Situated on the west coast of the South Island, Milford Sound is a fusion of spectacular natural features with amazing visual cues around every corner. Described by Rudyard Kipling as the 'eighth wonder of the world', Milford Sound was carved by glaciers during the ice ages. Breathtaking in any weather, the fiord's cliffs rise vertically from the dark waters, mountain peaks scrape the sky and waterfalls cascade downwards from as high as 1000 metres. When it rains in Milford Sound, and it often does, those waterfalls multiply with magnificent effect.
Named for Mt Aspiring, one of New Zealand's highest peaks, this park is a dreamland of mountains, glaciers, river valleys and alpine lakes. A hiker's paradise, Mount Aspiring National Park offers a large number of short walks that are mostly concentrated at the end of the park's access roads.
Longer hikes through beautiful valleys, with options to traverse mountain saddles, include the Routeburn, the Dart/Rees River circuit, Greenstone/Caples and the Wilkin Valley tracks. In summer, it’s possible to walk from one valley to another over spectacular mountain passes. Shorter walks include Routeburn Nature Walk, Haast Pass Summit, Lake Sylvan near the lower dart River and the Blue Pools Walk. A highlight of any South Island adventure, the 30-minute Blue Pools Walk leads through silver beech/tahina forest and over a swing bridge to a viewing platform overlooking magnificent crystal-clear pools at the mouth of Blue River.
The Nelson Lakes National Park is an enchanting alpine landscape of rugged peaks, forests and stunning glacial lakes. A compact area of mountain ranges separated by forested valleys, the Nelson Lakes National Park is home to the beginning of the awe-inspiring Southern Alps.
Promising everything from easy lakeside walking tracks to challenging alpine hikes, this national park has something on offer for everyone.
The beautiful alpine lakes of Rotoroa and Rotoiti form the heart of this 102,000 hectare national park. Both are surrounded by steep mountains and fringed to the shore by native honeydew beech forests, which feed a variety of tuneful nectar-eating native birds.
Perched on the edge of Lake Rotoiti, St Arnaud is the perfect base from which to explore the honeydew forest and mountains of Nelson Lakes National Park. The village of St Arnaud sits at the edge of Lake Rotoiti in the Nelson region, providing an ideal base for people who plan to hike or fish in Nelson Lakes National Park.
Both Lake Rotoroa and Rotoiti are well known for their fine brown trout, and if you walk along the jetty you’ll see some friendly native eels swimming around the waters below. The lakes are a popular destination year round for boating, water skiing, swimming and kayaking, and hosts the annual New Zealand Antique and Classic Boatshow.
For exceptional views of Auckland city make your way up Maungakiekie, otherwise known as One Tree Hill. Rising up 182 metres, this volcanic peak is the largest, intact volcanic cone in Auckland - apart from Rangitoto - and is a relaxing drive, walk or cycle up. The volcano is made up of three craters and a lava field that stretches all the way out to the Manukau shoreline.
Emerging from the sea just 600 years ago, pest-free Rangitoto Island is the youngest volcano in New Zealand. An Auckland icon and deeply enriched with history, it's long been a favourite day trip for walkers, and a much loved boating destination.
Bream Head Scenic Reserves is a coastal forest reserve. It is a rich archaeological landscape resulting from more than 500 years of Māori occupation.
The reserve is located at the tip of the Whangarei Heads Peninsula. Giant peaks tower at the entrance to the Whangarei Harbour with the Majestic Mt Lion at an impressive 476 meters.
An array of walking and hiking trails have been developed throughout the entire forest – from easy walking to challenging hiking.
Otuihau Whangarei Falls is a picturesque waterfall, falling vertically for 26.3 metres over basalt cliffs. Three viewing platforms allow easy access to the dramatic views and a circular walk around the falls allows them to be seen from all angles.
Traditionally this area was a good eeling spot for the local Māori and around the turn of the century it was known as a popular picnic spot from Whangarei.
