When overseas visitors arrive in Australia there are certain places they must see and things they must do. And when Australians travel around Australia they can develop a fondness for particular locations and activities and return year after year. These locations can be a particular beach, an island, wine growing area or a major city. So I asked the question to some other travel bloggers what their favourite Australian holiday destination is. And without further ado, here are 20 favourite Australian holiday destinations that just might become your favourite Australian holiday destination too.
Favourite Australian Holiday Destinations in Western Australia
Kalbarri is 6 hours north of Perth in Western Australia. It is an incredible Australian holiday destination because there is so much to do, and it boasts year-round good weather. If you can, you should visit in wildflower season, which is from July to November. You can also spot the humpback whales dancing from the coastal cliffs at this time. However, what is so great about Kalbarri is exploring the national parks, which you can visit any time of the year. The inland Kalbarri National Park is home to the famous Kalbarri Window, the Z Bend, the Meanarra Lookout and the newly opened Kalbarri Skywalk.
There is so much to explore on the rugged coastal cliffs also including Mushroom Rock, Natural Bridge and Island Rock. Although the National Parks are arguably the main attractions, there is so much to do beyond them. For example, you can surf at Jaques’ Point, snorkel at Blue Holes, take a boat on the Murchison River, go fishing, quad biking and feed the pelicans. There are so many exciting things to do in Kalbarri that you won’t want to leave the town, but with the Pink Lake (Hutt Lagoon) nearby, you may have to venture out eventually.
Contributed by Rachel from Average Lives
Rottnest Island, WA
One of the many beaches on Rottnest Island
If you’re traveling to Western Australia, stop by Rottnest Island as a day trip or holiday from Perth. Rottnest Island (also called “Rotto” by locals) is a fantastic spot to relax on the beaches, go snorkeling, and see wildlife. It’s easy to get to Rottnest Island from Perth or Fremantle as it’s a 30 minute to 1+ hour ferry ride.
One of the best parts about visiting the island is the gorgeous beaches. They are super clean, have white sand, and have the clearest, blue waters. The waves are mild, so you can easily snorkel or swim around. With over 60 beaches to choose from, they aren’t crowded with tourists. Just remember to bring an umbrella as the beaches do not have shade.
The island is home to some of the most adorable wildlife – the quokkas. They’re the friendliest marsupials and are curious about everything. Therefore, they’ll walk up to tourists and will pose for the famous “quokka selfie.” Other wildlife that you’ll see on the island are peacocks (around the main Settlements area), birds, and lizards.
Since the attractions are spread apart, you’ll need to travel around the island by bicycle or hop on and off bus. Cars aren’t allowed on the island, so you’ll have the roads to yourself if cycling. Enjoy your time on Rottnest Island.
Contributed by Jackie of Life of Doing.
White Sands at Lucky Bay
If you are traveling through the Southern part of Western Australia it will most likely lead to Esperance. Esperance is a small town with a few shops, camping grounds and several beautiful beaches that you need to check out. It is also a gateway to the stunning Cape Le Grand National Park. There are many beautiful national parks in Western Australia but Cape le Grand is very special. One of the many reasons is Lucky Bay. Who hasn’t heard about the white sand beach with turquoise waters and cute hopping locals? You can easily spot kangaroos jumping around and lazing on the beach.
Lucky Bay is one of the most beautiful beaches in Australia and everyone needs to visit it. You are even able to drive on the beach and enjoy the scenery. We are recommend staying overnight in a nearby Lucky bay camping ground so you can enjoy sipping morning coffee with roos just a few feet away.
Contributed by Gigi Milkovic of Beach Addicted
Favourite Australian Holiday Destinations in Victoria
The Great Ocean Road, VIC
12 Apostles along the Great Ocean Road
No matter how many times you see it, driving the Great Ocean Road or viewing this part of the Victorian coastline has you in awe. This amazing stretch of road starts at Torquay, southwest of Melbourne. You will travel 243 kilometres along the Limestone Coast to Allansford, which is just before Warrnambool.
You may have already heard about some of the sites like the 12 Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge. However, several stops help you experience the wonders and why it could be your Favourite Australian Holiday Destination.
Over millions of years, the limestone rock coastline has been eroded away by storms, high winds, rough seas, and rising sea levels. So much erosion that out of the 12 apostles that originally stood tall in the ocean, only 8 remain. There are only a couple of areas in Australia you can see a natural rock formation like this, so it’s not to be missed.
