Sunset locations: 10 explosive sunsets you must see in Australia

If humans are suckers for one thing, it's a sunset photo. Holiday snaps get dominated by them, and the web floods with them. But those multi-coloured skies are popular for a reason, and Australia has more than its fair share of fabulous spots for capturing the perfect sunset. Whether it's a pink skies over water classic, or pepped up with skyscraper silhouettes, here are ten Aussie locations to head to as the sun goes down.

Cape Range National Park, WA

Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef at sunset, near Exmouth.

Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef at sunset, near Exmouth. Photo: Dan Avila/Destination WA

The west coast, naturally, has a better collection of sunset hotspots than the east coast. You can pick pretty much any beach or clifftop facing west, and you'll get some marvellous sky action. But a truly great sunset is about more than just the light show – it's the whole experience. Which is why stepping out from your Cape Range National Park campground, onto the quiet beach, with the sun going down over the Ningaloo Reef, feels a little bit special. See parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au

Mindil Beach, Darwin, NT

Darwin's Mindil Beach Sunset Markets.

Darwin's Mindil Beach Sunset Markets. Photo: Charlie Bliss/Tourism NT

There's almost a religious quality to the Mindil Beach sunset – and it's all about the Sunset Markets held there during the dry season. The markets are full of food stall and street performer energy. But as the sun goes down, virtually everything stops, with the moochers and shoppers making their way onto the sand to see the sky go all shades of orange. See mindil.com.au

St Kilda Beach, Melbourne, VIC

Dramatic sunsets at St Kilda pier.

Dramatic sunsets at St Kilda pier.

The other place where it's all about the other people with you is St Kilda Beach. Peaceful, it is not. Shared experience, it very much is. There's also the bonus that the beach faces west over Port Phillip Bay, so the sun goes down over water. Get the pier in the frame for the moody shot, then head over to the breakwater after the sun's gone down to watch little penguins scurry home from the sea. See stkildamelbourne.com.au

Cable Beach, Broome, WA

Sunset camel ride at Cable Beach, Broome.

The iconic sunset camel ride at Cable Beach, Broome. Photo: Tourism WA

The daddy of all Aussie beach sunsets, however, is on Cable Beach in Broome. This is partly because of the reliable colour palette in the sky, but largely because of Broome's absurdly large tides. When the tide is out and the sun goes down, the little pools of water in the tidal flats take on a reflective twinkle, filling the foreground with colour as well as the horizon. See visitbroome.com.au

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Ocean Beach, Strahan, TAS

Strahan is set on the edge of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

Strahan is set on the edge of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Photo: Rob Burnett/Tourism Tasmania

It's not just WA that has plenty of West Coast – Tasmania does too, although accessing much of it is tough going. Strahan has several options, though – either capture the jetty and fishing boats in the sheltered harbour, or drive a few kilometres out to Ocean Beach, where the sun goes down over the Southern Ocean. See strahanvillage.com.au

Town of 1770, QLD

Overwater sunsets are much harder to come by on the east coast, but there are a few spots where the geography works magnificently. The Town of 1770, on a peninsula that juts out to the north, looks west over the water. With land behind it to add to the frame, the perfect spot to wait with the camera in one hand, a beer in the other, is the Treebar at the 1770 Beach Hotel. See 1770beachhotel.com.au

Pittwater, Sydney, NSW

A Palm Beach sunset, Pittwater.

A Palm Beach sunset, Pittwater.

Another north-facing peninsula on the east coast can be found at the top of Sydney's northern beaches. Pull up a pew in Palm Beach – the Boathouse Café is pretty much perfect for this – and watch the sun go down over Pittwater, with the rumples of the Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park in the background. See theboathousegroup.com.au

Snapper Rocks, Coolangatta, QLD

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Surfers know Snapper Rocks as where the Superbreak starts, but for everyone else, it's a magical photo spot. Jutting out at the eastern point of a north-facing beach, it allows for west-facing views that capture the full curve of the beach. But aim north-west and you get the Gold Coast's high rises poking through the yellow sky for extra dramatic effect. See destinationgoldcoast.com

Mrs Macquarie's Chair, Sydney

The best place to see the sun set in Sydney.

The best place to see the sun set in Sydney. Photo: Daniel Tran/Destination NSW

The perfect Sydney sunset shot has got to include the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. The ideal spot for that, getting the sun going down almost directly behind the big icons, is Fort Denison on Pinchgut Island. But if you don't want to faff with ferries, Mrs Macquarie's Chair at the very top of the Domain is an extremely acceptable substitute. 95% of Sydney sunset shots you see on the web and on postcards will have been taken from there. See Sydney.com

Uluru Sunset Viewing Area, NT

Clouds turn pink as the sun sets over Uluru.

Clouds turn pink as the sun sets over Uluru. Photo: David Kirkland/Tourism Australia

Perhaps the most renowned Australian sunset of all is in a spot where everyone is looking the other way. The sun goes town behind hundreds of heads, all staring longingly at the world's most famous red rock. That's because it's all about what the setting sun does to Uluru – lighting it up in a fabulous array of reds, pinks and oranges. See parksaustralia.gov.au

Disclosure: David Whitley has been a guest of Tourism Australia and the state tourism authorities.

See also: Beastly beach encounters: The ten best Aussie beaches to see wildlife

See also: Be dazzled: The ten most colourful places on Earth

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