“We may never meet again so shed your skin and let’s get started” – Split Enz
Firstly, this article has taken a fair bit of work over the years and I’m finally getting it published over 4 years since I left Australia behind! Secondly of course I’m probably wrong and you might have heard of these places and been to them but if you have, then it means you have escaped the oh so practiced “backpacker hubs” of Bondi, Uluru, St. Kilda, Fraser Island etc. I salute anyone who avoids the over-promoted tourist routes of Australia to get to some places that are less well known. I skipped a few of those over trodden places so that I could visit some random raw Australian towns and villages away from the backpacker trail during a hectic 18 month spell in the land down under. Getting pissed up with Germans, Swedes and English backpackers in Byron Bay is amazing at the time but it takes its toll, believe me.
“Living in a land down under where women glow and men plunder” – Men at Work
While some of you reading might not have heard of these marvellous places, some of you might even live in them as some of them have populations. But while I cast my mind back to my 18 months backpacking, working and breathing in the land down under, I thought I’d better do justice to those places I never ever wrote about yet visited and for some, spent a considerable amount of time in them. These places deserve the publicity that mainstream spots don’t.
It’s easier to bung them all into one post like this as it would take me years to do a top 5 sights in each, though some of the places I have written about before, and where this is the case I include a link back to some of my 5 year old articles (no doubt they are cringeworthy looking back at my old stuff).
This isn’t a post about the piss ups in Melby, the Neighbours Tour, partying in King’s Cross, driving the Wick Not by the Ocean Gravel Track or Wineglass Bay. This is a post about those cool little towns, villages and tranquil spots I loved in my time in Australia. Places that weren’t in my guidebooks, or yours and thankfully they provided me with more fun times than the well bate gap year route which I also trod on of course 😉 And in the crazy timeframe we’ve been given on this planet, I fear and feel that I will never again return to most of these places on my journeys. There’s a certain sadness with that, the emotional baggage that travel provides you with. Yes there is a deep fear within me here – I feel the memories rolling back but I also know that of this century of places, most of them, I will never step foot in again. I present you my top 100 places in Australia you have never heard of.
“We may lose and we may win. But we will never be here again” – The Eagles
1. Beerburrum, Queensland
The very name of the village of Beerburrum was enough to tempt me to visit. I saw it on a map and decided to make it my next port of call. I was actually looking for a beer here but the only pub in the village was shut, plus I was driving that day.
It’s a tiny village somewhere north of Brisbane. I think. A lot of the places on this list I was driving to, as I bought a car while working on broccoli farms, so I could get to work, sleep in my vehicle and tour the country.
2. Poatina, Tasmania
Mention the word Poatina to me and it sends a sentimental shiver down my spine. For it was in this tiny mountain top village back in April 2010 that I lived out one of my travel dreams.
By camping out in Poatina, I was able to save enough money to backpack through South America and Antarctica for 4 months. Yes, I was earning almost $5000 a month at one point on broccoli farms (12 hour days, 7 day weeks). Hard work of course but damn rewarding!
3. Westmead, New South Wales
When heading to Australia for the first time, most of the best flights and cheapest routes fly into Sydney. So once you’ve ticked off the tourist trail (Opera House, Bridge and Manly Beach) and the gap year hangouts (King’s Cross and Bondi Beach), head out of the city centre. Westmead is a marvellous neighbourhood with some local shops and bars and the Murugan Hindu Temple, well worth a visit.
4. Lunnawanna, Bruny Island
The remote and lonely Bruny Island is just magical. It was here that I slept alone at Captain Cook’s Creek, saw white wallabies, watched an epic sunset from the centre of the island and toured the entire island including Australia’s southernmost post. You need to get a ferry over to Bruny Island from Kettering.
Lunnawanna is one of a few entries on this list from gorgeous Bruny Island.
5. Kettering, Tasmania
I headed to Kettering to get the ferry across to Bruny Island. It’s a small village and worth a look around while you’re waiting on the boat.
6. Aranda, Australian Capital Territory
While touring the capital territory in and around Canberra, we had an awesome barbecue night in Aranda with my friend Evan and family.
7. Cressy, Tasmania
The town of Cressy became my nearest sign of life for a few months. While camping out in Poatina, the village’s only shop closed every day at 5pm, and we’d be working on broccoli from 7am-7pm so we’d normally miss it. This meant heading to nearby Cressy lots of times to buy food in the village store which stayed opened until 9pm.
I’d buy some basic food rations here and admire the fish monument and local park. These types of villages are so remote and I urge you all to head to places like Cressy.
8. Foster, Victoria
If you added an “s” to Foster, you’d get Australia’s most famous exported beer, at least in the UK where I’m from. When I visited the town of Foster though, I was there walking round random local streets and filling my car up with petroleum. I also popped into the tourist information centre to get a road map, most people pass through Foster on route to Wilson’s Promontory Point – the southernmost tip of mainland Australia. Having spent 6 months in Tasmania and later heading to Antarctica, I didn’t see the value of a selfie at that place.
