Australia Tours & Vacations
With bright blue skies, immense red deserts, sun-bronzed beaches and vast green wetlands, Australia is big, bold and full of contrasts.
Come and experience this extraordinary country that bursts with kaleidoscopic cultures and constantly changing colors. From snorkeling among jewel-bright fish on the Great Barrier Reef and discovering the wildlife and wilderness of the west coast to walking through the World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest with an Aboriginal guide and exploring Uluru, the heart of Australia, this multi-faceted country offers a little something for everyone. Whether you’re traveling as a family or a solo adventurer, a nature-lover or a sun worshipper, a food fanatic or a wine connoisseur, Australia can’t wait to welcome you.
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Trek the Larapinta Trail
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Australia at a glance
Canberra (population 395,790)
(GMT+10:00) Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney
Type I (Australian/New Zealand & Chinese/Argentine 2/3-pin)
Learn more about Australia
Best time to visit Australia
Being such a large place, Australia has a wide range of climates so all year round there is somewhere great to visit.
Summer (December to February) can get very hot but is perfect for beach-going and other outdoor activities. In the far north, it is also the wet season, which can get quite humid and some beaches may be closed due to jellyfish or 'stingers'.
Winter (June to August) is pleasant and dry in the north but can get cold in the south, especially in Tasmania and Victoria where snowfall is common.
Spring and autumn are great times to visit Australia as the weather is milder, but still warm enough for swimming in northern areas.
Regardless of daytime temperatures, nights can get very cold in the desert areas of Central and Western Australia, so prepare accordingly.
The main school holiday period is from Christmas to late January, and is considered the peak travel time within Australia; expect popular tourist spots to be crowded during this time.
From large malls and boutique shopping strips to weekend arts and crafts markets and vintage shops, Australia is a top place to shop. Shopping in Australia may not be cheap, but there are plenty of unique finds and original souvenirs to bring home.
Before heading home, check with your local customs officials to ensure that you are able to import certain items back into your home country. New Zealand, for example, has strict quarantine laws.
Things to buy in Australia
1. First Nation Art
The quality of Aboriginal art is excellent in the Top End and Central and Western Australia. Be sure to buy from reputable galleries and organizations to ensure authenticity and fair prices for artists. Community-run organizations are typically the better choice.
If you’re looking for one, Coober Pedy has the best quality and variety on offer.
These precious gems are plentiful in Broome due to the booming pearling industry.
4. Modern Art
Melbourne and Hobart are modern art and craft hot spots, making them great places to pick up one-of-a-kind mementos.
Top 10 Places To See in Australia
Nothing will prepare you for seeing Australia's most famous landmark for the first time. An important part of Aboriginal Dreamtime stories, this ancient monolith is a photographer's dream as it changes colors with the sun; from dazzling orange to dusty purple.
2. Great Barrier Reef
See the world's largest reef system - so big it can be seen from outer space! This World Heritage site, just off the coast of Queensland, is home to whales, dolphins, turtles, sharks, colorful coral and more than 1,500 species of fish. Go scuba diving or snorkeling to explore this incredible underwater world.
3. Twelve Apostles
Although there are actually only eight 'Apostles', these spectacular limestone rock stacks are a popular tourist spot along Victoria's Great Ocean Road. Formed by erosion that began 10-20 million years ago, the stacks rise majestically from the churning Southern Ocean. Hit the boardwalks, tracks and viewing areas for spectacular views.
4. Kakadu National Park
This region is a place of breathtaking beauty and incredible biodiversity. Steeped in Dreamtime history, Kakadu nurtures a staggering variety of landscapes and wildlife. Venture deep into the wilderness and discover gushing waterfalls, deep gorges, shimmering waterholes and rocky outcrops adorned with 20,000-year-old art.
5. Sydney Opera House
Set against a backdrop of that famous bridge that spans the sparkling harbor, the Opera House is one of Australia's most iconic sights. Those familiar sails, adorned with more than a million white tiles, host thousands of events and performances each year. Catch a show to admire the ornate interior, or take in the spectacular view from a ferry.
From deep gorges and dusty Outback roads, and lush rainforests to idyllic billabongs, the landscape of this beautiful region is truly enchanting. A trip to the Kimberly can be as active or relaxing as you wish - hike past the strange 'beehive' domes of the Bungle Bungle Ranges, explore underground caves at Tunnel Creek or simply relax on white sand beaches.
