Discover More for Less: Hidden Gems in Australia and New Zealand

Discover More for Less: A Guide to Exploring Hidden Gems in Australia and New Zealand

Your guide to saving big and discovering secret spots!

When we think of travelling in Oceania, landmarks like the Sydney Opera House and Hobbiton, along with bustling cities such as Perth, Melbourne, and Queenstown immediately come to mind. Yet, beyond these iconic destinations, there’s a wealth of hidden gems awaiting discovery in Australia and New Zealand. If you’re considering international travel to these countries, read on and find out the lesser-known corners and explore them at discounted fares with our guide!

Also read: 22 Souvenirs to Buy from Australia for Your Loved Ones Back Home

Guide to saving costs & exploring more places with Qantas Explorer

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Planning to fly to Australia or New Zealand for an epic adventure? Maximise your exploration and stretch your travel budget with Qantas Explorer! Book an economy flight with Australia’s national airline for discounted prices on selected domestic routes within these two countries. With an extensive network of over 100 routes across Australia and New Zealand, you can venture beyond the usual tourist hotspots, and discover countless charming hidden gems most tourists have probably never heard of — all without breaking the bank.

What’s better? You’ll be able to enjoy in-flight entertainment including WiFi, the latest movies, and TV shows, along with complimentary food and beverages. Plus, baggage is included in every fare, allowing you the same generous allowance across both international and domestic flights!

Note: Free inflight WiFi on board is available only on Qantas domestic fleet of Boeing 737s, Airbus A220 and A330 aircraft.


How to book your flight with Qantas Explorer

hidden gems australia

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To discover more during your Aussie and Kiwi adventures for less, simply book a multi-city flight and add your flights to Australia or New Zealand here. Then, add flights around Australia or New Zealand within Qantas Explorer’s routes, ending with your flight home. Finally, confirm your itinerary, select ‘book’ and proceed with payment. 

Qantas Explorer’s routes are categorised into three different zones: Zone 1, Zone 2, and Zone 3. Routes in Zone 1 offer the lowest fares for hopping between some of Australia and New Zealand’s most iconic cities, beaches, and landscapes. Routes in Zone 2 and Zone 3 cover greater distances to some of Australia’s most breathtaking destinations, albeit at a slightly higher fare. You can check the covered routes for each zone here



Image credit: Screenshot via Qantas Explorer

For instance, if you plan on landing in Adelaide and visiting the city of Port Lincoln or Kangaroo Island, or flying between New Zealand’s Auckland, Queenstown and Wellington, Qantas Explorer can help you see more for less. The picture above provides an example of such a flight itinerary.

Please note that Qantas Explorer fares are exclusively available for Economy flights and must be purchased alongside an international flight into Australia or New Zealand before your journey begins. In addition, while you can travel domestically within Australia and within New Zealand on the same itinerary, flights between Australia and New Zealand or vice versa will not be priced as Qantas Explorer fares.


Top hidden gems to visit in Australia and New Zealand

With so many lesser-known destinations in Oceania, it can be challenging to choose the perfect place to visit for your trip. Here, we’ve curated a list of what awaits beyond the usual tourist trail.

1. Geraldton

hidden gems australia

Image credit: Danny Lau | Unsplash

Situated on the Coral Coast of Western Australia, Geraldton is a vibrant seaside city known for its beautiful beaches and thrilling watersports. Visitors enjoy coming here for a coastal getaway, and exciting activities such as diving and windsurfing, especially during the summer. Beyond popular beaches such as Town Beach, Back Beach, and Point Moore, which are ideal for snorkelling, bodyboarding, and more, this vibrant city offers much more than meets the eye.

For instance, the Hutt Lagoon is one of the most popular tourist spots in Geraldton. This enchanting lake can appear in stunning hues of bright bubblegum pink, lilac, or occasionally even red, thanks to its extremely high level of salinity. Additionally, history buffs can delve into the area’s past at the Museum of Geraldton and the HMAS Sydney II Memorial. St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral, an architectural gem featuring Gothic Revival design, is also a must-visit.

Qantas flies from Perth to Geraldton.


