Australia is one of the most popular countries to visit in the world, and for good reason. There were more than 8.8 million arrivals to Australia in 2017, spending a collective $41.3 billion in the tourism industry and getting to see some of the best attractions the country has to offer. But before you get too far in the planning process, you should be prepared, learning some of the most important sights to see and things to do.
Must-Do Activities in Australia
These are some of the most important must-do activities if you’re visiting Australia, especially if you’re visiting for the first time:
- Go island hopping. The Whitsunday Islands, between the northeast coast of Australia and the Great Barrier Reef, are an assortment of beautiful, uninhabited islands with dense forests and white sand beaches. Island hopping via boat allows you to see some of the most interesting wildlife in the country firsthand, and visit each island individually to go hiking or just relax on the beach.
- Dive near the Great Barrier Reef. Speaking of the Great Barrier Reef, if you get the chance, consider going diving or snorkeling to see it with your own eyes. The reef itself is more than 2,300 km long, so you could spend hours, if not days, seeing the diverse wildlife and taking in the majesty of the natural phenomenon.
- Find local events. Wherever you end up staying in Australia, take a look at some of the local events. For example, you could check out some of the festivals, concerts, and other events going on in Brisbane around your time of arrival. You might discover a local event you would never have otherwise considered, getting the opportunity to take part in something special and meet some of the locals at the same time.
- Explore the laneways of Melbourne. Melbourne is one of the most popular cities to visit in Australia, and there’s no shortage of things to do, from visiting the local shops to enjoying the city’s architecture. However, one of the best things to do in the inner city is to explore the laneways, where you’ll find a diverse assortment of local bars and restaurants, where you can enjoy some of the best cuisines and drinks the country has to offer.
- Check out the Gold Coast’s theme parks. On the Gold Coast, you’ll find several independent theme parks, including Dreamworld, WhiteWater World, Sea World, Warner Bros. Movie World, and the Wet’n’Wild water park. Together, these parks offer a variety of entertainment, including whitewater rafting, water slides, roller coasters, and housed wildlife.
- Visit the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. The Wet Tropics World Heritage Area is one of the most diverse rainforests in the world, and it’s full of amazing sights to see. You can spend time hiking under the rainforest canopy, or drift-snorkel through the waters to see the fish and turtles native to the area.
- Set foot in the Blue Mountains. You’ll find the Blue Mountains region in New South Wales, not far from the Sydney metropolitan area. There, you’ll get to enjoy relaxing, scenic drives, quaint small towns and villages, and outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, and even horseback riding. For the more adventurous, you could even try abseiling and/or canyoning.
- Attend a performance at the Sydney Opera House. It’s the most recognizable building in Sydney and is an architectural marvel in its own right. When visiting Sydney, you can opt to tour the building (and dine inside) or attend a live performance for the musical experience of a lifetime.
- Head out on safari. Natural scenes and wildlife are some of the best features of Australia, so why not take a safari to witness them firsthand? Explore an area like Australia’s Northern territory, and scope out original Aboriginal lands, including forests, waterfalls, and gorges.
- Go skiing. Most people don’t think about skiing when they visit Australia, but there’s at least one area that’s perfect for beginners and experienced skiers alike. Falls Creek offers a range of terrain and nearby lodges, where you can stay as part of your skiing or snowboarding adventure. It’s located just a couple hours outside Albury.
Preparing for Your Trip
There’s no right way or wrong way to enjoy Australia. Some people will prefer spending their time in or around the water, while others will prefer the mountains and/or outback of the mainland. Still others will prefer to spend their time in Australia’s major cities, engaging with the locals and sampling the best food and drinks in the area. However you decide to enjoy your Australia vacation, spend some time planning it in advance; you wouldn’t want to miss an opportunity.