With verdant tropical rainforest stretching to white, sandy beaches, the Daintree is nothing short of spectacular. This complex ecosystem in Far North Queensland is home to a prolific amount of wildlife including frogs, reptiles, bats and butterflies, as well as the highest concentration of primitive plant species in the world. Australia's largest rainforest is a true natural wonder just waiting to be explored.
8. Wineglass Bay
With its white sand, crystal-clear water and distinct crescent shape, Wineglass Bay on Tasmania's gorgeous Freycinet Peninsula is a pristine paradise. It's easy to see why it's often voted as one of the top 10 beaches in the world! Hike a trail to the summit overlooking the bay for breathtaking views, or descend to the beach and set up camp. Go snorkeling to discover colorful fish and perhaps some playful dolphins.
9. Clare Valley
This beautiful wine-producing region is famed for its delicious local produce, picturesque scenery, friendly people and, of course, its fabulous wine. Explore back roads lined with vines and go wine tasting to sample the very best drops this region has to offer.
10. Blue Mountains
Covering over one million hectares, the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains is rich in verdant rainforest, dramatic waterfalls, looming forests and an abundance of wildlife. Greet the iconic Three Sisters and wander the boardwalks to soak up this breathtaking area of Australian bush.
Top destinations to visit in Australia
1. Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park
Discover Ikara with an Adnyamathanha guide on a tour that shines a light on Adnyamathanha history, uncovers the park’s more recent past, and looks towards the future.
Flinders Ranges Explorer
Walk South Australia's Flinders Ranges
2. Arnhem Land
Explore the rugged wilderness of Arnhem Land, where Australia’s First Nations people have lived for thousands of years. Share Dreamtime stories, learn how to gather local food, and create traditional paintings.
3. The West Coast
The West Coast of Australia certainly feels like the Final Frontier. Perhaps visit the red rock gorges of Karijini National Park, take in a camel ride on Cable Beach, or unwind among the vineyards of Margaret River.
West Coast & Ningaloo Reef Adventure
Hike Western Australia's Cape to Cape Track
Perth to Broome Overland Adventure
4. Tropical North Queensland
Join an Aboriginal painting class at Janbal Gallery and hear East Coast Kuku Yalanji Dreamtime stories about the animals, environment and language of the Indigenous rainforest people from Mossman and the Daintree rainforest.
Queensland Coast & Islands Adventure
5. The Kimberley
While Broome could keep you occupied for days, it’s really the Kimberley’s natural beauty that lures you in. Away from the stretches of Cable Beach, you find a region that rapidly unrolls into a world of dense rainforest, underground caves and boab-dotted horizons straight out of Africa.
Kakadu National Park is packed with billabongs, waterfalls, strange rock formations and all types of native wildlife. ‘Roos bounce through the bushland, dingoes are spotted along rocky outcrops, dugongs wallow off the coast and, despite the name, crocs patrol the waters of Alligator River.
Kakadu, Katherine & Litchfield Adventure
7. The Red Centre
Also known as Central Australia, the Red Centre is where Uluru rises from the landscape in all its beauty. But there’s far more to this region than the iconic rock of the Outback. Discover Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) and its 36 stunning red domes; Kings Canyon, with its natural amphitheater and the East and West MacDonnell Ranges.
Uluru & Kings Canyon Family Adventure
8. The Outback
Experience the untamed beauty of Outback Australia, hear tales of the Aboriginal Dreaming with a First Nations guide, cross incredible scenery in a 4WD, and walk among a carpet of wildflowers in the Flinders Ranges.
West Coast & Karijini Overland Adventure
9. Fraser Island
Fraser Island (K'gari) isn’t just the largest sand island in Queensland, it’s the largest one in the world. Explore the rugged headlands, silica sand beaches, lush rainforests hugging the shore, and freshwater lakes which lay hidden throughout this World Heritage listed island.
Fraser Island (K'gari) Adventure
10. Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road is a winding coastal route of sandstone cliffs and dense rainforest hinterland that stretches all the way from Torquay in the East to Allansford in the West. While the region is famous for its Twelve Apostles, there are plenty of local secrets to be discovered if you’re willing to take the time.
Great Ocean Road & Grampians Adventure
This island state turns heads thanks to its thriving gallery and gastronomy scene, plus its bounty of natural wonders. Boasting some of Australia’s finest beaches, mistiest mountaintops, loneliest patches of wilderness, and most elusive animals, Tasmania is a nature lover’s wonderland.
Hobart & Southern Tasmania Explorer
Trek the Cradle Mountain Overland Track
See the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House, take a dip at Bondi Beach, explore the historic Rocks area, and discover everything this cosmopolitan city has to offer.