9. The Great Lake, Tasmania
When my co-worker Greg told me about the Great Lake, I wasn’t expecting this to be that great. But it was amazing. A cold, lonely road leads up to the Great Lake in central Tasmania and it was inspiring.
I was lonely around the time of my life in Australia, mostly thanks to that Hungarian dancing wannabe, so places like this helped me breathe in clear air and chill out. At one with nature.
10. Rinadeena, Tasmania
Rinadeena was one of my standout memories from backpacking in Australia without a doubt. Rinadeena translates from Aboriginal as “Raindrop” and it is in this village in the mountains of western Tasmania where the magnificent West Coast Wilderness Railway Line reaches its peak and highest point.
We enjoyed lunch at Rinadeena, though I must stress that Rinadeena is very touristy compared with the others on this list but not every backpacker goes here hence why it has made the list – it’s mostly middle aged married couples on a shorter trip rather than backpackers.
11. Leongatha, Victoria
While touring the state of Victoria, I was more interested in the remote towns on the more coastal route to New South Wales. One such place was Leongatha, where I stopped off to watch the New Zealand v Italy match one morning (2010 World Cup), in a DickMonalds restaurant.
The town boast a pretty church, a war memorial and a few decent pubs.
12. Mount Druitt, New South Wales
In my last few months living in the land down under I hit up a few new spots in and around the city of Parramatta where I was based while working in PJ Gallagher’s Irish Pub.
My work mate Paul Hewitt lived at Mount Druitt (yes that rhymes) and we headed there for a house party. Sunset on the way in was epic and the Whiskey flowed.
13. Peterborough, Victoria
On a crazy road trip with the lads (Daniel, Neil and Paul) we drove the “Wick not by the ocean gravel track”, which is probably one of the most over-rated road trips from my travels. Normally known as the “Great Ocean Road”, this place was neither great, nor was it by the ocean, nor was it a road – it was a gravel track!! The only saving graces were that we saw our first live wild kangarooneys near Peterborough at dusk, as well as Koalas at Grey/Kennett River. It was dark by the time we reached Peterborough to sleep in our car, here’s a photo from Port Campbell earlier that day.
14. Longford, Tasmania
Longford is a place I will never forget. As I was working on the broccoli farms near Cressy and Poatina, Longford was the only place in the area with public internet.
I used to go in once every few weeks on a day off to publish my blogs, check my e-mails and Facebook etc. It was here in Longford Library in Tasmania where I received the e-mail confirming I was booked on the Antarctica trip.
15. Grey River, Victoria
Victoria has lots of rivers leading down to the ocean. I do believe that it was here at Grey River that we saw our first ever Koala Bear.
16. Kiama, New South Wales
The Blow Hole at Kiama is a well recommended sight when backpacking in New South Wales. It’s a natural ongoing spurt of water through the rocks by the sea.
When I visited, there were other tourists there but it’s off the “gap year circuit” for sure. Plenty of local hotels and bars in town too. It’s a decent spot.
17. Lower Landing, Tasmania
On the west coast wilderness railway station, we reached a place known as “Lower Landing“. Australians are casual types, and I guess they just couldn’t think of a better name for it.
It was here at Lower Landing that we had a Honey Sampling, where I tried the Tasmanian Leatherwood Honey.
18. Yarram, Victoria
Yet another scattered town in the south part of Victoria was Yarram, which also made it onto my Travel A-Z list in 2012 due to the letter Y. Yarram and villages like it are like stepping back in time to Victorian England in many ways. A paced out main street where it’s at and more local stores than big name commercial ones.
19. Nowra, New South Wales
The city of Nowra actually has a population of around 35,000 so it’s one of the bigger settlements to make the cut. It was a wet drizzly day when I stopped here for petrol and lunch.
20. Point Danger, NSW/Queensland Border
After crossing the border between New South Wales and Queensland, I enjoyed a morning sunrise at Point Danger on my road trip up the east coast towards Brisbane, where I also stayed with my mate George.
Sunrise here is stunning and you’ll have the experience to yourself except for a few dog walkers.
21. Wesley Vale, Tasmania
Dreamlike Wesley Vale holds really sentimental and emotional memories. It was in Wesley Vale, at Pulp Road where I did my first ever broccoli farm shift. I ended up working on broccoli farms for a further 3 months. Wesley Vale is a farming village, it has a local store but there ain’t no bottle-O in Wesley Vale.
22. Lynchford, Tasmania
The village of Lynchford was the venue for some gold searching. As I embarked on one of the world’s loneliest railway lines, we stopped off here at the former site of gold mines but I left empty handed.
As a tourist gimmick you can search for fake gold here and keep it as a souvenir. The glory golden days have passed wee Lynchford by. But the beauty remains.
