Iconic Beaches

Bondi Beach An essential Sydney experience: carve up the surf or just laze around and people-watch.

Wineglass Bay It's worth the scramble up and over the saddle to visit this gorgeous goblet of Tasmanian sand.

Whitehaven Beach The jewel of the Whitsundays in Queensland, with powdery white sand and crystal-clear waters.

Bells Beach Australia's best-known surf beach is near Torquay on Victoria's Great Ocean Road.

Hellfire Bay Talcum-powder sand in Western Australia's Cape Le Grand National Park, which is precisely in the middle of nowhere.

Avalon The most photogenic of Sydney's gorgeous northern beaches.

Fraser Island The world’s largest sand island is basically one big beach.

Cape Tribulation The rainforest sweeps down to smooch the reef at empty stretches of sand.

Shark Bay Around 1500km of remote beaches and towering limestone cliffs.

Cable Beach Surely the most famous, camel-strewn, sunset-photographed beach in WA.

Islands

Kangaroo Island A great spot in South Australia (SA) for wildlife-watching and super-fresh seafood.

Bruny Island A windswept, sparsely populated retreat south of Hobart, with magical coastal scenery.

Fraser Island The world’s largest sand island has giant dunes, freshwater lakes and abundant wildlife.

The Whitsundays Check yourself into a resort or go sailing around this pristine Queensland archipelago.

North Stradbroke Island Brisbane's holiday playground, with surf beaches and passing whales.

Rottnest Island A ferry ride from Fremantle in Western Australia (WA) is this atmospheric atoll with adorable quokkas but a chequered history.

Lizard Island A real get-away-from-it-all isle in Far North Queensland: splash out on a resort or rough it with some camping.

Lady Elliot Island Ringed by the Great Barrier Reef, this remote Queensland island is the place to play castaway.

Solitude

Blue Mountains National Park The closest true wilderness to Sydney: spectacular canyons, cliffs and dense eucalypt forests.

Flinders Ranges National Park Treading a line between desolation and beauty, the ancient outcrops of SA's Ikara (Wilpena Pound) are mesmerising.

Limmen National Park Remote park with two 'lost cities' of bizarre and very beautiful rock pinnacles.

Cobourg Peninsula Watch for sea turtles and whales (and crocs!) at this isolated stretch of paradise.

Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park Tackle the epic five-day Jatbula Trail in this rugged Northern Territory (NT) wilderness, with plenty of cooling swim-spots on the way.

Cradle Mountain–Lake St Clair National Park Immerse yourself in Tasmania's sometimes forbidding, ever-photogenic landscape.

The Kimberley In northern WA you'll find pounding waterfalls, spectacular gorges, barren peaks and an empty coastline.

Daintree Rainforest Explore Far North Queensland's ancient forest with abundant activities and few tourists.

Sturt National Park Rich in wildlife and deliciously remote, NSW’s far northwest is an accessible slice of the outback.

Winery Touring

Barossa Valley Home to Australia’s greatest reds, with 80-plus cellar doors around historic German-settled villages, in SA.

McLaren Vale An hour south of Adelaide, this is Mediterranean-feeling shiraz heaven.

Tamar Valley Tasmania’s key cool-climate wine area, a short hop from Launceston.

Clare Valley SA's Clare Valley makes riesling that rocks – enough said.

Yarra Valley An hour from Melbourne, the Yarra Valley is the place for syrupy whites and complex cabernets.

Hunter Valley Dating back to the 1820s, the Hunter Valley is Australia’s oldest wine region – super semillon.

Granite Belt Queensland's high-altitude wine region produces some surprisingly good wines.

Mornington Peninsula Southeast of Melbourne and centred on Red Hill, this wine region is super scenic.

Margaret River Known for its Bordeaux-style varietals, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc, as well as a growing number of craft breweries.

Coonawarra Cabernet sauvignon is the name of Coonawarra’s game, with 100-year-old vines as thick as your leg.

Music

Venue 505 Sydney’s best little jazz bar features top-notch performers in an edgy underground space.

Governor Hindmarsh Hotel A sprawling old Adelaide rocker with decent pub grub and all kinds of live tunes.

Palace Hotel An extravagantly muralled old Broken Hill pub enjoying a revival.

The Tote The battered old Tote remains an essential Melbourne rock room.

Corner Legendary live-music pub in Richmond, Melbourne.

Zoo Grungy, alternative and unfailingly original: the best spot in Brisbane for rock acts on the rise.

Courthouse Hotel A raffish Sydney backstreet boozer in equally raffish Newtown.

Apollonian Hotel Historic Gympie pub, relocated to Boreen Point, complete with lush garden and a legendary Sunday spit roast.

Art Galleries

National Gallery of Australia This superb Canberra museum houses 7500-plus works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.

MONA Australia’s most thematically challenging art museum is the talk of Hobart town.

National Gallery of Victoria International Home to travelling exhibitions par excellence (Monet, Dali, Caravaggio): queue up with the rest of Melbourne to get in.

