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With sprawling landscapes, beautiful white beaches, stunning sights and natural wonders galore, it is hard to pick the best places to visit in Australia.
To make things easier while you’re planning your next weekend away, or even the epic ‘Big Lap’ around the country, we’ve rounded up ten of the most iconic landscapes and sights to add to your ‘must see’ list.
1. Uluru/Ayers Rock (Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Northern Territory)
Known as the ‘Red Centre’, Uluru is undoubtedly one of Australia’s most iconic and recognisable landscapes. Uluru is located in the Northern Territory, around 335km from Alice Springs, and is a World Heritage Listed sandstone rock formation that stretches 348 metres high. Uluru itself is about 550 million years old, and holds an incredibly important cultural significance for the local Aboriginal people, the Anangu. While climbing the rock is now banned, visitors can make the 9km walk around the base with one of the local guides and experience stories of the Dreamtime. We recommend a visit during sunset or sunrise, where the light changes the colour of the rock from brown, to red, to orange.
2. Kakadu National Park (Northern Territory)
Also located in the Northern Territory is the Kakadu National Park, a 20,000 square kilometre World Heritage Listed sight that is renowned for waterfalls and swimming holes, rainforests, ancient rock art, incredible scenery and wildlife galore. Kakadu National Park is a three-hour drive from Darwin and is definitely one for the bucket list. Experience Aboriginal culture at Nourlangie or Ubirr or take a dip in the Gunlom plunge pool. There are also some incredible bushwalks so don’t forget your walking shoes!
3. The Great Barrier Reef (Queensland)
The Great Barrier Reef is one of Australia’s most incredible natural gifts and makes up one of the seven wonders of the natural world. Stretching 2,300 kilometres long, The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral system in the world. Here, you can witness the beauty of the Reef and marine life by scuba diving or snorkelling – there are over 5,000 types of marine and mammal species that live in the Reef. For an added experience, take a ride in a helicopter to see the Reef from the sky.
4. Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation (Queensland)
Located in Far North Queensland, the World Heritage Listed Daintree Forest covers 1,200 square kilometres and is 180 million years old – the oldest continuously living rainforest in existence. You can explore Daintree a few ways, either on land with guided rainforest tour or via a cruise along the water, where you are sure to see a crocodile or two. A must visit is Cape Tribulation, right at the heart of Daintree Forest, and also the spot where the forest meets The Great Barrier Reef.
5. Fraser Island (Queensland)
The World Heritage Listed Fraser Island is located in Queensland and is known as the largest sand island in the world. At 123 kilometres long, there is so much to explore on the island, including fishing, 4WD’ing, whale watching and incredible rainforests. A must visit is Lake McKenzie, a lake fed entirely by rainwater and surrounded by pure white sand. You also can’t go past a 4WD trip along the famous 75 Mile Beach. Fraser Island is well known for its dingo population – the animals are actually protected on the island.
6. Kangaroo Island (South Australia)
Located just off the coast of South Australia, Kangaroo Island is Australia’s third largest island, spanning around 4,416 square kilometres. It is well known as one of our greatest nature-based destinations, alongside unspoilt beaches, wineries, nature hikes and some amazing camping spots. One of the most incredible sights is at the Seal Bay Conservation Park on the island’s south coast. This is the only place in the world you can walk alongside endangered Australian sea lions.
7. Pink Lakes of Western Australia
One of the most beautiful natural wonders in Australia are our pink lakes, and there are two located in Western Australia. The first is Lake Hillier on Middle Island – about 130 kilometres from Esperance. While you can see the pink of the lake from the ground, it is particularly striking from the sky as it is juxtaposed with the very dark waters of the Indian Ocean and the barrier of greenery. The second pink lake is Hutt Lagoon, Coral Coast. Located just a short drive from Geraldton, the colour comes from the extremely high level of salinity. The colour of the lake itself changes throughout the day from a bright bubble-gum pink, to red or even lilac. The best time to catch it? Mid-morning or at sunset.
8. Bungle Bungle Ranges (Western Australia)
Another Western Australia gem is the World Heritage Listed Bungle Bungle Ranges, located within Purnululu National Park. The sandstone rocks, often compared to giant beehives, are one of the most well-known and unique sights in WA. To make the most of the area, you must check out some of the great camping options near the ranges, both within the National Park and at the Bungle Bungle Caravan Park.
9. The Great Ocean Road (Victoria)
Spanning 234km from Torquay to Allanford, The Great Ocean Road is one of the most spectacular coastal drives in the country and is actually the world’s largest war memorial. With a multitude of amazing natural sights, iconic surf breaks, bushwalks and foodie spot galore, it is a perfect destination for a weekend trip, or as a stop of your Big Lap. Some of the must-see natural sights include the 12 Apostles, London Bridge, Loch Ard Gorge and Bay of Islands. Other things to do along the way include visiting Bell’s Beach, one of the world’s best surf spots, or enjoying a wine or beer at one of the many wineries and breweries.
10. The Blue Mountains (New South Wales)
Just a short drive from Sydney is The Blue Mountains, a World Heritage Listed area. The ‘blue’ name comes from a blue haze surrounding the area which comes from the oils on eucalyptus trees in the forest combining with dust and water vapour. While The Blue Mountains are a wonder themselves, the area is famous for some other pretty amazing natural sights, including the Three Sisters, an incredible rock formation named after an Indigenous Australian legend, the Swan Rocks in Mount Kaputar Park, and the Walls of China in the Mungo National Park.