UnDiscover Australia: 6 Highlights in Nature, Beach, City and Culture You Didn’t Know About

UnDiscover Australia: 6 Highlights in Nature, Beach, City and Culture You Didn’t Know About

Dive beyond Australia’s classic attractions into these eclipsed encounters — from swimming with sea lions to scaling a dam, and more!

White, sandy beaches and beautiful natural terrains… these are what Australia’s most known for. In fact, we’re probably guilty of booking a trip to Australia to slow the pace down any time we crave some time out from our hectic schedules. After all, Australia is a mere five hours away by plane.

But beyond the classic activities that entail chilling at the beach or hiking at their national parks, there are plenty of other attractions that Australia offers. If you plan to head to the Land Down Under but want to take away something different than your usual affair, read on for our list of activities to spice up your vacation in Australia.

Interact with Australia’s diverse wildlife

We all know of Australia’s famed hopping and tree-hugging marsupials. Indeed, thousands flock to the country just to get a glimpse of these adorable animals. But there are more creatures that can be found only in Australia beyond kangaroos and koalas that are often overlooked. Bookmark the wildlife experiences below for opportunities to get up close with these native Australian animals.

tasmanian devil

Image credit: Laura Helle

Kangaroos and koalas, move aside. It’s time for Tasmanian devils to take the spotlight here! Don’t be fooled by their small stature — these creatures come equipped with sharp claws and strong jaws that can deliver a powerful bite. Despite popular belief, however, these scavengers are actually not dangerous and do not usually attack people.

You can get a glimpse of these creatures at Devils @ Cradle, a conservation sanctuary that focuses primarily on the Tasmanian devil, but also houses the spotted-tail and eastern quolls — the three largest carnivorous marsupials. Located at Cradle Mountain in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, Devils @ Cradle is open day and night, and even offers tours such as After Dark Feeding and Dine With the Devil.

Of course, you can’t head to Australia and not meet the happiest animal in the world. Quokkas are found exclusively in Rottnest Island, so a trip there is definitely warranted when you are visiting Australia. While these nocturnal marsupials can live up to 10 years, they are in fact critically endangered due to habitat destruction and the introduction of predatory species. Take as many selfies as you want with these cute critters, but remember that feeding and touching them is illegal!

While cuddling a fuzzy koala will make your heart swell, heading underwater for an afternoon of antics with playful sea lions will have you laughing until your cheeks are sore! 

Sea lions are naturally friendly and will quite possibly swim right up to you before putting on an aquarobics show — they’re so well known for their playfulness that they’ve earned the nickname “puppies of the sea”. One of the best places to go swimming with these cheeky critters is in Port Lincoln’s clear waters in Eyre Peninsula, South Australia. 

These intelligent marine animals can be eager to win your attention — watch them duck, dive and frolic about, even posing for photos before slipping off to their next playdate!

Switch up your beach-going experience

Okay, okay, we get it. How can you travel to Australia and not visit the beaches? (It’s probably listed as a crime somewhere in a tourist guidebook.) But there are more to beaches than just lying in the sand or splashing in the water. This is Australia we’re talking about, after all. Want a different beach experience? We’ve got your back.

kangaroos at Lucky Bay

Image credit: Tourism Australia

What’s not to love when you have kangaroos suntanning beside you on the beach? Lucky Bay, just short of an hour’s drive from Esperance, not only boasts white beaches but free-roaming kangaroos as well. 

These kangaroos are used to tourists, so it’s pretty easy to get up close and personal with them. Feel free to take as many selfies as you want, but avoid feeding them as these kangaroos have trouble digesting certain kinds of foods!

binalong bay

Image credit: Tourism Tasmania & Stuart Crossett

The small coastal town of Binalong Bay may not sound like much, but this popular bay area in Tasmania was actually voted as Lonely Planet’s number one global holiday destination!

A 15-minute drive from the former whaling town of St Helens, Binalong Bay boasts white hourglass-fine sand, azure waters and magnificent orange-tinged boulders hugging the coast. With plenty of small secluded rocky gulches, beaches and inlets, this “castaway bay” is like a treasure island of riches that pirates would dream of.

