12 Places to Visit in Australia to Add to Your Bucket List

Pack your hiking boots and swimsuits as we have 12 of the best places to visit in Australia you wouldn’t think to visit! See dolphins, dinosaur footprints, towering cities of trees and everything in between all in the great land we call Australia.

There aren’t many places to visit in Australia that don’t have something interesting to do, see or people to meet. And yet, travellers tend to stick to our capital cities and the tourist hotspots, missing out on some of the greatest treasures our fine land has to offer.

But no more! Keep those hotspots on your list but be sure to add in the below places in Queensland, New South Wales and the Northern Territory too. Inspired to get going? Lucky there’s a handy search bar at the bottom of this article so you can find your nearest travel agent once you’ve picked your next destination.

Be sure not to limit yourself to these locations, either. Get exploring and see what’s out there in your own backyard.

Northern Territory

1. The Arnhem Land Region

About Arnhem Land

To the east of Darwin lies Arnhem Land—an approximate 100,000 square kilometres of beautifully preserved beaches, red rock and wetlands, and home to the didgeridoo. Of the 16,000 people, roughly 12,000 are the Yolngu people, traditional owners of the land. It is thanks to them that so much of the local culture and flawless landscape can still be appreciated today.

What to See & Do

While you can make your own way around Arnhem Land, you’ll see, do and experience so much more if you sign up with a tour. Before you write off a tour as your standard guided tourism trap, you’ll want to browse this list to see some of what you can do:

  • Visit exclusive Aboriginal rock art sites.
  • Take a foot, 4WD or boat safari.
  • Learn about local art and culture.
  • Fish in secret spots.
  • Spy on local wildlife, like the infamous local crocodiles.

Read more about Arnhem Land on the Do the NT tourism website.

Before You Visit

As Arnhem Land is owned by the local Aboriginal people, you’ll require the appropriate permit issued by the Northern Land Council. Depending on what you want to see and do, there may be additional permits, which is another reasons why tours can be handy for travellers to the region.

2.     The Katherine Region

About the Katherine Region

The Northern Territory tourism website describes Katherine as, “Where the Outback meets the tropics.” And they aren’t wrong. The region itself gets its name from the Katherine River, and spans at a whopping 400,000 square kilometres. If you have 3 and a bit hours to spare, you should definitely take the time to do the drive from Darwin to Katherine and see all the sights along the way.

What to See & Do

With all the different landscapes in Katherine, there is so much to do; most of which includes the great outdoors. Here are a couple of must-stop-and-take-in places in the Katherine region:

  • Take to the sky, ground or water through the Katherine Gorge in the Nitmiluk National Park. Book a helicopter ride, hire a canoe or take a scenic bushwalk to spy on wildlife and Aboriginal rock art.
  • Camp for the night at lush Edith Falls (or Leliyn as its known in the local Jawoyn language). After your swim at the falls, stop by the kiosk for some tasty delights. Note: Fires and generators are not permitted.
  • Between April to November, the Katherine Hot Springs is an absolute must-see place to visit in Australia. The natural thermal pools along the banks of the Katherine River are FREE and open 24 hours a day. Lay back and enjoy the stunning water and scenery.
  • The Katherine Outback Experience with award-winning musician Tom Curtin has become a local attraction. During Tom’s 90-minute show, you’ll be shown horse-breaking techniques, working dog demonstrations and horseman abilities, all while surrounded by the stunning Katherine landscape.

Before You Visit

You need to be aware the waterhole is not for swimming due to its significance to the Arrarnta Aboriginal people.

3.     Kings Canyon

About Kings Canyon

In a part of Australia’s Red Centre known as the Watarrka National Park is Kings Canyon. The Australian Tourism Website says the area has been home to the Luritja Aboriginal people for more than 20,000, who play a large part in the preservation of the more than 600 native plants and animals in the park. Prime time to visit the area is between April and October, which is a great time to hike and take everything in without the sun being too harsh.

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This view – definitely worth the climb 😍💙

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What to See & Do

The scenery at Kings Canyon can only be described as breathtaking. It’s ‘open’ 24 hours a day, which is handy as the view over the gorge at sunrise and sunset is simply life changing. There are several ways you can enjoy the Kings Canyon, these being a few of our favourites:

  • Take a guided tour with an Aboriginal elder to learn the connection between Kings Canyon and the traditional land owners.
  • Fuel up and go on a 4WD adventure through the Red Centre.
  • Book a scenic helicopter flight over the Canyon.
  • Sleep in the outback with a moonlit canyon dinner.
  • Take the Kings Canyon Rim Walk (6km) for unforgettable views.

