The great big Australian bucket list, everyone has one right? I sure did when we left the UK for a year in the sun. There was so much I wanted to see in Australia and there still is. One thing I found out is that one year is not enough time to see it all! What I also discovered a year later was that both Dave and I had managed to make our Aussie dreams come true and seen so much of this beautiful country!
In this post, I’m sharing the parts of Australia we loved and the parts we are still yet to see! I hope you enjoy it!
New South Wales – Australian Bucket List
Sydney Opera House
No visit to Australia is complete without a visit to the Sydney Opera House. You can go right up to the Opera House for free or take a tour inside for a cost. Grab some food and drinks at Opera Bar for the best views in the city.
2. The Sydney Harbour Bridge
You can see the Harbour Bridge from anywhere in Circular Quay but the best way to experience it fully is to walk or climb over it!
3. Bondi Beach
Sunbathe and swim in the sea on Bondi Beach just watch out for the sharks!
4. Walk from Bondi – Coogee
The most famous coastal walk in Sydney and for good reason it pretty spectacular. But if you don’t want to follow the crowds then there are plenty more gorgeous walks in Sydney which you can check out here!
5. Drink in the Pubs at The Rocks
Find Sydney’s oldest pub in The Rocks and feel like you’ve been transported to the UK as you sup a pint.
6. Spend an Afternoon on Milk Beach
For calm waters which make it swimming spot and gorgeous views of the city in the distance!
7. Explore Manly
Manly is my favourite part of the Northern Beaches in Sydney. The Northern side of Sydney is beautiful and Manly is one of the most popular spots in the city. Manly will be busy but the beaches are worth it! Walk from Manly Beach round to Shelley Bay which is a great swimming spot in the summer
8. Vissla Surfing Competition – Manly
I mean visiting Australia and not watching a surfing competition? They are so crazy to watch and so inspiring. I have no idea how they get so good but it’s pretty incredible! Take a look at the competition schedule in Sydney here!
9. Visit Watsons Bay
A cute bay with plenty of beaches, coastal walks, fish and chips and nude sunbathing if that’s what you’re into!
10. Learn to Surf on Bondi Beach
Another experience you’ve got to have whilst in Australia. It’s mesmerising watching the professionals in the water but so much more fun trying to stand up yourself! We took our lessons with Let’s Go Surfing and I couldn’t recommend then more!
11. Hike in the Blue Mountains
Go hiking or photographing in the Blue Mountains one of the biggest UNESCO Heritage Sites in Australia spreading itself over 1 million hectares.
12. Spend the Weekend in Byron Bay
Hands down my favourite surfer town in Australia! Byron Bay gives off nothing but good vibes. Learn to surf, go hiking, watch dolphins or just relax on the beach! There are so many things to do in Byron Bay! Check out this post for more details on the best things to do in the bay!
13. Cape Byron Lighthouse Walk
If sunbathing on the beach in Byron is all you want to do then that’s great but make sure you at least do this hike too! It’s beautiful and you’re 99.9% likely to see dolphins on route!
14. Take a Day Trip to Nimbin
Nimbin is hard to explain. If you thought that Byron Bay was the hippy capital of the East Coast then you’re wrong it’s certainly Nimbin. You may get asked to buy ‘cookies’ on every corner so be prepared!
15. Cafe Hop in Byron Bay
As well as the beaches, hikes and great day trips Byron Bay is also full of all these amazing cafes! There’s every cuisine you can imagine in Byron Bay so dig right in!
16. Day Trip to Lake Macquarie
This Lake is beautiful and so scenic! Wildlife watch and just enjoy a day full of nature! In summertime its great time to try your hand at paddleboarding.
17. Go to Newcastle for the Day
A smaller city just a couple of hours north of Sydney. Swim in the natural pool and enjoy a quieter New South Wales city.
18. Wine Tasting in the Hunter Valley
We took the iHop tour which was amazing value for money! We definitely left the tour with full stomachs and a little tipsy!
19. Experience Sydney on New Year’s Eve
What an experience! New Year’s Eve in Sydney is one of a kind! Even though we sat in torrential rain for those fireworks it was 100% worth the time and money – I’d do it all again in a heartbeat!
