Australia teems with amazing natural attractions that rival those anywhere in the world. Here are some of the best of them.
By Peter Burchell, BIG4 Holiday Parks of Australia
Australia's diverse landscape is home to a plethora of astounding natural attractions that are sprinkled all over the country. Some of these fascinating wonders wouldn’t be out of place on another planet. Others are so ridiculously beautiful, you could stare at them all day.
It’s time to celebrate Mother Nature’s brilliance with this collection of mind-boggling natural attractions.
Dark Sky Park, Warrumbungle National Park, New South Wales
Australia boasts beautiful stargazing around the country, but there's one place that's ideal for gazing up at the galaxies. At Australia's first and only Dark Sky Park, you can enjoy some of the most spectacular stargazing thanks to the high altitude, low humidity, crystal-clear skies and low light environment. Located in picturesque Warrumbungle National Park in central New South Wales, the Dark Sky Park offers amazing stargazing opportunities both on your own and from an observatory. Spot the stars ablaze from anywhere in the park, or head to an observatory for a closer look. At Warrumbungle Observatory, you can book your chance to navigate the night sky as you spot stars and planets through up to five different telescopes.
Sea Cliffs, Tasman National Park, Tasmania
The enormous dolerite sea cliffs found at the bottom of the Tasman Peninsula are truly impressive. Measuring up to 300 metres (984 feet) in height, these jutted creations are perfectly suited to the rugged, almost unworldly coastal surrounds. These are the Southern Hemisphere’s highest sea cliffs, and for the daring they are an abseilers’ mecca. For the rest of us, simply stare in amazement at one of the most awe-inspiring attractions in Tasmania. Many striking rock formations along the coastline are easily accessed by car, including Tasman Arch and The Blowhole, two of Tasmania's most visited attractions, as well as Waterfall Bay, Remarkable Cave and the Tessellated Pavement. You'll find them about a 90 minute drive from Hobart.
Umpherston Sinkhole, Mt Gambier, South Australia
If you're doing the Great Ocean Road, consider making Mt Gambier one of your pit-stops and head to Umpherston Sinkhole. Once a limestone cave, this sinkhole is the result of corrosion from seawater that led to the cave’s roof collapsing. It’s since been transformed into a stunning sunken garden that you can admire day and night. Even more appealing is the sinkhole’s proximity to the Mt Gambier city centre. You'll find Mt Gambier approximately a 2.5 hour drive from Allansford, the last stop on the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne.
The Pinnacles, Nambung National Park, Western Australia
Head just over two hours north of Perth and prepare to encounter a scene widely regarded as being better suited to Mars. The Pinnacles is a mammoth collection of weathered limestone pillars that protrudes from desert-like surrounds and makes for an awe-inspiring sight. Adding to the peculiarity of the occasion is knowing just how close to the ocean you are – yet you’ll likely feel as far removed from water as you will from earth as you know it. Fascinating.
Grampians National Park, Victoria
Just a three hour drive west from Melbourne, the Grampians receives loads of footprints each year. Yet, pay a visit to it and you’re likely to feel that still, somehow, this area is vastly underrated. Sure, there are tourists around but it’s easy to opine that the area should be swarming with them. Best not to wonder too long and instead enjoy the spine-tingling experience of standing directly underneath or atop the craggy, towering sandstone mountain ranges. The Grampians thoroughly deserves to be regarded as a national park not to be missed.
Undara Lava Tubes, Undara Volcanic National Park, Queensland
Once there was furious volcanic activity, now there is a series of remarkable tunnels and caves to explore. Lauded as among the largest and longest lava tubes on the globe, Undara is the result of volcanic eruptions almost 200,000 years ago. The results of this ancient fury is so captivating and intrinsic that it’s sure to feature prominently on your Instagram account. Undara Volcanic National Park is about a 3.5 hour drive southwest of Cairns.
