The 25 Most Beautiful Places in Australia | Expedia Travel Blog

The 25 Most Beautiful Places in Australia

The 25 Most Beautiful Places in Australia

Although it’s sometimes true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, there are many places whose allure is simply undeniable – especially here in Australia. From hidden enclaves in the hinterland to modern metropolitan marvels, this country’s got plenty of beauty to go around. We’ve pulled together this list of destinations that are generating the most buzz online for their good looks. In no particular order, here are Australia’s 25 most awe-inspiring spots.

1. Cairns, Queensland

The city known as the Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef is just as stunning as you’d expect. Get a bird’s-eye view of a tropical rainforest canopy from the Skyrail and Scenic Railway connecting Cairns and Kuranda. Or, for unforgettable sights closer to sea level, hop aboard the Daintree River cruise, which stops at a shaded riverbank garden for lunch—how charming! In the evening, take a seat at the Salt House restaurant on Marina Point, where you’ll find not only delicious dining but also one-of-a-kind panoramic views of Cairns’ waterfront.

2. The Whitsundays, Queensland

With dense rainforests surrounded by white-sand beaches, the 74 Whitsunday Islands pepper the ocean between the Great Barrier Reef and Queensland’s northeastern coast. Explore Hamilton Island’s extraordinary fringe reefs and get up close and personal with everyone’s favourite marine creatures on a dive with Deep Water Turtle Discovery. If you want to take to the skies instead, embark on Air Whitsunday’s half-day Panorama Tour and soar above the glistening islands and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

3. Fraser Island, Queensland

Don’t think the world’s largest sand island sounds all that beautiful? Think again. Spanning more than 120 km off the eastern coast of Queensland, Fraser Island is home to loads of pretty places. Vibrant Lake McKenzie is surrounded by white-silica sand that feels like you’re walking on clouds, and the view here at dawn is worth waking up early for. Fraser Explorer Tours is also a “whale” of a time—the island is known for its humpback whale watching. Or, buckle into a ute from Fraser Dingo 4WD Hire and chart your own course from the beaches into the rainforest.

4. Noosa Heads, Queensland

This town on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is among Australia’s most captivating regions, especially once you’re inside Noosa National Park. If you like to eat while you look at pretty sights (and who doesn’t?), take your pick from any number of culinary adventures along Noosa Food Trail. From the hinterland to the coast, this foodie adventure will leave you stuffed. For a more active exploration, pedal through towering bloodwood trees and coastal she-oaks on a cycle hired from Bike On.

5. Toowoomba, Queensland

With a nickname like “Garden City”, it’s no surprise that Toowoomba is chockers with fascinating flora. What’s so impressive about gardens, you ask? The Japanese Gardens here have 230 species of trees and plants, and will turn any skeptic into a “budding” florist. Don’t miss the manicured grounds of Queens Park, then keep the theme going with a meal at Gip’s Restaurant, where you can dine in a garden that’s in a historic building. That’s a two-for-one deal.

6. Yamba, New South Wales

Some might say Yamba is a bit of a show-off. National parks and natural canals showcase the beauty of this charming town, which also just happens to be on the beach. Discover these delightful surroundings aboard the Clarence River Ferry that travels to and from Iluka, then sample Yamba’s celebrated prawns at the Clarence River Fishermen’s Co-operative. Work off the meal with a coastal bushwalk at Yuraygir National Park, where you’ll have a chance to spot migrating whales.

7. Lord Howe Island, New South Wales

Immaculate beaches, subtropical forests, and pristine waters—what’s not to love? If you can’t choose just one adventure, hook up with Lord Howe Environmental Tours for a 7-day sightseeing tour that’s got diving, stand-up paddle boarding and tons of other activities on the itinerary. Back on land, let your day go to the birds with Lord Howe Island Nature Tours, where you can catch glimpses of the avian species that call this island home. For lunch, sink your teeth into Beachcomber Restaurant’s traditional fish-fry buffet—served in a tropical garden beneath a majestic Jacaranda tree.

8. Leura, New South Wales

Picturesque Leura attracts throngs of tourists and locals alike, making it one of the most popular activities in Sydney’s vicinity—it’s just 100 km west of the CBD. You’ll find the world-renowned Everglades House and Gardens here, set against sweeping scenes of nearby Jamison Valley. For more flowers, Leuralla Museum and Gardens shows off a wide variety of rhododendron and dogwood. And for mountainous views stretching all the way to Kings Tableland, spend some time at Gordon Falls Lookout.