20. Enjoy the View from Sealy Lookout in Coffs Harbour
Coffs Harbour is a great place to stop off on the way to Sydney. But if you do anything in Coffs Harbour drive up to Sealy Lookout and enjoy the view!
21. Visit Jervis Bay
Jervis bay is a popular weekend travel spot for those looking the escape the big city for a few days!
22. Visit the Queen Victoria Building
Australia is all about the beaches, we all know that! But there are a few good looking buildings around. The QVB in Sydney is beautiful inside and out!
23. Visit the Northern Beaches in Sydney
Sydney’s Northern Beaches are incredible! The best ones I recommend visiting are, Narrabeen, Manly, Dee Why and Palm Beach! Sydney has so much to offer other than the obvious Opera House and Harbour Bridge – make sure you add some time in the Northern Beaches to your Australian Bucket List.
Queensland – Australian Bucket List
24. Sail the Whitsundays
The best experience of my entire existence so far! Sailing the Whitsundays is one hell of an experience everyone needs to try in Australia! Find out more about our time sailing the waters here!
25. Swim the Great Barrier Reef
Whilst it’s still got its colour and plenty of marine life to watch.
26. Explore Fraser Island
A trip to Fraser Island, the worlds biggest sand island, is another once in a lifetime experience I urge everyone to enjoy at least once! Take a tour so you don’t have to drive on the crazy sand tracks and enjoy some Australian history, perfect beaches and pristine lakes.
27. Lake Hop in the Tablelands, Cairns
The Tablelands in Cairns has some beautiful lakes to go swimming in! Visit Lake Eacham and swim with a crocodile (nope I’m not joking), kayak and paddleboard on Lake Tinaroo and enjoy lunch on the water at Lake Barrine.
28. Self Drive Waterfall Trail in Cairns
Cairns is full of incredible waterfalls and the best ones are just an hours drive away in the Tablelands. Take a look at this post for all the details!
29. Visit the Daintree Rainforest
Cairns is called the city where the rainforest meets the reef. So it would be rude not to visit one without the other!
30. Find the Curtain Fig Tree
It’s one huge tree that’s worth stopping at to be amazed at!
31. Sky Dive onto Mission Beach
Mission Beach is the only beach in the world where you can land on the actual beach! We didn’t actually skydive but we did enjoy being the only people on the beach! Mission Beach is one of the most relaxing places on the East Coast! We enjoyed sunbathing and hanging off the trees a little like the monkey you see in the photograph below! Be careful when going in the ocean on Mission Beach. Marine stingers are found in the water and their sting can kill you – best not to risk it!
32. Visit Australia Zoo
Ran by the legend Steve Irwin’s family find some giant crocodiles and have the chance to cuddle a koala.
33. Camp with Kangaroos in Agnes Water
Our favourite campsite in Queensland was Horizons Kangaroo Sanctuary. The owners rehabilitate orphaned and injured joeys before releasing them. They have created a small camping area with powered and non-powered sites to help fund the sanctuary.
34. Visit Noosa
Enjoy the coastal town of Noosa. Perfect for sunbathing, surfing, swimming in the Fairy Pools and shopping!
Take a look at this post for everything you need to know about the Fairy Pools in Noosa!
35. Kayak the Noosa Everglades
The Noosa Everglades are beautiful so why not rent a kayak and enjoy them from the water!
36. Visit the Quiet Town of 1770
The second landing point of James Cook when he discovered Australia. There isn’t a lot in 1770 but it’s certainly a nice town for a walk. It’s just down the road from Agnes Water so you can do both in one day or over two days.
37. Sand Board on Rainbow Beach
Take a sandboarding lesson on Rainbow Beach or just take in the gorgeous views! Rainbow Beach is located about 30 km off the main highway down the East Coast but it’s certainly worth putting into your Australian bucket list!
38. Visit Brisbane
One of Australias most underrated cities. We lived for over 6 months, take a look at all my other Brisbane posts here!
39. Take a Day Trip to North Stradbroke Island
North Straddie is the perfect day trip from Brisbane. Catch the ferry from Cleveland and enjoy gorgeous beaches, the gorge walk and in the winter go whale spotting! I have a full guide on how to spend one day on North Stradbroke Island here!
