We all know the things that Australia is known for:
Beautiful beaches and turquoise waters, barefoot surfers, icons like the majestic Great Barrier Reef and the Sydney Opera House, quarrelsome kangaroos and cuddly koalas, barbecues, venomous arachnids, vegemite… The list goes on.
But what about the lesser known places and phenomena? Australia is, after all, the world’s biggest island with incredibly diverse landscapes and is the home of the oldest living culture in the world. So, we’re taking it upon ourselves to shine light on and pay homage to these wonderful things you didn’t know you could do in Australia.
Go jump in a pile of snow
Or go skiing, whichever you prefer. Many people seem confused with this one, but yes Australia does actually get snow in the mountainous regions in the south of the country.
While there isn’t an abundance of it, there’s certainly enough to create a cosy, wintery snow season in the months between June to September. Some of the best places to indulge in some winter sports are in the Snowy Mountains, the Australian Alps and Tasmania. Ski resorts such as Perisher, Mount Hotham, Thredbo, Mt Buller, Falls Creek and Ben Lomond are all popular choices, and offer terrains suitable for all difficulty levels.
But if you don’t care much for overheating in a big onesie while you speed down a snowy mountain with your feet attached to slides, fear not. You can still go and experience snow, sleep in a cute country cottage and sit by the fire with a glass of wine just like the Europeans do.
Places like Cradle Mountain in Tasmania, Oberon and Kosciuszko National Park in New South Wales and Lake Mountain in Victoria are perfect for the wintery vibe. Cherry on top of the cake? Country pubs with working fireplaces are PLENTIFUL in Australia – do yourself a favour and check them out.
Go searching for some beautifully strange natural sights
If you’re intrigued by the natural phenomenon behind beautiful pink lakes, then you’ll be glad to know that you can feed that intrigue in Australia. The most popular and picturesque body of water with a bright pink hue, known as Lake Hillier, is off the coast of Western Australia. But there are actually various pink lakes all over Australia and definitely worth exploring.
Sydney’s known for a lot of things, but one thing that’s not as broadcasted as the Opera House? The Figure 8 Pools. These are naturally-formed tidal pools that are shaped perfectly as figures of 8 and are really quite aesthetically pleasing. However, they’re not easy to get to and sit on a dangerous rock shelf. So, if you want to see them, make sure you’re well informed on the weather, tides and swell and check the Royal National Park page for information.
Find out where and when these unique events are held
Just off the coast of Darwin, in the Northern Territory, you can find the Tiwi Islands. Wurrumiyanga is the largest community on the Tiwi Islands and is where the annual Tiwi Islands Football Grand Final takes place, as well as a popular art fair. Both of these events are incredibly significant to the remote Indigenous communities on the islands and are certainly worth checking out if you’re in the Northern Territory. The events are held in March – so pencil them into your travel itinerary!
Another event to chase in Australia is one for the books. The Southern Lights (Aurora Australis) is an extraordinary natural light display in the sky. The beautiful green, blue, purple and red colours really are a magical sight to witness. And guess what… You can see them best from Tasmania. It’s recommended to go looking for them in the winter months, but you can spot them all-year round. Go somewhere with little light pollution, and prepare to be mesmerised.
Check out some pretty extraordinary wildlife
We all know that wallabies, kangaroos and koalas are Australias’ sweethearts, and rightly so.
But many are unaware of the other magnificent creatures you can spot in the wild in this beautiful country. For example, did you know that one of the very few places you can take part in responsible (very important!) cage diving to witness the beauty of the largest predatory fish in the world, otherwise known as great white sharks, is near Port Lincoln, South Australia?
Speaking of fish, you can also tick off an epic item off your dream bucket list in Ningaloo Marine Park, by swimming with the largest of them all: the beautiful Whale Shark. On the Ningaloo Reef, they hold the highest rate of Whale Shark swim numbers in the world and only engage in eco-friendly tourism practices, meaning they ensure absolute minimal impact on the environment and marine life.
Didn’t know you could see PENGUINS down under? Well now you do! As someone who works for a tour company that includes this wonderful and unique experience in its itinerary, I know that people are SHOCKED at the idea of being able to witness these little waddlers in their natural habitat right here in Australia, on Phillip Island.
What about some unusual land creatures too?
Then let’s start off with the most unusual of them all: the Cassowary. Never heard of them? That’s what this blog is for.
This beautiful, but terrifying, exotic bird is essentially an emu that looks like it’s dressed up to go to a Mardi Gras festival. The Southern Cassowary is native to the tropical forests of Australia, so you can set out to North Queensland and try places like the Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation for a glimpse.
And last but certainly not least, the adorable but less-known QUOKKA. These cute, smiley marsupials can be seen in the wild on Rottnest Island. Add them to your Australian bucket list and you won’t be disappointed. They’re coined the happiest animal in the world, and we completely understand why.
And for the lightning round...
Think sand dunes are cool? Well, we got those too, all around the country, and you can sand board down them.
Fascinated by volcanoes? When the Undara Volcano last erupted, it spat out 23 billion cubic litres of lava and made some of the largest and highest lava tubes in the world.
Intrigued at the fact that there’s a Spanish Castle somewhere in Queensland? I am equally as bewildered.
Never heard of the town Coober Pedy, where in summer it gets SO unbearably hot that they decided to build their houses, cafes and churches UNDERGROUND? I also just found this out.
I think that’s enough to get you started. Check out ANY of the wonderfully-Australian things above, and I guarantee you’ll feel a lot like Owen Wilson does in every movie he’s ever been in. Also, don’t forget to watch our tour guide/influencer queen Clauds talk about all of this in our latest video (below). If you’re looking for more advice on what’s absolutely not to miss in Australia, get in touch!