The Best Places to Visit in Australia

Visitors who are planning a trip to Australia might feel overwhelmed because there is so much to see. After all, Australia is vast and showcases multiple cultures and subcultures within its borders.

While different travelers have different priorities, some destinations offer something for nearly everyone. Here are the top places to visit in Australia where most visitors will learn a lot and have a great time.

Visit Natvisa for some travel tips and also read our guide on getting an ETA for Australia.

See also Watch Out for Australian Big Things

The top places to visit in Australia

Byron Bay

Byron Bay was at the heart of Australia’s hippie movement. This relaxed beach town is also the easternmost point of Australia and a hub for many adventure activities like skydiving, scuba diving, surfing (it’s listed as one of the best surfing destinations in the world), and more.

More sedate travelers can enjoy excursions like whale watching or activities like yoga. As Byron Bay becomes more and more popular, trendy bars and restaurants are popping up in the area, too.

Byron Bay hosts a number of festivals and exhibitions throughout the year. Travelers can look at the calendar so they know what to expect when they go or when to plan their next trip.

Surfing holidays in Byron Bay, Australia
Surfing in Byron Bay, Australia

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Uluru is the famous red rock that rises, seemingly out of nowhere, in the Australian outback. While nearly everyone has seen a photo of it, it’s worth a visit in person because it’s much grander and more majestic in real life.

Note that climbing Uluru is not permitted, as it is a UNESCO world heritage site and the rock itself is sacred to indigenous cultures in the area. However, there are other rock formations in the area – such as those in the rest of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, where travelers can do more exploring.

There are also museums in the area that showcase indigenous culture. Humans have inhabited the area for at least 10,000 years and it is both exciting and educational to learn more about them.

See also Why Uluru is the Heart of Australia

Places to visit in Australia
Uluru red rocks in Australia

Sydney

Travelers who love urban life should not leave Australia without visiting Sydney. This vibing metropolis has something for everyone, from an active nightlife to posh restaurants, shopping experiences, whale watching and more.

Visitors who have seen the iconic Sydney opera house can get a tour of it in person, or they can even see an opera there if they come at the right time. Other attractions in the city include Manly Beach, the Federation Cliff Walk, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Bondi Beach, Paddington Markets, Taronga Zoo, Darling Harbor, Sydney Harbour Islands and more.

The most daring travelers will want to take a guided climb of the harbor bridge. Strapped into a harness, they will follow a guide up the side of the bridge for a breathtaking view of the entire city. It’s an experience no visitor will ever, ever forget.

See also A Self-Guided Walking Tour in Sydney

Sydney Harbour, Australia
Sydney Harbour, Australia

The Gold Coast

While it is enough of a tourist trap that some publications don’t suggest going there at all, the Gold Coast has a certain appeal. It is something like Las Vegas in the United States, complete with glitz and glam, and it even has casinos.

The truth is, the Gold Coast hosts some of the best beaches (and beach weather!) in Australia. It also has nightclubs, bars, and enough theme parks for any palate.

People who don’t like everything shiny should head to nearby Springbrook National Park for a serious rainforest experience, or visit Mount Tamborine to taste wine and cheese and see the work of artisans and craftspeople. There are also plenty of great places to visit near the Gold Coast.

How to apply for an ETA for Australia
Aerial view of Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

Alice Springs

Travelers who want a real experience of the Australian outback should visit Alice Springs. It’s 900 miles away from anything else and is a great place to learn about aboriginal history, the settlement of Australia, and more.

Alice Springs offers some odd events, like an annual “regatta” that takes place in a sandy wash close to town. There’s always something going on and, even when it’s a little strange, it’s also quite a bit of fun.

Travelers who want to explore other places in the outback, like King’s Canyon or Uluru, can use Alice Springs as their base camp and head out from there. They can set up everything from camel treks to dinner with Crocodile Dundee, so there’s something for everyone!

Places to visit in Australia
Alice Springs

Port Douglas, the Daintree Rainforest, and the Great Barrier Reef

Port Douglas is a tiny village by the sea that is worth visiting on it’s own just to get away from it all. While some people choose Cairns because it’s bigger, Port Douglas makes a great hub for exploring this area.

Both the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The reef is the largest one in the world, and offers superb opportunities for snorkeling, scuba diving, and more. Protecting the reef is key, as no one wants it to disappear.

