UPDATED MARCH 2018. Life in Australia revolves around the sun – Dorothy McKeller wrote a poem entitled Australia, where she waxes lyrical about a sunburnt country while Bill Bryson went a step further calling his book “In a Sunburned Country”. Summer down-under can be scorchingly hot and Australian Sunsets are cause for rejoicing – often in the form of a cold “Sundowner” drink to celebrate. The day’s worries fade with the sun and tranquility descends. It’s Sunset Therapy.
Whether caravanning in the great outdoors or just sitting lazily on a beach, sunset is a time to watch in wonder as the yellows and pinks transform to fiery reds and purples.
Lately our caravan has taken us around Queensland and on exploratory trips into New South Wales. We’ve enjoyed our fair share of sunset therapy in some pretty special locations. Mostly those sunsets are by the ocean, because that is where we love to be. You will find some of them below, with links to our blog posts containing tips to help plan your own visit.
More travel bloggers have added their favourite sunsets which represent every state in Australia apart from the Australian Capital Territory. Click on their links and find either a post about their amazing sunset, an activity in the area or more.
The sunsets are grouped together by state. Enjoy!
Australian Sunsets and Sunset Therapy
West Beach, Adelaide
By Emma from Small Footprints Big Adventures
We love watching the sunset over some of the best beaches in South Australia. Adelaide is blessed to have relatively quiet and clean beachfronts and prime position for watching the colourful end-of-the-day glow. We recently stayed at the Adelaide Shores on West Beach, and the sunsets over the water there were absolutely stunning! With easy access to the beautiful and often deserted beach, wonderful equipment for the kids, and other great facilities nearby, staying there was a really enjoyable family holiday in Adelaide.
The West Beach Surf Club and the new Mega Adventure Park are within walking distance from the Shores. The adventure park is amazing! It has all sorts of climbing frames and balance tests, and we easily spent a few hours there. With perfect timing, watching the setting sun from high up on their SkyWalk could be the best Adelaide sunset of them all!
Jo from Lifestyle Fifty
Sunset over the Bunbury tower, often referred to as ‘the milk carton’. Bunbury is an easy 2 hour drive south of Perth and offers several budget options for holiday stays. It’s known as the city of three waters as it’s bordered by the Leschenault Estuary, the Inlet and the Indian Ocean.
You can surf, swim and bike ride among other outdoor activities – there are wonderful coastal and forest trails. Check out the wild dolphins in Koombana Bay – 120 bottlenose dolphins are known to be resident in the bay and it’s possible to swim with them in an uncontrived way if you know someone with a boat, if you have a kayak, or if you visit the Dolphin Discovery Centre.
Bunbury Sunset Western Australia
Cable Beach, Broome
By Kathy from 50 Shades of Age
One of the biggest draw-cards to Broome in North Western Australia are the simply spectacular Cable Beach sunsets over the Indian Ocean. You can drive your 4WD right on to the sand for sunset drinks and aperitifs whilst watching the spectacle of the colourful light show of the sunset and the camel safaris along the beach. Otherwise you can sip a cocktail at one of the beachside bars along the string of Broome resorts beside the Cable Beach.
But for me I think the best way to experience the sunset was from the saddle of a camel. There are two tour companies that conduct Cable Beach camel rides or safaris. For around $70 you get to ride a camel with experienced camel handlers from pre-sunset to post-sunset for about an hour sauntering along the long stretch of beach. It was an incredible experience.
Glen Helen Gorge
By Kati from Queensland and Beyond
The West MacDonnell Ranges are easily accessible once you’ve made it as far as Alice Springs. Drive another 130 km west and you’ll find yourself at Glen Helen Gorge, perfectly situated for camping, hiking, and Australian sunset watching.
Sunsets in the Northern Territory in general are spectacular, and the ones in the West MacDonnells are no exception. Whilst you won’t see the sun set over Glen Helen Gorge as such, the pastel colours and hues that reflect off the deep red rocks at sunset are incredible.
But even if you’re not into sunsets, you can go for a swim in the, admittedly icy cold, Finke River or simply meander along the creek’s edges for a relaxing stroll. The scenery is so gorgeous, it almost doesn’t matter what you do.
If you choose to stay at the Glen Helen Resort homestead, you’ll wake up to incredible views of the gorge with the morning light bouncing off the cliffs. All I can say is – it’s great sunset therapy.
Mindil Beach Darwin
By Sandy from Tray Tables Away
On our first trip to Darwin a few years ago many people told us not to miss the Mindil Beach markets. At the time they were only held on a Thursday evening, which happily coincided with our visit.