23. Narooma, New South Wales
I joked that I had nowhere to stay, “no room at Narooma” as I felt like sleeping in a bed for a change. But alas I didn’t. I had lunch by a gorgeous lake here and watched some birds.
24. Scarborough, Queensland
As I headed for yet another crazy reunion with Jonathan McKee and family, I stopped at a glorious place called Scarborough to enjoy sunset.
25. East Sassafras, Tasmania
Again it was a phone call from my boss Hayley, “Jonny can you come to East Sassafras for 7am tomorrow to chop broccoli?” . “Yes of course, but where the fuck is it?”
Down a winding hill, we find the broccoli farms of East Sassafras. This was the infamous location on that day that I did a shit in the broccoli field.
26. Glenorchy, Tasmania
In disbelief while driving through Hobart in Tasmania, I saw a TAYTO Van – a van bearing the name of the Northern Irish crisp packet. In complete disbelief I followed the Tayto Van all the way to Glenorchy, where I met Alan Graham and was given six complimentary packets of Tayto Cheese and Onion. Epic. Purely epic.
To understand the significance of this chance encounter. I come from Northern Ireland and Tayto are my favourite crisps. There is ONE Tayto Van in the whole of Australia. ONE. I was randomly driving from Kettering back through Hobart one quiet Sunday and the ONE Tayto Van was in front of me, so I followed it.
27. North Lakes, Queensland
After watching sunset at Scarborough, it was time for that long awaited reunion with Johnny McKee and family. I headed to North lakes where I stayed a night with them in their new home, having emigrated all the way from Belfast/Bangor in Northern Ireland. Previously I had been out in Austria with Johnny McKee for the Northern Ireland v. Austria match in Vienna in 2005.
What was even better was that Johnny cooked an entire Ulster Fry for me and treated me to beers all night, before I headed off on my travels again the next day. This was June 2010 and the way life goes, I haven’t been back there since, nor seen Johnny in the intervening years.
28. Tweed Heads, New South Wales
I had a half day at Tweed Heads and it’s basically a town by the Queensland and NSW border. It’s on this list as it is not a backpacker hub the way that its neighbour Coolangatta is. It features the border monument between these two Australia states.
29. Marlo, Victoria
It was a really dreamy and sentimental journey to the village of Marlo, notably splet without a W. The reason being is that I grew up in the Marlo area of Bangor, Northern Ireland and my childhood came racing back when I arrived here, yet again for sunset.
I walked all along the beach and enjoyed the fresh air here. It is the only time in my travels where I have ever been to a place that bears the same name as the area I grew up in, so this visit to Marlo was special.
30. Moriarty, Tasmania
If you have followed my journeys down the years you might remember little Moriarty, a farming community/area in northern Tasmania where once again I spent a few weeks in while working on broccoli farms. My dreams came to life in places as obscure as this.
Life has taken me to all sorts of places such as Sulav in Iraq, Shahr-e Kord in Iran, Bartica in Guyana, The Empire of Austenasia and tiny Osterweddingen in Germany, but none can beat the obscure mundane magic of Moriarty. I cry just thinking of this emotional place.
31. Frankston, Victoria
The sun sank in this eastern suburb of Melbourne and I met up with a local girl called Leanne for a drink in a local pub. The beach in Frankston is a cool spot and this is off the backpacker trail, at least it was in 2010.
32. Ruined Castle, New South Wales
Daniel Evans and I still laugh every time we hear the words “ruined castle”, basically we expected this to be some kind of kick-ass ancient ruins.
But then we remembered we were backpacking in Australia – the land where things that are crap are dressed up to sound amazing. The ruined Castle was literally just a load of rocks on top of a hill and it took us a day to hike out there and back. Waste of time? No, we still laugh about it.
33. Bagdad, Tasmania
Long before I went backpacking in Iraq, I visited Bagdad. But it’s spelt differently and it’s a very odd village in central Tasmania. What was even weirder is that the same area features a place called Jericho!
The top sights in the village have to be the Bagdad Valley orchards and the road to Jericho.
34. Maclean, New South Wales
Maclean, the Scottish Town in New South Wales is a fantastic place. It is quite simply a Scottish town in New South Wales and it lives up to its Scottish heritage in a massive way!
Local shops belt out bagpipes and Scottish music and the lamposts have tartan designs on them. It’s a great place for any traveller to Australia to check out and arguably one of my standout memories from my time in the land down under.
35. Kindred, Tasmania
Again my harvesting days on endless farms led me to this remote settlement known as Kindred. It was here that I got into Cauliflower Harvesting on two different farms.
36. Brushgrove, Woodford Island, New South Wales
While backpacking in New South Wales, somebody told me that Woodford Island is the Largest River Island in the world, so I had to check it out. It’s pretty big but I later found out there is no way it can truly be the largest river island in the world. It could well be the largest inhabitated river island in the world however.
