Have you ever had a want to explore the untouched corners of the world while having the opportunity to stop at a friendly pub and eat a feast at a local fair? Have you felt the need to see some of the most unique and intriguing wildlife while diving below the surface of the waves? Do you have the fantasy of immersing yourself in live music and culture, with the chance to get away to cascading waterfalls a short drive away? Look no further as the wonderful land of Australia has all that and more. This amazing country is easily accessible through flights, cars, and buses. Also, it has an abundance of cheap accommodation options such as camping or backpacking. Here are the ultimate 10 places to visit when you are backpacking through Australia.
Airlie Beach, Queensland
The best-known party town, backpacker destination, and one of the most picturesque spots lies on the east coast of Australia. Airlie Beach began as a sleepy town at the heart of the Whitsunday’s, which feature over 74 islands and islets on the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. Now it is filled with backpacking hostels, restaurants, clubs, and bars along with a myriad of water-based activities.
When in Airlie Beach, hop onto one of the many sailing cruises which will take you to Whitehaven Beach. A top tip is to find one which includes your lunch fished fresh from the sea and all-you-can-drink alcohol. If you are an avid hiker, challenge yourself to the Great Walk, which is a 30-kilometer trek that takes you through the rainforest to some of the most stunning settings along the coast. If you prefer a smaller walk, the Airlie Beachside of the Great Walk will give you a great view of the whole town and islands in the background. On a hot summer day, make sure to join the locals and cool off at Cedar Creek Falls in the freshwater creeks.
Broome, West Australia
This tiny coastal city has become a traveler’s favorite for anyone who decides to tour Australia in their car. Also, it has gained an impressive collection of backpackers who never want to leave. Whether it is the extensive, white sand beaches facing the setting sun that gets people into a celebratory mood, or the vibes of a quaint outback town, the result is a unique city like no other. Every street is photo-worthy. When eating out, prices are quite high if you decide to eat in restaurants. However, there are plenty of caravan parks and backpacker hostels where you can seek refuge from spending all your money.
When exploring Broome, save an evening to bring a picnic to Cable Beach and enjoy the oceanfront sunset. If you are feeling more adventurous, you can head over to Gantheaume Point and jump off the cliffs into the cool water in high tide. At low tide, you can explore the rocks and try to find some dinosaur prints. Another great activity is to get yourself a kayak and paddle up and down Riddell Beach.
Byron Bay, New South Wales
Visit the iconic surfing and laid-back beach town located on the northern end of New South Wales. Byron Bay is synonymous with bare feet, long hair, incense smells, markets, and a collection of youths surfing and chilling in the sun. The main beach provides ample space for sunbathing, surfing, swimming, and playing music in the breezy coastal air.
While you venture through Byron Bay, take a walk from Main Beach over to Cape Byron and check out the easternmost point of Australia. You can also enjoy many of the live music events that are happening at the local cafés, restaurants, or even on the crowded and lively streets. One of the highlights in the area is the beautiful underwater world. You can try your hand at Scuba Diving or Snorkeling at the marine packed Julian’s Rocks with Sundive. There you will see leopard sharks, grey nurse sharks, manta rays, sea turtles, along with many schools of fish.
Cape Tribulation, Queensland
On your trip to Australia, you will most certainly be heading to check out the Great Barrier Reef. Most people will visit Cairns as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, with little thought to the beautiful nature that surrounds the small town.
Cape Tribulation is one of the world’s oldest rainforests and is a short two-hour drive north of Cairns. You will need to hire a car and take a barge across the Daintree River, drive through the winding roads of the rainforest before reaching Cape Tribulation. Here you will find expansive (but crocodile infested) beaches which are the perfect spot for picnics, fire twirling, dance parties, and having a few drinks in the warm air.
When on your way to Cape Tribulation, hop onto one of the crocodile cruises where the local operators will tell you each crocodile by name. Also, you’ll hear interesting, but long-winded stories about the crocs’ personalities and histories. Another fun stop on the way is the Cape Tribulation Fruit Farm, where you can taste some of the most delicious and unique ice cream flavors. To cool yourself in the hot summer air, you can swim in Mason’s Swimming Hole for a gold coin donation. There you will be surrounded by rainforest, yet completely safe from crocs.
