Unique Places in Australia and Oceania

  • Rottnest Island
    by littlebush
  • Hinze Dam
    Hinze Dam
    by balhannah
  • Looking south from one of the headlands
    Looking south from one of the headlands
    by iandsmith

Most Viewed Off The Beaten Path in Australia and Oceania

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    Blue Mountains

    by nipper1 Updated Oct 1, 2005

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    and the Katoomba Region has breathtaking adventure for you and only a short trip of two hours from Sydney. expirience something special
    the steepest Railway trip, Hanggliding, Skywalk and many more outdoor adventure for the whole Family at your fingertips.

    Blue Mountain
    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Trains
    • Family Travel

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    Wollemi Pine leaf fossil

    by unravelau Updated Nov 5, 2006

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    Finding the fossils

    Australia, like other really old countries does spend some time and effort to find, highlight and preserve fossils when they're found. I am not what you would call 'up' on this topic but I do love our trees (you might have noticed my hugging habits elsewhere). This leaf fossil is of a comparitively new 'find' as it were, and is having some energy devoted to it now.

    The Wollemi pine tree is also known as the dinasour tree because it is reported to have been around during that era. This photo, was taken from an exhibit in Taronga Park Zoo, but I believe that the tree in its natural state can be found in the Blue Mountains. Google has lots of links for the Wollemi pine, the Government one is listed here for your reference.

    Fossil Wollemi pine
    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel
    • Zoo
    • Historical Travel

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    Stanwell Park 35 years ago..wonder how it looks

    by unravelau Updated May 28, 2010

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    to-day. So pleased that the slide lasted the distance and that the local camera shop was able to pull off a great print. Lovely area.

    This is a snippet taken from the site below:-

    Originally inhabited by the Wodi Wodi Aborigines the first Europeans to pass through the area, in 1797, were the survivors of the wreck of the Sydney Cove. Shortly afterwards George Bass travelled down the coast looking for other survivors. He discovered coal near Stanwell Park at Coalcliff.

    Looking down on Stanwell Park.
    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Beaches

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    Bus window photography -- otherwise you miss it

    by unravelau Written Feb 24, 2005

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    You cant always stop when on a tour, to take that one photograph that you really, really must have, so it might be worth your while to practice up.

    This one in New Zealand and the window wasn't the problem but the telegraph pole was a bit.

    NZ the beautiful
    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel
    • Road Trip
    • Eco-Tourism

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    Go to......the Coffs Harbour Oceanarium

    by unravelau Updated Nov 5, 2006

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    I have visited it myself a number of times but by far the most fun time that I had was at the expense of a friend who I captured being sealed by a kiss.......

    The Oceanarium or the Pet Porpoise pool as the locals call it guarantees a couple of shows a day with the dolphins as well as some interesting encounters with seals and other aussie natives.

    Sealed by a kiss
    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel
    • Aquarium
    • Family Travel

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    Victoria's Vacation Island: Phillip Island

    by ATXtraveler Written Jul 18, 2005

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    Phillip Island is a beautiful little island located an hour or two southeast of Melbourne. It is currently home to one of the largest colonies of Fairy Penguins, as well as a Koala Sanctuary and the home of the Phillip Island Motorcycle Grand Prix.

    This is a great location for a long day trip, or even a weekend away!

    For more information on Phillip Island, check out my page on the link below!

    Phillip Island

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    New Caledonia

    by nipper1 Updated Sep 30, 2005

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    Noumea the Capital of New Caledonia and since 1980 after riots, much has changed to the better, but still under French Rules
    all major Airlines servicing the Island but a Cruise from Australia is well worth to consider and Noumea is the Main Port.

    Noumea
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Beaches

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    The Real Great Barrier Reef City: Port Douglas

    by ATXtraveler Written Mar 4, 2008

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    With three people in the car on a roadtrip for 7 days, sometimes the conversation can get a little stale. After all, the average person can not save up enough to talk about and evenly distribute the conversation across the whole trip.

    This is not the case when you travel to Port Douglas and the surrounding areas. There was never more than 10 minutes without one of the three of us spotting an opportunity to point, comment wow, then proceed to inform the other two of the sight being witnessed.

    From a scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef, to a outback road drive to Cooktown, to a tropical rainforest canopy walk in Daintree National Park, a week in Port Douglas would never be enough. But alas, with 7 days.... we made the most of it!

    For more information on Port Douglas, please take a look at my page:

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    LET'S GO SPELUNKING AT WELLINGTON CAVES

    by AusPinay Updated Apr 30, 2008

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    Jenolan Caves in the BLue Mountains are famous but there are other caves which are equally interesting to explore.