It even has a local pub, village capital, shop and post office. The locals were bemused as to why a backpacker like me would want to take photos, visit and write about it. 5 years on, I’m writing about Woodford Island again. I toured the capital Brushgrove and loved it.
37. Yellow Pinch Dam, Victoria
The World Cup was on at unusual hours when I was touring Australia and having a gap between my farming work and my return to working in PJ Gallagher’s Irish Pub, I had a few days to try and catch up to sleep. I picked a peculiar spot as I drove up to a place called Yellow Pinch Dam. This was truly odd. I slept alone in my car and at sunrise sped off again. Nobody else was in sight.
38. “Bogan” Logan, Queensland
Another reunion was in store as I headed to a pub in “Bogan” Logan in Queensland. Logan City is quite a big place and there waiting by a car park was Owen Millar. I hadn’t seen Owen since the crazy SOENISC days touring Europe and England watching Northern Ireland matches. We had a beer in Bogan Logan before ripping up Brisbane and launching a Brisbane NISC back in June 2010.
39. Bangor, Tasmania
There are a few places on this list that throw up crazy coincidences. One such place is Bangor.
You might or might not have read but I grew up in Bangor, Northern Ireland and to realise that there are 6-10 more Bangors in the world, I wanted to see some of them. I headed to Bangor in Northern Tasmania to check it out. It’s a tiny farming village with a church and an intersection and that’s about it. Locals were amused at the sight of a photo taking, blogging backpacker but hey, I was thousands of miles from home and yet back in Bangor. I had my travelling Northern Ireland flag with me for a photo opportunity.
40. Bangor Farm, Tasmania
So hold on – you’ve already mentioned Bangor in Northern Tasmania on number 39 on this list, you mean there’s another one? Yes – in the south eastern corner of Tasmanian on route to the Isle of the Dead and Port Arthur, there is a farming area called Bangor Farm. I nonchalantly dropped by.
There’s even a phone number on the entrance sign and I just had to fly that flag again.
41. Carrick, Tasmania
We headed to Carrick on a 6am bus from Devonport in order to work on cabbage patches and on weeding out bean and cabbage paddocks. It was absolute bliss. The views all around were outstanding and we also got paid for it.
42. Batman Bridge, Tasmania
There was no sign of Robin and as the only backpacker there I was probably the joker when I headed to Batman Bridge. When I compiled this list I couldn’t remember what part of Tasmania it was in, but I know I was there and I crossed this bridge and even had a picnic here.
43. The Isle of the Dead, Tasmania
It’s a bit scary when you head to Port Arthur in Tasmania for many reasons – firstly there is a haunted house there that freaks people out. Secondly there was a serious shooting massacre in the grounds of Port Arthur in 1996. Thirdly you can step off your boat cruises onto the spooky “Isle of the Dead”, this place properly freaked everyone out – it’s an island full of dead bodies in graves and flies linger.
44. Lakes Entrance, Victoria
This is not just the name of the place where the Lakes enter, it is genuinely the name of the town here. It offers great views out to sea and a fishing harbour.
45. Zeehan, Tasmania
Zeehan was one of a few towns I toured on the remote west coast wilderness of Tasmania. It’s beautiful and lonely in these parts.
There was a remote, lonely platform to view the sunset from on the west coast so I headed there to check it out.
46. Ross, Tasmania
Ross is quite simply a delightful village. With a population of 272 (in 2010), it’s a tranquil town with leafy parks and it had a real Autumnal feel to it when I was there – my trip to Ross.
Locals describe it as the most beautiful village in Tasmania, and frankly I’d be hard pressed to disagree.
47. Blackheath, New South Wales
The Blue Mountains might be a very touristy place, but in amongst all the hikes and the madness of Katoomba and Wentworth, there is a small town that sits quite unknown and serves as the entrance to Govett’s Leap and Evans Point.
48. Ulverstone, Tasmania
A town on the north coast of Tasmania, Ulverstone is a place I passed through often.
It calls itself the Centre of the Coast and has a public library with internet, one that I used to type up my blogs on when I was living in Tasmania.
49. Ourimbah, New South Wales
The name Ourimbah I felt sounds African or South American, but obviously it’s aboriginal. I slept here for a night and cooked under a cover in the rain.
50. Paddy’s Rest, New South Wales
I needed a poo poo and having used my own tips on doing a sh*t, I stopped off at Paddy’s Rest. I did find it odd to be called “Paddys” a derogatory and racist word to describe Irish people but I didn’t dwell too much as I was only there to do a shit and I got a composting toilet to do it in. Nice, should have listened to my own excrement tips.
51. Squeaking Point, Tasmania
My manager phones me one day and asks if I am OK to go and work on a cauliflower farm in Squeaking Point. Initially I thought it was a wind up but then I realised that yes – this place is called Squeaking Point. I spent quite a few days here working on various different cauliflower farms.
