SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES
This is the city that needs no introduction. Home to the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, Sydney is every bit as beautiful as the pictures make it out to be. It’s a no-brainer that the Bridge Climb is a must-do to enjoy 360-degree views of this stunning city standing 134 metres above sea level.
Once that’s sorted, make sure you head to Taronga Zoo to discover bizarre international animals and every Aussie creature under the sun. Don’t miss the ultimate Instagram opportunity at the giraffe enclosure, where you can soak up stunning views of Sydney Harbour.
Want to get off the beaten track? Do as the locals do and explore Sydney’s Northern Beaches, or take a trip to the Blue Mountains for unforgettable landscapes and a homey, small-town feel.
Repeatedly crowned Australia’s most liveable city, Melbourne is Australia’s capital of cool – a melting pot of style, culture, sport and fine dining. The fact that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is showing exclusively in Melbourne is a symbol of how well-respected Melbourne is on a global scale.
Weave in and out of the famous laneways, such as Hosier Lane, where you can enjoy unique street art and hole-in-the-wall bars and eateries.
Explore diverse, unique suburbs and discover all they have to offer, from beaches and boutiques in St Kilda to hip bars and prime shopping in South Yarra.
If you feel like getting out of town, take a day trip to meet the fairy penguins on Phillip Island, or try a glass or two of chardonnay and pinot noir at Yarra Valley wineries.
Melbourne is a cultural mecca of extravagant and inventive brunch, nightlife, ambient rooftop bars and stunning free art galleries – don’t miss it.
Queensland is known as the ‘Sunshine State’, and its capital city, Brisbane, is packed full of fun. This is the city where art meets outdoor adventure, so if you’re a creative who loves sunshine, this is the place for you!
Don’t let Sydney have all the fun – climb Brisbane’s famous Story Bridge for panoramic views of what locals call ‘Brisvegas’. You can even abseil back down if you’re feeling brave!
Get lost at the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art and see more than 17,000 works of historical, modern and contemporary art.
Explore Brisbane’s best shopping precinct, Fortitude Valley, and indulge in everything from designer labels to quirky boutiques.
Ready to explore beyond the city? Moreton and Stradbroke Islands are popular day trips, boasting sandy beaches and stunning lagoons. It’s also not far from here to the theme parks of the Gold Coast – embrace your inner child and head to Dreamworld or Warner Bros. Movie World!
PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
The number one mistake international visitors to Australia make? Not leaving the east coast! Western Australia is home to endless delights, and its capital in Perth is no exception.
The most popular thing to do happens to be totally free – spend the day exploring Kings Park, bigger and better than Central Park in New York City! Here, you can see panoramic views of the Swan and Canning Rivers and the Perth skyline, as well as explore the stunning Botanic Gardens.
Need to cool off? Take a dip in the cool turquoise waters of Cottesloe Beach. Or, spend a day in Fremantle, enjoying its colourful residents and impossibly cool bars and cafes.
The thing you can’t leave without doing? Take a ferry out to Rottnest Island and populate your camera roll with photos of white sand beaches, Australian wildlife, gorgeous views and, if you’re lucky – the ultimate quokka selfie!
ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
If quality art and culture is your game, Adelaide is the capital city for you. There is so much to see and do right in the centre of town, as well as plenty of exciting day trips you need to squeeze in.
Visit the crowning jewel of Adelaide CBD, Adelaide Central Market, and indulge in the finest Aussie produce, from fresh fruit and vegetables to artisan cheeses to quality meats and seafood.
Cool off at picturesque Glenelg Beach and explore surrounding cafes and boutiques.
Ready to explore further? The Barossa Valley is a must-do – taste dozens of premium wines and enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime views and experiences.
Another short trip out of Adelaide is Kangaroo Island, aptly named for its abundance of Aussie wildlife as well as unforgettable beaches where you’re free to swim, surf, snorkel or just laze around under the sun.
DARWIN, NORTHERN TERRITORY
Darwin is arguably Australia’s most underrated capital city, where you can enjoy the comforts of a big city while experiencing all the natural delights you could possibly dream of.
Face your fears and see crocodiles from inches away (while staying totally safe) at Crocosaurus Cove!
Travel to Litchfield and Kakadu National Parks, where you’ll find the waterfalls and foliage that will be the pride and joy of your Instagram for years to come.
If you want to experience the Crocodile Dundee version of Australia, it’s only a short trip from Darwin to several friendly outback towns.
Not convinced? The sunsets in Darwin are guaranteed to change your life. Make the trip to the Top End and prepare to be dazzled and amazed by true, authentic Australia.
That little island at the bottom of Australia that often gets cropped out in maps? That’s Tasmania, and it’s one of the most beautiful places ever. Its capital Hobart also gets overlooked but is an Australian city just as vibrant as the rest.
Have your senses stimulated at the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), an ever-evolving mecca of exhibitions and artwork guaranteed to blow your mind.
Ready to explore a little further? Take a two-hour trip to Bruny Island to get up close and personal with Australian wildlife such as fairy penguins and white wallabies. You can also continue your food discovery tour here and enjoy handmade fudge, cheese and fresh oysters.
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
Australia’s humble capital gets a seriously unfair wrap as a boring city. What people don’t know is that Canberra is a buzzing hub of culture and art, a melting pot of government professionals and the best and brightest students. Easily driveable or train-able from Sydney, you can’t leave Australia without checking out the capital.
Not sure where to start? The free Culture Loop shuttle is your own personal welcome wagon, stopping off at popular sites such as the Parliament House and the National Museum of Australia.
Want a great day out on a budget? Hike or drive up Mount Ainslie for panoramic views of the gorgeous city, where you can even spot some Aussie wildlife.
The capital of Australia is packed full of fun and culture waiting for you to discover. So, if you want to wine and dine at some seriously amazing restaurants, meet new and interesting people and learn everything there is to know about Australia’s history – Canberra is a must-visit!
YHA is the biggest budget accommodation network in Australia. With more than 70 hostels around the country, there is a YHA ready to welcome you wherever your wanderlust might lead.