4 Unusual Destinations in Australia You’ve Probably Never Heard Of
Australia’s diverse landscape attracts visitors from near and far. Stunning beaches, ancient rainforests, the striking Outback, bustling cities, and our exotic animals create an amazing travel experience.
But, what about the quirky? We’ve got that too. Not as abundant as our kangaroos, but unusual enough to consider popping onto your Australian itinerary.
Thirty minutes east of the town of Bunbury in Western Australia, lies a patch of forest on the side of the road that is THE bucket-list destination for gnomes all over the world. They form groups in hotels, detention centres and retirement villages. They fall in love, fly planes, drive tourist buses, play cricket, and climb over logs. Gnomesville started as a form of protest to the council plans to build a roundabout. It didn’t work; the roundabout went ahead but the gnomes, refusing to be silenced, kept appearing.
Gnomesville now stretches some distance back into the forest and is covered with thousands of gnomes that have migrated from all over Australia and around the world. Come along to say hi. Hopefully, a gnome will find its way into our suitcase along the way, and you can let it stay with like-minded folks for a wee while. You’ll find Gnomesville at the roundabout at the junction of Wellington Mill and Ferguson Roads, Wellington Mill in the Ferguson Valley.
2. Coober Pedy
Hot, dry, desolate, quiet, dusty and burnt orange.
Scrap metal, rotting cars, and mounds of orange dirt piled up with doors tucked into the side and cars parked out the front lay scattered about the town. You’d think it were deserted if not for the odd car throwing up dust as it putts into town.
You stand waiting. For the zombies and aliens to come walking down behind it. This is Coober Pedy.
If you’re a Mad Max fan, then you know it. Coober Pedy is a favourite location for movies requiring a mysterious desolate lunar landscape.
To add to the quirkiness, people live in homes underground, which maintain a consistent 22-degree temperature. The only way to cool down from consistently hot temperatures that often race up to the 50’s.
Why would anyone live here? Coober Pedy is the biggest supplier of Opals in the world. Opal was first found in Coober Pedy on 1 February 1915 when a teenager, William Hutchison, stumbled on the “Surface Opal Nobbies” while gold prospecting with his father.
People have flocked to the region since. Tourism is now just as important as the mining industry.
It’s not just the homes that are underground, the shops, hotels, swimming pools, churches and even a campground are all under the earth as well. It’s worth a stopover if you’re passing between Alice Springs and Adelaide.
3. Hutt River Principality, Western Australia
Did you know that there’s a country within the country of Australia? I only discovered this when we visited Hutt Province in Western Australia. A story about an Australian farmer outsmarting the government, and one they don’t want to talk about much!
In 1970, when the government tried to take some of Prince Leonard’s wheat farming lands off him, he found loopholes in the law and discovered that Western Australia had not been formed properly as part of Australia.
So, therefore, his land was not Australian land but part of Britain. As a result, he artfully managed to stake the land as his country – Hutt River Principality. His kingdom stands at around 34 people and is made up of his extended family members. His realm has its own passports, currencies and rules and dignitaries that represent Hutt River at important events with Heads of State and Royalty from around the world.
For $2 you can get your passport stamped at the local post office, and if you’re lucky, Prince Leonard may be around to chat too. His stories of life in the Kingdom will have you in fits of giggles.
Oh, hail Prince Leonard. When I‘m looking for a loophole, I’ll come calling.
4. Daly Waters Pub, Northern Territory
The Daly Waters Pub an institutional pit stop for those road tripping across the Top End of Australia. It’s a long and barren drive between the Queensland border and Darwin; Day Waters Pub is one of the first places you come to that involves a bit more life than your typical Outback roadhouse stop.
It’s the place to leave your mark after a long journey. You choose: travel memorabilia, postcards, selfie photos, words of wisdom, a hurling stick, or the most popular mark to make – as you’ll see hanging from every spare hanging rod – bras of all shapes and sizes.
In the past, the pub has witnessed murders, shootouts in the main street, cattle stampeding through town and the odd drunken brawls. There’s no more fighting here, only salt-of-the-earth conversations and belly laughs. Pitch your tent on a patch of dirt, grab yourself a cold drink and head into the pub for the infamous Barra and Beef meal and live music. Daly Waters is a meeting place for weary travellers of all ages. Celebrate together – you’ve only got 600kms left to reach Darwin!