The ONE Thing You Didn’t Know About Each of Australia’s 6 States and 2 Territories

The ONE Thing You Didn’t Know About Each of Australia’s 6 States and 2 Territories

Let us show you a side of Australia you’ve never seen before!

There are a gazillion reasons why travellers love Australia. Just think Bondi Beach, the Gold Coast and kangaroos. 

But that’s not all that there is to see of Australia. It’s high time we UnDiscover Australia and enjoy this diverse destination not as we already know it, but as we would if we were to scratch beneath the surface.

But crikey! Australia has six states and two territories all with hidden attractions beckoning for us to explore. We better get started!

A quick guide to Australia’s 6 states and 2 territories

australia map

View in full resolution | Image credit: Tourism Australia

While we’re better acquainted with its busiest cities, such as Sydney and Melbourne, there’s much more to discover and undiscover in states’ and territories’ surrounds.

New South Wales (NSW)

sydney

Image credit: Destination NSW

You may be familiar with New South Wales’ capital city, Sydney, for its iconic landmarks such as Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour. The capital is also a beach hopper’s paradise, with Bondi Beach leading the list of Sydney’s best beaches

Port Stephens

4WD riding at sand dunes

Image credit: Destination NSW

But New South Wales — and Australia by extension — isn’t just about beaches. What tourists often overlook is New South Wales’ wild side. In fact, a trip to the Hunter Regions’ Port Stephens is bound to get any traveller’s adrenaline pumping. 

camel riding

Image credit: Port Stephens

Drive two and a half hours north of Sydney and you’ll find yourself in the area’s scintillating sea-and-sand landscapes. Here, the ocean’s waves tempt you to whip out that surfboard and ride a few gnarly barrels. On land, endless sand dune activities await. Choose from camel riding and 4WD sand dune tours to quad biking, sandboarding, and even horse riding along Port Stephen’s shores.

Bonus: Tomaree National Park & Wollongong

Not so far away from Port Stephens (around a 30-minute drive) is Tomaree National Park, where you can hike up Mt. Tomaree via the Tomaree Head Summit Walk, which affords unparalleled views of Port Stephens. If you’ll be braving the trail between May and October, bring a pair of binoculars — migrating humpback whales may just make an appearance in the waters stretching from Mt. Tomaree. 

Similarly, you can opt to go on lesser-known treks in the Blue Mountains: map out your own bushwalk itinerary and make your way to Pulpit Rock, Echo Point or Katoomba Falls. Hungry for more adventure? Skydiving at the coastal city of Wollongong might just be the fix you’re aching for!

South Australia (SA)

kangaroo island

Image credit: Tourism Australia

We bet anytime you hear “animals” and “Australia”, images of cute koalas and jumpy kangaroos come to mind. In fact, 82% of Singaporeans think the same thing. If you’re into wildlife, South Australia — home to the world-renowned Kangaroo Island — is your prime choice. 

Alternatively, South Australia is also known for its wineries in Barossa Valley. And in case it slipped your mind, South Australia is also known as the country’s “Festival State” because of its vibrant state capital, Adelaide.

Yorke Peninsula and unique wildlife encounters

yorke peninsula

Image credit: Tourism Australia

Sure, koalas and kangaroos are definite must-sees, but South Australia is where you come to experience unforgettable encounters with lesser-known wildlife native to the region! An often overlooked area worth spending a chunk of your itinerary on is the Yorke Peninsula. It’s here that locals get to take a breather from busy Adelaide, so why not do as they do? 

emu at innes national park

Image credit: South Australian Tourism Commission

Just a two-hour drive from Adelaide, the Yorke Peninsula affords travellers time away from the crowd. Frolic in yellow canola fields and take delight in quiet coastlines with waters safe enough for beginner surfers. Visit Innes National Park, home to an abundance of local wildlife. Watch wallabies and emus while away the time on land, and at sea, keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and seals passing by. 

