Best Places to Visit in Australia

Best Places to Visit in Australia

Explore the Best Attractions in Australia

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Lorraine Giron
PUBLISHED ONOctober 26, 2023
Aerial view of sydney harbour with boats and skyscrapers.
Source: Photo by Dan Freeman on Unsplash

Australia is a playground of epic experiences for adventurous travelers, and renting a car in Australia can enhance these adventures significantly. Whether you're a nature lover, a foodie, an art enthusiast, or an adrenaline junkie, there's no shortage of attractions and activities in this Oceania country. So book your flight, pack your bags, and consider renting a car in Australia as you journey through the Land Down Under, ensuring you have the freedom to explore all its wonders at your own pace.

What Australia Has to Offer

From stunning landscapes to vibrant cities, driving in Australia unveils a diverse destination that offers a plethora of experiences sure to appeal to any traveler. However, before setting off on your adventure, be sure to research the requirements before traveling, as driving regulations and conditions may differ from what you're used to. So, what exactly does Australia have to offer when you explore it through the unique perspective of driving across its expansive and varied terrain?

Natural beauty: With abundant national parks and protected areas, endless opportunities exist to explore and connect with nature.

  • Wander through the ancient rainforests of the Daintree National Park.
  • Trek through the rugged terrain of Kakadu National Park.
  • Marvel at the unique rock formations of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

Water Wonders: Australia has some of the world's most incredible beaches.

  • Sink your toes into the fine, white sands of Whitehaven Beach, located in the pristine Whitsunday Islands.
  • Catch a wave at Bondi Beach, where the surf is legendary.
  • Australia's coastal regions are also brimming with marine life, with the Great Barrier Reef providing an exceptional diving and snorkeling experience you will never forget.

Rich cultural experience: The country's indigenous heritage is integral to its identity. Visitors can learn about Aboriginal culture and traditions at places like Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, where the land holds great spiritual significance.

  • In cities like Sydney and Melbourne, travelers can immerse themselves in a vibrant arts and music scene, with world-class museums, galleries, and theaters showcasing local and international talent.

Culinary delights: From the renowned vineyards and cellar doors of the Barossa Valley to the diverse food scene in Melbourne, Australia is a heaven for food and wine enthusiasts. Fresh seafood from the ocean can be savored in coastal towns like Port Douglas, while exotic flavors from around the world can be found in buzzing city markets.

A group of trees reflected in a body of water.
Source: Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash

In Australia, you'll find many iconic landmarks and tourist attractions embodying the nation's spirit and allure. The country is associated with the architectural marvel of the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. These two iconic structures stand proud against the backdrop of Sydney's harbor, creating an incredible sight.

However, many stunning landscapes, unique wildlife, and vibrant cities lie beyond these structures. From pristine beaches to ancient rock formations, this country offers many attractions. Let's take a closer look at some of the top attractions per state, territory, and capital city:

Western Australia

Key highlights:

Coastlines: From the world-famous Bondi Beach to the turquoise waters of Cable Beach, you'll be spoiled for choice when finding the perfect beach paradise.

Nature: Head to Rottnest Island, just a short ferry ride from Perth, and you'll encounter the adorable and photogenic quokkas. These tiny marsupials are known for their friendly nature and cheeky smiles. You can also explore the island's landscapes, from sandy beaches to rocky coves, on a bike or leisurely walk.

Adventure: Western Australia offers plenty of opportunities to pump your adrenaline.

  • Head to the iconic Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park and marvel at the thousands of limestone pillars rising from the sandy dunes.
  • You can also explore the desert on foot or take a thrilling 4WD tour for an unforgettable experience.

Wineries: Margaret River is a must-visit destination. This world-renowned wine region is famous for its premium wines, gourmet food, and stunning scenery. Take a leisurely drive along the scenic vineyards, stopping at cellar doors to sample award-winning wines and indulge in delicious local produce.

History: Visit the historic port of Fremantle and wander through its charming streets lined with Victorian-era architecture. Don't miss the opportunity to explore Fremantle Prison, a UNESCO World Heritage site that offers fascinating insights into Australia's convict past.


A person standing on a rocky cliff overlooking the body of water.
Source: Photo by Ryan Chondro on Unsplash

Perth, the capital city of Western Australia, offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, and cultural richness. Located on the stunning coastline, nature enthusiasts, history buffs, or food lovers will be thrilled with this vibrant city's offerings.

