In this article, we’ll show you the top 10 landmarks that we’ve visited in Australia which you shouldn’t miss when you visit this fascinating country.
Australia has so much to offer and we’re sure it will captivate you in a few moments.
If you decide to visit Australia, you can read all the information about how to get the visa in this article.
1.The Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system in the world and stretches along over 2300 kilometers near the northeastern coast of Australia.
It consists of over 2900 coral reefs and 900 islands.
The Great Barrier Reef can be reached in about an hour from the Queensland coast.
When is it the best time to visit The Great Barrier Reef?
The best time to go diving or snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef is from June to October. During this time the water is slightly cooler, but the visibility underwater is very good.
Our visit took place in October, and the weather conditions and the water temperature were perfect.
You should know that during the hot season (November to May) it is the jellyfish season and it is recommended that you wear a stinger suit in the water to protect you from stings.
The stinger suit can be rented from the company you are doing the trip to the Great Barrier Reef with.
Where can you go on a day trip to the Great Barrier Reef from?
There are several cities from which you can take a one-day or a several-day trip to the Great Barrier Reef, but the most famous of them is Cairns.
There are regular flights that fly to Cairns from the major Australian cities.
What tour do we recommend that you take in Cairns?
If your time allows, choose to do at least 2 trips to the Great Barrier Reef.
Each company goes to a different area of the Great Barrier Reef, and if you want to see how much the underwater world can differ from one reef region to another, go on trips with different companies.
We recommend the following tours:
One day trip with Silwerswift:
Unfortunately, a large part of the corals from The Great Barrier Reef are no longer alive and have a gray color.
Of all the trips made by us to the Great Barrier Reef, on this trip, we saw the most beautiful underwater gardens and the most colorful corals.
The ticket price includes: lunch, snorkeling in 3 locations and a guided snorkeling tour at one of the locations.
The certified divers or Introductory Divers (those who want to experience Scuba Diving) can do up to three dives. The dives are not included in the ticket cost and can be purchased separately.
A day trip with Reef Magic Cruises:
We recommend this trip especially for those who are on holiday with their children.
Beside snorkeling, diving or Introductory Dive, here you have plenty of other activities to choose from: Helmet Diving, helicopter flight over the reef, submarine and glass-bottom boat ride.
From Cairns, you can also go on day trips to the nearby islands: Fitzroy Island and Green Island. Two very beautiful islands, where the beach, tropical rainforest and coral reef create a perfect harmony.
2.Whitsunday Islands and Whitehaven Beach
Airlie Beach is a very beautiful city in Queensland and is the most suitable starting point for a trip to the Whitsunday Islands.
Here are some ways you can spend your time in Airlie Beach:
Relax at Airlie Beach Lagoon, a swimming pool with no entrance fee located in the city center in the immediate vicinity of the beach. In the park around the pool, there are picnic and barbecue areas.
Walk on The Bicentennial Walkway, a route starting from the city center and stretching over a 7 km return along the coast. The view on the route is exceptional. It takes about 2.5 hours to walk this route.
From Airlie Beach you can go on the Whitsunday Crocodile Safari on the Prosperpine River or hike the trails near the city.
Where can you stay in Airlie Beach?
We stayed at Airlie Beach Magnums. The hotel is in the city center and you can find everything you need nearby.
Hotel parking is free of charge.
Near Airlie Beach there are two airports:
Whitsunday Coast Airport (Prosperpine) (PPP) is a 30-minute drive from Airlie Beach.
We landed at this airport and we purchased a transfer from the airport to the hotel in advance. We did not rent a car here because we were going to spend more time on the water.
There are daily flights from Brisbane and twice a week airplanes from Sydney and Melbourne land.
Hamilton Island Airport (HTI) is on Hamilton Island. Daily flights from Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Cairns fly to this airport.
From the island you can get to Airlie Beach in one hour by ferry.
Trip from Airlie Beach to Whitsunday Islands:
From Airlie Beach, we advise you to take a several-day trip to the Great Barrier Reef, but if you don’t have enough time, you must visit at least the Whitsunday Islands.
Whitsunday Islands are a group of continental islands off the central coast of Queensland.
Here is the 7 kilometers long Whitehaven Beach, which is the most beautiful beach we’ve seen in Australia.
We visited the Whitsunday Islands on a day trip with Ocean Rafting.
