Australia bucket list
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Australia Bucket List: Must-See Places & Experiences

From the dry Red Centre to Western Australia’s pink lakes and Queensland’s pure white beach – there are so many staggeringly beautiful places to explore in Australia. As I’m now lucky enough to be living here, I’ve compiled an Australia bucket list with all the incredible places and experiences I’ve read it would be crazy to miss.

I’ll update this post as and when I’m lucky enough to complete them. Do you have an Australia bucket list? I’d love to know what’s on it!

My Australia Bucket List

1. Freycinet National Park,Tasmania

Tasmania’s cool factor went up some significant notches after Lonely Planet named it one of the world’s top ten regions to visit in 2015. From what I’ve read we can expect gourmet food and wine in Hobart and glorious wilderness in Freycinet National Park.  Wineglass Bay, The Bay Of Fires and Cradle Mountain are all high on my Tassie must-see list.

Australia bucket list - Wineglass Bay Tasmania

Who wouldn’t want a sip of this? Wineglass Bay, Tasmania

Stay:  Pumphouse Point is an 18-suite hotel hidden inside an abandoned electrical station. Rooms are split between The Shorehouse (on land, obvs) and The Pumphouse, which sits 250 metres into a lonely lake in a World Heritage-listed wilderness. Wow moments were made of this.

Australia bucket list - Pumphouse Point Lake St Clair Tasmania

Pumphouse Point, Lake St Clair, Tasmania

2. The Kimberley, Western Australia

The Kimberley is a vast yet little known corner of Western Australia, which happens to be larger than 75% of the world’s countries! (How crazy is that?!) This sunburned corner of the country is home to rugged gorges, vast desert and dazzling waterfalls. High on my wish list is a camel ride through the desert at Broome and a drive to the beehive-shaped Bungle Bungles of Purnululu National Park.

Australia bucket list - The Kimberley, Western Australia

The Kimberley, Western Australia – image by australia.com

Stay: Not your average caravan park – Lake Argyle comes with the best infinity pool in The Kimberley!

Infinity Pool at Lake Argyle Caravan Park Kimberley Australia

Infinity Pool at Lake Argyle Caravan Park

3. Esperance, Western Australia

At the bottom end of Western Australian is one of Australia’s whitest beaches (Lucky Bay) and some mind-boggling pink lakes. Pink Lake (7 kilometres from Esperance) is set against a backdrop of some of Australia’s most stunning coastal scenery. In the right weather conditions, the lake turns a soft shade of pink due to the high concentration of algae in the water.

Australia bucket list - Lake Hillier, Middle Island, Esperance

Lake Hillier, Middle Island, Esperance, WA – image by australia.com

Stay: Ideally, somewhere near Lucky Bay with these fellas!

Australia bucket list - Lucky Bay, WA

Lucky Bay – image by visitesperance.com

4. Uluru, Northern Territory

When I first wrote this post I’d been to Uluru for a work trip and longed to go back with my Aussie hubby who had never seen this incredible part of his country. We’ve since been back together and he enjoyed the landscape, culture and bush tucker in Australia’s Red Centre as much as I did!

Read more:

Unmissable experiences at Uluru

Conquering the Kings Canyon Rim Walk

Unusual things you see driving through Australia’s Red Centre 

Uluru Ayres Rock Northern Territory Australia

Stay: Standing at the gateway to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Longitude 131° is the closest accommodation to Uluru, and with its eco-smart fire pits and bespoke Baillie beds it’s one of the most luxurious places you can stay in the Outback. I can only imagine how incredible it must be to wake up and see such a sacred icon from your bed.

Update:  We actually stayed at the slightly more affordable Sails in the Desert!

Sails In The Desert Ayers Rock Resort Uluru Australia

5. The Whitsundays, Queensland

I sailed the Whistsundays during my gap year in Australia but they are so beautiful I want to go back for a second look. In particular I want to revisit the spectacular Whitehaven Beach – 7 kilometres of squeaky pure sand – and do some more snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef.

Update: I did it! I went back in style and stayed on Hamilton Island and had the incredible experience of flying in a helicopter over the Great Barrier Reef and Whitsundays as well as doing my first ever scuba dive on the reef. I stayed here.

Australia bucket list - Whitehaven Beach, The Whitsundays, Queensland

Whitehaven Beach, The Whitsundays

Stay: Luxury hotel group One & Only gave this perfectly positioned property on Hayman Island an $80-million refurbishment. That pool was made for posing (and sunset watching!).

One & Only Hayman Island, The Whitsundays, Australia

The very sexy pool at One & Only Hayman Island – image by australiantraveller.com

6. Jervis Bay, NSW

Another beach world-famous for its pure white sands is that of Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay. Just 3 hours south of Sydney and stuffed with beautiful beaches, dive spots and the odd passing whale and dolphin, Jervis Bay is perfect for a weekend away from the city.

