If you have spare time over the holidays or just want to do a bit of exploring, there are many places to visit outside your capital city, no matter where you are studying. It is definitely worth getting out of your comfort zone and experiencing the ‘real’ Australia and its many landscapes.
Tourist attractions by state
Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales
- East of Sydney are the Blue Mountain Ranges, home to famous attractions such as the Jenolan Caves and The Three Sisters (an ancient rock formation located at Echo Point), as well as various wildlife parks and local art galleries.
- The central coast takes in areas such as Newcastle and Lake Macquarie, and is home to a number of national parks, including the World Heritage listed Dhaurg National Park.
- Closer to the Queensland border is Byron Bay — home to music festivals, surf culture, farmers markets and Cape Byron, the most easterly point in Australia.
- If you’re studying in Sydney, consider taking a trip to Canberra — Australia’s capital city. It is home to some of the nation’s most important national institutions, such as Parliament House and the National Gallery of Australia.
- Many popular tourist attractions are in located in the state’s desert centre. Destinations include Uluru, King’s Canyon and the iconic city of Alice Springs.
- Experience Aboriginal culture — things to see and do include art galleries and cultural centres, rock art sites and guided tours through traditional lands. If you’re lucky, you might even try some ‘bush tucker’ — foods eaten by Indigenous Australians, such as witchetty grubs.
- You can also book in for a cruise to see the state’s famous crocodiles and the beautiful scenery of Kakadu National Park and Katherine Gorge.
- Just an hour and a half away from Darwin is Litchfield National Park, where you can hike, take a swim in a clear natural swimming holes or admire the many waterfalls and natural ruins.
- The World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef is one of the ‘seven wonders of the world’, stretching along 2600 kilometres of the northern coastline. While you are in Queensland it is definitely worth seeing — snorkeling, scuba diving and relaxing on its beaches are all recommended.
- Far North Queensland is known for its relaxed culture, tropical climate, rainforests and beautiful beaches. We recommend taking a trip to the tropical northern cities of Cairns or Townsville.
- Queensland is also home to some of Australia’s most beautiful islands. While they can be expensive, they can provide the ideal way to relax and have some fun with friends on your uni breaks. The Whitsunday Islands — a collection of islands including Daydream, Hamilton and Hayman islands around 900 kilometres north of Brisbane — are the most popular.
- One of South Australia’s famous wine regions is Barossa Valley, which features more than 80 wineries. Barossa is Australia’s wine capital and is just an hour’s drive from Adelaide.
- Coober Pedy is around 850 kilometres north of Adelaide and is a well-known coaling mining town in the state’s outback. It is recognised as the largest producer of opal in the world, with around 70 per cent of the world’s opal sourced from the area.
- Kangaroo Island — south-west of Adelaide — is known for its sea lion and penguin colonies, as well as the Little Sahara sand dunes and the famous Vivonne Bay.
- You can travel between Adelaide and Alice Springs and Darwin (in the Northern Territory) on The Ghan — a three-day train trip through the centre of Australia — or take advantage of outback treks, Murray River cruises and of course, tours through one of the state’s 16 wine regions.
- Located in Freycinet National Park, Wineglass Bay is one of Tasmania’s most beautiful attractions. You can experience wildlife, including white-bellied seagulls and wombats, or take a scenic cruise around the bay.
- Port Arthur is a heritage-listed historic convict and coal mining site on the state’s south-eastern coast. Activities include harbour cruises and guided walks through historical sites.
- For a slightly different experience, you can travel between Melbourne and Devonport on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry.
- Along the coast, you can explore the Great Ocean Road, a heritage-listed 243-kilometre stretch of road between the cities of Torquay and Warrnambool.
- For a slightly different experience, you can visit some of Victoria’s regional towns, such as Ballarat in the state's west and Bendigo in central Victoria — each famous for their gold mining history.
- The Puffing Billy steam train runs on a track through Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges and operates on both weekdays and weekends throughout the year.
- Phillip Island, off the eastern coastline, is another must-see attraction. Famous for its penguin parade and seal sightings, the island is only a 90-minute trip from Melbourne.
- Broome is located towards the top end of the state, with attractions including the 22-kilometre long Cable Beach, Broome Crocodile Park and Indigenous art galleries.
- Rottnest Island — home to the native quokka — is also known for its many popular beaches and bays. Other attractions on the island include bike tours, scenic flights and an aqua fun park.
- On the central coast, the Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort is a must-see for animal lovers. Located at Dolphin Beach, it is famous for its beautiful beaches and friendly visiting dolphins.
- Along the southern coast of the state, you will find Esperance — a town known for its beaches, salt lakes and national parks. It is also one of Western Australia’s most famous mining towns.
Visit the following websites for more information about things to see and do in your state or territory.