40. Eat at Eat Streets Markets in Brisbane
Eat Street Markets is my favourite place to eat in Brisbane! Make sure that you plan your trip to the city on a weekend so you don’t miss out, the market is open Friday-Sunday every week.
41. Climb Mount Coot Tha in Brisbane
One of Brisbane’s best hikes with amazing views of the city when you reach the summit! If you’re not up to hiking then don’t worry there’s a bus that will take you to the very top!
42. Take a Day Trip to Shorncliffe
Shorncliffe is a charming fishing town about an hour from Brisbane. The sunset from the edge of the jetty is beautiful! Wander the beachfront enjoying the views and maybe treat yourselves to some fish and chips! Shorncliffe is beautiful peaceful getaway from the busier Queensland cities.
43. Go Whale Watching from Brisbane
From June to November the humpback whales make their migration through Australian waters. We were so lucky to see a number of whales during our whale watching tour in Brisbane.
This is the company we chose to go on our Whale Watching tour with and I would recommend them to anyone! We saw so many whales, they use a unique vessel to keep the whales safe and the food was great!
44. Visit the Gold Coast
The Gold Coast is home to some beautiful beaches. If you only have a short period of time to visit the Gold Coast then skip surfers paradise – there are far nicer beaches on the Goldie to enjoy! Some of the places to go on the Gold Coast are Greenmount, Nobby Beach and Burleigh Heads!
45. Go Up the Sky Point Observation Deck in Surfers Paradise
If you do visit Surfers Paradise then make sure you go up the Sky Point at sunset and watch the sun go down over the strip. Sunset is the perfect time to visit because you get to see the aerial view of Surfers Paradise in the daylight, at sunset and all lit up on an evening!
Book your tickets here!
46. Rent a Barbie Car on Magnetic Island
Ever wanted to ride around an island looking out for Koalas in a barbie car? Well, now you can! If you have no idea what I’m talking about here then take a look at this website!
Victoria Bucket List!
47. Drive The Great Ocean Road
Did you know that the Great Ocean Road drive is actually a memorial to those who fought in the wars? It’s the biggest memorial in Australia and lined with incredible views. The sea cliff formations that mother nature has calved over the years is mind-blowing.
48. Lunch in Port Campbell
Port Campbell is one of the most picturesque spots on the Great Ocean Road. The beach is divine and although a popular spot with tourists the town is actually pretty quiet. Simply enjoy – if you’re in a campervan full right round to the beach and park directly across from the sand.
49. Find Melbourne’s Street Art
Melbourne is famous for incredible street art and you don’t have to go far to find it. ACDC and Hosier Lane are two of the most popular spots.
> One Day in Melbourne Itinerary <
50. Shop or Eat in the Melbourne Laneways
Grab a bite to eat in the cute laneways that give Melbourne its urban chic vibe. The only trouble is deciding where to eat!
51. Take a Day Trip to St. Kilda
St Kilda is a cute beach town just 10 minutes from Melbourne. Walk along the beach or hire a bike and explore a little more than just the beachfront.
> One Day in St. Kilda <
52. Watch the Penguins from St.Kilda Pier
Every night at sunset Little Penguins come home to nest on the pier in St Kilda. We saw hundreds coming back from their fishing trip and it was such an honour to watch. This experience is free but please read all of the rules on this website before visiting!
53. Visit Phillip Island
Phillip Island showcases a different side of Australia. It actually reminded me a lot of Scotland and parts of the UK. Maybe its the lush greenery and choppy waters but Phillip Island was one of my favourite destinations we explored down under!
54. Watch the Pelican Feeding in San Remo
Ready for another Aussie wildlife encounter? Every day at 12 pm in San Remo the fishermen feed the Pelicans, it’s so mesmerising to watch and I’m telling you these Pelicans are feisty little buggers!
55. Watch The Penguin Parade on Phillip Island
Unlike watching the Penguins in St Kilda it is expensive to watch the Penguin Parade. That said it’s certainly a more ethical way to watch the Penguins coming home to their nests. We saw over 200 little guys make their way up the beach!
