If you’re from Australia, or have been meaning to visit for some time, it’s often easy to get overwhelmed with deciding which activities to prioritise and knowing which experiences you should focus on.
These Australia Bucket list ideas are a starting point for backpackers and travelers who are searching for incredible experiences and absorbing the real culture of Australia, and are planning their ultimate bucket list in life!
Pin for later! 🙂
This post is also an ultimate bucket list for families and groups visiting Australia in the future, once travel restrictions have lifted.
*Note, if you are postponing your trip to Australia for a future date, this list is to get the ideas flowing for future travel. Please be aware of current travel restrictions in 2020, particularly relating to remote indigenous communities and major cities.
12 Great Barrier Reef
While it is still with us (see further regarding the reef disintegration), the Great Barrier Reef should be visited if you’re in the vicinity of the north east coast of Australia.
There are many ways to discover the Great Barrier Reef, by boat, snorkeling or scuba diving, depending on your price range and whether you prefer to observe marine wildlife from the water or upon a boat.
All the towns from Cairns towards north have daily tours and information to discover the natural marine life and learn the history of the area.
The Great Barrier Reef is the worlds largest coral reef system across 2300 kilometres and located in the coral sea off the coast of Queensland.
The incredible beauty and experiences of the reef area are a natural gift as well as a very popular tourist destination, and perfect addition to a bucket list for families, couples and groups searching for adventure.
There are 100 plus islands on the Great Barrier Reef, including the Whitsunday Islands and Northern Islands, making this incredible destination a popular addition to a bucket list for families.
If you’re feeling extravagant, there are also options to view the reef by air. See further here:
11 Visit the Desert
Whether it be driving across the Nullabour or discovering the northern desert areas of north Western Australia or Northern Territory, seeing the desert should definitely be on your Bucket list for Australia, and on your bucket list in life!
There are options from sleeping under the stars, road trips, to discovering indigenous culture and learning to live off the land, and it is possible to create your own road trip, or take various guided tours.
The Nullabour road is 90 miles straight and is one of the worlds longest roads, taking 4 days from Adelaide to Perth. Remote terrain, dramatic and sparse, with expected sightings of emus, kangaroos and camels. Observatories, the world’s longest golf course and incredible cliffs are some of the draw cards to this VERY long trip. Note: Take PLENTY of water and supplies.
The Red Centre also known as the Alice Springs region, is one of five regions in the Northern Territory in Australia.
Some of Indigenous Australia’s sacred sites, include Uluru and Kata Tjuta. Observing the rock of Uluru change colours at dawn and dusk is an “only in Australia” experience.
Bucket List items for additional info:
The resources in this post can be found on Amazon and come with free 2 day shipping with an Amazon Prime membership.
Don’t have Amazon Prime yet? You can grab a free 30 day trial here!
10 Beach side camping
Australians love camping. When the weather is on their side, summer holidays are spent a week or two in a booked camp ground, usually close to the beach or water and among friends.
Our family always camped at Tidal River camp ground, in Wilson’s Promontory National park in Victoria. Growing up visiting stunning beaches and natural wildlife and surrounds has made us feel incredibly lucky to experience this semi remote location.
Connecting with the same friends, year after year and living simply from a tent or van has created an affinity with nature.
*Insider tip: for all interested campers, book EARLY. Campsites tend to get booked out early for holiday periods, unless they are in very remote areas. Sometimes, 6 months in advance.
*Extra note, research peak times, as a week before or after school is back the weather is usually still warm, with increased camp site options, and lower prices.
If you are adding this to your bucket list for families, your camping experience will be dependent on your research of safety and climate as well as an attitude of discovery.
Camping options have majorly expanded over the last ten years to glamping, eco camping, lodges, camper trailers and swags in selected areas.
Related Freebie: 3 SECRET BEACH GETAWAYS AUSTRALIA
9 Learn to surf
On many travelers ultimate bucket list in life, is learning to surf.
There are MANY safe beaches in Australia to learn to surf, with daily surf schools to join, board hire and friendly and experienced instructors to guide you in riding your first wave.
Byron Bay, NSW is a particularly fun place to learn to surf, and a location where you see 3 year old’s tearing up the waves to old sun loved dudes in their 70s. The calm waves at The Pass at the eastern end of Clarkes beach is the perfect location, where you often see surf schools and one on one surf lessons.
Sydney, NSW: There are surf schools in the northern beaches of Sydney, as well as the popular Manly surf school, easily accessible from the Sydney Harbour.
Gold Coast, QLD: Many surf schools on the Gold Coast such as Gold Coast Surf Academy- Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach.
Coastal Victoria, VIC: In Victoria, such as Go Ride A Wave in Lorne, of Offshore Surf School at Wilson’s Promontory are couple of learn to surf spots, particularly over the summer months due to the colder climate.
Related Post: 8 BEST REASONS TO VISIT BYRON BAY
8 Wildlife discovery
Whether you’ve always wanted to see a koala or kangaroo, or pat a wombat, there are plenty of national parks and rural and country locations to see Australian wildlife in their natural habitat.
One particular place where the wildlife pops up is outback and country roads, be careful! But with research you will notice that with camping or visiting outer suburbs and towns it is very easy to see kangaroos, emus, koalas, penguins and many more. Here’s some tips:
Kangaroos and Koalas are sighted in Victoria (Lorne golf course, Great Ocean Road, most national Parks, country areas such as the Mornington Peninsula.
