8 Hidden Australian Destinations Worth Visiting
Looking to go on an amazing Australian adventure? While there are plenty of beautiful places that are popular with visitors, there’s a lot of natural beauty to be found in hidden spots that are just a little bit off the beaten path. So if you’re hoping for an unforgettable Australian experience, look no further. Get ready to hop in a car and go – you might even have an Instagram-worthy beach all to yourself.
Granite Belt wine country, Queensland
If you fancy a drop of wine now and then but don’t want to deal with tour buses and crowds, then the unassuming Granite Belt wine region in Queensland is a must-see destination. The Granite Belt has a long history of cool climate winemaking and is one of the highest wine regions in the country – by day, the weather is generally mild, and by night, the air is cool. In fact, in winter it has been known to snow.
The region is surrounded by beautiful national parks, granite formations, cycling trails and farms peddling gorgeous local produce. Whether you visit for a weekend or a week, there are plenty of activities on offer.
Umpherston Sinkhole, South Australia
Trust us; this is a place that belongs in a fairytale. The Umpherston Sinkhole is a sunken garden in the Mount Gambier region. Once a limestone cave, the sinkhole was transformed into a magical garden in the late 1800s.
The garden is open 24 hours a day but is obviously best during daylight, when you can marvel at the gorgeous fountains, flowers, ferns and vines. It’s also an incredible oasis on hot summer days.
Ningaloo Coast, Western Australia
Interested in the Great Barrier Reef but want to avoid the tourists? Say hello to World Heritage Site Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. Full of beautiful empty beaches, world-renowned snorkelling and miles of glittering turquoise sea, you’ll be shocked that this destination has managed to remain a secret. In fact, you’re probably more likely to run into a local oil rig worker than another tourist.
Whether you want to surf the coast’s famous reef breaks, see humpback whales and loggerhead turtles, or even swim with whale sharks, the Ningaloo Coast has plenty on offer.
Illawarra, New South Wales
Looking for great cafes, beaches, and nightlife but want to escape Sydney? Head just over an hour south and check out the Illawarra region. The picturesque Illawarra stretches from Helensburgh in the north to Kiama in the south and is centred around the thriving regional city of Wollongong.
Over the past ten years, the region has completely transformed, mostly due to the number of Sydneysiders heading south in search of cheaper property prices. What’s transpired is a hip beachside city with a burgeoning art, coffee, food and small bar culture. Not only that, but the region is brimming with natural beauty, making it the perfect destination for hiking, surfing, cycling and more.
Notable attractions include the Sea Cliff Bridge, North Beach Wollongong, Kiama, Jamberoo and hiking along the Otford to Helensburgh walking track. To see all that the Illawarra has on offer, we recommend hiring a car.
The Grampians, Victoria
Looking for the Canadian Rockies down under? Check out the Grampians in Victoria. A great destination for hiking and rock climbing, the Grampians is also a wonderful spot if you fancy seeing a carpet of Australian wildflowers blooming throughout spring. Little known to some, the region is also home to a number of rambling olive groves and vineyards.
Elsey National Park, Northern Territory
If you find yourself in Katherine, hop in a rental car and drive the 110 km to Elsey National Park. The park itself is huge – in fact, it’s over 13,000 hectares in size. While the park is full of many wonderful walking trails, waterfalls, and a river, one of the most amazing attractions is the Bitter Springs and thermal pools. The water is crystal clear, warm and calm. Surrounded by towering palms, the springs are a magnet for birds, monitor lizards and other wildlife – look closely and you’ll even see blue dragonflies skipping along the water’s surface.
Bruny Island, Tasmania
Tasmania is a pretty awesome place to visit, and plenty of Australians think so too, with domestic visitor numbers increasing year on year. But when it comes to international tourists, most of them tend to stick to the mainland, which we think is a shame.
Tasmania itself is a diverse destination, and Bruny Island, a hidden gem not far from Hobart, is even better. From secluded bays through to sprawling farms, the island is a land of contrasts filled with wonderful walking trails, long stretches of beach, delicious seafood and even a colony of white wallabies.