This may be the job that no-one wants; to make a list of the five best places to visit in Australia. With all of its beauty and space, the sixth-largest country in the world has far, far more than five things to visit. So, we’ll try to make it a more time-friendly and logistically simpler task for people visiting the golden isle. With some of the best beaches in the world, a range of naturally stunning backdrops which you wouldn’t find anywhere else, it is not the easiest task to choose!
For this reason, here are places which are as popular as they are totally unique to the land we call Oz.
#1 Rottnest Island, Western Australia
The first of our five is found 18 kilometres west of Fremantle in Western Australia. As the picture suggests, these are some of the most incredibly clear beaches in the world. Yet that’s not all it has. Oh no, sir! There are fossils in the sea rocks which date back millions of years. There are creatures which you will not find on any other part of the country – let alone the rest of the world! Yes, the quokkas look like a cross between a squirrel and a fox and are only fond on Rottnest. If you travel here at the right time of the year, you can even see humpback whales and dolphins. Beware the Southern Blind Snakes if you take a nap in the dunes! A day trip around the island can be done by hiring a bike, jumping on the buses which stop at every beach, or even walking. Just bring a hat and enough sun cream!
Perhaps the most sacred of all historic territories for the indigenous people of Australia. ‘Ayers Rock’ as it was previously known to the outside world is slap-bang in the middle of the country, so as you’d imagine – a sun trap. People do like to challenge themselves by driving there, or can be visited by small plane. If you’re strapped for time, the second is more convenient. Uluru’s colours and natural beauty are things, again never seen in other lands. Sunset and sunrise are synonymous with this place, as this giant rock which actually travels around five kilometres under the ground will shine a different colour at each hour of the day.
#3 Vineyard Valleys
To ensure that Australia is all represented, it wouldn’t be fair to exclude the wonderful and underrated wine areas of the country. Even if you don’t like wine, it is a marvellous day trip to see natural beauty in each of the most populated states. Here in Victoria, we are lucky to be blessed with some of the very best of Australian wine valleys, in Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula, as well as smaller areas such as Macedon and Geelong. Each has its own quality grape types, with different things to savour. Should you take a day trip to any of these, you can be guaranteed there will be high quality food available at one or many, as well as quirky boutique wineries, cheese factories or even breweries nearby. Outside of Victoria, you have the incredible choice of Hunter Valley in NSW, Margaret River in WA, Barossa in SA or travel to Tasmania for its own flavours of wine. Wherever you go, there will be something to please your palate.
#4 Great Barrier Reef
When you see posters in Melbourne, quoting President Barack Obama’s support for this place of “incredible natural glory” – then there must be some degree of attention paid. An awesome area with thousands of reefs and corals, containing creatures both protected and endangered. One of the world’s biggest producers of various animals is the Queensland area’s biggest and most attractive facts – over 1500 species of fish and over 200 types of bird. Not to mention the customary crocodiles, whales dolphins and so on. As a World Heritage Site for over thirty years, we can only hope that it is protected and is still there in the twenty-second century.
#5 Various Animal Sanctuaries
Australia certainly has a name for its variety of animals. From the most poisonous of arachnids and reptiles to one of the biggest links in evolutionary history between mammals and other species – the platypus can only be found at certain places in the world. Healesville animal sanctuary, here in Victoria is one of them. Luckily, there are several sanctuaries across the country who have been rescuing creatures for years. Perhaps the Reptile and Fauna Centre opened by the famous Steve Irwin is another in Queensland, but there are countless areas across the land to visit. Kangaroo Island is a mini holiday in itself, Cradle Mountain in Tasmania – another. It should be on everyone’s bucket list that wherever they go in Australia – actually seeing species that are unique to this land is right up there with the most important.