9. Sydney, New South Wales

We know, we know—the capital of New South Wales is a no-brainer for inclusion on this list. Everyone can name Sydney attractions like the Opera House and Darling Harbour. But with unique Sydney tours like the BridgeClimb, you can appreciate them from 134 m high! Keep your heart racing on the cliff-top Bondi to Coogee walk, which offers stunning views of the coast. And Sydneysiders and visitors alike flock to the Royal Botanic Gardens, which earn the top spot on many lists of things to do in Sydney.

10. Kiama, New South Wales

Hidden on the coast, 120 km south of Sydney, you’ll find the idyllic township of Kiama. Here you can bushwalk through nearby Budderoo National Park to see spectacular waterfalls and catch glimpses of Lake Illawarra and Five Islands from Jamberoo lookout. Put in the time in to find Little Blowhole, and you’ll be blown away by the astonishing heights of the water sprays. Want to befriend the local marsupials? Pay a visit to Kangaroo Valley and see who pops out to say hi while you’re wandering through.

11. Huskisson, New South Wales

Be sure to take your togs to this seaside town, believed to possess the world’s whitest sand. You’ll just have to confirm that for yourself, and while you’re at it, don’t miss the easy-to-spot whales and dolphins in the clear blue waters. If you want to get eye-to-eye, Jervis Bay Wild can take you on unforgettable eco-tours to see these creatures up close. If you’d rather explore by land, Jervis Bay Bike Hire lets you cycle around the isle’s coast and bushland on a network of paths fit for the Tour de France, only easier.

12. Bright, Victoria

This town’s name is no coincidence. Bright is bursting with stunning scenery around every corner, especially in the autumn. The mountainous lookouts provide plenty of opportunities to take in the colours. A trip on the Rail Trail to Murray is a must-do, and includes a stop at the garden-side Rail Trail Café, which serves brekky all day long—hooray! For another of the best views in town, stop by Bright Brewery, where you can drink a beer while you drink in the amazing views of the parks, mountains, and river.

13. Mornington Peninsula, Victoria

If you find beauty in complexity, this peninsula south of Melbourne is the perfect place to get lost. Ashcombe Maze and Lavender Gardens is the country’s oldest and most well-known maze, made up of hedges 3 metres high and 2 metres thick. It lies amid 25 acres of jaw-dropping gardens—so once you solve the puzzle, your wandering isn’t quite done. Mazes not your thing? Rent a board from Peninsula Stand Up Paddle and get out on the water, or take a horseback tour through the striking scenery on Gunnamatta Trail Rides.

14. Bendigo, Victoria

Not all of our country’s beauty lies along the coast! This vibrant community is home to some of the state’s most alluring attractions. Showcasing rare plants and exotic flowers overflowing with colour, Bendigo Botanic Gardens is one of the oldest gardens in Victoria. It even includes a lagoon and an aviary. Once you’ve had your fill of flowers and feathers, marvel at the opulent Fortuna Villa mansion, which sits on 7 hectares of prime property and has an ornamental lake. Jealous? You should be.

15. Geelong, Victoria

From bountiful bushland and brilliant beaches to historic communities, Geelong’s beauty comes in a rainbow of colours, making it one of the top things to do in Melbourne’s vicinity. Make the 80 km trip west to Austins & Co. Winery for spellbinding views of local vineyards—and spellbinding wine, too. Geelong Gallery brings the beauty indoors with its incredible collections of 19th and 20th century masterpieces. Or, spend an afternoon browsing local art at the award-winning Aboriginal Cultural Centre, hidden among native trees, walkways, and gardens.

16. Mount Gambier, South Australia

Forged by volcanic eruptions that occurred over countless centuries, the magnificence of Mount Gambier can’t be beat. Case in point: Tantanoola Caves Conservation Park. It’s set within the cliff face of the limestone coast, but that’s not the only thing that will catch your eye—the colourful cave decorations are pretty, too. Speaking of colours, the cobalt waters of Blue Lake make this body of water the crown jewel of Mount Gambier. For the best view, make your way to the viewing platforms along the nearby walking trail.

