Wondering where to find the top hidden gems in Australia?
Australia is known for its incredible beaches, stunning rainforests, diverse wildlife and vibrant cities. But there are plenty of hidden gems and secret spots off the beaten path that provide an equally amazing experience.
For this in-depth look at Australia’s best kept secrets, we’ve turned to our friend Olivia from Defining Decade. From hidden rock pools, and secret snorkeling spots to secluded islands, here are 11 of the best hidden gems in Australia that you won’t want to miss in 2023.
11 Hidden Gems & Secret Spots in Australia
Let’s dive into the 11 best secret spots and hidden gems in Australia just waiting for you to discover. From insanely blue waters and stunning national parks to diverse reefs and secluded islands, these Australian hidden gems will make you go WOW.
1. Lake Bumbunga, South Australia
First up, we have one of my all-time favourite hidden gems in Australia, Lake Bumbunga.
If you are planning to visit South Australia and are looking for off-the-beaten-path destinations, Lake Bumbunga should be on your list. This hidden gem is incredibly unique and guaranteed to make your jaw drop.
Why, you may ask; isn’t it just a lake?
This lake is bright pink!
Lake Bumbunga, is a mesmerizing pink salt lake. The lake’s water changes colour from pale pink to bright fuchsia, depending on the concentration of salt in the water and the amount of sunlight reflecting off it.
This phenomenon is caused by a type of algae which thrives in salty environments and produces a red pigment.
If you visit during the warmer months, the lake will be dried, so you can actually walk on the salt. It feels like walking on another planet.
As you can imagine, Lake Bumbunga is a photographer’s dream come true. The contrasting pink with a blue sky and the white salt crusts on the lake’s edges create an otherworldly landscape perfect for capturing stunning photos.
The lake also reflects the surrounding environment, making it a great spot for capturing sunrise and sunset shots.
But just a word of warning.
When I visited, I was shocked at how bright it was. It was incredibly difficult to take photos and actually see what you were doing.
Flying a drone was particularly challenging. Make sure to wear sunglasses and plenty of sunscreen.
To get to Lake Bumbunga, take a 1hr and 30min drive from Adelaide. It’s not only a beautiful hidden gem, but it’s also incredibly accessible. Win, win!
2. Hamersley Gorge, Karijini National Park
If you are looking for a remote and breathtaking destination in Australia, Hamersley Gorge in Karijini National Park should be on your bucket list.
It is one of the hidden gems in Western Australia that offers an awe-inspiring landscape that is hard to find anywhere else.
So what makes Hamersley Gorge so special?
Hamersley Gorge is surrounded by towering cliffs that are over two billion years old, not to mention the river that flows through is crystal clear. The gorge also features several cascading waterfalls and picture-perfect pools, which are perfect for taking a dip when it’s warm.
Located in the remote Karijini National Park, this hidden gem is surprisingly not overrun by tourists. The stunning views and remote destination offer the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life.
If you’re a hiking enthusiast, this is the perfect destination for you. There are plenty of hiking trails for all fitness levels with the Dales Gorge Trail being the most popular.
Seasoned hikers should conquer the Weano Gorge Trail as it is a more challenging trail but the views from the top are well worth it. After your hike, be sure to cool down the waterfall pools.
Despite its remote location, Hamersley Gorge is pretty accessible. Located about a 3.5-hour drive from the town of Karratha, take a weekend trip to enjoy Karijini National Park. There are several accommodation options available in the area, including campsites and lodges.
3. Vivonne Bay, Kangaroo Island
Next up on the list of hidden gems in Australia is Vivonne Bay.
Vivonne Bay, located on Kangaroo Island in South Australia, is a hidden gem that is often overlooked by tourists.
The secluded bay is incredibly picturesque. Just take a look at the insanely blue waters! Plus Vivonne Bay rarely sees huge crowds, so it is perfect for those who want to immerse themselves in nature.
Vivonne Bay is home to one of the most beautiful beaches in South Australia, known for its crystal-clear waters and white sand. It’s the perfect place for swimming, surfing, or just lounging under the sun.
If you prefer adventures over relaxing, Vivonne Bay is also a great place to go kayaking, snorkeling fishing, and hiking.
Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, including kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas, and koalas that regularly frequent the area.
