When you think of Australia, there are almost certainly a few things that spring to mind. A vast country filled with epic nature, wildlife, sightseeing, food and more, it has no shortage of things it’s famous for. What is Australia known for most of all? Covering such a vast area, with an endless coastline and an almost entirely deserted centre, Australia has some of the world’s best beaches, as well as natural wonders such as Uluru, the outback and beautiful coastal regions.
However, Australia isn’t only wide but also spans from the cooler southern state of Tasmania up to the sunny climes in Sydney and into the rainforests of Queensland. All of these habitats provide the perfect home for some of Australia’s most famous critters, from the friendly kangaroos and koalas to the slightly more scary spiders, snakes and sharks.
Australia has yet more famous attractions to try within its incredible cities and towns. In Sydney, the architectural wonders of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House, and in the surrounding area and South Australia, the vineyards produce some of the world’s best wines! Speaking of wine, Australia also has a diverse range of food and drink that’s a must-try for visitors, such as the coffee – which Melbournians are very proud of, to barbecues on the beach and vegemite on toast. There’s so much to discover in Australia it’s pretty tricky to know where to begin.
- What Is Australia Known For?
What Is Australia Known For?
- Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling and Diving Cruise from Cairns – a fantastic experience exploring one of the world’s natural wonders!
- All Inclusive Small-Group Blue Mountains Day Trip from Sydney with Scenic World
- Surfing Lessons on Sydney’s Bondi Beach
1- The Great Barrier Reef
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is the most well-known reef in the world and spans an impressive 2,000 km.
It’s both a wonder of the natural world and a UNESCO Site, although in recent years there have been concerns about coral bleach and endangered species due to global warming.
The whole area comprises over 900 islands and it’s home to some of the most diverse marine life in the world.
Snorkelling and diving are by far the most popular activities, as you can swim with turtles, sharks, whales, dolphins and over 4,000 species of tropical fish.
Sailing is also super popular, with numerous companies offering boat trips that explore the various islands.
Many opt for a once-in-a-lifetime helicopter or seaplane excursion, where you can get an incredible view over the entire reef from the air.
2- Bondi Beach
Among the thousands of beaches in Australia, none is more famous than Sydney’s Bondi Beach.
Aside from its expanse of golden sand and great surfing waves, Bondi has become a cinematic icon, featuring in numerous TV shows and movies.
For Sydneysiders, the beach is a popular spot for jogging, walking, swimming and meals at the various restaurants lining its beach.
The waves are ideal for surfers and you can see people out in the waves almost every day.
There are free boards to use, or you can take lessons from one of the many surf shops in the area.
Nearby is the Bondi Icebergs open-air swimming pools, and for active types, the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk has amazing views along the coastline and is a great workout.
3- Sydney Opera House
There are two iconic structures associated with Australia, one of which is the uniquely shaped Sydney Opera House.
The Opera House sits right on Sydney Harbour and is made up of huge white triangular structures.
This unusual shape is designed to look like a ship’s sails and was created by Jørn Utzon, who won a design competition.
Although his idea was initially unpopular, the Opera House is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Naturally, aside from seeing it from the outside, the next best thing to do here is to watch an opera performance which are on regularly.
There are also various cafes, restaurants and event spaces here, and once a year during Vivid Sydney, the Opera House is lit in a kaleidoscope of colours each evening.
For the best way to see the Opera House, hop on a ferry across the harbour to get amazing photos without the crowds.
- Sydney Opera House Official Guided Walking Tour
- Sydney Opera House Architectural Tour
- Sydney Opera House Tour & Meal + Drink at Opera Bar or House Canteen
4- Sydney Harbour Bridge
In joint first place as the most famous structure in Australia, the Sydney Harbour Bridge sits opposite the Opera House in Sydney Harbour and is one of the most impressive bridges in the world.
The 500m bridge connects Sydney’s busy CBD with the North Shore, taking thousands of people across each day on foot, by bike and by car.
The Harbour Bridge is an iconic sight all on its own, which you can spot from anywhere in the harbour, but it’s especially beautiful when it’s lit up at night or during Vivid Sydney.