17. Coorong, South Australia

If you have an admiration for Mother Nature in all her glory, the untouched wilderness in Coorong lets you see her handiwork as it was meant to be. The rugged coastline along Lake Albert guards the entrance to Coorong National Park and serves as the perfect setting to snap a photo … or ten. The best way to explore this awesome area is on Murray Mouth’s Canoe the Coorong tour, which guides you through stunning saltwater lagoons sheltered from the Southern Ocean by rolling sand dunes.

18. Launceston, Tasmania

Searching for a hidden treasure? This charming riverside city in Northern Tasmania’s Tamar Valley contains magnificent natural attractions, including Cataract Gorge Reserve. If you want the best seat on the island, hop on the world’s longest single-span chairlift for mind-blowing views of the region’s trails and gardens. Back on the ground, Launceston City Park features monuments, a duck pond, and shrubs on its gently sloping hills, and Valleybrook Wine Tours welcomes you to enjoy a “grape” escape along Tamar River.

19. Wineglass Bay, Tasmania

It’s hard to imagine a more perfect place to stretch out on the sand than the Freycinet Peninsula. This is one good-looking place, especially Wineglass Bay. No, waves of vino don’t wash up against the shore here, but pink granite mountains emerge from the sea, framing one of the world’s best beaches. Bushwalk along the bay on the four-day tour offered by Freycinet Experience Walk. And if you’d rather spend your time on the water, paddle along with Freycinet Adventures’ kayak tours through Great Oyster Bay—oysters not included.

20. Esperance, Western Australia

With white sand, a pink lake, and zero traffic lights, there’s a lot to love about this gorgeous coastal town. Plus, it takes its name from the French word for “hope”, which is pretty cool. Lake Hillier’s pink waters still puzzle scientists, but its mysterious nature only adds to its allure—you might say it’s the strong, silent type. Stroll Lucky Bay’s 5 km of beach for great views of the Recherche Archipelago, or head out with Esperance Eco Tours to discover a world of natural wonder in the untamed coast and bushland.

21. Albany, Western Australia

Mountains and sea collide in this Great Southern region, creating the rugged coastline Albany is known for. There are a few national parks and nature reserves, but if you only have time for one stop, make it Two People’s Bay. You’ll find the entrance to Heritage Trail and beloved Little Beach, which is big on fun. If you get hungry for a bite, the waterfront restaurant Due South serves up world-class entrees only matched by the spectacular scenery.

22. Rottnest Island, Western Australia

If you’ve never seen a super adorable quokka up close, here’s your chance. Rottnest Island hosts some of the most striking scenes in all of Australia—not to mention these smiling balls of fur. For an unrestricted view, walk up the steps of Wadjemup Lighthouse. Rottnest’s other luminous tower, the Bathurst Lighthouse, isn’t open to visitors but still gives you an unrivalled spot to watch the sunset. Want to scope out the beauty under the sea? Let Rottnest Island Dive and Snorkel Day Trip be your guide through the Indian Ocean’s deep crevices and caverns.

23. Broome, Western Australia

Prepare to be swept away by Broome. This beachy resort town is a sensational place to go swimming or watch the resident wildlife. If it’s underwater attractions you’re drawn to, the Rowley Shoals Diving Cruise with the Great Escape Charter Company transports you to untouched coral gardens with countless species of colourful marine life. More interested in mammals? Hop on top of one with Broome Camel Safaris sunset tour.

24. Darwin, Northern Territory

Seeking a serene escape? This is the place. With beaches and parks tucked along its coast, Darwin’s waterfront bursts with beauty. Embrace the ambiance on a sunset cruise, or while fishing from Stokes Hill Wharf. You can also traipse through the treetops and laze near a lagoon at Territory Wildlife Park, all while watching the resident animals scamper about. Plus, there’s a walk-through aquarium that lets you view some of the Top End’s most astonishing aquatic creatures up close.

25. Katherine Gorge, Northern Territory

Get ready to experience the ultimate exhilaration: Katherine Gorge is known for its extreme adventures as well as its beauty. Walk, swim, and paddle past waterfalls and wildlife with Nitmiluk National Park Tours, and trek up a 12km rock trail for sweet views of Jawoyn Country. Admire shimmering limestone stalactites and stalagmites at Cutta Cutta Caves, then soak in the mild waters of Katherine Hot Springs. It’s the perfect way to relax after an action-packed holiday.

Which alluring areas of Australia didn’t make the cut? Leave a comment telling us what we missed.

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