Popular Australia Travel Destinations & Top Tourist Attractions
How can you possibly choose which Australia tourist destinations to visit? It’s a big country and you probably have just two weeks to see it, so it’s definitely not easy. But no matter which Australia vacation destinations you opt to experience, you’ll be impressed — by the clean and friendly cities, gorgeous natural settings, accessible wildlife, secluded islands and award-winning luxury resorts. Popular tourist destinations in Australia include Sydney, the islands of the Great Barrier Reef, Lord Howe Island in New South Wales, Kangaroo Island in South Australia, and Rottnest Island in Western Australia. Best of all, Aussie summer is U.S. winter, so you can hit the beach while the folks back home are hitting the slopes. And even during winter Down Under (June–August), Great Barrier Reef resorts get plenty of sunshine with temperatures in the low-to-mid 70s.
In terms of romantic travel destinations, Australia also excels. Its luxury resorts, such as those scattered amid the 74 Whitsunday Islands on the Great Barrier Reef, make ideal honeymoon hideaways. Amid this mosaic of white sand and swirling turquoise and sapphire reefs couples can relax as their every whim is catered to with genuine Aussie hospitality. And one can’t mention the world’s largest and most famous reef without talking about scuba diving. So let’s just say that if you’re a diver, the waters off coastal Queensland are like your birthday, Christmas and the Fourth of July all rolled into one. The best travel destinations are the ones that match your appetite for indulgence or adventure.
Great Barrier Reef Islands
From the air, the Great Barrier Reef Islands appear as sparkling white-and-green oases against a watery Impressionist canvas dappled with a hundred shades of blue. From the veranda or pool of your suite or villa, they are a resort-lover’s fantasy, sunny islands perfect for a romantic getaway or dive adventure.
Travelers who adore nature and clear, shallow reef water that stretches for as far as the eye can see will enjoy the natural wonderland of Southern Queensland’s Heron Island and Wilson Island resorts. Offering myriad wildlife-inspired activity options, these islands woo visitors with their focus on family fun and eco-romance.
Lord Howe Island
Some say it resembles Bora Bora, but insiders know that Lord Howe Island, located 373 miles off the Australian coast (under two hours from Sydney or Brisbane), is a land-and-sea playground for hikers, birders, divers and anyone who fancies a vacation in a tropical playground few folks have heard of.
Yes, there are kangaroos—koalas, wallabies, echidnas, sea lions and other curious creatures, too—on this pristine Southern Australia island featuring 316 miles of dramatic coastline, a sprawling wildlife sanctuary and a luxurious resort designed to pamper couples with fine food and wine in addition to stellar views.
If it’s diversity you crave, this scenic island located a short drive from Melbourne in the state of Victoria offers plenty of it: scenic pink-granite cliffs, swimmable beaches, golf courses, biking trails, and more. But two of its main draws are its koala centers and its colonies of Little Penguins, which waddle ashore each evening to nest.
Its Mediterranean-like climate, car-free environment, 63 beaches, world-class nature reserve, and miles of biking and hiking trails make this 7.3-square-mile island located off the coast of Fremantle in Western Australia ideal for active travelers. And if you’ve never seen a quokka, you can see plenty of them here.
How to Get There
- Australia’s Islands are accessible from various ports on the mainland by Air, including helicopter, airplane, and seaplane, and by boat.
- Main gateways are Queensland’s Cairns, Port Douglas, and Cape Tribulation.
- Main gateway is Brisbane, Queensland.
- Passenger ferries service many islands including Fraser, Moreton, and Stradbroke Islands.
- Only accessible by air.
- QantasLink offers year-round service departing from Sydney and Brisbane with a flight time of just under 2 hours.
- Kangaroo Island SeaLink operate passenger and vehicle ferries departing four times daily between Cape Jervis and Penneshaw, South Australia, with a travel time of 45 minutes.
- Regional Express operates flights from Adelaide to Kingscote Airport with a flight time of 30 minutes.
Australia has three different time zones. Eastern Standard Time in the eastern states is +17 hours from Los Angeles (PST). Central Standard time in the Northern Territory and South Australia is +16.5 hours from PST and Western Standard Time in Western Australia is +15 hours from PST
Entry and Visa Requirements
- Every Visitor who is not a citizen of Australia or New Zealand must have a visa to enter the country.
- Visas must be applied for before leaving your home country and this can be done online or at an Australian Consulate.
- A wide range of visas may be applied for including tourist and working holiday visas.
You may not bring drugs, steroids, weapons, firearms, or protected wildlife into Australia. Certain food, fruit, meat, plants, seeds, skins, and feathers are also prohibited from entry. Any currency amount over $10,000 must also be declared upon entry.
Travel insurance is highly recommended for any person planning on adventure sports during their vacation. A policy covering theft, loss, accident, and medical issues is strongly encouraged.
No vaccinations or certifications are required unless you have visited a yellow fever infected country within six days of arrival.
