Unique Places in Australia

  • Hinze Dam
    Hinze Dam
    by balhannah
  • Looking south from one of the headlands
    Looking south from one of the headlands
    by iandsmith
  • Orange threadtail damselfly
    Orange threadtail damselfly
    by iandsmith

Most Viewed Off The Beaten Path in Australia

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    Montville

    by iandsmith Updated Sep 10, 2013

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    Situated on the escarpment of the Blackall Ranges just over an hour from Brisbane, this town is made-to-measure for those who want to put their feet up, enjoy wonderful views towards the Pacific Ocean, sip some afternoon tea and then shop your little heart out.
    It's one of those arty-crafty villages that has blossomed as tourists to the nearby Sunshine Coast (Noosa Heads to Caloundra) seek something different from the daily humdrum of going to the beach.
    The slightly cooler temperatures as the wind wafts across the ridge and the large variety of wares make this a place to pinpoint on your Australian journey.
    You should be warned however, that in holiday times it can get packed, locals love the place and with good reason.

    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Women's Travel
    • Family Travel

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    The Warrumbungle

    by iandsmith Updated Sep 9, 2013

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    Just 30 kilometres out of Coonabarabran in western N.S.W. lies a wonderful cluster of old volcanic plugs.
    These are the central remnants of volcanoes that dotted the area millions of years ago and have been left prominent after the softer slopes have been washed away and eroded over the millenia.
    This area is popular with Australians who like to indulge in that wonderful Aussie pastime, bushwalking.
    There are plenty of birds, especially in late winter and early spring when the wildflowers are in bloom, lots of wildlife, clear air and lots of scenic photo opportunities.
    It is a National Park and it cost $7 per day per vehicle to get in unless you're a pensioner and it costs you nothing. There's also a modest $5 per person if you want to camp overnight.
    In 2013 there were terrible bushfires that rent the area; among other things the information centre was razed to the ground. You need to check first before going there to see what is open and what is still shut. As of writing (mid 2013), 90% of the park was closed.
    There are some lovely camping grounds in the park and heaps of accommodation both in the town and on the route out to the park.
    This picture shows Belougery Spire (left), the Breadknife (in shadow) and Crater Bluff.
    This shot was taken on the Split Rock Walk (see my Coonabarabran pages) but you can walk up to these on the Grand High Tops walk. It takes about 5 hours round trip and is not recommended in summer.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Birdwatching
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Hutt River Province

    by wise23girl Updated Jan 8, 2013

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    This province is surrounded by Australia....Western Australia to be precise....Had you heard about it? Many have not but there are those who are interested in how this was achieved.

    "Hutt River is an Independent Sovereign State having seceded from Australia
    on the Twenty First Day of April 1970 and is of comparable size to Hong Kong
    (not the New Territories).

    The Principality consists of undulating farmland well covered in places
    with a wealth of shrubs and glorious wildflowers".

    Do read my page The Hutt River Province as well as the Official Website.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip

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    JACKAROOS and JILLAROOS

    by balhannah Written Nov 9, 2012

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    A Jackaroo is a male farm worker and a Jillaroo, a female farm worker, both who do a lot of outdoor work on cattle and sheep stations. Some of their jobs are caring for livestock and treating minor injuries and illness, they need to be able to maintain station equipment and inspect, repair or replace fences, gates and yards, maintain vehicles and heavy machinery and undertake farming work. Mustering is a big part of their duties, and nowdays this is done by Motorbikes, 4wdrives or Helicopters, instead of the more traditional Horseback.
    I guess it would be the Jillaroo who would assist with light household duties and perhaps clerical duties.

    To see these in action, you need to go more into the "outback" of Australia. There are tours that you can do, and if you are interested, there are Jackaroo & Jillaroo schools.
    The largest and longest-running school is Leconfield Station, and guess what, a lot of backpackers sign up for the course. They are taught the realities of life on a cattle ranch, from mustering and whip cracking, to lassoing and fencing. If you haven't ridden a Horse before, you may be saddle sore after spending up to six hours a day on horseback.
    There are about 5,000 jackaroos in Australia, but more are being trained to meet a desperate shortage of "ringers," the name given to experienced stockmen.

