20 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Australia
There's always been something about Australia that has captured people's imagination. It has been a backdrop to films from the 'Gold Rush' in the 1800s to 'Bounty' on the high seas to modern-day heart-stopping adventure movies 'Journey to the Center of the Earth' and 'LaserLight' in the 1990s.
Today, the dreamy outback, with its sprawling dry-lawn and vast orange-red landscape, red rock-face cliffs and rimmed-in-blue swimming holes, its lakes and deserts and rolling grasslands, is definitely an adventure-prone destination. Surrounded by the world's biggest islands, this vast continent combines stunning natural wonders with a quirky indigenous population, isolated pockets of modern city life and booming tourist hotspots.
Whatever the adventure, the Great Australian Bight and the Daintree rainforests of tropical North Queensland are both places you have to see in Australia. Discover the best places to visit in Australia with our list of the top tourist attractions in this fantastic country.
Sydney Opera House
One of the world's most famous landmarks, Sydney Opera House is situated on Sydney Harbour, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The building was conceived as an 'outdoor room,' an artificial gallery designed to allow sea breezes to fill the Sydney Opera House lobby and prompt visitors to feel as though they were actually inside the harbour. Today, the dramatic wedge-shaped building with its clean, white lines, colourful atrium, and whimsical architecture represents a milestone of modern architecture and design. This wonderful steel and concrete structure is one of the few structures on the planet that truly exceeds 1,000 tons in weight. With remarkable acoustics, and engineered to contain the most powerful sound waves yet produced by man, the Sydney Opera House has a capacity for eight performances at once, and can seat more than 3,000 people.
The Blue Mountains are Western Australia's oldest World Heritage-listed site. The cliffs rise to 1,350 meters, making them the highest mountain range in Australia. They are covered in shaggy rainforest, home to possums and the world's greatest population of the nationally rare Wooly Mammoth bush. The region's most popular attractions are the precipitous cliffs, and hiking and climbing are popular throughout the region. Spectacular views are found along the famous Cableway to the Top of the World, where one can gaze down at the village of Katoomba and see hundreds of meters of the main vertical cliff line reaching into the valley below. Aside from the fantastic views and scenery, the visitor center at Katoomba has a free audio guide to tours and more, and then gives a history of the region's ecology and human culture. It is the oldest surviving building in the Blue Mountains and can be viewed inside as well.
Known as the "most liveable city" in the world, Brisbane is one of Australia's most popular tourist destinations. It's consistently ranked as one of the top 30 modernist cities in the world, thanks to its attractive cultural and natural assets and the creativity of its residents. Visitors will find that the architecture is diverse, as is the population. If you're a history buff, don't miss the 1930 Art Deco Museum and a tour of the Gallery of Modern Art, both located in the central business district (CBD). The Discovery Centre has everything a traveler could want in a regional museum, including artifacts from the local Aboriginal heritage. The Museum of Brisbane is a fun and surprising experience, as it covers all aspects of the city. Perhaps the best thing to do in Brisbane is visit one of the many botanical gardens, the largest of which is the Royal Botanic Gardens. In a city where a week is too short to appreciate the beauty of the Brisbane River, why not extend your stay to explore the Sunshine Coast?
In its natural state, Hobart is a lush, hilly island city of narrow cobbled streets and colonial buildings with a small but intriguing tourist-oriented center. Founded by English settlers, the city lies on the shores of Port Davey on the Tasman Sea. It is the capital and largest city of Tasmania. It lies in the state of Tasmania, on the south coast of the island of Australia. Hobart is Tasmania's second most populous city and is located at the head of the Derwent River, the main waterway of the state. This river empties into Port Davey, which provides Hobart's most beautiful views of water. The state parliament is located in the city.
In 1989, after a failed attempt to build a safari park in Melbourne, Australia's largest zoo, Australia Zoo, was conceived. A part of the zoo is dedicated to Australia's natural history, including Komodo dragons, Tasmanian devils, and koalas, while the Tiger Territory has exhibits showing how animals inhabit habitats. In the Reptile and Quarry Safari Park, various reptiles roam free, including crocodiles, Komodo dragons, giant tortoises, and lizards, and visitors can feed Koalas that were hand-raised and nurtured since birth. Australia Zoo is located about 1.5 km southwest of the city of Sydney.
Cairns is located in far northeastern Australia and lies approximately 650 kilometers (400 miles) north of Darwin. The city is the major port for the region and in turn provides a link between the Mainland and the island continent of Australia. The two main attractions in Cairns are the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. The city has been modernized and spread throughout the hill of the Hawkesbury River and is accessible by road, rail, and plane. Although the city center is a short bus ride from the ferry, it's in no way a pleasant walk along the dusty sidewalks of the one-way streets. The city center has several interesting buildings including: The Customs House and Former Post Office, the Peace and Justice Precinct, the Grand Pacific Hotel, and the Botanic Gardens.
