Aussie Loos with Views

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Kalbarri National Park, Marion Halliday

Kalbarri National Park, Marion Halliday

Do you like your loos to come with views? Here are some of the most scenically situated dunnies around Australia from the new book Aussie Loos with Views by Marion Halliday.

Loo on Larapinta Trail at Ormiston Gorge, Marion Halliday

Loo on Larapinta Trail at Ormiston Gorge, Marion Halliday

Lord, what a view at Lord Howe Island, Marion Halliday

Lord, what a view at Lord Howe Island, Marion Halliday

Rainbow Valley, Marion Halliday

Rainbow Valley, Marion Halliday

Kata Tjuta (the loo that started it all), Marion Halliday

Kata Tjuta (the loo that started it all), Marion Halliday

Aussie Loos with Views

Find more dunny delights in Aussie Loos with Views.

Best camping around Cairns and the Mid-Tropics

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Mission Beach Hideaway Village, Tom Simpson

Mission Beach Hideaway Village, Tom Simpson

If you want to camp with a view, look no further than the campsites around Cairns. We’ve picked our favourite campsites around the popular holiday town, everywhere from a boulder-bound campsite (yup, there’s more to Cairns than the beach) to a camping area on a beach where you can actually swim.

Mission Beach Hideaway Holiday Village, Mission Beach

Your holiday mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find an affordable, but still decent, place to stay. And if you book at Mission Beach Hideaway Holiday Village, you’ll be able to say mission accomplished.

Davies Creek camping area, Davies Creek National Park

If you found yourself up a creek without a paddle, you’d find yourself lucky to land at Davies Creek camping area, a picturesque spot next to Davies Creek. There are eight sites at the camping area, and good facilities.

Downfall Creek camping area, Danbulla State Forest

This open camping area is on the banks of Lake Tinaroo, and has uninterrupted views of the water. There are no defined sites, so rock up, set up tent wherever you like and tell yourself that this is the life. There are flushing toilets and fire rings.

Ellis Beach Oceanfront Bungalows, Ellis Beach

Ellis Beach is the rare beach near Cairns where you can swim all year round, as there’s a net in the ocean to protect a small area of the ocean from stingers. And you can camp right behind the beach, on either a powered or unpowered site.

Granite Gorge Nature Park

Your stay at this fantastic campsite will be anything but rocky – Granite Gorge Nature Park has facilities that rank among the best, shady sites, and proximity to the park’s famous boulders.

Home Rule Rainforest Lodge, Ngalba Bulal National Park

Home Rule Rainforest Lodge is almost the gateway to the true north of Australia. So make sure to take advantage of the luxurious facilities at Home Rule for the duration for your stay, as it won’t be as easy to find good facilities in Cape York.

Noah Beach camping area, Daintree National Park

Is camping on a beach in Daintree National Park the ultimate mid-tropics accommodation? We say yes, but you’ll have to nab one of the limited camping spots and see for yourself!

Dunk Island camping area, Dunk Island

Camping is the only accommodation option still available on Dunk Island, which has sustained significant damage after cyclones on this section of the coast. Just off Mission Beach, the island is a back-to-nature paradise, but with better facilities.

Top 5 croc-free swimming holes in the Northern Territory

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Gunlom (Waterfall Creek), Kakadu National Park, Tourism Australia

Gunlom (Waterfall Creek), Kakadu National Park, Tourism Australia

Want to cool down in a croc-free swimming hole after exploring the hot spots of the Northern Territory? We’ve picked five swimming holes across the Territory that are (normally) croc free.

Berry Springs, Berry Springs Nature Park

The natural springs at Berry Springs Nature Park couldn’t look more like a picture-perfect oasis if they had been designed by Disney. An emerald pool, fringed by jungle green is exactly what a Disney princess – or anyone, really – would want to swim in after an exhausting day exploring the Northern Territory.

