When you think of Australia, places like the Sydney Opera House or the Great Barrier Reef probably come to mind. These are attractions widely known by the general public and are part of a vast number of popular destinations down under. In fact, many people have travelled across the world just to see them; if you think only a person with a private plane could afford a long-distance ticket to the opera, you might be right. However, Australia has much more to offer than that. It’s a country also known for ‘barbies in the backyard’, for its cricket and rugby culture, and its beautiful beaches and coastlines. A trip to Australia doesn’t need to break the bank, and it certainly doesn’t need to be filled with throngs of tourists, either. This is where this article comes in. Are there any places in this popular country that perhaps are not as well known or are ‘off the beaten track’? The short answer is a resounding yes.
Kangaroo Island, South Australia
Australia’s third-largest island and home to classic Aussie wildlife like wallabies, koalas, and – you guessed it – kangaroos, this island will blow you away with its vastness and beauty that spans nearly four and a half thousand kilometres. Whether you’re after a wildlife encounter, dreamy nights under the stars surrounded by magnificent views, or just some downtime on a quiet beach with a book – Kangaroo Island will not disappoint.
River Red Gum National Park, New South Wales
A fantastic outdoor experience of the highest order, the River Red Gum parks are full of life and things to do. From kayaking on the Murrumbidgee River to spotting kangaroos and koalas roaming freely around you, there’s something for everyone – even free camping! The park is named for the highly prized River Red Gum tree, so you can’t miss catching a glimpse of one of them on your trip to the national park, too.
Coober Pedy, South Australia
This quirky destination takes ‘off the beaten track’ quite literally, in that most of it is located underground. Yes, you read that correctly. The town is the opal capital of the world, thus making it unbearably hot, which leads us to… underground. Have no fear; this fantastic little place has everything the above-ground towns have, just, you know, underground. You can grab a drink at an underground pub, sleep in an underground cave (or dugouts as they’re known locally), and even head to an underground church. There’s also obviously a lot of opals to see, which can be majestic to look at! You can top all of this off with a casual round of golf on the famous dessert course. There’s no grass in sight! Yes, you will definitely have a unique and memorable time in Coober Pedy.
Mataranka Bitter Springs, Northern Territory
These picturesque thermal pools can be found in Elsey National Park in the Katherine region. They’re surrounded by woodlands and can be easily missed if you’re not careful. It’s the perfect spot to unwind after a long journey or just to make a pit stop, feel the warm water and get a picture, because let’s face it, you’ll want a picture. Crystal clear blue (or maybe turquoise?) water awaits you at the Bitter Springs of Mataranka. Some have even called it Paradise.
Jellurgal Aboriginal Culture Centre, Queensland
This one is a bit more niche, but one way to see more of the land Down Under is to visit this Aboriginal Culture Centre on the Gold Coast highway. It’s the only operating centre of its kind along the Gold Coast. It offers its visitors truly unique experiences of the Yugambeh speaking Aboriginal people of Australia, from traditional dance performances and ceremonies to the early ecological practices of their ancestors. It’s well worth your time if you’d like to know more about the history of this beautiful country. After all, what could be more Australian than the first Australians?
Montague Island, New South Wales
Another island, you ask? You betcha’. Home to the iconic granite lighthouse and a number of sacred indigenous sites, Barunguba (as the local Aboriginals know it) is definitely one of the most breath-taking environments you’ll find in the entire country. The island is teeming with sea life. You’ll discover sea lions, various seabirds, and even a little colony of penguins. Grey nurse sharks have also been said to populate the numerous diving spots on the island, and it’s worth noting that this is one of the world’s top 10 diving sites. You won’t go wrong with a trip to Montague Island.
Whether you’re looking for peace and quiet, or just a unique place you can experience before your friends do, there’s something for everybody on this list. The only thing left for you to do now is to go find it!