With endless white sand beaches, lush green rainforests, stunning hikes through bushland and red dirt outback trails; the Australian landscape is as diverse as it is inviting. There are so many incredible destinations to visit and it can be hard to pin a point on the map – so we’ve narrowed down to 21 of the best places to visit in Australia, to help you plan your next trip around this amazing country.
21. Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia
One of Australia’s most breathtaking marine treasures, Ningaloo Reef is home to tropical fish, turtles, manta rays and more majestic wildlife along 260km of coral reef.
The World Heritage-Listed reef is also one of the top spots in the world for swimming with whale sharks – especially from April to July, when the whale sharks are most likely to visit each year.
Image source:Sebastian Pena Lambarri / Unsplash
20. McLaren Vale, South Australia
Love wine? Love fine dining? Love beautiful scenery? Pay a visit to McLaren Vale in South Australia. Located a short 40-minute drive from the capital city of Adelaide, it’s easy to reach and will take your breath away with world-class vineyards and plenty of fun times. You can’t go wrong with a wine tasting at Coriole, Wirra Wirra, Gemtree or Mitolo.
Image source:James Dimas / Unsplash
19. Hyams Beach, New South Wales
Nestled in the south coast of New South Wales, Jervis Bay is a charming surf town known for the sandy shores of Hyams Beach. Turquoise waters and pristine white sand combine to make this one of the best places to visit in Australia.
Image source:Silas Baisch / Unsplash
18. Cradle Mountain, Tasmania
The Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park in Tasmania is one of the most incredible national parks in the world and should definitely be on your Aussie bucket list.
You can hike trails throughout the park and take in the serene sight of alpine lakes and majestic mountains. Not to mention, you can catch the Aurora Australia or the Southern Lights, with the vibrant green, blue, purple and red lights lighting up the sky year-round.
Image source:Mohamad Ibrahim / Unsplash
17. Daintree Rainforest, Queensland
The largest tropical rainforest in Australia, The Daintree spans an incredible 1,200 sq km, bursting with ancient ferns and vines. You can try your hand at zip-lining through the lush canopy or take a river cruise to spot some crocodiles – the adventures are endless in this flourishing green paradise.
Image source:Federico Garcia / Unsplash
16. Lake Hillier, Western Australia
You may not know Lake Hillier by name, but you’ll probably recognise the pink lake from countless Instagram and Pinterest posts. The salt water lake is nestled in Middle Island, separated from the deep-blue Southern Ocean by a thin strip of sand. Take in views of the lake by flying over or cruising through the Recherche Archipelago.
Image source:George Bakos / Unsplash
15. Lord Howe Island
A natural haven in the Tasman Sea, Lord Howe is a crescent-shaped island with sun-drenched beaches, lagoons and abundant mountain terrain. Hike Mount Gower or head for a dip in Blinky Beach for a glorious day in the sunshine.
Image source:Dylan Shaw / Unsplash
14. Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory
From seeing ancient Aboriginal rock art at at Ubirr and Nourlangie, to traversing rugged terrain in the park, Kakadu is officially one of the best places to visit in Australia. There are rainforests, wetlands, thunderous waterfalls and there’s no shortage of stunning wildlife like native birds, wallaby, turtles and crocodiles, perfect for animal lovers.
13. Byron Bay, New South Wales
Home to spectacular beaches, chilled-out surfers and Chris Hemsworth, Byron Bay is a buzzing coastal town in northern New South Wales. It’s a holiday hot-spot among Aussies and tourists alike, known for epic surf, cute cafes and a vibrant nightlife.
12. Glass House Mountains, Queensland
Nestled in the hinterland of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, the 11 peaks of Glass House are a serene sight to behold. Think walking tracks, horse trails and abseiling galore. Plus, the peaks are linked to six small towns within the range, providing the perfect spot for a sleep and nightcap after a day of adventures in this natural playground. If you’re planning a trip to Australia, you should definitely add this place on your list.
Image source:Luisa Denu / Unsplash
11. Cape Tribulation, Queensland
There’s no denying that Cape Tribulation is one of the best places to visit in Queensland. This coastal region sits within the previously mentioned Daintree, and boasts a glorious combo of beaches and rainforest. Vibrant blue and green hues reign supreme in the UNESCO World Heritage-Listed site, where you can hike the Mt Sorrow Ridge Walk, take a dip in Cape Trib or Myall beach and zip-line through the canopy. Dreamy.
