5 DESTINATION TO GET OFF-THE-BEATEN-TRACK IN AUSTRALIA
So we’ve all heard of the Great Barrier Reef and Uluru, not to mention the iconic sights of Sydney such as Bondi Beach and the Opera House. But Australia is blessed with countless natural wonders, ranging from outback-inspired wilderness areas to biologically diverse rainforests. So to help you explore a little off-the-beaten tourist trail, here are five destinations to work into your next itinerary “Down Under”.
1. Lord Howe Island
Just a short flight from Sydney or Brisbane will transport you to this UNESCO-listed paradise, which has evolved a unique flora and fauna thanks to its centuries of isolation. With towering mountains, idyllic stretches of sand and crystal clear waters, it’s an outdoor enthusiast’s playground and even more alluring thanks to a cap on visitor numbers. Spend your days hiking, snorkelling, paddle-boarding and just soaking up the majestic natural beauty of Lord Howe Island.
“Boats moored in a tranquil bay beneath the towering peak of Mount Gower”
2. Tarkine Wilderness
The southern island of Tasmania has firmly asserted its place on the Australian tourist trail in recent years, thanks to its gastronomic scene and breathtaking wilderness areas. But few visitors venture to the far northeast where the Tarkine sprawls along a windswept stretch of coast. It encompasses large tracts of cool temperate rainforest and globally unique cave systems while providing a habitat for more than 60 rare, threatened and endangered species. If you’re not keen on roughing it, you can bunk down in the Tarkine Wilderness Lodge with all your creature comforts.
“Tasmanian devils are just one of many unique species you can spot in the Tarkine”
3. Flinders Ranges
While the Northern Territory and Western Australia are more commonly associated with the “outback”, South Australia has a good chunk within its borders, and nowhere is it more impressive than in the Flinders Ranges. With red-hued rock faces, gnarled gum trees and rustic farm stations, it’s the epitome of “outback” romance. Marvel at the natural amphitheatre of Wilpena Pound and take to the skies for a scenic flight over Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre, then discover the local indigenous culture along the Aboriginal Dreaming Trail.
“A stunning landscape in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges”
4. Kakadu National Park
Another destination to experience Australia’s indigenous culture is Kakadu - the largest national park in Australia. It sprawls across more than 19,000 square kilometres in the Northern Territory and has been home to Aboriginal communities for more than 65,000 years. Aside from jaw-dropping waterfalls, dramatic escarpments and bird-filled billabongs, it boasts ancient rock art sites where you can discover the “Dreamtime stories”. As you’d expect, one day is hardly enough to explore this culturally-rich landscape and a multi-day adventure is the way to go.
“Indigenous rock art in Kakadu National Park”
5. Margaret River
If you want to experience the sun, sand and surf that epitomises Australian culture, then forget Bondi Beach in favour of Margaret River. This stunning region in the far southwest of the country is home to large swathes of vineyards that meet powdery white beaches and some of the country’s best surf breaks. It’s a place where you can spend long days indulging in gastronomic delights or get active hiking along the breathtaking Cape to Cape trail, all without the crowds.
“Vineyards blanketing the landscape in Margaret River”