A country nearly as large as the United States, Australia has infinite things to see and do. The majority of travelers that venture Down Under head straight to the famous city of Sydney, often not even realizing that there’s so much more to the country than the Harbor Bridge and the Opera House.
While Sydney is definitely worth visiting and has a lot to offer, you don’t want to forget about the hidden gems of the country either. If you’re drawn to destinations that most people don’t even know about, then you need to check out these 10 other incredible places to visit while you’re in Australia.
10 Byron Bay, New South Wales
Picture a relaxed coastal setting with scenic views of the ocean, friendly locals, and golden beaches. That is Byron Bay, located in the state of New South Wales, on the eastern coast of Australia. Aside from being home to splendid beaches, the area also boasts a network of walking tracks where you’ll get the chance to experience native Australian flora and fauna.
If you visit Byron between May and October, you may get the chance to spot a few whales out in the ocean as they embark on their migration.
9 Karijini National Park, Western Australia
Karijini National Park is home to some of the most phenomenal landscapes in the world. Here you’ll find swimming holes and waterfalls that look like they’ve come out of a travel brochure, as well as incredible rock formations to admire.
The top activity that visitors partake in while in the park is hiking, but you can also go swimming and spend time soaking up the amazing scenery. Also, keep your eyes open for rock wallabies! Karijini is located 656 miles away from the state’s capital city of Perth, but it is well worth the trek.
8 The Blue Mountains, New South Wales
If you want to see some of the oldest species of plants in the world, head to the Blue Mountains in New South Wales. Around two hours to the west of Sydney (if you’re driving), the Blue Mountains are home to Wollemi pines, an ancient species which is pretty exciting to any botanical enthusiast.
The Blue Mountains were home to the Gundungurra people for thousands of years, and you can still see evidence of their daily life throughout the ranges in the form of hand paintings, carvings, and an occupation cave.
7 The Great Barrier Reef, Queensland
Everybody should visit the Great Barrier Reef at least once. The largest coral reef in the world is located off the coast of Queensland and showcases an incredible variety of marine life. The ideal place for snorkeling and diving, you’ll find more than 1,600 species of tropical fish here, according to Trips to Discover. Prepare to come face to face with dolphins, turtles, rays and giant clams, among other sea life.
To visit the reef, base yourself in the Whitsunday Islands along the coast of Queensland. Might as well stay in some of the most luxurious resorts in the world while exploring the famous reef!
6 Uluru, Northern Territory
A sacred site to the Anangu people, Uluru is a world-famous sandstone rock formation that really needs to be seen to be believed. Located 280 miles southwest of Alice Springs, a remote town in the Northern Territory, Uluru has drawn in tourists for decades.
As of October 2019, visitors will be prohibited from climbing on Uluru, as it’s a sacred site for the local people. But you’ll still be able to visit and admire the extraordinary monolith, in addition to the other activities on offer in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.
5 Great Ocean Road, Victoria
The Great Ocean Road isn’t so much of a final destination as it is a journey. But you know what they say—life is all about the journey. It’s famous for being one of the most spectacular road trips in the world, offering some sublime sights along the way.
Points of interest along the road include the Twelve Apostles rock formations and Loch Ard Gorge, but the entire drive boasts views of untouched coastline. Although you can do the drive in one day on a tour bus, it’s better to take your time and enjoy the sights.
4 The Barossa Valley, South Australia
The state of South Australia is known for producing some of the most highly acclaimed wines in the world. The Barossa Valley, located nearby the state’s capital city of Adelaide, is the place to go in Australia if you’re interested in vineyard hopping and wine tasting.
You’ll find 150 wineries in the Barossa Valley and the nearby Adelaide Hills, producing everything from boutique labels to the big names. The scenery is also pretty stunning in the Barossa, which is only a short drive away from the city. Definitely worth adding to your bucket list!
3 The Yarra Valley, Victoria
If wine-tasting is your thing, then you might also like to check out the Yarra Valley in Victoria. Not only is the region home to dairy farms, pubs, and a chocolatier or two, but it also boasts a variety of wineries. The ultimate destination for a foodie, the Yarra Valley is also home to some truffle producers.
Any time of the year is fine to visit the Yarra Valley, according to Traveller, but it’s the most spectacular from March to May when the autumn leaves carpet the ground. As far as getting to this magical place goes, the Valley is only an hour away from Melbourne by car.
2 Margaret River, Western Australia
Margaret River is one of Australia’s best-kept secrets. Brimming with wineries, scenic landscape, and gorgeous beaches, this is one destination that you must visit while in Western Australia. A drive south of the city of Perth, Margaret River is easy and convenient to get to.
There’s plenty for adventurous travelers to do, including hiking exploring the local forests and caves, canoeing, and mountain biking. For those who are looking to relax by the beautiful scenery, fishing is a favorite local pastime. To get the best out of Margaret River, visit in spring when the wildflowers are in bloom and the whales are in migration.
1 Kangaroo Island, South Australia
Many people come to Australia to get up close and personal with the native wildlife. If you’ve always dreamed about petting a kangaroo, one of the best places to do it is, of course, Kangaroo Island in South Australia.
Situated off the shore of Adelaide, the island is a refuge for a range of threatened Australian animals, in addition to kangaroos. You might get the chance to spot koalas, sea lions, cockatoos, and even some echidnas while on the island. There are also several chic eateries on Kangaroo Island, and it’s the perfect place to lunch.