Australia's hidden gems: Where to travel this summer

20 January 2020

If you’re looking for summer holiday ideas that don’t increase your carbon footprint or cost a fortune, you might not have to look too far beyond your own backyard.

Whether you’re looking for places to travel during your retirement or you’re just starting out adult life on a budget, Australia is chock-full of exciting and affordable destinations for every type of traveller.

Domestic travel can be cost-effective and eco-friendly
Depending on your chosen mode of transportation, domestic travel often has less of an environmental impact than international travel.

Compared to international air travel, domestic flights released 17% fewer carbon emissions in 2016, according to the Australian government. If you wish to go sightseeing around the country, it’s also possible to hop on a regional train or coach bus and leave your car at home.

It’s easier to follow eco-friendly practices, too. You can bring along toiletries, reusable bags, straws and water bottles and even pack a picnic so you don’t have to order your meals to-go with plastic cutlery. By taking little steps like these, Condé Nast Traveler notes that you can teach your children to be responsible travellers, too.

Domestic holidays can also be cheaper if you’re on a budget. You’ll save on international airfare, rental car fees and other expenses associated with travelling abroad. If you stay within your region, you can plan a memorable and affordable day trip or long weekend to cut down on lodging costs.

You don’t need to keep the family cooped up for a staycation to save money and stay green this summer. Instead, plan a visit to one of Australia’s top hidden gems.

Australia’s hidden gems: scenic spots

Bungle Bungles, Western Australia: An otherworldly rock formation that wasn’t known to the outside world until 1983, the World Heritage-listed Bungle Bungle Range rises up 250 metres above the grasses of Purnululu National Park. The sandstone domes are streaked with vibrant orange and black stripes that you’ll have to see to believe.


Carnarvon Gorge, Queensland: Situated north-west of Brisbane, Carnarvon National Park is a little-known treasure. The gorge features steep white sandstone cliffs covered with Aboriginal rock art and ancient cycads, ferns and gum trees. Bring your hiking shoes and camp gear to experience this rugged oasis.


Gunlom Plunge Pool, Northern Territory: Tucked into the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park, this is an infinity pool created by Mother Nature herself. Hike up the waterfall and billabong system for stunning views of the surrounding woodland, stone country and riparian regions. Then, cool off in the crystal-clear waters of the Plunge Pool.

Australia’s hidden gems: coastal destinations

Baird Bay, South Australia: Swim alongside wild dolphins and sea lions this summer at the western tip of the Eyre Peninsula in the isolated fishing village of Baird Bay. Bring your camping gear and fishing pole or book a relaxing stay in a luxury beach villa. 

Bay of Fires, Tasmania: Skimming the north-east coast of Tasmania, the Bay of Fires is a truly picturesque spot complete with white sands, clear blue waters and impressive granite boulders coated in bright orange lichen. Enjoy swimming or snorkelling at the main beach, Binalong Bay, discover wildlife in the rocky gullies and offshore reefs, or follow one of the many inlets that are ripe for exploration.


Daintree Rainforest, Queensland: As the oldest living rainforest in the world, Daintree is a travel gem that’s hidden in plain sight. Zip-line through the lush foliage or take it slow with a winding river cruise. Keep an eye out for saltwater crocodiles and jungle wildlife. Continue your journey along the coast where the rainforest meets the Great Barrier Reef.


Australia’s hidden gems: cultural sites

AC/DC Lane, Melbourne, Victoria: Named for Australia’s home-grown rock heroes, AC/DC Lane in Melbourne is home to a stretch of lively rock ‘n roll joints like the infamous Cherry Bar. Wander the cobblestone streets in search of foodie-friendly flavours as you admire the vivid street art.

Cockatoo Island, New South Wales: This World Heritage-listed island floats within Sydney Harbour. Visit by ferry to learn about the lives of the Aboriginal Eora People, Sydney’s convict history and the island’s influential role in the shipbuilding industry. Camp here overnight to see a sweeping view of the city skyline as it lights up.

Convict Brick Trail, Tasmania: Located in Campbell Town, this brick path commemorates the 200,000 convicts who were brought to Australia between 1788 and 1868. Each brick lists a convict’s name, age, crime and sentence. The first brick was laid in 2003, but you can continue your journey by walking in the footsteps of the convicts who laid the Great North Road in the nineteenth century. These sites are poignant reminders of Australia’s history as a penal colony.

Australia’s hidden gems: cities

Adelaide, South Australia: Often overshadowed by Australia’s bigger cities, Adelaide makes a great summer holiday spot. Immerse yourself in the festivals, food scene and wine country. Explore one of the city’s many museums and hit the metropolitan beaches for kid-friendly activities or cocktails.

Castlemaine, Victoria: Just a two-hour drive from Melbourne, this small yet bustling town is rich with historic charm and culture. Visit the art museum or find your own treasures within the antique shops along Mostyn and Barker streets. Stock up on local produce and take a self-guided tour to learn about the city’s architecture and gold mining history. Take a ride on the historic Victoria Goldfields Railway and don’t miss the magnificent botanical gardens.

Once you’ve laid out your summer plans for travelling around Australia on a budget, with eco-friendly holiday habits in mind, let LGS help you plan for your future. We support ecologically-responsible causes while helping you build your nest egg.

To find out how you can keep taking care of your finances and our planet, join the responsible investment movement and get in touch with an LGS financial planner today.

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