15 Out of the way places to visit in Australia
Are you looking for unknown destinations in Australia? There are so many amazing places to explore in this vast country, but some of the best experiences are often found off the beaten path. From the fishing town of Eden to the wild river region around Strachan Tasmania, here are 15 must-see off the beaten path travel destinations in Australia that if you have time, you shouldn't miss!
Introduction to Off-the-Beaten-Path Travel Destinations in Australia
When it comes to Australia travel destinations, there are plenty of iconic sites that deserve a visit. But if you want to experience the country in a truly authentic way, it pays to venture off the beaten track and explore some of the lesser-known destinations. From fishing towns on the coast to wild rivers in the tropics, there are plenty of hidden gems that are just waiting to be discovered.
So if you're looking for a truly unique journey, here are 21 of the best off the beaten path travel destinations in Australia that you won't want to miss. Each one offers its own unique experience, from majestic landscapes and vibrant wildlife to delicious culinary delights. So get ready for a journey that will take you to some of the most remote and extraordinary places in Australia!
1. Exploring the fishing town of Eden, New South Wales
Eden is a small fishing town located on the south coast of New South Wales. It's a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, who come here to enjoy the beautiful beaches, abundant fishing opportunities, and laid-back atmosphere.
The town is home to the world's largest artificial deep-water harbour, which is a mecca for boating, fishing, and whale watching. There are also plenty of opportunities to explore the surrounding countryside, with plenty of walking and cycling trails in the area.
Eden is also known for its seafood, with plenty of restaurants and cafés serving up delicious dishes made from freshly caught fish and shellfish. There are also several wineries in the area, making it a perfect destination for wine lovers.
The Killer Whale Museum in Eden is well worth a visit. It covers the history of whaling in the area and while it is a little confronting in parts it is well worth doing.
2. Adventure through the Kimberley Coast: Horizontal Falls and Montgomery Reef
The Kimberley Coast is an area of immense beauty, boasting stunning landscapes and abundant wildlife. One of its main attractions is the Horizontal Falls, a series of narrow gorges that are formed when the tide rises and falls twice a day.
The Horizontal Falls are a must-see destination, and you can also take a boat tour to explore the surrounding area. The area is also home to the Montgomery Reef, an enormous coral reef that is home to a diverse range of marine life.
The Kimberley Coast is also a great place to explore the surrounding countryside, with walking trails, swimming holes, and spectacular scenery. It's also home to a range of Aboriginal art galleries, making it a great destination for art lovers.
Closest to: Broome (400ish km) or Derby where you can get tours to visit the Horizontal Falls.
Location: Google Maps Horizontal Falls
Known for: The remote landscape and the stunning waterways
Time to spend: A few days at minimum.
Tours for Horizontal Falls The Kimberley
3. The Simpson Desert: Dalhousie Springs and Witjira National Park
The Simpson Desert is one of the most remote and desolate regions in Australia. It's home to the Dalhousie Springs, a series of oases that are fed by underground aquifers. The springs are a popular destination for 4WD enthusiasts, and are also home to a range of unique wildlife, including water rats, lizards, and many species of birds.
The Simpson Desert is also home to Witjira National Park, which is home to a range of unique wildlife, plants, and landscapes. The park is also home to the iconic Simpson Desert dunes, which are among the tallest sand dunes in the world.
4. Snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef at Lady Musgrave Island
Lady Musgrave Island is a tiny coral cay located off the coast of Queensland in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. It's a popular destination for snorkelling and diving, with plenty of colourful coral and abundant marine life.
Not many non locals know that the Great Barrier Reef comes this far south. While it doesn't have the super bright coral colors of the reef out from Cairns the sea life is abundant.
The island is also home to a range of unique wildlife, including sea turtles, manta rays, and reef sharks. It's also a great destination for birdwatchers, with a range of rare species of seabirds that call the island home.
Tours that visit Lady Musgrave typically go from either Bundaberg, 1770 or if you have your own boat you could go via Gladstone.
Closest to: Bundaberg and 1770 but also Gladstone with your own boat.
Location: Lady Musgrave on Google Maps
Known for: Snorkelling and diving
Time to spend: A day trip only.
Tours that go to Lady Musgrave Island
5. Visiting Morton Bay and Tangalooma off Brisbane
Morton Bay and Tangalooma are two of the most popular destinations off the coast of Brisbane. Morton Bay is home to North Stradbroke Island, a beautiful island with plenty of beaches, rainforest, and wildlife.
Tangalooma is also a popular destination, with plenty of opportunities for swimming, snorkelling, and diving. The island is home to a range of unique wildlife, including dolphins, turtles, and a range of seabirds.
Morton Island is the third largest sand island in the world, boasting stunning landscapes. Its crystal-clear waters, white sandy beaches, and towering sand dunes create a picturesque setting perfect for relaxation and photography.
