Top 10 Beautiful Natural Destinations in Australia
1. The Great Barrier Reef
Formed over 18 million years ago, containing approximately 3,000 coral reefs, 350 coral species, 900 islands and over 1,500 different species of fish, the Great Barrier Reef is officially the largest reef system on earth! Beautiful and somewhat magical, the coral shoals in the area are covered with exotic vegetation, and is home to resident whales, orcas, large green turtles, "sea cows" and other endangered species. Thousands of tourists visit it annually to enjoy the view, most ideal for scuba diving, for exploration and for photography.
"Nature at its best in the Great Barrier reef"
"It was a wonderful experience visiting the Great Barrier reef. Even though the Coral sea was rough, once we reached the Green island, we had a great experience. Watching the under water life through the glass bottom boat and the semi submarine was awesome. It was an all day trip through the vessel Big cat. The crew members and the guides were very helpful. The turtles and different coloured fish were amazing." -vbala2000: Senior contributor
2. The Twelve Apostles
A beautiful natural phenomenon that's considered to be one of the most inspiring natural landmarks in Australia, the Twelve Apostles is an intriguing group of rock formations that rise from the waves of the Australian coast, like standing sentients looking out to sea. Travel the Great Ocean Road to the Gulf of Apollo where you can start your tour to the Apostles, and be astonished with the collection of limestone cliffs overhanging the water. There used to be twelve, but only eight remain as strong erosion, constant contact with seawater, wind and sun has eroded the other four.
"Cannot rate it highly enough"
"What a great place to come to, beautiful, well set up with the car park on the other side of the road. My international guests were very impressed...." -kiaorabro1: top contributor
3. Australia's National Parks
Australia is home to the most astonishing National Parks in the world, and we pride ourselves for the heritage, beauty, and variation of Flora and Fauna contained in each one. Our parks likewise serve as the perfect setting for many remarkable walks and trails, taking many adventurers through various conditions that test their strength as well as determination.
Below are some of our prized parks:
Kakadu National Park
Kakadu National Park is not only Australia's largest national park but also a World Heritage-listed site that boasts of having SIX different seasons in an area so vast it had to be divided into seven distinct regions. The terrain here ranges from rugged steep slopes to forest woodlands, and then to wetlands and open savannah. The Aboriginal history is likewise amazing in Kakadu, spanning 40000 years as seen through sandstone galleries of ancient rock art.
Flinders Ranges National Park
Probably the most favoured destination for adventurers, the Flinders Ranges National Park is renowned for its natural, cultural and geological significance, offering many highlights in the form of rugged mountain ranges, sheltered creeks lined with river red gums, spectacular gorges and abundant wildlife. Scenic flights, four-wheeled drives and bush-walking are only a few ways to explore the Flinders, with other tours of variety on the side to cater to any degree of adventure craving. Meander various locations of interest in the area, including the stunning natural amphitheatre that is Wilpena Pound, best known for its astonishing tear-shaped appearance in the very centre of the Park.
A top fishing spot that's nestled on the Murchison River meeting the Indian Ocean, Kalbarri offers various opportunities to swim, surf, kayak, sail, bushwalk, and whale watch within its areas. Flocked by both Aussie locals and international visitors, Kalbarri pastimes are amongst the most favoured holiday pastimes in the country. Not to mention the riot of colours from July until October that's created by over 1,100 Western Australian wildflower species that thrive there always leave guests mesmerised and in awe.
The beloved Uluru is actually a sandstone rock of some 1,145 feet tall, with a circumference of almost 6 miles that's listed as a World Heritage Site. It is part of the Uluru - Kata Tjuta National Park, considered to be one of the most beautiful sites in Oz. Uluru likewise owes it fame largely because of its other unusual rock formations on site and the sacredness it holds to the Aboriginal people of the surrounding areas. Best viewed via scenic flights, it is also enjoyable by foot.
"A great way to see Uluru and The Olgas"
"The [scenic] flight gave a unique perspective of both Uluru and the Olgas, and the great vastness around them. The Olgas are even more impressive from the air. A really nice way to end our trip to Uluru! We would highly recommend it." - Ron K, contributor
5. Barron Falls
The spectacle that is Barron Falls cascades from a height of over two hundred and sixty meters; often compared to a herd of wild mustangs that run at full force because of the power of its gushing waters. Located where the river Barron passes from Atherton to Cairns in Queensland, the volume of water that falls from its heights is huge in heavy rainfall, but can run bone dry on some occasion. Together with the gorgeous park around it, Barron Falls is an incomparable natural phenomenon that should not be missed. The air lift experience that takes you to see its humble presence is also a must do, and treats visitors to a stunning view of the rainforest below.
"...Got an extra bonus of the views of Barron Falls. Even in low water it was ‘gorgeous.'" - kgesc, contributor
"It's amazing to see the water coming down. Of course it's more dramatic in the wet season, but any time of the year is great." - hhx2_12, contributor
6. Tasmanian Wilderness
The Tasmanian Wilderness provides refuge to many plants, animals and birds that you won't find anywhere else in Australia. Isolated from civilization, and remaining unchanged for more than 60 million years, it has likewise ensured the unspoilt beauty of its many areas--forty percent of which are protected as national parks and reserves.
Listed amongst the World's Heritage Sites, this wilderness stretches for more than 1.38 million hectares with a combination of rugged alpine peaks and dense rainforests, earning it a spot as one of the last true wilderness regions on Earth. From north to the island's most remote southern tip, Tasmania has more than 2000 kilometres of world-class walking tracks including the famous and highly-celebrated Overland Track that stretches 65 kms across awesome woodlands, mountain peaks and trail challenges.
