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Off the beaten path: Australia’s best-kept secret destinations

It’s unlikely you’ll ever run out of places to visit in our vast country, but if you’re after something a little more obscure and undiscovered, you’ve come to the right place.

We’ve put together a list of stunning discoveries that are only beginning to carve their names onto the tourist trails, but we predict that they’ll be popping up on your Instagram feeds before you can say ‘Bob’s your uncle’. So best get to them sooner rather than later!

Depending on what you’re searching for, we’ve found the best-kept hidden spots you need to see in Australia.

Best Hidden Desert
The Pinnacles, WA

Nestled between the deep blue Indian Ocean and the sand dunes of Nambung National Park, you’ll find The Pinnacles: thousands of grandly assembled limestone pillars.

These ancient epic palisades, sculpted by the coastal winds, lie scattered across the desert and date back millions of years to an era when the sand was beneath the sea. Their forms come in all shapes and sizes – some reaching almost five metres, some rounded, and others jagged – but all completely remarkable in their beauty.

The best part about visiting The Pinnacles is how easy it is to get there from Perth. If you pick up your Perth car hire in the afternoon, you can easily make it to the Pinnacles to catch a gorgeous sunset, as it’s only 2 hours and 18 minutes from the city centre.

Best Hidden Bay
Bay of Fires, TAS

Contrasted by the turquoise water and gleaming white sands, the enflamed granite boulders of Tasmania’s Bay of Fires offer some of the most striking shorelines in Tassie.

Small, secluded inlets greet you all the way along the coast from Binalong Bay to Eddystone Point, full of dramatic landscapes, ecological wonders and surf swells to write home about.

So why is it called the Bay of Fires? The unusual moniker was given by Captain Tobias Furneaux, who noticed numerous fires along the coast in 1773, mistaking the area for being densely populated.

Best Hidden Beach
Resolute Beach, NSW

It’s not easy finding hidden beaches in Sydney, so this one gets bonus points for being relatively undiscovered.

If you’re wondering just how to get to this secluded spot, pick up a rental car in Sydney and drive just about one hour to the Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park. Once you’re there, take the Resolute Loop Trail to Resolute Beach.

You’ll enjoy a spectacular stretch of lush white sand, breathtaking coastal views over Pittwater and calm waters beckoning you for a dip – it’s basically your own private beach cocoon. Keep this one to yourself; you don’t want the rest of Sydney showing up.

Best Hidden Lake
Lake Bumbunga, SA

No, not just a lake. A pink lake. A pink, reflective lake. The exact reason behind the perfectly pink coloured salt water is not entirely known, but it’s understood to be a chemical reaction between the salt, sodium bicarbonate and microorganisms living in the water.

This natural oddity is certainly a must-see, even if only for the perfect Instagram pic. You can get there easily with a car hire in Adelaide, and it’s practically on the way to another one of Australia’s best kept road trip secrets: The Coastal Way.

Best Hidden National Park
Iytwelepenty/Davenport Ranges National Park

You’ll rarely see such a wonder. Smack bang in the middle of a country, yet so untouched. Welcome to the Outback. The realoutback.

No doubt about it, you’ll need to load up a trusty 4WD. Maybe a tucker bag too. Thrifty can sort you out with the former in our Alice Springs car hire office.

The landscape here varies immensely, with everything from central desert to tropical plants and a wildlife collection that would impress the most serious of naturalists.

Set off on any of the exploratory bush tracks, enjoy a peaceful dip in the waterholes, and top it all off by camping al fresco under the stars, Waltzing Matilda-style. Just steer clear of that jolly jumbuck!

Best Hidden Wine Region
Alpine Valleys Wine Region, VIC

Victoria’s High Country has long been a silent achiever, and its stunning wine region is yet to be discovered by foodie and wine buffs (at least for the most part). The many microclimates allow for the production of 30+ grape varieties that can be sampled from a dozen or so cellar doors.

The scenery is what really makes the Alpine Valleys a site for sore eyes. The region is home to many natural treasures including waterfalls, wildflowers and winter wonderlands including Mount Buffalo and Falls Creek

Best Hidden Rainforest
Atherton Tablelands, QLD

It’s about time that the Atherton Tablelands got a bit more airtime than their neighbouring natural wonder, the Great Barrier Reef. The region, which forms part of the great diving range in Queensland, boasts an endless number of lakes, caves, waterfalls, gorges, hiking trails, swamps… we could go on, but you get the gist. It’s a nature-loving adventurer’s playground.

Enjoy a day driving from waterfall to waterfall – we guarantee you won’t tire of the views. If you need a car, Thrifty has several car hire locations in Cairns.

There you go. You heard it here first! Time to set off and explore those sights unseen.