Travel

50 Of The Best Places To Visit In Australia Right Now

By Jessica Best

desert cliff faces on the coast

From breathtaking islands and sugar white sand beaches to sun-baked landscapes and jaw-dropping natural wonders, here at Urban List, we think Australia is a land of unique and diverse beauty. 

If you're wondering where to travel in Australia in 2024, we've got hidden gems and bucket-list worthy locations you didn't even know existed. To get your travel itinerary started, we've chosen 61 incredible travel destinations you need to tick off. It’s time to get exploring this year.

The Best Places To Visit In Queensland 

Moreton Island

shipwrecks in the ocean
Image credit: Guillaume Marques | Unsplash

Queensland is home to a slew of islands but Moreton is one of our absolute faves. The island is almost entirely declared National Park territory, which means it is largely untouched featuring pristine blue waters, lush rainforest, historical lighthouses and famed natural wonders such as Mount Tempest, the world's largest coastal sand dune structure.

K'gari /Fraser Island

As the world’s largest sand island, it’s not hard to understand why this Queensland beauty has made this list. The UNESCO World Heritage site stretches over 123 kilometres and is a stunning tangle of rainforests, eucalypt woodlands and mangroves, surrounded by long, flat beach highways so yes, four-wheel-driving is a must. 

Cape Tribulation

If you ever wanted to see what Queesnland looked like when dinosaurs roamed the earth, then make tracks to beautiful Cape Tribulation where the Daintree—one of the world’s oldest rainforests—meets the Great Barrier Reef. Want to make a road trip out of it? Work your way from the top of Cape Tribulation and all the way down to Townsville—it's here you'll find the stunning Magnetic Island.

Rainbow Beach

two boats on the water near coastline
Image credit: @thepsychlife_ | Instagram

This little beach town on the Cooloola Coast, is the gateway to Fraser Island. But there’s so much more to Rainbow Beach than its island neighbour. Head to the infamous Carlo Sandblow—if you’ve seen a photo of a giant sand dune in Queensland, this is probably it—for an involuntary cardio workout then sink a cold one or three at the Rainbow Beach Hotel.

Marcoola

Nestled on the Sunshine Coast between Mudjimba and Noosa, Marcoola is the quiet beach town you didn’t know still existed in Queensland. Providing the perfect blend of (mostly) tourist-free beaches with a thriving organic foodie culture and accommodation that won’t cut into your retirement fund, Marcoola is a well-guarded local secret for a very good reason. 

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Palm Cove

aerial of palm trees and a beach
Image credit: Arun Clarke | Unsplash

This dreamy little romantic beach side strip is hard not to fall in love with. From its palm tree lined streets to its huge choice of fabulous restaurants and bars, Palm Cove is tiny but mighty and a favourite of holiday-goers located just a short drive from Cairns. Fall asleep to the gentle crashing waves and wake up to the spectacular sunrises that Far North Queensland has to offer. We can tell you now, you’ll never want to leave.

Fitzroy Island

Just a quick boat ride out of Cairns sits the small but mighty Fitzroy Island with its unbelievable hidden beaches and coves that island dreams are made of. With an endless range of tours and activities such as scuba diving, snorkeling, nature walks, marine biology classes and bush tucker nature walks just to name a few, you’ll be able to keep everyone entertained.

The Best Places To Visit In New South Wales

Nambucca Heads

a river flowing out to sea
Image credit: Destination NSW | Supplied

One of the most scenic areas on NSW’s North Coast, Nambucca Heads is home to a vibrant artsy community, thriving local bushlands, and 23kms of breathtaking coastline. Its name is derived from the Aboriginal word meaning ‘entrance to waters’, and it’s the ultimate spot for surfing, fishing, kayaking and swimming - as well as catching sight of passing dolphins.

