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Australia Travel Guide, Tours & Things to Do

Australia offers an incredible diversity of travel experiences; in every corner of this wide, brown land there's something to inspire and delight you. This Australia travel guide features a handy state-by-state round-up of the must-sees and dos.

Australia travel guide
Australia travel guide: Uluru, Northern Territory

New South Wales (NSW)

New South Wales is Australia’s most populous state and the gateway to the country for many international visitors. Dazzling capital Sydney is best explored over the course of a week-long stay. Climb the mighty Sydney Harbour Bridgedo a tour of the stately Opera House, lose yourself in The Rocks heritage precinct, pull up a patch of sand on famous Bondi Beach, and cruise the shimmering harbour. The stunning Blue Mountains can be done as a day trip, as can the rolling Hunter Valley wine region.

Australia travel guide
Image: Bridge Climb Sydney

Holiday hotspots abound up and down the NSW coast, including Byron BayCoffs HarbourPort Macquarie, and Newcastle. Inland, Tamworth is Australia’s home of country music, while Mudgee, Orange, and the Southern Highlands are popular food and wine hubs. Outback adventure awaits in Broken Hill and Bourke.

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

A three-hour drive south from Sydney will bring you to Canberra — the nation’s fabulous capital. Nominated by Lonely Planet as one of the ten must-visit cities in the world in 2018, the capital effortlessly blends imposing monuments and grand edifices with glorious gardens and open green spaces.

Australia travel guide
Australia travel guide: Australian War Memorial, Canberra

If you have limited time in Canberra, the toughest part of your visit will be deciding what to see and what to miss! At last count, there were more than forty galleries, museums and exhibition spaces to explore, including the National Gallery of Australia, the emotive Australian War Memorial, and the National Library of Australia.

Victoria (VIC)

Art lovers, history buffs, foodies, and fashionistas will all enjoy their time in Victoria. Criss-crossed by a network of European-style laneways and arcades (that harbour amazing street art), capital city Melbourne is renowned as Australia’s cultural, culinary, retail, and sporting epicentre. Regional Victorian-era cities like Bendigo and Ballarat brim with gold rush heritage, while the era of the paddle-steamer can still be experienced in the Murray River port towns of Echuca and Mildura.

Australia travel guide
Australia travel guide: Melbourne. Image: Visit Victoria

An array of sublime natural landscapes lies within two or three hours’ drive of Melbourne. Explore the Great Ocean RoadYarra Valley wine regionMornington Peninsula, Phillip Island (home to the world famous Penguin Parade), the Dandenong Ranges, Gippsland Lakes, Grampians, and High Country. Remote coastal enclaves like Warrnambool, Port Fairy, and Lakes Entrance offer respite from the hustle and bustle of the outside world.

Queensland (QLD)

A subtropical climate draws homegrown and international holidaymakers to Queensland’s shores all year round. You’ll find golden beaches from tip to toe, and a laid-back vibe to match. Situated in the state’s south-east corner, cosmopolitan capital Brisbane has changed beyond all recognition in recent decades and offers an array of world-class museums, galleries, and attractions. The neighbouring Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast boast some of the finest stretches of sand in the land, alongside glitzy resorts and thrilling theme parks.

Australia travel guide
Australia travel guide: South Bank. Image: Bigstock

Cairns is the unofficial capital of the Tropical North, and an ideal base for exploring the world-renowned Daintree rainforest and Great Barrier Reef. Other top options for a beach break in the ‘Sunshine State’ include Port DouglasTownsvilleAirlie Beach, the Whitsunday Islands, and Hervey Bay. Inland, channel your inner cowboy in Rockhampton and Longreach, or conquer the outback by travelling to iconic Birdsville.

South Australia (SA)

South Australia is a mecca for food and wine lovers, but there’s much more to this delicious part of Oz. Capital city Adelaide offers a genteel feel, a rich culture and history to explore, and easy access to the state’s renowned wine-producing regions — including the incomparable Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, and Adelaide Hills.

Australia travel guide
Australia travel guide: Adelaide

Further afield, marvel at the mouth of the mighty Murray River, soak up the seaside vibe in Victor Harbor and Robe, be amazed by the geological oddities on display in Mount Gambier, and go below in the famous Naracoorte Caves. Heading north into the outback will eventually bring you to characterful Coober Pedy, where many residents reside underground. Epic landscapes like the Flinders RangesNullarbor Plain, and Lake Eyre beckon to the hardiest of holidaymakers.

Western Australia (WA)

Western Australia is the largest state in Oz and offers myriad opportunities to ‘get away from it all’. Capital city Perth is packed with great things to do, but even there you’ll find plenty of options for getting in some quality me-time. Lose yourself in Kings Park (one of the largest inner city green spaces in the world) and spend a day relaxing on gorgeous Rottnest Island.

Australia travel guide
Australia travel guide: Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Heading south will bring you to the celebrated Margaret River wine region and wider South West (don’t miss seeing the emotive National Anzac Centre in Albany). Further east along the coast, Esperance beckons with the promise of some of the whitest beaches in the country.

Up on the Mid West coast, hear tales of seafaring triumph and tragedy in Geraldton, marvel at the ancient stromatolites in Shark Bay, and snorkel the shimmering Ningaloo Reef.

Margaret River travel guide
Australia travel guide: Enjoy Margaret River’s fabulous food and wine scene.

Gold rush history comes alive in Kalgoorlie, while a palpable sense of adventure permeates the far northern Kimberley region. You’ll never forget your first glimpse of the beehive-shaped Bungle Bungles, or riding a camel along Broome’s sweeping Cable Beach at sunset.

Tasmania (TAS)

Affectionately known locally as ‘Tassie’, Australia’s island state of Tasmania offers a compact mix of natural beauty, heritage attractions, and fine food and wine. Start your trip in captivating capital Hobart — home to the controversial Museum of Old and New Art (Mona). Learn about Australia’s convict past at infamous Port Arthur, and marvel at the exquisite Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian architecture on display in and around Launceston.

Australia travel guide
Australia travel guide: Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasmania

Pristine landscapes can be found right across the island; bush walk around Dove Lake in Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, cruise the incomparable Gordon River, and smell the wildflowers in Freycinet National Park (home to much photographed Wineglass Bay). Bruny Island mixes an artisanal food scene with yet more scenic magnificence.

Northern Territory (NT)

The Northern Territory’s Top End and age-old Red Centre are imbued with a rich Indigenous cultural heritage and pioneering spirit. This is the Australian outback in all its fiery glory, and a sense of adventure is omnipresent. Darwin is the capital of the Territory and the gateway to Litchfield and Kakadu National Parks — home to plunging waterfalls, rivers and wetlands teeming with bird and wildlife (including salt and freshwater crocodiles), and caves harbouring ancient rock art.

Australia travel guide
Australia travel guide: Pyndan Camel Tracks, Alice Springs. Image: Tourism NT

Head down the transcontinental Stuart Highway to Katherine and cruise through soaring Nitmiluk Gorge. Continue heading south to characterful Tenant Creek, before discovering why there’s no town like Alice Springs (a camel trek and balloon flight over the outback at dawn are must-dos). Finally, sit and soak up the majesty of mighty Uluru as it changes colour and personality throughout the day. The famous Field of Light art installation brings the desert to life after dark.

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