The 7 Natural Wonders of Australia

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What are Australia’s 7 Wonders?

Australia’s Seven Natural Wonders are renowned to include:

  1. The Great Barrier Reef, Queensland
  2. The Daintree Rainforest, Queensland
  3. K’gari (Fraser Island), Queensland
  4. Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Northern Territory
  5. Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory
  6. Twelve Apostles, Victoria
  7. Cradle Mountain, Tasmania

The Seven Wonders of Australia Map with Turtle for Great Barrier Reef, Dingo for K'gari, Waterfall for Daintree and more illustrations,

1. The Great Barrier Reef, QLD

The Great Barrier Reef is an extraordinary structure made up of coral reef systems, home to an enormous amount of marine wildlife and plants. By far the most renowned marine ecosystem in the world, the Great Barrier Reef spans over 2300km and is made up of nearly 3000 individual reefs and 900 islands. It’s so magnificent and huge, it can even be seen from space!

Home to glimmering tropical fish, majestic green sea turtles, gliding manta rays, friendly dolphins, luminous jellyfish, giant clams and dazzling corals and seaweeds, the Great Barrier Reef is a simply magnificent natural wonder. With mindblowing marine mysteries at every turn, it’s no wonder this reef system is on everyone that’s seen Finding Nemo’s bucket list! 

Where is the Reef?

The Great Barrier reef stretches from its southernmost point in Bundaberg, Queensland to the northern point in Cooktown, Queensland and into the Torres Strait Island group. Popular access points to dive, snorkel and sail in the Great Barrier Reef National Park include Cairns, Airlie Beach and Mission Beach.

Best ways to see the Great Barrier Reef

No trip to Australia would be complete without a Great Barrier Reef adventure! The best spot to scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef is Cairns, literally coined the gateway to rainforest and reef. The deeper reef sites and visibility here are perfect for learners and advanced divers alike. For avid sailers, snorkellers and island explorers, Airlie Beach is the best spot to explore the Great Barrier Reef. Sail the Whitsunday Islands, snorkel with turtles and relax on turquoise beaches all within the Great Barrier Reef National Park!

Check out our favourite Cairns diving and Whitsunday sailing experiences for backpackers travelling Australia! 

Underwater turtle in the coral reefs of Cairns

2. Daintree Rainforest, QLD

The Daintree Rainforest is the world’s oldest rainforest, full of dense palm canopies, pristine waterfalls and ancient towering trees. You can breathe in the fresh cool air, spy tropical birds, take a dip in cascade pools and venture deep into the vast leafy landscapes on many stunning hikes. Home to crocodiles, cassowaries, snakes, lizards, butterflies and possums, the Daintree Rainforest is an incredible slice of the Far North Queensland wet tropics.

Where is the Daintree Rainforest?

Located just an hour north of Cairns, the Daintree is 1200 km2 and teeming with diverse trails, rocky valleys, waterfalls and dense rainforest. Mossman Gorge is a popular section of the rainforest, renowned for its clear-flowing river and beautiful flora and fauna.

Check out our epic and unique Daintree and Cairns experiences & more things to do in Cairns to discover this amazing ecosystem for yourself!

Woman standing in front of a waterfall in Cairns

3. K’gari (Fraser Island), QLD

K’gari, translating to paradise in the local Butchulla language, is indeed just that! This completely sand island is small yet chock-full of completely dazzling and varied landscapes. Home to countless gem-coloured lakes, fresh-water creeks, towering Satinay rainforests, sandy beaches, tranquil bushland and the local Aussie dingo, K’gari’s natural wonders really will take your breath away. Lake Mackenzie, Lake Wabby and Eli Creek are some of the island’s most popular destinations.

Where is K’gari (Fraser Island)?

K’gari is just an hour north of Brisbane and an hour south of Noosa, accessible by ferry or barge. The island is exclusive to 4WD drivers and hikers, with winding inland trails and golden sand highways, as well as a handful of boutique hotels for those who prefer glamping! 

Discover K’gari with our incredible camping safari adventures and favourite things to do… you’ll be diving into the forest-lined lakes in no time!

Couple watching the blue and white waters of Lake Mackenzie

4. Uluru, NT 

An unmistakable Aussie icon, Uluru is a natural and cultural marvel made of sandstone in the middle of the country. The stunning orange hue and sunlit glow of this formation are simply incredible. The wistful beauty of this landmark reflects the rich history and importance to the local Indigenous people past and present, the Pitjantjatjara peoples. The vast and extraordinary National Park surrounding the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is home to sacred springs, waterholes, ancient paintings and cultural sites that date back over 50,000 years.

Where is Uluru?

Uluru is a very remote destination, situated about 5 hours southwest of Alice Springs by car. There are tours and guided walks available that will let you gain a deeper insight into the rich Aboriginal history of the area.

