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Australia might have a global reputation for the dry arid outback, but our continent holds an incredible diversity of natural wonders that are as enigmatic as they are beautiful.
Next time you’re considering a getaway, consider your own striking backyard – from oceanic marvels to desert anomalies and rich natural parks, there’s no shortage of sights in Australia that will make you feel humbled to live here.
AAT Kings bring us six incredible natural wonders in Australia.
The Pinnacles, Western Australia
These ancient desert sculptures run along an stunning stretch of coastline just north of Perth in the Nambung National Park. The weather-beaten limestone spires are surrounded by golden sand dunes that sit in sharp contrast to the blue of the sparkling Indian Ocean on the not-too-distant horizon.
The raw material of the limestone spires was likely formed by seashells broken down into lime-rich sands. But the mystery of how the Pinnacles came to stand is unsolved. Some believe they were formed from remnants of the Tamala Limestone after centuries of weathering.
Others believe the spirals were formed from tree casts buried in material by wind and erosion that eventually broke down, leaving exposed pillars.
After exploring the enigmatic Pinnacles, visit Cervantes, a charming fishing village that boasts white-sand beaches, thriving coral reefs and a salt lake that is home to a variety of living fossils.
Heart reef in the Whitsundays, Queensland
The heart reef is world-famous for its romantic natural shape created by brilliant sapphire blues and a rich brown reef. The stunning composition of coral is located in Hardy Reef and is best experienced from a birds-eye view – both helicopters and seaplanes fly over the reef.
Heart Reef was discovered by one of Air Whitsunday’s pilots in 1975 and has been drawing thousands of visitors every year since. Many share in the surprise that the heart reef is as stunning and vivid in real life as it when captured by photography.
Karlu Karlu, Northern Territory
Also known as Devil’s Marbles, Karlu Karlu is an incredibly serendipitous rock formation in the heart of the Red Centre. The bulbous granite boulders are spread across a shallow valley about 100 kilometres south of Tennant Creek.
The gravity-defying organisation of the boulders and their ancient Indigenous lore combine to create a magical experience. Head to the area at sunrise or sunset to see the boulders traverse the colour spectrum, from rich gold to bright pink and finally blood red.
The granite globes were formed by erosion over millions of years, and measure anywhere from 50 centimentres to six metress across. Due to the ever-changing landscape, the surface of the boulders crack and erode, a metaphor for the way nature is in a constant state of transience.
Lake Hillier, Western Australia
Lake Hillier is one of Australia’s most famous pink lakes, located off the southern coast of Western Australia on Middle Island.
It’s hard to believe this image is not doctored – but the pink salt lake is a very real phenomena that intensifies depending on the time of year. The bubble-gum hues of the dreamy lake are caused by the high concentration of algae in the water.
British explorer Matthew Flinders discovered the saline body in 1802 when he surmounted the highest peak on the island and noticed the ‘rose-coloured’ lake. It was as saline as the Dead Sea and Flinders took the opportunity to top up the ship’s salt stores.
Nowadays pink salt is a delicious addition to your food that is also packed full of minerals, and tinged with the pink hue of its source.
Tessellated Pavement, Tasmania
This incredible geographical phenomenon is created by rocks fracturing from the movement of tectonic plates and then eroded by the waves and sediment of the Tasman Sea. It is perhaps the world’s best-known example, found at Lufra, Eaglehawk Neck on the Tasman Peninsula.
It’s hard to believe the chessboard occurred naturally – the geometrical grid is an incredible example of naturally-occurring straight line patterning. The marine platform actually consists of two types of formations: a pan formation and a loaf formation, working in perfect synchronicity.
The pan formation is the concave depression in the rock which is a perfect environment for the crystallisation of sea salt, exacerbating the lines. Water, carrying abrasive sand, is channelled through the joints of the grid, causing them to erode quicker than the rest of the pavement and leaving the loaf-like structures.
Mitchell Falls, Western Australia
Are these the most magnificent waterfalls in Australia? Mitchell Falls, located in the Kimberley in Western Australia, is a multi-tiered waterfall created from centuries of sandstone erosion. The water accumulates in a deep emerald water pool which sits in sharp contrast with the arid red stone surrounding it.
Also known as Punamii-unpuu to the Wunambal people, the area is teeming with wildlife, including over fifty species of mammal, two hundred birds and eighty six amphibians and reptiles, including the saltwater crocodile, king brown snake and taipan.
Ready for your next holiday? Head to AAT Kings to start planning your next adventure.
This article was sponsored by AAT Kings.