Ok so Australia is a BIG country and you will need at least a few months to see absolutely everything!
You've got the cities - bustling with culture and a good night out. The entire East Coast of Australia from Melbourne to Agnes Waters is lined with amazing Surf Beaches and the Tropical North Queensland coast is home to the Great Barrier Reef, Rainforest and Island Getaways.
The Outback - from Adelaide to Alice Springs is oozing with aboriginal culture, red sand, underground towns and Ayres Rock. At the very north near Darwin you will find gigantic waterfalls, crocodiles and natural swimming holes in Kakadu National Park.
The West Coast? This side of Australia is remote and untouched and you may find yourself driving for hours without sight of another human being - just Lizards, Horses, Eagles, Kangaroos & Emus. And then you have Tasmania - the little island at the very bottom of Australia. But we will get to that later...
1. The Whitsunday Islands
74 tropical islands located on the Great Barrier Reef. This is where you will find Whitehaven Beach - voted as one of the Top 10 Greatest Beaches in the World! Our tip? Take an overnight sailing trip from Airlie Beach... this is what most backpackers tend to do.
2. Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb
No visit to Australia is complete without snapping a photo of the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge right? Well there's no better view than from the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge!
3. Great Ocean Road - Melbourne St Kilda
After exploring Australia's cultural and artsy capital city, hire a car or take a guided tour along the Great Ocean Road. Highlights? 12 Apostles, London Bridge & Amazing Surf Beaches!
4. Learn to Surf
You gotta learn to surf in Australia! Surf Camps run in Sydney and Byron Bay and range from 2 hours to 5 days. Heading north? We recommend booking a Surf Camp in Sydney and by the time you reach the hippie town of Byron Bay - you'll be confident enough to hire your own board.
5. Fraser Island
Largest Sand Island in the World! The island is so big that you need at least 2 days to really explore it. We recommend jumping on a 3 Day / 2 Night 4WD Tag Along Safari. These depart from Rainbow Beach or Hervey Bay. This is the most popular option for backpackers as you get to drive the 4WD on the island, camp and drink goon by a bonfire.
6. Cuddle a Koala
These cuddly (or not so cuddly) animals can be spotted mostly on the eastern side of Australia. Australia Zoo is a great place to check out the Aussie animals and is accessible from Brisbane. Alternatively, wait until you get to the tropical paradise of Magnetic Island - it's a lot cheaper and less touristy here to get a photo with a Koala.
Add this to your Bucket List. Our favourite spots to jump out of a plane? Byron Bay, Rainbow Beach, Airlie Beach (over the Whitsundays) or Mission Beach (just south of Cairns) - stunning ocean views!
Uluru (Ayres Rock) is like nowhere else on Earth! This big red rock is located right in the middle of Australia, surrounded by red sand and rich with Aboriginal cultural significance. Heading to Uluru is a must and you will really get a grasp of just how big Australia really is. The stars are plentiful and the Dingos are a lurking! Take a guided tour from Melbourne or Adelaide up to Alice Springs or alternatively you can fly to Alice Springs from most major airports. Our TIP: Take a 3 day tour from Alice Springs and combine King's Canyon and The Olgas with your tour!
9. Kakadu National Park
Darwin is located at the very top of Australia and right in the middle... and this place is HOT all year round! You will literally sweat in your sleep! Just south of Darwin you will find Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks - home to big waterfalls, natural swimming holes, mini frogs, Aboriginal culture & thermal springs.
10. Great Barrier Reef
7th Wonder of the World and the largest living organism on Earth! If you are heading out to the Whitsundays you will get to snorkel or dive on the reef. But many backpackers will also do a day trip from Cairns!
11. Blue Mountains National Park
Tours depart from Sydney and you will only need 1 - 2 days to explore the national park - it's hard to believe that this oasis is so close to the bustling streets of Sydney.
12. St Kilda, Melbourne
St Kilda is a weird & wacky beach side suburb of Melbourne. This is where the cool kids play! Here you will be able to get a selfie by the iconic Luna Park, get a cheap drink or feed, hit up the local shops & bask in the strange and creative people walking around. If its summer? Hit up the night markets!
13. Southbank, Brisbane
Brisbane has its very own man made beach right in the heart of the city - amazing! Head down to Southbank - chill by the lagoon, check out the markets or take a ride on the Eye.
14. West Coast
Home to some of the most beautiful and untouched surf beaches in Australia! Fly to Perth and check out the hippie suburb of Fremantle, ride a bike around Rottnest Island and head south to Margaret River for world famous wineries and surf beaches. If you are short on time - we suggest taking a 7 - 8 Day Perth to Exmouth Return Tour - this will cover the Pinnacles, Ningaloo Reef, Lancelin Sand Dunes, hiking through the gorges of Kalbarri National Park, the Dolphins at Monkey Mia & the Whale Sharks if in season!
15. Shark Dive
Australia - home of the Great White Shark! Shark Cage Diving Trips depart from Port Lincoln - just south of Adelaide. It's the only place in Australia that you can dive with these scary sea creatures!
16. Bondi Beach, Sydney
The famous Australian beach! Grab a bus to Bondi Beach from Sydney CBD for the day. In winter they have an ice rink overlooking the beach! In summer? Markets, Outdoor Film Festivals and more! We highly recommend the Bondi to Coogee Beach walk - stunning!
For the real adventurers! Tasmania (don't be fooled) is booming with culture, good food, wine & hiking trails. The Overland Track is a must for keen hikers. The little island is home to beautiful rainforests, beaches (such as Wineglass Bay) and quaint towns!
18. Cape Tribulation
Where the Rainforest meets the Reef! Cape Tribulation is north of Cairns and is literally as far north as you can travel without a 4WD. You really ARE in the middle of the rainforest here! And at your tippy toes? The Great Barrier Reef!
19. Flip Flops & Goon
Don't worry! You do not need to pencil this into your diary as these two experiences will take place naturally. Soon Flip Flops... or 'Thongs' in Australia will become your only means of footwear, and Goon (a very cheap version of boxed wine) will replace water and any other liquid you may have previously consumed!
20. Have a BBQ
You gotta do it! Every Beach and Park in Australia will have an outdoor, public BBQ. Take some Snags (sausages), Bread & Tomato Sauce (and goon) and have a BARBIE!
Written by: Katie Tobias
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