Looking for things to do in Australia? We’ve rounded up some of our favorite places to eat, shop, and see while you’re in the land down under. From Melbourne to Queensland, our travel guide will help you plan out your next trip so you can see all the best spots, taste all the delicious food, and try out every awesome activity.
Things to Do in Australia | Have a Blast Down Under
In this article:
- What Time Is It in Australia?
- Free Things to Do in Australia
- Things to Eat in Australia
- Most Popular Restaurants in Australia
- Most Popular Places to Shop in Australia
- Most Popular Destinations in Australia
- How to Get Around in Australia
- Travel Tips for Australia
What Time Is It in Australia?
Australia is a big continent, divided into 6 time zones: UTC +8, +8:45, +9:30, +10, +10:30, and +11. Daylight savings time is only observed in South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, and the Australian Capital Territory. DST begins at 2 am on the first Sunday in October and ends at 2 am on the first Sunday in April.
Free Things to Do in Australia
Australia is huge, covering 7.692 million km² of land. With all that space, you’ll never run out of free things to do in Australia! Below are some of the coolest, no-charge things you can do:
Melbourne’s Graffiti Laneways
— PixelMonki (@PixelMonki) April 18, 2016
The Melbourne CBD is a hot spot for hidden coffee shops, niche stores, and great street art. Hosier Lane and DeGraves Street are particularly popular sights to see in Australia for their striking and ever-evolving graffiti pieces. Fortunately, strolling through these laneways costs nothing!
Hyde Park is the oldest public parkland in Australia. It was established in 1878 and has since proven itself as one of the premier parks in the land down under. One of the top things to do in Australia is to explore this 40-acre property. It’s easy to get lost in its exhibits and exquisite pathways.
Byron Bay Lighthouse
The centerpiece of Byron Bay and the famous subject of countless fridge magnet souvenirs is the Byron Bay Lighthouse. After a long walk along the Bay, you can climb up and watch the sunset from the viewing deck. You’ll get the best view of your life — completely free!
Brisbane Botanical Gardens
Located on Mount Coot-tha, the Brisbane Botanical Gardens is recognized as Australia’s premier subtropical botanical garden. The Botanical Gardens has several distinct gardens for citizens and tourists alike to enjoy. You can choose to walk across the whole garden or rent bikes for your free day here.
Things to Eat in Australia
Australian food is a lot like British food but with cooler and more flavorful twists. Don’t leave Australia without trying these:
Low-fat and high-protein, Australia’s most iconic animal is also a great source of protein. While some people refuse to eat it due to kangaroos’ cuteness, it’s still good meat. People have described it as having a rather gamey taste, as most kangaroos are hunted in the wild. Try it as a steak drizzled with red wine sauce!
Undoubtedly the most Australian chocolate treat ever, Tim Tams are wafers with chocolate filling, covered in delightful milk chocolate. If you have a serious sweet tooth, you’ll definitely be hauling boxes of this stuff home.
If you’re looking to explore the bush during your visit, be sure to ask your guides for a taste of damper. This bread is made from flour, salt, and water, which is then mixed and baked on the campfire. Drizzle it with fresh syrup and you have yourself a filling treat, great for long treks across the bush.
The Lamington is the most ubiquitous Australian sweet. A sponge cake coated in chocolate and sprinkled generously with desiccated coconut, there’s nothing else quite like it. Be sure to try it when in Australia!
Most Popular Restaurants in Australia
Sepia was established in 2009 in Sydney. It is a collaboration between top Australian chef Martin Benn and seafood connoisseur George Costi. Critics have described Sepia as a “Nordic kaiseki.” A lot of its influences come from Japanese cuisine, with a Western twist. This, combined with its great atmosphere, definitely makes it one of the sights to see (and taste) in Australia.
Cutler & Co
You can find Cutler & Co in Fitzroy, Melbourne. Its charming appearance is due to the building’s history as an old metalworks factory. The restaurant offers a selection of great seafood entreés which guests can pair with their huge cellar of wine and craft beers. If you’re going to Australia for any kind of special occasion, Cutler & Co is a must for you and your date.
10 William Street
Paddington, NSW brings a restaurant that’s so good, you can’t even make a reservation for it. The simply-named 10 William Street is the brainchild of up-and-coming celeb chef Daniel Pepperell. Additionally, his incredibly creative dishes are only available for a limited time, adding to the mystique. Make this a priority on your trip!