    WELLINGTON CAVES are just one of these amazing caves system! We went spelunking on our way to DUBBO. (I
    shall talk about this soon too!)

    Though our main destination was Dubbo, taking the time to see the caves was well worth it!

    Apart from friendly tour guides, the caves also operates a cafe and a souvenir shop where we had our fill of good old freshly made Aussie meat pies and some drinks. It was packed when we got there but it didn't take long for our orders to get filled.

    According to the visitwellington website, here are some quick facts about the cave:


    The Cathedral Cave

    * Discovered and explored by G Rankin in 1823
    * Opened for public inspection in 1870
    * Illuminated with electricity in 1932
    * Length: 155 mtrs
    * Max height: 22 metres

    LOCATION and Contact Details:

    Wellington Caves and Phosphate Mine
    Caves Road
    Wellington, NSW 2820
    Toll Free: 1800 621 614
    Telephone: 02 - 6845 1733
    Fax: 02 - 6845 1989
    Email: tourism@wellington.nsw.gov.au
    Website: www.visitwellington.com.au

    As always, we didn't get lost as there were ample signs going to the caves in the main highway. We also did our research beforehand so we knew when the all-important turn off was ahead!

    Wellington itself is the second-oldest town west of the Blue Mountains, located 369 km north-west of Sydney and 304 m above sea-level. It is a relatively large centre having a population of about 5700 with a considerable, and increasing, Aboriginal population.

    According to http://www.traveldownunder.com.au/New_South_Wales/Explorer_Country/Wellington_Caves_&_Phosphate_Mine.asp, here are some info re the caves:

    In one cave, now known as the Bone Cave were found fossilised skeletons of many giant animals which roamed the Wellington valley millions of years ago. It is now reserved for the exclusive use of scientists from all parts of the world. Today, two caves are open for public inspection - the Cathedral Cave and the Gaden Cave.

    The Cathedral Cave is a vast area where visitors are confronted by a truly gigantic stalagmite, regarded as one of the largest in the world. This imposing formation rises from the dry earth covered floor to a height of about 15m and measures about 32m around the base. Illuminated by hidden lights, it has a majestic appearance and is popularly known as 'the Madonna'.

    The Gaden Cave is smaller in comparison to the Cathedral Cave, but has unusual and exquisite formations. In the grounds is a large aviary containing many colourful Australian birds

    . Tour times (Non school holiday period) Monday to Sunday

    Cathedral Cave: 10.00am, 12.30pm, 4.00pm Gaden Cave : 9.00am, 1.30pm Phosphate Mine: 11.00am, 2.30pm Tour times are subject to change without notice.

    Facilities include: Toilets, kiosk, undercover picnic area with coin operated barbecue facilities all set in pleasant surroundings, arts, crafts, crystals and gemstones.

    Wellington-Osawano Japanese Gardens are just across the road and are open daily from 9am to 4pm - Free entry.

    Go and explore this town with a wide main road, abundant trees in the park and quiet gardens.

    Cheers!

    one of the many limestone formations at the caves with my son (taking a break at the caves) Outside the front entrance to the caves The lovely welcome bush scenes outside the caves
    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Road Trip
    • Family Travel

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  • ATXtraveler's Profile Photo

    Melbourne's #1 Suburb - Toorak

    by ATXtraveler Updated Mar 4, 2008

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    Well, this tip is only in here since for 2005 through 2007, I will be residing in Toorak, which means you get the opportunity to see a little more of my favorite suburb within Melbourne.

    Toorak is actually too small to be considered in VT, so this page is dedicated to South Yarra, the area that is responsible for Chapel Street Shopping, the Toorak Village, and our house!

    If you are coming to Melbourne, make sure to send Sarah and I an email to meet you!

    Toorak

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    Exploring the Gold Coast / Surfers Paradise.

    by Odinnthor Updated Oct 14, 2009

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    I am often asked, when visiting Cairns, Arilie and Hamilton, - if the Gold Coast in general and Surfers Paradise in particular should be included. How can you not love a city with a name like Surfers Paradise. That really is the name, and it is in the center of the Gold Coast. It does indeed live up to its name. It was where I first attempted to surf to mostly comical effect. The Gold Coast/Surfers Paradise, is kinda reminicent of Miami Beach, for a lack of better comparison. But it does have a charm all its own. Even the names are reminicent of Miami Beach, like Palm Beach, Broadbeach, Main Beach, Mermaid Waters and Paradise Point. Most are on the Gold Coast Highway (2), which weers off the main highway (M1), around Tweed Heads in the south, and rejoins the M1 around Helensvale in the north. Up from the beach are extensive waterways, that include some highly coveted real estate. The activities available cover the spectrum. If you can think of it likely it is here. Check out the following website. Be safe and enjoy.
    http://www.surfersparadise.com/

    Related to:
    • Surfing

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    OUR GREAT AUSTRALIAN FINDS SOUTH OF SYDNEY

    by AusPinay Updated Mar 19, 2008

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    Going for a few days of holiday with our family of four is easy peasy if you know where to go. There are countless places to go to which are not necessarily written much about or popular with tourists. But only true locals know about them

    Some of our precious finds one school holiday were around south of Sydney. We were based in Kiama but still explored a lot of panoramic and interesting places like JAMBEROO,SADDLEBACK MOUNTAIN lookout and Minamurra Rainforest.