It was remote, wild and raw and I have good memories of Squeaking Point.
52. Nowhere Else, Tasmania
It’s quite unlikely I will ever see the like of this again. It’s literally just a street sign in the middle of the Tasmanian wilderness and it says “Nowhere Else”. This isn’t someone having a laugh – it’s the name of the place.
It’s even next to a nature reserve area where you can see the famous duck billed platypus.
53. Sheffield, Tasmania
If you’re ever looking for brilliant off the wall sights when backpacking in Tasmania – Sheffield has to be number one on your list. Seriously, this is the top tourist sight in the country for me – a vintage town full of murals without a tourist in sight. This place is remarkable and having been to the English town of Sheffield some 6 years prior, it completed a brace.
54. The Belfast Basement Bar, Penrith, New South Wales
Hidden away on a side street, in a garage of someone’s house is the Belfast Basement Bar. This place is so secret it’s not even supposed to be on my list so Shhhhhh!! I wasn’t meant to tell anyone.
In 2010 I enjoyed a crazy day in this bar, which has a traditional Northern Irish feel to it.
I was there with host Harry Curry and the Sydney Northern Ireland Supporters Club.
55. Penguin, Tasmania
Not only is this a town called Penguin but to celebrate the fact that they have called their village Penguin, they have a massive Penguin statue by the seafront.
56. Cape Bruny, Bruny Island
On the southern tip of the glorious Bruny Island (reachable by ferry from Kettering, Tasmania) sits Australia’s oldest Lighthouse. Well worth a trip – and it offers incredible views and a gust of Antarctic wind.
57. Tullah, Tasmania
Tullah became a saviour for me on my west coast wilderness road trip as I was basically out of petrol and praying I would make it to Tullah, which I did and the petrol station was open. They also have a vintage Railway here called Wee Georgie Wood.
58. Mackintosh Dam, Tasmania
Tullah and Mackintosh Dam go hand in hand – in the valleys in behind this spectacular dam was built to prevent the water flowing out and maintaining a reservoir.
59. Bishopsbourne, Tasmania
Bishopsbourne was another of the places I worked in and indeed I spent some time here weeding out bean and cabbage paddocks.
60. Clontarf Beach, New South Wales
Sydney itself offers a lot of hidden gems and once you’ve ticked off the popular tourist sights of the Opera House, Harbour and Bondi beach, you’ll be on the lookout for quieter ones. Clontarf Beach ticks the boxes and made my top 5 for Sydney. You could go nude here and not be seen, except for the odd dog walker and binocular dude.
61. Bells Beach, Victoria
Surfers love the beaches of south Victoria and Bells Beach is one of the popular ones, that said – we came about it by chance on our Wick Not by the Ocean Gravel Track and visited the beaches on either side of the rockface. One of these photos is actually Bell’s Beach, the other one is a random beach next to it.
62. Mawbanna, Tasmania
Rumour has it that back in the 1930s, the last of the now extinct Tasmanian Tigers was shot dead here at Mawbanna. Yes, you guessed it I went to see the monument and the location. Aside from that, a Fire Station is the highlight of any trip to Mawbanna.
63. Stanley/The Nut, Tasmania
A standout sight on this list and a pure travel gem too – Stanley is a town built underneath a volcanic plug, this is easy on the eye and has a wonderful hike up to the top for sublime views and to feel fresh wind on your face.
64. Don, Tasmania
The village of Don in Northern Tasmania is famous for its railway line. As a big fan of trains on my travels, I was once the ONLY customer to take the Don River Railway from Don, to Coles Beach in Devonport!
There are only two stops on the line these days and it’s open only for tourists. When I turned up and asked for a ride on the train, they put the journey on especially for me. I was the only passenger but I loved it, they even let me become the driver for a few minutes.
65. Taranna, Tasmania
Taranna was one of the last days when we backpacked as a foursome as Paul, Neil and Daniel were all with me when we drove down to the south east corner of Tasmania.
Daniel was well up for seeing some Tasmanian devils, and as they are hard to see in the wild and an endangered species, we headed to the Tasmanian Devil Conservation Centre in Taranna. It was a definite highlight from 5 months in Tasmania.
66. Alonnah, Bruny Island, Tasmania
On an island as magically discreet as Bruny, the surprise of ending up in its “capital” of Alonnah is quite something. Even stranger that it was a Saturday night, yet even Australia’s southernmost pub here was closed.
Each entry in this top 100 could make up a travel blog post and story of its own, but we simply don’t have the time in life to do that. It would be nice though. Alonnah was brilliant.
67. Bothwell, Tasmania
So you read about my visit to Maclean – the Scottish Town in New South Wales, Australia. What’s even cooler is that I visited another Scottish town and this one really remote – Bothwell in Tasmania.
