30 incredible pictures of Australia that will make you book a flight right now
If you're planning to escape Down Under, let these wonderful pictures of Oz inspire you. From the cultural metropolis of Melbourne, to way back in the outback, enjoy this picture-perfect journey through Australia.
1. Bondi Beach
One of the most famous, iconic beaches not just in Australia, but the world, Bondi is easily reached by bus from downtown Sydney and so is a favourite locals' spot for surfing, swimming and sunbathing. It's a people-watching paradise, while rollerbladers and skaters show off their skills in the parkland that backs the beach.
2. The 12 Apostles
A series of limestone stacks standing proudly off the coast of Victoria, the Apostles actually only ever numbered nine but were christened the Twelve for tourism reasons. Erosion has claimed one apostle so far and the remaining are expected to suffer the same fate. View them from the Great Ocean Road - one of the best drives on the continent.
Uluru, or Ayer's Rock is one of the world's most recognisable geographical features. But did you know that it's home to a large population of bats, 73 species of reptile and a strange collection of mammals including the rufous hare-wallaby, the marsupial mole and great desert skink.
Koalas are cuter, but the humble Boabab tree is one of Australia's emblematic natural wonders. The somwhat strange-looking tree, like a super-sized Bonsai, grows in low-lying areas, like this one by the beach, and can reach enormous sizes.
5. Barossa Valley
Australia's vineyards are mainly found in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia. One of Australia's best reds, the award-winning and internationally acclaimed Grange, is produced by the famous Penfolds winery in the Barossa Valley, South Australia.
6. The Great Barrier Reef
A wonder of the natural world, the Great Barrier Reef offers you a whole other world if you don flippers and snorkel. The Coral Sea is one of the diving highlights in the world, and whilst diving snobs might mutter about it being overrun with tourists out of Cairns, if you venture further afield then the diving is world-class.
7. Rainbow Valley
The Rainbow Valley Conservation Reserve is a jaw-droppingly scenic natural reserve peppered with a variety of sandstone formations 100km south of Alice Springs in Northern Territory. The Valley is best experienced at sunrise and sunset, but it's pretty impressive at any time.
8. Western Australia
You like beaches? Western Australia has got some absolute stunners, like the well-named Holiday Beach, the surprisingly-named talc-and-turquoise Thistle Cove and well-trodden, much-loved Cottesloe, although it's not all beach, beach, beach - some stretches of the coast are dramatically rugged.
9. The Outback
Probably the name of an Australian-themed bar near you, the Outback is a huge (and we mean huge), remote, sparsely-populated area of the middle of Australia. The Outback boasts unusual attractions that are, ahem, out of this world: meteor craters, like Gosses Bluff, while the MacDonnell Ranges are an intrepid walker's delight.
10. Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne
Lovers of the sound of leather and willow will argue that Australia's most iconic sporting arena is the SCG or the WACCA, but tennis fans would nominate the imposing Rod Laver Arena - the epicentre of the Australian Open, one of the game's Grand Slam events, held at Melbourne Park each January.
11. Sydney Opera House
A trip to Sydney would not be complete without seeing the Sydney Opera House, undoubtedly one of the international symbols of Australia. You could simply get a snap of the famous sails, take in an opera, or watch the fireworks from a boat in Sydney Harbour at midnight on New Year's Eve.
12. An Aussie resident
Well, we had to get a kangaroo in somewhere, so here it is representing Australia's amazing wildlife. We could have gone for a wombat, a wallaby, a Tasmanian devil, or maybe a galah, but it had to be Skippy here.
13. Bombo Quarry
This impressive geological site in New South Wales offers stunning views of the area, and is a good place for hikers and keen Instagrammers alike.
Though Australia is more commonly associated with beaches and surfer dudes, its cities are impressive, too. Sydney gives Manhattan a run for its money, alright.
15. The Pinnacles Desert
You'll find these impressive limestone structures in Nambung National Park, near the town of Cervantes. If you go early in the morning, you're likely to see some kangaroos hopping around them, too.
While there's lots to see on land, Australia is also a great place to keep your head in the clouds. Here's the night sky lit up above Brisbane.
The art scene in this city is world famous, but as this photo proves, creativity isn't restricted to the galleries.
18. Cape Peron
This picturesque headland is noted for having protected beaches, limestone cliffs, reefs and panoramic views. Well, just look at it.
19. Alpha, Queensland Outback
This shot of cattle herders on the outback shows how traditional farming methods are still adhered to in the region.
20. Walking through the air
With its vast natural resources, there's plenty to explore in Australia. This treetop walk in Weeaproinah is just one example.
21. Princes Pier
This 580-metre historic pier on Port Phillip is situated in Port Melbourne, Victoria. After a period of disuse, the impressive structure reopened to the public in 2011.
22. Surfers Paradise
Catch a wave and you're sitting on top of the world (here, in Queensland). This area has some of the best beaches in Australia, and as you can tell from the name, is a hit with surfers from all over.
23. Lincoln's Rock
Lincoln's Rock is named after the Australian mountaineer Lincoln Hall who lived in the Wentworth Falls area. It's a challenge for hikers and photographers alike, as it provides stunning views over Blue Mountains National Park.
Just look at this cuddly fella. Australia's other national animal is a major selling point.
25. Burleigh Heads
Burleigh Heads is located on the Gold Coast, and is world-renowned for its waves. Surfing, anyone?
Australia's capital is home to the parliament, pictured here. It's the largest inland city in the country, which means you won't be short of things to do here.
Karijini National Park is located just off the centre of Capricorn, and is a beutiful spot for cliff jumping, should you be so inclined.
28. Cable Beach Camel Ride
Why walk when you can camel? The camel safaris are a popular pass time on Cable Beach, and rides often allow you to take in the picturesque sunset.
29. Katherine Gorge
Katherine Gorge in Nitmiluk National Park, is an ideal stop-off on an outback holiday. It's full of flora, fauna and wildlife, and backs onto the River Katherine.
30. Sugar Wharf
Popular with wedding parties, Sugar Wharf is a picture-perfect waterside location in POrt Douglas.
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