Seal Rocks

About halfway between Newcastle and Port Macquarie on NSW’s Central Coast, a tiny seaside village called Seal Rocks protrudes out into the Pacific. Surrounded by the nearby Wallingat National Park and Myall Lakes National Park, Seal Rocks is known for surfing, remote beaches, and its active lighthouse on Sugarloaf Point (where you can also stay!).

Lord Howe Island

a mountain on an island
Image credit: Destination NSW | Supplied

Looking like something straight out of Jurassic Park (the beautiful parts, minus the dinosaurs), Lord Howe Island is packed with jaw-dropping rugged beauty from rainforest-clad volcanic mountains to fern-laced gullies. And be sure to check out Ball’s Pyramid, a dramatic hunk of basalt that is the planet’s tallest sea stack. This is absolutely one of the best places to visit in Australia.

Brunswick Heads

If you venture a 20 minute drive outside the hustle and bustle of Byron Bay, you’ll find yourself in the uber-cool streets of Brunswick Heads, where the baby blue ocean laps up against the rocks and you can forget the rest of the world. There’s a cracking local pub, old school picture house and a thriving foodie scene.

Lennox Head

Big on Urban List’s radar this year, tranquil Lennox Head is where it's at for chilled times on the coast. Just 25 minutes by car from Byron, it’s got just the right amount of chilling versus doing. Be sure to head straight to Seven Mile Beach for the secret swimming spot of your dreams followed by a hike up to Lennox Head lookout where you’ll score views for days. 

Crescent Head

Located north of Port Macquarie, at Crescent Head it’s about the epic surf beaches. With four perfect right-hand point breaks, you can expect to ride for anywhere up to 200 metres, revered by longboarders around the world.

Orange

Just under four hours drive from Sydney, Orange features over 60 vineyards and about 40 cellar doors. Tucked into rolling vine-covered hills and pretty country lanes and set against the backdrop of an ancient, extinct volcano called Mount Canobolas, Orange is Australia’s highest elevation wine region—making it perfect for chardonnay, pinot noir, riesling, pinot gris, merlot, and shiraz.

Coonabarabran

a small hill at night
Image credit: Destination NSW | Supplied

This central-west town in NSW sits near the spectacular Warrumbungle National Park, which is Australia’s first and only Dark Sky Park—an internationally-recognised place of crystal clear skies (Joshua Tree in California and Vrani Kamen in Croatia are two others). Coonabarabran sits on top of a volcanic mountain range and boasts a postcard perfect central village. 

Yamba

This humble little town has recently gained the reputation of quickly becoming the new less bustling Byron Bay, and it's not hard to see why so many are falling in love with this little beachside oasis. From their incredible weekly farmers markets or their picturesque ocean rock pool looking over Main Beach, we can’t get enough of this quaint spot particularly with its central location between Brissy and Sydney meaning you can make a cheeky long weekend getaway without losing a whole day to travel. 

The Best Places To Visit In South Australia

Flinders Ranges

three emus in the outback
Image credit: Megan Clark | Unsplash

The Flinders Ranges are the largest mountain ranges in South Australia, starting around 200 km north of Adelaide. With towering ancient cliffs and epic other-worldly craters, this spectacular landscape is thought to be 800 million years old, and has been home to the Adnyamathanha people for tens of thousands of years.

The Breakaways

The Kanku-Breakaways Conservation Park, known simply as The Breakaways, is one of the most unique settings in all of Australia. Formed by a series of orange, white and red eroded hills above a desolate plateau, The Breakaways are a drive away from the mining town of Coober Pedy, dubbed the “opal capital of the world”, and famous for underground dwellings (“dugouts”) built by locals to avoid the scorching heat. 

Eyre Peninsula

people swimming in the ocean
Image credit: South Australia Tourism | Supplied

Famous for its epic water activities, the thrill-seekers among us can hop aboard a shark cage dive or swim and play with sea lions off the coast of Port Lincoln. For something a little more lowkey but just as stunning, you can watch on in awe as whales and their calves frolic under towering, wave-ravaged cliffs. Seafood lovers will not be disappointed either when they tuck into Eyre Peninsula’s legendary oysters and freshly-caught seafood at the local fishmongers.