Double Island Point, Queensland
Ideally, you will want to get yourself a four-wheel drive and head up towards Double Island Point during low tide from Noosa North Shore. Here you will be greeted by stunning rainbow-colored dunes, a beach which doubles for a highway, and gentle waves welcoming any level of surfing.
Also, in Double Island Point, you should try out surfing with surf lessons from Rainbow Beach. To get the full experience, spend your nights like local Australian families camping in the dunes. Bring yourself a cooker, beers, and enjoy the sound of crashing waves and the glittering milky way above. After your beach adventure, take a break from the sand. Head further north to explore Rainbow Beach and grab a drink at a local pub.
Fraser Island, Queensland
This is the largest sand island in the world, a world heritage site, and a truly unique destination. Whether you opt to do a self-driving adventure or jump onto one of the guided tours from Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, or Rainbow Beach, it will be an adventure you’ll never forget.
When on Fraser Island, stop at Eli Creek for a lazy river ride through the endemic sandy forests. Then you can head over to snorkel in the crystal-clear Lake Mckenzie, which is a freshwater inland lake located at the heart of Fraser Island. Furthermore, enjoy the natural jacuzzi of the champagne pools created by waves crashing into shallow rock pools. From July to October, you can watch for Humpback Whales during the migration season at any of the elevated points.
The capital of the island state of Australia is a beautiful destination in Australian summertime. During the winter, the freezing Antarctic trade winds make it bone-chilling to visit. However, Tasmania provides a welcome relief from Australian summer. The island is small enough that you can travel the whole perimeter within a week with a rented camper van or car.
During your visit to Hobart, make use of the many restaurants and stylish bars scattered across the inner city. Take some time to visit Salamanca Place in the heart of Hobart which features picturesque sandstone buildings. To make the most of the state, check out one of the many wineries in the northern end of Tasmania. Grab a car and visit Freycinet National Park for some quad biking adventures, stand up paddleboarding, kayaking, or hiking in the colorful rocky landscape. The Tamar River region is surrounded by wineries located on hills with breathtaking views of the water and green countryside.
Adelaide, South Australia
A smaller capital than many other states, Adelaide has a unique combination of being less populous while housing some spectacular historic buildings and attractions. Wander through the city to explore this old mining town and indulge in what South Australia is most famous for: wine.
As you indulge yourself with amazing Australian wine, visit the Adelaide Central Market. Here, you should get some fresh produce and check out the stunning architectural structures of the inner city. Head over to the Cleland Conservation Park where you’ll be met with gorgeous panoramas; a reward along with hiking and walking trails. Rent yourself a bike and cycle along the coast on the Riesling Trail. It is part of the 800-kilometer Mawson Trail, but it offers visitors a sneak-peek of the gorgeous vineyards and rugged coastline.
The Kimberley, West Australia
Almost unanimously voted as the most spectacular place in Australia, the Kimberley is Western Australia’s hardly inhabited northern region. Its extraordinary landscapes and water features aren’t to be missed. The ranges are rugged, the topography dramatic, and the semi-arid savanna gives you the impression that you are on a different planet.
When visiting The Kimberley, make sure to save some money to watch the natural phenomena of the Horizontal Falls; whether by boat or plane. Also, don’t forget to visit the Windjana Gorge National Park. Here, you can camp near the crocodiles, canyon through the dramatic sheer cliffs, and wonder at the lack of civilization. Drive over to the Danggu Gorge National Park for another dramatic rock formation rising steeply from crocodile-filled waters.
Darwin, Northern Territory
Looking for an endless summer? The sun blazed earth of Northern Territory provides never-ending summer days. In Darwin, you’ll be welcomed with beautiful sunset views from the beach every evening. However, chances are, you’ll also get red dirt in every orifice. But it’s worth it as you’ll get really familiar with the giant crocodiles.
Check out Mindil Beach, which is known for its night markets. This is where you can enjoy the cooler evening temperatures after a hot day. Then take some time to swim under the waterfalls at Florence Falls in the Litchfield Park. Do not worry! These areas are monitored for crocodiles. Also, don’t forget to save a day to take a trip to the world-renown Kakadu National Park! Here, you will see rugged bushland along with Aboriginal rock art sites!