Key highlights:

Parks and green spaces: Kings Park and Botanic Garden, one of the largest city parks in the world, offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city skyline and the Swan River. Explore the park's extensive bushland trails, visit the Botanic Garden to admire the native flora, or relax and have a picnic surrounded by lush greenery.

Thrill-seekers: Take a trip to the nearby Darling Range and embark on an exhilarating hike along the Bibbulmun Track, a world-famous long-distance trail that stretches over 1,000 kilometers. The track offers stunning views of the picturesque countryside, rugged cliffs, and wildflowers during the spring season.

Water sports: Head to the Sunset Coast, just a short drive from the city. Cottesloe Beach, with its crystal-clear blue waters and white sandy shores, is a popular spot for swimming, surfing, and snorkeling. Enjoy the breathtaking sunsets while sipping on a refreshing cocktail at one of the beachfront cafes.

Cultural scene: Catch a performance at the Perth Concert Hall, which hosts various concerts, orchestral performances, and ballet shows annually.

  • Explore the Art Gallery of Western Australia, where you can admire a collection of contemporary and indigenous artworks.
  • You can also visit the Perth Cultural Centre, a vibrant hub that houses the Western Australian Museum and the State Library.

History: Stroll through the historic streets of Perth's CBD and admire the impressive colonial architecture. Don't miss the opportunity to visit the Perth Mint, where you can learn about Western Australia's gold mining heritage and even watch a traditional gold pour.

Margaret River

Margaret River, nestled in the southwestern corner of Western Australia, is a destination that promises a blend of natural beauty, world-class wines, and abundant outdoor activities. This picturesque region is a must-visit for wine enthusiasts, surfers, and nature lovers alike.

Wineries: The region is home to over 120 wineries, many of which offer cellar door tastings and tours.

  • Take a scenic drive through the rolling countryside and explore the renowned vineyards, sampling the region's signature varietals such as cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay.
  • Don't miss the chance to visit iconic wineries like Leeuwin Estate, Cape Mentelle, and Vasse Felix, which have helped put Margaret River on the global wine map.

Surfing: Beyond its wine scene, Margaret River has beaches and world-class surf breaks. Surfers from around the globe flock to spots like Prevelly and Yallingup to catch the perfect wave in these turquoise waters.

Outdoor activities: Explore the ancient caves beneath the limestone cliffs, such as Jewel Cave and Lake Cave, and marvel at the impressive stalactites and stalagmites.

  • Head to the expansive Boranup Forest, where towering karri trees create a mesmerizing canopy that casts dappled sunlight on the forest floor.
  • Take a hike along the Cape to Cape Track, a 135-kilometer trail showcasing dramatic coastal landscapes and breathtaking ocean views.

Culinary Delights: Indulge in a gastronomic journey by visiting the region's farm-to-table restaurants and gourmet food producers.

  • You'll find various fresh and locally sourced ingredients from award-winning restaurants to local farmers' markets for unforgettable dining experiences.
  • Don't miss the chance to savor the region's famous seafood, including the local crayfish and succulent oysters.

Ningaloo Reef

Ningaloo Reef is a pristine UNESCO World Heritage site that boasts an incredible array of marine life and vibrant coral reefs that rival the Great Barrier Reef.

  • Swim and snorkel with the magnificent whale sharks: These gentle giants, the largest fish in the ocean, visit the reef between March and July each year. Snorkeling alongside these majestic creatures is an experience that will leave you in awe of their size and grace.
  • Abundance of marine biodiversity: Slip beneath the surface and discover a kaleidoscope of colorful corals, tropical fish, turtles, and manta rays. The pristine waters of Ningaloo provide excellent visibility, ensuring every snorkeling or diving adventure is filled with remarkable encounters.
  • Scuba diving expedition: For those seeking a once-in-a-lifetime experience, consider exploring the deeper parts of Ningaloo Reef. Dive with schools of fish, marvel at intricate coral formations, and discover hidden caves and crevices teeming with marine life. Experienced divers will appreciate the challenging dive sites like the Navy Pier, known for its abundance of marine species and impressive coral gardens.
  • Whale-watching tour: From June to November, humpback whales grace the waters of Ningaloo Reef during their annual migration. Witnessing these creatures breach and play in the ocean is a surreal experience.
  • Land-based adventures: Explore the Cape Range National Park, which borders the reef, and discover its rugged gorges, stunning lookout points, and unique wildlife. Hike on the Mandu Mandu Gorge Trail or visit Yardie Creek to spot rock wallabies, emus, and various bird species.

