Australia’s Hidden Treasures

Litchfield National Park

Sunshine, attractive citizens, barbecues, wilderness, beaches, Castlemain XXXX and the English language: the list of reasons why Australia is such a popular destination for Brits is endless. With airlines providing cheap flights to Australia and more than 640,000 Britons travelling to the land down under each year, you’re likely to find yourself in familiar company when making the customary tour of Sydney Opera House, climbing Ayers Rock and snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef. However, if you’re looking to experience the less touristic face of Australia, and come home with stories that’ll make the other 639,999 Aussie visitors wonder how you discovered such treasures, follow our guide to the most interesting Australian locations and experiences you’ve never heard of.

Litchfield National Park

While Kakadu has been the dominant national park of the Northern Territory owing to its size, stunning Litchfield is within easy travelling distance from Darwin and boasts an equally impressive (albeit smaller) landscape, the majority of which is accessible by regular cars. Three of its six waterfalls (Florence, Tjaynera and Wangi) are open to swimming, and a fourth (Tolmer) is conserved as habitat for Ghost and Orange Horseshoe Bat colonies. Camping facilities offer you the time and freedom to undertake the multi-day walks, such as the Tabletop Track, Florence Creek Walk and Wangi Falls Walk, during which you might see an abundance of flora and fauna, including antilopine kangaroos, black kites, wallabies, carpentaria palms, northern quolls, flying foxes, fig trees, geckos, red-winged parrots, bandicoots, fairywrens, yellow orioles and weeping paperbark trees.

Bay of Fire

So-called for the orange lichen-covered granite rocks which sit upon the white beach, Tasmania’s Bay of Fires forms part of Mount William National Park, home to wombats, echidnas, red-bellied pademelon and, of course, Tasmanian devils. The idyllic beaches provide a relaxing atmosphere for walking, swimming, surfing, boating and camping. For those seeking more luxurious accommodation, the Bay of Fires Lodge is the only building on its 20-kilometre stretch of coast, allowing for the ultimate feeling of peaceful, waterside retreat.

Baird Bay

The tiny fishing village on the Eyre Peninsula of South Australia may seem like an odd choice for exciting but, thanks to the Ocean Eco Experience, this region is one of the few in the world to offer the chance to swim with wild sea lions. The ethics of swimming with captive animals has long been a source of contention among the tourist industry but here the sea lions are free to come and go, and the fact they stick around implies that they really rather enjoy meeting swimmers! Bottlenose dolphins are also found in these waters, although with their mimicry and loveable natures it’s the sea lions who really steal the show and hearts.

Undara Volcanic National Park

If you think the only music Australia does well is Mingoue-esque pop, you’ll be in for a very pleasant surprise in this Queensland park. Undara, with its 190,000 year old lava tubes, is a treat in itself, with tours around its rocky landscape and through its caves. Those brave enough to enter Bayliss Cave may see some of its 35 cave-dwelling species, which include isopods, scutigerids, cave moths and children’s pythons. However, what’s particularly unusual about this park is its annual Opera in the Outback celebration, in which you can enjoy finest cheese and wine during open-air performances of some of the world’s most breath taking pieces of classical music.

Cape York Turtle Rescue Camp

Cape York is home to couple of special communities: the Mapoon Aboriginal Community and Chivaree Camp’s turtle rescue team. These are not isolated groups, however, and scientists and Mapoon elders work side-by-side to protect the wildlife and cultural heritage. Visitors to the Rescue Camp are involved in beach patrols, nest monitoring and even escorting baby turtles to the sea, providing a once in a lifetime opportunity to literally give something back to the world.


Author’s Bio:

Paul Parry is a freelance writer and intrepid explorer of the southern hemisphere.


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