From strange-sounding names to underground towns and hippie communes, these are some of the weird and wonderful towns and places around Australia that are worth getting off the beaten track for!
While you’d be forgiven for thinking that Lightning Ridge is famous for thunderous weather, it’s what’s in the ground, not the sky, that attracts visitors from all around the world to this outback town in northern New South Wales. Known as the ‘black opal capital of the world’, Lightning Ridge is mined for these beautiful and unique type of opals; their dazzling colours highlighted by the darker stone. Try your hand at fossicking for rough opals, or shop for the finished product in the many opal galleries and jewellers around town. So revered is the black opal, Lightning Ridge even has an annual festival for it!
Did you know? Australia produces more than 90 per cent of the world’s opals.
Travel: Fly to Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport or Brisbane Airport and start your trip with a few days in one of these cosmopolitan cities before heading more than 700 kilometres into the Outback to Lightning Ridge. Airport transfers in both Sydney and Brisbane are available on Jayride.com.
About 60 kilometres west of Byron Bay and nestled in the rainforest hinterland of the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales lies the quirky hippie commune of Nimbin. Host of the eclectic Aquarius Festival in the early 1970s, the spirit of community, sustainability and alternative lifestyles remains in those who decided to call Nimbin home, and today the streets are filled with psychedelic murals, Indigenous artwork, markets, rainbow flags, organic cafés, quirky gift shops and a whole lot of personality. Add to that the surrounding beauty of the nearby national parks, including the secluded Protesters Falls in Nightcap National Park, and Nimbin is the perfect place to simply get away from it all.
Handy hint: Don’t miss a visit to Nimbin’s famous candle factory, just on the outskirts of town.
Travel: The township of Nimbin is easily accessible if you’re basing yourself in either Byron Bay or the Gold Coast. Fly into Ballina-Byron Gateway Airport or the Gold Coast Airport; there are airport transfers available at both airports at Jayride.com.
No, Santa Claus doesn’t live here, nor do his reindeer, and there isn’t even the slightest sign of a sleigh bell – in fact, there isn’t anything Christmassy about Christmas Island at all! It is however home to one of the most spectacular animal migrations of the world. Each year, tens of millions of Christmas Island red crabs migrate across the island in preparation for spawning, and it’s quite a sight to behold. Roads are closed as a carpet of bright red crawls from the forests to the ocean, and visitors flock to this island that lies a four-hour flight northwest of Perth for a chance to see this incredible parade.
The red crab migration isn’t the only natural wonder on the island; in fact, this is a nature-lover’s paradise! Fringed by coral reef and surrounded by turquoise waters, Christmas Island is a great destination for scuba diving; you may even encounter a whale shark or two. Bird-watchers will delight in the abundance of feathered friends that call the island home; frigate birds circling high in the sky, emerald doves with their metallic green wings and the Christmas Island Hawk-Owl are just some of the species you may spot.
Travel: To visit Christmas Island, you’ll likely be flying into Perth Airport; there’s plenty to love about this cosmopolitan west coast city, so spend a few days here before embarking on the four hour flight to Christmas Island. Find Perth airport transfers on Jayride.com.
Yep, there’s a small town in Queensland called Banana. But don’t expect to find many fruit plantations here; the region’s main agricultural output is actually beef. In fact, the town was named after a bull called Banana in the 1860s! Located about 150 kilometres south of Rockhampton, Banana attracts visitors with its proximity to rivers, gorges, dams and national parks, especially those interested in fishing and water sports.
Travel: The closest capital city airport to Banana is Brisbane Airport, and nearby regional airports include Rockhampton Airport and Gladstone Airport. Jayride.com works with local transfers companies at all three airports, so remember to pre-book your airport transfer if you’re basing yourself in these towns.
And if Banana wasn’t fruity enough, Australia also has a town called Orange, around 250 kilometres west of Sydney. What is Orange famous for? Apples and pears! The cool climate of Orange lends itself to growing apples and stone fruit, such as cherries, plums and peaches, and is a well-known fruit-growing region (although it’s not warm enough to grow its namesake). Orange is also renowned for wine, thanks again to the cool climate and good soil quality, and visitors are spoiled for choice with the many wineries in the area.
Located in the South Australian outback, Coober Pedy is one of Australia’s most unique towns as everything is underground! Art galleries, houses, accommodation and even churches are beneath the ground, hidden from the Outback’s harsh heat of the day.
Like Lightning Ridge, Coober Pedy is famous for opals; the world’s largest display of these colourful gems is found here, and there are mine areas open to the public who’d like to try and fossick for the pretty stones; do check with the Visitor’s Centre before you rush off to ‘noodle’ for your very own opal, though. Guided tours of the hand-dug Old Timers Mine will let visitors see glistening seams of opal winding through the rock. Or why not pick up a unique piece of jewellery at one of the underground opal retailers?
Above ground, you can catch a flick at one of Australia’s oldest drive-ins, have a swing on the (not-so-green) Coober Pedy Opal Fields Golf Course, or view the town from the Big Winch Lookout. One thing’s for sure; a visit to Coober Pedy is like nothing – and nowhere – else!
Travel: You’ll probably fly to Adelaide Airport if you want to explore this interesting town. Spend a few days enjoying the popular capital of South Australia before venturing into the Outback; it’s known for its great food, markets and nearby wineries. Transfers from Adelaide Airport to the city are available on Jayride.com.
Eggs and Bacon Bay
Feeling hungry? The very real Eggs and Bacon Bay exists just 40 kilometres south of Tasmania’s capital of Hobart, though there is some debate as to how it got its name. While some claim that it’s named after the popular breakfast meal, enjoyed by the wife of the 18th-century Governor John Franklin, others insist it’s the wild pea flower called eggs and bacon that carpets the surrounding area that inspired the quirky name. Whatever the origins, there’s no doubt that Eggs and Bacon Bay will attract wildflower and breakfast enthusiasts alike.
Travel: Eggs and Bacon Bay is very accessible from Tasmania’s capital city, Hobart. Fly into Hobart International Airport; the city is known for its surrounding beauty, bustling markets and fresh produce. Book your Hobart airport transfer on Jayride.com.
Travelling to Australia? Jayride.com works with thousands of local transfer companies all around the country, so whether you’re landing in the big cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, or regional airports like Cairns, Rockhampton, Alice Springs or Newcastle, ensure you get to and from the airport with ease with an transfer transfer. Search and compare your options today on Jayride.com.