Australia is the smallest continent in the world. That may be part of the reason it’s a relatively overlooked tourist destination. It shouldn’t be, though, because it’s one of the most beautiful and lively nations in the world.
There’s something for everyone, from incredible beaches, fine dining, and high-class hotels to cultural exhibitions, art, and much more. Tourism is an essential component of the Australian economy: it’s responsible for more than 3 percent of GDP.
To support this healthy industry would be great for both the country and your life experience. More than a 7.4 million visitors visit each year, and if you join that group, you enjoy sun, sub-tropical climates, and some of the nicest residents you’ve ever met.
When you book your trip, here are six of the cities you should stop and see.
Sydney is the best-known tourist destination. With more than 4 million residents, Sydney boasts of excellent cuisine, nightlife, cultural amenities, shopping, and more. One of the most famous attractions is the Sydney Opera House, which hosts the best shows in the country.
If you can, plan to spend a few days here, so you can explore the architecture, inner-city attractions, and gorgeous scenery. Make sure you hit up the Manly, Darling Harbour, Paddington Markets, Powerhouse Museum, Taronga Zoo, and the Royal Botanic Gardens.
If you’re seeking Aussie culture, stop in Brisbane. It’s smaller than Sydney and ostensibly more humble, but it offers all the benefits of an Australian metropolis.
The arts, live music, outdoor activities, and unbelievable year-round climate make it one of the best places to stay on a trip down under. When you go, book your stay at the Regatta Hotel, which features an excellent bar and restaurant: perfect for everyday dining or a special outing with friends. It was voted the best restaurant in Queensland, according to the Queensland Hotels Association.
If you’re the kind of person who books your vacation around food and drink, Adelaide is the ideal stop. It’s often bypassed because it’s located on the south side of the east coast, but it’s well worth the trip.
Adelaide is known as the wine capital of the country, with more than 200 wineries, including Penfolds and Jacob’s Creek. You can go wine tasting, eat at incredible restaurants, and do some wildlife spotting along the eastern coastline.
Tahiti is technically an island off the Australian coast and not part of the continent itself. It’s the largest of the French Polynesian islands, so you’re sure to find everything you’re looking for in a luxury vacation.
You can wander through the leafy forests, rest on the white sandy shores, photograph the iconic sunrises and sunsets, eat French crepes with poisson cru served at your shoreside hotel, and breathe in the scent of peace and renewal.
Tahiti has a special draw for vacationers in search of total relaxation, romance, and incredible scenery. It might not have the romantic allure of the more mainstream Bora Bora islands, but there are incredible opportunities here to get some much-needed rest and relaxation while broadening your cultural horizons.
For those who like their vacations jam-packed with activities and events, Melbourne is the stop. Although geographically small, Melbourne has more than four million people, and there’s always something going on.
Whether you want to sample wine in the Yarra Valley, shop the vendor-lined streets, see a professional cricket game, attend a concert, or enjoy the famous Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, you won’t have any problem staying entertained while visiting the city.
6. The Great Barrier Reef
Scuba divers, snorkelers, and other underwater explorers put the Great Barrier Reef on their bucket list. Located in the Coral Sea, just off the coast of Queensland, it’s the world’s largest barrier reef system.
It contains more than 2,900 varieties of coral reef, hundreds of islands and cays, and thousands of marine species. Even if you’re not an experienced underwater explorer, you can still fully enjoy this diverse and incredible ecosystem by doing amateur snorkeling and boat tour.
Australia is a beautiful destination at any time of the year. This above is just a handful of the great cities, culture, and events that Australia has to offer.