Australia is more than the outback, kangaroos and the Sydney Opera House. The country has a surprising variety of sights and you’re sure find something right up your alley, whether you’re a foodie, a city slicker or prefer the great outdoors. Here are 20 of the most important sights to see Down Under. The list is subjective, of course, but it represents the many different facets of Australia.
Sydney Harbour, Sydney, NSW
Sydney Harbour is where the action's at in Australia's largest city. It's also home to two of the country's most iconic sights: Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House.
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Street Art, Melbourne, VIC
Melbourne is widely regarded as Australia's cultural capital. It's also famous for the colourful street art adorning many of its back alleys.
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Sculpture by the Sea, between Bondi and Tamarama, NSW
Bondi Beach is the most famous beach Down Under. In the spring, the coastal walkway south of Bondi is home to 'Sculpture by the Sea', one of the world's largest outdoor sculpture exhibits.
It takes so long to get over there from Canada, but we promise it's worth it. And hey, you may even pick up on the secret language of flight attendants!
Elizabeth Farm, Sydney, NSW
Dating from 1793, Elizabeth Farm in Rosehill, one of Sydney's Western Suburbs, is the oldest surviving house built by European colonists.
Macquarie Harbour Penal Station, Macquarie Harbour, TAS
One of the most notorious penal settlements in Australia was the one on Sarah Island in Macquarie Harbour, Tasmania. It was established in 1822 and operated for 11 years. One convict famously killed another so that he would be executed rather than have to spend more time in this hellhole.
The Old Bush Inn, New Norfolk, TAS
Think about things associated with Australia and beer will probably be near the top of the list. According to the website Gdaypubs, the Old Bush Inn is the oldest continually licensed hotel that still operates in the same building.
The Barossa Valley, SA
A little under 60km from Adelaide, the Barossa Valley is one of Australia's most famous wine regions. It's also one of the oldest, having been established in 1843 by German settlers.
Stromatolites, Shark Bay, WA
Stromatolites are among the oldest life forms on Earth. They look like rocks but are actually teeming with cyanobacteria. Shark Bay is one of the few places in the world where you can still see living stromatolites.
Australia's most recognizable natural landmark is Uluru, known to many as Ayers Rock. This reddish rock formation is a sacred site to the area's Aboriginal people and is steeped in myth.
Kakadu National Park, NT
Covering an area of nearly 20,000 square kilometres, Kakadu National Park is the largest of Australia's national parks. It's also renowned for its Aboriginal rock art and archaeological sites.
Australia Zoo, Beerwah, QLD
There are many places Down Under where you can see the country's weird and wonderful animals, but the most famous is the late Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo, now owned by his widow Terri.
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Canberra is an entirely planned city and its design was decided through an international contest. The Australian capital is home to Parliament House and several national museums.
Salamanca Market, Hobart, TAS
Tasmania is fast establishing itself as one of Australia's premier foodie destinations. On Saturday mornings, the place to be is the Salamanca Market, held in a historic part of Hobart.
Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island, QLD
The Great Barrier Reef offers some of the best scuba diving in the world and its islands are renowned for their beaches. Most spectacular of all is the 7 km stretch of fine, bright white sand known as Whitehaven Beach.
Coober Pedy, SA
The mining town of Coober Pedy's first tree was made of scrap metal. To deal with the oppressive heat, which averages around 37 degrees Celsius in January, much of the town was built underground, including shops, bars and churches.
Painted Desert, SA
It's not difficult to find a desert landscape in Australia. One of the most spectacular is the Painted Desert near Coober Pedy, where the multi-hued sands look like a watercolour.
Big Banana, Coffs Harbour, NSW
Great Ocean Road, VIC
The 243km stretch of road that links Torquay and Allansford is the world's largest war memorial. Another reason to drive along the Great Ocean Road, though, is the stunning coastal scenery.
The Australian Alps, NSW, VIC and ACT
The last thing you'd associate with Australia is skiing. However, come winter (our summer), the country's highest mountain range is covered in snow and people from the cities come to hit the slopes.
Kings Canyon, NT
The final scene of the hit Australian movie 'The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert' shows three drag queens in outrageous costumes climbing to the top of Kings Canyon. This beautifully summed up what a country of contrasts Australia is.