Cradling Natural Wonders Of Beauty: The Australian Continent
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From the Great Barrier Reef to Pink Lake, Australia’s wealth of natural offerings never cease to amaze
TOP WAYS TO EXPERIENCE THE
GREAT BARRIER REEF
Australia’s greatest natural wonder, the Great Barrier Reef contains so much to explore so we’ve rounded up the best experiences for you here to enjoy:
Cruise Michaelmas Cay
Visit the Great Barrier Reef in style on board the Ocean Spirit, a 32m (105 feet) high-performance catamaran which sails daily from Cairns to Michaelmas Cay. You can either dive and snorkel around the reef alongside turtles and colourful fish, lie on the deck and soak up the sun, or enjoy a glass-bottomed boat tour. Michaelmas Cay is also home to more than 23 species of seabirds and is one of the most significant bird sanctuaries on the Great Barrier Reef.
Seaplane Over Heart Reef
Create the perfect romantic surprise for a loved one by flying over the world-famous natural wonder, Heart Reef. This scenic flight is just one of the tours offered by Air Whitsunday and GSL Aviation, with the white silica sand of Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island also on the menu.
Cruise The Agincourt Reef
Quicksilver Cruises will take you on a journey to the renowned Agincourt Reef, a jewel-like ribbon reef on the very edge of the Great Barrier Reef. From the spacious activity platform you can snorkel, dive and helmet walk in an underwater world filled with a kaleidoscope of colour and brilliance.
Sail The Whitsundays
It’s hard to beat the romance of sailing through the Whitsunday Islands. Think spectacular sunsets, clear moonlit nights, secluded beaches and pure air. You can sail, swim, snorkel and dive at sheltered anchorages such as Blue Pearl, Butterfly and Hook Island bays. Visit Whitsunday Island and walk the pure white, silica sands of Whitehaven Beach (Visit sailingwhitsundays.com for more information).
Witness Turtle Hatchings
At Heron Island
Snorkel right off the beach or scuba dive at 20 sites just minutes away by boat from Heron Island. It takes only 20 minutes to walk around Heron, and you can enjoy both sunrises and sunsets over the water. Turtles lay eggs and hatch here between November and March. Both these events can be quite life-changing to behold, especially considering their ecological importance.
TOP THINGS TO DO AROUND AUSTRALIA’S PINK LAKES OF WONDER
Pink Lake is around 3km (1.9 miles) from in
the town of Esperance, Western Australia. In the right weather conditions, the lake turns a soft shade of pink due to the high concentration of algae in the water. For excellent views and photo opportunities, there is a lookout along Eleven Mile Beach Road, just a 10 minute drive away from the Esperance Visitors Centre.
Lake Hillier is another incredible pink lake on Middle Island, the largest of the islands that make up the Recherche Archipelago, around 130 km (70 miles) from Esperance, Western Australia. One of the best ways to take in the spectacle is by air on a scenic helicopter flight. Esperance Island Cruises have full-day boat cruises to Middle Island, allowing you to view the lake up close. Cruises leave early in the morning and return at dusk.
Snorkel Or Dive The Recherche Archipelago
Consisting of more than 100 islands, the Recherche Archipelago offers top class diving and snorkelling. Esperance Diving & Fishing can arrange offshore diving or shore diving from the Esperance jetty.
The Aboriginal name for the town of Esperance is Kepa Kurl, which translates to “the place where the water lies down like a boomerang”. There’s plenty to see and do around Esperance including horse riding, walking, cycling, fishing, scuba diving, whale-watching (May to October), windsurfing, abseiling, kayaking and
4WD tours. The Esperance Museum is a must-visit with displays on local history, Aboriginal artefacts as well as pieces of the US Sky Lab, which fell to earth in the Esperance region in 1980.
Visit Nearby National Parks
Esperance is also a gateway to Cape Le Grand National Park, Stokes National Park and Cape Arid National Park. Each park has its own set of unique attributes, but all of them boast beautiful coastal scenery, extraordinary native plants and animals, peaceful bushwalks and well-maintained campgrounds.
Hit The Beach
Pack a picnic and follow the Great Ocean Drive Tourist Loop to a string of beautiful white-sand beaches. Swim or snorkel in the calm, clear waters of Blue Haven Beach and Twilight Cove, just a short drive from town. One can even hit the surf at West Beach, Fourth Beach or Observatory Beach. Lucky Bay in Cape Le Grand National Park is one of Australia’s whitest beaches, where kangaroos sunbathe on the sand.
HORSERIDE THE RAINBOW BEACH
Rainbow Beach Horse Rides has the only permit in existence to ride a horse along Rainbow Beach, which was rated amongst the top five most incredible beaches in the world, the third most colourful beach in the world and was also featured on the front cover of a publication titled 101 Best
Beaches of Australia. Located 70 km north from the town of Noosa, Queensland, the coastal village of Rainbow Beach features one of Australia’s most beautiful horseriding experiences, available year round. No experience in the sport is necessary as all rides include prior riding instruction to ensure safety. The beach is also known for its pictureresque multi-coloured sand cliffs. Visitors will be glad to learn that photos taken by the trail guides during each ride are available free of charge for all guests.
GREAT OCEAN ROAD & GREAT BEACH DRIVE
GREAT OCEAN ROAD, VICTORIA Possibly one of the world’s most spectacular coastal road trips, this 243 km cliff-hugging drive starts off from Melbourne and ranges through natural rainforests, lonely lighthouses with jaw-dropping views, and iconic landmarks such as the 12 Apostles. Multiple other landmarks of interest such as the Australian National Surfing Museum at Torquay, the Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch – a good
place to stop for a souvenir photo – and the Otway Fly (an elevated boardwalk through the rainforest canopy 25m above the ground) await on this rugged adventure. Learn all about the many shipwrecks in the past at Flagstaff Hill in Warrnambool, and if you are here between June and September, head for Logans Beach where you might be lucky enough to spot one of the many female southern right whales that come here each year to give birth.
GREAT BEACH DRIVE, QUEENSLAND Scenic coastal drives don’t get any closer to the sea than the Great Beach Drive.
It’s a 200 km (124 mile) wave-washed highway on the Sunshine Coast between Noosa and Hervey Bay, where the road is actually the beach. You’ll need a 4WD and will have to time your trip for low tide, but it’ll all be worth it for the feeling of sand beneath your wheels as the sun shines on. Highlights along the way include the famous multi-coloured cliffs known as the Coloured Sands, and Carlo Sandblow, a massive slow-moving sand dune that towers over Rainbow Beach, and is one of the largest piles of wind-blown sand on the Queensland coast. Make the good times last even longer by taking your car on the barge across to Fraser Island. Drive along the beach to its northern tip or tackle the sandy rainforest tracks through the island’s centre, and enjoy a stay at the Kingfisher Bay Resort.
Lucky Bay, Western Australia
Great Ocean Road, Victoria
Turtle on Heron Island
Great Barrier Reef,
Great Beach Drive, Rainbow Beach, Queensland
Southern Coral Coast, Western Australia
4WD on Esperance Beach
Great Ocean Road, Victoria
Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Islands, Queensland
Maori Wrasse, Agincourt Reef, Great Barrier Reef