What are the best places to see in Australia outside Sydney
Australia has many landmarks, from Uluru in the red centre, to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House in Sydney. It’s hard to create a Top 10…so here is my attempt to create an alternative list. A potential bucket list.
The usual Top 10 list of Australia must see has the usual Sydney Harbor Bridge and Opera House in Sydney, and close by the Blue Mountains — a mountainous region in New South Wales, including the Three Sisters.
Other “don’t miss” are Dandenong Ranges: these beautiful ranges offer world class gardens and the picturesque villages of Mt. Dandenong, the Great Barrier Reef — off the coast of Queensland, easily accessible from Cairns.
Around Melbourne is the Great Ocean Road — a spectacular coastal drive in Victoria past many scenic icons including the 12 Apostles. In the Northern Territory is the Kakadu National Park, prime place for outback adventure travel, aboriginal culture and nature activities.
The Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast, with it’s beachside and national park playgrounds north and south of Brisbane must absolutely be included, only for the reason that my good friend Pierre lives there.
And in the center of Austrila sits the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, with Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) are iconic rock formations in the Red Centre.
An alternative list of best places destinations in Australia
Kakadu National Park:
The cave paintings, rock carvings and archaeological sites record the skills and way of life of the region’s inhabitants, from the hunter-gatherers of prehistoric times to the Aboriginal people still living there. A unique example of a complex of ecosystems, including tidal flats, floodplains, lowlands and plateaus, and provides a habitat for a wide range of rare or endemic species of plants and animals. This unique archaeological and ethnological reserve, located in the Northern Territory, has been inhabited continuously for more than 40,000 years.
Sydney Opera House:
Ok, this one is in Sydney – but you cannot miss it on the Top places to see.
Inaugurated in 1973, the Sydney Opera House is a great architectural work of the 20th century that brings together multiple strands of creativity and innovation in both architectural form and structural design. A great urban sculpture set in a remarkable waterscape, at the tip of a peninsula projecting into Sydney Harbour, the building has had an enduring influence on architecture.
The Sydney Opera House comprises three groups of interlocking vaulted shells’; which roof two main performance halls and a restaurant. These shell-structures are set upon a vast platform and are surrounded by terrace areas that function as pedestrian concourses. In 1957, when the project of the Sydney Opera House was awarded by an international jury to Danish architect Jørn Utzon, it marked a radically new approach to construction.
Willandra Lakes Region:
The fossil remains of a series of lakes and sand formations that date from the Pleistocene can be found in this region, together with archaeological evidence of human occupation dating from 45 to;60,000 years ago. It is a unique landmark in the study of human evolution on the Australian continent. Several well-preserved fossils of giant marsupials have also been found here.
Lord Howe Island Group:
A remarkable example of isolated oceanic islands, born of volcanic activity more than 2,000 m under the sea, these islands boast a spectacular topography and are home to numerous endemic species, especially birds.
Gondwana Rainforests of Australia:
This site, comprising several protected areas, is situated predominantly along the Great Escarpment on Australia’s east coast. The outstanding geological features displayed around shield volcanic craters and the high number of rare and threatened rainforest species are of international significance for science and conservation.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park:
This park, formerly called Uluru (Ayers Rock – Mount Olga) National Park, features spectacular geological formations that dominate the vast red sandy plain of central Australia. Uluru, an immense monolith, and Kata Tjuta, the rock domes located west of Uluru, form part of the traditional belief system of one of the oldest human societies in the world. The traditional owners of Uluru-Kata Tjuta are the Anangu Aboriginal people.
Shark Bay, Western Australia:
At the most westerly point of the Australian continent, Shark Bay, with its islands and the land surrounding it, has three exceptional natural features:
- vast sea-grass beds, which are the largest (4,800 km2) and richest in the world;
- a very large dugong (or “sea cows”) population;
- stromatolites (colonies of algae which form hard, dome-shaped deposits and are among the oldest forms of life on earth).
Shark Bay is also home to five species of endangered mammals.
Fraser Island lies just off the east coast of Australia. At 122 km long, it is the largest sand island in the world.
Majestic remnants of huge rainforest growing on sand and half the world’s perched freshwater dune lakes are found inland from the beach. The combination of shifting sand-dunes, tropical rainforests and lakes makes it an exceptional site.
Australian Fossil Mammal Sites (Riversleigh / Naracoorte):
Riversleigh and Naracoorte, situated in the north and south respectively of eastern Australia, are among the world’s 10 greatest fossil sites. They are a superb illustration of the key stages of evolution of Australia’s unique fauna.
Greater Blue Mountains Area :
The Greater Blue Mountains Area consists of 1.03 million ha of sandstone plateaus, escarpments and gorges dominated by temperate eucalyptus forest. The site, comprised of eight protected areas, is noted for its representation of the evolutionary adaptation and diversification of the eucalypts in post-Gondwana isolation on the Australian continent.
