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Whether you’re traveling from afar to explore this diverse country, or venturing to the nooks and crannies of your own Australian backyard, there’s plenty to discover during summer in Australia.

Explore the bustling city life and cultural richness of Adelaide or the serene natural beauty of Kangaroo Island. Visit Sydney, with its iconic landmarks and stunning harbor, or experience Melbourne’s thriving arts scene.

These destinations showcase the essence of summer in Australia—a blend of urban excitement, natural wonders, and cultural depth.

Kangaroo Island

Summer in Australia - Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island

Tranquil Kangaroo Island lies off the coast of South Australia, near Adelaide. The island is home to an estimated 65,000 kangaroos—more than 14 to each resident.

This is a paradise for nature lovers as you’ll also see seals, countless sea birds, and echidnas, also known as spiny anteaters. More than a third of the island is protected as a nature reserve.

Kangaroo Island is a rural community, known for its rolling farmlands and vineyards and craggy coastline. While you’re here, taste local honey, oysters, and wine, or visit a lavender farm.

Admiral's Arch in Flinders Chase National Park, Kangaroo Island

Admiral’s Arch in Flinders Chase National Park, Kangaroo Island

Take a trip to Flinders Chase National Park to admire natural landmarks like Admiral’s Arch, sculpted by the wind and waves of the Southern Ocean, and stroll the bush walks through the gum forest. You’re also likely to spot little penguins, the world’s smallest penguin species.

Rock formations of Remarkable Rocks, Kangaroo Island

Remarkable Rocks, Kangaroo Island

Remarkable Rocks is a series of sculpted granite boulders, some 500 million years old, while Seal Bay is a wonderful place from which to observe a colony of Australian sea lions. Little Sahara is a series of rippling dunes where you can sand board or look for koalas in the trees. However you spend your time here, you’ll feel a deeper connection to nature.


Sydney, one of the best places to visit during summer in Australia


Sydney’s showy good looks need little introduction, but you’ll still be in awe when you first see the iconic skyline, the elegant curves of the Sydney Opera House, and the sweep of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

View of Sydney Harbour

Sydney Harbour

Sydney seems to be blessed with it all when it comes to quality of life: world-famous beaches, an eclectic food and drink scene, and dazzling views in every direction. If you can’t stop gazing at those gorgeous views, take a harbor cruise, or simply ride the Manly Ferry, one of the world’s most spectacular commuter routes.

Or look down on the harbor from above, if you have a head for heights. The Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb is a great activity for adventurers, and all necessary equipment is provided before you start your trek to 400 feet above the water.

Beautiful neighborhood of The Rocks, Sydney

The Rocks, Sydney

After your climb, you’ll be close to The Rocks, the city’s oldest neighborhood, where quirky shops, galleries, and cafés line the historic, cobbled laneways.

Once you’ve admired the sail-shaped structure of the Sydney Opera House, take a behind-the-scenes tour inside, or attend a performance. Head to the al-fresco Opera Bar next door for drinks in this most glamorous of settings.

Giraffe spotted in Taronga Zoo, Sydney

Taronga Zoo, Sydney

If you want to get a close-up look at Australian wildlife, Sydney’s Taronga Zoo is a not-for-profit establishment with wonderful harbor views as well as an impressive population of animals.

The city has several luscious green spaces to explore. The Royal Botanic Gardens is a wonderful showcase of Australian flora, and you can get even closer to nature by taking a bush foods tour with a local.

Sydney, one of the best places to visit during summer in Australia

Bondi Beach, Sydney

Of course, no trip to Sydney is complete without a visit to the beach. Bondi Beach is arguably the most famous, and certainly the most photographed. Take a dip in the Icebergs Pool, a 50-meter swimming pool that’s been here for 100 years. While you’re here, brush up on your surfing skills, or take to the waves for the first time with a masterclass.

Read: Famous Landmarks in Sydney


Beautiful vineyard in Adelaide


This rapidly developing city on the country’s south coast is booming with culture and events. The fact that it’s within close proximity of one of Australia’s top wine country regions is a major bonus too.

Once known as a “sleepy” city, Adelaide has truly flourished into a hot destination for culinary, art, and festival enthusiasts. Uncover seemingly hidden restaurants and watering holes nestled in the city center’s narrow side streets and feel like a food and beverage pioneer. Local craft beer, curated cocktails, and tapas are some of the gems you’ll find.

Browse the local fresh bounty at the Adelaide Central Market. Coffee, just-baked pastries, fresh fruits and vegetables, and smoked meats and local cheeses are just some of the fantastic fare available.

Lush landscape of Adelaide Botanical Gardens

Adelaide Botanical Gardens

Get in touch with nature at Adelaide Botanical Gardens and explore South Australia’s flora and fauna. The Adelaide Hills wine region, approximately a half-hour from the city, is host to over 50 wineries and some of the country’s best vineyards. Sip and savor local wines such as Shiraz while overlooking the gorgeous landscape is one of the best things to do around Adelaide.


Buildings reflecting on water in Hobart

Derwent River in Hobart, Tasmania

Tasmania is known for its incredible nature and outdoor activities. With Mount Wellington providing a jaw-dropping backdrop, the capital city of Hobart is set to impress.

Hobart isn’t just a great base for exploring some of the amazing landscapes nearby—it’s also a worthy destination in and of itself for cultural and culinary experiences. Discover local art at the Museum of Old and New Art, which combines modern and contemporary works in an iconic exhibition space, or wander through the CBD and spot expansive street art murals.

One of the best things to do in Hobart is to indulge in some of its most ethnically diverse eateries at Salamanca Place, just outside of the city center. You’ll have your pick of atmospheric restaurants serving Italian, Thai, and Spanish cuisine.