Don’t just visit Vivonne Bay beach, be sure to head to Vivonne Bay jetty. It is one of the most spectacular hidden gems in Australia I’ve laid eyes on.
The two-toned turquoise waters are simply mesmerizing. Plus there are some hidden blue rock pools to explore.
Despite its secluded location, Vivonne Bay is relatively easy to get to. Kangaroo Island can be accessed by a 30-minute flight or a 45-minute ferry ride from Adelaide, and Vivonne Bay is located about an hour’s drive from the main town of Kingscote. Kangaroo Island in itself is a hidden gem that is well worth exploring.
So, if you’re planning a trip to Australia, don’t miss the opportunity to visit Vivonne Bay on Kangaroo Island.
4. Lake Mckenzie, Fraser Island
Lake McKenzie is one of the most stunning hidden gems in Queensland. This stunning freshwater lake on Fraser Island is one of the most picturesque destinations in Australia, offering crystal-clear two-toned waters and white sandy beaches.
The turquoise lake is an incredibly picturesque spot, making it perfect for both nature lovers and photographers.
Lake McKenzie’s clear water is naturally filtered, making it one of the purest bodies of freshwater in the world; it’s therefore perfect for swimming. And if you think it doesn’t get much better than that, get this:
Lake Mckenzie is surrounded by tea trees, so the water soaks about the natural oils as the leaves drop. Said to have healing properties, tea tree oils are a magical cure for tons of things.
An immune system booster, blood circulation aid, pain relief and blemish treatment, a swim in Lake Mckenzie is essentially a spa treatment! Why not exfoliate your skin with white sand for an added layer of pampering?
When I visited Lake Mckenzie in late spring, surprisingly such a gorgeous spot during a fantastic time of year didn’t draw too many people. It was not as crowded as other popular spots on the island, allowing me to enjoy the serene surroundings and stunning views in peace.
To get to Lake Mckenzie, jump on the Fraser Island ferry or barge from Hervey Bay or Rainbow Beach. Once on the island, several tour companies offer guided tours to the lake or take a 4WD and self-drive to the lake.
5. Wine Glass Bay, Tasmania
Wineglass Bay, located in Tasmania, is a hidden gem of Australia that is often overshadowed by the more popular tourist destinations.
However, this pristine beach is one of the most beautiful spots in the country, offering stunning views and a peaceful atmosphere.
Onto the reasons why Wineglass Bay should be on your radar and how to get there.
Nestled in the heart of Freycinet National Park, Wineglass Bay is renowned for its clear waters, curvaceous white sand shoreline, and stunning rock formations. As it is located on Tasmania’s east coast, it is relatively isolated.
The lack of crowds adds to the peaceful atmosphere, allowing you to enjoy the beauty of the bay without feeling crowded. The beach is only accessible by foot or by boat, further enhancing its secluded location.
Wineglass Bay boasts an incredible beach, but it is not just a place for sunbaking under a beach umbrella.
The walk to Wineglass Bay beach from the National Park car park takes around two hours roundtrip. The first section of the track leads you uphill to the incredible lookout.
The walk will get your heart racing, but the panoramic views of the bay and surrounding mountains will only further take your breath away. From the lookout, the walk leads you on a downhill bush track to the bay itself.
What I love about Freycinet National Park is the commitment to sustainable tourism practices which ensures that the park and its beauty will be preserved for future generations. Make sure to abide by all rules and regulations when you visit.
Wineglass Bay is relatively easy to get to. Fly into Hobart and then drive for 2 hrs and 30 mins to the Freycinet National Park. Once at the park, hike or take a boat tour to Wineglass Bay.
6. Gantheaume Point, Broome
Gantheaume Point in Broome, Western Australia, is one of the best-kept secrets in the Land Down Under.
Located on the tip of the Dampier Peninsula, Gantheaume Point boasts stunning views of the Indian Ocean and is home to loads of fascinating wildlife, including bottlenose dolphins, manta rays, and dugongs.
The area further stands out for its dramatic, red-toned cliffs. These cliffs provide a stunning backdrop for a beautiful sunset, the perfect place to take gorgeous photos or have a romantic date.
Take a walk along the beach or chuck on your snorkel to spot sea turtles and reef sharks. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a whale in the distance.
Broome itself is a must-visit due to its amazing combo of culture and nature. From its stunning sunsets, Indigenous culture, and gorgeous beaches to its exciting outdoor activities, Broome has something for everyone.
