Gibson Steps, Great Ocean Road, Victoria © Visit Victoria
Australia’s top natural attractions
Start dreaming of your next Australian holiday with these stunning natural wonders.
In Australia, you’ll find an incredible bounty of jaw-dropping natural wonders. From peculiar rock formations, bubble-gum pink lakes, idyllic waterfalls and crystal-clear ocean vistas, here are some impressive Australian natural wonders to add to your travel bucket list.
The Great Barrier Reef
Where: There are several locations from which you can reach the reef including Cairns, the Whitsundays and Bundaberg
The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system and home to the most amazing diverse marine life. Above the water, the reef is neighboured by picturesque tropical islands and some of the world’s most beautiful sun-soaked beaches.
How to experience it: There are so many unforgettable ways to experience the reef. Take a day trip to iconic attractions like Heart Reef and Vlasoff Cay, or snorkel over some of the world’s best coral and marine life.
Uluru and Kata Tjuta
Where: Five-hour drive from Alice Springs
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is home to two of the country’s most amazing natural monuments, Kata Tjuta and Uluru. Imbued with spirituality and rich Aboriginal history, the heart of the Red Centre is a must-see.
How to experience it: Join a SEIT Outback tour to learn more about the cultural significance of this incredible area from your guide.
Where: Eight-hour drive from Perth
Almost too baffling (and beautiful) to believe, Lake Hillier is known for its bright bubble-gum pink hue. Located on Middle Island near Esperance, Lake Hillier is not the only pink lake in Australia, but it’s often considered the most vibrant. Its pink colour is less accentuated when viewed from the surface but it is very prominent from above. In fact, unlike other pink lakes around the world, its water is still distinctively pink even when it is in a glass. Simply magic.
How to experience it: Enjoy a scenic and relaxing flight with Fly Esperance around Middle Island to really experience the lake up from its best angle.
The Great Ocean Road
Where: 1.5-hour drive from Melbourne
Ready for sweeping coastal views, ancient rock formations and an unbeatable feeling of freedom? Then it's time to hit the Great Ocean Road. Some of the most impressive sights along the way are Loch Ard Gorge, Gibson Steps, London Bridge and the iconic 12 Apostles.
Where: Two-hour flight from Perth
The crystal clear waters of Ningaloo Reef are home to the world’s largest fringing reef, a 260km (162mi) long coral reef swarming with turtles, tropical fish, manta rays, humpback whales and the giant-yet-gentle whale shark.
How to experience it: Swim with the whale sharks, fly above the reef in an Exmouth microlight flight or stay in a luxury campsite.
The Bay of Fires
Where: Three-hour drive from Launceston
Bay of Fires contains incredible granite boulders covered in bright orange lichen that appear even more vibrant against the vivid blue of the ocean and the striking white sands of the beach.
How to experience it: Join the four-day/three-night wukalina Walk, departing from Launceston. Your Aboriginal guide will help you identify bush food and sacred sites as you explore this beautiful area.
Litchfield National Park
Where: Two-hour drive from Darwin
Litchfield National Park is filled with stunning waterfalls and waterholes that are surrounded by monsoonal vine forests. The most popular place to take a dip is Wangi Falls.
How to experience it: Get a bird's-eye view with a Helifish scenic flight, or learn about the local Indigenous connection to the site with Northern Territory Indigenous Tours.
Where: Five-hour drive from Adelaide
Wilpena Pound in the Flinders Ranges is a huge, sunken natural amphitheatre – a vast crater carved out of the desert, surrounded by jagged mountains. Wilpena Pound covers eight times the area of Uluru.
The Three Sisters
Where: Two-hour drive from Sydney
Located in the Blue Mountains, the Three Sisters is a strikingly unusual rock formation that, according to Aboriginal legend, represents three sisters who were turned to stone. The tallest of the sisters stands at over 920m (3,000ft) above sea level.
How to experience it: The Three Sisters is best seen from Echo Point Lookout, however you can also get up close on a walking trail to the top of the Three Sisters via Honeymoon Bridge or via a guided sunset tour.
Where: Three-hour drive from Melbourne
The Grampians National Park is known for its stunning vistas, sandstone mountains, wildflowers, wildlife and the must-see Mackenzie Falls. Take the 2.5-hour return hike that ends in an incredible view of tree-covered mountains, blue lakes and vast valleys.
Freycinet National Park
Where: 2.5-hour drive from Hobart
Freycinet National Park in Tasmania is a picturesque peninsula of towering, pink-hued granite mountains that surround the white sands and calm, blue waters of Wineglass Bay.
How to experience it: Simply relax on the miles of white sand at the Friendly Beaches, follow the 90-minute walk to Wineglass Bay lookout, or take a day tour from Hobart, like a wonder-filled chartered cruise.
Where: Two-hour drive from Perth
Located in the Nambung National Park and formed 25,00 to 30,000 years ago, the Pinnacles is a mammoth collection of giant limestone pillars, some standing as high as 5m (16ft) tall. Throughout the centuries, coastal winds removed the surrounding sand, leaving the pillars exposed to the elements. They are a truly humbling and majestic natural site, and guarantee a new perspective of our place in a vast history.
How to experience it: One of the best ways to view the Pinnacles is via a 4WD tour through the sand dunes.
The Fairy Pools
Where: Two-hour drive from Brisbane
The Fairy Pools, set within Noosa National Park on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, are natural tidal pools surrounded by dark and dramatic basalt rocks. The pools are home to a variety of coral and sponges that can be spotted at low tide.
How to experience it: Take a walk along the Coastal Track through the beautiful Noosa National Park.
Dolerite sea cliffs of the Tasman Peninsula
Where: Two-hour drive from Hobart
The enormous dolerite sea cliffs found at the bottom of the Tasman Peninsula are perfectly suited to the rugged, almost unworldly coastal surrounds. In Cape Hauy, you’ll find The Candlestick and the Totem Pole, standalone sea stacks that stretch out of the ocean and into the sky.
How to experience it: For the daring, these cliffs are an abseiling and rock climbing mecca, but you can also marvel at the bizarre rock formations from a coastal cruise.
Where: Six-hour drive from Alice Springs
The towering red sandstone walls of Kings Canyon are astonishing. The jagged red rock and smooth, steep stone of the canyon stretch out across the desert.
How to experience it: Kings Canyon is best explored on the iconic rim walk. The walk can take around three to four hours, so consider starting early and avoiding the highest heat of the day.
The Walls of China
Where: 14-hour drive from Sydney
In Mungo National Park, the Walls of China are like a lunar landscape. Nature has carved out dramatic crescent-shaped sand and clay dunes that stretch along in a 33km (21mi) chain.
How to experience it: Check out the landscape from the viewing platform, best at sunset when the sand dunes turn yellow, orange and deep ochre. Or go on an Aboriginal Discovery Tour to learn more about the park and its history.