When I first came to Australia I didn’t know anything about the country except Sydney had a famous Opera House and one of the Seven Wonders was off the coast of Queensland.
That was as far as my knowledge went.
Now that I have resided in Australia for just over two years, I have had the opportunity to do some amazing travels throughout this diverse continent. From short getaways around Victoria to massive road trips from Broome to Perth, I have tried to make the most of my time in this beautiful country.
As I deposit more into my bank of experiences, I often hear Australians say that I’ve experienced more of this country than they have.
No matter how many times I hear it, I cannot fathom why people do not see more of their own backyard.
In saying this, I want to challenge whoever may be reading this to give it a go and even save some money by doing so. Take what may be a weekend trip or a week trip to somewhere you never knew existed and you won’t even need a passport.
To help with some inspiration here is an outsider’s perspective on the top four places so far I think everyone should see in their lifetime.
I want to make it clear that these are my personal experiences, so keep in mind I am far from finished with my Australian travels, and I plan to go on many more adventures!
1. Karinjini National Park — Western Australia
Most people I talk to have no clue where this is and I must say it is not the easiest place to get to. Located approximately 600km from Exmouth and 1000km southeast of Broome, Karinjini National Park is quite a hike.
There is something about the open red dirt road that makes you truly appreciate the emptiness of Australia’s land, and realise how insignificant our everyday stresses are. To give you an idea of the isolation, driving out I saw three cars in eight hours.
Plus, you haven’t truly been to the outback until you realise how hard it is to get red dirt out of your clothes.
Karinjini is classified as a tropical semi-desert (how much of an oxymoron is Tropical Semi-Desert?) and is known for its deep gorges with picturesque waterfalls that anyone can jump in! The gorges walls shade the water to about 68°F, or ‘bloody gorgeous’ in Australian terms.
Given the isolation, it’s no wonder you’re likely to get a watering hole all to yourself, and the walls of each gorge are uneven which makes a good climbing adventure for the little ones, too.
Lastly, the trails are kept in great condition and are clearly marked so you shouldn’t get lost in the nearly 630,000 hectares that covers the park. Remember to take your flashlight just in case though!
2. Great Ocean Road — Victoria
If you are from Victoria and haven’t seen or been on the world’s largest war memorial (A bit of a history lesson from an ignorant American) then you should be ashamed.
Great Ocean Road was one of the first places I went when I landed in Victoria and it’s one of the places that made me fall in love with Australia. It offers a vast variety of nature from the waterfalls of Triplet Falls, Beauchamp Falls, Erskine Falls and Hopetoun Falls, to the beautiful coastal beaches such as Apollo Bay that you wind around as you drive along the cliff’s edge.
Overlook Apollo Bay, see the famous 12 Apostles, visit Loch Ard Gorge, climb amongst the trees at Otway Fly Treetop Adventures, eat at the hidden favourite, Lorne Swing Bridge Café and Boathouse, or get an Airbnb right on the beach. It has so many different adventures that you’re sure to find your happy place, wherever it may be.
If you have only a couple of days off, or maybe a long weekend this trip is easily viable. To make it even easier there is a website which will give you an idea of what to see and do depending on how much time you have to spend. It is all provided at the Great Ocean Road hyperlink above.
If a beach holiday with a bit of adventure is what you’re after, then this may be the perfect prescription.
There’s so many things to do here, depending what you are looking for. If you want a relaxing holiday, head to a resort on Hamilton Island, or if you fancy a more lavish retreat, the One&Only Hayman Island is a world-class luxury resort you can treat yourself to.
However, if you’re like me and prefer to see as much as possible while in this beautiful part of the world, then I suggest booking a multi-day boat tour.
These can range depending on your budget from backpackers rates to private yachts so plenty to choose from. I went on a boat for four days and had a blast.
We went to a different spot each day to scuba and snorkel, with the staff on board catering to our every need. For those that aren’t massive on the open water, there was even a hot tub on the back of the boat!
The best place around these islands is Whitehaven Beach. I was so impressed by this place I had to go twice in the week I was there just to believe it was real.
It’s a place where no picture can do it justice. It attracts camera crews from around the world including the makers of Pirates of the Caribbean this past year. You truly have to see this place to believe it.
4. Coral Bay and Exmouth — Ningaloo Reef
Ever felt the need to swim with something that weighs 19,000kg and can be as big as 12 meters long? What if it didn’t kill you like everything else in this country?
Well in the northwest corner of Australia lies this gentle giant. It is the world’s largest fish in the sea and lives on a diet of 5mm plankton so don’t let the word “shark” scare you when you read it is a whale shark.
Whale sharks are completely safe to swim with, and if you are lucky enough maybe hitch a ride along. They populate the 260km-long coral reef that edges the towns of Coral Bay and Exmouth.
Along this reef there is a good chance you will not only see whale sharks but also other sea creatures such as black tip reef sharks, turtles, Manta Rays, and humpback whales.
It is a bit out of the way for most, but like I mentioned before it allows for a less ‘touristy’ feel when you visit.
Coral Bay is an amazing family caravan destination, where you will see pristine coral within swimming distance from the beach. Personally, I think it’s easily better than the Great Barrier Reef, but just don’t tell anyone I told you that!
Hopefully this article may have opened up a door or two and given you some ideas on new destinations. I always love hearing about people’s travels and where they have been so feel free to comment below and tell your own story!
I would love to know what destinations you think are the best in Australia. Maybe I’ll even see you there!