Australia is a goldmine when it comes to bucket list experiences – an enormous country blessed with a variety of different landscapes, activities enough for multiple trips, and attractions for absolutely every taste. Whether you are a competitive tanner, diver, surfer, backpacker or wildlife enthusiast, Australia has a bucket-list experience for you.
From panning for gold in Ballarat, white water rafting in Tasmania, booking a charter yatch through the Whitsundays, bungee jumping in Cairns, watching sea turtles hatch on Heron Island, or Kayaking through Katherine Gorge – these are some of the many suitable itineraries which await your arrival on Australian shores; though these are just honorary mentions to those listed below!
Our Destination Guide to Australia has all the information you need to plan for an epic trip, a trip which should take in at least one of these 10 epic Australian bucket-list experiences.
Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb
Book in to climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge – not only is the climb incredibly adventurous and will keep your adrenalin pumping, but you’re greeted with spectacular views over Sydney once at the top.
We highly recommend climbing at night – while the views during the day are spectacular in their own right, nothing beats the beautiful reflection of Sydney’s glittering skyline in the Harbor at night.
Witness the Sun Set Over Uluru
Australia’s most iconic natural attraction, Uluru (Ayers Rock) is the sacred mountain of the Aboriginals who have decorated it with paintings and engravings over hundreds of years.
Visitors can either climb to the top of the 1,142 foot rock (though the Aboriginal community requests you respect their sacred site and don’t climb), or take the 3 hour walk around the circumference. We highly recommend staying for sunset – when the sun begins to set, Uluru glows a majestic color red.
Scenic Australia offer luxury tours of the Northern Territory for those looking to discover more of what the Outback has to offer.
Most people travel significant distances to reach Outback Australia, and while Uluru is a highlight of all Northern Territory tours, there are many more dramatic landscapes and incredible experiences to explore. It would be a shame to return home having only made one stop on your trip to the Outback.
Scuba Dive in the Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral eco system on the planet and consequently has become a Mecca for scuba divers all over the world.
With the opportunity to get up close to incredible examples of Mother Nature’s phenomenal creativity, getting your head underwater when visiting the reef is an absolute must.
Swim with Whale Sharks
Swimming with Whale Sharks on Western Australia’s Coral Coast is the underwater experience of a lifetime, and between mid-March and mid-July, whale shark watching or snorkeling tours to Ningaloo Reef run from Exmouth and Coral Bay.
These gentle giants of the ocean congregate in the Ningaloo Marine Park every year following the mass spawning of coral. They can grow up to 18 metres in length but are completely harmless to humans.
Cage Dive with Great White Sharks
Not exactly as harmless as the Whale Sharks above, though just as thrilling an adventure, cage diving with deadly great white sharks is an epic experience which runs from Port Lincoln, South Australia.
Bookings must be made in advance, and the experience includes a full day out at sea – while there’s only a metal cage protecting you from a set of fairly epic jaws, do note that this activity has a 100% non fatality rate.
Drive the Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road is one of Australia’s most iconic scenic drives, but it’s more than just a road. It’s the experience of a lifetime!!
Hire a car in Melbourne and take a journey along Australia’s most beautiful coastline. Explore the region at your own leisure and take in iconic surf spots, fish & chips by the sea, walk among cascading waterfalls and towering sandstone bluffs, and hike through eucalypt forests to find koalas in their natural environment.
For those more adventurous, consider the Great Ocean Walk, an eight day walk from Apollo Bay to the Twelve Apostles.
Crocodile Diving, Darwin
Experience being thrilled & terrified at the same time by sharing an underwater environment with a 5m + crocodile!
Crocosaurus Cove is Australia’s only crocodile dive and offers visitors 15 minutes in the “Cage of Death” with one of these massive reptiles.
Regular feeding by crocodile handlers when people are inside the cage encourages more movement from the crocodiles and ensures an up close and personal, face to face encounter that must be seen to be believed!
Visit Arnhem Land
As true an Australian experience as you can get, Arnhem Land is unspoiled and incredibly remote – 91,000 square kilometres of tropical wilderness in Outback Australia.
The oldest living culture in the world originates here (dating back 50,000+ years), and the small population of Aboriginal Australians who do continue to live off the land have kept their traditional culture largely intact. Access to Arnhem Land is so restricted that only selected tour operators who have earned the trust of traditional landowners may bring visitors in.
The region boasts incredible barramundi fishing, crystal clear coastal waters for amazing snorkeling and scuba diving, and of course the intimidating yet majestic saltwater crocodiles that will make you feel as though you were in Crocodile Dundee.
Camel Rides, Cable Beach
There is no better way to end the day than by watching the sunset from the back of a camel strolling along the World Famous Cable Beach in magnificent Broome (Western Australia).
Viewing the Aurora Australis
The Northern Lights get all the press, though Australia has a natural light show which is just as spectacular. The Southern Lights are elusive, and as such a sighting is incredibly rare, though one of the world’s most impressive spectacles where brilliant luminescent light dances across the night sky, it’s definitely worth attempting to time your visit to Tasmania to align with the Southern Lights.
Theoretically speaking September is usually the best time for viewing the Southern Lights, and you can track them on smart phone applications like Star Walk (an interactive astronomy guide), by watching real-time maps via Aurora Forecast or by joining the Aurora Australis Tasmania Facebook group which has postings of real-time alerts.
How to Get There
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Photo credits: Sydney Harbor photos via @bridgeclimb on Instagram. Scuba Diving the Great Barrier Reef by Wanderlusters. Swimming with Whale Sharks by Australia’s Coral Coast. Great White Shark photo by Hermanus Backpackers. Cage Diving with Great White Sharks by Calypso Star Charters. Corocdile diving in Darwin by Crocosaurus Cove. Salt water crocodile by Jon Connell. Cooking turtle in Arnham Land by Mark Roy. Sunset at Cable Beach by Binarysequence. Aurora Australias photo by Andy Chiz and James Garlick via Aurora Australis Tasmania Facebook Group.