Australia in and of itself is a marvelous bucket list experience, but there are plenty of places within the country that should have their own places on your list. You won’t find the opportunity to do these things anywhere other than Down Under! Which one makes it to the top of your bucket list?
1 Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef
Sadly, the Great Barrier Reef has been officially declared “dead.” While we mourn the disappearance of the former beauty of the reef, it is still a lovely place to visit with plenty of fish and colorful coral hanging on to life. Despite its recent “demise,” the Great Barrier Reef is still one of the most incredible places on the planet.
2 See an Opera at the Sydney Opera House
Even those of us hate opera would still jump at the chance to see a performance at the Sydney Opera House! And guess what—the Opera House holds more than just operas. Live shows starring TV actors, musical concerts, and acrobatics all grace the stage at the world’s most famous Opera House. Be sure to book in advance, because shows sell out quickly. While you’re there, don’t forget to reserve a table at the illustrious restaurant on the grounds and enjoy fine dining.
3 Visit Uluru
Ayers Rock, also known by its ancient name, Uluru, is a magnificent sight to see. You’ll learn about the history and culture of Australia’s indigenous people as you drive far into the desert to see this natural wonder. This big, red monolith turns shades of purple as dusk, so try to time your tour right.
4 Drive the Great Ocean Road
Whether you want to start at Torquay or Allansford or somewhere in between, it’s worth the days it takes to drive the 243 kilometers of sea-view road on the Great Ocean Road. There are countless places to stop along the road, all with stunning views that become more and more beautiful. It’s a great way to see a large strip of Australia and learn to love the continent.
5 See Australian Penguins
A species of penguin called “little penguins” live on the coast of Australia. They are the smallest penguins in the world, which is why Australians know them as “fairy penguins.” This is certainly a more romantic name!
6 Visit the Glowworms
Glow worms are only found in Australia and New Zealand. Thanks to our reader Liz who pointed out that Waitomo Caves are in New Zealand, not Australia. We originally wrote,”The glowworms of Australia live in Waitomo Caves, an underground system that would be as black as night without the little star-like creatures that light up the caves with a magical blue glow.” Luckily, you can still see glow worms for yourself when you visit Australia! Some of the best glow worm sites are Natural Bridge in Springbrook National Park, Glowworm Tunnel in Lithgow in the Blue Mountains, and Glow Worm Glen in Bundanoon in Morton National Park. Check out these and other places to see glow worms in Australia. The caves give daily tours through the glittering caverns.
7 Take a Wine Tasting Tour
There are so many places that offer incredible tours, but the most popular tours are in the Yarra Valley. No matter which one you choose, you’ll enjoy strolling through the verdant vineyards, sipping fine wine, and learning about the history and culture of Australia’s wine scene.
8 Go Whale-Watching
You couldn’t possibly imagine how incredible this experience is until you try it for yourself. Australia’s majestic whales attract thousands of spectators a year as they play dive, leap, and splash in the deep blue ocean. You can charter a boat or join a whale watching tour—either is an amazing adventure.
9 Walk the Sydney Harbor Bridge
The Sydney Harbor Bridge is the most iconic bridge on the continent. You can get amazing snapshots and panoramic photos of the city and the harbor as you gaze from the top of the bridge. It’s also a great place to enjoy the sunset, walk your dog, or get some exercise. Both locals and tourists love to visit the bridge.
10 Climb Mount Kosciuszko
The highest mountain in Australia is not for the faint of heart, but neither is it impossible. This peak in the Australian Alps is 7,310 feet in elevation. The route is nine kilometers and takes about six hours both ways, which is a pretty easy trek for being the top of the continent! When you go, you can see such sights as the Snowy River and the Seaman’s Hut. The long history of this route is interesting, so consider going with a guide who can fill you in on all the details.
You’d be lucky if you could hit all ten of these Australian bucket list items in one trip, but it’s worth a try! Even if you can only see one or two, you’ll be glad you did. There’s no better place for adventure and culture than Australia.