The Daintree Rainforest is an ancient ecosystem that has been preserved through careful planning and conservation. Visitors can go hiking, paddleboarding, zip lining, and more, all through curated experiences that also help preserve the land. Beyond that, the Rainforest is home to Cape Tribulation, considered a top white-sand beach in Australia.

Daintree Rainforest in Australia
Daintree Rainforest

Tasmania

Beyond its allure as a separate island from the rest of Australia, Tasmania has a lot to offer travelers. Almost half of it is reserved as National Park or otherwise protected territory, so there’s a lot of natural, open space and many ways to experience it.

From impressive waterfalls to expansive forests and from breathtaking beaches to spectacular crags, the natural wonders in Tasmania can’t be found anywhere else in the world. There’s hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities, all performed in this impressive natural habitat.

Tasmania has culture, too. Hobart is the main city on the island, and it offers unique dining opportunities (like barbeques), distilleries specializing in whiskey and gin, and beer brewed only on the island. The city hosts a number of festivals throughout the year, so there’s always something fun for travelers to do when they’re done exploring in nature.

Places to visit in Australia
Visit Tasmania in Australia

Plan a trip to Australia soon

Visiting Australia is a fun time and, for some travelers, will make their dreams come true. No matter their reason for traveling, they can start planning now to visit Australia soon!

Check out the below posts for more tips and places to visit in Australia:


Interview About the Future of Travel Connections: Stanislav Stepanov

Let’s assume the pandemic is over, which is hopefully soon the case. There are good indicators for it. The steady increase of our website traffic is one of them.

There has been a lot of exciting news in the past few months when we take a look at the tech industry, which will also take its effects into the travel and media industry.

There is for example the improvement of search results. A third of the online users globally use voice search to find results. The evolved AI (artificial intelligence) of Google tries then to provide direct information. Their aim is to give out this information spoken and in the future maybe start a discussion with the user.

Imagine you explore a city and you start the following conversation with your phone:

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You: “Hey Google, list me the best restaurants in the area.”

AI: “Sure, is there a specific cuisine you would prefer today?”

You: “I would love to try something local. But I would also be fine with a good pizza. It’s more important that it’s authentic.”

AI: “There is a very popular street vendor two metro stops away, which is well known for their local and authentic dishes. Here is a video and article about it. If you prefer something closer, there is an Italian restaurant just around the corner, which got 4.5* ratings for their pizzas.”

You: “Give me the directions to the street vendor, but also make a reservation at the restaurant for 8pm tonight.”

So far my fantasy… but Google will need lots of input and support from the community and website operators to be able to create this kind of service.

I’m interested to hear more about what we could expect from this new era. What kind of new tools (tech, deeptech) will be there? Let’s discuss who we have to lookout for and what trends are worth joining, which ones are not?

Let me introduce you to Stanislav Stepanov, who is the founder of Teleportour. His start-up works on being the first “real-time immersive indoor & outdoor interactive 360° video streaming platform for remote travelers and local tour guides”.

Stanislav has over 20 years of experience in the field of business development and a big expertise in the implementation and upgrading of innovation technologies. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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TD: How good is my fantasy? Will we see a similar search conversation like in the example above in the near future?

Stanislav: This example is almost a reality. Services that actually help travelers on their actual journeys are progressing rapidly. Your example is an example of how AI and ML work. These technologies have the widest application today, and the question of a full-fledged dialogue between man and machine (or software) is not a question of tomorrow, but of today. So your fantasy is quite realistic. The main thing is that it should benefit the traveler, who asks questions to the machine (software). And by the way, when people are asking such an AI assistant, they will not necessarily say “Hello, Google”, it may well be for example “Hello, Naver”.

TD: If Google gives out spoken results, how can a website operator, for example a hotel director, tour operator or travel blogger benefit from this?

Stanislav: As can be seen from the same example of a Human- AI dialogue, which by the way is quite a good one that you cited, it is usually of a brief informational nature. Even the quite humane attempt of the AI to give its answers a little more emotional flavor, does not give the user (human) a full-fledged replacement for what he can see with his own eyes, learn for himself (by visiting the same restaurant or hotel). That is, when it comes to the benefits of a specific business associated with travel and tourism (hotel, restaurant, gift store, etc.), then AI is only one of the tools in the hands of marketers in this business – for information and brand awareness in the eyes of the user. A handy tool, but one of a number of tools available to marketers now.