The wrecks directly off the beach offer some great drift snorkelling and if you are a competent 4wder, you can practice your skills around the island.
Closest to: Brisbane. Just a short ferry ride from Brisbane
Location: Tangalooma on Google Maps
Known for: Snorkelling, wrecks, relaxation and the amazing beaches
Time to spend: A few hours to a few days
If you want to stay quite independent, consider getting a Moreton Island Return Ferry & Adventure Day Pass which gives you ferry transfers from Brisbane, free 3 hour kayak or 1 hour stand-up paddle board session, 3 hours snorkel hire and best of all access to the hotel facilities.
The hotel is off limits unless you are staying there or have a day pass. This ticket will allow you to wash the salt water off in the pool and have somewhere nice for lunch.
Tours to Tangalooma and Morton Island from Brisbane
6. Going troppo on Hinchinbrook Island north Queensland
Hinchinbrook Island is a stunning tropical paradise located in the north of Queensland. The island is home to a range of unique wildlife, including wallabies, possums, and a range of birds.
The island is also a great destination for hikers, with plenty of walking trails, swimming holes, and spectacular views. It's also a great destination for fishing, with plenty of opportunities to catch barramundi, snapper, and other types of fish.
Remember though that you are well into croc territory here so be very aware before swimming especially on the inland side of the island. There are no cars on the island so a day tour from Cardwell is your best bet.
7. Eating Scallop Pies and exploring the wild river region around Strahan Tasmania
Strahan is a small town located in the wild river region of Tasmania. The area is home to a range of unique wildlife, including the Tasmanian devil and platypus. The Gordon River tours are the main attraction in the area and they are really worth doing.
The town is also known for its delicious scallop pies, which are a popular snack in the area. There are also plenty of opportunities to explore the surrounding countryside, with plenty of walking and cycling trails in the area.
Strahan (say strawn) is in the Wild Rivers region of Tasmania and that couldn't be described more accurately. We've been in the Wild Rivers in February which is the peak of summer in Australia and needed our puffer jackets. Tassie is somewhere you always need to have cold weather gear!
If you are lacking in time, consider the light plane tour on the list below. We did that last year and it was fantastic.
Strahan River Cruises and Day Tours
8. Visit the Murray River town of Echuca
Echuca is a town located on the banks of the mighty Murray River. The town is home to a range of historic buildings, including a 19th century paddle steamer and a range of old pubs and shops. Do a tour along the Murray river on the “Canberra” a period paddle steamer.
The town is also a great destination for fishing, with plenty of opportunities to catch trout and perch. They also have some surprisingly good restaurants. Try The American Hotel for some good Aussie food.
Echuca and Moama (it's NSW neighbour) are also popular destinations for water skiing on the Murray river.
9. Hike the 14kms that showcase Queensland's Carnarvon Gorge
Carnarvon Gorge is a stunning destination located in Queensland's Carnarvon National Park. The gorge is home to a range of unique wildlife, including dingoes, wallabies, and a range of birds.
The area is also a great destination for hikers, with a 14km walking trail that showcases the stunning scenery of the gorge. The trail passes through lush rainforest, ancient rock formations, and spectacular canyons.
With names like Ward's Canyon, The Moss Gardens and The Ampitheatre you can be sure that everything you see along the 14km trail makes the walk well worth it.
Make sure to do the hike up to The Bluff but I would do that on a separate day to your other out and back hike.
10. Hike Australias highest mountain in the Kosciuszko National Park
The Kosciuszko National Park is home to Australia's highest mountain, Mount Kosciuszko. The area is home to a range of unique alpine wildlife, including wombats, echidnas, and a range of birds.
The area is also a great destination for hikers, with plenty of walking trails that offer stunning views of the surrounding alpine landscape. The area is also home to a range of historic huts, making it a great destination for history buffs.
Mount Kosciuszko Summit walk is the best way to get to the top of Australia. It is an 18.5km round trip and you can get info on the walk on NSW National Parks website.
11. Steam Into Quorn in South Australia
Quorn, South Australia, is a captivating destination for those interested in history and nature. This historic railway town, nestled in the picturesque Flinders Ranges, is a haven for train enthusiasts and hikers.
Additionally, Quorn serves as a gateway for exploring the natural beauty of the region, with trails leading to remarkable lookouts and hidden valleys. The town's charming streets, lined with well-preserved colonial buildings, provide a glimpse into its rich past, making Quorn an ideal spot for history buffs and adventurers alike.
Multi Day Trips Through The Flinders Ranges
The Flinders Ranges are a unique slice of Australia that is fast becoming a more popular destination. The scenery in the area is just stunning and it would be a great place to experience the small towns that make Australia great.
12. Coral Bay Western Australia
Coral Bay, located in Western Australia, is a small, idyllic oceanfront location renowned for its pristine beaches and access to the Ningaloo Reef.
