Places to Discover in Your State
Did you know there are sand dunes only two and a bit hours south of Melbourne? Named the Big Drift, this extensive series of sand dunes is fairly hidden from the main tourist track. At the top, you’ll be greeted by a seemingly endless view of sand, punctuated by the occasional green treetop and ocean view. The sands are ever-changing thanks to the wind, so you can spend some time walking around the dunes and exploring the landscape.
Photograph: Lauren Bath
Located in north-west Victoria, about four hours from Melbourne, is Lake Tyrrell, Victoria’s largest inland salt lake. Covering approximately 208 square kilometres, the lake’s salt is controlled mostly by weather changes. The best time to visit is on a clear winter’s evening when shallow water covers the lake, producing amazing and vast reflections of the sky above. During particularly wet and warm times of year, the water at Lake Tyrrell even turns pink.
Photograph: Parks Victoria
Nestled in Halls Gap within the natural oasis that is Grampians, MacKenzie Falls is one of the largest and most spectacular waterfalls in Victoria. A steep trail leads to the base of the falls, where all year round water cascades over huge cliffs into a deep pool above an impressive gorge. In summer, you can swim there, while in winter, you may prefer to content yourself with filling your water bottle to taste some of the purest water imaginable.
There’s a series of waterfalls scattered around the main event, so it’s easy to spend a weekend or a whole week exploring the many trails and tracks.
Photography: Visit Victoria
The small town of Coal Bay is settled on the edge of the Indian Ocean which has the beautiful Ningaloo Reef. This is a marine paradise with beautiful coal gardens, white beaches and a laidback seaside town. Whether you’re into swimming with the local mantra Rays, Whale Sharks or turtles, quad bike trekking to secret beaches, overnight cruising on the bay or out for a spot of fishing it is not hard to fall in love with this coastal town.
Settled in the heart of WA is the two billion year old Karajini National Park with is over 6274 square km. Offering gorgeous rugged scenery, ancient geological rock formations, arid land ecosystem and plenty of recreational experiences like swimming in the spring fed pools, spectacular views, climb Mount Bruce and wonder among the wildflower.
We have all heard of the 90 mile beach but extending over 220km the eighty mile beach is full of sand, shells and surf for as far as you can see. Known for its panoramic turquoise waters this beach is popular for beach finishing, camping, swimming bird watching and magnificent sunsets. Add this to your must-see list today.
Photography: Parks WA
Less than two hours’ drive from Adelaide, Lake Bumbunga’s bubble gum shores draw an eclectic crowd from casual photographers to high-end fashion brands. Located in Lochiel, the lake is known to change colour from pink, to white, to blue, depending on the salinity of the water throughout the year.
Tucked away in the Great Australian Bight, Bunda Cliffs are truly a sight to behold. Once part of an ancient seabed, millions of years' worth of erosion and natural drift has brought these limestone giants to life. It's the longest uninterrupted line of sea cliffs in the world, and it's a great spot for whale-watching, too.
Only 53km from Adelaide the big, prominent hills of Sellicks Hill Range roll down towards Gulf St Vincent and the broad sandy beaches run north towards Adelaide. Sellicks Beach is one of the few beaches where parking is allowed on the sand and it's as popular with families for its safe swimming as it is with surf fishermen.
There are good boat launching facilities and excellent windsurfing when off-shore winds prevail.
Located within Wooroonooran National Park in Innisfail, about an hour from Mission Beach, the Mamu Tropical Skywalk offers guests the opportunity to explore the World Heritage rainforest below by walking a series of 1,148-foot-long elevated walkways, a cantilever bridge, and an over 121-foot-high observation tower. Take in jaw-dropping panoramic views of North Johnstone River Gorge and the lush rainforests of the area. The full walk takes about an hour and a half, although it can be done in parts.
‘Undara’ is an Aboriginal word that means “long way”, and it’s a unique, albeit remote, Queensland park. The park is about 300km from Cairns, but could be a great addition to a QLD roadtrip.
Undara is home to one of the world’s largest lave tube cave formations, created by an ancient volcano. The tubes have created epic natural arches that are unlike anywhere else, and the area unique ecosystem is also home to rock wallabies, bats, birds, and owls.