Rottnest Island

Exploring Rottnest Island by bike is a must-do activity. With no cars allowed, cycling is the best way to get around and explore the island at your own pace.

Several bike rental options are available on the island, and the well-maintained paths and trails mean you can easily navigate the island. Apart from popular sites like the Wadjemup Lighthouse or Bathurst Lighthouse, here are some of the must-see and do activities on the island:

Quokkas: These small marsupials are often called the "happiest animals on Earth" due to their friendly nature and beaming smiles. Take the opportunity to capture a selfie with these cute creatures, but remember to respect their natural habitat and not disturb them. Don't forget to capture a quokka selfie before you leave — a memory that will surely bring a smile to your face!

Water sports: With over 63 stunning beaches and 20 bays, Rottnest Island is a paradise for beach lovers.

  • Adventure seekers can enjoy water activities like paddleboarding, kayaking, and surfing.
  • You can also explore the underwater world by snorkeling or diving, and discovering vibrant coral reefs and colorful fish.
  • You can also say hi to playful dolphins and sea turtles!

History: If you're a history lover, don't miss the chance to visit the Oliver Hill Battery. Take a guided tour and learn about the World War II heritage site's military history while enjoying breathtaking views of the island from the hilltop. Afterward, hop on the Island Explorer Bus to explore other historical landmarks such as the Pilot Boathouse and Lomas Cottage.


With its stunning beaches, vibrant arts scene, and fascinating Aboriginal heritage, Broome is a must-visit coastal gem in Western Australia.

Cable Beach: Undoubtedly one of Broome's iconic attractions, Cable Beach is a breathtaking stretch of white sand that seems to go on for miles. With its turquoise waters and fiery sunsets, Cable Beach is the perfect spot to relax and soak up the sun. Stroll along the shoreline, cool off with a dip in the crystal-clear waters, or even embark on an unforgettable camel ride along the beach at sunset.

History: The town played a significant role in the pearl industry during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and you can delve into this fascinating past at the Broome Historical Society & Museum. Discover the stories of the pearl divers and see artifacts from Broome's pearling heyday.

Visit the nearby Aboriginal communities: Gain insight into the rich traditions and customs of the Yawuru and Djugun people through guided tours and cultural experiences. Witness mesmerizing traditional dance performances, learn about bush tucker (native food) and bush medicine, and listen to captivating Dreamtime stories passed down through generations.

Adventure seekers: Broome offers various outdoor activities to get your adrenaline pumping.

  • Explore the nearby Kimberley region's rugged landscapes and hidden gorges on a thrilling 4WD tour.
  • Take a scenic flight over the Horizontal Falls, a natural phenomenon where tidal forces create a horizontal waterfall effect.
  • Embark on a fishing charter and try catching some of the region's famous Barramundi or other prized species.

Culinary scene: Enjoy fresh seafood at a waterfront restaurant, savor delicious Asian fusion cuisine, or feast on mouthwatering local produce at a bustling market. Don't forget to try the famous mango and macadamia ice cream, a delightful tropical treat unique to the region.

New South Wales

Day time view of the Coastline Bondi beach, Sydney, Australia with people.
Source: Photo by Paula-Jorunn Naes on Unsplash

Home to a bustling population, New South Wales is Australia's largest state, and offers a wide array of experiences and landscapes. From lively cities to exquisite beaches and renowned landmarks, the state provides endless opportunities for exploration and discovery.

Key highlights:

Sydney: Start your exploration at Circular Quay, where you'll find the iconic Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.

  • Take a ferry ride across the sparkling waters of the harbor and soak in the panoramic views of the city skyline.
  • Darling Harbour also offers various entertainment options, including museums, dining experiences, and family-friendly attractions like the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium.

Bondi Beach: Be sure to catch a wave or relax while soaking up the sun on this famous beach. If you prefer a more secluded beach experience, head to the pristine Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsunday Islands. With its pure white silica sand and crystal-clear turquoise waters, it's no wonder this beach is consistently rated as one of the world's best.

Nature Activities: Take a trip to the Greater Blue Mountains Area, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and marvel at the stunning rock formations, deep valleys, and cascading waterfalls.