If you’re looking to get outside, float along the local Derwent River and take in Australian landmarks like Shot Tower and Iron Point Lighthouse. Visit Betsey Island for the chance to spot seabirds and even a colony of penguins.


Beautiful skyline of Melbourne


Perched on Port Phillip Bay on the southeast coast of mainland Australia, Melbourne is a well-known destination for art and culture appreciators. As one of the street art capitals of the world, you’ll be enthralled while discovering unique works of local art along designated streets, where artists are permitted to create freely.

It’s easy to see why the city is known as Australia’s “cultural capital.” Melbourne is a newly named UNESCO City of Literature and is filled with live music, art, and theater.

Experience its thriving culinary scene with visits to popular foodie neighborhoods like Carlton, South Yarra, Southbank, Chinatown, or Fitzroy. Cool down from the warm summer in Australia by ducking into one of its character-filled cafes or opting for al-fresco dining.

Man preparing coffee at a cafe

Cafe in Melbourne

If you’re spending summer with your family, one of the best things to do in Melbourne with kids is to visit the lush Fitzroy Gardens, a 64-acre historical urban green space. Follow the walking trail and observe its native trees, flora and fauna, sculptures, intricate fountains, and birds.

Day trips outside of the city offer a chance to experience one of southern Australia’s most popular wine regions. The scenic Yarra Valley can be reached within an hour from Melbourne, where you can taste varieties like Chardonnay, sparkling wine, and Pinot noir.

Natural rock pillars of Twelve Apostles

Twelve Apostles, Victoria

For a unique summer family vacation idea, don’t miss the chance to see the iconic Twelve Apostles when visiting Melbourne. Driving down the Great Ocean Road and marveling at Victoria’s striking coastline and limestone cliffs will not disappoint.

Read: Best Places to Visit in Melbourne


Amazing view of Cairns rainforest with Skyrail

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, Cairns

Welcome to the tropical paradise of Cairns. It’s here that you can lounge on pristine beaches, soak up its relaxed atmosphere, and venture to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics Rainforest.

Some of the best things to do in Cairns include sightseeing from above on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and traversing over Barron Gorge National Park, which is host to the world’s oldest tropical rainforest. You’ll spot the landmark Barron Falls along the route as well as Red Peak, both of which can be explored on foot.

Turquoise water in Fitzroy Island

Fitzroy Island

To explore the famous Great Barrier Reef yourself, Fitzroy Island is the perfect way to unspoiled nature at its best. Although it has its own reef system, it’s also part of the Great Barrier Reef. Reachable by ferry, in about 45 minutes you’ll be in a protected national park with white sand beaches, incredible snorkeling, and the iconic Fitzroy Island Lighthouse.

Read: Unique Summer Vacations Ideas

Airlie Beach

Quiet Airlie Beach with palm trees lined up

Airlie Beach

Nothing says summer in Australia like a beach vacation. As the gateway to the famous Whitsundays, Airlie Beach is a worthy destination itself. Relax on the beach, take a dip in the local lagoon, or stretch your legs on the Kara Cres trail, a 90-minute trek to an incredible lookout over the harbor and stunning Whitsunday Islands.

Hop on a catamaran from Abel Point Marina and explore the remote islands, beaches, and coves throughout the Whitsundays for an unforgettable experience. Make sure to visit Whitehaven Beach, one of the world’s most beautiful beaches.

For a bit of hiking, head to Conway National Park, just south of Airlie Beach. This coastal park is filled with rainforest, untouched beaches, an impressive waterfall, and incredible views of the Whitsunday Islands.

If you’re interested in learning a new skill on your trip, consider a sailing lesson or getting SCUBA-dive certified in the otherworldly setting of the Great Barrier Reef, one of the many things that Australia is known for. Laid-back restaurants and bars with live music will bring your relaxation full circle in Airlie Beach.


Couple walking along Southbank

South Bank, Brisbane

Brisbane is the ideal destination for spending time in the warm Australian summer sun. Order a flat white at an outdoor cafe or a local brew at a rooftop bar and immerse yourself in the city’s low-key atmosphere.

For city views, stroll the Brisbane Riverwalk, or test your fear of heights along the South Bank with a ride 197 feet above the river on the Wheel of Brisbane. Pick up a memento to remember your trip along the unique Gallery Walk, a street filled with gifts, arts, and handcrafted goods.

If you’re looking for more things to do in Brisbane, there’s plenty to keep you busy in the national parks and rainforests that make up the Scenic Rim. Get out into nature with a visit to Tamborine Mountain, just an hour south of the city center.  Hop in a hot air balloon or trek the Rainforest Skywalk for an awesome bird’s-eye view of the surrounding landscape.

Port Douglas

Aerial view of Cape Tribulation

Cape Tribulation, Port Douglas

Port Douglas is a tropical destination in North Queensland located close to the Great Barrier Reef. When you’re not enjoying the beaches or exploring the reef, play a round of golf or venture into the Daintree Rainforest.

Explore the diverse rainforest from ground to canopy via zip-line adventures, river cruises, or treks. Mossman Gorge, in the southern portion of the park, is one of the most beautiful places in Australia offering a diverse selection of hiking opportunities. Head to Cape Tribulation, where the beach and rainforest meet, and choose from various bushwalks or hikes, or just relax on the gorgeous remote beaches.

Read: Best Things to Do in Port Douglas

Aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef

Uncover all that summer in Australia can be on a luxury cruise from Sydney. From the Great Barrier Reef to pristine beaches and vibrant cities, this is Australia summer at its best.

Browse our Australia cruise itineraries and book your summer adventure today.

Free Vacation Planning Services

Free Vacation Planning Services