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Australia and New Zealand enjoy a kind of sibling relationship. There’s lots of squabbling and a fair bit of jealousy, but deep down we love each other. Most of the time, anyway.

Although my Kiwi citizenship compels me to say that New Zealand is the best (and it is, don’t get me wrong), I still have to admit that Australia is one of my favourite places in the world.

Australia isn’t just a country, it’s a continental landmass that’s about the same size as Europe, but much more sparsely populated. Most people live on the east coast, which is where you’ll find the major cities of Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne, with the capital (Canberra) set back a bit from the sea. Adelaide is the biggest city in the south, and Perth is isolated over on the west coast.

All of these cities are worth a visit, and but there’s plenty to do outside of the urban centres.

To listen to our top 10 things to do in Australia, hit play below or find episode 334 in iTunes, Stitcher or Soundcloud:

1. Dive the Great Barrier Reef.

Visit the world’s largest living thing and dive the Great Barrier Reef off Queensland’s coast. If you’re on the west coast, explore the quieter Ningaloo Reef for Indian Ocean goodness.

2. Visit Uluru at the red centre.

Also known as Ayer’s Rock, this massive rock has a mystic draw to it that entices visitors from around the world. Situated near Alice Springs, a visit here is a good chance to explore outback life. You can drive from Alice Springs or do an epic journey from Adelaide — we recommend joining a tour over driving yourself if you choose this option.

Climbing the rock is not recommended as it is a sacred place for local aborigines. Take the time to learn a bit about its significance to Australia’s native people before you arrive.

Ayers Rock/Uluru, Australia
Uluru is an amazing place to visit.

3. Go wine tasting.

Australia is home to premier wine regions, like the Barrossa, McLaren Vale, Margaret River and Hunter Valley. Wherever you base yourself, you’re likely to be within a short drive of a wine region, so join a tour or hire a car for a self-drive experience. Just make sure to choose a dedicated driver who limits their tastings.

4. Down some espresso in Melbourne.

Melbourne is Australia’s most delicious city, with premier coffees from small producers and roasters alongside worldwide cuisine. Ask around for the best cafes to try, or head into the alleyways of the central city and discover some for yourself. Koko Black is a favourite of ours, though we go there for the chocolate rather than the coffee.

Melbourne is awesome for coffee.
Melbourne is awesome for coffee.

5. Get out of the cities

Travel the roads between cities, and make sure you take off down side roads whenever it’s safe (deviating from the main highways in the outback isn’t recommended). The unique, empty landscape is captivating.

Be aware that distances are immense, so plan your journey accordingly! We loved driving around Western Australia, but the east coast and South Australia also offer fantastic road trip options.

6. Take a photo of the Sydney Opera House.

Nobody knows why there’s such a strong compulsion to get across the harbour and snap yourself in front of the iconic Opera House … but why not? It’s conveniently located in the centre of the city, so it’s a great place to start exploring Australia’s biggest city.

Sydney Australia New Year
If you can visit Sydney at New Year, even better.

7. Drive the Great Ocean Road.

Australia’s most famous drive takes you past stunning beaches, koala-filled eucalyptus forests, the Twelve Apostles and more. Organised day trips are available from Melbourne, but taking your time is recommended.

8. Visit a zoo or wildlife park.

Australia is home to some strange and wonderful animals and plants. Find out a little by stopping in at a park or two. Some parks allow you to get up close and personal — perhaps you want to hug a koala or feed a kangaroo?

Feeding the kangaroos in Australia
Get up close and personal with the wildlife

9. Eat some kangaroo.

Speaking of kangaroo, if you’re a meat eater, make sure to taste some too. Avoid the sausages and buy a steak or two to throw on the barbecue for a typical Aussie meal. Add some potato salad and a Little Creatures beer or two, and you’ll be all set.

10. Visit a mini-mountain range.

Australia has lots of flat surfaces, but you can find your mountain getaways in the Blue Mountains or one of the interesting landscapes of Tasmania and the central and western outback.

There’s plenty to do in Australia, from exploring its many awesome cities to getting close to nature. What excites you most about Australia? Leave a comment below.

To listen, hit play above or check in iTunes, Stitcher or Soundcloud.

This episode of the Indie Travel Podcast is sponsored by Allianz Global Assistance.

Allianz’s travel insurance helps you to travel the world with confidence. Their policies cover trip cancellation and trip interruption, as well as lost and stolen baggage. A 24-hour hotline means you’re always connected, and their ten-day review period gives you a chance to make sure you’ve got the right cover for you.

Find out more about Allianz Global Assistance.

Your thoughts on "Top 10 things to do in Australia podcast"

  • Okay I've done all of the above!!! I'd add going for a nice multi day hike somewhere - Australia has some stunning national parks like Cradle Mountain NP in Tasmania, or the Bay of Fires walk, also in Tassie. You've also left out driving the Great Ocean Road!! And update to a round dozen perhaps? Top 12 things to do in Australia? >.<

    on January 13, 2017 at 12:57 pm Reply
    • Oh yeah, a multi-day hike would be awesome! Great Ocean Road is #7 -- it would have been terrible to leave that out!

      on January 19, 2017 at 9:30 am Reply
  • in Sydney you can visit one of the oldest Opal Shop from Australia. located at Level 3, 295-301, Pitt Street, New South Wales, Sydney 2000

    on February 14, 2017 at 9:57 am Reply
    • Opals are an important part of Australia too! We saw some beautiful ones in Coober Pedy.

      on February 16, 2017 at 8:16 am Reply
  • Looks like such a fascinating place, one I would LOVE to visit someday! Useful tips for first time visitors, will be sure to pin this for future travels

    on May 9, 2017 at 5:34 pm Reply
    • Thanks John! Australia is definitely a great place to visit. :)

      on May 10, 2017 at 8:18 pm Reply
  • I find myself unable to leave your blog! I can’t stop reading it! I must say you have a very unique voice in writing, which I personally appreciate. Thanks again Linda Martin!

    on June 13, 2017 at 7:55 pm Reply
  • Australia has been on my list of my best places to visit, but it's hard to decide on where to start with and schedule where to go and how many days to stay. These are nice tips although it could be also nice to know what to eat as well.

    on July 5, 2017 at 1:48 am Reply
    • Hi Celine! We talk about where to start and finish in our more recent podcast about Australia: https://indietravelpodcast.com/australia/get-around/. Yes, creating a schedule can be hard -- it's an enormous country and there is a lot to see! We did mention eating kangaroo; apart from that Australia is very multi-cultural so you'll be able to eat all sorts of things. Savoury pies and lamingtons are worth trying, and barbecues are pretty common in summer.

      on July 5, 2017 at 2:01 am Reply
  • I <3 the idea of diving the Great Barrier Reef. Do you get travel insurance for your diving trips? I use http://www.diversalertnetwork.org/trip/.

    on August 9, 2017 at 7:07 am Reply
    • Definitely! Travel insurance is essential, and if you're going to be diving it's important to check the inclusions of your policy. Specialist diving insurance could be an option, like you say, Kim, but if you've already got a policy for the rest of your trip that covers diving, then it would be superfluous.

      on August 9, 2017 at 8:19 pm Reply

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