Australia uses the Australian Dollar (AUD) and accepts major North American credit cars including American Express, MasterCard, Visa, Bankcard, and Diner’s Club. Currency exchange is available at international airports, banks, and hotels.
Climate varies among region and over seasons. Seasons are opposite of North America so plan accordingly. The Great Barrier Reef and Southern Queensland Islands are tropical and warm while southern areas experience more seasonal variation in climate.
Essential items to Pack
- Sun hats
- Reef walking shoes
- Insect repellant
Weddings & Information
If you are dreaming of a one of a kind Australian Island wedding our Island experts can assist you with planning your special day.
Australia Weddings Information
Non Australian citizens may marry in Australia under the same conditions of citizens:
- Spouses must be of the opposite sex.
- Not be marrying a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister.
- Must be at least 18 years old.
- Understand what marriage means and freely consent to becoming husband and wife.
- Use specific words during the ceremony.
- Give written notice of their intention to marry to their authorised celebrant.
- You must submit a “Notice of Intended Marriage” to a registered Marriage Celebrant at least one month prior to your wedding date – notice can be downloaded from the Attorney General’s website.
- Neither Spouse may currently be married and any previous marriages must have evidence of termination.
- For your marriage to be recognized in your country of citizenship you must obtain an official Certificate of Marriage from Registry i the state in which you are being married.
Honeymoon Wedding Registry:
Islands in the Sun offer a honeymoon wedding registry as a convenient alternative to the traditional bridal registry. Talk to one of our specialists to set up your free registry!
How it works:
- Add items to your registry with your dedicated honeymoon planner
- Inform your friends and family about the trip
- Guests contact us to purchase from your registry
- Collect wedding gifts
- Have the honeymoon of your dreams!
Australia’s islands offer great culinary experiences ranging from unforgettable fine dining to casual bites on the beach.
Bommie Restaurant, Hamilton Island
This fine dining restaurant offers delicious seafood options in a modern, elegant atmosphere. It is the premier eatery at the Yacht Club on luxurious Hamilton Island.
Azure at Hayman Island
This beachfront property serves classic Australian dishes and the freshest seafood. Enjoy a contemporary menu and an open-style kitchen.
The Penneshaw Hotel, Kangaroo Island
A fresh, new establishment in Penneshaw on Kangaroo Island. A classic Australian Pub with a relaxed atmosphere and friendly vibe.
Anchorage Café, Lord Howe Island
A lively café serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Anchorage café has an on-site bakery and dinner menu that changes daily. It is also open late with a fully stocked bar.
Ospreys Restaurant, Lizard Island
This restaurant brings together the flavors on Australia, Asia, and Europe in a fresh ad modern way. They serve three meals a day with stunning views of the beach and sea.
5 Reasons to Take a Vacation to Australia
1. OVER 8,000 ISLANDS TO FULFILL ANY TRAVELER' DREAMS
Australia is surrounded by thousands of island destinations offering a diverse range of landscapes and activities. From the untouched, white sand beaches of Lord Howe Island to the crowd-pleasing penguins of Phillip Island, there is something for every holiday type. Honeymooners will love the private island resorts and families will enjoy water sports and bushwalks. You will experience nature wonders by air, land, and sea. Australia’s islands are waiting to immerse you in adventure, culture, beauty, history, and unforgettable memories.
2. HOME TO WORLD HERITAGE-LISTED GREAT BARRIER REEF
The Great Barrier Reef is an aquatic wonderland for swimmers, snorkelers, and divers. Drift along the coral atolls and discover the underwater landscape that makes up this tropical paradise. The colors of the reef paint a magnificent picture against the backdrop of blue. The clear, sparkling waters are the home to a vast array of fish and other marine life. Visiting the largest reef in the world, so large it can be seen from space, is a must-do for any traveler.
3. VISIONS OF NATURE THAT CAN'T BE FOUND ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD
Australia offers unparalleled wildlife experiences. In addition to exquisite sea life; Kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, penguins, and many others friendly creatures are waiting to great you. Kangaroo Island and Fraser Island are natural habitats for iconic Australian wildlife. Surround yourself with animals unique to Australia and journey through an array of ecosystems ranging from jungles to rock formations, and underground caves.
4. A UNIQUE BLEND OF LUXURY AND WILDERNESS
Whether you are looking for an eco-lodge or a private island resort, Australia’s islands have something for you. Hayman Island is known for its five star properties offering a unique way to enjoy the Whitsunday Islands. The accommodations blend organically into the breathtaking scenery. The many resorts and luxury properties are built amongst the natural splendor and leave the beauty of the landscape unaltered.
5. A BREATHTAKING NEW VIEW OF THE WORLD
A birds-eye-view is the best way to experience the wonders of the Australian Islands. Whether as a sightseeing tour or as transportation from the mainland, helicopters provide an unmatched view of the landscape below. Fly from Melbourne to Phillip Island, cruise above the Great Barrier Reef, or check out Kangaroo Island from above; whatever flight you choose is sure to leave you with spectacular photos and treasured memories.