When planning a trip to Australia, Sydney Harbor Bridge may be the first thing to come to mind, or you might picture the iconic wildlife such as kangaroos, koalas, or echidnas.
However there’s so much more to OZ, and you could spend weeks (or months) exploring and still not see it all! Whether you’re looking for a great brunch spot, a beautiful place to hike, or a chance to meet some koalas, there is a place that’s perfect for you.
Here’s a list of ten places in Australia that you should visit (that aren’t Sydney)!
Hobart is Tasmania’s capital city and it’s full of old buildings and beautiful outdoor attractions. Stop by the award-winning Salamanca Market and pick up some locally made bath and body products, artwork, and clothing, amongst other things.
If you’re more of an outdoorsy type, you won’t be disappointed by all of the incredible opportunities to go hiking and experience the stunning landscape of the area. Spend a day exploring Freycinet National Park or go hiking at the Bay of Fires.
If you’re a foodie, one of the guided food tours of Bruny Island is a can’t-miss excursion as well!
If you’re making the trip to Hobart, make sure to rent a car and book a stay at some of the incredible Airbnbs in the area. Captains Rest in Strahan is an incredible waterfront private cabin with a kitchenette. It’s a great place for a relaxing and unique environment.
Whatever you choose to do in Hobart, you’ll appreciate this off-the-beaten-path destination!
Melbourne, Victoria (pronounced “Mel-bin” by locals) will grace most Australia bucket lists, and when you visit you’ll see why! It’s slightly more urban than other destinations on this list and has a thriving coffee and brunch culture.
It’s also a great home base if you’re interested in taking some day trips.
Just a few minutes away from the city center lies the 12 Apostles. These limestone stone stacks jut out from the ocean. Contrary to what their name might suggest, there have only ever been eight “apostles”. One collapsed in 2005, but you can still see the rest of them today!
If you’re looking to experience the natural beauty of Australia and want to see the rainforests and wildlife up close, Daintree, Queensland is your best bet! You can go snorkeling or scuba diving near the famous Great Barrier Reef.
For a truly unique place to stay, consider the Daintree Ecolodge. Instead of a standard room, you can stay in one of the 15 treehouses located throughout the property.
It’s located in the heart of the Daintree Rainforest and is a great place to disconnect and enjoy the lush green environment.
You can have dinner on the balcony of the Julaymba Restaurant, overlooking a little lagoon. Definitely making a booking to try their Degustation Menu, which highlights flavors from the local area and surrounding farms. It’s a true culinary experience!
Famous for its beautiful weather, art, and foodie culture, Brisbane (pronounced “Bris-bin”) is Australia’s third-largest city and a popular retreat for Australians and tourists alike!
Visit the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and get a picture with a koala, snake, or baby crocodile! The sanctuary has been providing refuge and care for many of Australia’s sick or injured animals since 1927.
Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast
Sunshine Coast, Queensland
Just an hour north of Brisbane lies Australia’s Sunshine Coast. This beautiful area is a prime surfing destination whether you’re a seasoned expert or not. There are many places where you can book lessons and rent surfboards in the area.
For a more peaceful activity, try a class at the Union Yoga Collective in Maroochydore, and then go have a long brekkie at any one of the amazing brunch locations.
One of the Sunshine Coast’s famous destinations is the Australia Zoo. This famous wildlife conservatory was started by Steve Irwin’s parents and is still run by the family to this day!
Uluru + Kings Canyon, Northern Territory
Australia’s Northern Territory has many stunning outdoor attractions.
One of the most famous is Uluru, which you might know better as Ayers Rock. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of Australia’s most famous landmarks and a great place to visit if you enjoy bushwalking.
Just know that you can’t scale the rock face anymore. The climb is incredibly dangerous, and the spot holds a religious and cultural significance for the Pitjantjatjara, the Aboriginal people of the area.
Kings Canyon is also an impressive outdoor attraction in the Northern Territory. The walls of the canyon are nearly 330 feet high, and it’s a great place to take in the sunrise and be greeted by some of the first rays to reach the park.
Take an opportunity to dine under the stars which hang in the night sky over the dining area of the Kings Canyon Resort. A helicopter tour over the landscape allows a one-of-a-kind view of the breathtaking landscape.
Gold Coast, QLD + Byron Bay, NSW
Australia’s Gold Coast is notable for its world-renowned surfing beaches with waves to challenge experienced surfers or to encourage novices.
For the less aquatically adept, the Warner Brothers Movie World is a top destination with some of the best roller coasters and thrill rides in Australia.
A boat trip along the coast lets you cool off with some sea mist even if you don’t want to jump into the blue waters.
For a change of pace head to Byron Bay. This city gets its name from an Aboriginal word for “meeting place” and lives up to that name.
Byron Bay has been a popular destination for visitors for decades. In the 1800s, Byron Bay had a gold rush which is what led to more permanent residents, and from there the city grew. A trip up to the lighthouse, constructed in 1901, provides a great view of the city and waters below.
Plenty of trails and beaches make this an outdoor haven for surfers, backpackers, and outdoors lovers from all over the world. There are also many nearby national parks where you can marvel at the natural beauty of Australia.
Adelaide, South Australia
Adelaide is Australia’s fifth-largest city and has been an important city throughout the country’s history. It has a lot of the culture of Australia’s larger cities but is far less chaotic.
Make a pit stop at the German town of Hahndorf for a day of wine tasting, sampling pretzels, and strolling around. The culture of this unique destination is due to the influx of German settlers who arrived here in the mid-1800s.
If you enjoy wine, head to Barossa Valley. This region has a perfect climate for wine production and you can visit any of the major vineyards that are located here.
Whitsunday Islands, Queensland
If you’re looking to unwind on a beautiful island, the 74 Whitsunday Islands are a great option to consider. It’s the place to be if you’re looking for sparkling sandy beaches and deep blue water that you can swim, scuba, or snorkel in.
It’s also the place to be if you want to experience the Great Barrier Reef.
This coral reef is the world’s largest and is often considered one of the seven natural wonders of the modern world. It can be seen from outer space!
Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory
Kakadu National Park is located 106 miles southeast of Darwin, the capital city of the Northern Territory. It became a UNESCO Heritage Site in 1981 when it was recognized for cultural and natural significance.
There are many paintings that were created by the Aboriginal people of the region. Many of the paintings are still well preserved which is impressive considering some are over 20,000 years old!
This national park is a great place to hike and explore!
What destinations would you recommend for an Australia bucket list? Let me know in the comments below!