Best Australia vacation spots are found almost exclusively along the coastlines—with the largest concentration of popular tourist destinations along the east coast. This coastal area stretches from about Cairns in the north, past the Great Barrier Reef, to Brisbane, and all the way to the south and the beautiful city of Sydney. This is a distance of more than 1,700 miles and most of the top destinations in Australia will be found here and not far inland. Many travelers rank Australia as the number one best South Pacific vacation spot.
Within the huge island country, the top destinations in Australia include its beaches, which boast some of the best surfing in the world. Most of the most popular beaches are along the east coast. In the Sydney area, you will find Bondi Beach and Manly Beach that both are as famous worldwide as Copacabana Beach and Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro. Also on the east coast is the world’s largest coral barrier reef. The Great Barrier Reef is almost 1,500 miles long, stretching from approximately Cairns and Port Douglas south to about the city of Brisbane. This reef and these beaches are the best Australia vacation spots for those seeking sea and sand. An added bonus is that many varied regions and experiences are found very nearby. These include the Daintree Rainforest, both an outstanding natural ecosystem and one of the centers of the Aborigine culture and the magnificent Blue Mountains (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) east of Sydney.
Also among in the top destinations in Australia are spots far removed from the East Coast. Uluru–Ayers Rock, and the legendary vast arid wilderness known as the Outback. Ayers Rock is the world’s largest single monolith, a stunning and overpowering red rock in what is called Australia’s “Red Center.” This is another center of Aboriginal culture that can help you understand this people’s affinity for their land and the sacred significance of the rock. To the south, you have the city of Melbourne and the nearby island of Tasmania. Far to the west is the city of Perth, gateway to the vast and largely undiscovered province of Western Australia.
Many people will combine some of the best Australia vacation spots with a visit to New Zealand, which is quite different from Australia. Like Australia, it boasts a number of unique species of flora and fauna that are found nowhere else on earth, including the tuatara (a very rare lizard) and two peculiar birds—the takahe and the kiwi. The island country offers the rich culture of the Maori indigenous people around the hot springs of Rotorua, charming nineteenth-century English colonial cities and villages, some of the best sailing in the world, the magnificent fjords of Wilson Sound, and the rugged mountains of the Southern Alps where legendary Sir Edmund Hillary learned mountain climbing and where there is actually snow skiing.
For honeymooners and couples looking for romantic getaways, the best South Pacific vacation is probably one of the islands whose names evoke the adventures of Robinson Crusoe and the lush paintings of Paul Gauguin. The French Polynesian island of Tahiti is where Gauguin spent some of the most productive years of his artistic career, painting evocative scenes of this lush landscape. Fiji has a similar reputation, and both islands offer numerous luxury resorts perfect for honeymoons.
You might embark on the best South Pacific vacation for days or weeks at a time and never even sleep in a hotel. Numerous international cruise lines sail into these waters, putting in at many of the port cities already mentioned. Sailing and boating are part of the fabric of life in all these regions; New Zealand is one of the sailing capitals of the world, with its center at the city of Auckland. It is possible to charter boats here (and in several other places in both Australia and New Zealand) that can sleep as few as two or as many as ten people. These kind of cruises can be either bareboat or crewed and provide one of the best ways to explore these island nations.