4.     The Uluru Camel Cup

About the Uluru Camel Cup

Okay, technically this is an event, but it’s a must do, so hear us out. On the Uluru Camel Racing Club website, the cup is described as ‘the biggest small-town event in the Territory’. Every year, the 2-day award-winning event features helicopter flights, games, Fashions on the Field, reptile shows, markets, a gala ball and more. Part of the proceeds go to a charity of choice, and tickets are just $10.00 so it’s humble, affordable family fun.

What to See & Do

Where: Uluru Camel Farm

When: Unfortunately the 2019 event was in May, so check the Uluru Camel Racing Club website next year for the next event.

The event is held only 25 kilometres from Uluru itself, so the 25-minute drive to the stunning sandstone monolith is well worth it.

Queensland

6.     The Sunshine Coast Hinterland

About the Sunshine Coast Hinterland

We tried to name our favourite location in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, but we simply couldn’t. There is the Glass Hour Mountains, Eumundi, Kenilworth, Beerwah, Montville…we could go on and on. Aside from the eclectic people and the significance of the many areas of the hinterland to the Aboriginal people, the scenery itself is something special. The rainforests and bushland, rivers, mountains, volcanic history and rural lifestyle make for a unique place to visit away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

What to See & Do

You’re in for a treat in the hinterland with an endless supply of walking tracks, lookouts, markets and art galleries. We’ve selected some of our top picks:

  • The Wild Horse Mountain walk is quite steep (although on a concrete path), but the view from the fire watch tower at the top is unmissable.
  • For an unspoiled panoramic view of Mount Tibrogargan and the greater Sunshine Coast and Moreton Island area, the Glasshouse Mountains Lookout is the place to be.
  • As far as markets go, the Maleny Markets at the Maleny RSL Hall (Sunday mornings) and the Eumundi Market (Saturday and Wednesday mornings) are our two favourite spots.
  • Art lovers, you can’t go part the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Art Trail, where you’ll find every type of sculpture, painting and sketch you cover ever dream of.
  • The Sunshine Coast Hinterland is rich with historical landmarks. Check out the Heritage Discovery Guide and tick off each as you travel through the region.

Find more walks through the Sunshine Coast Hinterland on the Aussie Bushwalking website.

7.     The Gold Coast Hinterland

About the Gold Coast Hinterland

We couldn’t mention the Sunshine Coast Hinterland and not mention the Gold Coast Hinterland. When most people envision the Gold Coast, they think of the theme parks, endless beaches and high-rise resorts. So, it’s no surprise this is where people head when they visit. But venturing into the hinterland will make you forget your in one of Australia’s most popular tourist destinations.

There is no other way to describe the Gold Coast Hinterland than lush. The stunning mountainside and untouched rainforests are full of hidden gems to help you unwind.  

What to See & Do

People are often surprised at how much there is to do in such a lush environment. Here are some of our recommendations:

  • Tour the Glow Worm Caves on Tambourine Mountain.
  • Sign up for the 45-minute, 1.5km Tambourine Rainforest Skywalk.
  • Fossick for Thundereggs, play skirmish, go horse riding or take on the TreeTop Challenge at Thunderbird Park.
  • Take a stroll or lace up for a hike through the Springbrook National Park, where you’ll find waterholes, waterfalls, local wildlife and more.

8.     Mackay

About Mackay

Australia’s Sugar Capital, AKA Mackay, perfectly moulds the rural lifestyle with a coastal paradise to create a trip like nowhere else. Where else can you hike through stunning rainforests on one day and tour a multi-award winning sugar shed the next? Add in the 13.5 to 11 hours of sunlight a day and average temperatures of 20 to 30 all year round, and it’s the perfect place to visit in Australia for a sunny holiday.

What to See & Do

Everything you could want in a tropical getaway, you’ll find here. You have heritage buildings dating back to the late 1880s, stunning beaches and gorges, lush rainforests, wildlife, shopping…you name it. Be sure to add these places and activities to your itinerary:

  • Spending a lazy day on the silky-soft sands of Eimeo Beach with a dip in the Coral Sea is an absolute must.
  • Get up close and personal with kangaroos and wallabies at sunrise on a Wallabies Tour.
  • Take a day trip out to Sarina to see the Sarina War Memorial, the award-winning Sarina Sugar Shed (yes, you can sample products) and the Sarina Tourist Art and Craft Centre.
  • Spy the elusive platypus in the Eungella National Park.
  • Go fishing for some of the biggest and best barramundi in Australia.

9.     Townsville

About Townsville

On average, Townsville is blessed with beautiful sunny days an average of 300 days a year. While the region itself only covers roughly 95,000 square kilometres, it contains several national parks, the largest garrison of the Australian Defence Force, an aquarium, stunning island, ship wrecks and more. Visitors can also view original artwork from the traditional landowners, the Bindal and Wulgurukaba Aboriginal people.

