path along a stunning rocy coastline and beach

Despite Sydney being the largest city, and probably the best known, Canberra is the capital. The other main cities are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide.

Given its huge size, it has a diverse landscape, with rainforests, dry forests, mountains, and deserts. Australia is bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean.

More than 80% of the 24 million population live by the coast due to the middle having such a harsh climate.

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Major Cities

The Ultimate Australia Travel Guide


Sydney, Australia’s largest city, has a perfect blend of natural beauty, iconic landmarks, and culture. My choice for iconic landmarks and a big city vibe.

Iconic Landmarks

  • Sydney Opera House – an architectural marvel and UNESCO World Heritage site, the Sydney Opera House is one of the most recognisable buildings globally. Take a guided tour to explore its unique design and behind-the-scenes areas. Attend a performance to experience its world-class acoustics and diverse artistic programs.
  • Sydney Harbour Bridge – Known locally as “The Coathanger,” this iconic bridge is a feat of engineering and a symbol of Sydney. Walk or cycle across the bridge for stunning views of the harbour. For the more adventurous, the BridgeClimb offers an exhilarating ascent to the top of the arch, providing panoramic views of the city and beyond.

Best Beaches

  • Bondi Beach is one of the most famous beaches in the world, known for its golden sands and excellent surf. The Bondi to Coogee coastal walk offers breathtaking views and scenic spots along the way.
  • Manly Beach is located a short ferry ride from Circular Quay and offers a laid-back vibe and beautiful beachfront. The scenic ferry ride to Manly provides spectacular views of Sydney Harbour, making the journey as enjoyable as the destination.

Top Activities

  • Sydney Harbour Cruise – a fantastic way to see the city’s famous skyline and waterfront landmarks.
  • Taronga Zoo – located on the shores of Sydney Harbour, it is home to a wide range of animals from around the world.
aerial view of large city


Melbourne, often referred to as Australia’s cultural capital, is renowned for its vibrant arts scene, diverse culinary offerings, and rich history. My choice for culture and sporting events.

Cultural Highlights

  • Federation Square is Melbourne’s cultural and civic heart, hosting major events and exhibitions year-round.
  • Queen Victoria Market is an historic landmark and a must-visit for food lovers, which has been operating since 1878.

Art and Music Scene

  • Art Galleries and Street Art – visit the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) for a mix of contemporary and classical art. Wander through the laneways of the CBD, such as Hosier Lane and AC/DC Lane, to see world-famous street art and murals.
  • Live Music and Theatres – Melbourne is a hub for live music, theatre, and performing arts.

Day Trips

  • Great Ocean Road – one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives, with breathtaking views and natural wonders.
  • Phillip Island – renowned for its wildlife and beautiful landscapes, making it a popular day trip from Melbourne. Watch the famous Penguin Parade at sunset as little penguins return to shore.
brisbane river end of sydney to brisbane road trip


Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, is known for its sunny weather, relaxed atmosphere, and a blend of modern and natural attractions. My choice for family fun.

South Bank Parklands

South Bank Parklands is Brisbane’s premier lifestyle and cultural destination, located along the southern banks of the Brisbane River.

  • Streets Beach – Enjoy a man-made beach with a lagoon, perfect for swimming and relaxing amidst the city’s skyline.
  • Arbour Walk – Stroll along the picturesque bougainvillea-covered arbour that stretches for one kilometer.
  • Epicurious Garden – Explore this community garden where you can see, smell, and even taste a variety of seasonal fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
  • Cultural Precinct – Visit the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), Queensland Museum, and the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) for cultural experiences and exhibitions.
  • Dining and Entertainment – South Bank offers an array of restaurants, cafes, and bars, as well as regular markets and live performances at River Quay Green and the Piazza.

Nearby Attractions

  • Gold Coast – Located just an hour south of Brisbane, the Gold Coast is famous for its stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and family-friendly attractions.
  • Sunshine Coast – About an hour north of Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast is known for its laid-back atmosphere, beautiful beaches, and natural beauty.
view of a river and city skyline on a summer day


Perth, the capital of Western Australia, is known for its stunning natural beauty, vibrant cultural scene, and sunny weather. Nestled along the Swan River, Perth offers a mix of urban sophistication and outdoor adventure. My choice for stunning beaches and a laid-back feel.

