Sunday, November 24, 2013

Natural Beauty: 5 Must-See Australian Destinations

1. The Great Barrier Reef
The iconic beauty and grandeur of the reef cannot be overstated, and whether you are a diver or snorkeler, it would truly be a shame to miss it. Sadly, it, and all reefs around the world are in decline and are at serious risk due to climate change.
Great Barrier Reef 
2. The Great Ocean Road
The road winds its way right along the rugged coastline past some of the most beautiful sights in the country. The 12 Apostles are probably best known, but there is even more to take in along this wild ride! It can be done on a bus tour, but I recommend renting a car if possible so you can take your time and stop wherever you feel like taking it all in and snapping a few pictures.
12 Apostles
3. Western Tasmania
This very remote destination is almost entirely protected as National Park, and much of it is World Heritage listed – the highest distinction a natural place can receive. I got snowed on in the middle of summer, and it rains quite often, but the scenery is worth it. I hiked Frenchman’s Cap in 4 days. The trail is only recommended for experienced trekkers, and for good reason. The first day involved 6 km of knee-deep mud and then the trail got more difficult! There is a small hut directly below the summit, and when I say directly, I mean it. The top of the mountain is a massive quartzite dome with a 400-meter vertical face. At the top, I was above the clouds, and I was treated to a beautiful day on the summit!
Western Tasmania
4. The Blue Mountains
Not far out of Sydney is a truly wild place. There are massive waterfalls, rainforest, cliffs, and plenty of wildlife to look at. If you are up for a hike, I very highly recommend the Grand Canyon walk. I have hiked in a lot of places, but the amount of work that went into the trail is perhaps the most impressive. There are steps carved into the face of the rock along much of the trail, and most other places, stone blocks were flown in by helicopter.
Blue Mountains waterfall
5. Kangaroo Island
Off the coast of Adelaide is an island that has a lot to offer. From Penguins, seals, and sea lions to kangaroos, kookaburras and koalas to lighthouses, rock arches and isolated beaches. I only spent 2 nights on the island, but I wish I had more time to explore this beautiful place. I highly recommend Paul’s Place if you want to see all of the Australian Wildlife up close and personal.
Kangaroo Island