Things to do in Australia

Great Barrier Reef

Looking for things to do in Australia? Well, you can’t be looking very hard, as this country is jam packed with everything a backpacker could possible want. From spectacular scenery, through to vibrant cities, anyone backpacking in Australia won’t have time to think before they are whisked off on their next Aussie adventure.

If you need a little bit of inspiration though, we’ve come up with a list of the top 15 things to do in Australia – although there are hundreds of other experiences as well…

  • Great Barrier Reef. Perhaps the most famous natural wonder in Australia, the Great Barrier Reef stretches along the Queensland coast and is home to a massive amount of underwater creatures. Any visitor to Australia must jump on a boat and at least see the Great Barrier Reef from above – although you only really get the true experience when you don the diving gear and get in among it. There are various companies in Queensland offering diving experiences here.
  • Kakudu. Found in the Northern Territories, Kakadu National Park is a jewel in the Australian landscape. Visitors will find wildlife galore here – including a huge number of crocodiles and more than 280 different types of birds – as well as a spectacular array of different landscapes. There’s also a large Aboriginal influence, as the area has been inhabited for approximately 40,000 years. Most tourists stay in the town of Jabiru.
  • Cradle Mountain, TasmaniaTasmania. Tasmania is dwarfed by the main Australian landmass, but it is actually the 26th largest island in the world. Most backpackers don’t make it down to Tasmania, but that’s a mistake – a ferry journey across the Bass Strait yields an island with 45% of the land under protected status. This means that natural scenery is amazing, and the variety of wildlife is amazing. Hobart is also a great place to be, with loads of history and some excellent nightlife.
  • Uluru. The iconic image of Australia – and also one of the more difficult places for tourists to get to! Found right in the heart of the country, you’ll have to travel a fair distance to get there – but it is certainly worth it in the end. Sitting and watching the sun set over Uluru (also known as Ayer’s Rock) will be one of the highlights of your Aussie adventure. Climbing to the top is allowed, although it is disrespectful to the Aboriginal people to do so – so please don’t.
  • Perth. Don’t just stick to Sydney and Melbourne when you’re in Oz – jump on a bus, train or plane and head to the west coast of the country! Perth is seen by many as the most beautiful city in Australia and holds a treasure-trove of different things for a visitor to see and do. Highlights include Fremantle, the beautiful coast and the Swan River. Make sure you leave plenty of time to explore this city, as you’ll never want to leave!
  • Sydney Opera House. The Sydney Opera House – along with the Harbour Bridge (see below) – forms the bulk of Sydney’s world famous water front. Opened in 1973, after 14 years of construction, it forms an integral part of any tourist’s Sydney experience. Most simply go for the photo opportunity, however performances are staged there too, and should be experienced if you get the chance. There’s not much more to say, as you’ve already seen the pictures!
  • Sydney Harbour Bridge. While you are taking some photos of the aforementioned Sydney Opera House, you might as well also take a walk over the Sydney Harbour Bridge too. Get some great snaps – both of the bridge and from the bridge – and experience the hubbub of the area, all while not having to pay a penny! The more adventurous ones of you will want to take it a step further though, and climb to the top of the bridge instead. We heartily recommend this to anyone with a head for heights!
  • The Whitsundays. Found of the coast of Queensland, the Whitsunday Islands are popular with travellers for many different reasons. Firstly, there’s the amazing ocean, which provides all manner of different watersports; secondly, the islands themselves are full of natural beauty, with walks over the islands a popular choice among tourists; finally, they are the perfect place to get away from it all. The best time to visit is when travelling between Brisbane and Cairns.
  • Australia Zoo crocodile showAustralia Zoo. Forget the rest: the true hero of Australia is Steve Irwin. Australia Zoo was founded by his parents in 1970 and he worked there since his childhood. After his death, the zoo was passed on to Terri Irwin, his wife. It houses a huge range of Australian wildlife – including crocodiles, snakes and kangaroos – as well as many foreign species, like elephants, cheetahs and tigers. It’s located in Beerwah, just 45 minutes from Brisbane.
  • Blue Mountains. The Blue Mountains border Sydney, and provide a perfect retreat for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city life. What’s more, they happen to provide some of the most spectacular scenery in the whole of the country! There are loads of different activities to take part in, including mountain biking, canoeing, rock climbing and canyoning. There’s also the Katoomba Scenic Railway, which is apparently the steepest railway in the world.
  • Mardi Gras. The Mardi Grad happens in Sydney every year and is one of the largest LGBT festivals in the world. The parade is undoubtedly the highlight, but travellers – LGBT or not – flock to the city simply to soak up the party atmosphere, with loads of events taking place throughout the city, such as the Bondi Beach Drag Race and Fair Day. Make sure you book accommodation in advance though, as the city gets absolutely packed at this time of year!
  • Bondi Beach. Bondi Beach is one of the most famous Sydney landmarks, attracting a huge number of visitors every year. While it might be packed, it is still well worth heading there – especially if you love to surf. Newbie surfers should start at the northern end though, as the southern end has a particularly difficult rip current. If you aren’t a surfer, simply hand around, catch some rays and take in the surroundings – there’s always something going on!
  • Fraser Island. About 500,000 people come to Fraser Island every year, looking to camp, trek and see dingoes in their natural habitat. There’s great angling here too, plus nobody can resist the opportunity to use the beach as the island’s main road! History buffs will also love the huge number of Aboriginal sites throughout the island. Ferries to the island run from River Heads and Wanggoolba Creek, or you can fly there from Maroochydore Airport.
  • Great Ocean Road. The Great Ocean Road runs from Torquay to Allensford in Victoria, and is one of the most spectacular drives in the world. What some don’t know though is that it’s also the world’s largest war memorial, having been built by soldiers after WWII to commemorate their fallen comrades. The road takes in some famous landmarks, such as the Twelve Apostles, plus looks out over the beautiful ocean for most of the journey. Rent a car and spend a few days exploring!Yarra Valley grapes
  • Yarra Valley. Like your wine? Well, the Yarra Valley is the place for you! It produces some of the best wine not just in Australia, but the world, and you can spend a few days trying your best to sample it all! It’s also only about 90km from Melbourne, therefore making it really easy to get to. While there, you can also take the chance to look at some majestic scenery, as well as take a walk – or trot – along the Warburton Trail.


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