There’s something about Australia that piques the interest of globe-trotters everywhere. This magical place strikes a fine balance between opposing ideas: Rugged landscapes blend with chic cities, and cosmopolitan sights offer an interesting counterpoint to the marvelous natural wonders. Here, diversity is the name of the game, and there’s no end to what you can explore in the great down under.
Though Australia offers enough to fill a library packed with travel guides, there are a few incredible spots you simply can’t miss. Here, we give you the inside scoop on three of our current favorites.
Let’s put it bluntly: We love Sydney. The sights are surreal, the landscapes are stunning, and the locals display the sort of hospitality that instantly turns visitors into future expats. Just think about everything that’s on offer in this New South Wales metropolis. Seriously majestic bridges? Check. An opera house that wows architects the world over? Check. Fashion-forward boutiques, innovative restaurants and nightlife spots that rival even the hottest London clubs? Check, check and double check. Trust us: If you skip this city on your Australia holidays, you’re missing one of the globe’s most exciting destinations.
Of course, that list doesn’t even scratch the surface of the treasures you’ll find here. Learn to surf on Bondi Beach. Take a guided trek to the top of Harbour Bridge. Go backstage at the Sydney Opera House, or get an aerial view on a thrilling seaplane journey. If you can dream it, Sydney can make it happen.
Talk about a global icon. This world-famous reef sprawls across more than 2,000 kilometers of Queensland coast, and it’s been beckoning to adventurous tourists and marine scientists alike since the beginning of modern travel.
Still, you don’t have to be Jacques Cousteau to reap the benefits of this breathtaking locale. Luxurious jaunts through the Great Barrier Reef’s highlights are just as common as adrenaline-pumping journeys. Head to Heron Island to enjoy a coral cay and tranquil spa. Venture out from Cairns on a glass-bottomed catamaran. Get the private-island treatment on so-secluded Hayman. Whether you’re planning to dive through the coral or simply want to kick back with a cocktail, there’s something in this area for you.
Seclusion isn’t just a lovely little perk on Fraser Island: It’s a way of life. It’s tough to visit this spot without feeling like you’re the only person around, but that’s precisely why we adore it. White-sand beaches perch alongside emerald waters, inland rainforests house scores of rare wildlife, and sand dunes tower like natural sculptures. If you’re searching for a truly tranquil getaway, this is the destination for you.
Even thrill-seeking travelers can get their kicks here. Forest hikes are all the rage, and jaw-dropping spots like Lake Wabby, the Hammerstone Sandblow and Eli Creek offer the perfect combination of peaceful sights and exciting activities. Come for 75 Mile Beach, but stay for the adventure.