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14 awesome Australian natural phenomena

You’ve heard of the Great Barrier Reef. You may have visited Uluru. Australia is famously full of such marvels, many of which are ancient and unchanging. But how about those special events that only come about once in a blue moon? Weather events, mass migrations, gravity-defying waterfalls and living fossils? Sign us up for these incredible Australian natural phenomena!

In the sky, under the sea, or across land, these natural phenomena are once-in-a-lifetime miracles to behold. Catch a glimpse with your family, and you’ll feel like you’ve been let in on the secrets of the natural world. Have your cameras at the ready.

Aurora Australis, Tasmania

This is the southern hemisphere’s answer to the Northern Lights. Best viewed from Tasmania, this electrical phenomenon appears as green light dancing across the night sky. Charged solar particles prompt the rare sight when they collide with gases in the earth’s atmosphere.

Hamelin Pool, Western Australia

Say g’day to the oldest life forms on the planet. The extremely salty seawater of Hamelin Pool is home to a large family of ‘stromatolites.’ Created by tiny microbes in sediment deposits, these living fossils date back 3.5 billion years. Take the Boolagoorda loop track to see them. The only other stromatolite site this well-developed is in the Bahamas.

Say stromatolite ten times in a row, really fast! Credit: Shutterstock/ Damian Lugoswki

Red Crab Migration, Christmas Island

Every year on Christmas Island, an estimated 44 million red crabs migrate to the sea to lay their eggs. We repeat: 44 million. Swarming on roads and in town squares, the crabs look like a rolling red sea. This event occurs at the start of wet season, which is usually around November.

Millions of red crabs during the migration on Christmas Island. Credit: Christmas Island Tourism

Wildflowers, Western Australia

Between July and November, the outback plains of the Pilbara, Goldfields and Coral Coast in Western Australia are painted in remarkable colours. This Australian natural phenomena includes more than 12,000 species of wildflower blossom, 60% of which are not found anywhere else on the planet. Special, huh?

Mullah Mullah flowers put on a show in the Pilbara. Credit: Shutterstock/ Matt Deakin

Staircase to the Moon, Broome, Western Australia

Between the months of March and October, a brilliant optical illusion can be seen on the mudflats of Roebuck Bay in Broome. It will look like you can climb straight up to the moon, because its reflection looks a lot like a ladder or staircase.

stairway to the moon, full moon light over low tide
Staircase to the moon over low tide in Broome. Credit: Shutterstock

Pink Lakes, Western Australia

Step straight into a Dr. Seuss-like topsy-turvy world where the water is pink with a visit to one of Western Australia’s pink lakes. Hutt Lagoon on the Coral Coast is a popular choice and one of Australia’s more photographed natural phenomena. Lake Hillier is especially remarkable. Only a road and some trees separate its rosy waters from the stark turquoise of the Indian Ocean.

The brightest of pinks and the brightest of blues! Credit: Shutterstock/ matteo_it

Coral Reef Mass Spawning, Queensland

This annual event sees several species of coral polyps simultaneously release their reproductive cells into the water to be fertilised. The Great Barrier Reef is a good spot to see crystal waters transform with clouds of red and orange.


The word dinoflagellate is unlikely to make you think of magic. But these tiny, single-celled organisms found on seashores illuminate in a bright blue when disturbed. You’ll feel like a family of wizards conjuring up stars in the sand and the water. Definitely one of our favourite natural phenomena on this list, not uncommon on the NSW south coast.

Otherwordly and eerie in Eden, NSW. Credit: Shutterstock/ Arnaud Payan

Horizontal Waterfalls, Western Australia

Talbot Falls in the McLarty Range in the Kimberley defy the laws of gravity by flowing horizontally. Tides cause the seawater to swell up in one pool so rapidly that it rises as high as 5 metres before pushing through the narrow cliff passages to the next pool. As the tide changes, the direction of the falls switches and forms whirlpools.

Has to be one of the most scenic natural phenomena on this list. Credit: Shutterstock/ Robert McGillivray

Morning Glory Clouds, Queensland

Look up at the spring sky in the Gulf of Carpentaria to see clouds like you’ve never seen them before. This Australian meteorological phenomena happens when cool ocean temperatures meet the warm inland winds.

Wolfe Creek Crater, Western Australia

Ever seen a meteor landing site? This one is certain to leave an impact, figuratively speaking. Wolfe Creek Crater, near Sturt Creek in Western Australia, was created by a meteor impact 300,000 years ago. At 880 metres in diameter, it is the second-largest crater in the world in which meteorite fragments have been found.

There aren’t many Credit: Shutterstock/ Matt Deakin

Locust Plagues, Outback NSW

Capable of causing damage of Biblical proportion, the locust population explodes after heavy summer rains in the central west. These pests destroy crops and pastures, eating everything they pass. This is one Australian natural phenomena that we’d rather didn’t happen that often.

Undara Lava Tubes, Queensland

Approximately 190,000 years ago a volcano erupted with enough lava to fill Sydney Harbour three times. As it flowed, the outside lava cooled but the inside continued moving, creating a tube shape. Lush vegetation has transformed these tubes into ecological paradise which you can visit on a guided tour. Some tubes have wheelchair access.

The Arch Tube in Undara Volcanic National Park. Credit: Shutterstock/ cornfield

Fields of Web, NSW

Prepare for one of the most creepy and crawly natural phenomena we could find! In Wagga Wagga in 2012, swarms of spiders spun their webs up to the tops of trees and bushes to escape floodwaters. The result? An ocean of white fairy floss! Also known as spider rain, angel hair or mass ballooning, this natural phenomenon has since occurred in Goulburn and even Tasmania.


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