Things to do in Australia

Must-see Australia sights

Australia is where adventures and horizons are endless. With a total population of roughly 22 million, two percent of which are Aborginal, there are plenty of ways to find out more about the country’s vast yet turbulent history. But it’s as modern as it is cultural; start off with a dazzling afternoon by Sydney Harbour, tour a vineyard before wine-tasting in Adelaide, and get an insight into Aboriginal culture at the UNESCO-listed Kakadu National Park. The Aussies are generally a friendly bunch, which is largely thanks to its reputation as a laid-back, chilled-out destination. The pubs are welcoming and there’s enough room for every amateur volleyball player, keen surfer and avid sunbather on the beaches!

  1. Sydney Harbour
  2. Canberra
  3. Wineries
  4. Whitsunday Island
  5. Central Market
  6. Kakadu National Park
  7. Ballarat

In collaboration with
Rough Guides

1. Sydney Harbour

Your first port of call should be to Sydney’s glittering harbour. Take a water taxi, ferry or boat tour through its excellent Port Jackson waterway. You’ll pass by two of the city’s iconic sights: the Harbour Bridge, which is the world’s largest steel-arch bridge; and the Opera House, which is undoubtedly the city’s most familiar (and photographed) sight. Spending the day here is one of the best things to do in Australia!

Best for: Iconic views.

Don’t miss: Take a guided tour of the Opera House.

2. Canberra

Canberra is a remarkably pleasant place to visit, and as Australia’s capital city there’s a whole host of national institutions worth checking out. Running along the front of the lake is the National Library, which displays Captain Cook’s HMS Endeavour; the National Gallery has the world’s largest collection of Aboriginal art ;and the National Museum of Australia houses an eclectic collection of artefacts, including convict clothing and Aboriginal bark paintings.

Best for: National institutions

Don’t miss: National Botanical Gardens

3. Wineries

The Australian wine scene is booming, so whatever Australia holiday packages you’re considering, make sure wine-tasting is on it. There are vineyards and wineries all over the country; wine tourism is a major industry, with South Australia producing over half of it for the nation. If you’re looking for immersive things to do in Australia, start off with a visit to Adelaide’s National Wine Centre of Australia, which features exhibits, a demonstration vineyard and tasting rooms. From the centre, there are nine district regions within 90 minutes’ drive.

Best for: Tasting the best the country has to offer.

Don’t miss: Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale are the best known.

4. Whitsunday Island

Whitsunday Island is an archipelago of 74 islands, the best of which is Whitehaven, with its unbeatable beach and ideal camping spot. Wondering what to do in Australia that allows you to soak up the sun on one of the most beautiful beaches in perhaps the world? You won’t be disappointed on Whitehaven Beach, whose white sands are 98% pure silica, with a powder-soft feel. As for things to do there, you can try your hand at volleyball, stroll along the beach (the sand won’t scorch your feet) and go swimming in the clear-blue waters.

Best for: Tropical paradise.

Don’t miss: Take a boat to neighbouring Hamilton Island.

5. Central Market

Adelaide’s Central Market is one of the most colourful of its kind in the country. This huge, covered area packs in over 200 shops and stalls, selling cheap fruit, meats, spices and imported goods – and so much more. But tuck into the plethora of local produce that the region is famed for: Maggie Beer’s pates, Adelaide Hills’ cheeses, Barossa Valley gourmet delights and more to make you salivate on the spot. Aside from produce, mooch around the stalls selling books, crafts, jewellery and clothing.

Best for: A bustling day out.

Don’t miss: Numerous tasting opportunities

6. Kakadu National Park

This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the brightest jewels in Australia’s wilderness, and is truly unmissable. Amongst the array of incredible flora and fauna and scenic splendour are remnants of an ancient Aboriginal culture, with fascinating paintings. Within the park, check out the paintings of Ubirr Rock and the towering faces of Nourlangie Rock. Pause at Bowali Visitor Centre for its permanent display of the features of the park, and swing by the Marrawuddi Gallery for displays of Aboriginal art, books and gifts.

Best for: An insight into Aboriginal Australia.

Don’t miss: Take a boat tour on Yellow Water.

7. Ballarat

The old gold-mining town of Ballarat is one of the best colonial towns in the country and is an hour’s drive from Melbourne. Head to the Eureka Centre, where they recreate the day in 1854 when gold was discovered. Amongst the other things to do in Ballarat include the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, which is renowned for its range of Australian paintings.

Best for: Gold-digging delights.

Don’t miss: the Botanic Gardens.

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