  • Explore the walking trails and be rewarded with picturesque views at every turn.
  • Another natural wonder not to be missed is the Hunter Valley, known for its vineyards and wine tours. Indulge in world-class wines and gourmet cuisine while enjoying the beautiful countryside.

Indigenous heritage. Visit the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney, where you can join Aboriginal heritage tours to learn about the traditional uses of plants and gain a deeper understanding of indigenous culture.

History: Consider visiting the convict-built Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour. Take a walking tour and learn about the island's fascinating past as a penal colony and shipbuilding site. For a taste of colonial charm, explore the historic town of Bathurst, home to some of Australia's oldest buildings, including the heritage-listed Bathurst Courthouse.

Sydney Harbour and the Sydney Opera House

A visit to Sydney is incomplete without exploring the iconic Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour —two of Australia's most renowned landmarks.

  • Sydney Opera House: Designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, this UNESCO World Heritage-listed building attracts millions of visitors annually. Whether you're a fan of performing arts or want to appreciate stunning architecture, a tour of the Sydney Opera House is a must.
  • Concert Hall: Step inside and have an opportunity to catch a world-class performance by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra or other renowned artists. The Joan Sutherland Theatre is another incredible venue, hosting opera, ballet, and theatrical productions. If you're lucky, you may even get a chance to witness a rehearsal or go backstage to explore the inner workings of this cultural masterpiece.
  • Behind-the-scenes: For those seeking a more interactive experience, these tours allow visitors to discover this institution's fascinating history and untold stories. Learn about the challenges faced during its construction and the cultural significance it holds for the people of Sydney.
  • Hop aboard a ferry and embark on a scenic cruise: Sail past luxurious waterfront mansions, historic Fort Denison, and the picturesque islands that dot the harbor. Take the iconic sights of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge from a different perspective, with the glistening waters and city skyline as a stunning backdrop.
  • Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge: For adrenaline junkies, there's an opportunity to ascend to the top and be rewarded with 360-degree panoramic views of the harbor, city, and beyond. This unique experience is not for the faint-hearted but will leave unforgettable memories.

Bondi Beach and Surrounds

Nestled along the coastline of Sydney, Bondi Beach is a must-visit destination for locals and tourists alike. Renowned for its golden sand, world-class surf breaks, and vibrant beach culture, Bondi Beach offers a quintessential Australian beach experience. Between surf breaks, there are trendy cafes and markets for everyone to enjoy.

  • Water activities: With its sparkling blue waters and iconic crescent shape, Bondi Beach is a haven for surfers and swimmers. Grab a board, ride the waves, or relax on the soft sand and soak up the sunshine. Lifeguards patrol the beach, ensuring the safety of all visitors so you can enjoy the water with peace of mind.
  • Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk: This scenic cliffside trail stretches six kilometers, offering unobstructed coastline views. This also allows for exploring various secluded beaches along the way. Gaze at the dramatic rock formations, spot native wildlife, and capture Instagram-worthy photos at every turn.
  • Bondi Markets: These bustling markets, held every Sunday, showcase various stalls selling everything from unique fashion pieces to handmade crafts and artworks. Support local artists and designers as you browse through the stalls, and perhaps even find a one-of-a-kind souvenir to take home.

Road Trips to the Blue Mountains, Hunter Valley, and Byron Bay

A road trip from Sydney is the perfect way to explore the landscapes and charming towns surrounding this vibrant city. Just a few hours' drive away, you'll discover these natural wonders:

Blue Mountains Area: Just a short drive from Sydney, this region is known for its dramatic cliffs, lush forests, and cascading waterfalls.

  • Stop by the famous Three Sisters rock formation, where you can capture panoramic views of the stunning landscape.
  • Explore the numerous hiking trails that wind through the mountains, taking you to hidden lookout points and secluded waterfalls.
  • Don't forget to visit the charming town of Katoomba, where you can indulge in cozy cafes, boutique shopping, and art galleries.

Hunter Valley: Journey through Australia's oldest wine region, rolling hills, and vineyards.

  • Sample award-winning wines and learn about the winemaking process from knowledgeable locals. Indulge in gourmet food experiences at renowned restaurants, where farm-to-table cuisine is paired with the perfect glass of wine.
  • If you're feeling adventurous, take a hot air balloon ride over the vineyards at sunrise, for an unforgettable experience and stunning views.

Byron Bay: Known for its bohemian vibes and breathtaking beaches, this iconic coastal town paradise is a haven for surfers, artists, and nature lovers.

