When most people think of renowned Australian destinations, the gorgeous beaches of Sydney or the Great Barrier Reef usually come to mind. But whether you’re in the land down under as a tourist or a local, don’t just stop at the obvious sights—thinking outside the box is easy! Ditch the tour bus and rent a van in Adelaide go with a ute hire in Melbourne, and you’ll be well on your way to see some off-the-beaten-path adventure. From land formations in the outback to art-filled fern gullies, here are five of Australia’s most breathtaking hidden destinations.
Cape Arid National Park
When you want to soak in nature, retreat to Cape Arid National Park for stunning views and rich biodiversity. This park is known for its abundance of plant life as well as its numerous endangered bird species. The seas are remarkably clear and you can often spot whales from the dolphin cove. If you want to experience a natural landscape that makes your jaw drop, take a helicopter or boat ride to nearby Middle Island in the Recherche Archipelago. Here you can see the mysterious pink lake of Lake Hillier.
Bay of Fires
Whether you prefer to explore Australia’s coasts by hiking, kayaking, or a little of both, Bay of Fires is a must-do that somehow tends to be underrated. This seemingly untouched natural land stretches from Eddystone Point to Binalong Bay along the eastern Tasmanian coastline. Here you can wander over rocks covered with yellow and orange moss and sunbathe in white sand. You have options to camp or take it up a notch by staying in an eco-lodge. You can even go on a four-day lodge walk to see some of Australia’s most stunning trails while experiencing top-quality wine and dining.
If impressive land formations are what you seek, don’t miss out on Western Australia’s Wave Rock. About a four-hour drive from Perth, this impressive half pipe of granite inselberg stands 15 meters high and stretches through 110 miles of Wheatbelt countryside. Wave Rock is the perfect spot for landscape photographers and you can even take a guided tour to learn about the Aboriginal history associated with the rock. If you come at the right time, you can experience weekend events or an annual music festival.
William Ricketts Sanctuary
If the arts captivate you just as much a lush greenery, you simply must visit William Ricketts Sanctuary at Mount Dandenong. Sculptor William Ricketts’ life-long goal was to provide a setting where one could relax and reflect on their connection to nature. Amongst the trees and fern gullies, you can also find up to 92 beautiful ceramic sculptures. Just an hour drive from Melbourne, this majestic sanctuary makes for a great day trip.
Though Homebush Bay is now just a residential suburb of Sydney, its past as a booming trading port still lingers in the air when you witness its four abandoned freighters. These old ships were once used to transport coal, oil, and war supplies, but when they were no longer needed they were simply left floating. Now as they are slowly rusting in the water, one special ship has managed to sprout its very own forest. When you visit this bay you can see the SS Ayrfield and its mangrove trees which are impressively sprouting up through it.