TD: One competitor of Google is Facebook, who calls themselves Meta now. What’s behind the idea of Metaverse?

Stanislav: Behind this idea is exactly the good work of marketers. I’m not evaluating the rebranding or the founder’s latest speech, which has traditionally been the subject of memes on the Web. I’m talking about the level of quotability, and the market reaction that followed. From a marketing point of view – Absolute Bravo! To the team that implemented it.

However, If I start answering the specific “What’s behind it” question, we’re going to have to set aside a couple of days for that. And that’s just for the first conversation )). The fundamental idea of the whole picture of the interaction between the virtual world and the real world, was thesed by Avi Bar-Zeev, one of the legends and pioneers of VR, for whom the topic of the interaction of different realities is the topic of his many years of work. 

In fact, based on this view, there are many different hypostases of the universe, and it’s not just Meta.

Read: Beyond Meta: The Seven Verses

And/or watch:

TD: They call it the “next evolution of social connection”. Do you agree with this? Why or why not?

Stanislav: I almost agree. Unless it becomes the next evolution of separation. Or “disconnection looking like connection”. Are you sure that’s not going to happen? I’m not.

I haven’t seen pickets or queues of Facebook-Meta users with “We need a next evolution of social connection” banners. I haven’t seen people suffering from any lack of social connectivity. I haven’t seen a single research on the subject of humanity’s real request for the evolution of social connection. This is where we have to ask, “What’s behind this?”.

Obviously, we are witnessing a traditional game with the human mind, subconscious and attention. Such games are always very fascinating. And they are often effective, especially when it comes to creating new markets or redefining old ones. The only question is for whom is this game of real value – for Zuckerberg, or for the people living on planet Earth?

I’m just not sure that humanity has decided to abandon human appearance in favor of avatars (artificial faces and bodies) to solve the so-called “lack of social connection” problem. And if it (humanity) did so, it would be nice to know where, when and how such a decision was made.

It also remains unclear how Facebook-Meta’s new strategy fits in with the UN Sustainable Development Goals such as Goal #10:

Reduce inequality within and among countries

Social connection implies people interacting on some basis-whether they agree for free or for a fee-but for the sake of some goal or system of goals. 

TD: We’ve seen the online game “Second Life” which started in 2003. It sounds quite similar. What’s different and what could make the difference to succeed now in the mainstream market?

Stanislav: Second Life is a pioneer community, which essentially started the creation of what is now called the Metaverse (Dejaverse by Avi Bar-Zeev). The strength of the community lies in its members and creators, and in the rules that they agree on and follow. It is the kind of self-organizing environment that sociologists might call a democracy. 

Here I can only quote Natalie Clayton  “We’re going to keep hearing about metaverse for months to come, but don’t be fooled. The metaverse has been here for years, and it’s already bigger, bolder and more wonderfully bizarre than anything Facebook could hope to offer.”

The entire article is here: Virtual worlds are already better than the metaverse will ever be

TD: How can the travel industry benefit from a service like Metaverse? Please give several examples.

Stanislav:  There are a couple of benefits available for the travel industry now. Starting with the nascent culture of 360 video, when travel enthusiasts try to record 360 videos of their trips, and it becomes popular. Periodically, people can find such videos randomly on traditional video streaming platforms, and get their perspective on different travel destinations from a new angle. In general, this type of content for popularizing travel destinations is quite effective if done well.

Another possible benefit is related to marketing again. Organizing online shopping in a metaworld is quite possible, and will be one of the catalysts for sales of travel-related products.

The recent decisions of Barbados (Barbados to Become First Sovereign Nation With an Embassy in the Metaverse) and Seoul (Seoul to Launch ‘Metaverse’ Public Service Platform in 2022) also speak to the applicability and potential of VR, 360, AR for the travel industry as a whole as they become a catalyst for audience interest and a tool to retain that interest, and that is ultimately very important for creating a favorable business environment and a new culture of business interaction. If a virtual universe consists of virtual countries, territories and services helpful for real people in the real world – then why not? It’s a win-win situation.

TD: What other exciting new technologies do you see rising in the near future?

