The sky’s pink, the mood’s chilled and you feel like you’re a million miles away. Here’s our hit list of where to watch the sun plunge behind the horizon, cracking a coldie in celebration of nature’s brilliance.
Lord Howe Island, NSW
There’s more wildlife than people on this World Heritage Listed island (population 300, and visitors capped at 400), leaving nature to blaze in all its glory come sundown. Streams of birds flock across the pastel sky, chirping noisily as they return to their nests, while splashes and gurgles sound from the ocean, care of the 450 fish species in the coral-filled waters. The island’s mountainous geography makes for dramatic sunset vistas, or, if you’re fit and keen, hike to the peak of Mount Gower and capture the fading light from on high. A two hour flight from Sydney or Brisbane gets you to this dreamy idyll. Definitely put Lord Howe on your ‘travel goals’ bucket list.
The Grampians, Vic
If you want enormous skies strewn alternately with billowing pink clouds, or strips of iridescent orange and flaring yellow, then head directly to the Grampians. The deeply textured mountain range is ribboned with hiking trails that lead to lone lookouts over the expansive landscape. An easy, 30min walk gets you to The Balconies for particularly arresting views of the national park, or otherwise try one of the more challenging hikes, past boulders, falls and the mini ‘Grand Canyon’, to The Pinnacle lookout. At each spot, gorges, valleys, peaks and gullies stretch out before you, seeming to double in size as they’re cloaked in honey tones beneath a radiating sky. All this, only a three hour drive from Melbourne.
Watching the sunset at Uluru, or nearby Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) should be an Australian rite-of-passage. Our mighty monolith pulls out all the stops at day’s end, radiating as though on fire at first, then softening into an earthy ochre and eventually turning purple in the fading light. The folds of its undulating surface catch the sun’s rays, while its clefts darken in shadow. What’s interesting about Uluru is that its colours are at odds with its temperatures: during the day, when it’s hot, it looks faded, but when the mercury goes down, it blazes like a blow torch. The rounded domes of Kata Tjuta grant just as much magnificence, without the crowds. Here are some handy sunset watching spots, for each.
Punsand Bay, Qld
Catching an epic sunset from the northernmost point of Australia delivers you more than just an excuse to clink coldies together. Punsand Bay is where rainforest greens meet sugary sands leading to the tip of the Cape York Peninsula, and gosh it’s beautiful at day’s end. Tropical islands create pretty silhouettes on the horizon as the silvery-pink sea mirrors magenta cloud formations. For extra bragging rights, go glamping on the bay’s best kept secret, Roko Island – the sunsets somehow seem even better from this little slice of paradise.
Cape Leveque, WA
The sun sets over the ocean pretty much everywhere in WA, so if you love snapping a crimson sky reflected in coppery water, this is the place to do it. Broome’s Cable Beach is a star performer, but for double happiness, turn your lens to the beachside cliffs at remote Cape Leveque, a couple hours’ drive north of town. When the setting sun hits these towers of red rock, they glow in the most extraordinary scarlet hues. They edge pale sand and shallow water, and the contrasting colours make the sight even more dramatic. Pack a Matso’s six-pack and a picnic rug for the spectacle: you’ll want to settle in for the whole show, and then spend a night (or three) at the neighbouring Aboriginal owned and run wilderness camp, Kooljaman.