Update: We visited in Jan 2016 when my sister came over from the UK. Hyams Beach was as pretty as we pictured.

Australia bucket list - Hyams Beach Jervis Bay NSW

Stay: I was super keen to stay at Paperbark Camp, the most well-known glampsite in Australia, but it was fully booked. Instead we checked into a safari-style tent at South Coast Retreat at Greenwell Point and had a glamping experience at a reasonable price.

South Coast Retreat Greenwell Point NSW

7. Hunter Valley, NSW

Also close enough to Sydney to make me feel bad for not having been already is the famous wine region of Hunter Valley. My research tells me the region is not only great for wine lovers but also offers incredible rural scenery and a big foodie scene too.

Stay: I recently discovered the luxury Spicers Retreats and it transpires they have one nestled amongst the vineyards of the Hunter Valley. I can imagine it been a really cosy and indulgent place to snuggle in during the winter months.

Spicers Vineyards Estate, Hunter Valley

Spicers Vineyards Estate, Hunter Valley

8. Byron Bay, NSW

A bit like The Whitsundays, I’d been to Byron Bay as a backpacker and felt like I needed to go back as an Aussie resident to see a more grown up side. Byron is one of my favourite parts of Australia – it’s got surfer vibes, bohemian boutiques and a health food scene that make it such a chilled place to escape.

Read more: Stylish guide to Byron Bay

Folk Byron Bay NSW

The very photogenic Folk Byron Bay

Stay: I’d love to indulge in daily yoga and rainforest walks at the multi award-winning The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa.

Update: Bit of a theme here but we ended up staying at the more affordable (but equally chic) Bayshore Bungalows.

We also discovered the newly opened Elements of Byron which we are keen to stay at on the next visit.

Elements Of Byron, Byron Bay, NSW

Brand new Elements Of Byron

9. The Ghan

This last one is not exactly a destination but rather a journey I’d love to take from one end of Australia to the other. The Ghan is a passenger railway which runs from Darwin to Adelaide (its name honours the Afghan camel drivers who used to traverse the region) and takes you right through the centre of the country. The journey takes 2 days in either direction but you can extend your trip by taking off rail adventures in Katherine, Coober Pedy and Alice Springs.

Update: We ticked this magnificent journey off the bucket list in November 2016.

Read more: 

Journey on The Ghan: Australia’s iconic railway 

10 reasons The Ghan should be on your bucket list

Australia bucket list - The Ghan

Journey through the centre of Australia on The Ghan

Places I’ve also been to and loved that you might like to add to your Aussie bucket list:

Fraser Island, Queensland – drive on the beaches of the world’s largest sand island and bathe in crystal clear lakes.

Daintree, Queensland – where tropical rainforest meets the Great Barrier Reef.

Noosa, Queensland – a gorgeous resort on the Sunshine Coast. I had surf lessons here – lots of great memories even if I was terrible at it.

Great Ocean Road, Victoria – incredibly scenic drive with some interesting rock formations (i.e The 12 Apostles and London Arch) along the way.

Rottnest Island, Perth, Western Australia – pink lakes, empty beaches and incredibly cute quokkas.

Australia bucket list - places and experiences you must not missSo that’s my big bad Australian bucket list. I think it will take me a good few years and some big bucks to get through it. Is there anywhere you think I should add?

25 Comments

  • Reply
    Megan
    July 17, 2015 at 6:19 am

    I stayed at Pumphouse Point in May. It is amazing! I’m hoping to go back in the summer. You will love Tassie – the food scene here especially is going off!

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      July 17, 2015 at 6:57 am

      I know I’ve been saying this for a year but I do intend to make it to Tassie some day soon. Everything I read (including your blog) makes me desperate to visit!

  • Reply
    zoe woodend
    July 17, 2015 at 7:08 am

    Will be my first time in Perth in December, any recommendations? Rottnest is on my list…..

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      July 19, 2015 at 11:21 pm

      You must see Cottesloe Beach – so stunning. Fremantle is cool, I did a night prison tour there but I have a feeling the prison is now a YHA hostel! Also Kings Park has beautiful views of the city, a very pretty perch for a picnic.

    • Reply
      Catherine
      August 18, 2015 at 4:21 pm

      Hey Zoe,

      (Jayne hope you don’t mind me jumping in here!), I used to live in Perth and went to school there, so I go back every year to visit fam&friends and have lots of tips and recommendations on my blog! You can find my Perth posts here if you’re interested. I also have a few on Rottnest.

      Hope they help! Drop me a tweet or email if you need any more advice!

      C x

      • Reply
        Jayne Gorman
        August 18, 2015 at 11:10 pm

        Thanks Catherine – you’ve answered much better than I could!