Top Attractions

  • Kings Park and Botanic Garden – One of the largest inner-city parks in the world, Kings Park offers spectacular views of Perth’s skyline and the Swan River. Explore the extensive walking trails, beautiful gardens, and native bushland. Visit the State War Memorial and enjoy a picnic with panoramic city views. The Botanic Garden showcases Western Australia’s unique flora.
  • Fremantle – A lively port city just a short drive from Perth, Fremantle is known for its well-preserved 19th-century architecture and vibrant arts scene. Wander through the historic Fremantle Markets, visit the Fremantle Prison (a UNESCO World Heritage site), and enjoy the buzzing atmosphere at the Cappuccino Strip. The Fremantle Maritime Museum and the Shipwreck Galleries offer fascinating insights into the region’s maritime history.
  • Perth Cultural Centre – Located in the heart of the city, the Perth Cultural Centre is a hub for arts and culture. Explore the Art Gallery of Western Australia, the Western Australian Museum, and the State Library of Western Australia. The Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA) hosts cutting-edge exhibitions and performances.

Best Beaches

  • Cottesloe Beach – One of Perth’s most iconic beaches, Cottesloe Beach is famous for its white sands and clear waters. Perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and relaxing. The beach is lined with cafes and restaurants, making it a great spot for a meal with a view. Don’t miss the stunning sunsets over the Indian Ocean.
  • Scarborough Beach – A popular beach known for its vibrant atmosphere and excellent surfing conditions. Enjoy swimming, surfing, and beach volleyball. The beachfront area offers a variety of dining options, shops, and a lively nightlife scene. Scarborough’s new beachside pool complex is perfect for families.

Nearby Destinations

  • Rottnest Island – A picturesque island located just off the coast of Perth, known for its stunning beaches and unique wildlife. Rent a bike or take a bus tour to explore the island’s beautiful beaches and bays. Meet the friendly quokkas, small marsupials native to the island. Snorkeling, diving, and fishing are popular activities, and the island offers a range of accommodation options for overnight stays.
  • Swan Valley – Western Australia’s oldest wine region, located just a short drive from Perth. Visit award-winning wineries, breweries, and distilleries. Enjoy gourmet food at the region’s many restaurants and cafes, and browse local produce at farmers’ markets. The area also features art galleries, boutique shops, and Caversham Wildlife Park.

Natural Wonders and Landscapes

green turtle under the ocean with coral on the sea bed

The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef, one of the world’s most iconic natural wonders, stretches over 2,300 kilometres along the northeastern coast of Australia. This UNESCO World Heritage site is the largest coral reef system on the planet, teeming with diverse marine life and offering a myriad of unforgettable experiences.


  • Location: Off the coast of Queensland, Australia, stretching from the northern tip of Queensland to just north of Bundaberg.
  • Significance: The Great Barrier Reef is composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands. It supports an incredible diversity of marine life, including over 1,500 species of fish, 400 species of coral, and numerous species of sharks, rays, and marine mammals.

Best Places for Snorkeling and Diving

  • Cairns and Port Douglas – These towns are the most popular gateways to the reef, offering easy access to some of the best diving and snorkeling spots. Join day trips to the outer reef for spectacular underwater scenery. Sites like Norman Reef, Agincourt Reef, and Flynn Reef are renowned for their vibrant coral gardens and abundant marine life.
  • Whitsunday Islands – A stunning archipelago of 74 islands, the Whitsundays offer pristine beaches and clear waters. Snorkel or dive at famous sites such as Blue Pearl Bay and Manta Ray Bay. Visit the iconic Whitehaven Beach, known for its pure silica sands and turquoise waters.
  • Heron Island – Located in the southern part of the Great Barrier Reef, Heron Island is a haven for marine enthusiasts. Snorkel directly off the beach or join guided diving tours to explore the rich underwater world. The island is known for its abundant sea turtles and vibrant coral reefs.

Best Times to Visit

  • Dry Season (May to October): This period offers the best conditions for diving and snorkeling, with clear water and mild temperatures. It’s also the peak season for tourism, so book accommodations and tours in advance.
  • Wet Season (November to April): While this season brings warmer water and more marine life activity, it also comes with higher humidity, rain, and the possibility of cyclones. It’s a great time to see coral spawning (November) and turtle nesting (November to January).

Unique Experiences

  • Liveaboard Cruises: For an immersive experience, join a liveaboard cruise that allows you to explore remote reefs and dive sites over several days.
  • Scenic Flights: See the reef from above with a scenic flight or helicopter tour, offering breathtaking aerial views of the coral formations and azure waters.
  • Marine Research Centers: Visit research centers such as the Lizard Island Research Station to learn about ongoing conservation efforts and marine science.
The Ultimate Australia Travel Guide


Uluru is one of Australia’s most iconic and culturally significant landmarks. Located in the heart of the Northern Territory’s arid Red Centre, this massive sandstone monolith rises majestically from the desert, offering a profound experience for visitors.


