You may know it as the land Down Under, the Land of Plenty, the Sunburnt Country. But whatever name you choose to call the island continent, Australia is definitely a Great Southern Land brimming with wonders. Full of diverse destinations, Australia has an abundance of iconic spots you’ll love to discover – both in the rugged outback and along its sparkling shorelines. A quintessential Aussie holiday could involve riding over red earth somewhere far inland, or throwing down a beach towel and relaxing on those buttery-soft coastal sands. Australia’s a wide and inspiring country, so let’s narrow down your must-see list and find the best landmarks to visit.
Meet an ultra-famous and instantly recognisable Aussie natural wonder, right at the geographical heart of the country. Lying 335-kilometres from the nearest town of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, Uluru (previously known as Ayers Rock) is a majestic limestone monolith that’s both a magnet for travellers, and one of the most significant and sacred sites to Indigenous Australians. Your own encounter with Uluru will be an unforgettable desert experience. At dawn and dusk, as the colour changes across the surface of this mammoth red rock, you’ll be in for a light show like no other. The shifting shades of Uluru are an extraordinary and breathtaking experience, whether you’re on land, or choose to view the spectacle on a sunset tour by air. To enhance a sense of awe, the Field of Lights is a vast permanent outdoor installation: an illuminated spectrum of 50,000 swaying spindles. Immerse yourself in this magical, celebrated landscape as Uluru sinks into darkness.
Massive and mesmerising, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest living coral ecosystem and one of the planet’s seven natural wonders. Whether you swim, snorkel, dive, sail, cruise, or view this epic World Heritage showpiece from the sky or from a glass-bottom boat, a holiday here is a rare gift of nature that you’ll be sure to cherish forever. Roughly the equivalent size of Italy or Japan, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park stretches from Far North Queensland near Cape Tribulation, down the sunshine coast 2,300-kilometres. Almost 3,000 individual reefs support a diverse underwater wonderland of marine life, and offer hundreds of idyllic islands to explore, surrounded by the pristine blue depths of the Coral Sea. Other stunning springboards include Magnetic Island, near the ‘Reef Headquarters’ of Townsville, and the beautiful Whitsunday Islands off Airlie Beach. Home to the amazing Heart Reef, this naturally formed spectacle will add a splash of romance to paradise.
What the Eiffel Tower is to France, the Sydney Opera House is to Australia – each their very own phenomenal cultural icon. The white sails of this stellar architectural landmark are sure to make a lasting impression on first sight, and linger as a highlight of your Australian holiday snaps for years to come. Set against the backdrop of sparkling Sydney Harbour, this dramatic structure (built between 1964 and 1973), was given UNESCO World Heritage status in the new millennium – singled out as ‘a masterpiece of human creativity’. Head to Circular Quay and frame your view with the equally famed Sydney Harbour Bridge – especially magical when admired together from the deck of a harbour ferry, yacht or sailboat. Attend an opera, ballet, pop or theatrical performance, and add some exceptional entertainment to crown a memorable Aussie holiday.
Winding alongside the weathered cliffs and rugged landscapes of Victoria’s Southern Ocean, the Great Ocean Road is undeniably one of the most scenic coastal drives of all time. From surf-town Torquay to whale-haven Warrnambool, the vistas, wilderness and walks offered by this iconic stretch of road will awaken your spirit of adventure. This landmark trip may further stir up nostalgia for simple beach holidays as you eye secluded shorelines and stop off at classic seaside hamlets. You’ll be rewarded with astonishing twists and turns over the length of the journey, introducing you to some of Australia’s most remarkable natural attractions. The Twelve Apostles are undoubtedly the highlight: these eight commanding rocky columns soar from the ocean at Port Campbell National Park. Station yourself at Teddy’s Lookout where imposing seaside cliffs serve as a magnificent backdrop to these ancient limestone stacks.
One of Australia’s most unique natural icons is the Pinnacles, located 190-kilometres north of Perth. A major attraction in the country’s West, this desert extravaganza consists of thousands of eerie-looking pillars, some up to five-metres tall, rising above the yellow soils of Nambung National Park. Left when the seas receded around 30,000 years ago, these archaic limestone structures are scattered over 190-hectares. This windblown landscape, accentuated by a shifting background of sand dunes, creates a striking interplay of patterns, shadows and ripples as the sun rises and sets over the Pinnacles. See kangaroos, emus and other native wildlife as you wander through this unmissable, other-worldly Australian landmark. Renowned as a photography hotspot, it’s also a perfect place for stargazing. Stay after dark and be treated to captivating views of the Milky Way, and bring the magic home with you in your camera.