Australia's 20 Most Overrated Tourist Attractions

The Land Down Under is more than just the world's largest island; it's a magical oasis where culture, diversity, and exploration await around every corner. With millions of tourists visiting every year, however, many popular attractions have become worn-down, overcrowded, or just not worth the hassle. They might look appealing on Instagram, but you could easily spend years exploring this expansive island without seeing all the sights. Rather than checking off the same old itinerary, step away from the crowds and skip these overrated tourist attractions for something a little more adventurous.


01 The Twelve Apostles, Victoria

There might have been twelve apostles at one point, but now, all that remains on Great Ocean Road is a sad disappointment. Only eight limestone rocks are left, some of which have been reduced to a fraction of their original size. While the panoramic ocean view is attractive, the stones themselves aren't worth the drive.

02 Uluru, Northern Territory

This sandstone monolith is a breathtaking site, especially during sunrise or sunset when the colors are vibrant. Unless you plan to spend the whole day exploring Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, consider everything you'll have to put up with just for a few photos. The site is swarming with busloads of tourists, so it gets loud and packed — far from the natural oasis you were planning on. It gets hot, and bugs are prevalent, so you'll probably find yourself swatting flies away half the time anyway.

03 Bondi Beach, Sydney

Bondi Beach might be situated minutes from the CBD, but it's just one of thousands of beaches, and way overhyped. It's wildly popular among young and attractive influencers, so give it a pass if that's not your scene. Bondi's reputation ensures that its sweltering shores are crowded to the brim nearly every day of the week, making it hard to find a spot to sit down, much less relax. From backpackers just passing through to locals, celebrities, festival-goers, and families, seemingly everybody in Sydney is here from the early morning hours on. Plenty of panoramic beaches await without all the crowds.

04 Sydney Tower Eye, Sydney

If experiencing a 360-degree view of Sydney is on your bucket list, pay us no mind; we'll give this one a pass. It can be great for adrenaline junkies and those who desperately want to combat their fear of heights, but that's about it. At the end of the day, you're paying a lot of dough to get a view of the city, which you can get nearly anywhere. The tower itself is the tallest in Sydney, so it's impossible to miss.

05 Sydney Harbour Bridge climb, Sydney

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is a spectacular sight; there's no arguing that. However, signing up for the climb to the top is something else. You're paying for the pain of climbing hundreds of steps, which'll cost you hundreds of dollars. Since the bridge stretches over the harbor itself, striking views are available from nearly every angle free of charge, and its pedestrian path is also complimentary.

06 The Three Sisters, New South Wales

Australia New South Wales Katoomba Three Sisters mollypix / Getty Images

Nestled into the majestic Blue Mountains, the Three Sisters are a unique rock formation formed by erosion over 200 million years. Exciting stuff, but there's more to this popular stop than meets the eye, such as a long trek leading to the Giant Stairway — a series of 800+ stone and steel steps. This is something you prepare for, not a last-minute. Since getting to and from the site is so time-consuming and energy-draining, the Three Sisters might end up becoming the longest photo op of your life.


07 The Bell Tower, Perth

The ringing of the bells at this historic tower began as part of 1988's Bicentennial celebrations, and that magical experience continues today. For most tourists, however, traveling all the way out to this waterfront tower is a little overrated. Many of the bells inside stem from London's St Martin-in-the-Fields, so while they date back to the age of Elizabeth I, this doesn't exactly seem like something to celebrate. It's a wannabe landmark with a unique architectural design, but vibrant Perth offers so much more to explore.

08 MONA, Tasmania

Too many tourists to this museum end up disappointed because they don't know what they're getting themselves into, so don't make that same mistake. This museum of old and new art highlights some of the most eclectic pieces you'll ever see, with mind-bending installations set up by legendary provocateur David Walsh. MONA is anti-establishment and truly one-of-a-kind. It might be interesting, or it might just be weird, but only you can decide. If you came here expecting work from the Renaissance masters, however, you're in for a ride.

09 Canberra

Most Australians consider Canberra boring for a reason. It's not only small but situated in a geographically inconvenient location between major cities without any of the attractions or appeal. It's a place where politicians come to gather, but its utter lack of art, culture, and entertainment makes it a miss for the average tourist. There's no competition between this destination and Melbourne or Sydney, as it's nowhere near the ocean with a decentralized layout that makes it appear even emptier and difficult to navigate.