This remote paradise is a dream for snorkelers and divers, offering crystal-clear waters and the chance to swim with an array of marine life, including manta rays, turtles, and reef sharks.
The nearby Ningaloo Marine Park is a biodiversity hotspot, providing an up-close experience with one of the world's most spectacular coral reefs.
Coral Bay's relaxed, laid-back atmosphere makes it a perfect getaway for those seeking a serene beach experience away from crowded tourist spots. Its unspoiled natural beauty and rich marine life make it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and ocean lovers.
Coral Bay isn't really a town, its mostly a few houses and a caravan park so while you can get the essentials, you should purchase all your long term food prior to heading to Coral Bay.
Closest to: Coral Bay is 1100km from Perth, 710km from Geraldton and 240km from Carnarvon (a different Carnarvon to Carnarvon Gorge)
Location: Coral Bay location on Google Maps
Known for: Swimming with the Whale Sharks, Ningaloo Reef and amazing beaches.
Time to spend: At least a few days but you could kick back in Coral Bay for weeks if you wanted to.
Alternatively during the right season you can swim with Whale Sharks, Humpbacks or Manta Rays in the area.
I've swum with the Manta's in Raja Ampat, the Whale Sharks in The Philippines and patted my own humpback whale off the Western Australian coast around Dunsborough. These 3 things are etched FIRMLY in my memory and I'm 100% sure they will never go away.
If you get a chance – ignore the price and just do it as Nike say!
13. Wooli New South Wales
Wooli, nestled along the New South Wales coast, is a hidden gem known for its serene beauty and outdoor activities.
This quaint coastal village is surrounded by Yuraygir National Park and the Wooli Wooli River, making it a haven for nature lovers.
Wooli's main attraction is its stunning, unspoiled beach, perfect for swimming, surfing, and fishing. The town is also a popular spot for diving, particularly at the nearby Solitary Islands Marine Park, renowned for its diverse marine life.
The tranquil atmosphere of Wooli, combined with its scenic river and ocean landscapes, makes it an ideal destination for those seeking a peaceful retreat and the chance to reconnect with nature in a less crowded, pristine environment.
We stayed at Blue River Apartments when we visited and we loved it. It won't be the cheapest option but it was winter so we didn't want to be in a tent, and they accepted dogs which is fairly important for us.
Closest to: Gold Coast: 260km.
Location: Wooli location on Google Maps
Known for: Amazing beaches away from the crowds
Time to spend: At least a few days but you could kick back for weeks if you wanted to. Don't discount it over the winter either. It is cool for sure but the beaches are still amazing and there are lots of walking trails in the area.
14. Woy Woy or Gosford
Woy Woy and Gosford are on opposite sides of Brisbane Water, which ironically is nowhere near Brisbane. Both of these communities are close enough to Sydney that people do commute.
At only 90km from Sydney, Woy Woy is considered a bedroom community, however while you wouldn't initially consider it, the proximity to both the city and the surrounding beaches makes it an affordable choice.
Putey Beach is close by and Avoca which is one of the nicest area along this slice of Australia is only 20km away. Avoca is hard to get accommodation during holiday times but Woy Woy is much easier. As long as you have a car there is heaps in the area and even if you don't the public transport isn't terrible.
Closest to: Sydney: 92km.
Location: Woy Woy location on Google Maps
Known for: Being a more local town with not much tourism but in close proximity to HEAPS to see and do.
Time to spend: A long weekend would be an ideal amount of time to check out the area.
15. Hamlin Bay Western Australia
Hamelin Bay, located in Western Australia, is a stunning coastal destination known for its crystal-clear waters and striking white sand beaches.
One of the bay's most enchanting features is its friendly stingrays, which often come close to the shore, providing a unique opportunity for visitors to observe these gentle creatures in their natural habitat.
The area is also a haven for snorkelers and divers, with the nearby Hamelin Bay Wreck Trail offering an underwater journey through several shipwrecks. The bay's serene and unspoiled natural setting makes it perfect for beach activities, coastal walks, and picnics.
Surrounded by the vast beauty of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, Hamelin Bay is not just a beach destination but an immersive nature experience, ideal for those seeking a peaceful retreat and the beauty of Western Australia's coastline.
The other benefit of Hamlin Bay is that it is relatively close to the Margaret River wine region which to anyone who knows me is my IDEAL location!
Conclusion: Uncovering Off-the-Beaten-Path Travel Destinations in Australia
From the fishing town of Eden to the wild river region around Strachan Tasmania, there are plenty of off the beaten path travel destinations in Australia that are just waiting to be explored. Each one offers its own unique experience, from majestic landscapes and vibrant wildlife to delicious culinary delights. So if you're looking for a truly unique journey, these 10 destinations are a great place to start!
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and explore! With so many amazing off the beaten path travel destinations in Australia, it's never been easier to uncover the hidden gems of this incredible country.