Curtis Falls, Tamborine National Park, Queensland © Destination Gold Coast
7 places to ground yourself in Australian nature
The ultimate Australian oasis’ to ground yourself and reconnect with nature.
By Deborah Cooke and Cat Woods
If you’re looking for travel experiences where you can immerse yourself in the grandeur of nature, then Australia fits the bill perfectly. Walk barefoot on the sand, watch the sunset over Uluru and bathe in the beauty of the rainforest. Go on, find yourself.
Recharge your batteries on Cradle Mountain
The island state of Tasmania is home to some of the most pristine environments in Australia. One of the best ways to experience its many different landscapes is on the Cradle Mountain Huts Walk, a six-day, 65-kilometre (40-mile) trek that starts in Waldheim in Cradle Valley and ends in Lake St Clair. With ancient rainforest, grass button plains and extraordinary views, this walk is perfect for reconnecting with nature, and with yourself.
Read more about Cradle Mountain
Reset on Western Australia’s Eighty Mile Beach
When to go
The Eighty Mile Beach Marine Park is a major nesting area for flatback turtles between October and February every year.
A four-hour drive from Broome on the far north coast of Western Australia will bring you to Eighty Mile Beach. Here, humans are vastly outnumbered by the wildlife, including thousands of wading birds and, in the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, dugongs, sawfish and dolphins. The Aboriginal Traditional Owners, the Karajarri, call Eighty Mile Beach “Wender”, which means “creaky noise” – the sound your feet make walking across the white sand. Take that as your cue to connect with the land.
Read more about Broome
Take a trek on the Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road is one of the most inviting stretches of coast in Victoria. And while many visitors explore the region by car, its beauty is perhaps even more apparent on foot. The four-day Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk is the ideal way to immerse yourself in the coastline, breathe the salty ocean air and ground yourself in this rugged slice of nature.
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Discover stillness at the Tantanoola Caves
In mythology, caves are considered to be symbolic of the heart, and immersing ourselves in a cave is seen as a spiritual excursion into who we really are. Tantanoola Caves Conservation Park, a 4-hour drive south-east of Adelaide, could be the place to do just that. The main cave might be small –just 30 metres wide and eight metres high (98 feet by 26 feet) – but it has a wondrous array of both stalagmites (growing up) and stalactites (hanging down). The crisp air is sure to reinvigorate your senses.
Find your Zen on Tamborine Mountain
Tamborine Mountain, in Queensland’s World Heritage-listed Scenic Rim, is a little pocket of green less than a one-hour drive west of the Gold Coast. In fact, from some vantage points on the plateau you can see the high-rise towers of the Gold Coast’s Surfers Paradise in the distance. The only high-rise you’ll find here, though, is the mountain itself (578 metres, or 1,896 feet, above sea level), towering rainforest and a handful of waterfalls. Within this dense rainforest, you're sure to find your calm.
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Embrace the ancient in the Blue Mountains
The World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains, a 90-minute drive west of Sydney, is a vast region where you can experience everything from stunning rock formations to an Art Deco masterpiece (hello, Hydro Majestic hotel). The best way to delve deep into the natural surrounds of the mountains is on a hike, and the Grand Canyon Walk is mesmerising from start to finish. The six-kilometre (3.7-mile) circuit takes in lush forest, creek crossings and rock overhangs.
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Feel the power of Uluru
A sacred site to the Anangu people, Uluru is a place with palpable energy. You're sure to feel a sense of awe here, as you appreciate the grandeur of nature. There’s no better way to ground yourself than to sit on the warm red dirt at sunset and watch as the rock changes colours from fiery ochre to soft pink to rich purple. It’s an experience you’ll never forget.
Read more about Uluru