    The first one JAMBEROO is a quaint little attractive village in the Jamberoo Valley.

    It is surrounded by nature reserves and National Parks which are ideal for bushwalking and birdwatching.

    Jamberoo is tiny but charming village 113 km south of Sydney via the Princes Highway and 7 km west of Kiama.

    It is located in verdant, green dairy pasture, towering escarpments, and rolling hills typical of many rainforests. One such place we explored was the superb MINAMURRA RAINFOREST.

    IN one website promoting the KIAMA region, SADDLEBACK MOUNTAIN LOOKOUT was described like this and we totally agree as we didn't get lost following its directions :

    About 2 km east of Jamberoo, Fountaindale Road branches off to the south. Saddleback Mountain Lookout lies along this route. The turnoff is signposted. Eventually you will reach a T-intersection. A road to Kiama leads to the left and the lookout reserve is to the right. It is open from 8-4 daily. There is one lonely table for picnickers and a concrete slab noting distances and directions to other locales.

    The reserve itself is modest but the mountain, which is the point where the escarpment turns into a series of foothills which run down to the sea, offers one of the most dramatic and interesting views on the whole of the south coast. From Saddleback you can see north to the steelworks of Wollongong, south to Jervis Bay and inland to the edges of Jamberoo and the Kangaroo Valley.

    From there, we proceeded to MINAMURRA RAINFOREST, a surviving remnant of subtropical rainforest (400 hectares) at Minnamurra Falls Reserve, declared in 1903.

    We took the walking track, in its entirety, which was 4.2 km and took us about two hours. Trust me, you have to be totally FIT to negotiate the steep walkways!

    There are two parts to this walk: the Rainforest Loop Walk (1.6 km) and the Falls Walk (an additional 2.6 km). The latter can only be reached via the former and so, in order to see the falls, the entire 4.2 km walk must be undertaken. There are information posts along the way.

    Minnamurra Reserve has two falls, one a 50-metre and one a 25-metre-drop into a narrow rainforest gorge where ferns and vines grow in profusion under the dense canopy.There is a raised wooden pathway along the route, which protects the environment and makes it wheelchair accessible. The gradient is suitable for children and the elderly and there is interpretive signposting along the way.

    Trees include the sandpaper fig, used by Aborigines to sand their wooden tools, the Illawarra fig tree, a giant stinging tree, its leaves covered in fine hairs that are saturated with concentrated acids for self-protection, red cedar, cabbage tree palms, bush cherry and staghorns.

    Platypus and lyrebirds (which we actually spotted there) live in the reserve and, occasionally, an eastern water dragon can be seen basking on the rocks.

    No camping is allowed but there are picnic facilities and the kiosk is open daily. The charge for private vehicles is $9.90 per car. Other rates apply for large-scale educational visits. All monies are reinvested in the site.

    the majestic Minamurra Falls at SADDLEBACK MT. LOOKOUT the view at the lookout entrance to Minamurra Rainforest at the museum at Minamurra
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Adventure Travel
    • Road Trip

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    MOUNTAIN JOURNEY with a DIFFERENCE at MT. TOMAH

    by AusPinay Updated Mar 19, 2008

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    "Mount Tomah Botanic Garden lies on a basalt-capped peak in the rugged Blue Mountains. Being 1000 metres above sea level and having rich volcanic soil and a cool climate make the site ideal for one of the world's finest collections of cool-climate plants." This is how their website described it and we totally love it here!

    We've been here several times and there's always something new to see every season we come here! The best times to go are spring and winter, but summer and autumn are equally fab too!

    Not to mention the delicious food at their cafe/restaurant with breathtaking views, that's why we keep coming back. There are also lush picnic grounds or if you prefer, picnic tables with barbecue facilities.

    The collection of native and foreign species of plants, trees and even animals are truly amazing! We spotted lizards while bushwalking there one time. We also came to pick chestnuts here (free), we never knew how prickly the outside of these nuts were!

