Australia is a vast country, there’s no doubt about that. To put it into context, it’s pretty much the same size as the continental USA. So, while you wouldn’t consider covering the whole of the US territory in one long trip, the story with Australia is a bit different. Most of Australia’s cities and places of interest are along the coast or not too far from it, and there’s no better way to see them than on an epic road trip. But even so, you would need a good few months.

Top Places To Visit In Australia - Great Barrier Reef

If like me, you’re a more practical person and just want to see the main highlights, I will share with you my top places to visit in Australia, based on places I visited while living Downunder for 2 years. Hopefully, I will be able to return to OZ soon and increase this list in the future. 🙂

My Top Places To Visit In Australia

1- SYDNEY, NSW

Sydney is the largest, most populated city in Australia and is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world, along with Cape Town, Rio de Janeiro and Hong Kong.

Many of the places to see in Sydney are around the harbour area.  This area attracts visitors from all over the world and it’s not hard to see why, with the iconic Opera House on one side, the Harbour Bridge that offers the perfect backdrop for photos – you can also climb it! – and many other landmarks around the city that are along or offer views of Sydney Harbour.

Top Places To Visit In Australia - Sydney Opera House

The iconic postcard of Sydney, with the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge at sunset

Not far from there you will find the historical The Rocks, Sydney’s oldest district. From there you can explore downtown Sydney (which locals call CBD). Some important landmarks include Hyde Park, Darling Harbour, a large entertainment area with hundreds of bars, restaurants hotels and a casino, and Woolloomooloo Wharf.

Spot some Aussie wildlife at Taronga Zoo and top up your tan at Bondi Beach, Sydney’s favourite spot to swim and catch the waves. Bondi is also the city’s favourite backpackers hangout, where you can meet travellers from all over the world.

Top Places To Visit In Australia - Bondi Beach Sydney

The pool at Bondi Beach, Sydney

The city is also one of the best places to start a road trip in Australia. If that’s what you have in mind, it’s easy to buy a used car in Sydney using Gumtree, since here you have more on offer and a higher chance to get more value for money.

Sydney also hosts several festivals all year round, with the new Vivid Sydney attracting thousands of tourists in the summer months.

2- BLUE MOUNTAINS, NSW

The Blue Mountains are only a 2-hour drive from Sydney, but it seems worlds apart. The Blue Mountains is the name of a quiet region covered by forests and bushland, comprising several villages and towns. The region’s main postcard is the rock formation called The Three Sisters, located in the town of Katoomba. The town is also a good starting point to go bushwalking and try to spot some more of Australia’s animals in their natural habitat.

Top Places To Visit In Australia - Blue Mountains

The Tree Sisters, on of the top attractions in the Blue Mountains, Australia

3- BYRON BAY, NSW

Located in the northernmost part of New South Wales, near the border with Queensland. Apart from the white sandy beaches that attract a lot of Aussie and international travellers, if you fancy a hike over the mountains, you will find some swim holes and beautiful waterfalls, like Killin Falls.

4- CAIRNS, QLD

Cairns is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Australia, and for two very good reasons. This small city is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, which needs no introduction. Every year the city welcomes hoards of tourists coming by road, plane or on cruise ships who want to swim, snorkel or dive in the Great Barrier Reef, the first good reason to go to Cairns.

Top Places To Visit In Australia - Great Barrier Reef

The heart reef in the Great Barrier Reef, one of the top places to visit in Australia

The other good reason is the Daintree Rainforest – Australia’s largest rainforest. Here you can swim in turquoise waterholes, admire many species of Australian fauna, including several species of birds or the scary saltwater crocodile, which can be found in the Daintree River. And if you just want to take it easy, you can also ride the Kuranda Scenic Railway, the Skyrail Cableway or just let yourself get covered by hundreds of butterflies at the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary.

5- ULURU, NT

Uluru National Park is in the heart of the outback and is one of the most fascinating areas in Australia. The park’s main landmark is a giant sandstone rock called Uluru by local Aborigines and named Ayers Rock by British settlers.

The best way to travel to Uluru is by road from Darwin and Alice Springs, the largest town 280 miles from the park. But driving through the desert alone is quite a dangerous task, so the best way to get here is on a guided tour.

Top Places To Visit In Australia - Uluru National Park

Uluru, or Ayers Rock, is in the heart of the Australian outback

This remote area is sacred for the Anangu Aborigines, and here you can find springs, waterholes, caves and ancient paintings. Until recently, people used to climb the giant rock to enjoy views of the landscape and the sunset. But being a sacred place, this is no longer allowed.

There are a number of hotels and hostels in the area, making it a good place to spend a couple of days before flying elsewhere from nearby Ayers Rock Airport.

6- MELBOURNE, VIC

Melbourne, the second largest Australian city, maybe often at odds with Sydney as to which one is better – something way too subjective, if you ask me. But one thing is for certain: Melbourne has been considered the best city to live in the world more than a handful of times – and that alone, says a lot about the city. It is also regarded as the most European city in the country.

Top Places To Visit In Australia - Melbourne

Melbourne was considered the best city to live in the world a number of times

The weather here is more unstable than in Sydney, and Melbournians say they often experience four seasons in one single day. But if you’re caught in bad weather, Melbourne has plenty of museums to keep you busy while the sun doesn’t come out. If you’re an admirer of the arts, the National Gallery of Victoria may be just what you’re looking for. It is the oldest and the largest art museum in Australia, while the RAAF Museum is a free museum just outside Melbourne that tells the history of Australian aviation.

Top Places To Visit In Australia - Brighton Beach Melbourne

Brighton Beach is one of the best places to visit in Melbourne

Melbourne also has its fair share of good beaches. St Kilda, with its bustling pier, is the most famous and is busy all year-round. While Brighton Beach with its 82 colourful bathing boxes attracts not only beachgoers but also wannabe Instagram stars.

Have you every been to Australia? What are your favourite places?

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