aerial view of a green headland and a sandy bay with turquoise water

Discover Australia: Your Ultimate Bucket List Guide

Australia, often dubbed the “Land Down Under,” is a vast and diverse country that promises adventure, beauty, and unique experiences at every turn. From its sun-kissed beaches and iconic landmarks to its rich cultural heritage and stunning natural wonders, Australia is a destination that beckons travellers from all over the globe.

I’m Wendy, who lives in Western Australia, but has travelled all over Australia.

In this post, I’ll take you on a journey through my ultimate Australia Bucket List, highlighting must-see sights and unforgettable experiences that will inspire you to pack your bags and start exploring. From the iconic Sydney Opera House to the remote beauty of the Kimberley, let’s dive into the adventures that await in this extraordinary land.

This post may contain affiliate links (of companies I book through). This means I may receive a small commission if you book through them. You can read the disclaimer for more information.

Iconic Landmarks

Discover Australia: Your Ultimate Bucket List Guide
Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge

No visit to Australia is complete without experiencing the architectural marvel that is the Sydney Opera House. This world-renowned icon of Australia, with its distinctive sail-like design, hosts a variety of performances and tours. Just a stone’s throw away is the Sydney Harbour Bridge, another iconic structure offering spectacular views of the city and harbour. For the ultimate experience, consider climbing the bridge with a guided tour to enjoy panoramic views of Sydney.

  • Must-See Aspects: Opera House tours, performances, BridgeClimb experience.
  • Best Times to Visit: Early morning or late afternoon for the BridgeClimb, evenings for performances.
person diving with a turtle on a reef
Great Barrier Reef, Queensland

Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef system in the world, is a paradise for snorkellers and divers. Stretching over 2,300 kilometres, it is home to an incredible array of marine life and vibrant coral formations. Whether you choose to explore it by diving, snorkelling, or taking a scenic flight, the Great Barrier Reef is an unforgettable water adventure.

  • Snorkeling and Diving Spots: Cairns, Port Douglas, Whitsunday Islands.
  • Conservation Tips: Use reef-safe sunscreen, avoid touching the coral, and support sustainable tour operators.
This image features Uluru (Ayers Rock) in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Yulara, Australia. The large red sandstone monolith stands against a clear blue sky during what appears to be late afternoon or early evening, casting deep shadows and highlighting its unique texture. The surrounding area is covered in sparse vegetation typical of the arid landscape.
Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park, Yulara by Tourism Australia


Uluru, a massive sandstone monolith in the heart of the Northern Territory’s arid “Red Centre,” holds great spiritual significance for the Anangu Aboriginal people. Witnessing Uluru at sunrise or sunset, when it changes colours dramatically, is a magical experience. Guided tours offer insights into the cultural stories and the natural history of this UNESCO World Heritage site.

  • Cultural Significance: Aboriginal Dreamtime stories, Tjukurpa (traditional law).
  • Best Ways to Experience: Base walk, guided cultural tours, and viewing platforms for sunrise/sunset.

Natural Wonders

a gorge with granite boulders and rainforest
Daintree, Queensland

Daintree Rainforest

Daintree Rainforest is the oldest tropical rainforest in the world. Located in Far North Queensland, the Daintree is home to a rich diversity of flora and fauna, some of which are found nowhere else. Explore its lush landscapes through guided walks, river cruises, and canopy tours. Don’t miss the chance to see the vibrant Ulysses butterfly, the elusive cassowary, and the unique fan palm.

  • Unique Flora and Fauna: Ulysses butterfly, cassowary, fan palm.
  • Guided Tours: Jungle surfing (zip-lining), night walks, river cruises.
This image shows a boat filled with tourists gliding across calm waters during sunrise or sunset in Kakadu National Park, Jabiru, Australia. The sky is painted in warm hues of orange and yellow, reflecting off the water's surface. Mist hovers over the distant shore, adding to the serene and picturesque setting.
Kakadu National Park, Jabiru by Tourism Australia

Kakadu National Park

Kakadu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a sprawling expanse of wetlands, rivers, and sandstone escarpments in the Northern Territory. It boasts an impressive variety of wildlife, including saltwater crocodiles and numerous bird species. The park is also rich in Aboriginal history, with ancient rock art sites that date back thousands of years.

  • Wildlife: Saltwater crocodiles, jabiru (black-necked stork), wallabies.
  • Aboriginal Rock Art: Nourlangie and Ubirr rock art sites.
  • Scenic Routes: Yellow Water Cruise, Jim Jim Falls, and Twin Falls.
limestone pillars in red sand in desert
The Pinnacles, Western Australia

The Pinnacles

The Pinnacles, located in Nambung National Park in Western Australia, are fascinating limestone formations that rise dramatically from the desert sands. These eerie and otherworldly structures were formed over millions of years and create a surreal landscape that’s perfect for photography. The best time to visit is either at sunrise or sunset when the light casts striking shadows across the desert.

