only-in-australia-the-best-of-our-own-backyard

Australian Traveller showcases what it means to be 'Aussie'

Published
13 May 2022
only-in-australia-the-best-of-our-own-backyard

No matter how far you travel around the world, it's impossible to beat your own backyard!

In fact, as Australian Traveller magazine highlighted earlier this year, when it comes to this ‘big brown land' of ours, try as we might, there are soo many places you won’t find anywhere else!

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To help you pick a path toward some of Australia’s most unique destinations with awe-inspiring attractions, enjoy this list of places you probably already know about, but have never quite managed to see.

What are you waiting for? Make this year the year you do!

Uluru, NT

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Famous for changing colour according to the time of the day, from blush pink, bright orange  to deep red, Uluru (or Ayer’s Rock as many would still know it) is a classic of the Australian tourism landscape
 
A mountain of voluptuous rock so vast and dramatic that even repeat visitors remain awestruck, Uluru is the largest and most famous monolith in the world - meaning there is no single rock formation as large as Uluru, anywhere!
 
Often described as ‘the spiritual heart of Australia,’ the 550 million-year-old rock still plays a significant part in the cultural ancestry of its traditional owners, the Anangu, who have lived inside Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park for tens of thousands of years. Any trip here should begin with a visit to the Cultural Centre, where tours and activities can easily be organised.
 

Great Barrier Reef, QLD

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Despite the gloom and doom of recent years, the Great Barrier Reef still looks like a bejewelled work of art set in resin. It’s also massive! 

Officially one of the seven wonders of the world, it stretches over an incredible 346,000 square kilometres (or 70 million football fields) and remains one of the ‘richest and most complex natural ecosystems on Earth.’

That’s according to Dr. David Wachenfeld, who is the chief scientist at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) which works closely with tourism operators to safeguard the world’s largest reef ecosystem. He also says that after four years of what he describes as ‘benign weather’ the reef is ‘showing strong signs of recovery in many places.’

Could now be the best time ever to explore one of Australia’s greatest assets? 

Parks to consider:

Cooktown Holiday Park

Lake Placid Rainforest Retreat

NRMA Cairns Holiday Park

Crystal Cascade Caravan Park

Barrier Reef Tourist Park

Kurrimine Beach Holiday Park

First City Caravilla

Mission Beach Hideaway Holiday Village

Stockton Bight Sand Dunes, NSW

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The shifting sands of Stockton Bight Sand Dunes could easily have been lifted from the Middle East. However, the huge undulating dunes, which ebb and flow according to the wind, are very much Australian.

Close to Anna Bay in Port Stephens, according to Andrew Smith, the CEO of the Worimi Local Aboriginal Land Council, who are the traditional custodians, these are ‘the largest coastal dunes in the southern hemisphere.’

“To the Worimi people, these dunes are the cultural equivalent of Uluru. Occupational evidence is abundant and the stories have never left this land. Rather they have drifted across the landscape with the sands, to be picked up again and shared with all visitors by the Worimi, who have rightfully returned home to their mother.”

Be sure to check out a range of council-approved adventure tours that include traversing the dunes on everything from quad bikes to camels!

Parks to consider:

Ingenia Holidays Middle Rock

Ingenia Holidays One Mile Beach

Great Ocean Road, VIC

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The beauty of the Great Ocean Road is well known. 

In addition to its landmark limestone cliffs, the 12 Apostles and fingers of land that jut out into wild seascapes, Great Ocean Road marketing manager, Lee Malady, says that this part of south-west Victoria also has “great surf breaks, family-friendly beaches, wildlife parks, artisanal producers, quirky cafes, art galleries, breweries and distilleries.”

Named the ‘World’s Most Beautiful Road Trip Route’ in 2021 by Instagram thanks to 1.3 million hash-tagged images, holiday itineraries in this region have become ever-more-expansive, cementing the Great Ocean Road’s status as one of Australia’s greatest assets. 

Parks to consider:

Great Ocean Road Tourist Park

Apollo Bay Holiday Park

Kennett River Family Caravan Park

Lorne Foreshore Caravan Park

Anglesea Family Caravan Park

Torquay Foreshore Caravan Park

Ingenia Holidays Torquay

Carnarvon National Park, QLD

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The scale of Carnarvon National Park is best appreciated from above. 

Russell Nobbs, the CEO and chief pilot of Heli-Central, says exploring the Maranoa region from the air is the best way to study its topography and understand its sheer size. 

“When you head skyward, it’s magic. You get to see the great vastness of the Carnarvon, with its prehistoric cycads and towering cliffs the way it would have been when the dinosaurs roamed the Earth!” 

With soaring sandstone formations, Carnarvon National Park has more than 2,000 recorded examples of Aboriginal rock art, and is a top spot for bushwalking. The biosphere is also home to more than 175 bird species, 22 kind of frogs and 90 types of reptiles!

Parks to consider:

Roma Big Rig Tourist Park

Bailey Bar Caravan Park

Kati-Thanda-Lake Eyre, SA

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Australia’s largest salt lake is a sight to behold.

Like walking on the surface of the moon at times, the landscape around Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre, which at 15 metres below sea-level is Australia’s lowest point, changes from daybreak to dusk. 

Stand on its edge during a monsoon and a pink hue caused by algae will not be an uncommon sight. Bird lovers will also be aware that the entire lake is a breeding site for waterbirds tolerant of a high level of salinity, such as pelicans, silver gulls, red-necked avocets, banded stilts and gull-billed terns.

Parks to consider:

Opal Inn Caravan Park

Rawnsley Park Station

Discovery Parks - Roxby Downs

Cradle Mountain, TAS

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It’s acknowledged by locals that Mother Nature saved some of her finest work for Tasmania.

World Expeditions guide, Joe Lodge agrees, explaining that the area around Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park received its World Heritage status because it conserves a diverse range of both natural and cultural features of outstanding global significance. 

“It’s very humbling to be guiding people through an area that provides a very small snapshot of a much bigger story," he says. "This is a glacial landscape with an uplift of land that wascarved out by glaciers about 20,000 years ago. Cradle Mountain is as wild and rugged as it is beautiful and serene.”

Parks to consider:

Discovery Parks - Cradle Mountain

Hellfire Bay, WA

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Hellfire Bay, near Esperance, is often rated as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

A simply stunning 600-metre-long crescent of powder-white sand, it’s surrounded by the most turquoise water imaginable in Western Australia’s Golden Outback

Also backed by the granite peak of Mt. Le Grand, which rises from the coastal plains of Cape Le Grand National Park, the resulting symphony is not to be missed. 

HeliSpirit pilot Jy Goyne choppers guests over the deserted beach and couldn’t agree more. 

“We get a great perspective of Hellfire Bay during our scenic flight from Esperance. It’s one of the most stunning stretches of coastline in the world.”

Parks to consider:

Esperance Bay Holiday Park

Read the full Australian Traveller article 'Australia's greatest attractions you won't find anywhere else' here.

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