Possibly one of the best sunset markets in the country with a hugely diverse array of stalls including amazing food from around the world and in particular from some of NT’s closest neighbours like Indonesia and the Philippines. And to top that all off, the Beach faces west and puts on the most amazing beach sunset every evening. Grab some dinner and a spot on the beach and prepare to be mesmerised by a Mindil Beach sunset. Magic!
(now open Sunday evenings)
By Claire from Zig Zag On Earth
Australia offers a lot of amazing Beach Sunsets. But one of my favorites was in the desert, in the Red Center of Australia where the giant rock formation sits.
Even if there are not many clouds in the sky to get dramatic colours when the sun drops past the horizon, the main interest is to see the changing colours of Uluru itself: from orange to vibrant red when the sun rays are almost horizontal.
In the middle of the desert, it is a fascinating show to watch and absolutely mesmerizing.
The Uluru sunset viewing area has two viewing platforms set up to allow many people to experience the moment: one for the cars and one for the busses (an Uluru Sunset Tour will pick up from Uluru resorts or Ayers Rock Campground in Yulara). From the viewing areas, the sun is setting behind you and Uluru can be seen at its best.
Watching an Uluru Sunset tops our list of favourite things to do on an Uluru trip.
Tip. Take Uluru or Ayers Rock sunset pictures at 5 minute intervals to capture the changing sunset colours.
By Kate from Travel for Difference
The Aussie Outback is undoubtedly filled with so much natural beauty, but never did I expect something as magical as this Yulara sunset.
Autumn is a great time to see an Australian Outback sunset. Skies are clear, evenings brisk and Yalara weather is generally milder than in Summer.
Wherever you are in the outback, step outside at sunset and you will see a sky filled with colour. Bright yellow, orange, red and blue… A rainbow in every sense of the word and a beauty like no other.
Yulara is the service village for Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Uluru was once known as Ayers Rock and Kata Tjuta as The Olgas – those fascinating dome like rock formations.
Sunset St Kilda Pier
By Katy from Untold Morsels
Take a walk along St Kilda pier at dusk and you will witness one of Melbourne’s most beautiful sunset views. Families and friends, tourists and locals have loved strolling along the iconic pier for generations.
It is the perfect vantage point for views of the Melbourne city skyline, the St Kilda foreshore and Williamstown marina across the bay. If you are lucky, you might spot some fairy penguins playing in the sea.
As the sun dips below the horizon, enjoy a drink at Captain Baxter at the St Kilda Sea Baths and see the pier itself in silhouette.
Whisky Bay, Wilsons Promontory
By Michela from Rocky Travel
Australia has some of the best sunset sceneries of the world and the great thing is that no two sunsets are the same. I have taken over 20K photos on my travels in Australia and the ones that make me nostalgic are those Australian sunsets. One of the regions I am very fond of, because of its natural setting and it’s vicinity to Melbourne, is Wilsons Promontory.
Located 2.5 hours south-east of Melbourne Australia, it is a great place for a weekend escape or a detox-week in a pristine wilderness area. You can hike, swim, see plenty of native wildlife and take beautiful photos. The many little bays and beaches along the rugged coastline make for very photogenic scenery, especially at sunset.
Places like Norman Bay, Picnic Bay, Squeaky Beach and Whisky bay, where this photo was taken, are just a few of the many picture-perfect sunset landscapes in Wilsons Promontory National Park. Wilsons Promontory is truly a paradise for nature and photography lovers.
By LC from Birdgehls
For a fairly small state, Victoria has a lot of cool destinations to visit for a day trip, or a weekend away. One highly underrated area is the King Valley.
As with most of Victoria, there’s an abundance of wine tasting to be had. Visit King Valley for its Prosecco in particular – there is even a route from vineyard to vineyard known as “Prosecco Road”.
If wine’s not your thing, there’s plenty else to immerse yourself in. The area offers opportunities for horse riding and cycling. You can camp, swim, canoe or fish in the many national parks. There are plenty of interesting and historic old towns to poke your head into along the way. There are lots of interesting things to do in Milawa – great antiques, Milawa mustard and Milawa cheese factory). And there are a bunch of scenic lookouts, perfect for catching the sunset.
If you’re interested in the history of bushrangers in Australia, definitely check out Power’s Lookout, used by Harry Power to keep an eye out for any approaching threats.
By Allison from Flights to Fancy
I never expected to see one of the most fabulous sunsets I have ever witnessed, in Hobart. The incredible pink hues that spread across the sky literally stopped me in my tracks as my eyes turned skyward in awe. As with many of life’s most sublime moments, we just happened to be in the right place at the right time. We were walking home from an early dinner in Salamanca Place after a busy day at Port Arthur Historic Site when we decided to cut through the Hobart waterfront marina to save our weary legs.