Anyone who visits shouldn’t miss the opportunity to climb the bridge, whether you walk across to the other side, climb up the massive pylon at its side or shell out a little more to actually climb across the top of the bridge itself, for the best views over the harbour.
Moving into Australia’s Northern Territory, Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is another of the country’s most famous natural wonders (and yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site!).
Uluru is part of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, and this giant red rock, which was once part of a huge mountain range, is a sacred site to the Aboriginal people who live nearby.
The rock is apparently 600 million years old, and you can’t climb it due to its spiritual nature.
However, when visiting, you can explore its various crevices and caves, and many people camp nearby in the outback, where you’ll see some of the most incredible stars thanks to there being no light pollution.
It’s certainly a worthwhile trip, particularly for special occasions, as you can also opt for dinner in front of Uluru or even do a helicopter ride over the area for unforgettable vistas.
Recommended tour: Full Uluru Base Walk at Sunrise Including breakfast
6- Great Ocean Road
Regularly voted one of the best drives in the world, the Great Ocean Road is an epic road that stretches for more than 240km along the coast of southeast Australia.
The road was rebuilt by soldiers, also making it one of the world’s largest war memorials, and along the way, the views over the ocean are incredible.
You’ve likely heard of the Twelve Apostles, which are giant limestone rocks that sit in the ocean, but there’s a tonne more to see along the way, such as the Bay of Islands, Bells Beach and the Otways.
The start of the Great Ocean Road is just an hour from Melbourne, so it’s also one of the most accessible drives you can do, making it popular for weekends away if you’re in the area.
Recommended tour: Great Ocean Road Reverse Itinerary Boutique Tour – Max 12 People
7- Aboriginal Culture
Aboriginal Australians are a crucial part of the country’s history, culture and future, as they are the original indigenous people of Australia and its outlying islands.
Despite having a much smaller population nowadays, their culture is celebrated throughout Australia, and there are lots of places where you can hear traditional music, buy arts and crafts, see rock carvings and sometimes meet communities.
The didgeridoo is probably the most famous Aboriginal musical instrument and there are a few places you can watch performances of it being played.
The Aboriginal people hold nature sacred, and Uluru is just one of many spiritual places you can visit that are an integral part of their culture, along with spots such as Kakadu National Park, Kata Tjuta and the Grampians.
8- Kangaroos, Koalas And Other Wildlife
Australia may be well known for having some less-than-friendly critters, but it also has plenty of adorable, friendly creatures which are icons of the country – so much so that they appear on the country’s national emblem!
Although you may not see them bouncing around big cities, pretty much anywhere with large areas of open land has kangaroos, wallabies and pademelons hopping about.
Different areas of Australia are home to different creatures, such as koalas, echidnas, wombats, quokkas, quolls, Tasmanian devils and kookaburras.
Tasmania, with its wide open spaces and greenery, is particularly great for spotting these in the wild.
If you do see them in the wild, avoid touching or feeding them, as they’re still wild animals, even though they may seem friendly!
Australians know how to barbecue – maybe because most of Australia has great weather throughout the year or because there’s so much outdoor space.
Usually just known as ‘barbies’ Australians take their barbecuing seriously and have one at every opportunity.
You’ll find that people love to barbecue on the beach, in gardens, while camping – even on Christmas Day! You can combine visiting stunning destinations, such as the Whitsundays with a barbecue.
Many public parks in big cities also have free barbecues, and thanks to there being so much farming in Australia, meat is pretty good quality, so people grill up everything from lamb and beef burgers to sausages, as well as Australia’s incredibly fresh seafood.
Pair it with a bottle of beer, known as a stubby, and you’re all set for a very Australian day in the sunshine.
Most people know about Australia’s wine regions, but then again, many may be surprised to learn that the country has some of the best vineyards in the world.
Areas such as the Hunter Valley, Margaret River, Yarra Valley and Barossa Valley are famous worldwide and produce some of the best wines you’ll ever taste, with miles of vines stretching into the distance.
Australia one of the biggest wine producers on earth, so you may have already tasted some of their varieties, but taking a trip to one of these regions is an unmissable thing to do, especially given the great weather and scenic views.