The lovely capital city of Canberra, Australia sits at the junction of three rivers and enjoys a pleasant climate year-round. Its proximity to the southern part of the continent gives Canberra a uniquely Australian ambiance, and its magnificent National Arboretum and National Botanic Gardens are important resources for visitors. There is a variety of things to do in Canberra, including horse riding, sailing, fishing, skiing, shopping, and cultural events. You can also visit Australia's historic capital city of Canberra. Be sure to visit the National Museum of Australia to see the amazing aboriginal artifacts recovered from various sites around Canberra. This is one of the largest museums in Australia, and is housed in the landmark Exhibition Building.
Lord Howe Island
Lord Howe Island, an 85-kilometer-long chain of coral atolls with a surface area of approximately 543 square kilometers, is Australia's third-largest island. The main attraction on this picturesque tropical island is the Roaring Harbour, a sheltered natural harbor at the eastern end of the island, and the main town of Weka, named after a local bush creature. Lord Howe Island is a diving paradise; over half the reef is protected as a marine national park, with diving facilities that are available to visitors. The island has a well-stocked air and fishing market, good seafood restaurants, and there are two golf courses. One of the famous Lord Howe Island egrets is here. The only road on the island is the 18 km road from Port Jackson to Breakwater, which is a walkway through the landscape. The island is served by various air carriers.
Nicknamed "The Most Beautiful Island", Kangaroo Island in South Australia has many enticing sights to enjoy. Located on the South Coast, Kangaroo Island, home to the southern rock lobster, was named for the way it has kangaroos jumping over marshes and some of the best beaches in Australia. You can catch an amazing ferry trip that travels through pastoral scenery to a tiny island and let you enjoy beautiful beaches and walks along cliffs, see lagoons, and enjoy some quiet romantic time in Kangaroo Island. Kangaroo Island has two international airports and easy access from the mainland with ferries and regular flights.
There are plenty of beaches in Australia, but few are as iconic as Bondi. The surf coast of Sydney is renowned for its strong swell, powerful waves, and iconic surfing culture. It's also renowned for having great beaches, both inside and outside the region: people talk about the view of the ocean from Bondi's cliff-side location, and if you don't believe them, just take the trip to the Harbour Bridge for a photo shoot. An iconic image of Sydney, the Harbour Bridge, also known as the Big Penny, is one of the seven wonders of the world, and its eight arches stretch over the city's most populated central districts. Other attractions of the area include one of the world's most famous beaches: Bondi Beach, which stretches right along the shore to Sydney's north; and the maritime history of the area, including Sydney's first lighthouse and the site of a notorious convict transport.
Vastly beautiful and exceedingly accessible, the Flinders Ranges take their name from the explorer Matthew Flinders, who discovered them in 1802. Aboriginal Australians inhabited this country for centuries before the arrival of Europeans. They lived in the scrubland, usually staying close to waterholes to catch kangaroos, fish and other food sources. Today, most of the Flinders Ranges is parkland and walking tracks. It is well worth walking the Great Western Walk, which will take you on a journey of 20 to 30 miles, from Idalia to Cudal. From Cudal, you can catch a bus back to the city of Albury, where you can take a train home.
Queenscliff is located approximately 90 minutes from Melbourne and offers visitors a quiet, tranquil spot. The bay is popular for relaxing in the sunshine and, especially in the cooler months, visitors can enjoy a few days sailing around its beautiful bays and along the surrounding beaches. It is easy to see why these parts are considered some of the best coastal wilderness areas in the southern hemisphere. The main town, Queenscliff, is a charming, small fishing village with a stunning waterfront esplanade of boardwalks. Along the Esplanade are a number of restaurants, galleries and boutiques. To learn about the history and environment of this part of the bay head for the Waterfront Museum. Tours and activities can be arranged for visitors and the Whaleboat service provides the ideal spot to see the wildlife. Some of the nearby beaches to visit include Redcliff Bay and Goldbeach.
Adelaide is the capital of South Australia, a state in southeastern Australia. The city is situated in a lush region of inland South Australia surrounded by some of the country's oldest and best-preserved temperate rainforests, abundant wildlife and a fertile river valley that allows growers to grow high-quality fruits and vegetables. Adelaide's cosmopolitan atmosphere draws travelers who enjoy its restaurants, museums, music festivals, events, and elegant galleries, many of which house modern Australian and European works. Adelaide has two main railway stations, Adelaide Park Lands and Central, both with excellent connections to other parts of Australia and the rest of the world. It also has many bus lines and motorways. Adelaide has some of the best attractions in the country including St. Peters Cathedral and University of Adelaide, where Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet was written. Other popular places to see in Adelaide are Adelaide Oval, the largest sports stadium in Australia and home to the Adelaide Crows rugby league team, Adelaide Zoo and Prospect Park, the third-oldest park in the country. Adelaide has many sights to see, and if you enjoy wine tasting, South Australia is a great place for a tasting trip, where you can try the local chardonnay and cabernet. South Australia has a strong agricultural heritage, producing grapes for many top-quality international wines.