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    Waa Gorge

    by iandsmith Updated Oct 8, 2012

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    This rarely visited gem is one of Australia's hidden treasures. Located between Narrabri and Moree it's not that hard to get to but it takes time and you can't visit there when it's wet.
    Having said that it rates in any list of Australian gorges, or should if people knew it existed.
    The drive in from the Narrabri end is worth the detour alone. Visually panoramic, it compels you to stop every so often to take a photo.
    On the final 19 kms after the turnoff, it simply gets better and better, and it doesn't stop until you actually reach the gorge itself. For anyone with time who wants to have an unforgettable moment, this place is a must.
    For full details see my Narrabri pages.
    This shot wasn't taken on the main track but scaling a hill on the other side. However, it gives you some indication of how good it is.
    The walk takes about one and a half hours.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Bretti Reserve

    by iandsmith Updated Jan 31, 2012

    On the newly paved road from Gloucester to Walcha, called Thunderbolts Way after and infamous bushranger, there are some camping spots the like of which you would see in your dreams.
    One such spot is called Bretti Reserve and it sits idyllically beside a picturesque mountain stream. Well, it's actually in the valley here but you get the picture.
    Located just a few kilometres north of the hamlet of Barrington it is one of three designated places. On long weekends and school holidays they are packed but, any other time you will have them pretty much to yourself.
    For a get-away-from-it-all experience, Bretti is hard to beat though Gloryvale is really nice as well.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Road Trip
    • Camping

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    SMALL-OZ TRAIN TRIPS FOR "TRAIN BUFFS" #1

    by DennyP Updated Jan 21, 2012

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    SMALL-UNIQUE OZ TRAIN TRIPS
    Wherever I go whether it is here in OZ or abroard I always take the opportunity to take a local but different train journey. Here I can write about a few great little train journeys that I have taken here while travelling in OZ. Although most are OFF the beaten path they can be reached with not much troube.They are definately train trips that you would love also if you are a bit of a "train buff." Anyone can really enjoy these small train rides if you have the time and you are in their location.

    STATE OF QUEENSLAND:
    THE GULFLANDER Located in the "Gulf Country" of far north western Queensland in the Gulf of Carpentaria is a little town called Normanton . Here you will find a really unique rail experience and as the names suggests you will find the Gulflander train. The Gulflander is a "motorail train" and its history is interesting especially how the rail network was laid down to beat the monsoonal floods that hit the area annually. After a lot of contoversy over its route the line was finally finished in 1891.
    Known locally as the" tin hare" this truly is a wonderful little train just so full of character as is the area.The train does its run from Normanton station to Croydon a distance of some 152 kilometers taking 5 hours.then returns the next day. The time I travelled on this train I returned the same afternoon by bus to Normanton. The journey is a pleasant one and the driver will stop the train for you if you see a photo opportunity.The train stops at some remote properties and delivers goods from town , one such stop entailed a set of new" branding irons" on my trip.This train has been in continuous operation since its inception in in 1891.. This for me was great train journey and one I would repeat if I got the chance.
    Tickets available at the Normanton Railway Station or info at: www.traveltrain.com
    BOOK IN ADVANCE

    STATE OF QUEENSLAND
    THE KURANDA SCENIC RAILWAY is a short journey but a really scenic one. The train leaves twice daily from Cairns Central Railway Station on what is a truly scenic one crossing many bridges and lovely picturesque waterfalls along its short route as it climbs 300 meters up the mountain and into the rainforrest. The Engine of the train is painted in bright colours and are classic aboriginal scenes of the "dream time" and the carriages are all kept in the old style of the original period.
    Along its journey here is a talking documentary of building the train line and the incredible difficulties that the workers had with the heat , disease, and the weather in its construction. The short journey is just under 40 kilometers filled with constant photo opportunities along the way especially at a ten minute stop at the Hooker Falls. It is here the train stops enabling its passengers to enjoy the wonderful panorama of the falls especially in the wet season. The journey terminates in the rainforrest town of Kuranda and the coolness is so noticeable after the humidity of Cairns City.
    Tickets available at Cairns Central or Information at: www.traveltrain.com
    BOOK IN ADVANCE