13. South Australian outback
Explore the South Australian outback at Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary on a 4WD tour that takes in science, education, and conservation and showcases this incredible and unique wilderness area.
Outback South Australia & Eyre Peninsula
South Australia Outback Adventure
14. The Great Barrier Reef
Be inspired by the beauty of the world’s largest coral reef – The Great Barrier Reef. Go snorkeling in the warm waters with exotic sea creatures and colorful coral.
Brisbane to the Daintree Discovery
15. The Daintree Rainforest
Explore the world's most ancient rainforest, the Daintree in Far North Queensland, with a local family who lives in a privately-owned part of it.
Geography and environment
The continent of Australia is known for being one of the flattest, hottest and driest places on earth; but despite this there are an astounding variety of terrains and environments on this island nation. While large areas of Australia are covered in desert, there are also tropical rainforests, alpine snowfields, dense bushland, beaches, gorges, lakes and rivers to be found. Australia’s national parks are home to many species of birds and mammals not found in the wild anywhere else in the world including kangaroos, koalas, wallabies and wombats. Boasting many stunning white sand beaches, Australia has a coastline like none other. From busy Bondi to surfing icons like Bell’s Beach and Tasmania’s stunning Wineglass Bay, there are endless places to swim, surf, snorkel and paddle.
Despite Australia’s large landmass, most people tend to live in urban, coastal cities. Faster-paced cities like Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Melbourne hold much of the population, as do regional satellite cities such as Albury, Dubbo, Bunbury, Townsville, Newcastle and Geelong.
Outback towns have a unique flavor and a distinct way of life; things are slower here and due to smaller populations, space is plentiful with most locals relying on agriculture for a living. Venturing away from the city to visit the Outback and rural areas of Australia is highly recommended as it gives travelers the chance to see a different side of Australia.
Culture and customs
With a strong history of immigration, modern Australia is made up of people from many different cultural backgrounds. This mix makes Australia an endlessly fascinating place to visit as travelers will be exposed to a variety of different customs and cultures during their stay. From the ancient, spiritual ways of the first nations population to the wide array of faiths, foods and festivals on display in the big cities, Australia is a cultural melting pot.
Despite the differences, there are many things that unify the people of Australia. Sports, in particular, cricket, soccer and football (Australian Rules) are played and watched by the masses, irrespective of age, race, gender or income. Large sporting events like the AFL Grand Final, Melbourne Cup Day and the Boxing Day Cricket Test have universal appeal for Australians.
Australians relish public holidays, with national and state holidays offering locals time to relax with friends and family over a barbecue or picnic. Making use of Australia’s natural environment is also paramount during this time, with outdoor activities like bushwalking, swimming at the beach or lazing in the park popular with locals.
Eating and drinking
Intrepid believes that one of the best ways of experiencing a country is by eating! Whether you're sampling street food, savoring a cheap eat or indulging in a banquet, there are endless options to choose from wherever you are in the world.
Australia is a land that has been built by immigrants and these multicultural influences are evident in the wide array of food available. In the cities it’s possible to find world-class Vietnamese, Turkish, Italian, Greek, Chinese, Thai, Japanese and Indian restaurants, as well as excellent gastro-pub fare. Head to the Outback and you’ll find authentic 'bush tucker', simple campfire meals and sizzling barbecues.
Food to try in Australia
1. Fresh Seafood
With such an impressive coastline, it’s no wonder fresh oysters, prawns, mussels and ‘balmain bugs’ are devoured by locals and savored by visitors. For those on a budget, there’s nothing wrong with eating fish and chips on the beach.
Australia creates some of the best wines in the world at South Australia’s Barossa Valley, Western Australia’s Margaret River and New South Wales’ Hunter Valley. Don’t miss the chance to taste some.
Whether you’re downing a can of VB in Victoria or sipping micro-brewed ale in Sydney, sharing a beer with mates is a social experience not to be missed when in Australia.
4. Hot Pies
An Australian classic – savory meat pies (or vegetable pies for vegetarians) are best eaten with tomato sauce and are easily found in city cafes, country bakeries and at football matches around Australia.
Festivals and events in Australia
Anxiously anticipated by many – the Australian Rules Football Grand Final is a great time to be in Melbourne. Tickets are notoriously scarce but pubs, clubs and backyards overflow with people watching the ‘Big Game’ and celebrating (or commiserating) afterwards.
Feeling hungry? Tasting Australia is a food festival that takes place once a year throughout South Australia and showcases the culture, producers and regions which make this state such a delicious destination to explore.
