Best of the secret trails of Australia : Part 1

While climbing Sydney's Harbor Bridge, marveling at the Opera House, shopping in Melbourne, diving the Great Barrier Reef , enjoying an Uluru 'Sounds of Silence' outback dinner, savoring South Australia, indulging in Queensland's Sunshine Coast, and Western Australia get plenty of well deserved play with travelers, there are even more undiscovered gems out there in Australia’s treasure box.

From the memorials and museums of Canberra to the outback towns of western New South Wales – we’ve listed some of the perhaps lesser known Australian tourist spots and why they’d be a worthy addition to your next Australian odyssey.

#10 – NEWCASTLE, NSW

Only an hour and a half north of Sydney, Newcastle is Australia’s second oldest city and claims some of the country’s best beaches and heritage listed architecture. The popular Hunter Valley wine region is in close proximity. 

Whether you’re heading north of the city to swim with dolphins at Nelson’s Bay, spending an idyllic Sunday walking the Bathers Way, cuddling up to a koala at Blackbutt Reserve, or even catching a Newcastle Knights game at the recently revamped AusGrid Stadium – you’ll find plenty to love about the place.

#9 – CANBERRA, AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY

Australia’s capital Canberra is undoubtedly one of the best places to learn more about Australian history and culture ... not to mention enjoying fabulous food and wine. A slew of museums and galleries will keep even the most curious explorer occupied for days, with the National Museum and Questacon being highlights.

A walk through Anzac Parade, a visit to the Royal Australian Mint, exploring Parliament House and a visit to the Australian War Memorial are well worth considering. You can also visit the Reconciliation Place in nearby Parks, a tribute to Australia’s original inhabitants, or spend a day exploring the Australian National Library.

Though, it’s not all about the culture and history with the Australian National Botanical Gardens playing a beautiful interlude, the miniature world landmarks of Cockington Green Gardens, hikers can find numerous trails in nearby Black Mountain, and/or you can catch some great Australian sport in GIO Stadium playing host to the famous Canberra Raiders or Brumbies.

It’s a simply beautiful region that offers something you won’t find elsewhere in Australia.

#8 – THE NORTHERN RIVERS REGION, NSW

As tourists begin to discover the charms of Byron Bay, the Northern Rivers has grown in popularity. Boasting great beaches and a laid-back charm, Byron Bay is an ideal resting point on any road trip between Sydney and the Gold Coast.

Byron Bay is an authentic concourse for beach lovers. It also offers a very tempting menu when it comes to scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, surfing, whale watching, fishing, and dolphin swims. Byron Bay also offers sustenance for your mind and soul with numerous yoga retreats and spas in the region.

If you're lucky, a real display of distinct local flavor can be found at the monthly Byron Bay markets on the first Sunday of each month.

A few hours inland lies Grafton, an excellent gateway to the numerous national parks of the NSW Northern Tablelands such as the Fortis Creek National Park, Nymboida national parks, Gibraltar Range, and Washpool.

To the north, Evans Head plays host to excellent fishing and surfing, and surrounded by some beautiful sub-tropical rainforest is Lismore. 

A special mention goes to Yamba. Even having been voted the ‘Best Town in Australia’ by Australian Traveler Magazine in 2009, many travelers seem unaware of Yamba. A charming beach town, Yamba has all of the regular beach appeal with the bonus of being close to the amazing Yuraygir National Park with its dense sub-tropical forest, sea cliffs, and isolated beaches.

[Also Read : Five Reasons To Visit Broken Hill]

#7 – DARWIN, NORTHERN TERRITORY

Although, the Northern Territory gets plenty of tourists through Uluru and Kakadu, the territory’s capital seems unfairly ignored by tourists.

Darwin is a rapidly growing tropical city where Aboriginal and European culture meet in a way you won’t see elsewhere in Australia. Interact with some of Australia’s predators at Casuarina Coastal Reserve, explore historic Fannie Bay Gaol, or spend a day picnicking in Charles Darwin National Park.

Just ninety minutes’ drive from Darwin, Litchfield National Park, is also well worthy of a visit. Picturesque waterfalls, secluded swimming holes, and the crumbling remains of long abandoned mines are all on offer within the 1500 square kilometer national park.

Darwin considers itself Australia's gateway to South East Asia. The city showcases Aboriginal culture and has overcome great obstacles on its way ... be it the infamous Japanese bombing of WW2, or Cyclone Tracy of 1974.

#6 – FLINDERS RANGES AND LAKE EYRE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Whilst much of South Australian tourism is directed towards the Barossa Valley wine region, Kangaroo Island, and Adelaide, the South Australian outback is also certainly well worth experiencing.

The Flinders Ranges are a great way to experience the true beauty of the Australian outback. The magic of colors, glowing sunsets and deep blue skies, are truly breathtaking. 

Check out this link for a great taste of the Flinders Ranges;  http://southaustralia.us.traveller.com.au/article/pioneering-women-flinders-ranges/

North of Adelaide is Lake Eyre, Australia’s lowest point and largest lake. The lake remains beautiful year round as it is transformed into a vast salt plane in drier times. You can camp, drive or fly overhead to enjoy this vast outback lake.

The Pichi Pichi Railway‘s steam locomotives will get you to back to civilization in Port Augusta from where you can head west to Perth, or south to Adelaide.

 

Jonathan Campbell

Aussie Trip Advisor, 12H Nob Hill, Roseland NJ 07068

Aussie Trip Advisor hand-craft Australian itineraries on a fee-for-service basis