Only 50km from Darwin, Berry Springs doesn’t have any crocs (although you should always read the warning signs), and has several easily accessible pools ranged along Berry Creek.

Gunlom Pool, Kakadu National Park

If crocodiles have a spiritual home in the imaginations of most Australians, it would be at the wildly beautiful Kakadu National Park. And yup, you’ll find crocodiles in most waterholes and rivers and wetlands here. But there is a pool, hidden at the top of a waterfall, that you can only find after a steep hike up. You might be tempted to think that Gunlom Pool is a mirage, but the cold water will soon shock you out of that. Relax in the water while enjoying panoramic views over the park. While crocs up this high are rare, it’s always a possibility, so be careful.

Wangi Falls, Litchfield National Park

Disclaimer: there sometimes are crocs at Wangi Falls. It’s one of the designated swimming areas in Litchfield National Park, along with Buley Rock Hole, Florence Falls, Walker Creek and the Cascades. But as one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Northern Territory, this swimming spot is monitored by rangers and has a permanent croc trap just upstream, although you should always be cautious and follow the warning signs. As for the swimming hole itself? At the bottom of a charming waterhole, it’s a picturesque spot, fringed with trees clinging to the volcanic-looking rocks.

Ormiston Gorge, West MacDonnell Ranges National Park

Phhheww, we’re in the Red Centre – you don’t have to worry about crocs here. Ormiston Gorge is in West MacDonnell National Park. You’ll also find swimming holes at Ellery Creek Big Hole and Redbank Gorge (where you can float through the narrow enclosing walls) in the park. The biggest risk at this swimming hole is that you’ll be so transfixed by the red walls rising above the water (especially if you’re there at sunrise or sunset) and the fringing gums that you’ll stay in the water too long and get hypothermia, a serious concern at these chilly spots.

Leliyn (Edith Falls), Nitmiluk National Park

Nitmiluk National Park has a permanent condition of being stuck between a rock and a hard place. The national park is a series of interconnected gorges, the most famous of which is Katherine Gorge. Nitmiluk is a popular canoeing destination, but it’s not too shabby for swimming either, with swimming spots being open in dry season at Leliyn (Edith Falls) and Sweetwater Pool.

With a waterfall and a large pool with easy access, you’ll definitely want to cool off here. Freshwater crocs are common in the park, but while saltwater crocs hang out here in the wet season, rangers move them on in dry. But, as with any swimming hole in the Top End, be cautious and read the warning signs before you swim.

Find out how to get to these swimming holes as quickly as possible with UBD Gregory’s South Australian and Northern Territory street directory.

 

Top 4 winter road trips

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Sunset, Greg Snell/Tourism Australia

Sunset, Greg Snell/Tourism Australia

Sure, you could spend winter relaxing in front of an open fire, with a good red and a good book – or you could hop in your car and get out on roads that are best explored in winter.

Here are four winter road trips that will warm your car engine and your cockles.

Gibb River Road, Western Australia

Although you can only drive on Gibb River Road in the dry season (generally most of winter), the trip is anything but dry, with river crossings, spectacular waterfalls and gorges.

Gibb River Road starts in Derby and continues for over 600km through the Kimberley to Kununurra, which is the gateway to Bungle Bungles. It’s an epic journey, although maybe not as epic as you think (it’s certainly no Burke and Wills expedition), because some of the road is covered in bitumen and regular maintenance work is carried out in peak season to make sure it stays in good condition.

Having said that, it’s a (mainly) dirt road through one of the most remote areas in Australia, so you’ll earn your adventure badge after completing the drive. And once you get to Kununurra, you still have to work out how to get home.

Stuart Highway, South Australia and Northern Territory

Start in the cold and end in the warmth as you drive the Stuart Highway from Adelaide to Darwin. Unlike many other winter treks, the Stuart Highway is all-vehicle accessible, from a push bike up to the biggest road trains in the country. At over 3000km long, you’ll be glad of the good road conditions by the end of your drive.