In the late 1920's Mr Archibald Clapham bought the property, reputedly to prevent the falls being developed as a commercial watermill. In 1946 a local businessmen's association raised the purchase price by public subscription and the property became a public domain.
Framing Wollongong, the Illawarra Escarpment is a dramatic 30 million-years-old formation, offering scenic lookouts, hiking, walking, birding, and picnic spots.
Millions of years in the making, the Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area features dramatic sandstone cliffs and a medley of different forest types, from sub-tropical rainforest to olive-green eucalypts and towering cedars. Throw in two accessible mountains, an abundance of colonial and Aboriginal heritage, and a stunning variety of birdlife, and you have a unique place with attractions to suit any taste.
Come for a serious bushwalk or a casual jog, visit a lookout in the winter for whale watching off the coast, or break out the binoculars for birdwatching. There are cycling opportunities on fire trails and plenty of chances to cool off in summer by retreating to a rainforest track. The area is also popular with families taking advantage of the picnic spot by firing up barbecues on Sundays.
Captain Cook first spotted the area now known as Bare Island in 1770, and referred to it in his journal as 'a small bare island'. The fort was built in the early 1880s to protect Sydney’s back door. It was in operation until 1908, after which time it became Australia's first war veterans' home.
Offering visitors to Sydney an opportunity to join in and do what the locals do - the Bondi to Coogee Walk is a popular coastal walk offering beautiful coastline vistas, cosy beaches and cafe strips for refuelling.
It is six kilometres long and takes about two hours to complete at a good pace, but why not break it up with a freshly squeezed juice or a relaxed coffee, then finish with a swim at Coogee Beach.
The walk passes one of the world's more scenic operational cemeteries, the Waverley Cemetery where graves of famous Australians such as Henry Lawson can be found.
Its combination of beaches, parks and spectacular views make this walk unique. It started out as a state project during the 1930s, it now extends from Ben Buckler Point to the southern end of Waverley Cemetery (and on to Coogee; for information call Randwick Council). It includes Bondi, Tamarama and Bronte beaches and a medium gradient cliff-top path from Bondi to Tamarama, with occasional seating and several staircases. The beachside parks offer picnic shelters, coin-operated barbecues, play areas, kiosks, toilets and change-rooms. The total length of the walk (Ben Buckler to Waverley Cemetery) is approximately 4 km; allow 1.5 hours walking time. Ben Buckler to Bondi Beach: about 0.5 km; allow 10 minutes.Bondi Promenade: 1 km; allow 15 minutes.South Bondi to North Bronte: about 1.5 km; allow 45 minutes.South Bronte to Waverley Cemetery: about 1 km; allow 20 minutes.
For picture-perfect views of Canberra, you can’t go past a visit to Mount Ainslie.
Walk, cycle or drive to the lookout and enjoy the impressive scenery, lovely at all times but a particular treat at sunrise and sunset.
Scattered over more than 260,000 hectares and part of the UNESCO-protected Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, Blue Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in NSW and a favourite playground for Sydneysiders.Renowned for the Three Sisters rock formation, the park incorporates many other spectacular landmarks and offers opportunities for exploration and immersion into nature. Explore exhilarating walks, discover Aboriginal history, hike to tumbling waterfalls and enjoy picnics in parks with stunning, far-reaching vistas of ancient escarpments and forest-clad valleys.
Situated in the Dooragan National Park, North Brother Mountain offers some of the most accessible, panoramic views on the east coast of Australia. The immediate view is over the magnificent Camden Haven Inlet with the Camden Haven River winding between Queens and Watson Taylors Lakes. Views extend to Crowdy Head in the south and as far as Mount Yarrahappini in the north.
You will find excellent trails and walks suiting all fitness levels. If you are looking for more than a view, then try the challenging Laurieton Track - if you dare! You will go through spectacular blackbutt forests which mingle with enormous old stumps, reflecting the old days of timber harvesting in the park.
The mountain is a 'mecca' for paragliders and hang gliders. If you are looking for than a view, then try the challenging Laurieton Track - if you dare!
