SIX MUST-DO’S

Aus­tralia six ways from Sun­day.

DRIFT Travel magazine - - Contents - BY: GRANT CHARLESWORTH

Lake Macken­zie, Fraser Is­land

Sit­u­ated on the beau­ti­ful and laid back Fraser Is­land just off Queens­land’s Sunshine Coast is Lake Macken­zie. A perched fresh wa­ter lake, it boasts crys­tal clear wa­ter and sparkling white sands. It is per­fect for swim­ming and snor­kel­ing. Fraser Is­land is ac­ces­si­ble by ferry from Rain­bow Beach and the nearby town­ship of Her­vey bay. Fraser Is­land is a pop­u­lar four wheel drive and re­cre­ation des­ti­na­tion and is Aus­tralia’s big­gest sand is­land. Per­son­ally I love Fraser Is­land and I have vis­ited there of­ten. I ac­tu­ally be­gan my ca­reer as a guide on Fraser Is­land driv­ing day tours from the nearby town of Noosa. The best time to visit Lake Macken­zie is be­fore 12pm or af­ter 3pm as it can get quite busy. And you must dive down and see the small tur­tles swim­ming close to the sandy bot­tom.

Bay of Fires, Tas­ma­nia

Along Tas­ma­nia’s North East coast is The Bay of Fires. Dom­i­nated by sandy white beaches, aqua blue wa­ter and huge gran­ite boul­ders the re­gion is sim­ply stun­ning. The gran­ite boul­ders are cov­ered in Or­ange lichen giv­ing a sharp con­trast to the sur­round­ing area. You can walk for miles along se­cluded beaches free of peo­ple giv­ing you the feel­ing that you are the only one there. I lived in Launce­s­ton in the north­ern part of Tas­ma­nia for 3 years so I vis­ited this re­gion fre­quently. On your way to or from the Bay of Fires you should stop in at the Bak­ery at the small vil­lage of Camp­bell­town. Aus­tralia is well known for its meat pies and the pies from this small bak­ery are cer­tainly up there with the best in Aus­tralia. You can ac­cess The bay of Fires via the nearby town of St He­lens. If you are feel­ing ad­ven­tur­ous try the 4 day walk.

Glasshouse Moun­tains, Sunshine Coast

The Glass House Moun­tains are a group of awe in­spir­ing hills that rise abruptly from the hin­ter­land of the Sunshine Coast, just north of Bris­bane. The moun­tains were ac­tu­ally named by Cap­tain James Cook as he sailed past in them in 1770 as their sheer sides gave an ap­pear­ance of an English Glass House. The moun­tains are ac­tu­ally part of a vol­canic plug and are now her­itage listed as they are so sig­nif­i­cant to the lo­cal area. The views from the top are in­cred­i­ble and best view­ing times are at sun­rise. The pick is the scenic look­out within the Beer­bur­rum State For­est or if you are feel­ing more ad­ven­tur­ous you can ex­plore one of the many lo­cal walk­ing tracks. I have ac­tu­ally com­pleted the walk to the top of Mount Ngun­gun. This walk is not for the feint hearted and lit­er­ally goes straight up the side of Mount Ngun­gun for about half a mile. The other tech­ni­cal­ity is that I com­pleted the walk in com­plete dark­ness as I climbed to see the sun­rise. At any time of the day the walk is ab­so­lutely worth it but if you are not com­pletely con­fi­dent in ne­go­ti­at­ing rocky slopes I would rec­om­mend climb­ing this sec­tion dur­ing the day­light hours.