Despite its stunning natural beauty and prominence on the international stage, Binalong Bay is relatively free of visitors, meaning you can explore the coastline, abundant marine life or even have a private beach picnic with a bottle of wine!

noosa main beach

Image credit: Sam Frysteen Photography

Designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Noosa is one of the most popular beachside holiday destinations in Australia, especially among the locals. As one of the only beaches along Australia’s coastline that faces north and is protected by the headland, the Noosa Main Beach has gentle waves and is great for anyone new to surfing. 

Alternatively, there are many trails along the Noosa National Park that pass by secluded ocean bays for those who want a quick dip. There is even the option of swimming with humpback whales by joining whale-watching tours. Catch these whales from July to October, on their annual migration towards Antarctica.

Just a stone’s throw away from the Main Beach is the famous Hastings Street, ideal for shoppers or anyone looking to grab a bite. Eumundi is also close by, where local food producers and artists share their wares — it would be a pity to miss it!

If you are a foodie, don’t miss the Noosa Food & Wine Festival which is one of the largest food and wine events in Queensland. Celebrity chefs, live cooking demonstrations and beachfront brunches are just a slice of what the festival offers — include this in your bucket list for your next unforgettable beach experience!

Gastronomic experiences to satisfy your stomach

Australia isn’t exactly known to be a foodie destination. Well, be prepared to have that impression of Australia changed after you see the kind of dishes it has to offer.

bbq kangaroo pizza

Image credit: The Rocks

This idea may throw some off, but there are diners serving kangaroo meat in Australia. Yes, you heard that right. You can eat Australia’s national animal right in the country itself! In fact, the Australian Heritage Hotel offers just that. Pizza may be this restaurant’s specialty, but make no mistake — dishes not only include the Pepper Kangaroo Pizza, but the BBQ Emu and Saltwater Crocodile Pizza as well. So if you’re feeling like a daredevil, head to Sydney and try these exotic pizzas for yourself!

outdoor dining at the outback

Image credit: Tourism Australia

Unbeknownst to most, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park offers a one-of-a-kind dining experience. Known as Sounds of Silence, this four-hour gastronomic experience serves up traditional Australian bush tucker out in the vast plains of the Northern Territory. While feasting on the scrumptious cuisine, visitors can enjoy the traditional dance performance against the setting sun.

After a satisfying meal, learn to read the stars in the beautiful night sky. From the Southern Cross to zodiac signs, be endlessly fascinated with the clarity of which planets and galaxies can be seen in the Outback. Complete the whole encounter with dessert and a drink of your choice.

lamington cake

Image credit: Kytons Bakery

Fret not, Australia is not all about the exotic foods. If you’re craving for something more familiar to your taste buds, there are plenty of Australian pastries that you can sample. The lamington, a square sponge or butter cake dipped in chocolate and coconut, is perfect for those with a sweet tooth. Kytons Bakery is a good place to try one of these treats for yourself. With the title of “Adelaide’s Favourite Lamington”, you can be sure to be satisfied with this traditional Australian snack.

Whether you’re craving for something sweet or something savoury, Australian fare has got it covered. You might want to rethink the misconception of Australia as a non-food destination and start noticing its cuisine more now!

Explore Australia’s Instagrammable landscapes

From the 12 Apostles to The Pinnacles, Australia has a well-known abundance of scenic landscapes, many of which you can visit on a self-guided adventure. In fact, it is so abundant that — would you know it — there are still many lesser-known locations to discover! It’s time to flaunt these places on your Instagram feed.

grampians national park

Image credit: Visit Victoria

Beautiful sandstone mountains, spectacular wildlife, and cascading waterfalls are the norm in Grampians National Park, a 4-hour drive from Melbourne. Hiking trails lead to gorgeous views at every turn, from the MacKenzie Falls to the Balconies — every stop is an Instagrammable location. Just look at the unparalleled views that you can get of Victoria Valley in this park!

wave rock

Image credit: Alan Lam

It’s hard to imagine that this is a natural feature and not a man-made one, but the Wave Rock is certainly one of nature’s wonders! The peculiar formation, shaped just like a breaking ocean wave, even has exquisite stripes not unlike an actual wave. It’s easy to see where this rock formation got its name from. Wander down this alluring path of natural glory just under a 4-hour drive from Perth and snap a few pictures to keep as mementos.

jacaranda festival

Image credit: Jacaranda Festival

Every year between October and November, Australia welcomes jacaranda season. These beautiful purple blooms are highly anticipated by locals and tourists alike, so when the season comes, the nation just has to have a festival for it! 

