Located between the Pacific and Indian Oceans, Australia is the world’s largest island and its smallest continent. There’s room to move in the Land Down Under, and with so many sights to discover and enjoy, there’s a great incentive to go on a walkabout adventure. Whether exploring the traditional lifestyle of the nation’s Aboriginal people, relaxing on a sun-kissed beach or reveling the night away in a city hot spot, Australia has something special to offer every visitor.
With amazing national parks dotted around the country and some fantastic islands, visitors to Australia can be off exploring the delights of Tasmania one minute and Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Parks the next. On top of this, the beautiful beaches and turquoise waters that line its shores are home to the jaw-dropping Great Barrier Reef; one of the miracles of the natural world and one of Australia’s most popular tourist destinations. With loads of great things to see and do, you’ll have your job cut out trying to fit everything into your trip!
A popular tourist destination, the city is considered to be the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef; this is the primary reason why Cairns is so inundated with tourists. Away from the reef, there are loads of amazing natural sights nearby and lots of people stop by Cairns on their way to visit Daintree National Park or the Wet Tropics of Queensland. The fourth most popular city to visit in Australia, Cairns has enough good bars, restaurants and shopping options to keep visitors entertained before they head off into the stunning nature nearby.
A laid back city with a peaceful atmosphere, Adelaide’s quiet streets are lined with bars, which make it a surprisingly fun place to go out in; there are lots of great music venues worth checking out. Nicknamed ‘the city of churches’, the lofty spires dotted about here and there add to the picturesque nature of Adelaide and there are lots of nice parks and green spaces for locals and visitors alike to enjoy. With some great museums on offer as well as fantastic restaurants and art galleries, the highlight of the year is undoubtedly ‘Mad March,’ when the city host numerous festivals, events and shows at the same time.
The island state of Tasmania may be isolated from the rest of the country but it still remains one of the best places to visit in Australia; almost half of its area is protected as the government looks to preserve the natural riches. With desolate wilderness and alpine plateaus interspersed with stunning white beaches, waterfalls and forests, exploring its terrain is simply mesmerising. Taking a boat trip along its craggy coast is equally rewarding and you can even see dolphins, penguins, and seals along the way. With lots of great local produce on offer, eating and drinking in the capital city of Hobart is an absolute pleasure and the restaurants and bars are divine.
The capital of Western Australia, Perth is very isolated from the rest of the country, yet is routinely considered one of the most livable cities in the world thanks to its laidback vibe, fantastic cultural sites, and range of services on offer. A youthful place, Perth is nearly always bathed in sunshine and its stunning beaches are perfect for kicking back and relaxing on. Away from the beach, there are lots of outdoor activities for you to enjoy. There are loads of fantastic museums on offer as well as some great shopping options in this city of nearly two million people. With a huge of variety of bars, cafes and restaurants, isolated Perth is the perfect gateway to the rest of the west.
A popular tourist destination, Brisbane is a lively, dynamic place that is bathed in beautiful sunshine year-round. Set alongside the Brisbane River, the city’s fantastic climate means that outdoor activities are very popular here; you can take your pick from a huge catalog, with biking, climbing, and hiking featuring prominently. A fun and friendly city, Brisbane’s vibrant music scene has made it one of the music capitals of the world and there are lots of venues in town where you can enjoy a great show. With loads of brilliant restaurants and bars for you to choose from, Brisbane is not to be missed.
Occupied by Aboriginal people for over 40,000 years, Kakadu National Park has over five thousand ancient rock art sites which are fascinating to visit. It is a place of immense cultural and natural significance. The park is huge and contains some stunning natural sights which make it well worth a visit; the Kakadu Escarpment is particularly breathtaking. With diverse ecosystems contained within the park’s boundaries, you can be hiking through deserted sandstone escarpments one minute and bathing in waterfalls and pools the next, before later on learning about some of the ancient rock paintings. While it can get very popular, Kakadu’s huge area means that you can easily enjoy all the park has to offer in peace and quiet if you step off the beaten path a little.
Second only to Sydney, Melbourne is a cool, cosmopolitan city that is considered by many to be Australia’s capital of culture. With lots of great art galleries, some fantastic museums, and a lively music scene, there is always something to see or do in the country’s second largest city. Due to its high quality of life, citizens from around the world have flocked to the streets. Its multicultural population is reflected in the delicious cuisine on offer and the unique neighborhoods that make it such a fascinating place to explore. With a European feel about it thanks to the architecture on show, wandering around the city’s streets and numerous green spaces will inevitably make you fall in love with Melbourne.
The largest coral reef system on the face of the earth, the Great Barrier Reef is simply colossal. Stretching for over 2,300 kilometers, it is remarkably visible from space, and nine hundred islands dot this enormous ecosystem, which is actually comprised of 2,900 individual reefs. Visiting the Great Barrier Reef is a humbling experience; every year around two million visitors enjoy all that this natural wonder has to offer. Snorkeling and scuba diving are the best ways to experience the joys of the rich underwater world, while boat trips, kayaking, and even helicopter rides offer another view of the reef’s gargantuan proportions. Gently sailing through the perfect turquoise waters, dolphins, sea turtles and the reef itself are visible below the waves – an unforgettable experience.
