Australasia

23 things to do with your year in Australia

If you’re looking for sun, fun and adventure, Australia is the place for you – and from personal experience, one year isn’t enough! We’re Matt and Ally, a British/Canadian couple who live for travelling and blog about it on our blog, Borderline Backpackers. We chose to move to Australia with Working Holiday Visas for the warm weather, great pay and easy-going lifestyle (you might remember us from our Ultimate Guide to Working in Australia).

By now, we all know it’s an incredibly beautiful country, but it’s also an incredibly diverse one. You will never run out of new things to do or places to explore. Here are some of our experiences and favourite activities:

1. Skydive over Mission Beach

Freefall over the Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics Rainforest, two World Heritage listed sites, and land on the beach.

2. Watch the sun set at Uluru

Our most breathtaking experience, sunset at Uluru — that ‘big rock’ in the centre of Australia. Definitely worth the drive.

3. Learn to surf and kayak with dolphins in Byron Bay

Welcome to the most popular backpacker town in Australia, Byron Bay. Famous for it’s beautiful beach and laid back vibe, this is where you want to learn how to surf, and can kayak with dolphins and whales.

4. White water raft the Tully River

Discover the rainforest from a new point of view; rafting through it! Take the classic route and glide along the Australia’s best rafting river, or try your hand at Xtreme Rafting, with more challenging turns, boat flips and even cliff jumps.

5. Scuba dive in Cairns

No experience necessary, you can scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef. Explore this underwater paradise to see beautiful bright coral, turtles, an assortment of fish and even whales! If you like diving, this is the best place the get your Open Water certification.

6. Camp on Fraser Island

Spend three days camping and driving across the longest sand island in the world. You’ll visit breathtaking freshwater lakes, hike through rainforest and surf down 40ft sand dunes.

7. Sail the Whitsundays

Live aboard a boat and sail to Australia’s most beautiful beach, Whitehaven Beach. The pure silica sand here is soft enough to brush your teeth and wash your hair with — not to mention the sands move everyday, making your view a once in a lifetime opportunity.

8. Spend a night in Daintree National Park

Cruise the Daintree River to spot wild crocodiles, enjoy a quiet beach to yourselves in Cape Tribulation, and swim with sea turtles. Walk through and discover the oldest living rainforest in the world, the Daintree.

9. Tour the wineries of South Australia

Between them, the areas of Barossa, McLaren Vale and the Adelaide Hills have some of the best wineries in the world. Book a tasting tour or two, hire a minivan with a driver and hop around a few in one day.

10. Fish with locals in Darwin

Famous for its colourful sunsets, join the locals and fish off the docks in Darwin around sunset. Not only can you catch fish, but small sharks and crocs too!

11. Hike the Grampians

Put on your climbing shoes and get ready for some of the most breathtaking views in Australia, from the top of these sandstone mountain ranges. Gaze out from Boroka Lookout at sunrise, or catch sunset on the edge of the world at The Balconies.

12. Drive the Great Ocean Road

Buckle up, and test your driving skills along the winding Great Ocean Road. This scenic coastal drive takes you from Melbourne to Adelaide in either direction, past beaches, waterfalls and the iconic 12 Apostles.

13. Chase waterfalls

Just about everywhere you go, you can swim in beautiful waterfalls: Millaa Millaa in the Atherton Tablelands, MacKenzie Falls in the Grampians and Florence Falls in Litchfield National Park were some of our favourites.

14. Explore the underground town of Coober Pedy

Planning an epic trip through the Outback? Be sure to stop off in South Australia’s most famous mining town, Coober Pedy. The entire town exists below the lunar-like surface, and is home to some of the prettiest opals in the world.

15. Bungy jump in Cairns

Complete Australia’s only bungy jump, with AJ Hackett Cairns. This 50 metre tower offers views of the rainforest and Great Barrier Reef, before you push off for that adrenaline pumping jump. If you’ve done a normal bungy before, try the extra thrill of jumping at night!

16. Canyoning in Behana Gorge

Jump from up to 12m cliffs into the deep water below, abseil down sheer rock face and slide down smooth rocks that form Behana Gorge.

17. Hang out with quokkas on Reottnest Island

Sort of like a cross between a mini-kangaroo, a wombat and a really cute Pokemon, these friendly critters can only be found on Rottnest Island, an hour to an hour and a half ferry ride from Perth.

18. Swim with the residents of Ningaloo Reef

Turtle Ningaloo Reef

Western Australia has some of the richest coastlines and coral reefs on the planet. You’re likely to kick around in the shallows with turtles, manta rays and all manner of colourful fish any time of the year, but if you want to share elbow space with whale sharks, be sure to don your snorkel between March and July.

19. Ride camels down the beach in Broome

You’d be forgiven for thinking the largest population of wild camels in the world was somewhere in the Middle East. Wrong! Australia is home to millions of them, and the most iconic place to ride one is along the beaches of Broome in Western Australia, as the sun sets.

20. Hike the Blue Mountains

The World Heritage listed Blue Mountains get their name from the natural blue haze created by vast eucalypti forests. When the sun shines, they really do look blue! They’re the perfect day-trip inland from Sydney via train. The Kotoomba Falls walking track will allow you to take in miles of dramatic rock formations, waterfalls and viewpoints.

21. Go wild on White Night or Vivid Sydney

White Night in Melbourne and Vivid in Sydney are annual all-night light and arts festivals. You’ll get to stay up late, running around the city as it is brought to life by colourful projections, dance, music and sculpture.

The above was taken inside the State Library in Melbourne a few years ago – but photos can’t do it justice!#

22. Head to a music festival

You won’t miss rainy UK festivals when you’re in Australia… because the country has so many of its own, in guaranteed sunshine. Splendour in the Grass in New South Wales is the closest thing you’ll get to Glasto, whereas rave-loving Melburnians make the pilgrimage to Strawberry Fields or Pitch Music and Arts Festival in Victoria each year. Sydney has it’s fair share of day festivals, like Field Day and Harbourlife, whereas South Australia has Adelaide Fringe for comedy and cabaret, or WOMADelaide for world music, arts and dance – one for the real culture vultures among us.

23. Visit Tasmania

Despite this island’s size (roughly a third of the size of Victoria) Tasmania has a population of just 555,o00. With nineteen national parks and a coastline to rival, well, the rest of Australia’s, it’s a wild wonderland that offers the most off-the-beaten-track experiences in Oz. Our highlight? The Bay of Fires, in the northeast of the island. Apparently, the bay is named after the Aboriginal tradition of lighting camp fires all along the coast come nightfall, but during the day, it’s a sun drenched paradise.

Would you believe you can do all this, while you work in Australia too? Book a cheap flight to Australia and start your adventures!