Australia is among the wealthiest countries in the world, and it’s the sixth largest country by land size. Don’t be fooled by the size though, as interior is sparsely populated and most of the life is lived along the eastern and southern rim of the continent. That means when you’re planning a trip to Australia, you might need to cover a lot of space to see the wonders of Australia.
And boy are there wonders! Australia is a country bursting with incredible wonders of the world: areas filled with one-of-a-kind biodiversity, scenic drives bursting with natural beauty, man made wonders soaring into the sky.
As the latest in our series of the Wonders of the World, we’ll dive deep into seven unmissable spots in the Seven Wonders of Australia.
Kakadu National Park
Kakadu is the premier national park in Australia and offers some of the most stunning displays of wildlife you can find on the continent.
You can find a number of incredible animals, marsupials, and reptiles all over the park. Plan on spotting saltwater crocodiles, kangaroos and wallabies, flying foxes, flatback turtles, river sharks, termites (which are supremely cool in person!), and any number of the parks 280 bird species.
Now let’s talk about the natural beauty in Australia’s Kakadu National Park. All of this wildlife abundance has to life somewhere, and that’s in large floodplains, estuaries and tidal flats, stone country, and so much more.
To top it all off, in addition to stunning rock outcrops and wildlife, Kakadu has some of the oldest aboriginal artwork in Australia. Many of the rock drawings date back over 20,000 years. Bonus: Kakadu was the location for many of the scenes from the movie Crocodile Dundee.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
Uluru (Ayers Rock) is probably the best known natural icon in Australia, and no list of the Seven Wonders of Australia could be complete without it.
Why does this incredible rock have that magnificent color? The iron content in the rock makes its colors change through the course of a day from bright to dark red. Sacred to the local aboriginal Pitjantjatjara people, Uluru is of great cultural significance, as well as natural significance.
Often overlooked, nearby Kata Tjuta is a natural wonder with visiting as well. It’s actually higher than Uluru, but has been eroded into several pieces.
What says “Australia” more than Sydney Harbor?
Maybe a kangaroo holding a boomerang and beer in the outback, but that’s about it.
The center of Australia’s largest city, Sydney Harbor, is home to the Sydney Opera House and the Harbor Bridge. You can take a ferry across the harbor, walk across the top of the Harbor Bridge, have tea in the Opera House, and take a stroll in the nearby Royal Botanical Gardens. Each of these activities will give you interesting vantages on the stunning architectural feat of those iconic sails gleaming on the Opera House.
Bungle Bungles/Purnululu National Park
Had this Seven Wonders list been created 30 years ago, the Bungle Bungles might not have been listed. Having come to the world’s attention only in the mid-1980s, the beehive domes of the Bungles make Purnululu National Park the premier attraction in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.
It’s difficult to actually get to the Bungles, but the unique erosional features here make the Bungles fascinating—it’s unlike anything else in the world and thus safely has a spot on our list of true Aussie wonders.
Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is so big that the scope of it can really only be appreciated from the air—or even better, from orbit.
By far the largest coral reef system in the world, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef extends over 2,600 km (1,600 miles)—almost the entire length of the coast of Queensland. It’s usually on any shortlist of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, let alone the ones in Australia.
Giant Eucalyptus Trees of Tasmania
The most dramatic of all the things in Tasmania is the Eucalyptus Regnans, the giant eucalyptus tree. Also known as the Swamp Gum, Mountain Ash or Tasmanian Oak, it is the largest flowering plant and hardwood tree in the world, and is second only to the redwood tree in height.
I’m not the only one impressed with the Tasmanian Wilderness—this natural attraction is so important it was named one of Australia’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The Great Ocean Road
One of the greatest drives in the world is the Great Ocean Road on the southern coast of Victoria. Carved by thousands of years of battering by the Great Southern Ocean, the sandstone formations of the Great Ocean Road are truly stunning.
The Twelve Apostles, London Bridge, and Loch Ard Gorge are just some of the significant erosional features near the town of Port Campbell, which you can witness no matter how you plan your drive of the Great Ocean Road.
7 Wonders Honorable Mentions:
It’s impossible for any list to contain all that makes Australia unique and beautiful. From natural wonders to symbols of the continent’s long history, these honorable mentions are truly special and deserve a spot on your bucket list as well.
- Lord Howe Island
- Fraser Island
- Blue Mountains
- Coober Pedy
- Shark Bay
- Mungo National Park
- Pinnacles Desert