AUSTRALIA

loading map - please wait...

Fraser Island: -25.266315, 153.156085
Valley of the Giants: -34.234512, 116.674805
Blue Mountains: -33.617563, 150.455907
Lamington National Park: -28.216667, 153.150000
The Gemfields: -23.543960, 147.823349
Whitsunday Islands: -20.417506, 148.554382
Daintree National Park: -16.301438, 145.248021
Great Barrier Reef: -16.447284, 145.817350
Kakadu National Park: -12.866884, 132.811434
Litchfield National Park: -13.293538, 130.846388
Nitmiluk / Katherine Gorge National Park: -14.087329, 132.497059
Karlu Karlu / Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve: -20.565475, 134.290528
Palm Valley: -24.194251, 132.824788
Kings Canyon: -24.249821, 131.511787
Uluru / Ayers Rock: -25.352594, 131.034361
Kata Tjuta / Mount Olga: -25.300833, 130.737222
Bungle Bungles / Purnululu National Park: -17.529752, 128.400838
Tunnel Creek National Park: -17.524032, 125.258796
Windjana Gorge National Park: -17.412456, 124.978218
Karijini National Park: -22.250556, 117.975556
Ningaloo Reef: -22.836293, 113.801394
Coober Pedy: -29.013244, 134.754482
Kangaroo Island: -35.775243, 137.214242
Great Ocean Road: -38.631449, 143.897340
Namadgi National Park: -35.632207, 148.874786
Cradle Mountain-Lake Saint Claire National Park: -41.833333, 146.000000
Liffey Falls: -41.657138, 146.745637
Mount Field National Park: -42.682238, 146.716790
Freycinet National Park: -42.130644, 148.312309
Language: English Packlist
Currency: Australian Dollar (AUD) Eco-Lodges
Size: 7,692,024 km²/2,969,907 mi² Favorite Restaurants
Landscape: rainforest, beaches, mountains, desert, wetlands
Activities: exploring aboriginal culture, hiking, diving, snorkeling, wildlife watching, swimming, 4-wheel driving

Australia, or “Down Under” as people like to call it, is a land of extremes. Full of the deadliest and weirdest animals in the world,  it’s about as far away as most travelers can go from home. With a vast Outback that covers the whole interior, fringed by jungle-covered coasts and some of the most stunning beaches on this planet, Australia offers something for every traveler. Whether you want to dive the world’s “largest organism” (the Great Barrier Reef), hike lush rainforests, experience the culture of the indigenous Aboriginals; or go off-road and explore the deserts or hike peaks, there’s enough to do here to fill a lifetime of outdoor adventure.

TOP SPOTS IN AUSTRALIA

1. BLUE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK

Bordering the metropolitan area of Sydney, the Blue Mountains are a fantastic way to enjoy nature. The name comes from blueish hues caused by vapors from eucalyptus trees. It’s actually an inside-out mountain range — a deep valley in the plateau full of stunning waterfalls, endless trails, unique wildlife and refreshing rainforest air.

2. LAMINGTON NATIONAL PARK

Just outside of Brisbane, Lamington National Park is home to a diverse range of birds, and as such is renowned to birdwatchers worldwide. The lush rainforest is crisscrossed by hiking trails which lead you past waterfalls, fern trees and exotic wildlife. And if you look closely, you might even see a platypus in some of the rock pools!

3. FRASER ISLAND

The world’s largest all-sand island is home to many animals that have adapted to and thrive in the island’s unique ecosystems. Giant lizards, possums, echidnas, tortoises and dingoes inhabit the desert, wetlands, heath and rainforests that make up this island. Visitors should expect to rough it, as accommodations and supplies are scarce, so come well prepared. All the effort is worth it as you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking beaches, amazing fresh water lakes, rich lush jungles and many other beautiful natural wonders.

Go on a 4WD adventure on Australia’s Fraser Island, the world’s biggest sand island

