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8th April, 2019

Recommended Australia tourist attractions

Tourism Australia reported that in 2018, over nine million tourists visited Australia, a figure that is seeing substantial year-on-year growth. Australia continues to be one of the leading long-haul destinations for a wide range of markets in terms of age and nationality. Why? Because it has everything you want from a holiday – sunshine, stunning beaches, natural wonders, cosmopolitan cities, exotic wildlife, large expanses of tranquil landscapes and of course, some of the friendliest people on the planet.

There are literally hundreds of things to see and do in this vast country – attractions and activities to suits an array of tastes and abilities. Whilst seeing them all is impossible, you can take in a good handful of them with the right holiday. The best way to get about is to book a tour of Australia, such as our Australian Adventure or Ultimate Adventure Tour.

So, without further ado, here is our list of recommended Australia tourist attractions to take your fancy:

1. The Great Barrier Reef

A clown fish emerging from an anemone

Ok so it’s a bit of an obvious one, but it’s an attraction not to be missed. One of the seven wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef in the world and is visible from space! It’s a perfect haven for snorkelling and scuba diving, to spot marine life such as dugongs, dolphins, rays, turtles, anemones and hundreds of species of tropical fish. Frankland Island in Cairns is a popular place to view the reef.

2. Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House at night

A stay in Sydney wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the iconic Sydney Opera House. Designed by architect Jørn Utzon and opened in 1973 by Queen Elizabeth II, the opera house sees over 8 million people through its doors every year and has hosted thousands of classical concerts, music performances and cultural events. Whether you’re attending a concert or just visiting to look around, you will undoubtedly be mesmerised by its bold design and acoustic repertoire.

3. Ayers Rock

Famous Ayers Rock

Known as Uluru to the Aboriginal people, Ayers Rock is a sacred natural wonder – a gargantuan sandstone rock that rises 863 metres high from the desert in the Northern Territory. A popular way to enjoy this dramatic landmark, is to visit at sunset and watch the colours change through a spectrum of reds and oranges from the fading sunlight. Some tourists choose to climb Uluru, but this is not permitted and is considered offensive to the indigenous people. The safest way to appreciate its beauty is on a walk around its base.

4. The 12 Apostles

An aerial view of the 12 Apostles

Located in Victoria, along the picturesque Great Ocean Road, the 12 Apostles are a collection of limestone rocks jutting out of the surf, created by years of erosion from the force of the sea and storms. There are actually only nine Apostles left, as the sea and winds continue to batter them, so they are a disappearing wonder and therefore a popular attraction. There is a great viewpoint where you can admire them and take pictures, but the more adventurous can view them close up from the beach.

5. Nambung National Park

Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park

Over in Western Australia lies Nambung National Park, 125 miles north-west of Perth. Visitors are attracted to this national park to see the Pinnacles Desert - a vast, arid landscape dotted with strange shaped limestone formations and scattered with redundant coral and mollusc shells. Nambung stretches as far as the coast and encompasses a number of bays, with picturesque beaches and sand dunes.

6. Kuranda Scenic Railway

Kuranda railway

Heading north to Queensland, the Kuranda railway is a scenic train journey from the coastal city of Cairns, to the tropical rainforest village of Kuranda. It winds its way through dense jungle, through tunnels and across breathtaking gorges, where waterfalls cascade down the rock face. Kuranda is located 328 metres above sea level and offers visitors the chance to explore its array of shops, cafes and art galleries. Be sure to visit the infamous markets, where you can purchase Aboriginal crafts.

7. Hunter Valley

Hunter Valley at sunrise

Australia certainly isn’t short of wine growing regions, but one of its oldest and best is Hunter Valley in New South Wales, where it produces Shiraz and Semillon. Wine lovers can visit numerous different private vineyards, from family run estates to those from world-renown wine brands, such as Lindemans. Most offer tours and tasting and the chance to buy some of the samples that perked up your palate.

8. The Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains

Located to the far West of Sydney, the Blue Mountains are a picturesque region consisting of dramatic cliffs covered in eucalyptus forests. They get their name from the blue haze that hangs over the landscape, caused by the vapour from the droplets of oil released by the eucalyptus trees. The Blue Mountains is a place of serenity and is enjoyed by tourists and locals for its walking trails, picnic spots and luxury hotels. For an impeccable view, take the scenic skyway at Katoomba.

9. Phillip Island

The adorable 'Little' Penguins

Phillip Island lies just off the coast of Melbourne. With a rugged coastline and a wildlife park, it’s a great place for spotting indigenous species in their natural habitat. Visitors come to Phillip Island to marvel at colonies of Little Penguins waddling to and from the water’s edge, and the chance to spot whales and sharks. Despite its abundance of wildlife, there are a handful of sheltered coves, perfect for sunbathing and swimming.

10. Kakadu National Park

Wetlands in Kakadu National Park

Probably the biggest attraction in Australia’s Northern Territory is Kakadu National Park. Covering some 12,000 square miles, it’s the largest national park in Australia and is and open to visitors 24 hours a day. Kakadu is a biodiverse nature reserve with rivers, wetlands and sandstone cliffs. It’s a botanist’s dream, home to over 2000 species of plants and the infamous ‘salty’ saltwater crocodile, as well as species of turtles and birds.

Enjoy a tour of Australia with a rail journey included on our Australia and the Indian Pacific holiday.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.