Magill Estate Restaurant
If you’re going to Australia for the wine, you might as well enjoy it with good food and an excellent view. The Magill Estate Restaurant in Adelaide is built on the estate’s winery, offering quality fine cuisine from Chef Scott Huggins. Their sampling menu is individually paired with wines that allow you a complete taste of the best this restaurant has to offer.
Most Popular Places to Shop in Australia
Melbourne Shopping District
— PanPacific Melbourne (@panpacificmelb) July 31, 2017
High fashion aficionados will find themselves completely at home in the Melbourne Shopping District. Luxury brands from all over the world can be found here, as well as quirky independent boutiques. The discerning fashionista will definitely find themselves going home with quite a lot of extra baggage! Additionally, this district hosts a number of fine-dining establishments and great cafés, meaning you won’t have to walk far to keep yourself fed and watered.
Pitt Street Mall
— Suzy Monford (@SuzyFoodSport) November 15, 2017
Sydney is a great city made even better by the Pitt Street Mall. Chain stores like H&M and Myers can be found here, as well as hundreds of specialty stores. The whole complex is entirely walkable, so you won’t spend too much time shuttling yourself from one place to the next.
If you find yourself itching to shop in Adelaide, Rundle Mall has you covered. This shopping center is home to over 600 stores. There’s no question you’ll find whatever you need here. Both large chains and hundreds of specialty shops that cater to any and all hobbies are present.
Most Popular Destinations in Australia
Sydney Opera House
The most ubiquitous attraction in Australia definitely has to be the Sydney Opera House. This striking structure is the most popular destination in Australia and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Rather than just view it from a distance, guests can also take a tour of the building.
Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is the largest living structure on the planet. It is a protected ecosystem under the care of the Australian government. This wonder of the world is home to 3000 coral reefs and 1,600 species of fish. When in Australia, definitely make time to visit this beautiful stretch of sea.
Blue Mountains National Park
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Blue Mountains National Park is a day-trip away from Sydney. The many eucalyptus trees in the area give the entire park a dreamy, blue haze around it. Tourists often go to see the Three Sisters rock formations or take a trip in the Katoomba Scenic Railway. Trekkers can also enjoy the trails, bike rentals, rock climbing, and horseback riding offered by the park.
If you’re looking for beach bods, golden sand, and blue waters, Bondi Beach is the place to be. This scenic beach is one of the most popular beaches in the world, so be sure to bring your A-game and your best swimsuits. If water isn’t your thing, try the scenic Bondi to Bronte walk, a 6-kilometer stretch of coastline covering the beach and its magnificent sandstone cliffs. Definitely a must in your list of things to do in Australia!
How to Get Around in Australia
Australia is a continent — and a really big one at that. If you’re thinking of visiting several locations but you’re pressed for time, consider booking local flights to your destinations during your trip. Qantas, Virgin Australia, and Jetstar are good picks. Competition between these big players means you can always find a low-cost flight to anywhere in Australia.
Bus and Coach
Australia has very good bus and coach systems in place, providing you with an affordable way to get from one destination to another. Long distance buses usually have very comfortable seats and good air conditioning, so you can see the outback without the heat that comes with it! Additionally, some services like Greyhound offer hop-on, hop-off passes for certain destinations, potentially saving you big bucks in the long run.
Car rentals are always a good idea if you want to DIY your trip. All you need is a security deposit and an international driver’s license and you’ll be good to go. Furthermore, Australia is host to some of the world’s most scenic roads. This will definitely allow you to experience the country in a more intimate way than just seeing it from the air.
Travel Tips for Australia
Australia has two seasons: wet and dry. When it’s wet, it gets very wet. Monsoons are a typical occurrence in Australia and may put a “damper” on your travels. The best time to visit Australia is definitely during the spring, between September to November. It gets hot from December to February, Australia’s summer months. Autumn is also an excellent season, between March and May. Australia’s coldest season is winter, which is from June to August.
However, some locals say January isn’t an ideal time to go to Australia because school and work holidays congest a lot of tourist places in the country. Unless you’re willing to shuffle with thousands of people on your trip, avoid the holiday months of December to January when visiting Australia.
Need some inspiration for things to see in Australia? Check out this video from australiantales!
Australia is a beautiful country that has something to enjoy for everyone. However, if you want to see the major cities and attractions, be prepared to travel long distances! Still, thanks to the country’s unparalleled beauty, all the hassle is worth it. That’s why you should pack your bags and book those flights for the greatest trip in the land down under. Make sure you bookmark this list of things to do in Australia, so you’ll have a reference wherever you go.
Did we forget any things to do in Australia for tourists? Tell us about Australia must-sees in the comments below!
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