68. Campbell Town, Tasmania
One of the nicest Ice creams I had in Australia came at Valhallas in Campbell Town. I stopped off in this quiet wee place a few times on my journey. The thing about quiet remote towns in Australia is that you always meet someone and there is always some information somewhere for visitors to take in, whether subliminal or printed up like on Campbell Town’s entry sign.
When I wrote about Campbell Town in 2010 I realised I was there around the 16 year mark of Paddy Campbell Day, my mate who got expelled for nicking the exam paper only to go on to become an ace playwright.
69. Bairnsdale, Victoria
There are some random obscure towns on here that I also remember I was in but not exactly what I did there. One of these was Bairnsdale in Victoria.
70. Hellyer Gorge, Tasmania
On a crazy day where I ran out of petrol without a petrol station in sight in the western wilderness of Tasmania, I found solace in the waters and forests of Hellyer Gorge.
71. Cann River, Victoria
There aren’t too may rivers making the list and I’ve put Cann River on here as I remember the way it meandered in and out of the roads on my drive that took me back into New South Wales. It’s in East Gippsland.
72. Ulladulla, New South Wales
Have you ever had breakfast at Burrill Lake Lions Park in Ulladulla? No? Well you haven’t missed much, apart from the fact that it’s well off the tourist trail and you can relax in peace!
73. Broadbeach, Queensland
You might think of Australia as sun and beaches and realistically that’s the dream of holiday sun seekers but it ain’t my dream and I don’t give a f*ck about the weather when I travel. However, everyone seemed to love the sun on Broadbeach in Queensland.
The beauty of Australia’s beaches I can’t deny and of course a few of them have made my list here. Broadbeach is probably the most touristic beach on the list but I still found time to myself on its golden sands, with Surfer’s Paradise in behind.
74. Driver Reviver, New South Wales
Lots of people (even Australians) slag off their own government way too much. But in my time in Australia I loved some of the government and council incentives in this country. One truly humane feature is the “Driver Reviver” sections on the long roads between cities. I stopped off numerous times at these – it’s a place for driver to get FREE biscuits, tea and coffee.
A really great incentive for people not to drink and drive and also to keep drivers awake during long distances drives, especially through the night. Well done, Australia.
75. Leichardt, Sydney, New South Wales
When my mate Pat told me of an “Italian Area” of Sydney called Leichardt we just had to go there. The reason being that Northern Ireland were playing Italy at 8am one morning!
So we got a bar to show it – it was a coffee bar so a hat-trick of cappuccinos were ordered as I watched with Owen and Pat (from Northern Ireland) and Vince (from Italy).
We got a memorable 0-0 draw in a cafe that also had a replica World Cup!
76. Dip Falls, Tasmania
Dip Falls come as a massive surprise. I heard from a workmate in Cressy about these waterfalls called Dip Falls. ON a spare afternoon I decided to head out there. I really didn’t expect much but to my surprise, they are a huge set of waterfalls in a really enchanting forest.
Also housed in the same forest is a tree which is the thickest and oldest I have ever ever seen. It was a beast of a tree.
77. Forth, Tasmania
When you are backpacking in Melbourne and Tasmania, you will notice a love for Australian Rules Football. As a cheap and tight assed backpacker I’m always looking for the cheapest way to do the coolest things. I didn’t want to pay the prices to watch the Aussie Rules in Melbourne, so I headed to Forth!
Here in Forth I was almost treated like a special guest for the day as I supported Forth (the Magpies) against Sheffield in a local country game of Aussie Rules Football. I mingled with the local fans, drank and ate with them and got a real flavour of the Aussie Rules culture.
A big thanks to my friend Chris Belmer for inviting me. It was free entry, I got to meet the players, got a programme and had a brilliant day, I previously wrote a report on the football at Forth.
78. Drummoyne, Sydney, New South Wales
The district of Drummoyne was my venue for work in the other PJ Gallagher’s Irish Pub here and on my visit I enjoyed the sunset by the river and the views.
I worked in the downstairs bar and in the gaming bar in the pub and have recently found out that the pub was sold and no longer is owned by the PJ Gallagher’s Group. While it’s sad to think of that, it’s nice to know I once served pints here. It was one of my dreams.
79. George Town, Tasmania
Having backpacked through a few Georgetowns down the years, the one in Tasmania was probably the least expected and known, but surprisingly quirky.
There is a cool micronation that was formed here – The Grand Duchy of Avram. A post for another day perhaps, but it’s a nation that doesn’t claim territory!
Georgetown itself has a poignant war memorial, a vintage town centre, great views over the estuary at the River Tamar and the Low Head Lighthouse. It’s really worth a trip.
80. Devil’s Kitchen
As a wild wind swept the coast of eastern Tasmania, the lads and I found ourselves a few kilometres from “Devil’s Kitchen”, a rock formation by the ferocious Tasman sea waves. It was a quick visit to the national park area on our road trip and for some reason I decided to go back there on my own a few months later to explore it properly. When I got there I was faced with the most marvellous double rainbow.