Art Gallery of NSW This old-stager keeps things hip with ever-changing exhibitions, including the always-controversial Archibald Prize for portraiture.

Art Gallery of South Australia On Adelaide's North Terrace, this art gallery does things with progressive style.

Art Gallery of Ballarat Australia's oldest and largest regional gallery, crammed with works by noted Australian artists.

Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory Darwin's classy art gallery is packed full of superb indigenous art.

Ghunmarn Culture Centre One of the Northern Territory's best, with an exceptional collection of art and culture from West Arnhem Land.

Pro Hart Gallery In Broken Hill, NSW, there is a collection of works by this miner-turned-world-renowned painter.

Art Gallery of Western Australia A treasure trove of Indigenous art.

Indigenous Culture

Kuku-Yalanji Dreamtime Walks Guided walks through Mossman Gorge in Queensland with Indigenous guides.

Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre Understand local Aboriginal law, custom and religion on Uluru's doorstep. Book an Indigenous guide for the Rock.

Ngurrangga Tours Cultural expeditions from Karratha in WA to nearby petroglyphs and waterholes.

Dampier Peninsula Interact with remote WA communities and learn how to spear fish and catch mudcrabs.

Kakadu Animal Tracks Tours through Kakadu’s famous Aboriginal rock-art galleries and wetlands, departing Darwin or Jabiru.

Barunga Festival Aboriginal cultural and sports festival near Katherine. Music, dance, arts, storytelling, crafts, football and spear throwing.

Injalak Arts & Crafts Centre Terrific gallery, shop and a chance to sit with the artists while they paint.

Garma Festival One of Australia's best Aboriginal festivals out in Eastern Arnhem Land.

Uptuyu Personalised cultural tours taking in wetlands, rock art, fishing and Indigenous Kimberley communities.

Koorie Heritage Trust In Melbourne: a great place to discover southeastern Aboriginal culture, with tours, and contemporary and traditional art.

Outback Adventure

4WD to Cape York One of the country's great wilderness adventures is the off-road journey to mainland Australia's northern tip: take a tour or go it alone.

The Red Centre Explore Uluru and Kata Tjuta in Australia’s desert heart on a tour from Alice Springs.

Karijini National Park Scramble, abseil, slide and dive through gorges on an adventure tour in this remote WA park.

Oodnadatta Track Tackle this historic former rail route in SA, passing Kati Thanda (Lake Eyre), remote pubs and skittery emus and lizards.

Nullarbor Plain The ultimate outback road trip: 2700km from Adelaide to Perth across the long, wide, arid Nullarbor Plain.

Mungo National Park A wonderful outback destination in NSW, with amazing land formations, wildlife and Aboriginal cultural tours.

Arnhem Land Take a tour of remote Arnhem Land from Kakadu National Park, NT.

Purnululu National Park Wander through these ancient eroded beehive domes in WA.

Gibb River Road 4WD one of the great trails of the outback with a glorious Kimberley traverse.

Hiking

Overland Track Classic, multi-day traverse through Tasmania's heart.

Great Ocean Walk Walk the length of the Great Ocean Rd with superb views all the way.

Six Foot Track The pick of many wilderness walks in the Blue Mountains.

Larapinta Trail Majestic 233.5km track along the Northern Territory's West Macdonnell Ranges.

Uluru Base Walk Take your time on this lap of Uluru: for such a monstrous monolith the atmosphere is surprisingly intimate.

Valley of the Winds A 7.4km loop weaving through Kata Tjuta’s wondrous rock-scapes.

Jatbula Trail An intense, five-day jaunt through 66km of Nitmiluk National Park.

Barrk Walk Challenging 12km walk through the Nourlangie area in Kakadu National Park.

Bibbulmun Track This track stretches nearly 1000km from the edge of Perth through the southern forests to Albany.

Cape to Cape Track Enjoy Indian Ocean views on this 135km trail from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin.

Wildlife

From marine mammals to incredible birdwatching to marsupials of every kind – Australia has some wonderful wildlife and seeing them is worth planning your trip around.

Phillip Island Penguins The world’s largest little penguin colony; catch them at sunset marching up from the sea.

East Alligator River Croc central at Cahill's Crossing, where Kakadu National Park meets Arnhem Land.

Whale watching In season (July to November) you can spy whales offshore anywhere from Eden right up to the Great Barrier Reef.

Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park One of the best places in Australia for wombats.

Fraser Island The wild dingoes here are the purest breed in Australia.

Seal Bay Conservation Park On Kangaroo Island, home to a malodorous colony of Australian sea lions.

West Macdonnell Ranges Black-footed rock wallabies, dingoes, red kangaroos and great birding.

Pungalina – Seven Emu Wildlife Sanctuary Fabulous birding and unusual mammals in a deliciously remote setting.

Kakadu National Park Great for birds, mammals and beautiful landscapes.

Monkey Mia Watch dolphins feeding in the shallows and take a dugong-spotting cruise.