After my much dreamt-about bucket list for Australia, here’s another check-list of the most incredible UNESCO sites that are spread across this amazing continent, The palatial Sydney Opera House aside (though we admit, this spectacular structure is worth a thousand visits and more), this list is about Australia’s notable natural world-heritage sites.
Great Barrier Reef
It’s not possible to start a list of natural wonders without mentioning Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef. Being one of world’s seven natural wonders does not do this 2000 kilometres long conglomeration of coral reefs enough justice. You’ll have to see it in person to believe it!
Just off the coast of eastern Queensland lies Fraser Island. At 123 kilometres, Fraser is the largest sand island in the world and also one of Australia’s most popular tourist destinations. But worry not! You’ll always manage to find your own private heaven on this beautiful island.
We all remember Gondwanaland from our geography lessons, right? Well, Australia was a part of that super-continent once, and hence, this name for its most ancient rainforests. Again on Australia’s east coast, Gondwana Rainforests stand true to their nature and are home to some very distinguished trees and ferns from the bygone past.
Greater Blue Mountains Area
Sandstone highlands, cliffs and valleys, indigenous plants and native animals – mix all of these with incomparable charm of catalogue-like beauty and voila! You come close to describing the beauty of South Wales’ Blue Mountains. Oh, and did we forget to mention the importance of the ecological and biological diversity that this heritage site holds?
Don’t go by the name. Western Australia’s Shark Bay is home to more astounding things than just sharks, including massive seagrass beds and cute dugongs. But the most remarkable of them all are the stromatolites –intriguing three-billion-years-old living fossils and one of the oldest forms of life on Earth!
Kakadu National Park
Having been endlessly inhabited by aboriginal people for more than 40,000 years, the Kakadu National Park is both, a natural as well as a cultural World Heritage Site. Look out for the rock carvings and the complex harmony of ecosystems that have survived in this jewel of Australia’s Northern Territory over the centuries.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
This tourist magnet from Northern Territory is again, both a natural and cultural site. Uluru, a gigantic monolith, and Kata Tjuta, the rock domes located west of Uluru, form an important part of Anangu aboriginal people’s traditional belief system, who, on a deeper note, also happen to be one of the oldest human societies in the world!
Now this is the place where you can unabatedly swim with whale sharks. Each year, from March to July, almost 500 of them gather in the waters of Ningaloo Coast and what’s more, the coral reef here is the homeland to thousands of fish, coral and crustacean species. Quite a sight to behold, don’t you think?
Tasmanian Wilderness covers one-fifth of Tasmania, from its steep gorges, temperate rainforests and vast rivers, to limestone caves that has remains and rock art, giving proof of human life here for more than 20,000 years.
Willandra Lakes Region
Another picnic for history and culture lovers, Willandra Lakes Region is a part of the New South Wales. This cultural site has fossil remains of a chain of lakes and sand formations as well as archaeological evidence of human occupation dating from 45–60,000 years ago!
Think we missed out on an important World Heritage Site? Let us know in your comments below!