7 astoundingly beautiful hidden places in Australia
Date Posted: 17/08/2015
While it’s easy to shout out ‘Ayers Rock!’ or ‘The Great Ocean Road!’ or ‘The Outback!’ upon being asked to name some of the more famous picturesque locations in Australia, sometimes heading to some lesser discovered places can be equally as satisfying. Take a look at our list of top secret sights in Australia, if you're willing to head off the beaten track!
Here are seven stunning spots Down Under where you and your group can escape from the heavy footfall of other tourists and take in some less popular (but just as beautiful) natural scenery - don’t forget to have your cameras at the ready.
1. Kuranda, North Queensland
Pictured: the spectacular view of Barron Falls, Kuranda. Photo Credit: Jana Stiller.
If you're a fan of tropical rainforests, keen to step off of the beaten track, and would like to embrace the aboriginal way of life, make the mountain village of Kuranda your next holiday destination.
Situated high up in the treetops of tropical Queensland, you can make your way in by coach up the windy Kuranda Range Road, or via the Kuranda Scenic Railway, or swoop in over the treetops and enjoy breath-taking rainforest views from the Sky Rail cableway.?
Village attractions include a bird aviary, butterfly sanctuary and wildlife rescue centre, as well as a reptile park and koala sanctuary.
A cruise on the Barron River is also a must - if you've ever wanted to see crocodiles in the wild, this should definitely be on your Kuranda to-do list (group booking is available). So should visiting the various art and crafts markets, where all the products are made by aboriginal locals.?
2. Long Island, Whitsundays
Pictured: a view of the peaceful white beach at Long Island upon arrival by boat.
Lying in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, Long Island is nine kilometres long and only 400m at its widest point. The closest island to the mainland out of the Whitsunday archipelago, Long Island has plenty for groups to explore, covering 13 kilometres of national park walking tracks and plentiful flora and fauna.
The fringing coral reefs are expansive throughout the many bays on the island, which are great for snorkelling and beachcombing.
There are two resorts to choose from, and neighbouring islands include Hamilton Island and South Molle Island, with plenty more to choose from if you want to go on a boat trip.
Wildlife on Long Island is thriving (birds and wallabies wander freely across the resorts), and watching the sunset over the ocean from a white beach while sea turtles poke their heads up from the waves is a sight you won’t want to miss.
3. Mossman Gorge, North Queensland
Pictured: the winding river through Mossman Gorge. Photo credit: David Simmons.
Located in the southern part of the World Heritage listed Daintree National Park, Mossman Gorge is one of the few places in Australia that visitors can gain an insight into the lives, culture and beliefs of the Indigenous population and their connection to the natural environment.
Mossman Gorge itself encompasses a natural gushing river, surrounding rainforest and towering mountains, with an art gallery, information centre and shuttle bus into the rainforest canopies.
Groups can enjoy exploring the gorge themselves, or opt for one of several expert-led tours around the beauty of the area, including the Ngadiku Dreamtime Walk, conducted by the local Indigenous people, and the half-day tour where you can discover pristine waterfalls, mountains and vivid flora and fauna.
4. Cradle Mountain National Park, Tasmania
Pictured: Wombat Pool, a great picnic stop on one of Cradle Mountain's numerous walking tracks.
Walking groups won’t want to skip a stop at Cradle Mountain, which forms the northern end of the Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair National Park (part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area).
The wild landscape, ancient rainforest, icy streams and rugged mountain surround make for a magnificent view, as do the glacial lakes and alpine heathlands.
Cradle is the starting point for the famous Overland Track, a six-day walk that will take you through the heart of the mountainous terrain - but don’t worry – if six days sounds like a little too much, there are over 20 different self-guided walking tracks around Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake, ranging from 20 minutes to nine hours. Keep your eyes peeled; you might just spot a wild wombat along the way if you’re lucky.
5. Stradbroke Island, Queensland
Pictured: the sunset over the sea at Stradbroke Island.
With plenty on offer for groups, Stradbroke Island (just off the southern coast on Queensland) is a must-visit for its spectacular scenery, activities and accommodation packages. However, while the island is inhabited, and proves popular with tourists, there are several spots on Stradbroke that are a little less touristy than others.
Take a walk to the Brown Lake; the fresh water source is said to have healing qualities from the tea trees aligning the banks (the lake is brown, from the tannin in the tea leaves that fall into it). Alternatively, explore the headland of the island for amazing uninterrupted views across the sea (try visiting at sunrise or sunset for spectacular light shows across the water - you might also see pods of dolphins or whales breaking the surface if you visit between May and October).
6. Wineglass Bay, Tasmania
Pictured: a view out over the lush greenery of Tasmania's national park land.
For the amazing view of the azure sea and the surrounding lush greenery alone, Wineglass Bay is worth a visit. Situated in Freycinet National Park, the bay is named for its wine-glass shaped shoreline, set down beneath towering granite mountain peaks.
If you want more than just the view, you can opt for a walk on the white sandy beach, or enjoy walking over the pass itself for an aerial view of the bay as well as good work out (it’s quite a steep climb to the top).
Freycinet is also a great place to go bird watching - white-bellied sea-eagles can be seen gliding overhead while large Australasian gannets dive for food in the ocean.
7. Narooma, New South Wales
Pictured: pelicans in the clear warm shallows at Narooma.
It might be a small fishing township, but Narooma is by no means lacking when it comes to breath-taking scenery. The deep blue of the ocean, a long quiet beach, and the clear waters of the harbour all make for a picturesque backdrop should you choose to holiday here.
Animal lovers should prepare to be impressed: a walk down to the beach offers an abundance of sea life. Stingrays floating across the surface of the harbour, soldier crabs scuttling across the sand when the tide goes out, and native sea birds all add to the charm of this traditional Australian coastal town.