Just as there are plenty of bustling cities to explore in Australia, natural escapes are also a dime a dozen. These scenic spots are more unique and diverse than the last. Ranging from cascading waterfalls and towering sandstone formations to pink lakes and vibrant coral systems. There are plenty of natural attractions in Australia that deserve your attention, you just need to know where to look.
Planning an escape down under? Here are 10 stunning natural landmarks to see in Australia.
1. Whitsunday Islands
The Whitsunday Islands are a picturesque, tropical getaway for many local Aussies. They also offer thrilling and relaxing activities to suit the needs of any traveller. The Whitsundays are made up of 74 islands located between the north-east coast of Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef. The islands are home to lush forests, white sand beaches and hiking trails. Packed with colourful coral and marine life, the Whitsundays provide a new perspective of Australia to appreciate.
2. Twelve Apostles
The 12 Apostles are situated along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria and are an assortment of towering limestone rocks standing off the coast of the Port Campbell National Park. Due to the salty ocean, only seven of the 12 apostles still stand today. The Twelve Apostles Visitor Facility is the perfect spot to admire the golden coastline, rocky gorges, and crystal water surrounding the natural structures. This is also a popular spot for landscape photography.
3. Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is an icon of Australia, with plenty of exciting things to do in the region. That being said, a visit is incomplete without a snorkelling and scuba diving adventure. Here you can have an up-close encounter with the diverse, colourful marine life in their underwater world.
Otherwise, head to the skies and admire the crystal water and coral systems with a thrilling helicopter ride. Up there be sure to keep an eye out for the heart reef. Whether it’s from the water or the air, you can easily appreciate this natural wonder.
4. Mackenzie Falls
For those eager to chase waterfalls, Mackenzie Falls is the perfect natural escape. The waterfall is located about 3 hours from Melbourne, within Grampians National Park. It’s one of the largest in Victoria, set amongst a vibrant, bushland backdrop. The water cascades over multiple rocks and into a river below.
There are two great hikes to admire the falls – one of which is the Mackenzie Falls Lookout Walk. This trail offers spectacular views over the gorge and flowing river from above. Alternatively, there’s the Mackenzie Falls Walk which extends to the base of the falls and offers an up-close view.
A trip to Uluru, otherwise known as Ayers Rock, delivers a secluded adventure into Australia’s outback. The ancient sandstone formation is millions of years old and is one of Australia’s most famous natural landmarks. Uluru is sacred among the Aboriginal community. It’s believed the spirits of their ancestors continue to inhabit the land.
Uluru is located within the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, about 5.5 hours from Alice Springs, or 1 hour on a plane. Plan a visit for sunrise or sunset and marvel as the light shifts the colour of the rock from a dusty orange to a bright red.
6. The Bungle Bungles
The Bungle Bungles of Western Australia is a cluster of dome-shaped sandstones. They are located within the Purnululu National Park and some stand over 300 metres tall. The rock’s surface is covered in a unique and consistent pattern of black and orange stripes. The formations can be enjoyed on foot, with many walking trails leading to the Bungle Bungles. Otherwise, the impressive, tiger-striped formations can be seen from the sky with a helicopter ride.
7. Hutt Lagoon
Hutt Lagoon is one of the many pink lakes plotted throughout Australia. They are located about 5.5 hours north of Perth. The unique pink appearance of the lake is actually caused by algae which mix with the saltwater in hot weather to achieve a stunning, pink glow. If you’re on the hunt for Australia’s best photos spots, Hutt Lagoon should be on your bucket list.
8. Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park
If you’re making the trip down to Tasmania, a visit to the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is a must. An obvious highlight of the region is Cradle Mountain, which stands at an impressive 1,545 metres above sea level. If you’re up to the task then tackle the Overland Track – a 65-kilometre journey (taking 6 days to complete). This offers views of the lakes, waterfalls, forests, and the surrounding mountains. Along the hike, keep an eye out for native creatures such as wombats and wallabies.
9. The Pinnacles
The Pinnacles are a countless collection of limestone formations, sharply protruding out of the golden sand in Nambung National Park. These were created when the sea retreated around 25,000 years ago, leaving behind deposits. This natural landmark is located about 2.5 hours from Perth. A visit to the Pinnacles at Nambung National Park is an entertaining day trip from the city, with plenty of spots to stop and rest along the coastline.
10. Springbrook National Park
Springbrook National Park is located 2 hours from Brisbane, holding within it a collection of natural treasures. A popular hiking trail in the area is the Natural Bridge. The trail weaves you alongside a river and down into an open cave, where you can watch the water cascade down in an enchanted-like setting. Otherwise, admire the views extending over Brunswick Heads, Mt Warning, and New South Wales at the appropriately named: Best Of All Lookout. With an overwhelming assortment of lookouts and waterfalls to see, no two visits are the same.
Australia has no shortage of amazing natural landmarks plotted across the country. You can tick off some iconic sites with a visit to Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef, or the Twelve Apostles. Or you can venture off the beaten track and catch a glimpse of the unique Bungle Bungles, Mackenzie Falls, or the shining pink water of Hutt Lagoon. Regardless of the experience you’re seeking, there’s a natural escape to suit everyone in Australia.
If you’re planning a multi-destination trip to Australia, consider throwing a few of these stunning natural landmarks onto your itinerary.
By: Nicholas Hastie/ www.travelanddestinations.com