10 Wave Rock, Western Australia

Unless you're a geologist, consider giving this one a pass. It's a giant 50-foot rock resembling a wave, and that's all there is. While this might be cool for a quick photo op, it isn't worth a full-day trip. Wave Rock is also located in Hyden, which is a rather dull city a long distance from the nearest attraction. Its long distance from the ocean is another drawback, so if you want to catch some real waves, head for the coastline instead.

11 Port Arthur, Tasmania

Port Arthur is a Tasmanian town with a horrific history. The former convict settlement is now an open-air museum containing remnants of over 30 penal sites from hundreds of years ago, including isolation cells, a flour mill, and the penitentiary itself. In 1996, however, the town became known for another devastating event — the Port Arthur massacre- the worst instance of mass murder in Australian history. Something about visiting the location of a mass shooting just doesn't feel right.

12 Eureka Tower Skydeck, Melbourne

Melbourne offers world-class entertainment and activities for every interest, so why experience another profit-driven attraction? This observation tower feels like it was put there just to rake in the big bucks and has done its job well. At the same time, do you really want to pay an arm and a leg just to glimpse down at tall buildings?

13 St. Kilda Beach penguin viewing, Melbourne

Getting a view of these adorable aquatic animals is fun and all, but the bay itself is dirty and less than impressive. It can get chilly, and you'll be standing amid a sea of tourists on a cramped platform without being able to feed or photograph the penguins. Sometimes, they might not even come near enough to experience up close. If you're in the area, heading here for an after-dusk viewing is always unpredictable.

14 Wedding Cake Rock, New South Wales

wedding cake rock new south wales Khai Chu / Getty Images

While this striking sandstone formation might appear attractive in your Instagram feed, it's far more dangerous than it looks. If you decide to stop by for a quick picture, never attempt to climb these hazardous rocks. If you do, you could face a hefty fine, but even that isn't worth the risk. Someday soon, Wedding Cake Rock will come crumbling down into the ocean without warning, so it's best to keep your distance.


15 Sydney Fish Market, Sydney

Craving the freshest seafood in town? By all means, head here, but always take your meal to go. This bustling market is a go-to for locals and tourists alike, so it's always brimming with action. Prices here are far more affordable than they are on the harbor, and it's filled with delectable dining establishments serving boatloads of crab, lobster, fish, and shrimp in every variety imaginable. Stick around too long, however, and you'll be stuck with a smell you can't get out — we're talking fish guts, flies, and stagnant seawater for the rest of the day.

16 Newtown neighborhood, Sydney

Newton's renowned nightlife culture is something to behold, but this is one neighborhood to steer clear of during the day. It's a smart stop if you're into sipping cocktails in small bars after dark, want to catch live music at a historic venue, or are the type to tuck away into a beloved pub for a late-night sip. For anyone other than night owls, however, this ultra-hip area feels overrated and empty come daytime.

17 Rainbow Beach, Queensland

A unique combination of minerals creates the legendary colors of Rainbow Beach, including monazite, ilmenite, and rutile. Sand dunes surround the area and hold historical significance to the native Kabi people. While Rainbow Beach can be a beautiful spot for sunbathing when the weather is right, if the day's cloudy, those shades of color transform into dirty streaks of brown — not exactly picturesque. The town itself is quaint and charming, but since it's nearly 50 miles from the next major city, you'll spend a lot of time on the road.

18 Haigh's Chocolates, Adelaide

Tourists frequently head here for a tour of Australia's oldest family-owned chocolate maker, and while the sweet stuff is certainly decadent, it isn't particularly special. For most, it's certainly not worth the time spent or overcrowded experience when you can stop by for a quick chocolate bar at any time. Its reputation as Adelaide's finest might not translate for tourists who haven't been sampling the stuff since their toddler years like the locals do.

19 Southbank, Melbourne

If you feel like gambling at the Crown Casino, Southbank might be worth a quick day trip. Otherwise, however, why not just head across the bridge and explore the CBD instead? Melbourne has so much to do and see that you'd have to spend a long time in town to make this area all that enticing.

20 Cairns

There's stuff to see and do here that shouldn't be missed, so you should go, just don't stay. As a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef — the largest and most striking in the world — Cairns has gained an impressive reputation. The city itself, however, doesn't have much to offer, and its beaches aren't even swimmable thanks to the area's jellyfish population (not worth the risk). If natural beauty is your thing, just book your accommodations away from this less-than-appealing city and explore all the nearby sites instead, from the colorful reefs to Cape Tribulation.


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