43 Best Secret Places to Visit in Australia
(maybe not so secret now!)
Posted on 13.01.2021
With international travel on the backburner, now is the perfect time to explore your own backyard. ANGELA SAURINE from Out and About with Kids reveals amazing hidden gems in each state and territory of Australia for your next family holiday
They may be places you have never heard of, or maybe they’ve been on your radar for a while, but you haven’t got around to visiting yet. It might be your favourite local hangout that most outsiders don’t even know exists. Whatever the case, Australia abounds with incredible places to be discovered. With international travel restrictions in place, it’s a great opportunity to tick some of them off your list. Whether it’s in your own state or territory, just across the border or on the other side of the country, here are some ideas for your next family holiday Down Under.
Pack a picnic lunch and a cricket bat for a day trip from Noosa to this idyllic spot in the Great Sandy National Park, where you will find clear blue water, resident dolphins and an historic lighthouse. Despite its name, Double Island Point isn’t actually an island but a long sand spit, with a pair of large sand dunes that appear, from the distance, to be separated by the sea. The illusion of two islands prompted Captain Cook to name the sand spit Double Island Point when he passed by in 1770. Double Island Point can be reached two to three hours, either side of low tide, from Rainbow Beach or Noosa along the Great Beach Drive. Before you leave, you will need to purchase a beach-driving permit online from Queensland Parks, and check the tide times carefully because the beach isn’t accessible at high tide. Or just book a tour with Great Beach Drive 4WD Tours or Epic Ocean Adventures.
See the fossilised footprints of the only known dinosaur stampede on the planet at Lark Quarry Conservation Park, around 110km from Winton in Queensland’s outback. On the day the drama unfolded, 95 million years ago, herds of small two-legged dinosaurs came to drink at a lake. There were at least 150 dinosaurs of two different kinds – carnivorous coelurosaurs about the size of chickens, and slightly bigger plant-eating ornithopods, some of them as big as emus. A huge meat-eating theropod, smaller than a Tyrannosaurus, began to stalk them, then turned and charged. The stampeding herd of smaller dinosaurs left a chaotic mass of footprints in the mud as they ran to escape. There are more than 3,300 footprints scattered over the rock face, and you can watch animated recreations of the incident.
It lies at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, but Agnes Water has somehow largely managed to stay under the tourist radar. With its gorgeous empty beaches, the small town between Gladstone and Bundaberg is the perfect spot for a quiet seaside getaway. Be sure to visit neighbouring 1770, where Captain Cook first landed in Queensland, for a history lesson. From there, it’s just a 90-minute boat ride to the undeveloped Lady Musgrave Island. There’s also a butterfly walk and a kangaroo sanctuary, while Deepwater National Park, 15km south of Agnes Water, is the second largest nesting site in Australia for loggerhead turtles.
Pitch a tent at the campsite beside the pretty Booloumba Creek, and set off on hikes through the rainforest to discover waterfalls and wildlife in this national park, around 130km north of Brisbane and 60km west of Maroochydore. Don’t miss the Strangler Cairn sculpture, which was made by British artist Andy Goldsworthy, in the middle of the park. It is composed of granite blocks shaped together with a strangler fig planted in the top.
Around 40 minutes’ drive north of the popular tourist town of Airlie Beach, Bowen offers an alternative Whitsundays base. It has eight beaches, and the inner reef is just metres from many of Bowen’s bays. At low tide you can walk towards the North Head Lighthouse, looking out for giant red starfish, feather stars and green sea turtles. There’s also a free water park with slides and a huge water bucket, and a market is held every Sunday.
Please check websites to ensure locations are open before planning a holiday.
Out and About with Kids
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