Image source:David Clode / Unsplash
10. Noosa Everglades, Queensland
One of two Everglads in the world, the Noosa Everglades gives travellers the chance to get up close and personal with Aussie wildlife, including native bird species and kangaroos. You can kayak or hop on a boat to explore the tranquil waters, which are surrounded by incredible greenery.
9. Bungle Bungle Range, Western Australia
This 350 million-year-old range found in Purnululu National Park was only ‘discovered’ in the 1980s. The World Heritage-Listed park is known for the Bungle Bungle Range, with orange and black striped karst sandstone domes. The unique landscape can be seen by air or explored with 4WD tours.
Image source:Ben Carless / Unsplash
8. Litchfield National Park, Northern Territory
Known for the picturesque Florence Falls, Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory is a treasure trove of gushing waterfalls, swimming holes and monsoonal vine forests. Take a hike or jump in the cool waters of the park for a relaxing day spent in nature.
7. The Pinnacles Desert, Western Australia
Want to know what it would feel like to walk on Mars? The Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park is pretty much as close as you can get. Thousands of limestone formations scattered across desert earth create an other-worldly moonscape here at The Pinnacles.
As you can imagine, the eerie limestone structures cast strange shadows at sunrise and sunset, making this the perfect time to check them out. If you visit the desert in the spring months of September and October, you’ll also catch sight of the wildflowers blooming in the surrounding areas.
Image source:Roxanne Desgagnes / Unsplash
6. The 12 Apostles, Victoria
One of the most popular and best places to visit in Victoria is The 12 Apostles – a collection of rock stacks that rise up from the Southern Ocean along the coastline. Located along the scenic Great Ocean Road, the rocks jut out of the ocean and appear to change colours in the sunshine. Check them out at sunrise and sunset for some seriously stunning photos.
Image source:Cadence Tan / Unsplash
5. Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park, Northern Territory
Home to the Anangu people, the national park includes sacred sites Uluru and Kaja Tjuṯa. The UNESCO World Heritage-listed park is a must-visit for all Australian and international travellers. Spend one minute in the jaw-dropping beauty of this region and you’ll realise why Uluru is so special.
4. Broome, Western Australia
It doesn’t get much more iconic or beautiful than Cable Beach in Broome, which makes it one of THE best places to visit in Australia. A gateway to the rugged Kimberley region, Broome is known for its signature white sand beaches, historic pearl trade, friendly locals and relaxed vibes. Be sure to visit James Price Point to see the stunning pastel-hued coastlines seen below.
Image source:Ben Carless / Unsplash
3. Whitehaven Beach, The Whitsunday Islands
Another white sand, bright blue waters, ocean wonder – the Whitsundays are a picture-perfect collection of 74 islands in the north-east of Australia.
The region’s famous Whitehaven Beach is one of the most classic ‘postcard shots’ of Australia. In 2021, it was even named the #1 beach in the WORLD by Tripadvisor. And it’s not hard to see why.
You can explore the sandy shores of Whitehaven and dip your toes in the crystalline waters with a day-trip through the islands – on Contiki’s North Queensland Adventure trip, its an included experience, sure to make your holiday a whole lot more memorable.
Image source:Lochlainn Riordan / Unsplash
2. Wineglass Bay, Tasmania
Sitting in the Freycinet Peninsula, Wineglass Bay is a white sandy bay shaped like – you guessed it – a wine glass. Tasmania’s famous nature reserve is perfect for a day of hiking out in the wilderness but, be warned, the walk is no easy feat! It’s a casual 1.5 hour return walk to the lookout, but you’ll need to add at least another hour return of steep climbing. Is it worth it? Hell yes!
Image source:Tim Hart / Unsplash
1. The Great Barrier Reef, Queensland
Can you travel to Australia and not visit The Great Barrier Reef? Well, yes, but you really shouldn’t. It’s one of the most beautiful places to visit in not only Australia, but the world. Comprised of more than 3,000 individual reefs, the vibrant coastline is home to stunning wildlife and colourful coral. From snorkelling to scuba diving, or even a helicopter ride over the reef, there are plenty of ways to enjoy this natural wonder.
When you visit the Great Barrier Reef, you should also check out a local conservation project – like the Turtle Hospital in Townsville – to learn about the important work that’s going into conversing the reef and how we can all help fight the impact of climate change on the reef and our oceans.
Keen to explore more of Australia this year? Check out all of our exciting new Aussie trips for locals, by locals on the Contiki website. If you’re based outside of Australia, these trips won’t show up for you just yet – but keep your eyes peeled for more domestic announcements!