From jaw-dropping natural formations to modern man-made wonders, Australia fits a whole lot of beauty into one diverse country.
Australia is a bucket list destination for many travelers, and it’s not surprising — whether you’re a city kid or a nature fiend, you can transport yourself from the coolest Melbourne or Sydney coffee shops to a gorgeous mountain range or island within the same day.
Whether it’s your first time to travel there or your 15th, here are some of the most beautiful places you’ll want to explore in the Land Down Under.
Australia’s preplanned capital, Canberra is often overlooked. But one of the most stunning structures in the entire nation is here — the Australian War Memorial.
Built to honor fallen heroes from around the country pre- and post-statehood, this striking monument also includes the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Just outside the city, you’ll feel like you’re a whole world away at Gibraltar Falls, with its dramatic 50-meter drop, located inside of Namadgi National Park.
You can also go birdwatching, visit the National Arboretum and explore protected wetlands if you’re not quite brave enough to go to the top of the falls.
The state of New South Wales is home to Australia’s biggest city, Sydney, so it’s not surprising there’s incredible urban sightseeing.
Two of the most impressive structures in town are the iconic Sydney Opera House and the ANZAC Bridge. The Opera House, with its roof designed to look like a series of white sails, perches on Sydney Harbour alongside the Harbour Bridge to create one of the world’s most famous skylines.
Meanwhile, the ANZAC Bridge, which honors soldiers from New Zealand and Australia who lost their lives during World War I, stretches elegantly over Johnstons Bay. In addition to its striking appearance, the bridge bears both Kiwi and Aussie flags in a show of solidarity.
A short drive outside of Sydney are the UNESCO-recognized Blue Mountains, so called because the hazy eucalyptus trees clustered at their tops give them a bluish tint.
One of the most breathtaking features is the Three Sisters, a group of three rock formations. Its name comes from an Aboriginal legend about three sisters who were turned to stone.
The Northern Territory is home to Uluru, arguably the most well-known natural formation on the continent.
This massive monolith is sacred to the Anangu people, who have called this area home for thousands of years. Although new regulations will ban travelers from climbing it as of October 2019, Uluru is equally stunning from the ground or the sky.
Another beautiful natural site in Oz’s “top end” is Kakadu National Park, Australia’s largest national park. This massive space is home to many animal species, including crocodiles and flatback turtles.
But it’s also a fascinating place to learn about Aboriginal culture — rock art there dates from 20,000 years ago (yes, you read that right), and staff is onsite to help you understand its significance.
Meanwhile, the Simpson Desert stretches from the Northern Territory to South Australia and Queensland, giving you a variety of ways to experience its stark red landscape. Head to Alice Springs, the closest NT town, to get started.