Fleurieu Peninsula

The Fleurieu Peninsula boasts coastlines upon coastlines that make you feel like you’re winding your way through the cliffs of the Amalfi Coast. Hot tip, rent out a convertible to really max out on those wind-in-your-hair feels, just like in Positano. This peninsula is also decked out amazing regional food and wine, rugged cliffs and sheltered coves worth exploring.

Kangaroo Island

With more than a third of Kangaroo Island being a protected nature reserve, it’s not uncommon to stumble across the locals including koalas, brown bandicoots, kangaroos, sea lions or even the odd orca whale. Suitably, the island is also home to a number of low-impact, luxury eco-resorts that provide a calming reprise from regular life. This is without a doubt, one of best holiday destinations in Australia.

The Best Places To Visit In Western Australia

Quobba

people walking along a rocky coastline with surfboards at sunset
Image credit: @_ryanchatfield | Instagram

The Quobba Coast is located just south of the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area. Known for its fishing, walking and snorkelling, this thin strip of land stretches out for 160 kms between Lake Macleod and the Indian Ocean. There’s no shortage of wildlife here, either: expect to see roaming herds of wild goats, leatherback turtles bobbing in the ocean, and humpback whales breaching over the waves.

Shark Bay

Out on the most westerly point of Australia, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Shark Bay is known for its dugong (or “sea cow”) population, the wild dolphin hang-out of Monkey Mia, and stromatolites—living fossils that are among Earth’s oldest lifeforms, dating back 3 billion years. The remote Shell Beach is also a quiet place to relax, its white sands made from crushed cockle shells stacked nearly 10 metres thick.

Exmouth

Gateway to the amazing wonder that is the Ningaloo Reef, Exmouth is a tiny town on the coral coast of WA, a 15-hour drive (or 1,270km) north of Perth. A nature lover’s paradise with its coral reefs, colourful fish and whale sharks, the world-famous crystal clear waters of the Ningaloo Reef (which stretches 300km) is the reason visitors flock from all over the world to Exmouth but the whole region is drop dead gorgeous.

The Kimberley Region

Boasting some of the world’s most awe-inspiring landscapes, and fewer people per-square-kilometre than almost any other place on Earth, the Kimberley will stir your soul and awaken your senses. Expect: thundering waterfalls, spectacular gorges, pockets of rainforest and freshwater swimming holes—we promise this will be a trip you'll never forget. 

Esperance 

If you’ve ever seen pictures of roo’s sunbaking on white sand beaches, chances are they were taken at Esperance. Around a 90 minute flight from Perth, this stunner is all
easy-going vibes and great beach life. With fine quartz sand meeting a placid ocean and remote national parks to the town's southeast, there’s also 105 islands just offshore, making up the Recherche Archipelago, which are inhabited by fur seals, penguins and seabirds.

Broome

Set on the Indian Ocean at the top of WA, Broome is straight up gorgeous. Think turquoise waters, uncrowded shores, palm trees and a stunning red-dirt backdrop. Hopping on a sunset camel ride across the golden sand is a must.

Rottnest Island 

moored boats in the ocean
Image credit: Alvin Balemesa | Unsplash

If you were dreaming of a vacay to the Greek Islands, then good news, we’ve found somewhere even more picturesque and way cheaper. Just a short ferry ride from Perth, the island is home to a nature reserve, hiking tracks, secluded coves and loads of gram-worthy beaches (our fave is Little Salmon Bay). 

Augusta

Augusta is the perfect spot for anyone who enjoys the great outdoors. Home to some pretty fantastic fishing and snorkelling, it’s also a great spot for windsurfing and kite surfing as well as a bit of bushwalking. Climb the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse for some pretty special views and then check out one of the Margaret River wineries for a nice long lunch.

