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Wonders of Australia

Uluru - one of the wonders of Australia
Uluru / Nathan Siemers, / CC BY-SA 2.0

WorldBlue  Highlights

Australia covers the smallest continent of the world and islands around this continent.

A major part of the wonders of Australia are natural monuments but of global importance are also such archaeological monuments as Australian cliff paintings and some architecture monuments, e.g. Sydney Opera House.

States and territories of Australia

Australia is divided into six states, three mainland territories and several external territories.

Mainland territories
  • Australian Capital Territory
  • Jervis Bay Territory
  • Northern Territory
External territories

From this list is excluded Australian Antarctic Territory. All monuments of this territory can be found through the description of Antarctic and Sub-antarctic region.

Norfolk Island is somewhat separate, self-governing territory, still being a part of Australia. Macquarie Island is part of Tasmania, but here it is reviewed separately because it is located far from Tasmania.

Map with the described wonders

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WorldViolet Top 25 wonders of Australia

Geological wonders

Uluru (Ayers Rock)

Northern Territory

One of the Australian symbols, an enormous and visually very impressive sandstone inselberg, 348 meters high, and 9.4 km in circumference. A sacred place to local Aborigine peoples. Here are many springs, waterholes, caves, and rock art sites. Endemic plants.

Uluru from air
Uluru from air./ shinazy shinazy, Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Kata Tjuta (Mount Olga)

Northern Territory

Unusual, impressive monolithic rock formation, consists of 36 steep-sided domes up to 546 meters high. A sacred place to local Aboriginal people. Endemic plants.

Kata Tjuta
Kata Tjuta./ Rajeev Rajagopalan, Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Wave Rock

Western Australia

Highly unusual cliff formation that resembles an enormous petrified wave. In the vicinity, there are several more similar formations.

Fraser Island


The largest sand island in the world, 1,840 km². Contains dunes that are up to 24 meters high, tall rainforests growing at elevations up to 200 meters, unique ‘vallum’ heaths, and more than 100 unique, crystal clear dune lakes retained in the sand by organic matter deposits.

Champagne Pools in Fraser island
Champagne Pools in Fraser island. / Eduardo M. C., Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Morning Glory clouds of Carpentaria Gulf


A unique phenomenon, characteristic of the region at the southern part of Carpentaria Gulf. Here in the springs early in the morning special conditions form up to 1000 km long roll clouds, providing unique sight.

Morning Glory clouds, Queensland
Morning Glory clouds, Queensland / Mick Petroff, Wikimedia Commons, 11 August 2009, CC-BY-SA-3.0
Ball‘s Pyramid

New South Wales

An unusual remnant of a volcano – 562 meters high and just 200 meters wide cliff rising directly from the sea. Tallest volcanic stack in the world. Up to the recent time, this was the only place in the world where the up to 15 cm long Lord Howe Island stick insect (Dryococelus australis) was living.

Ball's Pyramid
Ball’s Pyramid. / JillBBruce, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0
Lake Hillier

Western Australia

Unusual lake in flamboyant rose color, surrounded by lush green forest and the ocean nearby. The unusual color, most likely, is caused by algae Dunaliella salina but the search for the cause continues.

Lake Hillier
Lake Hillier. / Kurioziteti123, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0
Shell Beach, L’Haridon Bight

Western Australia

One of the few beaches in the world that consists exclusively of shells. Here shells extend for 60 kilometers with a 7 -10 m thick layer.

Shell Beach, Western Australia
Shell Beach, Western Australia./ Halooch, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0
Carnarvon Gorge


Spectacular, some 30 km long gorge that is up to 600 m deep. A sacred place, rich with Aboriginal art and ancient burial sites.

Carnarvon Gorge
Carnarvon Gorge. / Roderick Eime, Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0
The Twelve Apostles


Group of closely located, some 50 meters high limestone stacks standing in the sea. Popular tourist attraction due to its good location next to the scenic Great Ocean Road.

Twelve Apostles, Australia
Twelve Apostles, Australia. / TravelingOtter, Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
Bungle Bungle Range

Western Australia

An incomparable landscape created by highly unusual rock formations. The landscape is marked by up to 250 meters tall sandstone pillars and beehive structures of contrasting light orange and dark colors. Deep gorges, labyrinths. An important site for the investigation of sandstone karst processes.

Bungle Bungles, Western Australia
Bungle Bungles / NeilsPhotography, / CC BY 2.0
The Pinnacles (Nambung)

Western Australia

Desert, filled with amazing limestone formations – pinnacles that rise up to 3.5 m high.

The Pinnacles in Nambung National Park
The Pinnacles in Nambung National Park. / Tobias Keller, Wikimedia Commons / CC 1.0
Horizontal Falls

Western Australia

Sea currents through two narrow chasms (12 and 20 m), caused by tides. Tides there are 10 m high thus several times during the day there is seen impressive sight.

