100 Natural Outback Landmarks (51-100)
Australia's geology is as old as the earth itself. The following list is a series of natural deviations created by land shaping events that include earthquakes, subterranean upheavals, volcanoes, meteorites and erosion - both wind and water driven.
It's these anomalies in the landscape that arouse our interest - waterfalls carved by billion year old rivers, clefts and craters in mountain sides or rock faces eroded into unusual forms.
Australia is large and getting around to these natural landmarks takes some serious travel. Some can be found near towns and cities while getting to others may involve days of desert travel or even a boat cruise or helicopter ride. The natural 'wonders' listed below are just a sample of what's on offer and there are many more scattered about Australia. Where you find one you often find more as the events that formed such an oddity usually occur throughout a region rather than a particular point on earth. It's for this reason that much of the environment surrounding these landmarks is often worth investigating.
51. Wolfe Creek Crater - W.A.
Lying at the edge of the Tanami Desert a crater 850 metres in diameter was formed by the impact of an iron meteorite 300,000 years ago. Pieces of meteorite have been discovered 4km away.
52. Jenolan caves - N.S.W.
The oldest known cave system in the world with over 40km of passages is still being explored today. Stunning chambers of crystal follow an ancient underground river system.
53. Finke Gorge - N.T.
Groves of palm trees line the normally dry Finke River and the chasm it has cut through the desert landscape. A pre-historic place of unusual charm.
54. The Hazards - Tas.
A Tasmanian icon that frames Wineglass Bay, another timeless scene. The pink granite mountain range is the backdrop for white sand beaches and pure turquoise waters.
55. Hamelin Pool Stromatolites - W.A.
Hamelin Pool is home to this 'forest' of stromatolites - underwater formations considered the oldest living fossils on earth. Part of the dazzling Shark Bay region.
56. Ormiston Pound - N.T.
A ring of peaks in the West MacDonnell Ranges creates a unique valley using the towering red cliffs as walls. Outback Central Australia at it's best.
57. Hanging Rock – Vic.
Officially called Mount Diogenes this is
the Hanging Rock of movie fame. These distinctive rock formations also play a historical and cultural role for local aboriginaes.
58. The Gap – W.A.
Torndirrup National Park has a weath of attractions along its rugged coastline. The 'Natural Bridge', 'Blowholes' and 'Cable Beach' are part of the park but it is the oceanic power in the 'Gap' that truly inspires.
59. Nitmiluk - N.T.
Nitmulik is also known as Katherine Gorge and this National Park cuts a swathe through the Northern Territory landscape. In reality 13 individual gorges showcasing rapids, falls and crocodiles.
60. Mt. Scoria – Qld.
An active volcano 26 million years ago remains culturally significant to the Gangulu aborigines. Unusual angular basalt columns were formed when lava cooled. They are highly musical when struck.
61. Tasman Arch – Tas.
Another striking attraction from Tasman National Park neighbouring other distinctly named sites such as 'The Blowhole', the 'Devils Kitchen', the 'Tessellated Pavement', 'Remarkable Cave' and 'Waterfall Bay'.
62. Bluff Knoll – W.A.
An imposing rock face rises above the wheat fields and provides a challenging but rewarding hike. The only place to receive regular snow in W.A.
63. Wentworth Falls - N.S.W.
Also the name of the nearby town Wentworth Falls is a three tiered waterfall fed by Kedumba Creek. The bush setting is typical Blue Mountains - rugged cliffs, crystal rock pools and undisturbed vegetation.
64. Babinda Boulders – Qld.
Devil's Pool, near Babinda, is the keeper of these big granite boulders and is a perfect example of the lush tropical Queensland rainforest. A beautiful corner filled with aboriginal legend and local folklore.
65. Tolmer Gorge - N.T.
Many parts of Tolmer Gorge are off-limits due to protected bat species but the area still surprises with a dramatic waterfall and a classic N.T. 'top end' bush setting.
66. Mt Trafalgar – W.A.
A breathtaking monument to the Kimberley region in one of the most remote places in Australia. It's accessible only by boat or helicopter making it even more enchanting.
67. Wombeyan Caves - N.S.W.
New South Wales got it's fair share of caves during the formation of the continent and these limestone caverns are grand examples. Especially grandiose are the 5 chambers of Wollondilly Cave.
68. Mount Bogong - Vic.
The unlikely name hides the fact that this is Victoria's highest peak and certainly the most impressive. It's possible to hike to the summit while the region is a snow skiing Mecca.
69. Mitchell Falls - W.A.
One of the most impressive waterfalls in Australia. Traverse the famous Gibb River Road and then slug it out for a scorching 2 hour hike to view the 4 tiered falls. It is worth every aching muscle.
70. Murphy's Haystacks - S.A.
Streaky Bay and the Eyre Peninsula accommodate numerous rock structures with Murphy's Haystacks being some of the most popular. 1500 million year old pink granite eroded into bizarre forms.
71. Fraser Island - Qld.
1630 square kilometres makes Fraser the largest sand island on the planet. This beautiful dingo haven and prime 4WD destination is inscribed as a World Heritage site.
72. Gardens of Stone - N.S.W.
Rock pagoda formations, sandstone cliffs, canyons and unusual limestone outcrops all combine to produce an arena of breathtaking beauty and uncorrupted bushland.
73. Cape Carnot - S.A.
Part of 'Whaler's Way' the cape offers some of the most stunning scenery along the Eyre Peninsula. Some of the oldest rocks on earth are battered by the full force of the Southern Ocean.