The setting couldn’t have been more perfect for this Hobart Harbour sunset. The naked yacht masts added dramatic punctuation to the dimming sky while the calm water threw back a flawless pink sunset reflection. The best things in life really are free.
New South Wales
Sydney Harbour Bridge
By Faye from Delve into Australia
Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of the great icons of Australia, and one of the best sunset subjects on the continent. Its location in such a prime position means you can see it from many angles in all directions.
The Harbour Bridge looks amazing at any time of day, but for me, sunset through to twilight is when it looks its very best.
Your sunset vantage point depends on the time of year. In summer you get the glowing sky from the north shore of the harbour. Kirribilli, right next to the Bridge, is the best location, and you can also see it from some points further east.
However, the best sunset spot in Sydney has to be the area around Mrs Macquarie’s Point, looking across Farm Cove to that other great icon of Sydney, the Opera House, with the Harbour Bridge behind, and in autumn and winter the sky glowing orange and red behind one of the great cityscapes of the world.
Best Sunset in Sydney.
by Jan from Budget Travel Talk
We stayed at the dog friendly Ferry Reserve Holiday Park on the Brunswick River. Being near the highway it served as a good base from which to visit Byron Bay to the south and Mullumbimby to the west. The town itself has a welcoming feel, with good restaurants, cafes, pubs and some interesting boutique clothing stores and second hand shops. As Byron Bay keeps growing in popularity, so will Brunswick Heads.
From the town a footbridge leads across the river to an Ocean Front Park and the mouth of the Brunswick River, where this photo was taken.
By Toni from 2 Aussie Travellers
When we’re in Byron Bay we always head down to the beach before dinner to watch the sunset. It’s an institution in the laid back beachside town to gather at the Wreck or northern end of Main Beach. Despite the fact that sometimes means a bit of a crowd it’s a peaceful and fun part of the day. There’s often even an impromptu live music performance as someone pulls out an instrument. Some stand by to see the colours light up the sky, others bring a blanket and bottle to sip as the sun disappears and settle in for an extended stay.
When you’re in town make sure you do find your own vantage point to watch it. The sun setting with reflections over the water out to the Great Dividing Range beyond is quite spectacular, in the foreground as you wait you can watch the surfers, often joined by a dolphin or two basking in the rolling waves and last rays of the day.
Port Douglas Marina
Port Douglas, the thriving seaside village an hour north of Cairns in Tropical North Queensland, is the best place to board a Catamaran and explore the Great Barrier Reef. Port Douglas day trips include Mossman township and Gorge to the north, where the Daintree rainforest begins. At the gorge you can join a rainforest tour or just lay in the blessedly cold Mossman River where it cascades over rocks and forms still deep pools.
You can also day trip to Cape Tribulation, crossing the Daintree River by barge. The short barge trip always gets my excitement levels climbing – Cape Tribulation really is Far, Far, North Queensland. The Daintree Rainforest is prehistoric and reaches all the way down to the beaches, where it is easy to make-believe you’re stranded on a deserted island.
Port Douglas has several Sunset Tours. While some venture out into the open ocean, this one stays in the calm waters of Dickson inlet.
Although the Marina is full of classy yachts and speedy catamarans, the town itself is a friendly unhurried place, with an emerging foodie scene and some wonderful Aussie pubs – try the Court House Hotel for an Aussie Counter Meal.
Lucinda and Hinchinbrook Island
Lucinda on the coast near Ingham in North Queensland lies at the southern end of the Hinchinbrook Channel which separates the mainland from Hinchinbrook Island. Cardwell, 27km away at the northern end of the channel, was rebuilt at a cost of AUD$40 million after Cyclone Yasi all but destroyed it in 2011.
The fringing reefs of Pelorus and Orpheus Islands are some of our favourite snorkelling destinations. Accessed from Dungeness, Lucinda, they are one of our Ten Reasons to drive from Townsville to Lucinda.
Lucinda Jetty is the longest service jetty in the southern hemisphere. The raw sugar travels 5.76 km along the jetty via conveyor belt direct into the ship’s hold. We’ve spent many holidays in Lucinda and I vividly remember waking in the night to the sounds of the conveyor belt rattling to life.
Hinchinbrook Channel sneaks in between the mainland mountains on the left and the mountains of Hinchinbrook Island on the right. Houseboats can be rented for a lazy channel holiday, but be sure to bring plenty of insect repellent, cold drinks and good books.
Fuel, food, drinks and ice can be purchased at the Channel Inn at Dungeness or at Lucinda Jetty Store and Takeaway and Lucinda Point Hotel Motel in nearby Luchinda township.
Cape Gloucester near Bowen
Cape Gloucester, Queensland, is a little known destination. With it’s neighbours – Hydeaway Bay and Dingo Beach – it is accessed by road from the Bruce Highway north of Proserpine, Queensland. Those with a boat can sail into the sunset, across the bay to Bowen.