Don’t miss Ethel Beach, a picturesque stretch of sand with the ruins of “The Ethel”, a 1900s Norwegian ship, still laying at the base of the coastline.

If being in the water is more your thing, you can kick things up a notch and go cage-diving with Great White Sharks in Port Lincoln, Eyre Peninsula. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart, so make sure you’re up for the once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

Queensland (QLD)

diving at great barrier reef

Image credit: Tourism Australia

Queensland is almost synonymous with the Great Barrier Reef. It houses Cairns, a coastal city mostly known for being the gateway to the world’s largest coral reef system. 

It’s also where you’ll find “Australia’s Theme Park Capital”, the Gold Coast. Think Sea World, Dreamworld, Movie World — to name a few. Being one of Australia’s most populous cities, the state capital Brisbane has also contributed to Queensland’s popularity.

Gold Coast Hinterland

gold coast hinterland

Image credit: Tourism & Events Queensland

Much less favoured than the bustling Gold Coast, Gold Coast Hinterland makes for a cosy escape punctuated by endless greenery and Queensland’s distinct hinterland cafe culture. Here, mountain villages thrive on artisan shops and stores dedicated to quaint antiques. The area is also known for the best caramel fudge in Australia — perfectly paired with a warm cuppa joe or enjoyed on its own. Whatever floats your boat, this sweet delicacy makes the drive down (and the added calories!) absolutely worth it. 

glowworm cave in springbrook national park

Image credit: Tour Gold Coast

But perhaps another treasure you can’t afford to miss while in the hinterlands is the ancient Gondwana Rainforests. Consisting of multiple national parks — ranging from Lamington, Springbrook, Mount Barney and Main Range national parks — this UNESCO World Heritage Area spans 366,500 hectares of untouched rainforests; a truly breathtaking showcase of ecology.

In Springbrook National Park, you can take a night bushwalk down to a cave illuminated by countless glow worms found all over the walls and ceilings. This luminous wonder at the Natural Bridge can be considered nature’s very own planetarium, biologically lighting up like tiny stars — all to the soundtrack of a crashing waterfall!

Bonus: Lamington National Park

glamping at lamington national park

Image credit: Nightfall Camp

If you’re looking to linger a bit longer, why not go glamping at Lamington National Park? For those seeking an exclusive, romantic experience, Nightfall Camp has only a handful of handmade canvas safari tents, decked with timber floorings, private bathrooms and rotating fireplaces, with guests limited to only eight at a time. 

Relax with a massage alongside the rapids, dine on fully organic camp cuisine and enjoy complimentary sparkling wine and espresso coffee — now that’s some way to truly escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life!

Tasmania (TAS)

tasmanian devil

Image credit: Matthias Appel

Did anyone say “Tasmanian Devil”? Because we’re pretty sure that’s the first thing you thought of when you read the name. Aside from these native marsupials, Tasmania is popular for its raw wilderness and natural wonders.

Southern Lights

southern lights at tasmania

Image credit: Tourism Tasmania

Are you a fan of the Northern Lights who has yet to witness them in person? Unbeknownst to many, this spectacular phenomenon has a southern (and less popular) counterpart aptly named the Southern Lights or aurora australis. You don’t have to travel all the way to the Nordics when Australia comes alive at night!

southern lights

Image credit: Discover Tasmania

And you’re in luck because they appear all year round in Tasmania! All you have to do is to chance upon a dark, clear night during your Tasmanian holiday and patiently wait until the light show paints the sky colours unimaginable. Looking for the best viewpoints? We highly recommend Mt. Nelson, Mt. Wellington, Howden, and Cockle Creek. And if the weather results in a no-show, then take a step back to gaze at dazzling starry skies that Tasmania never fails to deliver.

Bonus: Lavender fields & Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park

If you’re visiting Tasmania in the summer, you wouldn’t want to miss blooming season at Bridestowe Lavender Estate. Can you imagine running through a bright purple field filled with fragrant flowers? 