"Beautiful scenery, fresh air, mountains, creeks. Would totally recommend this walk. Take waterproof warm clothing, Tasmania's weather is very changeable." -EsmeBunny, senior contributor
7. Whitsunday Islands
Hailed as one of the most beautiful and exotic places in Australia, the Whitsunday Islands compose a small and very fascinating archipelago, believed to have separated from the rest of the continent by a shift in the land and the rising sea levels. It boasts of amazing scenery, covered with exotic tropical vegetation and species that are endemic only to the location. Filled with magnificent beaches and breathtaking waters, the surrounding depths contain many magnificent coral reefs and abundant schools of fish that call it home.
8. The Blue Mountains
One of the most beautiful places on earth, the Blue Mountains earned their name due to the bluish haze that naturally covers the gentle green hills of their forests. Although not as high as other mountains in the country, their summits have remained inaccessible and unconquered for some time, before the peaks were discovered to be sandstone hills rather than mountain plains.
The unique peak called the Three Sisters has become a challenge for rock climbing enthusiasts for years, but have been forbidden recently, although their majesty can still be admired from a distance. Several towns that offer all the comforts of home and guarantee a peaceful stay in the "blue haze" are available around the area.
9. Kangaroo Island
With a shore length of about 509 kms, Kangaroo Island, Australia's third largest island next to Tasmania and Melville, is covered with beautiful coves and wild beaches. Sparsely populated, half of it has never been cultivated by man, and serves as a treasury for diverse nature, notable of which are the populations of kangaroos and bird species that amuse guests and tourists. The so-called Remarkable Rocks are likewise an unbeatable attraction on the island, sculpted by crashing waves to resemble unusual works of art that change colour throughout the day. However, lounging seals and the astounding scenery typical to Kangaroo are not the only things to see on the island. Visitors also flock to swim with dolphins, dive the shipwrecks at D'estrees Bay, or go sand surfing in Little Sahara's giant dunes.
10. Australian Alps
An area of great national and international importance, the spectacular Australian Alps is a landscape of dramatic contrasts that many visitors fall in love with. From ancient mountains to glacial lakes, clear springs and waterfalls, these alpine and subalpine environments are full of surprises, treating guests to a world of snow in winter and wildflowers in summer at any given time. A proud national landscape, many challenging experiences and fascinating history converge to form this Heritage place, with 11 national parks and reserves working collectively to protect its splendid scenery.
"Ready for the trails"
Trips to these natural destinations can often be hassle-free, with options to book in advance for accommodations, meals, tours and activities which will most certainly keep you busy once there. But being in Oz, camping is an equal part of any location, and you might want to enjoy the scenery further by "roughing it out" instead of getting cooped up in a hotel room. In that case, you'll need to pack more than just a change of clothes.
It's common sense that short camping trips require minimal gear while longer trips require more. Either way though, the important thing is to pack only the essential stuff, at the same time preparing for a change in the weather or the schedule, whichever comes first.
Some tips before leaving:
1. Decide on the Itinerary
A stellar trip should start with a nearly-perfect itinerary, so decide where to go and what to do first, that way, you can also anticipate things like the cost and expenses, accommodations and what to bring along. Ideally, you may want to do some research, and check some itineraries such as those found in our Camping Guides here in OutdoorOz, which gives you an idea about the area before you come over.
2. Make a list
Jot down all the things you might need. This could include change of clothes for a specific number of days (depending on your stay), socks, shirts, shorts or pants, a daypack as well as foot gear among others. You might also want to note some necessities in the list including the papers and documents you will be needing (if applicable), the amount of cash or number of cards you will be bringing, and some other miscellaneous items like a waterproof camera and some other gadgets for the road.
3. Tick off the checklist
Once you've gathered everything, place the items on the bed or a clean space on the floor and check off what you've listed. This is to ensure that what you've accumulated is already complete.
4. Packing Proper
Take your luggage bag, or backpack and place everything in neatly. Fold and stack properly so you maximise the space. Another technique is to roll small items so that they fit into even the little compartments that may be available.
5. Pack important items separately
The advantage of a combination backpack-daypack is that it allows you to leave the bigger bulk of your things behind and carry only the essentials. This advantage can also be used when packing. Use the daypack to hold your important items that way it's easy to carry them with you while travelling. Include room keys, your tickets, passports (for travellers abroad), identifications, money and gadgets in the bag. You might also want to carry some medication, first-aid items, sanitisers, repellants and guidebooks among others as they may come in handy.
Some basic gear to bring along:
(Note: Pack as necessary, or as needed by the season or destination of choice.)
- Our trusty and spacious tents
- Sleeping bag
- Rain jacket and pants
- Layered clothing like thermals
- Hiking boots, sandals or shoes (make sure they're comfortable)
- Toiletry and personal hygiene
- Emergency kit or First-Aid
- Cooking and eating gear (a stove, skillet or grill, plates, cutlery, other utensils)
- Fire starter/s like a flint or lighter
- Flashlights, Camp lights or lanterns
- Folding chairs
- Spares, repair kits & accessories
Needs further ideas on how to Pack for the trip? Visit our Camping Guides Section or read:
- How to Pack for a Weekend Camping Trip
- How To Pack Smart For a Trip
- How To Pack For a Short Trip
- What to bring on a camping trip?
- Camping Packing Checklist
- What to Take on a Weekend Camping Trip
More on beautiful natural destinations both here and everywhere else? Here are some related reads:
- Top 10 Most Amazing Beautiful Natural Places to visit in the World
- Australia Natural Parks & Wonders
- Australian Nature
- Our Parks Australia
- Australia's top five best national parks
- Top 10 Natural Wonders: Western Australia
Photo courtesy from Wikipedia