56. Spend a Weekend Hiking in The Grampians
The Grampians is our favourite national park in Australia. It’s full of hikes and wildlife which are two of our favourite things to do whilst travelling! Check out my three-day itinerary to The Grampians here.
57. Visit the Surfer Town of Lorne
Lorne is a surfing town at the end or beginning of The Great Ocean Road. It’s a sleepy town but if you want to live there then get ready to pay millions of dollars!
58. Visit Wilsons Promontory National Park
Wilsons Prom is a great place to stop off to explore on a road trip from Melbourne to Sydney. The scenery is beautiful and you can find both Kangaroos and Koalas in the park!
59. Find the Brighton Beach Boxes
Brighton has some of the cutest beach boxes in Australia and probably the southern hemisphere! Though they are super fun to enjoy it has become a little bit of a tourist trap!
Australian Capital Territory Bucket List
We both ‘ummed and ahhed’ about visiting the ACT during our time in Australia. Canberra was somewhere we hadn’t really thought about visiting. Not because I didn’t want to see the Australian capital but because I wasn’t sure what there was to do there! Anyway, we made the decision to go and I’m so glad we did! It was actually a family we stayed with in Sydney who persuaded us to go and we were not disappointed!
60. Visit the Australian Parliament in Canberra
t would be rude to visit Australia and not pay a trip to the countries capital! Did you know Canberra was made the capital because the country couldn’t decide whether to choose Melbourne or Sydney as the capital!
61. Hike Up Mount Ainslie Lookout for Sunset
Mount Ainslie towers over Canberra and it’s honestly one of the best sunsets we saw in Australia! You’ll also get to spot some kangaroos too!
62. Visit the National War Memorial in Canberra
Pay your respects to those fallen at the National War Memorial and the building is pretty epic too!
All of the things on this Australian bucket list os far we have done! I can’t believe we’ve managed to enjoy all of these experiences. Creating this blog post has made me feel so damn lucky! But I must admit we are far from done with Australia yet. We only scraped the surface during our first year in the country.
So, below are the experiences that remain on our Australian bucket list! I can’t wait to return one day to see more of the land of down under but I don’t think it would matter how long you spent in Australia you could never see it all!
The Rest of Our Australian Bucket List
63. Visit Uluru
Known as ‘Ayres Rock’ or the ‘Red Rock’ situated in Australias Northern Territory. This was always pretty high on our Australian Bucket List but time just ran away with us and we didn’t make it!
64. Visit Perth
We visited 3/4 of Australia’s main cities with just Perth left and I’ve heard amazing things! I’d also like to visit Darwin too!
65. Perth to Broome Road Trip
Photographs and blog posts that I’ve read about this road trip look amazing! In fact, the whole of Western Australia looks out of the world!
66. Visit Alice Springs
I would love to visit this remote town in the middle of the outback! It seems so far away from anywhere that I’d call ‘normal’ I think it would be so interesting to see how the locals live!
67. Wine Tasting in Adelaide
The Adelaide Hills are famous for the wine and I would love to get a tour around the best wineries!
68. Visit Adelaide
The City of Adelaide looks gorgeous too it reminds me of small cities in the UK from the photographs I’ve seen!
69. Tasmania Hikes
Basically visit Tasmania and hike everything in sight!
70. Train Ride through The Red Centre
I’m not a huge train fan but this journey looks incredible. Find out what I’m talking about here if you have no idea!
71. Visit Rottnest Island
We all want that cheeky selfie with the Quokka!
So at 71, I decided to wrap this post up. Australia is high up on most travellers bucket list and then all the experiences you can enjoy in Australia need a separate bucket list themselves! All of these adventures we had in Australia were some of the best I’ve ever experienced. I’ve conquered the fear of snorkelling (I was not a fan of deep water until Australia), I learnt that you can enjoy the many hikes and national parks without getting eaten by a shark, I learnt of flipping surf – the proudest moment of my life was when I stood up on that board!
Australia catapulted me out of my comfort zone on more occasions than one which is why I LOVE IT. Travel is about discovering new places, meeting new people, having new experiences and maybe even learning a little bit more about yourself along the way!
If you plan on visiting Australia then start making it happen and plan that Australian Bucket List! To help here are the rest of my Australia posts!