When trying to decide on the most beautiful places in Australia, it’s very hard just to round it down to 15. Australia has more than 7 million square kilometers to explore, and only 25 million people live there. This means there is a lot of open space, lots of natural, untouched attractions, and plenty of landmarks that make it beautiful.
With a country this size, it’s hard to believe there are only 6 states and 3 territories. Furthermore, 90% of the population lives within 100 kilometers of the coast. It’s the smallest continent, the largest island, and the nation’s capital is Canberra, located in the Australia Capital Territory.
It takes more than five hours to fly from one side to the other, and the climate does vary between the states. In particular, from the Northern states with warmer temperatures, and the southern states cooling down during the winter. This is the land Down-under and now to explore our list of the 15 most beautiful places to visit in Australia.
15 beautiful places in Australia you must visit
The Gold Coast would have to be one of the biggest tourist places in Australia, and the biggest non-capital city in Australia. Every year more than 10 million tourists will visit for that relaxing beachside holiday, action-adventure, or take any number of the Gold Coast Day trips.
It’s located about an hour south of the capital Brisbane and runs about 50 kilometers to the New South Wales border. Hotels, apartments, and large skyscrapers line the beachfront and are ultimately there to facilitate the tourists. There is everything from rainforest hiking and adventure, adrenaline activities, indoor fun, or kilometers of creeks and beautiful beaches. The Gold Coast is the perfect destination for a road trip, you can find a camper rental in Brisbane, making it easy to start an adventure. Not only that, but this is the only place in Australia for the major Theme Parks and rides.
The area is suitable for families, a group of friends, or a romantic weekend away with your special someone. Whatever you’re into, you’re sure to find so many different things to do and never want to leave.
Here are our suggestions for activities and tours along the Gold Coast:
Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is considered one of the seven wonders of the Natural World and stretches 2300 kilometers from Bundaberg to Port Douglas. It’s the largest reef system, made up of 3000 individual reefs, 600 continental Islands, 300 coral cays, and 150 mangrove islands. Due to the sheer size, it’s one of the many structures that can be viewed from space.
Most tourists exploring the Great Barrier Reef will visit either Airlie Beach, Cairns, or Port Douglas. There are day tours to several Islands, including the 74 different Islands in the popular Whitsunday Network from Airlie Beach. Through this entire area, you can snorkel off pontoons and boats, dive among the coral reefs, or enjoy the many facilities the Islands offer. It’s known for having some of the best beaches in Queensland, so you’ll never be disappointed.
Discover the Great Reef Barrier with these incredible activities:
Tangalooma Resort on Moreton Island is another perfect getaway to paradise and so close to the Queensland capital of Brisbane. The Island contains different styles of accommodation, but all revolve around the Tangalooma Island Resort. The Tangalooma Flyer will leave from the Holt Street Jetty several times a day and take about 1.5 hours to get to the Island.
Once you’re there, there are multitudes of activities available, from sand tobogganing, Helicopter flights, quad bike tours, or snorkeling around the 15 different wrecks in the shallows waters. More importantly, several Wild Dolphins will visit the Tangalooma jetty, each night and a big highlight for any tourist visiting.
The entire resort is Eco Friendly and uses solar power to generate most of its power. The activities have been developed to limit a tourist footprint and ensure sustainability for the future to come. Nothing beats a sunset while you’re sitting at the beach, so this is one most beautiful places in Australia you don’t want to miss.
Check out these tours and activities on Moreton Island:
Sydney is the biggest city in Australia with close to 5.3 million people living in this seaside suburb. Most think that Sydney is the capital of Australia, but that title belongs to Canberra. One of the biggest highlights of visiting would be exploring Sydney Harbour from many different vantage points. Clearly, the Sydney Opera House stands tall in the middle of this, along with the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The Opera House is one of the most photographed buildings in the world, with a roof designed as white sail-shaped shells. It took 14 years to build, cost 102 million dollars and was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Apart from this, you have the Taronga Zoo, Luna Park, Fort Denison, and many different beaches surrounding the Harbour. The Rocks and Circular Quay have several different ferries, servicing the Sydney waterways and is a popular place to base your accommodation.