  • Cruising along Fraser Island's 75 mile Beach Cruising along Fraser Island's 75 mile Beach
  • Crossing a little creek on Fraser Island's 75 mile Beach Crossing a little creek on Fraser Island's 75 mile Beach
  • Inland track on Fraser Island Inland track on Fraser Island
  • Large Golden Monitor on Fraser Island Large Golden Monitor on Fraser Island
  • Wanggoolba Creek at Fraser Island's Central Station Wanggoolba Creek at Fraser Island's Central Station
  • Tree at Central Station Tree at Central Station
  • Central Station, in the heart of Fraser Island Central Station, in the heart of Fraser Island
  • Lake McKenzie is probably Fraser Island's most beautiful inland lake Lake McKenzie is probably Fraser Island's most beautiful inland lake
  • Swamp on Fraser Island Swamp on Fraser Island
  • Walking to Fraser Island's Lake Wabby Walking to Fraser Island's Lake Wabby
  • Lake Wabby is getting smaller and smaller as the sand dune comes closer every year Lake Wabby is getting smaller and smaller as the sand dune comes closer every year
  • Lake Wabby from above Lake Wabby from above
  • Micha on her way back from Lake Wabby Micha on her way back from Lake Wabby
  • Micha floating down Eli Creek Micha floating down Eli Creek
  • Maheno ship wreck is a picturesque spot on the east coast of Fraser Island Maheno ship wreck is a picturesque spot on the east coast of Fraser Island
  • Maheno ship wreck Maheno ship wreck
  • Maheno ship wreck Maheno ship wreck
  • Maheno ship wreck Maheno ship wreck
  • Interior of the Maheno ship wreck Interior of the Maheno ship wreck
  • Interior of the Maheno ship wreck Interior of the Maheno ship wreck
  • Crossing a floodway on Fraser Island Crossing a floodway on Fraser Island
  • The Cathedrals - a unique rock formation on Fraser Island The Cathedrals - a unique rock formation on Fraser Island
  • The Cathedrals The Cathedrals
  • Indian Head is a great lookout on Fraser Island from where you can sometimes even spot sharks Indian Head is a great lookout on Fraser Island from where you can sometimes even spot sharks
  • View from Indian Head View from Indian Head
  • Creek crossing on Fraser Island Creek crossing on Fraser Island
  • Dingo on Fraser Island Dingo on Fraser Island
  • Fishermen during Tailor Run on Fraser Island Fishermen during Tailor Run on Fraser Island
  • Champagne Pools on Fraser Island offer a chance for a protected swim Champagne Pools on Fraser Island offer a chance for a protected swim

4. THE GEMFIELDS

Far off the tourist trail, The Gemfields in Queensland’s outback are well worth a couple of day’s detour. Try your luck by getting a permit for your own claim, and you might go home with some beautiful sapphires — we got lucky, so why shouldn’t you?

5. WHITSUNDAY ISLANDS

The Whitsunday Islands are a tropical island paradise off the coast of northern Queensland. Unbelievable white sand beaches line the countless islands, which invite snorkelers, divers, hikers and sun worshippers. The best way to explore them is by sailboat.

6. DAINTREE NATIONAL PARK

This World Heritage Site boasts an exceptional biodiversity in its tropical rainforest. Rare species and prolific birdlife are the major draw, so look out for the endangered cassowary and saltwater crocodiles (but don’t get too close!). Cape Tribulation is a headland within the park with extensive and unspoiled beaches where Captain Cook actually almost got his ship wrecked; it’s still not too easy to reach.

7. GREAT BARRIER REEF

This is world’s largest coral reef system, and it has actually been spotted from outer space by astronauts; it’s literally the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms. Home to a myriad of marine life, it has been declared a world heritage site. Warm waters and great visibility make it a haven for divers of all levels.

8. KAKADU NATIONAL PARK

This gigantic park in Northern Territory is criss-crossed by many rivers. You can find flood planes and hills, and a remarkable variety and concentration of wildlife. Home to many ancient Aboriginal tribes, you can find many rock paintings and cultural sites all across Kakadu National Park.

9. LITCHFIELD NATIONAL PARK

Litchfield National Park is famous for its termite mounds. You’ll find magnetic ones (lined up on a north-south axis) as well as some of the tallest ones in the world. Impressive rock formations, stunning waterfalls and rock holes make the Park a bushwalker’s dreamland.

10. NITMILUK / KATHERINE GORGE NATIONAL PARK

This series of 13 gorges with rapids and falls is carved out by the Katherine River which comes from Kakadu National Park. There are a couple of trails to explore, but the best way to check it out is to paddle up the river in a canoe. You’ll spot many (relatively harmless) freshwater crocodiles, and enjoy the beauty of the canyon up close.

11. KARLU KARLU / DEVILS MARBLES CONSERVATION RESERVE

These large granite boulders in the Outback are of great cultural and spiritual significance to the traditional Aboriginal people. The various shapes are a result of the natural processes of weathering and erosion. Some of them are naturally, but dangerously, balanced atop of each other or on larger rock formations, while others have been split cleanly down the middle by nature.

12. PALM VALLEY

This is the only place in Central Australia where Red Cabbage Palms survive. They are the remnants of prehistoric time, when dinosaurs roamed the now arid area when it was covered with tropical rainforest. A few small pockets of semi-permanent spring-fed pools remain, and the colors of the gorge make this a delightful destination for off-the-beaten path explorers. Getting there itself is an adventure, as it requires a four-wheel drive vehicle and driving through some (mostly) dry riverbeds.