Vivid Sydney lights up the harbor city with a Festival of Ideas featuring inspirational speakers, performances by local and international artists and light installations that transform buildings and cultural icons into colorful works of art.
Margaret River Pro
See your favorite professional surfers at work against the backdrop of the beautiful Margaret River region in South Australia at the Margaret River Pro. From seasoned stars like Kelly Slater to up-and-coming Aussies, this surfing competition is definitely one to watch.
State of Origin
Turn your Brisbane, Perth or Sydney adventure up a notch by experiencing a State of Origin game. State of Origin is an annual best-of-three rugby league series between the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons and is one of the most anticipated sporting events in Australia.
Switch your Cairns holiday to sustainable mode at Cairns Ecofiesta: an eco-conscious festival that celebrates and supports the environment through eco workshops, live music, local produce markets, and vegetarian food options. Suitable for the whole family, this festival aims to both encourage a sustainable lifestyle and leave you with plenty of eco-inspo so you can start your very own planet-protecting journey.
Alice Springs Beanie Festival
Celebrate the very best of Aboriginal talent, creativity, and skill at the Alice Springs Beanie Festival. Bursting with silly and colorful handmade beanies, this festival aims to encourage and appreciate the work of both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people with various textile workshops and demonstrations on sight to help you understand and learn how to make local arts and crafts.
Barunga is a closed community in the Northern Territory that you usually need a permit to enter, but for three days they open up to the world to celebrate life in Katherine's remote Indigenous communities. With a jam-packed program featuring storytelling circles, art and bush medicine workshops, and some of Australia's best First Nations musicians, Barunga Festival is a wonderful opportunity to connect with the vibrant community.
Promising to give you a real taste of the Northern Territory, the Darwin Festival brings together a myriad of performances, shows, concerts, and exhibitions for you to enjoy. From comedy shows to art galleries, this bubbling festival will have you wanting to come back again and again and again.
We have a variety of similar destinations, trips, and routes that you could consider! Tie another trip into your holiday, or, see how we can help you get from A to B. We have tours departing from all major cities in Australia. The options below may be of interest:
Should I travel to Australia or New Zealand?
|The Secret River||Kate Grenville|
|In a Sunburned Country||Bill Bryson|
|The Floating Brothel||Sian Rees|
|Rabbit Proof Fence||Doris Pilkington|
Australia travel FAQs
Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards
From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travelers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).
However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travelers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.
Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.
The weather in Australia varies depending on where in the country you are. For example, winter in Victoria and Tasmania tends to be very cold (around the 32°F-59°F mark), whereas, if you head further north to the Northern Territory and Queensland, temperatures in the winter months are much nicer (usually around 64°F-77°F).
This pattern also applies to summer, where the southern states tend to experience lower temperatures (but still warm), while the northern and western states are warmer, with temperatures reaching as high as 104°F+.
Belgium: Yes - required in advance
Canada: Yes - required in advance
Germany: Yes - required in advance
Ireland: Yes - required in advance
Netherlands: Yes - required in advance
New Zealand: Not required
South Africa: Yes - required in advance
Switzerland: Yes - required in advance
United Kingdom: Yes - required in advance
USA: Yes - required in advance
All travelers, except New Zealand citizens, must obtain a visa or travel authority before traveling to Australia. Failure to do so means you may not be allowed to board your flight to Australia. Most nationalities can obtain an Electronic Travel Authority via the internet before arrival. Please check with Australian Immigration or with your relevant Australian visa issuing office for your nationalities requirements.
Tipping isn’t mandatory in Australia; however, rounding up the bill or leaving spare change is common practice. Restaurant staff, taxi drivers and other service workers welcome tips for good service.
Internet access is widely available in most parts of Australia, with internet cafes and Wi-Fi hot spots commonly found in urban areas. Please note that internet access won’t be available in Outback and remote areas.
Cell phone coverage is excellent in most parts of Australia, especially in large cities and urban areas. Remote, rural and mountainous places may have limited to no coverage, so be aware of this before venturing away from the city. Ensure global roaming is activated before leaving your home country if you want to use your cell phone, or you can purchase a sim card when you arrive. The provider that will have coverage in the majority of Australia is Telstra, secondly Optus and then Vodafone. A hot tip – when you are in remote areas and don’t have cell phone signal, turn your phone to flight mode which will conserve battery and prevent your phone from using data trying to search for internet signal.