Devil’s Kitchen is typical of cliff side rock faces in Tasmania.
81. Latrobe, Tasmania
Latrobe is world famous yet nobody knows about it, and that doesn’t make sense. The fact remains, this town of Latrobe is the home of the duck billed platypus. It’s the world capital for this odd looking animal. So did I see one?
On the way into the town there are signs advertising Platypus viewing areas and I went with Pierre my French work buddy. We found a place to park by the lake and waited for an hour or so and yes, we saw quite a few duck billed platypuses in the end, all in their natural habitat!
82. Remarkable Cave, Tasmania
The Remarkable Cave is yet another random sight in Tasmania, after a walk to a Safety Cove Beach we found a Remarkable Cave, yes that’s it’s actual name.
83. Lillico, Tasmania
Tasmania continues to feature on my list as I just loved the island so much. One night I headed down to Lillico where you can see penguins at night! I was there in June to see them, take a torch but be careful not to shine it near the actual penguins.
84. Rosebery, Tasmania
Dusk at Rosebery – stopped off here for a look around while filling up my car with petrol on route to the more known towns of Strahan and Queenstown (neither of which could make this list as they’re well backpacked).
85. Lake Leake, Tasmania
Lake Leake in Tasmania was part of my epic road trip to Wineglass Bay with Marina and Joseph who I met in Tasman Backpackers.
Lake Leake is used for recreational fishing mostly brook trout, brown trout and rainbow trout. When you see the Lake from above it’s a cool looking shape.
86. Coles Beach, Tasmania
Coles Beach was my home for a while! Pierre and I used to drive here in our cars and stay for the night. I slept in my car a lot of the time I was in Tasmania.
Coles Beach was a cool place to watch the sunset, have a few beers and get some sleep by the waters. It also had some singing toilets and some nights local teenage ravers would turn up in their cars next to ours and try to drown us out with loud music!
87. Glass House Mountains, Queensland
There are a few places on this list that I felt were a bit too mainstream and of these Glasshouse Mountains are one of the most touristic sights on the list. If you’ve backpacked in Australia for a year, it’s actually quite likely you’ll have been here but still – the wilderness makes it worth it – the hikes you can do and the sublime viewing points over a range of mountains with jagged and at times ultimately spectacular peaks.
Savour the views all around you – the Glass House Mountains are stunning.
88. Campspur, Tasmania
Another unusual location from my time in Tasmania’s western wilderness is Campspur. We headed to Campspur on the train journey. Views are simply marvellous all around as you head through forests and valleys. Again I wasn’t sure to include this one or not, as firstly the place doesn’t really exist anymore – there is no platform here now, and secondly, we didn’t actually get off the train in Campspur, so it’s the only one on the list that I didn’t step on land in.
89. Dubbil Barril, Tasmania
I did a short walk through the forest with my train buddies on the Western Wilderness Railway here at Dubbil Barril which was once a cow dairy.
The area offers rich forests, special views and dreamy valleys that seem otherworldly at times.
90. 90 Mile Beach, Victoria
Imagine a beach that stretched further than the width of Northern Ireland?! That’s what I experienced when I visited 90 Mile Beach. To top things off, I went to BOTH ends of 90 mile beach! Where it starts and ends.
91. Gordon, Tasmania
I keep thinking that Gordon is already on this list, can you check for me? As I don’t want to repeat but I can’t leave off Gordon.
On a quiet Tuesday night, Daniel, Neil, Paul and I drive south through the Magnificent Huon Valleys of Tasmania on what would be our final night together in Australia (we didn’t really know it then). Paul would leave within 2 weeks, Daniel would leave within 2/3 months and Neil had left within 3/4 months. I always ponder on that night on Gordon with a tear in my eye. It was the furthest south I had been on planet earth at the time (a few months before my Antarctica trip). Daniel and I hopped onto these pillars by the water and we just chilled there watching night fall.
92. Emu Plains, New South Wales
I haven’t written enough of the crazy shit from Australia yet, well apart from the night I slept in a bus. However the reason Daniel and I ended up at Emu Plains was we got pissed up and fell asleep on the train one night, and woke up here. We wandered round thinking “where the fuck are we?” We were in Emu Plains, still no idea where it is. We got the next train back to Westmead and wandered home long past sunrise.
93. Lorne, Victoria
Early morning we pulled over at Lorne on route from Peterborough back towards Melbourne. It was a tiring time and Neil and I went for a walk around the seafront.
98. Mosquito Hill, Victoria
On my drive through Victoria, I stopped at Mosquito Hill. It’s a valley area famous for wines. Thankfully there were no mosquitos here as a hazard. The best photo I have is from a fantastic sunrise that morning.