  • How to Get There: About 2 hours north of Perth by car.
  • What to Expect: Walking trails, scenic drives, interpretive displays at the Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre.

Unique Experiences

stunning coastal views from road

Road Trip Along the Great Ocean Road

Take one of the world’s most scenic drives along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. This iconic route stretches over 240 kilometres, with breathtaking coastal views, charming seaside towns, and natural landmarks. Highlights include the Twelve Apostles, towering limestone stacks that rise from the Southern Ocean, and the picturesque towns of Lorne and Apollo Bay.

  • Key Stops: Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, Great Otway National Park.
  • Tips for the Journey: Take your time to enjoy the scenery, visit during off-peak times for fewer crowds, and consider a multi-day trip to explore more thoroughly.
This image depicts Nelson Falls on the West Coast of Tasmania, Australia. The waterfall cascades down a rock face surrounded by lush, green forest. Sunlight filters through the dense canopy, illuminating the moss-covered rocks and the stream that flows away from the falls, creating a serene and enchanting scene.
Nelson Falls, West Coast Tasmania by Tourism Australia

Tasmanian Wilderness Adventure

Tasmania, Australia’s island state, is perfect for nature enthusiasts and adventurers. The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area covers nearly a quarter of the island with diverse landscapes, rugged mountains and pristine rivers. Hike through Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, explore the wild Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers, and spot unique wildlife like the Tasmanian devil.

camels at sunset on cable beach
Cable Beach, Western Australia

Camel Ride on Cable Beach

Experience the stunning beauty of Cable Beach in Broome, Western Australia, from the back of a camel. This unique adventure allows you to take in the pristine white sand and turquoise waters while enjoying a gentle camel ride. Sunset rides are particularly popular, offering spectacular views as the sun dips below the Indian Ocean.

  • Best Time for Sunset Rides: Book in advance secure a spot and enjoy the changing colors of the sky.
  • What to Expect: A leisurely ride, knowledgeable guides, and photo opportunities with the camels against the backdrop of the setting sun.

Adventure Activities

This image shows Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia, with a surfer walking along the shore carrying a surfboard. The beach is lined with waves gently crashing onto the sandy shore, and in the background, there are several residential and commercial buildings perched on the rocky coastline. The sky is clear, suggesting a beautiful, sunny day.
Bondi Beach, Sydney by Tourism Australia

Surfing at Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach is one of Australia’s most famous beaches and a hotspot for surfers of all levels. The iconic crescent-shaped beach offers consistent waves, making it an ideal place to catch some surf. Numerous surf schools provide lessons for beginners, ensuring you can ride the waves safely and confidently.

  • Best Surf Schools: Let’s Go Surfing, Bondi Surf School.
  • Surfing Culture: Join the local surfers at dawn for the best waves and fewer crowds, and soak up the beach atmosphere.
This image captures a skydiver descending with a colorful parachute over Kirra Beach on the Gold Coast, Australia. The parachute features blue, white, and yellow sections, and the skydiver is approaching sandy dunes with sparse vegetation. In the background, the skyline of the Gold Coast is visible against a clear blue sky and calm ocean waters.
Kirra Beach, Gold Coast by Tourism Australia

Skydiving Over the Gold Coast

For an adrenaline rush like no other, skydiving over the Gold Coast offers breathtaking views of the coastline, fertile hinterland, and sparkling ocean. Tandem skydiving is available for beginners, providing a thrilling freefall followed by a serene parachute descent with stunning vistas below.

  • What to Expect: Training session, a thrilling freefall from 12,000 to 15,000 feet, and a smooth parachute landing.
people swimming with whale shark in the ocean
Whale Sharks in Exmouth, Western Australia

Diving with Whale Sharks in Ningaloo Reef

Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia offers a unique opportunity to swim with the gentle giants of the ocean, the whale sharks.

Cultural Experiences

a bright orange building
Carnarvon, Western Australia

Visit to an Aboriginal Cultural Centre

Australia’s rich Aboriginal heritage is an essential part of its identity. Visiting an Aboriginal cultural centre allows you to learn about the traditions, art, and history of the Indigenous peoples.