- Snapshot Half Day Hunter Valley Wine Tour
- Margies Big Day Out Beer & Wine Tours
- Yarra Valley Wine and Winery Tour from Melbourne
- Barossa Valley Wineries Tour with Tastings and Lunch from Adelaide
11- Poisonous Creatures
There is a slight downside to all of the wonderful wildlife in Australia, and that is that it’s home to a large majority of the world’s most poisonous and venomous creatures.
Spiders such as the redback and funnel-web, snakes like the taipan and eastern brown and sea creatures such as the blue-ringed octopus and stonefish can all be found in Australia.
In many outback rivers and lakes, crocodiles live just under the surface and saltwater crocs like to make their home in the ocean off Northern Queensland.
There’s also an array of sharks, from bull sharks to nurse sharks and, of course, the great white shark.
But just remember, many of these critters live in dense rainforests in tropical areas, and you’re very unlikely to encounter the rest.
Australians are used to dealing with sharks, spiders and snakes, so there are lots of precautions in place, and they’re often more scared of you than you are of them!
We’ve covered Bondi Beach, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg in a country as large as Australia, which is entirely surrounded by water.
There are thousands of beaches across the country – there are over 100 in Sydney alone.
Most have golden sand and great waves for surfing.
Some of the most popular beaches can be found up in Surfer’s Paradise, on the islands in the Great Barrier Reef, and around Cairns.
Whitehaven Beach is probably the most famous in the Great Barrier Reef, but there are dozens of others with alabaster sand and impossibly clear waters.
Down south in Tasmania, far less crowded options include the amazing Wineglass Bay, where kangaroos literally hop along the sand, while Western Australia is known for having some of the country’s best beaches, such as those in Exmouth and Broome.
Australia is a mecca for surfers for many reasons.
Along with its massive coastline, it inherited a love for surfing from nearby South Pacific countries and the waves are epic in areas from Sydney to Tasmania.
Famous surf brands, such as Ripcurl and Quiksilver, were founded in Australia and conditions are ideal for the sport.
Australians live a very outdoor lifestyle, and if you head to almost any beach, you’ll see locals in wetsuits waxing their boards, catching a wave or learning to balance on the sand.
There are also lots of surfing competitions held in Australia every year and it is pretty accessible to everyone, so when visiting, it’s a must-do to hire a board or take a lesson in this great Australian pastime.
- Learn to Surf at Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast
- Half Day Guided Surf Lesson in Byron Bay
- Learn to Surf at Noosa on the Sunshine Coast
14- The Outback
The outback is a very broad term for something so famous in Australia, but most of the country’s central area is a vast expanse of open land – this is the outback and it takes up a huge amount of Australia.
Although you’d think most of it is desert, the outback actually spans various climates and habitats, such as desert and the bush, but also huge canyons, rainforests and waterfalls.
Uluru is the most famous sight in the outback, but there’s a lot more to discover, such as Kings Canyon and Coober Pedy – there are a lot of different mining towns in the outback with quirky, small-town attractions.
It’s also here that you’ll find many of the remaining Aboriginal communities, as well as farmers, whose farms can often stretch for hundreds of miles! Australian wildlife also abounds here, and kangaroos, crocs, wallabies, snakes and even camels roam around.
Recommended tour: Alice Town & Country Half Day Sunset Tour Private Tour Service
15- Steve Irwin
Speaking of wildlife, Steve Irwin was one of Australia’s most iconic figures.
The country has produced a lot of famous faces, from Cate Blanchett and Heath Ledger to Nicole Kidman and Kylie Minogue, but Steve Irwin was loved worldwide.
Irwin was also known as the ‘Crocodile Hunter’ thanks to his hobby of feeding and wrestling crocodiles on his eponymous TV show, on which he introduced people everywhere to all of Australia’s amazing wildlife.
Whether he was picking up snakes or hunting down scorpions, cuddling wombats or feeding baby kangaroos, he became extremely famous for his love of animals and reptiles in particular.
Although he is no longer around, his legacy remains a huge part of Australia after he founded Australia Zoo in Queensland, which is now run by his family.
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