  • Reply
    Talia
    July 17, 2015 at 11:30 am

    I left Australia 6 months ago, and just agreed to stay in the UK for another 18 months… Now I’m almost about to regret the decision! I’ve only been to a few of these places, and the rest are going on my bucket list as well! So tempting…

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      July 19, 2015 at 11:19 pm

      They’ll be here when you get back 😉 Enjoy the UK experience!

  • Reply
    Jennifer Stevens | Adventurous Appetite
    July 17, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    Yeah, I’m gonna need to go back to Australia. Great list.

    http://www.adventurousappetite.com

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      July 19, 2015 at 11:18 pm

      Ha, I need to get exploring don’t I. I wrote this as a reminder not to take my location for granted!

  • Reply
    Danielle @ EscapingEssex
    July 18, 2015 at 9:37 am

    These all look absolutely incredible! I was never that fussed about visiting Australia as it seems like a real distance to travel from the UK for not that much of a culture shock (in comaprison to Asia, Africa, South America etc.), but travel blogs are thankfully making me see how beautiful the country is! I need to get over there now!

    Danielle | http://www.escapingessex.wordpress.com

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      July 19, 2015 at 11:18 pm

      It’s such a vast and diverse country with so much beautiful dramatic scenery and years of ancient culture, let alone the modern day food and leisure scene. I get what you mean but I think many underestimate it. Come visit 🙂

  • Reply
    Alys | A Girl Who Reads
    July 18, 2015 at 9:49 am

    I grew up near the Hunter Valley and recommend it to anyone who asks where they should travel down under. Its such a lovely part of the world but its also a really easy weekend away for Sydney based peeps.

    Never considered the Ghan but I could see it having a certain appeal, its not really countryside you would see everywhere

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      July 19, 2015 at 11:12 pm

      We must go to the Hunter Valley soon. You so often forget to explore what’s on your own doorstep but it sounds like we shouldn’t miss this area.

  • Reply
    Jodie Young
    July 18, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    I want to stay in all of the places you’ve listed but mostly the one in Kimberley with that amazing infinity pool. Am excited to read about these adventures when you do get to tick them off!

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      July 19, 2015 at 10:48 pm

      The Kimberley looks incredible doesn’t it. I best get saving/planning 🙂

  • Reply
    Alice
    July 19, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    I this post has made for wonderful Sunday daydreaming!

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      July 19, 2015 at 10:48 pm

      Ha – got to love a bit of armchair travelling!

  • Reply
    Janice Stringer
    July 20, 2015 at 8:08 am

    Hi Jayne,
    Visit Julia Creek – I can honestly say that when I stayed in this little Queensland outback town, it had the most incredible feeling of love and for the first time (and only time) I thought about making a home in a place which was in the middle of nowhere – with just one main road running through it.
    It’s also where I saw the Goldfish bowl we live in,for the first time. As I looked up to the gazillion stars in the night sky, holding my young daughter’s hand and contemplated how small we truly are and the wonders of the universe.
    A truly magical place
    🙂

  • Reply
    Helen Tarver
    August 1, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    I loved Booker Bay up on the central coast, just an hour or so out of Sydney on the train. Fantastic coffee shop, Coast, to pass some time in, especially for brunch. And a hokey pokey chocolate ripple muffin. And visiting Uluru was the most magical experience, from the sunrise walks to the sunset dinner and star talk.

    But breakfast at Bills in Surry Hills was definitely on my food bucket list for that trip, and did not disappoint.

    I’m just thinking I should start another Australia bucket list. And a return trip to Bills would definitely be on it.

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      August 3, 2015 at 3:52 am

      I’ve never heard of Booker Bay but you’ve made me want to look it up. Thanks for the tip 😉

      And I agree Bills is great, an Australian foodie bucket list would be awesome!

  • Reply
    Catherine
    August 18, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    Lucky Bay is breathtaking, we went shortly after we moved there in 2007, and it was just incredible! Sadly didn’t see any kangas on the beach, but the water is the clearest I’ve ever seen and the sand is so clean and pure that it squeaks!

    I’d love to visit the Whitsundays and do The Ghan!

    C x | Lux Life

  • Reply
    Tabitha
    October 15, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    These look absolutely amazing! Definitely going back to this post once my sister and I get into the specifics about our year in Australia. Can’t wait to read more, great blog!

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      October 20, 2015 at 6:46 am

      Thank you! I remember how I excited I was to plan my first Aussie trip. Let me know if I can help with any tips. J

  • Reply
    Jenelle
    November 17, 2016 at 1:14 am

    Let us know next time you are back in Perth and I’ll meet you for coffee and share some of the best spots!
    xx Jenelle
    http://www.inspiringwit.com/

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