Whether you're Aussie born and raised or a traveller new to our shores, you'll know one thing about this vast country. It's built for adventurers. Six states. Two territories. Ten deserts. And, one hell of a coastline.
Hitting the road for that grand Aussie adventure takes some balls. Have you SEEN the length of some of our roads? You can drive for hours without hitting a stop sign or seeing another soul. In fact, the quickest a 'big lapper' has made it around our country is six days, eight hours, 52 minutes. That's only stopping for toilet breaks and to stock up on food and fuel. In reality? You're going to want to stop at every god damn beautiful beach, lookout, waterfall, rainforest and sweet little seaside town you come across. That's the adventurer's way.
So with so much to see, how the hell do you decide where to go? That's where we come in.
We've rounded up our all time favourite adventures down under. The top ten. The big to-do list. If you see these incredible places, you'll go home feeling like you've really seen Australia (but I mean, you haven't. Sorry to be harsh but you could live to 100 and not see it all. That's the crazy, wonderful thing about this place!)
Get these banging spots on your Australian bucket list, pronto!
1. Great Ocean Road, VIC
Loch Ard Gorge, Great Ocean Road
Think you've seen pretty coastlines? You ain't seen nothin 'till you've seen the notorious G.O.R. Where the rainforest meets the sea, this road winds along the south edge of Victoria on its way from Torquay to Warrnambool. Hugging sharp cliffs and passing through coastal hubs such as Anglesea and Lorne, it's HANDS DOWN Australia's (and perhaps the world's) most beautiful drive.
2. Byron Bay, NSW
Want to throw away your suit and embrace your inner hippie? Hemsworths aside, Byron is the spiritual home of the carefree nature lovers, thanks to its easy going township and stunning hinterlands.
3. East Coast Road Trip
Melbourne, tick. Sydney, tick. There's two of Australia's most popular destinations ticked off. But, while many travellers choose to fly between the cities, one of the best stretches of Australia is found in between and all the way up to the tippy top of Queensland.
Tick off your bucket list: gorge on dumplings in Melbourne's Chinatown, decide for yourself if Hyams Beach has the world's whitest sands, climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge, go bungee jumping in Cairns, island hop through the Whitsundays, get lost in the Daintree Rainforest (but also, please don't actually get lost.)
4. The other East Coast Road Trip, TAS
Wineglass Bay, Tasmania
So many travellers write off Australia's wee island state but if you don't think it's the most beautiful spot you see on your whole trip, we'll shout you a beer. Or even something from the top shelf, we're that confident. Tasmania has ridiculously gorgeous wilderness and the freshest food and wine you'll find anywhere.
Tick off your bucket list: Get away from the city lights of Hobart and look out for the Aurora Australis, experience the life of a convict at Port Arthur, marvel at Maria Island's painted cliffs, see the vivid orange rocks at the Bay of Fires, hike around Wineglass Bay (or just drink a glass of wine and appreciate the views!)
5. Wilson's Promontory, VIC
A little bit north of Tassie, you'll find the southernmost tip of mainland Australia boasting rugged wilderness out the wazoo. In fact, this is one of Victoria's largest coastal national parks. The Prom, as it's affectionately known, is famous for its hikes, hidden beaches and perfect camp grounds.
6. Kings Canyon, NT
Our next must visit is the red centre of Australia, or more specifically, Watarrka National Park. Now that we're getting into proper outback Australia, you'll want to keep your wits about you. LOOK OUT FOR THAT BOOMERANG! Okay good, you're paying attention. With 300m high sandstone walls and a gorgeous palm forest below, you'll feel like you walked straight onto the set of Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
Tick off your bucket list: hike around the rim walk, drive three hours to Uluru and stay to watch the sunrise, swim in the waterhole at the Garden of Eden, take a helicopter ride over the canyon, soak in the history on an Aboriginal led tour.
7. Great Barrier Reef, QLD
Great Barrier Reef
Do we even need to sell this one? This glorious rainbow cacophony of colours is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and if you're not up to date on your David Attenborough flicks, it's going, going...........
8. Barossa Valley, SA
Chateau Tanunda, Barossa Valley
You may have heard about the exceptional reputation Australian wines have. Well, if you want to sip the best of the best, hightail it to South Australia. Most of the state's wine regions (and there are a few!) can be found right outside Adelaide and the Barossa is one of the best, thanks to its gorgeous natural surroundings and seriously good grapes.
Tick off your bucket list: Drink white wine, red wine, sparkling wine, fortified wine and rosé. Just don't make us choose our favourite child.
Okay, okay. If you still want more: stock up on verjuice at Maggie Beer's Farm Shop, fill your basket with local produce at the Farmer's Market, take a hot air balloon ride over the vines, make yourself sick at the Barossa Valley Cheese Company (yep, that is absolute goals and we refuse to hear otherwise!)
9. The Kimberley, WA
Head west for some wild adventures in the Kimberleys. Just like our favourite Kim would say, this spot is noice, different and unusual! The massive, remote region has fewer people per square kilometre than anywhere on earth, but don't let that scare you off. It's home to some beautiful scenery, wicked outback towns and abundant marine life.
10. The Grampians, VIC
The Grampians National Park
The Grampians is a mountain range that juts out of the surrounding farmland, attracting hikers and adventurers with its peaks. This is the kind of wilderness that just makes you want to climb things. Prefer to keep your two feet on the ground? That's okay, there's still a tonne to do here.
Tick off your bucket list: follow the Silo Art Trail, animal spot at the Halls Gap Zoo, hike to the Balconies, visit Mackenzie Falls, grab a meal at the Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld, learn a little at Brambuk: The National Park and Cultural Centre.
Now go get 'em, you big adventure seeker you! If you're looking to tick the Great Ocean Road off your list, come stay with us at Bells Beach Backpackers from just $30 a night. We promise to share all our hidden gems to stop at along your road trip.
Rachel Wagner is a freelance producer who writes about the good things in life - travel, culture, creativity and how to tread lightly on our Earth along the way.
She previously flexed her creative muscles as a Podcast Producer for the Mamamia Women’s Network before she gave up the desk life to travel the world. Over the past three years Rachel has found her home in Melbourne, Scotland, England, Mount Buller and the Bellarine Peninsula. And now? Torquay baby!
Her top travel tip is not to be afraid of exploring a new place alone. You’ll be amazed at how many locals and other travellers you meet along the way, plus you’ll never have to say no to a spur of the moment adventure.