Australia is a country and continent like no other. From kangaroos to the duck-billed platypus, the unique climate here creates an incredibly diverse ecosystem. And from the wilderness of the Outback to the tranquility of the Great Barrier Reef, these one-of-a-kind attractions are part of what makes this place in the world so special. The major cities in Australia (Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth) can be found along the stunning coastline. However, the capital, Canberra, is inland. Keep reading for my rundown of the top 10 places to visit in Australia.

I will be going to Australia for my first time next month. I am so very excited. These are some great places I’ve researched and will visit. I will let you know if they are as wonderful in person as they are in books and all the research I’ve done.

Sydney is the capital of New South Wales and one of the biggest cities in Australia. It is home to so many breathtaking attractions and perhaps the most iconic is the Sydney Opera House situated on the beautiful Sydney Harbour. Staying on the waterfront, you also have the Darling Harbour, the Circular Quay and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Any Sydney experience wouldn’t be complete without hopping on a ferry and crossing the harbour to Bondi or Manly beach. I am excited, I have purchased tickets to Evita at the Opera House. Seeing the architecture alone of this iconic beauty is exciting in itself, but I get to see a play/musical, I will let you know how it is. 

Sydney Opera House

Melbourne is a coastal city and the capital of Victoria in the southeast of Australia. At the heart of the city is Federation Square which is full of modern bars, restaurants and idyllically situated next to the stunning Yarra River. There’s also an arts district in Melbourne that’s home to the National Gallery of Melbourne. This part of Australia is also saturated in history and is home to the Melbourne Museum, the Royal Exhibition Building and the Immigration Museum.

The capital of Queensland is Brisbane. This large city is perfectly situated on the Brisbane River and is full of culture. In it’s South Bank there’s the Queensland Museum, Sciencentre with renowned interactive exhibits and the Gallery of Modern Art. Mount Coot-tha provides a stunning backdrop wherever you go in this wonderful city and is where you can find the Brisbane Botanic Gardens. If you venture further up the Brisbane River you’ll come across the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary where you can get up close and personal with these wonderful creatures.

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Gold Coast
The iconic Gold Coast can be found just south of Brisbane. With its long sandy beaches and surfing spots it’s one of the most famed locations in Australia. If you’re a fan of theme parks, you’ll find plenty here. When you’re done enjoying the thrills of Dreamworld, Sea World and Wet ‘n’ Wild you can take a hike through the beautiful Lamington National Park or meet the protected wildlife at David Fleay Wildlife Park. Come the evening, there’s a busy nightlife with bars and casinos and plenty of upscale restaurants to choose from.

This tropical city in the far north of Queensland has been called “the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef”. The Tjapukia Aboriginal Cultural Park shows the history of this place and by comparison the Cairns Esplanade is full of modern bars and restaurants. The Cairns Wildlife Dome and the Night Zoo are home to the unique species of Australia like kangaroos, crocodiles and koalas.

This is the capital city of Western Australia and where the stunning Swan River meets with the Southwest Coast. Sandy beaches and botanic gardens are just a small part of what makes this coastal city so wonderful. In fact, you’ll find the notorious Sunset Coast just north of here where you can enjoy snorkeling or surfing. There’s no shortage of museums that show the proud history of the area and the Perth Cultural Centre is home to the state ballet and opera companies. There’s also plenty of opportunity for shopping in the high end stores of King Street.

This is Australia’s south coast capital city. You’ll find plenty of museums here to help you absorb the wonderful history of this coastal city. However, this place is more renowned for the variety of sporting events that it hosts. From football to tennis and motorsports, there’s something for everyone. The Adelaide Oval Stadium has been hosting cricket matches since 1871 so sport is a big part of this cities culture. If you’re more of a nature lover, you’ll find native dolphins and seals in the Holdfast Bay and you could even visit the Adelaide Zoo to see the pandas.

This is the capital city of Australia’s northern territory. It’s a world away from the hustle and bustle of cities like Sydney and Brisbane. Instead, Darwin is an escape to Kakadu National Park, luxurious waterfronts and expanses of greenland. If you like to live on the edge, you can cage swim with crocodiles or if that doesn’t float your boat, you can take a relaxing harbour cruise or enjoy an alfresco meal.

Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park
Almost right in the center of Australia, this National Park is incredible to behold but not easily accessible as it’s a world away from any major city. Ulura is an iconic sandstone monolith surrounded by barren land. It’s breathtaking to behold and even more curious to wonder how it came to be! This protected area is also home to the Valley of the Winds and the Fields of Light.

Byron Bay
This is a popular holiday destination in the southeast of New South Wales. With sandy beaches, palm trees and perfect scuba diving and surfing spots, it’s easy to see why people flock here all year round. Between June and November you can even stand on the Captain Cook Lookout and spot humpback whales in the bay. There’s also no shortage of shops, restaurants and bars in the popular Jonson Street area.

There’s so much more to Australia than first meets the eye. It’s a vast country with a rich history and culture that it takes great pride in. You can choose to soak up the history or edge more towards the modern city life. There’s something for everyone, whether you like the coast, forest, mountains or outback – the landscape is incredibly diverse and so are the excursions. Australia is bound to take your breath away, wherever you choose to visit. I’m sure it will take my breath away. After my trip I will let you know if it is as awesome as it sounds.

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