Situated 130 km northwest of Cairns, Cape Tribulation lies on the tip of Cape York Peninsula and looks out across Coral Sea and northern Great Barrier Reef. Although many claim it is one of the best diving locations in the world, it is best to go with an agency, like Tropical Divers, that can book the best and most reliable spots for you. Attractions include Cradle Mountain, a 34-meter waterfall on the Trinity National Park, where the walk is only five minutes along a well-worn track. Other spots include Angi Bay (the Pacific), which is fed by two spring-fed freshwater pools where fish and turtles abound; and the 200-meter Bathing Beauty waterfall.
Australian Museum, Sydney
The Australian Museum houses an extensive collection of Indigenous and Pacific Islander art, as well as early artworks by European and other cultures. It also has a good collection of archaeological and natural history items, including many fossils. Admission is free, although a non-refundable $10.50 donation is charged and collections are open only on Monday through Friday. Guided tours of the museum are also available.
Kakadu National Park
Kakadu is an undisturbed part of the world for those who love wild nature. It is a vast area of wetlands, plains, steep rocky hills, and the wet heart of Kakadu, the Avon wetlands and billabongs. There are more than 15,000 flora and fauna species in Kakadu. Its rivers have some of the richest and most colorful fish, crocodiles, and other wildlife in the world. There are seven National Parks in Kakadu, plus several National Reserve areas. The largest of them is the huge 438,000-hectare Wajarri/Manbarri National Park. The park was declared a World Heritage Site in 1998. The main towns in Kakadu are Jabiru and Boorepoi.
Broome is one of Australia's northernmost towns, set among the tall, red dunes of the Kimberley coast. It is one of the few large towns in Australia with a surf beach (Persistent), where you can fly or drive, a bus service and a weekly flights to the nearby capital city of Perth. Things to do in Broome include a walk through the Broome Aboriginal Cultural Centre, viewing displays of beautiful shells and sampans, eating the famous dessert in the coffee shops and drinking coffee and beer at one of the many cafés. Broome also has the second-oldest (circa 1885) newspaper in the world, the once-weekly Daily Northern Standard, a weekly newspaper called the Saturday Sun, as well as two restaurants that serve a popular meat pie called the Broome-Darwin Bun. In the town there are several bars and cafés.
Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road stretches along the southern coast of Australia from the headland of Torquay in Victoria to Torquay on the state's south coast. Over 120 kilometers (72 miles) in length, it is famous for its dramatic granite coastline, rare old-growth forests, soaring cliffs, and picturesque waterfalls. Its highly scenic landscape is defined by stunning vistas of deep-blue seascapes and beautiful woodland and rainforests of redwood, beech, and spotted gum. The sheer number of tourist attractions here makes this stretch of the coast one of the world's most popular and well-known scenic drives. Tours can be arranged from the small towns and townships along the way. The popular tours are the five-hour Land's End to Torquay and the 12-hour Alfred Coastal Tour, which take in both national and state parks and popular sights. These tours cost A$109 and A$124 respectively.
Fraser Island is located on the very eastern edge of the Great Barrier Reef, an almost 9000-km-long natural coral reef that has been designated as one of the world's great marine reserves. Most beaches on the island are accessible only by boat, but some are passable on foot. Despite being the gateway to the reef for many people, Fraser Island isn't overly developed. Around the island is the small town of Hervey Bay. Its visitor center and main gateway can be found at the intersection of Tomlin Highway and the Hervey Bay Road. Fraser Island is home to some of the world's most pristine beach scenery. The north coast has white sandy beaches, while the south coast has black sand and the island's eastern end boasts sandy coves. Nearby attractions include several interesting ecological parks, from the island's rainforest to seabirds.
Brisbane Botanical Gardens
Brisbane is a tropical city in Australia, where the mild climate means that it is always nice to be outside. This attraction is located at the edge of a large park named Allan and Dorothy Travel World. Here, the visitors will find an attractive collection of exotic plants that includes colorful bromeliads, giant palms, and ferns and bamboos. Also, we have beautiful birds, butterflies, geckos, and many other animals, and also a small petting zoo. In addition to these great attractions, there are many things to see and do in Brisbane. One of these activities includes a visit to a fun park, like the Wild Side Outdoors, and the Rainforest of the World, where you can explore the tropical rainforest with children. A visit to Brisbane will be memorable because of the beautiful sights, with lots of attractive things to see, as well as the cultural diversity.