2. Mildura

hidden gems australia

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In Australia, Mildura is undoubtedly one of the least-known destinations, particularly for international travellers. This quaint city sits right on the bank of the Murray River, popularly known as Victoria’s food bowl for its sprawling vineyards and fresh citrus produce. While here, don’t miss the chance to hop on a unique paddle steamer cruise while enjoying a scrumptious evening dinner!

Besides that, Mildura also boasts numerous wineries and vineyards for wine lovers. Capogreco Winery Estate and Oak Valley Estate are amongst the top spots for sampling and getting your hands on some of the region’s top-notch wines. 

Qantas flies from Sydney and Melbourne to Mildura.

3. Port Lincoln

Image credit: Luisa Denu | Unsplash

Port Lincoln in South Australia, with its stunning coastal setting and rich marine biodiversity, is a fantastic travel gem. It’s a haven for thrill seekers and aquatic enthusiasts, offering opportunities to dive and encounter the magnificent great white sharks up close. The underwater adventure here also allows you to get a glimpse of the adorable Australian sea lions, giant Australian cuttlefish, and colourful coral reefs. 

What’s more, Port Lincoln is also known as the “Seafood Capital of Australia,” brimming with award-winning seafood restaurants that house the freshest bounty. From King George whiting to bluefin tuna, seafood lovers are guaranteed an incredible gastronomical experience! 

Qantas flies daily from Adelaide to Port Lincoln.

4. Gold Coast

hidden gems australia

Image credit: City of Gold Coast | Unsplash

Speaking of the top regional gems in Australia beyond the major cities, the Gold Coast is a shining example. Stretching over 70 kilometres of pristine coastline, the Gold Coast is home to some of the world’s best beaches, including Surfers Paradise and Rainbow Bay. Whether you’re seeking a laid-back day sunbathing by the beach or ready to embark on an exhilarating surfing adventure, this sun-kissed paradise offers the perfect setting. In addition, visitors can experience a lively nightlife scene on the Gold Coast. In Surfers Paradise itself, a plethora of clubs, pubs, and bars cater to every taste, ensuring a fun time after dark.

But there’s more! Imagine soaring above the sea and cityscape — the Gold Coast is also where you can experience a breathtaking hot air balloon ride that will leave you with memories that linger long after your trip. 

Qantas flies from Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide to Gold Coast.

5. Hobart

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Skip the usual Aussie hotspots and set your sights on Hobart, Tasmania – a hidden gem unlike any other. Here’s where you can expect a unique blend of colonial heritage, city charm, and nature wonders. The majestic Mount Wellington is the city’s top attraction, offering heart-pounding activities such as rock climbing and mountain biking that go beyond the ordinary. 

Art lovers won’t want to miss the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, or the world-renowned MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), known for its unconventional exhibits. Additionally, Salamanca Market, one of Australia’s most beloved street markets showcasing local fresh produce and delectable eats, and the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, a picturesque cool-climate garden, are must-visit attractions.

Qantas flies from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Hobart.

6. Wellington

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While many first-time visitors to New Zealand often head to Auckland, no trip to the country is complete without a visit to the capital city, Wellington. Start your trip with a ride on the iconic Wellington Cable Car on a scenic five-minute journey to the city’s main shopping precinct. Then, immerse yourself in nature by exploring the many green spaces, like the Wellington Botanic Garden, Otari-Wilson’s Bush, or even Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne, an urban wildlife sanctuary featuring rare native species. 

While the famous Lord of the Rings movie set Hobbiton™ isn’t in Wellington, you can still immerse yourself in the magic at Wētā Cave and Wētā Workshop, where you can see spectacular props and live like one of the movie’s characters!

Qantas flies from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Wellington.


Also read: 12 Places to See Cherry Blossoms in Australia

With this guide by your side, you’re all set to explore the lesser-known treasures of Australia and New Zealand! No matter which of these places you would like to explore next, an amazing adventure awaits. Here’s to wishing you a safe flight and happy travels! 

Brought to you by Qantas Explorer.

About Author

Cecelia Chang
Cecelia Chang

Born in a new village in Selangor, Malaysia, Cecelia loves three things in life: Good food, good views, and good deals. She also enjoys exploring new places and experiencing new things on her travels.