Access to the beaches can happen in a few spots, including walking down the Gibson Steps at low tide and viewing a couple of the eroded Apostles from the ground. Alternatively, accessing Loch Ard Gorge at any time for a family excursion or a romantic picnic with that loved one. The 12 Apostles has a lookout point, which is about 10-minute walking distance from the Tourist Information centre. This means The Great Ocean Road can be enjoyed by everyone and is a great favourite Australian holiday destination.
Submitted By Chris Fry the Aquarius Traveller
Lakes Entrance, VIC
Gippsland is a huge hidden gem in Victoria Australia and so many people miss it. Visiting Gippsland is the perfect place to have a family holiday and there is just so much to do. From hiking to fishing to relaxing and adventure there is something for everyone in Gippsland.
If you love beaches the 90-mile beach in Lakes Entrance is spectacular. While many people flock to the area in summer you can still have the beach to yourself in places. You can fish from the beach, take a fishing charter out or you can swim in the amazing waters. You can sunbake on the beach and take brilliant day trips in the region to search for some of the most delicious local foods.
If camping is for you, there are places to suit everyone from holiday parks to free camping. You can find places in the bush away from the hustle and bustle like Timbarra as well as places right beside the beach like in Yanakie. Some places have basic facilities like campfire pits and drop toilets, some are completely off-grid.
Gippsland also has some magnificent foods. Wineries not only make wonderful wines they also are well known for producing food that pairs well with what they are known for and managing at the same time to use as many local products as they can.
Unique Australian animals are also in abundance. You can see the famous Little penguins wander ashore every night, you can see koalas for free in their natural habitat on Raymond Island and you can watch kangaroo bound in so many places you can’t count them all.
As you can see Gippsland is the perfect place for a family vacation. It doesn’t just have something for everyone, Gippsland has it all.
Contributed by Bec from Travels in Gippsland.
Located on the shores of Corio Bay and just an hour’s drive south of Melbourne, Geelong is a great holiday destination for anyone wanting to get away from the usual tourist traps.
The city has been a popular getaway for domestic tourists for decades who come to enjoy its cafes and bars, industrial spaces, laneways filled with graffiti art, galleries and museums, and the most magnificent waterfront south of Melbourne!
One of the only north facing bays in Australia, the whole area is covered in manicured lawn that’s perfect for picnics and barbecues and lazing in the sun while soaking up the spectacular water views.
There are heaps of activities to keep the most energetic visitors busy too, from Harley Davidson and helicopter rides, stand-up-paddle boarding, sailing lessons, and Segway tours. While the littlies will enjoy the Thomas lookalike train, Poppy Kettle playground, and the heritage carousel.
A highlight of the foreshore is the much-loved Eastern Beach with its Art Deco pavilion, swimming pool, dive tower, water activities, children’s pool, café, and iconic promenade. On a hot summer’s day there’s no better place to be.
Audrey Chalmers from See Geelong
Favourite Australian Holiday Destinations in Tasmania
Beach near Eddystone Point in Tasmania
When asked for their favourite holiday destination in Australia, people who travel may hesitate between several places… For Australia, my choice is almost always Tasmania. Discovering it on a mini-moon was a fantastic experience. Tasmania is that island off an island, south of the Australian mainland. Compared to the island-continent, it may appear small, but this is deceiving… The Apple Isle is quite sizeable and if you are doing a road trip in Tasmania, distances should not be underestimated… Tasmania is famous for its large wilderness areas, preserved of any human presence and dedicated to the conversation of flora and fauna. If you drive from Hobart to Cradle Mountain, a UNESCO heritage listed area, you will come across a unique landscape, rumoured to be a refuge for the mythical Tasmanian tiger… The heart of Tasmania is home to sharp mountains, deep valleys and flowing rivers. The coast, however, is very different… Equally dramatic as the mountains and forests, the East Coast of Tasmania has stunning beaches, the most famous being the Bay of Fires, notable for its bright orange granite rocks… Don’t forget to indulge in the local food and wine, as Tasmania has some fantastic fresh produce and the freshest seafood… Tasmania is also a fascinating place of history and Port Arthur is one of the best locations to learn about Australia’s colonial history. Finally, if you are keen to reach the end of the world, Bruny Island is an island off an island off an island, on the edge of the Southern Ocean…
Contributed by Delphine, Lester Lost
The Nut, Stanley
If you like your Australian holiday destinations served up with beauty, history and beaches then Stanley in Tasmania is the place to head!
