The Australian landscape is dotted with these mind-blowing natural wonders, carved out over millions of years and just ripe for exploring.
We’ve searched high and low to find the best gorges in the country, emphasising those that aren’t too far off the beaten track. And while you might recognise some of these mighty creations, we’ve unearthed a few spotlight dodgers, too.
Do you have an appetite for exploration? Then gorge on these beauties.
The towering sandstone walls of Nitmiluk Gorge and its surrounds make for breathtaking viewing, best appreciated by joining a sunrise or sunset cruise, hiring a canoe, or splashing out on an unforgettable helicopter ride. The gorge is planted in Nitmiluk National Park, which is rich with Indigenous history and loads of natural treasure.
Where is it? The gorge entrance of Nitmiluk National Park is 30km east of Katherine.
And the award for ‘Easiest Gorge to Reach from an Urban Centre’ goes to Cataract Gorge. A casual 15-minute stroll from Launceston’s CBD takes you to this prized area. Prime viewing of this natural wonder is enjoyed with ease from iconic Kings Bridge or various lookouts, or ride the world's longest single-span chairlift. The surrounding area includes gardens, walking tracks, eateries, and more, making it a popular playground with locals.
Where is it? In Cataract Gorge Cliffgrounds and Reserve, 5km southwest of Launceston.
Visit when…staying at BIG4 Launceston Holiday Park.
Cania Gorge, and the wider national park that shares its name, explodes with natural and cultural treasure. Marvel at the gorge’s vibrant sandstone cliffs as well as other rock formations, some of which bare evidence of thousands of years of Aboriginal occupation through freehand rock art. The area teems with caves, crevices, fern-covered pools, dry rainforest, and wildlife, making for an unforgettable experience.
Where is it? In Cania Gorge National Park, 225km west of Bundaberg.
Visit when…staying at BIG4 Cania Gorge Holiday Park.
Often overshadowed by its neighbor, the Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge warrants just as much focus. From dedicated viewing platforms, marvel at massive, windswept cliffs that have been carved with a slender opening out to sea. This spectacular formation is named after a ship that struck grief at nearby Mutton Island, and its tragic yet fascinating story can be retraced at the site.
Where is it? In Port Campbell National Park, 70km east of Warrnambool or 100km west of Apollo Bay.
Visit when…staying at a BIG4 park in the Great Ocean Road region.
With sky-piercing cliffs surrounded by lush rainforest, Barron Gorge makes for an exceptional sight. It’s found within Barron Gorge National Park, which is part of the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage area and home to many riches. Among these are Barron Falls, which is mesmerising during wetter months.
Where is it? In Barron Gorge National Park, 18km northwest of Cairns.
Also within the sprawling Wet Tropics World Heritage area is Mossman Gorge. This natural wonder oozes charm, flanked by stunning rainforest, colourful ferns, moss-covered boulders, cool streams, and the flowing Mossman River. Spy waterfalls and a vast array of flora and fauna and hear powerful stories illustrating the area’s rich Indigenous past. An assortment of walking tracks allows you to easily admire the gorge’s immense beauty.
Where is it? In Daintree National Park, 20km north of Port Douglas and 77km north of Cairns.
Spotted within spectacular Blue Mountains National Park, this tree-cloaked gorge makes for a wonderful sight. Various lookouts provide a bird’s-eye view of Nepean Gorge, including The Rock Lookout. Spotted within the historical Mulgoa Valley, the lookout provides a super vantage point for staring down at the gorge, the Nepean River, and the wider landscape.
Where is it? The Rock Lookout is in Mulgoa Valley, 16km southwest of Penrith.
Visit when…staying at Ingenia Holidays Nepean River, near Penrith.
Tjoritja/West MacDonnell National Park is filled with gems, and Ormiston Gorge is one of its brightest. The soaring walls of this stunning feature create a majestic sight, best appreciated from Ghost Gum Lookout. With a waterhole that’s well-suited to swimming, various walking tracks, and wildlife-viewing opportunities, Ormiston Gorge is must-visit material. While in the area, check out the likes of Serpentine, Glen Helen, or Redbank Gorge.
Where is it? In Tjoritja/West MacDonnell National Park, 135km west of Alice Springs.
Visit when…staying at BIG4 MacDonnell Range Holiday Park in Alice Springs.
Karijini National Park is home to several eye-catching gorges that are all highly deserving of a visit. Among them is Hancock Gorge, which is equipped with a ladder that allows visitors to reach deep into this wondrous creation. From here, marvel at the gorge up close and reach a prized rock pool. Please note: care is required when visiting.
Where is it? In Karijini National Park, 350km south of Port Hedland.
Visit when…touring the North West WA region.
Deserving of more attention. The walls of Lerderderg Gorge climb to a height of up to 300m above a flowing river that shares its name. This treasure is spotted within Lerderderg State Park, filled with rocky outcrops, sprawling bushland, wildlife, and even evidence of past gold-mining days. A series of walks of varying length and difficulty make this a great stop for all visitors.
Where is it? In Lerderderg State Park, 75km east of Melbourne or 75km north of Geelong.
Visit when…staying at a BIG4 park in Melbourne.
Have you visited any of these gorges? Or is there a favourite of yours that isn’t on this list? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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