Whether you’re planning an international road trip or looking to stay closer to home, there are plenty of amazing natural places to explore. Discover 5 of the best hidden gems that will add a whole new dimension to your Australian adventure!
The glistening salt surface of Lake Keepit is just one of the many highlights of this vast national park. Here, you can camp under a star-filled sky and spot wildlife on the rocky shoreline.
1. The Grotto
Located along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, this stunning spot is a rock formation that looks like a cave. It’s actually a sinkhole that is partially covered by the cliffs, creating an archway and rock pools.
This unique location is best viewed at sunset or sunrise, when the sunlight reflects gold and pink on the smooth rock pools inside the Grotto’s archway. It’s also a beautiful spot to visit at low tide, when the sea water is calm and allows you to walk into the sinkhole.
This is just one of the many natural hidden spots to discover in Australia. Other highlights include Vivonne Bay on Kangaroo Island, Freycinet National Park’s Wineglass Bay in Tasmania, and Karijini National Park’s red rocks and pure water.
2. Nitmiluk National Park
Located in the Northern Territory, Nitmiluk National Park (previously known as Katherine Gorge National Park) is an oasis of tropical gorges and waterfalls around a series of 13 gorges carved by the Katherine River and Edith Falls. The gorges and surrounding landscape hold ceremonial significance to the Jawoyn people, the traditional owners of the park.
It’s a great place to visit during the Dry Season, when the water is low and you can see more of the gorges without getting wet. A visit to the park also includes a tour of Leliyn Falls and Katherine Homestead.
Embark on a six-day guided camping trip from Darwin to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of Kakadu, Nitmiluk and Litchfield national parks. Get off the beaten path in a 4WD, swim in waterfalls, hike through gorges and even get out on the water to spot crocodiles.
3. Kalbarri National Park
The coastal fishing and holiday town of Kalbarri is home to a wild national park that features an outback adventure park. It’s one of the most iconic natural hidden spots in Australia, with gorges and canyons that make it a perfect spot for hiking and exploring.
With over 180,000 hectares, this park is dominated by a 400 million year old landscape carved into red and white banded gorges. The famous Nature’s Window is a must-see feature, as well as Z-Bend, Ross Graham and Pot Alley.
The park is also known for its spectacular wildflowers during the autumn months, which brings soft spring colors to this rugged landscape. Vivonne Bay is another highlight of the park, where visitors can swim in crystal-blue waters and interact with sea lions.
4. The Breakaways
Located in Western Australia, this national park has a lot to offer. From great gorge hikes to amazing beaches, it’s the perfect spot for nature lovers to visit. You can walk the Dales Gorge Trail or challenge yourself with the Weano Gorge Trail for a truly memorable experience. After your hike, cool off in one of the pristine waterfall pools.
If you’re looking for a hidden gem with a bit of a twist, then look no further than Big Drift. This stunning desert landscape will remind you of the dazzling scenery in the Middle East, and it’s only a two-hour drive from Melbourne. This unique spot is also a good place to spot the world’s only known population of giant cuttlefish. This is a must-see when visiting Australia!
5. Baird Bay Ocean
Swimming with dolphins is a popular bucket list item but did you know you can also swim with sea lions in Australia too? A rare treat in South Australia is to visit Baird Bay Ocean Eco Experience where local couple Alan and Trish take visitors out on their boat to interact with wild sea lions and dolphins.
For a different type of animal encounter, Whyalla is home to the only known population of Giant Cuttlefish which gather in their thousands to breed. The town is also a beachcomber paradise and is a favourite for locals to spend a lazy day fishing or walking along the deserted beaches.
Road trippers often rush through Torquay as one of their first stops on the Great Ocean Drive, but the small coastal village is well worth a longer stay to watch surfers in action. You can even try your hand at surfing with lessons offered by Let’s Go Surfing.