Australia is known for its incredible outdoor activities. The landscape is diverse and stunning, made up of ancient rainforest, rugged coastlines, shallow reefs, and arid desert landscapes. Each region has its own unique outdoor activities begging to be explored.
The following are some of the best things to do nationwide. If you are visiting Australia, don’t miss these outdoor experiences.
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1. Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the best snorkeling locations not just in Australia but the world over. Even as an amateur, as long as you can swim, you are physically fit and you can laugh at yourself when you dive in like a fish, you can enjoy this fun outdoor activity.
The reef is shallow so you can see a diversity of marine life from the water’s surface. If you are not experienced in snorkeling, in some areas, large resting buoys are made available so you can snorkel from floats to floats so you take a break when you need to without stepping on and damaging the reef.
2. Visit Great Ocean Road Waterfalls
Located just 90 minutes from Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road is home to abundant wildlife, exotic beaches, craggy hills, and a series of mesmerizing Great Ocean Road waterfalls.
Some of the most popular waterfalls include Erskine Falls, Hopetoun Falls, Beauchamp Falls, and Phantom Falls. They all require a short hike through the Great Otway National Park rainforest but that makes the experience all the more special.
3. See Koalas Along the Kennett River Koala Walk
The Kennett River Koala walk is located along the Great Ocean Road, just east of Lorne. Formally known as Grey River Road, the Kennett River Koala walk is known for the large numbers of koalas who live in the eucalyptus trees above it.
The koalas here are totally wild and you typically don’t need to walk far to see one dozing in the trees above. There are also a plethora of native birds who frequent the area. You are bound to see colorful King Parrots and cockatoos.
4. Explore Daintree National Park
Located in Queensland, the Daintree National Parks contains an incredible diversity of flora and fauna. It encapsulates features such as Mossman Gorge, the Daintree River, the ancient rainforest, and Cape Tribulation beach.
Don’t think about swimming in the Daintree River, as there are a number of crocodiles that live in the waters. If you are up for a swim, hike to Mossman Gorge where you can take a dip in cool, clear waters.
To experience the place where the rainforest meets the ocean head to Cape Tribulation beach. This beach is one of the most picturesque in Australia. Unfortunately, you can’t swim here either but it is worth a visit to have a picnic or just stroll along the white sands.
5. Walk Around Uluru
Also known as Ayers Rock, this red isolated mass of unweathered rock is held sacred by native Australians who believe the site is the resting place of their ancestors. It is a true marvel to behold in the midst of the flat desert landscape.
You can no longer climb to the top of the rock. However, the Uluru base track is a must-do. The 10-kilometer walk snakes around the base of the rock and can be challenging in the heat but it gives visitors a sense of the immensity of this Australian icon.
6. Go Surfing in Torquay
Torquay is one of Australia’s favorite surf towns. Located less than an hour and a half from Melbourne, there are a plethora of Torquay beaches to explore for every level of swimmer or surfer.
Advanced surfers come from near and far to test their luck surfing at Bells Beach. This iconic beach is home to the annual Bells Beach Surf Pro which takes place over the Easter Weekend. Otherwise, there are a number of surf shops in town offering lessons to newbies.
7. Spot Wildlife on Kangaroo Island
As the name suggests, you will see plenty of kangaroos and other wildlife on Kangaroo Island. Concentrated in less than 4500 square-kilometers you’ll find koalas, sea lions, penguins, and more.
Kangaroo Island is located off the coast of South Australia and a third of the island is protected. One of the most popular places to visit on the island is Flinders Chase National Park. Here you can find the Remarkables Rock, a series of otherworldly rock formations shaped by the wind and sea, the historic Cape du Couedic lighthouse, and Admirals Arch which is a picturesque sea cave known for its stalactites.
8. Hike the Blue Mountains
For the ultimate city escape, the Blue Mountains are the perfect place to explore. Located less than an hour from Sydney’s CBD, the Blue Mountains are a World Heritage Region made up of 7 natural parks that cover 10,000 square kilometers.
The dramatic scenery is made up of waterfalls, rugged sandstone tablelands, canyons, endless woodlands, lakes, and more. It is called the blue mountain because the gum trees create a blue haze off the mountain range.
The most iconic lookout is the Echo Point Lookout. From it, you can see the Three Sisters rock formation which has become synonymous with the Blue Mountains.
9. Swim with Whale Sharks in Exmouth
In Exmouth, you can experience snorkeling alongside Whale Sharks on the Ningaloo Reef. From March to August these gentle giants migrate past Western Australian and many tour operators from Exmouth offer excursions to experience this once in a lifetime activity.
However, we encourage you to research operators before embarking on a tour. Education and respect is an important aspect of any whale shark tour. Give these plankton feeders space and never try to touch them.
10. Go on a Crocodile Cruise in Darwin
Located in the Northern Territory, Darwin offers you a chance to view crocodiles in their natural habitats. From the safety of your boat, you can see massive Australian crocodiles cruising the waters of the Adelaide River.
The Jumping Crocodile Cruise is the most famous crocodile cruise in the area. It is 100% Aboriginal owned and guides explain the natural and cultural history of the area. However, the highlight is when the guides feed the crocs. You can appreciate their power when they jump from the water to grab food presented to them.
Australia is a land of outdoor adventures. With a great climate and so much to do, we encourage you to spend your days outdoors exploring the best of Australia.
Natasha is of the Great Ocean Road Collective. A website dedicated to sharing the beauty of the Great Ocean Road in Australia will travelers far and wide. If you are planning your trip, need some inspiration, or looking for authentic advice on Aussie travel visit our website The Great Ocean Road Australia or check us out on Instagram.
2 thoughts on “Top 10 Outdoor Activities in Australia”
Love the list! Great barrier reef and Great ocean road are definitely on my bucket list! My friend always wanted to climb Uluru but yea it is now forbidden. Good to know you can still do the base track. Nice that you brought to attention the importance of respecting whale shark. The last thing we want is to do disrupt their natural habitat.
Love these! I’ve done 5 of them. We live up here on the GBR, that parts easy!