1. How could you not love what the Whitsundays has to offer? There’s nothing quite like sailing around these stunning islands and learning the true meaning of “life’s a beach”. Think azure water and powder white sand for days.


2. Sydney Harbour is the most iconic pocket of scenery in Australia. Fact. Climb the Harbour Bridge and ogle at the picture-perfect views from above, and tick off a show at the prestigious Sydney Opera House. Both experiences are a must-do.

Australia and New Zealand Topdeck

3. Adrenaline junkie? Head straight for Queenstown. Think: jet boating, skydiving, paragliding, parasailing, snow sports, mountain luging and the original bungee jump (phew!).


4. Nemo and Dory don’t call this place home for nothing. Channel your favourite marine characters as you take a short cruise from along the East Coast on the stunning Great Barrier Reef.

Great Barrier Reef

5. Australians love their wildlife and thankfully, you’ve got multiple places to get up close and personal with your faves. Healesville Sanctuary, just outside of Melbourne, gives you a chance to celebrate the native animals, including wombats, echidnas and the ever popular, koalas.

daydream island

6. Who doesn’t love a penguin? No one, that’s who. Witnessing the fairy penguins at Phillip Island’s Penguin Parade make their way from the ocean, to their nests in the dunes is probably one of the most adorable things you’ll ever see.

Phillip Island TopdeckTravel

7. Realise all your wintry dreams at once with an unforgettable scenic flight over Franz Josef Glacier on the western coast of New Zealand’s South Island. This World Heritage-listed area offers some of the most breathtaking guided and unguided walks you can imagine. Seriously.

Glacier NZ

8. The only thing more fun-filled than rolling down a hill in a giant, human hamster ball? Rolling down a hill in a giant, human hamster ball in NEW ZEALAND. The crazy Kiwis have nailed the art of ‘zorbing’ in Rotorua, and every turn guarantees a topsy turvy barrel of laughs.


9. The Melbourne Cricket Ground can only be described as an Australian institution. Whether you attend a legendary cricket game in the heat of summer or rug up in your woolies for an Aussie Rules game in winter you can be sure attendance at this place will give you all the feels.


10. There’s nothing like great Aussie road trip. Pack up the car, grab your surfboard and make your way down the Great Ocean Road towards the famous Twelve Apostles. If you’re feeling super adventurous (and ready to brave Victoria’s icy temperatures!) catch a wave or two at Jan Juc, Lorne or Bells Beach ­– the home of the annual Rip Curl Pro surf contest.

great ocean

11. Wine, wine, glorious wine. Sydney has the Hunter Valley, Perth has Margaret River and Melbourne has the Yarra Valley. What’s your tipple?

Hunter Valley

12. Ready to go bush? Uluru, Kata Tjuta and the Milky Way are the most beautiful trio in Australia (not including vegemite, toast and Milo, of course). Head to the outback and see for yourself.


13. Walk tall amongst the hobbits with a visit to the rolling hills of Hobbiton in New Zealand. Keep your eyes peeled for Sam and Frodo as you tour the village movie set from The Lord of the Rings trilogy.


14. You can’t get further north than Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory. Gawk at some of the most picturesque scenery in Australia and enjoy a guided tour with a local indigenous guide – just watch out for the crocs. Eek!


15. Say “Kai Ora” to New Zealand’s native Maori culture. Boasting unparalleled hospitality and beautifully unique traditions, you can be sure an overnighter in a Maori marae (meeting house) will stay with you forever.

Australia and New Zealand Topdeck

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James Gottschalk
James “Jimmy” Gottschalk is an ex-full-time Topdecker, self-proclaimed AFL pro and total travel enthusiast. While gallivanting the world, Jimmy is working on his social media celebrity status and mastering the art of living.

You can follow his adventures on Instagram @plenty_of_chalk