We all know about the most popular tourist spots in Australia such as Bondi Beach, Sydney Harbour and Ayers Rock but this is such a vast country that surely there must be some hidden gems that aren’t quite so busy?
Indeed there are and because finding them can be a little tricky, here are ten of the best locations that aren’t so well known.
1. The Whitsundays
In truth, the Whitsunday Islands off the coast of Queensland are among the most popular tourist spots in Australia but this is still a stunningly beautiful destination and with 74 islands to choose from, it can still be peaceful and tranquil here.
Highlights of a trip to the Whitsundays could include some snorkelling and diving or some unforgettable whale watching. Alternatively, this is one of the best places in the country to just relax and enjoy the amazing scenery.
2. Palm Cove, near Cairns
Cairns is widely known as a party location but if you travel to its northern outskirts you can find the tranquil and beautiful setting of Palm Cove.
You can still enjoy all the fun activities such as jet skiing and surfing but without the crowds associated with Palm Cove’s noisy neighbour Port Douglas.
3. Hunter Valley
A trip to Australia just isn’t complete without a visit to one of the great wine regions and many will argue that the Hunter Valley is the best. Just a couple of hours drive away from Sydney, the Hunter is home to some world class, award winning wineries with some incredible produce to try.
Although peaceful enough to qualify as a hidden gem, the region has some great restaurants and hotels on hand to enhance your stay.
4. Margaret River
On the western side of Australia, around 3 hours south of Perth, the Margaret River region would dispute the Hunter Valley’s claim as the best location for wine tours.
The wine here is also spectacular but there is arguably more to do here with bustling beaches and a more busy lifestyle overall. If you love your wine but want a few more diversions besides then the Margaret River is for you.
Around three hours south from Margaret River is the pretty coastal town of Dunsborough and this is unspoilt in the true sense of the world.
There are no trains and just rudimentary public transport here along with only a scattering of hotels, bars and restaurants but what Dunsborough does have is spectacular natural beauty. With pristine beaches and bush walks this is one of the best exclusive getaways in the whole of Australia.
6. Magnetic Island
If you want to see Australia’s indigenous wildlife in its natural habitat then the curiously named Magnetic Island is the place to head to. Directly off the far northern tip of Queensland this is an inhabited but quiet island where over half of its land mass has been designated as a national park.
For kangaroos and koalas in the wild, along with more of the county’s unique animal species, Magnetic Island is arguably impossible to beat.
7. Port Arthur
Australia doesn’t exactly embrace its penal colony past but in most cases it is careful to preserve that vital part of its history. At Port Arthur in Tasmania, there is great evidence of this after the town was settled back in 1830 as a timber station.
The historic buildings constructed with convict labour have been kept largely as they were and this is one of the best places in the country to see landmarks and history mix in this way.
8. Snowy Mountains
When you think of Australia, the notion of a country that contains some world class ski resorts isn’t likely to be at the forefront of your mind. However, the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales are home to some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the world.
In winter, it can get busy here but in the summer months when the snow starts to disappear this is a popular but peaceful place to explore some stunning scenery on foot or on horseback.
9. Daintree Forest
Coming back to nature once again, Daintree National Park and forest in Northern Queensland is said to be home to the highest number of endangered animal species on the planet. There is a fascinating eco system here and for rarer wildlife there is no better place in the country or arguably in the world.
Hiking trails through the forest will give you the best chance of seeing the animals and you’re guaranteed to witness some breath taking scenery too.
10. Great Ocean Road
Want to see the best of Australia via one central route? The Great Ocean way winds through 151 miles of coastal territory between Victoria’s state towns of Torquay and Warrnambool.
Cited in many websites as being one of the world’s great driving roads, the route is lined all the way with amazing scenery including the spectacular Otways rain forest. Constructed by World War One veterans it can be driven along its entirety in a day, even with a speed limit of 80kmph, but why not take it slowly and stay at one of the fine beach resorts on the route?
Simon Markland is Managing Director at VOOVit.