7 of the best ways to experience Australia’s great outdoors
Australia is big. The Kimberley region in Western Australia is roughly three times the size of England. Australia’s largest national park is nearly half the size of Switzerland. It’s no surprise that there’s so much to explore Down Under – especially its great outdoors!
1. Swim with whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef
At Ningaloo Reef, off Western Australia’s north coast, you can swim with the giant but gentle whale shark. These beautiful creatures visit the reef every year from April to July. Other inhabitants you’ll see while gliding through the blue ocean waters are turtles, dugongs, manta rays and 500 species of tropical fish.
2. Sail the Whitsundays
The Whitsundays are made up of 74 islands and is situated on the beautiful tropical coast of Queensland, Australia. With the Great Barrier Reef hugging this part of the coastline, the waters are typically calm, which makes it deal for sailing, as well as snorkeling, diving, and swimming.
Most of the Whitsundays islands are uninhabited and protected by six national parks, making this part of Australia an enchanting experience. You won’t soon forget the dazzling sands of Whitehaven Beach or the charming Heart Reef.
3. Abseil in the Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains is a rugged region in Australia’s New South Wales. Its most famous landmark is the Three Sisters. These ‘sisters’ are three rock pinnacles that tower over the valleys, waterfalls, and dense eucalyptus forests below.
You can explore the Blue Mountains by foot, mountain bike, or 4×4, but abseiling down the mountain cliffs is the by far the most thrilling way to do it.
4. White water rafting down the Franklin River
The Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park is named after the rivers that twist and cascade their way through this rugged part of Tasmania. The best of the rivers are said to be the Franklin.
This powerful river offers spectacular scenery, roaring rapids, and pockets of tranquility. It is one of the wildest and most memorable experiences in Australia when you negotiate the river by kayak.
5. Walk the coastline of the Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road meanders along 243 kilometres of Australia’s south-eastern coast between the cities of Torquay and Allansford. Running alongside it is the Great Ocean Walk.
As the name suggests, the Great Ocean Walk is a hiking route that runs along the coastline. It’s no mean feat at 100 kilometres that takes 8 days to complete!
Every step is worth it though! You get to breathe in the fresh ocean air, step as close to the sheer cliffs as you can handle, and take in the majestic 12 Apostles.
6. Watch a sunset over Uluru
Uluru, or Ayers Rock, is on just about everyone’s Australian bucket list. It’s a massive red stone monolith in Australia’s arid Red Centre.
Let’s contextualise just how massive – Uluru rises 348 meters above the surrounding desert plain and it takes roughly three hours to walk the circumference!
While Uluru is a special sight any time of the day, those in the know highly recommend seeing it at sunset. This is when Uluru’s colours change as the sun sets on it, making it glow a majestic red colour.
7. Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef
This list would not be complete without adding the iconic Great Barrier Reef. The Reef is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and stretches along more than 2000 kilometres of Australia’s coastline.
Your number one choice for an up-close-and-personal encounter with the abundant marine life in the Reef should be a snorkeling experience. You’ll get to appreciate the vivid corals, over 1500 species of tropical fish, sea turtles, giant clams, rays and dolphins in their natural habitat. Few other experiences come close!