Things not to miss

written by Andy Turner
updated 7/12/2021
fb tw mail_outline

#01 Eating out in Melbourne (VIC)

Nowhere in Australia does food culture better: edgy urban cafés, stylish bohemian bistros and glamorous fine-food restaurants.

© jenlo8/Shutterstock

#02 The Kimberley (WA)

Regarded as Australia’s last frontier, the Kimberley is a sparsely populated, untamed wilderness that contains some stunning landscapes.

Bungle Bungle Massif © Philip Schubert/Shutterstock

#04 Fraser Island (Qld)

The giant dunes, freshwater lakes and sculpted, coloured sands of the world’s largest sand island form the backdrop to popular 4WD safaris.

Fraser Island beach, Australia © Benedikt Juerges/Shutterstock

#04 The Franklin River (Tas)

The Franklin River not only provides one of the wildest white-water roller coasters on Earth, it is the only means of access to an astounding rainforest wilderness.

Nelson Falls, Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, Tasmania, Australia © Ivan Yim/Shutterstock

continued below

#05 Crocodiles (NT)

Head up north to see the Territory’s population of fearsome crocs.

© Shutterstock

#06 Bushtucker

Never mind wattle seeds and witchetty grubs, in Australia you can slap rooburgers on the barbie and eat croc and emu steaks in a restaurant.

Northern Rockhole, green ant bush tucker, Jatbula Track © Janelle Lugge/Shutterstock

#07 Wilpena Pound (SA)

There are some fantastic hikes in the Flinders Ranges National Park

but few top the spectacular scenery at the elevated basin of Wilpena Pound.

Wilpena Pound in the Flinders Ranges, South Australia © kwest/Shutterstock

#08 The Great Ocean Road (Vic)

On two wheels or four, the 280km route along the surf-battered cliffs bordering the Great Ocean Road is perfect road-trip material, and can also be followed as a rewarding hike.

The 12 Apostles, located in Port Campbell, Victoria © Darryl Leach/Shutterstock

#09 South Australia ’s wineries (SA)

Easily accessible from Adelaide

, the Barossa Valley , Adelaide Hills , McLaren Vale , Clare Valley and Coonawarra vineyards are all wonderful places to unwind. For more information, see Wineries and B&Bs in the hills & McLaren Vale wineries.

Greco Bianco grape, harvest, Calabria, Italy © Shutterstock

#10 Atherton Tablelands (Qld)

With its rainforest, crater lakes and abundant wildlife, you could spend days exploring the Atherton Tablelands.

Atherton Tablelands view © OneOfTheseDays83/Shutterstock

#11 Bondi Beach (NSW)

Beach, surf and café culture: Sydney

’s famous beach has something for everyone.

People relaxing on Bondi beach Sydney, Australia © Shutterstock

#12 Indigenous tours (NT)

Seek a small-group Aboriginal-run tour in the Territories to get a taste of 40,000 years of Australian culture.

Yugambeh Aboriginal man holds boomerangs during Aboriginal culture show in Queensland, Australia © ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock

#13 Blue Mountains (NSW)

World Heritage-listed, the Blue Mountains are a wonderland of ancient forests, deep valleys and lookouts from sheer cliffs, all just an hour or so from Sydney.

Australia, BLue Mountains National Park Govett's leap lookout at sunrise view at Grand Canyon valley with clouds and orange sky © Taras Vyshnya/Shutterstock

#14 Sailing in the Whitsundays (QLD)

There’s fantastic sailing and diving – and whale watching in season – in the white-sand Whitsunday Islands.

© cusycon/Shutterstock

#15 Rent a 4WD

Adventure off-road from Queensland’s Cape York

to the Territory’s central deserts or WA’s Kimberley .

© Moving Diary/Shutterstock

#16 Mardi Gras (NSW)

Sydney’s irreverent Oxford Street parade, from “dykes on bikes” to the “Melbourne marching boys”, ends the summer season.

Mardi Gras Dog Costume © Linda Nguyen from Austin/Shutterstock

#17 Big Day Out

What began as a one-off Sydney gig in 1992 is now a rollicking caravan of home and international acts that tours the nation from late January. Aussie Aussie Aussie, oy oy oy!

© Melinda Nagy/Shutterstock

#18 Surfing

No wonder Aussies named a town Surfers Paradise – whether point, reef or beach breaks, there are world-famous waves on most coasts and warm water to boot.

#19 Kangaroo Island (SA)

Fantastic coastal scenery and a huge variety of wildlife, from seals and sea lions to kangaroos, wallabies and koalas on a pristine island.

Kangaroo Lucky Bay Cape Le Grand, Australia © John Crux/Shutterstock

#20 Uluru (NT)

Yes, it’s a magnet for tourists the world over. But visit at dawn or dusk and you’ll understand why Uluru, aka Ayers Rock, is a sacred site for Aboriginal people.

Uluru, Ayers Rock, Australia © Uwe Aranas/Shutterstock

#21 Sport at the MCG (Vic)

Taking in a game of cricket or, better still, Aussie Rules football at the venerable Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is a must for any sports fan.

Silhouetted rowers on the Yarra River with the Melbourne Cricket Ground in the background © Daniel L Smith/Shutterstock

#22 The Overland Track (Tas)

The 80km route from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair is Australia’s greatest extended bushwalk: five or more days of exhilarating exhaustion and stupendous scenery.

Cradle Mountain - Nationa Park Lake St Clair, Tasmania, Australia © Shutterstock

#23 Kakadu National Park (NT)

Abundant wildlife and fascinating Aboriginal rock art in Australia’s largest national park, a World Heritage-listed wilderness that featured in Crocodile Dundee.

Aboriginal pictograph, Kakadu National Park, Arnhem Land, Australia © MintImages/Shutterstock

#24 Circular Quay (NSW)

Scale the bridge, take a harbour ferry to Manly or just marvel at the Opera House sails at the most iconic location in Sydney, a shorthand for Australia itself.

Busy Circular Quay in Sydney, Australia © photo.eccles/Shutterstock

Travel advice for Australia

author photo
written by Andy Turner
updated 7/12/2021
fb tw mail_outline

Planning on your own? Prepare for your trip

Use Rough Guides' trusted partners for great rates

Find even more inspiration for Australia here

Ready to travel and discover Australia?
Get support from our local experts for
stress-free planning & worry-free travels