13. KINGS CANYON

Kings Canyon is a deep valley with huge walls on both sides. You can either do a loop-walk around the rim, or go into the gorge itself. There’s even a permanent waterhole called Garden of Eden which is surrounded by lush plant life in an otherwise dry area.

14. ULURU / AYERS ROCK

Probably the most iconic natural feature of the Red Continent, Uluru is a large sandstone rock formation in the center of Australia. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and sacred to the local Aboriginals. You are encourage not to climb the rock, but as there’s a plethora of springs, waterholes, rock caves, and ancient paintings, you’ll have plenty to do and see.

15. KATA TJUTA / MOUNT OLGA

The Kata Tjuta is a group of 26 large domed rock formations not very far from Uluru. Despite this proximity to one of the country’s most visited spots, the Olgas don’t see very many visitors. Although they offer great hiking trails and are well worth a visit , especially if you want to get away from the crowds.

16. PURNULULU / BUNGLE BUNGLES NATIONAL PARK

The Bungle Bungles create one of the most unique landscapes in Australia. They are countless beehive-shaped domes which are visually striking with their orange and grey, horizontal stripes. The domes are separated by gorges, canyons, and chasms and can only be accessed with a four-wheel drive vehicle.

Red rock rhapsody at the Bungle Bungles in Purnululu National Park

  • The beehive shaped Domes of the Bungle Bungle Range in Purnululu National Park The beehive shaped Domes of the Bungle Bungle Range in Purnululu National Park
  • View from inside Cathedral Gorge View from inside Cathedral Gorge
  • Walking along the dry river bed of Piccaninny Creek Walking along the dry river bed of Piccaninny Creek
  • Sunset puts the rocks of the Bungle Bungle Range "on fire" Sunset puts the rocks of the Bungle Bungle Range "on fire"
  • Inside Whip Snake Gorge admiring the non-flowing waterfall Inside Whip Snake Gorge admiring the non-flowing waterfall
  • View from Mini Palms Gorge towards the entrance to the hike View from Mini Palms Gorge towards the entrance to the hike
  • Hiking the narrow trail into Echidna Chasm Hiking the narrow trail into Echidna Chasm
  • The Domes of the Bungles from up in the air The Domes of the Bungles from up in the air

17. TUNNEL CREEK NATIONAL PARK

This destination is definitely not for the faint of heart. Tunnel Creek flows underground through a natural cave, which is decorated with many aboriginal rock paintings. Though not very long, hiking it might feel a lot longer due to the presence of bats and (relatively harmless) freshwater crocodiles in the large pools of water on the cave floor. You’ll definitely have a story to tell back home after this trip!

Tunnel Creek – a wet underground exploration with crocodiles

  • The hidden entrance to Tunnel Creek The hidden entrance to Tunnel Creek
  • The cathedral-like entrance cave at Tunnel Creek The cathedral-like entrance cave at Tunnel Creek
  • Half-way cave opening at Tunnel Creek Half-way cave opening at Tunnel Creek
  • Approaching the exit of Tunnel Creek Approaching the exit of Tunnel Creek
  • A little oasis once you exit Tunnel Creek on the far end A little oasis once you exit Tunnel Creek on the far end

18. WINDJANA GORGE NATIONAL PARK

If you’re into crocodiles, but prefer a safer encounter with the milder species, head to Windjana Gorge, where dozens of fresh water crocs (freshies) bask in the sun along the pools during dry season.

Eye to eye with the crocodiles at Windjana Gorge

  • A curious freshwater crocodile at Windjana Gorge A curious freshwater crocodile at Windjana Gorge
  • Hiking along the dry Lennard River bed in Windjana Gorge Hiking along the dry Lennard River bed in Windjana Gorge
  • Dozens of crocs dozing in the pool at Windjana Gorge Dozens of crocs dozing in the pool at Windjana Gorge
  • Riverside foliage at Windjana Gorge Riverside foliage at Windjana Gorge
  • Freshwater crocodile at Windjana Gorge Freshwater crocodile at Windjana Gorge
  • View of the Napier Range at Windjana Gorge at sunset View of the Napier Range at Windjana Gorge at sunset

19. KARIJINI NATIONAL PARK

Due to its remote location and hard access (four-wheel drives only), Karijini National Park is a heaven for adventurers who don’t like crowds. You can find four prominent gorges here, which are marked by waterfalls and water holes. Test your climbing skills and see how far you get squeezing along the steep canyon walls. And if you miss a step … hopefully there’s a refreshing river underneath you to break your fall!

