Welcome back to the final instalment of Leading Out’s comprehensive travel guide to lesser-known places in Aussieland, “23 Amazing Places to Visit in Australia”!
If you’ve missed Part One, Part Two, or Part Three (where have you BEEN, mate?), click back, and fill your tabs with amazing places to see and things to do Down Under—all tested by Leading Out and our friends in Aus! Go ahead, we’ll wait.
If you’re already up-to-date and looking for MORE information to buff up your travel itinerary, read ahead. You won’t be disappointed. (Seriously. This time, we’ve got dingoes.)
18. Take a Trip Back in Time to Magnetic Island
It’s nice to take a step back from the world’s hectic pace—and there’s no better place to do it than Magnetic Island, where “laid back” is a lifestyle. Just off the shores of Townsville, it boasts a simpler way of life, where shops close at sunset and old cars roll through the streets.
There’s something for everyone here: from affordable scuba lessons and the chance to hand-feed wild lorikeets and rock wallabies, to local markets and beautiful beaches. It’s safe to say you’ll want to spend at least a few days here unwinding from the world. However, if you’re seeking some excitement, you can catch one of the notorious Cane Toad races every Wednesday night at Hotel Arcadia.
When To Go
May – November; dry season
Magnetic Island, Townsville, Queensland
19. Hand-Feed Wild Dolphins in Monkey Mia
Are you fascinated by dolphins, but don’t like the idea of interacting with them in a fish tank? Monkey Mia, located in the UNESCO World Heritage Area of Shark Bay, is the place to be. Every morning, like clockwork, wild bottlenose dolphins visit the shores to say hello and take a fresh mackerel right from your hands!
Since the 1960’s, people and dolphins have been interacting here, one of the Earth’s most pristine and diverse marine environments. Picture endless stretches of golden sand, calm aqua waters, and wading pelicans, and you might be giving Monkey Mia’s beauty a tenth of its deserved justice.
This unique encounter is one of the planet’s great wildlife experiences and is a must. What’s more, some of the world’s best scientists are working their tails off here, day-in and day-out, studying these intelligent mammals and are eager to give you the lowdown on their latest discoveries. P.S. They’re always looking for volunteers!
When To Go
June – October; winds are light and temperatures are in the mid 20’s
Monkey Mia, Shark Bay Marine Park, 330 kilometers north of Carnarvon
20. Dodge Disaster at Cape Tribulation – Daintree Rainforest
On June 7, 1770, Captain James Cook crash landed into the Great Barrier Reef just off the shores of Cape Tribulation—hence the name. We hope you won’t share the same difficulties, but instead get the chance to cherish everything the remote paradise has to offer!
This two-and-a-half hour trip from Cairns is breathtaking; you’ll pass endless beaches and the Daintree Rainforest. While discovering its ecology and wonder, why not stop in for a visit at the Daintree tea fields or play I-Spy for a roadside crocodile? The fun doesn’t stop there as you swim the Mossman Gorge, pick wild mangoes, hike Mount Sorrow, or take a train to Kuranda Rainforest Market.
A word of caution: be careful here, as you’ll be in cassowary country—one of our planet’s most elusive, dangerous, prehistoric birds!
When To Go
August – November; avoid box jellyfish season
Cape Tribulation, North Queensland
21. Soak in an Ocean Bath – Newcastle and Sydney
Ocean Baths are a local secret that many people keep quiet—mostly because they don’t want them packed with tourists! These hybrid pools have been carved into rocky shorelines and are supplied by ocean waves that flow and filter the water constantly. Almost always free of charge, it’s a unique way of mixing up your beach routine.
Our top recommendations both have a rich history: Bogey Hole Ocean Bath at Coogee Beach was cut into the rocky outcrops by convict labour, and offers a more rustic look. The Newcastle Baths were originally opened in 1922, and offer a spectacular view of the nearby shoreline and courageous surfers. Salt, soak, sunshine—what more could you ask for?
When To Go
November – March; warmer months
Coogee Beach, Sydney, New South Wales
Shortland Park, Newcastle, New South Wales
22. Rescue Turtles in Mon Repos Conservation Park
Speed won’t be necessary here, so take off your shoes and put on your thongs (Aussie slang for sandals)! Every evening between November and March, these slow-moving Goliaths wash up on the shores of Mon Repos, just 15km east of Bundaberg, to lay hundreds of eggs while you get the privilege of watching.
Unfortunately, many of them bury their eggs below the tide line—this is where you come in handy! With the help of an expert conservationist, you can measure the turtle, dig up the eggs, and rebury them in a safer location. In a single evening, you can expect to see endangered Loggerhead, Flatback, Green, and Leatherback turtles.
For $10, we don’t believe there’s a better deal in the country, and no better way to go to sleep with a feeling of accomplishment.
When To Go
Mid November – February; nesting turtles
January – March; hatching turtles
Mon Repos Conservation Park, Bundaberg, Central Coast, Queensland
21. Dodge Dingoes as you 4×4 on the World’s Largest Sand Island
We admit it: this is not the best-kept secret on this list—Fraser Island draws in tourists from around the globe—but believe us, it’s for a good reason! To get there, leave from either Hervey Bay or Rainbow Beach—we recommend the latter. Hervey Bay has a larger city, but Rainbow Beach revolves around Fraser Island tours and you can be sure you’re receiving the best services.
A must-do on Fraser is the tag-along 4WD tour. Not only is the 123-kilometre beach the top place to run into dingoes, it’s also a once in a lifetime journey—with you at the wheel! Stunning beauty is around every corner as you cruise the beach, cross rivers, and bounce around rainforest tracks in your Toyota Land Cruiser.
The island boasts over 100 freshwater lakes, ancient rainforests, massive sand dunes, and colourful cliffs. Out of the 4×4, relax in the champagne pools, slide down Eli Creek, explore the Maheno shipwreck, hike up Indian Head, wade in Lake Wabby, and swim in Lake Mackenzie. You won’t want to leave this rugged haven!
P.S. Before you depart Rainbow Beach, sand board the Carlo Sand Blow.
When To Go
November – March
Fraser Island, Rainbow Beach, Southern Queensland
That concludes our incredible journey through the unique sights and sounds that only the great nation of Australia has to offer. Have you been to any of our top 23 sites? Have you got one of your own to add to the list? Let us known in the comments! Until then, travel safe and travel happy!