When I saw a competition recently to win a dream trip to Australia it really got my imagination going. There are so many places I’d love to visit but Australia, I think, would prove wonderfully different from anywhere I’ve been before. It’s a huge country so how do you decide where to go? I’ve picked out my top five things to do, one place to visit from each territory, that would be on my Australia wish list.


The Great Barrier Reef, Queensland

Certainly this is one of the first things that spring to my mind, when I think of Australia. You don’t need to be an expert scuba diver to enjoy it, anyone who can swim, can snorkel and there is plenty to see while floating on the surface looking down.

Coral Bay, Ningaloo Marine Park, top 5 things to do in Australia

Coral Bay, Ningaloo Marine Park © Australia’s Coral Coast, Tourism Australia

This is the world’s largest and most famous coral reef and the only living organism that can be seen from outer space. If you are lucky enough to visit, please do pick a responsible tour operator as the coral gets so easily damaged if touched, a particular problem at points where people enter the sea over the reef. I was horrified when I went snorkeling in the Red Sea last year to see someone actually taking coral. That was the first time I had been snorkeling in a while. I’d almost forgotten how wonderful snorkeling is; you can really lose yourself in another world and I’m sure snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef would be an experience I’d never forget.

Kangaroo Island, South Australia

As the name suggests, this is a fantastic place to see kangaroos in what is known as a zoo without fences. Just south of Adelaide you’ll find this undeveloped green island paradise where seals, various birds, dolphins and, of course, kangaroos abound – a real haven for wildlife enthusiasts. Spending sometime on the island would be a wonderful way to relax and unwind while enjoying its natural beauty and the plants and animals that live here.

Kangaroo Island, top 5 things to do in Australia

Kangaroo Island, photographer J.B. Anderson © Tourism Australia

The bright city lights in New South Wales

Australia’s best known city, Sydney, may seem a bit of an obvious choice but I wouldn’t want a friend to visit England for the first time and not see London. Sydney has many world renowned attractions such as Sydney Opera House and some fabulous beaches but it is also steeped in pioneering history and holds great festivals all year round. After all that swimming and relaxing it would be just the right time for the excitement that comes with exploring a new city.

Sydney © Tourism NSW, Tourism Australia, Courtesy of DSRD

Sydney © Tourism NSW, Tourism Australia, Courtesy of DSRD

An outback road trip in Western Australia

While I’m not keen on driving in unfamiliar places (I’d sooner been the navigator) this would certainly be a great way to see a completely different side of the country. I’d head to Western Australia and the renowned outback highway, Gibb River Road, that takes you over 400 miles from Derby to Kununurra through wide open dusty, red plains, passing spectacular gorges and waterfalls along the way. A drive like that is not something I’d undertake lightly though, definitely one to do your homework on.

Gibb River Road, photographer Philip Gostelow © Tourism Australia

Gibb River Road, photographer Philip Gostelow © Tourism Australia

Kakadu National Park, The Northern Territory

If I could visit just one place though, I think it would be here. This stunning national park includes the traditional lands of a number of indigenous tribes and is a unique ethnological and archaeological reserve including over 5,000 rock painting sites. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for both its natural and its cultural importance. There are many rare and endangered animals here and the scenery is awe-inspiring ranging from flood plains and billabongs to the dramatic stone country to savanna woodlands and monsoon forests to the southern hills. Just take a look at Kakadu‘s website and you’ll soon see why this is the one place I really don’t want to miss.

best places to visit in Australia

Kakadu National Park, photographer Ewen Bell
© Touris NT, Tourism Australia

Photography courtesy of Australia.com.

Please note that the competition referred to in the opening paragraph is now closed.


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