given free reign to let their imaginations run wild and the results are a sight to behold.
- St Kilda - Tucked up with a lovely stretch of beach, vibrant main road, carnival and regular markets is St Kilda. On the high street there is an incredible collection of bars, restaurants and shops, then make your way to the markets. Then watch the sunset on the beach and witness the hippies come out after dark for a drum circle. This place is a whole lot of fun.
- Brunswick - The hipster Mecca of an already very hipster city. Brunswick takes the youthful vibrant culture running through Melbourne and puts it on steroids. Think quirky bars and curly moustaches, with craft beers that will blow your mind.
- South Yarra - On the upper scale side of Melbourne is South Yarra. Not everyone's cup of tea, but a night out on Chapel St will be one to remember (if you can, depending on what kind of night you have 😂 ). The whole place is very much worth a visit.
- The MCG - The Melbourne Cricket Ground has a capacity of just over 100,000. Making it one of the largest stadiums on earth. If you happen to be in town when there’s a sporting event at this modern day Coliseum you should definitely go if you can.
- The Great Ocean Road - This one is not “in Melbourne”, however Melbourne is the starting point and this is one not to be missed. Originally set up as a WW1 memorial the Great Ocean Road is stunning. Drive your way through quaint little beachside towns and rainforest before ending up at the crowning jewel, the 12 apostles.
Insider tip: Monk Body Dharma in St Kilda. If you head to the carpark just behind the Safeway you’ll find this epic little cafe. Famous for “The best chai latte in Melbourne”, you won’t be disappointed.
Tasmania never features very highly on must-do’s of Australia, and that is a real shame. The Island off the mainland of Australia is breathtakingly beautiful and features some of Australia’s best food, wine, history and scenery. The whole place gives off very “South Island of New Zealand” vibes, and that place is awesome (but that’s for another blog).
Tasmania has two very distinct sides.
- The East - A road trip up the East Coast is sure to leave you happy and satisfied having eaten your weight in incredible food and drank some of the worlds best wine. But top that off with some incredible scenery with Freycinet National Park, Wineglass Bay and the Bay of Fires.
- The West - If you go West, things are going to get a bit more rugged. The East Coast of Tasmania is beautiful… The West Coast is next level. If you’re a hiker, the Overland Track is one to put on the list.
- Hobart - If you can’t hit the road that’s okay, Hobart doesn’t disappoint! Make sure you spend some time checking out their breweries and distilleries and get out to the MONA art gallery (arguably Australia’s best)!
While you’re in Hobart, you’re going to want to do some day trips.
- Bruny Island - This island may just be foodie paradise. Famed for breweries, distilleries and world-class vineyards as well as some of the best farms and produce you will ever come across. If you like oysters, the oyster farm Get Shucked is world-renowned (oysters the size of your fist, and the freshest you’ll ever eat). What’s really cool is you can get these famous oysters through a drive-thru (the only oyster drive-thru in the world)
- Port Arthur - Historically Port Arthur is a big one in Australia. This prison has had a hugely tumultuous past. It was founded as the destination for the original Australian Convicts who had committed particularly heinous crimes, or were misbehaving in other settlements. Since, it has some dark history as well, being the location of the Port Arthur massacre which left 35 people dead. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, this place feels haunted as anything. It’s a fascinating place to visit, and the drive there is lovely too.
Insider tip: Head down during winter and catch Hobart’s Dark Mofo festival. This festival turns the entire city into an art installation, practically a citywide modern art gallery. It’s a celebration of art, music, love, food, wine, and everything else that makes tasmania special.
Perth is the world’s most isolated major city. The nearest city with a population of more than 100,000 is Adelaide, over 2000kms away! So it’s understandable if you don’t quite make the journey over there. If you do though, it’ll be well worth it!
Perth is fast becoming one of Australia’s most vibrant cities. In the city itself you could get lost for hours checking out the trendy bars and restaurants popping up all over the city. Or head out to their gorgeous beaches.
- Wave Rock - Once you get out of the city though, this incredible part of the world comes alive. A few hours away is Wave Rock. Head out on one of the many tours and cop some awesome pictures on what is absolute instagram gold!
- Lancelin Sand Dunes - An hour and a half north is the town of Lancelin. Famous for its incredible sand dunes! Come try your hand at sandboarding for a truly awesome day out.
- Rottnest Island - But perhaps the highlight of this part of the world is Rottnest Island, home of the Quokka (the world’s most adorable animal). Just off the coast of Perth is Rottnest Island. The place itself is absolutely lovely, but what makes it a must-do is Quokkas. These adorable little guys have no natural predators on the island, which has given them an absolutely LOVELY disposition. They will even come up to tourists and pose in their selfies!
Insider tip: Try to head up to northern Western Australia. Some of the places through here are incredibly secluded and incredibly special. A road trip from Broome to Perth or vice versa is the most criminally underrated road trip in the world.
There has been a lot covered in this list, but it’s by no means exhaustive. Australia is an amazing part of the world, with rich and memorable experiences seemingly around every corner! That, paired with the laid-back way of life and friendly locals will make your trip to Australia one you’ll remember forever.
If you’re coming all this way, you’re going to want to stay for a while & see as much as possible. The best way to do that is to get yourself on a Global trip and base yourself here for a while! We specialise in Working Holidays, Au Pair experiences and even Internships Down Under. So click that button below and set yourself up for a dinky di, true blue, bonza experience you’ll never forget!