Stanislav: We believe that a large part of video content will exist in the form of 360 video. Its share will grow, and it will grow quite rapidly. There are many factors contributing to this. One of the traditional problems of the so-called 360 VR industry has always been the quality of the content. Many videos were simply uncomfortable to watch before. Now that problem is being solved by major advances in Hard and Software. Hard is getting cheaper, Soft is getting better without exaggeration on a daily basis. Today, a good 360 video camera costs as much as an iPhone, and a good VR headset as much as half an iPhone. And prices are going to go down. This is always the case when a new device enters the mass market. So the question about the number of users of VR (360 video) is a question of time and only time. Everyone understands the difference between 360 video and watching a regular video on a flat device with frames. In 360 video a person is immersed in the content and exists in it. This is why it is called an immersive experience. We believe that through the development of such technologies (a combination of breakthrough solutions in Hard and Soft), it is possible to create very necessary and useful services for a huge number of people all over the Planet.

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Virtual Reality – The Future of Travel Connections? Image by DepositPhotos

TD: You decided yourself to find your luck in that market. Why exactly this niche? We’ve seen 360° videos for several years already, but they never played a bigger role. Not on YouTube and not on other websites really. What can be the gamechanger?

Stanislav: We focus on solving 2 problems: the traveler – experienced or inexperienced, and the local tour guide (or someone who decided to become one).

The way we travel is broken. And has been for a long time now. Travelers are struggling to find a travel emotions substitute by watching traditional travel content on existing platforms. In fact, it is hard.  Because no video can replace travel for at least one billion people who have enjoyed travel at least once in their lives. 

What if a traveler can find a way to enjoy traveling even without leaving home?

We believe there is a revolutionary immersive model to teleport and entertain people and bring them travel emotions. 

And that’s why we created BilliOnAir, the first real-time immersive indoor & outdoor interactive 360 video streaming platform for remote travelers and local tour guides. 

It’s built for experienced and unsophisticated travelers, for professional storytellers, video creators and for the beginners. 

BilliOnAir teleports and entertains travelers, and helps local guides make money.

Here is how it works: the local guides make live streams (more simple wording: shoot and immediately transmit the video) from their locations using 360 camera, and remote travelers from any other locations (at the same time) can watch and interact with the guide and each other if they watch the stream together… For this, a VR headset is not required, but it’s recommended to get a fully immersive experience. Travelers can also engage with guides using a smartphone, PC or a tablet. They book in advance or join instantly any available 360 live stream and start watching and interacting with their guide the same way if they really travel. All in one click. 

For local guides – virtual tours creators – our platform becomes a monetization tool. The guides make money from every stream and every traveler.

No jet-lag, no queue, no time-zone. Just travel.

TD:  If we take a look at YouTube videos, a lot of them are in a low quality. Not from the resolution, but in the way they were produced. You see a ton of shaky videos, horrible camera maneuvers and badly edited cuts and formats.
To produce a 360° video in a good quality is a complete different game. You want to work with professional tour guides who are amateurs in video productions. How shall they be able to produce great videos and then maybe even ‘live’?

Stanislav: BILLIONAIR Broadcasting Kit (BBK) – is the first tuition course made by our team and lead by our Head of Production – Andrii Shramko – one of the most experienced and recognized 360-video content creators and producers.

BBK contains a series of lessons and practical recommendations earned by the most experiences creators of 360-degree video.
This course helps anyone to be able to start making 360 videos and live streams easily.

Combined with all features of BILLIONIAR platform it provides all benefits from the very beginning.

In other words we support our amateur 360-video creators from Day One and help them become more professional. So for them to able to deliver a great quality of pre-recorded or live video content without shakes, horrible camera maneuvers and badly edited cuts.

TD: What about VR & AR? Why should a tourist buy and use a VR device and what value will it provide?

Stanislav: My grandmother lived in a small village in Siberia. For many years they did not have a refrigerator, because it had not yet been invented then, and when it was invented, it was expensive. Every time food was stored outside the house in the -30 to -40 degree cold winter. It was a great and functional, but also only a seasonal solution for preserving meat, fish, etc. In summer, such products were stored in the cellar. It was also a solution, but less reliable.

Then came the era of refrigerators, they have become available, including for my grandmother. It is clear that by the time she was an elderly person, she was happy to have a refrigerator in the kitchen – an out-of-season solution available 24 hours a day at a distance of one step. So she has not to run out every time for products in the cold winter, or climb the steep stairs into the cellar in summer to get them.