Located on the north west coast of Tasmania, Stanley is easy to reach by car. It’s a small town with a population of only around 550 people but there is plenty to do and plenty of places to stay for tourists. On a small isthmus pointing out to Bass Strait, Stanley is surrounded by sea and has the backdrop of a massive, ancient volcanic plug called The Nut.
The Nut is the main attraction and it’s possible to either hike or catch a chair lift to the top. Once up there, there are great views over the surrounding area as well as an interesting walk around the top.
The town itself was first settled in 1825 by Europeans. There are many historic buildings in town which give it a great ambience. A popular one to visit is the Highfield Historic Site homestead which was built in 1835 and you can learn about life in the early days of European settlement in the area.
There are many other things to do like go on a seal cruise, watch fairy penguins come in in the evening or explore the nearby Tarkine park areas.
Stanley is a great place to just hang out, take in the beauty and the history and explore.
Contributed by Sharon Gourlay, Dive Into Tasmania
Favourite Australian Holiday Destinations in South Australia
Barossa Valley, SA
Cellar Door, Tanundra Street
The Barossa Valley is located one hour north of the Adelaide city centre in South Australia. It is best known as a wine region, but there are plenty of other things to do here too.
It’s almost impossible to visit without at least one wine tasting, and for something special, call into Langmeil Winery and taste the 1843 Freedom Shiraz. This wine is made from the oldest producing shiraz vines in the world.
After wine tasting, enjoy some of the fabulous local produce. Perhaps visit Maggie Beers’ farm or a cheese producer. Buy some traditional German small goods or taste craft beers or spirits. Or just stroll through one of the local farmers’ markets where you can find it all.
To wear off all that food, hike in the Kaiserstuhl Conservation Park or hire a bike and explore the German heritage of the region. If you are looking for a special activity, take a hot air balloon at sunrise and enjoy the Barossa Valley from a completely different perspective.
Perfect for a weekend or a week, the Barossa Valley is one of the best holiday destinations in Australia.
From Josie exploringSouthAustralia.com
Kangaroo Island, SA
Hanson Beach, Kangaroo Island
Located in South Australia, a couple of hours from Adelaide, Kangaroo Island is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Australia. You can easily get there by boat or plane. There are several direct flights from Adelaide to Kingscote per week. The best way to get around the island is by car so if you can, it’s better to drive down to Cape Jervis to catch the ferry with your vehicle.
Kangaroo Island is a bit like a mini version of Australia. Beautiful beaches, red dirt roads, wildlife… it has it all! If you love spending time at the beach, make sure to check out Vivonne Bay, Stokes Bay and Hanson Bay. Hikers and outdoor lovers should also head to Flinders Chase National Park. It’s home to some of the most stunning natural landmarks in SA: Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch. Kangaroo Island is also a paradise for foodies. You will find loads of wineries and oyster farms in the eastern part of the island.
The diversity of landscapes on Kangaroo Island is incredible and for this reason, it makes it an excellent holiday destination for all types of travellers including families and backpackers.
By Pauline from BeeLoved City
Favourite Australian Holiday Destinations in Queensland
Agnes Waters, QLD
Agnes Water is a great Australian town for a beach vacation. Located five hours north of Brisbane Agnes Water is the perfect spot for those who want to get away and get back in touch with nature. Take a tour out to the nearby islands or explore the southern parts of the Great Barrier Reef. Agnes Water is the home of Australia’s cheapest surf course which means even beginners can learn easily here. The surf conditions at Agnes Water Beach are great for those who have never surfed before but there are also more advanced swells nearby.
Definitely make sure to head to 1770, a tiny beach town next to Agnes Water. This is a great spot for swimming and kayaking as well as hiking. You’ll love how secluded Agnes Water is and the relaxed atmosphere. Home to some of Australia’s best beaches this is an ideal vacation spot.
From Victoria Heinze, Guide Your Travel
Fraser Island, Qld
Just one of the many swimming spots on Fraser Island
Fraser Island must be on the top of the list of our best holiday destinations in Australia. Before we visited ourselves, we did a lot of research and immediately got excited about the thought of exploring an Island covered in sand. There are no roads on Fraser Island, and you have to drive a 4WD to get around, it was such an exciting thought.
Once we were there it did not disappoint. Whizzing on the main beach which stretches 75 miles long, we were able to visit amazing places such as the Shipwreck, also known as S.S Maheno, Lake McKenzie and Indian Head. This beautifully Island blesses you with jaw-dropping views of the turquoise ocean and you can even spot turtles, manta rays and whales if the season is right. Not to mention wild dingoes!
