Places Australians should visit, but don’t

I’ve never walked around the base of Uluru or explored the Daintree.

Western Australia? Never been there either, and while I’ve visited Tasmania’s King Island many times, I have never touched down in Hobart.

Like many Australians, I consider myself well travelled, yet I’ve seen more of Ubud than Uluru. I’ve camped my way around the circumference of Iceland and in a remote part of Austria, but never pitched a tent along with Victoria’s Murray, a mere few hours’ drive. Drop me in the middle of Mumbai and I could find my way to Marine Drive, but I still get lost crossing Melbourne’s Yarra.

While I’m not blind to the charms of my own backyard, I’m afflicted with an itch for the exotic, for leaving home, for heading somewhere else entirely.

My rite-of-passage backpacking trip when I was 24 was determinedly un-Australian and unfamiliar. It was the trip of many “firsts”. The first time I saw the Colosseum, the first time I saw my favourite da Vinci painting in the Louvre, the first time I got lost in the maze of Venice.

Naturally, I bumped into other backpackers, and they’d ask me about Australia. They wanted to know what Uluru was like. “I don’t know,” I told one. “Most Australians live in east-coast cities and that’s far from Uluru.”

“Farther than here, though?” they responded. Well, no.

Later, living and working in London, my weekends were dedicated to visiting the English cathedral towns and last-minute trips to the continent, where cities with names like Porto and Valencia beckoned. Hop on a Ryanair flight on a Friday after work, and you were ordering food in a different language at dinner. Meanwhile, the advertising campaigns for the Antipodes were relentless through the grey winters of London. “So where the bloody hell are you?” Lara Worthington (nee Bingle) asked, and suddenly I would remember, like a punch, how blue the sky could look, the ease of life, the warmth back home.

Lara Bingle's Where the bloody hell are you? campaign reminded expats what they were missing
Lara Bingle’s “Where the bloody hell are you?” campaign reminded expats what they were missing

But the moment passed. Keep your gorgeous beaches, I thought. I’m seeing the world.

When my partner and I returned to Melbourne, an interest in Asia replaced the interest in Europe. The passport stamps are telling: I’ve been to Bali six times; India on three occasions; Vietnam, China and Hong Kong twice; once to Cambodia and Thailand; and Singapore on almost 10 occasions.

I’m always thrilled to return to Australia – the wealth and opportunities are a constant reminder of how lucky I am – but too often I viewed “back home” as a place to work and recuperate before the next overseas jaunt.

Until, of course, the pandemic happened, and the world shrank. Home became my 5km radius and then it became Victoria and eventually it became Australia.

Kakadu National Park is high on this traveller's to-do list
Kakadu National Park is high on this traveller’s to-do list

Finally, as state borders opened and the radius widened, I realised that many of the assumptions I had made about Australia were plain wrong. Sure, Europe is full of history, but so too is Australia – tens of thousands of years of Indigenous culture to be exact. We may never equal the sophistication of a city like Paris, but why should we try to match that? Find me a harbour city as beautiful as Sydney, beaches as gorgeous as those in Queensland, a wilderness area to match Tasmania, and an international food culture as diverse as ours.

Even as international borders reopen and quarantine requirements relax, my partner and I have resolved to spend this year travelling through Australia. Our beleaguered tourism sector needs it and so do we. On our list? Far North Queensland, Kakadu National Park, Victoria’s Otway Ranges and Tarra-Bulga National Park, ocean swimming on the Gold Coast and wine-tasting in South Australia.

We may even finally get to Canberra.

This article originally appeared on Escape and do not necessarily represent the views of

About the author


Hi! I’m Ozzie!

Before joining Australia Exploring, I was a writer at Tripadvisor.

I'm looking for the best posts for you about travel adventures in Australia and around the world. This website has the purpose to inspire you to travel… travel more and better. I hope it can help you explore the world a little bit better.

I graduated from the University of Sydney. I live in California with my wife and two children.


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