Unmissable Landscapes in Australia

Unmissable Landscapes in Australia

Your trip Down Under might begin in a jet-lagged haze, but once your body clock is back on track and you head out on an Aussie adventure, some extra-special scenery is waiting to say g’day. From coastal roads and coral reefs to majestic mountains and ancient monoliths, Australia is all about bucket list landscapes. So, if your idea of the perfect itinerary is one that’s packed with panoramic views and picturesque places, keep reading for our round-up of unmissable landscapes in Australia. 


Great Ocean Road: Driver’s Delight

As road trips go, driving the Great Ocean Road is up there with the best. This spectacular, 413-mile coastal route follows the clifftops that overlook the Southern Ocean, winding through wild and windswept scenery from the surf town of Torquay (just over an hour’s drive from Melbourne) to the pretty fishing village of Port Fairy. Along the way, picturesque seaside towns like Lorne and Apollo Bay are perfect for a fish and chips pitstop on the beach, while the lush rainforest of Otway National Park is one of the best places to spot koalas in the wild. But the real stars of the show are the 12 Apostles; rugged limestone stacks that rise from the ocean, standing proud as one of the most photographed landscapes in Australia. Hire a car, hit the road and enjoy this extra-special, extra-scenic coastal drive. You won’t regret it.


Daintree Rainforest: A Tropical Treat

Sir David Attenborough called the Daintree Rainforest ‘the most extraordinary place on Earth.’ And since he’s seen his fair share of spectacular landscapes, that’s quite some accolade. This ancient UNESCO-protected forest in Tropical North Queensland has been growing for more than 180 million years, making it one of the world’s oldest tropical rainforests. And wildlife watchers take note, as this lush landscape contains unbelievable biodiversity, including 40% of Australia’s bird species and 60% of its butterflies. In recent years, the region has also been at the forefront of Indigenous-led tourism and it’s one of only a handful of places in the world where Indigenous people oversee a UNESCO World Heritage site. Join a guided walk with the Eastern Kuku Yalanji people (the traditional custodians of the land) to discover the secrets of this sacred and mesmerising landscape.


Wineglass Bay: Must-See Sand

Tourists travelling Down Under often overlook Tasmania, but the isolated island state shouldn’t be missed. Blessed with boundless natural beauty, ‘Tassie’ is home to some of Australia’s most stunning scenery – including Wineglass Bay, one of the country’s bucket list beaches. Shaped like the glass that holds your favourite Aussie vintage, this sublime curve of sand is nestled among pink granite peaks in the pristine wilderness of Freycinet National Park. To see it for yourself, embrace the Australian art of bushwalking and follow the one-and-a-half-hour return trail to the Wineglass Bay Lookout, where the dazzling display of the bay awaits you and your camera. And if the vista invites a closer look, continue along the trail to reach the beach; a sweaty, slightly strenuous walk (three hours return) that’s well rewarded when you sink your toes into the secluded, sugar-white sand.


Uluru: Immense & Iconic

The mammoth sandstone monolith of Uluru (or Ayers Rock) is probably the most iconic of all Australian landmarks. Deeply spiritual and sacred to the Anangu people, this ancient rock formation rises from the earth like a red colossus. You’ve seen it on TV and in guidebooks, but nothing can prepare you for sight of something so immense; a natural wonder that’s been 500 million years in the making. Alongside Kata Tjuta (36 mountainous domes spread over more than 12 miles), Uluru dominates the landscape in the Uluru and Kata Tjuta National Park, yet there’s so much more to see in one of the most famous landscapes in Australia. Desert plains, rocky gorges, outback waterholes and impossibly starry skies all make up this extraordinary landscape. Come to see Uluru transform from terracotta to violet at dusk or glow flaming red at dawn, then stay to explore more of Australia’s ancient heartland.


Blue Mountains: Views to Banish the Blues

The beauty of Australia is that you’re never too far from nature, even in the city. Case in point: the Blue Mountains. A two-hour train journey from Sydney brings you to this World Heritage-listed wilderness, where verdant valleys and native bushland lie between rugged peaks. Once you disembark in the town of Katoomba, it’s an easy ten-minute walk to another of the most frequently photographed landscapes in Australia, the trio of sandstone towers known as the Three Sisters. And with more than 80 miles of track to explore, the Blue Mountains is a great place to get some bushwalking experience under your belt. But you don’t need to exert yourself to bask in the beautiful scenery of the Blue Mountains. Instead, you can indulge in luxury at one of the region’s wilderness retreats; think boutique cabins, bathing beneath the stars and panoramic views from your own private lookout.


The Whitsundays: Paradise Found

If you’re serious about seeing the most awe-inspiring scenery Australia has to offer, you won’t want to miss the Whitsundays. A cluster of islands off the coast of Queensland, the Whitsundays follow the paradise playbook to a tee. All the tropical tropes are present and correct; white sands, turquoise waters, swaying palms, beachfront resorts. And whether you are sailing, snorkelling or sun lounging, there are heavenly vistas wherever you look. The Whitsundays are also the gateway to another unmissable landscape: the Great Barrier Reef. This is where you can tick off a few once-in-a-lifetime experiences, like a scenic helicopter flight over a heart-shaped reef or a guided snorkel safari to swim with sea turtles. Whether above or below the waves, seeing even a small part of the world’s largest coral reef system is a sight you won’t forget in a hurry.


Header Image © Lucy Laucht