    STATE OF VICTORIA
    THE PUFFIN BILLY Last time that I visited my friend in Melbourne I asked if we could fit in a ride on the "Puffin Billy". This was one of those really popular train trips that are great to do and one that I was eager to do...
    As it was a really lovely day we drove to Belgrave township to where the little steam engine was located got in line and booked our tickets and as it was quite crowded we waited for our next train!!.The journey takes you from the township of Belgrave to Gembrook some 24 kilometers and to an altitude of 312 meters.( 1020ft.). Belgrave is 42 kilometers (26 miles) from Melbourne by train. (easy to get to).
    I was really unaware that there were many small trains operating that sunday and luckily I got the steam engine out to and a diesel locomotive back.. A really enjoyable journey up through the huge forrests of the Dandenong Ranges.The journey takes you over wooden trestles and through lovely green fertile farmland stopping along the way for locals to board the train and disembark. The journey itself is through the most lovely countryside but Don't go on a Sunday or a school holiday!!! there were just so many youngsters on the open sided trains with legs hanging out ...I was really surprised that they were not told of the dangers or reprimanded by their near sighted parents.
    The Puffin' Billy train network is run by a team of volunteers that admiringly maintain a few lovely small steam and deisel engines along with their old period open sided carriages. The train system constantly needs a huge amount of maintenance ,not only the engines and rolling stock but lines and bridges and also the wooden trestles.My trip was surely a great little trip. Their is a charge but the money goes towards the upkeep of the network.
    GETS REALLY CROWDED BUT I BOOKED ON THE DAY...JUST HAD TO WAIT A WHILE!!
    RUNS EVERYDAY EXCEPT CHRISTMAS DAY.
    information at: www.puffingbilly.com.au phone (613) 9757 0700
    Specially designed carriages for Disabled Passengers can be accomodated in wheel chairs.

    STATE OF TASMANIA
    THE DON RIVER RAILWAYLocated just outside Devenport in Tasmania is another of those great little railways that wouldn't be there if it wasn't for an army of volunteers. I was truly amazed at the size of the operation so many dedicated people here were running. The maintenance sheds are huge with a vast collection of mainly steam but also deisel and motorail stock...truly fantastic to just walk through the maintenance shed( with permission) and talk to the many workers changing huge engines and polishing brass etc. This particular bunch of railway enthusisast have over the years obtained the greatest collection of steam engines from 1879 to 1951 along with the best collection of railway carriages and rolling stock fro1864 to 1964 in all of Tasmania.. This is truly an amzing workshop to have a peek around.!!They are all only to glad to have a quick chat about the" trains in shop."
    I had only come across this by chance as the railways across Tasmania have long been disbanded. The trains running that day depend on what they have available!..The day I visited there was a unique little motorail on the run painted in a pleasant red and cream livery this looked so well maintained..Although the trip was a short one of some 20 miles or so I was one of only a half a dozen passengers in my carriage. They stations are still also well maintained and have a post office and a gift shop with various souvenirs. I would love to return to this site again in the near future.This was amost enjoyable day here..
    I booked my ticket at the station on the day..
    Information at: www.donriverailway.com.au Phone (03) 6424 6335
    Open from 10 am till 4.00 pm Everyday except Good Friday and Xmas Day

    BACK AGAIN SOON.......... MORE TO WRITE YET AS IT BECOMES AVAILABLE.!!!

