Get off the tourist trail

Australia is a vast country, though most visitors stay on the same tried and tested track, ticking off well-touristed pitstops along the way. But, of course, there’s plenty more to see beyond the usual Sydney, rock and reef holiday triangle. Here’s our pick of the best places to escape the crowds Down Under.


1. For wildlife: Mackay, Queensland

Surrounded by sugarcane and with a main street well shaded by tropical foliage, Mackay is a great base for visiting Eungella National Park.

This enchanting rainforest has rivers rich enough in platypus to make seeing one almost guaranteed. Your best chance is at Broken River, where the viewing platform is surrounded by ferns and vines – pack a picnic and wait a while in silence to see them.

Afterwards, take a hike on walking tracks through the trees, ideal for birdwatching and goanna spotting, or head back to town for a stroll along the golden sands of Harbour Beach.


2. For epic sunsets: Tower Hill, Victoria

Continue just a little further west from the Great Ocean Road and you’ll find this volcanic crater. Encircled by beds of ash, it’s a fertile green sanctuary that is home to koalas and kangaroos aplenty.

The guided walks from the visitor centre will introduce you to the wildlife, as well as to the Aboriginal history – and you’ll learn how to rustle up some bushtucker. But the sunset – best seen from the crater’s rim – is the main event. Stick around afterwards and join the guided night walk to see the fauna at its most active.