Think you know all the best things to see and do in Australia? There are many amazing destinations beyond the usual tourist attractions. Visit some of these best kept travel secrets in Australia for a quieter, more authentic experience that many travelers miss.
Here are 11 of our favorites:
Karijini National Park
Head to Western Australia for an experience like no other. Red stone, lush green vegetation, stunning gorges, and crystal pools make this one of the most perfect national parks in all of Australia. This is one of the few places you can visit to get a glimpse of what the world may have been like before it was “civilized.” Peaceful, beautiful, and simply awe-inspiring.
Visiting a paperbark forest doesn’t mean you have to rough it. This glamping experience lets you enjoy nature without giving up luxurious accommodations and amazing food and wine. Stay in an upscale safari tent complete with hardwood floors, verandahs, and, of course, a beautiful bath tub. Located in Jervis Bay, NSW, it’s close to Huskisson, a quintessential beach town.
Cape Le Grand National Park
A Western Australia national park that combines coastal beauty, granite peaks, and rolling heathlands. Fine, pure white sand contrasts with the startling blue ocean. Swimming, surfing, fishing, boating, hiking – take your pick of outdoor activities. The coolest thing? The kangaroos that bask in the sun on the beach!
Ancient Rock Art of Kakadu
Discover the amazing art created by indigenous peoples as much as 50,000 years ago in the gorges and caves of Kakadu in the Northern Territory. Three walking trails lead to “galleries” – Ubirr, Nourlangie and Nanguluwur – where the artists documented the lives of their people. Free guided tours are available to learn about the history and myths of the earliest Australian natives.
Swimming with Minke Whales
These amazing creatures love to interact with divers and a lucky 300 people each year are allowed to swim with the minkes. Unbelievably, scientists didn’t even know about these marine mammals until the early 1980’s. These whales visit the Great Barrier Reef annually between May and August, giving divers an experience that they will never forget.
Orange is a quiet, quaint town in the midst of the orchards and farmland known as Australia’s Fruit Basket. Called the Colour City because of its large number of European trees that display autumn colors, the best time to view the changing foliage is in late March and April. Orange is becoming a food and wine destination, with food festivals during each of the four seasons. Visitors can also pan for gold at Ophir Reserve, the site of Australia’s first payable gold discovery.
Abseiling Gordon Dam
Standing taller than the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Gordon Dam in Tasmania, at 140 metres, is the highest commercial abseil in the world. Abseiling (also called rappelling) is a technique of traveling down a steep face by belaying with ropes. Although abseiling is the most dangerous form of mountaineering, the professional outfit that provides the activity at the dam incorporates safety features to protect even novices.
These horizontal waterfalls (nicknamed the “Horries”) are actually extreme tidal currents rushing through coastal gorges in Talbot Bay of the Buccaneer Archipelago. The water surges during King tide, creating horizontal falls and andrenaline-stirring swirling vortexes. Visitors can take boat tours or, for a tamer experience, fly over the falls for a stunning view of this unusual natural phenomenon.
Thousands of limestone towers arise from the desert in Nambung National Park, creating a unique alien landscape. Formed over millions of years from the natural action of wind and water on seashells, there the Pinnacles stand sentry outside the beach town of Cervantes. Whether you drive, take a four wheeler tour, or walk the trail, you will feel like you have stepped into another, foreign world.
Mataranka Thermal Pool
The spring-fed Matranka Thermal Pool provides a soothing, relaxing break from breakneck travel or stressful work. At a steady constant of 34 degrees Celsius, this crystal clear pool is sheltered in the midst of a paperbark and palm forest that is home to the little red flying fox. Located in the Elsey National Park, there are nearby camping facilities and outdoor activities such as fishing, canoeing, and swimming.
Hutt River Province
Visit Australia’s only “micro-nation,” a self-proclaimed independent country within a country. In 1970, Leonard Casley decided to declare independence over disputes over government farm quotas. You can visit the farm and even get your passport stamped. Maybe not a fairytale kingdom, but a monument to Australian determination.
There are many Australian attractions and destinations that aren’t on the usual travel itinerary. Whether you’re an Aussie or planning a visit to Oz, and looking for a unique travel experience, check out these best kept travel secrets in Australia.