We’ve been so lucky to see and experience so many beautiful destinations in Australia. So I’ve put together our top 10 unique places in Australia so you can add them to your Australia bucket list.
Whether you’re an Aussie local or planning to visit Australia in the future, I’m sharing our favourite places plus the best things to see and do in each bucket list destination.
LUCKY BAY AND WHARTON BEACH
Nothing feels more like the ultimate Aussie bucket list experience than pristine white sand beaches, turquoise blue water and hanging out with kangaroos at Lucky Bay! Located 60km from Esperance, Lucky Bay is an epic Western Australia bucket list destination.
Head down to the beach in your car and spend the afternoon with these cute animals. The best part is that the kangaroos are super friendly – you can sit with them, stroke them and don’t forget to snap plenty of photos with them too!
Wharton Beach is further east and home to some of the clearest water I’ve ever seen! My favourite beach in the world actually! Head to the lookout at the east end of the beach for an amazing view over the bay and white sandy beach.
WA is such an underrated part of Australia and Esperance is home to some of Australia’s best beaches, you can read my guide to the best beaches in Esperance here.
One of the most unique Australian experiences is exploring the outback, and it doesn’t get more epic than the Red Centre. With incredible scenery and indigenous culture, visiting Uluru and the Red Centre is one of the best bucket list things to do in Australia and one of our favourite places too.
Uluru itself is magical and the national park is perfect for those who want to be outdoors, exploring, hiking and camping so I recommend staying at least 3 days in the area. Use this Alice Springs to Uluru itinerary to plan your trip.
Uluru and the red-orange tones of the landscape are best enjoyed at sunset. The main public sunset viewing area is beautiful to watch the sun go down on Uluru, but it does get extremely busy so make sure you arrive at least 40 minutes before sunset to grab a front-row seat in the car park!
Alternatively, an experience like the Field of Light is pure magic and has such an incredible sunset viewpoint. Tickets cost $44 or you can upgrade to the Star Pass experience for $98 which includes sunset drinks, canapés and entry to the Field of Light.
There are so many trails and walks in Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park but I highly recommend doing the Uluru Base Walk. This is the best way to get close to Uluru and really see how huge it is, the feeling of being there and in such an ancient, magical place is like nothing else.
As well as the base walk, the best things to do at Uluru include morning Camel Tours, the Walpa Gorge walk and water holes at Kata Tjuta. For the ultimate Australian bucket list experience, a scenic Uluru sunset helicopter ride is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Expect tears and goosebumps because this is such an unbelievable, breathtaking experience that’s worth every dollar.
If you’re planning a Northern Territory road trip, make sure to check out our Top End road trip itinerary.
KAKADU NATIONAL PARK
Another Northern Territory road trip gem, Kakadu National Park is a huge nature reserve in Australia’s Northern Territory and is home to an incredibly diverse landscape that took us completely by surprise. With lush wetlands, rivers, huge gorges and unbelievable watering holes, Kakadu is perfect for adventurers and there’s nothing better than cooling off in a watering hole at the end of the day.
Maguk Falls and Gunlom Falls are a must-visit in Kakadu National Park. The water is insanely clear and perfect for swimming.
If seeing crocs in the wild is on your Australia bucket list, Kakadu is the place to be. Yellow Water Cruises offer sunrise, sunset and daytime cruises where you can see incredible wildlife, including crocodiles. We also saw crocs up close on the insane Jumping Crocodile Cruise on the Adelaide River, NT.
And don’t forget to enjoy those beautiful red sunset hues over the landscape at Nawurlandja Lookout. It was such a perfect way to end our day as the rocks turned red and the moon rose above us.
If you’ve always wanted to experience a tropical island paradise, then put Fitzroy Island on your Cairns bucket list. For such a small island there are so many things to do that I recommend you stay overnight at the Fitzroy Island Resort.
There are activities for everyone on this paradise island. Have a beach day at Nudey Beach, voted the best beach in Australia in 2018. Or if you love being in the water, you’re not going to want to miss snorkelling, diving and swimming on the islands reefs and turquoise waters. The reef is really colourful and there are turtles everywhere! There are also water sport activities offered at the Dive and Adventure centres.
To see the island from the water, you can book a sailing trip around the island which includes catering and drinks. Or for those that prefer a hike, I recommend hiking to the summit of Fitzroy for 360 views of the island and the blue waters around it.
See this guide for more ideas to plan your Tropical North Queensland trip.
HUTT LAGOON (PINK LAKE IN AUSTRALIA)
Hutt Lagoon, also known as Pink Lake, is an insta-worthy spot that totally lives up to the hype and is one of the most unique Australian attractions. Located about 5 hours from Perth and halfway between Perth and Exmouth, Hutt Lagoon is a must-see on your Western Australia road trip itinerary.
The pink colour comes from the algae that bloom in the lake and flourishes in the saline water. But being a natural phenomenon the colour can change throughout the year, so check recent photos online before you visit. The pink colour really is that vivid and breathtaking in person and looks best on a cloudless, sunny day.
