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Australia’s most breathtaking sunrises and sunsets

Australia certainly knows how to put on a light show. The only problem is working out how to fit them all into your itinerary.

By Katrina Lobley

The beach isn’t the only place to catch a fantastic sunrise and sunset in Australia. Head to the Red Centre to see the changing colours of Uluru and climb an iconic bridge to catch the last sun ray in Sydney. 

Sydney's golden glow

BridgeClimb, Sydney, New South Wales

Plenty of famous types – Prince Harry, Ben Stiller, Ricky Martin, Demi Lovato and Emma Thompson – have conquered Sydney’s BridgeClimb to see the sheer gorgeousness of Sydney Harbour below and beyond. Follow in their footsteps and pull on the blue and grey safety overalls to climb to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, 134 metres (440 feet) above sea level. Day and night climbs are available but sunset, when the city is bathed in a golden glow, is easily the pick of the departure times.   

Sunset with camels

Cable Beach, Broome, Western Australia

For Australians who live on the east coast, it’s a rare treat to see the sun sink over the ocean. Join them in admiring a vivid sunset that seems twice the size, thanks to the technicolour display being reflected by the ocean, at Broome’s Cable Beach. It’s a tradition to find a spot on the grass outside Cable Beach Club’s Sunset Bar & Grill, and watch the sky change colour as the camel trains lope up the hill from the beach heading home to their stables.  

See the Sun Rise Over Uluru

Uluru, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Northern Territory

Uluru is the spiritual heart of Australia and a potent cultural symbol for Aboriginal Australians. There is nothing more powerful than rising early to see light gradually dawn upon this magnificent sandstone monolith. Watch as it changes from inky purple to a blazing red that matches central Australia’s desert sands (this part of Australia is known as the Red Centre). At sunset, Uluru’s colour is even more vibrant.

It's dolphin time

Tangalooma Island Resort, Moreton Island, Queensland

Moreton Island, 25 kilometres (15 miles) offshore from Brisbane, is the world’s third largest sand island. Head over to Tangalooma Island Resort (the only development on the island) and enjoy a long cool drink as the sun sets over Moreton Bay, which separates the island from Brisbane. After the sun sinks below the horizon, hand-feed the wild dolphins that have learnt that humans are waiting in Tangalooma’s shallows with buckets of fish.

A delicious end to the day

Mindil Beach, Darwin, Northern Territory

The Mindil Beach Sunset Market is a Darwin institution – for good reason. This beloved market, held on Thursdays and Sundays between late April and late October, is like going to a beach picnic. Graze on sizzling satay sticks, a spicy Malaysian laksa or local tucker such as crocodile, buffalo or barramundi. Shop the art and craft stalls for souvenirs – perhaps a didgeridoo or a bush painting – or catch a spectacular fire show before sitting back and surrendering to the beauty of the Top End sky, as the sun dips into the Arafura Sea.  

Where the mountains glow pink

Wineglass Bay, Freycinet National Park, Tasmania

Wineglass Bay, in Freycinet National Park on Tasmania’s east coast, is famous for its perfect arc of white sand that fronts turquoise waters. For a spectacular view of the bay at sunrise, hike to Wineglass Bay lookout (it takes about 45 minutes from the Wineglass Bay carpark) before taking the track down to the bay to squeak along the sand. Once at sea level, admire the backdrop of The Hazards – a rocky outcrop that’s tinted pink thanks to iron-oxide impurities within the granite’s feldspar.