Words by Bonnie Bryson Art by Louie Evans
Australia is one of the most naturally beautiful places on earth.
People come from all over the world to see our landmarks; The Great Barrier Reef, The Whitsundays, Uluru, Byron Bay or Fraser Island. As great as those places are, there is so much more to Australia than just that. This article aims to cover the places in Australia that, although don’t receive a lot of recognition, are a must-see.
1) Rainbow Beach
Rainbow Beach is nestled between Fraser Island, Great Sandy National Park and the expansive Pacific Ocean. It is surrounded by national park, meaning the entire area is unspoiled and naturally gorgeous. It is an absolutely stunning beach and is unlike many other beaches in the world. It is traced by towering cliffs of coloured sand which shine vibrantly, especially at sunset. It is a perfect place for not only camping but fishing as well, and just for a bit of extra fun, there’s also a sand blow. The beach also allows the use of 4WDs, making it an extremely enjoyable time away. Some of my greatest memories as a kid are because of Rainbow Beach. It is often overlooked, considering how close it is to Fraser Island, but it really shouldn’t be. Part of the charm, however, does lie in the fact that it is often forgotten. It secluded and tucked away, meaning you could go there and have the whole thing to yourself. I’ve been to a lot of beaches and a lot of islands in my time, but Rainbow Beach will always be my favourite.
2) Tarkine Rainforest
The Tarkine is a rainforest situated in North-West Tasmania, one of the cleanest and most well-preserved places on the planet. It is an absolutely gorgeous rainforest with great walking tracks that allow you to see everything and anything you want to. The Tarkine has it all, mountain ranges, rivers, caves, rugged coastlines and the biggest range of animals in all of Tasmania. It is even home to the place called ‘The End of the World’, which is known not only for its iconic name but also for its huge cliffside. I’ve been there myself, and I have to admit, it’s pretty funny to be able to say you’ve been to “the end of the world”. To top it all off, you can also visit Dismal Swamp, which is the largest sinkhole in the southern hemisphere. Tarkine Forest Adventures is run out of Dismal Swamp and offers a lot of great tours and activities. One of the best being, a 110-metre-long slide that goes straight through the forest and will get you to the floor of the sinkhole in less than 15 seconds. It’s a pretty extraordinary and thrilling experience to pass through that much rainforest so quickly.
3) The Old Melbourne Gaol
Australia is often overlooked as being a place to come to if you’re looking for history, but there are actually many sites that are worth visiting. One of the favourites is the Old Melbourne Gaol. Built in the mid-1800s, it is rich with history. Between 1842 and its closure in 1929 the gaol was the scene of 133 hangings including Australia’s most infamous citizen, the bushranger Ned Kelly. Today anyone can visit to learn about what happened there and the kinds of people that resided in the gaol. There are also a lot of rumours around the gaol being extremely haunted. The National Trust, who are responsible for the upkeep of the gaol, run ghost tours nightly. I know I’m the kind of person who loves to be scared, not in a real sense of like fearing-for-my-life scared, but frightened nonetheless. The Melbourne Gaol Ghost Tour did that for me, I couldn’t stop thinking about the stories they told for days afterwards, and also all the creepy shit that happened. There are also tours in which you can visit the Melbourne City Watch House, as you participate in an experience set in the original cell block inhabited by the likes of Squizzy Taylor and Chopper Read. The Old Melbourne Gaol has a lot to offer and is a must-see for ghost hunters and history buffs alike.
4) Kangaroo Island
Only minutes away from the shoreline of South Australia, Kangaroo Island is a nature-packed travel getaway. With more kangaroos than people, the island is filled with an abundant range of animals. From sea lions to koalas, the island is not short of local creatures. Not only famous for its wildlife, the island also boasts a very large selection of local wineries and restaurants. Some 4,600 people live there, many of them descended from Islanders who have farmed the land and fished the seas for generations. The island is home to some of Australia’s greatest cuisine. I remember going there once as a kid and not being able to get over how beautiful it was, seeing something so well preserved was and always will be an amazing experience.