Whether you're a visitor to Australia or you've lived here all your life, make time to discover the best World Heritage sites to visit in Australia. Here's a few to whet your appetite:
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
Once known as Ayres Rock and The Olgas, now named Uluru and Kata Tjuta by the traditional owners, these stunning central Australian rock formations are once experienced, never forgotten. Few other places in Australia possess such a sense of timeless age and deep tranquillity. Striking Uluru rises 240 meters above the flat red-sand plain while the domes of Kata Tjuta rise up to 500 meters at their highest point of Mount Olga. Also red in colour, Uluru glows deep crimson at sunrise and sunset, spectacular against the expanse of Outback sky. Wander the base of Uluru to walk in footsteps thousands of years old and discover Aboriginal rock art.
Great Barrier Reef
In this idyllic paradise, you'll find the world's largest coral reef structure with more than 3,000 individual reefs, over 400 varieties of brilliantly coloured corals and more than 1,500 species of fish plus turtle, dugong, dolphins, whale and an exotic array of marine life. Explore this underwater wonderland scuba diving or snorkelling, stay in luxury resort style or eco-rustic camping accommodation available on many of the more than 600 islands, or cruise this largest coral reef ecosystem in the world, the only living formation visible from Earth's orbit.
Renowned as the largest sand island in the world, 123 kilometre long Fraser Island offers more than 100 pristine freshwater dune lakes, the only tropical rainforests in the world to be established on sand dunes with spectacular pockets of ancient rainforest, crystal clear creeks, cliffs of multi-coloured sands and expansive shifting sand blows. This breathtaking natural beauty is surrounded by 144 kilometres of unspoilt coastline. Swim in the pristine lakes, take a 4WD adventure tour, and stay in a luxury campsites or eco resort.
Lord Howe Island
This striking formation speaks of a volcanic past with a dramatic twin-mountain formation, a sweeping curve of clear aqua bay and low-lying sub-tropical forests, grasslands and rocky hillsides and headlands. World Heritage Listing included the beautiful Admiralty and Mutton Bird Islands, Ball's Pyramid and the surrounding marine and coral reefs. This small, uncrowded paradise 700 kilometres northeast of Sydney is the perfect location to relax and unwind, with ample opportunities for boating, swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving among the rich marine life, plus bush walking, with Mt Gower regarded as one of the world's best one-day walks.
Kakadu National Park
For over 40,000 years, Kakadu has been inhabited, leaving a rich legacy of rock carvings, cave paintings and other records of the hunter-gatherers who once roamed this uniquely stunning area. Experience a land of cultural and natural beauty and diversity, sweeping plateaus and plunging waterfalls, rugged escarpments and vast wetlands. Glide through towering gorges, search the wetlands for crocodiles, feel the essence of the land on a bushwalking trail, and listen to the stories of the Dreamtime.
Spectacular, rugged, ever changing, the Tasmania Wilderness stretches over 20% of the state and is one of only three major temperate wilderness areas in the Southern Hemisphere. Here is a pristine environment where the geological formations date back 1,100 million years, where beneath your feet lie some of Australia's longest, deepest caves and where the richest, most perfectly preserved Ice Age sites in the world remain intact. The sense of age is palpable generated by soaring Huon Pines and ancient conifers, vast buttongrass moorlands and unique Antarctic flora. Explore the Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair walking trail, boat down the Franklin and Gordon Rivers and discover Tasmanian Devils and Eastern Quolls.
Purnululu National Park - Western Australia
Home to the dramatic landscape of the Bungle Bungle Range, a majestic natural phenomenon unrivalled in the world, hundreds of millions of years of the earth's formation are laid bare in the dramatic orange sandstone pillars and beehive domes. Wander the maze of steep, narrow gorges, lush with fan palms, wending their secretive way between the awe-inspiring towers. Be there when cliffs hundreds of meters high burst into flowing waterfalls and sudden pools in 'the wet' when the sandstone formations undergo spectacular colour changes.
When you've explored these suggested World Heritage sites to visit in Australia, here's a few more suggestions - the Daintree, the Sydney Opera House, the Blue Mountains, Naracoorte and Riversleigh fossil sites, Shark Bay, Heard and McDonald Islands, the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens in Melbourne, and Willandra Lakes - all unique World Heritage treasures.
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