Bungle Bungles, Purnululu National Park, Western Australia
When it comes to Australia’s most jaw-dropping attractions, the Bungle Bungles consistently earn a podium finish. This Kimberley icon consists of a cluster of beehive-like, cone-shaped towers that are simply dazzling, particularly when witnessed from the air. The journey will take you just over four hours travelling south from Kununurra. Despite the distance, this World Heritage wonder is colourful, spectacular, and absolute bucket-list material.
Stromatolites of Hamelin Pool, Shark Bay, Western Australia
By definition, stromatolites are regarded as living fossils and those at World Heritage-listed Shark Bay are regarded as the oldest and largest of their type. Likened to discovering a living dinosaur, they are amazing to look at. Talk a walk down the purpose-built jetty to get a clear look at them as you read the informational displays along the way. This funky photo subject is 225 kilometres (140 miles) south of Carnarvon and roughly 300 kilometres (186 miles) north of Geraldton. Or, if you're travelling along the Coral Coast, they can be found just 30 minutes from the stunning beaches of Monkey Mia.
Kata Tjuta, Uluru- Kata Tjuta National Park, Northern Territory
Move over, Uluru. We’re shining the spotlight on your less-hyped neighbour. Kata Tjuta is a gathering of giant red sandstone domes that dominate the surrounding arid landscape. Thought to have once been a single rock, these three dozen domes make for some fine photo ops. And, interestingly, the highest point of Kata Tjuta – Mt Olga – reaches a height of 546 metres (1791 feet) above ground, making it roughly 200 metres (656 feet) higher than Uluru, making it a must stop when you're visiting the Red Centre.
Wilpena Pound, Flinders Ranges, South Australia
The most notable landmark in the famous Flinders Ranges, Wilpena Pound is a huge, sunken natural amphitheatre of such remarkable beauty that you can’t help but be astounded by it. Spanning almost 100 kilometres (62 miles), the only way in is through a massive gorge that's 11 kilometres (seven miles) long and eight kilometres (five miles) wide. Take the 5 hour drive north of Adelaide to get there, or view it on a scenic flight. Taking in the richness of the landscape’s colours is just about unbeatable.
Australia’s pink lakes, various locations
We couldn’t just settle on one Australian lake to feature but we did narrow it down to a type: the pretty-in-pink lakes dotted around the country. These bright beauties change colour due to high concentration of algae in the water. The resulting hue is nothing less than fascinating, making them one of Australia’s most unique natural attractions. Lake Hillier near Esperance (about a 7.5 hour drive south of Perth) is perhaps the most famous example, while the Pink Lakes of Murray-Sunset National Park in northwest Victoria are also outstanding.
Kings Canyon, Watarrka National Park, Northern Territory
The towering sandstone walls of Kings Canyon are quite simply astonishing. These walls contrast jaggedness with smoothness, all brightly coloured and beautiful and demanding more clicks of the camera than your average celebrity. Approximately a six hour drive from Alice Springs on sealed roads, this top attraction rewards whether you’re peering upwards or taking in all its glory on a rim walk.
Walls of China, Mungo National Park, New South Wales
When it comes to jaw-dropping Australian natural attractions, this crazy creation demands serious attention. Here, nature has carved out crescent-shaped sand and clay dunes so dramatic and mind boggling that you’ll be thoroughly absorbed. Mungo National Park is a key feature of the World Heritage Willandra Lakes region, 125 kilometres (78 miles) from Mildura, which is famed for its immense cultural significance. Fly to Mildura or drive just under nine hours from Adelaide.
Wave Rock, Hyden, Western Australia
Welcome to one of Australia’s funkiest natural attractions. Without roadside signage, you could easily pass by this rocky phenomenon without realising you’re missing out on a must-visit attraction. Aptly named for its smooth, wave-like carving, this granite cliff stands an impressive 15 metres (49 feet) high and extends for 110 metres (361 feet). Drive just under four hours east of Perth to find it.