Some of Australia’s most beautiful locations are the hidden gems of the continent. Australia’s East coast is brimming with secret spots and idyllic scenic views just waiting to be discovered by travelers.
Of course, the premier tourist attractions are fundamental to experience the breadth of the region fully. However, taking the path less traveled can help you discover unbeaten paths that lead to extraordinary destinations.
From Cairns to Melbourne, the rich Australian Coastline stretches nearly 1500 miles/ 3000 kilometers. As you travel and venture away from the busier tourist trails, you’ll find masterpieces of nature tucked away. We’ve handpicked our favorite spots that will unequivocally take you off the beaten track to some of the treasures hidden along Australia’s popular East Coastline.
1. Carnarvon Gorge, central Queensland
If your heart longs to explore seemingly uncharted lands, slip into one of the side gorges, sprinkled among the more popular marked ones bundled along the first half of the main trail. Start your adventure early in the morning and walk to the furthest point of Big Bend. As the heat of the day starts to beat down on the long trek back, venture into one of the cool side gorges.
Be the first to add footprints through the ever-changing landscape surrounded by the cool protective sidewalls of the gorge. From time to time, floodwaters enter the gorge and transform the creeks into new canvases that are well worth exploring. While in the area, be sure to check out the Art Gallery. The Aboriginal artifacts line a section of cliffs and include over 2000 paintings and stencils of animal tracks, boomerangs, and figures of various handshapes. As sunbeams filter in, a series of engravings also become visible, giving way to a deeper vision into an earlier civilization.
2. Porcupine Gorge, Queensland
Located North of Hughenden, discover the natural wonders of Porcupine Gorge National Park. This picturesque gorge is a marvel with views from the top of the gorge, a swimming hole at the base, and a variety of walking trails for strolling. Set up camp amid vast amounts of flora and fauna and explore a chain of water holes and vine forests that wind through a stunning sandstone gorge.
3. Walsh’s Pyramid
Trek a little bit to the south of Cairns and discover the world’s tallest freestanding natural pyramid. Take on the challenge of hiking to the summit of this natural and independent peak and reap the rewards of some of the best panoramic views of Cairns and Australia’s eastern shores. Enjoy the exhilarating feeling of being on top of the world surrounded by open skies and stunning views of vast fields of sugarcane below.
4. Devil’s Marbles, Tennent Creek
A magnificent array of massive granite boulders are strewn across a valley just south of Tennant Creek. Stop to admire the geological marvels nestled discreetly in Australia’s outback. Consider camping at the reserve overnight to experience the Marbles as they glow red and change their hues in the early morning light and the setting sun. Walk amid the magnificent stones and learn about what the Aboriginal tribes of the region believed to be ‘fossilized eggs of the Rainbow Serpent.’ Climb to the lookout and enjoy breathtaking views of the Marbles and surrounding countryside.
5. Great Keppel Island/ Emu Park
Catch the ferry to the hideaway of Great Keppel Island for the day and swim among manta rays, sea turtles, and the plethora of tropical reef fish. Take a rustic hike and explore the seemingly untouched forest filled with an abundance of wildlife. You can rent a budget bungalow for the day, lease kayaks and snorkels and sign up for some guided land and water adventures. Plain and simple, if unplugging is what you are after on a tropical adventure, this remote island is the perfect spot to cut ties with modern civilization for a while.
6. Rainbow Beach, Queensland
Visit a beach of earthly rainbows and an ever-changing kaleidoscope of colors. Named for its cliffs of colorful, mineral-rich sand, Rainbow Beach is an arcadian Australian beach town at the base of the Inskip Peninsula. Located near the popular Fraser Island, the biggest sand island in the world, this beach is a gem that you don’t want to miss during your travels. Wander along the stunning cliffs of multi-colored sands and discover a natural gallery of art created by years of natural erosion of wind and rain. Over time, iron-rich minerals have stained the sand with an array of yellow, brown, and red hues, while the contrasting pure white sand below was depleted of all such nutrients. Follow the rainbow of mixing sands that extend along the beach to Double Island Point and back again.
7. Melbourne Graffiti Alleys
Immerse yourself in an ever-changing parade of street art and get lost in the maze of interconnecting Graffiti Alleys of Melbourne. Spend some time observing all the fine details, from giant creations by local icons, to additions from visitors who have come to tag their initials on the walls. The canvassed walls depict a forever evolving work of art. While in the alley, you'll often spot photographers capturing colorful shots. Join the art adventurers who travel long distances just for a one-of-a-kind photo op like this one.