At Lake Innes Nature Reserve, near Port Macquarie, visitors can enjoy cycling, fishing, birdwatching, swimming, kayaking and learning about NSW convict settlement history.
Whether you’re an eager history student or an outdoor adventurer, you’ll find plenty to do at Lake Innes Nature Reserve, not far from Port Macquarie. The reserve features a fascinating historic site set in gorgeous natural scenery with plenty of opportunities for hiking, cycling, birdwatching and water sport activities.
Lake Innes lies at its heart and is a picturesque setting for the historically significant Innes Ruins, which is a great place to learn all about early settlement and convict history in NSW. You can book a tour of the ruins through the Port Macquarie Information Centre.
The lake is also a gorgeous backdrop for picnicking, birdwatching, walking or cycling. Or, get out on the water by kayaking or canoeing across it or enjoying a splash of swimming in its tranquil waters or spot of fishing from Perch Hole. There’s an impressive array of wildlife to admire here too, including osprey, ducks and swans paddling on the lake and the kangaroos, wallabies and dingoes that can be seen throughout the reserve.
'Old Bottlebutt', a grand and ancient Red Bloodwood (Corymbia gummifera) tree located in Burrawan State Forest. Old Bottlebutt is unique in its shape - its large flared 'butt' having a massive girth of more than 16 metres just above its base. At over 200 years old and more than 16 metres diameter at its base, Old Bottlebutt is a towering and unique attraction. Old Bottlebutt is the main feature on a beautiful 600 metre loop walking track, beginning and ending at the Burrawan picnic area. Old Bottlebutt is a special place, a place to stay and enjoy the sounds of nature. Old Bottlebutt is located near Port Macquarie and Wauchope on the NSW mid-north coast. From Wauchope travel south on the Bago Road 10 kilometres, then turn left onto Internal Break Road and follow the signs. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week including public holidays.
In Whian Whian State Conservation Area, north of Lismore, you’ll find cycling, hiking and horse riding trails, as well as waterfalls and creeks for swimming and fishing.
Just to the north of Lismore, Whian Whian State Conservation Area was formed to protect an area that surrounds Nightcap National Park. This charming area and its surrounds are chock-full of fantastic, fun things to do outdoors.
Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk is a one and a half kilometre rainforest walking experience which inlcudes the Skywalk Bridge (steel-structured), the 40 metre Skywalk Cantilever (steel-structured) and the Cedar Creek Viewing Platform, joined by a winding pathway along the canopy floor.
Accessible directly from the Eco centre, the walk showcases the pristine beauty of the lush rainforest in a safe and exciting way. The whole experience takes approximately 45 minutes at a leisurely pace and begins and ends at the main centre. The main centre includes, the Eco Centre, bus parking, gift shop, cafe and toilets.
Located in the beautiful Gold Coast Hinterland, the Skywalk is 45 minutes from Surfers Paradise and 60 minutes from Brisbane International Airport.
Brisbane City has a unique blend of historic and modern buildings dotted with city parks and gardens where you can sit back, unwind and watch the thriving city go about it's business.
Visit museums, go shopping, eat a picnic in one of the gardens or take in a show at the theatre. There's something for everyone in the Brisbane City CBD.
A wonderful landscape of waterfalls, lush flora and volcanic boulder formations make Finch Hatton Gorge a must-see attraction.
There are many walking tracks which weave through sub-tropical rainforest. One of the most popular trails starts at the Finch Hatton picnic area and takes you on a 1.6 kilometre journey to the beautiful Araluen waterfall. The granite boulders and surrounding vegetation make this an ideal place to take in the scenery. Take a refreshing dip in one of the nearby rock pools, a cooling haven favoured by locals in summer.
Keep an eye out among the rainforest for rare and unusual flora and fauna, such as the rare gastric brooding frog, the orange-sided skink, Mackay tulip oak, Eungella spiny cray and Eungella honeyeater.
Adventure opportunities are plentiful, with the opportunity to scuba dive in the rainforest waters with platypus, or to zip-line through the tree-top canopy.