    Features of the Garden:

    * Conifer and Rhododendron Collections
    * Gondwana Garden
    * Rock Garden
    * Formal Garden
    * Rainforest Walk and Viewing Platform
    * Plant Explorers Walk
    * Spectacular Spring and Autumn Displays

    FACILITIES:

    Visitor Centre/Book Shop Education Centre
    Picnic Areas BBQs
    Restaurant Guided Walks
    Weddings Functions
    Wheelchair access to the Visitor Centre, Formal Garden as well as some paths through the Garden.

    LOCATION:The Garden is 105 km west of Sydney (see map below). There is a charge for admission (we paid $14 for our family of 4) and concessions are available. Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens admitted free. Guided tours available by arrangement. Bookings for groups may be made by telephoning the Garden.

    Details:
    Mount Tomah Botanic Garden
    Bells Line of Road via Bilpin 2758
    105 km west of Sydney (12 km west of Bilpin)
    In the beautiful Blue Mountains

    Entry Times:

    * 10 am - 4pm March - September
    * 10 am - 5pm October - February
    * Closed Christmas Day

    GO SEE IT, YOU WON'T BE SORRY!

    The inspiring koi pond at one of the many picnic areas Giant rhodendrons With my honey in one of our many walks there a bit of rest for my boys
    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Adventure Travel
    • Family Travel

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    WALK AMONG THE AMAZING TREETOPS!

    by AusPinay Updated Jul 7, 2008

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    Walking high above the treetops in the Australian warm temperate rainforest of the southern highlands is probably one of our most memorable experiences as a family! We drive almost every school holiday to the south coast and our latest find is certainly something I am eager to share to the world!

    The first weekend of the July school holidays saw us trek to the relatively new 500 metres long Illawarra Fly Tree Top Walk, constructed in February 2008 with walking towers from 10 to 45 metres above the forest floor!

    You will literally walk among the treetops of the most amazing eucalypts (gum trees) you will ever see- ancient year old trees and lovely ferns of various species.

    For AUD$49 for a family of four, the reward is not just a healthy workout as you make your way to the start of the tower via lush green surroundings with adorable native Aussie animals like the wombats, koalas and other birds. You get to glimpse sweeping views of the rolling cliffs, scenic hills and vast valleys beneath you from the fly walk.

    Aside from the gum trees, favourite food of our koalas, you will find other tree and plant species like native mulberries with shiny leaves offering prominent veins and lovely fruits in summer for the birds.

    The 11 towers, spanning about 40 metres each between them, has three support cables for stability and used about 400 cubic metres of concrete for the footings so be assured they are sturdy indeed!

    It is not just the natural beauty that stuck me about thi place but the way the builders made sure this man-made structure has little impact on the environment. Very little of the forest below has been cleared and excessive noise and litter are discouraged so as not to disturb its inhabitants!

    The tallest tower, aptly called "Knights Towers" is 45 metres high and is negotiated via a narrow spiral staircase and is truly the highest point of this Treetop Walk which offers fantastic views of the Illawarra escarpment, especially the tranquil beaches from afar !Based on my own experience,t those with a fear of heights should stick to the less "scary" towers standing 10 to 26 metres above the forest floor.


    Our boys had a ball climbing the steps here but it must be noted, extreme caution should be exerted as the steep climb can be difficult for those with young kids and /or babies. I notice a few strollers (still with the babies on them!) left near the entrance to the tower, with their mothers of course!

    The Visitor's Centre here also has a souvenir shop, cafe and toilets. Most attractions anywhere in Australia are fully equipped with centres like this to give information about the site and other helpful tips.

    For those who are not so mobile (the paths to the treetop walk are rough, winding and can be steep at some points), there is a shuttle service every half an hour (the ride is like a golf buggy carrying a few passengers only).

    (I have posted this in the off the beaten path section as it is a relatively new attraction in NSW, Australia and is set to be a popular tourist must see destination!)

    This place is around 10 minutes from Robertson, at the southern highlands of New South Wales, about an hour and half's drive from Sydney.

    This is both an educational, family-friendly and environmentally healthy trip anyone can do!

    Walk among the treetops,45 mts fr the forest floor going to the fly walk amidst a lovely forest teh entrance to the treetop walk forest top views from the towers Walking among the treetops,10 to 45 metres high
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Jungle and Rain Forest
    • School Holidays

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    State of Victoria

    by olja1234 Updated Sep 4, 2009

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    Another beach

    This is another beauteful beach we visited. I admired a tiny light sand, full of shells, different shapes. It is divine to walk bare-foot along the beach. The water was quite warm, but the level was very low there.

    The beach

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Australia and Oceania Off The Beaten Path

Reviews and photos of Australia and Oceania off the beaten path posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Australia and Oceania sightseeing.
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