  • Locations: Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park (Cairns), Waradah Aboriginal Centre (Blue Mountains), and Mungo National Park (New South Wales).
  • Cultural Insights: Participate in didgeridoo playing, learn about bush tucker (native foods), and hear Dreamtime stories.
street art in a city laneway
Street Art in Melbourne

Melbourne’s Art Scene

Melbourne is renowned for its vibrant and diverse art scene. Explore the city’s numerous galleries, street art, and public installations. The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) hosts impressive collections of international and Australian art, while the streets of Fitzroy and Collingwood are famous for their ever-changing murals and graffiti.

  • Galleries: National Gallery of Victoria, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA), Heide Museum of Modern Art.
  • Street Art Tours: Guided tours through Hosier Lane, AC/DC Lane, and other vibrant street art locations.
This image showcases the Sydney Opera House illuminated in vibrant orange and yellow patterns during the Vivid Festival in Sydney, NSW, Australia. The night sky provides a dark backdrop, highlighting the dramatic lighting on the iconic sails of the Opera House. Reflections of the colorful lights can be seen on the water in the foreground, adding to the festive atmosphere.
Sydney Opera House during Vivid Festival, Sydney, NSW by Tourism Australia

Sydney’s Festivals

Sydney hosts various festivals throughout the year, celebrating everything from music and arts to food and culture. Vivid Sydney, a spectacular festival of light, music, and ideas, transforms the city with mesmerising light installations and projections. The Sydney Festival in January offers a mix of theatre, dance, music, and visual arts performances.

  • Vivid Sydney: Light installations at Sydney Opera House, Circular Quay, and Darling Harbour.
  • Sydney Festival: Performances in various venues, including Hyde Park, Sydney Opera House, and Barangaroo.

Off the Beaten Path

red rocks surrounding the deep blue waters of a gorge and waterfall at Mitchell Falls Kimberley Western Australia
The Kimberley, Western Australia

Exploring the Kimberley

The Kimberley region in Western Australia is one of the most remote and rugged areas of the country, featuring stunning landscapes and rich Indigenous culture. Highlights include the striking Bungle Bungle Range in Purnululu National Park, the dramatic waterfalls and gorges of the Gibb River Road, and the pristine beaches of the Dampier Peninsula.

This image captures a scenic view of Lord Howe Island in New South Wales, Australia. The foreground features lush palm fronds framing a tranquil beach scene where a few people are enjoying the water. Several boats float peacefully in the calm, clear waters, and in the background, the island's dramatic, cloud-topped mountain rises majestically. The overall scene is serene and picturesque.
Lord Howe Island, NSW by Tourism Australia

Lord Howe Island

Lord Howe Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a serene paradise known for its crystal-clear waters, beautiful coral reefs, and green forests. With a limited number of visitors allowed at one time, it’s an exclusive and tranquil escape. Activities include snorkelling in the lagoon, hiking up Mount Gower, and cycling around the island.

  • Activities: Snorkeling, diving, hiking, birdwatching.
  • How to Get There: Flights from Sydney or Brisbane, with a limit of 400 visitors on the island at any time.
This image displays an aerial view of Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park in the Flinders Ranges, South Australia. The rugged landscape features expansive plateaus, rocky outcrops, and dense greenery stretching across the scene. In the distance, the ranges extend towards the horizon under a clear blue sky, showcasing the park's vast and varied terrain.
Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park, South Australia by Tourism Australia

Flinders Ranges

The Flinders Ranges in South Australia is a dramatic and rugged mountain range known for its rich Aboriginal history, striking landscapes, and diverse wildlife. Highlights include the natural amphitheater of Wilpena Pound, the picturesque Brachina Gorge, and the ancient rock art sites of Arkaroo Rock.

  • Hiking: Numerous trails ranging from short walks to multi-day hikes, such as the Heysen Trail.
  • Scenic Flights: Take a scenic flight for an aerial view of the ranges and Wilpena Pound.
  • Wildlife: Spot emus, kangaroos, and wedge-tailed eagles.

Food and Drink

This image features a vineyard in Marananga, Barossa, South Australia, during a sunny day. Rows of grapevines stretch across the landscape, leading to a modern winery building with the name "Langmeil Winery" visible. A few people can be seen enjoying the lawn area near the building, and the surrounding area is dotted with trees and gentle hills, creating a picturesque and serene scene typical of the Barossa wine region.
Marananga, Barossa by Tourism Australia

Wine Tasting in the Barossa Valley

The Barossa Valley in South Australia is one of the world’s great wine regions, known for its exceptional Shiraz and rich viticultural heritage. A visit here is a must for wine enthusiasts. Explore the vineyards, taste a variety of wines, and enjoy gourmet food at the many cellar doors and restaurants.

