Australia has been blessed with an impressive amount of natural beauty, its sheer size allows for a great variety of landscapes and formations, from snowy mountains to arid deserts, beautiful rugged coastline to dense ancient rainforest – Australia truly has it all!
Holding the mantel for the world’s biggest reef system, the Great Barrier Reef is the only living thing on earth that can be seem from space! Formed of more than 2900 individual reefs and 900 tropical islands paradises, this World Heritage Site is around 25 million years old. It supports a huge variety of marine life, many of these species are endangered and endemic to the reef. Grab your snorkel and scuba gear to witness this wonder up close and personal, or alternatively stay dry and experience the beauty of the reef from the sky, as you soar alongside Far North Queensland’s striking coastline.
Step into the ancient untouched outback and Crocodile Dundee’s stomping ground. Kakadu is a UNESCO protected National Park packed full of striking escarpments, dramatic floodplains, pristine waterholes and Aboriginal rock art sites dating back more than 40,000 years old. Covering almost 20,000km2, the tropical biodiversity of Kakadu is phenomenal and supports vital amounts of Australia’s flora and fauna. Learn all about the history of Australia’s First People from the Traditional Owners of Wulna Country in the Northern Territory, and be ready to spot your first wild croc in the strangely named East Alligator River!
Lesser known as Ayers Rock these days, Uluru is the world’s 2nd largest monolith, towering 348m over the vast and undulating Central Australian sand dunes in the heart of Australia. Many people are touched by the spirituality surrounding Uluru, the majestical icon is doused in shades of red, orange, brown and even purple, most strikingly at sunset and sunrise. The Anangu (the traditional custodians of the land) regard Uluru as an extremely sacred site and share their creation stories called ‘Tjukurpa’ that are connected to Uluru.
The proximity of the reef to the West coast of Australia makes Ningaloo the world’s largest fringing reef system. The calm current creates crystal clear waters is not only perfect for viewing the colourful coral and diverse marine life that swarms here, but also provides eassy access from the beach to enjoy it. Simply grab some snorkels and flippers and wade in to enjoy the pristine waters and marine life. Mega marine life such as whale sharks visit the reef seasonally. Ningaloo is one of the few places in the world where you can swim with these gentle giants.
The North-western most region of Western Australia is best known as the Kimberley. An area the size of California, the Kimberley is one of the most remote regions of Australia. Witness the bizarre striped domes of the world heritage listed Purnurlulu National Park (TheBungle Bungles), the tropical pools of El Questro and the boabs dotted amoungst one of the great outback 4WD’s track in Australia, the Gibb River Road. The Kimberley’s isolation has allowed its diverse wilderness and rich cultural history to remain unspoiled. Adventure through savannah country, ancient cave networks, stand below picturesque waterfalls or stroll across squeaky clean beaches.You can do it all in the Kimberley!
Rightfully on every road-trippers bucket list, this meandering smooth coastal road is a dream to drive and offers constant postcard-perfect views. Tourist attractions are clearly signposted and most are just a quick detour from the Great Ocean Road itself. Erosion caused by the ferocious Southern Ocean has caused many outstanding formations along the coast line like the 12 Apostles, London Arch, the Gibson steps and Loch Ard Gorge. There are also a number of detours within an hour of the Great Ocean Road that are well worth the visit; Umpherston sinkhole in Mt Gambier, a collapsed ancient cave that has now become a beautiful sunken garden and home to a colony of friendly possums. Gariwerd (The Grampians National Park a series of four grand mountain ranges providing panoramic views across the flatlands of Victoria, scrambling hikes, scenic waterholes. The tremendous McKenzie Falls that thunders most of the year round from 30m cliffs into a deep gorge creating a misty spray of rainbow colours.
The biggest sand island in the world can be found off the east coast of Queensland boasting many natural wonders. These include a 240m high sand dune, eucalypt forests growing straight from the sand, over 100 freshwater lakes including the world’s largest perched lake and perched dune lake; Boomanjin and Boomerang lake. The island supports a great amount of flora and fauna including more than 25 packs of resident dingoes that can often be seen frolicking in the shore and near the shipwrecks of the island. Don’t forget to give your skin a luxurious natural exfoliation treatment with the pure silica sands at Lake McKenzie!
8- The Whitsunday Islands
Nestled into the Great Barrier Reef off the northern east coast of Queensland, The Whitsundays are made up of 74 idyllic islands, an archipelago of swirling fine white sands and striking shades of blue-green waters. The sheltered and crystal-clear waters provide great snorkeling and diving opportunities to witness the impressive amount of marine life that call the reef home. Experience the kaleidoscope of colour that is Whitehaven beach from the sky, one of the island’s breath-taking viewpoints or up close whilst relaxing in the warm, calm waters.
The Daintree Rainforest is famously the only place in the world where two World Heritage sites neighbor one another, where the Reef meets Rainforest. It happens to be the oldest rainforest in the world too! Stretching from Mossman to Cooktown, this 180-million-year-old piece of history supports an astonishing diverse range of flora, fauna and fungi including the most varied collection of Mangroves in the world. Species of plants that used to shelter the dinosaurs are now home to a huge proportion of Australia’s wildlife. This includes a whopping 65% of the country’s bat and butterfly population and many endemic species like the Cassowary and Boyd’s Forest Dragon.
10 – Tasmania
The smallest Australian state is known for having the cleanest air in the world, lush green landscapes and the endangered and elusive Tasmanian devil. The Northeast of the island holds ancient rainforests, Aboriginal historic sites and exceptional natural beauty such as the World Heritage listed Cradle Mountain. The north-east corner is filled with long sandy beaches with glistening granite backdrops, whilst the west is well protected with untouched, secluded bays, cool temperate rainforests and dramatic pink granite peaks.