01 of 07
17 Bucket-list worthy icons to visit in Australia
From our wide-open spaces, natural wonders and underwater gems to our man-made works of art, Australia is teeming with bucket-list worthy icons. No matter what state or territory you visit, there’s bound to be a site that takes your breath away. The truth is, this list could be titled “100 Bucket-list worthy icons”, but we had to stop somewhere so this is the short list…Continue to 2 of 7 below.
02 of 07
3 Bucket-list Icons to visit in Queensland
As the second-largest state in Australia, Queensland is a delicious mix of sprawling outback and stunning coast, with a number of stunning islands scattered off its shore.
As the state’s key tourist destination, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and certainly deserves its celebrity status. Stretching from Fraser Island in the south to the Torres Strait in the north, the reef is the world’s biggest single structure made from living organisms and can be seen from outer space!
While we’re talking big, let’s keep talking about Fraser Island. This largest sand island on earth is home to rainforests, fresh water lakes, creeks and a stunning coastline, not to mention a menagerie of native Australian wildlife such as echidnas, possums, sugar gliders, dingoes, snakes, cockatoos and wallabies. It’s extremely popular among campers and fishers and can be accessed by ferry from the mainland.
Next, if you travel 1,500km west of Queensland’s capital city, Brisbane,... the white sand of Fraser is replaced by Big Red. Located just outside Birdsville on the edge of the Simpson Desert, the Big Red Dune is the world’s largest sand dune desert and stretches into neighbouring South Australia and Northern Territory. The Birdsville Big Red Bash is a music festival held at the unique destination each year, showcasing some of the country’s most-loved artists.Continue to 3 of 7 below.
03 of 07
3 Bucket-list Icons to visit in New South Wales
When it comes to Aussie icons there are two man-made structures in Sydney that immediately spring to mind: the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. These two would most likely be on any tourist’s list of ‘must sees’. While perhaps not as breathtaking as our country’s natural landscapes, they are feats in construction and design.
You can get up close and personal with the ‘coathanger’ by booking a Bridge Climb, or simply walk across and marvel at the gorgeous old girl, who was constructed in the 1920s and 30s.
The Opera House steps are where many tourists will snap their photos, but with more than 1,500 performances each year, it may be worth shelling out some cash to appreciate what many artists describe as the best stage in the world.
If you can’t make it as far as Uluru, Australia’s other incredible rock can be found in the New England region of NSW, just outside of Tenterfield. Bald Rock is a huge granite outcrop found in the Bald Rock National Park and offers incredible views... from its summit. While you’re in the neighbourhood, pop over to Thunderbolts Hideout for a look at a piece of Australian bushranger history.Continue to 4 of 7 below.
04 of 07
3 Bucket-list Icons to visit in Western Australia
For a no holds barred insight into Australia’s convict history take a tour of Fremantle Prison. Built using convict labour in the 1850s, the jail became a maximum security facility before its closure in 1991 and now offers a variety of tours into its underbelly, including cell blocks, gallows, whipping post and prisoner works of art.
Just a ferry ride from Fremantle, you’ll find the spectacular Rottnest Island. Hire a bike and get peddling to discover hidden beach pockets where you can step off into stunning clear water and reef. Keep an eye out for quokkas, the island’s most famous marsupial.
Another brilliant icon to visit in the west is The Kimberley, aptly described as a ‘magical place’. It is found in the most north-west pocket of WA and Kirstin, who has travelled extensively through the region, says it deserves its reputation.
“It makes you feel wonder and awe as well as connected with the earth around you,” she shares.
“You can be driving through desert spinifex country on a rough... track in the middle of nowhere and then all of a sudden come across a magnificent gorge with towering rock in a myriad of greys, reds and browns and water so clear you can see the fish and crocs swimming.”
Sounds like a must-do bucket list location to us!Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
3 Bucket-list Icons to visit in the Northern Territory
We’ve left the best ‘til last. It’s hard to pick just a few gems from this magical place.
Kakadu National Park is just a few hours from Darwin, but you could spend weeks trekking through virtually untouched landscapes and cruising billabongs as you learn fascinating local Aboriginal culture.
Head 1,000km south of Darwin and you’ll meet the Devil’s Marbles (Karlu Karlu). The giant granite boulders, which can be found in a range of different formations, hold great cultural and spiritual significance to the traditional Aboriginal owners of the land.
Our most iconic outback landmark is found 335km south west of Alice Springs and stands almost 350m high. Uluru (Ayres Rock) is at its most magical at sunrise and sunset and you’ll find a host of tourist options, from camping to camel rides and helicopter tours, to make sure this is more than just a bucket list experience.Continue to 6 of 7 below.
06 of 07
2 Bucket-list Icons to visit in Victoria
No matter who you speak to, most Australians would have the Great Ocean Road on their bucket list. The 243km stretch of highway winds from Torquay (west of Melbourne) to Allansford and was built in honour of our fallen World War I diggers by returned soldiers. The drive hugs sheer limestone cliffs as it takes you past the Twelve Apostles, famous beach breaks and charming seaside towns.
If city exploration, food, coffee and fashion are more up your alley, the city of Melbourne is a must – specifically, the city’s many laneways and arcades. Look down, look up, look to the side… wherever you look there is something to discover: delicious treats, trendy clothing stores, kitsch homewares, kooky gifts and stunning street art. Be sure to pick up a map of all the little alleys so you don’t miss any, and check out Trip Advisor for great Melbourne accommodation deals.Continue to 7 of 7 below.
07 of 07
1 Bucket-list Icon to visit in Tasmania, South Australia, and the ACT
1 Bucket-list Icon to visit in Tasmania
You could be forgiven for thinking you’ve just landed in Canada if you visit Cradle Mountain in Tasmania in the winter. Standing at its base and looking across Dove Lake, you’ll see snowcapped peaks reflected in the glassy blue water. Poking out of the Central Highlands, 1,545m above sea level, the mountain can be climbed most of the year, but can be dangerous come winter so know your limits.
1 Bucket-list Icon to visit in South Australia
It’s time to put your hiking boots on and discover the Flinders Ranges. Starting about 200km north of Adelaide, the state’s largest mountain range is home to the iconic natural amphitheatre, Wilpena Pound. The richness in the colour of the rock and cliffs is at its best around sunset. Another iconic landmark in the region is The Cazneaux Tree, made famous by photographer Harold Cazneaux in 1937.
1 Bucket-list Icon to visit in the Australian Capital Territory
Lake Burley Griffin may not boast idyllic white sands,... crystal clear water or exotic Australian marine life, but this Canberra icon has plenty to offer. Incredibly, the 11km stretch of water was man-made in the 1960s, and today it is surrounded by numerous world class attractions and national institutions, including the National Library of Australia and the National Gallery of Australia.