Australia is a country and continent of great proportions. Spanning nearly 7.7 million square kilometers, 5 time zones, and over 25,000 km (16,000 miles) of coastline, it's difficult to see everything in a short amount of time.
The good news is transportation is efficient and most of the major tourist destinations are located on the East and Southern coasts. Many tour operators focus their reach on this area, however, you can easily find guided or non-guided trips which include the Northern Territory, Tasmania (a.k.a. Tassie), South Australia, and Western Australia.
We've dedicated this page to help you peel back the top layer. If you've never been to Australia before, then this is a great place to start. We've listed our favorite travel partners, a few of our hand-selected favorite trips (which we or somebody we know has been on), and several regions and local experiences we think may make your trip extra special.
Today's group travel is nothing like tour operators in the past. Companies have perfected the styles of trips, catering to audiences young, old, indepedent, social, etc. Since there are dozens of companies that operate trips, we have listed what our experts consider the best of the best.
G Adventures (formerly GAP Adventures), offers trips of all different lengths. Their trips are unique in that they cater to small groups of fewer than 16 and all age groups (except their YOLO trips). accommodations are included, and different service levels are available. If you browse their different trips, it's likely one will seem just right.
Offering trips in Australia ranging from 5 to 27 days, Topdeck offers guided trips, but with flexibility to come and go as you please once you're in a place. Transportation and accommodations is all included. They will offer a plethora of activities, including city walking tours, bike rides, scuba diving, dolphin swims, walkabouts, and more.
Trafalgar has been around since 1947, and for good reason. Their perspective is one of meaningful experiences, promoting local culture and history as their trip takeaways. They are dependable and efficient at finding accommodations which are central and comfortable. You will a have myriad of daily activity options that are optional but really make Trafalgar special.
Oz Experience does not include accommodations. However, you can't complain with door-to-door service, along with a guided drive, humerous and entertaining staff, and fun stops along the way. They help you decide on accommodations, offering pre-bookings while you are en route to your next destination.
EAST COAST ENCOMPASSED–SYDNEY TO CAIRNS
18-days, Sydney to Cairns.
BEST OF AUSTRALIA
14-Days, Cairns to Sydney
14-Days, Cairns to Sydney
SYDNEY TO CAIRNS
Flexible Add-ons, dates, and inclusions
13-Days, 3 Regions
25-Days, Sydney to Melbourne
TASTES OF SOUTHERN AUSTRALIA
11-Days, Southern Great Ocean Road
QUEENSLAND SAND, SAILING & DREAMTIME
12-Day Sailing trip from Brisbane to Cairns
The world's largest sand island has more to offer than just sunbathing. Everything from visiting a 1935 shipwreck (pictured here), to swimming in one of the clearest lakes in the world (Lake McKenzie), you can find adventure every turn you take. Some of the most popular and must-do activities here are camping, floating down Eli Creek (no raft needed), whale watching, fishing, visiting the stonestool sand blow, and, driving highway 75 (a.k.a. the beach!). Caution: Watch out for dingos!
If you plan on traveling up the coast of Australia to (or near) Townsville, then do yourself a favor and take the short ferry over to Magnetic Island. What you'll soon find is this small isle strikes a contrasting, but rewarding balance between sleepy and festive. Magnetic Island is one of the few spots in the world that plays host to both full moon and black moon parties on the beach. Additionally, you can access coves, beaches, forts, and hiking, all by renting scooters and doing your own exploring.
Cairns is the gateway to one of the most incredible, natural wonders of the world - the Great Barrier Reef. You can access either an inner or outer reef, depending on your time frame or budget. Due to its climate, you can visit nearly year-round, however cyclones can be a threat during the rainy season. If you have time, spend some time where others don't! Both the spectacular Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation are merely a short drive away, and just as beautiful as the great barrier reef.
It's not the most frequented region of Australia because of its location, but Byron Bay is worth the trip. Since many travelers go north from Brisbane, they miss out on the small, quaint, picturesque region which has myriad activities and not a ton of people. Scuba diving, surfing, bike rides on the beach, and nightlife are just a few highlights on and off the water.
Just south of Brisbane, lies a picturesque beachfront metropolis that can't be missed. It's not only the most bio-diverse city in Australia, with large subtropical rainforest (complete with skywalk), but the city also plays host to amusement parks, festivals, a wildlife park, zoo, and a wildlife sanctuary. Whether you are with family, friends, or simply traveling solo, you won't be disappointed by the Gold Coast.
Clear water, white powdery sand, and hardly the crowds of most tourist destinations, the Whitsunday islands are worth the trip in and of itself. There are many areas and activities worth seeing in the Whitsundays, so if you're making it this far north, be sure to take your time. Everything from sailing, seaplaning, ocean rafting, and snorkeling make this a perfect, romantic getaway or an adventurer's dream.