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Rethink: Australia

Think you know Down Under? Think again. Nick Boulos has seven suggestions for those looking to veer off the tourist trail

Monday 07 March 2016 10:21
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The Opera House, Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef are all very well, but there’s so much more to Australia besides. The world’s largest inhabited island is home to rainforest, deserts and other hidden gems. So ditch all the clichés and take a journey into the unknown…

Queensland’s unexplored interior

Australia’s north-east coastline is legendary but Queensland’s rich and varied interior is a place few consider visiting. Right this wrong and venture inland, to the scenic Darling Downs and its mountains, farming villages and cattle ranches.

The Wild West

Once you’ve bonded with Flipper and fed the pods of wild bottlenose dolphins that visit Monkey Mia in Western Australia each morning, head to less commercial enclave of Gutharraguda (meaning ‘Two Bays’ in the local indigenous language), a sweetly scenic spot that welcomes sharks, manta rays and endangered dugongs, also known as sea cows.

Cultural Canberra

Yes, the Canberra. Australia’s capital may lack the sparkle of showstopping Sydney but don’t be put off by its stuffy reputation. In truth, the Australian capital is a cultured and cosmopolitan place in which to while away a few days. Visit the national galleries and museums and stroll around Lake Burley Griffin.

The Red Centre’s ‘other’ natural wonder

Just down the road from Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia’s most sacred and impressive natural wonder, are the 36 enormous bulbous boulders that together form Kata-Tjuta, colloquially known as The Olgas. Revered by local Aboriginal tribes, these weathered rock formations and the gorges between them rank amongst the Northern Territory’s most impressive sights.

The beautiful South

Coorong may not be among Australia’s best-known of national parks but it receives visitors of the feathered variety from all over the world. And endless stretch of saltwater lagoons and wetlands an hour or so south of Adelaide, some 238 bird species touch down here from as far afield as Siberia.

Tassie’s tiny island

Enjoy a walk on the really wild side in Tasmania. The four-day Maria Island Trail is a firm favourite but tiny Bruny Island – just a 20-minute ferry ride away and home to just 620 lucky souls – is even more spectacular. Think craggy sea cliffs, penguin colonies and a coastline dotted with shipwrecks.

Watersports, Northern Territory style

Ever hung out of a helicopter with no doors? Or got up close and personal with killer saltwater crocodiles? No? Well, here’s your chance. Explore billabongs – and their man-eating residents – on a unique tour around the wilds of Darwin travelling on choppers, airboats and floatplanes. Thrilling and terrifying in equal measure.

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