Nearly as large as the United States, Australia is a vast land filled with geologic marvels and world-class adventures. Many visitors want to check off common favorites like the Sydney Opera House, Great Barrier Reef and the red center of Uluru. While these are all worthy and iconic destinations, consider adding a couple of Australia’s lesser-known natural beauties to your itinerary for a bespoke vacation Down Under that you’ll never forget.

Three Sisters

Only 90 minutes from Sydney, you’ll find the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains. Named for the blue haze caused by the release of eucalyptus oil, the mountain range is perhaps best known for the 200-million-year-old Three Sisters rock formation. This vast rainforest is home to avian wildlife like cockatoos, king parrots, lyrebirds and kookaburras. Set off on foot for a spectacular walk along the clifftops, taking in the scenic vistas before you reach Sublime Point. Another option is the walk to thundering Wentworth Falls along the National Pass. Don’t leave hungry. Darley’s Restaurant in nearby Katoomba offers award-winning cuisine in a Victorian-era homestead.

Kangaroo Island

Just 30 minutes by plane from Adelaide on Australia’s southern coast is Kangaroo Island. True to its name, this is one of the best places to see kangaroos, koalas, sea lions and seals in their natural habitat. Since koalas spend most of their time perched in eucalyptus trees, they can be difficult to spot without the help of an expert guide. A full-day escorted tour to locate marsupials includes lunch at a private bush camp with fine Australian wines and special access to view a colony of sea lions at Seal Bay.

Twelve Apostles

A coast-hugging trip on the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne takes you to a breathtaking set of natural stone figures known as the Twelve Apostles, formed over 20 million years ago. Emerging dramatically from the Southern Ocean coastline, the 150-foot-tall limestone pillars are clustered near the shore of Port Campbell National Park. Other geological attractions along the Great Ocean Road include the stunning sandy beach at Loch Ard Gorge and The Grotto, a sea cave where you can witness surging waves crashing against rock walls and see small tidal pools with colorful marine life. Stop at the coastal town of Aireys Inlet for lunch at the charming A La Grecque restaurant serving grilled fish, fresh prawns and Mediterranean-inspired mezze dishes.

Kakadu National Park

Venture east of Darwin to explore Kakadu National Park, more than twice the size of Yellowstone National Park and another World Heritage Site. Here you’ll find ancient Aboriginal rock art sites among the rugged and remote landscape. It’s a biodiverse locale of lotus-filled wetlands, cascading waterfalls and lush rainforests. For an above-ground perspective, take a scenic helicopter tour over the park’s spectacular escarpments. Each year, the food festival Taste of Kakadu celebrates the area’s ancient food history. Learn about bush foods from the First Nations community representing 65,000 years of Aboriginal culture. Participate in a spear-making workshop, try bark painting with freshly ground ochres or attempt to bring sound forth from a didgeridoo.

Daintree Rainforest

In the upper northwest corner of Australia, the state of Queensland is home to Daintree Rainforest, the oldest living rainforest in the world. Exceptional biodiversity and ancient history team up to make for fascinating study. David Attenborough called it “the most extraordinary place on Earth.” At Cape Tribulation, stroll the beach where two World Heritage Sites converge, the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. For an indulgent eco-escape, book your stay at the stylish Silky Oaks Lodge. Set on 80 acres of woodlands above the gently flowing Mossman River, each of the resort’s 40 luxurious treehouse rooms features contemporary furnishings, a generous balcony and restful hammock for the ultimate in private relaxation. As the rainforest darkens, sit down to dinner at the open-air Treehouse Restaurant for locally caught trout or slow-cooked short ribs accompanied by premium Australian wines. As a perk for booking your stay with our agency, enjoy a $100 credit and complimentary breakfast for two.

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