Have time to spare? Spend a few days at Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park, where you can soak in a tub with a wondrous forest view or maybe even leisurely trek along its numerous trails. Whatever season you visit, the landscape is sure to impress. Here’s a trek tip: Be on the lookout for native wildlife such as wallabies and wombats while you’re hiking! You never know when they’ll scurry by.

Victoria (VIC)

great ocean road

Image credit: Tourism Australia

For those not familiar with the name of Victoria, perhaps its capital, Melbourne, might better ring a bell. Famed for its brunch-and-coffee culture and street art laneways, Melbourne is easily one of the state’s most prominent attractions. The Great Ocean Road is another, where natural marvels such as the Twelve Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge can be found. 

Beyond these two headliners though, Victoria still has plenty more for you to see and do.

Gippsland

greater gippsland area

Image credit: Visit Melbourne

If you’re looking for a more untouched side of Victoria, though, dedicate a chunk of your trip to exploring the greater Gippsland area. This region boasts of awe-inspiring landscapes with well-preserved beaches, lakes, mountains — many of which are protected sites. Get some light cardio going as you take a stroll along Ninety Mile Beach. Dip into the water or glide along the Gippsland Lakes on a sailing spree. 

Enter an otherworldly realm as you take a peek into the Buchan Caves, filled with limestone formations that trace back to 400 million years ago. With so many natural treasures, it’s surprising how Gippsland has become Victoria’s most ‘well-kept secret’.

Bonus: California Redwoods & interesting eats

california redwood forest

Image credit: Visit Victoria

Adding to its long list of natural wonders is the California Redwood forest, situated along the Great Ocean Road. Share the magical experience with a dear friend or loved one, or breathe in the forest’s soothing vibe alone. 

Last but certainly not least, when in Victoria one must feast

We know that Melbourne is popular for its dainty dishes and speciality coffee, but Victoria’s diverse culinary scene simply begs to be included in any wandering foodie’s bucket list. If you’re in the mood for a sumptuous celebration of the area’s signature treats, schedule your visit during the run of the annual Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. Perhaps this is your chance to slip a shrimp on the barbie!

Western Australia (WA)

perth city

Image credit: City of Perth

Not only is Western Australia the country’s largest state, it’s also the state closest to Singapore. With seven daily flights and only five hours of flying to its capital Perth, you can explore Western Australia within a few days, even if it’s just a long weekend. Australia isn’t as out of reach for Singaporean travellers as you think!

Swan Valley

swan valley

Image credit: Lamont’s

But if you’re looking to explore a destination that’s not commonly found on Western Australia tours, look no further than Swan Valley and Nambung National Park. 

You can certainly venture into Swan Valley on foot, but if you’d prefer a different route, take the Swan Valley Heritage Cycle Trail. The 12-kilometre trail lets you breeze through an invigorating bicycle path that features natural attractions, historical establishments, and signposts that will educate you about the place’s history and heritage. 

pinnacles desert at night

Image credit: Tourism Western Australia

At Nambung National Park, on the other hand, you can witness the glory of otherworldly land formations such as the Pinnacles — limestone cliffs that transform a vast desert into the most peculiar terrain. As darkness descends over the Pinnacles Desert, a constellation of stars light up the night sky, especially vivid in the absence of light pollution. Under the stars’ illumination, dramatic shadows will be cast from the shapes of the Pinnacles — no doubt a picture-perfect moment to snap away!

Bonus: Hutt Lagoon & Rottnest Island

hutt lagoon

Image credit: Tourism Western Australia

Are you on an extended holiday? Why not make time for the highly Instagrammable pink waters of Hutt Lagoon? The salt lake can thank a particular breed of microalgae for its eye-catching strawberry tinge. For a carefree time with adorable quokkas, drop by Rottnest Island, a car-free paradise that’s unblemished by the hustle and bustle of city life.

