Australia & NZ
Top seven rocks Down Under
With names like Bungle Bungles, Devils Marbles and 12 Apostles, Australia’s
rock formations are as interesting as they are beautiful. Created over thousands (sometimes millions) of years of weathering and erosion, Australia’s rocks are considered among the most spectacular in the world. Here are the seven most impressive rock artworks Down Under.
Also known as Ayers Rock or Red Rock, Uluru is an enormous sandstone rock formation in the Northern Territory. The UNESCO World Heritage Site stands proud as one of the most recognised Australian icons and a sacred place for the Aboriginal people. The 348-metres high monolith is all that remains of a completely eroded mountain range. The local Aborigines attribute a great spiritual significance to Uluru and therefore never attempt to climb it. They request the same respect from visitors, but the government installed a chain handhold to make the steep hike even easier.
2. The 12 Apostles
Rising up to 70 meters from the waters of the Southern Ocean, the 12 Apostles are dotted along the famous Great Ocean Road in Victoria. The creation of The Apostles began 10-20 million years ago when the ocean began constantly eroding the coastline. The caves created in the cliffs eventually turned into arches that ultimately collapsed leaving their giant limestone pillars at the mercy of the waves. The waves keep eroding the pillars about two centimetres every year and they ultimately crumble into the ocean, so enjoy them while you still can.
3. The Pinnacles
Stretching as far as the eye can see in Nambung National Park, The Pinnacles are one of the must-see attractions of Western Australia’s Coral Coast. There’s some controversy surrounding their formation, but the most widely-accepted theory is that about 25,000 years ago the sea receded from the area, leaving large deposits of seashells that disintegrated into fine limestone, the raw material for the amazing rock formation we see today.
4. Bungle Bungles
The name isn’t the only cool thing about the Bungle Bungles. Located in Purnululu National Park in the far north-west of Western Australia, the beehive-shaped domes will leave you gobsmacked. This unique landform was formed over 350 million years ago from sediments shaped by winds from the Tanami Desert. The orange colour bands of Bungle Bungles are the result of iron and manganese coating the rock, while dark algae created the black stripes in the softer layers of rock.
5. Three Sisters
The Three Sisters tower over Jamison Valley in New South Wales. The most popular rock formation in the Blue Mountains was created by sandstone erosion. Water found its way through little cracks, slowly enlarging them and ultimately creating huge indentations. To spice up tourist experience, the locals created a legend about three sisters who fell in love with three men from a rival tribe, but were forbidden to marry them. During the battle that ensued, an elder turned them into stone (to protect them), but he was killed and there was no one left to bring them back to their human form.
6. Devils Marbles
One of the most popular sites in the Australian outback, Devils Marbles consists of clusters of large granite boulders scattered throughout a large valley. Scientists predict in 50 million years, Devils Marbles will be just tiny pebbles. The four-metres high, 13-33 metres wide Devils Marbles are still being moulded by Mother Nature who isn’t yet completely satisfied with her work.
7. Wave Rock
Wave Rock, one of the most famous landmarks in Western Australia, is located near Hyden, a small town 350 kilometres east of Perth. Resembling a giant wave just about to break, Wave Rock is 15 metres high and 110 metres long. It formed 60 million years ago through chemical weathering of the granite below earth’s surface.