While jacarandas can be found in many of Australia’s cities, the annual Jacaranda Festival is only held in Grafton, less than 4 hours away from Brisbane by driving. In fact, the Jacaranda Festival is the longest-running floral festival in Australia, and it typically lasts for nine days. Now this is definitely Instagram-worthy.

Exhilarating adventures in the midst of Australia’s cities

You might want to put down your camera for this, unless yours is an action camera. Beyond white beaches and natural wonders, Australia offers many exciting activities for the thrill seekers. Forget about Instagram, live in the moment with these adventure sports.

gordon dam

Image credit: Dante Aguiar

Gordon Dam is the world’s highest commercial abseil, and is located in Tasmania, Australia. At a height of 140 metres, the dam offers spectacular views of the Gordon River and its surrounds. Not one to fear heights? Cross this off your bucket list and tell others that you’ve conquered the world’s highest abseil!

skypoint climb in gold coast

Image credit: SkyPoint

If you haven’t gotten enough of those gorgeous bird’s eye views, the SkyPoint Climb in Gold Coast can definitely provide you with more of sweeping panoramas, plus the adrenaline rush. 

As Australia’s highest external building climb, happening atop the Q1 Resort & Spa building, the SkyPoint Climb lasts a total of 90 minutes. You can even choose the time of day (or night!) from which you want to hike the building, in order to get the best views of Gold Coast. With the coastline on one side and the skyline on the other, the SkyPoint Climb is a truly stellar experience.

sydney harbour bridge climb

Image credit: BridgeClimb

Gold Coast isn’t the only place offering a once-in-a-lifetime climbing experience. The Sydney Harbour BridgeClimb, at 134 metres above sea level, offers an unforgettable experience atop the world’s largest steel arch bridge. 

Although not as high as the SkyPoint Climb’s 204 metres, the Sydney Harbour BridgeClimb offers its own unique experience, with striking views of the city’s landmarks including the iconic Sydney Opera House, the Royal Botanic Garden and Queen Victoria Building. See Australia in a different light by changing your perspective — literally! — via this adventurous hike.

Discover the Australia that doesn’t sleep at night

There is a common misconception that Australia is a daytime destination, and that nothing much happens at night. That couldn’t be further from the truth, however, when you start exploring what Australia has to offer in the nighttime. Just take these for example:

floriade nightfest

Image credit: Floriade Australia

The Floriade NightFest is an annual celebration to welcome spring, as thousands of flowers begin to bloom. Dance parties, illuminated flower beds, night markets and more means the city of Canberra is very much buzzing with energy well into the night. Steep yourself in its hypnotic nightlife as the darkness of the night creeps over! The festival lasts a month from mid-September to mid-October, but tickets go on sale in August, so be quick if you don’t want to miss out on this occasion!

Port Arthur has seen over a thousand deaths in its heyday as a prison, and strange instances have been observed since then. It is no wonder that this UNESCO World Heritage Site has seen many visitors on its grounds, attempting to uncover its mysteries. Head on a ghost tour in the darkness of the night and learn about the unexplained mysteries as you go. There is even an adult-only tour that invites you to go ghost-hunting… if you dare.

bioluminescence at jervis bay

Image credit: Maree Clout

Beaches are well-covered destinations in the day, but look again at night and you might find something special. Jervis Bay, located three hours south of Sydney by car, takes the spotlight as soon as the sun sinks below the horizon — its shores light up with a luminescent blue glow. This natural phenomenon is due to the presence of chemical reactions within living organisms such as plankton. Head to Jervis Bay during the spring and summer months for a higher chance of catching this phenomenon for yourself.

Thanks to its geographical position and the unique culture of its people, there are countless things to do in the Land Down Under. Beyond the white beaches and laid-back lifestyle are Australia’s hidden gems. Experience the crazy side of its cities, taste its distinctive cuisine, and meet its curious critters in this undiscovered side of Australia. Surely this is reason enough to book another trip to Australia for your next vacation!

For more information, please visit Tourism Australia’s official websiteFacebookInstagramTwitter, and YouTube.

Brought to you by Tourism Australia.

About Author

Jean Wong
Jean Wong

For someone who's a homebody, Jean sure loves stepping out of her house to travel. When she's not busy exploring quaint towns, she can be found with her nose in a book, sipping on her daily dose of bubble tea.