Ninety-one eucalyptus types live within the Greater Blue Mountains Area which is also outstanding for its exceptional expression of the structural and ecological diversity of the eucalyptus associated with its wide range of habitats. The site provides significant representation of Australia’s biodiversity with ten percent of the vascular flora as well as significant numbers of rare or threatened species, including endemic and evolutionary relict species, such as the Wollemi pine, which have persisted in highly-restricted microsites.
Purnululu National Park:
The 239,723 ha Purnululu National Park is located in the State of Western Australia. It contains the deeply dissected Bungle Bungle Range composed of Devonian-age quartz sandstone eroded over a period of 20 million years into a series of beehive-shaped towers or cones, whose steeply sloping surfaces are distinctly marked by regular horizontal bands of dark-grey cyano bacterial crust (single-celled photosynthetic organisms).
These outstanding examples of cone karst owe their existence and uniqueness to several interacting geological, biological, erosional and climatic phenomena.
Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens:
The Royal Exhibition Building and its surrounding Carlton Gardens were designed for the great international exhibitions of 1880 and 1888 in Melbourne. The building and grounds were designed by Joseph Reed. The building is constructed of brick and timber, steel and slate. It combines elements from the Byzantine, Romanesque, Lombardic and Italian Renaissance styles.
The property is typical of the international exhibition movement which saw over 50 exhibitions staged between 1851 and 1915 in venues including Paris , New York , Vienna , Calcutta, Kingston (Jamaica) and Santiago (Chile). All shared a common theme and aims: to chart material and moral progress through displays of industry from all nations.
Australian Convict Sites:
The property includes a selection of eleven penal sites, among the thousands established by the British Empire on Australian soil in the 18<sup>th</sup> and 19<sup>th</sup> centuries. The sites are spread across Australia, from Fremantle in Western Australia to Kingston and Arthur’s Vale on Norfolk Island in the east; and from areas around Sydney in New South Wales in the north, to sites located in Tasmania in the south.
Around 166,000 men, women and children were sent to Australia over 80 years between 1787 and 1868, condemned by British justice to transportation to the convict colonies. Each of the sites had a specific purpose, in terms both of punitive imprisonment and of rehabilitation through forced labour to help build the colony. The Australian Convict Sites presents the best surviving examples of large-scale convict transportation and the colonial expansion of European powers through the presence and labour of convicts.
The 604,500 hectare marine and terrestrial property of Ningaloo Coast, on the remote western coast of Australia, includes one of the longest near-shore reefs in the world. On land the site features an extensive karst system and network of underground caves and water courses. Annual gatherings of whale sharks occur at Ningaloo Coast, which is home to numerous marine species, among them a wealth of sea turtles. The terrestrial part of the site features subterranean water bodies with a substantial network of caves, conduits, and groundwater streams. They support a variety of rare species that contribute to the exceptional biodiversity of the marine and terrestrial site,
In a region that has been subjected to severe glaciation, these parks and reserves, with their steep gorges, covering an area of over 1 million ha, constitute one of the last expanses of temperate rainforest in the world. Remains found in limestone caves attest to the human occupation of the area for more than 20,000 years.
Wet Tropics of Queensland:
This area, which stretches along the north-east coast of Australia for some 450 km, is made up largely of tropical rain forests. This bio world offers a particularly extensive and varied array of plants, as well as marsupials and singing birds, along with other rare and endangered animals and plant species.
Heard and McDonald Islands:
Heard Island and McDonald Islands are located in the Southern Ocean, approximately 1,700 km from the Antarctic continent and 4,100 km south-west of Perth. As the only volcanically active sub antarctic islands they open a window into the earth’, thus providing the opportunity to observe ongoing geomorphic processes and glacial dynamics.
The distinctive conservation value of Heard and McDonald one of the world’s rare pristine island ecosystems lies in the complete absence of alien plants and animals, as well as human impact.
Macquarie Island (34 km long x 5 km wide) is an oceanic island in the Southern Ocean, lying 1,500 km south-east of Tasmania and approximately halfway between Australia and the Antarctic continent. The island is the exposed crest of the undersea Macquarie Ridge, raised to its present position where the Indo-Australian tectonic plate meets the Pacific plate.
It is a site of major geo conservation significance, being the only place on earth where rocks from the earth’s mantle (6 km below the ocean floor) are being actively exposed above sea-level. These unique exposures include excellent examples of pillow basalt and other extrusive rocks.
Great Barrier Reef:
The Great Barrier Reef is a site of remarkable variety and beauty on the north-east coast of Australia. It contains the world’s largest collection of coral reefs, with 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 types of mollusk. It also holds great scientific interest as the habitat of species such as the dugong (or “sea cows”;) and the large green turtle, which are threatened with extinction.
Do you have other places on your Australia bucket list? Add your best place to visit in Australia below.