99. Turner’s Beach, Tasmania
When the lads left me and headed back to the Australian mainland, I was really sad. One emotional night in Hobart we said goodbye. After driving through Tasmania on my own, I came to Turner’s Beach to rest. The next day I handed in my rented car, moved into room 40 in Tasman Backpackers, woke up the next day as a seasonal broccoli harvester, a job which got me into 7-8 other jobs in a 5 month stint on farms all over Tasmania. And it all began with a lonely walk here in Turner’s Beach.
On an emotional tale, after the 5 months, my workmates Greg and Shaun invited me out for a beer on my final night in Tasmania. The venue, was Turner’s Beach. Cheers guys!
“Emotional goodnight” – Paul Hewson
100. Casuarina Sands, Australian Capital Territory
Last but not least as they’re all equally cool, it’s Casuarina Sands. I really enjoyed Australian Capital Territory and it’s more than just Canberra. When you look at it on a map, it’s a huge area.
We headed for a swim – a refreshing dip at Casuarina Sands. You just know these are magical memories and for the love of travel and moving on, you will never be here again. I remembered that as we drove out of Casuarina Sands for that day, and for this lifetime.
“You know the last plane out of Sydney’s almost gone” – Cold Chisel
It was time for me to book that final Australian flight in June 2011, twenty months after my arrival into the country, I waved my fond farewells.
“And in 7 flying hours I’ll be landing in Hong Kong.”
To this century of places, thanks for the memories.
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My videos, at least one from each of this 100 can be found on my extensive YouTube Channel, here’s some emotional ones from Casuarina Sands, Gordon and Goodnight Tasmania:
5 thoughts on “100 Places I Backpacked Through That You’ve Never Heard Of, in Australia”
I’ve probably been to most of these. I think most Australians will have heard of many of them too. Although suburbs don’t count as places to visit 😛 Aranda is just Canberra, Mt Druitt, Leichhardt and Drummoyne are all just Sydney. Even Logan, which is technically its own city, is really just Brisbane. Broadbeach is just part of the Gold Coast, a huge tourist spot. Oh and Emu Plains is also just a suburb of Sydney 😉
Also I think most people in Australia have heard of Kiama. Nowra has a navy base so it’s pretty well known too. Most people know about Tweed Heads because it’s the border town of QLD and NSW and a pretty common holiday spot. Bell’s Beach is internationally famous because it’s home to an international surf competition. Lakes Entrance is a popular holiday spot for Victorians too. But excellent effort to get to all those spots in a year! While Australians will have heard of many of them, most will only have been to a handful.
Hi Leah, thanks for your comments. I have to agree and disagree with some of that. These are “places” all of them are different places to visit. If I put down “Sydney” then it wouldn’t work. Every backpacker has been to Sydney so I put the individual parts of it that are less touristy than King’s Cross, Darling and Bondi etc. You get what I mean right? Aranda is also off the backpacker circuit – yes it’s part of Canberra and it’s part of ACT but there is no hostel there – it is not for backpackers. The post is not geared for Australians either – it’s a post for fellow backpackers to encourage them to escape the tried and tested backpacking trails and head to these places. I asked a few friend this week and only 6 or 7 of these places were known to them, so I stand by the fact that most backpackers don’t go to these places or have even heard of them. Test it for yourself – turn up in Rosebery, Lunnawanna or Narooma and look for another backpacker! I was in Australia for 18 months in total, but it was on three separate trips. Safe travels. Jonny
Hi Jonny – Interesting collection of places. A pity you either didn’t visit the Territory or found the place names less interesting perhaps? There’s Fannie Bay (Darwin suburb) and Humpy Doo a few kms out. South of Darwin there’s Turkey Dreaming, Rum Jungle, Ned’s Knob, Hungry Knob (who knew?), and Goat Island. Go further south and who can go past Dead Dog Waterhole, Cockroach Waterhole, Touchy Touch Bore, Shag Waterhole and Hooker Creek. Mind you, perhaps not where you would be wandering with your pack?
But I digress. I was looking at your website as I’m heading back to Gdansk for a little R&R and a welcome break at the end of the year and clicked on this to avoid working. I thought I’d let you know that you have attributed the song lyrics on this post to the wrong band: “[and] we may never meet again so shed your skin and let’s get started” are from the song Throw Your Arms Around Me by the incomparable Hunters & Collectors (affectionately known by us older persons simply as the Hunners – if you spent 18 months here you will understand the pronunciation!). And so you can enjoy perhaps one of Mark Seymour’s best versions https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XshqSlkM9n4.
Thanks for the Gdansk info – more to do this December.
Hi Sharon, thanks for the comment and for checking out my blog. Unfortunately I have been suffering from depression caused by a liar, the last few years and I haven’t been checking all comments and messages or replying as much as before. In Australia, I was only in Victoria, Tasmania, ACT, NSW and Queensland during my 4 visits to the country so your parts were not easy for me to get to. I will check the song lyric you mean. Yes I lived in Gdansk for 6 months and loved it – a beautiful city. Stay safe. Jonny