IHG Travel Blog

The ultimate guide to Australian summer adventures

Australia Places to Visit: Sydney, Canberra, Perth, Melbourne

Places to Go in Australia

From the vibrancy of Perth to the beautiful beaches of Queensland and everything in between, holiday options are endless in Australia. So, explore more of the country and discover why it’s is filled with natural beauty and a kaleidoscope of fun.


Spectacular Sydney

Sweep back the curtains and see the many things to do in Sydney.

From back of house to the green room, take a special behind-the-scenes tour of the iconic Sydney Opera House. Discover the historic Rocks precinct and after a day of discovery, relax with a cocktail in a rooftop bar overlooking the Harbour or an evening at the St George Open Air cinema as the giant screen rises from the water with a breathtaking backdrop of city at night during an Australian summer.

Wander the laneways of Double Bay, to experience a European-style shopping adventure and settle in to the lively dining and bar scene in the harbourside village.


Family fun in Sydney

La Perouse – Source: Getty Images

Venture further into the river and garden cities of Sydney and get to know the beautiful bushland and parkland settings of Parramatta, Warwick Farm and Macquarie Park – where you can choose from river boat and marine playgrounds, summer fun at Wet ‘n’ Wild, or even some cooling ice skating after a day’s shopping.  And, if you’re on the hop through Sydney Airport, stay for a day or two more and pop across to historic La Perouse, to enjoy a picturesque picnic or snorkel and scuba around Botany Bay.


Vintage vineyards

Hunter Valley – Source: Getty Images

Is the Hunter Valley or or a Sunday market at Windsor?

Take a slower and soothing break among the vineyards and open spaces of the famous wine growing area of NSW and witness 150 years of winemaking excellence at Audrey Wilkinson. Rise above the landscape in a hot-air balloon with Beyond Ballooning, or spend a morning at the Windsor Mall Sunday Market and find handmade homewares, arts, crafts, fashion and fresh produce.


Coastal cheer

Create a beachside story with stand-up paddle boarding in Terrigal Lagoon, and wake up to the sounds of the Pacific Ocean at your doorstep. Or, since the Gold Coast is known as Australia’s holiday playground, why not choose Queensland for some fun in the summer sun? Start with the fresh ocean air, endless sandy beaches and take a surfing lesson just steps from your hotel. You can wind down beside the quieter coastal waters of Sanctuary Cove, on your own private luxury yacht and sail among dolphins, turtles and whales while looking back on the sparkling Gold Coast skyline.



Only an hour flight from Sydney, be inspired by Brisbane city in summer. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and take a ride on the Wheel of Brisbane, or if you prefer something more relaxing, cruise along the Brisbane River. Alternately, pick up a kayak or step out on the many riverside walks which will take you to all the sights from the Story Bridge to the sensational museum precinct and internationally renowned Queensland Art Gallery.


Natural wonders

Go further north and enjoy one of the most awe-inspiring natural wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef. Swim and snorkel in those calm, clear waters as you marvel at the sea life below. Take a day out to discover eco-tourism around Cape Tribulation or lose yourself under the magnificent tropical canopy of the Daintree Rain Forest.

Make Cairns your base and you will find Far North Queensland is beautiful one day and even better the next.


Adelaide: Gourmet grazing

See the memorable sights of South Australia by settling in Adelaide for a holiday break. Alongside the scenic River Torrens, you have easy access to the Adelaide Oval for a stunning summer of cricket, or you could make the Adelaide Oval RoofClimb an added holiday highlight as you take in the sights of the CBD.

The Adelaide Central Market is among the most visited tourist attractions in the country. It has more than 80 stalls, cafés and restaurants and can lay claim to being Australia’s best market. You won’t find this variety of food under one roof anywhere else.

The renowned wine growing area of McLaren Vale is within easy reach, but choose an aerial alternative by taking a flight in an open-cockpit biplane over the region just below Adelaide.  How about joining the team at the famed d’Arenberg winery for an interactive wine blending class followed by an 8-course dinner featuring incomparable local produce. Explore our guide to Adelaide’s wineries.

