as ranked by Travel Bugs World
Hello Australia! When it’s a summerlike day on the East Coast of New South Wales, we love getting in the car and going for a drive. Actually, anytime we touch back down to Australia, after the family & friends visits and some compulsory chores, we always end up on a road trip. And why wouldn’t we – the Ford Falcon motoring down the highways, music blaring, windows open with summer wind blowing through the car, singing “oh happy days”. We have such an adventure discovering new places and exploring the best places to visit in Australia.
Did you know Australia has over 35,000 kilometres of coastline and over 10,000 beaches? You could travel around for years and never get bored!
We’ve travelled extensively through Australia for over 20 years. And this is what we love about Australia – You can drive for miles on spacious highways with vistas of nothing but trees & mountains. And then you come across beautiful isolated beaches & rivers.
Our favourite stretch is the 18 hours/1500 kilometres Batemans Bay to Hervey Bay drive. Now that’s one juicy road trip full of lots of natural goodness. You can pretty much stop every hour or two and visit a new and exciting town or region which has so much to offer. It really is a lucky country. Three of our best places to visit in Australia are on this vast stretch of coastline.
Best Places to Visit in Australia
We love travelling and discovering new places, but at the same time, we love returning to our favourites. Some of our favourites are Australia’s best tourist destinations. Others are slightly off the beaten track, such as one of our favourite towns – Coffs Harbour. Read on and discover our best places to visit in Australia, why we love them and why you need to visit.
We’ve taken the 2,500-kilometre road trip from Sydney to Cairns on many occasions. We love this trip as there are so many beautiful coastal towns to stop at along the way. If you own or hire a car for your trip to Australia, this is the one road trip you must take. Nowhere else in Australia will you see this multitude of glorious beaches and charming towns.
But, we always end up spending most of our time in Cairns and Tropical North Queensland as we love it so much.
Cairns is one of Australia’s best tourist destinations and rightfully so. There’s the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef, the tropical beaches, sublime islands, stunning waterfalls and the adventure capital of Cairns.
You can spend your holiday island hopping, snorkelling and diving. You can indulge in eating out and nightclubs in Cairns. There are many adventure activities to choose from, but white water rafting, sky diving and bungee jumping are among the travellers’ favourites. And then there is the lush rainforests, the waterfalls and the freshwater swimming holes.
Cairns and Far North Queensland are one of those places that stay in your heart forever. It is a rare place on this earth.
One of those seaside resort towns that Australians love to holiday at, Coffs Harbour is known for its Big Banana that welcomes you as you arrive into town. It’s an Australian icon and so is the miles and miles of stunning surf beaches with golden white sands.
The lush landscape is home to abundant wildlife, banana plantations, rivers and national parks. There are whale and dolphin watching trips, beach camel rides, skydiving and scuba diving. Additionally, the scenic mountain drives have the most astounding views.
With a vibrant food scene and a picturesque marina and jetty, you can spend hours just watching the boats over a cappuccino.
And don’t miss our favourite activities:
- Driving up the windy road past the banana plantations, through the bush to the forest sky pier for the epic panorama of Coffs Harbour. Also, in season, you can buy freshly picked bananas direct from the farm.
- The 1km walk to Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve.
We love Coffs Harbour. We think it’s one of Australia’s most livable cities. Yet, it has a small town feel and is relatively off the tourist radar.
Darwin & The Top End
Years ago we drove our car all the way from Sydney on a 5,000-kilometre journey through The Outback to Darwin.
We took the long route, from Sydney to Melbourne to Adelaide. Then continued through the centre of Australia to Coober Pedy, the Red Centre to see Ayers Rock, and The Top End and Darwin. It was a hell of a journey. If you are backpacking Australia in a car, take this epic trip! Where else will you be able to drive for miles and miles with so much space and epic scenery?
Darwin and The Top End is a tropical paradise full of natural wonders. World heritage listed Kakadu National Park, Litchfield National Park and stunning Katherine Gorge offers some of Australia’s wildest scenery.
A holiday in Darwin will see you swimming in freshwater swimming holes, playing in waterfalls, scenic cruising through gorges and rainforests. You will be marvelling at the attractions of one of the most remote cities in Australia.
There’s crocodile watching, hot springs, aboriginal art, beach markets and amazing sunsets. Darwin is a laid-back town, and the pulsing Waterfront Precinct offers cafes, bars and restaurants with scenic beach views.
Mostly, if you want to see ancient rainforests and seek authentic Aboriginal culture, you must visit Darwin.
Do you love Road trips? We do! Here are our favourite places for a road trip in Australia. Road Trip Australia – Don’t Miss our Top 5 Road trips
Growing up in Australia, it was a teenage dream to go Party on the Gold Coast. It’s somewhat like a Miami, Las Vegas and Hawaii blended. It has the beaches, restaurants, cafe culture, the nightlife, the fine dining, and multitudes of attractions from natural scenery to theme parks. And yes, it can have that big city feeling and gets crowded. But rightfully so as there is something for everyone.
Famed for its long sandy beaches and surfing, the Gold Coast ranked No. 2 in “Top 10 Destinations – Australia” on TripAdvisor’s 2019 Travellers Choice Awards.
And, while the glitz of Surfers Paradise is the big drawcard for thousands of visitors each year, what we love about the Gold Coast are the many beaches that you can discover along the 40-kilometre stretch of coastline and the nearby national parks which offer some of the best walking tracks in Australia.
Nature lovers won’t want to miss our favourites:
- The less touristy and sensational beaches of Coolangatta
- The Burleigh Heads National Park with its walking tracks along the coastline and through the rainforest.
Visit Destination Gold Coast to plan your trip.
Picture this – one hundred kilometres of golden sand beaches, resort towns offering exclusive resorts, fine dining by the sea. Then there are surf and water activities and a lush hinterland. This is dreamy Sunshine Coast and Australians dream about retiring here one day.
Experience the miles of beaches and national parks in Noosa and its boutique shops and fine dining. Visit the beach resort town of Maroochydore. Day trip to the charming villages in the hinterland offering arts and crafts and weekend markets.
The Sunshine Coast encompasses an array of activities to keep you busy for days that you need to find time to do our favourite thing. We mostly love the beach culture and the many surf clubs scattered along the coast offering meals, drinks and often dramatic views right on the beachfront.
But, for us, the highlight of a visit to The Sunshine Coast is the Great Sandy National Park with its multicoloured sand dunes and mangrove forests. It is where you can hire a 4WD and road trip on the sand along the Great Beach Drive. The views are awe-inspiring!
Visit The Sunshine Coast.
You love Australia and you never want to leave? We spent a year travelling and working our way across Australia. Read about it here – The Fruit Picking Dream – Picking, Packing, and Pruning my way across Australia.
The Whitsunday Islands
One of the most spectacular areas you will ever see in your life is a group of 74 islands called the Whitsunday Islands. The water is crystal clear, and it is a pleasure lovers paradise.
The area boasts dramatic bush clad islands with white sandy beaches with views to die for.
Some of Australia’s best beach resorts are on the islands, and this is what a dream holiday is made of.
There are boat trips around the islands and to the Great Barrier Reef to see masses of corals and sea life. Cruising the Whitsundays is a once in a lifetime experience and a must for the bucket list.
Make sure you budget in some time on The Whitsundays. It is the closest you’ll come to heaven.
These are our favourite and best places to visit in Australia. We highly recommend you to include them in your holiday to Australia.
And remember, It’s the journey as much as it’s the destination. Enjoy!
If you have any queries about visiting Australia, please leave us a comment. We are very passionate about travelling in our country and would love you to experience the best of Australia.