Jervis Bay, South Coast of NSW

Sit­u­ated on the South Coast of New South Wales, around a stun­ningly scenic 2.5 hour drive from Syd­ney along the aptly named Great Scenic Way is Jervis Bay. Fa­mous for its glacier white sand and clear turquoise wa­ter, Jervis Bay is a fa­vorite for lo­cals. Un­spoiled coastal and coun­try vil­lages fea­ture lo­cal pro­duce and arts and craft mar­kets, bou­tique shops and gal­leries. This place was a fa­vorite for some of my fam­ily mem­bers who have been vis­it­ing for well over 20 years. I have of­ten joined them with my kids in tow and I must say this is a sim­ply stun­ning and fam­ily friendly des­ti­na­tion. If you walk down to the edge of the St Ge­orge Basin at dusk you can of­ten see the strange phe­nom­e­non of what looks like kan­ga­roos hop­ping on wa­ter. Kan­ga­roos go down to shore line to snack on the abun­dant sea­weed that washes ashore. Of­ten they may be stand­ing in a cou­ple inches of wa­ter some me­ters off the dry land. So when star­tled they hop off and give the im­pres­sion of hop­ping on wa­ter as they make their way through the shal­low wa­ter. The area is also teem­ing with other wildlife in­clud­ing kan­ga­roos, wallabies, echid­nas and wom­bats as well as res­i­dent dol­phins within Jervis Bay it­self. Huskisson or Sus­sex In­let are the stand out towns to stay and fea­ture great cafes, restau­rants, coun­try pubs and a vast range of ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tions. Nearby you can also visit the well known ar­eas of Kan­ga­roo Val­ley, Kiama and Mol­ly­mook.

Kar­i­jini Na­tional Park, West­ern Aus­tralia

The sec­ond largest but most spec­tac­u­lar Na­tional Park in West­ern Aus­tralia is the Kar­i­jini Na­tional Park. Lo­cated in the Hamer­s­ley Ranges of the Pil­bara re­gion, the park is lo­cated just north of the Tropic of Capri­corn and 600 miles North West of Perth. Kar­i­jini is well known for its eye catch­ing ge­o­log­i­cal fea­tures and rich deep out­back col­ors. Im­merse your­self amongst the an­cient ge­o­log­i­cal for­ma­tions and you sud­denly feel awestruck at the red lay­ered cliffs that line the spec­tac­u­lar gorges eroded by na­ture over bil­lions of years. I made the trek to the Pil­bara a few years ago and the long drive in at some stages felt like we were never go­ing to ar­rive. But once we did the travel time in was never in ques­tion. It was a hot day and we headed straight to the Spa Pool, a nat­u­ral rock pool to swim. To say this was one of the most amaz­ing places that I have swum is an un­der­state­ment. And pic­tures just don’t do it jus­tice, you have got to get there. This part of Aus­tralia is quite hard to ac­cess and wont suit ev­ery­one but it is in in­cred­i­bly beau­ti­ful and worth the ef­fort. The Na­tional Park and sur­round­ing area is noth­ing like any­thing I have ex­pe­ri­enced ever be­fore. The Pil­bara’s gum trees, ter­mite mounds and ex­pan­sive plains give way to pic­turesque gorges, re­fresh­ing water­falls and the emer­ald wa­ter­holes.

Zebedee Springs, The Kim­ber­ley

Zebedee Springs are lo­cated in the El Que­stro Wilder­ness Park, in the Kim­berly Re­gion of West­ern Aus­tralia. Zebedee Springs are a num­ber of nat­u­ral ther­mal springs that sit at the base of sheer sand­stone cliffs and are con­stantly heated at around 36 de­grees Cel­sius or around 100 de­grees Fahren­heit. The Kim­berly is on many peo­ple’s bucket list of things to do and see while in Aus­tralia but visi­ta­tion is very low. There are many ways to see and ex­pe­ri­ence the Kim­berly and I had the in­cred­i­ble plea­sure of driv­ing along The Gibb River Road from Ku­nunurra to Derby some years ago. To re­ally en­gage with the des­ti­na­tion, driv­ing the Gibb River Road is by far and away the best way to go. I was able to visit Zebedee Springs which were quite hard to find but once lo­cated very easy to get to. The best time to go is be­fore 12pm and pack some drinks and snacks and stay a while. The springs are of­ten closed for sole use of guests stay­ing at El Que­stro in the af­ter­noon. You will dis­cover a pure oa­sis in the mid­dle of a dry desert re­gion as you take the short walk from the nearby car park. Sit back and re­lax and take in the con­trast­ing lush trop­i­cal rain for­est. Not easy to find or get too but it wouldn’t be spe­cial if it was.

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