What to See & Do

Like we’ve mentioned, you won’t run out of things to do in Townsville anytime soon. Before you visit Townsville, plan where you want to go, making sure to look into some of our favourites:

  • The Paluma village, the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and all their secrets are well worth the trip to Townsville alone.
  • Visit the Townsville Aquarium, Reef HQ, where there just so happens to be North Queensland’s first turtle hospital.
  • Be transported to a tropical paradise with an island-hopping trip from Magnetic Island to Orpheus Island to the stunning Hinchinbrook Island.
  • Add the Museum of Tropical Queensland to your list to learn about the area’s archaeological finds, before skipping off to the Billabong Sanctuary to explore the Aussie animals of today.

10.     Outback Queensland

About Outback Queensland

If you’re looking for the stereotypical Aussie experience with dusty plains and stunning red landscapes, then Outback Queensland is your ideal destination. Every area of the Outback has a completely different history, vibe and sights to see, so whether you head north, west, central or south, you’ll have plenty of tales to tell your family and friends back home.

What to See & Do

Rail, road or sky, there is an endless number of ways to enjoy everything the Queensland outback has to offer; including these sights:

  • Book yourself on the Spirit of the Outback, a 1,325 kilometre train journey from Brisbane to Longreach and everywhere in between.
  • 115km south-west of Winton, you can see the world’s only recorded evidence of a dinosaur stampede, estimated to have happened 95 millions years ago at the now Lark Quarry Conversation Park.
  • While in you’re in Winton, check out the Australian Age of Dinosaurs museum.
  • If you find yourself near Emerald, stop at the Emerald Botanic Gardens to wander through your own oasis.
  • For those looking to get your blood pumping, Lake Maraboon is perfect for waterskiing, as well as fishing for 8 different types of fish.

New South Wales

11.     The Blue Mountains

Step away from the beaches and head inland to the Blue Mountains to experience the area inscribed on the World Heritage List. But why is the Blue Mountains so special? In its 1 million+ hectares, the Greater Blue Mountains Area is home to 96 species of eucalypts, 400 animal species, a large number of rare flora species and 6 Aboriginal language groups. Sure, this is all special, but what can you see and do while there?

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Not a bad spot to sit and watch the world go by

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What to See & Do

Be pampered, get your heartrate pumping, go horseback or be amazed by some of the most incredible attractions nature can deliver, all in the Blue Mountains. Here is what we get up to when we visit one of our favourite places in Australia:

  • If you’re up to it, taking on one of the mountain treks, tours or abseiling adventures is an absolute must!
  • For the more faint-hearted still looking for adventure, check out the Scenic Railway, Walkway, Skyway and Cableway at Scenic World.
  • To explore the area, you only need to pick your transportation method—foot, 4WD, coach or horse.
  • Now is the time to see the world’s oldest caves, Jenolan Caves, with 8 incredible displays to suit all fitness levels.
  • Don’t forget to fit in a Blue Mountains Glow Worm Tour for an experience you’ll never forget.

12.     Jervis Bay

About Jervis Bay

White sand, aqua-coloured water, dolphins, national parks—what isn’t there to love about Jervis Bay. Located in the Shoalhaven region, around 3 hours from Sydney, it’s the perfect place to visit in Australia to completely lose yourself and unwind.

What to See & Do

Jervis Bay is all about nature, and here are our top picks for how you can enjoy it all:

  • Find your way to the Jervis Bay Marine Park, a natural wonderland home to dolphins, seals, penguins and migrating whales.
  • The aqua-clear waters are the perfect spot to scuba dive, surf and swim.
  • Discover the stunning secluded bays and camping spots of the Booderee National Park.
  • Book yourself into any of the many whale and dolphin-watching cruises.
  • Of all the beaches, Hyams Beach has to be one of our favourite to get those Instagram-perfect shots and soak up the sunshine.

Conclusion

“Pack your bags, kids. We’re going on a road trip.” Okay, maybe you do or don’t have kids, but either way, if you’re keen on a trip to any of these places in Australia, we’re here to help. Pop in your location below and be taken to a list of your closest travel agencies. All you need to do is decide where you want to go, pick your place to stay, how you want to get there and they’ll do the rest.

Feature image source: @filmape on Unsplash.

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      Sarah Russo

      UX Content Writer

      Sarah Russo is a UX Content Writer at Localsearch with a decade of experience in traditional and digital marketing. She has written for and assisted in the social media and marketing strategies for many different industries, including real estate, medical, health and fitness, trades and beauty. When she isn’t nose deep in data, SEO research or her content strategy, Sarah is a gym junkie, foodie and gamer with a brain full of random facts that come in handy far more often than you would think. As a digital marketing all-rounder and lifestyle specialist, her articles provide insight into marketing, advertising and branding for small businesses on the Localsearch Business Blog, as well as some handy lifestyle tips on the Localsearch Blog.