Australia is a place you MUST put on your bucket list. Whether you’re into sun, surf, sand, or the city, Australia has it all—and they do it well. So sit back, relax (it’s a really chill place) and enjoy the best things that Australia has to offer!
1. Get Coffee in a Melbourne café
You visit Japan for the sushi, Italy for the wine, and Melbourne (pronounced: mel-BURN) for their coffee.
If you didn’t know about Melbourne’s coffee culture, you do now. Melbournians love their coffee.
They have their coffee order memorised, and a local café they swear by. They judge those who purchase their coffee from a commercial vendor (Starbucks? Gross. 7 Eleven? Don’t even get me started) and make a huge fuss when they find out someone doesn’t like coffee.
2. Spray-Paint Something in a Melbourne Laneway
For an authentic experience, grab a cup of Joe to go, and take a walk down one of Melbourne’s famous, heavily painted lane-ways.
Hosier Lane is a particularly famous one, worth visiting, and it’s centrally located. When you’re finished snapping pictures, head over to Centre Lane for something to eat.
3. Snap a Picture of the 12 (8) Apostles
Australia’s first natural location on this bucket list is the deceivingly named ‘12 Apostles’.
No, there were never 12, and there definitely aren’t now. They’re down to a measly eight, but that doesn’t stop tourists flocking.
A four hour drive down the Great Ocean Road will get you there, where you can snap as many pictures as you would like.
Make sure to stop by Torquay on the way back for the best beach in Victoria.
4. See the Penguins on Phillip Island
The adorably named Fairy Penguin (also known as the Little Penguins, Little Blue Penguins, and Blue Penguins) can only be found in Australia and New Zealand.
For the best viewings, visit Phillip Island, where an education centre, viewing area, and sanctuary have been established to care for these cuties.
The best experience comes from watching quietly as herds of the little waddlers emerge from the water!
5. Walk or Climb the Harbour Bridge!
You know the Harbour Bridge—that huge arch that’s always on postcards and in images of Australia.
Walking across the bridge is completely free, and great images can be taken from that height. However, the real bucket list moment comes from climbing the bridge.
Altogether it will take about three and a half hours, and will set you back $300 AUD.
But I promise you; it’s well worth the climb.
6. Visit Manley (Instead of Bondi)
You have probably heard of Bondi Beach. Even if you’ve never been there the name is synonymous with Australian surfing. Bondi is a beautiful place with a lively culture, but it’s also really busy.
If you’re looking for the beach, with less of the tourists and more of the authentic Australian culture, head to Manly. It’s a little further away, but well worth the trip.
Anything done in Bondi can be done in Manly—and costs half as much.
7. Walk Around the Historic Site of Port Arthur
Take a trip down to Tasmania, the little triangle at the bottom of the mainland. Here you will find five of Australia’s convict sites.
Port Arthur is by far the most famous, partly because of the convict settlement and partly because of the tragic incident in 1996.
Port Arthur is home to Australia’s largest mass shooting. As a result of this event, Australia has had a tough ban on most firearms, and we have not had a mass shooting since.
This is a fact we are very proud of, and one you cannot help but think about when touring this site.
8. Hug a Koala
Cue those Instagram posts.
It seems like every celebrity that visits Australia is photographed (and maybe forced) to hold a koala. Koalas are one of the country’s most famous animals and everyone should hold one in their life.
Do not walk up to a koala in the wild expecting it to be friendly, like kangaroos, koalas can attack when they feel threatened.
Visit the Tourism Australia website to see where you can legally (it is illegal to hold or pet a koala in most states) and safely cuddle a koala.
9. Visit Uluru at Sunrise (or Sunset)
If you ignore everything else on this bucket list, remember this one.
Uluru is the large rock in the middle of Australia. It is taller than the Eiffel Tower, and it’s entirely natural.
It is also incredibly sacred to the Aboriginal people of Australia. When visiting Uluru, tourists are strongly encouraged NOT TO CLIMB the rock.
Walking around the base of Uluru takes three and a half hours on flat, red earth. It’s an easy walk, just a long one.
Visit here at sunrise, sunset, or nighttime for spectacular images. The Uluru-Kata Tijuta National Park has an entry fee of $25 AUD per person. It’s well worth it.
10. Watch an Australian Football League (AFL) Game
It’s Australia’s national sport, and you haven’t really visited the country until you’ve watched a game.
The Australian tradition is to have a meat pie, hot chips, and beer (or fizzy drink) at the game and sit at either end of the ground to be amongst the loudest fans.
Keep in mind that AFL is only played from March to September (the colder seasons), and each game goes for two and a half hours. Women’s AFL is played from early February to late March.
If you arrive too early or late in the year, you may be stuck watching the Cricket.
11. Spot a Croc in Kakadu National Park
A definite addition to your bucket list should be Kakadu National Park. Not only is it a UNESCO World Heritage listed site, but it is also larger than the country of Wales.
The Kakadu National Park is the best place in Australia to see many of the unique species Australia has to offer, but there is one that is fiercer than the rest.
You don’t need to be a crocodile hunter to find these dinosaurs. Due to its untouched nature, the park is the best place to view a croc.
Book a cruise, view them from the viewing platforms, or go for a walk along the banks of the rivers.
Whatever you do, be careful!
12. Meet a Kangaroo in Kangaroo Island
It’s called Kangaroo Island for one reason. Any guesses?
If you really want to see a kangaroo, the best place is on the island named after them. Kangaroo Island is even home to its own species of kangaroo, the slowest moving in Australia.
If you are tired of kangaroos at the end of the day, don’t worry. The island is also home to wombats, koalas, seals, and more penguins!
13. Pass Through Canberra
Canberra is the capital of Australia, and home to our Parliament house. The city was designed in a wheel-and-spoke shape, is home to the National Galley of Australia, and holds Australia’s War Memorial.
Another little known fact about Canberra; it’s extremely boring.
14. Visit Norfolk Island
If you thought Australia was large enough, it also has surrounding islands!
Visit the small island of Norfolk. Home to a convict site, protected reefs, pine trees, and World War Two ruins.
Best of all, the island is completely tax free!
15. Take a Dip in Lake Hillier
It looks dangerous, but it’s actually completely harmless. Lake Hillier is a bright-pink lake at the bottom of WA. Located within Middle Island, the lake gets its colour from bacteria, algae, and salt.
The lake is perfectly safe to swim in—just don’t drink the water!