Australia is a very unique country in which to live, work or travel because the vastness of the landscape allows for such contrasting climates, views and wildlife that you can enjoy the underwater beauty, or marvel at the above ground formations. Of course Australia is not all outback and natural wonders because there are some spectacular man made sights to see around the country too. However, if you’re looking for somewhere to visit besides the flagship tourist attractions of Australia like the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru or the Sydney Harbour Bridge, then consider these 10 destinations for a unique, and uniquely Australian, experience.
1 – South Coast of New South Wales
The coast of Australia north of Sydney is an area which is very popular with backpackers, but if you want to visit somewhere a little quieter but just as beautiful, head further down to the coastal town of Kiama which is 100 km south of Sydney. In Kiama there is a blowhole which spouts water up to 50 metres in the air which an exciting phenomenon to watch. Plus, just to the east of Kiama is the Budderoo National Park where you can get close to nature and discover the real Australia, not just the one from travel brochures. If you have even more unique tastes, you can head even further down the New South Wales coast to Eden where you will find a museum which is entirely devoted to killer whales.
2 – Southbank Parklands Brisbane, Queensland
While the beach at the Southbank Parklands is manmade, it is still a beautiful place to soak up some Aussie beach culture. Back on land the Southbank Parklands themselves also have a lot to offer, including the Grand Arbour which is made up of over 400 steel columns that twist to the sky, as the bougainvillea creep up too, all year round. Or you can ride the 60 metre high Wheel of Brisbane for a unique view of the city and the river. There are also market areas and restaurants and cafes to enjoy too.
You could also visit the South Bank Wildlife Sanctuary or the museums and art galleries in the area for more structured tourist activities. However, for a truly unique experience, enter the Nepalese Peace Pagoda which was originally built for the World Expo 88 held in Southbank, so was built using traditional techniques and includes a first level meditation area.
3 – Noosa, Queensland
Travelling up the coast of Queensland most people will stop off at the Gold or Sunshine Coasts. However, for a fresh alternative stop in at Noosa, 200 kilometres north of Brisbane. The town is situated around the mouth of the Noosa river and you can take a walk through the National Park to get closer to the wildlife, or just enjoy one of the few areas in Brisbane where the buildings aren’t taller than the trees.
4 – Eumundi, Queensland
Eumundi is in the hinterlands of Queensland and puts on a regular market selling local produce and crafts. This can make your holiday souvenir and gift shopping easy as you choose from aboriginal paintings, native jewellery or local foods and produce.
5 – Queensland Outback
You don’t have to go into the wilderness of the Northern Territory to experience the Australian outback, if you just head inland from the Queensland coast to the Great Dividing Ranges and the Queensland Outback. You will need to take your supplies with you as there are few towns along the way, but you will experience a unique view of Australia’s landscape and wildlife. For example, stop at the Porcupine Gorge National Park where you will see an oasis, surrounded by the dessert, and as a result is home to a host of native plants and animals.
6 – Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia
To the south of Adelaide you will find the Fleurieu Peninsula which is less than 40 minutes from the city, and is also the gateway to Kangaroo Island, with the ferry which docks at Cape Jervois. On Granite Island off the coast of Victor Harbor – which can be reached by a horse drawn tram – you can take guided walks during the day or at dusk to spot the fairy penguins. Also on the Fleurieu Peninsula you will find the McLaren Vale wine region which is famous for the bold shiraz wines Australia produces, and an easy to navigate and quieter alternative to the often visited Barossa Valley also in South Australia.
7 – Mount Gambier, South Australia
Right down south in South Australia, just before the Victorian border is Mount Gambier, which is actually built on the slopes of an extinct volcano, and surrounded by volcanic craters which have now become stunningly vast lakes. The most impressive of these is the Blue Lake which changes colour depending on the time of year, and in calm weather depicts a perfect mirror image of the surrounding trees. The crater which has formed the Blue Lake is 5 kilometres across.
8 – Fitzroy, Victoria
Melbourne is hiding some stunning city gardens and in Fitzroy you will find a unique treat hidden away, waiting for children or adults to enjoy. This particular garden houses the Fairy Tree which has been carved with images of dancing fairies and children, and also the miniature Tudor village.
9 – Grampians National Park, Victoria
There are a lot of stunning landscapes around Australia, but the Grampians have it all with lakes, rock formations, fields and fauna, plus with the recent bushfires in the area, the undergrowth is spare for easy exploring, and the plants are all bursting with bright green new growth. You can explore the area by climbing one of the many peaks which have inset walking trails and steps, or you can visit the Brambuk Aboriginal Centre within the national park where you can learn about the local aboriginal culture through workshops.
10 – Margaret River, Western Australia
Margaret River is made up of a number of sophisticated small towns where you will find world class wineries and elegant cafe and dining options. As you explore the towns you will be surrounded by a backdrop of softly rolling hills and thick forest vegetation. You could take guided walks through the large caves which join Cave Road in Margaret River or head to the coast where you can enjoy the famous surf beaches of Prevelly or Yallingup or quietly explore the clear calm waters of Geographe Bay.