  • Location: Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Northern Territory, about 450 kilometres southwest of Alice Springs.
  • Significance: Uluru is sacred to the Anangu people, the traditional landowners. It holds deep spiritual meaning and is a UNESCO World Heritage site for both its natural and cultural values.

Best Times to Visit

  • Optimal Seasons: The best times to visit are during the cooler months from May to September. Temperatures are milder, making outdoor activities more comfortable.
  • Avoiding Extremes: Summer (December to February) can be extremely hot, with temperatures often exceeding 40°C (104°F). Early morning and late afternoon are the best times for activities during these months.

Top Activities

  • Base Walk – The Uluru Base Walk is a 10.6-kilometre trail that encircles the monolith, offering close-up views of its unique features. Take your time to explore the caves, ancient rock art, and waterholes around the base. Guided walks are available, providing insights into the geology and cultural significance of Uluru.
  • Sunrise and Sunset Viewing – Watching the changing colors of Uluru at sunrise and sunset is a mesmerizing experience. Head to designated viewing areas like Talinguru Nyakunytjaku or the sunset viewing area for the best views. The rock’s colors shift dramatically from deep reds to glowing oranges and purples.
  • Field of Light – An art installation by Bruce Munro, featuring over 50,000 solar-powered lights that illuminate the desert floor. Experience this enchanting display at night, with options for dinner under the stars or sunrise tours that combine the artwork with a view of Uluru at dawn.
  • Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) – Located 50 kilometres from Uluru, Kata Tjuta is a group of large, domed rock formations with significant cultural and geological importance. Explore the Valley of the Winds walk or the Walpa Gorge walk for stunning views and a deeper understanding of the area’s natural beauty and cultural heritage.
aerial view of a boat cruise in El Questro Wilderness Park East Kimberley

The Kimberley

The Kimberley region in the far northwest of Australia is one of the country’s last true wilderness areas, renowned for its rugged landscapes, rich indigenous culture, and breathtaking natural beauty. Spanning over 420,000 square kilometres, this remote region offers a myriad of unique experiences for adventurous travelers.


  • Location: The Kimberley is located in the northern part of Western Australia, bordered by the Indian Ocean to the west and the Timor Sea to the north.
  • Climate: The region has a tropical climate with distinct wet (November to April) and dry (May to October) seasons. The dry season is the best time to visit, offering clear skies and accessible roads.


  • Bungle Bungles (Purnululu National Park) – Famous for its striking beehive-shaped rock formations, Purnululu National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore the dramatic landscapes with hikes such as the Cathedral Gorge walk and Echidna Chasm. Scenic flights offer stunning aerial views of the unique geological formations.
  • Horizontal Falls – Described by David Attenborough as “one of the greatest natural wonders of the world,” the Horizontal Falls are a unique tidal phenomenon. Experience the thrill of a boat ride through the rushing tidal waters. Seaplane tours provide an exhilarating view from above, showcasing the falls in their full glory.
  • Mitchell Falls – Located in Mitchell River National Park, the multi-tiered Mitchell Falls are a spectacular sight. Take a challenging but rewarding hike to the falls, or opt for a scenic helicopter flight to view them from above. The surrounding area is rich in Aboriginal rock art.
  • Gibb River Road – This iconic outback route stretches over 660 kilometers, offering access to some of the Kimberley’s most stunning gorges and waterfalls. Drive the Gibb River Road to visit attractions like Windjana Gorge, Tunnel Creek, Bell Gorge, and El Questro Wilderness Park. The journey is best taken with a 4WD vehicle and a sense of adventure.

Cultural Insights

  • Indigenous Culture: The Kimberley is home to many Aboriginal communities, each with their own unique culture and traditions. Respect and appreciation for this rich cultural heritage are essential.
  • Rock Art: The region boasts some of the world’s oldest rock art. The Bradshaw (Gwion Gwion) and Wandjina rock art sites offer a glimpse into ancient stories and spiritual beliefs.
  • Local Tours: Join guided tours led by Aboriginal guides to gain deeper insights into the land, its history, and its cultural significance.