Coral Bay

Whenever you see a WA tourism ad, you’re bound to see the sweeping coastlines and azure waters of beautiful Coral Bay. Home to the World Heritage Listed Ningaloo Reef, you’ll be dazzled by how close you can come to some unique and breathtaking marine life like the mighty whale sharks, spot manta rays or dugongs on their seasonal migrations. This secluded paradise is the ultimate vacation for lovers of sun, sand and glorious weather.

Bunker Bay

This gorgeous sheltered little bay is magic for those wishing for a cruisy beachside break without all of the hustle and bustle, but still close enough to the Margaret River Wine Region for when you want your vino fix. Sunbathers will be dazzled by the crystal blues of the unadulterated ocean whilst diehard surfers will have their choice of some world-class breaks all at your doorstep. 

The Best Places To Visit In The Northern Territory

Bitter Springs

people floating in a river
Image credit: @brookandjulius | Instagram

One of our favourite spots for swimming in the Northern Territory, Bitter Springs is also home to some great bushwalks as well as some beautiful native plants which flower each year in March or April. It’s about a 45-minute drive from Darwin and the perfect spot for a picnic or a BBQ so remember to stock up before you go.

Dhambaliya/Bremer Island 

Located off the coast of Arnhem Land, it’s home to four of the world’s seven sea turtle species, boasts a pristine coastline, walking trails and the dreamy Banubanu Beach Retreat. In between sunning yourself on the beach, be sure to check out the famous Yirrkala art centre to gain an incredible insight into First Nations culture.

Tiwi Islands

the coastline of the tiwi islands
Image credit: Tourism NT | Supplied

Comprising two main islands—Bathurst and Melville—one visit and you’ll understand why it’s been given the nickname, ‘Island of Smiles’.  Packed with art, culture and natural beauty, the island’s residents are what make this place so special. Pro tip: some areas do require a permit so be sure to check before you leave for your holiday.

Alice Springs/Mparntwe

Head here from 8 to 17 April to discover Parrtjima, an incredible, free light festival that celebrates First Nations art, history and culture. In between viewing amazing art installations and taking in live music, be sure to check out the stunning beauty of nearby Ormiston Gorge and Simpsons Gap.

Litchfield National Park

a running waterfall
Image credit: Matteo Valetti | Unsplash

Whether you head in for a day from Darwin or Katherine or you camp overnight, Litchfield National Park is a stunner. Push yourself to the limit on the walking trails—the 39km Tabletop Track is a killer—or relax in a swimming hole under one of the waterfalls. And don’t miss Florence Falls and Buley Rockhole for swimming—there’s a nice easy walk between the two that will take you about 1.5 hours.

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about Uluru, we just wanted to keep you on your toes. Of course you’re going to visit the big red rock if you’re going to the Northern Territory, the question is how to tackle it. Base yourself in nearby Yulara and take in the spectacle that is sunrise at Uluru. This will also give you plenty of time to explore the park and take in all its glory. 

The Best Places To Visit In Victoria

Apollo Bay

coastal road in victoria
Image credit: Slava Abramovitch | Unsplash

Further along the Great Ocean Road from summer hot spot Lorne, Apollo Bay is a little bit quieter, but still sees plenty of visitors over the warmer months. Apollo Bay is a great beachside town to base yourself out of if you're looking to explore the amazing sights along the Great Ocean Road. The Twelve Apostles are just an hour away, and the Californian Redwoods in Otway National Park need to be experienced to be believed.

Lorne

Can’t get the idea of sipping ouzo by the Mediterranean out of your head? Why not give Lorne a try instead? Located only a two-hour drive from Melbourne, this coastal town is Australia’s very own slice of Mediterranean vibes, helped along by a thriving arts community and beach views to die for.

Yarra Valley

hot air balloon floating over a valley at sunrise
Image credit: Hendra Pontomudis | Unsplash

While it might be a well known fave among Victorians, if you haven’t been to Yarra Valley yet pop it to the top of your list. Think: boutique hotels among the trees, some of Australia’s best wineries, highly renowned cheese shops and some truly epic drives. In short, it’s the perfect weekender.