5. Kakadu National Park, NT

Kakadu National Park is a diverse and magical landscape, rooted in deep Indigenous sites and geological wonders. With winding rivers, glittering falls, swimming holes of brilliant colours, shady forests and abundant wildlife, the many corners of the National Park are deeply significant to the area’s Indigenous history. With many stone caves, rock paintings and cultural sites preserved, the trees of Kakadu hold stories of First Nations people dating thousands of years back. With its extreme climate, coastal floodplains and dynamic conditions, it is a harsh yet beautiful Australian cultural landscape. Visitors can spot crocodiles and other native Aussie animals at Kakadu National Park.

Where is Kakadu?

Kakadu is just an hour east of Darwin by car, in the Northern Territory. There are many guided and ranger-led tours available.

6. The Twelve Apostles, VIC

A geological wonder, the Twelve Apostles never fail to leave visitors feeling small in the most wonderful of ways! These mysterious geological formations peak out of the water, gracing the rugged coastline with a wild and marvellous atmosphere. There are only 7 limestone stacks left visible for travellers to spot, due to constant erosion.

Where are the Twelve Apostles?

The Twelve Apostles are situated along the Great Ocean Road drive, about four hours out of Melbourne. They are on the border of Port Campbell National Park. You can peer out at the rock formations from the cliffs along the coastline. The best way to explore the Great Ocean Road is with a campervan or car for a dreamy East Coast road trip!

The twelve apostles with a blue sky coastline

7. Cradle Mountain, TAS

A pinnacle of Tasmanian wilderness, Cradle Mountain is an unmissable World Wonder down under. The National Park is ever-changing according to the season, boasting snowfall in the winter and sunlit meadows in Spring. Walk through the mossy forests, wind along the crystal-clear river, dive into the gorges and bask in the alpine wilderness. Home to the protected Tasmanian devil, Eastern quolls, wombats, echidnas, possums and stunning birdlife, venture through the many settings to discover the beauty of Cradle Mountain’s wonder! 

How to get to Cradle Mountain

Just two hours west of the regional city Launceston by car, Cradle Mountain is the perfect trip for keen day walkers or avid overnight hikers. Cradle Mountain is bypassed by an array of excellent hiking trails, the most renowned one being the Overland Track (6 days).

Interesting fact!

Australia actually has 16 Natural Wonders under the UNESCO Convention in total! Other sites not listed in the seven natural wonders include the Gondwana Rainforest, Tasmanian Wilderness, the Blue Mountains and Macquarie Island!

What is a World Wonder?

A world wonder is a site protected under the UNESCO World Heritage Convention treaty. Essentially, these sites are deemed universally invaluable to humans, with such rich cultural and natural significance that they must be preserved for future generations. The World Heritage List is extensive and wonderfully varied, including the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Sumatra Rainforests in Indonesia, the Great Wall of China and over 1000 more!

In fact, there are currently 1157 sites listed under the UNESCO World Heritage Convention. These 1157 sites are classified into either natural, cultural or mixed wonders.

Reef magic in Cairns snorkelling with corals

What’s the difference between a natural and cultural world wonder?

Natural World Wonders

A natural site is a destination in which mother nature has really worked her magic in that there’s no human intervention to make it amazing (think rock formations, National Parks, islands, oceans and rainforests). The Great Barrier Reef, K’gari (Fraser Island) and the Amazon Rainforest are great examples of natural wonders.

K;gari rainforest with a woman in a white dress walking

Cultural World Wonders

A cultural site is a historically important, human-made site that tells the stories of generations past (think palaces, buildings, historic centres and ruins). The Sydney Opera House, the Great Wall of China, the Colosseum in Italy and the Taj Mahal in India are all cultural World Wonders.

Woman taking a photo of the Sydney Opera House

Mixed World Wonders

Mixed sites are really interesting, as they include both cultural and natural properties that require conservation. In Australia, Kakadu National Park is a mixed UNESCO site due to the natural biodiversity and the incredible Indigenous sites such as rock art and archeological findings.

Woman looking at rock art

Are World Wonders protected?

The World Heritage Wonders are protected under the UNESCO treaty, signed by 193 member states, including Australia. These sites are therefore required to be protected from all potential threats including development, destruction and irresponsible tourism. The goal of this conservation is to protect sites of “outstanding universal value” for future generations, bringing about public appreciation and enshrined accountability in a quickly developing society. In short, UNESCO wants cultural and naturally exceptional corners of the world to remain for everyone to explore!

Threatened UNESCO World Heritage Sites

While the UNESCO World Heritage List has an undeniably human-centric thread, protecting these sites is also incredibly important for species of flora and fauna around the world. UNESCO has a list of endangered World Heritage sites that require urgent conservation efforts to remain intact for all to enjoy in the future. Threatened World Heritage sites include the Rainforest in Sumatra, the Old City of Jerusalem, the US Everglade system and the Historical City Centre in Vienna, to name a few.

People walking through a forest

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East Coast Tours acknowledges all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traditional Owners of Country and recognises their continuing connection to land, sea, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and extend that respect to all First Nations peoples.

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