    Related to:
    • Trains
    • Beer Tasting
    • Historical Travel

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    The Gorge or Clarence Gorge

    by iandsmith Written Jan 19, 2012

    The Nymboida River is known as one of Australia's wild rivers. White water rafting, canoeing and fishing are common activities on its surface but, just after it reaches its confluence with the Clarence it becomes temporarily impassable due to a sheer drop called simply "The Gorge" or "Clarence Gorge".
    This place is where those wishing to escape the city and spend time bushwalking, fishing or canoeing will find happiness.
    You can camp beside the river and listen to the soft rush of the waters as the moon rises over the glorious valley.
    You can also overnight in "The Shack" where you'll need to bring your own linen. It sleeps up to 12 at a pinch and has bathroom and laundry facilites as well as a kitchen.
    Access is via tar then dirt road and you need to allow about an hour from Grafton and it's not advisable while it's raining or immediately after rain. Otherwise it's not too bad by Australian standards.
    There are properties either side of the gorge where you can stay. I've only been on the south side and that's home to Neil and Sue Winters.
    I walked from their house all the way to the gorge and a little beyond. It's a pleasant flat walk and, it the river has some fresh in it, the falls can be spectacular.
    Neil also does boat trips that take you right up to the falls except if there's a lot of water coming d own and then it's too dangerous. He also has hire boats for fishing.
    The property is over 8,300 acres and has over 10 kilometres of river frontage.

    Read more: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/p/m/21affb/#ixzz1jyDZMlXP

    Related to:
    • Fishing
    • Camping
    • Hiking and Walking

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    The mistletoe on the tree

    by iandsmith Updated Jan 19, 2012

    This tree is more than just a tree. It is actually riddled with mistletoe. Mistletoe is a parasitical plant that may eventually kill the host tree by weakening it to a degree where it is vulnerable to diseases.
    It is transported from tree to tree by the mistletoe bird. It's a pretty bird with a scarlet chest and black wings that make it instantly recognizable. The mistletoe bird eats the seeds of the mistletoe, can't get rid of them properly because they're sticky and so wipes its backside on the branch of the tree and leaves the seed behind.
    The reddish colours in this tree represent the mistletoe so you can clearly ascertain just how far it has spread in this case.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Road Trip
    • Birdwatching

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    John Hart Conservatory

    by iandsmith Updated Dec 24, 2011

    Tucked away in the middle of the City Park (originally called the People's Park) in Launcestion is an attractive building that, for me, deserves more publicity, particularly if you're visiting in spring.
    The reason is that inside is a glorious array of orchids in a multitude of colours and you can view them all for free.
    The conservatory dates from 1820 which gives some idea of how wealthy Launceston was even from the early days. The Ciry Park itself was developed originally by the Launceston Horticultural Society and handed over to the city itself in 1863.

    The John Hart Conservatory is open weekdays from 8.30am - 4.30pm and weekends from 9.00am - 4.30pm (April - September) and from 9.00am - 5.30pm (October - March).

    Related to:
    • Seniors
    • Women's Travel
    • Architecture

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    Stitts Falls Tasmania

    by iandsmith Written Dec 23, 2011

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    . After recuperation I thought I’d duck down and see Stitt Falls; after all they’re right below the carpark, you can hear them roaring......or so I thought.
    I only had my sandals on and what I thought would be an easy 100 metres was turning into a nightmare as I plunged on through the narrow boggy trail trying desperately not to dirty my clean feet. After what seemed an eternity I broke out next to a football field and wondered where to next.
    Spotting a bridge I determined that must be it and wandered over. It wasn’t, but two locals walking their dogs laughed when I told them where I’d come from and said they’d taken that trail the first time they’d moved here but never again. “You just go across the bridge, up the road and turn right down the main road and you’re back at the park”. Mmm, it’s all very easy when you know how.
    They also said the falls were a few minutes further down, past the footy field so I wandered down beneath the spectacular railway bridge and finally saw what turned out to be an excellent drop with bucket loads of water cascading over.
    At some time it looked like someone’s clothesline had been caught in the torrent with a line and a couple of clothing items scattered far below on the cliffs. No wonder they hadn’t retrieved them.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park
    • Family Travel

