Visitors to Oz are absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to tours and guided experiences. Across the country, you’ll find passionate local experts ready to share the history, culture and natural beauty found in and around their cities and regions.
From chocolate tours in Melbourne to indigenous rock art walks in Arnhem Land, here are 10 must-do tours when visiting Australia.
1. Phillip Island Penguin Parade Tour – Guided Ranger Option (Victoria)
Melbourne is one of Australia’s hottest tourist destinations. There are more guided experiences on offer here than anywhere else in the country, and with easy access to some of the continent’s most beautiful natural landscapes, scenic day tours are fun, and plentiful.
The famous Penguin Parade on Phillip Island is one of the most popular. Every evening at sundown, hundreds of plucky little penguins return from a day’s fishing in Bass Strait. Making a hasty dash up the beach to their rookery, the penguin parade is a thrill to watch.
Penguin tours from Melbourne generally include transport, along with entry to the Penguin Parade Visitor Centre. Enhance the experience by taking a guided walk with a local ranger, before settling in to your guaranteed beachfront seat.
2. Chocolate Walking Tour (Melbourne)
The Victorian capital is also known for its culinary prowess, as well as its restaurant, coffee, and café scene. Food tours are hugely popular, and one of the sweetest is a walking tour of the inner-city’s boutique chocolatiers. You’ll meet your guide at the fabulously ornate Block Arcade, before heading off on foot to explore the classic arcades and intimate laneways that give Melbourne its charming character.
3. Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb
One of Australia’s most famous landmarks, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, has dominated Sydney’s Circular Quay skyline for nearly a century. And while some visitors may be content admiring the view from the ground, the adventurous look to the sky-high tour known as the Bridge Climb.
More than three million people have scaled the massive arches on what has to be the most breathtaking guided walking tour in Australia. Bridge Climb starts at the Sydney Harbour Bridge Visitors Centre, where you’ll kit up in a regulation blue and grey onesie, before commencing on the 1,332-step climb to the top.
For those unforgettable Sydney views, this tour will not disappoint.
4. Koala Cruise (Brisbane)
From man-made landmarks, to attractions from the wild, every visitor to Australia’s shore must at some point meet a koala.
Brisbane’s Koala Cruise has been taking guests on a leisurely journey up the Brisbane River to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary for decades.
Lone Pine is one of the few places where you’ll actually get the chance to hold a koala. The cruise departs daily from Brisbane’s CBD.
5. Kuranda Day Trip by Scenic Railway and Skyrail (Cairns, QLD)
The magnificent Far North Queensland Wet Tropics Rainforest stretches all the way from Cooktown, on Australia’s top end, to Queensland’s central coast near Townsville.
Rainforest tours from Cairns are incredibly popular and include everything from a ride on an historic train to a cable car ride above the lush canopy, on the way to the tourist town of Kuranda, on the edge of the Atherton Tablelands.
Many visitors opt for the heritage Kuranda Scenic Railway to Kuranda, saving the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway cable ride for the trip down the mountain, back to Cairns.
6. Litchfield Wanderer (Darwin, NT)
The Northern Territory capital city of Darwin offers access to iconic Australian landscapes – ones that have come to define the Outback. Kakadu National Park is a must-see, but if limited for time, Litchfield National Park is easily doable as a day tour from the city.
With its plunging waterfalls, rocky escarpments and giant cathedral termite mounds, Litchfield Wanderer is filled with beautiful scenery, where visitors can swim in pristine waterholes, and learn all about the vibrant ecosystem.
Day tours usually combine the best of the landscape, with a BBQ lunch in the town of Batchelor.
7. Arnhem Land Rock Art Tour (Darwin)
Staying on the Top End, just to the east of Darwin, lies the restricted Aboriginal region of Arnhem Land. Controlled by the Yolngu traditional owners, tours include a permit for entry, and a visit to sacred rock art sites.
The guide is a local Indigenous artist from the remote township of Gunbalanya. It’s a big day with some long drives, but the chance to see 8,000 year old traditional art should not be missed.
8. Perth Arcades and Laneways Tour
Melbourne isn’t the only Australian city that can claim a funky network of inner-city laneways, alleys and arcades. The Western Australia capital city of Perth is on the same path, and the result is a CBD packed with surprises.
Cool cafes, trendy bars and lounges, and a vibrant street art scene can be found throughout the city. The Perth Arcades and Laneways Walking Tour reveals all to visitors. It’s a great way to get your bearings in this picturesque coastal city.
9. Barossa Valley Gourmet Food and Wine Tour (SA)
South Australia’s Barossa Valley is arguably Australia’s most famous wine-producing region. Naturally, there’s a abundance of wine tour to take you from cellar door to cellar door, where wine and cheese, and plenty of picturesque scenery are the order of the day.
Tours are available from Adelaide City, with drive time of about an hour. Once there, over 150 wineries are at your disposal. The valley’s gourmet food scene is equally extensive, making a Barossa Valley Food and Wine Tour the best way to get a taste for the region.
10. Grand Hobart Walk
Australia’s second oldest capital city, Hobart has a rich colonial back story just waiting to be discovered. With its mix of elegant Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian era architecture and charming selection of harbour side shops and cafes, it’s easy to see why Hobart is so popular.
The Tasmanian capital continues to go from strength to strength as a travel destination. You’ll want to spend at least three or four days immersing yourself in the city’s historic legacy, along with its fabulous food, wine and cultural scenes.
Start your visit by joining the Grand Hobart Walk. It’s an intensive but engaging history lesson that covers the waterfront, Salamanca and wonderful Battery Point.
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