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Must visit secret spots when travelling Australia

Want to find the hidden gems tour guides don’t tell you about? Skip the queues and crowds, experience Australia off-grid with our guide to travelling Australia
By · March 5, 2024
Must visit secret spots when travelling Australia

The hidden gems tour guides don’t tell you about.

Six states, two territories, eight capital cities and heaps of history, culture, and community - Australia certainly isn't short on places to visit.

While tourist spots like the Sydney Opera House, The Great Ocean Road, Uluru and The Great Barrier Reef are all well worth a visit, the best, most memorable places are often those that are off the beaten track.

In this article we’re sharing some lesser known, but equally impressive travel spots across Australia. If organic experiences in nature, staying away from the queues and crowds and experiencing Australia like a local is your kind of thing, keep reading.

Hideaway Bay, Dingo Beach

The first spot on our list of Aussie must-dos is a place almost every Australian tourist or traveller has heard about: the Whitsundays.

While Airlie Beach, Hamilton Island, and Daydream Island are all popular spots for family vacays and backpacker stopovers, our pick is a little less populated.

If you’re searching for the famous heart-shaped reef, the sugary white sands of Whitehaven beach, or a buzzing party boat, this location may not be for you.

Hideaway Bay, Dingo Beach is a sleepy stopover tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the Whitsunday tourist track.

Located at Edgecumbe Bay in Cape Gloucester, Hideaway Bay has sandy beaches and crystal clear waters as far as the eyes can see.

The way of life here is slow and calm, most days call only for sun lounging beside the translucent waters and laying in shady parts of the untouched sand banks and bays.

For the days you’re feeling more adventurous, big game fishing, swimming, nature walking and snorkelling are all on offer. For seafaring folk, there’s boating and jet skiing with tours that allow you to explore the waterways and local wildlife.

While this location is on the remote side, you won’t find yourself going hungry or thirsty thanks to the selection of beachfront bars and eco-resorts (largely frequented by locals).

Hideaway Bay and Dingo Beach are accessible only by car, but once there you can park up, unplug, slow down and enjoy this peaceful piece of Queensland paradise.

Fairy Pools, Noosa

Noosa on the Sunshine Coast has long been a hotspot for those seeking a coastal, cosmopolitan getaway. Famous for its bustling boutique stores, buzzing hat-cheffed restaurants and line-up of boujie hotels, there’s a steady stream of travellers and tourists throughout the entire year.

But, this kind of lively living isn’t for everyone. Local Sunny Coasters find refuge from the busy streets at secluded beaches and off-track swimming holes including one that is lovingly referred to as the ‘Fairy Pools’.

The Fairy Pools are two tidal rock pools hidden in Noosa’s coastline. So well hidden in fact, that even locals that know about them, struggle to find them.

The pools overlook the ocean and provide the perfect haven from the hustle and bustle. On a summer’s day a dive in the pool offers welcome relief from the heat of the sun and the opportunity to observe local wildlife (dolphins and turtles are regular visitors to the local waters).

Here’s how you get there:

  • Head to the coastal track boardwalk off the main beach at Noosa

  • Follow the boardwalk past First Point and Little Cove.

  • Continue the boardwalk past Tea Tree and Granite Bays

  • At the far end of Granite Bays look for a park bench.

  • Leave the trail and head down the rocks toward the water.

  • Look out for two rock pools - the Fairy Pools

Tip: take water, sunscreen and closed shoes for this spot.

Booloumba Creek

Nestled in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland roughly 2 hours drive from Brisbane is one of Queensland’s most magical secluded swimming holes. With turquoise blue waters, refreshing waterfalls, and a backdrop of lush rainforest, this place is truly a piece of paradise.

Like all secret spots, Booloumba Creek isn’t all that easy to get to, but it’s well worth the effort.

Accessing the area requires a 4WD that can manage its way through two significant water crossings. It’s important to note that these water crossings should be tackled with extreme caution - particularly if there has been a lot of rain or flooding in the area.

The best and most popular spot for swimming at Booloumba Creek is Campsite 3. Here you’ll find sparkling waters that reflect the colours of the pink, purple, blue and beige rocks that lay beneath the surface. A rope swing is located on the bank and there is ample shade from the sun under branches of tropical palms and eucalyptus trees.

While there is a campground there, site facilities are minimal. A long-drop toilet and picnic table or two is the most you’ll get in terms of modern convenience but this is all part of Booloumba Creek’s appeal and charm.

Punsand Bay, Cape York

The final, and perhaps most remote, destination of all is Punsand Bay, Cape York. Located close to the Tip of Australia (some 900km +) north of Cairns, Punsand Bay is a must-do for anyone up for a bit of adventure away from the noise and chaos of major towns and cities.

Punsand Bay is an immersion into northern Australia’s finest natural landscapes with breathtaking aqua waters overlooking the Torre Strait, red dirt track roads, vast and vibrant rainforest, tumbling waterfalls and for the most part, not another person in sight.

Getting to Punsand Bay is only possible by 4WD for half of the year (the dry season). The rest of the time the roads are flooded and closed.

You can also fly privately or on small regional planes from Cairns to Bamaga followed by a short 4WD to Punsand Bay.

A trip up to the Cape is no easy breezy getaway, and you certainly won’t find it on many mainstream maps. But, it is the ultimate secret spot to travel to in Australia.

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