Alex O'Brien

International Travel

Australia’s most spectacular meteorite craters

Australia’s most spectacular meteorite craters

Out of the 176 recognised meteorite craters in the world, more than 30 of them are found right here in Australia. Caused by huge chunks of rock hurtling out of space and crashing into the ground, these impacts would have been devastating to the environment. Millions of years later, they are stunning reminders of the power of the galaxy.

To see the spectacular craters, scroll through the gallery above.

1. Wolfe Creek Crater, WA

The most famous crater in the country, Wolfe Creek was formed around 300,000 years ago by the impact of a meteorite estimated to have weighed around 50,000 tonnes. It’s in a remote area of the Kimberley region around the 150 kilometres from the town of Halls Creek. The crater was first spotted by Europeans in 1947, however it has significance for the local Djaru Aboriginal people and features in many of their Dreamtime stories. It’s very well preserved with little erosion and walls standing around 60 metres high, which is quite rare. It was also the setting for the Australian horror movie Wolf Creek in 2005 – so we’d advise against visiting at night.

2. Henbury Craters, NT

Close to the town of Alice Springs in central Australia, Henbury is made up of 12 craters ranging from seven to 180 metres in diameter and up to 15 metres deep. Scientists believe a meteor broke up on impact, causing multiple craters. It’s a relatively modern crater, having been formed less than 5,000 years ago. There’s a self-guided walking track around the craters and a basic campsite nearby. Try to visit at sunrise or sunset when the light defines the craters more clearly.

3. Boxhole Crater, NT

Another young crater, Boxhole was formed around 5,400 years ago and was discovered by a shearer from Boxhole sheep station in 1937. It’s 170 metres in diameter and is one of the best-preserved craters of its size in the world. The crater is almost perfectly circular and the rim rises 10 to 17 metres from the crater floor. The site is around 180 kilometres northwest of Alice Springs and has been compared to the Henbury site in the same region.

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