Horizontal Falls, Western Australia
Horizontal Falls, Western Australia. / Stephan Ridgway, Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Wolfe Creek crater

Western Australia

Western Australia. Visually expressive meteorite impact crater, 875 meters in diameter, 60 meters deep. Created some 300,000 years ago.

Wolfe Creek Crater, Australia
Wolfe Creek Crater, Australia / Kookaburra, Wikimedia Commons, public domain
Devil’s Marbles (Karlu Karlu)

Northern Territory

An unusual place with rounded, giant granite boulders often standing in seemingly unstable positions.

Devil’s Marbles (Karlu Karlu)
Devil’s Marbles (Karlu Karlu). / mrpbps, Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Zircons of Jack Hills

Western Australia

The oldest known terrestrial material on the surface of Earth, these crystals of zircon formed some 4.4 billion years ago. The oldest crystal was found on Erawandoo Hill – 4,404 million years old. Exploration of this material provides new information about the early history of Earth.

Conglomerate from Jack Hills with 4.4 billion years old zircon crystals
Conglomerate from Jack Hills with 4.4 billion years old zircon crystals. / Graeme Churchard, Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Walga Rock

Western Australia

One of the largest monoliths in Australia, approximately 1.8 km long. Contains Walga Rock Art.

Walga Rock, Australia
Walga Rock, Australia. / Graeme Churchard, Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Kiama Blowhole

New South Wales

One of the most popular blowholes – a location where sea waves through the passage in the cliffs create water spray that is up to 25 meters (reportedly even 60 m) high. One of the highest blowholes in the world.

Kiama Blowhole
Kiama Blowhole./ Martin7d2, Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Mitchell Falls

Western Australia

Waterfall with 4 cascades. Total height – some 60 – 80 m. Remote, beautiful waterfall in a harsh landscape.

Mitchell Falls, Western Australia
Mitchell Falls / NeilsPhotography, / CC BY 2.0

Biological wonders

Lord Howe Island

New South Wales

This remote, 56 km² large Australian island has its own ecoregion where half of the plants and some birds and other animals are endemic. Unique characteristics are diverse glowing mushrooms in the forest, some bright enough to be used for reading at night. Endemic kentia palms are popular, beautiful houseplants.

Lord Howe Island
Lord Howe Island / David Stanley, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0
The Daintree Rainforest


Scenically beautiful rainforest in Australia with very high biological diversity. This forest contains unique, primitive flowering plants that survived the dry climatic periods in smaller areas of climatic refuge.

Daintree Rainforest
Daintree Rainforest. / Cory Doctorow, Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
Palm Valley, Northern Territory

Northern Territory

Oasis in the middle of the enormous desert, the only place in the central part of Australia where grow palms: the rare Livistona mariae as well as other rare plants. The ecosystem is fed by spring water. It is likely that palms were brought here by people some 15 – 30 thousand years ago.

Palm Valley - the only place in the central deserts of Australia where grow palms
Palm Valley – the only place in the central deserts of Australia where grow palms / Cgoodwin, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Archaeological wonders

Ubirr (Obiri)

Northern Territory

Some of the best galleries of Aboriginal X-ray style drawings, some are up to 40,000 years old. Three galleries are accessible to visitors.

Ubirr in Northern Australia, turtle in X-ray style
Ubirr, turtle in X-ray style / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Architecture wonders

Sydney Opera House

New South Wales

One of the iconic buildings representing not only Australia but 20th-century architecture in general. Constructed in 1973.

Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Sydney Harbour Bridge

New South Wales

Iconic 139 meters high arch bridge, built in 1932.

Sydney Harbour Bridge
Sydney Harbour Bridge./ Ross Fowler, Flickr / CC BY 2.0

WorldYellow Recommended books

In a Sunburned Country

Despite the fact that Australia harbors more things that can kill you in extremely nasty ways than anywhere else, including sharks, crocodiles, snakes, even riptides and deserts, Bill Bryson adores the place, and he takes his readers on a rollicking ride far beyond that beaten tourist path. Wherever he goes he finds Australians who are cheerful, extroverted, and unfailingly obliging, and these beaming products of land with clean, safe cities, cold beer, and constant sunshine fill the pages of this wonderful book.

The Archaeology of Australia’s Deserts

This is the first book-length study of the archaeology of Australia’s deserts, one of the world’s major habitats and the largest block of drylands in the southern hemisphere. Over the last few decades, a wealth of new environmental and archaeological data about this fascinating region has become available. Drawing on a wide range of sources, The Archaeology of Australia’s Deserts explores the late Pleistocene settlement of Australia’s deserts, the formation of distinctive desert societies, and the origins and development of the hunter-gatherer societies documented in the classic nineteenth-century ethnographies of Spencer and Gillen.

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