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Australia

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Essential Australia

Visit the Must-See Spots

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If this is your first Australia travel experience, there are some iconic cities, sites and destinations located throughout the country that are simply a must-see for first-time travel to Australia, which include Sydney, Melbourne, Queensland, Kakadu and the Outback, more commonly referred to as "the Red Centre" by locals. If this is your second trip to Australia or you prefer to get off the beaten path, explore our Extended Australia page.

Sydney

This world-class city is a must on any Australia tour. Amble through Sydney's weekend markets, climb to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, or enjoy reserved performance seats and a behind-the-scenes tour at the legendary Opera House.

Take a gorgeous cruise on Sydney Harbour or perhaps take in the scenery from aloft via seaplane. The city's suburbs host some of the country's prettiest beaches, and a stop at Bondi Beach or Manley Beach is not only loads of fun, it's a glimpse into a way of life Down Under. Within easy reach of the city are the world-class wineries of the Hunter Valley and subtropical rainforests of the Blue Mountains.

Melbourne

This lovely green city is known for its Victorian architecture, numerous parks and gardens, and is a haven for lovers of art, culture and sport.

Electric tram cars traverse every major street; they are a fun and convenient way to get around the city. Take a day trip to see the Little Penguins at Philip Island, watch Aussie Rules Football at the MCG or take in one of tennis' signature events, the Australian Open.

Tropical North Queensland

Cairns, the gateway city to the region hosts a pretty marina and waterfront esplanade. Don't miss the excellent local night market.

Just a short drive north of the city lies the Daintree Rainforest, a UNESCO World Heritage site of striking beauty. Stay in a stunning treetop eco-lodge, explore the forest with aboriginal elders and take a wildlife cruise on the Daintree River.  Further north still, where the rainforest meets the reef, lies Cape Tribulation, named as such by Captain Cook in 1770 when here he finally navigated passage through the labyrinth known today as the Great Barrier Reef. Of course no trip to the tropical north is complete without an excursion to the reef itself. Day trips from the mainland, island resorts or multiple night private yacht charters are all possibilities for exploring the world's longest contiguous tropical reef system.

Kakadu National Park & Arnhem Land

Of Crocodile Dundee fame, this is Australia at its adventurous best. Explore billabongs teeming with birdlife and the fearsome saltwater crocodile.

Swim under thundering waterfalls.  View Aboriginal rock art that is tens of thousands of years old and learn about the most potent symbols of Aboriginal spirituality or "the Dreamtime." Fishing here is outstanding, especially for the prized catch, the Barramundi.   Stay in comfortable tented camps or luxury lodges.

The Red Centre

Indulge your passion for the quintessential Aussie adventure with a 4WD excursion across the Outback.

Take an informative nature walk around the base of Uluru (Ayers Rock), a UNESCO World Heritage site and the highlight of any Australia tour, then enjoy chilled champagne at sunset and marvel as this iconic rock formation turns a hundred different shades of red with the setting sun. Continue on to the Olgas, another enigmatic rock outcrop, and Kings Canyon (Australia's Grand Canyon).

Nearby Alice Springs has been a traditional meeting place for the trading of artifacts, knowledge, art and culture among the Aboriginal peoples for more than 10,000 years. Visit the award-winning Aboriginal Art and Culture Center run by the Arrente Tribe. Prepare to be astonished at the resourcefulness and natural wisdom of the original inhabitants who were able to survive in the extremely inhospitable Red Centre. This well-done exhibit also showcases the works of many of Australia's leading Aboriginal Western Desert artists. Enjoy all this from the comfort of a luxury resort in the desert, or stay at a local homestead on a 500,000-acre cattle station.

The world famous Ghan Railway, which traverses the heart of this desolate land from Adelaide to Darwin, is a great way to appreciate the rugged landscape in old-world style.