3 unmissable World Heritage Sites Down Under
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Australia
The heart and soul of Australia’s Red Centre, the mystical monolith of Uluru and the nearby cluster of 36 rocky domes known as Kata Tjuta are deeply entwined in the spiritual beliefs of traditional Aboriginal owners, the Anangu. Hike around the base of Uluru (an easy 10km loop) learning about the Dreamtime stories of snakes Kuniya and Liru; join a dot-painting workshop with local artists, watch Uluru smoulder in the sunset and then stay up late for some unforgettable star-gazing. The Red Centre features on self-drive and escorted journeys with us.
We recommend: Highlights of the Red Centre
Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Dabble your toes on a day-trip or take the plunge on a four- or five-night cruise – either way, the Great Barrier Reef will take your breath away (divers take note). This big daddy of World Heritage Sites covers over 20,000 sq km, with over 2,900 reefs conspiring to paint the Coral Sea turquoise and create what is possibly the richest area of faunal diversity in the world. Grab a mask and snorkel and see how many of the 1,500 species of fish, 360 hard corals and 5,000 molluscs you can spot. Turtles nest on many of the 300-odd coral cays scattered along the reef; huge seabird colonies stake out the sands, humpback whales breed in sheltered lagoons, while endangered dugongs find sanctuary in seagrass meadows.
We recommend: Southern Reef Explorer
Te Wahipounamu, New Zealand
A majestic chunk of wilderness, carved by glaciers and cloaked in ancient forests, Te Wahipounamu includes four of South Island’s most enigmatic national parks: Westland, Mt Aspiring, Fiordland and Aoraki/Mt Cook. Get footloose-like-Frodo and hike one of the many world-class trails; go horse riding, sea kayaking and jet-boating; meet the world’s only alpine parrot, then snuggle up for the night in a wilderness lodge.
We recommend: 4×4 Hike and Drive