When we were drawing up our wedding gift wish list last year, we spent close to a month identifying the coolest things to do and the most breathtaking (read: Instagrammable) places to go around the world. We added each item to our wedding website so that friends and family could buy us experiences or flights instead of traditional wedding presents. Back then, our travel plans were considerably different to what they are today, but thankfully Australia was ALWAYS going to make the cut.
Through these gifts, we’ve been able to create the ultimate Aussie itinerary: A carefully curated list of the best must-sees that Australia has to offer.
Sail the Whitsundays
This classic trip is almost a rite of passage for backpackers visiting the East Coast of Australia, and the surroundings are too picturesque to miss. You can do a 3 day cruise for around $400AUD per person. Make sure you shop around though as there are a lot of companies offering the same thing.
Go Shark Cage Diving
We both love sharks. As terrifying as they are, they are an important part of our eco system. We would love to see the Great White up close, however we are still undecided on this one. There are some unethical companies operating which can harm the local aquatic life and upset the ecological balance of the ocean. Be sure to check the eco status of all operators before booking any shark diving tour.
Camp Out by Uluru
Uluru, or Ayers Rock, is high on Kez’s bucket list. You can fly here from certain airports in Australia, or drive from the South (Adelaide), North (Darwin/Alice Springs) or via unsealed roads from the West (Perth). If you are going to drive it, be prepared for all eventualities and don’t drive at night! Also, be prepared for ALL the flies.
Australian Road Trip
We’ve planned our Legendary Pacific Coast Drive when Kez’s parents come to visit in December. This goes between Brisbane and Sydney. We are also planning a slow-travel journey from Sydney to Uluru via Coober Pedy. Kez has spent many hours on Google Maps finding campsites, small towns, roadhouses and hidden beaches to take us from leg to leg on our journey. Although desert driving can be extremely monotonous, the beautiful vastness of the surroundings more than make up for it.
Live in a Camper Van
As is typical of most Brits, we bloody love camping. It’s also an incredibly cost effective way of seeing the country. Depending on how long you want to live the Van Life dream for, buying may well be a more cost effective option to renting. Vans rarely drop that much value, and there is always a new influx of backpackers coming in to buy it off you.
Drive a 4X4 around Fraser Island
Another popular activity on the East Coast, Fraser Island is the world’s largest sand island. The landscape looks otherworldly in some parts and the photo opportunities are second to none. There is the option to camp instead of staying at the expensive island resort, so it depends on your desired level of luxury!
Kez saw photos of these mountains on Instagram and fell in love with them immediately. There is something about wide open spaces that reminds you just how small you really are, how insignificant your worries are, and how much of a beautiful place this world of ours really is. We love a good hike too, and the Blue Mountains has some of the most amazing bush walks with incredible views to match.
You can’t visit Perth and not visit Rottnest Island. Hire a bike and cycle around the whole island, visit Insta-worthy coves, and make friends with the king of selfies, the adorable quokka. You can also stay the night there.
Pop Across to Tasmania
Kez has a penchant for true crime, prisons, and the paranormal. Sam loves wide open views and mountains. As such, Tasmania is a must for us. Not only is Tasmania absolutely beautiful, it is often overlooked as a place to visit. You can get a ferry over, which is a bonus if you have purchased a camper on the East Coast.
Stay Overnight at Coober Pedy
Coober Pedy is the supposed opal capital of the world. It is also apparently named after an Aboriginal phrase meaning ‘white man in a hole’. It is so hot there that the ENTIRE TOWN is underground. You can stay in hostels and hotels that look like something out of The Flintstones which is just too cool for us to say no to. Who doesn’t want to sleep in a cave for a night?
Sydney Harbour Cruise
We aren’t the sort of people who turn up their noses at what may be considered stereotypical ‘touristy’ things to do. So we won’t stop here. I mean, tourist attractions are popular for a reason, right? We are absolutely intending to do a Sydney Harbour boat cruise to take in the beauty of the city from the water. You should too.
Cruise along Great Ocean Road
This is another one Instagram and friends’ travels have inspired us to see for ourselves. The Twelve Apostles feature prominently in pretty much everything you can get hold of to read about Australia. The area also has great foodie spots and campsites, plus gorgeous beaches, so it offers us everything we could want.
Notable Mentions (other really cool things we want to do)
- Tour Fremantle Prison (and any other old prisons we can get into)
- Visit Margaret River caves (and any other caves we can find)
- Learn to paddle board
- Visit Australia Zoo
- Spend time in the Aussie Outback and Rainforest
Have you been to these places? Have we missed out anything you have done?