You don’t always have to travel long distances to reach wonderful destinations. State-by-state, Jessica Morris takes a look at the hidden gems only hours away from you.
Monkey Mia (WA)
Blue skies, pristine beaches and feeding bottlenose dolphins—Monkey Mia (pronounced my-a) has it all. This town 900 km north of Perth is close to Shark Bay Marine Park, and tourists are encouraged to experience the region’s rich Indigenous heritage through Wula Gura Nyinda Eco Adventures.
Jatbula Trail (NT)
The Jatbula Trail near Katherine, three hours south of Darwin, is the ultimate test for any explorer. Beginning at Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge and finishing at Leliyn (Edith) Falls, you will walk 66 km during the 5–6 day adventure. This once-in-a-lifetime experience is not for the faint of heart (or the unfit).
Burleigh Heads (Qld.)
A 20-minute drive from Surfers Paradise, the suburb is known for its beautiful surf beaches, wildlife parks and Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. An alternative (or addition) to the traditional theme park vacation, it’s just a short drive away from the Mount Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk.
Port Macquarie (NSW)
Located four hours north of Sydney, Port Macquarie has no less than 17 beaches, a rich cultural and foodie environment and provides stunning day trips. From camping to dolphin spotting at Tacking Point Lighthouse, there’s always something new to do.
Not just the location of Parliament House, Canberra and its surrounds are home to museums, the Australian War Memorial, the National Gallery, Lake Burleigh Griffin and the Namadgi National Park. If you want to try something unique, you can even go truffle farming or visit the food truck enclave on Lonsdale Street.
The Grampians National Park (Vic.)
The Grampians mountains aren’t just stunning to look at, they also hide charming towns like Halls Gap, more hiking trails than you can count, waterfalls and lakes that look like Eden, and even museums and art galleries you can visit. This is the perfect place to make memories with the family.
Derwent Bridge (Tas.)
Derwent Bridge is not so much a holiday destination as a gateway to the best of what north-west Tassie has to offer. Close to Lake St Clair National Park, food and drink factories, the iconic Wall in the Wilderness and even a hydroelectric museum, this is the perfect base for exploring the state.
Mount Gambier (SA)
Sitting right between Adelaide and Melbourne, this picturesque town is as stunning below ground as it is above. Known for its brilliant Blue Lake, you can also visit the Umpherston Sinkhole and tour the Engelbrecht Cave. Add in the spontaneity of the Railway Lands for shopping, entertainment and eats, and you’re on to a winner.