Although its location away from Australia's east coast may make it easy to overlook, Adelaide's plethora of restaurants, bars, festivals and attractions more than justify a visit. This South Australia city is situated along the south coast near Barossa and McLaren Vale, where the country's world-renowned shiraz is made. And at the opening of the adjacent Gulf Saint Vincent, you'll find Kangaroo Island, a strip of land known for its prime wildlife-spotting and picture-perfect surroundings.
When mapping out your Australian vacation, a visit to Queensland's capital may not be your first choice. The country's third largest metropolis is often overlooked in favor of Australia's more well-known tourist hot spots, such as Sydney and Melbourne. But Brisbane's subtropical climate, thriving arts and live music scene and bevy of outdoor to-dos make it a worthy destination for your next trip Down Under.
As one of the original Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Great Barrier Reef holds a spot on every traveler's bucket list. Hugging the east coast of Queensland, Australia, the Great Barrier Reef extends from Cape York in the north all the way to Bundaberg in the south – more than 1,800 miles. With roughly 2,900 coral reefs, 600 islands and 1,500-plus species of fish, the reef leaves its 2 million annual visitors enchanted.
More than four million people call this big small town home. Yes, Melbourne is a big small town, and no, it's not an oxymoron. See, it contains all the trappings of a major metropolis – vibrant neighborhoods, award-winning cuisine, notable things to do – but Melburnians manage to do their urban hustle at a leisurely pace. Burrowed in wine country beside Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne's natural landscape anchors its laid-back personality. When you're sampling wine in the nearby Yarra Valley or sipping a flat white at one of Melbourne's charming sidewalk cafes, there's no way you can't relax.
Tucked into the coast of Western Australia, Perth is one of the world's most isolated cities. In fact, it's geographically closer to East Timor and Indonesia than it is to Sydney. But it also might just be one of the world's best secrets. This city of 2 million, which came of age during the 19th-century gold rush and then again after World War II, is experiencing yet another rise in popularity. And it's not hard to see why: Australia's easygoing energy is displayed all around Perth, from its gorgeous beaches to its humming coffee shops, expansive green space and lively neighborhoods.
Sydney is both a laid-back beachside town and a thriving metropolis that boasts some of the Southern Hemisphere's best surf, landmarks and activities. Whether you're looking to watch a show at the iconic Opera House, take to the waves at Bondi Beach or explore trendy areas like The Rocks and Darling Harbour, Sydney features something for everyone. Even Sydneysiders have an ideal mix of both worlds: Fashion-forward attire and British-style sarcasm combine with a "no worries" attitude and relaxed coastal vibe. It's no wonder this vibrant city down under is a natural choice for first-time Aussie visitors.
If you're dreaming of a remote destination filled with historical charm, pristine beaches, unique wildlife and jaw-dropping mountains, then consider vacationing in Tasmania (or Tassie, as the locals call it). Situated about 150 miles south of Australia's mainland, this island appeals to anyone looking for an adventure. Families will enjoy walking across the suspension bridge at the Launceston Cataract Gorge & First Basin, while adrenaline junkies can hike Wellington Park's Organ Pipes or embark on a multiday trek along Cradle Mountain's Overland Track. Freycinet National Park is an ideal spot for water sports like snorkeling and kayaking, and once the sun goes down, you can get your heart pounding during an evening ghost tour of the Port Arthur Historic Site. In between sightseeing and exploring your surroundings, you'll find a variety of shops and art galleries, as well as eateries that serve fresh seafood and produce alongside locally made wines, beers, ciders and spirits.
Best Places to Visit in Australia and The Pacific