As the sun goes down, the bars and restaurants of Adelaide’s growing, groovy entertainment scene are transforming so many parts of the city. Ambitious young, entrepreneurial and proud South Australians are promoting the best produce, food and wine from their state and invite you to join in the fun.


Melbourne from different angles

Source: Getty Images

From Melbourne Airport you can discover one of the state’s oldest wine regions, just 20 minutes away in Sunbury. And there is no better place for hot air ballooning in Yarra Valley than on a clear, calm and cool morning.

Of course, you can see Melbourne city by balloon as well, or enjoy a different perspective on an Aqua Donut boat on the Yarra River. Perfect for summer – get a group of friends together, bring your favourite playlist and enjoy a BBQ on board for a day to remember. And don’t forget the Australian Open Tennis – one of the tennis world’s big four Grand Slam events which lights up the city in January.

This year the historic Queen Victoria Night Markets return for the 20th anniversary. Every Wednesday night through summer, enjoy special themed nights, new and exciting food vendors and an atmosphere guaranteed to please all of your family.

Remember, no trip to Melbourne is complete without a visit the historic Laneways – known worldwide for their rich art culture, one-off boutiques, unique galleries, tiny cafes and hidden bars.


Canberra: For culture vultures

The Aboriginal Memorial at the National Gallery of Australia – Source: Tourism Australia

Australian Summer is the time to head to Canberra and explore our great museums.

The Australian War Memorial will welcome you to their summer holiday program, “Sights, sounds, and stories”. Visitors will gain a greater understanding of Australia’s military history, as the War Memorial showcases so many personal stories and anecdotes of the people who served our country.

Start with the Hyper Real exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia. From astonishing lifelike sculptures to cutting-edge digital art, Hyper Real provokes fascination, fear and joy, exploring the fundamental question: ‘what makes us human?’

Lights! Camera! Still photography? Discover a century of iconic Australian films in Starstruck: Australian Movie Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery. From there step out onto the shores of Lake Burley Griffin and follow the many walking or cycling trails, or explore the waters of the lake with some kayaking, paddle boating or yachting. Get high in a hot-air balloon and check out the nation’s capital from above.

Travelling with kids? Take them to Questacon – the National Science and Technology Centre – with more than 200 interactive exhibits relating to science and technology. It’s the most educational fun kids (and adults) can have.


Alice Springs: Secrets revealed

If Australia’s red centre is your target, just 20 minutes from Alice Springs you will be immersed in the West MacDonnell Ranges National Park. With spectacular gorges, the Australian ochre landscape, and trails along the ranges, you will find a new adventure at every turn. Take a quick dip in the natural rock pools, or take in the views from the lookouts along the way. Stay longer and head out to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and the natural wonder of the UNESCO World Heritage site that is the famous Uluru. Don’t miss the 36 domes of Kata Tjuta, or the Kings Canyon in the distance. Here’s your chance to tick them off your bucket list and enjoy the rich cultural history of Central Australia.


Go west to peaceful Perth

Make Perth your holiday destination for a fabulous summer in the western sun.

Experience the golden glow of the WA capital with a sunset cruise along the Swan River as you enjoy a new view of the sparkling city-scape. Venture further, where the locals take time out, with a short ferry ride off the coast of Perth to the aquatic playground of Rottnest Island. Make a day trip to the island, or kick back with a longer stay and discover the white, sandy beaches and secluded coves or the surf breaks of Strickland Bay in this Indian Ocean paradise. You might even spot a quokka, the much-loved marsupial which makes its home on Rottnest, a protected nature reserve.

Back in the city, take a rambling river walk along the Swan, climb to the lookout at Kings Park, and explore the coastal suburbs for shopping and casual dining around Perth’s sun-kissed Cottesloe Beach and Peppermint Grove.

At the end of your busy days of discovery, Perth by night has a cool blend of fabulous food, great new bars and world class restaurants for perfect summer evenings. Start with a cocktail at The Loft Bar and Lounge before enjoying the chef’s selection of tapas at Heno & Rey. Enjoy a feast of flavours at Ascua as chefs stoke the wood fire grill and, on the way home, how about a night-cap on the alfresco terrace back at The Loft.

Top photo: Tourism Australia

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