As the largest island in the world, Australia is home to some of the greatest natural places. With hidden gems all over the continent, you will never find a dull moment. International travellers call it a dream destination, and frankly, it deserves all the hype. If you need an Australia Travel Guide, we’ve got you covered.
The land of Aboriginals is as big as the United States of America. However, the population is as small as that of New York State. Additionally, with unique wildlife, vast islands, and vibrant cities, Australia is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Some of the top tourist sites are UNESCO heritage sites with spell-bounding beauty.
Natural wonders include the Great Barrier Reef and several national parks that bring out both the adventurer and the philosopher in you. Moreover, the locals are friendly with a relaxed attitude, making the country even more welcoming and warm. This guide includes the top things to do and see in Australia, plus the latest travel restrictions due to COVID-19.
When should you visit Australia?
As opposed to the rest of the world, the Australian climate is different. Spring starts in September and ends in November, which is followed by summer in December and lasts until February. Finally, the coldest months are June, which lasts until August. The best time to travel and make the most of Australia is from September to December. After that, it tends to get very hot, which may not be very enjoyable for a tourist.
Top tourist destinations in Australia
The following destinations are popular tourist spots. Let’s see why:
Sydney Opera House
The biggest attraction in Sydney is the opera house. It is more like the Australian identity, which is also on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list. This architectural wonder looks like huge seashells that are billowing in the wind. Surrounded by water, it looks more as if it is sailing. Additionally, on the south border of the opera house is the famous Royal Botanic Gardens creating a picturesque view. Apart from being stunning on the outside, locals and tourists alike enjoy the divine dining experience and, of course, opera performances! The Sydney Opera House is undergoing a restoration that costs $275 million; however, it is open to the public complete with its many attractions.
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
Tourists love to flutter off to Queensland for the Great Barrier Reef. This is currently a major living structure on our planet, and that is why it is also a World Heritage-listed site. This natural wonder is famous because it is visible from outer space! If you love islands and the marine world, this is a must-visit place.
The Great Barrier Reef has over 3000 coral reefs, 300 coral clays, and 600 continental islands. Additionally, you will also find inshore mangrove islands, which makes this site a natural world wonder. Deep-sea divers and snorkelers love exploring this site since the park has over 1600 tropical fish, dugongs, sharks, rays, giant clams, dolphins, and turtles.
Those who wish to see the corals without getting wet can view the colourful underwater wonder through glass bottom boats and viewing stations built under the sea.
Blue Mountains National Park
The Blue Mountains is popularly known as the hiker’s paradise. This National Park is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is easily accessible from Sydney. An 81 k.m. day trip from the main city can lead you to your life’s best hike! It is called the Blue Mountains because of the unique blue haze that comes from the eucalyptus trees.
Hidden in this park are 664,000 acres of wilderness, so be prepared when you see some amazing wildlife. Tourists have encountered waterfalls and gorges that look like the imagination of a talented painter. Additionally, you can come across Aboriginal rock painting and hiking trails as long as 140kms. However, the main attraction is the Three Sisters, which is a rock formation made of sandstone towering over everything else.
More highlights of the Blue Mountain National Park include the Katoomba Scenic Railway. This is the world’s steepest train taking tourists at high speed down to the Jamison Valley. Passengers go through a cliff-side underpass inside a rainforest, which is ancient. Moreover, cable cars offer scenic and elevated views of the park. For the adventurous souls, the Blue Mountains offer horseback riding, rock climbing, abseiling, hiking, and mountain biking.
On the other side of Sydney lies Bondi beach. For those who love the sea instead of mountains, Bondi Beach offers everything. A 15-minute drive from Sydney’s city centre, you will find yourself surrounded by blond sands, backpackers, tourists, and surfers! Yes, this place offers water sports of all sorts.
As long as you stay within limits and set the red flags, you can do anything you like! The main attraction is the blonde sand, which is very close to the main city. Rich in history, this is the best beach in all of Australia. It is the happening place for tourists, especially around Christmas and New Year, as tourists and locals alike welcome the New Year at Bondi Beach.
The Kangaroo Island is a wonder for kids and wildlife lovers. Surrounded by kangaroos hopping along the shores with koalas clinging on the eucalyptus trees is a remarkable sight. Moreover, if that is not enough, you can spot penguins frolicking and sea lions just lying around. If you wish to dive, you will be surprised by the presence of plenty of sea dragons underwater.
The main reason tourists are attracted to Kangaroo Island is what nature offers. Safe wildlife, picturesque rock formations, and vast cave systems make it a must-go place. Tourist spots mean food! The Kangaroo Island offers some of the best seafood in all of Australia cooked and served fresh.
The devastating bushfires of 2020 destroyed Kangaroo Island and its wildlife. However, it is well on its recovery and is not open for visitors. Locals and tourists alike are once again going there to enjoy the bounties this island has to offer.
What are some must-dos in Australia?
Apart from all the adventures that nature has to offer in Australia, the city of Melbourne is all about culture. Melbourne is the second-largest city and usually makes it to the top of all Australian tourists. Melbourne is a visitor’s paradise full of theatres, art galleries, shops, and restaurants. When strolling through the city, you will feel like you are in a historical European city.
The city is built across the Yarra River with open spaces, parks, and gardens, making it a modern green city. With low pollution levels and fresh air, you will fall in love with Melbourne. Main attractions include Arts Centre Melbourne, National Gallery of Victoria, Federation Square, Ian Potter Gallery, and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image.
If you are into sports and visiting in the summer season, you can catch a cricket match at Melbourne Cricket Ground. However, during the winters, Australians prefer playing football. This city is historic, and you can see some of the world’s best Grand Victorian buildings. Another must-see place in Australia is Queen Victoria Market. Some of the shops there are at least a century old and have been operating for more than 100 years.
What about COVID-19 travel restrictions?
Now that you are ready to visit Australia, there are a few things to consider. In the wake of COVID-19 and global travel restrictions, visitors must be vaccinated. When travelling to Australia, you must be fully vaccinated with a recognised COVID-19 vaccine. Children who are 12 years and older will have the same vaccine requirement; however, children under this age do not require a vaccine for travelling.
Australia Travel Declaration (ATD)
Tourists and visitors to Australia are required to complete an Australian Travel Declaration before departure. This must be completed at least 72 hours before boarding the flight. This document includes your health information, which may be critical during your travel time. Before getting into a flight, make sure that you have proof of this ATD, or you may not be allowed to get on board.
Those who do not comply with this requirement will be penalised for about $6660. This is a civil penalty commonly known as a fine and is equivalent to 30 penalty units. The Biosecurity Act of 2015 mentions this compliance in Section 46. Moreover, failing to comply with the ATD, you will be delayed from entering the land of Australia on arrival.
You must keep two things handy when filling out the ATD. First, keep your vaccination certificate ready to be uploaded. Second, make a declaration, which legally binds you to your vaccination status. Additionally, visitors have to present evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test. The test must be taken within the last three days when the flight is scheduled to take off. Only those individuals who have a medical condition are exempted from taking the vaccine and the test.
Find out more about the Australian Travel Declaration here.
Travel history and quarantine requirements
Moreover, an additional requirement for travelling to Australia is providing the travel history of the last 14 days. Travellers are also required to declare that they will comply with all quarantine requirements set by the Australian authorities. In case you need to quarantine upon your arrival to Australia, you must have made adequate arrangements for the same. Providing misleading information and making a false claim related to COVID-19 may lead to criminal prosecution.
Australia is a wondrous place for adventurous souls. Offering everything from the calm oceans to challenging mountains, it is a bucket-list country for backpackers and family vacations alike. It is also important to stay safe as a tourist.