  • Spend your days soaking up the sun on the pristine beaches, taking long walks along the Cape Byron Walking Track, and exploring the vibrant local markets.
  • Discover unique boutiques, indulge in farm-to-table dining, and unwind at one of the many yoga and wellness retreats renowned for the town.

Circular Quay

This bustling harbor is a vibrant hub of activity, offering a range of attractions and entertainment options for visitors of all ages. Make sure to include this iconic destination in your Australian itinerary.

  • Cultural hotspot. The area is home to several important cultural institutions, including the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. Art enthusiasts can explore the diverse range of contemporary artworks on display or even participate in one of the many workshops or tours offered at the museum.
  • The Rocks: This historic neighborhood, located just a short walk from Circular Quay, is renowned for its beautifully restored colonial buildings, charming cobblestone streets, and vibrant atmosphere. Stroll through the weekend markets, where you can discover unique crafts, jewelry, and artwork created by local artisans.
Aerial view of the city of gold coast at sunset.
Source: Photo by City of Gold Coast on Unsplash

Known as the Sunshine State, Queensland is famous for its stunning beaches, vibrant cities, and breathtaking natural landscapes. From the iconic Gold Coast to the magnificent Great Barrier Reef, there is something for everyone in this diverse and captivating state.

Key highlights:

Gold Coast: With its golden sandy beaches, vibrant nightlife, and thrilling theme parks, it's no wonder that this coastal paradise attracts millions of visitors every year. Spend your days lazing on the sun-drenched beaches, catching a wave while surfing, or indulging in retail therapy at the luxury shopping precincts. And when the sun sets, the Gold Coast comes alive with its buzzing bars, world-class restaurants, and exciting entertainment options.

Great Barrier Reef: Stretching over 2,300 kilometers, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is the largest coral reef system in the world and offers unparalleled opportunities for snorkeling, diving, and marine exploration.

  • Dive into the crystal-clear turquoise waters and discover a vibrant underwater world teeming with colorful corals, tropical fish, and even marine mammals like dolphins and whales.
  • Don't miss the chance to take a scenic helicopter ride or a scenic boat tour to truly appreciate this natural wonder's sheer beauty and magnitude.

Daintree Rainforest: This ancient rainforest is one of the oldest in the world and is home to an incredible array of plant and animal species.

  • This includes the elusive cassowaries and the unique and prehistoric-looking tree-dwelling kangaroos.
  • Take a guided tour through the rainforest, embark on a river cruise to spot crocodiles, or go on a thrilling ziplining adventure to get a panoramic view of the stunning landscape.

Whitsunday Islands. This picturesque group of islands is famous for its pristine white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and world-class resorts.

  • Rent a private yacht and explore the turquoise waters, snorkeling or scuba diving to discover the vibrant coral reefs, or unwind on the sandy shores and bask in the sun.
  • Don't forget to visit the iconic Whitehaven Beach, with its pure white silica sand that feels like walking on a cloud.

Gold Coast and Surrounds

The Gold Coast and its surroundings offer attractions and activities that will leave travelers of any age spoilt for choice. Known for its beaches, nightlife, and theme parks, the Gold Coast is the ultimate destination for fun and adventure.

  • Gold Coast's theme parks: Movie World, Sea World, and Dreamworld offer a range of thrilling rides, live shows, and interactive experiences that will delight visitors of all ages. Get your heart racing on roller coasters, get up close and personal with marine life, or immerse yourself in the magic of the movies.
  • Luxury shopping paradise: From high-end fashion brands to unique boutique stores, you'll find everything you need to indulge in retail therapy. After a day of shopping, dine at one of the many world-class restaurants that offer a variety of cuisines from around the globe.
  • Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary: Get familiar with iconic Australian animals such as koalas, kangaroos, and crocodiles. You can enjoy interactive shows and presentations or walk through the enchanting rainforest.

Enjoy the Outdoors at the Land Down Under

Australia, with its breathtaking scenery, diverse wildlife, and vibrant cities, can satisfy the thirst for travel and adventure, making it crucial to know the best time to visit Australia. This destination will not disappoint nature lovers, foodies, adventure seekers, or travelers simply looking to relax on a stunning beach. So why wait? Start planning your trip to the land Down Under, considering the best time to visit Australia for an unforgettable journey tailored to your interests and the country's seasonal highlights.

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