74. Montgomery Reef - W.A.
The massive 10 metre tides of the Kimberley recede to reveal the spectacle of Montgomery Reef emerging from the ocean. A plethora of marine life trolls the reef edge.
75. Kiama Blowhole - N.S.W.
The town of Kiama hosts this blowhole that attracts 600,00 tourists a year. Under the right conditions the ocean is driven into an impressive chasm and shoots seawater 25 metres into the air.
76. Pildappa Rock - S.A.
Pildappa is an 'inselberg' - a rock that rises abruptly from level surrounds. This pink granite wave is a lone form that stands solitary against the plains of South Australia.
77. Arnhem Land Escarpment - N.T
This long red sandstone plateau presents the classic image of the top end as tropical rainfall drains over the escarpment to the Kakadu floodplains below.
78. Katoomba Falls - N.S.W.
The Blue Mountains is capable of delivering one spectacle after another but Katoomba Falls stands apart because of it's impressive height and raw power after rainfall.
79. Tides of Derby – W.A.
Only the tides of Nova Scotia in Canada best the 'King Tides' of Derby. At 12 metres they can be heard rushing back across the empty ocean floor while jetties stand like stick towers waiting for the inlets to refill.
80. Maquarie Island – Tas.
Lying between Tasmania and Antarctica this World Heritage site is the only place on earth formed entirely of oceanic crust. It is also the breeding ground for every
Royal Penguin on the planet.
81. Fitzroy Falls – N.S.W.
A dramatic cliff side outlook as the waters of Yarrunga Creek plunge 80 metres into the Eucalyptus forests below. Sadly the creek has been dammed resulting in a reduced flow over the falls.
82. Wave Rock – W.A.
The town of Hyden has long attracted visitors to the region to see this 14 metre high granite inselberg which resembles a giant breaking ocean wave.
83. Organ Pipes – Vic.
Overlooking the Keilor Plains is one of the largest lava flows in the world - the Organ Pipes, vast basalt columns formed by the cooling and cracking of the molten lava.
84. Frenchman's Peak – W.A.
Climb this peak to discover a summit cave and commanding views of Cape Le Grande N.P. and the islands of the Recherche Archipelago. Consistently voted amongst the most beautiful beaches in the world.
85. The Castle – N.S.W.
The Budawang Range showcases an array of remarkable natural features. The striking silhouette of The Castle is a standout geological landmark against the skyline.
86. Kelly Hill Caves - S.A.
Any excuse to visit the magnificent Kangaroo Island will suffice but the opportunity to get underground in this visually arresting maze of caverns is even better.
87. China Walls – W.A.
Just outside the townsite of Fitzroy Crossing protrudes a 6 metre high wall of quartz running across the hills and resembling the Geat Wall. It's believed to be part of the longest single fault of this type in the world.
88. Belmore Falls – N.S.W.
These 80 metre high falls offer an outstanding vista over Kangaroo Valley and free fall over sandstone cliffs into a plunge pool and plant lined ampitheatre .
89. Balancing Rock – Qld.
It's a little known location but the Mungana Caves National Park near Chillagoe has an assortment of unusual shaped rocks not excluding this specimen that looks as if it might topple at any moment.
90. Seal Rocks - Vic.
On the southwest tip of amazing Phillip Island is 'The Nobbies' - a group of interesting but unspectacular ocean boulders. It's the 16,000 fur seals that live on them that make it special.
91. Naracoorte Caves – S.A.
Naracoorte not only displays some exquisite cave formations it was also a massive trap for prehistoric animals and today displays a collection of megafauna fossils.
92. Zuytdorp Cliffs – W.A.
Named for a 1712 shipwreck this 200km stretch of limestone is actually the fault line of an ancient earthquake. Everything about Shark Bay is special and the cliffs just add to the allure.
93. Montezuma Falls – Tas.
Tasmania is built for waterfalls - plenty of mountains and plenty of rainfall. Montezuma is one of the tallest at 104 metres and after rain morphs into a thunderous cascade.
94. Bungonia Gorge – S.A.
A rock climbing, base jumping mecca, Bungonia Gorge is a 300 metre limestone chasm. The base hides a myriad of caves and a large concentration of fossils.
95. Mount Conner – N.T.
Dwarfed in size and legend by nearby Uluru, the horshoe shaped Mount Conner is another lone monolith or 'inselberg' rising out of the red desert of central Australia..
96. Langgi Inlet – W.A.
This part of the Kimberley coast is reserved for those fortunate few cruising the ocean. Langgi offers some wonderful if not eerie stone sculptures of obvious aboriginal cultural significance.
97. Umpherston Sinkhole – S.A.
Millions of years of acidic groundwater eroded a near perfect circle in the limestone around Mount Gambier . A natural amphitheatre was created with the resulting cave-in which has been manicured into a garden.
98. Glasshouse Mountains – Qld.
Named by Captain Cook these eleven hills are really the innards of eleven ancient volcanoes - lava plugs that solidified while the outer crust eroded away.
99. Lord Howe Island – N.S.W.
Inscribed as a World Heritage site of 'global natural significance' Lord Howe is virtually untouched with much of the flora and fauna unique to this tiny speck in the Pacific.
100. King George Falls – W.A.
Twin waterfalls cascade down a red escarpment at another remote landmark that proves nearly impossible to access. It's a picture perfect place set against the Kimberley landscape. Truly inspiring.
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