It is so different from many other places in Australia and it has something to offer for anyone. Wildlife, beautiful lakes, nature and camping.
Contributed by Kerrie & Woody from Just Go Travelling.
Walk along the Cairns foreshore
Cairns is the ultimate tropical Australian holiday destination, located in Far North Queensland. It is the perfect combined city and ocean break, with an abundance of attractions and sights nearby.
The Cairns Esplanade is always a hub of activity, with restaurants, markets, outdoor entertainment and the free lifeguard supervised Lagoon. There are so many things to do in Cairns with kids, including the Cairns Aquarium and Zoom Wildlife and Dome where you can zipline over the indoor wildlife park. For outdoor fans, don’t miss the many day trip opportunities, including the chance to cruise and snorkel the Great Barrier Reef. A trip to Green Island or Fitzroy Island are great options too.
If you want to go even further, take a day trip to the Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation, with a stop at Mossman Gorge along the way. Or head south to Paronella Park where you will find a Spanish castle in the rainforest. Hiring a car is the best way to make the most of the Cairns region!
Contributed by Holly from Four Around The World
Alexandria Head, Noosa Heads
If you’re looking for paradise, you won’t need to look further than Noosa in Queensland. This relaxed beach town on the Sunshine Coast has everything to offer for a fun and relaxing getaway, including shopping, surfing, hiking, and some good old-fashioned relaxing on the beach.
One of the most popular things to do in Noosa is to visit Noosa National Park, the most visited national park in Australia! There are many different hiking routes within the park, but the most popular is undoubtedly the coastal route, which takes around 3 hours. This easy hike stops off at many amazing, empty beaches, hidden rock pools and stunning viewpoints.
On Sunday mornings, make sure you visit the famous Noosa Farmers Market, where you’ll find all sorts of delicious local produce and quaint arts and crafts! Noosa embraces the outdoors and healthy lifestyles, so you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to outdoor activities to try – surf lessons are on offer at Noosa Main Beach, the Noosa Everglades are just a short drive away and the Noosa River is a fabulous place to while away the afternoon.
Ella from Many More Maps
Hayman Island, QLD
Hayman Island is one of the most stunning and luxurious holiday resorts in Australia. Since undergoing an amazing refurbishment following widespread destruction caused by Cyclone Debbie in 2017, the Intercontinental Hayman Island has quickly become a favourite holiday destinations for couples, families, honeymooners – just about anyone really.
Located to the north of Whitsunday Island, you’ll first need to fly to Hamilton Island and then catch a boat transfer (or helicopter) to Hayman Island. The boat transfer is an experience in itself. Prepare to be pampered as you board a luxury catamaran and be served bottomless drinks and canapés throughout the scenic 90 minute journey.
Some of the amazing things to do on Hayman Island include; hiking to a secluded beach, sunset picnic, sailing, wind surfing, yoga, and much more. You can also take a scenic helicopter ride over the Great Barrier Reef, a boat to Whitehaven Beach, or simply relax in the resorts stunning pool, the largest in the southern hemisphere.
A word of warning, after you’ve visited once, you’ll want to go back again, and again!
From Amanda Twine, Fly Stay Luxe
Favourite Australian Holiday Destinations in the Northern Territory
Uluru (Ayers Rock)
Uluru in the Northern Territory is a bucket list holiday destination for many. A symbol of Australia that is known worldwide and one that cannot be fully appreciated until you are standing in front of it.
From your first sight of the monolith, you are in awe, that first glimpse draws you into the magic. But a visit to Uluru is more then just a viewing of “the rock it’s a chance to learn more about ancient Aboriginal Culture from the local custodians.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is the first place to head – start the day with an early morning desert tour to enjoy the sunrise. After an alfresco breakfast take the time to do the complete 10km walk around the base of Uluru. At the other end of the day, an Uluru sunset and a night taking in the stars out here are also essential experiences.
While a trip to this middle of nowhere destination can be expensive there are plenty of free things to do when you get there to help minimize costs. The Yulara Resort, home to all the accommodation in Uluru offers an extensive, free activity program for guests allowing you to learn more about the food, art and history of the local Aṉangu People.
Getting to Uluru requires a very long drive, 19-29 hours from the capital cities or a 3-4 flight.
Contributed by Paula Morgan, Australia Your Way
Kakadu National Park, NT
Get up close to a Saltwater Crocodile in Kakadu – but not too close!