They offer two tours: The Northern Exposure (more snorkeling) and The Southern Lights Tour (more time on the beach).
We chose “The Southern Lights Tour“, but we think the other tour would have been more exciting, because we liked the snorkeling location much more than the part of the beach where we stopped.
The Hill Inlet Lookout is located at the northern end of Whitehaven Beach.
To get to Hill Inlet from the beach, you have to hike for about 10 minutes through a tropical rainforest.
The view from Hill Inlet is stunning.
3.Daintree National Park
Daintree rainforest is considered the oldest tropical rainforest in the world.
The rainforest stretches over 450 km and is divided into two areas: Mossman and Cape Tribulation. We advise you to spend at least 3 days here.
It is a very beautiful region, where tropical rainforest trails combine harmoniously with the white sandy beaches and the underwater gardens.
In this place, we plan to spend more time on our next visit to Australia.
It is a very quiet place with an abundant wildlife and a wide variety of plants, a true paradise for bird and nature lovers.
There are over 430 species of birds in this rainforest, including the cassowary, which is endangered. Consider yourself lucky if you meet one of these beautiful animals, because only about 1,200 cassowaries are still living in Australia.
How can you get here?
Daintree National Park is located in the north-east of Australia, a 2-hour drive from Cairns.
What can you visit in the Daintree National Park?
If you go from Cairns to Cape Tribulation, make a stop in Port Douglas to watch the Four-mile Beach from the Flagstaff Hill Lookout.
You will recognize this view from the travel agencies’ brochures.
It is the second stop we made on our way to Cape Tribulation. The Gorge is located in the south part of Daintree National Park.
There is a bus every 15 minutes that takes you from the Visitor Center to the entrance to the trail.
The water of the river is considered one of the clearest in the world.
Daintree Village and Safari on Daintree River
From Daintree Village we made an hour-long cruise on the Daintree River. In this river freshwater crocodiles as well as saltwater crocodiles live.
During the cruise we made, we saw six crocodiles resting among the mangroves at the edge of the river.
The last cruise leaves at 3:30 pm.
From this Lookout, you will see how the tropical rainforest meets the coral reef.
The only way to get to Cape Tribulation is to cross the Daintree River by ferry. The ferry runs 7 days a week from 6 am to midnight and can load 50 cars at a time.
Cape Tribulation is in the north part of the park (110 km north of Cairns).
There are several white sandy beaches in this region, the most famous of them is Cape Tribulation Beach.
We advise you to take care if you go into the water here because there may be salt water crocodiles in the water, especially if you are at the mouth of the Daintree river (Cape Kimberley Beach).
We advise you to hike at least one of the 3 tracks along the Bruce Highway: Marrdja Boardwalk – 45 minutes, Jindalba Boardwalk – 30 minutes, or Dubuji Boardwalk – 60 minutes.
Daintree Discovery Centre
It is worth it to visit this place.
At the entrance you will receive an audio guide which gives you valuable information about the vegetation, fauna, and inhabitants of this region.
Day Trips from Cairns:
Take a day trip from Cairns to visit Daintree National Park.
On this trip you will be accompanied by a guide who will give you a lot of details about the plants and animals in the park.
We made a day trip with the Rainforest Spirit Tours.
Visit Kuranda combining the Kuranda Scenic Railway with the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway:
The trip from Cairns to Kuranda with this train takes about an hour and 45 minutes. The route is spectacular and passes through the tropical rainforest and by the Barron Waterfall.
Skyrail Rainforest Cableway in Kuranda
Kuranda is a town 25 km north of Cairns.
From here you can take a ride over the tropical rainforest, with a spectacular view of the tropical rainforest, Barron Falls and the Coral Sea.
4.Ningaloo Marine Park
The Ningaloo Marine Park stretches over a distance of nearly 300 kilometers in Western Australia, from the Exmouth Bay to the north of Carnarvon.
Over 500 species of tropical fish and around 200 species of corals live here. The Ningaloo Reef is often visited by whales, dolphins, turtles, manta rays, and giant whale sharks.
How can you get to Ningaloo Marine Park?
You can get there by car from Perth, along the western coast of Australia (Coral Coast).
There is a direct flight from Perth operated by Qantas to Learmonth Airport (LEA). The airport is located between Exmouth (36km away) and Coral Bay (116km away).