20. NINGALOO REEF

The little known Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia has as much to offer as its better-known big brother on the east coast (The Great Barrier Reef). The abundance of marine life is simply breathtaking! You can either snorkel the protected reefs of Coral Bay; go diving with myriads of fish, sharks of all kinds and other rare critters or swim with the whale sharks when they’re in season.

21. VALLEY OF THE GIANTS

Big parts of Western Australia are dry, covered in sand or low bushes, and hot. A refreshing change to this scene can be found in the country’s southwest corner. Here, in the Valley of the Giants, you can walk through the tree tops around or through gigantic tree trunks and admire the oldest and biggest eucalyptus trees still alive. A great place to take a break and take a deep, cool breath.

Valley of the Giants – where Western Australia makes you feel very small

  • The Tree Top Walk in the Valley of the Giants lets you explore the forest from a different view point The Tree Top Walk in the Valley of the Giants lets you explore the forest from a different view point
  • Micha on the Tree Top Walk in the Valley of the Giants Micha on the Tree Top Walk in the Valley of the Giants
  • Look up into a tree top from the Ancient Empire Walk in the Valley of the Giants Look up into a tree top from the Ancient Empire Walk in the Valley of the Giants
  • The Giant Tingle Tree - the world's oldest and biggest eucalypt tree still alive (can you see Micha at the bottom?) The Giant Tingle Tree - the world's oldest and biggest eucalypt tree still alive (can you see Micha at the bottom?)
  • View from the Tree Top Walk in the Valley of the Giants View from the Tree Top Walk in the Valley of the Giants

22. COOBER PEDY

If you want to get a feeling of what it’s probably like on the Moon or the Mars, visit Coober Pedy. The location of some scenes from the film Mad Max, it’s so out-of-this world, you’ll ask yourself why anybody would want to live here. Especially because the heat is just unbearable. But there is a reason: there are many opals buried here that draw countless treasure hunters. Oddly enough, the large tunnels that miners have dug into the earth here are now used for  churches and hotels because they provide such good shelter from the heat. If you’re lucky, you just might find some opals yourself.

23. KANGAROO ISLAND

Yes, there are kangaroos en masse on this large island off the coast of South Australia — but that’s not where the wildlife stops. You’ll find fury wombats as well as loads of cute koalas and tiny penguins, rare echidnas, sea lions and seals to name only a few. And besides that, the landscape offers some artsy formations like the Remarkable Rocks — well worth checking out.

24. GREAT OCEAN ROAD

This long and twisted route that winds its way along the southeast coast of Australia and has become a favorite for road-trippers. It traverses rainforests, as well as beaches and cliffs. There are plenty of opportunities and reasons to stop — like the impressive rock formations of London Arch (formerly London Bridge) and the Twelve Apostles. Take your time when driving this road, as it’s easy to be distracted admiring the koala bears climbing in the tree tops!

25. NAMADGI NATIONAL PARK

This National Park comprises almost half of the capital territory of Canberra and is home to a wide array of Australian wildlife, including the elusive platypus. Be sure to check out some of the many amazing Aboriginal rock paintings here.

26. CRADLE MOUNTAIN-LAKE SAINT CLAIRE NATIONAL PARK

When one first sees the natural beauty of Cradle Mountain across Dove Lake, it’s hard not to want to hike the steep 7-hour-long trail that takes you to the summit. If you have the energy, this rigorous trek will award you with even more great vistas, and maybe even some special encounters. After all, there are supposed to be some of the very rare and endangered Tasmanian devils here!

27. LIFFEY FALLS

The most stunning, but probably least visited waterfall in Tasmania, Liffey Falls, is mesmerizing. Set on the Liffey River amid lush green rainforest, it’s easy to loose track of time here. This is also a great spot to catch a glimpse of the elusive platypuses that inhabit parts of the river.

28. FREYCINET NATIONAL PARK

Tasmania’s oldest national park is home to the secluded Wineglass Bay, which looks like French Polynesia. The best way to enjoy the view of the incredibly blue water is from the top of Mount Amos. Keep an eye out for the many whales or dolphins that frequent the bay to feed, calve or just hand out.

29. MOUNT FIELD NATIONAL PARK

This park’s diverse flora includes swamp forests, tree ferns, rainforest and alpine vegetation. It’s most stunning features are the beautiful Horseshoe Falls, Lady Barron Falls and tiered-cascade Russell Falls. The last wild Tasmanian tiger was caught here, and though the species became officially extinct in the 1930s, you wouldn’t be the first one to report a sighting – so keep your eyes open!