I spent a year road tripping around Australia, and the thing that got me the most about this country, other than its sheer vastness, was the variety of scenery and sights on offer.
From desert-like sand dunes to tropical rainforest, from incredible beaches to splendid mountains, from natural gorges to man made artworks, Australia kept me enthralled. And I barely even made it to Queensland!
Though I run the risk of sounding like a clichéd brochure – Australia really does have something for everyone. Let me take you through some of the diverse sights I found whilst travelling in Oz, and let me know if you agree!
I thought I’d start with a classic. This is Uluru at sunset. It’s a bloody long way from anywhere, and it’s “just a rock”… but wow. What a rock!
Australia is home to one of the worlds greatest road trips, along the Great Ocean Road in the state of Victoria. These rock outcrops are part of the Twelve Apostles, which is arguably the highlight of the road trip.
When I thought of Australia before I visited, lush verdant forest was not the first thing that sprang to mind. I was, it turns out, entirely wrong. Forests like this coastal rainforest in the Otways are spectacularly green and eminently explorable. Hurrah!
Now this is more the Australia that I imagined, although I never thought that the outback could be quite so weirdly colourful. This is the Painted Desert, just outside the underground mining towm of Coober Pedy. It’s not hard to see where the name came from!
The massive scale of the Australian outback means that there is plenty of room for plopping a bit of art here and there without bothering anyone.
This is Antony Gormley’s “Inside Australia” (http://www.findingtheuniverse.com/2010/08/inside-australia-art-in-out-of-way-wa.html) piece, which spans ten square kilometers on a dry salt lake in Western Australia. It is, as with many attractions in Australia, a long way from anywhere. Still worth the visit though!
I mentioned mountains I believe. This is the view from the top of the “Castle” in Morten National Park across to the New South Wales coastline. This walk was probably one of the toughest day hikes I’ve ever done, and was my favourite day hike in Australia. (http://www.findingtheuniverse.com/2010/07/three-great-australian-walks.html).
Being British, it would be remiss of me to talk about a place without mentioning the weather. Outback storms can be fierce and seriously dramatic – as this one was! The brunt of it hit camp seconds after I got this shot, and washed my tent away. I slept in the car.
The outback is a red place. Really really red. In this shot the red sand of the outback meets the sea in Francois Perron National Park, on the Western Australian coastline. The black line along the coastline is a flock of comorants. WA is the less popular coastline in Australia for travellers, but it really deserves some serious attention.
Speaking of beaches, Australia has no shortage of these, with some seriously impressive beaches to be found all around its coastline. This is Hellfire Bay in the Cape Le Grand National Park in Western Australia.
Australia is a place with an incredible cultural history, having been populated by the Aboriginal people for over 40,000 years before the white man rocked up and, well. History does not paint a pretty picture. Rock art like this can be found in all sorts of places, and it is truly fascinating stuff.
Speaking of art, here’s another wacky bit of outback sculpture, found out on the Oodnadatta Track in South Australia. This one is called Planehenge.
Sure, Australia can’t compete with other countries when it comes to waterfall scale, but what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in availability. If you like a good waterfall, then you’ll find plenty to get your waterfall on down under!
I have to admit, I was a bit of a fan of the outback. This is the wave rock, a giant rock formation that looks like a frozen wave. There is all sorts of science behind its formation, but really, what you’ll want to do when you visit is pretend you’re surfing it. Far more fun than reading about geology.
And really.. I couldn’t finish without sharing a couple of sunrise / sunset photos. The first shot is of the sun rising across the eighty mile beach in Western Australia, whilst the second is the sunset at lagoon beach in Tasmania.
And that’s it! I hope you enjoyed the photo essay – I’d love to hear your thoughts on the photos or Australia in the comments below!
Laurence. I’m a traveller, writer and photographer, slowly exploring the world on a trip I started in June 2009 after quitting the corporate life.