What can you visit in Ningaloo Marine Park?
If you come to Coral Bay, you have to do two things:
Walk on – Coral Bay Walk Way
The view here is truly amazing.
The route stretches over a distance of 2 kilometers along the Ningaloo Reef, which borders the bay making the water color seem unreal blue.
In the crystal-clear waters, there are all chances to see along the trail, dolphins, manta rays or turtles.
The white sandy beaches on the route are an ideal place to watch the sunset.
Snorkel in Bill’s Bay:
This bay is a snorkeling paradise because the reef is just a few meters away from the beach.
The 4 kilometers-long white sandy beach here is the ideal place to relax.
Exmouth is a small and stylish city on the west coast of Australia and we advise that you spend at least 3 days here because there is plenty to see and it is a particularly beautiful area.
Many tourist attractions are located near Exmouth and there are also plenty of activities that you can do here.
What can you visit in Cape Range National Park near Exmouth?
Just 18 km away from Exmouth is Turquoise Bay, a bay where you can snorkel in wonderfully tranquil waters.
Besides the corals we have also seen turtles, reef sharks, and sea stars.
The beach is amazingly beautiful, one of the most beautiful beaches we have visited in Australia.
From Turquoise Bay you have to drive a further 17 kilometers to get to Sandy Bay, another particularly beautiful bay.
At the entrance to the beach there are picnic areas. This is an ideal place to enjoy breakfast, admiring the spectacular views.
If you travel the route from Exmouth to Sandy Bay early in the morning you’ll see a lot of kangaroos and emu on the route.
Similarly to Exmouth or Coral Bay, the reef here is also a few meters away from the beach.
This is a place specially designed for bird watching in a small lagoon between the mangroves on the beach.
Jurabi Turtle Centre
Here you can learn many things about the types of turtles that live around the Ningaloo Reef.
If your visit takes place between November and April, then you might see the turtles coming to the beach at night to lay their eggs.
Swim with some of the biggest creatures in the ocean: Whale Sharks and Manta Rays
Between April and July you can take a day trip from Exmouth to swim with the whale sharks, which are 4 to 12 meters long.
Manta Rays are present throughout the year near the Ningaloo Coral Reef, but the best chance to see them is from mid-May to mid-September when their number around the reef increases significantly.
We advise you to choose a one-day trip from Exmouth where you can swim with both manta rays and whale sharks.
Take a cruise to see or to swim with the Humpback Whale:
From August to October you have the chance to see whales around the coast of Australia, where they migrate to keep away from cold winters.
Where did we stay?
Our choice was RAC Caravan Park in Exmouth.
5.Sydney and its surroundings
Sydney is the capital of New South Wales and it is Australia’s largest and most famous city. The city is much nicer than we expected and has many attractions.
Where did we stay in Sydney?
We stayed in the Mosman, in a very nice apartment rented through Airbnb. It has a convenient location, just a few minutes’ drive from the Zoo and 800 meters away from the Balmoral Beach.
The accommodation has free car parking.
What can you do in Sydney?
Visit the Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House is the most famous attraction in the city.
It can be reached by many means of transport from various corners of the city: by bus, by ferry or by train to the Circular Quay. From here the opera house is a few minutes’ walk.
For those who travel here by car, as we did, there’s an underground car park right next to the opera.
We recommend that you take a Sydney Opera House guided tour to see the Opera’s halls and find out its history or participate in a show that is held here.
Admire the Sydney Opera House during a cruise on the harbor:
There are plenty of cruises to choose from. These will cruise through Sydney Harbour, and from there you will have a lovely panoramic view of the Sydney Opera House, Harbor Bridge, the Botanic Gardens, and the skyscrapers around.
Visit Sydney during Vivid Sydney (light show):
In May or June, the lights festival takes place in Sydney. During this festival, the city’s famous landmarks (The Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbor Bridge and Customs House) are lighted for two weeks.
During this time, your walk through the harbor, and around the Sydney Opera House, will be accompanied by a show of lights and sounds that will make this experience truly special.
Do not miss the Badu Gili – daily light show:
If you don’t visit Sydney during the light festival, you still have the chance to see the Sydney Opera House illuminated each evening during the Badu Gili Light Show.
