If you’re looking to escape from the world, Australia has no shortage of remote landscapes and tucked-away towns. So we’ve dug into our data stacks to find which remote destinations people are searching for on Rome2rio and uncovered 10 of the best overlooked places to visit in Australia, many of them hours from the hustle and bustle of a big city.
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Rainbow Beach, Queensland
This quiet Queensland town is a first-class example of Australia’s famed beaches without the crowds. From skydiving to diving the depths of the Pacific Ocean, there are a plethora of activities for the adventurous to try. The town is part of the Cooloola area, where white-sand beaches backed with lush forested hinterland combine to make this a truly magical spot. Rainbow Beach is also the perfect gateway to the popular camping and ecotourism destination Fraser Island.
Jindabyne, New South Wales
Overlooking Lake Jindabyne with a backdrop of Australia’s highest peak (Mount Kosciuszko), Jindabyne in south-east New South Wales is one of Australia’s highest settlements and a year-round adventure playground. Terrific skiing and snowboarding conditions make for a perfect winter wonderland, and in warmer months Jindabyne turns into a classic Aussie getaway with bush camping, hiking, mountain biking and horse riding through the iconic Snowy Mountains.
Katherine, Northern Territory
Located 320km south-east of Darwin, the town of Katherine is considered the crossroads of the Outback due to its location between Kakadu and the Kimberley. We recommend heading to Katherine Gorge to see the majesty of Australia’s harsh and ancient landscape in full effect. Activities in the area include kayaking, caving, camping and fishing – but keep your eyes peeled for both freshwater and saltwater crocodiles that can be found in the river systems here.
Cape Tribulation, Queensland
Cape Tribulation is where the rainforest meets the reef. Located 110km north of Cairns, this stunning spot is wedged between the World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of World, the Great Barrier Reef.
With plenty of activities for every interest and budget, it’s impossible to be bored. Trek through the rainforest, relax on deserted beaches, cruise the rivers or snorkel the reef. Whatever you choose to do, this is a true slice of paradise.
Quaint Echuca is situated between the twin rivers of the Murray and the Campaspe. In the 19th century, it was a thriving port town and Australia’s largest inland port. The mighty Murray River still plays host to historical riverboats, and this is where you’ll find the largest fleet of paddle steamers in the world.
Each summer the Victorian town holds the popular Riverboats Music Festival, with visitors finding accommodation in lively houseboats along the river.
Lightning Ridge, New South Wales
An important site for paleontology and geology, Lightning Ridge is famed for its black opals that have been mined in the area since the 1800s. Aside from the chance to fossick for these sparkling gemstones, visitors can also bathe in the hot springs and meet fellow-minded travellers who pass through the area to experience the spectacular scenery.
Kati Thanda–Lake Eyre, South Australia
Kati Thanda–Lake Eyre is a piece of magic in inland Australia. Located about 700km north of Adelaide, this is the lowest point on the continent at 15m below sea level. Not only that, but the lake has only filled to capacity three times in the past 150 years, and has the same salt levels as the ocean. Come to see the vast plains of shimmering salt crystals, or – if you’re really lucky – a spectacular, pink-hued watery oasis.
While you’re here, hike The Oodnadatta Track, a historic Outback trail and an important Aboriginal trading route for thousands of years. And don’t miss the Anna Creek Painted Hills to see the effects of 50 million years of climate change.
Freycinet National Park, Tasmania
Tasmania is already just that little bit harder to get to than mainland Australia, but it’s definitely worth the extra effort. Once you’re here, you need to travel to Freycinet National Park, located on the island’s east coast, to marvel at the extraordinarily spectacular granite mountains, secluded bays and white sandy beaches.
This is the ideal destination for nature lovers and adventure travellers alike, with accommodation ranging from camping to eco-luxury retreats. A trek to the Wineglass Bay lookout is a must for unspoilt views of the park and the iconic bay.
Kangaroo Island, South Australia
Australia’s third largest island, located 112km south-west of Adelaide, is only accessible by regional flight or car ferry, making it the ideal remote destination.
Once you’re on the island, nature’s playground awaits. The diverse landscape features everything from the sand dunes of Little Sahara to the Remarkable Rocks of Flinders Chase National Park. Plus the numerous conservation and protection areas are perfect for spotting the best of the best of Aussie wildlife: sea lions, goannas, countless native birds, koalas and, of course, kangaroos!
Ningaloo, Western Australia
Spanning 260km along Australia’s west coast is the UNESCO Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area, where you can snorkel and swim through crystal-blue waters beside beautiful coral and marine life including manta rays, turtles, dolphins.
Come between March and August for the chance to swim alongside the biggest fish in the sea, the majestic whale shark, as they migrate past the coast.
While many of these 10 places might not be close to airports, there are plenty of other options to get there. To discover the possibilities visit Rome2rio – and happy travels!