We asked you to tell us Australia’s best hidden places and you delivered, revealing all your favourite spots from a waterhole in Mount Isa to a lookout hidden in a state forest. And while we understand you probably want to keep them hidden, we thought they were just too good not to share – sorry!
Nominated by Paula, Nundle is a place of big scenery and big charm at the foot of the Great Dividing Range. The town is on the southern end of the Fossickers Way, 56 kilometres north of Tamworth. Like many other towns, Nundle started life as a gold rush village, but now settles for less flashy attractions, like the historic buildings, the old mill (which is still working) and the great local food. You can’t miss a trip up to the nearby mining village of Hanging Rock, which has second-to-none views over the valley.
Rumour has it that Cactus Beach got its name after a surfer was disappointed by the conditions – but he must have come on a bad day. Mich nominated Cactus Beach because it has some of the best breaks in the country (apparently Kelly Slater has been known to visit). Just south of Penong on the Nullarbor Plain, Cactus Beach is also somewhat notorious for shark attacks, so we wouldn’t blame you if you’d prefer to watch the action from the wildly beautiful beach.
If you’re after calmer waters, you can’t do better than Meelup Beach near Dunsborough in Western Australia, which was nominated by Daisy. We don’t know why this beach isn’t as famous as, say, Whitehaven Beach – it has turquoise water and pristine sand too! It’s also family friendly, as the protected beach makes the conditions perfect for paddling with the kids. Go there before everyone else cottons on.
The West MacDonnell Ranges are full of hidden waterholes and majestic vistas, but it doesn’t get more majestic than Tnorala (Gosses Bluff). Nominated by Luke, Tnorala was formed when a 600-metre-wide crater smashed into the Earth more than 14 billion years ago, and it’s one of the most significant crater impact sites in the world. The site also has cultural significance for the West Arrernte people, who manage the site jointly with Parks and Wildlife NT.
We all need to thank Yuliya for letting us in on the local secret that is Josephine Falls. Found in Wooroonooran National Park around 74 kilometres south of Cairns, these waterfalls are so picturesque they’ve featured in advertisements (okay, so maybe the locals have let a few other people in on the secret). The water tumbles over granite boulders, and there are multiple swimming holes and even a natural waterslide!
Australia is full of blue lakes, found everywhere from Mount Gambier to Kosciuszko National Park. And while the Little Blue Lake between Derby and Gladstone in Tasmania might not be as well known as its siblings, it is just as spectacular, as Sarah pointed out. Little Blue Lake started out as a tin-mining hole, but when the mine shut down, the hole was filled with water. It’s all those minerals on the bottom of the lake that provide its gem-like hue. As there are so many minerals in the water, it’s seriously recommended you don’t take a dip.
So, you’ve travelled the Great Ocean Road, tackled the Alpine Way and even made it across the Nullarbor Plain. Where to next? Why not drive the Darling River Run, as suggested by Phil? This road takes you deep into the NSW outback, travelling the 730 kilometres between Walgett in northern NSW down to Wentworth on the Victorian border. The drive isn’t just about the Darling River views – you’ll also travel through classic outback towns like Bourke, Broken Hill and Menindee. Don’t miss the detour into Mungo National Park.