Tourists may or may not buy VR headsets. But once they try to use them for travel fun, decision making, shopping, etc., they’ll appreciate the benefits of such an all-season available at arm’s length 24/7 solution

TD: How can travel brands, but also the digital media publishers benefit from this step?

Stanislav: First of all, it is an opportunity for brands to showcase their products in the form of new content. This attracts the attention of the audience.

In the form of content in which you can immerse yourself (drive down a ski slope in Rossignol skis with a friend wearing a new Moncler suit) – even more attention due to the effect of presence.

Well and the main idea – when such content is watched with VR headset, there is nothing else to distract. Thus, brands capture the user’s attention and can do with this attention whatever they want in theory. 

Digital media are becoming global guides and platforms for the engagement of billions of people around the world.

TD: Why are 360° videos a serious alternative? Will this include VR & AR?

Stanislav: 360 video and the engagement of people watching together for example 360 video broadcasts from tourist locations is really a serious alternative to what is now called the meta universe. It’s essentially the same reality that is now becoming available to everyone. This is the same refrigerator for my grandmother in Siberia.

VR and AR technology are becoming the tools to accomplish such an idea. If you imagine a 360-life stream from the center of Rome, when your guide with a camera walks along the route Colosseum – Spanish Steps and tells you about the sights and history, you can see as a feature the pop-up, superimposed AR tags and navigation hyperlinks, which just might contain useful related information or unobtrusive advertising.

Now let’s think about the main thing – why such an alternative is important. What is travel in essence. It is when a person gets out of his usual location (city, country) and physically visits another location – usually far from his home. In today’s world, this is often done by air travel, for it is more efficient to cover a distance of say 1000 km or more. 

A few years ago Boeing conducted a study and obtained this data. Of the entire population of the Earth, only 1 billion people have had the experience of flying by air at least once in their lives. That means that the remaining approximately 7 billion people have never flown in an airplane. That means they have not seen unfamiliar locations in their masses. It means they haven’t and still don’t have enough travel experience. 

Why don’t we help them? Why don’t we give them a convenient, accessible tool so they can experience the emotions of a traveler without even leaving home? At least this way we will bring them closer to something new and unexplored, we will consider our mission accomplished, and then they – users will make their own decisions – to fly to Rome or visit it with a familiar or new guide again in a day, week, month with a 360-live stream for 4 euros instead of 400 just for the ticket. 

Also, if we’re talking about equality, let’s talk about older people who are young at heart but cannot travel fully due to health limitations. They deserve our attention, and the opportunity to travel from the comfort of their own homes, too – and they will be happy to have that opportunity. That’s exactly where there is no prejudice about VR. For them VR is a real way out and a real alternative and help. The same can be said about wheelchair users, of whom there are about 100 million in the world. So the new tool is already becoming a huge benefit for billions of people. And at the same time it helps the tourism industry itself, and local tour guides, which now have the opportunity to create, conduct tours, monetize their skills on this marketplace for an unlimited global audience.

TD: Which destination would you like to explore through a 360° video? With a VR device? Why this spot?

Stanislav: We are focused on, but not limited to, popular destinations. 

I would say that for us it is not so much the name of the geographical point on the map that is important, but the value that this point represents for travel. We focus equally on all kinds of tourist destinations and activities. These are mountains, skiing, sea, beach, museums, castles, city tours, gastro-tours, street performances, sports events, educational tours, nature parks, theme parks. In general, all kinds of activities that travelers can experience and afford while traveling. That’s why we are constantly inviting new and new guides, video content creators, people who know their territories well and are ready to tell other people about them.

The VR device in this case is a good key to the door that says Teleportainment. But it’s not the only one. Our users will be able to use their tablets, smartphones or computers to try the experience. Again, in our inherently democratic model – then let them decide for themselves whether or not to use VR headsets. Personally, I use it because I enjoyed it.

TD: OK, so which destination will you choose and use your VR to watch a 360° video? 

Stanislav: I have a list of hundreds of destinations I want to visit virtually and physically. 

But for sure I would like to see and visit: Bali, Dolomiti, Archipelago Los Roques, Mont-Saint-Michel, Lisboa. My previous dream was about the Alps. But now I live here in Grenoble (France), and my traveler’s dream is around me.