Within this light show works of aboriginal artists are exhibited. The show lasts 7 minutes and takes place every evening from 7 pm.
Walk on the Sydney Harbor Bridge:
The Bridge is located near Sydney Opera House and crosses the Sydney Harbor. Cars, trams, bicycles, and pedestrians can pass on this bridge.
For a spectacular view of the city, you have the chance to take part in an organized tour to climb the bridge safely and just accompanied by a guide.
Take a Sydney Helicopter Tour:
It is an experience that we recommend not to miss. Sydney is really charming seen from above. There are plenty of choices you can choose from, depending on the budget available.
We recommend this 20-minute flight over the Port and the Sydney Opera House, and if you are a group, we recommend that you opt for a private tour.
Visit Taronga Zoo
The zoo is located in the Mosman neighborhood and the view from here over the Sydney Harbour is stunning.
This Zoo is home for over 4,000 animals of various species: exotic animals or native species of Australia.
For those who come by car, there is a parking lot next to the zoo.
However, the best option to get to Taronga Zoo is with the Ferry from the Circular Quay (near the Sydney Opera House) and from the ferry you can take the cable car to the zoo.
The cable car tour is included in the Zoo ticket price and even if you do not get off at the ferry, you can take a cable car round trip from the zoo to enjoy the amazing views of the city.
Walk along the Bondi to Coogee Walk:
Bondi to Coogee Walk is located in the east part of Sydney and is 6 kilometers in length. The route passes by many parks, bays and beaches.
We parked our car in a free on-street parking, a 10-minute walk from Coogee Beach and we hiked the trail from Coogee to Bondi.
Visit the Blue Mountains:
The National Park is about two hours away from Sydney. If you do not have a car at your disposal, you can get here with a one-day tour of Sydney.
The name of the mountains comes from the fact that, when seen from a distance, the mountains seem blue.
The most visited attraction in the park is The Three Sisters (visible from Echo Point) about which different legends are told.
In this park there are lots of trails, waterfalls or lookouts with great views.
From the Blue Mountains the road continues to Oberon. Oberon is a small town located 180 km from Sydney. The way here impressed us, because we did not expect to see such a green area in Australia.
Very close to Oberon, there are a few areas where you can try your luck and search for precious stones – fossicking. This is one of the few places where you are allowed to do this without having a license.
If you need equipment and a map, you can rent all of these for the price of AUD 15 at the Oberon Visitor Center.
6.Karijini National Park
Karijini National Park is in Western Australia and we visited it during a 2-week itinerary through Western Australia with the campervan. Here you can find the entire itinerary, tips and details about the visited sights.
How do you reach Karijini National Park?
By car from Perth:
From Perth there are two routes that you can take to the Karijini National Park.
The first route is The Northern Highway – a route that passes through the less populated areas of Western Australia, and the second road stretches along the west coast of Australia.
The distance from Perth to the park is about 1400 kilometers and we covered the route in two days.
There are flights from Perth to two cities that are closer to the park: Paraburdoo – Paraburdoo Airport (PBO) or Newman – Newman Airport (ZNE).
Both airports are within a 2-hour drive of the park. From here you can rent a car or take the bus to Tom Price, the nearest city.
Where can you stay in Karijini?
You can stay in Tom Price or one of the two campgrounds in the park: the Dales Campground or the Karijini Eco Retreat.
How can you visit the park?
If you do not have a car, you can take a day trip to visit the park.
If you are with a car / campervan, you can park your car in the parking lots located at the entry to each route.
Although not all roads in the park are sealed, they are accessible with a 2-WD car.
Entrance fee for the park:
The entrance fee for the park is 12AUD / car, and if you visit several parks in Western Australia we suggest you buy a Park Pass. It costs 60 AUD and allows you to drive by car (regardless of the number of passengers) in all West Australian parks for a 4-week period.
Our favorite tracks in Karijini National Park:
Karijini Visitor Center – this is the best place to start your adventure in the park. Here you can find information about the park, history, road conditions, and trails.
Weano Gorge – this is the route we liked the most.
Hancock Gorge – famous for the Spider Walk.
Dales Gorge: the Fortescue Falls, the Fern Pool and the Circular Pool – an easy walk, here are 3 natural swimming pools.
Hamersley Gorge – here is located the famous Pool Pool.
7.Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
It is located in the southern part of the Northern Territory.