  • Top Wineries: Penfolds, Jacob’s Creek, Seppeltsfield.
  • Tasting Tips: Take a guided wine tour to learn about the winemaking process, pair your tastings with local cheeses, and consider booking a wine and food matching experience.
This image showcases a gourmet dish featuring a beautifully seared piece of fish accompanied by a mussel, a quenelle of a red paste, and foam, all artistically arranged in a white bowl. In the background, there is a bottle of white wine and a glass filled with wine, suggesting a fine dining experience. The presentation is elegant and sophisticated, perfect for a high-end culinary setting.
Leeuwin Estate, Margaret River, WA by Tourism Australia

Farm-to-Table Dining in Margaret River

Margaret River in Western Australia is renowned not only for its wine but also for its fresh, local produce. The farm-to-table dining experiences here are exceptional, with restaurants showcasing the best of the region’s seasonal ingredients. Enjoy fresh seafood, organic vegetables, and artisanal cheeses.

  • Best Restaurants: Vasse Felix, Leeuwin Estate, Cullen Wines.
  • Local Produce: Olive oil, truffles, honey, and dairy products from local farms.
This image depicts the vibrant scene at Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne, Australia. In the foreground, there are barrels filled with oranges and green apples, and a bright green picnic table. A shiny, metallic food truck reflects the surroundings, adding a modern touch to the market atmosphere. In the background, tall skyscrapers rise against a blue sky, blending urban elements with the market's lively, outdoor setting. String lights and an umbrella provide a festive and inviting ambiance.
Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne

Street Food in Melbourne

Melbourne’s food scene is diverse, with street food playing a significant role. The city’s multicultural population has contributed to a rich tapestry of flavors, from Asian street markets to European-inspired food trucks. Explore the bustling food markets and street food festivals for a taste of Melbourne’s culinary delights.

  • Must-Try Dishes: Dumplings, Vietnamese banh mi, Greek souvlaki, and Italian pizza.
  • Food Markets: Queen Victoria Market, South Melbourne Market, and the Night Noodle Markets.

Family-Friendly Activities

This image shows two giraffes feeding from a tall hanging basket at Taronga Zoo in Sydney, NSW, Australia. The giraffes are set against a backdrop of lush greenery, with the Sydney city skyline, including the iconic Sydney Tower, visible in the distance under a clear blue sky. The scene combines the natural habitat of the zoo with the urban landscape of Sydney.
Taronga Zoo, Sydney by Tourism Australia

Visit to Taronga Zoo

Taronga Zoo in Sydney offers a fantastic day out for families, providing close encounters with a wide variety of animals from around the world. Right on the shores of Sydney Harbour, the zoo has stunning views of the city skyline and harbour. Children will love the interactive exhibits, animal shows, and the opportunity to learn about wildlife conservation.

  • Highlights: Daily Keeper Talks, Seal Show, and Animal Encounters.
  • Interactive Experiences: Keeper for a Day program, Animal Encounters, Feeding Sessions.
wooden stairs leading down to a busy sandy beach with turquoise ocean and people in the water and boats moored further out
Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Exploring Rottnest Island

Rottnest Island, just off the coast of Perth, is a family-friendly paradise known for its beautiful beaches, clear waters, and cute quokkas. The island offers a range of activities suitable for all ages, including cycling, snorkelling, and wildlife spotting. It’s an ideal destination for a relaxed and fun-filled family getaway.

  • Family Activities: Cycling around the island, swimming at The Basin, and snorkelling at Parker Point.
  • Meeting Quokkas: Best places to see quokkas are near the settlement area and along the island’s walking trails.
Discover Australia: Your Ultimate Bucket List Guide
Gold Coast, Queensland

Gold Coast Theme Parks

The Gold Coast in Queensland is famous for its thrilling theme parks, making it a top destination for families seeking excitement and entertainment. From the roller coasters of Dreamworld to the water slides of Wet’n’Wild and the movie-themed attractions of Warner Bros. Movie World, there’s something all ages.

  • Top Parks: Dreamworld, Sea World, Wet’n’Wild, and Warner Bros. Movie World.
  • Planning Tips: Purchase multi-park passes for savings, arrive early to avoid long lines, and check the park schedules for live shows and events.


From the iconic landmarks and natural wonders to unique experiences and adrenaline-pumping activities, there is no shortage of things to see and do. Whether you’re exploring the ancient Daintree Rainforest, surfing the waves at Bondi Beach, or savoring the culinary delights of the Barossa Valley, each experience adds a unique chapter to your travel story.

So, pack your bags, embrace the spirit of adventure, and embark on a journey that will leave you in awe of all that Australia has to offer.

Additional Resources

These additional resources will help you plan and make the most of your trip to Australia, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable travel experience.