Australia’s teeming with unique wildlife, Aboriginal adventure, and breathtaking natural beauty. Combine that with a laid-back vibe and it’s no wonder the country’s made its way onto so many travelers’ bucket lists. Check out the top five spots you won’t want to miss when you make the journey down under.
1. Great Barrier Reef
The world’s largest coral reef sits off the coast of Queensland, Australia. More than 1,500 species of colorful fish inhabit its 3,000-plus reef systems and coral quays. Snorkel, scuba dive, sail, or take a scenic helicopter ride over the reef for the best views.
2. Sydney Harbour Bridge
Known to locals as “the coathanger” because of its shape, this 440-feet high steel bridge is the world’s largest. Catch a ferry from the Circular Quay or join a kayak tour to see the bridge from below. If you’re up for something more daring, climb to the summit with BridgeClimb Sydney for unobstructed panoramic views of the city.
3. Bondi Beach
Golden sand and turquoise waters lure millions of travelers and locals to Bondi Beach each year. Only six miles from downtown Sydney, this public beach is surrounded by markets, restaurants, and nature walks. For something extra special, head to the Bondi Baths, where Tasman Sea waves crash against an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
Uluru, or Ayers Rock, is a sandstone monolith in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in Australia’s Northern Territory. Believed to have formed over 550 million years ago, the spectacular red rocks are sacred to aboriginal Australians. Climb to the top of the rock or walk around its six-mile base at sunset or sunrise when the terracotta colors transition to violet and blue hues.
5. Blue Mountains
Aerial views of this enchanting mountain range—which gets its slate-colored haze from eucalyptus oil emitted by the wide canopy of eucalypt trees—is worth the visit alone. But there’s plenty more to do in the area, including mountain biking, horseback riding, canyoning, rappelling, camping, and taking in the stunning views from the Three Sisters peaks or Govetts Leap Lookout.
Have you been to Australia? What are some of your favorite things to see and do there?