How can you reach Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park?
You can get there by car or fly to one of the two nearby airports:
Alice Springs Airport (ASP): it is 13 kilometers away from Alice Springs.
Alice Springs is the largest city near the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. The distance from Alice Springs to the park is 463 km.
From here you can rent a car and drive up to Uluru or visit the park with one of the tours departing from Alice Springs. (Tours can last either one or more days).
Connellan (AYQ) – Ayers Rock: a 10 minutes’ drive from Yulara (the town where the hotels are located) and 20 minutes away from Uluru.
From the airport to resort / hotel there is a free shuttle service after each flight.
We flew with Jetstar from Sydney to this airport and then from Ayers Rock to Brisbane.
Where did we stay?
We stayed at the Outback Pioneer Hotel, located 15 minutes away from Ayers Rock (Uluru) and 5.6 kilometers from the airport. The hotel has a free shuttle service from Connellan Airport (AYQ).
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
The main attractions in the park are Uluru and Kata Tjuta, both of them have a sacred significance for the Aboriginal Australians living there.
Those who don’t travel here by car can visit the park on a one day trip.
We went on trips with AATKings. On these trips we were accompanied by a guide who told us about the history of each place we visited, and we found interesting details about the life and history of the aboriginal people.
We recommend that you choose a tour to see the sunset, because it is impressive to see how Uluru changes its color when the sun sets.
If you want to have more flexibility, you can opt for a ticket valid between one and three days at Uluru Hop On Hop Off Transfers. It is similar to tourist buses from major cities.
You can visit both Uluru and Kata-Tjuta and use your time as you like.
The schedule differs according to the period of the year and it is available on their website.
Other activities you can do in the park:
– Watch the sunrise as you take a camel tour at the base of Uluru.
– Helicopter flight.
– Take a tour of The Field of Light at sunrise or at sunset.
8.The Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road stretches over 243 km along the southeastern coast of Victoria. The route starts one hour away from Melbourne, in Torquay, and ends near the border with South Australia (Allansford).
The starting point for The Great Ocean Road is Melbourne.
Melbourne is the capital of Victoria and the second largest city in Australia after Sydney.
From Melbourne, there are tours of one or more days to visit The Great Ocean Road.
Our suggestion is to travel the route by car and enjoy the flexibility this gives you.
Along the route, you will pass alongside numerous beaches, national parks, and tropical forests. The most famous attraction on the route is the 12 Twelve Apostles, a collection of limestone pillars in the ocean waters.
If you want to see koalas in their natural environment, you have the chance to do it at the Kennett River Koala Walk, considered the best place to see the “wild koalas” in Australia.
9.Shark Bay Marine Park and Monkey Mia
The National Park is located 840 km north of Perth and it is a mandatory stop for those who travel the route from Perth to Exmouth or Broome by car.
It’s a good choice whether you are looking for an adventure or want to relax.
What can you visit here?
It is the largest city in the area and we recommend that you stay here.
In this place, you have the chance to interact with wild dolphins. Almost every morning dolphins, in numbers of 4 to 7, come to the shore in Monkey Mia to be fed by humans.
Dolphin tours take place between 7:45 AM and 12:00 PM.
There is a platform located above a bay with very clear, blue waters.
We recommend that you take binoculars and a great zoom camera with you, because you have all the chances to see manta rays, turtles or sharks swimming in the quiet waters of the bay. Here we saw the first manta ray, a turtle, and a shark.
Little Lagoon Denham
It is a lagoon with light blue water that communicates with the ocean. It is located 20 kilometers away from Monkey Mia.
It is a perfect place for relaxation, picnicking or swimming and there are also barbecue and picnic areas.
This beautiful white beach is one of only two beaches in the world made entirely from shells.
10.The Pink Lakes
There are several pink lakes in Australia, and the most famous of them is Lake Hillier on Middle Island in southern Western Australia.
Given that this lake was not situated on our route, we visited the Pink Lake Hutt Lagoon.
Pink Lake Hutt Lagoon
It is situated in Western Australia near the town of Port Gregory, a 6 hours’ drive from Perth. We visited this lake on our two-week trip to Western Australia.
Australia is full of surprises, and every area we’ve visited here has a special charm, and even if we did our homework well before we went on vacation, the beauty of this place exceeded our expectations.