Visiting Sydney around June each year will see numerous prominent landmarks displayed in moving lights. This is called The Vivid Festival and something you don’t want to miss.
For attractions entries and activities in Sydney, check out these tours by GetYourGuide:
The Pinnacles amazing limestone structure is located along the Australian Coral Coast in Western Australia, about 2 hours north of Perth. It’s part of the Nambung National Park and receives about 250,000 tourists per year. It’s one of those cool places in Australia you must see.
The unusual pointed structures were formed about 25 to 30 thousand years ago after the sea receded and left deposits of sea shells behind. Over time, the erosion from coastal winds exposed these pillars and currently range in various heights over the area. Some can be as high as 5 meters and tower over the average tourist.
Check out these tours to The Pinnacles:
Would you believe that Fraser Island is the largest Sand Island in World? The Island lies off the coast of Queensland and is accessed by barge from both Rainbow Beach and Hervey Bay. Locals will visit for off-grid beach camping, to stay in one of the two resorts, or to rent a holiday home by the beach.
You have many different sites to see, landmarks, and things to do, but the best one to mention would be Lake McKenzie. This freshwater lake is located in the middle of the Island and nestled within the National Park. The beaches are lined with fine white sand and contain the clearest, crystal blue waters for swimming. Enjoy a relaxing few hours floating around, or laze on the beach under nearby trees. Not only that, but the sand can be used for exfoliating the skin.
There are over 300 thousand tourists that visit Fraser Island each year, which makes it one of the most popular places in Australia. And most of the visitors will have Lake McKenzie at the top of their list. Accessing the area is by four-wheel drive only, but convenient to know there are organized tours to help get you there.
Check out these activities and tours on Fraser Island:
As you probably know, Uluru or Ayers Rock is one of the most famous and remarkable landmarks in Australia. The red sandstone rock stands at 348 meters (1142 feet) above the ground, and the base is 10 kilometers around. Its part of the Uluru- Kata Tjuta National Park, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is often explored with the Olgas (Kata Tjuta).
The whole area is best explored over a 2 to 3 days period. This includes sunrise and sunset spots, several different hikes, learning about the Aboriginal culture, a 30,000 solar light bulb display, or flying in a helicopter over the area. The small town of Yulara is about 30 minutes away and is a purpose-built town to provide the tourist facilities of Uluru.
Check out these tours and activities in Uluru:
Big Red Sand Dune
The Big Red Sand Dune is located about 30 minutes outside of Birdsville in remote Outback Queensland. It’s very close to the South Australian and Northern Territory borders and the first of 1100 sand dunes running parallel into the Munga-Thirri National Park.
It’s a bucket-list item for anyone traveling to Australia, and you’re challenged to drive up to the top. Truthfully, Big Red only stands at 40 meters high, and some simply four-wheel-drive rules will have you up there in no time.
The beauty is being on top of Australia’s biggest Sand Dune and admiring the unrestrictive views of the surrounding desert. The wind-formed sand ripples are pure art, the amazing wildflowers growing in the soft sand and watching a sunset cross the horizon, are just magical. Dreams of the Outback start here, and you won’t regret your visit.
In the small Island state of Tasmania, we have the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. Within this park, you’ll have hiking fans in awe over its raw natural beauty, local wildlife, and exquisite views. Ultimately, Cradle Mountain is a highlight for the area and several different possibilities to see it.
The Overland Track is a popular 65 kilometres/7-day trek that takes you right through the National Park. While this isn’t a great option for everyone, you can just hike in and return the same day to see the astonishing Cradle Mountain. Not only had that, but helicopter tours will leave from Launceston for those with limited ability or lack of time.
Check out these tours and activities in Tasmania:
Carnarvon Gorge National Park
The Carnarvon Gorge National Park is located about 9 hours west of Brisbane and is generally explored over a couple of days. This hiking opportunity has you traveling more than 20 kilometers return, crossing several times over the gorge itself. There are some alternate tracks off the main route, which will add to your distance and time, but there is very little elevation and can be completed by a moderate hiker.
There are significant sites like the Amphitheatre, The Cathedral, Moss Garden, Wards Canyon, Boolimba Bluff, and the undeniable Boowinda Gorge. Admire how millions of years of erosion have formed these rock faces, cliffs, and canyons. Local wildlife is abundant in the entire area and even a rock pool swimming location.
