The diversity and scale of Australia’s nature is truly awesome, including gnarled, ancient rainforest, humblingly-huge desert and the world’s most precious coral reef. To really appreciate it, you have to see it in person.
Witness the best bits yourself by visiting one of the most highly rated Australian destinations for nature, according to global travellers.*
Cape Tribulation, Queensland
The Daintree Rainforest near Cape Tribulation is 135 million years old
When British explorer, James Cook, was passing the remote headland of Cape Tribulation in June 1770, his ship was badly damaged as it scraped the reef. And so the place was named because, according to Cook, ‘here begun all our troubles’. Year-round access to the Cape was only established with a new bridge in 2011, so the rainforest remains much as Cook would have discovered it in the 18th century. Go on a guided walk through the 135 million-years-old Daintree Rainforest, then take a wildlife tour to see the local crocs in the wild, and maybe finish up with some jungle zip-lining. Check into Noah Creek Forest Stay for eco-friendly, idyllic accommodation in the middle of the rainforest.
Kalbarri, Western Australia
Nature's Window, a rock arch that frames the Murchison River near Kalbarri
One of the many amazing things about Kalbarri National Park is the fact that it is home to two very distinct landscapes. Inland, steep river gorges and auburn-hued rock formations date back hundreds of millions of years, with the most popular spots being Nature’s Window, a rock arch that frames the Murchison River picture-perfectly, and the Z-Bend lookout where you can stand precariously high with a plunging gorge before you. Meanwhile along the coastline you’ll find white sand, wildflowers, clear blue sea and the chance to spot dolphins and whales. Gecko Lodge Kalbarri is the highest-rated accommodation in Kalbarri.
Pemberton, Western Australia
See the forest canopy via the sky-high walkways
Gloucester National Park is known for housing some of the tallest trees in the world, a type of tree known as Karri that are only found in the South West corner of Western Australia. Towering out of the red dust and lime-green bracken, they are so huge that in order to see the canopy, you’ll need to try one of the forest walkways. Or, provided you’re not afraid of heights, climb the ladder to the top of the Gloucester Tree, the world’s second tallest fire-lookout tree at 53 metres. Aside from this rare, primeval forest, you should also see the Yeagarup Sand Dunes (the largest landlocked sand dunes in the southern hemisphere and quite something to behold) and enjoy a sedate canoe down the Blackwood River. Stay at Pemberton's Big Brook Cottages.
Uluru, Northern Territory
The ancient sandstone monolith of Uluru
As much a symbol of the country as the Kangaroo, the massive sandstone monolith of Uluru (formerly known as Ayer’s Rock) is unmissable if you want to experience Australia’s natural beauty. It is 3.6km long, 348 metres tall, and just a little bit baffling when surrounded by completely flat desert. Though you are asked (and obliged) not to climb it out of respect to the Indigenous Australians for whom it is sacred, gazing up at it while the sunset changes it from flaming red, to amber, to midnight blue, is quite something. Stay in nearby Alice Springs, in self-catered apartments with an outdoor pool at Alice On Todd Apartments.
Port Campbell, Victoria
The Twelve Apostles are actually eight these days
The coastal town of Port Campbell lies on the Great Ocean Road near the Twelve Apostles, Victoria’s most precious natural asset. Confusingly, there are now only eight of the Apostles left but these limestone stacks that jut out from the mainland are still just as profound standing tall amid crashing surf. If you get to see them on a sunny day, the colours are astounding – the water a glowing sea green, the sand silky smooth and golden and the ochre sandstone cliffs lit up by sunlight. Stay in your own private cottage overlooking countryside and ocean at Anchors Port Campbell.
Coles Bay, Tasmania
Tasmania is an unspoiled wilderness
Coles Bay is a town that sits on the wider Great Oyster Bay, in Tasmania’s Freycinet National Park. Akin to New Zealand, Tasmania is an unspoiled wilderness, with mountains, ancient forest and some of the world’s most outstanding beaches. As it is more off the beaten track than mainland Australia, these beaches are often deserted, despite the blindingly-bright white sand, aquamarine Tasman Sea, orange lichen growing decoratively on the rocks, and relatively tame local wallabies. Wake up to beautiful views at Edge of the Bay Resort.
**The data scientists at Booking.com used internal data to uncover the top destinations for ‘nature’ according to Booking.com customers.