Make sure you allow plenty of time to visit the lake. It adds some extra time to your journey, plus you’ll want time to take a million photos! You can even swim in the lake, although it is very salty – swim at your own risk.
We added Hutt Lagoon to our 8 day Perth to Exmouth itinerary.
Byron Bay is one of the most well known and most visited Australian bucket list destinations and it’s easy to see why. We absolutely love the vegan and vegetarian cafes, the amazing beaches, lush rainforests and the super-chilled vibe here.
Most people think of Byron Bay and think of the beaches and cafes, but don’t miss Byron Bay Hinterland. Picture villages set among rolling green hills, waterfalls and rainforests to get an idea of what this part of Byron Bay looks like. Make sure you take a trip to the picturesque town of Bangalow for some lunch and to check out some boutique shops. Take a drive to Bexhill Quarry, where you will find a unique aqua blue pool. It is recommended not to swim because of its Ph levels, but dipping your feet in and capturing a few cute pics makes the drive worth it.
Byron Bay is famous for its instagrammable cafes. There are so many great options, but some of our favourites are Folk Cafe, Pressed Pantry, Combi, Bay Leaf, The Farm, The Top Shop and The General Store.
Don’t feel like you have to stay in a hotel on your trip to Byron Bay. There are plenty of AirBnBs made for your Instagram feed as well. We love Bask & Stow, Elements, The Bower, The Atlantic, Raes on Wategos, and Byron Beach Abodes.
We’re so lucky to have this little slice of paradise right on our doorstep on the Queensland Coast, and it’s just a 75-minute ferry from Brisbane. Moreton Island is a dream for nature lovers, with amazing Aussie wildlife, beautiful beaches and as a sand island, it’s 4WD access only which is loads of fun!
The insane Tangalooma shipwrecks are a must-see and seeing them from the air in a helicopter is the ultimate Australian bucket list experience. Or you can see them from the water and go snorkelling around the wrecks.
Famous for its shipwrecks and snorkelling, you also can enjoy camping, dolphin feeding, and beautiful beaches for the perfect tropical getaway.
Exmouth makes this list of the top 10 best places in Australia because of its incredible marine life. I highly recommend booking several boat tours and swimming experiences in Exmouth – the marine wildlife we saw was insane!
Swimming with manta rays, whale sharks and turtles was the best experience and so surreal to be alongside these beautiful creatures in the water. Read all about the tours and excursions we booked in our Exmouth itinerary.
If you’re looking for the best beach in Exmouth, our favourite was Turquoise Bay which lives up to its name with such incredibly clear turquoise water. The water is beautiful to swim and snorkel in and you’re surrounded by fish.
Arnhem Land is in the far northeast corner of Australia’s Northern Territory and is one of the most protected indigenous areas of Australia. In fact, to visit Arnhem Land, you will need a permit and will need to apply at least 10 days in advance. But preparing your permit in advance is worth it to see some of the most untouched scenery, rich aboriginal culture, pristine beaches and incredible tropical bush that we’ve ever seen!
A 4×4 and a sense of adventure will come in handy for your trip to Arnhem Land! But you’ll be rewarded for it! Don’t miss the stunning Turtle Beach, Maccassan Beach and Little Bondi beach on the Gove Peninsula.
We fell in love with the incredible vibe of Bawaka. The journey there is not for the fainthearted and involved some of the craziest off-roading I’ve ever experienced! With the rich indigenous history of the Yolngu people of Bawaka, the captivating landscape and lush tropical beaches, Arnhem Land is without a doubt a hidden gem and one of the most unique places in Australia.
WHITEHAVEN BEACH, WHITSUNDAYS
Whitehaven Beach is the most famous beach in the Whitsundays and cannot be missed if you’re visiting Queensland. Located just off the coast of Queensland, you can reach the island via the Cruise Whitsundays ferry from Airlie on the mainland or do what we did and stay on another nearby island, such as Hamilton Island, which you can fly into directly, and take a boat from there.
We explored the Whitsundays with Big Blue Charters which was magical, but you could also take a catamaran to Whitehaven Beach or explore with a tour company such as Ocean Rafting.
My top tip for visiting Whitehaven Beach is not to stay on the main beach. Instead, head to where Whitehaven Beach meets Hill Inlet and here you’ll find a gorgeous area of beach all to yourself called Betty’s Beach. This is a stunning hidden treasure of the Whitsundays. The white sand and clear turquoise waters here and through Hill Inlet are like nothing I’ve ever seen. If you wondered what paradise looks like, this is it!
For the ultimate bucket list Australia experience, taking a seaplane over the Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef is a once in a lifetime opportunity! We flew with Hamilton Island Air and saw the famous Heart Reef, as well as Hill Inlet from above. Seeing these turquoise waters and white sand from the air was such a pinch-me moment, the view is like nothing else.
If you do decide to stay on Hamilton Island, make sure to read my complete guide to visiting Hamilton Island and the Whitsundays. I also recommend doing the Resort Lookout walk on Hamilton Island which is an easy 1.7km walk each way with incredible views, especially at sunset.