Emus are often spotted in grasslands, and one of the best places to see them in Victoria is the Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve in Warrnambool (on the Great Ocean Road). This national park is also ideal for seeing Kangaroos, Wallabies, Koalas and Echidnas.
In short yes you are able to Australian Wildlife in their natural habitat, out of cities and with the right information. No, kangaroos don’t generally jump through our back yards (unless our back yard is joined to a national park or nature reserve!)
7 Attend a festival or major event
*Note the major events currently cancelled in 2020
Australian Open tennis (Melbourne)
This event is growing hugely year by year, now hosting live music, food trucks and other entertainment in addition to the tennis matches, every January.
Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Another festival which takes over Melbourne every April. One of the top 3 largest comedy festivals in the world, along with Edinburgh Festival and Montreal’s Just For Laughs Festival. Every year the festival takes over Melbourne as the day grow cooler in Autumn and the massive program of stand up, cabaret theatre, film, street performers.
With 770, 000 attendees this is Australia’s largest festival, and accessible for most people with affordable ticketed shows across the Melbourne CBD.
Melbourne and Sydney Film Festivals
MIFF is the Melbourne International Film Festival, held in August every year. With huge opening and closing gala nights, and thousands of films shown across the city in the days and nights in between. MIFF offers festival passes ro single tickets for access to the extensive program. The biggest film festival in the Southern Hemisphere,
Sydney Film Festival
Held over 12 days every June, the Sydney Film Festival is Held at the State Theatre in Sydney and the ciemas in the CBD, Cremorne, Western Sydney and Newtown. There are over 200 films shown, which 12 are chosen from for the competition.
6 Discover Indigenous culture
Discovering Indigenous Culture is an incredible part of travelling in Australia. Learning customs and land rights, the very real and affecting history and the ongoing political struggles is essential to gaining an understanding of Australia, and the land we live on.
5 Beer or Cider?
Of course beer drinking goes with the Australian cleche, and to an extent it’s true. The reason could be generally due to the hotter climate, the accessibility and currently the increase of beer and cider breweries popping up in cities and country towns.
Breweries with views, tours and historic information should be added to your itinerary if you’re keen for an educated decision of drink!
All city pubs have wide selections of beer on tap.
4 Visit the wine regions
The wine regions of the Yarra Valley in Victoria, Hunter Valley in NSW, South Australia’s Borossa Valley, Tasmania’s Derwent Valley, or Margaret River in Western Australia, all host World Class wineries and experiences. If wine tasting is your thing to do, you should definitely add some of these incredible winery destinations to your bucket list.
3 Visit the Mountain ranges
Whether skiing, Hiking or relaxing, Australia has some incredible Mountain ranges for an alternative to the beach or desert lifestyle.
50kms west of Sydney, the Waterfalls, cliffs and forests of Eucalyptus trees are ideal for hiking, exploring native bushland, impressive rock formations and underground caves. Local indigenous guides explain Dreamtime stories. A perfect option for day trips or longer.
Grampians National Park is part of the Gariwerd Aboriginal cultural landscape.
Hiking, waterfalls and wildlife are also highlights of the Grampians, art galleries, local wines and award winning restaurants. You’ll likely see kangaroos, wallabies, emus and native birds.
The Grampians region is home to the biggest number of ancient Aboriginal rock paintings in Southern Australia.
Aside from Hiking, there are other activities such as canoeing, fishing and kayaking in streams or creeks.
Snowy Mountains, NSW
The highest mountain range of the Mainland Australia, with Mount Kosciusko 2228m above sea level.
For skiing the best time to visit is July and August. Spring and summer time are better for fishing, horseback riding and camping, and mountain bike riding.
Wineries produce wines from a cooler climate and local restaurants provide freshly caught fish and local produce, add some of the scenic guided tours or the Kosciusko express chair lift to the list.
Victorian Alps, Victoria
The Victorian Alps have some of Australia’s premium snow resorts, including Mt Buller, through to Falls Creek these ranges are perfect for skiing and snowboarding in the winter months, ranging from 2 to 5 hour drive from Melbourne.
Great Dividing Range
This mountain Range covers the entire ranges listed above and more.
The Worlds third longest land based mountain range at 3500 km long. Roughly running parallel to the Queensland coast NSW coast and Victoria.
The Ranges thick forests keep our air clean. The water catchments pride drinking water for 11 million people Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane.
2 Attend a football game
Whether it be Aussie Rules (AFL or AFLW Victoria) or NRL (National Rugby League New South Wales), attending a game and understanding the rules is a perfect way to discover the culture.
Victoria has had a huge increase in attendees to the AFLW (Womens AFL league) in the past 4 years, proving this is a major pastime for sports goers in Victoria.
The atmosphere at the MCG (iconic stadium the Melbourne Cricket Ground) in Richmond, Melbourne is worth the visit alone, during football season.
1 See art or music
The East Coast and particularly Melbourne and Sydney have incredible bands and music acts on every night of the week.
Additionally, art galleries in major cities house some of the most incredible historic, modern and indigenous art works.
Check out Time Out Melbourne, BEAT or Inpress for music gig guides, and for a starting place with art exhibitions, in Melbourne and Sydney.
Of course, it will depend on your own preferences and budget on deciding which activities to undertake while travelling Australia. The country is vast and spectacular, while the cities offer diverse cultures throughout the nation, offering plenty of options for your bucket list Australia.
Whether it be the Red Centre, the Great Barrier Reef or one of the more personal discoveries while camping in a national park, or visiting a city art gallery, Australia hosts some of those once in a lifetime experiences that you are guaranteed to carry with you!