Bowen, the town where the film “Australia” starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman was filmed, is known for it’s beaches and wide streets. Streets that were covered in soil and transformed into the dusty cattle driving scenes of Darwin in 1942 for the making of this classic Australian movie.
We recently and belatedly watched it for the first time (filmed in 2008) and were quite impressed.
Photo taken from Cape Gloucester looking across the bay to Bowen.
Lake Proserpine Sunset
Marty took this photo on a father/son fishing trip to Lake Proserpine or Peter Faust Dam in North Queensland, 54 km inland from the Whitsunday hub of Airlie Beach.
The dead trees in the lake form an underwater fish habitat. The dam is known for harbouring 1 metre plus Barramundi which are prized table fish in Australia, although most people release them back into the lake unharmed.
Yarrawonga Reserve, Notch Point
Near Ilbilbie in Central Queensland you can detour off the Bruce Highway to Notch Point, the place that I credit with making me Fall in Love with Australia all over again. The access road weaves through the Aussie Bush, Cattle Properties and sugar cane farms, before eventually turning onto a protected sandy bay, where campfires glow and the only beach footprints belong to cows or kangaroos.
In school holidays and on week-ends it does get busy, so avoid those times if possible. I should point out that the access road is 4WD territory toward the end, although we did see some conventional vehicles parked beside tents.
One of my favourite Australian Landscape Photos.
Coolum Beach, Sunshine Coast
Coolum Beach is a friendly beach community on the Sunshine Coast north of Brisbane in Queensland, Australia. It is mid-way on the Sunshine Coast, about 15 minutes south of Noosa, Sunshine Beach and the Noosa National Park. It attracts people who love surfing, swimming and when the wind blows toward the land, kite surfing.
Immediately south of Coolum Beach, Point Perry has surf beaches either side and spectacular ocean views. It is also a good place to capture an Australian sunset.
The beach either side of Stumers Creek on the northern outskirts of Coolum is an off-leash dog area. The creek itself a great place to take the whole family. The still waters are perfect for small children or dogs that are frightened by waves. Be aware that even if the mouth is covered by sand the tide may have washed over and brought blue bottle stingers etc. into the Creek.
Mount Coolum (located in a suburb of the same name), has a steep track to the summit which is well utilised by local fitness fanatics and those looking for spectacular coastal views. This 208 metre tall ancient volcanic dome is quite a forbidding looking hill, but after heavy rain it transforms as waterfalls cascade off the massive rock faces, disappearing into fairy spray on the way down.
This track is extremely popular as it has a bit of reputation with locals and visitors alike. It’s a challenge that most fit holidayers enjoy at least once on their holiday. The car park quite often overflows and at peak times the Coffee/Juice van does a roaring trade. Marty quite often climbs Mount Coolum, but I am an oddity and prefer the gentler, less busy slopes of nearby Mt. Ninderry.
Burnett Highway, Queensland
The Burnett Highway runs through Inland Queensland beginning just south of Rockhampton on North Queensland’s Capricorn Coast and finishing at Nanango in South-East Queensland. We drove the full 542 km of highway in 2017, towing our Coromal Caravan. Traditionally we drive the Coastal Bruce Highway, but were enchanted by this quiet inland highway that forms part of Australia’s Country Way. We will return to explore it in more depth.
Magnetic Island and Townsville
Local’s consider Townsville to be the unofficial capital of North Queensland and it most definitely is a hub for the surrounding area.Townsville port is the third largest in Queensland behind Brisbane and Gladstone. From here, head west to the old gold mining town of Charters Towers and on to Mount Isa, before branching south to Uluru or north to Darwin in the Northern Territory.
But Townsville is not all infra-structure and business. Just off-shore is the coconut fringed family holiday destination of Magnetic Island.
No trip to Townsville is complete without a walk along The Strand and a visit to the island.
Gin Gin, Queensland
Gin Gin is one of our favourite free camps on the Bruce Highway, Queensland. The free camp is directly beside the highway making it handy for late arrivals. It has clean basic toilets, shaded picnic tables, kookaburras and is within walking distance of the nearby township. Being halfway between Brisbane and Rockhampton, makes Gin Gin a favourite place to stop.
A mere 20 minutes north is Lake Monduran, another well known Barramundi fishing destination.
Bundaberg, home of famous Rum Distillery is 50km east and if rum is your brew of choice, you will enjoy their tours and tastings. Bundaberg also has a museum dedicated to pilot Bert Hinkler and (seasonal) turtle hatchings at nearby Mon Repos.
Made for Pinning.
Do sunsets make you happy? Tell me about your best sunset in Australia.
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