The most common way to get to Broome is by taking a direct flight from Perth, which takes 2hrs 30 mins. There are also seasonal flights from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Once in Broome, take a short 10-minute drive to Gantheaume Point.
7. Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef
Heron Island is one of Australia’s most beautiful and unspoiled destinations located off the coast of Queensland.
As a Queenslander, I am surprised that this place even existed. It’s rarely talked about compared to other islands such as Fraser, Moreton and Stradbroke at least in my circle of friends.
Heron is a tiny coral cay that’s home to incredibly diverse marine life and a unique ecosystem. With its stunning views, untouched nature and magnificent underwater world, it’s no surprise Heron Island is fast becoming one of Australia’s hidden gems.
Situated right in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef Marine, it’s a great place to go snorkeling, diving, and fishing. There’s an abundance of tropical fish and coral for you to explore, making it the perfect place for underwater adventure seekers.
Aside from its marine life, Heron Island is fantastic to escape the hustle and bustle. There are plenty of beaches, lagoons, and coves to relax and unwind.
Another key drawcard of the island is the opportunity to see baby turtles hatching. A truly incredible experience watching baby turtles emerge from nests and scurry down the beach for the first time.
Now you’re convinced, let’s cover how to get there.
There are two ways to travel to Heron Island, you can catch the ferry which departs from Gladstone or you can get a helicopter from Gladstone Airport. The ferry takes around 2 hours while the chopper is 30mins.
While the helicopter is more expensive, the views are phenomenal, so it’s more of an experience than just a transfer.
8. Heart Reef, QLD
The Heart Reef in Queensland is one of the hidden gems in Australia that is perfect for a romantic getaway.
Located in the Great Barrier Reef, Heart Reef is a natural formation of coral and sand that is in the shape of a heart.
Situated in the Whitsunday Islands, the reef can only be seen and enjoyed from above. Take a helicopter ride from Hamilton Island or Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays; it’s definitely pricey the beauty is just unmatched.
Due to its protected status, you can’t dive or snorkel at Heart Reef, but you can explore nearby lagoons via boat tours.
Expect to see a vast array of marine life, including colourful fish, turtles, and corals – it is the Great Barrier Reef, after all!
Heart Reef is one of the most secluded hidden gems in Australia which makes it extra special. The beautiful photographs you take from above will be truly spectacular.
9. Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays
Number nine on the list of hidden gems in Australia is Whitehaven Beach.
One of Australia’s most stunning and secluded beaches is tucked away on the world-renowned Whitsunday Islands of Queensland.
The beach is an idyllic paradise often overlooked by tourists in favour of the more famous beaches in the area.
However, Whitehaven Beach is well worth seeking out, as it offers a truly unique beach experience and some of the most stunning scenery in the country.
A photo is worth a thousand words; just look at how gorgeous the turquoise waters and snow-white sands are. No wonder it is often considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and even comparable to islands like Bora Bora.
As you can imagine, Whitehaven Beach is a beautiful place to relax and soak in the sun, but it also offers plenty of activities. Go snorkeling or diving, explore the island by kayak or stand-up paddleboard, or take a guided hike along the coast.
The icing on the cake is that Whitehaven Beach is… you guessed it, incredibly secluded. It is only accessible by boat or seaplane from Airlie Beach, and there are no roads or towns nearby, meaning that it is the perfect escape into nature.
Overall, Whitehaven Beach is a hidden gem of Australia that deserves to be discovered.
So, if you’re looking for an unforgettable beach getaway be sure to check out Whitehaven Beach.
10. Ningaloo Reef, Exmouth
Ningaloo Reef is one of Australia’s best-kept secret spots.
This stunning reef is located off the coast of Western Australia, and it is one of the best coral reefs Australia has to offer. The reef is home to a huge variety of marine life, including dugongs, dolphins, manta rays, colourful fish and sea turtles.
What makes Ningaloo Reef one of my hidden gems of Australia is its pristine condition. The protected reef is still largely in its natural state, and it is only minimally impacted by tourists. It’s also one of Australia’s top UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
This means you can experience a truly untouched and beautiful ecosystem.
The most notable species in the reef are whale sharks. It’s one of the few places in the world where you can swim with them, along with manta rays, turtles or humpback whales during their migration.