So, what will you see if you travel this section of Highway 1? Be prepared for long stretches of similar landscape, spiced up by some of the best roadside attractions in the world, from Karlu Karlu (Devils Marbles) to the thermal springs at Mataranka, to the Red Centre itself (and its centre, Alice Springs).

The Savannah Way, Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia

The Bungle Bungles. Lake Argyle. Katherine Gorge. Bitter Springs. The Lost City. Lawn Hill Gorge. Undara Lava Tubes. Atherton Tablelands. These are only some of the attractions you’ll come across on the whopping 3700km Savannah Way. This is some of the most remote and wild country in Australia, with all the spectacular beauty you’d expect of a route passing through Arnhem Land and the Kimberley.

Connecting Cairns and Broome, the Savannah Way is a series of connecting highways and roads. It’s mainly 2WD-accessible, except for the stretch connecting Queensland to the Northern Territory which is a serious dirt road with river crossings – just what you need to spice up the trip.

Murray River, Victoria

Although not quite as dramatic as the rivers on the Savannah Way, the Murray is the steady brown heart line of the southern states. Starting in the alpine region, it meanders its way along the border of Victoria and New South Wales before crossing into South Australia.

Just like the Murray River, you should take your time enjoying this stretch of country. Start in the booming town of Wodonga or across the river in pretty Albury (the more famous of the twin towns), pass through Rutherglen and sample some famous port before heading portside in Echuca (make sure you take a ride on Echuca’s famous paddlesteamers). Continue your current alongside the river all the way to the major town of Mildura in the north-west of the Victoria.

For more information on road trips, take a look at our Complete Motoring Atlas.

Camping along the Stuart Highway

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Devils Marbles camping area Devils Marbles, Raelene Woods

Devils Marbles camping area Devils Marbles, Raelene Woods

If John McDouall Stuart, the great explorer who was the first European to forge a path through Australia’s interior, saw the route from Adelaide to Darwin today, he wouldn’t recognise it.

For one thing, the road is covered in bitumen. And for another, there are some fantastic designated camping areas lining the route – a luxury he wouldn’t have conceived of.

Here are the best places to spend the night along one of Australia’s great drives.

1. Ranges View rest area

View by name, view by nature – Ranges View rest area has a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside. As it’s only a short drive out of Port Augusta, you probably won’t need to spend the night here.

2. Bon Bon rest area

Around two hours south of famous mining town Coober Pedy, Bon Bon rest area is an opal of an overnight stop, with great facilities and plenty of space space.

3. Ingomar rest area

Good amenities and a great view – and all at the hefty sum of zero dollars a night.

4. Desert Oaks rest area

Desert Oaks rest area is one camping area you can take at face value. The rest area is shaded and has good facilities.

5. Finke River rest area

This rest area is on the banks of the Finke River, a famous river that has its source inthe West MacDonnells.

6. Prowse Gap rest area

The scenery here might not equal that at the previous stop, but it has good facilities and a large space suitable for all sorts of rigs.

7. Devils Marbles camping area

A camping area in close proximity to one of the best rock formations in Australia? No, you haven’t lost your marbles, you’ve found them again at Devils Marbles camping area, with a seriously good view and facilities.

8. Banka Banka Homestead camping area

A large, grassy, shaded, dog-friendly camping area near the highway – yes, please!

9. Twelve Mile Yards camping area

Twelve kilometres off the highway on the banks of the Roper River, you’ll be ropeable if you miss out on a night at this fantastic camping area.

10. Edith Falls camping area

Gorge yourself on the views from Nitmiluk National Park’s famous gorges after spending the night at Edith Falls camping area, next to a waterhole 19 kilometres off the highway.

11. Adelaide River park area

Sometimes simple accommodation is best – how about this large, shaded rest area in Adelaide River?

12. Berry Springs park area

Some stops are worth travelling off the highway for – like this park area near the famous pools at Berry Springs.