Saturday, 19 March 2011

10 Great Natural Rock Formations in Australia

1. Uluru
Located in the red heart of the central deserts, the ancient forms of Uluru and Kata Tjuta lie geographically, spiritually and symbolically at the centre of the Australian continent. Rising majestically above the red sand plains, they are shrouded in myth and mystery, their colours and moods ever-changing with the interplay of light from sun, cloud and rain. Protected within Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park, Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) rise like giant red icebergs from the flat ‘sea’ of the surrounding desert. At around 350 m high, Uluru is the world’s largest monolith; its circumference measures 9.4 km and geologists estimate the rock reaches 6 km below the earth’s surface.

2. Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest and most complex reef system in the world, made up of thousands of individual coral reefs and hundreds of islands and coral cays. It stretches more than 2,600 km along the north-east coast of Australia and is one of the only natural structures that can be seen from the moon. With its infamous colorful coral, wetlands and smattering of pretty islands, this area is a stunning display of nature’s beauty and a good reminder of the importance of conservation.

3. Bungle Bungles
The Bungle Bungles area highlight of Purnululu National Park in western Australia. The landscape features deep caverns, dramatic caves, tropical pools, and hundreds of distinctive beehive shaped limestone formations that work together to create a phenomenal scene of wonder. The Bungle Bungles get their unique tiger stripes from black algae growth that penetrates the pores of the rock combined with the orange colored build up of manganese and iron stains.

4. Wave Rock
Wave Rock is in the wheat belt region of Western Australia, 350 km south-east of Perth. It is a curved granite cliff face, actually the northern face of a large granite erosional remnant called Hyden Rock. This curved cliff face, resembling a wave about to break, is 15 m high and 110 m long. It has been rounded by weathering and water erosion, undercutting its base and leaving a rounded overhang. Water from springs active in the wetter months runs down the cliff face, dissolving and re-depositing chemicals in the granite, leaving red, brown, yellow and grey stains of carbonates and iron hydroxide. Its age has been estimated at about 2700 million years.

5. Pinnacles Desert
Pinnacles Desert is located in Nambung National Park in the western part of Australia. The pinnacles are limestone pillars that protrude out of the sand. There are thousands of pillars that stretch across the desert sand creating an incredibly unique landscape. The Pinnacles are all different shapes and sizes with some reaching 3.5 m high. The pinnacles may be jagged, rounded, sharp-edged, or any combination depending on how the wind has eroded them away.

6. Three Sisters Katoomba
The Three Sisters Katoomba is the world famous rock pillars located at Echo Point in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales. Towering above the Jamison Valley, these prominent and illustrious natural formations have gained legendary status as a renowned Australian tourist attraction. At an imposing height of 922 m, 918 m and 906 m respectively they present an overwhelming sight for anyone visiting the Blue Mountains. They have been given the Aboriginal names Meehni, Wimlah and Gunnedoo.

7. Devils Marbles 
Devils Marbles or Karlu Karlu are huge rocks located south of Tennant Creek area of Northern Territory in Australia which have been given mythological reasons by Australian tribes, they believe in its sacred powers. The aboriginal tribes believe that Marbles are eggs of Mythical Rainbow Serpent. The story is still alive and passed from generation to generation.  These rocks are several meters high and extremely large in size. They consist of granite and were formed about 1640 million years ago. These granite blocks expand and shrink little in size every 24 hours due to high  temperature change between day and night. This causes some rocks to crack, sometimes even splitting them to half. The Devils Marbles conservation reserve is the main tourist attraction in northern territory of Australia. The reserve is accessible throughout the year.

8. Cradle Mountain
Cradle Mountain forms the northern end of the wild Cradle Mt - Lake St Clair National Park, itself a part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. The jagged contours of Cradle Mountain epitomise the feel of a wild landscape, while ancient rainforest and alpine heathlands, buttongrass and stands of colourful deciduous beech provide a range of environments to explore. Icy streams cascading out of rugged mountains, stands of ancient pines mirrored in the still waters of glacial lakes and a wealth of wildlife ensure there is always something to captivate you. The area is one of the most popular natural areas in Tasmania.

9. The Twelve Apostles
Situated between Apollo Bay and Port Campbell in The Port Campbell National Park are the 12 Apostles. Original named 'The Sow and Piglets'. The name was changed in the 1950s to tempt more visitors to see them. These famous residence of The Great Ocean Road were created from the 70 meter limestone cliffs by the relentless pounding of the Southern Ocean. To date only 8 of the original 12 apostles are still standing as the ocean continues to erode and shape the coast line.

10. Wilpena Pound
Wilpena Pound is the main attraction in Flinders Ranges National Park. The pound is a saucer-shaped structure of mountains with rough and rocky peaks around the rim. It looks like a natural amphitheatre. On the outside, the walls rise steeply up to 500 m, while inside they slope gently away from the peaks. Take a scenic flight from Wilpena Pound Resort. It is the best way to appreciate this stunning natural monument. Wilpena Pound is a paradise for bushwalking in Australia. St. Mary Peak (1190 m) at the north-western side of the pound is the highest peak.

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