Mallacoota 

About a six hour drive from Melbourne, Mallacoota is surrounded by natural beauty thanks to its location on the mouth of the Wallagaraugh River with the Croajingalong National Park to the south-west, and the Cape Howe Marine National Park to the east. Pro tip: The Thurra River dunes walk is a highlight.

Mount Buller

a snowboarder in the snow
Image credit: Seiji Seiji | Unsplash

Between the spectacular sweeping scenery and luxe resort facilities, Mount Buller’s busy slopes are one for the bucket list—it’s no surprise why it’s the chosen quick escape for Melbournians every winter. Boasting two very unique mountainsides, you’ll have the choice of the blue run Northern Slopes or the challenging black trail Southern Slopes to keep that heart rate up. Once you’re ready for some rest and relaxation, you’ll also be spoilt for options with over 35 bars and food hubs perfect for that ideal cosy après-ski vibe you’re craving. 

Queenscliff

Situated on the Bellarine Peninsula, historic Queenscliff is the perfect place for a little sojourn if you're into mouth-watering seafood. Located right on the head of Port Phillip Bay, Queenscliff harbour is a great spot to grab some fish and chips and watch the boats come in. Then take a stroll around town where sandstone buildings line its streets and pine trees are dotted along the foreshore.

Johanna Beach

Located a short distance from Cape Otway, the waves found at Johanna Beach are the creme de la creme, so much so it played host to the World Surfing Championships in 1970. Best accessed via car from the Great Ocean Road, the journey will prove to be worth it with distinct bars, rip channels and waves averaging over 1.5 metres high.

The Best Places To Stay In Tasmania

Coles Bay

a shack on an islandImage credit: Urban List

Located at the northern edge of the popular Freycinet National Park, Coles Bay is one of Tasmania’s most famous natural wonders. Littered with bushwalks, eco lodges, and places to fish, kayak and swim, Coles Bay is a relaxed seaside town, sitting beneath the stunning pink-granite peaks of the Hazards range.  

Bicheno 

Nestled between Douglas-Apsley National Park and Freycinet National Park, Bicheno is a relaxed seaside town on Tasmania’s east coast. A short drive from both Hobart and Launceston, Bicheno is a favourite holiday spot for Tassie locals, with pristine waters, orange rocks and, and at dusk, the town’s resident Fairy Penguins can be spotted waddling up from the see into their burrows. 

Bruny Island

a staircase going down to the beach
Image credit:  Ziyao Xiong | Unsplash

Bruny Island has some of Tasmania's most beautifully preserved natural environments with abundant wildlife and stunning cliff top views. Besides the gorgeous scenery and wildlife, Bruny is also home to local producers specialising in oysters, cheese and chocolate, so here’s permission to stuff your face while taking it all in.

Flinders Island

With only 900 residents and 120 beaches, chances are you’ll have a nice stretch of sand to yourself when you holiday at Flinders. Go beyond the green rolling hills and be wowed by the rugged pink and grey granite mountain ranges of the Strzelecki National Park—there are loads of adorable animals to spot along the way too.

Freycinet Peninsula

Located on the east coast of Tasmania, Freycinet Peninsula is home to the majestic pink granite Hazards mountain range, secluded bays, white sandy beaches, bird-filled lagoons and beautiful Wineglass Bay.

Cygnet

Cygnet is the centre of the Huon Valley, famed for stunning and delicious apple, cherry and berry orchards; 83% of Tasmanian apples originate in the Valley and Cygnet is a great spot to see where all the fruit growing magic happens. Also popular with the artistically inclined, Cygnet is teeming with art studios, galleries and craft shops and also boasts an award-winning winery: Hartzview Vineyard at Gardners Bay.

Image credit: Ben Carless | Unsplash

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