Australia is home to beautiful beaches, tropical rainforests, outbacks of rich ochre sands, and plenty of fresh watering holes to explore. What better time than now to take advantage of this diverse land and all it has to offer. If you find yourself with some spare time, here’s some of Australia’s best known gems and hidden oasis’ where you can go if you just need to get away for a little while.
About two hours south-east from Melbourne, Phillip Island is a very popular day trip location with an abundance of natural wonders. An endless coastline with lots of seaside villages, Phillip Island is home to lots of Australian wildlife including penguins who embark on their famous Penguin Parade each night, waddling their way along the beach at dusk. Phillip Island has many wild seas including one of Australia’s best beach breaks at Cape Woolamai, and if you want to take the plunge yourself, the best swimming can be found in the calm waters of Cowes beach.
Daylesford Mineral Springs.
Daylesford is located in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, approximately 1.5 hours from Melbourne. Daylesford has stunning scenery, great food spots and art galleries, but what this little town is most commonly known for is the gorgeous natural mineral springs. The springs in Daylesford and Hepburn Springs region were first used by Indigenous Australians for their special healing qualities, believed to heal many skin conditions. The closest mineral springs to Daylesford are the Wombat Flat Springs on King St or the Central Springs accessed via Fulcher St. Take the short drive out of the city and soak your worries away.
Yass Valley is located in the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales and is brimming with historical towns, outdoor adventure and a thriving wine region. Explore Australian history with a stop at the outdoor heritage museum in the main street of Gundaroo, then hit the wineries that make up the heart of Canberra’s wine district. If you are up for a bit of adventure, look no further than Carey’s Cave to explore 400 million year old limestone rock formations.
Lake Burley Griffin.
The centrepiece of Canberra, Lake Burley Griffin is something you can’t miss if you are in the nation’s capital, or simply passing through. Hire a bike and jump on one of many of the cycle paths that adorn the lake, stop in at one the many waterside cafes or enjoy some watersports including stand up paddle boarding, kayaking or sailing. Don’t leave Canberra without getting your feet a little wet in this water playground.
Byron Bay is a very well-known coastal town in Australia and Australia’s most easterly point. Home to the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse, the region is known for spectacular beaches, unique shopping and eclectic cafes. Explore the beaches by kayak, horseback or take surfing lessons, hike to the iconic lighthouse or treat yourself to a day at the spa, Byron Bay doesn’t disappoint!
102 square kilometres of ocean nestled on the southern coast of New South Wales with the whitest sands you have ever seen – welcome to Jervis Bay. Swim in the crystal clear waters, spot dolphins, whales and other sea life or explore the charming seaside towns and villages that surround the bay. Jervis Bay Village is the southern gateway to Booderee National Park, a peaceful spot full of white sand beaches and native wildlife for you to explore, or visit the Booderee Botanic Gardens where you can learn about bush tucker, medicinal uses of plants and the long association the Indigenous Koori people have with the sea and land of south-eastern Australia.
A popular destination for campers and bushwalkers, Mt Barney is approximately 130 kilometers south-west of Brisbane. Mt Barney is the seventh highest mountain in Queensland and is one of the most impressive parts of the scenic-rim. If you want to climb the whole mountain you might need more than a day trip – it can take over 8 hours to hike up the highest peak and back. But, rest assured, no matter your fitness level there is a trail for you at Mt Barney. Check out all the trails here and tips on how to be best prepared, or simply pack a picnic and set up alongside Mt Barney Creek.
Just one hour outside of Brisbane you will find one of Queensland’s secret treasures, Tamborine Mountain. There is so much to explore including bush walks, waterfalls, wineries, glow worm caves, markets and great restaurants. Nature lovers, thrill seekers and everyone in between can enjoy Tamborine Mountain. Take a rope course challenge, fossick for thunder eggs, do the tree top walk, swim in the rock pools or simply sit back and soak up nature, this mountain has something for everyone.
If you find yourself down in the southern end of the country living in Tasmania, be sure to check out Flinders Island for an experience of a lifetime. From sparkling beaches, to rugged ranges, wildlife and flora, and the jagged ‘mountains in the sea’, Flinders Island is a must see when in Tassie. Much of the landscape has stayed untouched since Matthew Flinders first explored this area over 200 years ago. Photograph wildlife, chase marlin, comb the beaches for treasures or if you are more adventurous you can even abseil down the steep granite cliffs.
An iconic wilderness experience awaits about four hours north-west of Hobart – Cradle Mountain. Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park is home to this iconic mountain and is part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area containing ancient palms, icy streams and glacial lakes. This area contains diverse landscapes including grassland, rainforest and many ancient pines as well as wildlife including quolls, platypus, echidna, several bird species and the famous Tasmanian Devil. Grab your hiking boots and prepare to be awed, Cradle Mountain will stun you.
Get your phone ready, you are about to enter one of the most Instagram worthy locations in South Australia. Second Valley offers stunning views of the ocean and unique geological formations. Located only 1.5 hours south of Adelaide, Second Valley is the southernmost tip of South Australia, on the mainland directly across from the famous Kangaroo Island. Second Valley is a very popular kayaking spot with plenty of caves, grottos and bays to explore, hire a kayak or stand up paddle board and get going.
Only 25 minutes from the capital of Western Australia, Perth, Swan Valley is a great place to unwind, but still experience the bustle of markets, live outdoor music, and great food. Jump on a fine wine trail, have a wildlife encounter, take a cooking masterclass or explore the area on foot or bike, Swan Valley has something for everyone. Plus, shop til you drop at local stores with local produce including honey, home-made jams, preserves, olive oils, sauces, dressings, spice mixes and desserts so you can take a little piece of Swan Valley home with you.
With so many beautiful areas a close drive away, it is a great time to holiday locally and visit some of Australia’s hidden gems or tick off some well-known tourist destinations you have been meaning to get to. By holidaying and shopping locally, you can help support Aussie communities and businesses get back on their feet.