World famous, spectacular Uluru is instantly recognisable due to its ruddy red hue; it is one of Australia’s most prominent landmarks. Its grandeur and uniqueness live long in the memory of those who gaze upon it. While Uluru is the main draw, the equally mesmerizing rock formations of Kata Tijuta are fantastic to wander around, and there are lots of activities for visitors to enjoy. Owned by the Anangu Aboriginal people, the site is of great cultural and spiritual significance to them; you can learn more about their way of life at the brilliant cultural center. With lots of great walks, bike rides and tours for you to enjoy, the astounding beauty of this national park really is awe-inspiring.
Sydney is defined by its scenic harbour. The region’s first inhabitants lived along the harbour’s bank for thousands of years. It was also the landing site for convicts sent to Australia during the 1780s. Today, ferries take visitors for cruises under the famed Sydney Harbour Bridge and past the iconic Sydney Opera House. With lots of museums, theatres and cinemas dotted about town, Sydney’s thriving cultural scene means that there is always something to see and do. The beautiful Bondi Beach is a must-see when visiting Sydney. Outdoor activities play a large role in Australian culture. Surrounding the city, there are a number of brilliant national parks for visitors and locals alike to enjoy, as well as some interesting and educational historical sites.
New Zealand is an otherworldly, photogenic and friendly country offering visitors unbeatable changes for adventure and exploration. The rugged islands are home to dense native forests, mountains, beaches, glaciers, thermal regions and fiords that have been well-preserved by the environmentally-conscious government and culture. New Zealand is a place where traditional Maori culture mixes with modernity in cosmopolitan cities, charming villages and vast expanses of untouched wilderness. Pristine and heavenly, the island nation has something for everyone, including the following top tourist attractions in New Zealand.
This north-eastern peninsula is famous for its white and golden sand beaches that frame magnificent coastal scenery, forests perfect for days of exploration and other natural wonders. Start your visit in Thames, a small but picturesque city with a rich history of gold mining. Don’t miss a stop at Hot Water Beach, where visitors can dig their own hot pool from the springs under the sands.
Located on the northern tip of the country’s South Island, this vast national park is a hiker’s dream. Closed to vehicles, one must enter by boat, foot or small plane, but the trip is well worth it. While traversing the mountainous terrain, blue penguins, wekas, oyster catchers, wood pigeons and other rare birds can all be seen.
The Sky Tower is an observation and telecommunications tower located in New Zealand’s largest city. At a height of 328 meters (1,076 ft) it is the tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere and the Sky Tower has become an iconic structure in Auckland’s skyline. The tower offers views of up to 80 km away and fine dining in the Orbit revolving restaurant.
Napier, a small city in Hawke’s Bay on the North Island’s east coast, is famous for its eye-catching art deco architecture. Most of Napier was leveled by an earthquake in 1931. The rebuilding period coincided with the short-lived Art Deco era and as a result Napier’s architecture is strikingly different from any other city in the world. Thousands of tourists visit Napier every February for the Art Deco Weekend, an event dedicated to style, vintage cars, picnics and the soapbox derby.
This small coastal town on the South Island is a haven for seafood lovers. You can spot fur seals, dolphins, sperm whales and albatrosses off the shore, then indulge in a feast of fresh crayfish, mussels, blue cod and more. Land lovers can take a wilderness walk through the untamed and dramatic Kaikoura forest.
This glacier, located within Westland National Park in the southwest, is one of the world’s most accessible. Visitors can walk right up to the foot of the massive glacier or take a helicopter ride over the dazzling Ice Age remnant. Together with Fox Glacier it is one of South Westland’s major drawcards for tourists.
Just outside of Rotorua,on the North Island is the incredible destination of Wai-o-tapu. This park is filled with geothermal activity and you can hike through volcanic landscapes that look more like outer space than the rest of New Zealand. At Wai-o-tapu, one of the highlights is the Lady Knox Geyser which erupts daily with a show-stopping display straight up into the air. Nearby, geothermal spas give you the perfect place to unwind after a day of hiking along Wai-o-tapu’s volcanic trekking paths.
In the Tongariro National Park, located in the center of the North Island, is the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This crossing is a day-long hike that covers Mount Tongariro itself and passes along the base of Mount Ngauruhoe. The crossing might be recognizable to film buffs, because scenes from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy were filmed there. The Blue and Emerald Lakes are major scenic attractions along the way, and both have historic significance to the local Maori people and should therefore be treated with the utmost respect.
The Bay of Islands is one of the most popular holiday destinations in New Zealand. The picturesque area contains 144 islands, many secluded bays and some great sandy beaches. This beautiful bay has an abundance of marine life including whales, penguins, dolphins and the big marlin. Not surprisingly, it is a popular tourist spot for sailing yachts on world cruises and international sport fishermen.
Milford Sound is among the most famous tourist attractions in New Zealand. Lying at the most northern and accessible end of Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound offers some of the world’s most staggering coastal scenery with its dramatic peaks and dark blue waters. The area’s frequent downpours only enhance this South Island beauty, sending numerous waterfalls cascading down the cliffs.