How cool is that! And don’t worry, whale sharks aren’t dangerous and have never attacked humans.
If swimming with whale sharks isn’t for you there are plenty of spots for fishing and boat tours, as well as plenty of places to relax on the beach.
Another great thing about Ningaloo Reef is its accessibility. The reef is easily reached from Exmouth, a small town on Western Australia’s North West cape. There are plenty of beachfront accommodation options nearby for your stay in Exmouth.
11. Mungo National Park, NSW
Last but by no means least is Australia’s hidden gem, Mungo National Park.
A must-see for any traveler looking to explore the country’s vast and varied landscape.
Located in the far western corner of New South Wales, the park is one of the most remote and least-visited of Australia’s national parks. Yet it offers some of the most spectacular scenery, so the journey is well worth the effort.
The main attraction is its 40,000-year-old lake bed, the Mungo Lake. This lake once filled the area but has since dried up, leaving behind salt flats and sand dunes.
Now it serves as a home to black-footed rock wallabies, dingoes, and an array of birds.
The park also boasts spectacular Aboriginal rock art and artifacts, which provide insight into the culture of the local Aboriginal tribes.
Exploring these ancient sites is a must-do for any visitor to the park, as they offer a rare glimpse into the history and culture of the first peoples of Australia.
On your visit, you will also spot the world-famous Mungo Wall or Australia’s “Great Wall of China.” It is an impressive sight and a great place to explore.
Make sure to take a guided tour to hear the incredible hidden stories of Mungo National Park; it adds so much to the experience.
The quickest way to get to Mungo National Park is by flying into Mildura Airport and then driving 2 hrs to the park.
The closest town to Mungo National Park is Pooncarie, which is about 40km away. Pooncarie is over 12 hours from Sydney by car, so it’s a long journey.
Map of the Best Hidden Gems & Secret Spots in Australia
Below is a map of the best secret spots and hidden gems in Australia to help you pinpoint where to visit and how to get there.
Visiting Australia: FAQs
These 11 hidden gems and secret spots in Australia show off just how incredible and unique the country is.
So, if you are headed to the Land Down Under and are keen to tick off some hidden gems, below are the answers to some additional questions you may have.
What is something you can only find in Australia?
Australia is home to a wide variety of unique and fascinating native animals that can be found nowhere else in the world. One of the most iconic (and cutest) Australian animals only found in Australia is the kangaroo.
Other stand-out native animals that you simply can’t find anywhere else include koalas, wombats, wallabies, dingoes, and echidnas.
Be on the lookout when exploring hidden gems and secret spots in Australia, as these animals are likely to be found in secluded and rarely-seen locations. Their natural habitats make them perfect for hiding away, so make sure to keep your eyes peeled.
What is the most beautiful thing in Australia?
Australia is an incredibly diverse and beautiful country, with many stunning natural wonders. From the iconic Sydney Opera House to the rugged Outback, there is no shortage of beautiful sights that make Australia worth visiting.
But the most beautiful thing in Australia has to be the Great Barrier Reef.
As the world’s largest coral reef, it’s no surprise, The Great Barrier Reef offers the most spectacular scuba diving and snorkeling opportunities in the world – its beauty and diversity are unparalleled. It is an incredible reminder of the beauty and fragility of nature.
Whether you explore the reef by boat, snorkeling, or scuba diving, the Great Barrier Reef is sure to take your breath away.
Fun fact: The reef is so large it can even be seen from space.
What are some non-touristy locations and secret spots in Australia?
Australia has many tourist attractions, including Uluru, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Bondi Beach but not all sights are as well-known.
From hidden beaches to lesser-known national parks, there are many non-touristy locations and secret spots in Australia waiting to be discovered.
From the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, vibrant pink Lake Bumbunga to the dramatic Hamersly Gorge, there are plenty of hidden gems and secret spots in Australia for you to discover.
No matter where you decide to visit in Australia, there are plenty of non-touristy locations and secret spots that you should add to your bucket list.
The Wrap-Up: Hidden Gems In Australia
And there you have it. Eleven hidden gems and secret spots in Australia you need to visit.
My personal favourtie secret spots are Lake Bumbunga, Vivonne Bay and Lake Mckenzie.
Leave a comment with your favourite hidden gems in Australia or if you are planning to visit any of the above this year.