You’ll discover lots of opportunities for postcard-perfect photos here as you walk the miles of trails through the fascinating landscape with towering archways that dates back millions of years. While camping isn’t available, there is accommodation in the area.
Set sail for Cairns, where offshore about 45 kilometres south-east you’ll come to find the Frankland Islands. The five sandy masses – dubbed Mabel, Round, High, Normanby and Russell – are accessible by private boat only and form a part of a coastal mountain range which became separated from the mainland 600 years ago.
The scenery here is breathtaking, with each idyllic island boasting rocky outcrops, and lush vegetation, and fringed by rainbow reefs.
Gorgeously green, the Kangaroo Valley is a quintessential and impossibly picturesque Aussie country town surrounded by lushly-cloaked escarpments and rolling pastures. It lies about a two-hour drive southwest of Sydney in the scenic Shoalhaven Region. Perhaps the town's most distinctive landmark is the handsome, historic Hampden Bridge spanning the Kangaroo River, Australia's only remaining wooden suspension bridge. Driving across its single-lane between the soaring sandstone pillars sets the tone for a relaxed visit here, encouraging visitors to slow down and smile at passing drivers.
Popular things to do include horseback riding, hiking, golfing, kayaking along the rivers and creeks, and absorbing some local history at the Pioneer Village Museum. Nature is also a highlight. Don't miss the impressive Fitzroy Falls in Morton National Park, and while you're in the valley, keep an eye out for the namesake marsupials, as well as wallabies, especially at Tallowa Dam, where you can also kayak and fish.
New South Wales is no slouch in the big attractions stakes, so why not map out a route for an Instagram tour of the state’s best? There’s well over 50 iconic pieces of novelty architecture to snap. Start with the Big Avocado at the entrance of Tropical Fruit World at Duranbah, then make your way to Ballina for the Big Prawn, see the Big Banana at Coffs Harbour, Big Oyster in Taree, Big Golden Guitar in Tamsworth, Big Merino in Goulburn and Big Potato in Robertson for starters.
One of the most incredible things to do in Tasmania is riding the West Coast Wilderness Train. This steam train with heritage carriages will take you through the forests of Tasmania. There are several routes – the shortest ride goes from Cradle Mountain to Queenstown and covers a distance of 110 km in one hour and 30 minutes. The longest ride lasts 3 hours and 40 minutes and goes from Hobart to Queenstown.
One of the most beautiful places to visit in Tasmania, you’ll need to hop on a short car ferry to visit Bruny Island.
Once there, you’ll be rewarded with beautiful cliff-side views, plenty to do, and tons of delicious dining options.
Be sure to find your way to Truganini Lookout, a popular viewpoint for admiring a stunning narrow isthmus of sand.
Animal lovers will especially be at home on Bruny Island, where you can visit with seals, dolphins, penguins, whales, and more.
Somewhere on the edge of the Tarkine, the largest cool temperate rainforest in Australia, and on the banks of the majestic Pieman River, sits a remote historic mining town of Corinna. If you are looking for the more unusual things to do in Tasmania, then a visit to Corinna should be on your list.
Over the years, Corinna has become an eco-tourism retreat with a remote off the grid settlement with two streets and one restaurant/bar/shop. Travelers come to Corinna to get away from civilization, disconnect from technology and reconnect with nature.
The size and heat of the Northern Territory means frequent rest stops are a must. Where better than spring-fed thermal pools where the water is always 34 degrees Celsius? Bitter Springs, south of Katherine, feels like an oasis in the outback, its crystal clear waters offering the perfect spot to relax and unwind before the next leg of your big adventure.
Most visitors to the Northern Territory stay inland, and don’t even know about the islands that dot the coastline. ‘Big Island’, off the eastern coast, is arguably the pick of the bunch. Think white sand beaches, warm turquoise ocean, and mysterious wildlife. Lounge on the beach, visit fascinating rock art sites, and do a spot of fishing.
Located on the way from Darwin down to Alice Springs, Davenport Ranges is often missed due to people taking a flight or being in too much of a hurry. That’s a shame, because it’s a fine example of rugged outback beauty, with plenty of Indigenous sites to explore and unique Australian wildlife to spot. If you’re driving, it’s a great place to camp and spend the night gazing at the stars, away from any light pollution.