Unique Experiences

  • Broome – The gateway to the Kimberley and famous for its pearling history and stunning Cable Beach. Enjoy a camel ride along Cable Beach at sunset, explore the historic Chinatown district, and visit the Broome Historical Museum to learn about the town’s unique history.
  • Lake Argyle – One of the largest man-made lakes in the Southern Hemisphere, Lake Argyle offers a vast, serene water landscape. Take a boat cruise to see the lake’s abundant wildlife, including freshwater crocodiles, wallabies, and birdlife. The infinity pool at Lake Argyle Resort offers breathtaking views over the lake.
  • Ord River – Flowing through the East Kimberley, the Ord River is a lifeline in this arid region. Enjoy a river cruise to experience the region’s rich biodiversity and stunning landscapes. The Ord River Irrigation Scheme is an impressive engineering feat that supports agriculture in the area.

Unique Australian Experiences

Australia has unique experiences that highlight its diverse landscapes, culture, and heritage. From close encounters with wildlife to savouring world-class cuisine, here are some unforgettable activities and attractions that showcase the best of Australia:

Wildlife Encounters

Kangaroo and Koala Spotting

  • Locations: Kangaroo Island, South Australia; Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Queensland; Great Otway National Park, Victoria.
  • Highlights: See kangaroos hopping through open fields, cuddle a koala, and learn about their habitats and conservation efforts. National parks and wildlife reserves across the country offer guided tours and self-guided trails to spot these iconic animals in their natural environments.

Unique Species

  • Platypus: Spot the elusive platypus in the wild at places like Eungella National Park in Queensland or Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve near Canberra.
  • Tasmanian Devil: Visit the Tasmanian Devil Unzoo or Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary in Tasmania to see these fascinating creatures up close and learn about conservation programs aimed at protecting them from disease.

Food and Drink

Must-Try Australian Dishes

  • Vegemite on Toast: A quintessential Australian breakfast spread, this savory yeast extract is a national favorite.
  • Meat Pies: Enjoy this classic Aussie snack filled with minced meat, gravy, and sometimes vegetables, available at bakeries and pie shops across the country.
  • Lamingtons: These sponge cakes coated in chocolate and coconut are a beloved dessert, often enjoyed with a cup of tea.

Wine Regions

  • Barossa Valley, South Australia: Renowned for its Shiraz, the Barossa Valley offers over 150 wineries, cellar doors, and gourmet food experiences.
  • Margaret River, Western Australia: Known for its premium wines, particularly Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, this region also boasts stunning coastal scenery and top-notch restaurants.

Cultural Insights

Indigenous Culture

  • Key Historical Sites: Visit significant Indigenous sites such as Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in the Northern Territory, Kakadu National Park, and the Daintree Rainforest in Queensland.
  • Cultural Experiences: Participate in guided tours led by Indigenous Australians to learn about traditional practices, Dreamtime stories, and the deep connection to the land. Attend cultural festivals and events to experience traditional music, dance, and art.

Festivals and Events

  • Sydney Mardi Gras: One of the world’s largest LGBTQIA+ celebrations, featuring a vibrant parade, parties, and cultural events.
  • Melbourne International Comedy Festival: Enjoy performances from local and international comedians at one of the world’s top comedy festivals.
  • Vivid Sydney: This annual festival of light, music, and ideas transforms Sydney with dazzling light installations, projections, and performances.


Is it better to exchange money in Australia or Overseas?

It depends on what country you are planning to exchange your money into Australian dollars. Countries like Indonesia and Thailand tend to have favourable rates. Check the exchange rates in your country with those advertised online at Travelex.

Do you tip in Australia?

You don’t have to tip in Australia, in fact most people don’t. However, a 10% tip will be appreciated in restaurants and bars.

Can I haggle in Australia?

Haggling is not custom in Australia. However, if you are buying a big ticket item, you can ask if they can do a better price or price match.

What is the legal drinking age in Australia?

The legal drinking age in Australia is 18 years old. ID will be required.

Australia, with its diverse landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and unique experiences, offers an unparalleled travel destination for adventurers, nature enthusiasts, and cultural explorers alike. From the vibrant cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth to the natural wonders of the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru, and the Kimberley, each region promises unforgettable moments and discoveries.

Remember to plan your visit according to the best times for each region, respect local customs and the natural environment, and embrace the spirit of exploration that Australia inspires. By following this travel guide, you’ll be well-prepared to embark on a journey that not only showcases the best of Australia but also leaves you with cherished memories and a deeper appreciation for this remarkable country.

We invite you to explore more detailed guides, itineraries, and travel tips on our website. Share your experiences and photos with us in our Facebook Group, and let Australia’s beauty and diversity inspire your next adventure.

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