A wonderland of waterfalls, refreshingly cool rainforest and the chance to see a platypus in the wild awaits in Eungella National Park. Australia's longest stretch of sub-tropical rainforest, Eungella, is a must-see attraction.
Travel through the lush lowlands of the Pioneer Valley, surrounded by sugar cane, stop in at Platypus Beach just after Mirani or visit the beautiful Finch Hatton Gorge. Scuba dive with the platypus, fly among rainforest canopy on a zipwire or take a stroll to one of Finch Hatton's waterfalls, before driving up the range to Eungella.
See a diverse range of flora and fauna on a rainforest walk and experience breathtaking views of the Pioneer Valley, truly spectacular at sunrise and sunset. Travel to Broken River for the chance to see a platypus in the wild. Eungella National Park can be experienced as a day trip, or extend your visit to enjoy warm hospitality from one of the rainforest's many accommodation and dining establishments.
Exploring Hamilton Island on foot can be a great way to explore its natural beauty, at your own pace. Discover secluded, sandy coves, climb to the top of the island for stunning views, or enjoy a picnic in one of the island’s many picnic spots.
Located in Brigadoon, this picnic and bush walking spot at Bells Rapids is a prime viewing area to see competitors in the annual Avon Descent White Water Race battle the rapids.
Explore the streams and waterfalls as you wander along the nature walks beside the Avon River. The area is not recommended for swimming. Access to the rapids is via a gravel road which leads to a car parking area. Bells Rapids is also the habitat of the beautiful grey kangaroo which can be seen at certain times of the year in abundance. You will enjoy scenic views of the countryside and coastal plains on this unique circuit walk trail.
Mount Pahia is the second-highest summit on Bora Bora and the challenging hike leading up to it features steep jungle climbs on faint trails with spectacular views all around the island and lagoon. Difficulties encountered on the hike include arranging for a hiking guide, avoiding hiking during times of rainy weather (because the trail will become muddy, slippery, and dangerous), dealing with heat and humidity, watching out for rockfall while passing along the base of cliffs, and using ropes and safety gear during areas of exposure if passing beyond the summit of Mount Ohue.
Mount Otemanu on Bora Bora island is a jagged remnant of an ancient volcano that rises up to a sharp point at 2,385 feet (727 m) from the surface of a turquoise blue lagoon. The French Polynesian islands, in general, are blessed with some incredible picture-perfect sceneries but Mount Otemanu takes the crown. There is something very magical about this unique landform that can be seen from every part of the island.
Thousands of people are drawn to Bora Bora every year because it is one of the most beautiful islands on earth. Most resorts have designed their overwater bungalows to specifically face Mount Otemanu and rooms that have unobstructed views typically come with a premium price tag.
Mount Tohivea is the highest point in Moorea at 3960ft and is a dormant volcano. This mountain is clearly visible from Tahiti. Tohivea is depicted on the back of the 50f Polynesie Francaise coin. James Michener made Moorea famous, claiming that it was the most beautiful island in the South Pacific.
The Aorai is Tahiti’s third highest mountain and peaks at 2066 metres: you will hike up to the 1st mountain hut at an altitude of 1400 metres. Of breath and a good physical condition are required for this 800m vertical drop hike.
Enjoy some breathtaking views of Tahiti, the ocean and surrounding valleys.
Tahiti is home to some of the most beautiful hiking trails in Polynesia. Stops can include spectacular waterfalls and natural pools, panoramic views, grottos, archeological sites and lava tubes. A favorite hike is to the three Faarumai waterfalls. From the car park it is a quick scramble through a forest of chestnut trees to the first waterfall, Vaimahutu. Continue on for another 20 minutes or so to reach the other to falls Haamarere Iti and Haamarere Rahi, which are almost side-by-side. With hundreds of varieties of tropical trees, plants and flowers, Tahiti also has some of the world's most beautiful gardens. Visit the water gardens of Vaipahi to experience the abundant flora and waterfalls that flow directly into Lake Vaihiria.