If you are looking for an epic nature adventure or a wildlife holiday in Australia, look no further than Kakadu National Park. Lying only 150 kilometres south-east of Darwin, this stunning UNESCO Heritage-listed National Park is the quintessential Australian wilderness. Roughly the size of Slovenia Kakadu is the largest National Parks in Australia.
One of the best ways to see wildlife in Kakadu is by cruising Yellow Water Billabong. There are morning and afternoon cruises available and whichever one you choose you are virtually guaranteed to see saltwater crocodiles, white-bellied sea eagles and a phenomenal abundance of water birds, including crested jacanas also known as Jesus birds for their ability to walk on top of the floating aquatic vegetation aided by their giant feet. For the most dramatic experience, visit between May and mid-June, straight after the rainy season, and your cruise will take you through the flooded forest before emerging out in the open on the billabong.
Another iconic location in Kakadu is Ubirr Rock, best known as the site of 40,000 years old Aboriginal rock art. The Ubirr walk passes several stunning Aboriginal art sites before taking you to a stunning lookout over the Nadab floodplain peppered with patches of woodland and rainforest. Like most lookouts, Ubirr rock is at its best at sunset. And while you soaking up the view, keep an eye out for short-eared rock wallabies that live among the rocks here.
Contributed by Margarita / The Wildlife Diaries
Favourite Australian Holiday Destinations in the New South Wales
When thinking about an Australian holiday it is almost impossible not to picture the white sails of the Sydney Opera House and the sparkling harbour surrounding it. Sydney is arguably the most beautiful of Australia’s capital cities, but it is also much much more than just an Instagrammable destination.
There are so many things to do in Sydney, from iconic coastal walks like the Bondi to Coogee track to sitting down with a glass of bubbles for a long lunch in the sun. Sydneysiders love their beaches and there’s no better place to be on a warm day, no matter whether you’re on a family holiday, a romantic getaway or a solo trip.
For those keen to see a more alternative side to Sydney, then the hipster vibes of Newtown are calling your name with street art around every corner and pubs serving cold beers well into the night. For the more historically inclined, a stroll through Sydney’s first neighbourhood, The Rocks, is a must do. This beautiful area features sandstone buildings, fantastic markets and plenty of cafes and restaurants.
Sydney truly has something for every taste, which is why it is a fantastic choice for being a favourite Australian holiday destination.
By Emma from Emma Jane Explores
Blue Mountains, NSW
The Blue Mountains is a favourite amongst Aussie holiday-goers and travellers alike due to its endless breathtaking scenery, a fabulous array of outdoors activities, and proximity to Sydney.
Almost every visitor to the Blue Mountains will visit a lookout over Three Sisters – three huge rock formations jutting from the huge valley below. Echo Point is one of the best and most popular. From here, there are many hikes to enjoy through the native trees and multiple waterfalls to visit. Wentworth Falls (a 200m tall, three-tiered waterfall) and Bridal Veil Falls (view it from Govetts Leap lookout or from a Blue Mountains hike) are among the best.
Scenic World, with its cable cars and cliffside trains, makes for a unique way to view this landscape. Don’t miss nearby Jenolan Caves, where you can take a tour through the inside of these mountains – think insanely large caverns, underground passageways and stunning natural rock sculptures. Look out for kangaroos and even platypus on your drive over!
Contributed by Cassie from Cassie the Hag.
Favourite Australian Holiday Destinations in the Australian Capital Territory
Sitting on steps of National War Memorial looking down to Parliament House
Canberra is the capital of Australia and can be overlooked as a holiday destination. Maybe because it is the capital and has lots of ‘national’ buildings like the National Museum, the National Library, the National War Memorial – I think you get the drift. But I find Canberra a very interesting place because of all these national buildings, particularly the National War Memorial. Walking through the different war exhibitions and seeing real-life planes and trucks and tanks is just so much fun – for all the family.
As well as all the national buildings, Canberra has a vibrant food scene and there is nothing better than kicking back in one of the cafes or restaurants to enjoy a good meal. Or maybe visit one of the local wineries. Canberra is a surprise packet and is definitely a popular Australian holiday destination.
Contributed by Sharyn McCullum of Live Work and Play in Australia.
if you are looking for your next Australian holiday destination why not visit one of the 20 in this post. Because it just might become one of your favourite Australian holiday destinations too. If you have a different one not mentioned in this post, please leave it below in the comments. I’d love to know.
Sharyn McCullum has travelled all of her life thanks to her dad who worked for an airline. She is the creator of Live Work and Play in Australia. She loves coffee, chocolate and parmas and currently calls Melbourne home. Read More.