Sydney Harbour and Opera House

Sydney Harbour and Opera House

Australia and the Pacific Islands that make up Oceania boast some of the world's most stunning landmarks. From buildings to natural wonders, here we take a look at some of the best and unusual ones.

Sydney Opera House, Sydney, AustraliaWe start off with probably the most famous man-made landmark in Australia, Sydney Opera House. The multi-venue performing arts centre took 14 years to build and was completed in 1973, costing $102 million. A little fun fact about the opera house - 233 designs were first submitted for the building in a competition held in 1956. The winner, Jørn Utzon, was announced in January 1957 and awarded $5000 for his design.

Today, some of the world's best performers and musicians take to the stages at the Opera House, while world-renowned operas including Sergei Prokofiev's War and Peace and Larry Sitsky's The Fall of the House of Usher, have entertained visitors over the years.

Lady Knox Geyser, Waiotapu, New ZealandThis remarkable natural wonder is located in a geothermal wonderland of colourful volcanic spectacles. The Lady Knox Geyser is named after Lady Constance Knox, the second daughter of the 15th Governor of New Zealand. The geyser is close to the entrance of the natural volcanic area and visitors won't be left disappointed as the geyser is said to erup regularly, with the aid of soap, everyday around 10.30am.

There is a viewing deck and bench right in front of the geyser, and if that's not all, you can take a walk around the area and marvel at the many other natural formations including Champagne Pool, Steaming Ground and Huge Volcanic Craters, to name but a few. 

Bora Bora Lagoon, French Polynesia There is absolutely no doubt that Bora Bora sits comfortably in the list of top five most beautiful places in the world, and possibly the closest thing to paradise that you'll ever cast your eyes on. The island is surrounded by a distinctive lagoon and a barrier reef, and the sheer beauty of this place is enough to entice visitors.

But don't be fooled, there is more to this stunning place than just crystal clear blue waters and pristine sandy beaches; an array of colourful marine life makes the waters a haven for snorkelling and helicopter rides as well as tours up to see Mount Otemanu are also on offer to visitors.

You'll be happy to know that there are no poisonous snakes or insects in French Polynesia and that Hawaii gets more visitors in 10 days than French Polynesia gets in a whole year, so peace and relaxation is an all-year benefit in Bora Bora. 

The Pinnacles, Western AustraliaImage courtesy of traceycorke, Flickr

The Pinnacles is a spectacular desert landscape within Nambung National Park, containing some of the most strange rock formations. Standing 245km north of Perth, the Pinnacles Desert resembles something out of a sci-fi movie with thousands of eerie limestone pillars scattered about the yellow sands. Walk or drive the trails around this amazing landmark or explore Nambung National Park's other beautiful features, like the sandy beaches, coastal dunes and rich plant-covered heathland. 

Two Lovers Point, Tumon, GuamImage courtesy of karen.tkr, Flickr

Visitors wanting to experience the true beauty, unique culture and rich history of this island, should definitely head for Two Lovers Point. The site carries an Ancient Chamorro legend of love and tragedy that tells of two lovers who, forbidden from being together in life, jumped to their deaths from the cliffside so they could be together in eternity. Today, their is a cliffside lookout point for visitors to take in the startling Northern Guam cliffline and breath-taking views overlooking Tumon Bay and the sparkling Philippine Sea. 

Mount Cook, South Island, New ZealandYou might recognise this mountain from the Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring film as it provided the backdrop to many iconic scenes as the fellowship made their way up the mountain, only to face an avalanche conjured by the evil wizard Saruman. This mountain, originally named Aoraki, meaning Cloud Piercer, by the indigenous Maori people, is no stranger to being the centre of attention.

It is the highest mountain in New Zealand and the stunning glaciated peak runs the length of the west coast of South Island. Rising to the skies at 3,000 ft and covering almost 7,000 hectacres, mostly made up of Mount Cook National Park, the mountain range draws climbers from all over the world, ready to take on its challenging trek. Other ways to see this UNESCO World Heritage site is by helicopter or turboprop aeroplane.  

Nan Madol, Pohnpei, MicronesiaImage courtesy of taradsturm, Flickr 

An architectural magnificence that doesn't appear on a heritage list. But still the most famous of dozens of ancient sites that exist on Pohnpei, the ruins of Nan Madol, meaning 'spaces between', are somewhat of a mystery. This ruined South Pacific island city lies off the eastern shore of Pohnpei which was the capital of the Saudeleur dynasty until about 1628.

It is famous for carrying a legend of lost cities and locals believe that visiting the site brings bad luck. However, adveturous tourists who are not easily spooked by superstitions, would enjoy a trip to this megalithic city. It spans 80 acres and comprises around 90 man-made islands connected by a network of canals. 

Wave Rock, Hyden, Western AustraliaIf you want to see something to make you say 'wow' then Wave Rock is the landmark to do just that. Forming the north side of a solitary hill known as Hayden Rock, the 14-metre-high and 110-metre-long granite wave is shaped like a tall breaking ocean wave. The rounded shape is the result of millions of years of weathering and water erosion which has created one of the most jaw-dropping and iconic natural formations in Australia. Wave Rock is a 4+ hour drive from Perth, so a day trip may not be enough to fully appreciate and explore the area - an overnight stay is recommended. 

What are your favourite landmarks in Australia/Oceania? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @FemaleFirst_UK


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