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    Cape Hauy (continued)

    by iandsmith Updated Sep 29, 2011

    I was reminded of pop music, “wet, wet, wet” came into my head as the sky darkened all across the horizon and here I was, nearly two hours from base.
    Where once there were left over puddles from the morning showers, now there were ponds. In places I had to side step the trail to avoid them. Though I had a spray jacket it, too, slowly seeped moisture until I reached the two hours return sign again. By then I was saturated well and truly, no longer imagining how much smarter I’d been than those who left early.
    There was a couple in their thirties there, wondering whether to proceed or not. They had only just finished the 5 day Overland Track 2 days ago and it had been fine the whole way. Now they were thinking of quitting this minor walk such was the weather.
    Within another ten minutes my boots started to squelch. What does it matter when
    everything including your underwear is wringing wet? It’s just a noise.
    The track was a series of rivulets but luckily the rocks were grippy still so walking was still okay if a little uncomfortable.
    As if to taunt me, just ten minutes from the motorhome it all stopped and the sun splayed on various parts of Fortescue Bay.
    Every item of clothing went into the bath, hopefully to dry a little sometime in the next few days because I’ve since found it the bad weather is here for another day at least.
    I later motored around to Remarkable Cave but the full power of the wind made photography nigh on impossible and the rain definitely cancelled that option out.
    Feeling tired, I went to bed and woke about an hour later suffering hypothermia, even though I had had a doona over me. Was this really summer?
    These days the track has had a makeover and is part of the Three Capes walk that has been funded and proper walking trails have been put in, initially to Cape Hauy.

    Related to:
    • Birdwatching
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking

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    savannah way

    by lynee Updated Jul 18, 2011

    http://www.savannahway.com.au/ is the government web page which is always a good starting point for info.

    Definitely stay at Katherine and go on a trip up the gorges, I liked Fitzroy crossing, go to Geike Gorge and Tunnel creek. Kunnunurra is intersting for a few day stop, intersting rock formations (hidden Valley) with good bushwalk.Do a detour to Lawn Hill. must not miss this place, magical.Go up to Karumba, best sunsets,chilligo has nice caves, go to Undarra Lava tubes.
    These were my favorite places along this route. Will tell you about caravan parks later, when I find that info. I assume you have a 4wd and will not be travelling in the middle of the wet. Have done this route in sept, oct, and it was OK

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    Badger Weir Bushwalk and picnic ground

    by TravelPossom Written Jun 16, 2011

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    I think this place is a hidden gem. Located in Healsville, Victoria, it is a temperate rainforest where you can experience the less typical Australian bush. It also has a great picnic area, is completely free (uncommon in Australia I'm sorry to say), and if you're quiet you can see native animals in the wild such as parrots, lyrebirds, kangaroos, goannas and kookaburras. This can se paired with a visit to Healsville Sanctuary, another great experience to see Australian native wildlife in a great setting. Great for children too!

    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking

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    A natural bath at the beach

    by marcia1 Updated Apr 4, 2011

    Coogee Beach in Sydney is not the most touristy of beaches and is a nice, easy swimming beach. Regularly serviced by buses and has plenty of eateries in the area. There is a coastal cliff walk (cliff pictured) and at the southern end of the beach a park and ... A really cool natural pool hewn from the rock that is for women bathers only! (Sorry, guys.) It's called McIver's Baths or just the Coogee Women's Baths will get you there. Needless to say, it's salt water, it's sheltered, and a whole range of women use it. Even the odd little coloured anemone has colonised this pool so it'll really get you in touch with nature. There's a short, nice walk to get there with some plantlife to see, but I think accessibility for the disabled might be limited. There used to be a men's bath I think at the north end of the beach, run by an avant-garde masseuse dude in the 1930s, but this ain't there no more... However, anyone can still go and slosh around under the sea-spray in what remains of a "pool" there. That pool is very very natural in that the waves slosh right over the rocks and into it, and there's no signage or changing rooms as at the women's one.

    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Water Sports
    • Women's Travel

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