Australia is bursting with jaw-dropping sights and diverse natural landscapes in every corner, from the whitest pristine coastlines in Queensland, to the sacred sights of the red outback. I’ve been lucky enough to live in Australia my whole life and as much as I have the desire to travel the rest of the world, there is truly no place as awe-inspiring as my home down under. Here are 17 uniquely Australian experiences for the ultimate bucket-list adventure…
1. Go snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef
Immerse in the warm waters of one of the natural wonders of the world and the largest coral reef, that is home to countless species of colourful coral, fish, turtles, starfish, dolphins and sharks. The 2,300km-long ecosystem can even be seen from space.
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2. Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge, NSW
Be bold and take the daring bridge climb for the best panoramic views in town over Darling Harbour & the Sydney Opera House.
3. Road trip the Great Ocean Road, VIC
Take a scenic coastal drive and witness the Twelve Apostles, iconic surf breaks of Bells Beach, pockets of lush rainforests and pristine waterfalls.
4. Do the ‘Tim Tam Slam’
Australia’s greatest national icon has to be the Tim Tam. Bite the top and bottom corners off the heavenly chocolate biscuit and use it as a straw to drink your Milo through. Here’s a step-by-step guide for new timers.
5. Watch the sunrise and sunset over Uluru
Uluru or Ayers Rock is one of Australia’s most spectacular landmarks in the heart of the red outback, that stands 348 m above sea level. This wonder of the world is sacred to the Aboriginal people of the area, said to be 700 million years old, and is surrounded by springs, waterholes and ancient paintings. Watching the changing colours of the sandstone formation turn from rust orange to a bright red fire is a priceless sight to see.
6. Drink the world’s best coffee in Melbourne
Melbourne city encompasses all things modern, arty and dynamic, with a great penchant for cosmopolitan style and cafe culture. Explore the hidden laneways of the city, watch a beloved AFL match, and be prepared to drink a whole lot of caffeine in the country’s “coffee capital”, voted having the world’s best coffee.
7. Visit the Pink Lake in Western Australia
Australia is home to several naturally occurring pink lake phenomenon. Lake Hillier is a vibrant bubblegum pink colour and is found in Middle Island.
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8. Learn to surf on the Gold Coast
The Gold Coast is the place I call home, and I count my blessings every day that I wake up to the world’s greatest surf beaches right in my backyard, the friendliest faces, and that summer feeling all year long. It has the best of both worlds with green & serene hinterlands neighbouring the golden coastline.
9. And you simply can’t leave the country without trying Vegemite
You either love it or you hate it, but in my opinion, there is truly no greater Aussie breakfast or snack than some Vegemite on toast. Watch how to eat it properly here: there is a method to our madness.
10. See a quokka on Rottnest Island, Western Australia
Relax in the vibrant turquoise waters of Western Australia and snap a selfie with the happiest animal on earth, the friendly Quokka. Rottnest Island is also home to sea lions and fur seals.
11. Hot air balloon over the Hunter Valley
Nothing sounds quite as romantic as riding a hot air balloon into the sunset over the Hunter Region with a wine in hand. This is a foodies paradise, home to internationally acclaimed wineries, gourmet restaurants and endless supplies of chocolate, cheese and olives.
12. Feast your eyes in The Kimberley
The Kimberly region is a remote, rugged and raw ancient landscape, that is larger than 75% of the world’s countries, sprawled with untouched swimming holes, majestic canyons and desolate mountains. This is the place for escapism, adventure and a chance to delve into Australia’s most untouched natural beauty.
13. Go swimming with whale sharks in Western Australia
Witness the majestic, rare gentle giants up close and personal in the shimmering blue waters of Ningaloo Reef. It’s one of the best diving spots in the world!
14. Camp on Australia’s highest peak, atop Mt. Kosciuszko
Go camping, snowboarding, horse riding and explore caves at the highest point of Australia in the Snowy Mountains, found in New South Wales.
15. Watch the Aurora Australis in Tasmania
Similar to the Northern Lights, Australia has its very own ‘Southern Lights’, described as a “celestial ballet of light dancing across the night sky”. The natural light turns the Tasmanian night sky tones of pink, purple and green.
16. Chill out at Bondi Beach, NSW
Sydney’s iconic Bondi has something for everyone; surf, sand, an Aussie feed at one of the many beachside cafes or a swim in the Icebergs.
17. Sail and swim the Whitsundays
Its glamorous name lives up to the expectation; crystal blue waters as far as the eye can see and the whitest sand beaches spread over 74 islands. Make sure you dock your boat at Whitehaven beach to sink your feet into some of the world’s purest sand.
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!