There is a chance your feet could get wet, and walking poles would be very handy. Obviously, rainfall needs to be at a minimum for creek crossing, which makes winter a great time to visit this beautiful place in Australia.
For thousands of years the Bungle Bungles have been a part of Aboriginal history, but were only discovered by tourists in the 1980s. This is a natural Bee-Hive rock formation, which stretches over 450 square kilometers and is best viewed up close or from the air. Imagine the active faults and erosion depositing materials over this area for 300 million years, just to bring you what you see today.
It’s located in the Kimberley region in the Northern area of Western Australia and is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A community has been built to house and service tourists to the Purnululu National Park with basic accommodation, camping, and supplies. However, due to record-breaking summer temperatures, the season is restricted from March through to October.
Great Ocean Road
This would have to be one of the best road trips in Australia and will have you stunned by its beauty. The Great Ocean Road stretches 244 kilometers from Torquay to Allansford, just outside of Melbourne in Victoria.
It contains sites like The 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, the Grotto, and London Bridge. These are all conveniently accessible through the driving tracks and short walking paths.
These cliffs faces are made of limestone which has been formed over time from wind erosion and rough seas. You have the opportunity to adore from above, or certain times and places you can access the beach. No matter how many times you visit the Great Ocean Road, you will still marvel at this landmark.
Before exploring the Great Ocen Road, read our guide to free things to do in Melbourne and how to choose the right car for a road trip in Australia.
Don’t forget to check out these activities along the Great Ocean Road:
There are many different breathtaking sites around Western Australia, but the sunset at Cable Beach is highly sought after. What makes this area unique to others is the camel rides, providing award-winning tours and giving you an unforgettable experience.
The experience will take you one to two hours to complete. Including, teaching you a little about the camels and slowly saddling you up, one by one. The camels are roped together like a train, and you simply sit back, strolling along the pristine sands and taking in the magnificent views. Obviously, the sunset is still outstanding on its own and can be enjoyed without the camel experience.
Check out these tours and activities on Cable Beach and around:
Rottnest Island lies just off the coast of Perth in the southern area of Western Australia. The Island is known for magnificent looking beaches, military history, and the famous marsupial, the Quokka.
The Quokkas have been tagged as the happiest animal in the world since most photos taken of them look like their smiling. In other cases, they are a superb animal for a selfie, and even Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth has gone viral with his photo.
The Island is only 11 kilometers long, and 5 kilometers wide, and the best way to get around is by bicycle. Most ferry transfers to Rottnest will allow you to hire a bike and let you explore on your own. For others, there is public bus transport, and tours that can help you get around. If you are not afraid of heights, skydiving is the coolest way to see the beauty of Rottnest.
Check out these tours and activities on Rottnest Island:
The small city of Byron Bay lies along the coast in Northern New South Wales, with a population of around 10,000 people. This is your backpacker haven and is well known for its beaches, surfing lifestyle, and some amazing scuba diving. The town thrives on the local community, arts and crafts made in the region, musicians, and helps supply the tourists with their needs.
It’s a quiet nature retreat where you’ll find yoga commonly performed or trained. Apart from this rainforest hiking and waterfall swimming can also be on the cards.
The Byron Bay lighthouse sits on the rocky point and is visited by tourists as the most easterly point in Australia. However, the hike to get there can be challenging for some folks.
Check out these tours and activities in Byron Bay:
Now that we’ve inspired you with the 15 most beautiful places in Australia to visit, let us know which one you are eager to see or if you have already visited some of them. If you are planning a trip to Down-under, these sights of Australia must be on your itinerary.
Time for some practical stuff, before going on your Australia holiday, read these articles below:
- Travel Insurance, how to choose the best one for your trip
- How to find the perfect hotel for your trip and budget
- Travel planning: websites and services we use and recommend
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Author: Chris Fry
Chris Fry is the writer and photographer behind Aquarius Traveller, where she shares her journeys, provides valuable information and inspiration for your land and underwater travels. She lives in Australia and has traveled to 36 countries and across Australia.