Western-style flushable toilets are the norm in Australia, and many of our campsites have proper facilities with flushing toilets. In remote areas such as the Kimberley, there is no established plumbing and therefore we have installed ‘drop toilets’. Some campsites we use are managed by the National Parks and have either eco-toilets or drop toilets, most of which are maintained regularly.
Newspaper = AU$2.50-$4.00
Cup of coffee = AU$4.00-$7.00
Pint of beer in a pub = AU$11.00
Basic lunch at a mid-range cafe = AU$20.00
Drinking water from taps in Australia is considered safe, unless otherwise marked. For environmental reasons, try to use a refillable water bottle rather than buying bottled water.
Credit cards are widely accepted by shops, restaurants and cafes in Australia. Smaller establishments may only accept cash or require a minimum purchase for credit card use, so be sure to carry enough cash for smaller purchases.
ATMs are commonly found in large cities and regional towns in Australia. ATM access will be very limited in remote areas so be aware of this before heading into national parks or the Outback.
- 1 Jan New Year's Day
- 26 Jan Australia Day
- Good Friday*
- Easter Monday*
- 25 Apr Anzac Day
- 25 Dec Christmas Day
- 26 Dec Boxing Day
*Please note these dates may vary. See the current list of public holidays in Australia.
This list does not include State governed public holidays.
Absolutely. All passengers traveling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
There are two distinct groups of First Nations peoples in Australia - Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islander people - both of which have lived on this land for centuries. While there are only two Indigenous groups, there's actually a wide range of language and location communities that are made up of Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islander people including the Adnyamathanha people of the Flinders Ranges (Aboriginal Australians) and the Badu people from the Near Western Group (Torres Strait Islander people).
Australia is an extremely friendly country for travelers of the LGBTQIA+ community because of its strong anti-discrimination laws, social acceptance, and a wide variety of cultural events organized throughout the year including pride festivals and celebrations.
Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there! Where possible, Intrepid uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport - which usually carry less of an environmental impact, support small local operators and are heaps more fun. Depending on which trip you're on while in Australia, you may even find yourself traveling overland.
Australia is a big place – like, huge. Overland tours involve a lot of time on the road covering long distances, and sometimes the landscape can be pretty barren, so bring a book or some tunes to keep you company.
Traveling with Intrepid is a little bit different. We endeavor to provide travelers with an authentic experience to remember, so we try to keep accommodation as unique and traditional as possible.
When traveling with us in Australia you may find yourself staying in a:
Our lodge accommodation is located outside major cities, such as near the entrance to a National Park, and has its own amenities such as a restaurant or dining room. Lodges are comfortable places to stay and offer a good night's rest after a day spent exploring the natural beauty of Australia.
Permanent Tented Campsite
There's no need to put up your tent when you spend the night in a Permanent Tented Campsite. You'll have a roof over your head and will bunk down on sleeper mats on the ground or stretcher (camp) beds, with access to a toilet/shower block. Tent sizes can vary depending on the trip you're on and the location you're visiting. Some of our permanent tented campsites are a little bit fancy, others are very simple. Sometimes you'll be sharing a tent with others in your group.
Our bush camping experiences are as diverse as Australia itself. Some offer swag camping under cover or under the twinkling stars. You could be sleeping in a tent with access to simple toilet or shower amenities or you might not have access to a shower at all. However, the scenery at these magical spots makes it worth going without a bath for a day or so. Sometimes a trip has participatory camping where everyone pitches in to help. Other times, a staff member is on hand to look after things like cooking.
We provide accommodation at a wide variety of hotels around Australia. Some are quite upmarket, others less so, but all of them offer a comfortable stay and ensuite facilities.
We use hostels on some trips which means your bed could be in a twin room or a shared dorm room. Some of these rooms come with their own facilities while others have share facilities.
Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travelers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travelers check with their government or national travel advisory organization for the latest information before departure:
Go to: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/
Go to: https://travel.gc.ca/
From the UK?
Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/
From New Zealand?
Go to: http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/
From the US?
Go to: http://travel.state.gov/
The World Health Organization also provides useful health information.
Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or you’re about to embark on your first trip, traveling can be as intimidating as it is exciting. That's the beauty of a small group tour. From handling the logistics and organizing amazing cultural activities to local leaders who know each destination like the back of their hand (like which street has the best markets and where to get the most authentic food), traveling on a small group tour with Intrepid will give you unforgettable travel experiences without the hassle that comes with exploring a new place. Plus, you'll have ready-made friends to share the journey with. All you have to do is turn up with a healthy sense of adventure and we’ll take care of the rest.