Last Updated on March 7, 2021
As I am in the planning stages of my big trip to Australia, I am putting together my ultimate Australia bucket list, starting with my Top 10 must-do’s. In my opinion, these are the absolute best places to visit in Australia and I won’t leave Down Under without experiencing these quintessential Oz places and activities.
10 Best Places To Visit in Australia
1 The Great Ocean Road
I have been dreaming of road tripping the Great Ocean Road for years and I can’t wait to do what is considered one of the most iconic road trips, with sights like the stunning 12 Apostles limestone rocks majestically jutting out of the ocean (pictured above).
2 Street art, coffee and city life in Melbourne
Every time I see photos of Hosier Lane, I get giddy with excitement. You all know that I am a huge fan of street art and I can’t wait to go photo-crazy there, maybe even catch some street artists adding new pieces.
And of course I’ll have to try a Flat White while I’m in Australia, and what better place to do that in than Melbourne, known for its booming coffee culture.
Whenever I read about Melbourne’s diverse neighborhoods, the coffee culture, street art and hipster vibe in Richmond, I can sense that it is my kind of city and I hope to spend a while there, truly getting to know it – which is why I am keeping my eyes peeled for a housesit in Melbourne.
3 Watch the surfers at Bondi Beach
There are so many famous surf beaches all over Australia, and for surfers Australia is the absolute paradise. I prefer watching and photographing them (at least for now) and can’t wait to watch the surfers at famous beaches like Manly and Bondi near Sydney, or Torquay and Bells Beach near Melbourne. Maybe I’ll be even tempted to give surfing a try myself.
4 Sydney Harbor Bridge climb
Even though I am terrified of heights, this is an experience I’d challenge myself to do. The views from the Harbor Bridge are supposed to be out-of-this-world amazing and I’ve never tried a bridge climb – so what better place to do it than on this Sydney landmark!
And Sydney itself is worth a visit, of course, with world-class art museums, the iconic Opera House, amazing coastal walks, beaches, and dozens of neighborhoods to explore.
5 Uluru and the Outback
Being a huge fan of the wide open plains of the American South West, I can only imagine how much I’ll enjoy driving through the seemingly endless wide open space of Australia’s outback. And Uluru, or Ayers Rock as it also known, is such a stunning sight – I can’t wait to see the sun set over this sacred rock, covering it in the most beautiful orange shade, and would love to join a base tour which lets you surround the entire rock.
Uluru by Nathan Siemers on Flickr.com
6 Snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef
I am still not keen on trying diving, but I would never pass up a chance to go snorkeling, especially in a place like the Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef in the world, and famous for its colorful and plentiful marine life. This is a MUST on my Australia bucket list.
7 Search for Tasmanian Devils in Tasmania
Okay, maybe I won’t be searching for Tasmanian devils, but everyone I know who’s been to Tasmania is raving about the little island south of the continent. Apparently, Tasmania is one of the most underrated tourism destinations and Hobart is often named as one of the most livable cities in Australia. Seeing pictures of beaches like the Wineglass Bay make me think that I will fall hard for Tasmania.
8 Ride the Ghan
The Ghan is one of the world’s most famous trains, and Australia is the only continent that can be crossed in a single train ride north to south or east to west. I’d probably take the three-day train ride from Adelaide to Darwin, crossing the entire country in an epic 47 hour, 2979km train ride.
The Ghan, by Bingley Hall on Flickr.com
9 Experience the wildlife
There’s so much wildlife unique to Australia – kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, Tasmanian Devils, to name only a few, that I’d try to fit in as many as possible. Noteworthy are the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary near Brisbane (I am so gonna squeeze that koala!), the Caversham Wildlife Park for koala cuddles and kangaroo feeding, Rottnest Island for the elusive quokka. And one of the best places to visit in Australia if you want to get up, close and personal with kangaroos in the wild is Lucky Bay in Western Australia where the roos hang out right on the beach!Swimming with whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia, visiting the penguins on Phillip Island, or go on a whale watching trip near Sydney would be other wildlife bucket list items.
In Kurunda (near Cairns), I could also visit the Venom Zoo, where I can see all kinds of Australia’s creepy crawlies, including venomous snakes, spiders, scorpions, tarantulas and all kinds of insects, but I’m not sure if I have to include this in my wildlife experiences 😉
10 The diverse landscapes of Western Australia
Like I said: I am a huge fan of the American South West and a sucker for unique landscapes – deserts, canyons, bizarre formations such as Monument Valley, the beautiful Wave in Utah or the multi-colored mountains of Northern Argentina.. I find these places incredibly scenic, and knowing that there are several places like this in Western Australia put this part of Down Under on my bucket list. I can’t wait to hike in the Pinnacle Desert in Nambung National Park, and board down the Lancelin sand dunes. In addition to these fascinating natural wonders, Western Australia is home to some of the country’s most gorgeous beaches and Perth is supposed to be a wonderfully laid-back city with a great food culture and cherishes coffee just as much as Melbourne, with hundreds of coffee shops.
Pinnacles Desert by Ian Sanderson on Flickr.com
2020 Update: I finally made it to Australia, roughly five years after writing my Australia bucket list (and just before the world was halted by COVID-19).
Curious to see which of the best places to see in Australia I was able to tick off my bucket list? Read:
What is on your Australia bucket list? Or if you’ve been to Australia – what are the best places to visit in Australia in your opinion?