Australia, known globally for its iconic metropolises and sun-kissed beaches, often overshadows the beauty and allure of its rural landscapes. However, it’s within these less-trodden paths that the true spirit of the Land Down Under reveals itself. Stretching from rugged mountain ranges to the serenity of untouched beaches, rural Australia is the unsung hero of the Southern Hemisphere. Check out our complete guide, taking you on an expansive journey through 10 of the most captivating places to visit in rural Australia.
Like the rest of the world, Australia’s natural beauty is under threat from environmental concerns. Therefore, a great way to explore rural Australia is with an electric vehicle, allowing you to enjoy this nation while having a reduced environmental impact on it. You can get simple EV insurance from ROLLiN’, allowing you to have ease of mind on your epic trip.
The Grampians, Victoria
An embodiment of nature’s finest work, the Grampians is a stunningly beautiful mountain range. Spanning across the Grampians National Park, it’s a haven for outdoor enthusiasts with trails that cater to both the novice and the adept.
Beyond hiking, the region teems with native wildlife — think kangaroos, wallabies, and colourful parrots. Delve deeper, and you’ll find ancient Indigenous Australian rock art, a testament to the rich history of the First Nations of Australia.
Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory
A place where nature and ancient history intertwine, Kakadu is more than just a national park—it’s a living chronicle of Australia’s indigenous heritage. The Ubirr and Nourlangie Indigenous rock art serve as gateways to a time long past. It also features incredible wetlands, teeming with crocodiles and exotic birdlife, which embody nature’s vitality.
Margaret River, Western Australia
While the Margaret River region is synonymous with fine wines, this spot offers so much more. The rugged coastline features world-class surf breaks, whilst underground, the Mammoth and Lake caves encase stunning stalactites and ancient fossils.
The local farmers’ markets, with their fresh produce, are a gourmand’s delight, and you’d be remiss not to enjoy a cheeky wine tasting at the vineyards dotting the landscape.
Broken Hill, New South Wales
Stepping into Broken Hill is akin to stepping into a bygone era. The Pro Hart Gallery, dedicated to one of the most iconic artists in rural Australia, displays masterpieces inspired by the very landscapes surrounding the town. Moreover, the nearby Living Desert Reserve, with its remarkable sandstone sculptures, whispers tales of time’s inexorable march.
Broken Hill is also the perfect base camp as you explore the wonders of rural New South Wales. It’s surprisingly urbanised and home to plenty of excellent accommodations and hospitality venues.
Kangaroo Island, South Australia
Just off the mainland, Kangaroo Island is one of the best places to visit in rural Australia, promising beloved wildlife. Walk among sea lions at Seal Bay, observe koalas lazing about in eucalyptus trees, or perhaps even catch sight of an echidna or goanna on one of the many bush trails. The island’s pristine beaches, particularly Stokes Bay and Vivonne Bay, are dreamy getaways in their own right.
Atherton Tablelands, Queensland
Elevated terrains lead to cooler climes and a mosaic of rainforests, waterfalls, and lakes in the Atherton Tablelands. The Curtain Fig Tree, a spectacular natural marvel, and the historic village of Herberton offer insights into both nature’s wonders and human endeavour.
Tasmania, an island often dubbed as Australia’s natural jewel, hides within its folds vast expanses of untouched wilderness. The haunting beauty of the Tarkine, dense with rainforests and rushing rivers, and the panoramic vistas from Mount Ossa within the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park are just a couple of the many highlights.
Moreover, Tasmanian is the ultimate gem of Australia and a must-top location on your Down Under itinerary.
Flinders Ranges, South Australia
An age-old landscape sculpted over aeons, the Flinders Ranges transport visitors to a world of ochre-red outcrops, deep gorges, and expansive vistas. These exceptional mountain ranges stretch for over 400 kilometres.
The Arkaroo Rock paintings also narrate ancient stories, whilst the stars above offer a celestial spectacle, made all the more special by the absence of city lights.
Byron Bay Hinterland, New South Wales
While Byron Bay is a hit with beachgoers, the hinterland, awash in green, is a serene sanctuary you have to check out. The Minyon Falls, cascading majestically, and the artsy village of Bangalow, with its boutique shops and cafes, are just a snippet of what’s on offer.
Byron Bay Hinterland boasts popular national parks including Nightcap National Park and Border Ranges National Park. The region is also awash with gorgeous waterfalls including Minyon Falls, Protestors Falls and Killen Falls.
Murray River, Victoria/New South Wales
Meandering gently through the southeastern places of Australia, the Murray River acts as a glistening ribbon inviting relaxed adventures and rejuvenation. Renting one of the quaint houseboats that lazily drift along the river provides an ideal opportunity to take in the beauty of the surrounding landscapes.
The riverbanks are lined with the iconic red gum forests of Australia, shading the crystal waters that flow beneath their sprawling branches. As the houseboat glides along, you may find yourself arriving at historic towns unchanged by time, with original wooden wharves and paddle steamers transporting you back to the golden era when lively river trade dominated the region.
One such historic gem is the town of Echuca, where heritage buildings from the 1800s have been preserved, and the red gum wharf still stands proudly along the river’s edge, evoking a romantic feeling of a bygone period when riverboats ruled the Murray River.
Along the dusty back roads and meandering trails that wind through this untouched landscape, a trove of hidden gems and untold stories await intrepid travellers yearning for adventure.
Every new bend in the road presents the possibility of stumbling upon secluded waterfalls, chatting with local farmers and tradespeople, wandering through open plains inhabited by exotic wildlife, or finding cosy country pubs where yarns are spun and beers shared as the Southern Cross glows outside.
No journey to Australia is truly complete without embracing the magic of the countryside, so you must visit the places in rural Australia. Take the road less travelled and let rural Australia’s raw, wide-open spaces capture your imagination. The stories are waiting to be lived.