Northern Territory (NT)

uluru at night

Image credit: Tourism Northern Territory

The iconic home of cultural attractions, indigenous heritage, and some of Australia’s most biodiverse naturescapes, the Northern Territory is often overlooked. Just a 5-hour flight from Singapore, its capital Darwin is the perfect gateway to explore the rugged outback of Australia, unveiling the distinct allure of the Northern Territory.

Famous for its one-of-a-kind food, vibrant outdoor markets and a bag of adventure activities, Darwin is a melting pot of culture and heritage, rich in its native Indigenous roots and Asian influences.

Mary River Wetlands

mary river wetlands airboat ride

Image credit: Tourism Northern Territory

Beyond the beaches and the vibrant cities, did you know that Australia boasts of scenic flood plains and lagoons, too? 

In the Northern Territory, you can speed across the waters of the Mary River Wetlands on an airboat. Thrillseekers, don’t miss this chance to know how exhilarating gliding across these glassy surfaces can be. When you reach Mary River Wetlands’ Corroboree Billabong, don’t forget to spot saltwater crocodiles and native flora floating about. 

Bonus: Tiwi Islands

Hop on a 2.5-hour ferry ride from Darwin to Bathurst Island and go on a day trip to Tiwi Islands, where you’ll be afforded a cultural immersion like no other. Take part in Aboriginal cultural tours and get a hands-on primer on traditional art, bush tucker (or traditional bush food), and the people’s rich history. 

Australia Capital Territory (ACT)

canberra parliament house

Image credit: Thennicke

Ending off the list of states and territories, the Australian Capital Territory is known for — you guessed it — the country’s capital city, Canberra. For the first-timer, a city tour is a must! Canberra plays host to interesting architecture and museums that will shed light on how Australia developed into the country that it is today.

Museums and galleries of art and culture

canberra sightseeing

Image credit: VisitCanberra

Naturally, art and culture may not be the first things to tick off your list when you’re in Australia, but visiting a number of museums and galleries in Canberra will prove to be a most insightful and worthwhile experience.

Bringing together a world-class museum, a shrine and an extensive archive, the Australian War Memorial offers a moving and insightful trip back in time for both young and old, to revisit and discover the diverse Australian experiences of war and connect deeply with personal stories and events that shaped Australia.

Pay a visit to other go-tos: the Museum of Australian Democracy (sited at the Old Parliament House), the National Gallery of Australia, National Portrait Gallery, and Questacon: The National Science and Technology Centre. 

Bonus: The National Zoo and Aquarium & the microbrewery scene

Take the chance to live among the animal residents of the National Zoo and Aquarium at Jamala Wildlife Lodge. This luxury safari accommodation lets you get up close and personal with the zoo’s animal residents without disturbing them in their simulated habitats. 

canberra microbrewery scene

Image credit: Visit Canberra

On the tail end of your Canberra getaway, mellow down by cracking open a few cold ones and immersing in the city’s microbrewery scene. Cheers!

Perhaps the key takeaway from learning all about the lesser-known features of each of Australia’s six states and two territories is that they leave much to the imagination. Too much, in fact, that you ought to see them for yourself. And as you UnDiscover Australia, we’re pretty sure you’ll always find another reason to come back for more. Don’t forget — bring your mates along!

For more information, please visit Tourism Australia’s official website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.


Brought to you by Tourism Australia.

About Author

Alyosha Robillos
Alyosha Robillos

In Russia, Alyosha is a boy's name popularized by literary greats Dostoevsky and Tolstoy—but this particular Alyosha is neither Russian nor a boy. She is a writer from the Philippines who loves exploring the world as much as she likes staying at home. Her life's mission is to pet every friendly critter there is. When she isn't busy doing that, she sniffs out stories and scribbles away on the backs of old receipts. She is an advocate of many things: culture and heritage, the environment, skincare and snacking, to name a few. She will work for lifetime supplies of french fries and coffee. Or yogurt. Or cheese, preferably Brie.

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